Doctrine & Covenants 93:1

"Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Welcome Home!!!

Welcome Home Elder Hamner!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!

Apr. 25, 2011

Dearest Mom and family, What a beautiful week. The sun is out everyday! So different from what I am used to. Almost all of the snow is melted and now I am wearing a light jacket.
This past week was fun and full of faith building experiences. I pray that I can sufficiently describe each and you can feel the power of the Holy Ghost because some wonderful things are happening here.
First of all the mission is breaking records that have not been reached for about 25 years. Also the members are more on board then ever. We are now trying to train those who are so willing to help.
Second, remember when I shared with you about how our teaching pool did a flip-flop. From 5 progressing investigators, 3 with a baptismal date to almost no one progressing. Well the Lord has blessed us as we strived to keep our vision sharp for the elect. And this past week we are seeing more fruit of our labors. One experience: we were looking over our potential investigators (those who showed interest but have not started meeting yet) and started to get in contact. One name seemed to be over looked...J. So I called him and set up an appointment for the following day. Well that day I was on splits in another area but when I came back to hear the report of the day Elder Merkley told me that they set a baptismal date with him! So now A going for the 7th of May and J for the 21st of May. And on top of that the Lord has guided us to many good people.
Third, throughout my mission my mission president has told us to focus our studies on the needs of our investigators. Well I can personally say that as I have just forgotten my needs and just focused on studying for others the Lord has always blessed me ten-fold more than if I studied for my personal needs. That principle seems to be so simple but when you sacrifice that precious time in the service of others then miracles happen and you come closer to heaven.
And finally fourth, training is a wonderful experience. As I am working with Elder Merkley the Lord is teaching me how to become a better dad. And one of the main lessons I am learning is to listen. Because ''when we listen more carefully to others, we understand them better. (PMG ch.10 ''Listening'')'' So as I have listened more with my ears as well as my heart the Lord has helped guide me in counseling and teaching.
Thank you for your email. I love to hear from you. Please pray that A and J will keep their commitments and attend church regularly.
I love you. Please remember how much I do.
With all the love I can muster
Elder Hamner

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 17, 2011

Dear Mom and Family This past week the Lord has taught me some wonderful truths and performed some amazing miracles.
As my time with Elder Merkley comes to a close I am doing my best to teach the most basic and important lessons the Lord has taught me on my mission. And the number one lesson would be to give my heart to Him. So what does it mean to give my heart. Well since leaving West Point the Lord has asked to give Him everything and not hold anything back. For example, if I wanted to stay at West Point and ignore the prompting to come home then I would have not started on the road to ''giving my heart'' properly. I would have continued on in life holding back by not obeying Him. In other words the decision to leave West Point was the first critical step to giving the Lord everything and just trusting in Him in all things even if I personally wanted something really bad.

And ever since the Lord has helped me to just trust in Him evermore. As a result He has strengthened my faith in Him and transformed me. I see life more what it really is. My desires are more pure and I see how much I really need His power in my daily life.

These two years have been the most fulfilling two years. I am and will always be grateful for this wonderful opportunity. The Lord trains His future earthly husbands and fathers through two years of full-time service (wives and mothers in 1.5 years because they just get it faster).

And the second lesson is- it is all about the Spirit. Without it we can do nothing what the Lord needs us to do. Third lesson- focus on others and the Lord will provide the needed power to bless them as well as strengthen you.
Also yesterday we had a teach with C during which we taught about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how it makes the Plan of Salvation possible. The Spirit was there as we simply taught and testified. The member who came along helped greatly by simply praying in the beginning and adding his testimony when needed/asked. And as we were teaching the Spirit helped guide our questions so that we could measure C's understanding until when it clicked in his mind that this all makes sense. Then I extended the baptismal invitation which he accepted. Oh how joyful that evening was! What a tender mercy to be a part of. These last two weeks have been full of tender mercies. And my love and respect for Heavenly Father continues to grow. I still have a couple of days to find and teach others. I want to live it up.
I love missionary work because it helps me love Him and my brothers and sisters even better. As an official representative of my Savior, He lives. I know it by what I feel and that has led me to lasting peace and happiness which I cannot get from any other source besides the Most High.
Please continue to pray for A, R, and C. They have baptismal dates and are progressing well. A's baptism was moved due to counseling with Lord and the bishop.
With Finnish love
Vanhin Hamner

Monday, May 16, 2011

May 16, 2011

I will send a bigger email in a couple of days.
Elder Hamner
PS we just set another baptismal date. name-C June 18th! I will tell later

Monday, May 9, 2011

May 9, 2011

Dear Mom and Family Wow, what a full week of miracles!
It seems each day is full of ups and downs. More intense than usual. And every time I kneel in prayer and then go to work the Lord raises me another level I could not have gotten to alone. That is truth.
Well, this week Elder Merkley and I have most of the week already planned because the Lord has blessed us with many good investigators. We currently have two with a baptismal date. 1. A for this saturday and 2. R for the 28th of May. Cool story about R. She is the daughter of I P. who we found and baptized in Oulu. The Lord placed R at the right place at the right time to meet missionaries. What a miracle.
Another miracle occurred this past Sunday- yes on Mother's Day the day when many miracles happen. Just because women are favored over men. I accept that and fine with it. But anyways about Sunday; so we were leaving a member's home after eating and decided to tract. We did so and talked with as many families as possible outside. (side note- I love families) Then time came to an end and we headed for home. No one showed any interest as we talked with others. Then we got on our train and talked with a couple of others. But towards the end of the train ride one man stood out. So I got up and talked with him. Come to find out this man is Muslim but when he saw a picture of Jesus Christ he just started telling me how much he wants to change and follow Him. He expressed his disappointment in his previous culture and thanked me profusely for talking with him. I was quite surprised and embarrassed. Not many people thank me when I talk with them but I am grateful the Lord placed us in the same path.
Tomorrow is zone conference and I will report about it next week.
Thank you for your email. I look forward to seeing you but I have another week and I dare not waste it. This time is too valuable.
Vanhin Hamner

Monday, May 2, 2011

May 2, 2011

Dear Mom and Family
Each week seems to go faster and faster. Fortunately Heavenly Father is helping me focus on one day at a time to make the most of it.
This past week was filled with tender mercies from the Lord. Of which consisting of finding, teaching, learning, and struggling.
First, I am grateful that the Lord allows us to struggle for some time before He will answer or give guidance. Because during that struggling we are developing greater character and ingraining the habits to rely on Him even more than if He just answered immediately.
Second, as a trainer the Lord is teaching me so much on parenting. It baffles me daily how powerful the mission is for the future.
Third, the Lord has helped the missionaries find the R, daughter of I (baptized in Oulu when I was there). And at first R was quite hostile but the Spirit has softened her heart so much that the day after she came to see a baptismal service she sent a text message saying,'' I want to be baptized on X day. would that be okay?'' Oh what a sweet text message. Of course we responded, '' no you need to wait until we invite you to be baptized.''.....not we gave her the affirmative:)
Remember I love you and thank you for helping me focus on this work even more. Please include that in your prayers on top of R (protect from evil, understand baptismal commitment), A (understand weekly church commitment), A (feel the power of the Book of Mormon) S (gain a testimony of the Book of Mormon and understand what that means)
Vanhin Hamner
PS please tell Aunt Kim I did get her package. and this'' Thank you for the mangos and especially for your words. Love beyond banana fan-fo-fana heaven and exaltation. Elder (AJ) Hamner

Monday, April 18, 2011

April 18, 2011

Dear Mom and lovely family!,
What a week! As I reflect upon this week I do not know where to begin. But the thought I would like to share is the power of serving others with all our heart, might, mind, and strength.
I remember President Brown teaching us about this a while ago where we come out to our missions ready to work with all our energy. We come wanting to talk to everyone: sun-up to sun-down. But he shared how if we do it with our all our heart and mind therein lies the true power source of the Lord. We could very easily do missionary work and do missionary things but if we start becoming Christ-like missionaries then you tune in with the Lord's frequency and miracles start to happen.
This simple lesson has changed my life. As I have strived (and still try to) to give my heart to Him by dedicating everything I have to His cause- I personally have felt and seen His miraculous power in my life and in the lives of my investigators.
I wish I could describe every experience like movie but that will have to wait until judgment day or when we get to watch THE BIG MOVIE in other words from start to finish (not Finnish)
One experience I would like to share: A, one of my investigators, who now has a baptismal date for May 7th. This past week we had a teach with him after an intense break from meeting due to the devil. Anyways in that meeting he brought some anti-literature which bothered him. As I looked over some of the general points I was praying for the Spirit to help me know what to say because I wanted to answer to the ''root'' of the problem not at the ''leaves''. So whenever I do not know how to answer I testified and then the Spirit helped me teach by using a passage from the Book of Mormon to help him understand how he needs to understand the basics before greater things. And during which the Spirit calmed his spirit and resolved any worries. At the end of the teach I asked him if he still needed the paper and he said, ''No.'' What a miracle! The Spirit does miraculous things in people's hearts and the Book of Mormon is one of the most powerful tools in that.
Thank you for your prayers. We still need them for A and also for S that he will feel the power of the Book of Mormon.
Elder Hamner

Monday, April 11, 2011

Apr. 11, 2011

Dearest Mom and family,
What a wonderful week! This past Tuesday Elder Esplin, before he left for Hyvinkää, and I went to the temple which was needed. This past week has been full of prayer and fasting as I prepare to train my new companion and finish as strong as ever for my last 6 weeks. I know that as I consecrate this time even better the Lord will lead me to those people I need to find.
These past two weeks have been quite rough but what a great learning. Our whole teaching pool did a flip-flop (Test of Faith). All of our investigators have not been able to get a hold of including A. Soo weird. So I have been praying for the Lord to guide us to those elect even more. And sure enough the Lord has helped guide us to two families and many others within a couple of days. I love how the Lord will have us walk into the darkness with the knowledge/testimony He has given to us and then expect us to act. So we did and the Lord answered.
Currently A has dropped his baptismal date but we are striving to work with him. He has not answered his phone for a couple of days. He is very nervous about his upcoming baptism. He is ready, but the devil is doing his thing (btw I would like to punch him someday :)) So we are upping our efforts even more.
My companion, Elder Merkley, is doing well. He has a strong desire to learn Finnish and I am doing everything to teach, coach, and motivate. I love him. Immediately when I met him I could feel that he has a heart of gold.
I hope you are doing well. Thank you for your prayers. Each one helps and I know that He answers.
This next week is district meeting where we will be focusing on how the investigator must develop their personal line to heaven- through prayer.
Good Story of a good member- There is one member in our ward who is always willing to come to teaches and occasionally invites us over for food. Well this past week he invited us over to eat and to allow my companion, Elder Merkley try on extra jackets. So we did and during dinner he gave us two personally framed pictures. I asked him to sign it. Then we gave a short spiritual thought about Alma 37:37 regarding counseling with the Lord in prayer. He was touched by the passage because at this time in his life he needed to hear that. He shared that with us. My heart grew ten-fold for this older saint who is trying to do his best. And I know there are many more whether inside or outside the church who just need comfort and guidance. And the scriptures provide that.
Excellent quote from Elder Esplin's dad- ''The Lord does not usually reward faithfulness with success but with greater faith.'' What a humm-dinger!:)
With Love
Vanhin Hamner

Monday, April 4, 2011

Elämä on ihana April 4, 2011

Dear mom and family,
The title of this email is the truth: Life is wonderful. This is what our stake patriarch says every month when he comes up and bears his testimony. That is what I share because I believe it with all my heart.
This past week we encouraged some setbacks; in short, most of our investigators have either disappeared or said, ''No thank you''. A is still heading for baptism on April 16th. He needs your prayers. But about our teaching situation, I feel so happy and positive that the Lord will lead us to more elect who are waiting for us. I know the Lord knows His elect and want us to meet. We are doing the best we can to purify our hearts and work as hard as we can be.
Continuing on the same note of optimism's power. That is one of many lessons that Heavenly Father is teaching me. To be happy and have peace prevailing in our lives is a choice. No matter the situation even when you meet someone who is quite rude to you. You can choose to be positive and just love life. I am having a blast among these precious people. There are so many good people who really ask themselves, ''Who am I?'', ''Why am I here?'', and many other soul-searching questions. Your prayers help us as find them. Thank you. Finding them and baptizing them mean so much to me because I know how happy they will be. And we need more happy Finns:)
Also this past week the sister missionaries in Haaga found us a beautiful family. The mother is searching for her ''thing'' and she could not have possibly found a better ''thing'' than the Restored Gospel of our Savior. We met at the church and the teach was led by the Spirit. We brought a member along who afterwards was in tears because of how willing this lady is to find truth and Him. The mother said she would be baptized when she receives an answer from God that the Book of Mormon is true. Please pray that J will read and pray. She plans on coming to church with her young family.

FYI- My companion Elder Esplin will be transferred to Hyvinkää. (a little north of Helsinki...still in same zone:)) I have learned a lot from Elder Esplin. I still have a day to learn before he leaves tomorrow. My new companion is coming fresh from the MTC. I am looking forward to making this next and last change the best. I am working on that as we speak.
I love you all
Elder Hamner

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mar. 29, 2011

Dear Mom and family,
What a week! This past week the Lord's was quite obvious.
About a week and a half ago He led us to M, Filipino lady. So it all starts out that we were leaving our church where we teach most of all of our investigators and went to our bus stop. Waiting there too was M. We began to talk and teach about Jesus Christ's Restored Gospel and continued talking on the bus. We eventually exchanged phone numbers and set up an appointment. We came to her apartment with an older member and taught. She accepted her Tagalog Book of Mormon and promised to read and pray. We set up another appointment for the next day. During the first teach she shared how crazy busy she is, working two jobs and all. So I had a gut feeling that she did not keep her commitment to read because we met the night before she went to work, and that did not leave enough time for her to sit down and read and pray. Well we met and asked about her reading and praying. She said, ''Yes I read and prayed. I read during my lunch hour at work.'' When I heard that my heart almost jumped out of my chest. That is commitment. Even though she has a crazy life schedule she made time for something that she feels is important. Then we taught her simply how the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored through Joseph Smith. The Lord led this teach through His Spirit and M accepted everything even BAPTISM. She will be baptized in April. Now more than ever I need you to pray for her so that we can consistently meet and help her prepare for baptism. Thank you for your prayers

Elder Hamner

Monday, March 21, 2011

21 March 2011

Dear Dad and Grown-Up Sisters

Dear mom and lovely family (yes mom you are lovely too...often you impress me by how much)

This past week the pace of missionary work in Helsinki just keeps speeding up and up. There is one definite reason to stay organized, plan well, keep your peace so the Lord can perform miracles through you. That is my simple testimony.

First about our investigators. The Lord has blessed our investigators exceedingly. A, who will be baptized on Saturday after general conference, is progressing very well. You can see in his eyes and feel from his testimony that the Lord has and continues to change him into a better man. He has stopped smoking and we will be doing our best to help be ready. We will be focusing on improving his relationships with the members so there is no sudden break after baptism. Then T, whose girlfriend is less active now coming back, came to church for the first time. It was a Kodak/precious moment when I saw him walk into church. We have been working with them to come but they did not feel ready until this past Sunday! Oh if I could properly describe the inner joy of seeing someone for whom you pray for make simple but huge steps back Home. This work is most difficult but also the most rewarding.

Power of Learning by the Spirit:
President Brown recently has taught us in a week-long leadership training meeting which has changed me. Each time I come to a training meeting my understanding, testimony, and personal vision grows. My sights go beyond the treeline and into the heavens. In other words the Lord has enlightened my mind and heart to see more of what He sees. He helps me see what is my next steps to personally become more like Him and bring as many others along for the ride. And as I have followed the inspired counsel the Spirit is more present and I have more power to bless others and overcome weaknesses. I share this because of General Conference coming up. This is crucial time to prepare our minds and hearts to really hear, see, and take to heart what Heavenly Father wants us to become. Please ask him what questions you need to bring and what you need to do to prepare your hearts and minds. We cannot prepare our hearts and minds without His help.

Finding Miracles:
This past Saturday we were traveling to a funeral of a less-active man who we taught and actually went to the wrong place. So we asked for directions and eventually caught the right bus to the right church. During the trip we saw a different part of Helsinki (suburbs not just downtown). It was snowing and Elder Esplin and I called this one of our adventures up north. Unfortunately we did not make it in time to the funeral but it's alright. He (Heavenly Father) has our back. So we headed home and we walking from the train station when we saw a father, pregnant mother, and child walking in our direction. They stuck out for some reason and we talked with them. Sure enough they just moved to Finland and reunited their family after some time. The next day we met and they are now investigating! The Lord has good plans for them. When I entered their home on Sunday I felt the power of humility and faith in their home. They have good hearts. Their simple desire to survive in life humbled me and I look forward to our next meeting.
One note about that: the importance to ask for the gift of discernment in order to recognize the elect because there are so many people in Helsinki if I were to talk with everyone then I could not get from one appointment to another in time. The Lord is blessing us to find.

Prayer Needs:
Please pray to protect A before his baptism. T that he will gain the faith to set a baptismal date. J to understand the need to be baptized. Thank you for your faithful prayers. Miracles are happening. Records
are occurring. The Lord does lead this work and we are just conduits/instruments to bless others.

Vanhin Hamner
Thank you for the CD. If you don’t mind I gave it to Aki to help him keep the spirit in his home especially before baptism. I love you!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mar. 14, 2011

Dear Mom and Family This past week has been AMAZING!!! you are thinking ''Why is that?'' Well I really cannot describe adequately but will do my best. This past week was a four day Leadership Training where President Brown taught us about the fundamentals of teaching. It started each morning at 9am and ended around 4-5 pm. During which President Brown would teach about different aspects of teaching and then we would apply what we were learning by role playing. However the part I would like to share is the purpose of church meetings-receiving revelation.
President Brown has taught us that before any church meeting we need to spiritually prepare for it by prayerfully pondering and studying the scriptures about what we need to learn. Then as we work to prepare ourselves the Lord can soften our hearts to hear the message that He wishes to give to us. There is evidence of this in Mosiah 2 where the people of King Benjamin prepare themselves for ''general conference'' by performing temple ordinances. Then King Benjamin in verse 9 gives us all counsel about spiritual preparation for each church meeting where he asks us to ''open [our] ears that [we] may hear, and [our] hearts that [we] may understand...'' We by ourselves cannot soften our hearts but the Lord can perform such a miracle. Last week the Lord helped soften my heart to hear the message that I needed to hear. Now I am working with Him to apply it. That is my challenge to you: please prepare for general conference to hear the message that Heavenly Father wants you to hear. I love you and please remember that the road to increased faith is not easy but soooo worth to travel. :)
Currently, A is still fighting with tobacco but he is making good progress. He has relapsed but we are working with him to overcome. Thank you for your prayers. Teaching him has been such a tender mercy. As he has shared his testimony about how he has felt the peace that comes from repentance my testimony has grown.
At this time we are very busy teaching. The Lord is helping us find more elect as we have been working with the members more, striving to be more obedient, and improve our teaching. It seems that as the work moves forward more and more time goes faster and faster. So we become more and more busy I am working with the Lord to help me simplify how I do everything: from setting goals, to planning teaches, teaching in district meeting, and studying. As I have done this the Spirit is more with me. I love it!
I love you all and look forward to your email next week
Elder Hamner

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mar. 7, 2011

Dearest Mother and Family
This past week has been fabulous. Though crazy life can be with all kinds of things to do the Lord wants us to keep our peace. That is what I feel is right to share about this past week, ''Keeping the Peace''.
If we can in the midst of chaos be able to keep our peace and hear/recognize/follow the promptings of the Spirit even when there are all kinds of distractions around us then we can enjoy even greater measure of the Holy Ghost.
One of the greatest tools to keep the peace is prayer. What an amazing gift to call upon Our Loving Creator whenever, wherever and have personal communication. Ohh how the adversary wants to cut this line of communication. In order to battle this we with our investigators have been emphasizing the basics like scripture study and prayer especially when temptations come up. And it is music to my ears when investigators like A say, '' Whenever I get the urge to smoke I read from the Book of Mormon.'' Wow my heart just swells up as I see and feel investigators grow and become ''new creatures''. The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ changes us all into what Heavenly Father sees within us. It is a beautiful process of refining.
I love you all and thank you for your prayers. Miracles are happening.
Hey I got your package today THANK YOU!!!!!!
Elder Hamner

P.S. Please keep praying for A and J. Both are fighting tobacco and J alcohol/coffee. Please pray to give them greater strength to resist and overcome these addictions.
Hey I got your package today THANK YOU!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mar. 1, 2011

Dearest Mom and Family What a wonderful week. The mission is full of ups and downs. And Heavenly Father loves us so much to allow us to experience both so we can grow and then help others through similar trials.
Well, this week A officially stopped smoking! Thank you for your prayers. He received a priesthood blessing some time ago and we have been working with daily. He has slipped up but we just love him and help him set the goal again so Satan does not come in to discourage. He is such a boozo. Anyways A now is a great support to his brother and sister who are now investigating. J, his older brother, has a baptismal date and just wants the peace that comes from the gospel. What a tender mercy to be instruments in their lives to help bring the Savior's peace. That is one tender mercy I am so grateful see people become transformed by the Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Also, this past week we received a referral from the mission office of someone who referred himself to meet with the missionaries. Upon receiving the referral we contacted it and eventually met M this past Sunday. In the first teach I asked him why he wanted to meet with us, and he shared how he wants away from the darkness or in other words depression. Then this past Monday we met with him again and I asked him what does happiness mean to him and he shared that he would not know. That hit me hard. We, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are blessed beyond measure and we need to find these people who long for happiness but do not know where to find it. I know that there are more people like M but rarely will they openly express it but as we live the gospel and invite more people will be blessed. Member missionary work is a blessing and yes challenging. But the Lord always provides a way when we are willing to obey.
To relate this, my testimony of ''you get what you pay for'' has grown ten fold as I have worked with Heavenly Father to move the work along in each assignment the Lord has sought fit to give me. If you really want to perform miracles through the power of our Savior you can. I know it and know everyone has been invited by the Lord through His sweet, gentle, powerful messenger the Holy Ghost to do better. I invite you do better because I love you. Our Mission president has invited us to do better and continues to do so even when record numbers are happening in Finland. To illustrate this, our mission president has received word that in the MTC they are teaching about the success of the Finland Helsinki Mission as a model of hard work and faith to perform miracles. The reason is that finding has improved 45 times and the effectiveness rate is improved dramatically. It used to take 91 new investigators found to have one person be baptized. Now it is 19 new investigators per baptism. That is miraculous! I do not share this to boast but to build, encourage, and inspire. This is the Lord's will and He has performed miracles in this land. We could not have done anything without Him.
I hope this helps you see and feel how the work is going in Finland. I love you and so grateful that I have the privilege to write to my family...yes MY dear family.
Elder Hamner

PS funny story- my new companion- Elder Esplin is 6 weeks old in Finland and I love him. He is a hard worker and loves to speak Finnish. Well this past P-Day Elder Esplin put away the groceries while I was busy with something else. Then later that evening when I was getting ready for bed I was in the bathroom to get my retainer when I noticed vanilla sugar next to the Q-tips. I then asked my companion why he put the vanilla sugar in the bathroom and he thought that it was soap. It smelled good why not soap. Well we had a good laugh about that and learned some new words.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Feb. 21, 2011

Dear Mom and Family My heart just sings with joy that Heavenly Father lives and His Son-my Savior Jesus Christ. As I write this email there is a mural of the first vision and I gazed at it a bit before beginning this email. What a blessing that it happened. Because it happened I can trust that when loved one passes away I will meet them again. Also that as I keep the commandments that Heavenly Father will provide everything I need. Additionally, that even when many may reject this glad message, I can still trust in the promise that He is preparing the elect to receive it.
This past week has been full of little miracles. M, a less-active member, has recently chosen to come back and actively do missionary work. He loves coming to teaches and seeking for opportunities to spread the gospel. I asked him what influenced him to come back and he said, '' This desire to become like Jesus Christ has grown within me.'' When I heard that all I could think was...Wow...P-R-O-F-O-U-N-D. He has recently been called as a ward missionary and is stellar at teaches.
An observation on teaching- I was discussing the gospel with a brain doctor a week or two ago who was interested to hear what we had to say. On our way to the trolley he shared something that stuck in my mind. He said, ''A good teacher is a good learner.'' That is so true. A good teacher wants to learn from his or her students. What he said has helped motivate me to strive even more to learn.
This past week was Zone Conference in which was a spiritual feast. President Brown spoke on ''Consecrated Missionary'' and opened our spiritual eyes to how to gain greater spiritual power. I am working to apply it for the rest of my mission. Everyone needs greater spiritual power to succeed in life and bless others.
I will write more about our investigators next week. I love you and please pray for A and J to obey the Word of Wisdom.
Elder Hamner

Monday, February 14, 2011

Feb. 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day This week feel that I need to share is how Heavenly Father loves His children and because He does, He has given us all the opportunity to prove ourselves worthy to live with Him forever and enjoy all of His blessings. As I have studied the plan of salvation and understood it more I can not help but want to share it and help others to understand it. What a blessing it is to everyone! It brings understanding and peace that you can not find anywhere else. I would like to know how much rejoicing there was in the Pre-Earth life when we found out about this plan. We now have the opportunity to make something miraculous. The principle of agency is so exciting and brings the Spirit more and more into my heart as I ponder about it and how to use it better.
Also I wanted to thank you for your prayers. At this moment our investigators are progressing well as they keep their commitments and as a result A and his brother, J, have baptismal dates. Please pray that they can break away from alcohol and tobacco. A has been sharing with us how he is experiencing the atonement. He said that as he has been praying and keeping the commandments better and better he feels a load of burden leaving. He said that is such amazing joy which he could not describe. As I was sitting there just listening, I felt strongly a portion of Heavenly Father's and the Savior's love for him. What a tender mercy to be a part of the powerful process of repentance and in long-terms-conversion.
Thank you again for your prayers. I love you.
Elder Hamner

Monday, February 7, 2011

Feb. 7, 2011

Dearest Mom and Family,

What a crazy, blessed week!
I pray that the Holy Ghost will help me as I share about this past week. The Lord does lead this work. I can illustrate by an experience. This past Sunday we had a lesson with a less-active/part-member family after church. We needed to leave from church shortly after the third hour but we were called into a short meeting. We could have canceled on the meeting but we felt alright to attend. Then upon the end of the meeting we were off to catch our bus to the family's home. However we found that we missed it but we are at peace, and we called the family informing them of our tardiness. While waiting at the bus stop we meet one young lady, A. I started to talk to her and shared how Heavenly Father is interested in our lives and is very personal. The Spirit touched her heart and she accepted the missionaries to visit; however she is going back to Estonia for school. We said, ''No problem, there are missionaries there too who want to share more about this message''. We got on the bus and we taught more about the Restored Gospel and the Book of Mormon. A was surprised and grateful when I offered to give the Book of Mormon before she left. I shared how the Book of Mormon has changed my life and opened my eyes to Heavenly Father. She then left, but before she left she gave her address for the missionaries to visit. This was a tender mercy to find A and give her a piece of heaven. Also thank you for your prayers. They played a role in this miracle. We will be sending her info to our mission office and then she will be taken care of.
One of our investigators, A is progressing well. We are helping him stop smoking and the Lord is strengthening him little by little. It is blessing to be a part of his developing greater faith. For example, he set originally to stop smoking by September and then we helped him move it up sooner to June. But we felt he could do better as the Lord's servants we helped him see that within a month he could do it. He felt good with that and has set it as his goal. He has shared that as he has prayed and read from the scriptures more and more the desire to smoke has decreased. What a simple miracle!
At this time in Helsinki the weather has been quite warm 32 degrees F. Usually the month of February is the coldest of the year. Because of the good weather, Elder Pace and I have been running each morning.
Regarding our food, this past week I made broccoli cheese and potato soup! Oh it tasted just like home except in the potato soup I added broccoli and carrots. Soups are great for the winter.
I hope your first week of February has gone well. I love you and pray for you too.
Elder Hamner

Monday, January 31, 2011

Jan. 31, 2011

Dear Mom and Family, Thank you for your prayers and emails. If you could include in your next emails or letters things you are learning from life and the scriptures at this time. I am interested to hear how your personal studies are progressing.
But currently, I am been still completing the challenge from President Brown on reading the Book of Mormon. I average about a page a day because of the rich goodness in this ''marvelous work and wonder''. As I sit and just ponder the basics contained within the Book of Mormon I can feel peace, comfort, and clarity come into my heart and mind- literally spiritually nourishing. A good measure of your personal study is how at peace are you at the end. It requires hard work to consistently receive spiritual nourishment but it is so worth it. I have noticed that the investigators and members who obey the basic and simple commandments like daily scripture study, daily personal prayer, and weekly church attendance and strive to improve their efforts consistently are blessed with the Spirit more in their lives.
I love you and know that there is always something we can improve on and as we strive to do it the Lord will shed His spirit upon us. I love the Spirit. You could say I am a ''Spirit Addict'' because whatever I can do to increase the measure of the Holy Ghost within me then I want and will do it. And as we increase the Holy Ghost's influence within us then we are a greater blessing to others.
In addition to this as I reflect upon this week and the blessing of just living on the earth at this time I cannot help but smile. Think about the blessings for a moment: a living prophet who speaks the Lord's will on anything we need, technology which allows us to really feast upon the Lord's word more than ever, and the opportunity to prove ourselves to Heavenly Father by loving Him and His children.
Sneek Peek to next week: Power of Prayer. In my district the power of prayer what we will be focusing on in next weeks district meeting. I have been preparing for this particular district meeting for quite some time as I apply what I am learning so then I can teach it with power.
With lots of love,
Elder Hamner

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jan. 24, 2011

Wow, what a miraculous week!
I just want to say thank you for your prayers. I know the Lord answers sincere, fervent prayers.
This past week we have been super busy but in a peaceful pace which I love. I do not like nor will allow life take my peace. Being in the largest city in which contains the metro, trolleys, and most buses brings also much rush, noise, and stress. For many here time schedules are filled-to-the-brim, rushing to catch trains or buses, or trying to accomplish everything that life throws at them. Even as a missionary I face similar challenges; but as I reflect upon the example of the Savior when He preached His gospel and lived His life, I can only imagine him walking peacefully from one destination to another enjoying the companionship of the Holy Ghost. He allowed the Spirit to guide and performed miracles.
As I travel throughout Helsinki I do my best to remember His example. Yes, I am not perfect nor does the Lord expect perfection but my best. That principle brings peace to my heart.
Update on investigators: we had two baptisms two weeks ago and are working for more. The members are stepping it up in working with us and talking with their friends. We are having good success with young single adults in the Helsinki area.
Thank you and love you....I really do love you :)
Elder Hamner

Monday, January 10, 2011

Jan. 10, 2011

Dearest Mom and Family
This past week has been full of tender mercies-
First, J, one of investigators who is a member referral, is progressing very well. He has a baptismal date for the 29th of Jan. The Lord is helping us find more of His elect. Thank you for your prayers.
Second, miracle of personal prayer- I have been ravishly studying about prayer this past week and the Lord has opened my eyes to more of the power of simple, fervent prayers. I wish I had my study journal with me because the beautiful simplicity of our number one communicating tool with our Heavenly Father
News: I have been transferred to downtown Helsinki- as the district leader- all zone leaders and one assistant who leave Finland before the new mission president comes have become district leaders. This whole process of change gives my heart wonder and amazement as the work moves forward. This work is as hard as nails but the greatest joy one can experience. And the beauty of it is that every member can participate in it. From Genealogy, to temple work; from helping a neighbor when a trial comes, to inviting him or her to a church activity; from simply smiling at people, to seeking to make someone’s day by visiting them. The greatest joy comes from helping others experience lasting joy from the gospel.
If anyone finds themself sad, discouraged, or feeling of loneliness in any trial focusing on others will bring into their lives a light that only comes from above. And our souls naturally desire this light.

PS if you want to go on a fun, spiritually edifying scriptural journey then please look up the word ''light'' in the topical guide. Be sure to pray for understanding before because the whole trip is beautiful. That word has much meaning and we all can relate. Especially in Finland where the winter lasts longer and very dark. It paints a greater picture in my mind of how important our internal light shining outward is.
I love you
Elder Hamner
P.S. I was showing off your drawings to a couple of families. When I showed Karlie's avatar dragon, at a dinner appointment, the kids were watching the new avatar upstairs. They really liked it. Thank you for the birthday package!!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Jan. 3, 2011

Dearest mom and wonderful family :) This past week was very fun and spiritually delicious. Last General Conference from Elder Scott's talk I took to heart a personal theme for the last 6-7 months of my mission- Exercise Faith in the Savior each day. As time has gone on and I have done my best to apply it. I wish to edit it more- Exercise Faith in the Savior for others. I remember that Elder Talmage wrote in Jesus the Christ that Christ did not receive His supreme power for His own pleasure but for the benefit of others. I love that principle!!! So as a result I have raised my vision for my mission. As a result, I have felt the Lord guide me more by His delicate, mighty hands. Coming from the North Zone to the Helsinki Zone, I have faced many more challenges-new ward (actually 2 right now), new missionaries, new companion, and working to bring everything to the next spiritual level. As I write this I smile because these are all blessings. As the Lord stretches me through each experience, He is training me to rely on Him more and more so it becomes me. As I put my all into blessing others then the Lord puts His all magnifying abilities and performing miracles that only He could have done. When we include the Lord in everything, we go from using candle light (our own abilities) to 400 W of electrical power (His Power). This power only comes from Heaven. Every one of us needs more greater spiritual power.
L's baptism- Also on the first day of this month, L was baptized (the older gentleman who told us that he wants to be baptized after the spiritual experience). He now has the gift of the Holy Ghost and is at peace. I remember seeing him in priesthood. He looked like he was in heaven.
I know that the Lord is preparing His children.
I love you.
Elder Hamner

Helaman 5:12

And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.