Tuesday, October 2, 2012

his words never cease

Yesterday i had the best experience ever! President assigned me to go to Villa Sonia ward (My first area) to help the missionaries there do a lesson in the 3rd hour and I had to go and help them teach!! I was thrilled!!! As I walked in to that building the 1st person i saw sitting on the 1st bench was my dear Yolanda!! The 1st lady I baptized almost 2 years ago!! She looked at me at came wobbling over and shouted !!MI PADRINO!!!JAJA!! )Godfather) She is the cutest old lady ever she is like 80 something and the cutest old lady in the world i love her so much! I felt so blessed to have been able to have taught her! Then later on i see all of my friends Duvan, Katherine, Luis, Gloria the whole crew!! I was so grateful to have been able to have my last sunday in Colombia in the same ward where i started the mission!! I got to say hi and bye to my loved ones there!! What a great feelin it is to go see the fruits nearly 2 years later!! I feel so blessed for the experiences i have had here!

Truth be told it still hasnt hit me that i am going home to rest! It feels like its just gonna be another transfer! I am ready for this transfer though!! I am super stoked to go to my new area to serve the Lord in California!! I am thrilled to teach in my native language. I can not wait to testify to my friends and family!! The Word of God never ceases and neither does his obra!! I cannot wait to continue working in the Work of my savior!! I still have the need to contact people!! I feel empty if i have not testified to someone, or if i am walking i still feel the need to talk to the people in the street!! Its as if it is just another transfer!! The Lord has blessed me with so many experiences In these past 2 years!!

This past week we traveled with presidente for like 20 some hours. We were in his car this week!! And presidente told me to keep him awake with some of my missionary experiences! I love to talk about the miracles and the blessings that i have received in these past 2 years! Testifying even to presidente motivated me even more to keep pushing on in this work!! There are so many people ready for the gospel back home, its just that i didnt know how to recognize the promptings of the holy ghost!!

I was able to say good bye to my dear friends of ours Pres. Pico y la familia Piraquive!! I was able to comfort el Hermano Piraquive!! Pops no estoy si sabia pero su companero murio el mes pasado del cancer. lo siento, pero fue una hermosa experiencia para me a hablar con el y su hija y compartir un rato con ellos!! Es una familia hermosa! I know that this work is not over and i know that i am not done sharing it!! I am so glad to hear that my family is participating in this work too! WE cannot hold it back!!

Today is pday and we had a soccer tournament! It was a blast but my legs are killing me right now! I aint too good but I just love to run around!! But i got tired and sat down for a while, i felt the need to go talk to some dude watching us all play soccer! I walked over and just started talking to him! Turns out he just lost his wife after 35 years of marriage and was passing through some difficult times! I know that the lord guided me to him! I was sweating and gross from playing soccer but i was glad that i could share my testimonio of the Resurrected christ! And what a strong spirit was felt talking to him. It doesnt matter if we are in a park sweaty and gross, the Lord will be with us on His errands!! I have had many experiences here in Colombia expereinces of a life time that only happen in movies, but the most unforgettables memories of these 2 years will be the feeling of being a Servant of God.The Simply spirit that testifies of the truthfullnes of this work, wether it be in a little hut, in a tin shack or in a cement masion, its that spiritula confirmation that that testifies of our Savior Jesus Christ is what is un forgettable and eternal!! I am excited to keep sharing it!! This last week is filled with lessons, training missionaries interviews, and will finish these 2 years doing what i came to do! Bringin souls to Chrsit through Baptism!

I cannot wait to just come home and be with my family. I can not wait to receive the blessings for serving the Lord for these 2 years and receive these blessing with my family!! It gonna be great!! MAy we always strive to serve our Lord and Savior always!! I love you all a ton!! I cant wait to see you all on Friday at 2. Love Elder Hammer

the testifying continues 9/22/2012

I will never be tired of feelin the guidance of the spirit!1 I absolutely love it!! This week was definitely an awesome one!! I am trying to get everything super organized in the offices and efficient and all of the good stuff, but trying to really seal a testimony upon the hearts that i teach. The only way to be an effective missionary is letting the people know that you are a true servant of God. The only way that the people will know that you are His servant is through the confirmation that one recieves from the Holy Ghost!! The Holy Ghost will only come after a divine and pure testimony coming from the mouth of the servant bearing testimony of our Savior!! There are so many poeple crying for to be feel a pure testimony, looking for servants of God, looking for answers and many times they do not recognize servants of God because we are hiding behind wall of fears, or shyness, or lack of courage or knowledge, but when all the people really need is the moving power of a pure testimony. I have seen how many times i have taught in the mission looking to explain the gospel in the place of testifying of it! There is a big difference!! I am now fully comitted to testify, we will let the spirit do the explaining in the hearts of the people!

 I am very excited to be leaving Colombia doing what i came to do. The night before i leave Colombia Martha will be getting baptized!! We had such a powerful lesson this past week with her that she accepted the baptismal date. She is the mother of Janeth, a convert of mine in Bochica that i was teaching before i left the first time!! The Lord had a purpose in me returning to Bochica. I know that the Lords knows where we need to be and when! It will be a wonderful way to finish my time here in Colombia! right now we have some brothern from the missionary department. They came and did splits with us on Friday night it was pretty fun, i am learning alot. It bums me out that they are doing all of this stuff at the end of the mission but i am glad that i get to participate with them and i am learning a ton! I am trying to keep a good high energy level and really leave everythin here in Colombia!! So i stay busy. This week i dont get pday, nor next week either. I have had my last pday i believe in the mission! I have meetings all day with the missionary department from Salt Lake, then i teach tonight! tomorrow we have a leadership training for the whole mission tomorrow! My replacement comes tonight. Wednesday i have meetings with president and we plan the multi zone conferences and then Thursday we travel to Neiva, I go to Ibague on Friday, i come back monday, tuesday multi zone conference in Bogota and then Wednesday exit interview with President and then Thursday go on the plane!! AHHH!! There is no more time left!!! So i got to take advantage of every minute!! I am soo bummed, yesterday we met an awesome family in our area and we put a baptism date and all with them in the first lesson! they are excellent!! but i will not be here for the baptism! But it was an honor to have taught them! I am enjoying every last second in the mission! I want to give an acceptable offering to the Lord!

Love ya all a ton! I am super grateful to be an uncle!! I cant wait to meet Warner and Evy!! Warner looks like an awesome litttle baby!! Hes got some awesome eyeballs!! I cant wait to see those little ones soon! congrats Ken and Jerry!! love ya alls alot Elder Hammer

my schedule 9/17/2012

Well I must say that I have been a bit bummed lately being in the office! It takes up all of my time. I never get to teach. We just always teach taxi drivers. I miss being in peoples houses teaching and being with people! It really wears me down. I want to finish the mission being a powerful teacher, but all i have been doing is administrative stuff!! But I came on the mission to Serve the Lord in whatever way he wants me to serve him! So my next 2 1/2 weeks are the following. Tuesday and wednesday, doing my normal office stuff and errands, on thursday - Saturday we have training from some people from the missionary depratment from SLC coming to be with us and i get to take care of them. Then on monday i have meetings with them, tuesday a ZL and DL training, then next thursday Multi zone conference in Bogota, Friday Multi zone conference in Ibague. I am in Ibague for the weekend, then go to Neiva monday afternoon, Tuesday mornin Conference in Neiva, Then travel back to Bogota for my exit interview with President on Wednesday and thursday i am flying in the plane to come home to give the family a big hug on Friday at 2:30! WOOOO!!

I was so depressed to see this calendar, no time at all!! time is flying by so freaking fast!! I am super scared!! I was so pumped last week to go home!! Then seeing what lays ahead of me i am like ahh, noo, i should extend, there aint enough time to do everything!! AHHH!!! But i love my companion! Elder Paes de Farias is from Brazil, he is teaching me alittle portuguese! Its fun. I teach a little english to him!! We get along just great! We have similar humor! WE have been head over heels here. We have right now like 35 missionaries training right now, with other missionaries with some other necessities, so i have been trying to help them all out, trying to give my best my last few days here! I have killed 8 of my 12 companions. I know how it is to kill, i dont want to be a burden to my comp!! A missionary til the end!! Its been fun with him! He is an excellent companion!! I feel like he really is a companion, we work together well! I am glad that he is gonna be my last comp! So these last 2 weeks i am just organizing all of the stuff in the mission, gotta leave it better than how i found it! So all is well here!

Loving life, trying to do my best to be a faithful servant and to testify to the maximum everyday! I cant wait to see my new best friend!! I am getting stoked to meet that baby warner!! only like 2-3 more days right!! WOO!!! I cant wait to see the photos!! good luck sister hen!! Love ya all Elder Hammer

workin in the office 9/10/2012

Well the idea of coming back to the office i have to admit wasnt one of the things on my want list, but the lord knows what he is doing i guess. Still I am working on adapting back to the office life!! I was loving the whole 30+ lessons a week thing and not do a lot less than that haha!! But i try to find the spirit in administration haha!! But this week i had some killer spiritual experience!! As AP in the cold lands i get work a lot closer with the missionaries here! I work with various zones. I do alot more training my voice i feel has more to say in the things of the mission and i feel like i can help in a different way living closer to President! But i teach more to Elders than i do to investigators, and this week with my companion Elder Paes de Farias we had a killer spiritual experience with a missionary. Basically the Elder was being a poopster. So we went to visit him and see how the area was and all. I have learned that you can never show anyone when you are mad, gettting mad does no good. I was really frusturated at this Elder. He wasnt doing anything he should be doing and had no desire to change or help out his companion or nothin! So we went and my comp and i just whipped out the Scriptures and we just taught about the power of conversion. We didnt even mention really what was going on, we just wanted him to understand his point in his conversion process and make him analyze how he was doing in his testimony. We then talked about what was going on, why we had to go visit them and all that stuff. He didnt want to recognize that something had to change. We then talked about baptism and what it means to be a witness of Christ! It was as if we were talking to a wall, we didnt get mad with him, we tried to love him, we left him with his comp with a few goals to complete and stuff like that. The next day they called us, and they were doing a bit better, with some problems then the day after they called us and the Elders companion had a huge change. We went and bought some homeless guy some food, was greeting all of the people, had a huge change in him!! I was so happy and thrilled to see that even us a missionaries can change and repent missionaries are not exempt from repentance!! IT was a great experience for my new companion and I.

 Then later on this week when we were in a taxi we contacted the taxi driver and it was the most spiritual taxi ride in the world. We ended up talking about baptism with the driver and we put a baptismal date with him for the end of November. We passed the reference to the missionaries that live near him and they are now teaching him and his family haha!! What a prepared man he is! I love seeing the way the Lord prepares His children!! We met someone who was truly prepared by the Lords hand to receive the gospel!!

Sunday i had to go help with some stuff in Patio Bonito.They have made a division in the ward boundries so i got to go to help with that and i got to go to sacrament meeting and see all of the converts there and see all of my homies and i was seriously on the edge of crying!! i love those people soooo much there!! THe faith of that ward is so great. I love this great work!!! I love being in the mission field!! There are eternal bonds for me there!! It was so great to see the converts there, 2 of the families thati baptized are gonna get sealed in the temple in November the other fmaily in like may!! AHHH! How cool is that!! I just love those people with all of my heart!! So it was a stressful week. It was full of joy and sorrow, what i hate about my assignment is when something goes wrong with a missionary ,i have to take them to the airport and do all of the hurtful work. It is sad to see an Elder go home before his time is due. It really causes a pain in my heart. It hurts even more when i have to pick him up at 2:30 in the mornin haha!! What a terrible time to go home haha!! But I am glad that we also have missionaries whom are really giving it there all and being the best servant they can be!! I love my comp. he is an inspiration to me, I love the work and I love God! all is well here!! Cant wait to see you all soon!! Hen Good luck with the baby coming soon!! Cant wait!!! FRanky Happy B-day you are now legal!! Hip Hip hurray!! Elder Hammer

Life is Full of Surprised 9/3/2012

Well I have been changed BACK TO THE OFFICES AGAIN!!!!!!!!AHHHHH!!!! Well I am going back to Bochica be Assistant in the office again!! It was a very unexpected transfer that i am still trying to accept but i will go and give it my all in the offices again! If the lord needs me behind a desk, then thats where i will be! It has been hard to say good bye to ibague! I leave today at 3 so i said good bye to a few of the people here but i have to go to Bogota to receive the new missionaries that come in tomorrow and i will stay there as my area once again in the offices!! It wil be fun but it is nothing like being in the field!! I was in the office for 6 months. Here as AP in the hot lands is perfect cuz i get to travel i get help the missionaries, be Presidents little helper, do the transfers and all of the fun stuff and i have been training so that keeps me going and we have had SOOOO MANY MIRACLES here in this area!! It has really become my home and its the areas i have been in for the least time less that 3 months!!!! AHHH!!

We have been able to activate more than 15 people in these past 3 months, 2 baptisms and we have 5 baptisms planned for the end of the month!! I wanted to finish my last week in the mission with a noche blanca but i wont be here for it!! but it is all for the Glory of God. I have work to do in Bogota even though i am devastated to leave I know that the Lord has a need for me in Bogota! There is a family that I know i should have baptized while i was there but, we didnt get them wet. I know that God is giving me another chance to help this family! Elder Huckbody have beed dedicating ourselves to much fasting this past month! looking for people to teach that are really prepared for baptism.

So this thursday we have a 1/2hr  before a lesson started and we decided to just stop and say hi to a less active sister that we had to drop last transfer, just wanted to say hi and nothing more, invite her to church. I knew we wouldnt have time teach her or anything, so we went said hi and left. We started heading back up the hill to the appointment with Sebastain when a senora on the street asked where is the church around here. We told her where it was and we started talking to her. she met the missionaries before in Texas a few years ago, they knocked on her door, but she never really listened to them. She was carrying her groceries and we offered to help her carry her bags to her house and she lived far like 45 min walkin, so offered to help her carry her bags, as we were walking she was so interested, so alive, with such a desire to know!! She was super awesome!! She is gonna study in UC davis next year in California. She is a dentist that graduated in a college in Texas, speaks perfect english. She came back to Colombia to take care of her dad who just had open heart surgery. In the time walking her to her house with her groceries, we basically talk the whole restoration and the plan of salvation and some of the commandments! haha! It was awesome!! We invited her to come to church which was so glad to. But we couldnt teach her that night cuz we had an appointment to go to! So we called her Sunday morning to confirm that she could come but her brother answered the phone and said she wasnt home!! We were like well this week but next when can come then. When the sacrament started Sara walks in and sits started talking notes in fast and testimony meetings1! She loved it. She went to gospel principles, taking notes the whole time, relief society did the same! She had a long child hood friend who is a member of the branch her, she has afriend in the chapel. We passed by yesterday afternoon, she told us that she needs to get baptized because she feels like she has ancestors that are waiting for her to there baptismal work in the temple and the branch is going in october to the temple and she wants to do their baptismal work!! I was stunned i was like how do you know this stuff!! That is awesome! We started the lesson off with the importance of baptism and why and how God will be guiding her in this life and that she will recieve an answer to her prays, since that moment the spirit was guiding that lesson, it was probably one of the most spiritual lessons i have had in the mission!

This past transfer we have met people so prepared for this gospel. Its like god has just sent us to them to fill up the baptismal font! I am devastated that i will not be here to witness there baptism but Elder Huckbody and his new comp will do great! The Lord has need of me in a nother place now, i will go bust my buns this last month in Bogota, even though we will be in the office a boat load, we will be baptizing someone this month! I know the Lord has someone prepared for me in Bogota. I love this work!! I strive everyday to be worthy that the Lord can trust me with His children to teach and guide them back to Him! the more dedicated i am the more God can trust me with more of His children to teach and he is the one that will prepare them and will guide us to meet! I feel like i am coming to know more of Gods nature and how to know how he is guiding his Work! It really is a great work and a wonder! I love ya all a ton!! But i got to go now to Bogota! I gotta put on a sweater again!! AHHH! I was gettin a bit tanner here in tierra caliente, but i will come back all nice and white for ya all!! haha Love Elder Hammer

Sunday, September 2, 2012

the miracles never cease 8/27/2012

Well this week we had the conference with Elder Christofferson. That was a really fun time that we got the whole mission together and we had a great time in the temple for a night with all of the missionaries from tierra caliente!! But oh boy i get so stressed when there are activities!! I am greatful for the trust that President has with me because i amf gettin a bit overwhelmed at times with training, and A.P and all of the responsabilities that come with it. but i wouldnt want to have it anyother way. I want to give an acceptable service to the Lord in the mission field!!! Cual sera su ofrenda hoy? i have that as my quote on my wall to keep my focus. I aint here just paying time, i am here giving an offering to the Lord! I want it to be an accptable offering to the Lord. I feel like this is the time that i need to shine the most as a missionary, prove to the Lord that these 2 years in His service have not been in vain. I dont want to be the Emerson Hammer from before but i am really a missionary, not just because of a nametag, but because it is in my blood! I am by nature a missionary! I have seen the Lords hand so many times in this past week. When i just forget myself and just go to work!! I can see how not just me is affected but those who i teach, whith those whom i work with, to my companion! I love this work!!

Well this week we are workin really hard with activating and bringing to sheep to the fold and this week i was so moved at church this past week by who we had there! We had 7 investigators at church with 17 less active families that we started to visit! Sebastian is the Cousin of Jennifer whom we are teaching and i gave him a tie this week. He came to church in a white shirt tie and slacks!! he is doing so great!! He has a baptismal date for the 22 of September!! Also Anna Maria came to church!! We had an awesome lesson with her this week! She is a 14 year old girl who has the sweetest spirit ever! She pays super great attention to us really wants to know, loves going to YW classes!! The perfect investigator! We taught her the restoration this week and we talked about how Joseph Smith was just like her, he wanted to know the truth, and how she, like him, prayed to know the truth about how to find the truth!! It was such a spiritual lesson! She is soooo prepared!! She and 4 others have baptismal dates for the 22 of September!! I am hoping to finish the mission with 5 more baptismes!! So we are working our tails off to make it happen!!

 Saturday the Lord just gave us the biggest blessin EVER!! I always call and remind all of the people that we have taught in the week to make sure that they can come to church and that they all have a way to get there and we assign members to pass by to pick them up too! so i was tryin to call a guy and some how i called the wrong number in my phonebook thinkin it was freddy Pinto, but i really called some guy named Javier Pinto! So i said, hey there is Hermano Pinto there, he said yes, JAvier Pinto. E. H-Hello Javier, Elder Hammer here how are ya Javier- Oh ELder I was just thinkin about you guys, it has been i while since i havent been to church. I would love to go back to church E.H UMMMM.. yes of course well we are here to help you. JAvier- Excellent i have been wanting to come back to church just i cant do it alone. Can you visit me this week? I have my 15 year old son who has been telling me that i need to go back to church i have been inactive for almost 10 years and my son keeps reminding me that he needs to be baptized. E.H- Well we can help you with the brother!! HAHAHA!! That was the craziest phone call i have ever had, i dont really know who i talked to but how the mysteries of God work!! How God helps us find His lost sheep come home. He told me how he has been praying to come back in contact with the church again and out of no where i just called him by accident, but whoo!! cI felt the spirit through a phone call!! haha! I never that that would happen!! I am ready to fill these next 5 weeks with my best work and the very last of me!! The Lord deserves the best so thats what i will give Him!! Love Elder Hammer

August 20, 2012

Well as time goes by the stress comes on even more!! AHH!! only like 6 1/2 more weeks in the field and the work just keeps on coming!! It is a camels work workin and dying and training and trying to do the AP work all at the same time!! AHH! We are putting in practice a thing called Plan Perry so i meet with the District and branch presidents alot in Tierra caliente to make sure the program is workin alot! What i have been trying to do here is make the wards and branches are self sufficient! There is an over dependence on missionaries in these areas so we are helpin the districts learn how to train members to do their home and visiting teaching or how members can teach classes and all of that basic stuff! So we are doing alot of member trainnig right now! I try to be the best example for my companion but i must admit, that the lord is working on making me a patient person i believe haha! I try to help my companion with the spanish and with learnin the lessons but in a timely manner. I try to do all of my AP work but not to interfere with proslyting time or study or anything which is so hard to do when the missionary life is soo structured! But hopefully i am becoming a more patient man! I have learned the great value of time. Time flies by. It seems that at times there isnt time enough to even breath haha!

I got only a little bit left here in Colombia but i want to give it all! When we teach I really try to emphasize the great importance of everything and how it all leads us to know our Savior. It seems that God has become a God on Paper, just a written God. People might know verses or maybe even the story of Christ yet they really dont know him, really people just know the surface.

WE are workin on a less active family and we talked about our baptismal covenants. I love how in Mosiah 18 it talks about how Alma was preaching repentance and faith and afterward invited everyone to be baptize and asked them what would impide them to take upon themselves the name of Christ and be a witness of him! This scripture just came to life for us! we talked about how we can be witnesses of Christ! Really to be a witness means that you can experimented you have seen or heard or felt something! We are witnesses of Christ not because of what we read but for our own experiences I know what it feels like to have Christ take my load. I know what it feels like to feel is relief because he has relieved me. I know the power of His mighty hands for they have held me, I KNOW the power of the ATONEMENT because i have felt HIS FORGIVENESS! To be a witness of Christ is to know Him to understand and know how to use HIS ATONEMENT! Alot of times we feel like just keepin the commandments is suffecient enough to considerd a christian but have we really witnessed the Power of God can we testify of Him becasue we witness His power! I love the power of the Scriptures for the understanding they give to me! I would have no problem just sitting and reading the scriptures all day long! They are filled with sincerity, with true testimonies not only writen down on paper but sealed upon the hearts of those bearing Testimony of our God! I am very proud to be counted among the few soldiers of Gods army to day actively serving! At the ending point of the mission i am understanding the great part of the atonement. I have figured that these next 6 weeks will probably the hardest of the mission, but i will finish my time here in Colombia serving with my all.

I cant wait to see you all! With all of the work we have going on here in Colombia in the Lords work, the Lord has made more sensitive to feel his guidance to feel His love to be His Servant! THe Truth is worth fighting for, even til the end! I cant wait to come home and hug you all! I am stoked! I am thrilled! I am overjoyed to go back home! Love ya alla ton Elder Hammer