Thursday, March 27, 2014

Week One: My talk

Here's my talk

Revelation becomes our guide to application 

Good morning brothers and sisters, no better way to be welcomed to the ward than by giving a talk in it the first time you've been there. For those of you who don't know me, which is all of you. I am Elder Hamrick, I am from Overland Park KS which is just by Kansas City. I have been out for 5.... Days... I went into the MTC on the 5th of Feb. I was originally sent to the Fortaleza East Brazil Mission. Turns out I don't have my visa yet, so I got reassigned here. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here today. 

The topic I was assigned to speak on was "revelation becomes our guide to application" when I first heard that, I honestly had no clue what it meant. I had to think about it and study it quite a bit to understand what it meant, and even then, I may not know what it was supposed to mean. This is what I got out of it: 
I want to speak about the Holy Ghost, and the spirit. As a missionary, a lot of the truth we bring is through the spirit. The spirit brings each and every one of us revelation. Now once we receive that revelation we have to put it to use, hence the application. It isn't always easy to listen to the promptings of the spirit, but when we do, amazing things can happen.There's a scripture in D&C 68 verse 4 that says...

4 And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation. (D&C 68:4)

God has given us this great gift that we all need to take advantage of. I think it is awesome how when we are baptized we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and we should treat it just like that, a gift. When I think of a really good gift I think of something I never want to lose. I like to look at the Holy Ghost as the greatest gift we can receive, so I want to live my life so that the Holy Ghost can be with me always. We have the opportunity to always be receiving revelation if we are worthy of it. Once we receive that revelation we can use it as guidance for the rest of our lives. There is always something that we can learn from those little revelations, or promptings. For example we can learn how to act when a similar situation comes around again, or for us to learn how to listen to that prompting. We all receive revelation in different ways, for me I just get a thought in my head. I just think hmmm maybe I should do that, or say that. 

I like to use analogies, so bear with me through this one. I like to look at the Holy Ghost as a cellphone for multiple reasons. If any of you are like me, I didn't really like to go anywhere without my cellphone. It was important to me, and it was a very useful tool. If anything were to happen to our cellphones, or something else we keep hold of pretty tightly, more often than not we would get upset. I know I would be. But in my opinion I never thought of the Holy Ghost like that. Yes I realized that it was important, but I never cherished it like a loved item. Now that is one of my goals, to always cherish the Holy Ghost, and to always have it with me, and be worthy to receive revelation from it. It can guide us through many situations in our lives. The other way I look at it, the Holy Ghost is like a cellphone because it is a way to communicate with God. We all use cellphones to maybe call up a friend just to say hi or ask how they are doing. We can use our "spiritual cellphones" if you will to talk to God, and to sometimes receive answers. Now with a cellphone you have to be able to have service, or your phone just won't work. We also have to have spiritual reception in order for us to be able to hear those promptings. We have to be worthy. I plan on striving to have my "spiritual cellphone" with me at all times.

Sister carol m Stephens said in her talk called "do we know what we have?" Quote

"We need the gift of the Holy Ghost. Through that ordinance, we can have access to the constant companionship of the Spirit. President Wilford Woodruff taught: “Every man or woman that has ever entered into the church of God and been baptized for the remission of sins has a right to revelation, a right to the Spirit of God, to assist them in their labors, in their administrations to their children, in counseling their children and those over whom they are called upon to preside. The Holy Ghost is not restricted to men, nor to apostles or prophets; it belongs to every faithful man and woman, and to every child who is old enough to receive the gospel of Christ." Unquote

It is amazing that God loves us so much that he would give this gift to everyone who is worthy and baptized, that is all it takes. You can be a child of the age of eight. Or you can be a teenager the age of 14, if you truly seek to have the spirit with you at all times, you will receive revelation. One of the most amazing things that happened for our church was through revelation. The prophet Joseph smith. David M. McConkie gave a talk in general conference called "teaching with the power and authority of god" and I quote.

"In response to a 14-year-old boy’s humble prayer, the heavens were opened. God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared and spoke to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The long-awaited restitution of all things had begun, and the principle of revelation was everlastingly established in our dispensation. Joseph’s message, and our message to the world, can be summarized in two words: “God speaks.” He spoke anciently, He spoke to Joseph, and He will speak to you. This is what sets you apart from all other teachers in the world. This is why you cannot fail."  Unquote 
Joseph smith received one of the first instances of revelation that we know of. Like brother mcconkie said, it is easily summarized by two words. God Speaks. He is always there, and is always willing to help if we are both worthy and listening. 

Once we receive that revelation, it is then up to us to apply it in our lives. Sometimes that can be the hardest part. I know that if we follow promptings through revelation we can then be guided on how to apply it in our own lives. It is amazing that we have this amazing guide and help in our life. God truly cares about us and wants us to do the best we can, and that is clearly evident through everything we have been given to help us along the way. There are so many things that have been given to us all through revelation. For example, all of doctrine and covenants. It was all given to Joseph smith, for the church or for the members in it. We can all use the doctrine and covenants in our lives and apply it to them. It is simply amazing what we have been given, and what we are always continually being given. 

At times we let revelation become our guide without even realizing it. I know that it has happened to me many times. I'll be doing something then all of the sudden get an idea to do something else. A lot of the time we don't see those things as revelation, but I do. If I were to look back at that situation, and would have gone to do something else when I got the idea, maybe I wouldn't have had any problems. God is ALWAYS looking out for us whenever we are doing anything. 

Heavenly Father has given us so many ways and situations in which we can receive revelation. Temples are one of those places that we can receive the most revelation. I just love going to the temple, whether I go to do baptisms, or other temple work, I always look forward to it. Something I have noticed while in the temple is that time is basically nothing there. We don't have to worry about anything outside of the temple. We are in the Lords house and on the Lords time. Before I came out on my mission, I loved taking pictures. One of my favorite things that I have taken pictures of is the outside of the temple. It is absolutely beautiful. When we even just simply go to the temple grounds we know that there is a different feeling. It is always calm, and always peaceful, and it is just a good feeling. The temple also has visitor centers. You can learn so much just by going and watching videos or reading information about the temple. When I go to the temple I try to have a focus, a reason why I am there. Something that I need help with in my life. Most of the time I receive an answer about it. It is a great form of personal revelation for all of us, and I invite you all to take every opportunity that you can to go and experience the greatness that it is.

We can even take the revelation not directed for us, and apply it in our lives. When I was younger there were some scripture videos called like unto us or liken unto me or something like that, but they were awesome. I am really big into music so I enjoyed the musical numbers, but they also had great messages. They would start off with a child in their life and struggling with some issue that they didn't know how to solve. Then an adult, either their parents or their leaders would come to them, and teach them about a character in the scriptures, and what problem they had to overcome. Then they applied it to the child's life, and how Heavenly father is always there to help us and guide us along with our struggles. One episode was David and Goliath. This child was asked to give a talk in sacrament meeting, and he thought that it was way too big of a task for him to do. All those people watching him, and having their full attention on him. His parents then came to him and told the story of David and Goliath. David was a small teenager and his people were fighting against the philistenes. The philistenes had a warrior who was a giant. Not one man wanted to go against him. David was curious as to why. He said that he would fight the giant. Now how crazy is That? It wasn't crazy at all for him. He knew that the Lord was on his side. He received what I think was revelation and decided to find the smoothest and most aerodynamic stone he could find for his sling. That he may slay Goliath. When david came to battle he said this in 1 Samuel 17 verses 45-47
45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.

46 This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

47 And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.
David overcame Goliath with one smooth stone, and won the battle. Without faith In The Lord he would have really had a difficulty fighting the philistines. An important way to receive revelation is to have faith that we can receive revelation. We can apply this revelation in our own lives. We can have the faith to withstand any trial we have, and we can have faith to receive revelation.

Bear my testimony. 
In the name of Jesus Christ amen.

Week One in the Field

Alright so I have a lot to write about today. I will get all the logistical stuff out of the way first. Once I got to the Vancouver Washington Mission I was able to meet the Mission President and his wife. Let me just say that the best way I can describe them is awesome. They are both loving and kind, and just super cool and fun to be around. I think I am going to like being in this mission. I got assigned to serve in the Blue lake Ward in Gresham Oregon. We are living in apartments. And by we, I mean We. I am with my companion, and another companionship. It is pretty fun living with all of these people. Makes it pretty exciting. My companion is Elder Olschewski his name is polish. He is from Utah. It is pretty funny seeing us walk together. I am 6 2 and he is about 5 7. hahaha. We are just outside of Portland. I like it here though, it is pretty cool. 

The first day I got to the field was a super chill day. We kind of just all learned about the mission.. AND GOT OUR IPADS.. my mission uses Ipads, and it is one of the trial missions. And I also get to use facebook, if any of you havent noticed anything I posted. I think that it is a blessing that we get to recieve these wonderful pieces of technology to help us further the work. I am not going to lie though, sometimes it is pretty difficult to stay on task. But I know with time it will become easier. We are allowed to post anything that helps with our purpose. Just like simple messages or experiences that I have, it is pretty cool.

The first couple of days that I was actually with my companion were pretty boring. We had to get a lot of routine stuff done, and didnt get to do much work. Then after that we did service a lot in one day. Like 6 hours worth. It was cool helping people out, and seeing the joy they get when we do that service for them. I LOVE SERVICE. I think that my companion was stuck with a goober last time, so he was used to not doing a whole lot with his day. Don't worry I am going to change that. We are going to work our butts off.

I guess there really isnt that much to write about... oh ya.. I had to give a talk in Sacrament meeting the first week I was in the ward. That was exciting... The topic of the talk was Revelation becomes our guide to application. Quite the topic huh? it turned out pretty well actually.. No one told me that we were going straight here to email so I dont have my talk with me. I can send you an email with my talk in it either sometime today, or on next p day. Hopefully you all will like it. 

I have gotten to meet a couple cool people here already. Someone in our ward is a professional snowboarder. There are also some people that are just awesome and fun to be around. 

For any of you who want to actually write me like letters. Here is my address  2223 NW 99th St. Washington Vancouver 98665.

I think that is all for today. I Iove you all, and hope that you are doing really well!


Elder Hamrick (am Rick EE)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I leave the MTC Tuesday

It is crazy how fast time flies while you are here. I am gone... In like 3 days... And I will be on a mission! How crazy is that! I am loving it here though. One of the best parts about the MTC is meeting all the people from different cultures countries and languages. Seriously all I do after a long day of work, Is go and talk to everyone that I can in my residence. I have met some of the best guys and most awesome guys ever here. I LOVE it. I feel like I was meant to go to the islands, because I just get along with them so well. It is alright they are my brothers from other mothers, and I still love them. So many of them want me to come back with them after our missions and go to the island where they are from. I have really gotten close to this one Tongan whose name is Elder Kaafi. He is one of the most genuine and nice people I have ever met. I love him. Every time I am with him we talk for like an hour. He didn't speak any english before he got to the MTC, and now he can talk to me and we can just talk. I would love to make it to Tonga with him! Elder Kaafi my brotha... 

It is actually really sad to be leaving all of these awesome people. You spend all of your time with all these people, and become so close to them, then you leave them in a few weeks. I don't even get it. But I love it, and hate it at the same time.

Portuguese is pretty good at this point. I am nowhere near fluent, but I can hold a conversation and be able to say about 70% of what I am going to say. I will have an hour of language study in Washington that I will definitely use to the best of my ability, but honestly where I will REALLY learn it is in Brazil, if and when I get there haha. Portuguese has taught me a lot though. Since we have always been teaching our lessons in Portuguese, it made me realize that teaching in english is going to be so much easier. We have learned how to say exactly what we need to say to get our point across, and not ramble on about everything. It is such a blessing to be able to go to a US mission before, so I can better myself as a missionary, in my primary language. I am so Thankful for it. I had an awesome opportunity this week. There are people that are not members that the church hires and pays to walk around the campus for a certain amount of hours. We are allowed to teach them whenever we can. So me and my companion decided to teach one! It was such a powerful and amazing experience. I love it. It was so spiritual, and I actually got to speak in english! It felt really weird honestly haha.

I got to host Senior missionaries this week. It was such an awesome experience for me. I got to talk to all of them. The world is really small when you are talking to people about the church. One of the couples I hosted has a granddaughter in the Independence Mission! Speaking of that, be looking out for a sister horn! We have gotten really close in the MTC, and she is going to be in Independence waiting for her Visa on reassignment!

I have been able to sing with only like four people. I have waited my whole time here to find someone who I can harmonize and sing with, AND I FOUND THEM! I am super excited, but now I am leaving. As soon as I get to Washington I am going to find a ukulele to play and buy, I MISS IT SO BAD. I miss it so much though.

I am going to write a part of this in portuguese just so you all can see a little bit of it:

Entou, pregando do evangelho e agorra meu favorito Qoiza fazer. Eu Moito Ama isso. Eu Qeuro Dar voce Meu Testimunho. Eu Recebia A Moito force testimunho aqui. Eu sei que Moitas Qoizas em nossos Vidas e Dificil. Mas Tambem Eu sei que Deus pode Ajudar nos com que nos precisamos. Com fe e disejo aprender, e crescer nos podemos estar O melhor nos estar. Eu amo Da CTM e todo ele fazia para mim. Eu sei que o Livro de Mormon e verdade. E Jose SMith e Uma profeta. Eu falou estes qoizas em oh nome de Jesus Cristo Amem

The next letter will be from WASHINGTON on monday. 


Elder Parker Pratt Hamrick (Am-Rick-ee) [How the polys and brazilians say my name]

Thursday, March 13, 2014

THIS WEEK IN THE MTC (in a movie announcer voice)

Hello friends and family! I made it through another week believe it or not! haha just kidding. I totally destroyed this week! The time here is going by insanely fast. This week felt like a couple of days... It honestly makes absolutely no sense, but whatever I will take it. 

So I have some really exciting news. As many of you know Brazil Visa's take forever to get. So I got an email that said Visa status... I FREAKED OUT... Then I opened it, I had no clue I was going to get this. I opened and it said this... 

"By now you are aware that your visa to Brazil has not yet been approved. While this is undoubtedly a disappointment, please know that we are doing everything possible to secure your visa. We will notify you immediately when it is received. We ask that you and your family members not do anything, such as call or e-mail the consulate, to try to secure your visa more quickly. Such actions may actually slow down the visa process already in place.
While you are waiting, your mission experience in the United States will prove to be a great blessing in your preparation to serve in Brazil. We encourage you to work hard, remain focused, and be involved in all aspects of missionary work. As you serve the people in the Washington Vancouver Mission, your testimony and ability to teach will increase, you will set the pattern of study and hard work for the rest of your mission, and you will come to love the people.
May the Lord continue to bless you and your family as you dedicate yourself to preaching the gospel to hose who are seeking and ready to accept your invitation to come unto Christ.


Eduardo Gavarret
Assistant Executive Director"

So I got my reassignment to go to the Vancouver Washington Mission! I have no clue when I leave, but I am extremely excited and pumped to get there. I looked at it on google maps my area is absolutely beautiful! So much green and so much beauty basically everywhere. My mission includes Portland Oregon, The coast, and Vancouver, Washington. I cannot wait to see what the mission is actually like down there. It is such a blessing that I get to go somewhere where I can actually speak english and know what I am saying to my investigators. I knew I was going to get reassigned, and it just so happens to be the same mission as Ky Pace. So if someone could forward my emails to the Paces. So that was last night. I was so pumped I couldn't even believe it.

Everyone in the zone are going to different missions. The only person that is supposed to go to my mission is my companion. Although there has been other people in other zones that I found are supposed to be going to my mission also. But I really don't know them that well. No one really got their visas. My whole District got reassignments. Elder Hofstetter got assigned to Houston East Texas Mission. Elder Niver got assigned to Chesepeake Virginia, and my companion got assigned to go to the Charlotte North Carolina. It is so weird that we have such a small zone now. This week the only sisters in our zone and three other elders left. Our zone was literally 8 people for at least 3 days. Luckily we got a new district. I still cant tell if I like them yet though. They are all still nervous and uptight. It is so weird how you can get so close to people in a short 4 weeks. I was actually really sad to see people go. It was so weird. I got really close with some of the sisters, but I will get to email them and stuff.  It is so weird being the oldest district here in our zone. Everyone looks to us for advice, and we are the ones to give it to them. So much has changed since I first got here. I have become a better person, and just how I feel around this situation has changed so much. At first it felt like the weirdest thing ever. Now It really isnt to bad at all. It feels almost normal.

Let me tell you what my basic schedule is for a day. 
6:30- Wake up for the day and get all ready.
7:30- Go to breakfast.
8:00- Go to class (depends on the day I will actually have a teacher who teaches us how to teach, how to speak the language, and we get to teach them as an investigator. It is such a cool thing to do)
9:30- It depends on the day but we usually have gym sometime in the morning
12:30- We go to eat lunch
1:15- This is basically more class time. either with a teacher or free time
5:30- Dinner
6:15- MORE CLASS TIME! haha we have so much class here at the MTC
9:30- Go back to the Residence, and unwind and relax for a bit.
10:30- Lights out time to go to bed. ( you all know me I dont fall asleep for about an hour at least)
That is a basic day at the MTC. 
On sundays we have devotionals and a lot of other stuff but I don't feel like writing this all out right now. There is my schedule No time to go and see any CES things. We are all always soooo busy.

I had a pretty cool opportunity on Tuesday. We have devotionals on Tuesday nights. I got to say the opening prayer for ALL OF THE MTC. At least 1,000 elders and sisters that I said the prayer in front of. Guess what. The speaker was from BRAZIL. His name was Brother Aidukaidis. He was one of the best speakers we have had the whole time. He was the mission president for Brazilia, and he is now a 70. It was totally meant to be. He was so funny. The only speaker I have ever heard laugh at his own jokes during his talk. It was the best.

I don't have any time to write any music basically. The MTC is so much more busy than people thing. I don't know what I would even write about. Theres too much to say. I miss soooo much music. hahah It doesnt really get easier. PENTATONIX. Oh I miss them so much haha. As SOON as I get to Washington I think that I will buy a ukulele :). I need music.

Portuguese so difficult for me. But one day this week it like all of the sudden just clicked. I don't know what it was. One of our teachers Brother James made us a promise. If we did these worksheets in this book we had, and did all of them we would be fluent in the language. There is no way that I am going to be able to do all of the worksheets before I leave. But we did it, and we all had faith that it would happen. We believed him. That day we all spoke portuguese at least 2 times as well as before. It was absolutely amazing. We can all speak it so much better than we thought we were going to. I love learning it, it is just so much fun, and interesting to get better at it. So for the lessons that we taught that day, we all taught amazingly, and we all spoke really really well. I talked about 60% of the time during the lesson. It was so amazing. The spirit just makes everything so much better. Inspired questions and everything. I just love it.

I got the chance to host some more people on Wednesday. It is a really good feeling helping people out who really don't know anything. So me, Elder Hofstetter, and Elder Folkman have started doing the coolest thing ever. Every night we go down to the vending machines and meet new people from different countries and learn from them in their language. There is this kid that is fro the Marshall Islands. He is such an awesome little guy he is probably like 4'11" and he does not speak much english at all. It is probably one of the coolest things I have done. I love learning more about languages and cultures. They come from nothing, and They get here. They don't usually talk to anyone, so you have to talk to them I absolutely love it. I swear I was meant to be born Somoan or Tongan. I absolutely love them. I am going to go for now, but I will most likely be writing later in the day. 

Eu Amo Voce,

Elder Parker Hamrick

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Here comes a letter

Portuguese is coming a long quite interestingly.  Sometimes I get to speaking, and I can speak pretty dang well. Other times I honestly just sit there and stumble around my words.. It is such a weird thing. It isn't really getting easier haha. The only times I get to say what I want to say are during lessons when the spirit is there super strongly... It is such an amazing feeling to be teaching with the spirit. It makes everything so much better, I don't even know how to explain it. That is honestly one of the things that I have come to learn that it is super important. The spirit teaches so much more than we do it is insane. The teachers really help you out so much here. I love my teachers, they care so much, and they really want you to learn. 

IT is so exciting to hear about all these people getting calls, and preparing to put their papers in. It is one of the best things ever. It makes me happy that people are doing this. I know I havent even been gone long, and I have only been in the MTC, but it has already changed me as a person, and also made me a better person. I have learned so much about what I need to do and change, and what I didn't even know I needed to do. GO ON A MISSION. If you are thinking about coming on a mission. Do it, I know that it will change your life for the better. You will love it. Not all of it. But you will love how you feel.

Thank you so much to everyone for all the food that you have been sending. It is crazy how much food I have now. In total our room has about 5 DRAWERS full of food.. I am not sure that I really need anymore.. I don't know when I am going to be able to eat it all! I really love and enjoy it though. It means a lot. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I have received the all of the packages that all of you have sent. Thank you again.

There is no news on my Visa as of yet. There is a district in our zone with quite a few people in it, and not one of them got their visa. It is such a hit and miss thing. So we will just have to see. I know for sure I probably won't have my Visa in time. I am actually really excited to get reassigned somewhere else. I want to have the opportunity to teach in english, and see if I can teach in english better than in portuguese :) Either way I am really excited to get out into the field. 

Something that I have come to learn and really enjoy is how much I love Joseph Smith. He was such an amazing man. Teaching the first lesson, and first vision is quite possibly one of the best and amazing lessons to teach to an investigator. If you don't feel the spirit while you are teaching this lesson, I don't understand how you don't. We watched the Joseph Smith movie on Sunday, and that is one of the most powerful movies that the church has released. I just love it. 

God is always watching out for us. I know for a fact this week because of something that happened. I got to Host MY BEST FRIEND LANDON. I am so glad that I got to do that. IT was a crazy experience for me. I was hosting for basically 2 hours. The whole time I was doing that I was hoping that I could be able to host him. There were about 300 new missionaries coming in that day. The chances of me finding Landon were pretty dang low... I got to host two missionaries... The whole time like I said I was looking for him. After the last one I did, I waited around and my spots kept getting taken, so I couldn't host anybody. Eventually it ended. I was sooooo disappointed that I didn't even get to see him. I decided to stay around and hang out with a couple of sisters and elders. Just to make sure that no one else was coming. When it looked like there was absolutely no one left, and it was closing up. One of the sisters found an ID card on the ground, so we had to take it to the front. I felt like I just shouldn't go to class yet. So I didn't. As I was walking back to class, I saw some other friends. (During gym I have been playing volleyball with an Elder Homer. We have been hanging out a lot and have become really close over the past couple of weeks.) Well I saw him.. and guess what he had in his hand.. Another ID card. What are the chances of that happening? Two people I know both finding an ID card, and both needing to go to the front desk to return it. After we returned it, we went back to the front one last time to see if anyone else was coming... There was no one.. I thought dangit.. I didn't get to see landon... Why... I even prayed that it would happen. As we were sadly walking away I had a feeling I should just walk slowly. Then out of nowhere I hear "HAMBONE" you have no idea how happy it made me.. It was such an amazing blessing. Everything that led up to it was just amazing... No way that it happened by chance... It was such a blessing to see all of the Moores there too. It was so amazing that I got to say goodbye to my family one more time. It honestly helped me out so much. I loved it.

I have become such a better teacher since I have been here. But I still have that language barrier.

Here is my zone 

Here is the Provo Temple 

This is Elder Zietner and I at the temple 

I love you all. Tchau Eu Amo Voce!


Elder Parker Hamrick