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, October 1, 2015

It wasn't exactly our focus...(September 28)

This week was really good. Unfortunately, our baptism fell but this week will work out. We're teaching a lot of really cool people. One of which will be baptized this week! His name is Antonio and he's 26. He lives with his aunt and his cousins. His cousin Gustavo has a date for the 11th but is a bit more difficult because he works as a life guard and is only able to go to church once a month. Fortunately, his day off this month is on general conference. It's gonna be an awesome experience. Back to Antonio. So a week or two ago we were walking down the street with nowhere to go (all our plans for that time had fallen). When all of the sudden I felt that we should knock on a small white house a bit farther up the road. We had passed that house many times and every time we passed it was always filled with kids (Not exactly our focus). But we trusted our feelings and went in. We knocked and Antonio came to the door. We talked to him a bit and explained to him the first vision. He accepted the baptismal date that same day. a couple visits later, we met Gustavo and invited them to play soccer at the church (In the US they have basketball courts, here they have soccer fields). So ya, they went with us and met a bunch of people and made a bunch of friends. It seems like the path for them was planned a long time ago. Everything just goes right with them. Antonio is going to teach his neighbor with us this week. The best part is that he invited us to go with him! He hasn't even been baptized yet and he's already wanting to teach with us. He's really super awesome!



So yesterday the ZLs asked me to do an interview for them last minute (like 20 mins until church would end). The name of the man was Daniel and he is super smart (He's a lawyer). We talked and talked and about an hour later he passed. My comp was so ready to go to lunch (and I was too) but Daniel decided that he wanted me to baptize him. I accepted obviously and we switched our clothes really quickly and I sent my comp and Smiff with Sister Fusco to get a change of clothes for me from our house. The baptisms went really smoothly and when we left the water, Daniel couldn't stop telling me how awesome he felt and how clean he felt. I know that the baptism is something extremely important to all of us. And that if we follow the light of Christ we will always be lead in the right direction. 

Love you guys so much!!! :)

Elder Hamstead


Family home evening with our awesome recent converts! They bought us pizza! And Coke!! :)

No more suits! (September 7)


Well this week we had ANOTHER transfer.... Elder Da Rosa, the Elder that I wrote you about last week was transferred....... My new comp is Elder Mendes (3rd black companion!!! I think that must be a record in our family :D ). I've known him since around June. He lived in my house in Jardim Castel√£o. It's weird to be his comp. He goes home on the same day as me  (1 year and 7 months and junior...). I don't know why Pres. likes to do this to me. He gives me a comp thats super good and righteous and then a companion that's a little broken and in need of repairs. It's all good though. At least I know that my next comp will be super good and super righteous! 

This week, the First Presidency made some changes in some missions. My mission doesn't have to use suits anymore!! What an awesome blessing! It's super hot here. Suit jackets don't help haha. Love you guys!!!!!!!!!!




Photos (August 17)

Baptism from last Sunday (Believe it or not, the girl on my left (not being baptized) is 18!)

Trip to Aracati

Division in Pacajus last week!! Visiting more recent converts :)




Life is going well...(July 27)


I'm loving Pacajus! Ill send pics :). My zone has 8 companionships, 3 districts, and its really big. Tonight we're gonna travel to the farthest areas (about 3 hours by bus). When I served here last year there were 10 or 11 companionships by the time I left. I'm hoping that I'll be able to see the Zone grow again :). When I passed in Pacajus last year, Pedras (Area of the Zone Leaders) had 1 baptism in the entire 7 months that I was there. I got a bit nervous when I was told that I would go there. But now I'm all good. In one week we've already had a baptism. His name is Eder and is 25. He's really cool and loves to study the Book of Revelations (Which is 'o livro de Apocalipses' [The book of Apocalipse] in Portuguese). So ya, life is going well. Yet again I'm not sure when I'm gonna return. Everyone tells me different dates. I'm just gonna wait until President tells me the exact date haha. 

Fotos: Elder Page and I in the last mission council / Lunch in Pacajus / Visiting people in Pacajus / My house (The one with the light on) / Visiting a couple people in Pacajus






Monday, July 27, 2015

This past week was a big 'ol blessin. (July 20)

This past week was a big 'ol blessin. We found an awesome family that's passing some difficulties (health, family, money, basically all of the important things). We taught them the restoration and explained to them that God loves them and doesn't want them to be sad. The fact that we had found them was proof of that. We explained that the restoration is proof of the love that he has for them. They understood and accepted dates of baptism for this Sunday (7/26). They went to church and loved it! I know whole heartedly that the gosple of Jesus Christ will change their lives. 

Unfortunately, I wont be able to stick around and see the before and after. Yesterday night I was transfered. Im gonna return to Pacajusūüėā!!!! You have no idea how happy I got when the transfer was passed to me. I love Pacajus with all of my heart (I passed 7 months there). My companion is Elder Alvorado. Remember him? He lived with me in Pacajus! He was being trained by Elder Gardner while I was training Elder Page. Now we're gonna be ZLs together! Its crazy how things work on the mission haha. My area now is called Pedras and is about an hour from the city Pacajus (I took pics of my house to send to Mommy, but I forgot my camera. Sorry!). Im gonna try to visit my old area in division this week! I'm super excited! :) I'll send more pics next week. It's super chill here so I can walk around with my camera again :D. 

Love you guys!!! :)

Pics (July 13)






Celebrating the 4th! (July 6)

I also didnt have anything planned for the 4th of July. Fortunately, it seems like whenever I really want something God makes it happen :). We arrived at luch at noon like normal and were informed by the sister that we would have to go with them to her husbands brothers house for lunch and that he was already there. We waited a bit for our ride (Her brother in law) to come and get us all and we were off. When we arrived, I realized that it wouldnt be any normal lunch. The house was FULL of people. People that I had already met, and people that I hadn't. Turns out that they had a bunch of family visiting from S√£o Paulo. It was a family reunion! I was sad that I wouldn't be able to be part of the family reunion that you guys are gonna have but God gave me another (On the fourth of July) and the food was great! Unfortunately, this year I didnt get to take pics :(. So right now I'm working just in my area Jardim Castel√£o (Castle garden). I was working with Elder Amaral in my area and in his (Serrinha). But now he was transfered to my area and his area was closed (It doesnt have missionaries anymore). Now hes working with me as my companion (Permanent) in Jardim Castel√£o. Im sorry to hear about your toe! I hope it gets better soon! Send pics! Your garden is looking great though! Im super excited to get back and mow that lawn! Its crazy, the things you start to miss on the mission. I might not return home until March. I think Im gonna try to extend my mission. Tell Kelsey that she has to get married to a member of the church before she can go to UGA! 

Teaching super simply...(June 8)

This past week was awesome! Ok so Im gonna start out telling you guys about our baptism for this week. Her name is Elisabeth. We found her while knocking doors a few weeks ago. At first I thought that she probably wouldnt progress and that we wouldnt stay much time with her, but God showed me that I should really stop judging people. Youd think that after almost a year and a half on the mission that I wouldnt have that problem anymore. But whatever, everyones got faults :). Our first lesson, she didnt pay much attention and reluctantly let us return. We returned, and returned, and retrurned and to our suprise, everytime that we returned, she did the thig that we had asked of her in the last lesson (Read, Pray - Simple things that a majority of people dont do). We were a bit worried when the day arrived that we had planned to teach her the word of wisdom. The baptism was 5 days away and she still had problems with coffee and cigarettes! We went in, and taught her super simply. The Spirit came and came strongly. We felt it and more importantly she felt it. Since that day, she hasnt smoked and she has stopped drinking coffee too!! Miracle! So ya, this week was pretty awesome. Its funny how the Lord works. He takes the small, simple and flawed and works miracles through them. I know that the Lord loves each and everyone of us and I know that if we really have the desire to follow him, he will guide us.
Today is transfer day. My companion is leaving, but hes happy. Hes gonna be senior! Im gonna train again but the Elder that I will train wont arrive for another 2 weeks so Im gonna stay with Elder Amoral. Ill be working in my area and in his (Which is about 30-40 minutes by bus). Shoud be fun haha :).


Doing my part...May 25

This week was pretty cool. We had a training with President Fusco on Friday and on Saturday we had an awesome opportunity to serve a woman from our ward. The training as usual was super spiritual. I know 100% that President Fusco really was called of God to be our president. Only 4 people showed up to the service project (Me, my comp, a member that will leave on his mission next month - Segundo, and the quorum president). We worked all morning but we werent able to finish 100%. But thats ok I was super greatful just to be there and to do my part. We cleared out the backyard of the grandma of Segundo. It was filled with tall thorny weeds :). We were able to get rid of basically all of the weeds. We just didnt have enough time to take the huge pile of dead weeds out of her backyard. We're gonna return on saturday :). Ya so the week was good. But this week will be better! We have a baptism this week!! :)


*** When we asked who was going to be baptized and what's the story, Christopher responded:
And youll get it! Next week! Not sure who it is yet haha :)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Waiting on the Lord

This last week I had an awesome opportunity to grow my testimony of prayer and to understand a little bit more, the love that my Savior has for me. As I said last week, I was having trouble learning to love the people in my new area. I prayed and prayed begging for more love for them and God responded. I had the opportunity to learn this lesson in the same way that I have learned a majority of my lessons on my mission. I got sick. I got a bacteria in my throat and for two days I wasn't even able to talk. (Mom - Before you start worrying, I'm already better. I already went to the hospital and I'm already taking antibiotics. :) ). During this time, the members here really reached out to me. These members that I barely knew, brought me soups and porridge (Surprsingly, porridge is actually pretty good!) and stayed in contact with us to know how I was doing. They offered to drive me to the hospital (Which is pretty far, normally we take the bus) without us even asking. My prayer was answered, I love these people! 

I also had the opportunity to learn a little something about the love of God. I know he loves us, this is something obvious to all of us. I understand now that God lets "bad" things happen to us to help us grow. I easily could have complained any of the numerous times that I've gotten sick on the mission. But I know that God loves me and only wants the best for me and every time that the sickness (or any other trial) passes, I'm stronger because of it. Sometimes the things that seem to be your burdens are actually your blessings. I love my God and for this short opportunity that I have to serve Him 100%. "Whenever The Lord asks us to give something up He always has something better to replace it with. Waiting upon or trusting in The Lord is often not easy but always worth it as He shows us things about ourselves we never knew existed" (Papa).



Read Waiting on the Lord by Elder Robert D. Hales: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/waiting-upon-the-lord-thy-will-be-done?lang=eng

Love

- Elder Hamstead

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

April 27 - I am 100% convinced!



This last week was pretty cool! When I arrived in Esperança, we started to teach a woman named Silvia (Pic). Both of her children are already baptized. Lara (Pic) was baptized about 3 years ago and has a great testimony. Caiu was baptized at the same time and is now serving in Curitiba (BR) as an Assistant. Unfortunately Silvia and her husband never were able to gain their own testimonies and were never baptized. The first time that I talked to Silvia, I knew that she was ready. We taught her the Restoration and she got super into it. When we finished, she ran over to her maid and told her that she had just heard the most interesting story and asked for us to go to the maids house to teach her!! I am 100% convinced that there isn't anyone in the world that can deny the truth of the Restoration when taught by worthy priesthood holders. We made a date for the 26th of April she accepted. As we got closer to the date, she decided that she would only be baptized by her son who gets home next month. She didn't want to put off her baptism though. So we got into contact with her sons mission Pres and got permission for Silvia to go to Curitiba to be baptized by her son. She arrived on Friday night and was baptized by her son on Saturday! I'm pretty sure that it was the best surprise that her son has ever received in his entire life! Just goes to show that the Lord really does reward his worthy servants! Love you guys so much!! If you guys ever have any questions or doubts, feel free to send them my way!! :)

Love,
Elder Hamstead

An entirely new mission!

Dear Family,

It was so good to see your faces yesterday!! 7 more months until the next time!! It sounds like a lot of time, but I know it'll fly by. So as you guys already know, I was transferred and I'm serving in an area called Jardim Castel√£o. Until now, I always served far from the city (called the interior). It really feels like I'm in an entirely new mission. Everything is different haha. The people, the way we work, even our vocabulary has to change! So ya, I'm adjusting right now. I love it here, but I really miss and love the people and my areas in the interior. But that's ok. I know that I'll see them all again. I'm not exactly sure why, but its hard for me to feel the same love for the people here that I felt for the people in the interior. I'm trying to push myself more, to serve the people more so that I can gain this love really quickly. The principle is really simple, the more you serve someone the more you love them. It's the same with God. The more you serve Him, the more love you will have for Him. The more love you have for Him, the more desire you will have to serve him more and obey him more. I know that this is really true. I've seen it in my own life and in the lives of many others. If you don't have this same knowledge, I challenge you to put the promises of God to test. Follow him 100% for just one week. I promise that you'll really see the difference and your testimony will grow exponentially, just like mine did. :)

With Elder Christofferson....guess where I am?



https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2006/10/the-great-plan-of-happiness?lang=eng


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

March 23 - Happy Birthday Elder Hamstead!



(Me, Elder Feliciano, Elder Carneiro, Elder Farias)
Surprise Birthday Party - 20 years old on 3/20th

Transfer week! Fortunately, Im still in Araripina (Got called as the group President!!). Unfortunately, my comp was transfered.... To be an Assistant!! Thats my second comp to be called as Assistant!! CRAZY! My new comp hasnt arrived yet and Ive never met him before but Elder Hershberger told me a bit about him. Hes a cowboy from S√£o Paulo named Elder Azevedo, he has about one transfer less than me annnnnnnnd hes black!! Thats two black comps in a row! I feel so lucky!! :) The paperwork to become a branch was sent in a couple weeks ago and we´re still waiting for the response. Im hoping and praying that it comes soon! My health has been great ever since I arrived in Araripina (Except for that chunck that they had to take out of my forehead haha).The Lord is really blessing me a ton! My birthday was really cool. I had a suprise party! My comp didnt even know that it was gonna happen. We had marked to go with a member (Mateus) to his friends house last week and showed up at his house about 7ish. We got in the car and headed to his friends house.... Or so I thought haha. We ended up going to a different members house where we found the suprise party haha. All in all, it was a pretty great week. 


P.s.
We just got the news that an Apostle is gonna visit the mission in a couple weeks!!!!!!!

P.p.s.
Mom, the package arrived and its waiting for me in Fortaleza. Im gonna ask Elder Feliciano to give it to one of the transfered Elders to bring to me tomorrow :)!

P.p.p.s.
Elder Page was transfered from Pacajus and is gonna go to Iguato! Thats one of the other areas really far from fortaleza, so Ill be able to see him soon when we have conference with President in Juazeiro!!

-- 
Elder Hamstead

I love our message...March 9

This past week was awesome! My new comp (Elder Feliciano - from Jo√£o Pessoa (where Sam Loveland is serving)) found a ton of awesome people! One family that we found is super awesome. The moms name is Rosi (Pronounced Hosy) and shes super cool. She works as a volunteer helping underprivaleged children and also as a teacher. So ya, we found Rosi´s family on Wednesday and taught them the restauration. They are a very Lutheran family and I actually was nervous at first that it would just turn into a big bible bash... Something that I really don't like. But fortunately, the Spirit was with us and at the end of the lesson, she even agreed that everything that we taught (especially the priesthood) actually makes sense! It felt like such a victory! 

I love being able to help people see the truth and the light. But even more than that, I love our message. It really does make perfect sense! I am convinced that there isnt one doubt that cant be answered by means of studying and pondering the scriptures, praying and fasting. God wants us to be happy but, "God isn’t about making good things happen to you, or bad things happen to you. He’s all about you making choices—exercising the gift of free will. God wants you to have good things and a good life, but He won’t gift wrap them for you. You have to choose the actions that lead you to that life. (Quote from Brother Cardens email. Not sure who actually wrote it). If we want to be happy in life and walk the path that Jesus walked, we have to act. God loves us so much that he gave us the ability to obey him, or not. Only we can decide. Rosi and her family acted. We left 3 Nefi 11 with them. They read, prayed, and God heard them. Their baptims will be on the 22 of March :). I know that God loves all of his children. All of us have things that we need to get better at. Make the tough choices today. Read. Pray. Change. :)

Good news! I told President about our goal for men last week and without even passing the 15 of March, he decided to make us a branch!!!!! We´ve already filled out the paperwork and its on it way to Utah (Or maybe the area presidency.. Not sure who decides). We should get a response within the next month or two!!!

Happy Anniversary Mommy and Papa!!!!! I love you guys so much and am so greatful for your decisions and your actions which have guided our family over the years. I am greatful to be able to say that I am your son :).

I love you all so much!

--
Elder Hamstead

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This is getting exciting!

Dear family,

This past week was was crazy. I had very little time in my area because we did 4 divisions. It was pretty cool though to get to go to so many areas in such little time. I love exploring Brasil haha! 

This week, we had a huge miracle.... 86 people in Sacrament meeting!!! It's growing so quickly here! We´ve been doing weekly fasts and we´ve been seeing weekly results! Araripina has been open since October of 2013 (Remember Elder Gerdner from Pacajus? He opened it :) ) and it's always been a pretty slow growing place. We didn't even have enough room in the house for everyone! We had to open up one of the side rooms to fit everyone. Best part is is that President Costa (District President) decided to do a surprise visit that day! He wanted to make us a Branch in the moment, but unfortunately, when he did interviews, we faulted 3 worthy men! I was so sad. But now we´re going full speed ahead. We´ve organized our missionaries and split up all of the people that are close to getting the higher priesthood or that have it already and can be reactivated. We´ve made a goal with the Elders and with these men to be worthy and ready on the 15th of March. If everything goes perfect, we´ll add 12 men with the higher priesthood to our group in 2 Sundays. I love this work. I know that the Lord really will provide a way. This is getting exciting! Pray for us!! 

LOVE YOU GUYS!!!

-- 
Elder Hamstead
After our last district meeting :) (not sure what happened to Elder Munsons face haha)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

JAN 27 Walking on the shady side of the road


Hey mom! So the appointment today went well. The doctor confirmed that it isn't cancer or malignas. She took out the stitches without any problem. I was in and out in a snap! The doctor just said that I should try to avoid direct sun light..
I don't think that it made much sense either. The doctor that cut it out had thought that it was cancer because it is strange for something like that to just appear. I called president to get permission to let you know how it went and he said that I could and he wanted to be copied on the email. So I'm gonna send the email to let you know how it was and you can respond with this. Or however you want.. Last week the doctor said that I should wear a hat or something to protect my skin for the rest of the mission. But the area presidency shot that down haha  Guess Im gonna be working on the shady side of the road  from now on haha

So the bus takes super long because it doesn't go directly to Fortaleza. It goes out of the way to other cities and at a couple stops on the way, it stops for about 30 mins. I sent you that report thing. I hope you can understand it, because I cant haha. That trips sounds awesome!! I miss going to the temple so badly and cant wait to go with you guys when I get back! Is Gma gonna move to our house? That article was super cool! Id love to have a hardcopy of it :)

Haha ya I wish. But the surgery went well. It was really weird. The injection at first hurt a ton. but after, I felt nothing. but just the realization that she was cuttin into my head made me sickish. She cut out a pretty big chunk though. I think youd be happy with it haha :)


The view on the way to Juazeiro

Some cool rocks that I saw on the ride :)



JAN 20 FAiITH + WORKS = MIRACLES

Sorry for not emailing yesterday! I was traveling for my surgery, went very well this morning. The doctor (a member) wants me to wear a hat for the rest of my mission. President is gonna try to get permission for that. Sister Fusco was there for the surgery and after, took us to Burger King / bought my medicines / gave me a bottle of presidents 100SPF / and took us hat shopping (She knew a place close by that has hats with built in UV protection. If it gets approved, she´ll buy one that we looked at for me). I'll be traveling next P-day as well to come back to Fortaleza for a checkup (I'll leave to Araripina tonight) and the tests on the chunch that they cut out of my head will be done in about a week. 

Ok, so last week was a pretty cool week. We were super rushed the entire week, in our area and in our zone. But somehow by the grace of God, we were still able to squeeze in 2 baptisms. Probably the 2 most stressful of my mission. I feel like Satan literally did everything in his power to stop theses baptisms from happening. But in the end, he lost, as he always has and always will :). These 2 girls are awesome. Their names are Gerlania (the one in the middle) and Erlani (with the green towel). Before you start thinking too much, the baby in Gerlanias arm isn't hers... It's her sisters. They've both had difficult lives but their huge change (that they had in the 8 days that we knew them before the baptism) was big enough to have an affect on me. It's crazy what God can do. Faith + Work = Miracles. 



n the Hospital with the chunk of my forehead in a bottle :)

JAN 6 The moment you have been waiting for...

Sorry for not writing this week, I was traveling from Araripina to Fortaleza for mission council and we just didn't get a chance to pass by a LAN House. I'm glad to hear that you all had a great Christmas and New Years. You all look soooooo happy in the pics you guys sent. I got a new camera, so hopefully there won't be anymore picture problems for the rest of my mission :). Soooooooooooo... For the moment that you've all been waiting for.. 

Remember that dot on my head? Yaaaaa so it is cancer. I'm going in tomorrow to get it checked out in person and I'll have a little surgery on the 20th to get it removed.... Wahoooooooooo...