Missionary buddies

Missionary buddies

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!
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

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!
Elder Tom Hill