Monday, June 27, 2016

The YSA Life

Hi everyone!

I don't really know where to begin.... But I LOVE my new area and my new companion!! It is incredible! The Young Single Adult Ward is so fun it's ridiculous. We go to all of the activities and we literally just talk to and teach people that the members bring, and everyone is our age. It's so easy to relate to them and it feels like I'm back at college in Idaho just talking to people my age at FHE, church, and activities. The YSA life is the best! 

Elder Argyle is awesome too. He is from Randolph, Utah and we are very similar! He loves basketball, we get along super well, and he is a hard worker. This transfer will be so sweet. This week we went around visiting a lot of people and just getting me introduced. 

We also saw a few miracles. One of them happened when we were doing weekly planning. We were going through former investigators in our areabook, and I looked at one and felt prompted that we should call him. So we call him and he answers, and he says that he hasn't met with missionaries for two years. He said he was just down in Utah and he told his friend down there, who is a member, that if he gets an opportunity to meet with the missionaries again that he will do it, and then we called a couple days later. It was super cool. We had a great lesson with him and then he came to church!! He said he wants to work towards baptism! This week was also filled with lots of meetings. 

On Friday, we had a meeting all day with all the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders. We had breakfast at Presidents house and then we had a training and talked about the work going on in the mission and how we can move it forward. It was pretty cool! It's fun being a ZL but it's also stressful, Elder Argyle is helping me a lot though! We have to do lots of call-ins with companionships, go to leadership meetings, and other stuff. 

Spiritual Thought ... it's a good one this week!

On my mission I have thought a lot about faith and what the point is in having faith. There is something that I have struggled with in particular and that is... "What is the point of having faith if Gods Will is ultimately what will happen?" I have thought about this quite a bit, not only in missionary work but in my personal life as well..... When someone receives a priesthood blessing they are expecting and have faith that they will be healed, but a lot of the time that doesn't happen, the Will of God is otherwise and they are not healed. So what is the point in having faith? If God is going to do something whether we want it or not then what is the point? As I have contemplated and studied this, I have come to the conclusion that it is not necessarily the faith that Heavenly Father will heal them but that He could heal them is what truly matters. We need to have faith that God can make miracles happen, but it is up to Him whether or not they do. No matter what happens, we need to trust Him that it will be for our benefit, and we need to submit to His will. It is the focused faith in Christ, and the submission to His will that allows us to access the enabling power of the Atonement. We find greater strength, peace, comfort, and guidance as we have faith and trust in God, knowing that no matter what happens Heavenly Father knows best. Because if we don't have that faith, then we won't have access to that power. We won't be able to have that divine strength to carry us through those challenges. And those challenges will eventually cripple us if we don't have that divine strength produced from faith. 

"Many of the lessons we are to learn in mortality can only be received through the things we experience and sometimes suffer. And God expects and trusts us to face temporary mortal adversity with His help so we can learn what we need to learn and ultimately become what we are to become in eternity." -Elder Bednar 

I know as we have faith in Christ and do everything we can to increase that faith, then we can overcome any trials life throws at us :) 

I couldn't be happier than I am right now! Life is fantastic! I'm grateful to be a missionary!! Have a good week!! Love you all!! 

Love, Elder Hill
 Elder Hill found his very first home!
 He also found a sweet pair of sunglasses ... haha!
Elder Hill & Elder Argyle ...

Monday, June 20, 2016

Transfers & Zone Leaders

Well everyone this week there was a lot of big news!! 

First off I am being transferred! After being in Sandy River for three months I am being transferred to the Tanasbourne YSA (young single adult) Ward, and will be serving with Elder Argyle!! This YSA Ward covers 3 Stakes. It covers the Cedar Mill, Beaverton, and Hillsboro Stakes. Cedar Mill is just north of Beaverton.... 

And secondly, President Ballard assigned me to be a Zone Leader. Elder Argyle and I will be the Zone Leaders in the Cedar Mill Zone! There are 9 zones in the Mission and roughly 30 missionaries in each one (w/ 2 Zone Leaders to cover each zone), so there are around 250 missionaries in our Mission. Zone Leaders are responsible for the Zone and the 30ish missionaries that serve there, and are supposed to do exchanges, trainings, go to leadership meetings, and basically just help as much as they can. I'm nervous because it's a lot to handle, but I'm also super excited because I will be able to learn a ton! 

So this week I can't really remember all of what happened, but on Friday the Head of the Missionary Department, Elder Brent Nielson, came and spoke to us all day. It was awesome. He said and taught some really cool things. He said that a lot of the time when the apostles assign missionaries they are inspired to assign them to a mission president, not a mission. I didn't know this! I thought that was pretty interesting because I have been assigned to the Ballards for a reason, and he told us to find out that reason. Another really cool thing he talked about was the enabling power of the Atonement or Grace. For the longest time I didn't really understand what Grace was and now after studying and listening to Elder Nielson, I have a better understanding of what an amazing principle it really is. Grace is the divine means of help or strength given to us through the love of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Grace is the power that allows us to change, to become better. It gives us the strength to endure through the hardest of trials, it enables us to fulfill our potential and become the person God wants us to become. For me I have often found myself trying to overcome a challenge by simply relying on my own strength and willpower, but I have learned how much better life can be and how much happier I am as I rely on the Grace of our Savior. But how can we access this enabling power? The answer is in Mosiah 24:15: "And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."..... If we submit to the will of the Lord, if we endure trials with patience and willingness, understanding that God knows best, then we can access the enabling power or grace of Jesus Christ. Matthew 11:28-30 says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." I know that as we put our trust in the Savior and rely on His Grace, our burdens can be made light. We don't have to endure things on our own through sheer grit. We can yoke ourselves to Christ and bear up our burdens with ease. 

I am grateful to have served in Sandy and I'm excited for this opportunity to serve in Cedar Mill! Hope you all have a great week and thanks for all the emails and support!! 

Love, Elder Hill
 Sister Torrie with Elder Hill
 Doing service with the Sister Missionaries
 Skibowl with the Elders
 Elders with Tristen & Ruth
 Elder Hill & the Stevens' Family
Elder Hill & the Smith Family
Elder Hill & Bro. Shaffer

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

I'm a little bit country ...

Hello everyone! 

Another week gone by, there's only one week left of the transfer. I've already been in Sandy for almost three months! This week was a little slower than last week with the work. The first couple of days we did a lot of service and let's just say that I am definitely living the country boy life. In the past week and a half, I have bucked hay 3 times, chopped or stacked wood 3 different times, planted and weeded corn, and have seen and played with almost any farm animal you can think of haha. It's been awesome but I still like the city better! 

Elder Kirk was really sick for a lot of the week with the flu so we weren't able to go out and do much. I had to stay in the apartment with him and so I was able to do a lot of studying and reflecting. I'm almost at my halfway point and it was interesting to look back and see the growth and development I've had from just one year! I was also able to study my patriarchal blessing more in depth, and it really is true how those blessings are literally scriptures for our own lives and can help us to know what paths to follow. 

On Saturday, we had a pretty memorable experience. We got a text from our Bishop saying that he had received a call from a man and he said that he needed missionaries to come by to talk to. So we get his address and go over there and this man, probably in his 60's, opens the door and was just so happy to see us he was in tears. He said that he saw some missionaries on the street a couple days ago (the Young Single Adult missionaries) and he got our Bishop's number from them. So we go in and start getting to know him and it turns out he is a convert of about three years. He was living in Missouri and his friend convinced him to move out here to Oregon. So he moves out here with his friend and they are living with a bunch of random people in this house, and then his friend abandoned him. He doesn't know where his friend went and now he has been living in this house for 8 months with 4 people who are addicted to meth (but he is clean and sober). He has disabilities so he doesn't have a job. All he has were the clothes he was wearing and a backpack. He doesn't have a bedroom, he sleeps in a recliner in the corner. It was the saddest thing in the world. He is the most humble man I have ever met and all he wanted was someone to help him feel safe. There is only one other person in the house who doesn't do drugs, and he said all the other people are terrifying. We gave him a blessing of comfort and safety and I had the opportunity to give him the blessing. The Spirit was so strong and he started crying through the whole thing which made Elder Kirk and I start crying. We then read Alma 7 with him and talked about the Atonement and how Christ knows everything he is going through. It was a really humbling experience. Any worries or problems that I thought I had were completely gone. It helped me realize how blessed I really am, and it helped magnify my perspective of why I am actually out here... And the cool thing is that he came to church with us yesterday and he loved it!

Thank you for all the emails and support!! I really appreciate it, it makes a difference:) 

Have a great week!! 

Elder Hill 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

11 Months Down!!!

Hi everyone!

We had a pretty good week this week!  We had three of our investigators come to church yesterday so that was sweet. So there is a crazy story with one of our new investigators.  Her name is Denice Brown and she was taking the lessons about a half-year ago and was coming to church frequently. She was just about to get baptized, but her husband was really against it so she stopped coming to church but kept taking the lessons and working towards baptism.  Well, just four days before her baptism her husband had enough and said, "you have to choose between me or the church". We never want to breakup a marriage or family so she was counseled to stay with her husband and she decided to not be baptized.  But the crazy part is that just two days after he said that to her, he was diagnosed with colon cancer.  He was a vibrant, healthy man and then out of nowhere right after he said that he got cancer.  A couple months later (a week ago) he passed away. It was so sudden and devastating, but now she wants to start taking the lessons again and she came to church yesterday.  I just thought that was crazy because God doesn't make any mistakes and everything happens for a reason. It made me think of the scripture Alma 24:27: "thus we see that the Lord worketh in many ways to the salvation of his people." God's purpose is to bring about the eternal life of His children and He will do whatever it takes to do that.  I know that her husband will have an opportunity to accept the gospel in the next life so that they can be together for eternity and the amazing thing is that Denice already understands that. 

We taught and met with a lot of awesome people this week! One of the coolest and humblest people we taught was a less-active man named Paul. He is a Vietnam veteran and was the gunman in a helicopter.  He has done and seen some crazy stuff.  He hasn't forgiven himself for some of the things he had to do and so that's why he doesn't come to church.  He started crying talking about it.   We talked about the Atonement and how it is infinite and covers everything.  He said nobody believed some of the stuff he had to do.  He said that Sylvester Stallone interviewed him for a movie once trying to get as much info as possible about the war for a movie and Stallone couldn't even believe the things he had to do.  But he came to church on Sunday with us. He is an awesome guy! 

This Sunday we got a new bishop and he is amazing! One of the best I have ever seen. Super excited for the ward!! 

This past week, I hit 11 months! Almost halfway there, it is flying by!! 

Thanks for all the love and support! Have a great week! 

Elder Hill 
 Tyler & Sister Torrie
Tyler & Elder Katieli 
 Tyler & Elder Hintz
Tyler & Elder Deer (haha!!)