Sunday, March 5, 2017

February 27, 2017 - Alma, GA

Hey Y'all

We had a pretty memorable week this past week!

Just another week here in good ol' Alma GA

On Monday, Elder Showers was with us til Tuesday waiting for transfers so he could get his new companion. We went to Brother Flowers home and played some basketball at his place which was pretty fun and that night we visited a lot of people. One of them was this lady named Maria who definitely has a love for Jesus Christ and the Bible. She was going through a rough time at work where she felt like management was giving her a hard time and so the Spirit told me to read Matthew 5 with her. As all three of us shared insights to helping her be of light to those around her she seemed to feel really happy and you could tell that the Spirit was putting ideas in her mind of how she could be happier in the workplace. Its amazing how the gospel can change our perspective or attitude to the situation through reading the scriptures. We were going to see Sister Joyner and her family, in the south there are tons of red ant hills and if you careful when stomping on them they can be really fun to watch how many ants come out of the mound. There was one that was at least a foot tall and  I stomped on it and so many ants cam out but to top it all off, Elder Irons decides to kick the hill as hard as he could and ends up slipping and falling into the ants which were now all over his back. No one was hurt but it was just funny how he slipped in all the ants haha.

On Tuesday, Elder Irons and I took some time to update the branch map and get all the less active members and members on the map it took a good time but we ended up getting it done. Its going to really help the branch organize visits and help put more of a concerted effort in visiting all the members in the branch. That night we went to the Mexicans ladies' house who invited us to come back and help her with some service in her garden. Because I'm not fluent in Spanish we brought Brother Torres who went on his mission to Phoenix,AZ speaking Spanish and he did a really good job inviting her to read the Book of Mormon. We then helped her put a lot of plastic bottles into his truck so we could take them to a recycling plant. She was very appreciative and she even gave us two flowers to put in front of out trailer, so we are beautifying our trailer haha! We then got a call to help this man put a drier into his trailer and it went pretty well except when we got it in and hooked up it was too long for the area it was put in so we ended up taking it right back out onto his trailer, but at least we tried haha.

On Wednesday, I've been having really spiritual studies this past week as I've been using this book called "Search Ye these things diligently". Its a really insightful book, it is a Book of Mormon study guide and for every verse in the Book of Mormon it asks a common question and then they answer it through a verse of scripture or a quote fro ma modern day prophet or apostle! I read this "parable of the bicycle" that was really insightful ...

After I had come home one day, I was sitting in a chair reading the newspaper. My daughter Sarah, who was seven years old, came in and said, “Dad, can I have a bike? I’m the only kid on the block who doesn’t have a bike.”Well, I didn’t think I could afford to buy her a bike, so I tried to stall her by saying, “Sure, Sarah.”She asked, “How? When?”I said, “You save all your pennies, and pretty soon you’ll have enough for a bike.” And she went away.A couple of weeks later as I was sitting in the same chair, I was aware that Sarah was doing something for her mother and getting paid. She went into the other room, and I heard “Clink, clink.” I asked, “Sarah, what are you doing?”She came out and showed me a little jar all cleaned up with a slit cut in the lid and a bunch of pennies in the bottom. She looked at me and said, “You promised me that if I saved all my pennies, pretty soon I’d have enough for a bike. And, Daddy, I’ve saved every single one of them.”My heart was filled with love for her. She was doing everything in her power to follow my instructions. I hadn’t actually lied to her. If she saved all of her pennies, she eventually would have enough for a bike, but by then she would want a car! Her needs weren’t being met. So I said, “Let’s go downtown and look at bikes.”We went to every store in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Finally we found it—the perfect bicycle. She got up on that bike, and she was thrilled. But when she saw how much the bicycle cost, her face fell, and she started to cry. She said, “Oh, Dad, I’ll never have enough for a bicycle.”So I said, “Sarah, how much do you have?”She answered, “Sixty-one cents.”“I’ll tell you what,” I said. “You give me everything you’ve got and a hug and a kiss, and the bike is yours.” She gave me a hug, a kiss—and the sixty-one cents. I paid for the bicycle. Then I had to drive home very slowly because she wouldn’t get off the bike; she rode home on the sidewalk. And as I drove along slowly beside her, it occurred to me that this was a parable for the Atonement of Christ.
We all want something desperately—something far more than a bicycle. We want the celestial kingdom. We want to be with our Father in Heaven. And no matter how hard we try, we come up short. At some point we realize, “I can’t do this!” . . . At that point, we taste the sweetness of the gospel covenant as the Savior proposes, “All right, you’re not perfect. Give me all you have, and I’ll pay the rest. Give me a hug and a kiss—that is, enter into a personal relationship with me—and I will do what remains undone.”

But I love how it talks about how grace and works work, and how the Atonement is central to our salvation and conversion.We spent a lot of the day walking as usual and we went to go see Sister Mitchell and we helped her put a window in her window frame as well as move some logs and a dresser to the road. She was really grateful that we could help her with that. Its amazing what serving someone can do for not only those that are serving but for those who are on the receiving end. Its a win win situation for both people. We had a lot of experiences with service this past week.

On Thursday, we contacted a few potentials that day and talked with this man named James and Spud and they seemed pretty interested in knowing more about the church and they said they'd read the Book of Mormon and they were excited to read it! Later that day Elder Irons and I walked past a few kids playing basketball and we had sometime before our next appointment and we played with them. They both were on the varsity team on the Bacon County high school team and you could tell they thought they had this game in the bag, but we were playing on a 9 foot hoop and the first possession I got the ball I drove right and this kid was bodying me pretty hard and I jumped and threw it down on him haha! All the kids watching were going crazy haha, I wish I would've got it on video, but I didn't know if my camera would be safe in the area we were in. But we ended up winning but it was fun getting those old basketball competitive fires out haha. Its always fun playing in situations like that cause everyone there doesn't expect you to be able to play basketball but then you come out and play and everyone freaks out, its pretty fun!! We then went to the Jewells where we read with them 2 Nephi 31 and talked to them about baptism and Sister Jewell loved how it talked about Christs baptism and how we(the world) should look at baptism and it was a powerful lesson!

On Friday, we saw quite a few people before we had weekly planning but the lessons went really well. We saw Brother Dawson that afternoon and he loved out visit. He had a lot of southern paintings and lots of dogs in his home. The dogs looked like each one of them could eat you but they were really nice when they got all settled down. We talked to him about coming back to church and he was just apprehensive cause he doesn't like that the church believes they are the only true church on the earth and we explained to him that every church has truth but we just believe we have the fullness of the gospel. We read in the Book of Mormon with him and he said even though I have my doubts I know the Book of Mormon is true! That was pretty powerful!

On Saturday, we went to the nursing home and played bingo with the old folk and they were all surprised when Elder Irons or I didn't win... But they all said that they cursed my cards and I was like Oh that's why I'm not winning. haha crazy people haha. But that day we tried visiting alot of people in the farming areas in town and there sure are a lot of them, we didn't have anyone open up the door but we tried. That night Elder Irons and I spontaneously made brownies for Brother Jones and gave them to him and his wife who is going through cancer and it sure did brighten their day! They were really appreciative!

On Sunday, we had some really good speakers who talked about the potential that this area has and the man gave examples of various places in the world that were once branches but became stakes. We read a talk by President Eyring who talked about how his home stake in Pennsylvania was once a branch but now there are two large wards and a temple. There is so much potential for this area and all the branch is trying to reactivate and find people to come back to church.  Throughout this past week I have really studied a lot in the Book of Mormon and I just hope and pray that everyone can read it sincerely and have the same spiritual moments that I had, its cool as you start recognizing the Spirit and how it works with you, you're able to really feel the connection with God, I know this church is true and I know that Jesus Christ really is the only way and the truth and the light. 

I LOVE Y'ALL and keep on smiling!
-Elder Hill
Alma GA Missionaries!

Cotton Field, Alma GA

Elder Hill, Alma GA

Teamwork in Alma GA

Walking in Alma GA

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