Sunday, August 28, 2016

August 22, 2016 - Augusta / Evans GA

Hey Y'all!

It's been a roller coaster week of emotions for me and I've felt both sides of the spectrum. But, I've definitely learned a lot about myself this week and what kind of person I want to be.

It's been quite a "wet" week with lots of rain and tons of storms! You might have heard about the flooding in Louisiana and we got some residual effect from that. Definitely not as bad as down there though. Oh, and some other good news before I dive into my week is that you can tell it's getting cooler and starting the fall season so ALL the missionaries are pumped for that!

On Monday, As usual I played basketball after I emailed at the church and this man came into the gym with his son. He had a Duke polo on and I asked him if he was a Duke fan and he just said "I played for Coach K (Duke's coach) when he coached at West Point." Instantly my mind was going a million miles an hour trying to get to know him and ask him some questions about recruiting. He gave me a lot of advice and we even got to play a few games against each other(I won) haha but it was such a great experience to play with someone who played for coach K. He told me some valuable advice that he said "Don't go to a school solely for basketball but go for the education and things will fall into place. So my mind went instantly to Utah State and it just felt right. He was telling me that big schools like Utah State sometimes don't have walk-on tryouts because they have a full roster or they don't have any more scholarship money. I'm definitely trying to reach out to the coaching faculty to get my name somewhat circulating so that when I go they will have the name in mind and I wont be just another player trying to make the team. His son is playing for the BYU soccer team and it was great playing and meeting him.

Tuesday, we went over the Savannah river and into South Carolina for District meeting and exchanges with North Augusta. It's so cool that I went to three different states on my mission which is something some missionaries cant say they did. District meeting was really good as we talked about making the Book of Mormon stories be more apart of our lives and that we should be like Moroni and talked about qualities he had that we should pursue to have too. Before district meeting I walked into the church's gym and it was more of an older gym with one light on in the middle with a ball under the hoop and I know it sounds crazy but it was such a pretty sight to see and so I "had" to put up some shots because it was just too pretty! I went on exchanges with Elder Blanding and he didn't have many set appointments for the day so a lot of the day was tracting and trying to find people to teach. In just a few hours of tracting we got rejected and doors slammed left and right and it was pretty frustrating. I've faced that time and time again on my mission but for some reason this day was hard to find anyone who would want to talk to us for whatever reason. But after a good southern cooked meal with some okra, lamb, rice, and some collard greens with a member we were able to find a few people to teach that day.We ended the night out with going to an institute class. The institute class was a stake institute and Waynesboro is in the Augusta stake and I was able to see some old friends from the Waynesboro ward and it was fun to see them again:) They told me its great to see me without a broken wrist or scrapes on my face haha:) I also met a guy named Auben Kendell who served in the Denver North mission for his mission and knew Elder Johnson and alot of the missionaries I mentioned from Colorado. We went home and Elder Blanding tried to teach me how to do a Rubiks cube. I've learned a lot of things here in Georgia, but that is one thing that I probably wont understand how to do haha.

On Wednesday, Elder Blanding finished out our exchange by tracting 3 more hours with little to no one talking to us. It taught me alot about perseverance and working through hard, not fun things that a lot of people wouldn't ever do. Tracting definitely isn't the most effective thing and that was evident by how many people we talked to but without any plans, it was the only we could do. Elder Weston and I have pretty diligent planners and planning really shows the Lord how committed you are and how devoted you are to being a missionary. So I talked to Elder Blanding about planning and things we all could work on to help move the work forward, but we both learned a lot from each other. While tracting and getting rejected time and time again the thought of many Book of Mormon prophets and Christ came into my head and I thought about when they got rejected did they cower in unbelief or walk tall and protect the faith. Tracting definitely isn't the most effective way to do missionary work, but there is value in tracting and you can learn a lot about your testimony and yourself as a person while you tract. After we exchanged back a lot of the day was going to investigators homes and either getting told its not a good time or shared a short message. We had bible class and read Matthew 25 and learned alot about not procrastinating the day of your repentance and being spiritually ready when the Savior comes again. Also in the parable of the ten virgins the virgins that didn't have oil asked the virgins that did have oil if they could borrow some and the virgins that were prepared didn't give them any, which shows us that we cant depend on other peoples testimonies to make to it back to heaven but we need our own testimony in Christ.

On Thursday, it rained a ton that day and we were in a monsoon all day walking through down pouring rain that never let up the whole day! This day was a pretty rough day I'm not gonna lie. Every single appointment we had set canceled and every person we tried either wasn't home or "had" something better to do. It was a hard day and you really had to depend on God to strengthen you. Throughout the day it was easy to get don't on yourself and lose the faith, but instead of letting us get beaten down by it we made up songs, and tried to lighten the mood. We had dinner with the Gomez family and they made us some quesadillas with Chicken that were awesome! We had a lesson with the Kings family and they had a friend there that didn't like the Mormons. I asked her why, she said" Because they try to change their religion and they believe in polygamy." We told her that polygamy strengthened the saints as they traveled west, it helped the single widows as they traveled west, and it was a commandment by God to do it. She brought up t.v shows that were about our church and polygamy. We explained that our church doesn't practice polygamy and that the t.v shows are about the RLDS church who broke off from the church and is different from members of the LDS church. We also explained that we don't try to convert you, but we invite you to find out for yourself if it's church is and the spirit will naturally motivate you to look into the church and the truth within it.

On Friday, we planned for a good majority of the day, but at 5:00 we had dinner with Dan and the Urbanawiz family. We taught Dan the Plan of Salvation and it was such a good lesson that had the spirit there. As we laid out the Plan of Salvation and explained it a lot of her questions about the spirit world and the 3 kingdoms were answered. She told us about other churches beliefs about after this life and how our beliefs make so much sense and there aren't any flaws in it. She had a hard time understanding the concept of the spirit world, but as we explained its role and told her about how its a discussed in Alma 40 she really understood it well and she is progressing well! We are very excited for her!

On Saturday, we played Ultimate Frisbee with some soldiers from Fort Gordon and some investigators in the morning. Ultimate has been one of the highlights of the week and that's where I get all my competitiveness out and I put it all on the field. I had some pretty sweet catches and the grass was wet so after you dove you would slide for a good while:) It was the Elders against the soldiers and surprisingly we won both games haha:) We met with Scott after Frisbee and had our ward mission leader come with us and had a GREAT lesson with him. They both had very similar life stories and they related really well and he is planning and preparing to come back to church! Later that night we had a lesson with Trisha and she taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ, she told us that she doesn't plan to become a Mormon and she thinks we are wasting our time. We told her that most converts to the church don't plan to become a member but often times it just happens and the their life leads them in that direction! So we will keep teaching her and see the growth in her testimony. 

Sunday was an awesome day.... The talks at sacrament were about eternal marriage and the couple that gave the talks just radiated with the spirit and everyone enjoyed the spirit. A less active that had never came in like 11 months came and we were so happy for her. We had a great gospel principles class and Dan was asking lots of questions about the gift of tongues. We turned to the chapter we were teaching that day and it happened to be the gifts of the spirit and her questions were answered and confirmed by the spirit. It was a great class and it was awesome! The 3rd hour we went into primary and helped the primary kids stay focused and nothing makes you happier than watching the J.r primary explode from their chairs during the songs sunbeam! Classic!! It was a great service. The rest of the day we found a new move-in family and got to know them and taught people at Lady Antebellum park. Its a pretty nice park (see pictures).

I love y'all, the church is true, and keep the faith!

-Elder Mitchell Hill

#14monthsthisweek  #Southernstateofmind
Card from Primary Children!

Savannah River!

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