Elder Tyler Hill has been called as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve in the Oregon Portland Mission. He will serve the people of Oregon from July 2015 to July 2017. He is very excited to have the opportunity to: "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end." (Preach My Gospel)
It was P-Day and all the missionaries in our Zone got together at one of the Stake Centers (church buildings) and we played basketball, emailed, and just kinda hung out for most of the day. All of the missionaries in our Zone are awesome. Later that evening after our dinner appointment, we met with Annette! She is doing awesome! We're so close in getting her to a baptismal date. She has been really progressing and says she knows that it is true and that she has had many of her prayers answered! When we teach and study with her she always talks about the Spirit and how good it feels. Our goal is to get her baptismal date soon.
Today we had four teaching appointments. The first was with a Sister who is in a care center. She is very kind but doesn't come to church anymore so hopefully we inspired her to come. Then we met with our recent convert Gayle; the lady who overcame smoking! She is doing well. She is pretty sick so we had a short lesson, but her faith is so strong. We then met with the Pabsts again. They are super nice and they know everyone in the ward, but they don't come to church! So we are trying to help them find the desire to get back into the swing of things. Our last appointment was with Brother Chiniquy and he is really coming around and getting involved with the Ward again. He is getting a calling (church responsibility) soon! Hopefully Sister Chiniquy will do the same. The Chiniquy family is so awesome, they would be such a blessing to have in the ward! We received a call from some Elders in Forest Grove and they said that they met with an investigator a couple times and then she moved to our area in Moreland. So we have a new investigator! Her name is Carissa. She is in her 20's and she is awesome. She decorates cakes and does photography and she has such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon.
We met with Brother Fergason again and we had a really good lesson with him. He is very slowly progressing and we asked Bishop to give him a calling so hopefully he will have one very soon! There was a funeral at the church and so we attended that and help set it up and everything and we didn't know the lady that passed away, but the service was nice and the food was really good. We were able to meet with Rowan, the girl whose dad is an awesome guy and is helping her along to get baptized. She is still progressing and we pray every day that her mom will allow her to be baptized. Later that day we received a referral from church headquarters and it gave us an address and the name Juanita. So we went to that address and it turns out it was an address to a Vape and Smoke Shop! We went inside any way and asked for Juanita and the worker had no idea what we were saying so we left him a card haha; it was an interesting experience. In the evening we went and saw Caroline Scott who is a shut-in at one of the care centers. She is super nice and she taught us a lesson from Alma 36 in the Book of Mormon (solid scripture go read it) and it was awesome.
It was quite the day. We had an appointment to meet with an investigator at the park and they never showed up so we just talked to people at the park. After about 20 minutes, the back tire on my bike went flat so we took it to a bike shop a few blocks away and they fixed it. We then went back to the park and talked to some more people and we met a guy named Larry. He was actually homeless and had gotten out of prison and was just living in Portland, but he was so intelligent! He had a very strong knowledge and belief in the Bible and he would recite scriptures to us. He had a very strong faith in Christ and God. He told us that he was converted when he was in prison and studied the bible for nine years in there. He took a Book of Mormon and said he would read it and he would meet us at the park next week so hopefully he will remember! After we talked to him we went to go visit old referrals from other people. When we were doing this the same tire on my bike went flat again! What the heck!? The inner tube on the inside of the tire got stuck and so the wheel wouldn't even turn anymore so we had to carry the bike a mile back to the bike shop. They fixed it for free and said that it shouldn't have anymore problems (Remember this). We went and finished contacting referrals and we ran into a lot of cool and interesting people. Later that night we had Book of Mormon class and a Ward Missionary Meeting.
Today we had our first District Meeting. I met Elder Rodriquez and he played baseball in high school so he and I talked about baseball a lot. Our Zone and District are the best! We met with Bro. Fergason again and he had some struggles since the last time we met and we showed him the Mormon Message, "Mountains to Climb". I invite everyone to go and watch it. It's one of the best videos I've seen; definitely my favorite. After the lesson, we received a call from an old investigator, Loretta, that hadn't met with the missionaries for months and she called us and said she was struggling and needed advice. So we booked it over there and she was having family problems and we talked with her and she really appreciated it and said she would come to church. Spoiler alert: SHE CAME TO CHURCH!!! So hopefully we can continue teaching her. After the lesson with her we had a lesson with Carissa! We were super excited because we were going to commit her to a baptismal date, but on the way there... Yep you guessed it.... My bike tire went flat AGAIN! The same one!! It was so frustrating. We had a member pick us up in a truck and we had him drop us off with our bikes at Carissa's house. We met with her and we had a good lesson and we have a soft baptismal date for the end of August!!! Super exciting!! But after the lesson we had more transportation problems. We went to the bus stop and we had to take three buses to get to our apartment, but the second bus stopped running at 9:30 so we were stranded at the bus stop. We called our Zone leaders and thankfully they had a bike rack so they came and picked us up 30 minutes later and dropped us off back at our apartment. It was quite the adventure.
Today was the ward picnic! It was sunny and warm all week and then the one day we have the ward picnic it pours rain. The picnic was moved to the church building and tons of people showed up! Like more than we have at church haha so that was a fun time. After that, Elder Parker had to go to a baptism in Oregon City so he went with an old companion of his to that while me and the other missionary's companion stayed in my area. It was fun to have a different companion for a few hours, and we just went and contacted and actually were able to meet someone and set up a return appointment with them! While Elder Parker had the car, they went and picked up a missionaries bike that is currently using a car. Hallelujah!
That evening we met with Annette. We had a little bit of an off lesson with her. She didn't seem focused at all and she told us about all her family problems she has been having and how they are telling her to not read the Book of Mormon. We read some scriptures with her and talked a little more but hopefully she can keep progressing. We had dinner with the LaPlants. Linda is a member but her husband David is not (he's the one that told me I'm brown). He just likes to debate back and forth on stuff and it's hard to get him to talk about the lesson, but we're working on it.
We had two investigators and two less actives at church! Bro Chiniquy was called as Young Men's President (someone in charge of the 12-17 year old boys in a ward)! Nothing too exciting happened. We had dinner with the Yeates family and they have five kids all 12 and under so that was fun having dinner with them.
Love you all,
Tyler's Highlights and Hints for the Week:
*Watch the videos, "Mountains to Climb" and "None Were With Him" on lds.org. Both of those are super powerful and awesome.
*When we're riding down the street on our bikes we always have people yelling different things at us. Can I suggest that if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all!
*We have dinner appointments every day this week!! Last week we only had two so we are super excited and grateful!
So it has been one busy week. The Elders before us had scheduled so many appointments and activities and they had a car so it was quick and easy for them to get around, but since we are on bikes it's so hard to get around and be on time to everything. I have legit lost five pounds since being here and my legs have never been so sore! We bike at least 10 miles each day and we have to bike straight up hills some of the time so I have definitely been getting a lot of exercise. The biggest downside to bikes is that it is so hot and humid here and when we get to our appointments we are out of breathe and sweating like crazy, but most people are nice and get us water. Whoever said that it always rains in Portland is crazy because there hasn't even been an overcast day! Being on a bike is really interesting because we talk to a lot of people on the streets and we have talked to a lot of homeless people and they say some pretty interesting things.
Here is a run down of our typical day:
We wake up at 6:30 and we prepare and exercise and eat breakfast. Then at 8 we have personal study and at 9 we have companion study. Then from 10am until 9pm we are either teaching investigators, or visiting less actives, tracting (knocking doors), or contacting on the streets or the park, or have different meetings. Then we go home and we eat (if we didn't have a dinner appointment) and plan for the next day.
So Tuesday was supposed to be our P-day, but the Elders before us had scheduled three appointments so we didn't really get to do anything. At our first appointment, we met with a guy named James Fergason. He is less active and struggling in life and is really looking for happiness. He has started to come to church every single week and started reading. He is awesome. We just want him to find that faith that God can help him. We also met with Gayle who is a recent convert. We didn't meet with her for long, we just stopped by to say hi. She is super sick so she can't really move, but she still likes us to come over and teach her. She used to smoke three packs a day and she quit and was baptized in May. We meet with her on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We then met with a less active family, the Pabsts. They are way cool and its just Sister Pabst and her son Daniel. They are friendly and love the missionaries, we are going over there for dinner on Tuesday. That evening we went tracting and we met a lot of nice people and had some interesting conversations, but no one let us in to teach. The last house we tracted was a family with two little kids and they told us to come back so we are excited about that. It was our first day biking and I have never been so sore, but it was nice to get a lot done and visit a lot of people.
We had a new missionary training meeting. All the new missionaries met at the Stake Center and President Ballard went over some different things, and we basically learned how to use our iPads and the different things we can do with them. iPads are probably one of the best things ever for a missionary to have, it has everything!
When we got back to our area, we met with Brother Chiniquy who was just reactivated as a member and he is super nice. He has a wife and two kids and he brings the kids to church, but the wife doesn't come. He wants to get engaged with the church and have a calling. He is a young guy and way awesome. We then met with one of our investigators, Rowan. Her parents are divorced and her dad is a convert. Her dad, Brother Roberts, is amazing. He is such a good dad to her and wants the gospel in her life, but the mom won't let her get baptized until January which stinks. We then met with a lady in the ward Sister Kerezman. Her son is less active and she wants help with him. For dinner we went to Olive Garden with a member in the Stake that goes by Brian da Hawaiian haha. He took 14 missionaries to Olive Garden! He is such a cool guy and he is paralyzed in his legs and left arm and he is one of the most giving people.
On Thursday I had my "oh crap I'm a missionary" moment and it finally hit me. We went to lunch with a member in our Ward, Brother Christiansen. He is about 92 years old, but he is hilarious! Anyways, he took us to Costco to get hot dogs, pizza, and milkshakes. He dropped us off while he went to go park the car. I was standing in line and my companion went to go save a table. Let me tell you this place is PACKED! The line was huge and I was just standing there and a lady toward the front of the line calls back, "Hey Elder! Hey Elder! what are you getting I'll buy!" I'm just standing there like who is this lady yelling at, then I realize oh crap she's talking to me! I said we were with a member that was buying, but thank you so much for the offer. It was funny because I'm so used to looking at the missionaries on their bikes or in a food place and thinking hey look the missionaries, but now people do that to me haha. Lunch was awesome and Brother Christiansen taught us Pig Latin and we talked about the Trail Blazers. We went home and planned for like 3 hours for the next week, and it's hard to plan since we white washed and have no idea who anyone is. We had dinner with Sister Gillette and she is an awesome cook. Real nice lady. We then went to a ward Book of Mormon class and that was cool.
By far the best day I have had. President Ballard, our Mission President is Elder M. Russell Ballard's son so we had the privilege of Elder Ballard coming to visit his son on vacation. He came and spoke to all of the missionaries in our mission! We all gathered at a Stake building in Lake Oswego and everyone had the chance to shake his hand! My first handshake with an apostle! Sister Ballard took a pic of it! He gave a great talk and then opened it up for discussion where we could just ask questions that we had about the mission and he would answer them. It was pretty cool. I also saw sister Megan Downing! She is a close friend from college and she also lives in Gilbert, Arizona! It's weird that we live 20 minutes from each other in AZ, we both went to BYU Idaho and we both are serving in Portland! So great to see her again! After the conference we went back home and Gayle scheduled us to meet with her again so we actually went and taught her this time! It was a good lesson. Right when she was talking, she stops and says "is my face drooping?!" Then she started to make some weird faces haha it was kinda funny. We then had another lesson with Brother Fergason and we really got to know him better and it was sad to hear some of the stuff from his childhood. After Brother Fergason, we had an appointment with Annette Johnson. She is my favorite. She is an investigator and she is this really nice black lady. Her family is half Muslim and half Christian Science. The Elders before us met her and were teaching her the restoration. We picked up where they left off and we taught her about prayer. The coolest thing happened ...we read Joseph Smith History and I bore testimony on prayer and how it has blessed me and she started crying. We kept discussing for a little bit and we talked about families and she started to cry again. She was really feeling the Spirit I believe and she is really progressing. Hopefully she has a baptismal date soon. After the lesson when we were riding away Elder Parker said "dude are you sure you're new? You made her cry twice!" That lesson was definitely some encouragement. After that we went to the care center to visit a member and we gave her a blessing which was nice. After all this we never had time to eat so we were about to die biking home.
A side note to everyone ...invite the missionaries over for dinner! If you don't they might starve themselves. We really appreciate it when we have dinner appointments.
Met with Rowan again. We played Monopoly with her and her dad and taught a lesson. It was fun. Elder Parker got a flat tire on the way to lunch and we had to walk our bikes to a bus stop and then we took a bus and had a member pick us up. It was an adventure. We then had lunch with a member at the park and met a Mormon who converted to Buddhism and then back to Mormon so it was interesting talking to him. That night we met with an investigator named David who's wife is a member. He's super funny, but has been taking the lessons for 10 years and is just kinda stuck. He asked where we were from and I said AZ, he said to me, you're new aren't you?, I said why do you ask. He said, "cause you're brown like the Arizona people and everyone here is white!!" Haha but we hope to get him progressing.
First sabbath! We had a lot of meetings and had a lot of less actives come to church which was awesome. Our ward is small, we have about 80 active members. There about seven kids in primary, no Elders Quorum, about five young men, and two young women. My companion and I said the opening and closing prayer in sacrament. That evening we had dinner with the Schuman-Curtis family and we had vegan burgers and Skittle cake (cake literally made with skittles in it). One of the sons likes to make really interesting food. It was quite the meal. After that we tracted for a while and went home.
Have a good week everyone!
Tyler's Highlights and Hints for the week:
*Thank you so much to those of you that sent packages this week! Packages, letters, and emails make my week and days so much better!! So even if you just shoot me a short email, I really appreciate it!
*I will never take a car for granted again
*I've lost five pounds this week from biking
* Say" hi" to the missionaries, they will appreciate it
*Don't eat Skittle cake
*Elder Parker is from New Hampshire. He likes hockey and he likes the outdoors. He has 11 brothers and sisters. We get along pretty well for the most part.
*I can look at emails throughout the week on my iPad, but I can't send anything until P-day so if you send an email I will most likely read it that day at some point.
Jake the juggling guy from BYU-Idaho
District at the MTC
District again ...
Elder Smith - good friend from BYU-I
Tyler's apartment is on the right under the stairs
Bridge in the area where he is serving
Sister Downing from Gilbert, AZ!
Elder M. Russell Ballard speaking to the missionaries
Well I made it to Portland! It's actually pretty hot here, but not too bad. So my last week in the MTC was great! I learned so much in that 12 day span and it was awesome. We were able to see the broadcast of President Packer's funeral so that was cool. We had some awesome devotionals and there were some very spiritual moments. Elder Pugmire and I were teaching our investigator and we didn't know what to teach. Our teacher told us to pray individually and then study by ourselves and separate. So we did and after about 15 minutes of trying to find something to teach, I had a good feeling about teaching Joseph Smith History. I turned to Elder Pugmire and was about to say something when I noticed he was reading the same exact thing! So cool! There were some other awesome moments, but I don't have a lot time right now to email. I'm sorry for those I didn't get to email! I will next week I promise!
Yesterday was the longest day of my life. Woke up at 2:30am and then took a bus, a train, and a plane and made it to Portland at 10am. We went to the temple and took pictures and then went to the stake center to get all of our information. We got our iPads which are super sweet and we get to keep them when we go home. Having an iPad to keep track of everything is so convenient and awesome. My companion is Elder Parker. He is nice and friendly and we get along pretty well. He loves to talk to EVERYONE so we have already met a lot of interesting people. We were assigned to the Moreland area. It's pretty ghetto. Our apartment is pretty ghetto too. One of the older Elders asked where we were going and we said Moreland and all he said was "don't get shot." Apparently there was a shooting here a week ago or something. But never the less, we will go out and spread the word. We don't have a car so we either have to bike or walk everywhere which isn't too fun, but it's okay.
Our area was white-washed so we basically don't know anyone. We have three appointments today and we met with the bishop last night. We also tracted for a little bit yesterday and no one really wanted anything to do with us. My bike broke today so that was rough, but we must press on!
Anyways, love and miss you all. If I didn't email you back I will soon! We only had like 20 minutes today to email. Pictures will come next week hopefully.
It was a fantastic week here at the MTC! Especially on Saturday, we had a big 4th of July devotional and then we all went outside into the parking lot and watched the fireworks that came from the BYU Stadium. People had glow sticks and everyone was taking pictures and having a blast. It was so awesome. I saw so many friends from school! I have seen Elder Tanner Holmes (roommate and one of my best friends from college) every single day! I have seen three other sisters from home and school and two other elders. It's so exciting to see these people and to know that we are all working and doing the same thing.
So I have learned more in the past six days than I have in the past six years! So this is basically how my day goes:
So we wake up at 6:30 and go to breakfast at 7. We are in class from 7:30 to 11:30. We just learn from Preach My Gospel and the scriptures. We do different activities and we practice teaching one another. We go see demonstrations and do online assessments and different activities to help us learn. Then we go to lunch at 11:30. The food is okay, sometimes it's pretty good and other times it's gross. You can eat as much as you want which is nice. Then we have class from 12:15 to 4:30. We go back to class and learn and study some more. There is this thing called TRC where they have recent converts come and you have to teach them and they pretend like they haven't been baptized yet and they portray themselves as the people they were before. It's pretty exciting and exhilarating teaching someone and when you see them understand it's so awesome. We committed our investigator, Lisa to pray each night and she said she would. Tomorrow we will teach her the restoration and about the Book of Mormon. I have already learned so much in the last six days, probably more than the last six years. We have dinner at 4:30 and then from 5:15 to 8:15 we have personal study, companion study and district study. You will also have interviews and other meetings during this time. We have gym for an hour and then we hangout and go to bed at 10:30. My district is pretty cool. Elder Pugmire (Pugsy we call him) is super cool and we get along well. The other guys in my district are all friendly and nice and there are two sisters in our district, both going to Detroit. All of the people in our zone are cool and get along really well. There are six elders in our zone going Portland and everyone else is going to different places in the USA. I have become great friends with some of the elders in our zone. Our floor in the residence hall (our zone) is so friendly and we all get along so well. There are four floors in our residence building and ours is by far the loudest. There is a little loft area where everyone goes and hangs out and there are like thirty of us elders in our zone that will all hangout and talk and laugh. We are also really close with our sisters and we all get along so well.
The Spirit here is so strong, and it is crazy how much you need to rely on the Spirit and on Heavenly Father to help you learn and to teach!! I am so glad that I have this opportunity to serve and I am so grateful to be going to Portland!! I leave for Portland on Monday!! I will only be here for 12 days! Crazy!! I am so excited to get into the field and to go serve and teach the people of Oregon. I have so much to improve on, but I know that it will come!! Being a ZL is such a blessing because I have the opportunity to attend all the meetings with the Branch President and to teach and help the new missionaries. So I am very excited about that.
I LOVE receiving packages, letters, and Dear Elders... they make my day. Thankfully, I have awesome family and friends who send me a lot of mail and when the mail comes everyone says, "Let me guess ... for Elder Hill" hahaha so keep them coming please!!! I love it!! Thank you to everyone who has sent me something, it means a lot!! Love and miss you all!
Hey guys so it's day three here in the mtc and they are giving us a little time to write our families and write to our branch president here at the mtc. We met him last night and he is very spiritual and awesome. He read a scripture in Helaman 3:35 or 37 i cant remember but it talked about how we need to yield our hearts to God. So i have been praying that i will focus all my attention to the Lord and the gospel. We received our callings last night and gues what!! I am a Zone Leader!! I am so grateful and excited to be able to have a leadership position where i can be an example to other missionaries. I have to teach priesthood meeting and conduct sacrament meeting next week so that should be fun. Then on wednesday my companion, Elder Pugmire (the other zone leader), and I have to meet with a bunch of new missionaries and show them and teach them what to do. Which is funny because i hardly know what i am doing hahaha. But i am grateful none the less. Elder Pugmire is awesome. He is super nice and friendly and he likes cars haha. We get along very well, he forgot to packa toothbrush so he used his finger the first night hahahaha. All of the elders and sisters in my district are awesome. Elder Smith and Elder Mortensen are with us in our residence room and they are hilarious. The sisters are awesome, sister jones is one of the funniest people i have met. Our teachers sister killpack and sister boyce are super cool and sister killpack is literally the happiest person ever. She is never not smiling haha. My ditrict has this thing where we just burst out into song while we are studying or walking. Everyone is awesome and getting along. It is so exciting to get up and teach and learn everyday! I have learned so much in the past three days and i am excited to learn more!! My P day is on tuesday so i will email again then and i will have more time to email. I will also send a bunch of pictures! Love you guys.