Sister Hamilton has been called to serve for a period of 18 months in the California Arcadia Mission. She will be serving in Spanish.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

I'm super excited to start the new year. Normally I'm kind of grinch-like about resolutions and such because everyone sets them, but no one does them and I'm kinda hipsterish so of course I can't do such things. BUT, this year is different. As a missionary you set goals all. the. time. Daily goals, weekly goals, transfer goals, mission goals, goals for each of the people you teach, Ward goal, district goals, zone goals, ect. There is a constant process of evaluation, planning, and goal setting. And I like it! Some times it sucks because you get to the end of the day or week and you realize you didn't do all that you wanted to, but then you also have times of satisfaction when you meet your goals or just know that you're in a better place than you were before. Goal setting and planning is one of the habits that I want most to transfer over from mission life to normal lifers my future. 

2015 is a cool year for me because for the entire year I will be a missionary. Every bit of this year will be dedicated to helping others come unto Christ by receiving the restored gospel. I want to change. I want to work hard so I can become that awesome missionary I thought I would be (and then I realized missions are hard and I had a lot of growing to do). But now is the time for growing and now is the time for change because if now isn't the time then the time never comes. 

So here are some of my goals. I'm sharing them with you so I will be held accountable.

1) Finish reading the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, the Old Testament and the New Testament cover to cover by the end of the year (you'd think that'd be easy as a missionary, but there's not actually that much time for just reading) 

2) Learn to play one hymn on the piano (simplified hymns count)

3) Read the entire Book of Mormon in Spanish. (Hopefully by the end I'll be speaking fluent like in the Other Side of Heaven ;) 

I'd love to hear all of your goals too. Try to make some good ones, you know, the ones that push you, but you can still actually accomplish. 

Alright now I'll talk a little about what actually happened this week.

It was a tough week to teach people just because everyone was busy with holiday plans. Most of our appointments canceled. But the holidays also meant it was a really great time to find people because everyone is at home. We baked and decorated close to 250 cookies and we went around taking them to different less active families in our area. We were able to talk to many of them and set up appointments for this week when we could actually sit down and get to know them. It was a lot of fun to spread Christmas cheer and greet these families with love. Sometimes I feel like people are scared of missionaries because they expect us to be pushy, but when you greet them with a plate of Christmas cookies I think they see you just want to be nice. Plus no one can say no to Christmas cookies.

Christmas Eve a wonderful Hermana from our Ward, Hna R., had us over and we had a very traditional turkey dinner. It was so nice to be with a family. I  so grateful they would open their home up to us and invite us over. On Christmas Day we started off by eating a summer sausage, cheese and crackers for breakfast. We had splurged on ourselves in the name of Christmas. It was funny to be sittings on our apt floor, wrapped in blankets, eating off of the cutting board, pretending we were fancy just because we'd spent 6 whole dollars on a sausage. Then we had our weekly district meet like normal, but afterwards we decided to open all of our presents together and have a lunch together as a district. It was a lot of fun. We made waffles and took some fun pictures. 

We were at the English chapel so they had plenty of Christmas props still out from their Christmas dinner. Then we all skyped our families. It was awesome to see my family and talk about life. I miss them loads, but they're happy I am here and so am I. My Christmas really was amazing and I was shown so much love by the members here and by my family and friends. Thank you so much to all of you for your love and support. 

Love you all! Happy New Year!
Hermana Hamilton 

Merry Christmas!

~sent Dec.22 2014 ~

Feliz Navidad!

Missions are awesome. Everyone should do it. Seriously though if you are a youth and thinking about serving a mission just do it. This is the most fulfilling work and useful education anyone could ever have. 

Don't think I'm saying this because I had a golden week. I didn't. What I did have was a week that was worth it. And I can honestly say that happens every week. We get sworn at, canceled on, stuck in awkward situations, made fun of for our poor language skills, stressful assignments, and frequently we have no idea what we are doing. But then we have those sacred special moments when families open up their homes and their lives to us and we all have the opportunity to learn and improve together. We get kids who come a hug our legs and beg their parents to go to church with us. We see people offer all they have to help others. We watch people come to a knowledge that they are loved perfectly by a divine father in heaven. We hold their hands as they muster up the courage to leave all of their mistakes and worries to face their lives with hope and determination to be happy. 

Yesterday T..... was confirmed and received the Holy Ghost. She was so happy and full of excitement. My whole week could have been terrible and her happiness would have made it worth it. We also had the opportunity to teach a lesson to her, her husband and her mother with President Villanueva. He came to the baptism last week and really hit it off with the husband because they're from the same part of Mexico. It was the most spirit filled lesson I have ever experienced. It was a great learning experience to. Mostly I learned that I have a very long way to go, but I'm excited to try and get there. 

We also had the mission Christmas conference which was awesome. We had a super powerful testimony meeting and a beautiful Christmas dinner. I felt so spoiled and THEN they brought out the piñatas. Advantages of having a Mexican Mission President who knows how to have fun. It did get a little crazy because they're still 18 year old boys even if they're missionaries, but the whole event really brought everyone together and got them motivated. That same night was our Ward Christmas dinner and we had so many investigators show up. It was great to see everyone, members and nonmembers, having fun together.

Today we had a zone activity where we did a white elephant gift exchange. I felt like a success when my princess gift package (complete with temporary tattoos, activity book, magic glow wand, and stickers) kept getting stolen by different Elders. I guess they love their princesses. I walked away with chocolate so I definitely one that game (I almost walked away with a giant bag of tortillas). 

Love you all! Have a wonderful Christmas!
Hermana Hamilton 

Maddy and her new Companion Hna. N. at the Christmas party

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Baptism Blue!

~ Sent Dec.15th T..... and Hna. N. are abreviations ~ 

Hola everyone!

I have so much to write about, but today was transfers so I have seriously no time and a killer head ache.

Hna B. has left me to head of to El Monte where she will actually be companions with one of my friends from the CCM. My new companion is actually the trainer of my CCM companion which is way fun. Her name is Hna N.  and she is so fun. I'm really excited to work with her. 

We're kind of going to be figuring everything out together though. When I first came into the mission I was in the area 'Covina roam' which meant we covered all of the Ward of Covina which includes three cities. When we were in a trio we were covering 'Covina roam' and 'Covina south', which meant we had twice as many people to visit which was awesome and super busy. This transfer I have officially been reassigned to 'Covina south', and while I've been working in this area a bit, I don't actually know it or the investigators here very well. Thus we are going to be figuring this out together. I think it'll be fun and cool to kind of start out fresh. There aren't enough Hermanas now for all of the areas they were covering before so the 'Covina roam' was closed down. I'm still in the same Ward which is super nice, but I still get the experience of a new area which is also super nice. 

Because of the area change I'll be staying in this apartment instead of going back to live with the English sisters. It was really hard to tell them we weren't moving back in with them because we love them so much and we had a lot of fun together. But it's all good because this Saturday is the mission Christmas party so we'll all see each other soon anyway. 

Okay enough of that. Now for the cool stuff. This week my mind has just been blown by how awesome it is to serve a mission. Don't get me wrong, it's the hardest thing I have ever done. But it's also easily the best thing I've ever done. I get to help people make real changes in their lives. For some reason God blessed me with the humbling opportunity to bring these people hope and help them leave behind their worries and mistakes.

This week we had our very first baptism. T..... has been such an example to me and in every lesson I felt like she was teaching us. She was so prepared for this gospel. When we told her that in a year she could go to the temple and make more covenants with her Heavenly Father she started crying out of happiness. She bore her testimony after she was baptized and it was so powerful. We are going to start working with her family and I couldn't be more excited. President Villanueva and his family came to the baptism and he wants to come on a lesson us this week, so we're excited for that too.

I love you all so much! I'll try to write better next week!
Hermana Hamilton

Buenos días!

~ Sent Dec. 8th ~

¡Buenos días!

I wish I had more time to write, but today we learned how to make papusas! They are delicious and I can't wait to make them when I come home (don't worry Torie, I promise I'll teach you).

Yet another update on the companion situation. This past Friday we dropped Hna R. at the airport so she can go home for a few months to figure out a few health issues. It broke my heart to watch her go. We had less than 24 hours notice that she was leaving. Being in a trio was seriously the most fun I've had on my mission and I learned so much about how to be a good missionary. I am so thankful for the experiences I was able to have with both her and Hna B. For now Hna B. and I are covering 2 areas at once. We have two phones, two area books, and a lot of people to visit. It's wonderful because we are never in short supply of work. It's hard because we have to prioritize and we can't make it to everyone. Next week however, is transfers and no one really knows what is going to happen. There are a million possibilities, but we'll just have to wait and see.

We also had a big service project this week. 56 missionaries volunteered to help staff a Christmas parade! It was so much fun. We worked crowd control and got to watch the parade! It was a lot of fun and very cool to see the whole community come out and celebrate. 

It's starting to feel like the Christmas season. Its weird because I'm still wearing short sleeves and it doesn't feel like winter, but I feel like this season people are becoming more generous and that is what makes it feel like Christmas. I really think we will see miracles this month. 

One miracle is coming next week! Our investigator T.... will be baptized this Sunday the 14. We had the great blessing to go with her to the temple visitors center this past week. She is so incredibly prepared to become a member of this gospel. When we first invited her to be baptized we invited her to make it her goal and she replied 'that may be your goal for me, but my goal is to go to the temple and be sealed!' How golden can you get?! She is the sweetest and most charitable person I have ever met and I am so excited for her. I can't wait to let you all know how it goes.

I have a firm testimony that God really does prepare people to receive this gospel. He sends us to find those who are in need of the atonement and who are ready to accept it. There is no pain it can not heal and no wrong it cannot correct. If you have some time read Alma 7:11-13 and just ponder on his sacrifice. Something we've been having people do is think about all that our savior has given them and to then think of what they can give him this Christmas. It can be anything from promising to be kind to your sibling to committing to quit a bad habit.

I love you all and hope you're all having a great day!
Hermana Hamilton

Monday, December 1, 2014


~Sent on Dec. 1st~


Thanksgiving was wonderful. We had dinner with our Ward mission leader
and his family. The food was amazing and they had pecan pie which is
my absolute favorite so I was happy. We spent most of our time
listening to different members of the family tell stories from their
missions. It was really interesting to hear their experiences. After
dinner we went and visited a few elderly investigators we are working
with. We had a really powerful lesson with them where a formerly
atheist man expressed that he is beginning to have faith in God. It
was also really nice to visit them on a holiday when they couldn't be
with their families.

On Saturday we did service at a wedding reception at the church. It
was beautiful. The whole ceiling was draped in white fabric and white
lights. It was super hard to be able to hear music and not be able to
dance. I have to say Latino weddings are a lot of fun and super
lively. We spent the evening in the kitchen washing dishes, but they
gave us food and cake and we got to watch their first dance so it was
a pretty awesome evening.

On Sunday we, as a district, taught the third hour of church. We
taught about how to use the Internet for missionary work and
introduced the 'Él Es La Dádiva' initiative (He Is The Gift  for all
yall English speakers). The church is spreading this message of Christ
through all different kinds of media. There is a billboard in time
square, a video on YouTube, the hashtag "SharetheGift", and on Dec 7
the main ad bar on YouTube will be about this message. The video is so
beautiful. We've already shared it with so many people and I can't
wait to show everyone. I highly recommend it. Just go check out

I'm running out of time, but I love you all. Have a wonderful week!
Hermana Hamilton

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

~ Sent Nov. 24th~

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

So it's not for a few days, but I want to say a few things I'm grateful for now.  

I am grateful for all of the service opportunities we had this week. We did three different projects. The first we went and translated at an elementary school for parent teacher conferences. I think i goes without saying that I was completely terrified. It went pretty well though. I didn't end up being used much just because so many of the teachers spoke Spanish, but we did a lot of good. The second was our Ward Relief Society had collected socks and wrapped them for Christmas to give out at a local nursing home. We went with them to hand them out and sing a few hymns. It was a lot of fun and we met this sweet tiny little old lady named Maria who was completely overwhelmed with joy that we had come to visit. The hymns were a little painful because our Ward is 100% tone deaf, but it was tons of fun and I don't think any of the residents cared at all (probably only half could hear us anyway). 

The last service activity was with CDA Cares through JustServe. JustServe is a new church run program completely centered on service. It partners with tons of other churches and organizations to help organize volunteers and services. Right now it's in its beginning stages, I'm not sure when it will be fully launched to the whole church, but it's going to be a big deal. There will be a representative called in each stake to help find opportunities and encourage the members to volunteer. Our whole zone went to this project. For two days we volunteered at a dental clinic that provides all kinds of dental care completely free of charge. There are no requirements you just have to be willing to wait. I worked as a translator for some of the time. That was kind of rough because how the heck would I know any dental terms? But I managed and everything worked out so no worries. Most of the time I worked in sterilization. It was totally crazy. We cleaned, packaged, sterilized, sorted and distributed probably a million dental tools. We were working as fast and as hard as we could for about 6 hours straight. Plus I have no previous knowledge so I had to learn very quickly which tools were which, if they were surgical or basic and who to give them to. It felt so good to work so hard though and see such cool results. Lots of families came in that desperately needed help. There were many people who hadn't had teeth for years and when they left they had smiles they could be proud of. It was amazing to see so many people come together and make such a huge difference in just two days.

I'm also very grateful for my companionship. I am always learning so much from Hna B. and Hna R. They really take care of me and I know I can count on them for anything.

I am grateful for the early saints and all that they went through so we could have the restored gospel. At our Ward thanksgiving dinner we watched the joseph smith video no it made me think about how grateful I am for their sacrifices. My life has been so blessed by this gospel and now I have the great honor of helping others have those same blessings.

I am grateful for prayer. I can kneel down at anytime and ask the creator of the universe in all of its complexities and mysteries anything I want. I can turn to him whe I am scared, when I feel worthless, or when I simply want to talk. And he listens. To all of my petty problems and insignificant worries. And he answers. He gives me the tools and encouragement I need to keep going. He continually lets me know that he is there and he is providing a way.

I am grateful for my Savior. I am such an imperfect being, but through him I can leave behind my mistakes and try again. It's hard to have the humility to recognize my imperfections and buck up and make changes, but he is holding my hand all of the way and he never judges me for my mistakes. We are each loved with a perfect love, free of disappointment, judgement or shame. We are loved and embraced with a hope and faith that we will become better.

I am grateful for all of you and for your support and  love. I know that maybe not all of you understand my decision to serve a mission, but you have supported me anyway and that has made such a difference in my life. I love you all so much.

Wishing you all a happy holiday,
Hermana Hamilton

Crazy Week

~Sent Nov 18th~

Hola Familia y Amigos!

Remember how last week I said neither Hna B. nor I were moving? Lies.This week has been completely crazy and next looks just as nuts. But first there were some cool things I forgot to mention last time. So you'll have to wait for our moving story.

We are teaching this one lady who is wonderful and so kind to us. She was actually a referral from a member. The first time we met her she greeted us like old friends and they ld us with tears in her eyes that she wanted to badly to come to church. Last week at church (I think her third time coming) the other ladies in relief society asked her if she was investigating the church and she answered "no, this is my church now. I'm like you, I'm staying here with you guys." I almost cried I was so happy. Then one night we were visiting her and Hna B. mentioned that she feels really cold at night. Next thing we know this sweet woman is handing us these huge brand new thick cozy blankets and insisting that we take them. Hna B.'s has Pandas and mine had Tigers. I love this woman so much and she is so ready for this gospel. She is one of the most saintly people I have ever met. She is an apartment manage and she Seriously does everything she can to help those who live there. If only all landlords were that caring. 

Okay so now for the moving story. We got a call at 4 on Friday that we had to be packed and ready to move by 9 the next morning. What had happened was one of the Hnas in our district had to go home to have surgery, but that left her companion in need of a companion. Because we are the roamers of the ward and technically already cover her area President decided to make us a trio. We were actually kind of expecting that, but we were expecting her to move in with us in our big and spacious apartment, but instead they had us move into the studio apartment. Now the English sisters are all alone in a huge two room apartment with a washer and dryer all to themselves. It's fun living in a new place though. It's keeping things interesting. 

Our moving also means we have a car now because Hermana Rodreguiez, our new companion, can't ride a bike and we are covering both our areas at once. Right now we're actually driving a minivan because the little car is getting fixes. I don't know how long we'll have the van, but it makes us feel like soccer moms which is funny and different.

On Saturday night our stake youth put on a road show. They acted out different sections of the Book of Mormon. It was really good and tons of fun. Our Ward performed the story of Ammon and they totally got the crowd going. I'm a touch biased, but they were the best. We had a bunch of investigators come and they really liked it too. 

On Monday, the reason this email is late, we had a mission tour conference. Elder Sitati who is a member of the quorum of seventy came and spoke to us. It was great. He and his wife taught about how to have a divine companionship and teach by the spirit. Really every interaction we have in our companionship determines if we have the spirit with us. If we have any bad feelings towards each other there is no way we are going to be able to help those we teach feel the spirit and love of God. Contention drives any hope of having the spirit away.

I am so grateful for this gospel. It is so much more than believing in God. It's a higher way of live. A way of living that puts you in harmony with the will of God. We can have peace and comfort and guidance instead of fear and worry when we encounter difficult circumstances.

Love you all so much!
Hermana Hamilton

Just i case you can't tell what this picture is its Ammon and the other shepherds herding the sheep who were hilariously played by the primary children and kept wandering round the stage. Gotta love'em.