Missionary buddies

Missionary buddies

Monday, December 30, 2013

Transferred from Brazil!

Hello everyone!
I hope everyone had a good Christmas, I know I sure did! The members here were too kind to us! And talking with the family was great. It sure made my Christmas great! An hour seemed to fly by, and I feel like there was so much more I wanted to talk about with you all and ask you, but I was glad for the time we had.
Well I'll start with the biggest news. The dreaded transfer call came last night, and I am officially leaving Brazil. :'( It's crazy how fast time flies. It feels like just yesterday Elder Easter and I were driving into town saying, "Where in the world are we???" and then 4 1/2 months later after lots of adventures with Elder Easter and Elder Wallace, I'm leaving. The hardest thing to leave is all of the people I've grown to love. I will miss the members so much, but I hope I can always stay in touch with them. With so few active members in our area, it made us grow really close to them. I'll also miss a lot of the people we've been teaching. I'm leaving at such a huge time in the area. Brenda is getting married on Saturday, and we'll have at least 2 baptisms this month here hopefully. I just hope I don't get transferred up to Michigan or something so I can still come back for the baptisms. I'll also miss Elder Wallace. The last 3 months flew, but we have become really good friends.
In my next area, President has called me to be a District Leader, so just a little bit more responsibility. I feel like every transfer gets a little more challenging, but I'm okay with it. It kind of weirds me out how much I've grown and changed even in the last 6 months. I'm sure in my next area there will be many more adventures though, and I look forward to it.
This week was an exciting one. Obviously Christmas was this week, and that was a blast like I said. Thanks so much to everyone for the packages and cards. They meant a lot. Sorry I couldn't send anything back, I wish I could have! But Christmas crept up on me fast, and I don't have a lot of time..........or money. Anyway, thanks again. I am very grateful for all of the support I receive.
Yesterday, was a good Sunday to go out on. We had 5 investigators at church! Woooooohoooo! My whole first transfer with Elder Easter, we were always struggling just to get one. It's been really fun to watch the area grow and progress. Yesterday, Brenda came with her fiance, Gary. Brenda's daughter came and two grandchildren; Lizzie who's 16 and Frank Jr. who's 7. On top of that, Dave Aukerman was at church. He's the husband of one of the members in the ward, and two of his step-sons are on missions. One of his step-sons was skyping him lessons, but his step-son now handed him off to us. All of our investigators had a good experience at church; it was a pretty spiritual church meeting. Last night, we went to the Aukermans' for dinner. Afterwards we watched Finding Faith in Christ with them and had a pretty good lesson. We were a little bold with Dave, especially because it was very possibly one of my last lessons with him. We asked him about baptism and he said that he's praying about a date. He's a really religious guy, he just has a concern with why he needs to be baptized again with the proper authority. I've really come to love that family as well, they are so good to us! He said he'd get in touch with me somehow when he finally makes the decision to be baptized. That made me excited.
Well, it's been a good run here in Brazil, Indiana. I hope I don't lose touch with a lot of these people. I hope to visit here again someday. But, I also look forward to the things to come. I'll let you know next where I get transferred and my address.
Thanks for everything, and I love all of you! Happy New Year!!!!!
-Elder Tom Hill

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas from Brazil!

Hello everyone! I added some more people who I thought my like to hear from me to my weekly emails, so if any of you get sick of these showing up in your inbox each week, just let me know.

First of all, Merry Christmas! Second of all, I just want to say it is seriously a miracle that I'm even able to email right now. The Brazil library's computers are terrible and we were worried we'd have to take an hour out of our day to drive to the Haute and back (because of Christmas, our P-day is only 3 hours, so that would've cut into proselyting time.) I know that Heavenly Father really does answer prayers of faith, not only in things spiritual, but temporal as well.
Just in case the computers act up, I need to get the most important thing squared away. This is to my parents: I will be able to skype on Wednesday, so let's plan on about 10 am your time? Let me know if that doesn't work. What I'll probably end up doing is give you a call really fast right before I skype so you know when it will happen. Just try to keep your morning open. It might be earlier or later than that a little, but we'll plan on that. If anyone's on right now, let me know really fast if another time works better.
Well now I guess I'll talk about this week. It's been a great week! The time flew by, it's crazy how fast the days go by now. I don't like it. We had some good lessons with Brenda, Barbara and Ashley. They want us to come every day! Every time we go there, Brenda ends up giving us something because she's so nice and trying to clean out her trailer. Here's what she's given us while we've been here: 5 bibles, 4 pictures, 7 pounds of Jolly Ranchers, two candles, 6 books, 2 dinners that were packed with food, and I'm probably missing some things. Haha it's almost a joke how much she gives us. Elder Wallace and Elder Smith, our zone leader (they were on exchanges) reviewed the baptismal interview questions with her, and she knew just about anything. They got a pretty enthusiastic no to question number 5, for anyone who knows what the 5th question is. It fact, she said HECK NO! Actually she didn't even say that.... haha she's a character. We also had a lesson with Barbara where she told us that we have helped her change a ton. We didn't even realize how much she has changed. She used to party a bunch and even do some drugs. She said right before she met us she had thought about going back into doing those things, but she had been praying that God would help her not go back into her old ways, and then she met us through her mom. She kept telling us how grateful she was for us, and that she decided to listen to us. She said she's talked to missionaries before and slammed the door in their faces before. But now she's finally opened up. It just shows you that you have to never give up on people, you never know when their hearts will be softened. Barbara and Brenda came to church yesterday and had a good experience. We had a good Christmas program that we sang in (our ward choir is the funnest to sing in. We have Brother Garber as our choir director, and that always makes it entertaining.) And then Elder Wallace and I taught a Christmas lesson in Gospel Principles that turned out pretty spiritual.
We had another investigator come to church yesterday, named Michael. I'm not sure if I've talked about him before. We met him while walking a few weeks ago. He was in prison about a year ago, but he's working at piecing his life back together. He has a really good heart. He doesn't have hardly anything. He lives in a tiny house without any furniture. He doesn't have very much clothing either. Luckily some of our members were getting rid of some old clothes and we could give those two him. But he's working REALLY hard to get his life pieced back together. He had a great time yesterday as well and the members were really good to him. He gave some great insights in Gospel Principles which is what made the lesson so spiritual. He said when he first met us on the street he was startled when we asked if he had a minute to talk, but when we started to talking about the gospel it was like a "breath of fresh air". He loved church and we're meeting with him again today.
Well, there's so much more I wanted to talk about, but these computers are from the stone age.... Luckily I won't be skyping on them, we'll do that at the Paullus' home. Just so I can get at least a little bit sent off, I'll send this one and maybe try to send a little more afterwards. But if I don't, I'll probably tell you more when I skype you. This has been a great week. I hope I can send more in another email.
I hope everyone has a merry Christmas and I love all of you!!!!!
-Elder Hill

PART II

Hello again everyone! I have a few more minutes, and the computers are doing a little bit better. Here's a forwarded picture from Colton Twitchell, AKA Elder Twitchell who I saw at a mission conference on Thursday. Haha I look goofy in it. But anyway, it was a good conference with the whole mission, it was just super long.
Two more things I wanted to talk about in my email. On Saturday, we helped one of our recent converts with a project he's working on. He's trying to fix an old house that should've been torn down. It's a nightmare..... It goes against everything Rob taught me last year. But I'm glad I could use some of the things I learned last year to help someone out. The moral of the story: Don't buy a condemned house, especially without going to look at it.

Sunday night was a huge night in the mission, specifically in Terre Haute. Bishop Newton's mom got baptized! Missionaries have been teaching her for 37 years and she finally decided to make the jump! I guess she needed sister missionaries in Terre Haute to teach her, because that's what made the change! It was huge, there were hundreds of people at the baptism. President Cleveland even came. Anyway, it was quite the experience.
Talk to you later, and I love you all tons!!!!
-Elder Hill

Last week's email

Hello everyone!

What an excellent week! So much has happened, I don't even know where to begin! We've seen miracles this week and I know that the Lord's hand is in this work.
On Monday evening, we had a lesson with Brenda. We were a little bit bold with her, and told her that if she didn't get married to Gary (her boyfriend) or separated, and if she didn't stop smoking that she couldn't be baptized. The Spirit was really strong during our lesson and we could tell that she was really pondering hard about what we had taught her. After her lesson, we went to Brother Allen's house to talk about some things. Before we left the Allens' house, Elder Wallace said a prayer. Right in the middle of his prayer, the Allens' phone started ringing. Elder Wallace kind of cut the prayer a little short so they could answer it. Brother Allen answered the phone and said, "What? You're getting married!? I'm sitting right here with them, you can tell them if you want." It was Brenda. After our lesson she decided that she was committed to be baptized, so after living with her boyfriend for 7 years she was going to finally make it official and get married. We were pumped!! It was one of the craziest things that has happened to me on my mission; it was just like on the Best Two Years. Little did I know one of the job titles of a missionary was wedding planner.
The next morning, she called us during our studies and said, "I threw away my cigarettes last night, and I can tell you right now I'm not going to buy another pack. I can do anything I put my mind to." We couldn't believe it! Two miraculous calls within 12 hours of each other. But of course the adversary wasn't going to just give up. Right after she made her decision to get married and baptized, her family started giving her some major opposition. Elder Easter and I used to call the road she lives on "Jerry Springer Road" and a lot of that is because of some members of her family. We dropped by on Tuesday during the day, and her granddaughter freaked out. She's 18, living with Brenda (or at least she used to), and going through a divorce. Yeah, 18 and going through a divorce! Did I mention how being on a mission has made me so much more grateful for all of the blessings in my life? Anyway, when we dropped by, we mentioned her wedding plans. And her granddaughter said, "What!? You're getting married because they told you to!? I can't believe this!" Brenda said, "They didn't tell me I have to do anything, this is my choice." Autumn said, "Yeah, right. I heard them last night that you can't get baptized if you're not married! I don't believe in your religion!" and she stomped out. We told Brenda that it was completely her choice, but that we knew being baptized into the church would greatly bless her life. When we were driving home from Terre Haute around 8 o'clock that night, she called us again. She was crying on the phone and told Elder Wallace that she didn't think any of her family was going to go to her wedding. Her granddaughter had thrown another tantrum, yelled and screamed, and spilled a pot of boiling potato soup on her sister's leg. Brenda told her to get out of her house, and Autumn stormed out. Not only that, but her son started to give her a hard time as well about her getting married. It broke our hearts! We hurried over there and said a prayer with her. She said that she wasn't going to let it get her down and we told her to stay strong and keep doing what she's doing. She has such amazing faith, it's incredible. 

On Wednesday, we had a lesson with her daughter and granddaughter (her good family members) and it turns out they both want to be baptized as well! They are now scheduled to be baptized on the 25th of January, and Brenda's scheduled for the 11th. They're names are Barbara (Brenda's daughter) and Ashley (Barbara's daughter). So, we're going to have three generations baptized! We're so excited. I'm just scared that at the end of the year I will be leaving since I've been here a little while. It makes me sad because there's some really exciting things happening here the next few months.
On Friday, I had an exchange with Elder Howell, one of the elders in Linton. I learned a lot on the exchange, and we had some adventures in Linton. Linton's a small town in the middle of nowhere. (worst than Brazil, surprising I know.) The famous thing about Linton is a sign that says, "You'll like Linton". I like Linton, but I'm not sure it'd be my first choice of places to live... haha.
On Saturday it snowed a little bit more, so Elder Wallace and I turned into snow shoveling ninja's and shoveled a bunch of people's driveways. Because of that we were able to get in contact with a few of our investigators, Ken and Mona, and Sue. So that was good! Plus it was good to get a good little exercise snow shoveling crazy fast.
Speaking of exercise.... I'm not getting much. Haha I've gained 10-15 pounds. A combination of Hoosier cooking and hardly ever getting a good workout is starting to take it's toll on me. Elder Wallace and I did the math, and at this rate I'll come home at about 205! :) Haha don't worry I won't let that happen... I hope.

To end this week out, we had a great day at church yesterday. Brenda and Barbara came to church and had a great time. Ashley wasn't able to make it to church, because she's the one who got the burns on her leg from the boiling potato soup and her leg wasn't feeling too good, but hopefully she can make it next week. We had some good Christmas talks and a good lesson in gospel principles. It was probably one of the best church services for investigators yet.
We've got our Christmas plans figured it out, and the members have been fighting over where we will go on Christmas. We get so much support from the members. I also get a lot of support back home. Thanks so much for all of the cards. Please let the ward know thanks for the support also. I've gotten a few cards from members in the ward. Thanks so much for the support, I couldn't do it without you!!
Have a great week! I hope all of you try to find ways to share your testimony during this season where the Spirit is so strong. Look for opportunities to serve your brothers and sisters, because that's what the Christmas season is all about.
I love all of you!
-Elder Tom Hill

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Happy December from Indiana

Hello everyone!

It's crazy to think that it's December and I am starting my 6th month as a missionary! This week has been a good one and I have a lot to talk about, so it might be another long one today!
On Tuesday, we had a great night! We visited with an old lady named Sue. She is really nice. She's 82, but I would have never guessed that! She looks like she's in her 60's. Anyway, she talked our leg off, fed us pumpkin pie, and then we shared a little bit about the restoration. She seems interested and her cousin's son lives in Utah and is in the bishopric of a ward, so she knows some things about the church. She offered us coffee and iced tea, and the member that was with us, Brother Garber, thought that was hilarious.
After her, we went next door to a less-active guy that we met at the Garber's yard sale months ago. His name is Ken and he was baptized in another ward in Indiana in the late 80's, but hasn't gone to church since he's been in Brazil. His wife Mona isn't a member and she showed some huge interest in the church! We were just chatting with them, and then she said, "Well tell us about your church!" before we could even say anything. He still has a solid testimony and they said they wanted to come out to church. That was an awesome lesson!
Thursday was a really good thanksgiving. We ate dinner at the Griffins who are a family in Terre Haute. We ate some great food and then headed to one of the middle schools and played football for about 2 1/2 hours. In fact one of their relatives took some videos and put them online at http://xancraven.smugmug.com/Family/Griffin-2013 if you want to check it out. Or you can just watch ESPN sometime this month and I'm sure they'll be showing some of the replays....
Speaking of websites, our mission has a facebook page! I've never seen it though, because we still aren't aloud on facebook.... but you can go ahead and check it out! I believe it's on facebook.com/indymission . Elder Rogers (my mission grandpa and one of the assistants, he's home now) told me that we had our 4 generation posterity picture on there and that I was in some other pictures, so you'll have to check it out!
Friday was another good day. In the evening, Brazil had a Christmas parade. Just about everyone in Clay County showed up to that, so Elder Wallace and I went and tried to talk to some of the people there. Everyone was busy watching the parade so we didn't have much luck there. About 20 minutes into the parade, Brenda called us. We were so excited because we weren't able to get in contact with her for a week! We hurried over there with a member, Brother Allen, to visit her. It turns out she had a tooth pulled and got a dry socket, so she hadn't been feeling very good. That was  a relief to us, because we were afraid she was ignoring us. (She wouldn't answer the door when her car was home, and she almost always answers when her car is home.) It seemed like kind of a blessing in disguise for that to happen to her, as awful as that sounds, because the dentist told her that she couldn't smoke with the dry socket or it would make it a lot worse. She's been doing really well with the smoking. Her daughter, Barbara, was there as well and she showed a lot of interest in the church. We told her about the Book of Mormon, and since Friday she's already read to 1 Nephi 1.
Saturday was another good day where we met with some less-active families and Brenda again. We only have a few more things we need to teach her, but they're pretty crucial lessons for her to live the standards set for baptism. I'd definitely appreciate it if you kept us and Brenda in  your prayers; we could use all of the help we could get!
I hope everyone had a great thanksgiving! I have so much to be thankful for. First of all, I'm on a mission! This has been my dream for so long! If I ever get a negative attitude I think, "Holy cow! I'm on a mission! I've been waiting for this my whole life!" I'm really grateful for all of you, my family and friends. These last 5 months I've realized how much I took everything for granted. I don't know how I got so lucky to have so many people around me  who support me so much. And one of the greatest blessings I have is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a gospel of hope and I have that oppurtunity to share this peace and hope with those who need it so badly! I hope everyone has a great week, and I love all of you! Thanks for the support! :)
Love, 
Elder Tom Hill
P.S. I'll send some pictures in a minute if I have time.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Another week in Brazil!

Hey everyone! I have a lot to talk about, this has been an interesting week. So get ready for a long one!
This week started out with an awesome lesson with Heidi. She is our investigator that I was talking about a few weeks ago who heard that we believe we are aliens from another planet and weird things like that. She was really skeptical when we first began teaching her, but things have changed. On Tuesday we asked her if she's been reading the Book of Mormon and how she's felt about it. She said that she had been reading it with an open mind now and praying about it, and couldn't see how somebody could've made up the Book of Mormon. She said she feels the same way when she reads the B.o.M as when she reads the Bible, and she said she feels really peaceful when she reads the Bible. We asked her where she had left off, and she told us she hadn't understood a lot of the things she had read recently. And then she told us she had read all the way to 2 Nephi 27! We hadn't seen her for like 2 or 3 weeks and she had read that far. No wonder she couldn't understand anything, she had gone through all of the Isaiah chapters! At the end of the lesson, she said the closing prayer. She prayed to know if the Book of Mormon was true, and then prayed that we would be able to find more people to tell them the Book of Mormon was true. Anyway, the changes happening in Heidi are no small miracle, and that lesson was incredible. We plan on committing her to baptism this week with a date. I'm really excited.
On Thursday, we had some more exciting lessons. We had a lesson with Bill and Judy. They are an older couple who went to temple square and requested a missionary visit because they wanted to learn more. I can't remember if I've talked about them before, but they just want to learn more about the church. They have no intent of changing.... at least Bill doesn't. Judy seems to have a pretty solid testimony already and she likes the Book of Mormon. Anyway, when we first met with Bill he said, "I don't want to become a Mormon, I just want to learn about it." So on Thursday we had a pretty bold lesson with them. We felt inspired to read 2 Nephi 29 with them and if I hadn't felt like we needed to read that, there's no way I would share that chapter with an investigator who rejects the Book of Mormon. This is the chapter that talks about how foolish it is to think that the Bible is the end of God's words to his children. It's a pretty bold chapter. Anyway, we read that chapter with them, and it really got them thinking. And then I asked Bill, "when we first met with you, you said that you didn't want to become a Mormon. But if you found out it was true, why wouldn't you?" He said, "Wow! You got me there.... I guess it would be my own stubbornness" That question got him thinking, and then Elder Wallace bore a really sincere and solid testimony. It was awesome. We committed them to read the B.o.M. everyday and pray about it, so I hope that works out. We have a good feeling about them.
Thursday evening, we also had a lesson with Brenda in the Paullus's home.  We watched the John Tanner story, and encouraged her to drop the crutches like him. (I'm not sure if you've seen that video, but it's a good one) She hasn't completely given up smoking, but she is making good progress. She still needs all the prayers she can get. She didn't come to church this Sunday, and I'm not sure why, but hopefully we can get her next Sunday.
On Friday night, BYU (they came for the NCAA XC nationals) cross country team put on a fireside. It was killing me!! They were talking about racing analogies and all of these things and it gave me the pre-race jitters.... it was weird. But it was really cool! Then afterwards I talked to Jared Ward and Tommy Gruenwalde (aka Elder Gruenwalde back home) and that was cool. Tommy Gruenwalde said he remembered "Bishop Hill" and he said to tell you hi. It was cool to see so many of my role models.
Saturday, we volunteered at the cross country meet. IT WAS SO COLD! Indiana cold is crazy, it feels like it just smacks you in the face. I saw Coach Buhrley there. That made my whole day to see him there! He gave me a hug from him, one from Rob, and one from Mom, so that was cool. I told him we'd take a picture after the race when we didn't have so many layers on and you'd be able to recognize who we were, but unfortunately I didn't catch him afterwards. Oh well, I was just happy to see him.
Before the race, we were able to go into BYU's tent and hang out with the runners and Coach Eyestone before the race. That was so cool! I hope Cody's reading this, because he'll be jealous. :) The only thing that kinda stunk about being at the meet was that none of the other missionaries were runners, so they weren't as excited about the whole thing as I was. They thought I was crazy I'm pretty sure. Haha
Yesterday was an interesting day. We went to the family who we helped move stuff out of their basement and were super nice to us. ( I think I talked about them before.) Yesterday, we decided to ask David, the husband, if we could share things about what we believe. It was like he changed who he was. As soon as I asked the question, my heart sunk and I could tell that was a bad idea. He proceeded to tell us why our religion is wrong for the next hour. We kept trying to leave, but we couldn't. He didn't even really let us talk. He told us how he doesn't understand how we are elders when we are only 18 and 19 and that there's no way we understand what we are teaching people. After he was done, Elder Wallace and I bore sincere testimony to him, said a prayer with him, and left. It was crazy.... But it was a testimony builder to me, because the whole time he was talking to us, I just felt awful. The Spirit was not there at all. But when we bore our testimonies, and I said a prayer, I could feel the Spirit again. After that experience we went to a fireside here in Brazil where we wrote Christmas cards to some of the less-active families in this area and some of our investigators. It was crazy to see the contrast. I could feel the Spirit again and I felt so happy at the fireside! I know the church is true and that Joseph Smith really was a prophet. I thought I had a testimony of that before I came out here, but these last 4 1/2 months that testimony has grown incredibly. It doesn't matter how many people tell me I'm wrong. In the words of Joseph Smith himself, "I knew it, and I knew God knew it, and I could not deny it."
I hope everyone has a great week! Don't forget to count your many blessings this thanksgiving season. We all have so many!
I love you all!
-Elder Tom Hill

Monday, November 4, 2013

Brazil!



Hello Everyone!
Sorry if this email is short, in advance, but this has been a really stressful day so far! Our washing machine still isn't fixed, we had to do a lot of things to prepare for this week, and to add on that Brazil library's computers aren't working. (No surprise there... that library is ridiculous.)
Anyway, enough of my rant. This week has been really good! Just busy with different things. On Tuesday, we had exchanges on Indiana University campus in Bloomington with the Zone Leaders. It was right when I needed it and it really helped me out. Serving on campus is really fun, and I hope I can serve in a campus area sometime on my mission.
This week we had a couple of lessons with Brenda. She's doing really well! We're teaching her the Word of Wisdom on Tuesday. I'm really nervous about that, but I have faith it will work out. We're teaching that lesson in the Paullus's home, and Sister Paullus quit smoking when she joined, so that will help. Speaking of Brenda, she made us a pie. We ate a little bit of it, but she made it in her house and we could seriously taste cigarette smoke in the pie....that's how much she smokes! But it was a nice thought of hers. Also I finally got a camera, so that's nice. I bought the exact one I had before, so I'll try to send home more pictures.
Thursday (Halloween) it rained so much! (that explains the other picture where I have an umbrella with Elder Wallace.) We got SOAKED! We decided to be men about it and still go tracting in it. We were blessed for our efforts and were able to teach two lessons and find some solid people.
On Sunday, Brenda and her grandson, Frank Jr., came to church again. She had a pretty good experience! She's really loving the people at church. We had another investigator that almost came, named Tim. Our Assistant Ward Mission Leader, Brother Allen, went to pick him up. Right when they were about to leave, one of Tim's friends pulled up and told him one of their friends got really drunk the night before and had committed suicide. Talk about really bad timing..... So he wasn't able to go to church. Hopefully we can meet with him and help him pull through, sounds like it will be really hard for him.
We have met some really funny people out here. There's never a dull moment in Brazil. Elder Wallace and I have a lot of laughs. I really do love this area and I love the work. It's really beginning to pick up!
Have a great week! I wish I could be more detailed!
Love all of you!
-Elder Hill





Wednesday, October 30, 2013

From Brazil


Hello from the beautiful metropolis of Brazil!
This has quite possibly been the best week I've had so far in Brazil! It was exhausting and busy, but that's why it was so good! We taught the most lessons we have this week and we've seen a lot of our investigators begin to progress!
Brenda has been doing great! I can't remember if I've talked about her before, but she's our investigator with a  baptismal date. She came to church yesterday with two of her grandsons! We're teaching her son's family too who lives next door, but the parents haven't seemed really excited to come to church or keep any commitments, but their kids wanted to come. I heard from the sister missionaries that Brenda even stood up in Relief Society and bore her testimony. Woohoo! We're shooting to have her baptized in the middle of December, but depending on how the next few lessons go we could move it up. Next week, we're going to teach the Word of Wisdom and help her stop smoking. If any of you have experiences from your mission that helped people stop smoking, I'd love to hear them, because I haven't done this yet as a missionary.
Elder Wallace and I have been getting along really well here. We have a lot of laughs and a lot of fun, while still working hard, so that's nice. One of our best laughs this week happened on Friday. The Sisters in Terre Haute found a headquarters referral hidden in their area book and texted it to us on Thursday night, so Friday morning we decided to go visit it. We were really excited and hurried over there to talk to this referral. While we were walking down the road we saw a burned down house, and I said, "Oh no..." Sure shootin', the house number, 31 south, was still visible on the house. It must have been a pretty old referral.... We had a good laugh about that one.

We had one disappointment this week with an investigator named Joey. We went to teach him on Thursday and he didn't answer the door. We visited him again on Saturday and he came and talked to us. He says he's not sure if he still wants to meet with us because the church he goes to told him that the Mormons take him away from the truth and all sorts of things. To add to that, they told him to rip up the Book of Mormon they gave him because they said it was a bad book. This church gives us a lot of grief because they are very anti. Another one of our investigators goes to that church and she has heard all sorts of weird rumors about us. It's kind of crazy to me that we would get so much opposition from some people when we're two guys that aren't even 20! Anyway he said he'd pray about it and let us know if he still wants to meet with us, so I hope it all works out.
The members here are very supportive like I said before. Our washing machine broke down on Monday, and we were told it would be fixed pretty quickly, but it still hasn't. Brother Spencer let us come and do our wash, so that sure helped. To add to that, he gave me a cake, card, and a box of pop-tarts. He's a super cool guy! The members here are the best, and they're all very close to each other and the missionaries. There's not a lot of members here in Brazil and the surrounding areas, and all of them except one are converts, so they love missionaries.
My birthday was great. Thank you so much to everyone for the things that were sent this week. I couldn't do this without all of the support back home.
Well it's been a great week and I hope it's been a good week for everyone back home! Love you all! :)
Love,
Elder Tom Hill
P.S. I added some of you to my weekly email group because I thought some of you might want to get this each week. If you don't, just let me know. Adios!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hello from Brazil

Greetings Earthlings!

I say that because this week one of our investigators told us that she
had heard Mormons believe that we were aliens before we came to Earth!
I hear some crazy stuff out here! Anyway, hello family! :) This has
been an awesome week here. We got lots of work done and we had some
great experiences!

Tuesday night I got a call from my pops (Elder Ernest) and he told me
Ben was going to be baptized on the 26th and so that was awesome! And
then Saturday morning he called again and said he decided to move it
up a week! So we had a late night expedition to Avon to see Ben get
baptized!! Elder Ernest baptized him and it was easily the best
experience of my mission. The last lesson I had with Ben, I bore my
testimony and also sang hymn 136, I Know That My Redeemer Lives. When
Elder Ernest left Avon two weeks ago, he did the same thing but sang
Lord, I Would Follow Thee. Those were the two songs Ben chose for the
service. It was a great night and it was so cool to be a part of that!
When I was in Avon, Ben told Elder Ernest and I that he would keep in
touch with us, and I hope that's true.

This week we had quite a few lessons. We meet the most interesting
characters in Brazil. It always keeps us entertained. We taught two
guys yesterday that kept saying I looked like Eli Manning and Elder
Wallace had nice eyes. I would rather be Peyton Manning, but that
works too I guess. There's actually some potential with those guys
though, they were saying that we were different than what they had
heard about Mormon missionaries. And that's a good thing, because they
hadn't heard too good of things about us. They were excited when we
gave them each a Book of Mormon to read. We're meeting with them again
on Tuesday, so hopefully that works out.

Brenda, our investigator with a baptismal date of December 21st, has
been doing pretty well. We are starting to meet with her twice a week
now and she's already started to make changes in her life to prepare
for baptism. She didn't come to church on Sunday, but we will talk to
her tonight and see what kept her from coming.

One really cool experience this week that I know lots of people back
home will be jealous of is, is that I volunteered at the NCAA Cross
Country Pre-National meet. It would've been cooler if I was with my
running buddies, because the other elders didn't see the big
excitement was about a bunch of people running, but I still had fun!
We saw Utah State there, but they only had their top-7 with them. I
looked for people I knew, like Austin Costley, but he must not be in
their top-7 or wasn't able to make it or something.

After the Cross Country meet, we went to a pig roast that our Bishop
has every year. He's a judge in town and he seriously knows just about
everyone who lives in Terre Haute. So there were a lot of people
there, and it was a good experience. Our Bishop is an awesome guy
along with the other members. They're very supportive of us and I hope
I don't leave here anytime soon, because I'm starting to get attached
to them.

It's been a great week here. Thanks for the support! I love all of you
and I'm grateful for all you do for me! I hope you have a great week!

Love,

Elder Tom Hill
Elder Hill, Ben, and Elder Ernest

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Conference and Transfers

Hello family!

This has been an awesome week! Conference was the perfect way to end
it! Maybe it's just because I'm a missionary, but I think it was the
best conference I've ever heard. Anyway, I'll talk about that more in
a bit!

I'll start with the biggest news! We got transfer calls last night and
I am staying here in Brazil. That made me happy because I feel like
there is a lot of work I can do here, and I'm excited to see it
progress. (It also made me happy because NCAA Cross Country Nationals
and Pre-Nationals are in East Terre Haute in November and December and
our Bishop said he could get us in to volunteer there. Awesome,
right??) Elder Easter is leaving and both of us are training new
missionaries. So on Wednesday we will go to transfer meetings and I
will meet my first born in the wilderness. I'm excited to train, but
also nervous. It's a lot of responsibility, but I know the Lord will
help me out!

Conference was incredible! I feel like Saturday's sessions were
focused on missionary work! I loved Elder Perry's talk about members
being key to the work. Something we've been trying to do with members
is to help them create their own family mission plans with specific
goals of people they will talk to, numbers of people they want to
invite to church and activities, and gospel discussions they will have
with coworkers, friends and family. I'd invite you to do the same
thing! If there is a plan, we can accomplish so much more than if we
just go into something blindly. This is especially true with
missionary work! President Monson announced that there are 15 million
members in the world now and 80,000 missionaries. I want to change
that a little bit. There are 15 million missionaries in the world now
and 80,000 of us are focusing on it 24/7. That changes perspective a
little bit. Imagine how much missionary work could be done with 15
million people all trying to share the gospel! Pretty incredible.

Just like any week there were some set backs and frustrations. We
invited three people to come watch General Conference with us, and
they were all pretty excited to come, but none of them came and didn't
answer our calls when we tried to call them. It was a little
frustrating, but that's just a minor setback. The work is starting to
get rolling here in this area, and good things will start happening
these next few months.

I hope everything's going well back home! I've heard some people tell
me things about conference already, but I'd love to hear everyone's
insights. I know the men and women that addressed were inspired and
that those messages can greatly bless our lives and the whole world. I
know President Monson's our prophet upon the earth today, and that the
other apostles really are the Lord's apostles and are guided and
inspired by Him.

I love you all, and I hope you have a great week! Being a missionary
rocks! (<--- exclamation point!) :)

Love,
Elder Tom Hill


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Brazil



This has been a pretty good week here in Brazil. It was definitely
better than last week, but that wasn't really hard to beat. We got 5
new investigators this week, and I think the work is really starting
to get rolling here in Brazil.One of our new investigators is named
Reni and she seems really solid! We taught her about the first vision
and the Spirit was so strong as we were talking about it. We asked her
what her thoughts were on it and she said, "I could see how that could
really happen." It was awesome! She's so cool. She told us the reason
she wanted to meet with us is that she wanted to know why Mormons are
so happy. She was committed to come to church yesterday, but it rained
like crazy yesterday morning! She called us about 10 minutes before
church started and told us that she wouldn't be able to make it
because of the rain and she was worried about driving because her eyes
aren't very good. I couldn't blame her! My eyes are pretty good with
my contacts and I was kind of sketched out driving! We'll meet with
her again sometime this next week and I'm really excited for that,
because she is definitely our most solid investigator in this area.

Speaking of this area, I got some bad news about my last area from
Elder Ernest. He sent me an email today and told me Ben hasn't met
with them since we met with him last. He also told me the momentum
that started to get going in Avon has kind of died off, but hopefully
it will start going again. It made me sad to hear that, but he says
Ben is still coming to church at least, he's just not progressing past
that.

Last night we had a fireside with the members that just live
specifically here in Brazil. It was great. They had Elder Easter and I
give a message on missionary work, and it was probably the best we
have taught together while we've been here in Brazil. The Spirit was
really strong. The members here are very supportive and they are
excited to have missionaries again. I wouldn't be surprised if in less
than a year, Brazil has a branch again. The work is definitely
starting to hasten in this area, and the members can tell too. I just
hope I can stay here a little bit longer so I can see this area start
to have some success. I'll find out on Sunday what's happening.

I can't wait for conference! I think it will have a totally different
meaning to me now that I'm a missionary. My testimony of the
Restoration, prophets, the church organization, and Heavenly Father
have sky rocketed these last 3 months! Which reminds me, my three
month mark is a few days away. Crazy right? It's an eighth of the way
done, so it's like the first lap in a 3200m. That's kind of crazy to
think about.

Thank you all for the emails and letters. I've received a lot this
week! I love all of you! :) Have a great week!!

Love,
Elder Tom Hill

Monday, September 23, 2013

From Brazil

Hello Family!

So first of all, I just have to say that I'm really grateful that I
can even send an email today! This library and its computers are a
pain in the neck, but it all worked out. We had to show them proof
that we actually live here by showing them mail that we've had, so we
sent ourselves a letter with our names on it. They almost didn't let
us use them because it just said Elder Easter and Elder Hill, but not
our first names. Anyway, just thought I'd go on a rant about it, but
the main point of that is that I'm really grateful that it all worked
out and that I'm able to email.

This week has been awesome! We talked to a lot of people this week. We
knocked so many doors, that I had to start knocking with my left hand
because my right knuckles were getting sore. That sounds dramatic, but
I'm serious! We set up a lot of lessons for this next week, so we're
excited to see what happens and I hope they all go through. A lot of
our lessons this week fell through, and two of our investigators
dropped us, so hopefully next week goes better in that regard.

We got two new investigators this week. They were headquarters
referrals from temple square. They had visited Salt Lake City and
wanted to know more about the church. They are an older couple named
Bill and Judy and they are really nice and interested. They say they
just want to learn more, and don't have any desire to change anything,
but we'll see what happens there.

A really cool experience we had happened on Saturday. We were walking
down a road on a way to visit somebody that afternoon. We saw a guy
sitting and smoking on his porch and decided to talk to him. He showed
no interest and told us he was Roman Catholic. We asked him if there
was anything we could do to help him out and he said no. But then his
wife came out, and she was carrying a box, so we asked her the same
question. Again she said no. But then she thought about it and said,
"one second, maybe you guys can help." She went back inside and said,
"sure come on downstairs." It wasn't actually their house, but it was
their daughter's and her husband's house. We helped them move all
kinds of things out of their basement for an hour. They really opened
up to us. When we were done, they told us we had to stay for dinner,
so of course we accepted. The lady we met on the porch asked us about
our missions and she said, "That sounds like what the Mormons do!" We
told her that was us, and we had some good conversations. They really
appreciated it, and told us they would call us when they moved into
their new house that they were moving into in a month. It was a great
experience, and I could tell we had planted some seeds there. When you
plant a garden, you first till up the ground, plant the seeds, water
the seed and take care of the plant, and then harvest the fruit. This
is just like missionary work! The tilling of the soil is like breaking
down the walls that people set up when they first start talking to you
because they don't know who you are. After you do that, you can plant
a seed by sharing something about the restored gospel with them. I
feel like we did a lot of those two steps this week.

We had another interesting experience yesterday. One of the first days
we were here, a guy named Tom came up to us and told us that he was
just starting up a Christian church on the main road, and invited us
to come to one of their services. We told him we would try to make it
on one of the Sundays. Yesterday night, we decided we would go. It was
quite the experience! They were just a small congregation of about
20-30 people. They started out by singing some hymns. They sang "Count
Your Many Blessings" and "I Need Thee Every Hour". That was cool since
we know those ones. And then they started their praying and their
hallelujah-ing and amens and all of that jazz. Then, people stood up
and started "speaking in tongues" and shouting praises to God. It may
sound mean to say, but my testimony of the Apostasy and the
Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ shot through the roof! Then
one of the preachers stood up and preached a sermon about different
things. It was pretty intense! I would probably classify it as more of
a pep talk or something like that. We think he indirectly threw some
jabs at us, but we're not sure. But anyway, it was quite the
experience! And it was good because we got to introduce ourselves and
meet lots of people.

Well everything's going great out here, I hope everything is good back
home. I love being a missionary, and I think I say it out loud just
about everyday. The experiences we have here in Brazil are something
else, and there's never a dull moment.

I love all of you!

Love,

Elder Tom Hill

Monday, September 9, 2013

Hello from Brazil


Hello Family! (again)
 
This computer has a timer on it, and it says 17 minutes right now, so I'm going to type really fast, and hopefully it doesn't boot me off, but if it does, I guess you still have that first email I sent.
 
So this last week has been really exciting. The first couple of days this last week was filled with meeting new members, knocking doors, and trying to find people to teach. The last elders didn't leave very detailed records, so we basically had to start off fresh. We found lots of people who had a desire to learn more, and also found 2 more investigators this week!
 
One investigator that we met is named Kendra. She lives in a pretty big trailer park on the south side of town that we visited a few times last week. We have 1 (now 2) investigator in there and lots of potentials, so we're in there pretty often. People a lot of times are out of their trailers doing things, so there's an oppurtunity to talk to a lot of people. Kendra was out talking to her neighbor, and we went up and talked to her. She told us that she had seen us around and had wanted to talk to us and find out who we were, but she never got a chance. She agreed to meet with us a couple of days later. We came back and taught her about the Restoration and invited her to be baptized. Before Elder Easter could even finish saying it, she said yes. It was awesome. We thought she'd come to church, but she didn't make it, so something must have come up. We're meeting with her a few times this week, so we'll work out her concerns when we meet with her.
 
Another one of the investigators that the previous Elders were teaching is named Heidi. She is really shy and hard to read, but as we taught here she really opened up. She told us that she had felt something that she hadn't felt with the other elders, and we testified to her that that was the Spirit. She said that it sparked her curiousity and that she would read the Book of Mormon, pray, and try to find the answer to if this is true and that she should be baptized. We're really excited to see what can happen there.
 
I haven't been in contact with Elder Ernest or Ben, but if I have more time today, maybe I'll shoot Ben an email. I got a few questions on how the area is doing, and I have some of the same! But I imagine everything's going well, and I wouldn't be surprised if Ben is baptized either this Saturday or the next, but it's hard to say.
 
And one last thing, in case I don't get a chance to email just Mom. My address is 115 N. Franklin Brazil, IN 47834. There are a few things that I've been thinking that would really help to have, but I'll either include that in another email or write a letter home today if I run out of time.
 
There's a lot of potential here in Brazil, and I'm excited to see what miracles we see this week, because we saw plenty this last week. One that really stuck out to me, is that with all of these people with so much potential and desire to learn, we've been going through our Book of Mormons (Books of Mormon?) like crazy, and we were almost out. We're not getting more supplies in a few weeks, so we started praying and looking for more copies of the Book of Mormon. Then that day that we were praying and looking for more, a member gave us 4 copies! Always look for tender mercies! (1 Nephi 1:20)
 
I love all of you!
 
Love,
Elder Tom Hill

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Hello from Brazil!


Hello Family!
 
Hello from Brazil! I didn't think I'd be serving foreign! Just kidding..... kind of. Wednesday I found out that I would be transferred to the Honey Creek ward, which is a ward in Terre Haute. The ward covers 2 counties though, and our proselyting area is Clay County which is where we live; Brazil, Indiana. The reason I said I was just kind of kidding about serving foreign, is that Brazil is quite the place. It's a really old city, and the people are pretty poor, but it's a really cool place. There used to be a branch out here in Brazil, but it didn't end up working out, so it just became part of the Honey Creek ward. We are the second set of missionaries to be here, and before us there haven't been missionaries here in Brazil and Clay County for over 10 years! The other Honey Creek missionaries wouldn't go out that direction very often, because it's about 30 minutes out of Terre Haute, so there's a lot of work for us to do here.
 
My new companion's name is Elder Easter. He's been out 3 and a half months (and I've only been out 2, crazy I know!) and we got double-transferred in. Which means neither of us were in this area. So last week was a little stressful to figure out where we were, and how to get around, and who people to visit were. To add on to that, the last Elders didn't leave very good records, so we basically had to start out fresh. We're starting to figure out why it is that we got double-transferred in; we've heard and realized some interesting things about the last Elders.
 
Last week, we met with the Honey Creek Bishop. He is a really nice guy. He's a judge here in Terre Haute, and pretty much everyone in town knows who he is. He's very missionary minded, and he put us right to work, visiting lots of people out our direction. He invited us over to dinner on Sunday for a fish fry. There we ate fried catfish, snapping turtle, and a raw fish salad. The people out here are definitely what we like to call "true hoosiers".
 
I'm going to rewind a little bit. On Tuesday, before I got transferred, we had a lesson with Ben. He told us that he felt like we were pushing him to be baptized, and that he didn't feel quite ready to be baptized on the 7th of September. We had a really spiritual lesson and told him that this was all about him and if it felt like we were dragging him to be baptized on the 7th, than we were doing our job as missionaries poorly. He said he'd keep reading and praying to find answers. I'm sure he will be baptized, it's just a matter of time. At the end of the lesson, I sang "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" and bore my testimony to him for one last time.  It's been really cool to teach him and to share my testimony with him, and he know he was one of the reasons I needed to serve in Avon those short 6 weeks. It was hard to leave just a few weeks before he'll be baptized, but I know I'll keep in touch with him for a long time. (The first picture is me with him. The picture was kind of taken at a weird time, so we look like we're fake smiling, but the other one was blurry, so I guess I'll go with this one. And the other picture is Elder Ernest and I with a Muslim guy we were teaching named Feroze Ohab who was really cool.)
 
Well things are going great out here. Change is hard, but it's also exciting. I'm excited for this new challenge, and Elder Easter and I have already seen miracles.
 
I love all of you!
 
Love,
Elder Tom Hill
 
P.S. I'm emailing today instead of yesterday because of Labor Day....but you probably figured that out. Just thought I'd let you know! Love you!


                                                                 Elder Hill and Ben
                                                                      August 2013


                                              Elder Hill, Feroze Ohab, and Elder Ernest 
                                                                 August 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

Transfer Call!


Hello Family!
 
I'll start with the biggest news, which we got from transfer calls last night. I am leaving Avon. It's pretty crazy, and it was the last thing that Elder Ernest or I thought would happen. It was a hard call to receive, because I figured I would serve in Avon for at least three transfers (4 and a half months), but I'm getting transferred after my first one and Elder Ernest is staying. This transfer is going to be hard, because I've really come to love the people here, even though I've only been serving here for a little over a month. I've learned to love the people we're teaching and the members with my heart wide open, and they've started to become all of my focus and prayers. I just hope and pray that I can stay at least somewhat close so that I can see Ben, and any of our other investigators, be baptized. I'm not sure where I will be going yet, but I'll let you know next Monday.
 
This last week was packed, so I'll try to write about some of the highlights! Tuesday and Wednesday I went on an exchange with Elder Rider who is our district. He's a super cool guy. We were way busy, and we taught tons of lessons. One of the lessons we taught was with one of our investigators named Barbara. She's an older lady that has had a lot of health problems recently with cancer. When we were teaching her I asked, "will you pray to ask if the Book of Mormon is true, and if Joseph Smith was a prophet?" She said that she already had. I asked her, "so... did you receive an answer?" And she said, "Well I'm still meeting with you guys, ain't I?" Elder Rider and I laughed and I said, "So you know it's true?" And she just smiled and nodded her head. It was a cool experience. The member we brought with us told her he would pick her up for church on Sunday, and she agreed. Unfortunately, on Saturday she sent us a text that said she didn't feel like she was quite ready to come to our church. That was pretty disappointing, but hopefully we can continue to help her learn and progress. She's always very enthusiastic about coming to church and things when we meet with her and she feels the Spirit, but when we leave she feels a lot of doubt. Keep her in your prayers, and hopefully Elder Ernest and his next companion can help her progress. She's one of the people here that I've grown to love, so I hope that she can come to church and eventually be baptized.
 
This week we also met with Ben twice. Both lessons were really good and the Spirit was really strong. On Friday, he said he wasn't ready to be baptized on the 31st, so we talked about it and decided on September 7th instead. He said he would go home that night and pray about it. The next morning, he sent us a text that said he had prayed about being baptized then, and he felt awesome. However, on Sunday, he sent us a long text that said he wasn't sure he'd feel ready by then and that he had felt pressure from his family. He said he wanted some more personal time to study the scriptures and decide if what we had taught him was true. We told him that I'd be leaving, so he agreed to meet with us at least one time this week. Hopefully we can resolve some of his concerns there and help him out.
 
One last highlight was with an investigator named Nate. We found him a couple weeks ago in a trailer park, and taught him on Saturday. It was a very spiritual lesson on the restoration, and we committed him to be baptized on October 26th! His response to the 26th was, "Why not now?" It was super cool. He does smoke and have some other things that he'll have to work through, but he said that he's been looking for the truth and he has a strong desire to learn.
 
Anyway, this has been a long week, but a good week. I hope my email made sense, because there was so much this week I wanted to write about! I hope everything's going well back home. Love ya!
 
-Elder Tom Hill
 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Another week in Indiana



Hello from Indiana!
 
This has been a good week, and it's been perfect weather! So everything's been going great! We started up waking up a little bit earlier and going running too, because Elder Ernest wants to get in shape these last 6 months, so that's made me pretty happy too.
 
We had a busy week, full of lots of meetings. On Wednesday, we had a conference with the whole mission. They said general authorities would be there, and we knew Elder Holland was visiting the Indy North Stake on Sunday (I'm in Indy West), so we were hoping he would be there, but it was are area seventy who came and visited. Which was still super cool, he taught us a lot, and it was cool to see my MTC buddies there. I also ran into an Elder from West Point that's serving out here! His name is Elder Lowe, and he lives in that neighborhood just across the street where the Garvers and Johnstons live. It was pretty crazy. I don't really know him, but I recognized him from high school, so that was pretty nuts.
 
On Thursday, we had interviews with President Cleveland. He's a super cool guy. We were supposed to have our interviews at 330, and we ended up having them at 630....just shows how super friendly he is. The whole interview he asked about me and my family, what I liked to do, and all that stuff. It just really showed me how good of a guy he is.
 
This week we came in contact with four of our investigators: Lee, Barbara, Spencer, and Ben. All of our other investigators were hard to reach this week (we have 13 total now, all of our tracting and finding efforts are starting to pay off.). We invited all 4 of them church, but only Ben showed up. That was kind of disappointing, but at least he did. One of them, Lee, straight up told us that he wouldn't come, but the rest said they would. Spencer, is the guy I talked about in my first email that's been investigating for a long time. He's a super nice guy, in fact he's going to give me a water bottle holder and tail light for my bike, but he's still not sure he wants to make that next step of being baptized. We had two really spiritual lessons with him, and we thought he'd come for sure to church, but he couldn't make it. We haven't talked to him yet since then, but hopefully we'll figure out why he couldn't come and have him come next week.
 
We had an awesome lesson with Ben last night. The Spirit was really strong. We taught him about some of the commandments, and he got emotional when we talked about them. Then we highlighted how by repenting and being baptized we can be washed clean from anything that's happened in our past, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It really meant a lot to him. He basically said that he's been looking for direction like that his whole life, and he could really see why we have those commandments and the blessings we receive from them. He hasn't decided on a date to be baptized yet, but he's still praying about it. He is excited to be baptized, and it will probably be August 31st or the week after. I'm pretty excited about it too.
 
 
-Elder Tom Hill

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hello from Indiana


Hello Family! It's been a pretty eventful week out here, and I'll try to tell you some of the highlights! The first one, that has to do with the picture is that I went on exchanges on Thursday with Elder Ratu! (Also, check out my super nice haircut. Elder Ernest and I cut each other's hair, and it turned out....okay haha) Yeah, the one from Fiji! It was sweet! His companion is a district leader as well, and they both had to go on a meeting, so I went on exchanges in his area. I'll tell Paul more about it in my email to him, but he's an awesome guy.
 
On Friday night, Elder Ernest and I went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders again and we blitzed our area. Elder Petersen and I, had a lesson with Ben, who is our investigator with a baptismal date. It was a really good lesson, and he's loving all of it. He came to a baptismal service with us on Saturday and came to church on Sunday! We were a little worried about church, because Gospel Principles kind of turned into Gospel Doctrines, and they were sharing scriptures from the Pearl of Great Price and going super deep into things, but he ended up loving all of it. He told us he came to church with little expectations, and left with so much. He also told us that he feels like Elder Ernest and I are some of his good friends and he can tell us anything, and that meant a lot. A tricky thing with him (there never ends up being a perfect situation...) is that he actually lives outside of our ward boundaries, but is friends with a family in our ward. So we're currently working on getting that all worked out.
 
On Saturday, I got kind of sick in the morning, and we didn't leave the apartment until like 3. And then for dinner we went to a Sri Lankan family in our ward and they fed us true Sri Lankan food. It was pretty good, but it was definitely a tender mercy that I was able to eat all of it and not get super sick. They just kept piling food on my plate, and I still wasn't 100 percent yet, so it was definitely a little miracle.
 
Another cool family we've been teaching is a couple named Steve and Jill. He's a Seventh-Day Adventist minister who goes to the Middle East and converts Muslims to Christianity. He's interested in learning, but he definitely knows his bible. We took our Bishop with us yesterday because some of his questions were super deep. It's been interesting to teach him, and it's definitely stretched Elder Ernest and I to study and teach him.
 
Anyway, everything's going great. Everyone do your member missionary work! Because the work can't be done without the members. Love all of you!
 
Love,
Elder Tom Hill

IMPORTANT: Tom said that his email inbox is swamped with emails. He is really happy and grateful for all the messages, but he requests that rather than email that you write him letters so that he can write you back individually. Please don't be offended if he doesn't reply to your emails. 

Elder Hill and Elder Ratu, whom I knew in Fiji. His family was in my fourth area on my mission! Two great missionaries!


Monday, August 5, 2013

New email from Elder Hill


Hello!
 
Anyways, this has been a pretty good week. We didn't have as much success in finding people, but one of our investigators is progressing super well. His name is Ben, and I think I mentioned him last week. He came to church last week with some members, and we taught him the first lesson there. Since then, we've taught him the next two lessons. He loved it! He's already read some of the Book of Mormon, and  yesterday he told us he loves being able to see the connections between the Book of Mormon and the Bible. And he loved 3 Nephi 11 and 2 Nephi 31, which were some of the things we invited him to read. On Monday he kind of brought up baptism on his own, and after we talked about it, we invited him to be baptized. And he said yes! He's committed to be baptized on the 31st of August, and I can't wait. I feel like I've really connected with him, and I'm excited for that day. He's 24 and he's a college student. He's majoring in Spanish, which is crazy because the family that he's friends with in the ward don't speak a lot of English, but speak Spanish. He says he didn't know why he needed to speak Spanish, but he knew there was a reason for that. Since then, he's gone on service missions to Mexico and done all sorts of other things. He's a super cool guy, and I can't wait to see him continue to progress.
 
On Saturday, I had an exchange with one of the other elders in our district (because Elder Ernest is the District Leader). His name is Elder Mills, and it was an.... interesting exchange..haha. He serves in the Indianapolis 3rd Ward, so I was in southern Indianapolis. Anyway I learned some good things on that exchange, and patience was probably one of those things. But I did learn lots from the exchange.
 
Yesterday, on Sunday, Elder Ernest and I were hoping for 5 of our investigators to show up at church, but none of them came, not even Ben. So that was kind of disappointing; all of them had things come up. At church we were able to see the members starting to get more excited about missionary work, though, so that was exciting. Once we have the members helping us out here, the work is going to pick up big time.
 
Well, everything's great out here. I hit my month mark on Saturday, so that's pretty crazy. I'd say I can't believe that it's already been a month, but I can...It's probably been the longest month of my life, but I've loved it. All of the missionaries say the first month is the longest and then it starts picking up. But I do love it out here, and everything's going great. Love you all!
 
Love,
 
Elder Tom Hill

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pictures


Tom and His mission parents, President and Sister Cleveland


                                                Tom and some buddies in the MTC

                                     Tom and his trainer, Elder Ernest. This picture was taken to show my mom that Tom is still eating his vegetables.
Elder Hill, Elder Greenhalgh, and Elder Boyle
Tom's district in the MTC

Hello from Indiana



Hello Family,
 
Sorry last week that I didn't have enough time to email everyone, with it being my first P-Day, I didn't really have much time to email. We were super busy. And so my email probably didn't make much sense either, I was trying to hurry super fast.
 
Anyway, this week has been incredible! At the beginning of the week I went on exchanges with one of the Zone Leaders, Elder Cannon. We went onto the IUPUI campus, and that was really cool. I hope I get to serve on a campus sometime during my mission, because it's way exciting. We did a whole bunch of personal contact with people walking around on the campus. It really helped me open up and be more comfortable talking with people I'd never met. We also taught some really solid lessons to some of the college students.
 
The rest of this week in Avon has been really cool too. It's been filled with ups and downs, but the ups definitely beat the downs. We got 7 new investigators this week (last week we only had 4), so that was pretty huge. We met a lady on Wednesday named Eileen and her two kids who are 9 and 11. At first they weren't super open when we met them on their porch, but Elder Ernest really connected with them because they had a bearded dragon, and he had one back home. Once she opened up and we told her that we had a prophet upon the earth and a few other things, she agreed to meet with us the next day. So we went and taught her and her kids on Thursday. She told us that she'd been praying for 20 years that her husband would become religious and that they just moved into Avon so she'd been praying that they'd find a good church to go to. I've always heard of mission stories like that, but it's cool to be part of one. Her two kids agreed to be baptized. She hasn't yet, but it's because we didn't fully explain proper authority and she was already baptized baptist. But I feel like this will go really well.
 
Yesterday at church, a guy named Ben showed up with his girlfriend that is a member. So during sunday school and priesthood we taught him and answered some of his questions and he just kept saying: "That's so cool. That makes sense." We teach him this evening and I can't wait. It just really showed the difference between an investigator that a member finds and one that we tract into. He was super open and receptive. It was super exciting.
 
Well enough about mission work, I'll tell you a little about the area and my companion. Avon is beautiful. I love it here. Imagine West Point, without the mountains in the distance, and plus a lot more green, and random forests, and you've pretty much got it. There's a lot of people here, but it's a farm town that has recently had a lot of development. So, some places there's a lot of corn fields and soy bean fields, and other places just houses. We cover one ward, the Avon ward with Sisters. The ward is awesome, I can really tell I'm going to come to love the members here, especially since I'll probably be here at least 4 more months.
 
Elder Ernest is a great guy. I've learned a lot from him. He's a goofball (as you'll see in some of the pictures I'll send home in just a bit), but a hard worker and knows how to teach and connect with people really well. We get along well and really compliment each other.
 
Anyway, have a great week back home!!
 
Love,
Elder Hill