Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever. Alma 26:12

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Nothing beats the real thing...

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Dear Family,

The weeks are really starting to fly by. These weeks have been by far the busiest in my life. Everyday is a 16 hour day and we're doing something every minute of it. We spend about 45 hours each week in class studying, and about the same amount of time studying outside of class. I'm learning so quickly. I've probably learned more Portuguese in the last 3 weeks than I learned Latin in 3 years. So crazy! I love it so much! I expected it to be super stressful here, but so far so good haha. I'm having too much fun to be stressed :). We started TRC (Training Resource Center) on Thursday. TRC is when real people (Portuguese speaking) come in seeking help (Or sometimes they just wanna talk to someone in Portuguese) and we talk to them and do our best to help them. I think it's really cool that I'm already able to help people that are much older than me in a language that I've only been studying for 3 weeks. The Lord is definitely hard at work. I know that there is no way that I could be at this point in my Portuguese studies without an immense amount of help from him. I attempted to learn 3 languages throughout my years in school (Spanish, French, Latin) and I was never able to progress very far in them. Languages have never been my strong point. Now, within a very short amount of time, I can already carry a conversation in this beautiful language. BTW, when I become fluent, I'll be able to understand Spanish 100%. Or at least that's what my teachers have told us haha. I am so excited to get to Brazil! 

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With Elder Carlson, Elder Zwick and Elder

At the Provo Temple with my District

The MTC is great, but nothing beats the real thing. Still waiting on my Visa. Temporary assignments will go out sometime around the 7th. We got our new callings this week. Elders Zwick and Yarrington are our new Zone leaders, Elder Carlson is the new district leader, and I'm literally everything else haha. I'm the Online coordinator, the sacrament coordinator, and the music coordinator. I'm kinda glad I didn't get called to be a Zone or
With Elder Worthington
District leader. We only have 4 people in my Zone (just my district. We had like 60ish people when I first got here. They're slowing missionaries from the USA to Brazil until at least this summer.) so all Zone leaders do is give a short lesson on Sundays and interview elder Carlson. Elder Carlson interviews the Zone leaders and I and gives us a lesson on Tuesdays. I'm in charge of training new districts on how to use the computers / coordinating Sacrament meeting / choosing hymns and assigning an accompanist. I'm excited! Oh ya! I get to Host
 tomorrow! Basically I'll be one of the missionaries that stands at the front and brings new missionaries to their bedrooms/class rooms and shows them around the MTC. Maybe I'll get to host Tyler! That would be super cool. I can't remember if he's going Spanish speaking, but if he is than he'll check in/get his tags here and then they'll bus him over to the West campus (about 2 miles away). All Spanish speaking missionaries are trained there and we only get to see them on days with devotionals (usually only Tuesdays and Sundays). The missionaries are super lucky. They don't have to have cafeteria food all the time. From what we've heard, they actually have the option of a couple of nearby fast food places. It works just like the meal plan at BYU. They just swipe your ID card and you're good to go. Soooooo lucky. Let me know what time he's supposed to arrive tomorrow! Tchau! :)

It is only those
who do not know how to work
that do not love it.
To those who do,
it is better than play.
- John Mason Brown

Sunday, February 23, 2014

One of those tender mercies

The CTM is great! The spirit is in abundance. President Holland came on Sunday! He didn't really talk much, he just introduced his son. But still. It was so cool to see an Apostle. The Spirit here really is super powerful! I'm so glad that I'm able to be here at this time. I feel blessed. The amount of new Brazilian missionaries is slowing down drastically. There haven't been any new districts since we got here and there's no word on any new ones coming. Weird. I cant wait to get to Brazil! I know that I'm nowhere near ready language wise but I'm just so excited!
The language is hard but I've progressed more in the last two weeks than in my 3 years of Latin. CRAZY! It's extremely exhausting and definitely the hardest thing I have done, but I can feel myself growing and I know that the growing pains will eventually subside.  I just hope I get used to the sleeping schedule soon.  I'm sleeping very well, it's just that I'm not used to going to bed at 10:30, waking up at 6:30 and then working for the rest of the day. The language is much harder than I had expected.  I'm picking up the vocab fairly easily.  I think I know 150 - 200 words.  More than anyone else in my district (except maybe Elder Zwick).  The grammar is what kills me.
Notecards and First Lesson Plan
I can understand little bits of Portuguese when its spoken to me, but I can't speak Portuguese almost at all. It's frustrating. Fortunately I know that if I do all that I can, the Lord will do the rest.  Every time I hear an important word (basically any word I don't know in Portuguese)  I write it down on a flash card and add it to my study pile.  I have a lot of flash cards haha.  The food here is much better than I thought it would be (thankfully haha). I think that every day I'm here the work getseasier and easier.  It's crazy how much of myself I see in Elder Carlson (my companion). It's as if we were the same person but split into two on arrival at the CTM.  I try my hardest to stay optimistic and happy - it's actually pretty easy. Some let themselves get stressed and keep thinking "how much longer to this" or "how much longer until that".

With my Companion Elder Carson
Meeting Hunter when he walked in was one of those tender mercies. Me and my companion decided to leave lunch early to get a head start on studying when I got the feeling to turn around. Right when I did, Hunter walked out from inside the main entrance to meet up with his host. I was so shocked. I've only seen him twice since then. This campus is huge.

The house looks AMAZING!!! That brick wall is the perfect accent to the kitchen. I'm so glad that you got to meet with Tom Price! Send me a pic of the letter when you get a chance! I heard the pizza kitchen is making progress!  Send some pictures.
Oh! My first Zone Leader, Elder Judd, is heading to the Atlanta north mission today for his reassignment!! Keep an eye out for him! He's awesome. 

Have I ever been to lake Erie? Random question haha
Japanese would be super cool for Abby to know! Especially if she can get into the SCAD in Japan ;)

Love you all! :) 

p.s. I need a camera charger:) And a copy of my patriarchal blessing:) 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Computer is stuck on German!

Hez mom! I can't believe the week AFTER I leave is when we finallz get a dishwasher haha. (sorrz about the spelling, the computer is stuck on German...). I dont know of anzone that has received either their visa or their FBI clearance. Mz teacher said that out of our district, mine would most likelz come first. All of the other visas went through west coast consulates. Gzm is one of the onlz times that we dont have to staz with our companions. I could plaz Vollezball and he could plaz basketball. Weve both decided on 4 square though haha. On Pdaz, we get to go to the temple with our yone. Im excited.
My favorite place to study ...quiet!
Finallz a break from all this work. The language is coming along fairlz well. Im picking up vocab fairlz quicklz. The grammar kills though. Elder Zwick took 4 zears of spanish and its helping him immenselz. Shoulda passed on latin haha. Weve now taught our investigator (Sandro (pronounced Sandrew)) 3 times. Everz time it gets easier. The hardest part is that we're onlz allowed to speak in portuguese... Not fun haha. We havent started SZL (Speak zour language) zet (Where we onlz speak Portuguese). Well probablz start next week. (P.S. whenever I hit the apostrophe button it puts in รค... sorrz if its kinda hard to read haha). Love zou all!! Elder Hamstead

My companion, Elder Carlson
Hez Papa!! ( switch the ys and the zs.. the computer is in German so for whatever reason, thezre switched...) I LOVE THE CTM. Its reallz great here and much easier than I had
The District
expected. The hardest part is the language but I love it at the same time. I know that Ill know it soon enough so im not super stressed about it. Mz faith and love in The Lord has grown more in the last 6 dazs than it has over the past 18 zears! I know that this is where I should be and I wouldnt trade it for the world. We got luckz with a smaller than average district. Onlz 4 people! We have all become close and will get even closer over the next 5 weeks. Thank zou for zour faith and for helping and inspiring me to make the right decision. Let me know if zou have anz questions!

Love zou!
Elder Hamstead 
View from my bunk!
View from my classroom window.


Monday, February 10, 2014

News from the MTC - day 2

Here are some excerpts from Christopher's first letter home from the MTC:
What to say? I never should have been nervous.  This place is amazing and I know without a doubt that the Lord is taking care of me.  Elder Carlson (my companion) is Awesome!  He is just like Jacob Winters.  I'm so lucky!
The MTC (or CTM in Portuguese) is an AWESOME place.  I wish I could write Kelsey and tell her that she was definitely right when said it's like Hogwarts here.  I love my teacher. He really seems to know us and what we're going through/feeling. Everyone we talk to tells us that Irmav (Portuguese for Brother) Butters is the best teacher here.  Just another way I know that the Lord is watching out for me. The work here is exhausting but also very rewarding.  We have one language teacher for our entire time here and I am thankful for that.  Our schedules are harder than anything I've done before.  Tomorrow I wake up at 6:30 and have the next hour to "Arise and Prepare".  7:45 to 8:00am is breakfast. 8:00 to 12:30 is classroom instruction - we stay in the same room for 4 1/2 hours.  That's the hardest part.  We have lunch from 12:30 - 1:00 and then we have gym!  We will have 45 minutes each day. It's basically like a high school gym/basketball court.  You can do 4 square, basketball, volleyball. After that we have until 2:35 - 5:35pm.  This is when I'll be teaching my first investigator in Portuguese.  We can't use notes so we've decided to mostly have the investigator read from the Book of Mormon as well as one of the many English/Portuguese pamphlets we've been given.  After that we have dinner from 5:35 - 6:05.  Then more classroom instruction from 6:20 until 9:30.  Everyone keeps telling us if you can make it to your first P-day then everything will get easier.  Fortunately I went through 3 years of this in Cross Country, haha.  
 Ether 12:27.  This has become one of my most favorite scriptures.  I know that as long as I do everything in my power, the Lord will provide the rest.  The language is proving to be more difficult than I had expected and I struggle to pay attention over our 4 hr intervals of class.  The Lord is showing me my weakness and I know that He will make me stronger than I could ever be without him.  


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Headin' to the MTC - February 5th at 1pm

Packing for two years

Heading to the Provo Temple

Loving Uncle Jeff and Aunt Mya

Lunch at Cafe Rio

And there he goes!

Getting Ready...Sunday to Tuesday.

Sunday was such a busy day..."Music and the Spoken Word", the Salt Lake Temple Visitors Center, Tour of the Brigham Young Beehive House, Church at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, Tour of the Conference Center and a trip to the Salt Lake City Cemetery to visit the graves of Grandpa Jess, Grandma Cherie and Rachel.

Back to Jeff and Mya's for a warm dinner and loving family.

So good to see friends - Chick-fil-a with the Mills's and Pizza buffet with Nate Frazier and Alayna Pehrson.

Tuesday we froze in Park City and warmed up with Aunt Rebecca and cousin Camilla.