Monday, February 27, 2017

Week 29 Service and Faith

This week was way cool!! Let's get right to it.

We did service and helped someone move because the last elders signed us up for it. Then we got stuck in traffic trying to get to the ferry to head to the mainland. We went shopping, went on an exchange, and I stayed on the mainland while Elder Addington went back to the island. I stayed with Elder Davis on Elder Kuble's bike.... it was painful to be on bike for the first time, but I'm still here so we're good. 

I stayed with Elder Davis, and we did a lot of work in his area. I got thunder legs from it (it just means they really hurt), but we had a good time. Elder Davis is a fun elder!!

We had district meeting, and it was a great one. We talked about baptismal contacts and how to do it. It was pretty cool. We talk to people about baptism, and it seems to work pretty well. Then after, we went home on the island and did some service for Jake, one of our members. We had a good time. He's a cool guy. Then we had dinner, met with the bishop, and then went home.

Elder Addington wasn't feeling too well, so he slept for half the day. Then we went to Jake's again and did some more service for him. Jake is handicapped so we have to help as much as we can. He's a total red neck, and yes, he does watch Duck Dynasty too. He's so funny!! Then we had dinner and went to help the family that we helped move in on Monday to help them some more with moving in. Then we went home.

We weekly planned, had lunch, and then we went and met all the new move ins...nothing big.

We went to Jake's and helped him drive his Honda Odyssey go-kart. He had a hard time driving it, so I had to get on the front of it and help him steer it while he drove it back to his garage. I had a fun time and so did he. Elder Addington filmed the whole thing, but it didn't save. Oh well.... 

We had 3 investigators come to church, and they all really liked it. They are going to come back next week. Then after we cleaned the apartment, we took naps because Elder Addington and I weren't felling so well. Then we had dinner and went home to account.

Here is my spiritual message. I hope you like it:
So this week I learned something really cool. I really love the story of the blind man in John chapter 9. This is the story:

1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

 2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

 3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

 4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

 6 When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,

 7 And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

It's so crazy how this all works because this man had so much faith from what Jesus said to go do. The spirit was super strong there too because he went and did exactly what Jesus told him to. If I was the blind man, I would have asked what the heck was going on. I love the next part of the story though:

8 ¶The neighbours therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged?

 9 Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he.

 10 Therefore said they unto him, How were thine eyes opened?

 11 He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.

 12 Then said they unto him, Where is he? He said, I know not.

 13 ¶They brought to the Pharisees him that aforetime was blind.

 14 And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes.

 15 Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.

 16 Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them.

 17 They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet.

 18 But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight.

 19 And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see?

 20 His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind:

 21 But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.

 22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

 23 Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him.

 24 Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner.

 25 He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.

The Pharisees had their own disbelief and thought that this man was lying, and they also thought that Jesus was a sinner. This man could see they didn't like Jesus, and so to get them off his back he say's "Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see." Here's the rest of the story:

26 Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes?

 27 He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?

 28 Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples.

 29 We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.

 30 The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.

 31 Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

 32 Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.

 33 If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.

 34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.

 35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?

 36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?

 37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.

 38 And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

 39 ¶And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

 40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?

 41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

Jesus has a simple lesson here, and that is what the man said, "I was blind, now I see." Every person that Jesus met was blind and could not see the gospel in their life. Their faith was lacking, but Jesus helps us see the gospel. He softens our hearts and helps us to repent of our sins, and that is what He did in this story. He helped this man see and taught that he does that for all. I hope we all can see Christ as He really is, our friend, our brother, our savior. I know this is true, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Hammond

Week 28 Hello Island Mission Life!

Brothers and sisters, I want to say hello from the Puget Sound on Whidbey Island! It is a totally different place here. Let's get to the week. I won't have a spiritual message this week because we have to get on the ferry to get to the main land soon, so I don't have a lot of time. 

We had a normal p-day. We went and emailed for my last time in Stillaguamish. Then we went and played ultimate Frisbee and some other games at the park because it was nice out, so we had lots of fun. Then after, we went and visited members and said my last goodbyes to them, and I shed a lot of tears because I will miss the Stilly Ward. I learned a lot from there and met a lot of great people. Then we had dinner with one of the members and watched The Restoration for FHE to show Kelly, my old investigator, what FHE was like. Now she has more understanding of it and hopefully everything works out with her. Then we went and said good bye to more people. 

Saying goodbyes
I said my last goodbyes to members that I didn't see before, and then we drove off to Mill Creek for transfers. That's when I found out I was white washing with Elder Addington into South Whidbey Island. We had a member drive us to the ferry, and it was really cool. I got pictures of the sound. 
New Companion--Elder Addington
On the ferry to South Widbey Island

Pudget Sound

Pudget Sound

As crazy as it is, we take the ferry to the mainland every Monday and Wednesday for p-day and District meeting. It can really drain you and work you over, but I enjoyed it. Then once on the island, we got into our Subaru Legacy and drove to the bishop's house and met him. That was way cool. He is so excited to have us here, and he feels that we are the perfect ones for the job. He said he has never been more excited for missionary work then he is now, and I am so grateful to have him as a bishop. He is a way cool one, and we will be working with him a lot more.

We took the ferry to district meeting, and then we got stranded on the mainland for half the day waiting for the mission office to print us new tickets for the ferry. Now we are set for a good amount of time. Once we got back to the island, we went and put our food away that we had bought for the apartment. Then we went to work meeting all the members and former investigators we could find that lived close to us.

We had a meeting with our ward mission leader, and he is so cool. He introduced us to like half of the ward council and talked about the progress here. Which reminds me, please, please, please, keep praying for me. A lot of missionaries have been sent home because of this island and for the dumb things they did which injured them or got them in trouble. I'm scared that something may happen, but I know that as I stay obedient, I'll get through it. Keep praying for me that things will work out okay. The rest of the day we went and visited a lot of members. Then we had dinner at the Flaggs, who are members, and they live on the beach. It was so cool because the whole time we had dinner, we just had an amazing view of the sound. It was so awesome!!! Then we visited more people and went home.

We visited as many people as we could, and then we had dinner and weekly planned for the rest of the night.

We helped a member move, and then we had a lesson with a man named Luc. He became a new investigator, which was great because we really had none. Then we went and visited a member named Jake Johnson and did some service for him. After that, we visited a lot of people and then went home.

We had church, and we had a really spiritual experience at the new ward. Then we visited some people, had dinner, and used up some miles. They take them away from us if we don't use them so we drove around. Then we went home and did accounting.

Well that's it for this week. Please also keep Elder Addington in your prayers too. His health is not going well, so he has to take a lot of naps because he is loosing sleep. I love you all and hope everything is going well. Have a good week!

Elder Hammond

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Week 27 Farewell Stillaguamish and Darrington

I never thought this day would come this quick, but brothers and sisters, I am transferring from Stillaguamish Ward!!!! 😢😢😢😢😢😢😢💔💔💔💔😨😢😨😨😨😑 I am not happy, but I'm willing to leave if that's where the Lord wants me to go. Let me share what happened this week, and what I will be doing today in my departure from these two good areas.

Elder Hammond's District

It snowed so we were grounded from our cars. We had to walk everywhere. 😢  We couldn't email because the library was closed, so we walked to get lunch at a place like the Pizza Pie Cafe in Utah. It was pretty good, and we had fun there. Then we walked to Arlington's apartment, my old apartment, and we played games for the rest of the night. Then we went to dinner and had a good time. We came home and did some area book work because we couldn't do anything else... but that's ok.

We visited some people. I emailed you all, and then we we visited some other people and had dinner. That is all I remember.

We had district meeting and talked about the broadcast and more about making commitments. Then we talked about some other things like having charity for the people we teach. After we had district meeting, we visited some people and had a lesson with Lydia. We helped her realize again that God does love her, and the way she can learn that for herself is if she looks to Him in prayer, reads the scriptures, and goes to church. She felt alone, and I knew exactly what she was feeling because I felt that not too long ago, but because the Savior has made an influence in my life, I know He is with me as I serve and look to Him. She can feel the same if she can just build her faith. She's not my investigator to influence any more, but I did what I had to to try to help here. Never have I felt more Christ-like love for any one except my investigators, my family, and my close friends, so I tried my hardest, and now it's someone else's turn. Later in the day, we had a really good lesson with Kelly, and she feels she can be ready for baptism on March 28th because she prayed about it. She feels that can be her day, and I agree, so we will see how that works out. Then we went home.

We visited a lot of people in Darrington, taught seminary, and had all of our lessons fall through. We had 18 inches of snow to drive through with our jeep. 😃 That was fun. Man, I'm going to miss that car!!

We went to the food bank, did weekly planning, and had dinner with members. 

We went and helped with the old folks, visited some people, and found two potentials in a place where there was no work to do in our area!! It made me so happy. Then we went home and had dinner and had a good rest of the day.

My last day of church was amazing! It was a normal day of church. We had Kelly come to church, and she is going to come to FHE tonight and have dinner with us. Then we had a steak dinner with the Baldarases, which is funny because we had dinner with them my first day here, and now they fed me one more time before I left. Interesting! I also got to jam on the guitar with their son before i left. It was so much fun!!. 

I am playing ultimate Frisbee with my district one last time, and then I am saying goodbye to as many members as I can before tomorrow because I love this ward so much!!! I can't believe I'm leaving them. I don't know how badly this will affect me, but I know it's putting a big impact on my life. I will forever have a spot in my heart for this ward, and I will miss them dearly, like Bellingham is in my heart.
Farewell Stillaguamish and Darrington!!! Forever you will be in my heart!!!!

Elder Hammond

Elder Soelberg and Elder Hammond with the Mauldins from Darrington
Some of his favorite people in the area.

Week 26 Stripling Warriors

Hey everyone. I don't have a lot to say and not a lot of time, but I will try to do it as quickly as I can.  So here it goes.

We had a good p-day. We emailed, went shopping, and enjoyed some basketball time. I also wrote letters to people. I'm getting close to my six months, so I wanted to send out thank yous to everyone that has really inspired me in my life. I couldn't write a whole lot, but I do want to thank everyone that reads this because you all mean the world to me. You really do. Then after that, we had dinner and tried to visit some people, but no one would let us in.

We visited some people that got referred to us, had lunch, did progressing, and went and saw some more referrals. No one would open to us. Then we saw some members and did some tracting. We also did some area book work so that we could save miles, however, we got the whole thing wrong. We didn't need to save miles because we were under the whole time... Sad day. We had dinner with the Leglers, and then we took them with us to lessons with Kelly and Cameron, a recent convert, and they did a good job. They shared their testimonies and helped us to teach them, but what I really love is that we gave Kelly a commitment to pray and fast about Feb 11th to be her baptism date. She said she would do it, and that made me happy.

We had district meetings and went up to the highest part of our area and tried to visit some people. We did some tracting and had dinner. Then we had a lesson with the Kurtzers, well, actually Barbara, the mom, and we taught about temples and what they are, what they look like, and how they help us and others. Then we talked about getting a temple recommend. The problem is they aren't coming to our church every week. They are going to the Granet Falls Ward in Marrysville as well as ours, and we told them they need to come to our ward more if they want a temple recommend and to have Mike get the priesthood. They understood it and are willing to come more, hopefully.

We went to Darrington and had no success. Every lesson fell through, and no one really wanted to talk to us...

We did service at the food bank and did weekly planning.

We had a lesson with Liam, a new investigator, and taught the plan of salvation. He is doing a really good job and is on date too. We did some service in the pouring rain... not fun, and then we visited a lot of people and went home.

We fasted for Kelly to receive her answer to her prayer. We also had church and visited some people but had to be in by 8 cause the Patriots won the Superbowl. Our dinner appointment had the game on, and it was so weird because you don't see people with the TV on a lot during dinner. So ya...

That's this week, and here is my spiritual message I sent to President Wilding:

Yesterday we taught a family the story of the Stripling Warriors, and I just really like this story because it helps not only kids understand the lesson because they can relate to it, but it also helps all of us see and understand a commandment that we are give. Let me give you the scriptures:

44 Therefore what say ye, my sons, will ye go against them to battle?

45 And now I say unto you, my beloved brother Moroni, that never had I seen so great courage, nay, not amongst all the Nephites.

46 For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.

What I love is how much courage they had to go against the enemy and yet they didn't doubt anything. Their fathers could not fight because that would break their covenants with God, but because the sons had so much respect for their fathers, they went to war to help their fathers so that they didn't break their covenant with the Lord. But what I really like is this:

47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.

48 And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.

Their mothers helped them. They taught them everything they needed to be the warriors that would not doubt their God and what he could do for them. Now it doesn't say they were taught by their fathers or by their school teachers, but their mothers. I love that because they were valiant and courageous, and they respected their parents, but most importantly, their moms. I would not be who I am today if it wasn't for my parents, but most importantly my mom.

I know this is true and that Helaman put that in there to help us in our day. I hope you can learn and adore more things like this everyday, and I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Hammond
My own little Stripling Warrior having some fun on Pday

Friday, February 3, 2017

Week 25 Conversion

Hello everyone! What a week! This has been a crazy week, so let's get to it.

We had a good p-day. We went shopping, played basketball, emailed, and had a lot of fun. Then we went and had FHE with ward members and had a good time. After that, we visited some people and tried to get some new investigators but no luck really...

We visited a lot of people and were able to pick up one new investigator. His name is Liam. He's 14, and we were going to a less active's house when we saw that a potential lived in the rental above the house. Liam is a cool kid, and he believes in a lot of things. I think he is going to be a solid investigator. We really want to get the rest of his family involved. Otherwise he may not be able to be baptized. Plus, he can be baptized with his whole family if they get involved! It would be great because the church is true!

We had the mission training broadcast, and we learned about the new schedule that has already started in this mission. Now we will only report on 4 key indicators instead of 9: baptism and confirmation, investigators on date, investigators in sacrament meeting, and new investigators. If you have questions about those other key indicators, ask Justin. Then we had a lesson with the Kurtzers, and our goal with them is to get them to the temple in about a month. That's what our lesson was about with them. We will be having another with them later this week. Hopefully it all works out.

I went on an exchange with Elder Poulson, and we went to Darrington. We visited a lot of investigators and tried to have lessons with them, but we couldn't have any lessons with Lydia or Jayson. That was sad, but it's ok. We visited a lot of people down in Darrington and then had a lesson with a former investigator named Ann Blake. She was an investigator when the elders were in Darrington, and the sisters were in Arlington. The elders told her that the new elders would teach her more when they got there, but that info never got to us when they we got to pick her up again as an investigator. She is an interesting one. She doesn't want to get baptized because she was already baptized into a different church so she doesn't see the need to be baptized again. It's funny how the situation worked with her because the other missionaries didn't work it out so she understood why she needed to be baptized into this church, but I'm glad that we were able to help her now. We gave her a reading assignment to read Mosiah 18 and to pray about it. That should help her understand why she needs it as well. That's all for that day.

We served at the food bank. Then we had a lot of service, and we had to do a lot of walking because we are over on miles for the jeep, but we survived this week so we will be good.

We did a lot of service, moved lights, helped at the old folks place, and did some service for our members and barely had to drive so it all worked out. We also helped set up a reception for the bishop's daughter which was fun. That was that.

We went on a car fast, went to church, and did a lot of weekly planning and preparing for the week. We got rides for everywhere we went, which was great! Then at the end of the day, Elder Soelberg got a call from President telling him that his grandma passed away. It was a sad moment for both of us, but he seems to be doing alright about it. I hope it's all ok with him. I would feel the same way if I lost one of my grandparents.

Here is my spiritual thought for the week:

In the past two days, I've been thinking about something that seemed really interesting to me. We had ward conference yesterday and President Williams gave a very good talk. He talked about each of our conversion points and how we can come to understand Christ even better. He talked about the woman at the well and how her conversion came really quickly. This is the story:

" 5 Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.

6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.

7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.

8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)

9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?

12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?

13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.

17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:

18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.

26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he."

This story is very interesting to me because she calls him many things before she realizes she is talking to the Savior. She calls him a Jew, then a sir, then a prophet, then the Messiah. As well, she seeks counsel from someone who she feels is a prophet, a holy one, about where to worship, and what I love is that she has faith that better things are to come when the Messiah comes. She just didn't know when that would be, but Jesus was able to tell her that time was now, and He was doing so at that time. He also teachers her a lot of things about how we can have the gospel with us and never need to look again, and this is if we look to Him. The part I really want to focus on is how she was converted really quickly. When she met the man, she didn't know what expect of him, but when she left, she went and told everyone else and their conversion came in a different way.

28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,

29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

She left what she came for and went to tell others, "Look what I found. Is this not the truth?" In many ways, that is like us. We are sharing what we have found to be true. We know it's true, and we, like the woman, left everything behind to tell people of the things we saw and hear, and others are blessed because of it.

30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

39 ¶And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.

40 So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days.

41 And many more believed because of his own word;

42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world. 

They told the woman, "when you told us of Him, we only believed a little bit, but once we saw it for ourselves, then we believed it fully." This principle is something we can all learn and have. Before, the Samaritans only were convinced of the gospel a little bit, but once they heard and saw the things the woman was talking about, they were converted to all of it. The best part about this story is that Jesus inspires all of us to be converted to him in this life. All we have to do is listen, and He will help us to do the rest. In the past two days, I've been wondering, is this a characteristic of Christ, and as I thought about it and studied it, the more I realize that yes, it is because of that very statement I just made. "Jesus inspires all of us to be converted to Him in this life." I love learning things like this, and I hope that you have the same chance to learn stuff like this at your homes. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Hammond