Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Miracles continue to happen!

Hello everyone!! 

The weeks are just cruising by it's so crazy!...  This week we had about 4 days in a row of classic rainy Oregon weather.  I guess the rainy season is almost upon us:(  

This week was pretty good and I received the best news ever Saturday!! It comes from a pretty awesome story that maybe you remember me talking about 4 months ago, but I will tell it again cause there is more to it now....

So back in my last area out in Mount Hood, it was about my third week in the area (mid-April) and Elder Wheeler and I had dinner and shared a message with the Graves Family. They are an older couple in the Ward. We asked them at the end of the lesson, "who do you know who feels like God has abandoned them?" And they said they didn't know anyone at the moment, but just as we were about to head out the door Sister Graves says, "wait someone just popped into my mind, there is an older lady named Margaret Walton that I visit teach and she hasn't been to church in a really long time. Go see her, she could use a boost in faith."

So we go see Margaret the next day and it was a good lesson but nothing really came out of it, and she wasn't interested in coming to church. A couple days later we are by Margaret's house again and we feel prompted to stop by. So we drop in to say hi and we end up meeting her non-member daughter, Trina! We have a great conversation with her and she said she was interested in learning more and we setup a return appointment to come back to teach her! So we are all pumped and excited cause we thought that this must be the reason we were supposed to stop by!  We go back a couple days later and she say,s "guys I'm actually not that interested."... We were super bummed, but we told her that if she ever needed help with any service or anything then she could call us. She said she might need help in a week with something.

So a week later Trina calls us and she says that she needs help doing service at one of her friends homes in Damascus. We said "absolutely!"  We go over to her friends, Craig and Barbara, and we did yard-work with Trina at their house. We were able to have small gospel conversations with Craig and Barbara here and there but they weren't too interested.

Well this service at Craig and Barbara's house became a weekly thing. Each week for about 7 weeks Elder Kirk (my new comp at the time) and I would cut down blackberry bushes for them and each week we started sharing more and more with Craig and Barbara until they both had their own Books of Mormon and said that they wanted to come to church! It was so awesome!! So we call the Damascus Sister Missionaries that covered the area and they started trying to teach them.

Well I then got transferred a week later to my current area and never really heard anything about them until this past Saturday (4 months since I last saw them).  I got a call from the Damascus Sister Missionaries saying that Barbara is getting baptized this coming Friday and she wants me to baptize her!!!!! WHAT!? I almost cried I was so happy hearing all this. I couldn't believe it!! I immediately went into the other room and dropped on my knees and started thanking Heavenly Father for this incredible miracle, and allowing me to be an instrument in His hands to help find Barbara.

It's so insane to think that it all started with our little dinner message in April with the Graves' and how Sister Graves was prompted at the last second to tell us to visit an inactive lady, which eventually led to Barbara being baptized this Friday.  Every single prompting that was received to go see different people was so we would be lead to Barbara. I know without a doubt that God knows His children..... every single one. He knows where they are and how to find them. He knows each one of us individually and has a specific plan designed for each of us. I know He lives and is our loving Father. Miracles continue to happen!

Elder Craft had an interview with President Ballard at the mission home and I was telling Sister Ballard that story and she thought it was so cool haha. It was kind of funny just chilling with Sister Ballard during Elder Crafts interview. Sister Ballard had to leave though and I asked her if she needed me to do any dishes or anything and she said yeah that would be great. So I did the Ballard's dishes haha and I took a selfie.
Everything else is going great! We are just trying to find people to teach! Our investigators are doing really good! Trying to get 'em baptized!
Have a great week! Love and miss you all!!

Elder Hill

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hello everyone!

It was a pretty good first week of the transfer! Lots of cool things have been happening. We have been working with one of our investigators, Zach, and he has changed his life so much. He had been in jail a couple of different times, he used to drink a ton and party a lot, and now he has quit all of that. He is working on quitting smoking now. He has been reading a chapter of the Book of Mormon every day and he hasn't missed a single week of church the past two months! It's incredible to see him change and to see how his countenance is totally different. He has more light in his eyes and he is so much happier now. He wants to be baptized but has to wait a while for certain reasons, but he is doing awesome. He said the opening prayer in one of our lessons and he said, "I want you to know God that I know the Book of Mormon is true and that this your true church on the earth. And that Joseph Smith is your prophet and so is Thomas S. Monson. I believe it is all true.".. It was so awesome!... 

On Sunday, we had a new member fireside at the temple visitors center. There were a few recent converts who spoke and the missionaries brought their investigators and other people. The Zone Leaders are in charge of putting the meeting together so we got to set it all up and I had to conduct which was kinda fun. The meeting was really cool! Being able to hear the recent converts testimonies and conversion stories was awesome. Zach came with us and after the meeting we walked around the temple, and he loved it! He wants to do his family history work now and have his ancestors baptized.
Zach & Tyler at the Portand Oregon Temple
Interesting story: On Wednesday we were out tracting and the second door we knock on this guy opens it. He says, "hey gentlemen would you like to come in or should we talk out here?" Elder Craft and I look at each other and we were just like yeah we would love to come in! So we go in, sit down, and this guy is just super nice and everything. We thought he was a member cause this never happens haha! So I was looking everywhere for a sign a that this guy was a member but there was none, and then I saw an entire bookshelf of religious books and different bible books and stuff. I was just thinking 'oh no'. The only people who let us in and have this many religious books are bible bashers (people who try to prove us wrong by quoting the bible and just arguing). So we are chatting with him and he is playing dumb a little bit.  He asks if we are Mormons and if we are on our mission and all this stuff and then he starts pointing out different points of doctrine that we believe that he thinks aren't right. So of course he starts quoting scriptures from the bible and talking about how we aren't true Christians, and he just starts getting worse and worse. He eventually said, "I'm just going to be blunt, you two are both liars. You are brainwashed into believing all these ridiculous lies. Joseph Smith was a lunatic and a liar. So I suggest you stop going around lying to everyone you see.... If you actually want to go to heaven then you are going to have to break away from this blasphemy religion you are brainwashed into following."... Ouch.. Elder Craft and I held our own pretty good. We basically proved all of his theories about Mormons wrong by quoting the bible, and I just said, "look, have you ever read the Book of Mormon? Do you even know what it is about?.... Exactly! You can't claim it is a lie when you know nothing about it. And, do you honestly think that I would leave my family, friends, and entire life behind for two whole years to come tell a lie? Or because I am brainwashed?... I can promise you that I am not brainwashed. I have diligently studied and prayed to know if this true. I know the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God by the power of the Holy Ghost and you can come to know the same thing if you simply open up your heart."...... It was pretty intense. We told him we had to leave, but we left on a good note talking about Christ.... Gotta love bible bashers. It always strengthens my testimony though! If you receive a confirmation from the spirit that something is true then there is nothing that can prove that wrong. 

Hope you have a great week!! 

Love and miss you all! 
Elder Hill
Tyler & Elder Peterson (left MTC on the same day!)
 Zone Conference & MSL
 Laser tag ...
P-day at Wunderland Amusement Park

Monday, September 12, 2016

It's all a trial of our faith ...

Hi everyone!

So this past week was the last week of the transfer and I am staying in the area!!! Elder Craft and I are staying together here in the YSA Ward! I'm so pumped to be here for another six weeks, I love this Ward!!
Tyler & Elder Craft with their different Districts
This week was a little slower - lots of meetings and stuff so nothing too exciting happened this week. On P-day last Monday, we went with some other Elders and Sisters and we hiked up to Pittock Mansion which is like a really old mansion in Portland. There was a really sweet view! 

Earlier in the week I received a package in the mail from some random guy named John Pennington (never heard of or met him before) and it was a pack of CDs and there was a note that said, "Dear Missionary, I hope these will help you with your teaching. Good luck." So we listened to them and they are basically just him talking about deep doctrine haha it was interesting. 

President Ballard's birthday was on Friday so Sister Ballard called us and wanted our Zone to come surprise him! So we got everyone together and we all went to President's house and sang to him and had cake. It was super fun! The Ballard's are the best. 
Yeah, nothing too crazy happened this week but we are working with a lot of investigators and having a lot of good lessons! Our investigators and members are the best! I have made so many good friends here in this Ward! 

This week I was reading the story of Job and it is one of my favorite stories! It's crazy to think about everything Job went through.  He lost his children, livestock, house, wealth, he was smitten with a terrible disease, and none of his friends wanted anything to do with him. And even after all this his faith in God never wavered. But even after He prayed to God asking for help, God didn't answer him as part of his test for Job. So after everything Job had gone through, God even stopped answering his prayers and the heavens were closed to him. And then Job says in Chapter 13:15, "though he slay me, yet will I trust in him"... Are you kidding me!? Even after God stopped talking to him, and he lost literally everything, Job still trusted God. Talk about faith. I know that if we can all have faith like Job did, then Heavenly Father will bless us 10 fold just like he did Job. It's all a trial of our faith. 

Have a good week! 

Elder Hill

 Tyler, Elder Craft & the Sisters raiding the church kitchen!
 Tyler & Elder Craft in their apartment ...
Tyler with his former companion, Elder Giles and Elder Giles new trainee

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Airplane houses?

Hello everyone!!

Another week gone! I hit my 14 month mark this past week which is super weird. I have less than 10 months now so I'm getting into the single digits, what the heck...... 

The rain came back this week. It rained literally everyday haha. Looks like fall is almost here. 

So first off crazy story.. We got a call from the Elders out in Farmington which is out in the middle of nowhere, and they said that they had a YSA (young single adult) guy that they wanted us to teach. So we meet them at this guys house which was a 45 min drive out in the middle of the forest. The guy wasn't home and so they were like alright we will stop by someone else's place. So we follow them down the road and they pull off onto a tiny trail that lead into the forest. They then say that we have to walk the rest of the way up this hill into the forest where this guy apparently lived. So we start walking up this hill. We start getting closer and we see something through the trees and I was like, "that's a weird looking house." And then we keep getting closer and it turns out it isn't a house, but it is a huge freaking airplane! It is just this commercial airplane sitting in the middle of the forest! And the funny thing is that someone lives there! They had water and sewage pipes going up into the plane and they had steps that lead to the wing and you would walk on the wing to the door. It was crazy! The guy wasn't home that lived there, but we looked inside and all the seats were taken out and he had a nice little setup. It was so weird haha. It was like an episode of Lost or something!  There were airplane parts on the ground everywhere! So strange. 
This week we had some really sweet lessons! We met with this guy named Tyler for the first time and we were teaching him just on his porch and we taught him the Restoration. As we were teaching him, I quoted the First Vision and Tyler says, "dang I got the chills when you said that" and we were just like, "dude that's the Holy Ghost!" So he came to church that week and he is really interested in learning and coming back to church again! 

We had another classic Oregon lesson where we were teaching out in the rain. We met with Ben at the Beaverton transit center and we were teaching him the Plan of Salvation and it just started pouring rain. He said it didn't bother him so we sat on a bench in the rain and taught the Plan of Salvation.  It was a classic Oregon missionary experience haha.

We had another awesome lesson with our investigator Zach who is trying to make a lot of changes in his life and quit smoking. We had an amazing spiritual lesson with him and we asked him what we could do to help him overcome his addiction. He tossed me his lighter and cigarettes and told us to chuck 'em. It's amazing to see how God can help a person change their life so much to allow them to be so much happier. 

Another cool thing that happened was we gave a blessing to a recent convert. Elder Craft did the anointing and I did the blessing and after it was done he was like, "I could literally feel the pain leave my body as you were speaking Elder Hill. That was the craziest thing ever." So that was pretty cool. 

Hope you all have a great week!! Don't be afraid to send me a letter or somethin;) 

Elder Hill
P-day hike to Pittock Mansion in Portland