Thursday, July 26, 2012

training again! 7/23/2012

Well I dont know how it happened but I am going to be having another baby boy!!! YAA!! I AM GONNA TRAIN AGAIN!!! YES!!!!! I am super stoked. I have become the mission assassin! I have sent 6 of my 9 companions home!! I am tired of having companions at the end of the mission when they are all tired and dont have the guts to work til the last day of the mission!! I am stoked to have the opportunity to have a companion that is new and fresh. I am also training a GRINGO!!! HAHAHA!! Oh what a relief it will be in some aspects. This means that I gotta be the one talking all the time. Gringos need about 3 months to be able to get into the flow of things, butt i am excited to have a new companion who is fresh from the MTC! I am ready to work! My comp will be Elder Huckbody!! Oh ya!!! Super gringo!! Im diggin it!!

Well this week was a busy one. We were in Girardot Monday til Tuesday and we were in Bogota til friday got back to Ibague friday night. We leave again today for bogota in like 1 1/2 to go help with the new missionaries!! Its gonna be awesome!1 I love President Lozano!! Hes a funny guy!! I like how he is new and has that spark for the gospel. He still has his colombian culture and acts like a colombian which i love!! haha!! He was actually born in Ibague where are now serving so his sister is in our branch. She's pretty cool!!! But he is learnin alot and is open to new ideas. Like me training! I aint sure how this is gonna work out. I am still AP here in Tierra caliente, so i still do all of my AP stuff and on top of that i am gonna be training! I always love a good challenge!! The lord really does love to push us to our limits!! I am realizing how the mission is fastly coming to an end and i am excited to keep working strong. I'm gonna have to muster up the strength to train but i am grateful to have the energy of a new missionary helping me along!!

We are not in our area much of the time but the lord has blessed us with some golden investigators!! Wow! They are great! We are teaching a family of 4 who came to church this past week!! They loved it!! We had Jennifer and Natalia come too! IT was a great week in the chapel! Jennifer is from a family of 8 kids! 5 of them have been baptized but all of them are now inactive!! She has the fear that when she gets baptized she will go inactive afterwards!! We had an awesome lesson with her last week and her brother shared his testimony of the church and how bad he felt for his example and how he know the only path is through the church of Christ. Then this past week we had 3 of the brothers and their families in church with us and Jennifer felt great and she wants to get baptized this Saturday!! WOOOO!! We will see what we can do, she wants to get baptized before my comp goes home!! We need to teach her about tithing and she will be good for the water!! She has been doing awesome!! About 3 weeks ago we taught her about the Word of Wisdom and she hasnt drank a cup of coffee since!! It is great to see how you can see the faith of the people grow! I love it!! Natalia has been doing great she has been to church 5 weeks in a row now! She is doing awesome!!! she had a baptismal date for this weekend but we are gonna have to wait a couple more weeks for her to be a bit stronger i nthe word of wisdom she has gone 3 weeks with out drinkin alcohol!! She is doin awesome!! We just want to strengthen her faith a bit more before she gets baptized, so hopefully in another 2 weeks she will be getttin wet!! Life is going great!!

It seems like everyone is countin down my time in the mission haha!! I only got 10 weeks left, yes that is true, time is flying by!! But i am workin strong til the last day. It's weird in 3 weeks, my group will be the oldest in the mission ahh!! Love and miss ya all a ton Elder Hammer

Sunday, July 22, 2012

busy little mission 7/16/2012

Well with the new president in town we have been workin our little booties off over here!! Wow, what a lot of work!! Its pretty funny working with President cuz he is just like a greeny missionary, fresh in the field a bit innocent in some areas and other areas is fresh with great ideas!! But this past week we were in girardot, neiva, ibague and passing through the other little peublos helping president get to know the local leaders and missionaries in Tierra caliente!! It was pretty fun but a lot of traveling and getting to know president!! President Lozano is very different from President Casablanca, so we were getting a bit adapted to his styel to be able to caprutre his vision of the mission and being able to put it into practice!! I am loving it!! I really feel like i am of great importance to President!! The hard thing is that they are having some problems in Bogota right now in the office and the A.Ps in bogota are really new up there they got there like 1 week before president Lozano got there so they are just learnin the stuff i nthe office so they always call and here in Ibague i dont have an office to help them with the administration part, but we are settling things out!!

We are in Girardot right now tommorow we go to Bogota to help with a multi zone conference there and then we get to help Pres. with making transfers decision. I get to help him the board of changes and show him the programs and all that stuff and then we go back to ibague and then we will go back to bogota next week again to help recieve the 22 new missionaries get into their areas!! So we have alot going on!! The A.P work is going just great right now but i am gettin concerned about our area!! We are only there like 2-3 days in the week so its hard to help the investigators progress at the rate that they should!! But we have 3 people that are ready for baptism they just lack some of the lessons, which is our fault that we cant teach them in a convenient pace!! But we are doing our best!!

We found this killer family this week! I am super stoked!! Its a family of 4 that like in a little pueblo right outside of Ibague!! Its called rincon de las Americas, The corner of the americas, its super cool!! Anyways they are a reference family that we meet teach a f.h.e at an investigators house and we met the 15 year old daughter and she loved the FHE and invited us to meet her family so this week we went and did a FHE at her house with some members that live by her and it was awesome. We met her mom and sister and they invited us back to meet the dad this week!! So we are stoked to teach them. It's a little 15 year old girl but so sweet and spiritualy and polite and well mannered and what an awesome family she has!! I am excited to teach them!! Jennifer is a girl that we are teachin and we are also activating her family. THE FAMILY CAME TO CHURCH sunday!! It was great!! Jennifer has the fear of being baptized but then going inactive just like her family did! She has 5 brothers that are baptized but are now inactive and she doesnt want to do that! She is so sincere so we are helping her recieve a strong testimony of the book of mormon. We are teaching her the PLan of Salvation using the BOM. This lesson is awesome to teach when the people start to understand it they get sooo happy and excited and motivated! The plan of redemption is the BOMB!! Eliana came to church this past week , we meet her my first day in the area contacting and for the past month we have been working on getting her to come to church but its been a workin progress and yesterday she came with her little son!! YESS!!! WE are seeing thr fruits a bit now!! THe Lord blesses us with excellent investigators. He know we aint in the area much but when we are here we work our tails off and we focus on the people!! I love my area!! I love being a missionary! Iam greatful to be in colombia. I am proud to be an American!! I am so grateful for my heritage and for my roots!! I love the Savior and His work! Elder Hammer

new mission president 7/9/2012

Well we got our new Mission President! President Lozano and he is an awesome man! I am very excited to work with him. He has a great vision of what our potential as a mission can be and how we can do it! We are working alot together which i like! This week we are trveling with him to show him the Hotlands so tommorow we are in Girardot, then at night time we go to Neiva to interview Pitalito and Florencia and we come back to Ibage on Thursday to have a conference! So we have been with him since Saturday planning and in meetings and stuff! He came out to teach with us this weekend and it i great to have someone new and fresh with new energy!! It was good teaching with the President!! IT was pretty funny cuz we took him to a lesson on Saturday and on Sunday he talked in our branch and the branch was all excited to meet him as if he was a superstar and then she felt like all honored that THE PRESIDENT was in her house and was all like bragging to all of the other youth that the president was in her house and all haha!! We died laughing!!

President really trust us what i love!! He doesnt really know all of the rules or administration or nothing so we talk alot we get to help make decisions with him so its fun!! I like it!! When he was with us he asked me if the mission manual has rules about drinkin pop haha! I was like no, drink it if you want to haha!! so we have a lot to teach him but I am glad that he is willing to learn! This week we werent in our area alot only 2 days really for all of the work with pres. and intercambios but it was a very spiritual week! We are being blessed so much!

 I have learned alot in this time in the mission! I have seen the difference in the way i teach and act and testify. Its completely differnt! I am learning hwo to adapt the lessons to the people alot better!! I wish we could have mroe time with the people to teach them, there is so much to teach. I am learning the power and value of everyword we use!! WE dont get much time really to teach for a long time to the people a lesson in 45 min. or less. And the Colombian poeple LOVE TO TALK!! I bet you could put a dumby in front of some of our investigators adn they would keep tlaking and not know the difference haha!! But when we teach it has to be short, prcise and powerful! THe imoprtance of Clarity and power ar key in missionary work! WE have had some killer lesson where there have been a strong presence of the lord spirit there!! Where we have the enviroment to be able to testfy og the Truthfullnes of GOd and of his blessings of his plan! I have learned the great importance of the Plan of Salvation! It changes lives!

WE have 2 baptism planned for this month and we will have anoth 4 in August!! We are workin on growing our area and have been working hard to get refences from members!! But yesterday while my comp and i were out walkin a person on a motorcycle started following us!! I was like o man not another robbery, so we were just getting ready run. A motorcycle with 2 people on it means danger, its the easiest way to rob you! then they started yelling at us and all and then we realized they wanted to just talk to us. And they took of their helments and it was Angela haha!! She was an lady that i contacted in Roma in Bogota! haha like almost a year ago I was teaching her and she went on vacation and while she was on vacation her family moved but we didnt know where and we just met up yesterday here in Ibague! haha She lives in the apartment complex in front of ours haha!! What a great joy i felt!! We talked for a while and she is anxious to listen and go to church with us and everythin!! She was so cool!! I remember very well contacting her. We were waking in the street and me and Elder Suruguay were going to an appointment and we lacked people to contact for the day and she was on the 3rd floor of the house hanging clothes on the line and i just yelled to contact her i just testified in a simple way about the eternal family and she came down and listened to us and it was like a 40 min contact at the door!! She was so interested and we strted teaching her and her family!! I am stoked to teach her again!! What an answer to our prayers!! Sweet mercy of God!!

 On thursday I was in the Chapel working on an activity with the zone and this guy comes around the corner and says oh my gosh ELDER HAMMER and he gave me this big hug. I was like oh my friend who are you. I never have met this dude in my life and he was hugging the heck out of me haha!! and he told me that he was a friend of Pops that he would go out with dad on splits and that Dad worked alot with him and that he went to the baptism at like 2 in mornin with Dad and Pres Pico! haha! It was fun talking to him! Then on Saturday i went to a meeting with Pres. Lozano and as i turned the corner PRes. Pico jumps out and just gives me the biggest hug in the world haha!! He is a great guy! I love PRes. Pico haha! He is hilarious!! I tihnk at times he forgets i am a missionary cuz he starts joking with with me and he treats me like a life long friends which i love! I am glad that i have the same friends as Pops!! Good kids haha!! So all is well here in Ibague! Lovin every second of the mission! I am workin alot on trying to receive more personal revelation through scripture study and more strict obedience and listening more! I need to be better at that!! But i am loving the work of the Lord. Love ya all a ton Elder Hammer


Well dear family of mine!! All is well here in the mission workin hard in the work of the Lord!! It was a fun and hard week!! We have a lot of stuff goin on right now. The new mission president just got here on saturday! he seems great!! i am stoked to have him here we are gonna be able to get a lot of work done with him!! It was pretty funny we called him on saturday to say hi and all to him and he was super concerned. in tolima its like the states that we are in there is a big volcano and he called us to tell us to be on red alert the volcano might explode! we were like oh ya, the thing is that the volcano is like always on high alert but he was seriously concerned. i was glad for his phone call and his concern for us!! So we made a kit for all of the missionaries in tolima and a spot to meet if something happened we made plans and all! IT was pretty fun to see some of the missionaries reactions to this plan!! We made it sound like it was gonna be like some mt. saint helens or somethin haha!! one elder put together and 72hr kit and all prepared agua and everything haha!! he was a good boyscout!! But i am glad to have president lozano here! We have a meeting with him this weekend to go over some stuff here in tierra caliente and all so i am excited to meet with him and discuss things of the mission. He is fresh in the field, excited and ready to go and willing to learn. He is a great leader!! Right now I am in a little town called pitalito. We do exchanges like 8 hours from ibague so it was a long bus ride, but boy was it beautiful!! Thats what i love about being AP is being able to travel and see the scenery!! I really miss taking drives in the mountains but here we take drives through deserts or jungles!! its cool!!

Pitalito is like the hippy town of Colombia. Everyone smokes and is really relaxed. Its more of a tourist place for hippies, just weed and greenery! haha!! Small town but its super fun!! Sending some pics of my area in ibague. its a small city and on the outsides its all farm and a little jungle i nthe mountains and fields, so when we go out of the town its really cool. It's a town of like 600.000 people its a lot different from bogota the people theclimate the weather i love it its a great place!! i loved bogota but i am glad that the lord took me out of there haha!! it was fun last week being with my main man Pres. Pico - dad's old comp!! He is a cool guy. I wish i could hang out with him as a regular person not as a missionary. He invited us over for dinner and we were talking and we had to be home at 930 as always but i wished we could have stayed longer. He had some great stories. We enjoyed it alot meeting his whole family and all! i loved it!! i showed some of the mission pics. The adventures of HAMMER and PICO!! What stories he had to share!! Time sure has changed thing Pops haha!! He showed us his mission manual and ya, our manual is a lot bigger! haha!! But what a great friend he is! We call each other every now and then. He really is a big fan of dad!! I mean why not!! Dad would be the tightest comp in the world!! He told me about there adventures and all!! I know dad a lot better now haha!!

 We are working really well in our area! tHe thing is that we are only there for like 3 days so we dont have much time but we try to make the most of it! we are meeting some fantastic people!! WOW!! We but a baptismal date with a girl named jennifer and wow she is super awesome! Some one how is really looking for repentance and looking for God!! it is fabulous!! so we are progressing with her, we are reactivating her brother and we met here, her brother invited us to go swimmin andplay tennins with some nuns next pday haha!! WE took him up on the tennis but after the mission iwould love to go swimmin with some nuns haha!! He kept trying to convince to go swimmin but we were lioke we cant, haha! it will be fun next pday! then yesterday as we were leaving the chapel a sister asked us if we bless her car, we were like you can say a blesing for your car and she was like no, i want you to bless it with oil and everything. i was liek what are you talking about lady. IT was a brand new car and she wanted us to give it like a baby blessing but for a car or something, we explained to her about how she could just say a prayer a priesthood blessin wouldnt be necesaary. THe funnny thing here in Colombia is, is that it doesnt matter if you have 1 month or 25 years in the church they still ask us weird questions. on saturday there wasa sister coming from girardot a town like 2 hours from ibague and she called me and asked us to help her unload the moving truck. I was like what time she was like oh i am just about to enter ibague in like 1/2 hour!! hahah! I was like what in the world! she didnt tell anyone she just comes and when she's about to get there calls the missionaries hhaha!! Well we couldnt help her cuz we teach all afternoon so we got the Elders Quorum in line and it was great to see the priesthood in action to save the day hhaa!! it was hilarious. 1/2 hr notice for doing a move shes already in the truck on her way comin haha! i love the culture!! its just about wingin it everyday! Planning doesnt exist, rules are suggestions haha laws are just written on paper but never enforced haha! it hilarious!! This week we were in holidyas of san PEDRO the town was in a mess!! It was pretty funny to see the drunks and all!!!! alot of parades and a marches and a ton of drinking!! But all is well in the mission1 i am really loving it!! i have less than 100 days now, WOW!!! Super scared, but i dont feel off or anything, tired, og course i am, willing to work you bet!! So ia made some goals and all ofthings i want to achieve before i finish the mission! So I amexcited to kick it up another knotch, knotch 1 haha!! i love ya all and miss ya ton!!! Love Elder Hammer


Well this week we were super blessed in our work efforts in Ibague! Being Ap in Tierra calient is the bomb!! I love it a lot but we loose a lot of time traveling! We travel every week to do exchanges with zone leaders in other areas. So we leave sunday night or monday morin depending where we are going to there are bus rides from 3-9 hours we go on! So we travel good and far! We get back usually Wednesday to our area! We are really in out areas on like 3 full days of the week. Becasue of our lack of time in the area we try to make the most of it! This week was really hard doing that because we had a conference in Ibague we were saying good bye to president casablanca! He goes home on Saturday he kept inviting us to eat with him we had breakfast twice with him this week! haha! It was bomb!! Elder Petka went home and Elder Acuna also they both finished their missions so they stayed at our house this week! Elder Acuna was my comp in Bogota and he came down with president for the conference and stayed til sunday with us! But we got some killer references! We got this girl named sara!! WOW!! Super great we taught her the first time on Saturday and came to church Sunday!! Shes adventista!! I dont know if that means shes advent in english dont remember too well haha! But they keep the sabbath on Saturday but she was super cool and came to church the 3 hours loved the classes had questions! IT is always better when investigators have questions! It means they think and its actually somethin important to them! Then last week a less active guy came to church and told him we would like to visit him! His family are members but his parents and his sisters arent and woopdie doo, his sister is super interested in the gospel she wants to go to church is ready for the gospel had questions like nothin else but like the good ones! IT was a great lesson! She came to church yesterday and loved it!! So we are slowly growing our teachin pool! And the people we are teaching all of the mare the best! I love them to death!! We should have 4 baptisms in July and one this weekend! YEAH!! I am stoked!!  In tierrra caliente the people are way different than those in Bogota! The land here is fertile the people more receptive and just awesome! So i am enjoying it alot!!

But yeah there are 4 AP's in the mission! One companionship in Bogota and 1 companionship in tierra caliente! I am having a great time with Elder Pesado! We are enjoyin our time together, a bit sad that ends up i am gonna be the one who kills him and him not me. He is going to go home in August to be able to study!! AHH!! So he might be going home in the beginning of August if he goes home in November he has to wait until like may to study thats how the studyin works in argentina!! AHH! But we will make the most out of our time together!! Weekly Wonders!!

Right now i am in a place called neiva! Its a cool little pueblo kind of thing and President pico lives here on of dads old comps! So I called him up and tonight i am gonna go and eat dinner with them and all! Ill takes some pics tonight and hook ya all up next week! I am stoked! He called me last night and we talked for a while! I talk to him every now and then doing stuff for president and all but it will be fun to go and chat with him tonight! I am stoked! So meetin some of pops old peeps from his glory days haha!

Well next week i will complete 21 months in the mission!! WOW!! As of today i have 101 days left in the mission! HOLY SHcnick! In two days i will be on the double digit count down woooo! Time is going by way to fast! Gotta bust my buns for these next 3 months now! Gotta start dropping back in the water! I love being AP but it really kills that baptisms! Thats what i dont like I came here to baptize but I really came here to serve the Lord and if this what he has called me to do too, than i can do them both!!! Doing both is fun but i am going on 6 months as doing this work and am drained! Today for pday we woke up played soccer with the zone and then my comp and i went back to the apartment and we slept for over 4 hours haha!! WE are wiped dead!! Love pdays!! Hey love ya all a ton! I loved every ones letters this week! Seems like all are enjoying their lives and more important coming closer to christ i love it!! Love Elder Hammer

Hot Lands 6/19/2012

Well, I am now in the hot lands finally and wow is it a nice hot place!! I love it! Well I got in my area Saturday afternoon! It's super cool! What happened is that I left friday but I couldnt make it all the way to my area so i stopped in a place called Girardot. I stayed the night with my BEST FRIEND ever Elder Fuqua here! haha!! Mycomp from the MTC. He is awesome. So i spent the night there and then i went the rest of the way to Ibague in the morning!! It is a beautiful ride!! Its basically a jungle ride! Its tight! You just go through the forest the whole time!! So green, there are waterfalls along the roadside and all it was a beautiful ride!! My area is like a big small town! It is awesome its a district there, not yet a stake! but it is great!!!! We did some good work when I got there! My comps are awesome! I am with Elder Pesado. He has been like my dream companion! YES!! We have the same teaching style and i love that kid!! He is from Aargentina!! Great missionary!! We have always wanted to be comp since he came to be my ZL when I was in Patio Bonito! I go home in October and he goes in November! But he is the bomb!! We are also with Elder Petka!! Oh my gosh, he makes me laugh so hard!! He's from Arizona! Love that kid to death! So Elder Petka goes home next week so we are in a trio for just a week!! But right now i am actually in Girardot again! I am still AP but in the hot lands! But we have to travel alot more and more farther. So we came here to Girardot again yesterday. So sorry that's why I didnt write yesterday! But we got here yesterday and it was a holiday yesterday so we asked president to change pday to Tuesday cuz on holidays it's better for teaching people cuz they are at home!

I am having a blast being out of the offices! Being AP in the hotlands is a lot better! We are more like regular missionaries! I like it a lot more! There are no more offices! We just do intercambios, and prepare capacitations and every now and again an errand for president! A lot less stressful! And with my comps, why would i not be happy as heck! Wow! I live with the best men alive! So today for pday we are gonna play paintball in the jungle!! i am stoked! then we are gonna play some tejo! Tejo is basically a game that drunk people play, but we will be drinking juice instead dont worry! It's like horse shoes kind of but you get a bit rock and throw it into basically a mud pit and in the mud they have like hiddens mines and you want to explode all of the mines with the rock you threw at it! haha! I ll take pics to show you all today! It's funny when the drunks play it cuz some times they hit people with the rock haha!! Good ol drunk dudes!

 This week in Ibague is a folklore festival! YEA!! SO that means parades and a lot of drunk dudes! Its also dia de San Pedro! So that means double drinkin!! WE shall see how it goes! I am excited to see it! There is a bull fightin pit in my area now, we might go see a bull fight soon! Theres alot these next two weeks! THe festival lasts for like 21 days, so its basically a 2 week drinking party here haha!! We have some killer investigators in our area!! I am stoked to work in ibague!! THis week we have multi zone conference here in Ibague so that will be fun! I am stoked!! Well all is well here! I am loving it!! Happy fathers day all of you Father, sorry i forgot last week! They dont really celebrate Fathers day here! So that's why it kind of slipped my mind! But I love ya all a ton Elder Hammer