Monday, October 17, 2016

Week 10 Transfered to Stillaguamish

Hello, everyone!!!! What a week it has been! So many things happened, and I can't wait to tell you all about it, so let's get started.

So I believe last Monday I told you all what I was doing, so I don't need to tell you about that, but Tuesday was transfer day. 😢 Leaving Bellingham and Sister P and Molly was really sad. However, I got to spend a whole hour and a half in a car with several suitcases on top of me and all around me because Elder Manezione and I got transferred to different areas. But the day went on as we studied in the morning, and then we said goodbye to Sister P. 
Sister P and Elder Hammond
Elder Hammond and Molly
We drove to the mission home, stayed there for almost the whole day, and then I met my new companion, Elder Stoddard. He is a stud, and I'll tell you a little about him later. (photos below were texted to Elder Hammond's mom by members they were visiting in his new area with a hello and I love you message from Elder Hammond. Great surprise!)

Elder Stoddard and Elder Hammond
Then we drove to my new home. We live with 2 other elders in one apartment. It's pretty crazy, but we all get along well and enjoy each other. We didn't go shopping when I got there, but we'll do that today, so ya.

My first day in Stillaguamish was pretty good. We had district meeting with Elder Kuballio, a Spanish missionary. Our district is a lot smaller then what I'm use to, but I really don't care as much. Our district leader is so good when it comes to leading discussions. He speaks with the spirit, and it's so uplifting for everyone who hears his message. After that, we did some service for someone who can't mow his lawn anymore because he can't move around that much any more. He reminded me of grandpa, and I hope that he is doing better. I keep all the grandparents in my prayers, and I hope that everything works out for you all. Then we went and visited a ton of members to try to get some referrals because we have like no investigators it seems, which is different from where I use to be. We could go tract and get many investigators, but now it's harder because we have to try to get the members trust as well now since Elder Stoddard has only been in the ward for 6 weeks. Sadly, members don't really want to do missionary work either, so its really hard to get them motivated. We have been making plans to go tracting several times but havn't gone yet because I'm new and the ward needs to meet me. So ya, but that's what we did Wednesday.

Thursday was a interesting day. The Stillaguamish Ward has two cities in it, part of Arlington and the rest is from Arlington to Darington, which is crazy because it's like 45 minutes away from our church building. That's like having Sunset Ridge 6th ward all the way to Provo, Utah. That's about how big our ward boundary is. It's huge!!!😨 But I'm ok with it. We only go up to Darington on Tuesdays. So ya, but Darington has been promised a ward if they stay faithful by a general authority. Elder Stoddard and I want to help make that happen, but the only way we can do that is 1) Darington members to give us referrals; 2) we go tracting down there, and 3) the members need to do missionary work too. We got told two weeks ago that we need to do it all. Members do too, but I feel like when members hear those two words (missionary work) they shrink and turn away from doing it. So, missionaries and members need to work together to bring people closer to Christ, and I hope people can understand that quicker then it's happening now. We visited a lot of people in Darington, taught seminary, and had a lesson with an investigator named Alex Dival. He's a good kid, but he sees religion from an educational standpoint. Several of the other religions have been bagging on us with every investigator we get down in Darington. I've heard this from my ward missionaries and Elder Stoddard. Not cool!! So ya, the work is pretty frustrating down there. We don't want to drop Alex, but if it comes to that point, we might have to.

Friday we helped at the food bank and then had a lesson with one of our investigators named David. He's a cool guy, and we taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ and spent a lot of time on repentance. We helped him to understand the concept of it. 

We just visited a lot of people this day.

Yesterday we woke up really early to go to a mission/ ward mission training meeting. It was ok, but we had to get up really early. That's ok. It was a good meeting. I hope the members learned a lot though. ;) Then we had church and then correlation meeting. Then we studied, visited some people, ate dinner, did accounting, and then went to bed.

So Elder Stoddard is so different than my last two companions in so many ways. We are almost like the same person except he doesn't play music. He's big into computers like me. He's a really big jokester and a funny guy, but when he needs to be, he's really serious. I enjoy that. Training is going well. I'm on week 8 now and it feels like I'm finishing up really quickly. It's so much better being in a two pack than a three pack because I get to talk a whole lot more! My personality comes out more. I do miss Bellingham and Elder Kirk and Elder Manezione, but there are some pros and cons to me not being with them anymore, and all is good. I hope I can continue to be a great missionary for this ward that I'm serving now, and I hope Elder Stoddard and I stay together for a long time.

Well that's it for me. I'll tell more as I continue in the area, but for right now, peace out, and I love and miss you all.

-Elder Hammond

Message and pictures sent by Sister Jamie Balderas from Arlington:
"Hi Sister Hammond! It was a pleasure having your son and Elder Stoddard over for dinner Friday night. I can't believe he has only been out six weeks. He seems very comfortable, like he is a senior missionary. This is great! They blessed the sacrament today, and Elder Hammond has a very sweet spirit. Thank you for sharing him with us. We are excited to have him in our ward. I'm hoping he stays through the next transfer so we can have them here for Christmas. Blessings to you and your family!" (How great is that??)

The pictures were posted the the Washington Everett Mission Facebook page with the caption, "Elder Hammond and Elder Stoddard sharing a message with us after dinner last night."

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