Sunday, June 25, 2017

June 19, 2017 - Alma, GA

Hey Y'all!

Its the last one!!! Can you believe it? This week is gonna be a pretty big week for me cause I'm gonna make sure I leave everything I have left on the court. Ya gotta sprint to the finish!  But Happy Fathers day Dad  But yes this is last email by me before I'll be home so its really surreal to think that next week I'll be talking to ya. But I'm very excited to come home and be at home with y'all again! Its is a very bittersweet feeling but I feel I confident I have served the Lord with all my heart, might, mind, and strength and so I am glad I can come home feeling great and have peace of mind about my effort!

This past week has been a good one for us, we have seen a lot of advancement with our investigators testimonies as well as my own. Elder Showers and I had a funny/ scary experience on Monday night. We were leaving our last lesson of the night and there was this sunset over this pond and it was super pretty so we stop to take a picture on the side of the road. After we take a few pictures, we're headed back to our trailer when all of a sudden this grey Silverado truck passes us and cuts us off and we slam on the brakes!! We both were shocked and this old man about 65 years old steps out and comes to our car and starts yelling at us cause he asked " What were y'all doin' but my pond?" We were both confused because we stopped on the shoulder of the road and it wasnt even his property but he said "You should have asked before you take pictures!" We said how were we supposed to know that this pond in the middle of nowhere was yours?" Were we supposed to knock on every trailer and ask if we can take a picture? Anyway this guy goes on and wont accept our apology and says " If you boys would've kept on going I would've ran you off into the road!" We were like shoot dang sir, but after 15 minutes of him picking a fight over nothing he calms down and sees we were respectable and drives off, but we were just stunned cause who does that? Funny past of the story is he had a broken wrist too and says" You boys dont know what I've gone through with this here wrist..." Well I was putting my arm on my lap through the conversation, but after he said that I put my wrist on the  middle console and said yeah I know a lil bit bout what your talking about." But he then stopped and drove off but who knew that would happen!!

Well, my mission definitely has been one to remember, without my mission and the gospel of Jesus Christ I dont know where I'd be. I have seen a very evident change in who I am and what I stand for and my life has way more balance now than it did before I left. Each area that I've served in my mission has a special place in  my heart and I'm grateful for all the people I've met and taught and I have special place in my heart for each and everyone of them. Georgia definitely is a home a away from home and I will for sure miss this place. I have learned so much from my time here on my mission but I want to share 3 spiritual truths that I KNOW are true and they have come through acting on faith.

1. I know that there is not a trial in this world that we cannot overcome and God will strengthen us as we diligently serve him. Jesus Christ has descended below all of our pains and afflictions and knows our pains individually not collectively but he personally knows what you're going through.

2. I know that Joseph Smith truly did see God the Father and Jesus Christ and the first vision started the Restoration of all things which has brought back all the lost truths that we as Latter-day Saints hold true to today.

3. I know that the Book of Mormon is true along with the bible and through the study of these two divine collections of scripture that I've felt the Holy Ghost touch my heart and tell me these things are true.

I have alot more than three, but those are the core of what I know to be true and before my mission I believed they were true by now I am a witness that these truths are true. I'm not gonna lie my mission has been hard and challenging but the mission has taught me to appreciate life for what it is, take one thing at a time, and understand that no one is perfect. God wants us to continually try to improve. Its just like when a toddler is learning to walk, if the baby falls does it mean the child is not worthy to walk? No, but if the child doesnt get up or keep walking then he'll be on the ground forever. We all have a purpose in life and we each have to find our purpose, use your talents you have to lighten other peoples burdens around you.

I want to share a scripture that means a lot to me and has helped me understand why my faith is tested. Its Ether 12:4
"Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope fobetter world, yea, even place at the right hand of Godwhich hope cometh of faithmaketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good worksbeing leto glorify God."

We learn by making mistakes and overcoming the battle between body and spirit. When we choose the right than the easier wrong when our faith is tested, our faith grows and we see it grow because we see the blessings after the trial. Always have a testimony in the Savior and His Atonement and you will be able to do anything you wish to in life.

I love y'all so much and i'm excited to talk to y'all next week!!! I cant wait to catch up and see how much everyone has grown. I promise I wont be crippled too long and I'll be back on that court before you know it! Thanks for all the prayers and support over the past two years it has really made a difference in my life. I couldnt have done it without y'all! 

My homecoming is July 16th at 11:00 a.m at 1850 North 400 East

Thanks for everything and will see you in a week!!!
-Elder Hill!!
#Letsss gooo!
Bingo at the Nursing Home!  Alma, GA - June 2017

Bye to Alma Branch!  June 2017

Bye Georgia.  Alma GA - June 2017

Elder Hill and Showers at sunset!  Alma, GA - June 2017

Elder Hill and Elder Showers!

Last Zone Conference!  June 2017

At the pond where we about died!  Alma, GA - June 2017

It ain't Golds gym but you do what you gotta do!  June 2017, Alma, GA

Sunday, June 18, 2017

June 12, 2017 - Alma, GA

Hey Y'all!

How have y'all been doing! I sure have been doing good here in the yonder south! Im doing good just trying to cope with how much time I have left and I'm trying to make those last days worth it.  But time is coming down to the wire and I'm trying to make the last two weeks really memorable and make them count. It's kind of sad I wont be seeing a baptism in my time here in Alma but I have seen this area change dramatically and the Spirit in this area has changed totally since I got here. God has blessed this area and those elect people who have listened to our message those peoples faiths are building. 

Elder Showers and I were talking about goals for the next two weeks and I kind of got down on myself that through all my diligent efforts in this area no fruits really came from it where I saw a baptism happen in this area. Then I thought of the people I taught in Evans and after I left 4 of my investigators that I taught a lot got baptized after I left and the same thing may happen here. I've been blessed through my mission to see many people I've loved make covenants with God and are still strong in the faith., and I have a feeling that it may be the same effect here. 

Elder Showers and I have had a memorable week and to be honest we had more downs than ups, plans fell through investigators wouldn't talk to us, got yelled at, but through all the storms the work still moves forward. We are trying to find the elect and Alma has been worked through and through for quite some time and so its a little harder to find new people. Elder Showers and I had were going to see our investigator Regina yesterday and when we walked in her daughter Valerie who had just gotten out of prison for 3 years was reading the bible on the table. We started asking questions about her conversion story and how she wants to be a teacher for AA meetings. She wants to make everything right with God and after reading some verses in the Book of Mormon and explaining the Restoration she got very interested and is planning on coming to church this week. She thought the Restoration of authority was intriguing and normally that isn't something that grabs someones attention, but for her it rang true.

Elder Showers and I walked in the rain on Wednesday for 6-7 hours trying to talk to people and saw many miracles. To be honest walking in the rain is alot better than walking in the heat, humidity, and gnats. So contrary to how it looked Elder Showers felt very blessed to be walking in the rain but to everyone honking and waving at us, it looked miserable. Which I thought was interesting because no matter if its rainy or sunny our attitude in the situation determines the outcome and success of whatever we are doing. But it was pretty fun seeing people feel sorry for us and want to help.

Elder Showers and I read a talk this week called the "4th missionary" and there were some really profound words and principles in it. I'll choose 3 quotes that really impacted me this past week and gave me peace knowing I've given these most important two years all I have.

1. "There are two ways of evolving: deliberately and accidentally. You can either decide who you want to become and deliberately work toward that end, or you can just go with the flow and become whatever life makes of you. In that event, you will become whatever the fickle circumstances and forces of life and society will make of you; whatever is currently considered to be popular or in; whatever is easiest. But, whatever you become accidentally it will not be nearly the full measure of our potential. You will become just someone, somewhere in the middle"
2." If you're not happy, if you are frustrated or resentful, look inside. It is within you. Jesus said: "The kingdom of God is within you." It is in your head and in your heart. It starts in your head and then your heart follows. You only need say to the Lord in your head, "I give up. I surrender. I won't fight anymore. Here it is. Here are my desires. Here is my will. I want only to do what you want me to do. That's enough for me. That's all 1 want, because it is the only intelligent thing to do."
3. "In the end, your heart and your will is all that you have to give that the Lord does not already have. If you give your time, two years, and your strength, you give only that which He grants to you with each beat of your heart and each breath that you draw. If you dedicate your gifts and talents, you only return to Him what He already has given to you. If you pay tithing you only return to Him a tenth of what he has already given to you. Everything that you have to give to the Lord, has its origin in Him, except one thing: your will. He does not have your heart, nor your mind, unless you give them to Him. It is the only gift you have to offer that He does not already have. And so when you give yourself, you truly give everything to Him."

 I truly feel I've left it all on the court holding nothing back and that's why my mission has changed me is because our will is the only thing God doesn't have. But when we give the only thing he doesn't own to him it means everything to him and that's when we change to become more like the Savior. I have little regrets and we are not perfect but I'm grateful I had church leaders and parents and family who led me in the right direction. o many people here don't have the blessings I never even recognized at home. The gospel truly is peace and light, hope, and allows men the opportunity to be free. This life should be a joy and a time we get to prepare to meet God and among all the challenges we face the gospel is the only thing that can help us remain on the straight and narrow path.

I'm grateful for all of y'all and I LOVE YOU so much, my wrist is doing great and you just gotta keep pressing forward.

-Elder Hill
#2weeks   #makethemomentscount
Julio and Catalina Pahuambas baptism. I taught the kids up to the 5th lesson and then I got transferred. June 2017

Larry Hawkes Investigator from Evans got baptized!  June 2017

​Service for Sister Rewis! June 2017, Alma Ga

Walking in the Rain!  June 2017, Alma Ga

Fishing on P-Day!  Alma, Ga - June 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

June 5, 2017 - Alma, GA

Hey Y'all!!

I cant believe that its coming close to that time of the mission! It is still so surreal and it hasn't really hit me yet that I'm coming home but I'm sure it will especially when I start packing away my things. And don't worry that picture of me on a bike was just for fun we don't ride bikes anymore. The doctors appointment went very well this past week and they said that I'm healing great and they took the stitches out and so now I'm stitch free. I still have the splint on but they said if everything heals well that I might come off the plane without my splint on!! So hopefully that works out.  You asked about the baptisms is Alma and we have a lot of solid people we are teaching they just have some reason they aren't coming to church. No matter how many members we bring over we are having a hard time helping our investigators come to church. But we are working on it, this area has changed quite a bit since I came here and now this area has at least 8-10 solid people who sincerely want to know its true but they have that one reason where its hard for them to come to church.

This past week had some memorable events for sure, baptists praying over my wrist at a blueberry festival, rain rain and more rain, and trying to make Alma the new Zion!! On June 2nd and 3rd we set up a booth at the Blueberry festival in Alma. Once a year vendors from all over Georgia come and sell their items. There were over 1500 people there and we set up a booth where people could learn how to tie ties and while they are learning how to tie ties, they got to look at the church material we have and were able to ask questions. We taught 12- 13 lessons and gave away at least 20 Book of Mormons! A lot of attention was on our tent and it was fun teaching groups of people and all faiths got to discuss beliefs and why we are so different and we testified that this church is Christs church again on the earth and we connected with a lot of people in the area. The Baxley Elders came with us and helped us teach and mingle with the crowd. While Elder Showers and I were walking around a baptist preacher asked how I broke my wrist and asked if we knew if we died right now where we would go. We said that if we are faithful here and always live worthy of the Spirit we would go to heaven. He said that "I want you to know if you died right now youd be in heaven and said a prayer with us and said "YOU ARE SAVED!!" We didn't know what to think but he then asked if he could bless my wrist and out of courtesy he prayed over it and I cant really describe what it felt like other than it felt incomplete which told me that we definitely have the priesthood. 

There were lots of storms throughout the week and it made for some fun memories. We had some really awesome lessons and miracles that happened. First off Brother Torres came teaching with us to go see the Jewells. Sister Jewell has been trying to find a job that would allow her to go to church ,but the management wont let her. Well it turns out the grocery store was laying off groups of people and she was going to be laid off on the 31st. Before the 31st we promised if she lived the gospel and prayed that God would help her with a job. It turns out that Walmart called her on the 31st and gave her a job and she is now able to come to church! We taught about tithes and fast offering and it was very spiritual! Also we taught Sue Evans with Brother Roberson and talked about tithing too, a question that followed the teaching was I asked.. "Sue if you woke up tomorrow could you forget what you've learned from the Book of Mormon?" She said no I know its true! She has read all the way through 3 Nephi and is loving it. We just have to help her find clothes she likes to come to church. Our other investigator Cynitha Juarez has recently had a rough go with life and we had a very spiritual lesson with her and she accepted to be baptized if she found this to be true. She is definitively progressing and is learning more about her purpose in this life. She was in tears as we testified of the help God gives to all of His children and especially to those who put everything on the line for Him. It takes work and effort but it sure is worth it!

My scripture of the week is 2 Nephi 25:23 "For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know thait is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do."
God love and grace is there for us but we have to live worthy and live our life in the world but not of the world. Its very easy to get sidetracked and focused on material things but the principles in the gospel will remain the most important forever and ever. The people in this life that are the most happy are people that live the gospel, live within their means and people that keep life simple. We came to earth for a reason and that reason is to recieve a body and to learn from making mistakes. Believe me I've made mistakes (mailbox) haha but God wants to know how you respond to a situation where you have to rely on faith.

I LOVE Y'ALL! The church is true and you gotta sprint to the finish!

-Elder Hill
#3 weeks   #Makethedayscount
Best district eva!  June 2017, Alma, GA

Elder Hill and Elder Showers at Church!  Alma, GA - June 2017

Come learn to tie a tie!  Alma Ga - June 2017

Drew learned to tie a tie, so can you!  Alma, Ga - June 2017

Got my flight plans!  Alma, GA - June 2017

Storms a comin'!  Alma GA - June 2017