Monday, November 26, 2012



Happy belated Thanksgiving.  I hope Josh had a good time at Grandma Hamm's.  I hope he helped her in the kitchen.  :)  Also I have to wish a Happy Birthday to Heather, Kayla and Madison! :)  Sorry for others that I have missed.  :/  Please forgive me.  As always it was so great to read your emails.  Also this week since we had mission tour and District conference I received my first  written letters! :)  That was extremely exciting as well.  I received dad's short letter that was sent pouchmail postmarked on Oct 25.  There is no telling when it got to Manila but I got it Nov 20.  Along with 2 dearelder letters from Bammer and one from mom.  So fun to get some news.  I saved them and read each one on a different morning during breakfast.  More telling about the travel time of mail though is Madison's snail mail letter (Stamp cost $1.05) that I received at district conference on Sunday.  Thank you Madison.  It was postmarked November 7th in the states and I think it arrived in Manila sometime around the 20th(the 23rd at the latest).  So less than 15 days.  So we have a Christmas party on the 19th.  If you mail a letter today I might get it at that time.  Thank you so much Madison.  I loved your letter.  I was laughing SO hard. (If you want to save some money I will not be offended if you use dearelder. :) )  Also I received another dear elder from Bammer and one from Eliza.  So fun to hear from all of you!!

So as I said we had mission tour.  Elder Neilson (from the 70) and Sister Neilson came.  They are over the Philippines mission and have been living in Manila for awhile now.  Before that they were in New Zealand.  It was really good to hear from them. (Nice  to have some english speakers around.) :)  It was a nice spiritual boost.  Sister Neilson also spoke about getting along with companions and related it to her children bringing spouses into the family. haha.  I'll recap that one for you after I get home before I bring someone home. :)  Our mission, as was reemphasized, is focusing on reactivating less actives.  I really love this part of missionary work.  It is fun to go visit with them and try to figure out how we can best help them and watch as their desire to come back grows.  One of our less actives this week told us she wants to come back to church but is shy.  It was really exciting to hear that. Especially since she is the daughter of the person we went to contact and she just happen to walk in as we were about to begin teaching! Heavenly Father's hand is in all.

Little shout out for visiting and home teaching.  Please do it!  It has always seemed a little unimportant to me to be honest, but I'm seeing just how much it can help and you never know who you are assigned to that might need you!  We are hoping more people here will faithfully go home and visiting teaching.
Um--lets see.  Some more random. Most of the roads we walk along are paved but very gravely and there aren't usually sidewalks.  Many of the houses here have electricity but there are many that don't as well. I watched as one of our investigators made a new lamp for their house this week.  They simply use a glass bottle and put lighter fluid in it (bought from a small store on the street)  Then there is a thick fabric rolled up and shoved in the top.  I'm gonna miss sitting outside by the light of these lamps when I eventually leave this area.  Its a fun atmosphere.

I haven't really eaten anything adventurous yet.  But guess what?!?  I think I was born to be a Filipina.  I'm better at eating meat here.  Let me tell you why.  The meat here is often fatty or has bones in it etc.  Crazy right? :) haha.  But so it is totally normal to first pick apart the meat using your fork and spoon. Plus, once in your mouth, you just chew and if you find something undesirable its normal to isolate it and put it onto your spoon and lay it on a spot on your plate. At least this is how all the sisters I live with do it and I've seen a couple others.  So maybe this is the same as the states and I just haven't been brave enough (or hungry enough) who knows, maybe you think I'm crazy.  But hopefully the story at least gives you a laugh and know that I am eating! :)

Other thing.  I found the secret to getting rid of yellow arm pit stains.  I thought I had tried everything in the states.  Vinegar, not drying my whites in the dryer, bleach etc.  But here all I had to do was hand wash/ scrub the stains with liquid tide (that I had leftover from the states) hung them to dry outside in the sun and wala! (I think it maybe spelled Vala but in tagalog wala is none so this way it is punny. :P)  Anyway. That's that.

So, the job for that family did work out.  It was actually for the mother and she worked it for 2 days before her husband found a job for him!  :)  So she is back at home with the kids and he is at work.  Miracle of miracles-- he works everyday but Sunday! :)  So wonderful.

The Lord's hand is over all and we just need to trust in His plan for us and strive to know what it is He would have us do.  I was reading in Moses this morning (I think ch 7) about all that Enoch saw and about the Lord weeping for the world.  It was a beautiful chapter and made me grateful for the book of Moses and for the knowledge we have of this world and the plan of salvation.  I love you all!  Enjoy your week, I know I will!  :)

Sister Hamm

P.S.  Learned the word in the title while subject.  I knew the root but I had no idea how to conjugate it.  So there it is. :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tinutupad ng Dyios ang mga pangako

Monday, November 19, 2012 4:00 AM


Thank you so much for your emails they are so uplifting. I find all of the info very interesting but won't comment on everything just to save time.  They help me feel close to you throughout the week. :) Okay, so most of what I have to say is random. But that works, right? :)

Today we had a district activity for p-day. It was fun to get together with other missionaries and ward missionaries. Plus it was cool cause we saw some of the more beautiful parts of Palawan. For the activity we went hiking... but it was my kind of hiking. The kind without a real trail. Most of the time we were either walking through the river or on the rocks lining either side. At the end of our hike we reached a little waterfall. It was nice to be outside just sitting around. Hiyahiy. Okay that is not how you spell it but kind of how you say it: hi-yah-hi. It's an expression that means like "doing nothing". I love it. It's fun to say although I can rarely honestly use it. :)

Some things that you might find interesting that I haven't mentioned: 1.We take off our shoes before entering a home to teach. (To be honest I'm still mastering the skill of doing so quickly and gracefully. I get it most of the time but sometimes not so great. haha :P ) 2. I was standing in a members home this week and realized, I don't think I have seen carpet once since I've been here. there have been a few small rugs but all the floors as tile or linoleum. It makes sense because we have the hardest time keeping the dirt out of our house and it is quite humid. With no air conditioning and the windows open carpet probably wouldn't survive even though no rain comes in. 3. Roosters crow all the time. I have had people tell me this before but I am experiencing it first hand and just want to bust the myth that they crow at sunrise. I was up before the sun today and they were already going at it. And when we go to bed at night they crow then too. When they sleep, I dont know but I can sleep through it so I dont care. :) 4. When we go up to doors. We don't typical knock. Instead we say, "Tao Po". Which in gist means People or anybody home. Then if anyone is home they can open there door for us or tell us to "Pasok" (enter).

As for your questions: Typical day-- Wake up at 6am and either run or do laundry (they are about equal in physical exertion! haha jk but seriously it works up a sweat.) The 4 of us take turns in the shower and eating breakfast. At 8 we start personal study (a beautiful time of day. I can hear the birds chirping. I am clean and cool. The light comes in the window onto my desk. I study the scriptures. Pure bliss.) Then we move to companionship study at 9 which since I am in the 12 week training program lasts 2 hrs instead of 1. So at 11am I start my one hour of language study. Noon we have lunch and we usually leave the apartment around 12:30, sometimes one. Then we visit less active members and investigators. This keeps us pretty busy but we are always finding along the way. Talking to anyone who we feel prompted or who is hiyahi-ing :) Its so fun. I like talking to random people about the gospel, especially when they are interested. That is what we do everyday. We haven't visited any hospitals or anything. We just contact all the people we need to and that keeps us busy, which is cool. The work is going pretty well.

As for diet.... well, its a bit like college. Rough schedule and I'm simple to please. Breakfast is oatmeal with milk ( I found a milk that doesn't have corn syrup or something powedered in it! yay! Thank you nestle and the cows in New Zeland) My favorite new thing is to put "saging" in my oatmeal. Those are the bananas here but they are very small and sooo sweet. They taste somewhat like our bananas but I think I like these better. Lunch is sometimes a Filipino dish with rice, or when we are lazy I eat ramen or peanut butter on crackers or an apple (which I absolutely love. I think PB is a comfort food for me.) We usually skip dinner because we are out working. I either eat some bread from a little shop that dot most of the roads here or a protein bar and then eat my raisin cinnamon bread or crackers or apples with peanut butter. Anyway. It works for me. And don't worry, Im taking my vitamins. :) We have yet to eat at a members home... so when that happens I will let you know what we eat.

As for some experiences this week. We are teaching a 12 year old girl who's parents joined the church a couple of years back but have since gone inactive. We had her baptism planned for the 24th but since that was over the mission conference baptisms, activities etc were not allowed. So we told her we needed to move it. Established a new date after the lesson and closed with a prayer. When we finished the prayer she was crying. When we asked her why she said it was because she was really excited for her baptism. It was such a sweet moment. I felt bad for her but at the same time my heart swelled with joy because of her desire. It was a beautiful exhibit of her testimony and desire. I can't wait for her baptism.

 Another experience was with this cute little family of 5. They joined the church just as I was entering the MTC. They are so strong in the church though that I thought it had been a lot longer than that for the first week I was here. Well anyway, this week Brother lost his job. It was so sad. Many of the families here live pay check by pay check and in very meager ways. We went to visit them the night he lost his job and they talked about how they prayed and then this valiant father went walking around the whole city applying for every construction job he could. Nothing came of it but the couple were being very positive and faithful. We shared a message and left. We visited them a couple of days later and watched as they gave some left overs we brought to their children. It was hard, knowing the parents had been fasting and were probably worried. We asked if they would be able to make it to church (it costs 8 pesos per person over a certain age so they would cost 16 or 24 for them just one way.) They told us they would make it. They were there at church. The lesson in gospel principles was providing for our family and how those who don't provide for themselves should not eat. I sat there thinking oh my gosh! And then suddenly the thought came to me as Heavenly Father, "They are My children and I will take care of them. I know them." I had been worried that they would be offended or something but I "sinned in my" worry. Heavenly Father knew what the family needed to hear. He wants His children to be happy, He wouldn't want them to be hurting in that lesson. Anyway. So in coordination meeting we brought it up and had 3 job offers. We checked with Brother after the meeting and it is going to work out! What a wonderful gift. Thank goodness for wonderful ward members who jumped to find something and for the faith of this family. As we left the church building, we saw the family. Brother said to his son, "We are walking today." And they took off. The youngest in arm, the 6 and 4 year old walking with their parents the miles home. It was so sad and yet so inspiring to see their faith and dedication to the Lord! I thank Heavenly Father for this family and their example. :)

Well I think that is about all for this week. All I have time for. I love you all!

Love, Sister Jaclyn Hamm

Please give my love to my brothers especially. I miss you Tyler. I miss you Nathan. I miss you Jacob. I miss you Josh. Love you so much!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tinawag maglinkod ng Diyos

Monday, November 12, 2012 1:48 AM
Hello Family,
So it was so good to get your emails today!! I got used to hearing from you more than once a week in the MTC. :) Thanks for that.
I have missed you all a lot lately. My companion pointed out that most of the time when she has a desire to go home it's not because she is tired of the work but that she appreciates what she has at home so much and wants to be there to be with her family and serve them. I would definitely have to agree with that! I have already become so much more grateful for all of the things I have at home AND the blessings we enjoy here. :) For example a big goal in our area right now is to find more righteous priesthood holders that can become leaders. We have some great leaders in our branch but there is a shortage of endowed men in the entire area. At church on Sunday I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the wonderful examples I have in my life. Grateful for the Brambleton Ward with all of the wonderful strong fathers who lead and attend the temple and are sealed to their families. I was grateful to all of the moms who work so hard for their children (here and abroad) to feed them, and take care of them and be a righteous example. (Mom and Dad most of all that applies to you. I was overcome with gratitude for the worthy temple recommend holders you are. Hope you know what a difference it has made in our family.)
I am also very grateful for fans. New-found appreciation. The windows in our apt (like mom asked) are always open . We each have (provided by the mission) an electric fan. Turn that on and personal and companionship study and sleeping are quite pleasant. In the mornings when I wake up I am even cool almost. :) I would be fine with a top sheet (which I don't use). The humidity hasnt been nearly as bad as I was expecting and does feel like Virginia often. Although going to bed at night is pretty gross. :) As I change for bed and lay down my legs are covered in sweat, bug repellant, mosquito bites, and dirt. I smell like trek and my whole body is sticky. But the second I lay down the fan hits me and I am comfy and I'm out in about 2 minutes. Showering in the morning feels so good. 
More on the branch. We have about 125 people attended each week. We meet in a building that has rooms with fans and air conditioning. (Same design as Ecuador) Many times people will read scriptures in English and they qoute general conference talks in English but the rest is Tagalog. Unless we reading from an english Gospel Principles manual (about half of the ones at church are :) ) In lessons we only speak Tagalog which is rough because sometimes I can't follow where the lesson is going. Eek! That is probably the hardest thing for me here... knowing whether I am doing enough to study the language, knowing how to better study it, and having faith that it will come. I know the Lord will bless me but I often wonder if I am studying worthy of the blessing. Oh well. I will try to keep improving my study. My companion and I need to speak more Tagalog to one another. After a week we are already in a bad habit of speaking English.
We are pretty close to other missionaries. In fact our whole district is using the same internet cafe for emailing right now. :) The 4 sisters and then 4 elders (district leader companionship and zone leader companionship).
To answer a few other questions of yours:
I actually feel quite safe here, even as we walk at night. (Don't worry though I am still on guard... when I'm not falling asleep on my feet. Joke-lang!) Although, we learned one day last week from G. that there is a part of the area (that we frequently visit during the day) that foreigners should not be in after dark... good to know. :) And one other part of our area is somewhere the missionaries don't go after dark. So avoiding those two spots we are all good. The people seems very nice and honest for the most part. For example, The trike rides cost between 8-10 pesos per person and it just depends on the distance you travel. (Im still working on estimating that.) The weird part is, you just tell em where your going and get in. Then at the end we pay whatever it should be. (most of the time for us it is 8 but church is 10 and a couple other areas we go to) Anyway, I did my math wrong (go figure) one time and gave him enough for 10 each (with a little change necessary) when the ride only cost 8. I handed it to him and waited for change. He could have charged me the ten but helped me work out the money and said 8 only. I thanked him. That seems pretty standard around here.
My prayers over food have become...more sincere. Although we all knew that would be the case. I am grateful that I haven't gotten sick yet and I have actually enjoyed almost everything I've eaten. I found some cinnamon raisin bread for a good price here so that has become my dessert at night after we return home. It is heavenly. We don't have dinner apts here. Although we have been randomly invited to eat twice while visiting members for referals. It was nice. They have so many rice dishes here. But they also have some noodle dishes. We have decided (my comp and I) that chinese food here is like mexican food in the states. There are many resturants with chinese food and they vary in their authenticity.
I just bought some plastic shoes today because we have had some rain here already and some of the roads we tract on are dirt roads. I love walking around here though. It is fun. Oh! I met some Lagrosa's the other day. So crazy. I'm sure they are somehow related but who knows how. I couldn't remember Heather's father's name anyway so I didn't ask, but if I go back we will be sure to talk to them. :)
I am so grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord. There have been so many times this week (pretty much daily) that He teaches me or tells me something during personal study or companionship study that I needed to hear. And I have had a couple times when I shared my testimony or a part of a lesson impromtu and have been able to relate the whole thought without too much trouble and the person we are teaching has understood me. Trust me that's a miracle because most of the time I can't spit out 2 awful sentences. I think He gives me just enough to encourage me to keep trying. :)
We (the 4 sisters) had dinner with Elder and Sister B. (the couple missionaries that came over from the MTC with me). It was so fun and sooo nice. It was good to see how they were adjusting. Sister B. is sweet and Elder B. is great too, kept us laughing. She cooked potatoes and chicken, we had salad and fruit. A real american meal. She also tried to make chocolate chip cookies for dessert. They were delicious but different from how they would have turned out in the states. Not as cake like more no bake cookie consistancy. I don't know how to explain it but she said the ingredients here are just all so different. It's so true. But it is fun that we are all adjusting together. They are here for the same time I will be, so if all goes according to plan we may fly home together. :) Kind of fun.
One experience I will share from this week. In Preach My Gospel there are so many wonderful insights about the gospel and the work. One theme is that we should be bold. And it is true... The more I study the gospel the more I want to run up to people and tell them, We have a prophet! Miracles still exist every day! You can be with your family forever! You can be happier than ever before!. Which is kind of what we do, yay!! But you know not quite as excitedly as that. haha. So we were in a lesson where the wife is a member and the husband is not. They have one little beautiful baby. And I'm sitting there trying to catch bits and pieces between G., Sister D. and the family. (because the husband joined us for the lesson) Suddenly, Sister D. is talking about how the wife has a desire deep within her heart to one day be sealed as a family. And then she is talking about how he can bless his family with the priesthood and should be a man like Moroni. It was a good message and it was true but there were points when I was almost a little bit grateful for the language barrier that kept me from the full force of what was taking place. But it seemed to go over pretty well. We will have to see what happens when we visit again. Anyway. Good reminder to be bold because the Lord was not timid about His work and we shouldn't be either. :)
Well that's about all the time I have. I love you all so much. 
Love Sister Jaclyn Hamm

Monday, November 5, 2012

Tinatanggap ang maraming biyaya :)

Monday, November 5, 2012 1:55 AM 


So much has happened since the time I last wrote you. Where to begin? What to include?

So I'm not sure how much Sister S. told you. My first area is Puerto Princesa... which if you look at the map I left you, is on the island of Palawan! :)  The word in the mission is that this is the "celestial kingdom" of the Manila mission. I feel very blessed and lucky to be here. It is a nice place. More about that a little later. (Just to keep you hanging. haha)

Our trip over to Manila was good. We slept for a lot of the flight and I didn't have any jet lag! yay! It is weird being 12 hrs different from you. In fact if I'm right it's 2am on Monday for you? Please don't forget to send me an email with who wins the Presidential election. Thank goodness for modern technology because from what I hear, it will pretty much take forever for mail to get to Palawan. :) Haha. No, but it will take at least a month because we can only send and receive physical mail when the Zone leaders come and go to the mainland once a month. At least that is how I understand it. Crazy huh? So, sorry Madison (and others who have written me), you may have to go awhile without a return letter. :) But don't forget I love you!

So after arriving we got to go to the Mission home which was lovely. President and Sister S. are great! For the day and a half I spent in Manila, I liked it. The parts we were in didn't seem very different from other cities I'd been in. It actually reminded me a lot of Guayquil, Ecuador. Anyway, I got to see Sister L. at the transfer meeting. Yay! I also saw Sister E. from the nursing program who goes home in two months.

After the transfer meeting the new missionaries went to a memorial for those who had died in the Philippines in WWII.  Then we went back to the mission home for lunch. The "trainers" or companions were there waiting. However, the companions on Palawan simply meet us in Palawan so they do not have to fly over to the mainland. So the 3 (2 Elders and I) of us just became trios for a little while. Then each of the companionships left to go to their areas. I was amazed how sad it was. I miss my district from the MTC so much. I hope they are all doing well. After they left I was a solo sister for the night.

My feat for the night was fitting all of the necessities into my one big suitcase and making it weigh less than 44lbs (20Kilos). Yea, when he said extra luggage could be a burden at transfers I thought he meant carry wise - not can't take with you wise. haha. Well it was tough but I succeeded, and felt less bad when it was difficult for the Elder going as well. (So it's not just a girls have too much stuff thing haha.) I was grateful for the duffle bag which held all of the books and probably weighed close to 35lbs on its own!

More about the area. My companion is Sister D. (native Filipina). She is wonderful!! So kind and patient and knows English very well so she can help teach me Tagalog. There are only 4 Sisters on the whole island of Palawan. We all live together in a beautiful little house. All of the other sisters are native filipinas. And guess what.... I'm the tallest one in the apartment. In fact I frequently feel tall here and it is a very different feeling. I’m not sure I like it haha! I can't imagine how normal sized Americans feel here. haha! Our apartment kind of reminds me of Nanie’s house. I think it’s just the era that it was decorated. The walls are a bright peachy color and the curtains are lacy. I will send pictures when I can. We have a normal shower that is cold but feels great, and I enjoy it very much every morning. The heat hasn't been so bad and I actually wear my hair half down all day which I was not expecting. Thank goodness it’s the cool season right now.

The grocery stores are different. I look at some of the recipes I brought and wonder if I will be able to make them. Our kitchen has one small fridge and a sink. We have a gas stove in a room out back for cooking. They do have peanut butter though!! YAY!! I was so excited. It is expensive (p200) but totally worth it! It's weird getting used to the new currency. And I still havent figured out how payment for transportation works. haha. We usually ride what they call tricycles. Which are motorbikes attached to metal frames that fit 4 people tightly. :) I like them. When we had a far trip one night we rode a multi-cab (jeepney) since it is cheaper. It has benches along either side that people can sit on and functions like a city bus but without designated stops.

Saturday has been my favorite day so far. We went out visiting new converts and less active members. I can't wait till I understand what people are saying. (Right now I understand almost nothing.) I follow the lesson okay though and I am able to bear testimony or say the pray. While going around we found a couple new investigators, yay! We are currently trying to learn our way around and find out where people live. There is an awesome ward missionary here named G. She comes around with us everywhere. She knows where all the members and inactives live. (Which is no small job since some of their houses are found down hidden cement allies or along a densely populated narrow wooden bridge) She reminds me a lot of Heather L.  She leaves for her own mission at the end of this month so we are trying to learn all we can from her before she leaves. I love visiting the people. They are very kind.

Thank goodness for the Spirit. It has been supporting me so much. :) Life is good, especially when we are out visiting people with G. and Sister D. teaching me Tagalog. I think of you all so often and wonder how you are doing. I miss you. Don't forget to send me updates about yourself. I feel like there is so much information in this email and yet is is full of nothing as well. :) Just know that I am doing great. I love the Lord and His children. This is His true church and I'm grateful for this opportunity to serve.

Love Sister Hamm