Sunday, February 5, 2012

Letter to Santa Monica 2nd Ward

What a pleasant surprise it was when I stumbled on a letter that Jared had written to the entire Santa Monica 2nd Ward, our friends and fellow church members here in Santa Monica.  I was reading the ward newsletter and at the very end of it, there was a letter from Jared!  I thought I would share it with everyone else.   It's neat to see the growth Jared has made while on his mission.  I'm a lucky mom!


Well things are going great out here. We just got a new group out here and it's been really interesting to see these missionaries and it has given me an opportunity to look back and reflect on the progress I've made on my mission.

For the most part it was kind of hard to see that I had been making any progress at all. Armenians are quite blunt about things which is both a blessing and a curse. But they have taken the liberty of telling me (quite frequently) that I don't speak the language well. Understandable seeing as I've been in country about 5 months now, but slightly discouraging none the less. So for the last little while, I've been focusing on where I need to go. I've been looking up the cliff side and realizing there's still a long ways to go. I think there was a conference talk about this but I can't remember. 

The new group coming in kind of gave me an opportunity to stop and reflect, and look down the cliff side and see how far up I've come. I thought about my first few weeks in this country and how I barely even spoke in lessons and didn't understand anything going on in Sacrament meeting. I look at things now and I'm working almost 50/50 with my companion during lessons and I'm even starting to translate in Sacrament meetings. 

Besides the language though, I've made some serious spiritual progress. I think the thing I've gained a testimony about the most is the Book of Mormon. I had a pretty interesting experience at the beginning of my mission. I decided that I wanted to read the Bible during my personal studies because I wanted to say I've read the whole thing if I'm out there saying we believe that both the Bible and the Book of Mormon work together and are the word of God as one. I neglected my Book of Mormon reading though and I noticed things were just hard. Things weren't working out the way I wanted and I felt like I was working on my own. I took one Sunday though to start the Book of Mormon and my day just brightened up. I felt happy and at ease, as if there was something behind me, supporting me throughout my work the whole day. My companion and I didn't have any contention between each other (not that we had much of that anyways) and everything was better in general. 

Since then I haven't missed a day of reading and things have gotten much better with my work. It's not a big change, maybe just 15-20 minutes a day of serious study, but it makes all the difference. I've been through the Book of Mormon twice now and I'm working on my third, and I can honestly say I find
something new every time. 

Anyways, I can't express enough all the appreciation I have for this ward that has supported me so much. I wish I had thanked each and every one of you before I had left. But I truly am grateful. It's hard to know where I would be without all of you. Thank you, and may the Lord bless your lives.

Elder Hammer

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