Monday, September 30, 2013

Malo Lelei

"Generations" Photo, Mission Family
September 30, 2013

Dear Family,

So the big news for this week is that I got a new companion.  I am training Sister H from Tonga! :) So if you translate the title using Tagalog you won't find it because my title this week is Tongan. :)  She was born and raised in Tongan and has only been out of the country once before when she visited New Zealand.  She has 10 siblings.   She knows english really well so we use english but for companionship study she uses her Tongan Preach My Gospel when we read out loud (because she doesn't have an english one).  She has a great spirit and knows how to work hard. She is definitely better at Tagalog than I was when I first got here and she is working hard to learn more. (It helps that the vowels in Tonga are the same as here)  Wednesday we had the new trainers meeting where we got to meet our companions and I got to see Sister R! It was so fun.  We also got a ride from the AP's to our house!!! (Maraming salamat for that because I did not want to take two big suitcases on a Jeepney with someone brand new to the Philippines.)

This week we have been doing a lot of walking. Even for me it has been a lot but my poor new companion is definitely not used to it. But we are both glad to be out meeting people and doing the Lord's work.

My spiritual thought from this week comes from Thursday.  I was a little apprehensive about being the only one in the companionship that can understand and speak Tagalog because there are still times that I struggle.  And it also would mean that I would be leading all the OYMing and what not.  So, we went to our first appointment and as we walk by this man he says, Joseph Smith and then continues to tell me the entire life history of Joseph Smith and starts talking about how he had come to our church before. It was cool to have him know so much and we were able to get a return appointment with him. But the biggest miracle came that as we were talking to him the investigator whose house we were headed to just happened to walk by and tell us that her daughter was in the hospital and they wondered if we could come to bless her! (Obviously, we got priesthood holders to do the blessing. haha) It was such perfect timing that Heavenly Father orchestrated. Then we went to our back-up appointment. (a Less active)  His father told us he wasn't home and said we should come back another time. (I had previously seen this father briefly but he always went into a room if we came to the house) But then we got talking with the father and he told us about how the Catholic church was false and about how the Mormons are right.  Then he tells us this whole story about how he was going to be baptized before but a problem came up. So instead he had his 2 sons baptized.  But he still knows that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church! It was such a beautiful experience.  Just the kind of thing you wait for your whole mission. :)  And even though the rest of the day didn't go that well and the following days were hard too.  That one hour and a half gave me the confirmation I needed that I am doing the Lord's work and that with His help I can serve Him well even though I have so many weaknesses.  I know that Heavenly Father gives us the things we need when we need them.  He is just waiting to "reveal His hand" in our lives and He will if we just act with faith and live worthy of His help.  Some days He may seem far away and like we are just wandering around by ourselves but He is watching and He is ALWAYS THERE.  I know this is true.

Have a great week!  Enjoy the things you have and pray for help to see His hand in your life.  

Sister H and me with President and Sister Tye

Love you lots!
Sister Hamm 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Patuloy para Tagumpay

September 23, 2013

Dear Family,
We were doing a service project by cleaning the
bathroom at the church for ward conference. :)
SO this week has been good.  We had A LOT of struggles but also A LOT of miracles.  Lets see-- Monday I found out that I am training again.  Excited but mostly nervous, it has been really nice to be companions with Sister M because I know she always has my back and she is a great teacher.  But I know the Lord helps us as we do our best in His work.

Wednesday-- so we had a pretty good day. Met some new people had a few appointments.  But then it got dark and it also started raining and all our appointments and back ups fell through.  So my companion and I tried to figure out where to go and got us frustrated with each other.  Finally, (you would think as missionaries we would have figured this one out faster) we decided to say a prayer. So we prayed at the side of the road. After we stood around a minute to see if anyone would come to mind but still nothing. So we decided we would start walking home and hopefully we would get inspiration on the way.  So as we walked I tried really hard to listen to the Spirit and look everyone in the eyes. I greeted people as we passed and then suddenly this one man greeted us back and we started a conversation.  I can't explain what a great experience it was. He was so kind and talkative (which is exactly what you want when you OYM)  he asked lots of questions and was interested in listening to the answers. I feel like a really got to know Him in that short time we chatted. So we got his address and a return appointment.  When we went back to him on Friday we were able to teach and by the end he said he knew it was true because his church just focused on repeated prayers and church attendance but ours gave him clear answers (and I know he felt the Spirit). It was so wonderful.  We asked him if we could come back the next week and he told us we could come back the next day if we had time. :D Such a wonderful experience and we totally would have missed it if we had just called it a day.  So grateful for the Spirit and for the miracles that Heavenly Father orchestrates in this work and my life.
The Sisters of my apartment

This experience reminded me of a quote by Harold B Lee which says, "You must learn to walk to the edge of the light and then a few steps into the darkness; then the light will appear and show the way before you."  Sometimes we aren't sure where to go or we feel like we are wandering in the dark with no guidance from God. But I know that if we stay worthy for the Spirit and continue to act in faith the Spirit will warn us of wrong choices and it will give us guidance when we need it.  If we didn't have to stretch or walk a ways in the dark, we would never grow and we wouldn't appreciate as much the miracles when they come.  So if you are currently walking in the dark or wading through a trial, don't give up, keep walking and praying and God will be there to catch you before you fall.

As for everything else here.  Things are good.  It rains a lot but it's great cause I can sleep with a top sheet now! :)  Such a good feeling.  I know that this is the Lord's work and He is in charge.  I am so lucky to be a part of it and I know everyone is a part of His plan.  He has a plan for you and He has plans for you to help others.  Have a great week!

Sister Hamm

Me in the Baha (Flood)

Ward Members :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Work of (our) Salvation

Picture: me in the bathroom (CR) with the pail and blue bucket.
 So you fill the bucket with water and use the
 orange pail to shower and "flush" the toilet. :) 
September 16, 2013

So this week: Just a spiritual thought. (Man, I am seriously struggling with english today. I have to keep re-writing my grammar. Yes- it is bothersome but also exciting. 

okay-- tangent: So you know when you get hurt your reaction is pretty immediate and reflexive. Hopefully the first word out is ouch, if not it may be another word that is not so nice. But whatever comes out is usually just habit. So my goal has been to change my ouch. Because here the automatic response to pain isn't "ouch" it's "aray". So I usually will say ouch and then follow with aray. Well the other day I stubbed my toe hard and the first word out of my mouth was aray. I was so excited it almost didn't hurt that bad. haha! Anyway just a fun culture story for you.) 

So now spiritual thought: It's about missionary work! So I was sitting in ward conference and the bishop started to speak about missionary work and my first thought was Great! and my second thought was "I wonder when if the members are gonna get sick of hearing about missionary work and I know that a lot of them are struggling with other commandments wouldn't it be better to focus on those commandments." But then I realized (of course) that Heavenly Father has a perfect plan and my mind was opened to how great it really could be if all the members just focused on missionary work. Other things wouldn't get missed or stop functioning if everyone focused solely on missionary work, everything would just get stronger and better.  Stay with me. First, when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. What's more important than serving God? (Hopefully, you don't come up with an answer) When we are involved in missionary work we are fulfilling a duty that Christ and Heavenly Father have given to us. Second, missionary work is all about the commandments and coming closer to God.  Sometimes we get stuck thinking for members to get involved in missionary work they have to give a referral to the missionaries.  But there are other ways. One of which is going on visits with the missionaries to less actives and investigators. Your fellow shipping and testimony, as a member of the ward, can do things the missionaries can't. So please volunteer to go with them to anyone they want.  Be ready to listen and then testify to what they have taught. And most of all just get to know the person they are teaching on a none gospel level so that you can become a friend that they can then see at church.  
Another way to get involved is home teaching and visiting teaching. Pray about what they need to hear and testify of the things you teach.  It's really hard to teach about tithing and testify if you aren't paying it. So as we get involved in teaching others and avoid hypocrisy we make sure we ourselves are living the standards that we teach.

Another way is to simply study the missionary lessons in Preach My Gospel. As you prayerfully study these lessons I promise your testimony will grow and you will become more excited to share this gospel. So suddenly as we focus on missionary lessons our testimony and charity are growing, we are fulfilling covenants we have made to serve God and we ourselves are becoming closer to God.  As our charity and obedience grows blessings will be poured out and the ward will become stronger, we will individually become closer to Christ and thus living a happier life.  So missionary work is really the key. :) Find a way to get involved that works for you and begin to see the beauty of missionary work and the joy that each member can receive from it! 
I love you all. 
Have a great week!
Sister Hamm

Another one:  consider this an action shot :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


September, 9, 2013

Hello family! (and friends)

So this has been a really great week. Nothing in particular that made it extra good, just little things everyday and the Spirit bringing that "walking in sunshine" (EFY song) feeling.  So first off I will answer some of your questions.
SO I mentioned that our toilet does not flush... by this I mean that there is no button or handle and no automatic flush. This isn't actually new... all 3 of my apartments have been this way because the option of automatic was broken.  The difference now is the toilet just looks different because it has no back on it. So for those who don't know-- we do flush the toilet every time we use it.  We do so by using a bucket. So in the bathroom we have a big blue tub and a little orange pail.  So you pour water from the pail into the toilet to flush it. haha.  It is so simple and not hard but it does take a little technique if you want to do it quickly. :) Like you can get it to spin just right to get it to not spill over the edge or splash too much. Plus sometimes it takes up to 4 or 5 pails of one right after the other to get enough force for everything to go down. But it great, no big deal. (Hopefully that wasn't too TMI or weird. haha) 

So the pail and bucket that we use to flush the toilet is also what we use to shower (this I have also been doing since Palawan). I actually love it now and I'm thinking I might have to invest in a bucket and pail when I get home :D I think it might save on the water bill but I'm still not sure on that. 
Next, well we have finally entered into what is called the "brrr" months (yes, I know in the states too but here it is what they are CALLED a lot more than what they actually ARE. :P )  So I was here in the Philippines last brr months and today and this last week it's like in the states when it's fall but you still have 90 degree weather and you are waiting for fall to actually start.   I have no idea what the temperature is here but I am telling you it feels really hot! haha. We are actually also just coming out of wet season so it still rains pretty frequently. Which has pro's and con's for sure. So yes, hopefully pretty soon we will enter into the cool season. And on Fast sunday the high councilman wished us a Merry Christmas. As I have mentioned before Christmas "season" starts here on September 1st. This is no joke. many stores now have Christmas trees in there windows. We visited a less active and he was busy de-tangling lights. His house in now quite festive. Other houses have started bringing out their 6-12 inch christmas trees. :) It's kind of weird but to me it still feels like July so... yep.

So to get to this area from my last one we actually took 2 jeepneys to the Molino chapel and then this great member from another ride gave the 4 of us sisters in Cavite a ride in his car to our new area. The car wasn't air conditioned but it was soooooo nice to ride in the car and not worry about luggage being stolen or luggage being in other peoples leg room or anything. Over all it took like 2 hours to get to the chapel and then another 1.5 hours to get to Cavite.

So for a little spiritual thought I have been thinking lately about trials and then in my Book of Mormon reading yesterday I read Mosiah 23 and 24 and it just was a really good experience. Hopefully I can relate it with the Spirit. So I feel like many people have the question, "why do bad things happen to good people?"  I think this question could have many answers and really takes a lot of pondering and understanding that I still haven't fully done but here in Mosiah 23 I found one reason.  So here are these good people who have entered into a covenant with God and they are keeping their covenant, serving Him and keeping His commandments.  Then it says, "Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith." (Mosiah 23:21)  So here we learn that even or especially the righteous are not exempted from trials and through study we learn that this is our purpose here on Earth. We are here to be tested, to see if we will follow God no matter what and strive to become like Christ in order to return to God's presence. But as the prophet Gordon B. Hinckley said, "Life is meant to be enjoyed, not simply endured." And as the following verse says (Mosiah 23:22) "Nevertheless-- whosoever putteth his trust in [God] the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and this it was with this people."  I know that as we trust in God he will support us in our trials.  Elder Andersen stated, "By definition, trials will be trying. There may be anguish, confusion, sleepless nights and pillows wet with tears.... These fiery trials are designed to make you stronger, but they have the potential to diminish or even destroy your testimony of the Son of God and weaken your resolve to keep your promises to Him. How do we remain steadfast and immovable during this trail of faith? We exercise faith in Jesus Christ, we pray, we ponder the scriptures, we repent, we keep the commandments and we serve others."  (This is a great talk! Highly recommend it-- Nov 2012 Trial of your Faith.) Peter teaches in 1 Peter 4:12+19 trials are a natural part of life. And that if we endure them well we will come away all the stronger because of it.  Just like we give little babies injections with sharp needles in order to prevent them from suffering chicken pox or paralysis from meningitis or polio our loving Heavenly Father lets us experience pain in order to protect us and prepare us for the future. Sometimes in the moment it seems we are alone, but we never are and He always has a plan.  So no matter what you are currently enduring, turn to Him and let this make you stronger with the help of the Lord.  Have a great week!

Sister Hamm

Monday, September 2, 2013


Me with one of my favorite Recent Converts and her children and two ward
missionaries. This woman seriously inspires me to be better. :)

September 2, 2013

So picking up from where I left off.....  The next day we woke up and it was still pouring rain.  And it literally felt like those days on the Harvest Moon video game when you wake up and the whole house is shaking from a storm, so you can't go out and do the things you had planned for that day and the things you needed to take care of so you jump back into bed and wake up the next day. haha.  But that is not what we did. :) We got up on time and did studies and all but we were inside all day and it was a weird feeling.  It seems so long ago now. Suffice it to say we got a little stir crazy Wednesday and were so happy to go out and grocery shop Wednesday night. Real dinner!! Tinola! :)  

We actually didn't really get to help with clean up much because most people in our ward actually came out of the flood really nice and they got stuff cleaned up before we were allowed to leave the house. So I was disappointed about that but we just got to go straight back to serving the Lord. :)

This week was really good. Probably the highlight was hearing from Elder Ardern at mission tour on Tuesday.  The Spirit is so strong with leaders of the church. I keep wondering what I can do to have the Spirit with me like they do... I'm sure I could do more but I bet it also comes with the calling from the Lord.  I also got to enjoy riding in an air conditioned car with President and Sister Tye and my companion.  At one point they started singing primary songs and I thought I was maybe in heaven - haha. That's a joke but it was pretty great.
SO I now have 1 minute left!! And it is so frustrating because I want to answer all your questions and leave a spiritual thought but that is how life goes sometimes. :) So I will just say again this week that I know that this church is true.  It's the ONLY true church with the power of God to seal families together for eternity.  I know the power of God is real and can and does work miracles upon the Earth today. Have a great week! 

Sister Hamm 

Thanks so much for the pictures, I love them all! I miss you and love you.  Good luck with the first week of School.  Can't wait to hear from everyone!  Promise to email better next week. <3

Out door baptismal font.  The chapel where were attend church is I'm pretty sure the 2nd chapel built in the Philippines and it's still original. This is the baptismal font.  It is actually behind the chapel. :) Cool no?

Then-- the ocean. THis is not my area but we do have this type of view in some of my area as well.
 And this picture includes a rare sight.... a person actually wearing a helmet on a motorcycle. :)