Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas means Skyping with the family!!!


I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas, cause we did!

It was great to Skype home and talk to the family and it's crazy that I'm gonna be home with them in 6 months!

Thank you to everyone who sent cards or packages. I really appreciate everything that was sent! On Christmas, we opened our gifts in the morning and then had breakfast at the Long family's house. We had church in the early afternoon and our investigator, Tuesday came! She loved it and is going to get baptized in a couple weeks. Then we went back to the Long's house and had dinner with them! They're an awesome family.

Christmas Eve we were with the Nielsens. We ate dinner with them, had a white elephant exchange, and played games!  Nothing else too exciting happened this week...

Christmas Eve with the Nielsen family

I am grateful to be serving at this time. I was definitely wishing I could be home with family and friends, but I know that this where I am supposed to be and this is where the Lord needs me to be at this time. I am thankful for the birth of our Savior and how God gave us the gift of His Son so that we could return back to Him. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that He is a real living, glorified being. I hope you all continue to think about Christ even after this Christmas season!

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Love and miss you all!!

Elder Hill
Ran into a friend from BYUi ...

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Merry Christmas!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!! Dang I can't believe Christmas is almost here!...

So when I came to Portland I was told that it never snows here, only rains a lot. Whoever told me that, I think they lied. This whole week it has been freezing! And it snowed Wednesday, Thursday, and then Saturday! It's so weird because there will be a lot of snow, but then it will just melt a little and then freeze over and everything is ice. We couldn't drive Wednesday or Thursday and it was a good thing because when we drove on Friday, we saw two different cars next to our apartment complex that had rolled and flipped off the road. It was nuts... so we were walking for a couple days just trying to talk to people so it wasn't too bad!

On Tuesday, I went on an exchange with Elder Fitzwater in our Zone. He has only been out a little over a month and it was good to talk and work with him. I was in his area and we had a couple of really good lessons! He has the "greenie fire" and wants to work hard; he is learning and getting the hang of it. A cool story - We went and knocked on someone's door and a lady answered. I started talking to her and teaching her a little bit and after about 5 minutes she let us in and we had an awesome lesson with her. She opened up to us and bore her testimony to us about how Jesus Christ has helped her in her life. It was sweet. We set-up a return appointment with her and her family and she was super excited. After the lesson, we walked out and Elder Fitzwater was like, "how did you do that!? That was so cool I've never had that happen before!" haha I told him that it will come with time, but it definitely wasn't me that did that, it's the Spirit. I told him that you have to understand that we really can't do anything if we don't have the Spirit leading and guiding us.

On Friday, we had our mission Christmas party! The whole mission got together and we had a big lunch and hung out. There were some musical numbers, a hilarious skit, and then President and Sister Ballard bore their testimonies and talked to us for a bit. It was fun to see everyone and it was really cool to be able to think back to a year ago last Christmas party and where I was and how things have changed.

Saturday, we went and visited a non-member family because we heard they had a daughter that just had a heart surgery. The family has some pretty close Mormon friends and so they let us right in and we shared a message with them and we gave their daughter a blessing that she might recover. The family loved it and they are open to learning more!

On Sunday, we had dinner at the Nys family. They have a daughter who is 17 years old and she had her wisdom teeth taken out the day before. So we went over there for dinner and she was perfectly fine and acting normal, usually she is a very smart person. Then 15 minutes later she took her meds and let me tell ya I haven't seen anyone get so high from taking pain killers! We were at dinner and she was talking about the most ridiculous things. She was talking about people being constipated, she was talking about the Illuminati conspiracy theories and then about Tom Brady winning a super bowl, and so many other weird things. It was the funniest dinner ever. That family is really cool and we are close with them so it wasn't  too weird or anything haha.
With Christmas coming up, don't forget the reason of why we celebrate Christmas! Think of one thing that you can do this Christmas to come closer to Christ... I am so grateful for my Savior and if there is one thing that I have learned the past 18 months, it's that Jesus Christ is real. Sometimes we think of Christ and the atonement as some abstract thing that is out in the world somewhere, but Christ and His atonement are as real as you and me. Jesus Christ is there for us and His power is a very real thing. It can help us in our lives and carry us through the trials we face. I am thankful to bear His name on my chest!

Love you all, have a good Christmas!!

Elder Hill

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Let it Snow ...

Hi everyone!

So this past week was pretty interesting. So many things happened!

Thursday there was a crazy snow storm and it snowed the entire day. The snow would freeze over on the roads so it was a blanket of ice and snow everywhere. And since Oregon doesn't do anything for their roads when it snows, the missionaries aren't allowed to drive the cars so everyone had to walk. Well, we live a little ways out of our actual area that we cover so we ended up just walking to the church and playing basketball with a member and our investigator. So that was pretty fun. 

Friday we had our monthly missionary leadership meeting with the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders and it was intense. Our mission's performance has gone down a little bit and our numbers have not been so hot the past couple months so President Ballard and President Newsom dropped the hammer down on us!  They told us that we need to step it up big time. They chastened us hardcore, but you could tell it was all out of love. It was a spiritual chastening haha.

Saturday evening we stopped by to see a part member family who recently had their grandmother pass away. The father is less-active and he has a 12-year-old son who is a non-member. The son was really struggling with his grandmother's passing so we taught him the Plan of Salvation and he loved it. We then asked him to say a prayer right then to ask God if it was true and he said one of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard in my life. He told Heavenly Father that he was struggling with his grandma's passing and he really wanted to know if what we said was true and if she is alright. He told us he felt God was there listening and that he was happier after he prayed. The Spirit was super strong. The father said that we could start teaching him consistently!

On Sunday, I was able to go to a baptism back in the Moreland Ward (my first area)! A man named David was baptized after he had taken the lessons for like 20 years! I was able to teach him my whole six months I was there and I got to know him pretty well. It was incredible too see how he had changed over the past year. He was literally an entirely different person when I talked to him on Sunday. It was amazing to see how happy and at peace he was at his baptism, it was something that I had never seen in him a year ago. It's crazy how the gospel can totally change who we are and make us into someone so much better! 
Sunday night we had a Crèche and Carol for our Stake and it was cool to go and talk to everyone there. We had multiple people from the Stake come up to Elder Miller and I and say how we did a great job at stake Conference last week teaching in front of everyone. One guy said he really, really felt the Spirit and that it helped him a lot. It was so cool!! That's what being a missionary is all about!

Hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas season! Such an awesome time of year. Go and #LightTheWorld!!  Love and miss you guys!!

Elder Hill

 Transfers ...
 Mission lineage (left to right): Elder Whitten, Elder Giles, Tyler, Elder Parker
Tyler's good friend from BYUi - Sis. Downing finished her mission and was going home!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

17 months down ... what???

Hello everyone!

So this past week I hit my 17 month mark which is so weird!  Me and a sister missionary and that came into the mission field at the same time I did, were talking at a district meeting and she said, "we are the oldest missionaries in the room right now." And I was like dang she's right, but yet I still feel like a greenie haha.

So this past week was pretty rad. It was transfer week and Elder Miller and I are staying together here in the Farmington Ward! We are both pretty excited and we are pumped to have a couple baptisms this transfer.
 Another visit to the airplane in the forest!
So I wanna first start with a crazy experience we had at Stake Conference this past weekend.... On Saturday night it was the Adult Session of Stake Conference, so there were about 300+ members there along with the stake presidency, the mission presidency, and Elder Robert Call who is a member of the Seventy. And missionaries could only go if they brought an investigator with them so we took our investigator, Tuesday with us! We were sitting there in the conference with Tuesday in about the 7th row and the conference is going great. There were some awesome talks given, and then Elder Call, who is the last speaker, gets up to give his talk. He starts talking for a little bit and then he says, "they had no idea that I was going to do this, but Elder Hill and Elder Miller come up here and join me." .... The look on our faces must've been priceless because me and Elder Miller looked at each other and we were just like oh crap. We had no idea that this was happening. We were both freaking out! So we go up there to the pulpit and Elder Call pulls us aside and he tells us to teach the first missionary lesson in five minutes to the congregation. And let me tell ya for the first 10 seconds looking out into the congregation of hundreds of people with your mission presidency, stake presidency, and a Seventy sitting right behind you, it was freakin scary!! But we just went for it, and the fear soon left as we got into teaching. I can tell you that if it wasn't for the Spirit leading and guiding our thoughts and words, then we would have sucked haha. But we taught the Restoration to everyone and we killed it!  After the conference, we went and introduced Tuesday to Elder Call and President Ballard and Elder Call said we did great! President and Sister Ballard said that they were very proud of us haha. It was a pretty cool experience. 
Elders with Pres. & Sister Ballard and Tuesday

On Thursday, Gilbert (investigator from my first area) drove to our area and took us out to Buffalo Wild Wings. It was sweet. He says he is still meeting with the missionaries haha and that he is STILL thinking about getting baptized. 

Things have been goin' good in our area! We are teaching a few people and should be having a couple baptisms this upcoming transfer! 

If you didn't know, the Church is doing a Christmas Initiative this year on how we can be more Christlike! So on they have 25 ways over 25 days to be more Christlike and there is something you can do everyday! I invite you all to go check it out and do the challenge and post it on social media!!

Have a great week! Love and miss you guys!

Elder Hill
 District meeting ...
Walking through the flooded park ... check out the bench!