Sunday, November 6, 2016

October 31, 2016 - Augusta / Evans, GA

Hey Y'all! 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! At one of ours dinners this week we got talking about the difference between Halloween out west and Halloween here in the south. A big difference is the fact that you don't really have to account for the weather in choosing your costume. In Utah, Colorado, Idaho,  Montana your costume has to allow you to be warm where as here its a warm 87 degrees and you can where just the costume. But out west you might need another layer of clothing to stay warm through the night and possibly some snow boots.

This past week was full of memorable moments and another great week here in the south!

On Tuesday, we drove to Aiken,SC and had a memorable time there! I went on exchanges with Elder Sommer in Aiken,SC. We started out by riding to the area we were going to be working in. Aiken is a very pretty place and has many colonial looking buildings with cascading trees over hanging one way streets. The main street has buildings that go back to the 1800's, so its retro but it they refurbished a lot of it to make it look like up to date buildings. That's the best way I can describe so hopefully you can picture an image of the way the city is. We biked to a poorer area and talked to a few people about the Restoration and our purpose in life. The second man we talked to had been struggling finding his self worth and felt like the Atonement couldn't cover the things he had done in his life. We explained to him how Christs love will always reach out to us no matter what we have done, that through the Atonement we can come clean. We talked to him a bit more about prayer and its importance during the repentance process. We then headed back riding on a street where "Planet of the Apes" was filmed which was cool. We also rode past an equestrian race track and polo field. Aiken is one of the only places left in the U.S where they have international horse race competitions and polo competitions. It was a huge area and I had to take a few pictures. Later that night, Elder Sommer and I headed back to the area we were at to go and contact a few potentials. The people we planned to visit weren't home and we decided to tract. It is sometimes not the most effective or safe thing to do but we both felt like it was something we should do. We met a lady named Sondra who had met missionaries in the past but disagreed with some of the things that were said and how bold missionaries can be. She kind of gave off an impression that she was offended by the missionaries and we apologized to her about how they conducted themselves and cleared up the fact that all we do is invite you and we wont push you to do anything. We may encourage and let you know of the blessings of following our counsel, but we will never make you do anything. We each have our agency and she appreciated that. At this point in the night it was getting late and there was a house at the end of the street that was very dark, no cars by it and it looked inhabited. I had a strong impression to knock on it so we did. We knocked on the door and heard screaming on the other side and we didn't know what to expect. This lady with a smile on her face came to the door hung up the phone and walked out and said..."I need the word" She had been struggling with her family choosing their church over family. When we knocked on the door she was arguing with her grandma about what church she should go to. Then we knocked on her door and she felt it was answer to a prayer. She asked questions about how we seem to always smile, why we sacrifice so much to be here, and her biggest concern was do we believe that God comes before family. Our responses were completely led by the spirit and said how God didn't intend for the gospel to split up families but the gospel is supposed to bless families and it binds a family together. We bore testimony of the Restoration and she wanted to get baptized then and there!! She is going to go to the Aiken church next week and we will see what happens from there. I'm so glad I acted on hat prompting and recognized it. Then after that we were biking to the place where we were going to get picked up by the Coker Springs Elders and my bike light started to flicker and it we were going downhill surrounded by trees so it was pretty dark. I was praying that it would stay on and after it flickered for a good 10 seconds it stayed on until we turned into a residential area where I could see off of Elder Sommer's bike light. Don't worry that night  I charged the light. But that was probably a blessing in disguise which I'm grateful for. I don't need anymore crazy biking stories haha.

On Wednesday, we exchanged back and we headed back to Evans. We had district meeting and I trained on recognizing and understanding the Spirit. I told the district what happened that previous night and how the Holy Ghost is how people are taught that unless we have the Holy Ghost we are just saying words but as they build their faith they will see their testimony grow.  After district meeting I went on exchanges with Elder Davidsen and helped Rosemary spray her yard from bugs and poison Ivy. She gave us these glasses that were pilot glasses from the 50's. The funny part was is she thought they made us look handsome and we had to hold in our laughter because we thought they looked pretty goofy. We then rushed over to Bishops house for dinner and had some chili! Later that night we had the great opportunity to give a blessing to one of our investigators Justin. He had fainted during training for MMA and was suffering from anxiety we gave him a blessing and it was cool that he noticed a difference of his attitude after the blessing. His smile was so big and his testimony grew in the power of the priesthood! 

On Thursday, Elder Davidsen and I went and tracted an area for a good hour or so with one person open the door. Granted Thursday morning is not the best time to try to catch people at home but it still taught both of us a good lesson of pushing through things that are hard. We had interviews with President Grayson  later that day and it is always great catching up with them! They are great people and they really have helped me with alot of things on my mission! That afternoon we went to Sister Coopers place and helped her put up a decoration in her kitchen. While we were doing that I learned my new favorite word... are you ready..."Smatterchew" what do you think it means? It means "Whats the matter with you?" Gotta love Sister Cooper! For dinner we went to the Fry's and Brother Fry taught us a lot about parenting and how there isn't a book or system that tells you how to be a parent that every single child is different and will need different things. They also had been telling us about when we get off our missions that we should not rush into everything but gradually get readjusted into society because if you go in head first that Satan will be right there to tempt you and demean you at every chance he gets. I thought it was good counsel. That night we met with the Beverage family. They have been less active for some time now and when we first walked in there was some awkwardness in the air. After we talked for a while we talked about their conversion and how Sister Beverage didn't become a member because she knew the church was true but because her mom made her. She had some doubts about the prophet, she didn't believe there was a Satan, or in our beliefs in the after life. We answered her questions as the spirit directed, and after we both bore testimony of why we came on missions they invited us to come back this upcoming week. It ended really well and they felt comfortable being open with us which is always a plus! 

On Friday, we had planned for a good majority of the morning and at 12:00 we went to Dan Nguyens place for a lesson on the Plan of Salvation. Dan is doing so well and she is going to the temple on November 5th for baptisms for the dead. I think I said that last week but that's just cause I'm really pumped for her! The lesson went very well and the spirit was really strong as we talked about the Atonement and the Fall of Adam and Eve. Knowing that Adam fell so that we could have joy and that Adama partaking of the fruit was a necessary step in Gods plan is so important to understand and that agency is a gift! Later that afternoon we went to Sister Barnes' to help her rake some leaves in her yard and it was really fun to help her with that! That night was Trunk or Treat and it was alot of fun being there for the kids and decorating the van with spider webs and stuff. Alot of people came and it made you feel at home!

On Saturday, we had a fun time at Frisbee and I have noticed I becoming better and better at it! The highlight of the day was getting invited by a guy named Corey to help him put his tv on his wall mount. He didn't have the right screws but when he gets them this week we will help him get it on there. We talked with him about his family and about what we do as missionaries. He seemed super interested and he is excited for us to come back and share a message with him!

On Sunday, we went to church! Daniel Storrer gave his farewell talk and is going to Washington and it was cool to hear from him. Gospel Principles class was really spiritual and we talked about charity and we read in Moroni 7 about charity.  This is Moroni 7:45 "charity suffereth long, and is kind , and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked , thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  I love this scripture because people are rejoicing in iniquity more than the truth but if have charity we wont want to do those things that are sins but will want the love of God more than anything. That's why its so important to build that love so Satan wont have room to tempt you and make you act on that temptation.In 3rd hour we were all combined and talked about how we can involve people with disabilities into society more and the presentation was very insightful and I remembered back in High school when I took adaptive P.E and how much fun it was to be around those kids. They are special kids and its important to include them and not disclude them. We went on splits with a few of the young men that afternoon. I went with Braden Tippett and we saw Scott Bradley who is on his way to quitting smoking which is such a great thing! It was fun going out with the youth and I wish I would've done it more when I was in high school.

I know that the church is true and as we really try in the gospel that God will help us in the places where we need help but we have to put forth that effort! Thanks for everything

-Elder Hill
Aiken, SC - Soooooo pretty!!

Polo Field!

Goggles!  (From the 1950's) for Spraying Weeds.

Horse Race Track.

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