Monday, March 31, 2014

Rules and Blocks

This week has been one of the more difficult weeks as far as breaking the rules go. Basically I don't have a problem with all the mission rules, its just when I have to explain to other people the rules and they don't understand. For example, Walter Marchbanks a less active member we met earlier this week. He is pretty old and he is very well off, we went over to his mansion on Saturday to help him with some yard work and talk with him for a little bit. He told me that he looked me up and also read a lot about my sister, and she is playing uconn at 1:30, why don't we go out to lunch in Moor Park and then we can come back and watch the game. I then had to explain to him that, No, I can't go to lunch out of my area, and No I can't watch TV(even though I really want to). So after some arguing he finally agreed to just feed us some lunch here at his house. So we are eating lunch then all of the sudden he turns on his giant TV to ESPN and says: "Hey look they're talking about your sister." So we finished lunch quickly and watched some Highlights from the previous games (SOME SWEET BLOCKS FROM JENNIFER HAMSON!) But we had to leave I couldn't justify watching for more than a couple minutes. So ya, members can make it hard to follow the rules some times.
As far as the work goes we had some great lessons. One of them was with Scott who is an interesting fellow. He is a talker, he enjoys talking and is open to listening to us. But he talks 80% of the time, so when we teach him its difficult. We teach him a little portion of the lesson and it reminds him of something then he just rambles until either he's done or we just interrupt him. So our lessons are going to be really long or we'll just have a lot of lessons. I also bore my testimony on Sunday, because some of our fast and testimony meetings get a little dull. I told a funny story and it livened things up a little bit. Overall a good week
It's an exciting week next week we have General Conference and transfers are next week. I am like a dinosaur here in this area, and it would be pretty crazy if I stayed again. I love it here, but also I am ready and excited to move on (knock on wood).
I love you all and don't have too much fun with out me.

The Top of the Hill:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Cheers and Tears

I can't come to the game so this will have to suffice. Ya, this last week has been fantastic. On Sunday a member told me all about the game against NC state and that BYU was the 12 seed. It was a good thing we were in the chapel, because otherwise I would have just lost it. 
As far as missionary work goes, we finally got to teach this girl named Jacque. She is like 17 and has been coming to church with her friend in the ward for a while now. We have been trying to meet with her for what seems like forever, but it's probably only been a few months. Anyways she pretty much is already half way through 2 Nephi and pretty much already knows a lot of the stuff we are teaching. So we blew through the Restoration and Plan of Salvation yesterday and she believed every word of it. So naturally I think in my head this is great lets set her with a baptismal date right now. I asked her to baptized. She immediately starts crying and they just keep coming. It was quiet for a while and I am sitting there thinking to my self, what have I done, this is the last thing I expected to happen. It turns out it's a little more complicated than I thought, but basically she is worried about what her mom will think. Our plan now is to get them both baptized that way it isn't a problem! But we will keep meeting with her and hopefully her mom comes to our next lesson. Other than Sunday it was about an average week. One of our investigators, Sandy, told us that her prayers had been answered. When we asked her about it she told us that the store had run out of her favorite brand of coffee that was on sale. She prayed that it would be there the next day. Sure enough, there it was the next day. On the bright side she went with the ward to the ward temple activity to walk around the LA temple and the visitors center. We will ask her all about it this week!
I love you all and although I'm not watching march madness I am still so happy to be a missionary. Thank you for all of your prayers and support. 

Elder Hamson

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Earth is Shaking

Hello everybody, this morning I survived an earthquake, so that's exciting. At first I thought someone fell down in the apartment above us or something, but I guess it was an earthquake. It wasn't enough to do any damage and we are all fine. This last week though has been an adventure. I'm getting along pretty good with my companion and it is definitely entertaining living with the zone leaders. (they don't get along as well). Right off the bat though last Monday evening we ran into a man who was just standing on his front lawn. He, Scott, was either waiting for his sprinklers to turn on or waiting for missionaries to come talk to him. We talked for a little bit and he was really interested in modern day prophets. We taught him all about it and gave him a Book of Mormon to read and pray about. We will talk to him again this week and see how it turns out. Then later in the week we taught Amanda and her family again. We taught a lot about faith and prayer. We committed them to read Alma 32 and to come to church. They didn't come to church though which was a bummer. I guess we'll find out why when we meet with them this week. We did however have two investigators, Jaque "jackie" and Katelyn, at church. We finally have an appointment with jaque next sunday, so we can set her with a baptismal date and she can start working towards that. Katelyn is an 11 year old girl we teach every once in a while who has had all the lessons and wants to be baptized however her parents are a lot less enthusiastic about the whole situation. It is quite complicated, so I won't bore you. We were just really excited to see her at church which she hasn't been able to come the whole time I have been here. We will teach her again this up coming week and hopefully church wasn't just a one time thing. We also had a district meeting for the first time in this district and is was a really good meeting. There are some really great missionaries here and I am glad to be able to work around them. I love you all and I hope you are all doing well.

Elder Hamson

Alan's District:

Monday, March 10, 2014

In the Middle

I can't believe I'm back here doing emails again. It seems like it was just yesterday where I was frustrated with technology for not working the way I want it to work. But it looks like we should be good today (knock on wood). This last week was a great one. I am still getting used to my companion, and he is a little more difficult to get along with. We have an interesting dynamic in our apartment where the new zone leader is very strict and "straight laced" you could say while my companion is quite the opposite. It is mostly just funny, but me being in the middle I don't really want to have to choose a side. So mostly I guess I am trying to figure out where I stand. Overall everything is fine and we all get along there is just a constant tension that can be felt. 
As far as the work goes we have had some great lessons, In the beginning of the week we had dinner with a Less Active family in the ward that no one knew anything about, until we knocked on their door a couple weeks ago. the mother and her 16 yr old daughter were baptized and the father in law isn't a member. We had a great dinner and we taught the restoration after, and committed them all to read a chapter from the Book of Mormon. They are a great family and very open and welcoming to us, they haven't been to church in a long time, and we aren't really sure why yet, but the Josh (the husband) has a lot of questions/concerns and seems to always have a glass of wine. We will meet with them again this week. The next day Elder Shields met Jaquie for the first time. We talked with her and her best friend who is a member for a little bit and are still trying to set up a time to start teaching her. She is probably the closest person to baptism, we just haven't met with her yet. Another great lesson was with Chris who we are teaching him everything again now that he is a member. It was a plan of salvation lesson,so we decided to draw all the pieces of the plan of salvation, so he would have a visual. My contribution to the art project was the resurrection, in which I wrote the word resurrection and cut it into a square. Then on Saturday I went on an exchange with Elder Sandholtz who is my district leader. We had a great exchange where we ended up teaching Willyam the Word of Wisdom. It was received better than expected and he understands it all. He didn't commit to live it however, which was kind of a bummer and at the same time expected. He did say he would pray about it and he is still reading the Book of Mormon. He is still taking steps in the right direction. Sometimes I just wish he would take bigger steps, but I can't have everything. The rest of the exchange wasn't nearly as exciting, but we talked a lot about my situation and that helped me a lot so I was glad. I love you all and I am doing great.

Elder Hamson  

One Week Late

Here is last week's official post.  It is one week late because the internet connection stopped working at the church where they were sending their emails last week:

Hello everybody, this week has been a really great week. I got a new companion and his name is Elder Shields. He came from Oxnard and has been out on his mission for about a year. He also has the opposite personality of Elder Atkin, so it has been a bit of a shock. He is a good missionary and everything he really has some good experience. He is really cool and is super "chill". His nick name is the vacation. He just does whatever and it's cool. If I want to go work hard that's great lets do it. If I want to do nothing that's cool too. It is an interesting change and I am learning a lot about myself and my missionary standard I guess you could say. It's good though I think president put us together, because he knew I could take it. So we are going and working hard, and its great we make a pretty good pair when it comes to teaching.
As for who we met and taught this week. We knocked on some Jehovah witness's door and that is always an adventure. People like that, Jehovah witness/born again christian, are like a big trap. They are always so excited to see us Mormons, and so I think great someone who has questions and wants to talk with us! I have since learned. It's hard, because they will sit there and talk doctrine with us all day and we get no where. You just have to bear your testimony and walk away, so those are always an adventure. Other than that the closest person we have to baptism is Jaquie. Who we haven't taught yet, but she is what some people would call a "dry Mormon". She comes to church each week with a family in the ward and lives the standards. Now we just need to coordinate three different schedules to teach the lessons so it is taking a little longer than I would like. Willyam didn't end up coming to church this week, but we will try again next week. It was also rainy for the last couple of days and on Saturday it really dumped on us. I was so glad to have the rain, we got into a lot more doors than usual. We went to the houses of potential investigators who normally wouldn't let us inside and sure enough they had pitty on us and we had some great lessons. We actually found a new investigator who moved in from Japan a month ago, speaks great English and doesn't have really any beliefs and is very open minded. Those are always the best kind of investigators, a clean slate. So we taught her how to pray and she said she would read from the book of mormon and pray about it. So there are a lot of good things going on and I am excited to still be here in Thousand Oaks 

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Sound of Silence

Dad:  We didn't get a general email from Alan this week.   He did write his mother, sending the two pictures below and reporting that she is sending snacks and treats faster than he can eat them/give them away.  He also reported that he is playing the piano in members homes and at district meetings, but not in church.

Alan with Sam Banks and Ben Lee, both of whom played with Alan at Pleasant Grove High School and are now in the same mission.

Alan with his new companion, Elder Shield, who is in the running for shortest Elder in the mission.