Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Week 49: The Lord's Hand is in Everything

Monday and Tuesday:
All evening Monday and all day Tuesday I packed to head to my new area and I said goodbye to all of my friends and family here in Stillwater.  On Tuesday night we taught Rosi and Juan one last lesson. We talked to them about the temple. It was outstanding. We found out that Rosi's mother was endowed in the temple and attended regularly! holy cow! my mind was blown. The whole lesson we could see Juan's little brain cells working and all the gears in his head start to work. Things are starting to make sense to him! Que milagro! It was a very spiritual last lesson with that family that I love so much. Later that night Hna James surprised me and took me to Keaton Carter's house where I was able to play the cello! That was the first time in a year that I have been able to sit down and play and let me tell you it was amazing! Thanks Hna James and Keaton :) I love both of you!

Transfers. I packed my whole life into the back of the elders car and we drove down to Moore for transfers. There I said goodbye to Hna James and Hna Snowden. Man.... It was really hard. Hna Snowden is being transferred... home! Back to Utah! I wish you the best mama and I know you will do so many amazing things! Hna James got her new trainee and headed off. I hugged her goodbye and drove of with my new companion Hna Hunt. We instantly got to work. We went and visited a less active. She is the funniest person I have ever met!!!!  After that we got some random stuff down and then we went and visited the De Leon family! They are getting baptized this Saturday!!! So that was awesome to see their fire and get to know them a little bit. Came home and unpacked

So fun fact. we share a car with the Elders, so every other day we are on bikes! woohoo!! So on Thursday we biked 5 miles to go teach the De Leon family :) They are so ready for their baptism on Saturday.

Adriana and Carlos De Leon got married today!!!! They were so happy and their whole family was there to support them. It was a wonderful service that our branch president performed. I wish you could see their faces. So happy! So a little bit about this family. The mom Adriana has been a member for a few years but has been super less active and had a really hard life. She met Carlos about 2 years ago and they have been together ever since. They have three little kids. Adrianita (10) Gabby (5) and Carlosito (6 months) Adrianita and Carlos are being baptized on Saturday. they are so excited and they see the eternal goal which is the temple. I think that is the coolest thing ever

Adrianita and Carlos were baptized!! and that was a miracle!!! I swear everything that could have gone wrong went wrong before the baptism, but the baptism happened  and that was the most amazing thing ever. Here is what happened. We got to the church early to fill the font, and we had the wrong key.... so we called everyone and their dog to try to find the right key, but nobody was answering. After about 30 minutes we got a key and started to fill the font. after it had been filling up for about 15 minutes we went to check on it and it was all yellow... there were bugs swimming in it and it smelled like pee..... So nasty! We found out that this font hasn't been filled for over a year. So that is why that happened! But by some miracle we were able to get it clean enough to perform the baptism. It was a beautiful service :)

Church.......we had over 100 people come to church...... 100 people!!! It blew my mind!!! I couldn't fathom the thought of that many people in a branch! The members are amazing. And I am slowing but surely learning all about them. It is way fun. Adrianita and Carlos got the Gift of the Holy Ghost! They are on fire and love the Spirit.  Another really cool miracle! We went to go visit a less active Sunday night and we found out that her Grandson is living with her. We got there and taught them the restoration and set a baptismal date with her grandson Allen!!! AHH! Miracles are happening. He is 17 and he came to the baptism on Saturday. He told us that after that he decided that he also wants to be baptized. Woohoo!

So I want to say a quick something about the title of this email "The Lord's hand is in everything" To be 100% honest with yall. This week has been one of the hardest ones ever. It has been so hard to leave Stillwater and come to a new area. When I think about the people I have come to love in Stillwater tears come to my eyes. I love them so much. I said goodbye to my two best friends in the whole wide world on Wednesday. (I know I will see them soon, but it's hard not to have them right here with me) I have come to a new area where I don't know a single person. No one. I'm still getting to know my new companion and there is nothing to relate to the world of Stillwater. But each day when I look back, I see the little ways that the Lord puts His hand out and pats me on the shoulder.  A scripture. A member who is really nice. Finding a picture of those you love that you haven't seen in forever. An email from your family. Little things every day. That is how He helps us. That is how He is helping me. Change is never easy, but this life wasn't designed to be easy. It was designed to help us grow and understand the Atonement and the love the Lord has for each of us. I am learning that every day.

I love you all so much and I want to wish my mom the best birthday ever!!! I pray yall are well. Thanks for your constant love and support.

Hermana Hilton

This is the De Leon family on their special baptism day :)

My new companion and I

Saying goodbye to my "mom" I love you Snowden!!!!! I will see ya soon!

Old friends!! this is the OG crew!!! these two elders are the two elders that I came out with! woohoo!!! Shout out to them!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Week 48: I'm 20.......and I'm getting transferred!

First off I want to thank everyone for  all the birthday wishes!!! It was so good to hear from everyone. Here is the run down

Monday night Hermana James and I were informed that Hna James is going to be training a new missionary! ......but that means that I am getting "kicked out" or in  different words transferred. We seriously sat there  after the call and just blankly looked at each other. Then we got  really sad, then excited, then nervous, then pumped. Just about all the feelings that you can  imagine were happening. Then after that the forever long wait till Sunday began (Sunday night is when we are told where we are going)

We didn't have a  car for about 2 and a half days this week, so that consisted of a lot of walking and bike riding. Luckily the weather was super  nice! So it wasn't too cold. I didn't even have to wear a coat during the day! Really quick a cool walking miracle. We decided to go try a person we contacted a long time ago and  see if they were home. We haven't been able to ever get in with them  in the past, but we decided to do it anyways. And guess what!? We got in! #miracle We were able to teach him and his wife. They were super duper  nice.

On Thursday I went on  exchanges with Hna Snowden! so we got one more day together as "companions" before she goes home. She goes home this Thursday and even though it will be  sad to see her leave the mission, I am super excited for all the new adventures that are awaiting her. She will do amazing things. I love you Mama Snowden!!! But on exchanges we were able to teach Rocio. She is a friend of a  members and we did not have any plans to visit her, but as we were driving trying  to figure  out where to go, an idea popped into my head and I knew so clearly that it was what we needed to do. We knocked her door and she let us in. We taught her the Restoration and at the end of the lesson she asked us if she could be baptized! We of course said YES! and we set a baptismal date for February 20th. yeah! such a huge miracle.

Saturday was a very special day. The Elders  had a baptism. His name is Gerardo Moroni and his uncle is our investigator Juan (the dad of Jenny and  little John) So our investigator family, Juan, Rosi, Jenny and John all came to the baptism. It was a super spiritual experience and I know that they all felt the spirit.

 I had the most wonderful birthday!! Here is what happened :)
- Woke up at 6am to someone banging on the door. It was my district and they danced to and sang happy birthday to me!
- Opened  up my presents from my family :) Thank you!!!!!

- We went to ward  council and at the end I told everyone that I am being transferred. They all were  really sad to see me go. Especially Brother Johnson (our group leader) he said, "I could tell that you were wanting to say something and  I just kept thinking, No! Don't say it! You can't get transferred! If she doesn't say it, it won't happen right? Man, I should talk to your mission president." It was really funny. It is good to know that the people love and appreciate you.
- I was able to bare my testimony in English Sacramemnt meeting. Bishop have me the opportunity to say a few words
- In Spanish Relief Society all the Hermanas sang Feliz Cumpleanos to me!
- I was able to bare my testimony again in Spanish Sacrament meeting and holy waterworks! I couldn't stop the tears  from coming. Telling these people goodbye has been one of the hardest things ever.
- We came home after that and the STLs surprised me with a cake :)
- ......then Hna Snowden smashed a cupcake in my face... haha Super funny!!!! It was well deserved from the last time that I did that to her hehe
- Juan and Rosi had us over for a little birthday party. We ate a lot of really good food. They are the sweetest family ever. I can't even try to express how much I love them. They literally are the best family in the world. Rosi is going to be baptized on the 30th! and then her son John a couple weeks after that. I am so excited for the steps that this family is going to take in the near future!

- We went to the Johnsons house to say goodbye and take a picture. When his daughter's boyfriend pulled out his ferret! so gross! Sister Johnson was freaking out the whole time  because she hates animals. haha Then it pooped on the floor. I'm pretty sure  Hna Johnson was ready to dropkick that rodent! haha
- The Gonzales family gave us a call after that and told us to come over. We showed up and they had a surprise party for me! They made a ton of food and they had a present and cake. I seriously felt so much love in that house. I had no idea that they were planning on doing anything for my birthday. I can't thank them enough.

-Then we came home and received Transfer Doctrine. I am  going to south OKC to serve in the Spanish branch there.
So pretty much this was one of the best birthdays ever! Thank you so much to everyone who has made that possible :) I love the people here in this area so much. I now know a little bit more the amount of love that Christ has for me, because I can feel a little bit of it for the people here. I think that leaving this area will be one of the hardest things ever, but I know that the Lord has so many other advetures waiting for me.

I love you all and thank you so so much  for everything!!!

Hermana Hilton

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Week 47: God doesn't care where we have been, only where we are going.

Well yet another week in the mission life here in Oklahoma. The weather is quickly getting colder and colder. I feel some days like the freezing wind is cutting through my body and is going to knock me over! There is nothing quite like the weather here in Oklahoma. It is a killer. But we are still going out and doing the work of the Lord! And there is nothing else I would rather be doing! 

Monday: We had our first Family Night or the year as a group and it was way fun! We had a lot of less actives and investigators come, so that was amazing. It is fun to have a good time with these people. We watched the churches new years video. If you haven't seen it, watch it! 

Tuesday: The two highlights from tuesday were probably, #1 Brother Pestridge (a british man in the english ward) called us up and asked if he could take us out to lunch! So we had a surprise lunch with him at Mcalisters. That was fun. He had a crazy life growing up in England. #2 We met with our Group leader and talked about the year plan for the group. Man. It is so good! We bounced around ideas and solidified a few things.

Wednesday: I had an interview with my mission President. I want to share with you all what he taught me and what I learned. Well  I walked in there and we started chit chatting and eventually the conversation lead to talking about the atonement, what it is, what it means, and how we use it. He shared a lot of scriptures with me. To summarize what I learned is that I am God's child and I can't bear the pains of this world on my own. I just can't. But luckily I have an older brother who loves me so much that he "bought" me with a price.(Doctrine and Covenants 50:40-44) The atonement. His life. He did that so I can repent. So what is repentance? Repentance is to have a desire to change. It is me turning my desires back to Christ. He talked a lot about how the truth makes us free. Truth is what frees us. So before we repent, what comes first. Faith. So what is faith? (I have been trying to answer this question for forever!)  President said that faith is experience. We learn through experience which grows our faith. So how do I strengthen/have faith? I read and study the scriptures. When times get hard and your faith is attacked, just keep reading. Pray. Read. Pray. Read. Pray. and never stop. Even when we fall.  If we didn't fall, we couldn't be redeemed. (think Adam and Eve. Without the fall, we wouldn't need a savior) So in this life we are expected to fail. President said, "No one is surprised that you make mistakes. You made a mistake, all well! you learn from your mistakes that that's not the way I want to live and you change! So don't worry about making mistakes, it happens!" So what do i do? I find balance.  I learn. I keep getting up and trying to be better. No one expects us to be perfect in this life. The Lord has compassion on us. Compassion means that He is willing and going to help us. (Doctrine and Covenants 64:2) He will help me. He has bought me. I am His. I cannot fail. God doesn't care where I have been, only where I am going. 

Thursday: Good old weekly planning. If you don't know what that is, it is exactly what it sounds like. We take about 2 hours of our day and plan out the next week. We make lesson plans and set up times to go see people. It is a very necessary process. At the end of that we have what is called companionship inventory. That is where we talk about how we can improve our companionship and we make goals. I learned so much about my companion during that this week. We made some really good goals. The rest of the day was spent trying to find new people to teach!

Friday: We had another lesson with Doris. Man. she is amazing. we talked to her about the atonement and how we use it. Even though her little kid was crazy, the spirit was really strong! Side note... I think her two year old son might have a crush on me because he won't leave me alone! ahh! \

Saturday: We were invited to go to a Catholic Baptism!  A member's sister's son was being baptized and we were invited. I was really able to get perspective on what our investigators are used to when we say baptism. I wish yall could have been there. After the baptism we went to the party that they had for the little boy. We met Mario and Judy there and they are supppppper cool! man. We talked to them and they told us that they are looking for a church and that they want to get involved. They are on their own, reading from the bible daily! I am super excited to meet with them because they want to know about Christ. They are looking for Him!

Sunday: So I am going to go straight to the point. As a group we have made goals and plans to become a branch by the end of next year right? So Bishop Holyoak got up in Spanish Sacrament and boldly testified of the need that we have for the members. He said, "we are happy when Rolando and Lorena and Giselle are here. We are happy when Edit is here, but we are much happier when Rolando and Lorena and Giselle are here every week. We are happier when Edit and her husband Hugo are here. You guys are my spanish family (he doesn't speak a lick of spanish) and I love you. We need you!" He called out specific people and expressed his love and how much the church needs them. I wish I could describe to you the love that I felt as Bishop was saying all of this. After Bishop closed, Giselle (a less active who has been to church about 2 times in 3 months) leaned over to Sister James and said, "I want to start coming every week, for all three hours." Holy miracle!!!! There are people in your wards that really do care and love for you. They want the best for you. I learned that this week. We need you.

I hope you all have a blessed week and that you all have a chance to share your love with someone this week. 

Love you all so much!

Hermana Hilton

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Week 46: Feliz Ano!!!

Feliz Ano! Happy New Year everyone!!

What a crazy fun week!

For New Years all of us missionaries got together and had a party! It was fun. We went to the institute building and played ping pong and drank sparkling cider and played some pool and catch phrase. It was really fun to be with friends. All the missionaries here are like family. I love them all so much.

Ready for a crazy story.... New Year's Eve morning our whole district (all 12 of us) went to help a lady from the English ward move all of her stuff. I feel bad saying this, but, I have NEVER seen a house more disgusting. She had been living in that house for years and hadn't thrown a single thing away. A hoarder. I have a huge fear of hoarders too, so that made it worse! And then on top of that she had 4 long haired cats. 4 of them!!! There was cat hair EVERYWHERE!!! It was nasty and the whole place smelled like cat pee. I was 100% disgusted. We were there for 2 hours boxing things up and putting them in a U-Haul, and we barely packed up her kitchen and one corner of her living room. We left after two hours because (as some of you may know) I have allergies to cats, so my throat was pretty much sealed shut, my eyes were red and swollen. I was sneezing ever 2 minutes and then I would cough the whole time because I couldn't breathe. It was horid. We came home and I took a Benadryl and slept for about 2 hours. What an adventure! Maryanne, I will never complain about the animal hair in your house ever again. haha

I went on exchanges with Sister Jensen On Tuesday. I learned a lot from her. We had a lesson with Sun. She is from Shanghai and has learned about the gospel while she has been here. She is super sweet. Her testimony is so strong. While we were there she told us how she is really excited to go back to Shanghai and share Jesus with all of her family and friends. Really cool! We also taught this crazy  family. Holy cow!! that was my very first experience teaching them and they are sooo funny! I couldn't believe how much they talked. Their dad, Larry was a hoot!  Exchanges are always a blast.

The Lord blessed us this week with 12 new investigators. We have 3 families that we are now teaching, and I am super excited. We are seeing the fruits of our obedience throughout this past little bit that has been hard. It is really cool to see. This area is about to explode. At ward council this Sunday, our leaders told us the goals for the group. They said that they want this group to be a branch by the end of this year.  That means that they want 8 active endowed melchizedek priesthood holders, 60 active members attending sacrament every week, and 1 family to go through the temple. Right now the group's sacrament attendance is really low, so this is a big goal. We have 2 baptisms planned for the 30th of January (Rosi and little John). We will need to work hard and get the members very focused on missionary work as well. We have a lot of people already in the church, but that are less active, so we will need to work hard with them. With this vision that the bishopric has, I feel really motivated to do everything I can to make it happen and bring them to Christ. I don't want to hold anything back. Hermana James and I talked to our "group president" Brother Johnson and he told us that the trust between him and the missionaries and also the missionaries and the members is the best that it has been for a long while. He knows that we are doing hard work and he wants us both to stay. We really would like to stay also. We find out if we are moving or not in 2 weeks. I really feel like there is still a lot of work for us to do. We can start this group's year off strong, so that when other missionaries come in there is a strong base and the vision of our leaders can be accomplished. So we are ready to work hard!

Oh! another really cool miracle! Bartolo called us from Mexico!!! We talked to him for a little bit. He said he went to church in Mexico on Sunday and loved it! Woohoo!!! He said he found the elders there and that one of them is from Utah. (haha not a surprise to us, but to him it was amazing) Then he let us talk to his mom. His mom told us thank you for changing her sons life. It was amazing to be able to talk to her. Bartolo is doing amazing.

I have come to learn through that and through other experiences this week that if we just keep looking forward and keep our focus on Christ, we will be ok. The rest will come. As I have been praying and studying and working as hard as I can, I have felt the love of God and I know that with him and with the help of Christ I can overcome all things. I am excited for this new year to make new goals and keep walking on the road back to my loving Heavenly Father. I love you all so much and wish you a HAPPY 2016!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hermana Hilton

This is all the sister missionaries at our New Year's party :) so much fun! Cheers!

This is Sun! She pulled out a selfie stick when I asked if I could take a picture with her!!!
sooooo funny!!!! I love Asians!

Sun, Me, and Sister Jensen :)

My fear of  hoarders is real... it is so scary... this car was just sitting there and I ran... far away!

Hna James and I happily doing the Lord's work!!!