Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Week 16 An Instrument In God's Hands

Hey guys. This week consists of a lot, like a lot, and I didn't do any of it. The Lord did it for me. I was just His instrument playing the right cords and looking for those people He wanted me to find. Our mission has something they call standards of excellency, as every mission should. Thanks to the Lord, Elder Stoddard and I hit those standards. This was the first time in 8 months, almost a year, that the Stillaguamish Ward has hit those standards. This week, we had  5 lessons with investigators, 3 investigators attend sacrament meeting, 4 investigators with a baptism date, so many referrals, and 4 progressing investigators! We also picked up 3 new investigators this week, which is amazing, and it's all thanks to the Lord. 

Before I talk about how my week went, let me answer some questions that have been asked. I have time to do this.
How was your Thanksgiving? 
Thanksgiving was crazy!! Since Monday wasn't p-day, Thursday was our p-day. That's what most holidays consist of, and yes, that's what Christmas will be like too. We had dinner with two families....😰 Man, I feel so fat just saying that. We had two turkeys, two bowls of stuffing, two of everything pretty much, and one of our families sent more of the dinner with us to go home!!! We got so much food this week, I don't need to go shopping!! That's the crazy part!!πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“πŸ“ Thanks to it, I've beenπŸ‹ (exercising)!! A lot!

Are your clothes holding up ok?
Yes, but the funny part is the bottom part of my sleeves are starting to look like Justin's mission shirt collars! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜… It's pretty funny, but other than that, they look fine.

So Monday was interesting. We had two hours to email, and then the rest of the day we had to go visit people. No p-day since it was on Thursday, so we visited a lot of people and tried to find people to teach with no luck really, but that's ok.

Darrington day. Funny story. So we get there, and we realized that we left the area book in Arlington.....πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜‘ So we went to the people we knew down there and then went to seminary and listened to Sister Mauldin teach us about the birth of Christ. Then we went back home and did some area book work and visited some other members.

Oh my! So Elder Stoddard is the District Leader, so we had a district meeting, and it was great! He taught us the importance of keeping and making good goals. Then we had lunch, and that's when a miracle happened. We got a referral from the mission office that someone requested a bible. So after we did some service for a member in the ward, we went over and gave this girl, named Lydea, a bible and also a pamphlet for the restoration. Soon after, we got a return appointment for Saturday to teach her more about the Book of Mormon. It was amazing, and it made me happy that we were able to help her when she needed it. She said before that she was an alcoholic and had a hard life, but now she is reading the bible for comfort and to push away the temptations to drink again. In my whole 4 months of my mission, I had never ever heard someone say that. It brought me joy to hear someone say that. After that, we went and visited some people and then had a lesson with Barbra and her family at 7. We taught them the plan of salvation, and that took 2 hours to explain because they get off topic so much, and they believe in reincarnation.... funny huh? So we taught them the plan, and it seemed to us that they understood it.

You already know about Thursday.

Thanksgiving with members
(Note from mom) Just when Paul and I were wondering where Jordan was spending Thanksgiving, a sweet member from Arlington sent me these pictures. What a great surprise!
So Friday we went to an alpaca farm and helped clean the stalls. It was pretty gross, but that's ok. I lived through it. After that, we had lunch and did some weekly planning. Then we did some service for some members in the ward and had dinner with them. They wanted me to play guitar, so I played for them, and they seemed to enjoy it. I hope they did... Then we left dinner after an hour and had a lesson with Barbra and her family again. We got all of them on date for baptism Wednesday and taught them the gospel of Jesus Christ. The funny part is that Mike, the father, brought up reincarnation, and Barbra, his wife, shut him up about it. It was pretty funny. He was about to say something to do with it, and Barbra was like "Mike, shh. The elders need to teach us this lesson." It made me happy that they are starting to understand that reincarnation is false doctrine and is made up by history shows and the apostasy.

Saturday and Sunday
Saturday was a hassle! So Elder Stoddard and I went to some members' houses and started to show the new Christmas video the church has put up on It's a cool video, and I will use it as my spiritual thought today. After we went to the old folks place and served there while Elder Stoddard took Elder Poulsen's new companion, Elder Wake, to our lesson with Lydea. They put her on date, invited her to church, and invited her to the come see for yourself fireside for investigators that was happening the next day. It was great, and all I did was bowl with the old folks, play bingo with the old folks, and then went home for lunch and heard all the news from the elders. It was great!! Then around 4, another miracle happened. We got a text from someone who wanted to come to church this week. Long story short, her name is Kelly, and she has an 8 year old son and a 5 year old girl. We gave them a church tour that night, and they came to church yesterday which was awesome! We are planning on teaching her on Wednesday. She told us that her first day at church was amazing, and everything she was taught applied to her in her life. She wants to learn more. Lydea got a ride from the Mauldins and came to church. She said she really liked it and wants to keep coming. She also says she feels at peace when she comes, and she can put the world aside when she comes. I can't tell you how grateful I am to hear all of these things coming from investigators mouths! Its like, DANG!! What do I say to that?

So that was my week. It was amazing, and I can't wait to have another week like that. Here is my message: 

That is the new Christmas video, and brothers and sisters, the message that it shares with us this year is simply "Light the World", serve others, help them to become better, and show some Christmas joy in your community. But this message is more then gifts and presents. It's about Christ, our Savior, and the love he shows for us. We may be celebrating his birth, but we shouldn't focus on just that. We should focus on what He did for us and how we can show others what He did to help others. I know He can help you when you need Him. I've seen it in my life. Please don't think you're alone in this world because you're not! He is here for you. I know that to be true, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

--Elder Hammond

Elder Hammond and his roommates.
His companion, Elder Stoddard, is on the far right.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 15 Staying in Stillaguamish

I am just speechless... I really don't know what to say, but I want to say thank you to everyone who has sent me emails in the last week and the people that reached out to me over Facebook. My mom sent me your comments. I have felt a love today that I haven't felt in 3 years. Before, I felt the love of my parents and brothers, but today, I felt something I haven't felt in a long time. Please keep praying for me because believe it or not, it does work. It truly does. Thank you Mom, Dad, Justin, Tyler, and Eric for always being there for me and sending your love to me when I needed you to. Thank you, Bishop Shaw, Emilee Berthelson, the Wards, the Andersons, Kenny, the Kempels, the Fosters, Aunt Kris, Sister Kearl, Sister Brough, Sister Nofsinger, Dawn-Marie, Sister Baisch,Yvonne, Brother Selin, Lisa, Sister Hotton, Sister Miller and everyone in my family and all my friends. Thank you for your prayers and your love. Because of you and OUR faith in God, I get to say here in Stillaguamish and keep doing the work the Lord wants me to do with Elder Stoddard, and because of your prayers and love you sent, a miracle happened this week! I'm going to tell you about it with how my week went.

We had a good p-day. We got hair cuts, went shopping, and had some fun playing basket ball. While the other elders played, I had an interview with the district leader about how i was feeling on Monday because it was not good. He told me so many thing that a lot of you have been telling me, and I'm grateful for Elder Qubalio's support too. I'll miss him. He's going to Lakewood, Spanish Branch, but we'll see each other again soon. He told me that even though we weren't seeing a lot of progression, that didn't matter because the Lord was blessing us in this area by helping us lay down a strong foundation for elders to come. Now going through this last week, I can see really what he meant. After p-day, we visited some people and then went home and to bed

Darrington day!! So we went and visited tons of people and had a good time up there. We visited some potentials and found some that we'll go meet tomorrow since I'm not getting transferred. We had a good day. After Darrington, we came home and had dinner and a lesson with a RC (recent convert) named Cameron. It was a good lesson. Other than that, that was it for that day...a little work and a good amount of progress.

Wednesday was district meeting, and it was a great meeting! Elder Qubalio taught a lesson on keeping commitments and why we follow up with people. It helped me to understand a little more why we do it. Then we had lunch and training and visited a lot of people. Then we had dinner, and we had a lesson with an investigator, but not just one, not just two, but three investigators. A couple of week ago, Granite Falls Ward sent us a referral, and they finally came through and we were able to teach this family that has been attending their ward for weeks because of the husband's mother who they knew in the ward and was a recent convert in the Granite Falls Ward. The elders were teaching her and then her son's family, who are the investigators, wanted to be baptized too. Since they live in our ward, they sent the referral to us which makes me so happy!! We got to teach them the restoration on Wednesday, and it felt so good. After our lesson with Barbara, Mike, and Christoper, who is the 11 year old son, we traveled back home feeling good, planned, and went to bed. That was the miracle for the week.

Thursday I had been feeling down again, but as the day went on, I continued to feel better and worked towards happiness. We just visited a lot of people at night time, but we didn't do a lot of work during the day because Elder Stoddard got sick, and we had to make sure he got enough rest.

We helped at the food bank. Elder Stoddard and Elder Poulsen had to go to the mission office for leadership training, and Elder Linsey and I stayed and did some work here. It was a pretty good day. Sorry I'm rushing. I'm running out of time.

We helped move someone from Darrington to somewhere else in the ward. Then we helped at the old folks place and visited some others. We had a good day.

Sunday was great, and we had a good day, but I only have time to share a message and leave.

Something that helped me this week was the scripture that is in D&C 121 "and now my son know that all these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thine own good, therefore hold on!!" This week I have learned to "fear no man" and to continue to grow with the love my Savior has given me. One more thing I want to share, and this is really powerful. Remember how Justin would always say "God doesn't do random?" He is so right, but I want to add to that statement-- God doesn't do random, but He does things for our own benefit. I love you all, and I hope you can see this statement work in your life. Love you all and miss you a ton. Bye!

Elder Hammond

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 14 Keepin' It Real

Hello, everyone. I've been asked several times, "How are you?" I'll be honest with you guys. I'm not doing so well. I'm not myself anymore. The work up here has not progressed in the last 5 weeks, and we don't have investigators anymore. 3 have been dropped in this transfer, and finding has not been the best. I haven't taught the restoration ever since I was in Bellingham. We are working our butts off trying to find people to teach, but we CAN'T find anyone. No one wants to hear us or be taught. I've asked God to show me change, and I've asked him to prepare hearts, but He hasn't yet. It makes me mad because I'm dedicating my life to this work and nothing is happening. Elder Stoddard and I are both disappointed in how the work goes in the weeks while we do weekly planning, and we feel like we are lost chickens running around with our heads cut off. It makes me sick to my stomach every time I think about how the work could go better, but it's not. We had no teaching appointments this week. We visit people, but we get nothing from them, and people just don't want to be taught. I feel like I'm not even doing missionary work. This week was disappointing, and I just don't know what to do any more. All I can say is pray for me because I need all the help I can get.

I've also been asked if I think I'm going to get transferred again. At this point, I'm not sure. I feel like I won't because there is too much work to be done in this ward, and I can't leave it now. I wish I could tell you of my week, but all that happened this week was just us going house to house trying to meet with people trying to find people. When it comes to Sunday, I look over what I've done in that week, and I feel like the worst missionary ever. Even though this Sunday we are finally getting help from the high council. I don't know if we'll ever get out of this deep hole we're in. We don't even have a ward mission leader that can be here for us and work with us. That's why the high council had to step in because we are the only ones doing the work, and yet we are getting nothing with what is happening.

I hope you all know I love you all greatly. I just don't feel the same as I used to 5 weeks ago. Please pray for me. I want to see miracles, and I have the faith for it. It's just not happening. Keep me in your prayers. Pray for miracles to happen because my prayers have not been answered yet. I love you all, and I hope everything is going well with all of you in Utah and anywhere you may be reading this. You have been in my prayers, and I will continue to pray for you. You're the best home I could ever have, but life is becoming hard for me right now, and I don't mean to blow up on you all. I just don't have that confidence like I used to anymore. I wish the best for you all, and I'll see you soon. I'm going to try to make this last week of the transfer the best, and I know I can do it. I just need some help. Thanks.

Elder Hammond

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Week 13 Another Week in Stillaguamish

This week has been super crazy, but before I get into it I need to answer some more questions that have been asked. I feel like I've answered these questions through all my emails, but that's okay. I'm happy to answer them.

"Grandma Hammond wants to know if you are getting their cards and candy money? Do they forward those to you or do you have to wait until you go to the mission office to get all your regular mail?"
They don't forward packages to us. We have to get those every time we go to the office or if someone in the zone goes to get them during the transfer like for MLC or if there's new mission training or any other reason. To answer this question, I have gotten every package, ever since Halloween, and that's it for the moment. Mail gets forwarded to the apartments, and I've gotten every one of the letters that have been sent to me.

"Do you have any investigators that you are working with right now?" 
Yes and no. Like I said in my last email, the work here has been really hard with getting investigators because no one really wants to be taught. We have two half investigators. Half investigators means that we have taught them lessons, but we haven't had a lesson with them in the last two weeks because they fall off the face of the earth when we go visit them, and they never respond to our texts. We have been given some referrals, but haven't contacted all of them yet. We are hoping to do that tomorrow as we go to Darrington, and yes I do drive. The companionship that is assigned the car are the only ones allowed to drive the car. So yes, I did have to drive to Darrington on my exchange, but that's because I am the missionary over this area. That's how it's suppose to work. Jr. companion or not, I still drive, and it doesn't matter who you are in the companionship. You'er both missionaries of the Lord.

"Have you had any weird new foods you have to eat? Do people feed you a lot of seafood? How are you doing with that?"
Haha! I hate sea food with a passion. It makes me sick every time I eat it. Funny though, ever since I've been out on my mission, I haven't had one bite of sea food because the members haven't fed me any. We get fed pretty well, but this month will be a lot harder because the members didn't really sign up, so we will have to make sure that we are getting fed by members again. If you tell them what you like and dislike, they will make it so that you're happy and that you're getting fed well and the way you want to be fed.

"Are you able to lead discussions on your own now?"
Yes and no, but it's really a companionship effort. As long as we are both working in unity to share the message, it doesn't matter who leads the discussions.

"What have you found to be the greatest challenge?"
The greatest challenge has been finding investigators. Tracting and referrals work out well, but we don't get a lot of referrals. Our area is too big to tract, so we have to rely on the members and our ward to help us. We are really trying though.

"Do you find yourself appreciating different personalities?" 
Ya, everyone is different, and that's the best part that I get to meet so many new people. They are all really cool, and I get to understand so much from them.

I think that's it for questions. I would stop answering them, but I don't get to tell you everything that's going on out here because I don't have enough time. You can send as many as you want to, but I may not be able to answer all of them with the time I get at the library on my session. 

Monday was a super p-day, and we had a great time. We did some shopping, played wally-ball, and had a good dinner. We also played chess with the ZL's for the rest of the night because we had to be in by 6. It was really fun, and I had a good time.

I studied and did some family search, and I really am learning how to use that and how to do the work there. I have to do some research for my family, though. Some people are ready for ordinances, but things like permission and data problems are holding them back. I'm going to need some help from our family search dude. After that, we went to Darrington and did some work down there and then came back around dinner time and did some work in Arlington.

Wednesday we had district meeting, and we talked about having confidence in ourselves as missionaries. It was a good meeting. We did a lot of service for some members and some other people as well, and that was good. We organized the mini MTC day for our ward, and I can't wait!! I'm so excited for it because it's going to be like ours at home but a lot shorter!!!

Thursday we did a lot of work and tried to see as many people as we could so that we can have investigators, but no luck....

Friday we helped at the food bank and then we did weekly planing. We did some service for another member who is less active, and we got to help her in her horse stall while learning about horses. It was pretty cool.

We helped at the old folks place for 2 hours, and then we did a lot of visits. It was a good day.

Sunday I fasted the whole day. I fasted for the help to find ways to increase our finding progress in the mission and many other things. I learned so much yesterday that I will have to tell you about later because I don't have the time.

Oh to answer one more question. Mom, almost all the members have been sending you the pics, but the one that has sent them the most is a family called the Anglens. They're a great family, and yes, they are the family that has the drums, grand piano, and guitar. We spend a lot of time with them because they really like feeding us dinner. They also have a son out in Long Beach, California so they like the company of missionaries. They love it when I play their stuff. I love it too, if you can't tell.

Hi, Mom! Look what I got to play?

I have time for a spiritual message so I'm going to share one. Today my spiritual message comes from 1 Nephi 18: 10-25. Now I'm not going to write it all so ill just copy it all from

10 And I, Nephi, began to fear exceedingly lest the Lord should be angry with us, and smite us because of our iniquity, that we should be swallowed up in the depths of the sea; wherefore, I, Nephi, began to speak to them with much soberness; but behold they were angry with me, saying: We will not that our younger brother shall be a ruler over us. 

11 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me and bind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness; nevertheless, the Lord did suffer it that he might show forth his power, unto the fulfilling of his word which he had spoken concerning the wicked. 

12 And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work. 

13 Wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days; and they began to be frightened exceedingly lest they should be drowned in the sea; nevertheless they did not loose me. 

14 And on the fourth day, which we had been driven back, the tempest began to be exceedingly sore. 

15 And it came to pass that we were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea. And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish save that they should repent of their iniquities; wherefore, they came unto me, and loosed the bands which were upon my wrists, and behold they had swollen exceedingly; and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof. 

16 Nevertheless, I did look unto my God, and I did praise him all the day long; and I did not murmur against the Lord because of mine afflictions. 

17 Now my father, Lehi, had said many things unto them, and also unto the sons of Ishmael; but, behold, they did breathe out much threatenings against anyone that should speak for me; and my parents being stricken in years, and having suffered much grief because of their children, they were brought down, yea, even upon their sick-beds. 

18 Because of their grief and much sorrow, and the iniquity of my brethren, they were brought near even to be carried out of this time to meet their God; yea, their grey hairs were about to be brought down to lie low in the dust; yea, even they were near to be cast with sorrow into a watery grave. 

19 And Jacob and Joseph also, being young, having need of much nourishment, were grieved because of the afflictions of their mother; and also my wife with her tears and prayers, and also my children, did not soften the hearts of my brethren that they would loose me. 

20 And there was nothing save it were the power of God, which threatened them with destruction, could soften their hearts; wherefore, when they saw that they were about to be swallowed up in the depths of the sea they repented of the thing which they had done, insomuch that they loosed me. 

21 And it came to pass after they had loosed me, behold, I took the compass, and it did work whither I desired it. And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm. 

22 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, did guide the ship, that we sailed again towards the promised land. 

23 And it came to pass that after we had sailed for the space of many days we did arrive at the promised land; and we went forth upon the land, and did pitch our tents; and we did call it the promised land. 

24 And it came to pass that we did begin to till the earth, and we began to plant seeds; yea, we did put all our seeds into the earth, which we had brought from the land of Jerusalem. And it came to pass that they did grow exceedingly; wherefore, we were blessed in abundance. 

25 And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men. And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper.

Now there is a lot of reading, but there is a really good principle in this story. That principle is God loves each and everyone of us, but when we choose to sin, then shall our consequence be great and exceedingly terrifying. As true as this principal can be, the second part of it is also true. If we hasten to repent and ask God for forgiveness, He will bless each of us. Brothers and sisters, I know that this is true. I have seen this work in my life, and I know it can work in your life too. You just have to let Jesus in your life and let Him take away the pain and sufferings that you are going through. As I have been on a mission, I have gained a further understanding of the atonement, and I know if we repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness, God will lead us to our "promised land." He loves each and every one of us. I know this is true, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

--Elder Hammond