Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Always follow promptings ....


So this week wasn't as eventful as last week but it was still pretty solid! We had Zone Conference and Elder DeVries and I trained on what we learned from Elder Callister a couple weeks ago. It went well! 

On Saturday, we were asked by our apartment complex managers to help a tenant named Kate, an older lady, move apartments from the upstairs to the downstairs. We said sure! So we go over there and meet this lady and start moving all of her stuff. She was so grateful for the help and couldn't believe that we did this voluntarily. When Elder DeVries and I were downstairs by ourselves I told him that I really felt like we should give her a Book of Mormon. He said, "yeah do it!". So I go to the car and grab one and walk up there and told her that we had a gift for her! I gave her the book, told her what it was all about, testified of its truthfulness, and told her how it has blessed my life. She said that she has been looking for a new church to join and that she thought the Book of Mormon sounded wonderful! (Keep in mind that people in Portland are never that interested in religion or Mormons at all). So I told her all about church and about what we do as missionaries. She said that she was going to read the Book of Mormon and that she wanted to learn more! I then ran downstairs and told DeVries everything that happened and he was like no way we gotta call the family ward Elders. So we called up the missionaries that cover the area and told them to come help us move the rest of Kate's stuff. They came over and we got them to set up a time to meet with Kate during the week and for her to come to church. It was pretty cool. Another example to me to always follow promptings!

Nothing else too crazy happened this week. We had a few lessons and a lot of trying to find people to teach. Chad, our investigator we gave to the Sister missionaries, is still doing great and planning on getting baptized in two weeks! Super exciting!

With General Conference coming up, I wanted to share one of the scriptures we have been sharing with our members. 

Jacob 4:6
"Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea."

We have the opportunity to hear from a living prophet and apostles this week! And through their words and witness we can obtain a hope and an unshakable faith that will be a strength in our lives. In Conference we can receive personal revelation for ourselves in any situation we are at in our lives. I can promise that something of what they say in Conference will help you personally in your life. So invite a friend to watch with you and they can have the same experience!

Elder Hill

PS - These are a few pictures from their Mt. Hood hike on Monday!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Yes, Spiritual Exhaustion is a thing ...

Hi everyone!

You know when people say they are spiritually exhausted? Well it's a real thing. This week was the most spiritually exhausting week of my life, and it was so sweet!

So first off on Tuesday we went on an exchange with some of the Elders in the Zone. I went to their area which is a bike area. I haven't been on bike in 15 months (since my greenie area), and let's just say this was a humbling experience for me. It was pouring that day and we biked all over the place talking to everyone. Some streets were flooded and we both got completely soaked, but we had a good day and some solid conversations with people. I have so much more respect for biking Elders now, I forgot how lucky I am to have a car.

On Wednesday, we had a lesson with a guy who was a referral from some other missionaries. His name is Alex and he is so solid! He is getting baptized on April 22nd! We taught him the Word of Wisdom and he said, "giving up tea will require all my will power but I know I can do it!" He is so awesome and he came to church on Sunday with us.

Thursday, we went downtown to OHSU (Oregon Health and Science University) to try and contact some people. We couldn't find anyone, but we did run into a lady who said she was just baptized in Vancouver a couple months ago and she had been having a terrible day. She said she prayed that everything would be okay and then she saw us and she took that as a sign from God. It was cool to see this woman's faith and to be a part of an answer to a prayer.....
 Views of Portland from the OHSU aerial tram ...

Now the awesome part of the week........

In a matter of 24 hours, Friday to Saturday, Elder DeVries and I were able to hear Elder Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speak three different times! The first time was with all of the missionaries in the Mission and I was able to shake his hand again! This was my fourth time shaking his hand on my mission so we are best friends now. It was such an awesome meeting and the Spirit was so strong especially as he testified of the Savior. And then he had a youth/YSA fireside Friday night with half of the Stakes in the Mission, and the other half on Saturday night. We were able to go to both nights and it's all because of the coolest miracle that happened this week...
Selfie with a YSA member at Elder Ballard's fireside ...

Cool Miracle story:
So we got a referral from someone in the Westlake YSA Ward on Monday. We went over to see this person on Wednesday, his name is Chad, thinking that we were just going to give him a blessing because that's all he asked for. We went over there and we ended up having this awesome conversation about his spiritual progression throughout life. He is actually a Christian Hip Hop artist. He has such a deep faith in Jesus Christ, but he recently has been through some trials. We didn't have a lot of time, but we taught him a brief lesson on the Restoration and we invited him to come to the Elder Ballard fireside with us on Friday, and he accepted. A member from our Ward picked him up Friday night, and we all sat together at the fireside.  He absolutely loved it, and he was soaking it all in. When it was over, Chad and I were chatting in the aisle and Elder Ballard walks by and stops to talk to the person behind us. Chad sees Elder Ballard and then reaches over to shake his hand. He says, "hey I'm Chad! and this is my first time at the Mormon Church!" Elder Ballard shakes his hand and replies, "aah so you have heard the truth tonight then! Go do something about it now!"... and of course I'm flipping out because an Apostle just talked to our investigator. Chad and I talked a little bit more about what just happened and he was so excited. The Spirit was so strong!  Well we get a call later that night from the member that drove Chad home. The member said that Chad opened up in the car and said that he has been searching for truth his entire life and he felt that tonight God revealed to him that this is the truth he has been looking for and this is the Church he should be baptized into!!! (Me and DeVries were freaking out on the phone).... But sadly Chad is too old for the YSA Ward. So we had a pass off lesson the next day with the Summerlake Ward sisters who cover his area. We had the lesson at the Temple Visitor Center. The lesson went amazing. Chad bore his testimony that he knew that this is the path God wants him to go down and that he knows this is the Church he needs to join. Chad said the closing prayer and broke down crying and was thanking the Lord for leading him to this opportunity. We set his baptismal date for April 8th. After the lesson, Chad wanted to go see Elder Ballard again so we drove to Tualatin to the fireside. Chad was eating it all up and then he went to church the next day. Miracles have not ceased!

And the week isn't even over! Sunday, I gave a 25 minute talk in Sacrament Meeting on the Plan of Salvation which went well for the most part, and then we spoke at an Aaronic Priesthood fireside that evening too... spiritually exhausted I tell ya. But it was such an incredible week and just over the past three days I have learned so much.

I love the Savior and I know He lives! This is His kingdom on the earth. Here is a promise Elder Ballard said in one of his firesides:

"If you keep the commandments, and you cultivate your Spirit through prayer and reading the scriptures.. I testify that the temptations of Satan will roll off of you like water rolling off of a duck's back." 

Elder Hill

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

PCC & Mountain Dew ...

Hello everyone!

So this week was pretty solid! The work is a little slow with investigators right now so we have been trying to visit members and less-actives to get referrals since it's tough to find YSAs. So we were super busy having lessons with all the members and getting to know them. I love being in the young single adult ward and being able to relate with people so easily. You can make gospel analogies with sports, Harry Potter, video games, anything! It's awesome. One of our commitments to a member (who loves Mountain Dew) was to invite all his non-members friends over to drink Mountain Dew with us, that about sums up the YSA life haha.

To try and find people to teach, we go to Portland Community College and they let us set up a booth in the commons area. We put up a whiteboard with a question or a drawing on it and there will be people that come up to us and ask us questions. We had some really good conversations with some students and gave them Plan of Salvation pamphlets!
 Elder DeVries & Tyler at their Portland Community College booth ...
We had a couple lessons at the temple visitor center with a less-active girl and then a recent convert. They both went really well and we were able to teach about the Atonement. The Spirit was strong and one of the girls said she hadn't felt the Spirit like that in a long time! The temple is awesome! Don't take it for granted..

Earlier in the week we had a lesson with a girl that was inactive. The Spirit was super strong in the lesson and the girl came to church on Sunday! After church she gave us an envelope and in it she wrote a letter to us about how she is very grateful for us visiting her and that we changed her life. It was awesome!

We also had a Zone Meeting this week that me and Elder DeVries put on for our Zone. It went well! Our Zone is gonna kill it this transfer....

On Saturday, Bro. Tad R. Callister, the General Sunday School President, came and spoke to our mission! He is the one that wrote the book, The Infinite Atonement, and boy he knows his stuff. He taught us about the Plan of Salvation and really expanded on it. AND, Elder Ballard is coming to the mission again on Friday! We are spoiled.

I am grateful for all the experiences I am having out here. I know that we are children of God. We are His literal children and He wants us to be happy. He has a plan for us that is far better than any plan that we can conjure up for ourselves. Trust Him and don't be afraid! One of my favorite scriptures is D&C 6:36: "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not."

Have a good week!
Elder Hill

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Portland at its Finest!

What's up! 

So it was an interesting first week here in the YSA Ward! We had to do a lot of logistical stuff for our Zone and area so we didn't have that much time to find people to teach. We had a meeting every single day this week, and we had to move apartments since ours was closed down. It was pretty hectic, but I was able to meet quite a few people in the Ward and they are all super cool. I'm excited to be back in a young single adult ward!
New apartment in Beaverton

On Wednesday, we went on splits with our Bishop to go visit a less-active girl in the Ward. She had just moved to Portland from New York and she is an actor! She is having a film come out soon that is going out on Redbox and it's supposed to be pretty big. We were able to talk to her about her testimony too. She said she definitely still has one and she was grateful we came to visit and said she wants to come back to church. So that was pretty cool.

On Saturday, we went to downtown Portland! It was so sweet. We went to the Institute building down there and then walked around Portland State University looking for people to teach. We met some cool people on the campus that hopefully we will be meeting up with soon...  I have never felt more like a Portlandian than I did that day as we were walking downtown in the rain, next to some popular food carts with some hippies eating there, while getting yelled at by some homeless people. Portland at its finest. It was awesome!
Cool wall in downtown Portland

I cannot express the amount of gratitude I have to Heavenly Father for the opportunity I have to serve a mission, and to have experiences that help me grow. The Gospel of Jesus Christ has given me so much hope in my life and it is an incredible blessing to be able to share it with others. I know that Jesus Christ lives. He is the Son of the living God, and we can look to Him for anything in our life. He knows us intimately and wants us to be happy. I have felt His love countless times and I know more than ever before that He is my Savior.

Elder Hill

 Saying goodbye to Elder Argyle (old companion) 
with Elder Jackson & Sister Clemence 
 Saying goodbye to Elder Craft (old companion)
Elders Peterson & Devries (current companion)