Missionary buddies

Missionary buddies

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


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