Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas from Colombia!

Well this week was definitely a different week then the other weeks, since its Christmas and all. I am really not understanding the cultural very well. Basically the people do what they want to do and that’s the culture I think. If you think of something different, it happens in Colombia! Its pretty funny and keeps the days interesting as you don’t know what’s going to happen. You see people going to the bathroom in the streets, a man in a horse and buggy in the middle of the street feeding his horse, people climbing in and out of there windows. It’s very fun! This week for Christmas the actually celebrate it on the 24th. So that was a bit different. Our day went as usual though, but it was just very difficult to have appointments that day but we had dinner with the Lopez family. Hermano Lopez is a beast!! He was in the military for 8 years and fought against the guerillas in the jungle here! He had some crazy stories! The then he brought out his pictures and all from the military. He did some crazy stuff! He actually was called to be Bishop yesterday! He's going to be excellent! They gave us the best Christmas present ever!! No lies, I like almost cried when I opened the package and there was a pair of socks!!! IT was the coolest thing ever!! Then he came over and was like look, the socks stretch!!!  I was so excited!! When he saw how excited I was he got even more excited and then he brought out this beautiful tie!!! It was the sweetest present ever! This family that lives in a 1 bed 1 bath apartment in very humble circumstances and gave us both socks and a tie!! It was so cool and we were all so excited!!

For the 25 we had a zone meeting and Lunch! The lunch was perfect, one of the ladies in our Zone likes to cook American food and made Chicken Cordon Blue! It was fabulous!!! I loved it! It was very difficult to get appoints this day too but we spent the evening with the Familia Piraquivia family! Haha! They are all so sweet!  We just talked and shared a message with them! They are great people!! Thank you Ken for the CDs. They are perfect; I am putting them on my MP3 right now! I can’t wait to listen to them!! I have the packages in the office, they called me and said that I could pick them up at the office today or they can give them to me on the 6th at Zone meeting! If we have time today we are going to go pick them up! But we have to get back to work at 2 so its difficult!

Yesterday we had 4 investigators at Church! It was spectacular! 2 of them have a baptismal date and the other 2 we only met with them once and they came!! I was so excited! It has been different working with a Latino companion. For the most part we don’t have a language barrier. I can understand lots of stuff obviously not everything but I usually can get a jist of the sentences and respond decently, but it’s just a clash of cultures. Latinos are very blunt and straightforward. Like they hardly say Please or thank you and if they want something they just ask for it. I don’t get offended or anything its just how it is and its different. I try to talk in the conditional for, which is more polite and all and he are like why do you like to talk in the conditional form, if you want something just say it. It’s different. The other day I was kind of taken back that he wasn’t eating his food at lunch, and then he told the sister that he wasn’t in the mood for eating right now so he didn’t eat it. I was like oh no homeboy, we are going to eat or food, I am eating stuff that I don’t even know what it is then you can eat a soup and some beans rice and this meat. I eat slow but I eat everything single piece of rice on my plate, so when the sister went into the kitchen I had to eat his plate too. Its just the mannerisms of us are very different. I was so stoked that for Christmas his Christmas present to me was that he made his bed!! Haha!!

I’ve been adding a lot of suggestions into how we can contact lately and get our teaching pool bigger. The 1st week was very difficult because we only had 1 investigator. That is rough coming to a new area with one investigator. I started inviting people to come to Church with us in Sundays, I don’t know why we weren’t doping that before, then we actually scheduled appointments with the people, before everything was just a passing by visit, but I asked why don’t we actually schedule a time with the people and then the will be a home so we can visit more people and now we call the people before we visit to confirm the appointment, and we also call the investigators the day before and of Church to make sure they can come and we have a member bring them to church! This week we had 4 out of 6 investigators come to church that promised they could come!! He was like, how did you come up with these ideas; I was like we learned this stuff in the MTC. I thought it was weird that all this stuff was new to him. The Lord has really blessed us with us working more diligently. We now had 8 progressing Investigators! And we have the month’s record of 26 lessons taught in one week! So the Lord is really blessing us when we really just go for it! It’s been a great week! I was very grateful!

I’ve figured out that I am like mom and like the house very clean! I clean alot. The house was grouty when I 1st got here I mean there was fungus in the tile, stains on the wall, plates of food under the bed, the works. Today we finished doing a good heavy cleaning this morning! He mopped and I scrubbed the house and now it looks legit! Oh ya for Christmas we got new tables and furniture!! It is alot better! Now we have actual desks instead of little tables and a dinner table and Elder Valdivia has a Closet Armoire thingy!! I think since we have like legit stuff now, Elder Valdivia doesn’t mind cleaning as much.

I was very happy to see the pictures! Thank you very much! Hen, you sure are pregnant!! Yesterday when we went to a house there was a little girl that was about 18 months and I was like oh my, that’s gonna be the Size of Evy when I get home, but Evy wont be a little Colombian Girl!! I am stoked; I tell everyone that my sister is pregnant!

Even though I am super far away from home and everything is new and out of place for me, I feel really close to Dad right now! I feel like I know Dad the best I’ve ever know him in my life. Being here with these people and experiencing these things in the same country as POP I can really see why Dad is the way he is! I can really tell that Dad was a superb missionary. Just talking with e Familia Piriaquivia and seeing the lives of these people and experiencing this culture, I can see how this has affected Dad in his Life to be the person he is. I’ve always known dad was The Man! But it is so much more evident here. I mean, I know why dad eats all the meat of his chicken and why he is so ready to serve and has such a big heart! Even though we are not as close in distance but I fell like I understand Dad a whole lot better being here!

Most of the members here that have served missions serve in Calli. The Stake mission leader went to Calli and we went out with him yesterday to visit menos Activo miembros. He is so cool. The way he talks and describes things is awesome. Every thing is Super, Buenisiimo, Fabulouso, Bulleza, Spectacular!! He has such a happy mood, I like going teaching with him he is great!

So ya everything is going good right now! I can understand most things in Spanish, I get topics and the direction of a conversation, the most difficult thing now is the cultural and how things are done.
It was great talking to the Family, I wish I could have talked with J and Hen more, I really miss the Family but all is well.

Love ya all,
Love Elder Hammer

Monday, December 20, 2010

Updated Address Info

Please send letters to:

Elder Emerson Hammer
Colombia Bogota South Mission
POB 30150
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0150

This only costs 1 stamp.  It has to be one page, folded in 3rds, with a stamp.  Do not put in an envelope.  It can be a postcard too.  Packages cannot be sent through the pouch.  Packages can be sent to:

Elder Emerson Hammer
Colombia Bogota South Mission
Apartado Aereo 77604
Santa Fe de Bogota Distrito Capital
Thank you everyone for your letters! They were very uplifting I appreciate receiving mail! It is very nice to get! We only get emails now, sorry but Dear Elder is only for the MTC. And I believe you just send the mail to the mission office, sorry I should have told you sooner but I didn’t expect packages so soon. A little hint I got from the Elders here is that when you send a package tape a picture of Christ and a picture of Mary on the package and label it religioso materia. This keeps thieves out of the packages, but I'm sure these packages will be just fine! I’m excited to get them!

The life of a missionary in Colombia is seriously like a roller coaster. Bigger and more windy and floppy then Goliath roller coaster at 6 flags! I have my ups and I sure have my downs! I feel prepared with my testimony and right now everything that I do I live off of faith and a testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ! There have been many deep heart felt and tear filled cries to my Savior this week. I feel like I was prepared as much as could be for this mission but there is always a curve ball! I am doing a whole lot better with my Spanish, I am growing tremendously! For the most part I can get the topic of a conversation and every now and then add a word or two into the conversation! But at other times I am so lost! I don’t know what is going on and I can tell like it’s a critical part in a conversation or contact and I can’t jump in and I want but I can’t! At other times I won’t know what is going on in a conversation but I get a prompting to say something. At times I say what’s in my mind and it seems like I actually contributed. But twice this week I hade two impression to say something to these people on the street but for some reason I didn’t open my mouth during the contact! I hate it when I don’t talk to people!!!! It’s very difficult to not get frustrated or mad at yourself. Those feelings drive the spirit away and without the spirit I am doomed!! When ever I open my mouth the spirit has to be there to direct me on what to say and with the person I’m talking to for them to understand. I see the spirit working a whole lot different in me now then in previous times!

I get enough sleep every night. The Lord is blessing me with a wonderful 8 hours of sleep every night and it’s the best sleep I’ve had in my life!! And yes the picture of the bed that is made is mine! I am actually pretty organized I found out! I always do the dishes, make my bed, keep my desk clean and all. Anyways I sleep well, but I am consistently tired by 2 in the afternoon. After lunch I’m done! The food here is always some type of rice, maybe some beans, always platanoes, fried or sliced, sometimes like two leafs of lettuce they call salad Haha! and some fruit drink. The drinks are very strong at times and they have all these cool names like tçia and stuff. or the drinks are like freaking hot milk, I don’t know why but they just put milk on the stove and drink it! it’s alright. But after I eat I’m full for like ten minutes! and it’s like impossible to finish the food it’s just so huge but it’s just satisfies you for a few minutes and the rice makes me tired. Since I’m tired the rest of the day I really rely on the Lord to carry me through the day! Right now I really have to fight off the natural man! Everything is different. Nothing is the same!

I have a good companion! Elder Valdivia is from Argentina. He has been out for 9 months now! I think that he is more American than I am! He can speak good English! He says that he didn’t have many friends so he watched a lot of TV! He can quote any American hip hop song, TV Show Movie! Anything media from America he knows it! It’s hilarious at times but when ever I say something he can sing a song about it and he sings the entire song, not just the line, so when ever I say a sentence it takes like 10 minutes before I can finish! We speak Spanish in the Street and English in the Apartment! He has been a good help for me! this week I went on my first intercambio! I changed with the zone leaders I went to Ciudad Jardin! Ciudad Jardin is like in centro Bogota with a lot of buildings and things and very city like! It was fun I was with Elder Cruz for a day and I learned a whole bunch from that intercambio! Elder Cruz is from Peru and speaks no English so I felt good that he understood what I was saying and there wasn’t really a big language barrier!! The new had a Zone meeting on Saturday! Elder Neville is the other Zone leader and after the meeting he came and talked to me and he is just the best Zone Leader Ever!! He just bore his testimony to me and really helped me out a bunch. He’s a gringo too! So he just told me about how the transition is going and told me about how it was hard for him and all! But he helped me a lot!!!

Yesterday the Lord answered my prayers! For the past 2 weeks we’ve only had one investigator named Yolanda. The rest of the people we’ve been teaching have been recent converts! It’s been very difficult because we haven’t been able to teach things that I learned in the MTC. We were sharing scriptures and stuff not the lesson, which is fine but I just didn’t know the vocab for the Sower Parabol. And its frustrating coming to a new area with only one investigator! But This whole week during my prayers I was praying for people to teach and help us find ways to teach people! Sunday the Bishop came up to us and gave us a ward list! Which is a huge thing! People here don’t have ward lists! so it was like a Christmas present for us! And it had all the names of the part member families active and not active people and everything! Score!! Then 2 of the people that we were trying to contact the past two weeks contacted us! One of the came to church and the other one finally returned our Call!! So now we have 2 progressing investigators!1 Hurray!! And then a Member gave us 2 referrals that we are going to visit today! I am stoked!!

I really don’t have any fears here! The Lord really blesses his Missionaries! Sure it has been a difficult transition but it makes me rely on the Lord a whole lot more! The Lord is my best friend! He is the only constant in my life! I am doing a whole lot better now, I’m learning, I’m transitioning, all is going better!

Here are some more pictures I’ll try to keep sending the pics each week! I’ve been getting a lot of headaches lately because I don’t fit into any of the doors hardly most of the doors are like 5 10 or 6 foot! There’s really no consistency to the way the build things the just slap it together! Our house is very cold! It’s a cement apartment and we have tin roof! 

This week the Elders had a Missionary choir performance for Christmas Monday through Thursday we were at the Stake center for about 5 hours everyday! The new missionaries were allowed to be in the choir because we missed the practices! So Elder Fuqua and I and 4 other new missionaries and 2 Latinos went and contacted on the streets and invited people to the program! It was so fun! there were 7 of us on 3 street corners! Elder Fuqua and I were companions once again! Yes! I really miss him! He’s a great kid! We got along fine in the MTC but now he is like my best friend! I missed him a lot so it was good to hangout with him this week! We had fun talking to people in our broken Spanish! I don’t think I could ever be married! I just don’t live well with other people! I don’t know why! Like Elder Valdivia is cool and all, but I just don’t like living with someone! Elder Fuqua was ok to be with in the MTC but now I’m like dude you’re the coolest man ever! Some how he got hooked up with some peanut butter from a member! and he was kind enough to bring me a sandwich one day at practice!! It’s impossible to find peanut butter! That’s I what’ve been craving! peanut butter and Cream of wheat actually!! next package please hook me up! I don’t fit in the shower too! Showers are miserable you never know if it’s going to be freezing or bearable and is just free falling water, no water pressure! This really makes me miss America! So these are the Pictures of the week! This is where I live. There's a pic of Elder V. in the kitchen and you got the other ones! I Love ya all and miss ya! Oh ya! for my friends! I don’t really have a mailman in Villa Sonia everything goes through the Mission office and it takes almost a month for me to get it! The Zone leaders drop stuff off the 2nd week of the month so I can Email people through my parents! So they have to be the middle man! So I send mail to Dad! dad sends to friends and then friends respond to dad and dad sends to me!

I GET TO SKYPE HOME!!! THIS WEEK!! December 23 at 4 Colombian time! We are on Central time I believe!! So be by the Computer!! I get like 45 minutes!! so please be there cuz I want to see ya'll. Hopefully hen is in town then or hen and Jay can hook onto Skype too! Love Ya all! Ill try to call home before I Skype to tell you to get on, but its very difficult find a phone for international calls here!! Love ya all and talk to you the 23!!

Love you All
Elder Hammer


Monday, December 13, 2010

First Letter from Colombia!

Well, I’m a Colombian boy now. It sure is different here. Sorry I don’t know how to work this new keyboard and can’t find out how to punctuate and stuff. The keyboards are even different in Colombia. Just know that I’m excited and I want to put exclamation marks on all these sentences. Well this has definitely been the hardest week of my life. Everything here is different. I'm definitely not in America at all. But it’s all good. The culture is way different than I expected. It's not Mexican culture at all. I don’t really know how to explain it, but its just a really carefree whatever lifestyle I think kind of describes it. The people love to party. I got my new companion on Tuesday and that night in our apartment the music wouldn’t stop playing till like 2 in the morning but its all good, I slept so hard. I was beat so it didn’t bother me too much.

The drivers here are way different. I’m not sure if there are any traffic laws. You’ll see big buses just squeezing by cars swerving in lanes. It’s almost hilarious to watch. When we first landed Monday night we got into a taxi and off we went. It felt like I was at 6 flags and we were just zooming around everything. I think that everyone thinks that they have the right of away. There are people in the street walking dodging cars, cars dodging the people. It’s seriously like a life size game of Frogger. No lies. So it’s always fun to get into a taxi or bus. I’m in a place called Villa Sonia right now. It’s in Bogota. Bogota is like LA in a sense; it’s made up of a lot of other cities. Bogotá has about 12 million people in it so its big city! And I’m a couple of miles from the mountain and on a clear day I can see them but usually there are buildings in my view. It’s a very crammed city. There are no yards just buildings. Every apartment in about 3-4 stories high and every floor is someone’s house. I’m on the 3rd floor of a building living. It’s seriously so crammed!

The people here are awesome! I’ve got no clue what there saying half the time but its all good. It is very stressful. This truly has been a hard adjustment but I'm doing better. At church yesterday I could understand what was going on and stuff and understood the topics, but if someone wants to talk about something besides religion I’m lost quick. The members are great though and like my English accent and they’re good at speaking slow enough so I can get a jist of what there saying. But all is well. The food is definitely hard to get used to. They feed me so much of stuff I don’t really know what it is. Elder Bundy, he’s the P.A. told me don’t ask just eat. So I do. Its usually a form of rice, meat, a pastry, and sometimes a soup. Remember how I’m a picky eater, well not anymore, you put it in front of me I say a prayer and go for it. The Lord has blessed me with eating and with Spanish a lot! It’s definitely is an adjustment though. Even though I’m in a completely new environment and doing things I’m not used to or anything, this whole time I've not really had any fears of anything. The thought of fear is replaced with faith. I just go and do and do my best and I know that the lord is on my side so all is well.

I contact and try to communicate and Elder Valdivia is good at helping me when needed but lets me talk and teach too. The people are very nice; no body’s really mean here. I thought that they wouldn’t like a gringo in their country but it’s just the opposite. We get like a contact every now and then cuz someone wants to come and talk to a gringo and all. It’s pretty funny. I listen but I cant really respond back to them yet. I usually just smile, nod my head and say bueno or si and let them keep talking. It works about 75 percent of the time. I didn’t meet the Cano familia though, Dad. They must have called the North President cuz my president had no idea what I was talking about. But I did meet the Paranquiva familia. I probably didn’t spell that right but they came and visited you after your mission! They brought out picture book and everything of there trip to America! It was fun to look at and talk to someone that knew a little about my family! So it was a fun reunion with them.

The main meal of the day is Lunch, so everyday we have lunch with members, and we hardly eat otherwise. So today I’m going shopping and buying me some goods. My favorite food here is actually these dried bananas. They’re pretty good. I eat them alot. So that’s what I’m up to. We don’t have a pday in this mission field. We get like a half day pday and have to be back to work at 2 . So it gives us just enough time to do our laundry write and shop. But all is good. I’m truly in the Lord’s hands now. I’ve got no idea what’s going on really so I have to trust the Lord in everything I’m doing! Love ya all and miss ya, my address is now

Elder Emerson Kent hammer
Mision Colombia Bogota Sur
Calle72# 10-07
Edificio Liberty Seguros
oficina 303
Sante Fe de Bogota District Colombia, Colombia.

Love ya all,
Elder Hammer

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Hi All,

Emerson departed for Colombia yesterday and today is his first day out in the field! As he would say, Hurrah for Israel! [I don't know where he gets that!] If you ever feel so inclined to write him, here is his address. All packages will be mailed to the Mission Home. If a private courier is being used, the telephone number below may be required:

Elder Emerson Kent Hammer
Columbia Bogota South Mission
Apartado Aereo 77604
Santa Fe de Bogota Districto Capital

Phone: 571-347-1679

You can still write him via dearelder. In the future if you would like to access his address quickly and would like to avoid scrolling through posts to find it, the easiest way will be to click on the label "Address" on the right hand bar. That will link you directly to this post.Thanks!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Last Post from the MTC

Alright, well they decided to let me into COLOMBIA!!!!! I leave next Monday at 5:00 A.M BABY!! Hurrah for Israel! I am so pumped to get out into the mission field! We got our travel plans on Wednesday. Our whole district did! We are all so pumped Elder Fuqua, Elder Smith and I leave at 5 for Colombia and the rest of our district gets to sleep in til regular time and leave at 8. We are all very excited; we have a total of 6 of us going to Colombia on Monday. So this will be your last letter from me in America!! Hurray! Sorry, I got the information mixed up, but I am allowed to call you in the airport. My first flight leaves at 8 from Salt lake and I land in Georgia at 2:45 George time and then leave at 5:45 Georgia time and arrive in Colombia at 10 Colombia time! So I will call you sometime on Monday, family! I am so pumped!

Hopefully everyone had a delightful Thanksgiving! Hope the family enjoyed their turkey and wonderfulness! We had just a splendid Thanksgiving in the MTC, it was very delightful actually! We had Elder Holland talk to us in the morning. That has been my 5th apostle I've seen since I've been here! They are all just marvelous! I love going to firesides here! Elder Holland had all of his grandkids come and sing some thanksgiving songs, haha it was just like a little primary program! HAHA of course there was the older kids that were too cool to sing, the little ones that sing super loud and the middle aged kids that just chill there, haha it was amazing, I loved it! We had a delightful meal for Thanksgiving and for dinner we actually had sack dinners and ate in our dorms. We gathered the whole zone together and went around and had a picnic in the hall of our dorms and went around and said what we are grateful for. I love all of the Elders in my Zone, we all get along excellently! We all have the same vision of things its great!
Last night was a successful napkin poetry night, we had a lot of new comers and they fit in just marvelously! We will be having another one on Wednesday night and tonight is meditation night. Oh ya, on Wednesday our gym time was canceled to so we had free time in our dorms to exercise. Elder Tague and I set up a yoga/pilates class for the Zone haha. We had about 10 takers so we just messed around with those elastic stretchy bands that they gave us here and did just the weirdest exercises we could think of. It was a blast.

This week we have a special ceremony in Napkin Poetry. I have to pass off the Napkin crown to the next Napkin Poetry captain, and it’s going to be Rey Barth. We call him Rey Barth because Elder Barth is the King of Poetry. He is somewhat kind of monotone and when he reads his poetry it is so angelic. We all love Elder Barth. Elder Barth and I play a game every Sunday during temple walk where we try to take stalker pictures of other Elders and then we print off the picture and try to find that Elder that we took the weird pic of and give it to them. Elder Barth is soo good at this! I love Elder Barth!

We started packing and making sure everything is in order to go on Monday Morning. I am going to miss all of my maestros, they are all so nice. I think that the MTC has a rule that you have to be a champion to work here. Honestly everyone that works here is like an angel! I love them all; teachers that aren't even my teacher will come up and just help me with concepts when they pass by. I love them all. We have had the opportunity to meet a lot of cool people as being in the pilot program, we get to meet a lot of the big dogs of the MTC and try a lot of new things in the MTC. I loved being in the Pilot program, we get to do a lot of fun things, and learn in new ways.
Thank you everyone that has sent me their love this week. The Huyett family is awesome about sending me wonderful holiday cards, and Grandma Brennan is just a captain baker. I love her food she sends me. Hopefully Grandma Brennan will be able to conduct at the departure fireside next Sunday that would be awesome. Every Sunday I keep my eye out for her, hoping she will direct someday. Family, those were the best chocolate deliciousness ever!! It was the bomb and I ate that bread like a banna, it was awesome! So thank you for everyone’s love this week!

I am feeling very excited for Colombia obviously. I can't wait to meet the people down there! I can tell this is going to be a long week! Dad you still need to hook me up with your homies in Colombia, I really want to meet them. We are supposed to go to the temple our first day in Colombia. President Watkins told us that that is what usually happens so I want to meet your friends! So send me those people’s names and addresses if you could! I feel pretty good actually about my Spanish I can read the scriptures well in Spanish and I can speak it decently. Reading Spanish is my strength, I can write ok. I speak decently but listening to it I struggle a bit with it when people start talking super duper fast. I have been truly blessed by the Lord in learning this new language. I learn a lot more in study time when I start with a prayer and learn gospel principle. I have really been blessed greatly by our Lord here. I have had many wonderful experiences in the MTC. It is kind of sad; right now I am training the new Zone Leaders to be our replacement. I love being Zone Leader and it will be sad to leave my Zone. I love them all a lot! The Lord has blessed me with an awesome Companion. He is amazing. I love Elder Fuqua. I have been blessed with awesome teachers, and leaders and the opportunity to here from 5 apostles of our Lord and the opportunity to serve as zone leader and be in the pilot program. The Lord has really shown his hand in the MTC, it is an amazing place and can't wait to serve his children in Colombia. Love Ya All.

Love, Elder Hammer

Monday, November 22, 2010

Well this week I have been told that I suffer from an addiction! Our teachers told us that we are all addicted to speaking English! We need to break the habit, just like an alcoholic would break the habit of drinking. (Haha!) We have the best teachers ever!!! I love them all so much! They are all my heroes! This week has been a week full of emotions actually. We had a new district come in on Wednesday. They are a good batch of kids! It was a pretty depressing day on Tuesday. Elder Moser had to have heart surgery and was released to go home. It was very sad. It was hard on a lot of us to see him go. He wanted to stay but his body wouldn't let him. He was my zone leader before me. He is a very great missionary. He has been in the MTC for 11 weeks!! That is hard to handle! He was heading to Mexico, Cancun; his district was just waiting for their visas. It was hard to see him leave. The day that he had his surgery his district received their visas. We knew that the Lord had a hand in his district staying and extra 2 weeks here. If he would have had his heart problems in Mexico, that wouldn't have been good. But we had an up this week with the new district coming in. There is an Elder in the new District that came in and Elder Richens actually was in the MTC a year ago and had some stomach virus or something! He is back now and healthy and he is still going to the same mission he was called to go before and everything! So that lifted our spirits about Elder Moser, and that he could still go to Mexico when he gets better! His surgery went well and is recovering now, so hopefully he will be back soon! Elder Moser was a good friend of mine.

It is very fun, yet sometimes tiring being Zone Leaders. We are like the parents of the Zone, and we have 55 Elders in our Zone currently. When new missionaries come in or sometimes Elders that have been here for a while they get a bit sensitive and its weird, but apparently us men have emotional feelings too, so they come talk to us and we try our best to help all of the Elders feel loved and welcome at the MTC! But I love my Zone, we are all very close and we get along for the most part pretty well. It’s Elder Galati's Birthday in like a week or so, so he's been getting presents and all. He gets the funniest stuff! Someone sent him a Lego set, so we played last night during free time and had Lego men wars!! HAHA! It was pretty fun. We built some awesome dudes! I love all of the Elders here! Some of the Elders here are catching on to the Spirit of the Zone! Some Elders now started to do Meditation night!(HAHA) So on Fridays we bring our towels and sit on them in Elder Wymans room, we cross our legs and sit indian style on our blankets. We all make nature sounds, do breathing sounds, and Elder Wyman walks around with a mist bottle and says "Feel the ocean mist on your face!) HAHA! It’s hilarious! Every now and then some new Elders join us and think that we are being serious and they like think we are legitament, but we laugh half way through the ceremony cuz someone will toot in the middle of silent breathing time!! HAHA. We might be missionaries, but we still are boys and a good little toot will still crack us all up in the midst of silence!

Thank you for everybody’s delightfulness this week! I got a letter from Uncle Curt, he is awesome, and Cambria. They are sweet hearts! I love getting letters! Grandma Brennan is scoring some points with me, she sent me the best food ever on Monday!! I don't know what it was but it was like a cookie, brownie thing of heaven!! I ate that in like 2 seconds! It was delightful, and Aunt Diane represented this week and hooked me up with a box of goodies too! Gotta love the relatives!! Thank you mucho, mucho, mucho!! And family, I loved the Napkin Poetry! Very Clever, loved it all and yes I shared with my Poetry crew. Gotta love the napkin poetry, the winner of the napkin poetry will have to be tookies, she wins for having the best "I miss you poem!" If you need any tips for writing poetry, tookies understands poetry from the soul, and she makes it Napkin poetry! But all poems were good nonetheless, HAHA! I loved them all! You are all champions!! (BIEN HECHO) Bien Hecho is my new word I say! Since I now am a Spanish little boy I say words and Spanish, Bien hecho meaning "good acts" So I just say that to everyone!
This week we have a special program prepared for thanksgiving! We get like a 1 1/2 lunch and breakfast actually, and we have an apostle of some sort doing a fireside that night! We have some type of service project, I don't know exactly what it is but we will be serving. We basically have Thanksgiving off for studying, so that will be nice to have our minds relax un poco! We will be playing a Paper football tournament in our Zone that day! It will be wonderful I'm sure!

Parents, just to give you the heads up, I should be giving you a call later on this week or early next week. President Watkins says that our Visas are looking good and should be receiving travel plans sometime this week or early next week. We should be getting them Thursday but since its Thanksgiving, we don't know when we will be getting them! Hurray! So in like 2 weeks I should be in COLOMBIA! When we get our travel plans we are allowed to call home! I will probably call dads cell, just cuz he always answers and always has his phone on him. We only get 5 minutes to just say "Well, I'm heading to Colombia, see call you for Christmas." But we are all excited to go to Colombia! I am really doing better in my Spanish. I can read Predicad El Evangelio with hardly any problems, and I can read EL Libro De Mormon decently, its a bit harder just cuz it has the vosotros form and is older Spanish with harder words. I can read Spanish great .I feel I speak it decently, I can usually get my point across in a choppy way, and listening to Spanish is another story. I can pick out 1 out of 5 words in a sentence! It’s really ridiculous! But I am working super hard to learn as much as I can before I leave. There are 32 other Elders besides me in my district heading to Colombia and 7 that are going to Argentina. Elder Fuqua, and Elder Smith and I are going to Colombia; we are a good bunch of kids! So all is well, I love you all! The church is true and the work is going forward.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why do I feel like I am fifty years old?! Que en El Mundo! For some reason, there is no such thing as sleep here! I am soo tired all day long, then when I go to bed my eyes sting cuz they're so tired so I can't sleep! haha! It looks like I have to black eyes from the bags under my eyes! Haha! Its all good, I'm just exaggerating (But only a little).This week was an amazing week! On Tuesday we had Elder BEDNAR!! come to the fireside! AWSOMBROSO!! He is the most amazing man ever to speak words out a human’s mouth! I loved his talk! It was all about Doctrine, principles, and applications! I couldn't stop writing notes the whole time he was talking! He is amazing! I loved it! Since I've been here there's been 4 apostles speak to us! We are getting another one for sure on Thanksgiving! It is truly a blessing to be here at this time!

So we had a new district come in on Wednesday! As the duty of zone leader we get to welcome them and give them the orientation and everything! It is so fun to do that, I love it a lot! We have a new district coming in on Wednesday too! We will have a huge Zone then! We might have over 50 people in our Zone!! We have one district that was supposed to leave about 3 weeks ago, but they are waiting for Visas to get into Mexico! It’s extremely hard to get visas to Mexico so they are patiently waiting! They are doing a great job waiting though! I mean, they're going on 12 weeks now being in the MTC! They should get Visas this week or next week! They are great examples to the Zone though so we don't mind them staying! I love being a Zone leader but it is a bit more stressful then I imagined! This week one of our Elders, Elder Moser, had his heart beating at 200 beats a minute. That’s insane, so he had to go to the hospital! so of course he is struggling, he is back, but has surgery on Wednesday and is getting his heart cauterized? I don't know how to spell it. But it is kind of hard to hear of Elders struggling and then Elder Fuqua and I do our best to help in anyways we can to help new missionaries feel welcome and not get homesick. The new district is having a bit of a hard time adjusting, but they are doing better! Elder Fuqua and I are like the parents basically of the Zone. Every night we walk around to all the dorms before they go to bed and say good night and ask if they need anything! Its fun, the Elders make our go around at night and they always have to say some sly comment, they're a great bunch of kids!

So last night we had the most interesting Napkin Poetry reading Ever! I wrote a killer napkin Poetry (that means it just has big words and it doesn't make any sense) Elder Galati owned his and Elder Bart is the king of Napkin Poetry as usual. All of the Napkin Poetry is just stupid stuff, and the point is to make up words and make people think that these words are real or that they could actually have some deep meaning in the poem that you just have to find it out searching your soul! So we were in the middle of it and Elder Rupp come in and actually had a real poem that he wrote on a napkin, and it was about the atonement! It was insanely awesome and good. Like he even started crying in it, everyone like felt the spirit in the middle of napkin poetry! It was insanely awesome! so after that we had call it a night, because you couldn't follow that! So it was a very awesome, interesting, napkin poetry reading in the world! who would have guessed that Napkin Poetry would turn into a spiritual event, but it did.

So all is well in the MTC1 I love getting everyone’s letters, keep them coming! They are all so awesome! Uncle Kurt sent me one last week, it was so cool! I love getting Dear Elders! I have a request though, Mom and Dad, if you could please send me like a fridge full of food, that would be awesome! we eat dinner at 4:30 and we don't eat again til 7. So at night we are all starving. All that we have here is snack food. Popcorn doesn't really fill me up. Last week grandma sent me some heaven sent cinnamon rolls and I loved them. If you could send those like microwavable macaroni stuff I would love you for ever and eternity even more!! For some reason, the food here has changed all of our bodies in interesting ways. This may be a bit crude, but I am still a boy and I’m living with 10 other boys so stuff happens. Anyways Elder Fuqua did a 6 second toot! yes I counted it. It was ridiculous! We now go to the bathroom about 8 times a day (between the 2 of us.) Elder Fuqua is laughing that me cuz I'm writing u about his bodily functions. Living with someone 24/7 you get to know them. Elder Fuqua and I are great friends.

We have the best teachers in the World! Hermano Burnham is so cool! He's 24 or so, married for a year and just the coolest kid on the block! He teaches us awesomely, and he also will make jokes with us and everything! He is pretty easy to sidetrack! He will tell us some of his "Secrets" and tells us weird fears of his and some times tells us just weird fun things in general! I love him!

We started SYL (Speak you mission language) this week! I love it! I'm decent at speaking Spanish; I can pick apart sentences when my teachers legitimately talk to me. If they talk slow I can basically completely understand. I speak ok, it’s probably pretty choppy, but it's doing better! Our expected departure date is for Dec. 6th! We are on schedule as of now to leave then. We should be getting our travel plans next week or in 2 weeks! We are all getting very excited! It's crazy to thing we will be in the field soon! I love it though!

All is well; I am alive and healthy, loving the work! Learning a lot and loving the scriptures! Oh ya parents, if you could send my memory card back that would be fantastic! Hopefully everyone likes the picture of Elder Dickinson! He left last week to the field he is missed but love him! He's the red head! Love ya'll Bye

Monday, November 8, 2010

Called to be Zone Leader!

Que en el Mundo!!? This week Elder Fuqua y yo have been called to be the new ZONE LEADERS!! AHH! We were officially called as of yesterday! It is so crazy! We are both the 2 youngest in the whole zone! There's about 40 Elders in our zone as of now! We have 10 leaving this week and we have 9 more coming in! We get 5 more Elders and 4 new sisters coming in! I've only been in here for 4/12 weeks! I don't know anything more than anyone else! But it is great! President Watkins told me if I don't know something look it up in the white handbook, if it ain't there, make it up according to the spirit and my better judgment! When ever you ask someone a question around here they always say "well, did you ask God to help you?" It’s so awesome! We truly are learning to rely on the Lord and to be more in tune with the spirit and listen to its promptings! The Spirit really does have a voice! I've felt it! It's amazing, we use the Spirit as a constant resource in our everyday studies! I love the Spirit! Thank you for everyone who has sent me ASOMBORSO packages and stuff! I got some awesome Halloween packages from the Vanwags, I wore those socks for Halloween, Grandma Brennan sent me some terrific Cinnamon rolls, The Huyettes sent me the best Halloween riddles, Hen sent me the best big cookie ever!! Haha, it was amazing, hen air vacuumed it shut and it made the whole cookie all one big ol' piece, but it was delicious nonetheless!! Mom and Dad thanks for the sweaters! They are lovely and Delightful!

Spanish is coming along ok. I love to speak Spanish. I'm not so good at responding yet, but I'm good at listening and reading Spanish. I can understand most of all that is said in conference talks. Once a week I listen to a general conference talk in Spanish and read along in English to see how well I can understand it! When I read it I understand it best, speaking, is more difficult, pero I tengo amor por ESPANOL!! Me Maestros are the best EVER!! They are all so cool! We only have 2 "real teachers" Hermano Osuna, Mitchell, and Hermana Perez pop in every now and then but they mostly just spy on us now through the camera! But Hermano Burnham is amazing!! He went to Guatemala for his mission, and Hermana Penaflor is the sweetest thing ever! She is a small Hispanic woman. When she sits down her feet don't touch the floor, we all love our teachers a lot!
Elder Fuqua and I are anxious for the new district to come in on Wednesday! As zone leaders we work a bit more with the Hermanas. It is kind of an odd relationship. I still don't know exactly how to interact with the hermanas here, as of now I just avoid them. Don't worry I still say hi, but that’s pretty much it. That is something I will improve on. So with this new district coming in with 4 hermanas, this will give me a great opportunity to shine!

I am still getting adjusted to our new schedule of Monday P-days. I have mixed emotions about it but all is well. Now that we are on the same schedule as the rest of the zone we have all bonded a lot more together! I've made more friends in our hall. Elder Rupp, Elder Moser and Elder Kitterman are like my new best friends! They are here for who know how much longer, they are waiting for visas to go to Mexico. They don't have a teacher after Wednesday so they will be all on their own for their learning studies all day! But those Elders are amazing I love them all. I love playing basketball with Elder Schuller! I wish I could just ramble on about all of the Elders here cuz they all have such great personalities! Hopefully you got my memory card with all of my pics. I sent it in the letter in maces envelope. So now you can hopefully put faces with names now. Last night Elder Dickinson and Elder Pirkinsen were trying to do a 2 man cartwheel but Elder D. dropped Elder P. and now Elder P. has a rug burn on his forehead cuz he skid across the carpet! It was hilarious! President just laughed at them! Elder D. is kind of a wild man, but he is so funny. He's the red head in the pic with the succor in his mouth! There’s this Elder here that looks like Iceman for m Top gun, so Elder D. and I obviously had to take a pic with him! Whenever we see him around the MTC we treat him as if he was a celebrity. He’s cool enough to play along! He sometimes acts out scenes from the movie HAHA!

Last week we had Elder Ballard for devotional! It was amazing! We've had 3 apostles talk to us in 3 weeks!! ASOMBROSO! For sure one apostle is coming for Thanksgiving they said! We are all excited! As of now we are expected to leave on Dec. 6th. But we don't have any travel plans yet, we should be getting those around Thanksgiving they said. We are anxiously awaiting the Snow, it only rained this week, but we still have faith for snow!

So it might sound like all we do is mess around, pero, that’s a NEGATIVE! We work our little hinnies off! We mess around cuz we work super hard! I love personal study the most. There is now enough time in the world to read the scriptures! I've always loved the scriptures but they are soooo much better since I've been here! We get an hour of personal time a day! I've finished the 4 Gospels in the Bible and now I'm in 3rd Nephi! I love the scriptures and all of its applications to life! The Scripture truly are the Word of God and I am very excited to share them with the people in Colombia! Time has a weird way of working here! The days go by slow yet the weeks fly by! It is an interesting concept. I love and miss you all. Thank you for your prayers and love and letters. God be with till we meet again!

Elder Hammer

Monday, November 1, 2010

Week 4 already!

Well, being part of the pilot program means that we have to deal with a lot of changes all of the time! It keeps us on our toes! Our schedule has been completely changed now! We now have P-day on Mondays!!! Its ok so far, but I loved having P-day on Wednesday because it gave us a mid-week break from our studies and all. This just gives us a 2 day weekend cuz Sundays here are awesome and we have a lot of free study time! The teachers don’t teach on Sunday but we just do Independent studying all day practically!

Last night was our biggest night of Napkin Poetry! It was the best one yet! It was our Holiday Special! We had Elders all over our room on top of the cabinets on the bunk beds on the desks! It was truly a sight to see! I loved everyone’s Napkin Poetry! They are actually getting pretty good which is the funny thing! Elder Galati got a package earlier this week from home and of course it had a box of mustaches for us!! HAHAH! Elder Galati wore his almost all day; he wore to class and breakfast! It was hilarious thank goodness he didn't wear it to sacrament or anything but it was funny to see an Elder wearing a mustache around the MTC! That night we all wore them for Napkin Poetry reading!! It was hilarious!! I love the Elders here!!

We switched our schedules so now we have lunch and stuff with our whole zone! Before our district was just off and about with a completely different schedule so we only saw our Zone basically at church and in the halls! I have a great time with our Zone Though! They are all so fun and funny! But I was sad to leave my basketball friends and stuff because now our gym time has changed too! Our teachers and kind of changing now too. Before we had the head of the Spanish department teaching us Hermano Mitchell and Herman Perez! They are so awesome! Hermano Mitchell knows everything there is to know about missionary work! He even helped in writing Preach my Gospel and helps with some of the church movies too!! It is insane! Hermana Perez is just the most loving Hermana in the world! When ever we do something weird she always says "Elders, I don’t know why I love you so much, but I do!" It’s hilarious! She is from Mexico and doesn't speak much ingles so she always asks us to see if she is talking correctly and she has the sweetest accent ever! So they will be missed! They were just training our real teachers how to teach the pilot program! So now Hermano Mitchell and Hermana Perez are going to be observing through the cameras and we won’t see them that much anymore! But our real teachers Hermano Burnham and Hermana Penaflor are amazing too! I love them all so much! They are the sweetest people ever! I wish I could just hangout with them all the time!

Elder Fuqua and our are having a blast learning Spanish himnos!! They are so fun to sing! Me himno favoritos es "Grand Eres tu" y "Mas Cerca Dios de ti" I love those, they are How Great Thou Art and Nearer My God to Thee! We will just go and find people in the halls and sing to them! It’s a blast! WE actually have pretty good sounding voices together! We have realized that we both have the same sounding voices and we have the same eyes! It’s ASOMBROSO!! aka awesome!

Everything is going swell here! I feel like I am making sure yet steady progress with my Spanish! I focus soo much on Spanish! I study as much as I can everyday with Spanish! I am really nervous about my Spanish! I can read it and pronunciate pretty decently, but I can’t have very well conversations yet! if they talk slow enough I can talk with them very well, but when someone talks fast Spanish I get lost quickly! I am doing better at my sentence structures and all but still struggling. I love talking with the Hermanas/hermanos speaking Portuguese! It is so fun! Spanish is very similar and they talk a bit slower! They just say a lot of J's and GEES sounding words and sound awesome! So I talk to them a bit here and there!

Thank you Jerry for a wonderful DEARELDER! That secret spot that were talking about in the trees! We go there all the time and do journal/poetry reading there! We love it back there! Your letter cracked me up! I can totally relate to everything you said and the Cordon blue is amazing! We had it for dinner last night! Mom, if you could send my poetry book/sweater it would be appreciated! They are both necessary!! The snow melted away but it is still chilly here! All is well and love you tons! I would do anything almost to give you all a big hug! I miss and love you all!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Learning Continues in week 3

Ok, missions are definitely super HARD! This has been an amazing week of WORK!! I am consistently working, always tired, keep on moving!! I love it! The work presses forward no matter what state you are in! My companion and I are getting along amazingly! He makes up country songs and we sing them as we walk around or get ready for bed! We have a nightly routine of how we say goodnight to our roommates! It’s a blast! We play hard because we work really HARD!! Spanish is a very difficult language! Elder Fuqua calls it YODA talking since it seems like we talk backwards with all of the rules about verb and adjective placement in the sentence structure! I have new goals for my self! I read 5 chapters in El Libro De Mormon everyday in Espanol! And I read 1 chapter In Predicad EL Evangelio every week! I memorize 1 ordinance saying a week, like the sacrament prayer or baptismal prayer, and I try to memorize 30 new vocab words a day!! It is the most ridiculous thing ever! It’s not a physical exertion but it is at the same time! I am always worn out at the end of the day! And our class is on the 5th floor! So we get 10 flights of stairs every time we go to class! We go up the stairs atleast 4 times a day! We feel the burn!

Yesterday Elder Richard G Scott came for devotional! It was insane! He used his office of being an apostle and "Invoked the Gift of Tongues upon all those that are leaning a new language!" As soon as he said that the room was all like wow!! That was amazing! Right now I am really focusing on my Spanish, I have good days and bad days when it just clicks or I forget everything! I am really working on it! It is so difficult trying to preach the Gospel in a different language and explain words in Spanish that I don't even know what they mean in English!! It truly is a difficult work but I am loving IT!! Our napkin Poetry is doing AMAZING!! We have 4 new members in our club as of last night!! Elders from other District somehow heard about it and are join in! It’s so much fun!! All of us Elders get along amazingly!! It’s a great time! We all are really pushing each other to really work! We work hard and then we play hard! Everything here is in its intensity!

Last night it SNOWED!! We will be having a white Halloween! We are getting prepared for trick or Treating! Elder Smiths parents sent him a box of candy so we can have Halloween party! Thank you for the cupcakes by the WAY!! We eat well here; everything is a well balanced diet! I love it! I am having a blast and learning and growing all at the same time! I am working on my patience. We have group lessons that we give, so it 10 Elders that go practice on an investigator. When we go in I want to talk and get involved with the investigator but I also have to be aware of the other Elders that are in the discussion too, so I have to balance my talking, with trying to keep the conversation on track with our limited vocab that we have. Because we know very little vocab, we just say what we know sometimes, I feel that my vocab is doing well in Scriptural things because I am really studying hard out of Predicad El Evangelio and EL Libro De Mormon so I can discuss Gospel things decently but the others are better at conversational talking than I am! So it’s difficult trying to be aware of the other Elders but then again I’m like "This persons salvation is at stake, we must strengthen here relationship with GOD even if we don't know how to say that!" So I am working on balancing it all out! I am so grateful for the opportunity to be serving my Lord and Savior! He truly does have masterful and wonderful Work!

We watch films after Sunday Devotionals! We watched the Joseph Smith Restoration video! It is so good! The quote after the movie was "Why would we not go on in such a marvelous work!" That is exactly how I feel! I am diving right into! All of the Elders after the movie were so pumped up to do missionary Work! We did all of these cheers and stuff like “Hurrah for Israel, and Joseph Smith will not die in vain!” Just fun chants that got us pumped up to be better! I loved it! All is well and grand! I love the gospel and everyday I grow closer to my Savior Jesus Christ! As I study more of him and about him I understand the divinity of His restored Gospel! I miss you all but I love being in the Service of my God!

--LOVE Elder Hammer

Thank you for all of the DEARELDER letters and keep updating me with those, those are my favorite ways of receiving letters from ya'll. I don't have much time to read on email but I can read DEARELDERS easier! Love YA!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Second week in the MTC

Yesterday was so awesome! For devotional we had Elder Russell M. Nelson! It was so cool! We sang "Called to Serve" for our opening hymn! It was so powerful and strong! There is nothing like singing "Called to Serve" with 2500 missionaries anxious to get out into the field! It was amazing to hear from an apostle of the Lord! He talked about the blessings of a being a missionary! I loved it! We were very grateful for such a wonderful surprise speaker!

This is now week 2 at the MTC! I feel like a Pro at being here! I know where everything is, how it all works and all! It feels like we have been here forever, yet again it feels like a feel like just yesterday I said bye to y'all! Everything here is so jam packed scheduled! Every minute of the day is planned out for us! We are the Pilot class! The only ones in the whole MTC! It truly is a privilege to be here. I know that the Lord needed me to be in the MTC at this time with these people! The Lord has chosen his Elect sons to be in this District with me. We all are best friends and get along great! The Lord knew that we would do our best in this pilot program! We try new things all the time that other missionaries haven't even done! It is crazy! The other day Elder Fugua (My companion) and I were contacting other missionaries in Spanish, we can bear a simple testimony, carry on a decent convo and say prayers and all in Spanish! We are learning so quickly! The other day some missionaries that have been here for 7 weeks talked to Elder Fugua and I and told us of this new technique they learned how to teach the 1st discussion in under 3 minutes! We acted excited and all, but then Elder Fugua and I were like we've been here for 10 days and we learned that yesterday! Its insane, we're learning things that Elders usually do in 7 weeks!!

The Napkin poetry is a big hit here! We have almost 10 Elders in our Club! About 2-3 nights a week we have poetry reading in my dorm before bed time! It is so fun! we turn the lights down low and everyone Snaps to the beat! I love the Elders here! We are all very anxious to get out and preach! I love it here in the MTC but I need some air!!!! We love going to the Temple on P-days cuz we get out of the MTC and go for a little walk! We are seriously in a little bubble! The other day Elder Tag and Elder Smith were allowed to go onto BYU Campus to get a prescription for Elder Tag! they walked over there and were only gone for like 30 min. but we were all like "Tell us how its going out there!! How is everything, how d other people look!" We are all in this bubble! But I love it here! Elder Fuqua and I get along good. We don't fight, everything is fun! We don't have much in common, he's kind of into sports and knows a lot about all the teams and stats and stuff! He reminds me a lot of Luke! He thinks I'm kind of weird cuz I tell him about my mopeds and my Poetry readings and Stuff!

The food here is awesome! It's like a personally cooked meal for me every night! It amazing! I did my 1st load of laundry last week and my clothes still fit and they are still the same colors as when I put them in! We have a lot of time to personally study! We are in class for about 13 hours a day! about 3 of those hours are for language/personal/companion study! We study what we feel will best improve our teaching and help with our investigators we teach! We have to teach in Spanish! We were teaching someone in 3 days sense we've been here in Spanish, Other missionaries don't even teach in English for about 1 week and Spanish in 2 weeks!

The Spirit is so strong here! It is always guiding you what to study, how to study, it helps you learn! The Holy Ghost has so many different ways that it can help you! I love the companionship of the Holy Ghost! We learn so much by the spirit! If we ever have a doctrinal question, our teacher will help us for a little and then will say " Ask Heavenly Father to help you find out for yourself" So we do and then we know what we need! It is so awesome!! Everything we do here is to invite others to come to Christ!

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary for my Savior Jesus Christ! It is such a wonderfully great opportunity to be where I am with who I am with! None of us take this calling lightly! We have had many spiritual discussions in our district about the hand of God! It is so great to talk about these things with people my own age! We have came up with a little theory kind of! Our saying is "If you're not happy, you're not living the gospel!" The gospel is the light of Christ and will only bring joy into people’s life! Everything that is good comes of Christ! his gospel is good, therefore you should only be happy when living the Gospel!

I will try to send pictures soon! I have to mail them to you! We're not allowed to email them to people! Mom/Dad if you could mail me a sweater, that would be much appreciated and if you could also send me my poetry book! Its in one of my bins!

Thank you all that have been sending me DEARELDER Letters! I love getting those! They are the best! I really feel loved when I get those! I Love and miss you All!!! I think and Pray about you every night! I look forward to your letters.

Elder Hammer

P.S. Can you send Eric McGill’s address?? I need to write him and also our cousin Aubrey’s address too! She mailed me some cookies and I need to thank her!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The First letter!

Hola mi Familia!! Yo soy Elder Hammer de Clovis, California!! I just said hello family I am Elder Hammer from Clovis, California in Spanish!!! The MTC is great and fun!!! I have made some very close friends this past week! I am in a Pilot District!! I am with 10 Elders that are the genuine pigs for the new way missionaries will be taught! We have a custom schedule that only my district has! So we are doing things no other elders have done! We are the first Pilot group with this new program!! Our class is on the 5th story of a building and has a celestial view of Provo!! We get a bit distracted looking out the window but it is gorgeous! Our classroom has 2 cameras in it that we are being monitored on. There are people watching us study and learn to see how this new material helps new missionaries being trained! We are the only ones in all the MTC that they are doing this too! Our room is kind of high tech with a nice T.V and we have new custom books and everything! 

My Companion is AWESOME! His name is Elder Fugua! He is from a small town in Texas, and was Quarterback at his high school. He is fun and we get along great! We bunk with 2 other Elders named Elder Tag from New Hampshire and Elder Smith from Kansas! They both are good Elders! Our class is the Best of the Best! We are really get sucked into the work and have a blast at doing it! We are in our classroom for about 13 hours a day! We only leave for  ½ hour of exercise a day and for an hour each meal! We are extremely busy but we are learning a lot! We have a blast learning though! I am better friends with the Elders here than I have ever been with anyone else in my life! We all have one purpose, one goal, and one God! We have started new traditions already at the MTC! We make our whole floor gather together now to say a "family Prayer" every night! It is so awesome! My best friend here is probably Elder Galati from North Carolina! He is awesome! We have a lot of fun together! We started to do this thing called "Napkin Poetry!" We write a poem at every meal on a napkin and make it sound all deep and profound and recite it and give it to random Elders! It's so fun! Elder Allred is from Canada and yesterday we Canada's Thanksgiving so we had to have Thanksgiving party so we all made Cards and decorations and had a "Canadian Thanksgiving in our dorms last night! 

On Sunday we lost about 25 Elders from our Zone! We used to have about 45 Elders in our District but we get 10 new Elders today so our numbers will go back up! On Sunday our Zone gathers in a dorm and we sing "Haza Ver!" Which is “God be with you til we meet again” in Spanish!! It was the coolest thing ever!! We all we screaming the song at the top of our lunges the 1st 2 verses then we sing softly the last 1 calmly! It was the rowdiest yet most spiritual thing I have ever witnessed! As these young missionaries were going into the field the next day! It was so cool! 45 Elders crammed into a little 30ft by 20ft room singing there hearts out! Elder Fuegua was a bit homesick for a while but he is doing better now! He is a great Elder! All of the Elders here are such great examples to me! When I first got here I was too excited to be home sick, now that I'm getting into the flow of things it’s hitting me a bit but I am too anxious to get to work to really think about it! Everything here is awesome and divine! We say prayers like none other! Before we go anyway when we arrive before we eat, it’s always with a prayer! The spirit is constantly here and is felt! 

We have fake investigators that we teach and we are allowed to teach in Spanglish! I am pretty bien con Spanglish. I’m picking it up ok here! We are only allowed to speak Spanglish in class! With this investigator Elder Fuegua y yo had a hard time connecting in our teaching style. He likes to disprove people with scripture and I like to testify. But the other day we finally found our balance and are making huge progress with our investigator Manuel! We get along great! I love him! I am only allowed to be on the computer for ½ hr a week and I can only write any type of letters on P-Days! So My P-day is Wednesday so I can only write Wednesday! I will be sending a huge letter to the family every week and I will handwrite everyone personally each week! I just need Kens and Jays address so I can write you girls! Love you tons my time is almost out! They have timer on the computer that counts down then will kick u off! Love you all and miss u!!

Yo se que JesuCristo es mi Hijo, y Jose Smith is un profeta! Yo soy un Missionario de JesuCristo.
Elder Hammer!