Tom and His mission parents, President and Sister Cleveland
Tom and some buddies in the MTC
Elder Hill, Elder Greenhalgh, and Elder Boyle
Tom's district in the MTC
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
I'm in the mission field! I can barely believe it! I have so much to tell you, but I hope I can get it all down in time! We have lots to do today, so we're kind of in a rush, but I'll tell you what I can!Tuesday morning, I woke up at 2:15 (yes in the morning, luckily there were no shower lines at that time.) to go to the travel office with Elder Wilson. We got there and were bused off to the airport to begin our adventure. I called you guys, which it was great to hear your voices, even if it was 6 in the morning and you all had groggy voices. :) And then we were off! The first faces we saw off of the airport in Indiana were the assistants, and President and Sister Cleveland. They greeted all of us with hugs (other than Sister Cleveland of course) and they were just awesome. Then we spent the night in the mission home. There was 38 of us, so it was pretty cramped, but still an awesome night. I slept like a rock. President Cleveland had a little meeting with us, and he's the man! You can definitely tell he was a basketball coach. One of the Elders described him as Clint Eastwood mixed with Mitt Romney mixed with Elder Holland. He definitely pumps you up when he talks. Anyway, I can already tell I'm not making a lot of sense in this email, but there's just so much I want to tell you! Also, Sister Cleveland's cooking is way good! But of course, not as good as yours Mom. :)The next morning we woke up and headed straight to transfer meeting. There I met my trainer, Elder Ernest, and found out where I would be serving. I am serving in a suburb of Indianapolis called Avon. I'll talk more about the area in a minute. Elder Ernest is the man! We get along super well, and he's a goofball! But he's also super spiritual. He's taught me tons! He's a great teacher, and he's really good at talking to people and breaking the ice when we knock on doors. That's something I've really been trying to work at. Because Avon's a new area (there was a set of Sisters here before, but last transfer they added a set of Elders too), we're really in the finding mode. So we've been doing lots of door knocking and going through the former investigators. We're really trying to get the members here to help us find people to teach, because it's hard to find people that are interested. Avon's a pretty rich place so there are a lot of people that aren't really open. There are also some really poor parts, like a few trailer parks, and that's where we get the most doors opened up. So please do member missionary work back home! I've realized more while I've been out here how important the members are to missionary work!We were able to teach a few lessons this week, and there are also some other notable events. On Friday we taught an old man named Lee. He's like 84, and he's super hard to teach. He's really nice, but he just kept on rambling on. We taught him most of the restoration, especially Joseph Smith's story, but right after we'd make a point he'd change the subject. So I didn't think much sunk in... He's a Quaker, and he's written his own books on religion and leadership and things. He's an interesting old guy. Here's one of my favorite quotes from the lesson: "You know, China's always trying to give us bad things! I had two cats that died from cat food sent from China, that the Chinese poisoned. And Betty lost 5 cats from the poisoned food!" Anyway, that kind of gives you a taste of Lee.Saturday was an exciting day. We were out tracting and it started sprinkling a little. We knocked on a few doors, and then it started pouring. And I mean a total down pour. It's like someone had a huge bucket and just dumped it all out at once. We were completely soaked. We kept knocking on doors for a little while in it, but then realized people probably wouldn't even open their doors it was so bad. I've never seen rain like that in Utah, that's for sure. And Elder Ernest says he's never seen it that bad here either, and he's been here 17 months. We went back to the apartment and changed. Everything was wet. Luckily our scriptures and books were good, but it was pretty crazy. And we waited out the storm at the apartment.That night, we taught Spencer, who is a guy that's been meeting with the missionaries for 7 years. He's been pretty sick lately, and he told us that it made him really think about not putting it off anymore. We invited him to be baptized, and it's looking pretty good. He didn't say yes, but he said "I'm sure you guys know this scripture, but there's something in the Book of Mormon about not procrastinating the day of your repentance...Maybe it's about time I did get baptized." It was an awesome lesson.Anyway, I hope this email made sense. I love all of you, and I love this gospel! Stay true, and always be a missionary!-Elder Tom Hill
I leave on Tuesday morning for the field!Our district here at the MTC is awesome. All of us get along so well, and it kinda stinks that we do, because the rest of the Elders, besides Elder Wilson and I, are going to California, so I'll definitely miss them. Our teachers are awesome and inspired. We've taught one of our teachers, Brother Hitchcock, as a progressing investigator, or role plays that build off of each other. We've both learned a lot from that.There's so much that's happened this week, there's no way I can tell you about all of it, but it was incredible. I've learned and focused so much more on the Doctrine of Christ while here which is "to come unto Christ... through faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." It's really what the focus is on here in the MTC, and what our focus as missionaries should be. To help others come unto Christ, there's nothing cooler than that!I can't remember everything I've written home about, so I'll just tell you about everything I can think of. The MTC has definitely been one of the biggest growing experiences of my life! I've learned more this last week about the gospel and how to teach it than any other time in my life. This week, Elder Wilson and I had our TRC investigator role plays, which is where actors come and we teach them the gospel as if they've never heard it before. One of them, Carlos, was awesome! He was like the golden investigator. We invited him to be baptized the first lesson, and he accepted! He probably taught us more than we could have ever taught him. We shared 3 Nephi 27: I Think verse 19 and 20 about being baptized and having our garments washed in the blood of the Lamb, and asked him what he thought it meant. And he said, "that is beautiful! It's saying if I am baptized I can be spotless, and I want that." Way cool experience. Our other TRC investigators name was Daniel, and we struggled even getting in his door. But when we finally got in, he told us about a bunch of trials he'd been having with drinking, and his family. As we taught him, the Spirit was WAY strong. It's crazy that the Lord is willing to give us missionaries the Spirit so strongly, even when we're just role playing.Hey everyone!Sorry my email last week was kind of short, we didn't have a whole lot of email time last week, but I'm hoping this time I can have a little bit more. I'm sitting right now in the laundry room, so I hope everything I right makes sense, because it's kind of chaotic.Love,Elder Tom HillPS I hope this email made sense, because I'm in a rush, but the main thing is I've had a great week. I love you all!!
I sent home a letter yesterday (Friday), but I bet it's not there yet, and I figured I'd send you some things real quick so you'll know I'm alive and so you can share this with anyone that wants to hear from me. The MTC is awesome. I've only been here for 3 days, but I feel like I've been here for a long time just because of all I learned. There have been some hard times, but mostly I've had the time of my life. My companion's name is Elder Wilson, and he's a great missionary and taught me a lot. We were called as Zone Leaders, and will become them tomorrow. Our district is awesome, and all of us get along so well. My companion and I are the only ones going to Indiana; the rest are going to Anaheim, California. That makes it kind of tough, because I've become pretty good friends with a lot of the Elders already, and it will be hard to see them go. All of the Elders kind of remind me of the ones on "The Best Two Years", because we're all kind of goofy. But when the time is right, everyone in the district can be super spiritual too. Well I love the MTC, and I'm learning more and more everyday. Sorry this isn't very informative, I sent a lot more home in my other letter. This also might not make a lot of sense, because I'm in a hurry because the dryer with my clothers is probably almost done. Hopefully next week's email will be longer. I love this gospel and I love this work! The church is true, and I know it!I love all of you!-Elder Tom Hill