Saturday, November 22, 2014
Question & Answers
I felt it appropriate to send this as a mass email the Saturday before thanks giving and to also say thank you for the many letters and packages I have gotten over the past 7 months. A Hampton Tradition before eating thanks giving dinner is to go around in a circle (the whole family and friends who are present) and to say what you are thankful for. I have to say the thing I am most thankful for this year is the atonement or sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I love our Savior and am grateful for the privilege and duty I have to be a representative of Him and His church. I know he lives and loves us. I know it.
To answer some questions:
What things are most satisfying for you that you're able to do or accomplish?
Hands down, the most satisfying thing I can accomplish in a day is my personal study. There are not words that describe the amount of help I receive when I keep this commandment given to us in John 5:39. I cannot begin to count the blessings and miracles I see in my work when I have started my day with my studies. Alma asks us, in the 33rd chapter 14th verse of his book, about our diligence in reading the scriptures, “now behold, my brethren, I would ask if ye have read the scriptures?” What follows is the blessing and reason we need to read: “…if ye have, how can ye disbelieve on the Son of God?” We “disbelieve” on the Son of God when we try to strong arm our lives. The I-can-do-this-my-self mentality is a sheer lack of faith and completely negates the role of Jesus Christ in our lives. I testify from personal experience that I have never in my life achieved such a level of productivity than that which I have and will continue to experience while working in the mission office. I KNOW that has only been because I have “searched the scriptures diligently, that [I] might know the word of God.'
Scripture Study is the most satisfying thing that I am able to do and accomplish.
What investigators have you been able to work with recently and their background or a little about them?
The people I teach have been and will continue to be the reason why I love being a missionary.
Right now we are working with Part Member families; killing two birds with one stone while teaching children who weren't baptized while also fortifying the testimonies of those who were recently baptized. The Familia Navarro is one of these familias. Natalia, Ailin, and Alexia are 3 sisters who were baptized less than a year ago. Natalia has 22 years and Ailin 19, and Alexia 16. Their brother Santiago, is the investigator. He´ll be baptized on the 29th. Elder Purser and I were trying to figure out how we could maximize our time in our area with less than half the hours of normal missionaries. Natalia and Ailin are both preparing for missions and we had the idea to give the sisters the opportunity to teach their brother so that he can be the first person they helped to be baptized. They loved the idea and it has been working very well. I have never sat and talked with their parents. There are 12 kids in the family and I haven't meet everyone either. Ailin can teach. She always helps us teach lessons and it’s SO AWESOME to see the progression of someone preparing for a mission. She’ll start her papers this Sunday. Natalia wants to serve a medical mission after her first year of university. She also teaches with us when Ailin can´t and loves to help in every way possible. This family was less active when we were transferred into the area and now 2 are preparing for missions and helping other members of their family beginning their path in the direction of the Savior.
Have you been able to play the piano in the office or other pianos as well?
In Tucumán I was the ward Pianist/Organist (the piano was electric and had organ functions… we lit that place on fire on Sundays). Here in Salta I again am the ward pianist (stringed piano… that may by missing a few… or a lot). I love it. God allowed me to take this talent with me to this earth and every time I play the piano I know I am blessing the lives of others: Helping invite the spirit, helping others sing their testimonies, just helping in any way I can. The 2nd counselor caught me after our Family Home Evening and gave me a piece of paper with the ward Christmas program on it. He said he wanted just to give me a heads up so that I knew what the primary and relief society and congregation would be singing. I really smiled inside when he handed me that paper. When before I would have received this responsibility with internal grumbling, I took the paper from his hands and couldn’t have been more excited to help. Sharing your talents not only blesses others but also the individual. I can now sit down and play almost every song in the Spanish Hymn Book. I am grateful for my opportunities to serve and praise My Heavenly Father and His children.
What you most look forward to each day?
Nightly prayers. It’s like ending your day with the best conversation. He listens. He understands. He knows what I’m talking about. It's like talking with your best friend in the middle of the night about the most important thoughts and feelings in your life. It is the best way to fall asleep (sometimes in the middle of the prayer) knowing that your triumphs and shortcomings for that day were watched and witnessed. It is THE opportunity of the day. Drop everything I need to. Give thanks for the countless blessings of the day. Pleading for answers and for help. I love the ending of my days.
What is your favorite dish or food you've had and do members feed you guys?
My favorite food or dish would be “Sandwich de Lomito de Pollo”. IT IS AMAZING! $35 pesos and they deliver. Celebrating the end of a “Wet Saturday” or when the stress of legality crushes every living thing inside of you a “Lomito de Pollo” makes everything a little bit brighter. In short it’s a chicken sandwich with french fries, but we don’t have this celestial food in the U.S. Next time we order one I’ll take some pictures of what’s inside.
Yes, members feed us. In Argentina, however, it’s lunch. Dinner doesn’t exist for missionaries in Argentina because it's at 10:30 at night. We eat a huge lunch that lasts us until breakfast the next day. It’s pretty sweet.
How cold is it?
Not really cold. It’s hot and humid. It rains a lot which cools down the night but makes the following day very humid or “heavy”. 2 weeks ago we moved all of our matrises up on the roof of our house to sleep because it is an oven inside the house. The mosquitos are the worst, but sleeping under the stars or waking up in the middle of the night to pee of the roof is something I miss since moving from Zenda Dr.
How are the llamas?
There are not very many llamas in Salta. But there are more dogs than people… its awesome. You walk with a rock in your hand in some neighborhoods to chuck at the dogs so you can walk to your next lesson
Have you punched any of your companions yet?
No I haven’t punched any of them. yet…
Do you sleep well at night?
If it’s on the roof - yes. If it’s in my room – depends if it rained that day or not. My mattress is amazing. It practically temperpedic.
What is the area like where you are?
My area is the best. We have the drug dealing, robbing and killing neighborhoods. But also the church building so that’s awesome and a lot of ceramic brick factories. Lots of dogs. And this random little bunch of houses built up the side of a hill. Imagine the neighborhoods in Coachella in the middle of summer with like 300 dogs per person.
How is it being opposite seasons than us? Is it weird to be getting warmer the closer to the holidays it gets?
I miss the colder weather so I cut paper snowflakes and decorated the office with Christmas time things to compensate. I like to keep the air conditioning on very cold as well to make it seem like it is really Christmas time. But then when I leave to go teach it’s a season change. I got sun burnt last week from playing soccer for 2 hours without sunscreen. It’s a little different, but I’ve made the necessary adjustments.
Plans for thanksgiving?
I have heard nothing about thanksgiving in Argentina. I don’t think they celebrate it. I got target instant mashed potatoes in a package this last week and I am stoked to make myself some mashed potatoes instead of rice for this Thursdays lunch. The simple things in life. I love it.
Well. I hope that answered some of the questions you had. Keep the faith and know that Christ lives.
Elder Devin G. Hampton