Monday, August 25, 2014

A week indeed

August 25, 2014

So to be honest this week was a pretty awful one. We went from having 22 lessons a week to 8 lessons... It just felt pretty down and crappy. We tried our best and nothing really seemed to succeed... So enough about the bad feelings. It was a lot of the week, but it's time to focus on the good stuff :)

So i finally got to use the musical talent I've been given for something mission related. I was asked to sing at a zone conference! Zone conference is basically a big awesome stake conference with
president Taylor, but it's with 3 zones! It was pretty awesome. Any time that our mission president talks it is just awesome to hear what he has to say. And he always does have something to say. So me and 4 other missionaries started preparing a song and it was a pretty dang hard arrangement. A few of us couldn't get it down, so we decided to
do "Be Still My Soul" it felt great. I didn't sound the best because I was singing baritone which is higher than what I usually sing when working with choral stuff. Music is the best!

So at zone conference they have all the missionaries about to leave go up there and bear their testimonies. All of them got up and were saying how sad they were to be leaving. I got to bear my testimony. I seemed to be the same way. It feels like I'm going home already, but
no I'm going to a completely different mission.. In Brazil. It has made me more motivated to be a better missionary, and when it happens not let the language hold me back. I Will NOT let it.

So even though we didn't have much success this week we found this amazingly prepared couple for this gospel. They were leaving their church because they didn't feel like they were teaching the correct principles. So of course we taught them why that was. Or at least why we think that is. Most of the time when we hand out a Book of Mormon or a pamphlet we ask them to pray with a sincere heart and read it
with an open mind. Well she decided to tell us that's what she needed to do. Then asked us what Jesus did the three days before he was resurrected. Well before we could answer her she told us that he was teaching the people in spirit paradise to know him and his teachings.
It was a pretty cool experience. Talk about prepared.

We have this man who has been visited by missionaries for quite a few years. He's read the Book of Mormon way more times than I have. He is a great man. He's pretty old and has some health issues. When other missionaries in the past have met with him they just drop him. They didn't see the potential in him. He is almost now starting to think of
the Book of Mormon as true. I love the people out here haha.

We had so much planned for this week! And it all fell through. I think it's just Heavenly Father making me more excited for Brazil. Who knows. Something interesting about this week. Everything seemed to crash and burn! All of the people we are teaching have not been
progressing this week and now some are even avoiding us.

Bro. Hardy is a person I am going to miss a lot... He went out with us on one of the nights and it was just fun. It seems like there is something weird going on in this area though. Every time we bring out
a member of the church no ones answers their doors even when we have
specific appointments. It's super weird haha.

We had dinner at another 60's diner! With the awesome Andersens! They
are so loving to missionaries! They are so willing to take us where and when we need to.

So this is the first time I can say I've done this on my mission. One night we were out and we see this lady we who've talked to before. She was talking about some cat in her garage. We asked her if she needed help and she said sure I don't want to get my face clawed off by this cat feel free. So we spent the next 20 minutes trying to coax this cat out of her garage. The cat was just super scared. It was friendly. It let me pick it up. She wanted to take it to the humane society, but we couldn't get it in the kennel. So we just let it go. Eventually the lady gave us each like 3 ties! And no one got their face clawed off. So overall a pretty good trade off.

Saturday night was pretty awesome! One of the people I was teaching in Vancouver 7th got baptized! I was able to go there and see all the missionaries who taught her. Who just happened to be my last two companions. So it was awesome. She needed it and now she has that amazing gift from our Heavenly Father.

All of the Elders that have taught her. 

Sunday was cool. We have meetings until church then dinner after that. Then we stopped by a bunch of people. Bro Hardy knew it was a rough week so he invited us over for cookies. His family is the best! It made my night amazing. But it also made me feel sad because I have to
leave them!

That's about it for this week to be honest. 

Love you,

Elder Hamrick

A cool view near Brother Hardy's backyard. 

One of the members has baby ducks! And basically a whole farm in her back hard. Notice the bird behind me as well. She's got a lot of stuff.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I don't know what to think (VISA)

August 18, 2014

For those of you who don't know or haven't heard. I received my VISA
his week. I got a call from President Taylor and he just said I was leaving... I got my visa. I will be leaving the Washington Vancouver Mission on Sep. 2 to go to the MTC in Brazil. To be honest I'm in a whole lot of mixed emotions about all of this. So much time has been
spent thinking about it. I am super excited that I have received my visa and I will be able to go to my original mission call. Then on the other hand I absolutely love this mission. The people in it are
amazing, whether it's other missionaries or just the members of the church out here. I feel like I have a lot going for me out here.. But something I have to keep reminding myself of is that Heavenly Father knows what I need. I was looking forward to finishing training Elder Brase, but that will not be happening haha. Good thing is... I will definitely be coming back here.

So this last p day was a little different, I got to do something I actually enjoy quite a bit. I was able to skateboard for like an hour and a half! I love it, and miss it. It was really fun though. And you will never believe what I had for lunch... ARBYS! Those who know me would be appalled that I ate there. But it just goes to show when you are a missionary you will eat ANYTHING. We seem to take members out for perfect opportunities... And no one answers their doors! Seriously
almost every single time we have taken out a member with us we teach no one. It's alright though because that time has been some of the most fun times I've had. We get to know each other a whole lot better. It is pretty fun. When we are out with them we are all always laughing. When we got dropped off we found like 2-3 lessons. I had a cool experience with the spirit that night too. We were knocking on some doors. I was going to share with her the restoration. Well I felt
like I should talk about the plan of happiness so I did that instead! It was exactly what she needed to hear with a lot of family members passing away recently. Something interesting happened that night as well. It was so humid you could see it in the air! I felt like I was
back home!

We had an awesome experience that I will always remember. We had a mini missionary with us for two days. (Someone who's like 16 who goes
out with us and does everything we do). It was pretty cool for him as well I think. It was nice for him to be able to see both sides of a mission. The side where literally no one talks to you, you try a bunch of places and no one answers their doors. And the other side where you
go and you talk to every single person you talk to and you find miracles along the way. While we were going by all those people it just happened to be raining quite a bit as well. And THUNDERING
thunder never happens out here. I miss that about Kansas. All those super awesome thunderstorms.

Wednesday was one of the craziest days of my mission. In the morning we had zone meeting as well as the mini missionary with us (Tyler Ketring). We also just happened to be going on exchanges with the traveling assistants to the president. I learned quite a bit from that zone meeting. It really put into perspective how many people we are
really affecting if we are able to reach ONE person. It's literally hundreds.

Well I wrote you all a really long letter. It deleted like 2/3 of it... So I guess I will start all over again...

At the end of that zone meeting I had a weird feeling like "this is the last thing I need to learn more about before I go to Brazil" little did I know I was literally going to be sent there 3 weeks from then... Haha.  If we are able to reach one person then they are able to reach hundreds more involved with their family and in the future generations. The exchanges with the traveling assistants to the president was amazing. Sheesh Heavenly Father is spite sting my patience hard right now. It took me quite a long time to write that
the first time, now I have to do it again. It is nice to be able to go with missionaries who have been doing this for a while. I always learn so much, and become a better missionary every time. We gave a blessing and it was cool to see that if Heavenly Father wants something said he will make sure it happens. The blessing addressed something completely different, but still something that was pressing on his mind. Amazing
stuff. Then we had dinner with BRO. HARDY. That was when we got a
voicemail from president Taylor telling me to call him back. As you can see we all know why he called that night. Once I found out I wasn't even able to eat for a few minutes because I was shaking so
bad. That night was a great night though. Members are the full time missionaries. Despite what you might think. We are part time because we are only there part of the time. You are there until you move haha. Having people that you trust missionaries teaching is crucial as well.
Go in there with them and let them experience the blessings that this
message brings. That night was a great night because through members we were able to find 2 solid families ready for the gospel. It was amazing. Then we went to a member named peter Clarke! He is super awesome. He's from Jamaica and he made us some Jamaican patties. Super good and spicy, along with some bomb juice. When I told him that I was leaving he said "that sucks" me and him have gotten pretty close over the time I've been here. It's alright because he got us back on
Sunday. He told us that he didn't like how we treated him differently
and how we were racists towards him. He kept it going for like 3 solid minutes. He got us good.

This week was like a week of service or something! Well I guess the last three days. We went to these members and saw they were working on their car. Ever since elder olschewski I have been interested in cars. We asked if we could help and they said no. Well this car was super dirty and gross. Well he got out the pressure washer and I instantly went to go help him. We eventually scrubbed that car squeaky clean. It reminds me of an analogy we can all apply in our lives with anything we have to put work into. That work wasn't easy, it took quite a lot
of effort and time, but it was worth it to see the beauty beneath the dirt and grime. Just like in life. If we have something we need a lot of work with we need to just persevere so we can see the beauty beneath. We even waxed that car to make it look great. I enjoyed it.
Service just makes everyone feel great. Later in the week we were able to even help someone move and then we also helped someone finish this big old cat house. And load it in his car. Thanks for your carpentry skills dad, they are starting to come out a little bit, I am enjoying it more and more. Service is just great :)

Fridays are super weird. But this one was supposed to be a big awesome one! Well no one showed up to theFriday night tour. It was pretty sad, but it's alright because we are going to revamp it for next time... Well they are going to. And it's going to be amazing. I was looking forward to this so I could use my music for something. It didn't work out too well though haha.

I will definitely have to get pictures with people. I just don't think about it, but now that I'm leaving it's on my mind quite a bit more than usual.

We had a breakthrough moment with one of our investigators this week.
Every time we have gone over there he has listened to us, but not really interested in knowing it's true because he has his own beliefs. Well we were able to go into his home  this time. First time ever. And he sat down with notes and asked us in depth questions about the Book of Mormon and we were able to bear our testimonies of why we love it,
it gives me a sense of purpose. It makes me feel Gods love for all of us. Now he has had a mighty change of heart and is Earnestly searching for truth.

Church was good. It's funny because the members didn't seem happy I was leaving, but kind of disappointed. Someone even said "Brazil is breaking up the dynamic duo? What the heck?" So I guess you can say we are the dynamic duo here. I love it. We taught 22 lessons this week. The same as last week which is amazing because that's the highest I've taught my whole mission.

A mission is a crazy thing. I don't even understand all that it is doing for me. Time is flying by like crazy. A wise man told me that time flies but you are the pilot. I like to change the phrasing and
say that we are co-pilots with God. It all leans back on trusting in Heavenly Father. Something I know I need to work on.

I love you all, and miss you all. I will be home before either of us know it. It's crazy.


Elder Hamrick

Can't go anywhere without my favorite pen! 

Guarana tang (gwa-da-na) 


August 18, 2014

I have now received my visa! I will be leaving the Vancouver Washington mission on September 2nd (the end of this transfer!) so yep! Just thought I would let you all know. I will be going to Brazil in about two weeks.

Elder Parker Hamrick

Not our timing but His

August 11, 2014

I feel like a lot of things happened with us this week that had to do with the Lords timing and not ours at all. Something pretty cool that happened to start off the week was talking to this person. She has a sister who was just baptized in Kansas! So we told her to call her sister to talk about it. So hopefully when we go there today she will have talked to her sister about what it means to her to be baptized.

I am in need of doing some service! I haven't done service the whole
time I've been here! I love doing service, and I haven't had the opportunity to do it as of yet. We were supposed to do it Tuesday. Well we got picked up and were almost there. Then we got a text that
said oh we don't need anymore help if you are coming. There are plenty
of people. I was like "dang it!" But it's alright. Not our timing but His.

It's sad when people we talk to try to convert us. Tell us we are wrong and that the way the Book of Mormon is written seems like the devil rather than The Lord. We talked with a man for quite a while. He just doesn't get it. By the end he was praying for us to not be led astray and be changed from a good person to a bad person. The thing was was that he was super sincere about what he was saying. He believed what he was saying was true. We tried to tell him to pray about the Book of Mormon. He just can't get over how it was written. When people write differently. It's sad to see people completely deny answers to their prayers.

On Wednesday we had district meeting. We get together and discuss the things of the district. Every week someone is assigned to do a training on something. It just so happened that elder Brase and I were assigned this week. We were told to make it out of the box and creative. So you can guess what I decided to bring with myself to this district meeting. The training was supposed to be on companionship unity. What shows that more than singing a duet with your companion? We sang "How Great Thou Art" then talked about what it dealt with
companionship unity. We are two voices blending to make one voice for the same purpose. Just like a companionship should be in lessons. When I or Elder Brase would mess up the other would automatically correct I t and continue forward. Just like with teaching. When one says something and is getting a little jumbled up the other takes over and
just let's it happen. The spirit is also crucial. Just how in music what you're feeling is crucial. The last verse I changed something up and did something I had never done before. So the training went really well. I loved it. I can relate anything to music to be honest haha. LOVE IT.

I love the members in this ward! We had some awesome dinners this week. Some pretty sweet restaurants and also some amazing home cooked meals. So much food! At one point since I've been here I lost like 7 pounds. I think I may be gaining it back because of all the great food though. And I are like 10 potstickers in one meal... That could be it. Haha either way the members are great and I look forward to seeing them every day.

We are getting pretty excited for evergreen unplugged. Here is the set
list as of our first draft of it.
How great thou art
Did you think to pray
Hey brother- avici
Lighthouse-nickel creek
Let it go- frozen
Be kind- me
Lead kindly lights
For the beauty of the earth
Battle hymn of the republic
Spirit of God
I feel like something needs  a bit of change but we have a bit of time
to change things up if we need to.

Having a companion who sings helps out a whole lot. We will be doing a church tour Friday. To start out the tour we will be singing three songs. How great thou art, for the beauty of the earth, and the other one is undecided as of right now. We have been inviting practically everyone we talk to to this thing. I am really excited. Music is powerful. It can make a difference.

We talked with someone who is supposedly a descendant of Joseph smith! She isn't a member and doesn't seem like she wants to be at all. She
teaches seminary for people who want to get a degree in being a preacher. Interesting conversation though.

When your mind to teaching everyone you talk to it happens. This week we taught a total of 22 lessons. The highest I have achieved in my mission in a week. And we are only going to move up. We had some pretty awesome times with knocking doors this week. Some awesome stuff where we just got to teach so much, people in this area just talk to us. It's amazing. They give us so many opportunities to teach. We were
able to get multiple new investigators from those. We were going to go with brother hardy to a baptism with a couple who are super interested in the church. Well we were about to leave but the car wouldn't start! We were luckily able to get it jumped to make it right in time for the
baptism. They loved it. They said it was peaceful. Baptisms are great things. It's one of the greatest places to take someone who is interested in the church. Right before the baptism we knocked this first door. We asked her if she's seen missionaries around and if she's talked to them. Of course she said yes like everyone else. Then we asked her if she has ever heard the message we share. She said no. So we let her know! She is so interested and we will be going back
this next week.

There's this man who has the most peaceful backyard ever! We talked
with him. I mentioned maybe we could come back here and do some studies. And he said of course! Come here anytime. He's like a 70 year old man. He's so cool. Timing is key. And it's not ours. Our Heavenly Father literally times things perfectly if you let him.

Sunday was great. I love this ward. It feels like back home. A whole bunch of youth, and a whole bunch of people out on missions! It feels like I'm in my home ward. I'm so thankful to be in this ward at this time. Hopefully I'm here for a whole longer, but not long enough for people to get annoyed with me.

Overall this week was great. Not too sure if I have anything else super exciting to say, but it's missionary work, it's all exciting, but I can't write out everything I do in a day. We are working hard.
Going to bed worn out, and waking up ready to do it again. I love it.


Elder Hamrick

A hawk at the stake center

At a fun 60's diner called Boppin Bo's. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

I love people

August 4, 2014

So this week was pretty sweet. We met a lot of awesome people. One of the best things about being out here is the ability we have to make awesome friends and meet really cool people. It is also crazy how instantly you grow to love the people you meet. You want the best for them.

We met these people that own a motocross company. We talked to them
for a bit and they gave us some cool stickers. Haha they were funny guys and weren't interested at all. We were able to build a great relationship though. That's the cool thing. Once they earn respect for
you as a person they are much more likely to earn respect for your message. Something cool I've learned this week :)

We had the trainer trainee meeting this week. That's there basically to get us all pumped up about missionary work and how we are supposed to do it. Every time president Taylor speaks it is inspiring. He knows how to say it and what exactly to say.

Along with some cool people I met some crazy people this week as well haha. This one old lady answered the door screaming and said "Jehovah or Mormon?" So of course we said Mormons. She then went on literally yelling in our faces about Jesus being our savior. And then breaking into random prayers. While she was doing all this preaching she was yelling random facts about herself. That had literally nothing to do with what she was screaming about like: "I'm 87 years old. Only through his blood are we saved" then "I got my toes painted today! And you guys need to know you aren't getting any closer to heaven with what you're doing" it was super hard to not laugh at what she was
saying. Like seriously screaming at us... Haha it was super funny and definitely hasn't happened to me on my mission until this point haha.

So we called a member to pick us up from a district meeting. He rolled up in a 2014 SS Camaro convertible. How many missionaries do you see riding in one of those things around town? Haha I'm starting to really like cars since I've been on my mission!

Awesome story: we were trying by a potential with a pretty different name. On our way there we heard "hey elders" so we went and talked to him. He was a member of the ward. We are both pretty new so we are definitely starting to get to know the ward, but we have lots to go.
Well anyways we talked with him about his neighbors and how they probably wouldn't be interested. Then we started to talk about the movie heaven is for real. Well we went over there anyways and tried by her. Well we talked to a guy that was unlikely to listen according to
the neighbor. Well he just so happened to bring up heaven is for real as well (I want to see that!) and we were able to teach him. Then we went back and told the member. He was excited. So excited that on Sunday he decided to tell the whole high priest quorum, in the middle of the meeting. It was pretty cool. You NEVER KNOW.

there are always prepared people out there, we as missionaries just have to rely on The Lord and find them. We were able to find 5 new investigators this week.

We got to go out with a couple members this week. Once with our ward mission leader! Bro. Hardy is like they best guy! I love him. We have gotten really close only within like 2 weeks. We have some awesome places to go with the work in this ward. We were knocking on this
door. She answered and elder Brase said how are you? Shook her hand and introduced himself. Then he waited a few seconds and said "how are you" again. It was super funny because right after that bro. Hardy was like "dang this kid is full of em. He really knows how to break the
ice" he's a bro.

We had two exchanges this week! One with the district leader, and another with the zone leaders. Miracles happen with exchanges. We talk to a lot of awesome people and magically teach like 6 lessons even though we have no lessons scheduled. With the first exchange I learned that it is awful to argue with people. It leaves an awful impression and the spirit automatically leaves us. Nothing good comes from it. I tried to stop it as soon as the arguing started. But they just kept going.

The second exchange was super awesome! The elder I went with is super
cool and we get along great. We did some work too! We taught everyone
we talked to pretty much! Something important I learned this week is that numbers are there to help you achieve things. But that is not your focus! Some missionaries only want numbers. Like yes we need more lessons get 3 more lessons this day or something. For me... It's not about that. I want to help as many people as I can yes. But throwing
numbers out makes the work way less fun. When we went out we didn't
worry about numbers. We just went out. Had fun and eventually taught more lessons.

More awesome people! We met a member of the are from Jamaica who loves missionaries! He even gave us a key to his house! Crazy huh? We had
dinner over there. He made us goat curry stuff.. Haha yep I have now eaten goat. And sucked the marrow out of the bone (not too bad) I love ethnic food! And I haven't even really had it here very much. He said that he is glad that we have awesome missionaries here now. The whole ward is talking about it (according to him) he's a great guy.

Then something sweet happened! We met a guy with a lotus! We talked
with him for a bit. We were able to talk with him a lot and tell him a lot about why we are out here and stuff. His neighbor even came by and we taught him as well! I will never forget Eric and Big John. They
were just really nice genuine guys. I enjoyed talking with them. We eventually got so close with them that we got to sit in the lotus! So many awesome cars! Woo!

I really enjoy this ward a lot. It has a lot of youth it reminds me of red bridge. They have like 10 missionaries out in this ward as well. I just feel welcome and loved here!

Something pretty funny about being in a bike area. You get super tan riding around all the time. But it's like a weird tanline on your fingers, they are less tan than the rest of your hand because they
aren't facing the sun when you are riding.

I am more than thankful to be in this area. It wasn't left in the best state. I am so ready to keep doing work in this area. I think the members are getting excited as well. We have a church tour the 15th
and Elder Brase and I will be singing and playing some songs to start it off. The whole ward is kind of getting pumped up for missionary work.

Words are probably some of the strongest things we can use. Yes people
say that actions speak louder than words. But it truly depends on the
words you use. And using words that put out love towards others are key to missionary work. This great quote from Uchtdorf "No, God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God!

For what we love determines what we seek.

What we seek determines what we think and do.

What we think and do determines who we are--and who we will become."(The Love of God)

So to end this email.

I love you all so much. I miss you. I hope that the best things are happening for you all.


Elder Hamrick

Inside of the lotus