Monday, October 16, 2017

Semana 3 em Fazenda Rio Grande! (Week 32)

This past week was kinda long only because every day it rained in the afternoon and we never had umbrellas because it doesn't look like it will rain but then it pours rain like there is no tomorrow!  It was also raining baptisms this Saturday too! We had one baptism of Ana Paula the wife of Willian!!! Lol we Always joke about her name because it's so long... her name completely is Ana Paula Massoni de Oliveria LeΓ£o de Oliveria ... It was really cool because Willian got to baptize her !! Willian already has a calling in the Ward as the assistant Ward mission leader! This whole thing with our Ward mission leader is that he is never in church and the other elders that are new in our Ward still have not met him so this is a problem. We need his help because in the 10 weeks I have been here in this Ward have only had one meeting with him... the first 5 weeks we didn't even have a Ward mission leader. For those that don't know what the Ward mission leader is it's just a calling for a member that will help us with our investigators and help them have friends in the Ward without the missionaries there. So he is very important in missionary work!

This week was good though overall! I have been focusing a lot on learning from The Book of Mormon and not just Reading through it like a small chapter book. I am Reading from 1 hour to maybe 2.5 hours a day just in The Book of Mormon and looking to learn more. Every time I read I am learning something new!

This week its been harder to get people to church! This will be our focus this week for sure! Dedicating Saturdays to getting everybody to church if it means leaving the house Sunday 9 hours in the morning I will!! Well, me and my companion will!

This time is passing by really fast now! October is already halfway done and I can't believe it!

The elders in our house found out I have a fear of spiders... Especially here because all the spiders here are the brown spider. Which idk how to spell the name in English anymore. The one that can kill people so yeah there is that lol...

Sending fotos soon!

-Elder Hammond

Monday, October 9, 2017

Sete meses jΓ‘??? (Week 31)

This week was really rainy which is almost annoying because last week was 30-32 degrees almost every day and not its cold and rainy but I guess that's cool. I am loving my mission and growing so much from it! we are always learning like tomorrow I have to give a training for our district and I have never done a training for our district alone but tomorrow will be that day !!

This week we were walking to one appointment (he wasn't in the house) and this guy left a small shack stop area and stopped us in the street. He said hey I need your help. My wife died 3 years ago and I need help to get a pass for the bus to return to my house. Do you have money to help? My companion and I thought for a moment and my companion said: "But hold on this grocery bag with beer inside you just bought is your or no?" He said, "no no no it's for my friend...." My companion: "So you can buy your friend a beer but cant buy a bus pass?" Then me: "And these cigarettes (cigarro) in your pocket that is open is for your friend too?" Anyways he was lying to us directly to our face. This just is one of the times that this has happened lol. It's amazing how people get addicted to these things and can't stop buying and taking them into their body! 

This week I have been reading The Book of Mormon directly and not just studying parts here and there. But I am now reading directly but I am pondering on what I read and finding how I can learn from the scriptures. I have found myself always hungry to learn more and more. Every day I am able to read and understand how this gospel brings us felicidade for our lives! The Last general conference we had spoke immensely about the Book of Mormon. If you are not reading every single day starting now. Not because I said it, not because my companion is doing this too but because God has a prophet that is saying we need to read every single day. A Prophet that is called of God, not a man. I know that we have a prophet today that lives and we will always have a prophet to guide our life here on earth! I know that The Book of Mormon can cure our spirits and our bodies here on earth! We can know more about God and his son Jesus Christ through it!

-Elder Hammond 

"Playing Risk!!!" 😊

Fazenda Rio Grande (Week 30)

OΓ­ Tudo Mundo!

lol I almost started my email in Portuguese.....

So this week we had 2 baptisms of Ane (16) and Janaina (13) and I had the opportunity to baptize the both of them! They were so excited to be baptized and are still so excited! The cool thing is that they are reading The Book of Mormon every day and understanding everything that is being read! Lol I don't think I even understood all of it when I was that age. I am so happy to see them excited to have the gospel in their lives and see their joy in just reading! 

This week I now have a new companion and our area split for 2 groups of missionaries so we have 4 Elders in our ward.πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ Lol They are all hilarious too which makes everything that much better. Don't worry we are all staying focused in the Lords work still! But after a long day of hard work its good to get a laugh in before sleep and then back to the Lords work!!! 

This week we have worked and knocked doors more then ever it feels like but I guess we have more days of knocking doors then baptisms buttttt if I can knock doors for one week or more straight and only have 1 convert then I am happy that one accepted the gospel to bless their life! We have seen a lot of miracles this week from just teaching from The Book of Mormon in the first lesson. It's a promise of the Prophet of the world Thomas S. Monson that if we read every day and teach from it that we will see miracles! I personally always say that without The Book of Mormon I couldn't serve a 2-year mission for The true Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in my life. I am so honored to walk a little bit of the path Jesus Christ walked and showed us while he was on this earth. One of my favorite songs in Portuguese is Ill go where you want me to go. This applies to all of our lives but I have seen it a lot here in my mission. Wherever I am sent on my mission I will serve and share the message of the restored gospel and that we have a Profeta today to guide our life to the life after death to our Heavenly Father! 

Lots of baptisms coming this month and always good news to talk about. I can honestly say I see the hand of our Savior every day here in Brasil!! Zone conferences this week!!! 

Love you all!

-Elder Hammond

Yea!! Bryson received his birthday packages from home FINALLY!!! Sadly these didn't get into his hands in time for his actual birthday, but they finally did catch up to him!!

A little background on mailing things to Bryson in Brasil. To mail things to Brasil, one of the things you have to do is list each item. They may be taxed on his end, depending on the items. For example, I mailed some groceries he likes from home which cost me $39 US dollars on this end for $7 of groceries. On his end, he was taxed "80 reals" which is about equivalent to $27 US dollars. Mailing him this package in his hand for his birthday weighed 4 lb and cost $74 US dollars. Packages take anywhere from 14 days to a full month on average. Packages and mail can get stopped in Customs, however, and held up to weeks, months or possibly just stolen and he may never receive what was sent. The mailing system for Brazil is very corrupt, as it's still a 3rd world country. Often times I just load money to his bank account, for him to purchase things writes home that he needs. It's faster for him, rather than waiting a month, (which is what we have to expect minimally) or even stolen. - Amy Hammond aka "Bryson's mom" πŸ’“

Monday, September 25, 2017

The week my faith grew a lot more! (Week 29)

Fazenda Rio Grande - Semana 6

I am so happy this last week Willian decided to be baptized!!! He was so so so happy afterward he couldn't describe his feelings! His nephew actually baptized him too !!! 

These past weeks have been a trial of our faith for sure and a little bit of pushing past being so tired from the sun and knocking doors like crazy! Really we had some really cool experiences these weeks but mostly this past week. We taught more than we have in a long time with more than 30 lessons in one week and plus a baptism! I am so happy to see that when we put our trust in the lord and are worthy and ready to serve with all your heart Heavenly Father will open doors that you can't even imagine you could see happen! First, we passed almost all of our goals this week! I think for everyday we knocked doors for 2-3 hours and just taught but also taught with something we call listening with the Holy Ghost and teaching what the person needs at that very moment in time. We have found that Teaching directly through the book of Mormon people have a desire to learn more and more and are able to understand everything if not the first time but the second time reading. We have seen progress in our testimonies as well with our investigators in so many ways! 

its short today but I am so honored to be a servant of my Heavenly Father representing his Son Jesus Christ on the earth in Curitiba Brazil. Today we had a chance to serve on a pday. To be honest I got this phone call and I did not want to help on a pday butttttt when we were serving I felt a joy I couldn't feel sitting in the house doing nothing. I got to serve my Heavenly Father by responding to a last minute phone call to help an older couple move. They are trying to come back to church and now they have a motive to return. I am grateful Heavenly Father gave me the chance to serve his children today!!! Love you all!

-Elder Hammond  

New Ties for Bryson's Birthday! (He asked for ties and a Rubix Cube) Happy Birthday, Bryson! πŸ˜€πŸ’₯He should have received other items I mailed to him also. He didn't send pictures, of those items, so I'll have to ask in his next email if he got our other gifts too....or if they were stolen. 😩 Good to see he received his gifts from home finally! About 1.5 weeks after his birthday sadly. So hard for parents in the states, to get packages to our missionaries in a timely manner. These were in Brazil in time, but you can't control how fast packages and letters move. Takes about 3.5 weeks or MORE for him to receive packages to the mission home.πŸ˜’ That doesn't include how much time or how many weeks that will take for him to get to the mission home, to even pick up any packages. By city transportation, it takes Bryson 1.5 hours one way to reach the mission home/office. So he doesn't get to go often. From what I can tell, monthly.... So if his packages or mail barely miss him visiting the office, it will sit and wait till he can come back, or someone can make the extra effort to take these things to him. - Amy Hammond
Aka Bryson's Mom 

Monday, September 18, 2017

OΓ­ Everybody Fazenda Rio Grande Semana 4-5 (Hi Everybody Fazenda Rio Grande Week 4-5) *Week 28

So first sorry i didn't have time to send a big email to everybody last week. It was my birthday so i had a lot of time talking to my family for my birthday!

I have had a lot of things that have gone on these past two weeks with a lot of experiences and a lot of just the normal. One thing that happened is that my friends Elder Sousa and Elder Goes have now gotten a home closer to their area now. Well actually its in their area which means now we have a house that is huge for just two missionaries lol. But this week we have had our investigators really really progress by either going to church or they are understanding everything we teach them and literally throwing out the coffee from the house lol. 

One of the days we were knocking doors ( we have knocked a lot!) we entered into the house and felt the spirit really strong. Anyways at the end of every lesson we ask if we can do anything to help of service of any kind. He began to talk about literally nothing and about life. It came down to it and he was asking for food. And its not like he said i wasn't a hamburger, he just said as small as a cup of rice would help his whole family be able to eat. At this moment i felt bad because sometimes money is tight for everybody but he was just asking for a little bit of rice. We don't have money to give out but i do want to see how we can help him for sure! 

The other day we were fasting to be able to find those that are looking for the truth. We passed a house and i saw a little boy running inside (maybe 2 years old) and i had an impression... Knock their door and talk to them. After lunch (because we were late) i knocked their door and said exactly what i thought Hello my name is Elder Hammond and my friend is Elder Pereira and we had a thought earlier that we need to share our message with you because its important for me and i know it can be important for your family and it brings blessings! Can we share this message with your family right now? Needless to say we entered right away and taught them. I don't know what will happen next but if i wasn't able to listen to the Holy Ghost we would not have talked to them. We will visit them this week to see how they are doing! 

Last thing i want to talk about is we found a less active family the other day with her 5 kids and how she wants the best for them (mom their son looks like me as a 2 year old and my cousin Bracken lol). We were talking and i thought of my mom! I remember my mom always wants the best for me and my siblings and i am so so so grateful for my mom today! When anything was hard she always brought Scriptures and God into the subject and even when sometimes i wasn't always the best at following i know we need the scriptures and God in our lives today! Thank you mom for always being a big example for me even when i was stubborn at times and didn't know where i wanted to be. Now i know without you i couldn't have found these things for myself. I know now we all need to search God in our lives to be better people and to learn and grow. I know that we have a Prophet today that talks with Our Heavenly Father and can guide our family better ! As President Gordon B. Hinkley said Satan knows where to place those bombs to destroy us and the first bomb is to destroy a family. In these days we need to build our house on top of God and Jesus Christ (our cement) and then build our pillars of church, prayer and scripture pondering!  I know this is a priority in these modern days!

Love you all!
-Elder Hammond 

The pizza was my 6 months in the mission!!!! - Bryson

A new tie! Thank you Grandma! Its a woven tie! - Bryson

Jacqueline made a birthday cake for Bryson! Claudio sent me these pictures on my birthday (9/15/17) over WhatsApp and said that Bryson said he was sharing this cake with me for my birthday. Such a sweet son I have! I missed him more than words on both of our birthday's, which are 4 days apart. - Mom (Amy Hammond)

Thank you Jacqueline for making Bryson a birthday cake! Thank you Claudio and Jacqueline for always taking such good care of our boys, and sending me pictures and messages so we know how Bryson is doing! We sure miss him, so these are tender mercy blessings you bring to us! - Mom (Amy Hammond)

Claudio with all 4 Elders

Such amazing missionaries!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Fazenda Rio Grande - Semana 3 (Week 26 - 6 Months!)

So there is one question members like to ask me during lunch. Well actually there is 2 questions lol. 1. Do you have beans and rice in the United states?..... and 2. Do you guys eat actual meals or just snack?... I can always expect to have these two questions asked during lunch. I always respond with I actually ate a lot of rice in my house almost every day. This is just 2 of the normal questions I get haha. 

So two weeks ago I had a fast because I have been needing to fast for a while and I had one day i was able to. So i had this fast to know if i should teach a lesson (which would be a bible bash, I don't like these because the spirit cant be there with this. Especially because I know this family likes to yell during these...)  or not because i had a feeling not to. Anyways this fast was for us to be able to find success in our area. Its a very good area but its hard to get people to church. So I arrived here and we didn't have any baptism dates set at all. This past week we have received 4 dates for baptisms. one mom with a son that is 5 years old we met this week used to be visited by the missionaries and then she moved 1 month before and she couldn't find another Chapel. She then finally contacted us though the Sisters in our district and said I NEED the address of your church and the contact of missionaries now. Lol a dream for missionaries and she already read the Book of Mormon front to back by then. She has already set a date for a baptism on the 15th of September!!! she said i want people to visit me too outside of the Missionaries! This week has has been really good in this aspect. We also were able to help 6 investigators get to church!!!!! So happy they were all able to make it this Sunday ! 

So finally this month i have officially become fluent enough i can carry on a full conversation and my accent is coming about 25-30% so people actually understand me now!!! This was my goal at 6 months to be fluent!! Oh i hit my 6 months this week btw πŸ˜€πŸ˜Ž. I am so happy i can understand basically everything now even with words i don't understand i can understand with other words in the phrase! But this does not mean i will stop studying my best everyday. I literally don't want to have others think i am American when i talk lol. Love my country but if i am here in Brasil i want to talk like one!

This week we have walked more then i every have in my life! Actually our area goes from one city to another and we had lunch in Mandirituba the other day which is almost 2 hours walking south and that's from our house which isn't even the top of the area πŸ˜. Needless to say i paid for my companion and i to get a bus home lol. 

This week has been great and my testimony has grown a lot this week through walking a lot to only find out a new investigator left the house when we had an appointment. This has stretched my faith a lot this week! Among other things too! 

Love ya all 
-Elder Hammond

Monday, August 28, 2017

Fazenda Rio Grande - Semana 2 (Week 25)

This week has been good and crazy in the same time lol. So for two days we were in the office of President Cuvelier one for Zone Conference and another for Interviews which i always like interviews with President Cuvelier ! 

So one crazy day that we had this week was i think Saturday and we were just knocking doors and one lady got really heated up at us because our Sabbath day is on Sunday and not Saturday and she basically invited all of her neighbors over to judge us that we are breaking the 10 Commandments because we go to church on Sundays lol. She said to return tomorrow because her husband would like to talk to us. I fasted for this and i got a feeling not to go because i know they will be in our face a lot about this. It wouldn't be a lesson it would just be them talking really loud lol. Anyways that same day we were walking i the street and this man that is the father of one of our investigators saw us. Keep in mind he was a pastor (built his church) and now he is a drug addict and just doesn't have a really good life now. So he said Ay! and then i said Opa boa tarde IrmΓ£o (good afternoon brother) Then he went off and said to us if you all go to my house again talking about the living Prophet Mormon again i will beat you both up and then i will call the cops on you both! Anyways we had planned to teach his family but they weren't in the house so we will return another day lol. 

This week i have felt the Atonement more and realized the importance of it and how everybody needs it in their life. We has Zone conference this week and President Cuvelier asked a question and that is "What have you learned through the Book of Mormon most?" I personally have learned more about repentance and the Atonement of Christ more. The Book of Mormon mentions repentance 360 times in just 600 pages (Portuguese has 600 pages) and without the Atonement we cant be forgiven of our sins and return to Heavenly Father. What have you all learned most from The Book of Mormon? If you haven't yet read it, find out for yourself by reading! 

I have photos this week lol!

-Elder Hammond

First pair of shoes worn out in 6 months! Time for the second pair, and mom preparing to send more!