Monday, June 26, 2017

Elder Hill signing off ...

Well this is it.

Two years gone just like that. Hard to believe. I am so incredibly grateful for every single day of my mission. I have loved every second of it. I can't begin to describe the gratitude and love I feel towards Heavenly Father and the Savior for allowing me to come serve a mission, and more importantly for carrying me through all of it. I have had some of the most amazing experiences, seen undeniable miracles, and have met some tremendous people. Serving as a representative of Jesus Christ in Portland, Oregon has changed my life. 

I know that the Savior lives. I know that He loves me. I have felt His presence and He has been there for me every step of the way. In front of the Preach My Gospel manual there is a message from the First Presidency, and the last paragraph in there says, "The Lord will reward and richly bless you as you humbly and prayerfully serve Him. More happiness awaits you than you have ever experienced as you labor among His children." And I can testify to the truth of that.  The joy I have felt here is indescribable. There is no greater feeling than being a part of someone's conversion to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Watching people completely change their lives around to follow the Savior, and then seeing the hope and happiness that comes into that persons life because of that is the greatest blessing ever. 

I am thankful for all of the wonderful experiences and success I have seen, but I am also thankful for all the trials, challenges, and failures. They have helped me learn. They have helped me grow. And I am forever grateful to the Lord Jesus Christ and His atonement for allowing me to be here and experience those things. 

I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported me throughout these two years. It has meant a lot to me. And thanks especially to my parents and family for all their love and support through all of this. I love you guys.

I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, He is our Savior. I know that He is the only way to find lasting joy in this life and in the eternities. He knows every single one of us. He wants us to be happy, we just need to rely on Him. Trust the Savior. I bear my witness that I know if we put Jesus Christ first in our lives then we will be happy no matter what life may throw at us. I know these things to be true with all my heart.

D&C 6:36 "Look unto me in every thought: doubt not, fear not." 

Well that's it! 

Elder Hill signing off.... See you on the other side! 

Monday, June 19, 2017

One Week Left ...


So this week honestly nothing too exciting happened. We have just been trying to find more people to teach but it's been a little bit of a struggle in this area. The whole area is just really big neighborhoods with huge houses, but we are still doing our best and seeing miracles happen everyday!

On Saturday we had a Luau at Lynn's house (a member in the Tongan branch) for Elder Peterson and I going home. It was a ton of fun! We roasted and a pig and they made all of the missionaries dance to island music haha it was fun time. They had me and elder peterson bear our testimonies and it was a pretty cool experience.

I have been reflecting a lot on the past two years and everything that I have learned and experienced. It's crazy to think about who I was two years ago and what my testimony was like compared to where I am now two years later. I'm grateful for the countless experiences that I have had and for all the people I have met on my mission. I'm grateful especially to the Lord for allowing me to have this opportunity and carrying me through it.

One week left, have a good one!

Elder Hill

PS - Happy Father's Day!! Especially to my Dad ... love you Dad!

 Ice cream with the Sisters after doing some service

 Elder Martin (old missionary) visiting our ward

 David Archuleta & Jeremy Guthrie

Right before I threw a slug at Elder Kern :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A week full of awesomeness!

Hi everyone!

So this past week was just full of awesome things!

On Friday, we had our departing temple trip with President and Sister Ballard. All of the missionaries that are going home this transfer get to go to the temple and go through a session with President and Sister Ballard, eat lunch in the temple cafeteria, and then go to the visitor center where President gives us some advice and teaches us some things. It was such an incredible experience. It was cool to be able to see all the missionaries you were in the MTC with and see how far everyone has come two years later. I was able to sit in the temple and really reflect on my mission and ask the Lord if He would accept my efforts. It was quite a memorable experience and it was awesome receiving advice and instruction from President Ballard, He has taught me so much and I'm so grateful to have had him as my mission president.
On Saturday, we went on a blitz with our Zone.  That's where multiple missionaries get together and go to one area to find new people to teach. I was with two other missionaries in my area and before we started we prayed that we would find two new investigators in the hour of time we had. The first two doors we knock on we find two new people that were both interested in learning more! It was so awesome! Another testimony to me that specific prayers get specific results.

Okay now another crazy thing that happened. So we are at church on Sunday and we are sitting in Elders Quorum during third hour. Right as the lesson is starting the door opens and in walks Jeremy Guthrie (the MLB player in our ward I talked about last week) and right behind him is David Archuleta. Yeah like THE David Archuleta. Apparently Jeremy and David are super good friends and David was in town for a concert. There was also a fireside going on later that evening with David Archuleta so I guess he decided to come to church as well. But we had to play it cool and act normal so it wouldn't be weird for him right? So everyone is playing cool, until my companion tries to secretly take a picture of him during the lesson. We were sitting in a circle and David was sitting across from us. David sees what my companion is doing and he puts a piece of paper in front of his face so my companion couldn't take a picture haha. I leaned over to Elder Kern and said, "I dont think he likes that, put your iPad down." And when he dropped his iPad David finally put the paper down hahaha. It was pretty funny...... That evening we went to the fireside and it was awesome. Jeremy Guthrie spoke about his life and how he was able to be a faithful member of the church even while playing pro baseball. He gave a really awesome talk and one of the many things he talked about was when he was on the Kansas City Royals they kept winning playoff series and he didn't know what to do during the celebrations after the games because there was champagne flying everywhere. So he came up with an idea to wear goggles and a snorkel! So every time they won a series he would wear his snorkel and pretend he was swimming through the champagne. His teammates thought it was hilarious haha. Then David sang a few of his songs throughout the fireside and bore his testimony at the end.

Those are my cool things that happened this week! I have definitely been blessed with a lot of awesome experiences on my mission and I am so grateful for all of them. I know that the Lord loves each of us.

Elder Hill
 Service at a member's house ...
Tia - she was baptized about a year ago ...

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Another Week Gone!

Hey everyone! 

This week I had my departing interview with President Ballard!  It is crazy to believe that this was the last interview I will ever have with President. It was awesome; I love President Ballard.  He has taught me so much.

Nothing really too exciting happened this week in our area. This week we were able to do a lot of service. We did service at a middle school for an art festival, at a Catholic Church providing meals for the homeless, and for some members chopping down trees. 

A cool little miracle happened on Wednesday. It was 8:40pm, and we were just about to go back to the apartment for the night, but we still hadn't found a new investigator that day, and we were really praying hard to find one. We decided to go to a park to see if there was anybody we could talk to. We got to the park and there was a few different people there. We went up and talked to the first three people and none of them wanted to talk to us at all. So we tried the last person who was sitting on a bench. It was a Chinese man and he had moved here three months ago and he had just started studying Christianity. We told him that we were Christians and started talking about the Book of Mormon. He was super interested! We got all of his contact info, gave him a BoM, and we are hopefully going to start teaching him! It was a cool miracle!

On Saturday Elder Ardern and Elder Blunck from the Seventy came and spoke to half of our mission (thankfully we were in that half) and it was so good! Elder Ardern is from New Zealand and has a cool accent, and he is such a good teacher. There was one thing he said that really stood out to me. He told all of us to stop taking notes and to look him in the eyes. He said, "listen to me right now. The road to the terrestrial kingdom is paved with complacency."  That hit me because it is so easy to become complacent. It's so easy to think that we're doing good and can take it easy, but God wants us to always be progressing, He wants us to always be working and becoming better. Don't ever be satisfied with where you are at.

On Sunday, we had dinner with the Guthrie family.  The dad, Jeremy Guthrie, played professional baseball! He played on the Kansas City Royals and he pitched in the World Series in 2014 and 2015. He showed me his World Series ring and let me take a picture with it! So sick!
Hope you all have a great week!! Love and miss you guys!

Elder Hill

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Service, Companions & Nike!

Hey everyone!

The first week of this transfer was pretty solid! Here is some more information about my companion and area since I didn't say much last time. Elder Kern is from Saratoga Springs, Utah. He has been on his mission for about a year now and he likes to sing and play the piano. This is his third transfer in this area...

The Skyline area is different than all of my other areas. It is basically just a bunch of neighborhoods of super nice houses on a hill. There are no parks or businesses just all residential area so we do a lot of walking around the neighborhoods talking to people and trying to contact different members and less-active people. It's a different experience, but it's fun!

Elder Kern said that the area has been slow for a couple months and they haven't been able to find much. So we thought about different things that we could do to find people to teach and I told him one thing that worked well in my last areas was praying specifically to find one new investigator every single day. He said let's give it a try and we were able to find a new investigator for four days straight! It was sweet! So we have been really trying to involve the Lord in our finding. One of the people we found was when we were out looking for an inactive member.  We knocked on the door and his non-member father opened it. He said that his son had moved. We ended up having a solid conversation with him and he started opening up to us. He was saying how he had never read the BoM and that missionaries had come by looking for his son a lot, but had never given him a BoM. We taught him about it and committed him to read it. He said he would and we set a return appointment. It was a cool miracle from having specific prayers!

We also did a lot of service this past week! We were able to do some landscaping for a member, and then we did some tile demolition for another member. It was a super good workout! We were also able to do service at the Faith Cafe which is an organization put on by a couple churches that provides meals for homeless or struggling families. The people will come into a church and we will serve them beverages and a meal. It was a lot of fun. We were able to be the servers and just talk to the people.

Hope you all have a great memorial weekend! I'm grateful for this country we live in and for all the people who have sacrificed for our freedom!

Elder Hill
 Dinner with the AP's at Lynn's house ...
 Tyler with Jacob (he baptized him a few months ago)
 Lunch with Jasmine ...
Tile demolition for a member ...

The following pictures are from a tour of the Nike World Headquarters last week with the Sisters

Monday, May 22, 2017

My Last Transfer!!


So transfer news came and I am getting transferred! I am going to be in the Skyline Ward in the Cedar Mill Stake with Elder Kern, for my final transfer. I am sad to be leaving the Canyon Road Ward; it was one of my favorite areas and so many cool miracles happened there! But I am excited to be going to the Skyline Ward.  It's up on the hill at the north end of our mission and it's a really wealthy area. I covered the area when I was in the Tanasbourne YSA Ward so it'll be cool to go back! After 8 transfers of being a Zone Leader I am dropping to be a normal missionary which is super exciting because now all I have to worry about is just working hard these last five weeks in my own area!

This past week was packed with lots of activities. For my birthday on Tuesday, we went to breakfast with the APs and then to lunch with some of the other ZLs! Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes! I really appreciate it!  I had an awesome day!! It was awesome also for the fact that we had like 5 lessons and we set a baptismal date for our investigators, Kaitlyn and Cameron, for July 1st! So that was a good birthday present! They are both excited to work towards that date to be baptized. We had a ton of lessons on Tuesday and Wednesday just running from appointment to appointment! It was the best!

Then Thursday things slowed down.  We did some service at Portland Community College and we helped out in a garden on campus. The lady there was teaching us all about gardening and what to do so that was kinda fun.

On Friday we went to the temple with Handfull! She loved it and we had a great lesson. Handfull is so solid!  She told us how her family asks her questions about why she was baptized and then she said that she bears her testimony to them about the Church and the Book of Mormon. She said that her family wants to learn more! Missionary work is the best! I'm sad that I won't be able to continue teaching her and Alex, but it was definitely one of my favorite experiences on my mission getting to know them.
This morning we went on a tour of the Nike world headquarters campus in Beaverton. It was so sweet. And then we got passes to get into the employee store!

Thanks again for all the birthday wishes and gifts!

Love and miss you all!
Elder Hill
One last selfie with Elder Brian ...

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Happy Mother's Day!

Hi everyone!

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there! And a special happy Mother's Day to my mom! She's always been there supporting me through everything ... love you Mom! And we were able to skype home for Mother's Day so that was exciting!
This week wasn't super eventful. We didn't have another baptism this week so the baptizing streak is over, but we're working on it!  We had a lesson with our new investigator, Joey, at the Portland Temple Visitor Center on Wednesday! It was sweet, he really enjoyed it. He is a dating a less-active girl in the Ward and he wants to learn more. They both came to church and he wants to keep meeting and reading the Book of Mormon!

Most of the week we spent contacting people and trying to find more people to teach. We have a few people that we are working with and wanting to help progress!  Other than that nothing too crazy going on. This week is transfers so I will find out where I am going for the last transfer of my mission.  It's crazy how fast the time has gone!

Here is a spiritual thought for the week:

In Alma 7:11-12 it is talking about Jesus Christ and what He will go through for us. It is one of my favorite scriptures because it's saying that because Christ suffered everything we will ever suffer, He is the one person that can help us overcome any trial, challenge, or pain in our lives.

"11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."

This week I learned that succor comes from a Latin word which means "run to the help of". So in verse 12 it says that Jesus Christ is literally running to our aid. He is there and has an urgent need and desire to comfort us. What an amazing gift that it is! We have the divine Son of God running to our aid, all we have to do is turn toward Him and ask for help. 

Hope you all have a great week! Love and miss you all!

Elder Hill