Monday, January 28, 2013

Mabango (just popped into my head) :)

January 28, 2013

Dear Family,

So Transfer Week.  Dad called it.  I am still on Palawan but with a new companion.  So you can appreciate the suspense I had, Tuesday at dist. mtg. we found out about transfers.  I knew I would be staying and Sister D would be going but she didn't know where and neither of us knew our companions. Tuesday night we found where Sis D was going but still no news on companions.  So Wednesday night I found out that my new companion would be Sister H and that she was NOT a Filipina.  No one knew for sure but rumor had it that she was okay at Tagalog.  So I was a little worried about that.  I was counting on a good Tagalog speaker and now I was unsure.

Well, Thursday morning were transfers.  We went to the airport (the 4 sisters of Palawan) Sister M transferred as well which made me sad because she has been so great to have around and talk to. Sad to see my "mom" transferred as well.  I have learned so much from her.  So they went to their flight and Sister M and I became temporary companions. At noon we went to meet our new companions at the airport.  Sister H is from Australia and she is great!!  I absolutely love working with her.  Leading the area is a little crazy.  I thought I was prepared for it... and it's going alright but it is weird to be the only one who has any idea where to go next if our plans and back-up plans fall through. (Which has happened a little more frequently than I would desire. :) ) Anyway, I am so excited to work with her. Her Tagalog is great (I can definitely tell it is more of a foreigner Tagalog, but she can communicate with everyone just great, which is good since I still can't).  My Tagalog is coming along and my teaching skills are slowly improving.  Thanks for the prayers.  I can definitely feel them.  So yea, we are having a great time.  She is a hard worker and we have already had some great lessons together. We still have 2 Filipinas in the house which is nice so we can check our Tagalog with them during language study. :)

Sacrament talk was good.  President gave me the 5 minute signal before I went up which was perfect and made me a little less nervous! :)  I could see all the people in the congregation supporting me and one brother kept nodding his head at what I was saying so that made me really happy. Hope my message helped somebody through the Spirit.

I ate what are called green mangos which really are unripe mangos, go figure. :)  It reminds me of the raw green apples Jeanie used to eat with salt.  They eat them with salt, or a spicy sweet sauce, or....  rotten shrimp. ? I'm not sure exactly what it is but that is part of it and I tried that.  Let's say, not my fav.  But not as bad as I would've expected for rotten shrimp paste. :)  Um, I actually - I don't normally miss food anymore.  I have found enough things I like here. :)  Favorite thing about the weather-- I really appreciate the rainy days cause they mix it up a bit but it is really happy and care free to always have sunshine. :)

Um your spelling of ay nako didn't do much for me in pronunciation....  its ay like "I", na like "naw" on a bone, and ko like "co"conut.  Hope you enjoy that. :)  I expect to hear it on mothers day. haha
Um... as for preparation for Josh and the Sister B.  I think it might help if they did a little research on culture shock.  I did some required reading before Ecuador.  And I think on the harder days here at the beginning it was nice to realize that it was partially culture shock.  And that that does go away. (Yep, living proof here.)  There are other things but maybe I'll write those another week for Sister B.  For Josh, IDK cause where he is going will be different.

So you know how the grass is always greener on the other side. Well, I had a good laugh in the grocery store the other day when I saw whitening lotion. haha.  So funny. They really do like to be lighter here, although as my last companion pointed out, "but not as white as you." haha  Along those same lines.  Hilarious this week, we "Tao Po" ed at a members door. I was standing right where the door opens and it was the time of day where it was a very white light in the shade.  Anyway, Brother opened the door and literally yelped and jumped a little. As he put his hand over his heart I couldn't help but laugh.  As I laughed he explained that he had hear Tao Po and wasn't expecting someone so "puti" (white) to be at the door. It was so funny!  He was so surprised.

Anyway, this week we gave a lesson on prophets to a new investigator. After teaching about prophets in the bible and helping him understand the importance of prophets, we showed him a picture of Thomas S. Monson.  He looked at it for a little bit while we testified.  All the sudden he got really upset.  He asked why he had never seen this man before.  He said, I know about John Paul but if this is the prophet why have I never heard of him. It was a moment that made me really appreciate what I have!  That's the reason I am on this mission!  The world is missing out and it is only because "they know not where to find it".  I know that God loves all His children equally and He has a perfect plan for each one of us. I know God wants all His children to know that Thomas S. Monson is the true prophet today and that He receives direction from God.  I know this is true.  We explained to the investigator that there is a world wide broadcast twice a year so people can hear what President Monson has to say.  He calmed down and we were able to end on a good note.  He said he would pray about it and I hope he does because I know Heavenly Father will send the Spirit to testify to him. I know that this Church is true and that it is led by God and Jesus Christ through a prophet who receives revelation.  I am grateful that I have this knowledge and know that everyone can learn this for themselves through study and prayer.

I love you all and hope you are all doing well!

Sister Hamm

Monday, January 21, 2013

Ay Nako!

Hello Family,

First off, CONGRATULATIONS JACOB for getting into BYU- Hawaii.  I can't tell you how exctied I am for you. (And suprised.  Not gonna lie-- I thought you would get into Provo before Hawaii.)  That is so awesome.  Keep me updated on your other applications as you find out. :)

Second, my title is in response to Dad's linguistic question.  Ay Nako! is an exclamation similar to Oh my goodness and I use it a lot! :)  Hulah is another exclamation but I don't normally use that one.  Waiting until I master when it is appropriate to use it. haha.  Speaking of which-- I am speaking in Sacrament on Sunday.  Um... let's just say I'm really nervous and it will definitely be Taglish which is fine b/c that's what lots of the other speakers esp. the leaders do also.  So yep. I could use prayers for that. :)  Thanks.

Third, “THIS IS THE STUFF”.  Love that song.  It is so true.  We all have challenges but as my companion and I were discussing this morning, we are all destined to succeed in this life and an article we were reading said, "Not only are you supposed to succeed in this life, but everything is stacked in your favor to succeed." Ha.  Never thought of it that way.  It doesn’t always feel that way but every little thing we go through in this life is carefully planned by God in order to help us grow and come closer to Him and more ready to return to Him. These experiences can change us for the better if we let them.  I know this is true and I feel that I have changed already a little on my mission from some of the harder days.  So grateful for the opportunities God gives us to grow. (Even though I'm not actually grateful while in the trial.)

Fourth, Tell Heather good luck with her mission call and along the same lines as above.  Tell her not to stress it.  Whenever she gets her call will be when God wants her to receive it. (At this point y'all might be rolling your eyes, like "she's in missionary mode." but what can I say, it's what studying the gospel will do to you I guess.)

Fifth, Speaking of studying the gospel.  I would like to share that I know the Book of Mormon is a great way (probably the best) to learn this gospel and to feel the spirit.  If we will really study the Book of Mormon -even for a short while each day - I know it can slowly, almost imperceptably change our heart and heal our spirits.  But this takes continually reading it without immediately seeing the benefits.  So keep up the good work and read every day.  For anyone who may happen to read this who is not a member but may be curious, visit  You can learn more on your own, chat online with missionaries, request a copy of the book of mormon, request a visit with missionaries.  All these are opportunities for you with varying degrees of commitment. So if you’re curious, please check it out.  It may change your life (if you let it - see above)!  :D  Above all I would encourage you to begin reading the Book of Mormon from the start and see how you feel as you read.

Life here is great! :)  I love meeting the people here, my Tagalog is (maybe) improving.  It is so fun to visit people and see the changes they are making in their lives.  We had FHE with the G family the other night and it was a blast.  After playing Simon Says (which I found is actually easier in a different language, because it takes you a second to figure out the command. :) ) the first person out was supposed to do a talent demonstration.  Well all of the kids ended up singing together a popular Tagalog song.  It was so cute and reminded me of my mga kapatid (siblings) whom I love so much.

Thank you everyone who has sent mail.  I got some more Christmas mail this week.  I will be writing back.  It just may take some time. :)  Have a great week!!  :)  I love and miss you all and hope you are all doing well.

Sister Hamm

Monday, January 14, 2013

January 14, 2013

Well not much to report this week.

So this week a couple different times the topic of applying the scriptures to ourselves has come up. As I have studied my scriptures I have found that really more of the stories than I thought can be applied to me.  If we pray before study for Heavenly Father to point out the things we need to see, he can show us how the scriptures relate to us.  More often than not, in my case, he shows unto me my weaknesses. :)  Good thing we have the atonement so we can work to become better and overcome our weaknesses that we couldn't overcome on our own..

So there are cute goats that roam some of the areas here.  We walk down this one long road where trikes don't often go and this whole family of goats is just walking around eating and crossing the road.  It's really fun.  They are sooo cute.  Just like the puppy I held this week!!  Holding children is bawal but pets I think are okay.  He was the pet of someone so I wasn't too worried about diseases.  Anyway, he was so soft and small it was so fun to hold him. :)  Back to the goats now.  So one day we stopped at this little restaurant b/c my companion wanted to get something to eat.  Well all the dishes are out on a counter with glass lids on them so you can see and pick what you want.  Then they dish it up and serve with rice.  After we looked at all 5 of them she said never mind, I don't want them, they are all goat meat. “What?!”  I asked her, "How can you tell that just by looking at them?" Turns out there was a sign that said they were all goat that I hadn't seen. haha!  Anyway.  Just a story for the week. As you can tell, really not that much to report.

I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's kingdom on the earth today and that it holds all the priesthood keys.  We can all strengthen our testimonies of this gospel through study and prayer. I'm grateful that I get to serve in the Philippines and I'm grateful for rainy days that mix things up a little. :) Have a great week!

Sister Hamm 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Plano ng Kaligtasan

January 7, 2013

Dear Family,

I'm so jealous that Josh will be going to the temple soon!  After going once a week in the MTC I have really missed it here on Palawan. :)  I am grateful for the greater appreciation it gives me and hope to take it home with me and always look forward to going.  I wish I could be there to go with Josh but we will just have to go together when we get back! Something fun and spiritual to look forward to. There a couple of families here who are working towards going for endowments or sealings during a temple trip the branch will take in April.  It is so exciting.  I really hope they can all go and enjoy the incredible blessings contained within the temple and the covenants we make there.

So it is hard for me to think of what to write because it feels like a very long time since last Monday and a lot has happened.  First let me just say I love teaching the Plan of Salvation and I have gained a much greater appreciation for it this week. There is an elderly couple that we visit twice a week.  The brother has been suffering with cancer.  We usually just say hello to him each time we visit and then share a message with Sister.  She has the most beautiful smile and spirit.  I have come to love her so much.  Well, on Saturday, Brother passed away.  We attended the funeral on Sunday.  Sister was quite positive and I think everyone was glad he wasn't suffering anymore.  A wonderful gift was that Brother had requested the sacrament months ago but through miscommunications and what not he hadn't been receiving it.  However, 3 weeks ago,the members started delivering the sacrament to him every Sunday.  Well this week they "just happened" to bring it on Saturday afternoon at 3pm.  Brother was able to partake of the sacrament and then passed away at 5pm.  It of course would've been fine had he not received it but what a wonderful gift that he could partake of that ordinance and be extra clean before entering the spirit world. :)  I know he lives on and that right now he is better learning and sharing the gospel in the Spirit world.  It is so wonderful.  I actually spoke at the funeral. Thanks to Heavenly Father, everyone I think understood me and I was able to say the things I wanted to express.

  Also, as we sang the closing hymn I was thinking about how I don't want life to keep moving forward.  I thought of the John Mayer "stop this train" song and about how I don't want my parents to get any older but immediately following came the thought that I actually don't want to slow down this train.  It's a great journey but that's all it is.  A journey.  This life is a time for us to enjoy the good times and constantly work to improve ourselves to be more like Christ.  It is such a short time and then we will be reunited with everyone we love forever with no fear of death and no trials of sick physical bodies.  I know we will all one day live again.  Let us all prepare well while on this earth, for this short time, so that we may rejoice in the afterlife and spend eternity with our families.

  Oh yea, we realized the other day just how small the island of Palawan and our area is when we came to the ocean...again.  We haven't yet done it but I think we could walk from one shore to the other in less than an hour. haha.  Its crazy!
 Congrats Nate and Ty on your great basketball games.  I miss playing basketball, definetly my favorite sport to watch and probably to play (other than ultimate frisbee of course. :) ) Thanks for the updates dad. :)

  Thanks mom so much for the purse in my Christmas present. This week we got caught in super bad (or great depending on how you look at it) rain twice.  The first time it rained so hard that even though my umbrella kept my face dry I was absolutely soaked from the mid-thigh down. It was actually really funny.  And I have a new favorite excuse from people about why we can't teach them.  When we asked if we could share a short message a woman told us, "Not right now because it's raining."  I honestly laughed out loud after we walked away. haha.  It was a nice change from "busy".  Anyway, the second time it rained pretty steadily all day and I was sharing an umbrella with the ward missionary who didn't have one so we both got pretty wet and my purse which had been pretty waterproof was all wet and very damp inside.  So I used the purse you made for me the next day.  It was perfect!  It dries fast and will be easy to wash and it's cute.

Thanks so much. Love you.

I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve a mission here.  Some moments are REALLY hard but... There are moments when my heart feels like it's going to burst with happiness and gratitude. (more of those moments)  Heavenly Father seriously works miracles everyday! Literally everyday.  Sometimes we see them, sometimes we don't but I know they are so numerous. I have witnessed Him working miracles by changing me and my heart and giving me strength beyond my own, "strength such as is not known among men" (D&C 24:12) and working miracles in others through the Spirit.  It's so great.  Have a wonderful week and remember that without the hard moments we wouldn't grow and without the sad times we couldn't know happiness.

Sister Hamm