Sunday, July 26, 2020

20 things we learn from serving as mission president and spouse!

President and Sister Hammon
Mission Report
July 19, 2020

What we learned on our mission!

We learned so many things while serving as a mission president and spouse in the California Riverside Mission, one of the most incredible missions on the face of the planet earth. Since space is always a precious commodity, we felt we would limit our learnings to a mere 20 principles.

1. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love us more than we will ever know. They watch out for our missionaries and protection in so many ways. (John 3:16; Moses 7:62; 1 John 4:7-8; Moses 5:7; 3 Nephi 27:27; 2 Nephi 33:4; 1 Nephi 11:21-25).

2. The Atonement of Jesus Christ can heal all afflictions, no matter what they are. When parents ask what they can teach their children so they will be ready to serve missions, my answers begin with “Teach them how the Atonement of Jesus Christ works in their lives before they arrive.” (3 Nephi 17:1-9; 21-24).

3. Revelation is real and can come at any time. We need to be ready for it. We just need to understand how the Holy Ghost speaks to each of us. (Doctrine and Covenants 43:15-16; 4:7; Matthew 7:7-8; 2 Nephi 33:1-2; John 14:26; Doctrine and Covenants 8:2-10; 9:8; 21:9; Sister Flores). 

4. Missionaries are incredible young men and young women with enormous capacity and potential.  The challenge is for them to recognize their capacity and potential and then work diligently and consistently to fill it. Many of them recognize it early and progress and grow so rapidly. They literally “grow up” right before our eyes. (see Abraham 3:23-26).

5. Light has become so important in our lives. Injecting ourselves with light every day helps us to truly become bearers of light. (Doctrine and Covenants 50:24-25; Alma 32:34-35; Romans 13:12; Doctrine and Covenants 88:11-13; Doctrine and Covenants 93—all).

6. When we set high expectations and shower people/missionaries with love, they will rise up and be better and achieve great things. They gain stronger testimonies and become who their mother wants and prays them to be. They become what Heavenly Father and Christ want them to be—truly disciples of Jesus Christ. (Alma 17:2-3; Alma 38—Shiblon; Alma 23:15-20).

7. We can do all things in Christ, despite our weaknesses and frailties. When we rely on Him, He will bless us. (Ether 12:26; Jacob 4:7; 2 Nephi 33:4; Mosiah 7:18-19; Alma 24:12-17).

8. Being obedient brings unprecedented miracles and blessings. Lehi said—and other prophets repeated it throughout the Book of Mormon—“Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land” (2 Nephi 1:20; Mosiah 2:41; Mormon 9:21; Nephi 17:3; Alma 38:2).

9. We need to be “up and doing” what the Lord wants us to do and be “anxiously engaged in a good cause.” (Mosiah 4:26; Alma 60:24; Doctrine and Covenants 58:27; Hymn 223 “Have I Done Any Good”; Alma 48:15-16).

10. Miracles still happen! They are real. The California Riverside is a miracle mission! When we are obedient, believe in Christ, “doubting nothing, whatsoever you shall as the Father in the name of Christ it shall be grant unto him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth” (Mormon 9:18-21; Ether 12:12-18; Alma 48:15-16). 

11. The Power of God’s word is more powerful than the sword, or anything else” (Alma 31:5; Jacob 4:9) ….”It is quick and powerful” Helaman 3:29;).…“and whoso would hearken unto the word of God and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish” (1 Nephi  15:23-24; Doctrine and Covenants 100:5-12).

12. Having faith and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ will help us overcome all challenges in life. (Ether 12:4, 7, 10, 12, 14-15, 28; Moroni 3:3; Moroni 6:4; Matthew 11:28-30; Matthew 21:21; Jacob 4:6; Doctrine and Covenants 8:10; 18:19; ; Ether 12:12-18). 

13. When it comes to transitioning to new missions and new mission presidents, and/or new areas, missionaries are mostly resilient, ready to make the transition and adapting to their environments and surroundings. Change is challenging for some. We learned that we are change agents, sent to this earth at this precise moment to help usher in the Second Coming. (Mosiah 18; Alma 17:2-3; the early pioneers). 

14. Missions change your focus and your doing and your being. At the beginning of the mission, there seemed to be so many things that we would miss, but through the mission, the only thing we really missed was being with our family. We feel the missionaries did, too. Once they were “all in,” they did not look back. (Luke 9:62; Doctrine and Covenants 133:15).

15. We become better and better through improving ourselves happens every single day because we chisel our way through the debris that we sometimes throw in our own way, or what we allow people to throw in our way, and things that somehow just land in our way. (2 Nephi 2:16; Doctrines 101:78; Joshua 24:15).

16. We need to love, lift, lead, inspire, and invite people. That’s how people grow and develop, and that’s how we learn patience. (Alma 48:7-17) 

17. The Book of Mormon and the scriptures are true and come from a loving Heavenly Father to help and enlighten us with those things we need at that moment. I have known these things to be true for a long time, but reading the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon, in context of specific missionaries or people, they have enlightened me and given me the revelation I needed, yes, at the very moment. (Doctrine and Covenants 100:6).

18. We love to serve. We have also loved to serve, but when you serve 24/7 every single day, you learn that service is truly an outlet of love. We learned to love every single missionary who came to our mission. When we received their profiles, the Office would make pictures for us, and we placed them on our fridge. Every morning, I would stand in front of them and greet them: Buenos días! Good morning. Every evening before I went to bed, I would ask them how their days had gone and if they were ready to come to the most amazing miracle mission on the face of the planet. (Mosiah 2:17; 2 Nephi 2:3-4).

19. Enduring to the end can often be challenging. The COVID-19 has taught us many things, but in in particular is this: We can get to the end because Heavenly Father provided so many ways for us to do this. We are different missionaries. We do missionary work differently. We are and are continuing to become social media missionaries. That who we were foreordained to become, and it has been a challenging yet marvelous experience! (Nephi 4, Alma 24; 2 Nephi 31:16, 20).

20. Missions are exhausting and exhilarating simultaneously. We had some long days—up early in the morning, bed very late with sometimes a call in the middle of the night. But there is nothing like watching missionaries grow and develop, change from being very homesick and doing and saying crazy things  and wanting to go home to becoming disciples of Jesus Christ who truly do not want to go home. They want to be out and about, teaching, seeking with faith, giving blessings, and doing service. (Alma 48:15-16).

Walking, exploring, and discovering the many beauties in Cheney and Spokane, Washington.

We did a lot of walking, exploring, and discovering while visiting Hailey, Joseph, Clark, and Avonlea in Cheney and Spokane, Washington.

Avonlea and Clark reading with the "kids"!
 The first night, we took a very long walk through Eastern Washington University where Hailey and Joseph work.  What a beautiful campus albeit a bit sparse on people because of the COVID-19 challenge. Of course, that just meant we had the campus to ourselves.

The next morning, we head to the Turnbull Wildlife Refuge, but there was a train parked on the tracks between us and the refuge. We waited more than a few minutes and decided that the train was not going to move any time soon, so we trundled over to Spokane to the Moore-Turner Heritage Center, and that was closed, too. We did do a bit of walking along a few paths outside of the Center.

Clark and Grandma Hammon

Well, since Spokane has lots of things to do, we headed over to the John A.Finch Arboretum, "a botanical collection of trees and woody plants that have been labeled for field study." What a treat that was!

It is an arboretum, 65 acres of flora and fauna of all kinds. We even saw a couple of turkeys with a baby turkey.

Oh, and did I say lots of rocks?

One of the most beautiful flowers was Avonlea!

The next morning, we finally were able to cross the tracks and drive to the Turnbull Wildlife Refuge. What a fun and intriguing place! We walked about. 1.5 miles down and around this particular lake and saw lots of birds and flora and fauna.

Two swans from a far....
We saw a big while pelican that was lounging around the lake. I whistled, hoping he would jump and fly so I could get a better view—to no avail. He knew there was no reason to be worried about any of this.

The early morning reflections of trees, water, and a rising sun made for some phenomenal views.

Early morning reflections....
The wild flowers were pretty and plentiful.

Plus, we saw three red tail hawks. It was challenging to get a close-up view of them, but one stayed still for a moment.

In the afternoon after lunch, we motored over to Manito Park in Spokane, a very pristine and well-manicured place with lots of flowers, more flowers than I have seen for a long time.

We walked through the English gardens

the rose garden, which was finishing its blooming season. If they would dead head them, they would come back, right?

the regular gardens

Avonlea loves the water....

Avonlea and Clark playing with ladybugs....a plethora!

We tried the Japanese gardens, but they were closed because of the coronavirus, too close of quarters. But I did peek through and over the fence and took a couple of pictures.

What a joy we had doing all of this. I will post all of the flowers on Facebook so you can see them all—or at least the ones I will post.

Once we were dazzled by all of the flowers, we drove through this residential area until we ended up at The Scoop, a mom and pop shop that sells a variety of ice cream.

Ultimately, when the day ended, I had over 12,000+ steps. Whew, what a day!

Cinnamon rolls, a grandson, and a grandmother: Working together for a delicious outcome!

Cheney, Washington

We have had a fun time with Hailey, Joseph, Clark, and Avonlea in Washington (more pictures to come!).

The first thing that Clark wanted to do when we arrived was to have Grandma teach him how to make cinnamon rolls. So, what does a Grandma do when a grandson asks her to help him make cinnamon rolls? She does it.

Of course, one of the most important parts is to have all of the ingredient ready and waiting. Stirring them in one at a time is equally important.

Then, comes the arduous task of patience: waiting for the dough to rise.

Once you have the strips cut perfectly, you add the most important ingredients: butter, cinnamon, sugar, etc. Then, carefully, you roll it up into a log and cut them into circles and place them gently on the pan to rise again.

Once the rolls have risen sufficiently, you place them in the oven and bake them. 

After they are done, you let them cool a bit before applying the delicious frosting that is a mixture of cream cheese and powdered sugar with a dash of vanilla.

Clark did the slathering--the frosting of the cinnamon rolls. He did slather them beautifully, making sure there was barely a brown spot of roll showing. Isn’t that what makes them good?

We saved for dessert after dinner. They were divine and delicious!

Thanks, Clark and Grandma Hammon, for the delicious cinnamon rolls!

We love you!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The bonding and blending of a granddaughter, grandmother, cinnamon rolls, and strawberries!

What happens when you add a granddaughter who is celebrating a birthday, a grandmother, a host of baking ingredients, some cups of strawberries, and an almost new kitchen? You get the best homemade cinnamon rolls, strawberry jam, and scones.

Some ingredients for cinnamon rolls and strawberry jam!
 Emiline, our oldest granddaughter, recently celebrated a birthday. When her mother asked what she wanted for her birthday. Her reply was simple: “I want Grandma Hammon to teach me how to make cinnamon rolls and strawberry jam."

Emiline and her ingredients

So much for a new Barbie doll or anything unicornish!

So, Emiline and Joanne gathered up the necessary ingredients, and we drove to their new home in Draper.

Emiline and Grandma Hammon
Soon, Emiline and her grandmother put their heads together and read the recipes, and then organized the ingredients for both the strawberry jam and cinnamon rolls to make sure everything was there.

First the strawberry jam…

They washed the strawberries and then carefully cut out the green stems. Grandma showed Emiline a slick way to save as much berry as possible as you cut out the stems. Then, Emiline sliced and placed the sliced strawberries into a glass bowl.

Let the slicing begin!
Now, the work began for Emiline as she began smashing and smushing the strawberries. Soon, with a bit of elbow grease and effort, that was done, she added the pectin and let the berries sit.

"Smashing these strawberries is pretty hard!"

"Let's try with both of us smashing berries!"
Now, on to cinnamon rolls….

Grandma told Emiline how important the yeast was, so they needed to be careful how they created it.. Grandma showed her how to measure the warm water, using a thermometer, so it was just the right temperature as not to “kill” the yeast. They used the thermometer to make sure the water was not too hot.

Checking the temperature of the water.

Then, they poured the yeast into the warm water and mixed.

Measuring and adding yeast to water...
While that was working, Emiline went back to her jam where she began to add the sugar. Her comment was, “Wow! I didn’t know you had to put in so much sugar!” And that is the reason everyone likes jam—six berries and five cups of sugar. Delicious!

Adding sugar to stawberries--an awakening!
Once the strawberries and pectin were mixed, sugar added, Emiline poured the jam into four plastic containers to sit and gel and then to the freezer for safe storage--for a time!

Emiline and her first jam!

3.25 cups of strawberries + four cups of sugar = strawberry jam!
Now, on to Round 2 of the cinnamon rolls making….

The mixing of the dough
Emiline began adding the ingredients: the yeast mixture and then began adding cup by cup of flour all the while the mixer was mixing until the mixture was just perfect for rolling out and continuing the process of making the cinnamon rolls. Once the dough was ready, it was set aside to rise.

Once the dough was ready, Joanne began to show her how to select the ingredients for the filling.

 Grandma directed her to “punch” the dough to deflate it. They Emiline spread some flour on her new countertops and begin to roll out the dough into a square.

"So, how flat shall I roll this dough?"

Basting and sprinkling: the art of making cinnamon rolls.
 She rolled out the dough, cover the dough with melted butter and sprinkled on the special ingredients of sugar and cinnamon.

Poof! Cinnamon rolls ready to rise once more before baking!
 After basting it with butter and sprinkling all of the dry ingredients on top, she cut out the dough into strips, and rolled each of them up until they looked like a folded flat cookie and placed on a pan to rise some more.
Almost there....almost!
 Not long after, the cinnamon rolls came out of the oven, sat for a moment or two, and then Emiline and Grandma began to frost them with a powdered sugar frosting.

Butter + powdered sugar + creme cheese + vanilla = the topping for a divine cinnamon roll!
 Before too long, they were ready to be eaten and enjoyed. And they were delicious!

Bonus round: Scones!

Then, the bonus round of baking and cooking scones for dinner. They made some more dough, let it rise for a moment or two, rolled it out, and then cut it into strips--and a couple of circles.

Scone dough

Cutting the dough for scones
While Emiline was busily rolling out and cutting the dough, Grandma was carefully heating up the grease so they could fry the bread, thus making fry bread for dinner.
Cooking the fry bread....
After dinner, Emiline opened up her presents.

Emiline and her new headphones
Who said birthdays had to be filled with presents? Emiline’s favorite present for her birthday was working alongside her Grandmother Hammon while they made strawberry jam, cinnamon rolls, and scones, all in one afternoon.

Emiline and Grandma Hammon (Joanne) making jam together!
Happy Birthday Emiline!

Grandpa and Grandma Hammon