Sunday, October 26, 2014

To My Little Sisters

This week was una locura - crazyness.  14 missionaries finished their mission, while 18 just started. I have found more time this week to study! It is the difference between good and great missionaries - their studies. It is also surprising to me how effective I am working if I study first.

I remember learning this at CALPOLY. I didn't use the help of the Lord as much as I should have but I learning something really important. "Y por el poder del Espíritu Santo, [podemos] conocer la verdad de todas las cosas." The promise in this scripture is not "you can know everything pertaining to the kingdom of God." not "through the holy ghost you can get only a testimony" - no.  The promise is we can "conocer la verdad" - know personally (like a friend or a loved one) "la verdad" - the truth "de todas las cosas" OF ALL THINGS. Math. Science. English. Spanish. Chem. Accounting. Choir. Piano. Health. Life. Places. People. EVERYTHING! ALL THINGS.

But what do we need to do to receive this "don o bendición" - gift o blessing from our heavenly father? President Uchtdorf gave us the perfect formula that is also found in Moroni 10:3-5

"First, you must search the word of God. That means reading the scriptures and studying the words of the ancient as well as modern prophets regarding the restored gospel of Jesus Christ—not with an intent to doubt or criticize but with a sincere desire to discover truth. Ponder upon the things you will feel, and prepare your minds to receive the truth.6 “Even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you … that ye can give place for [the word of God].”

Second, you must consider, ponder, fearlessly strive to believe,8 and be grateful for how merciful the Lord has been to His children from the time of Adam to our day by providing prophets, seers, and revelators to lead His Church and help us find the way back to Him.

Third, you must ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, to manifest the truth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unto you. Ask with a sincere heart and with real intent, having faith in Christ.

There is also a fourth step, given to us by the Savior: “If any man will do [God’s] will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” In other words, when you are trying to verify the truth of gospel principles, you must first live them.  Put gospel doctrine and Church teachings to the test in your own life. Do it with real intent and enduring faith in God.
If you will do these things, you have a promise from God—who is bound by His word—that He will manifest the truth to you by the power of the Holy Ghost. He will grant you greater light that will allow you to look through the darkness and witness unimaginably glorious vistas incomprehensible to mortal sight."

Natalie and Savannah, I promise you from personal experience, as your brother and as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, if you will study the scriptures and words of the prophets every day the Lord will reveal the truths found in Science, Math, Language, and other areas of academics unto you "por el poder del Espíritu Santo"

Little Sisters, I know this to be true. I promise you with all of my energy, love, and testimony that the Lord inspires those who seek his inspiration. My studies have changed the way I work as a secretary and will change the way I work for the rest of my life.

I love you both very very very very very very very very much.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Stress Relief

 Salta has mountain and at the top you can take mountain bikes down. It was pretty fun. White shirt and tie and bunny hops all the way down the mountain. It was a great way to let out some stress and run into some trees on the way.

What a difference it is when we accept our weaknesses and turn to the Lord for help. I know that prayers and prioritizing made the difference this week. I MADE the time to study thus making my days more productive and my lessons at night more powerful. As for the temptations as a missionary I have renewed my decission to be as exactly obedient to mission rules again. I forgot the process of change but was reminded by my buddy Lorenzo Snow: 

"Do not expect to become perfect at once. If you do, you will be disappointed. Be better today than you were yesterday, and be better tomorrow than you are today. The temptations that perhaps partially overcome us today, let them not overcome us so far tomorrow. Thus continue to be a little better day by day." 

Why is it so easy to forget what we need to do in this life to recieve the strength we need to continue oneward. Thank you for your help. I love you very much.

I recieved a "CAM PHAM" this week!!!!!! I CAN'T EVEN BEGIN TO EXPRESS HOW EXCITED I AM! Hermana Reynoso (aka Cam Pham version Argentina) is a senior-ish member in a neighboring ward who has been called to be a service missionary. Her assignment is to help me! YES!!!!!! She freaking rocks. She loves to try to speak English even though it's really really...she's learning, and I'm trying to help... This week we completed the legalization of 15 missionaries! BOOM! We've also started going file by file planning out way to 100% legality by my birthday. Ask and you shall recieve. (in the true spirit of Mom, I have another high). I  "bajé la caña" or droped the cane (its a phrase in argentina which people use when someone talks very directly and very strongly in a rebuking way. It's like hitting someong in the head with the Spirit - The Spirit cane). I felt so full of the spirit. Normally when poeple aren't completting their commitments (reading, praying, etc) I take a supportive Christ-like approch, but this time it was the Christ-in-the-temple approach. I dropped the cane and could see the spirit working a number on the heart of this man. I don't think he will skip a day reading the scriptures again in his life.

To legalize missionaries, they need to come to Salta (one of the 4 provences in our mission). To get here, I buy them bus tickets and then send them codes to pick up the tickets in their cities. I was organizing a larger group of missionaries this past Jueves, and had 6 missionaries comming to Salta for 5 of them to complete their "tramites" or the papers to recieve a visa-religiosa. I forgot to tell 2 of them.... In the middle of a family home evening everything came to a head, I had forgotten my cellphone, I didn't have the codes for them to get their tickets, I was in charge of the activity, and the bus was leaving in 5 mins.... They missed the bus, money down the drain,. The activity died, spirit down the was just a bad night for Elder Hampton.

Mi lista de diez de gratitud:
  1. La Oración
  2. Jugando basquet con mis compañeros de las oficinas
  3. Discursos del Conferencia General 
  4. Hablando con Presidente 
  5. Escuchando la voz del Señor en las paginas de Las Escrituras
  6. Manejando la camioneta de la misión
  7. Decoraciones de Navidad 
  8. Mensajes Mormones
  9. Avena
  10. Remolachas
I love you very much.
Keep your eyes on the Lord as he will lift you above that which you could ever accomplish alone.

Saludos de amor,

Elder Devin G. Hampton

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A day in the life of The Secretary

My Dearest Family:
I write to you today on this beautiful day – September 27th. It’s an overcast day here in Salta, Argentina 17°C – just perfect for a cup of Mate y una hora to write my family.  I have been transferred to the Office in Salta to be the Secretary for the Mission. Along with that I have also
1.       Lost 2 hours of sleep each day
2.       Run twice as much in the morning
3.       Drink 3 times as much Mate
4.       Watch mormon messages and play the piano to break up the day
5.       Live in a town very simmilarly looking to Westwood/Beaverly Hills.
Along with my life being changed (and it feels at times like I am living in the suburbs of Los Angeles) my resposibilities have also changed. As a secretary I am the sole provider of legality for the entire Mission.  Of the almost 300 missionaries in our mission, over half are illegal. But don´t worry. Argentina doesn’t “ship out”. It is written in their constitution that they will not deport any good willed man who abides within its borders.  As much as the US stresses about illegal immigration, Argentina really doesn't care. If your leaving the country and they see you were here illigealy, you pay $30 bucks at the airport and then your on your flight home. My goal in the offices is to have every group of new missionaries legal with Visa and DNI (Argentine Documentation) with in their first 2 transfers. That way as the time goes on, our new legal missionaries will push out all of the old illegal missionaries. My focus is on what can be done next not what needs to be fixed. In 1 year all missionaries in our mission will be 100 percent legal and with proper documentation.
                As a missionary, I’ve really learned to look at the end results and then work backwards - Faith. It is so easy to see a person smoking or a lot of illegal missionaries and think “How will this ever change” or “Where do I even start”… Faith has taught me to see the end and then work backwards. What do I need to teach to touch the heart of this person to get him to stop smoking, How can I most effectivally start today with all of the missionaries to get them legal. Faith is hope now for the future. It places the worry in the hands of the Lord and allows you to work through things… I used to get very overwhelemed when loaded up with a lot of resposibilities. I used to put much more of my trust in my own abilities, only trusting in my way of doing things… People often have a difficult time seeing the need for Faith. They precieve Faith as something needed by those who are weak; however, only through Faith may we receive the strength we need to overcome the trials and obsticales of this world.
                I bear my personal testimony of the power of Faith that it is Power. I cannot begin to express the power and abilities I have received when I have put my faith in Jesus Christ and His attonement. I have been freed from the blinding power of stress and the crippling insecurrities. Knowing that Crist’s atonement can make me whole motivates me to use it every day. My Faith has changed me and I’ll preach this change to all that will hear it. This I know to be true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen
I hope you are readding your scriptures every day.  I hope you are having personal and family prayers every day. I pray you’re doing this daily.

I love you I love you I love you.
Elder Devin G. Hampton

Elder Hampton's Secretary Schedule
Time      Description                         Place                                     With Whom                             
06:30     Wake Up!                            Casa                                       E’ Purser to run up “el cerro”
07:30     Breakfast                             Offices                                  The Illegal's
08:00     Residence Certificates   Police Station                     Illegal's and The neighbors
08:30     Take Pictures                     Kiosko                                   Shady Cheap Photographer
09:00     Take a number                  Migrations                          The Illegals and a bunch of Bolivians
11:30     Pay for legal work            National Bank                    Take a random poor missionary
13:00     Finish legal work              Migrations                          Me and Migrations workers
13:30     Prep missionaries to return                                         Semi-legals and Taxi Drivers
14:00     LUNCH!                          Offices                  Every Freaking Elder in the zone b/c I pay…
15:00     Office Work                     Offices                                  alone… por fin
16:00     Take Shipments                Bus Terminal                      us and nice chubby workers
17:00     Buy Groceries                   Super Market                    my companion and I
17:30     Do missionary work        South of Capital                  my companion and some member
21:30     Get other illegals              Bus Terminal                      Me and the not-so-legal missionaries
22:30     PLANNING                          Apartment                          Every One Snuggling Together
23:30     Cook Popcorn for the Illegal's               Kitchen Alone, with a bottle of oil and a jar of corn

Interesting Things That Have Happened in the past 2 weeks:
·         Have deleted over 40G of memory on this computer.
·        Taught myself how to make popcorn with out a fancy popcorn popper – 2 Gallons of popcorn latter every
Elder in our house is addicted to sugar and cinnamon kettlecorn.
·         Was asked if I was from Buenos Aries… Language Study and Prayers from family/friends work!
·         Spend about $5,000 pesos a week… that’s like $600 USD
·         Have fallen in love… with Buenos Aires accents and the smell of burring trash (Very Argentinan)
·         Don’t like calling parents on the phone. It is near impossible to carry a conversation in complete Engligh
·         Listened to Elder Tafur from Perú play “Let the Holy Spirit Guide” at least 130 times on the piano in the offices. I think he’s got it down.
·          Organized 4 years of filing and paperwork.
·         Slept on average 5 hours every night.
·         Seriously contemplated living here after my mission.
·         Spent $8600 Pesos in Ink.
·         Got my own personalized “sello” or stamp for being secretary
·         Loved being in the offices: I get my packages and mail same day it arrives in the mission!

 Thank you Mary and Karen and Cambria and Mom and Natalie and Savannah for my packages J