Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas II

Wow sometimes its hard to believe that it has been four months since I first went into the MTC. I have seen myself grow so much over that time and I have a long way to go still. My first Christmas here on the mission was great, we woke up early and we opened our presents that we had gotten from our families and friends it was great. I don't think I will run out of snacks for a while, and I love the new ties whoever picked them did a really good job. I have decided that the anticipation of Christmas and Christmas day are so exciting that the day after its always a little weird. Time just keeps marching on.
At the beginning of this last week we taught our friends Chris and Katherine again they are doing great and they are still planning on the baptismal date in February. Chris and his mom came to church on Sunday, so we are excited to help this family come closer to Christ and I can already see the blessings coming into their lives. On Tuesday I went on an exchange with the zone leader Elder Bostrom he is from Orem and he remembers me from high school we have a few mutual friends, so it was great to hear about some them who went on mission. He went to Timp. and he remembers going to the basketball games and thinking "there's nothing we can do, he is so tall" and now we are here and we were companions for the day. It was Christmas eve so we went caroling with some of the other missionaries in the zone. We also got some packages from the mission office and delivered them to the missionaries, so they could have them before Christmas, so basically I got to be santa. We had a great time and I got a taste of what is like to be a zone leader. It been great living with the zone leaders and my companion being the district leader, I learn a lot from them and I they keep me out of trouble. I figure that president Castro just wants to keep an eye on me.
Then on Saturday I went on an exchange with Elder Gerber a missionary in our district it went well for half the day. We taught a new investigator, Lisa Brinton, who has been coming to church for months, but her husband only just barely let the missionaries come over and teach their whole family. It went well and Sister Brinton wants to get baptized next month. It was a great lesson with the whole family, they; have two kids, they are all supportive of her and they want to learn more about it themselves. After that awesome lesson Elder Gerber got really sick and we were back at the apartment the rest of the day. He is feeling better now and back to work, so that's good. I love all of you thank you for everything and especially to the lindon 14th ward for their package and notes.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! It is such a wonderful time of year where we can remember the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is a little different as a missionary, in some ways its even better. It's a white Christmas in our district. We don't get any snow here in southern California, but we did have three new convert baptisms last Saturday. We got to go, because Elder Atkin is the district leader. It was a wonderful experience to see the other missionaries in our district having success. Also we are seeing a lot of things happen in our area. This last week we taught Chris and Katherine and they are learning a lot. We taught them the Plan of Salvation in our last lesson and they are now set with a baptizmal date for February 8th. We teach them today and I am excited to see them learn and gain a testimony. 

Also Lisa Brinton a non-member who has been coming to church for 6 months or so wants to take the missionary lessons and get baptized. Her husband was the only thing holding her back. He only wants the missionaries to come teach, but hopefully members will come along soon. We are really excited though she already understands a lot about the gospel and is changing her life. This is probably one of the best referrals I have ever gotten. We don't have a date yet, but she did say she wants to be baptized as soon as possible. We teach her on friday so we will set a date then.

I love this Christmas season and it is important to remember why we celebrate. We have been sharing a Christmas message with families and it includes the nativity story from the book of mormon. It is a much more intense story in 3 NE 1, but basically everyone who believed in the prophets were going to be killed if the sign didn't come. It took a lot of trust in the Lord, they new the sign would come and if it didn't they would die. They had to remained faithful and were blessed for it. We know the church is true, so we need to trust the Lord that he will bless us. I love you guys and have a merry Christmas!

Monday, December 16, 2013

More Pictures!

 With his district and relaxing/studying in the apartment.

(A better camera is in his Christmas box.)

Double Dinners

This last week was really great there are a lot of good things happening in this area. On tuesday we taught an older man, Ed, who had a lot of great questions about the gospel and life after death. It was an interesting lesson, really a question and answer session, but that was great we didn't have to worry about what we were going to teach next, because he would just ask us about it. We taught him the whole plan of salvation that way and gave a book of mormon to read. By the end of the lesson he was asking questions like "how does one get baptized in the mormon church?". He plays the organ and said that he has one of our hymnals and really likes the songs inside. Hopefully this ward will have a new organist in the future.
Later in the week we met Nicole, she was in our area book and there was no information about her. When we knocked on her door she was a little confused on why we knew her name, but we explained it to her and taught about the book of mormon. In the middle of the lesson she smiled and said she feels a "warm stirring" in her chest when she talks with us. We were so excited to hear that! We shared a verse in Alma 32 with her and she was really excited to have a book of mormon. She also told us that it wasn't a coincidence that we had come tonight. She wouldn't tell us why, but it feels good to know that we are being led by the Lord. She was leaving out of town for christmas the next day, so we only just barely caught her so unfortunately we won't teach her until January. That was one lesson that I won't forget, the spirit was there and I hopefully made a difference in her life.
Then yesterday we had two investigators at church. Chris and Katherine are 15 and 16 and their mom is a less active member. They came to church and really liked it, the ward did a really good job of making them feel welcome and it turns out that some of the youth knew them already which is great. They both plan on going to the skating activity and later that day we taught them a quick lesson then they fed us dinner which was great. We then proceeded to go to our planned dinner appointment, so I was full that night.
So everything is going great here I love my companion he is great. Thank you for the letters and packages. I love you all

Monday, December 9, 2013

Jousting and Jesters

Hello everybody I am still doing great here in California. It is getting a little colder and it actually rained a little bit. This last week was really good our ward had their Christmas party and it was a lot of fun and really interesting. It had a medieval theme so there was jousting and jesters and it was definitely one of a kind, but it was a lot of fun. We had and investigator there, Sandy Dawson and she had a good time. before the party we taught a lesson in the chapel and it went really well. She has a really hard time coming to church, so to have a lesson in the chapel even though it wasn't Sunday was a really big step for her. Also last week we tracted into a less active member of 15 years named Carolina who just moved into the area and we didn't know about. Yesterday we got to teach her two kids Chris and Katherine they are 14 and 15. They are great we taught them about the restoration and read with them from the Book of Mormon. They are both really excited to read from it. The dad isn't very interested but the mom said she would come to an activity to meet some sisters in the ward, which is great. I am really excited about this family. I am doing really good here still it is hard, but I am growing and learning a lot. The work here is just spiritually exhausting and sometimes I wonder if I will ever get a break, I won't, but it has definitely taught me to rely on the Lord. The work here definitely has its challenges, but it is worth it. I love you guys and have a merry Christmas.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Don't Pop the Bounce House!

Wow I can't believe that it's already December Christmas is just around the corner and I get to spend it here in Thousand Oaks. I got the news this morning and I am staying here and I will still be companions with Elder Atkin which is great, because we are pretty much best friends now. I completed my 12 week training, so things will be a little different, we will be getting out earlier in the morning instead of an hour of training. I am actually really excited about that, because I am the happiest when I am out of the apartment working.
This last week was really great we had thanksgiving with the Snyder family which was really good and there was a lot of family there, so we didn't run out of things to eat. It was really good and there were a ton of little kids running around everywhere. They even had a bounce house in their backyard which according to one little girl would pop if I were to go inside. It was also the largest audience we have shared a dinner message with. As for the rest of the day we went about our work as usually. The holidays are great because people are home and with their families.
As for who we are teaching we taught some new investigators we found last week, William and Bernadette they are a young couple we just started teaching. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and it went really well they have been reading from the Book of Mormon and we committed them to come to church yesterday, but they didn't make it. Another investigator Sandy Dawson made some good progress she has been taught for a really long time and only recently she has been willing to change some things in her life to prepare for baptism. This last week she committed to give up alcohol which is good step in the right direction. This last transfer has been really great me and Elder Atkin have made some really good progress in this area. At the beginning of the transfer we didn't have any progressing investigators, but as of right now we have 5. The Lord has really blessed me as I have been obedient and as I serve with all my heart might mind and strength. I am doing really great here I love it, I'm still wearing short sleeves every day and I am excited to serve another transfer here with Elder Atkin.
I love you guys
Elder Hamson