Monday, October 6, 2014

10/4/14 - DJ

Hola, Everyone!

So, if all goes according to plan, this should be my last e-mail from the mission. As such, I'm going to make it a little different

And this last of all I share, the Testimony that is in me. That Christ Lives. He was born, lives, suffered, died, and lived again so that each of us could repent and receive forgiveness for what we have done. More than that, His Atonement allows us to change and feel his healing power in each of our lives to have a permanent effect on us. I know that He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world,  that everything He did for us was an act of love, so that we could choose to accept Him and receive our eternal reward. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is His church here on the earth today, that He Leads this church by means of his Living Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I know that each of us can make a difference in the lives of others, and, as was mentioned during the conference, we can reach out and bless the lives of those around us. I know these things to be true, and leave them with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

-Elder D Hill

PS: see you in a week!
9/29/14 - DJ

Hola Everyone!

So for those paying attention, the number 2 is important today. Last Friday I completed 2 years as a missionary.  Tomorrow marks 2 weeks until I go home. I should see 2 baptisms before I leave, and Susanna and her kids get baptized 2 weeks after I go home. So lots of 2's right now. So to answer what I'm sure a lot of you want to ask, I'm fine. Last week I was a mix of I can't wait to be home, I'm going to miss Mexico, I'll see my family, I'll miss the people here, it was an internal nightmare (all these feelings at the same time), but the Lord is helping me, and I'm good now. I'm going home in 2 weeks. Ok, lets go to work. So I'm cool for now.
Things are staring to line up for after I'm gone. We should have 1, if not 2, baptisms before I leave. I mentioned Juan last week if I remember right, but the other is an investigator who we have been teaching for a few months now; but she had one thing she had to change before she could be baptized. Well, it looks like now that's changed. We are going to wait a little to make sure it all pans out fine, and if so, she should be baptized before I leave, too. It's interesting to think that I won't see the majority of the fruits from my work these last 2 weeks, but it's service to the Lord, and future missionaries will be there to harvest (My companion for one!) 

Two weeks? I can do anything for two weeks!

That's all for now. Nos Vemos!

-Elder D Hill

PS: Just cause I'm adding some pictures
This is a Thermometer


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

9/22/14 - DJ

(I'll be combining two posts for this one.)

 Hola Everyone!

[First,] Sister Moya says Thank you for the Baking Soda, Thank you for the Hershey's chocolate chips, and thank you for the recipe. We finally had time to make the cookies yesterday, and they came out delicious! (see pictures) So Muchas Gracias from Sister Moya.

So, Let's see what I have to talk about. We have some new investigators. There should be a lot of baptisms in the ward... shortly after I leave. Right now there is only one investigator who potentially can be baptized before I finish the mission, and he's pretty solid.  Susanna and her family are actively participating in everything. It helps that there is a Primary Presentation October 18th (Saturday after I get home) that her kids are excited to be part of.  
Yesterday was a great day in church. We had almost 90 people there, and there were 6 investigators of ours who came. (Not counting the investigators of the other companionship in the ward.) Granted, 3 of them are Susanna and her kids, but that's still really good. 
Also, last Friday we had the Noche Mexicana - the ward party for the Mexican Independence Day. It was a blast! And people brought their friends from all over, (the majority of visitors weren't from our ward.)

 There was also a double rainbow that night!
There was also a Mariachi. Well, a Mariachi singer with his "Cyber-Mariachi 5000". 

 It was still a blast, and everyone had a good time. 

That's pretty much it for this week. Nos Vemos!
-Elder D Hill

Monday, September 15, 2014

9/15/14 - DJ

Hola Everyone!

So, this week was good. but first, HAPPY MEXICAN INDEPENDANCE DAY! (¡VIVA MEXICO!) Things are a little crazy around here at the moment. Mexicans really enjoy their fiestas. So we have to be in the house early tonight and tomorrow for security reasons. As such, I'm writing a little early today.
So [as for] last week. First, we are teaching Susana and her children (the daughter and grandkinds of Marcelino and Gloria who got baptized about a month ago.) They're super excited and prepping for baptism. That's where things get fun. Sharon, Susana's daughter, turns 8 October 21st, and they would like to be baptized all together after her 8th birthday. This, in my opinion, is fantastic with one slight problem: I won't be here to see it. [Still] I figure it'll be an awesome baptism with her and 2 of her 3 kids, with her father baptizing. That's more important than me being there.
I'd say more, but I was just informed that I gotta run to President's house. Our zone won a competition, so we get to have dinner with him again, and we were just informed that we need to be there at 4. 
Hasta Luego!

-Elder D Hill

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Elder Jordon Hill has returned home (as is evident below).  Elder DJ will be returning shortly.  Since mail delivery to Mexico is so slow, if you'd like to send something to Elder DJ, please use the home address on the right side of this blog.

9/8/14 - DJ

Hola Everyone!

So this week was alot of getting used to new things: 
1) New Companion, Elder Riveros (See pic 8470) 

2) New Bishop. (I did mention we had a change of Bishop last week, right?)
3) 4 missionaries instead of just 2
4) Church Starting at 9 instead of 8 in the morning.

So with all this, we went to work.  We had a lot of people in church this week. It's amazing what a change of an hour (and bishop) will do for attendance. We also went to the Temple Visitors Center again!  This Time we went with Marcelino, Gloria, and their family (their daughter Susana, her husband Felipe, and their 3 children) They loved it! It also turns out that Felipe is a member, but went inactive like 20 years ago, so we will be looking for his records to get them moved here. Susana and her oldest son accepted Baptism too! Look for their baptism photos a week or 2 before I come home.
September is also the celebration of Mexican Independence. So, in honor of that, I had this:

That's about all for this week.
 Nos Vemos!

-Elder D Hill

Thursday, September 4, 2014

9/2/14 - One Down, One to Go

Elder Jordon S. Hill arrived home at Chicago Airport on Tuesday, Sept 2, 2014, at 1:09 pm.  He caught up with his family about 1:25.  Welcome home, Elder!

9/1/14 - DJ

Hola Everyone!

   So I've now got one transfer to go, and today, Elder Rodriguez left for another area. and now for the next 6 weeks, my companion is Elder Riveros from Bolivia.  For those keeping count, he makes my 5th Latino companion and my 10th companion overall in Mexico! (no picture yet, next week) It'll be a fun couple of weeks.
Also, yesterday, we had a change of Bishop in our ward, and the rumors are flying about other changes in leadership. On top of that we received another companionship in the ward, so now there are 2 missionary companionships in National 2 (I guess that's the reverse of Jordon who was 2 wards for one companionship.) To top it off, the services are going to start at 9 instead of 8. All that plus Elder Riveros makes it feel like a new ward here. 
Great experience of the week, Marcelino, who received the priesthood a week ago, blessed the sacrament for the first time this Sunday, and he got it right on the first try. He was super nervous because he understood that it was important to do it right and spent all last week studying the sacrament prayers to be sure he could say them. What made it cooler (and I didn't tell him this) was that, with the change in Bishops, the whole stake presidency was there with their families, and several other stake leaders; so the first time he did it, it was in front of EVERYONE!  But I'll let someone else tell him that.

That's the news for now. Nos Vemos!

-Elder D Hill
9/1/14 - Jordon

Well, it finally hit me. I'm going home. You know that feeling when you're about to go on a trip or something, and you feel like it's still quite some time away? Well, That's how I've been feeling...until Sunday morning in Sacrament Meeting. It made things a little interesting for me though. For Sacrament meeting all of us missionaries in the ward were asked to speak for 5 to 10 minutes about the different aspects of charity.  Best of all we didn't coordinate topics. We attempted to try it General Conference style, and it turned out really well, in my opinion. One of us talked about Charity being the pure love of Christ, another about how we obtain charity, another about how charity leads us to act (service), and another about what happens when we serve others motivated by charity. I elected to go last. I wanted to be the one to tie all the talks together. It was just before I got up to speak that it really hit me that I was going home. It made an interesting lead in to my talk though. I got up and said (in Spanish, "Well, for those of you who don't know doesn't really matter. I'm going home tomorrow." Everyone laughed a bit. "But, maybe it does matter." Then I talked about the love I felt from everyone there, and continued on to the rest of my talk. It went alright.

So, I was thinking about it this morning, and I'd like to give you a few stats from my mission.
Over 16 Transfers in the field, I...
...had 14 Companions
...served in 7 Areas [He says he feels like The Doctor (Dr. Who reference)]
...lived in 9 Houses/Apartments
...served in 11 Wards and Branches
...served under 2 mission presidents (in two different missions)
...witnessed the completion and dedication of 1 new temple
...and had 3 baptisms, BUT
...numberless lives were influenced by my serving a mission, not the least of which was my own.
So, back when I was in Tempe, I found some interesting pictures in the apartment of one of the departing Assistants to the President. I decided to hold off on showing them to you until now. Enjoy. 

I can't remember if I had shown this to you yet, but in my first apartment I found some ducks in the paint on the wall. 
Yes, there are ducks there.  If you don't believe me check out the outline. It's not the best outline, but it shows what I want it to. 
Anyway, the reason I mention this is because it turns out that in my first house I found ducks and in my last house I found a duck. 
 One of the other elders left it behind for me. I don't know about you, but I find it kinda funny.

Well, that completes my email. I have my interview with President at 3pm. Wish me blessings. I'll see most of you tomorrow.
Con muchisimo amor,
-Elder Jordon Hill-
(soon to be Brother Jordon Hill)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Aug 2nd - Arizona Gilbert Mission - Jordon's in here somewhere!

8/14/14 - DJ at Zone Conference

I found this on the Mexico City Northwest mission blog.  Can you find DJ?

8/25/14 - DJ

Hola Everyone!

So first I'm going to address the main question I've been getting recently. How do I feel about being so close to going home? well, I don't know. feelings are weird and mixed. I feel that I still have so much to do and only a short time to do it. So I'm trying to stay focused on the present. the current week, one day at a time. So, on to the important part of the E-mail.
This week has been a little more difficult, but good. A good portion of our investigators we realized aren't progressing :( so we're making plans for how we can help them to start progressing. In the mean time I'll talk about those that are getting closer to baptism. This week we started teaching Juan. He's the "husband" of Nadia, one of our other investigators. He's mostly interested in learning to understand better, but I've seen several people start that way that ended up being baptized, so we're praying for that to happen here. We also started teaching Susanna, who is the Daughter of Marcelino and Gloria (who got baptized about 3 weeks ago.), and she seems to be liking everything she's hearing. Her parents are a big help here, too, and it turns out her husband is an inactive member as well! Small world.
Last Saturday we also had a cool experience. We were asked to participate in a "Missionary for a day" activity in the next stake over.  We were given one of the young men to show them what it's like to be a missionary for a day. Samuel was great! He got to experience a little bit of everything about the mission: from lessons with investigators, to unplanned service, to sore feet from all the walking. It was a great day all around. 

That's all for now. Nos Vemos!
-Elder D Hill

PS: I'm ok with Jordon going home early because it means he gets to help fix up my room :)
8/25/14 - Jordon

Well, this week, doesn't really have much to report.
Things are going decently here in the Ward. We currently have two investigators who attend church with somewhat regularity. (Kevin and Arturo.) Kevin is on date for the 6th of September, and Arturo hasn't committed to a date yet. We asked him to counsel with the Lord for when he should be baptized, and, as I understand it, he said he'll give us his answer for when he wants to be baptized in our next lesson, which is tomorrow (Tuesday). We have high hopes for him.
The Ward Soccer activity on the 29th is getting a great following. Everyone is excited for it, and things are almost ready to actually have the activity. Food is taken care of, goals are in the process of being made, and we almost have what we need to draw out the field. (The activity is being held at the Stake Center, which has a big "back yard" for sports and stuff to be played.) We're going to get some non-permanent chalk/paint that can be washed away to use for drawing out the field. It's looking like it's going to be a wonderful event. We intend to share a spiritual thought, too. We can't let those non-members/less actives go away nu-nourished, now, can we?
So here's a little bit of what's been happening here in the mission. Next to the Gilbert Arizona Temple, there's a stake center. We've gone and turned that Stake Center into the "Reception Center" (virtually a Visitors' Center, but without the name). There are TVs showing videos, there are computers to show Family History, etc.

Something else that's happened is we've formed a mission choir. (Picture the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, then reduce the age of the members by several years and the vocal ability by about half, and you might have our choir.) Anyway, this choir is going to perform at the Reception Center every Thursday night starting this week. The point is in essence to bear out testimonies of Jesus Christ through song. It's something to bring people to, so they can feel the spirit. It won't just be us singing, either. There will be some speaking parts and a couple special musical numbers by a few select missionaries. This is gonna be good! I may only be in it for one performance, but I'm happy to contribute my talents how I can.
Well, thanks to Tyler, we found a small error with the "Other Ultimate Number". (I'm sure others of you probably noticed this, too, but Tyler was the only one to say anything.) Not to give away the secret, here are some fixed examples:
14 is 7, 7 is 5, and 5 is the "Other Ultimate Number".
16 is 9, 9 is 5, and 5 is the "Other Ultimate Number".
1 is 3, 3 is 4, 4 is 6, 6 is 4, and that's the "Other Infinite Loop!"
(I realize that more often than not, you get into the "Other Infinite Loop!")
8 is 4, 4 is 6, 6 is 4, and that's the "Other Infinite Loop!"
11 is 4, 4 is 6, 6 is 4, and that's the "Other Infinite Loop!"
100 is 4, 4 is 6, 6 is 4, and that's the "Other Infinite Loop!"
164 is 23, 23 is 10, 10 is 4, 4 is 6, 6 is 4, and that's the "Other Infinite Loop!"
...Interesting, most things lead to 4 (and 4 is 6, and 6 is 4, and that's the "Other Infinite Loop!".) Hehe.
That's about it for this email. I will see what I can do to ensure I, and my stuff, get home safe and sound. Until next time.
Con amor,
-Elder Jordon Hill-
8/18/14 - DJ

Hola Everyone!

This week was interesting. First we received news that the beginning of September President wants to send another companionship to Nacional 2. Meaning there will be 4 missionaries in the ward next change! The only problem is that means we needed to find an apartment for them to move into. and President wants the contract signed this week! Well, we spent all of last week looking, and we found one yesterday that President came and looked at and approved. Which just leaves the issues with the contract for this week. 
Which brings me to point number 2. Like Jordon, I had a realization about how much of an influence I've had here on the mission this week (although mine wasn't in the temple...) Anyway, Friday, when we were on our way to check a possible apartment, my companion points out to me there are people on the other corner calling me. When I look I see the Gonzalez Family and 3 other young women from the Juárez Ward. (you may remember the Gonzalez family from my E-mails last October/November. They got baptized the Saturday after I became secretary (see below). 
Well, they were all excited to see me. It was great to see them and find that they are still active in the ward. Decho, Manuel, the father, tells me he's now Ward Mission Leader! How cool is that! It made me think about all the people I've affected, and every time I see a member, they ask if I remember them (I did mention I'm right next to Juárez right? It's the next ward over) Anyway, we took [this] picture so we could remember. They also tell me I look like I've lost weight even though my waist is the same as it was when I left Juárez. 
Third event, Thursday was Zone Conference. President talked to us about having Unwavering Faith, and using it to have an effect on everyone we meet. He used the example of Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah. They were going about trying to destroy the church when an Angel appeared and told them to knock it off. The Angel also said it was [because of] the prayers of the people and Alma Sr. that he was there; showing us that by the use of faith, we can affect other people. A little further, the sons of Mosiah bring Alma to his father unconscious. Alma Sr. then proceeds to praise God and say how he prayed and fasted for something like this to happen. Showing again how our faith can help other people. then he exersizes his faith to pray and fast that his son will wake up. and he has the priests do the same! Showing how our faith can work together for miraculous effects. Wonderful lesson that we should all apply in our lives. and not doubt. Doubt kills faith.

That's all for now. Nos Vemos!

-Elder D Hill

PS: I found a scout store in the mission and might have made a few purchases today 
8/18/14 - Jordon

Well, this week was Awesome!
We found a new investigator on Wednesday. His name is Kevin, and he's eight years old. He is super interesting in learning about the gospel. His parents are not members either, but currently he is living with his Aunt and Uncle. He is currently on date for Saturday, September 6th. Yes, the Saturday after I leave. I know. But, it's not about me, it's about them. Anyway, we're super excited about it, and so is Kevin.
A lot of our focus at the moment is going toward a couple activities we're having in the ward on August 29th. We're going to have a Carne Asada dinner followed by a Fútbol (Soccer) game. (I love Carne Asada! It's basicly thinly sliced grilled steak with lemon. DJ might have a better description for you. I need to see if I can find a recipe before I come home.) Following that, we will be having a 40 day fast in the ward starting on August 31st. The fast will be about missionary work in general, but when we call people to remind them about the day they signed up for, we're also going to ask them to fast for a specific investigator, less active member, etc. and the circumstance they need help with. (for example: to set a date for baptism, or to stop smoking.) We're getting a lot of participation on both activities, and we like it. The purpose of these activities, and the activities that will follow after, are to help get the ward in a missionary mindset. The soccer game isn't just for coming and having fun, it's meant to be something they can invite their non-member/less active friends and neighbors to attend, so they can start getting to know the church, it's members, and especially the missionaries. We're looking forward to how this turns out.
Guess what...I got to got to the temple twice this week. Once with my Zone on Wednesday, the other on our own on Saturday. The reason for the Saturday Trip was one of our ward missionaries, Ivan, who is preparing to serve a mission, went to the Temple that day to receive his Endowments, and he invited Elder Vázquez and me to come with him. We called President Nattress to see if we could go, and he said yes. So, we went to the 8:30 am session on Saturday. By the way, that just so happens to be the Spanish session. I assume DJ probably always goes to a Spanish Session, but it was a first for me. It's interesting hearing it all in Spanish, and I was able to keep up for the most part. But, I decided to do the last part in English. I know it a lot better in English. Oh, well. It was a great experience, anyway.
That temple trip was also a bit of an awakening. Apparently, subconsciously, I was thinking that I didn't really that great of an influence on very many people here in Arizona. I wasn't made aware of this until I reached the Celestial Room, then it came to me....Ok, let me back up for a moment. When we got to the Temple that day, there at the front desk was Bro. Fire, of Creekside Ward. He recognized me right away! We said "Hi" for a moment, then we were on our way. I needed to borrow a temple packet, so we went down to the baptistry, where we go to pick one up. There at the baptistry were Mason and Rylie, a couple of youth from Desert Hills Ward. They, too, recognized me and flagged me down. Continuing on, I picked up the packet, and went we went on our way to the changing room, then it was up to the chapel. At the foot of the stairs was young Bro. Turley, of Freestone Park Ward. He, too, stopped me to say "Hi". In the Chapel, Hno. Gomez, from Río Solado Ward in Tempe, Saw me and came to sit next to me. Then in the Celestial Room, Hno. and Hna. Trujillo stopped to say "Hi" to me as they were headed out. It was there that I had the realization of just what an influence I've had here. Subconsciously, I might have just been looking at the investigators and less-actives I've taught, but my eyes were opened that I also affected many of the members in a great way, as well. We're not done, yet. Back in the changing room, Hno. Mendizabal, of the Gilbert 11th Branch came up to me and we chatted for a bit. Not to mention all the Queen Creek Ward members that were there for Ivan.
I also realized that I can't remember the last time I went to the temple without running into someone from one of the wards in which I served. On the Wednesday trip, I saw Sis. Quist, of the Silver Creek Ward. Last transfer I ran into a couple youth from Gilbert 12th Ward out in the front foyer. And, on a few trips I've run into Bro. Lambert, of Mesquite Ward. Using just what I can remember (the above list), In the last two transfers I've seen someone in the temple from each of my areas, and over all I've seen someone from all but two of the eleven wards I've served in. I'm going to miss Arizona once I'm gone. I need to make certain I come back to visit every once in a while.

So, you've heard of 4 being the "Ultimate Number", right? Because 12 is 6, 6 is 3, 3 is 5, 5 is 4, and 4 is the "Ultimate Number". Well, I've found another. I present to you the "Other Ultimate Number": 5. I'll give a few examples:
8 is 4...4 is 5...and 5 is the "Other Ultimate Number".
Here's another:
15 is 6...6 is 4...4 is 5...and 5 is the "Other Ultimate Number".
And another:
2 is 3...3 is 4...4 is 5...and 5 is the "Other Ultimate Number".
Try and figure that one out. For some of you it should be fairly simple. For others, maybe not.
Well, that's it for this week. Just two more emails to go, then I'm home. I refuse to count days, though, no matter what anyone says. Until next time.
Con amor,
-Elder Jordon Hill-

Monday, August 11, 2014

8/11/14 - DJ

Hola Everyone!

So, this week was a little fast and different. Most of our investigators were on vacation or just not home, so we taught a lot of less active members instead. We also  went out with the young men and the young women to contact and visit specifically the less active members of their quorums and classes. That was an interesting experience. All the youth without an idea how to contact [others]  helping us find potential investigators. They usually went something like: "Hi, were from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These are the Missionaries. They share messages about Christ and God and stuff. Here's a pamphlet that talks about what they share. Oh, and here's different one. And we have one more for you, too (gives them the pamphlets of the Restoration, Plan of Salvation, and Gospel of Jesus Christ).  So do you want to listen to them?"(translated from Spanish). It was fun.
Funny story for the day. Most people here don't seem to know what root beer is. In general it isn't sold here. I discovered a few months ago that the 7-Elevens here in Lindavista usually carry A&W root beer. (yay!)  Today we were with a couple of other missionaries, and we stopped in to buy some snacks at a 7-11 we were passing, and the cashier carded one of the other missionaries for buying a root beer! Since it says beer I guess they thought it was alcohol or something, because Elder Chavez had to show his ID that he was old enough to drink! We were all laughing about that one.

That's all for now. 
Nos Vemos!
-Elder D Hill
8/11/14 - Jordon

Well, the transfer's half over. Time races on.
First I'll be honest, I had a moment of homesickness last week once we got "home" from running our errands. Tears were shed. And then finding out this week that no one even got the email, it was heart break.
On a lighter note, there were a couple baptisms this week; also not ours. One was for someone in the other district. He speaks Spanish better than English, but he wanted to be taught in English apparently. However, the interview he wanted in Spanish, so I was the one to interview him. The baptism went well. There were a few Spanish speakers there, and we got to talk momentarily with them. But, they all live in Mesa, so no new investigators for us. Oh, well.

The other baptism was a child of record baptism for our ward. It was scheduled to begin at 7 pm. Elder Vázquez and I were put in charge of filling the font. There was just one problem...I lent our font key to the Sisters for their baptism last week...and they hadn't given it back, yet. I didn't realize this until we were at the church about to open the font doors. I called the Sisters to bring the key, and they came right over. They arrived about 6:30. -- Now, it takes roughly an hour to fill up the font, normally. So, we had a problem. We quickly found the Member Custodial Closet and formed a bucket brigade. We managed to get the font ready by about 7:00/7:05 pm. Hurray for things working out.

So, I've been given an assignment from President Nattress. Granted, it's an assignment for all the missionaries. We are to spread the word about the Mission's website and other social media pages. Check them out! "Like" what there is to "like", and "Tweet" what there is to "Tweet". Enjoy!
That's it for this week. I hope this one makes it through better than last weeks. Until next week.
Con amor,
-Elder Jordon Hill-
8/8/14 - Jordon

Well, this week was a bit more smooth for me than last week.
The Spanish is coming back quickly. I'm not so tired from day to day as I was when I got transferred here, so I think it was due to my brain trying to keep up with everything. My brain seems to be decently adjusted back into it now. Although, I still have problems keeping up with everyone. Hardly an hour goes by without my saying, "Mande" (or in English "Could you repeat that?" Or, at least, that's how I'm intending it. I could be wrong, but it seems to be working well enough.)
Oh, something I forgot to mention last week. I'm district leader, again. (Hurray for preparing trainings. Woohoo.)   No, actually I don't mind it so much. But, get this. Everyone in my district is a Spanish speaking missionary. Do you know what that means? Spanish District Meetings! Yup, I get to give my trainings is Spanish now. The Zone Leaders don't speak Spanish, and one of them sits in each week, but they're okay with the Spanish.
The area is doing well. This week we did a lot of yard service for people. Being Monsoon season, it's somewhat humid out now. I was reminded, again, how much I'm not a fan of humidity. I'm not a big fan of sweating when I'm not doing anything to warrant the sweat. Oh well, what can you do.
There was a baptism this past Friday...but it wasn't ours. It was for one of the investigators of a sister companionship in my district. So, I got to do the interview. Something interesting I've noticed: Every time I do a baptismal interview for someone in Spanish, when I ask about the Word of Wisdom, they go on a rant about how important it is to have wisdom and learn everything you need to. EVERY TIME! Often times, the English speakers I had interviewed in the past wouldn't know what I was referring to either. They know the principle once I start explaining it, but don't know what it's called. Tyler, when you go on your mission, would you make sure to link in your investigators minds the principle of the Word of Wisdom with it's name, so that those who interview your investigators don't have this same problem? Please? It will help many a people both investigator and missionary.

I witnessed a miracle yesterday. We did an "temporary" exchange with the Zone Leaders of Skyline Zone (my last zone). During the exchange, we went to the YSA Ward's "Break the Fast" meal. As we were about to leave, I met a young sister who just returned from her mission a couple months ago. When she read my nametag she asked, "Are you from Illinois?" I answered her, with a bit of confusion in my mind. She then blurted out, "I know your family! I had Thanksgiving dinner at your house!" She apparently was looking for me and didn't know how to go about it. For those of you at home, you might know her as Sister Lunt, or Hermana Lunt as she introduced herself to me. She informed me that my dad said to tell me "Hi" and was constantly messaging her on Facebook to see if she had found me, yet. Well, she found me. Dad, message received.  And to think, if we hadn't done the exchange, she would have never been able to deliver the message. It's the little miracles that bring us the most joy.
Okay, everyone is welcome to know this, but I want to talk specifically to Mom for a moment. Mom, do you remember in our Mother's day call I asked you how you managed to raise me to become what I am now? Well, I think I may have encountered the answer. If you would, please listen to the audio file "Moms Explained.mp3" attached to this email, and don't read anymore until you have done so.
(Moms Explained.mp3) 

Is that a decent way to describe it? I came across this song a little bit ago, and recently realized just how well it relates to my question. Mom, I will now attempt to speak for both me and DJ. I want you to know just what an impact you have had on our lives. From the time we were born even up until now, you continue to be a great influence and support for both of us, and I know you will continue to do so ever onward even until both you and we have passed beyond the veil. Words cannot express the feelings contained withing my heart right now. But maybe this will help. Mom, I would like for you to listen to "Our Response.mp3" also attached to this email, and then continue.
(Our Response.mp3 -- see reply)

I love you, Mom! And, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have and will yet do.
Well, that's it for this email. Until next week.

Con amor,
-Elder Jordon Hill-

8/8/14 - DJ

Hola Everyone!

So this week, we had another Baptism! 2 actually. Marcelino and Gloria (in the back next to my companion in the photo) also in the photo are their daughter with her husband, their 3 grandkinds from that daughter, me, and Julio (our Ward Mission Leader).

We are now starting to teach the daughter and her family. The grandson in front of Marcelino is 9 years old and has come to church a few times with his grandparents, and he's reading the Book of Mormon according to his Mom.  So there is some definite potential there. 
Oh, I also learned to make Tacos al Pastor this week. It's a type of taco that I'm told is only found here in the Mexico City area. Here's a picture of me eating the finished product. Now the trick will be to find the ingredients when I get home (Mom, If you wanted to find out the location of a Mexican food store I wouldn't object).
Other than that Business as usual. See you all in 10 weeks!
Nos Vemos

-Elder D Hill

Thursday, July 31, 2014

7/28/14 - DJ

Hola Everyone!

So this week there was a fair in our area for in honor of the local Patron Saint (Santiaguito).  It was based around the Catholic church here (which just happens to be located behind the chapel), and it was a huge affair: rides, games, fireworks, everything.   The fireworks would go off about once an hour, and we could hear them from anywhere in our area. Some of the members told us that there are often people throwing eggs at people and the at the end of the night each night (it ran from Thursday through Sunday) there is a Bull full of fireworks that chases people around (think of the fireworks bull from the cartoon "Three Caballeros" from Disney and you'd be about right.)
As a side result of this (plus the young women getting in late from girls camp Saturday), there were very few people in church on Sunday. I liked what the bishopric said in ward council, "We need to activate the ward," so now we're going to work more as a team and get things done.  It should improve from here.
Unfortunately, I don't have any awesome stories from this week. It was a bit tough and normal. I'll have more to write next week.
 That's all for now. Nos Vemos!

-Elder D. Hill
7/28/14 - Jordon
Well, this week brought some interesting surprises.

I'm sure you're all wondering, so I'll be nice this week and start with transfer business. Transfers, as you know, were this past Wednesday. I have some interesting news: Transfer 16, Companion 14, Area 3 (of 7). If you aren't able to interpret what this means it means This is the 16th transfer (in the field), I'm with my 14th companion, and I'm back where I was for my 3rd area. Those of you who have been keeping up with my mission might remember this was a Spanish area. And you would be right. I have been brought back to the Queen Creek Spanish Ward...speaking Spanish. (Yes, I'm a bit excited about this.) My companion is Elder Vásquez. (See picture below.) He is from Mexico, native Spanish speaker. It makes it a little easier to speak my mission language as often as possible.

Speaking of my mission language, I have admitted in the past that my Spanish has gotten a bit rusty. It's not much different now, but it is rapidly coming back. From High School to the MTC I had forgotten mostly all of my Spanish knowledge. In the MTC, it was a bit more of a "call to remembrance" on most things plus learning what I hadn't before. During my sojourn in English, I retained most of my grammar knowledge and a good portion of the vocabulary. Now it's retraining the ear to keep up with the fast paced language, and relearning/remembering the principles/vocabulary I have forgotten, and, of course, continuing to learn what I have not learned previous.Elder Vásquez and I are hardly speaking any English with each other. It's coming quickly.
Did I ever tell you about an investigator named Angélica? Elder Macfarland and I found her and her family about a year ago when I was here last. Well, guess what...She's set to be baptized August 2nd! I was super excited to hear this. Her family is rather interested in the gospel as well, but two of them have since moved out, and the other daughter old enough to be baptized isn't ready yet, but we move forward. She'll be ready soon enough. We're excited.
A couple interesting facts. Something I've done in most of my areas, is to go through the Area Book and input/save all the investigators, formers, and potentials into my GPS. Well, I don't have to do a whole lot this transfer, cause I still have everything from last time I was here. All I have to do is input the new investigators, and update everything to it's current status. Shouldn't be too hard, right?
Something else interesting: Apparently, I'm famous in this ward. Did I ever tell you about my hair cutting experience here last year? Well, while out here on my mission, I bought some hair cutting shears. One day, while giving myself a haircut, I accidentally left off the guard on the shears. I started to cut (front to back) right in the middle of my forehead. after cutting about and inch long patch, I saw what I had done. I was distraught. Let's just say that it was far shorter than I had intended to cut it. I did what I could to fix the problem, but the damage was done. Thankfully, my calendar the next day gave me some helpful advice: "Time heals all wounds." That helped me feel a bit better. (Thank you, Mom.) Well, apparently, the ward members not only remember me, but they still remember that incident. Oh well. I think one of the "How to Begin Teaching" bullet points in Preach My Gospel is rather applicable here. "We all make mistakes in life, and these mistakes create feelings of guilt and shame. These feelings cannot be relieved without repentance and forgiveness. They can be fully healed through the Atonement of Christ." I have no shame about this experience anymore.

Book Of Mormon Check-in:
For the moment, I've hit a temporary road block at Alma 5. The nature of this road block is rather easy to explain. As of late, any time I sit down to read, I have some difficulty keeping my eyes open. I honestly don't have an explanation as to the cause of this sudden tiredness. I haven't really been sleeping well lately. I don't know why. Perhaps the sudden over load of brain activity, trying to keep up with the Spanish. We'll see how this week goes as I readjust to the language.
That's about it for this week. Until next time.
Con amor,
-Elder Jordon Hill

Monday, July 21, 2014

7/14/14 - Jordon

¡Hola todos! ¿Cómo están?
This week was very much more eventful than last. In the work, we've turned our focus primarily to less active members that the Ward Council members have given us to go by. One reason being that we have been given so many names that we don't really have time for anything else. However, we're still managing to find time to visit non-members, as well. We recently had a little miracle with regards to that. (or, I consider it to be one, anyway.)

In our area book, we had a teaching record for a guy named Doc. However, this teaching record had neither an address, nor a phone number, nor a fellowship written on it. In essence, we had no way to contact it. (If there's one thing that irks me, it's when forms in the area book aren't filled out with all the information known. It makes things harder for future missionaries.) However, for some reason I didn't want to through it away. Now five weeks after first viewing the record, we were looking though the contacts in our phone, and found one labeled "Doc DH Gator". (DH = Desert Hills Ward) We thought it might be him, so we gave it a call. He picked up, we talked for a brief moment, and set up a time to meet him at his house! He gave us his address! After the phone call the first thing I did was put the info on the teaching record. It's not much, but it's pretty spectacular to me.
It's interesting, to note how much the Spirit influences our lives. Often times, we find ourselves in a setting where we didn't really have a lesson planned out ahead of time, but in many of these instances, when we shared the message, they told us how much it applied to something in their lives right now. I really love those moments. I'm grateful for the influence of the Holy Ghost in my life, for there would be no way for us to do this work without his help.

Transfers are coming up next week. So, if you're planning on sending me anything (I don't know what you would be sending me), make sure to send it to the mission office. I suspect I'm being transfered, but don't hold me to that. Sometimes the Lord works in mysterious ways.
Guess what....It's monsoon season! The humidity is up, the wind is blowing, and we're getting a lot more rain than in months previous. There's just one problem.......It's mostly only raining at night! So, even though it's raining, it's not when I can enjoy it. However, one thing I do get to experience comes with the increasing wind. Do you know what happens when you mix strong wind with a lot of loose dust? Dust Storms! We've had a few of them, normally just before a rainstorm, but the rain only comes once we get home. I took some pictures. (see below )

So, how is everyone doing on the Book of Mormon Challenge? So far, the only one I know about is Dad (of all people, seeing as "Read" is a four letter word). And he's managing to keep up. Who else took the challenge?
I'll share something interesting: We just finished Jacob 2. However, I had a moment of confusion throughout 1st and 2nd Nephi. I think I counted three or four times when Nephi states that the Lord commanded him to make another set of plates, and that the more part of the history are contained on his other plates. I must admit: there was a moment when I seriously thought that he had made yet another set of plates (in addition to the second set) because the Lord commanded him to do so. Hehe. I asked Elder Cairns, "Wait, does Nephi then have three sets of plates? 'Cause here he says, again, that the Lord commanded him to make another set." We had a decent laugh about it.
I think that's about it. Tell everyone I say hi. I look forward to writing again next week. Until then,
Con amor,
-Elder Jordon Hill

For those interested, here are the flight info for Jordon's and DJ's return:


Arrives at Chicago Airport, Sept 2nd, 1:07 pm, US Airways, Flt 465, Terminal 3.


Arrives at Chicago Airport, Oct 14th, 5:20 pm, American Airlines, Flt 2321, Terminal 3.

Anyone interested in joining us to greet them (in the baggage area), just let us know to look for you.  We'll be the ones who can't sit still.

7/21/14 - DJ

Hola Everyone!

So, we'll start with the news on Transfers. transfers were today and guess what? I'm still in the Progresso Nacional! and guess what else, Elder Rodriguez is still my companion! The Assistants told me that when President was figuring out changes, he looked at us and said that we were working well together and that he was going to leave us as is. So start Transfer 3 with Elder Rodriguez in the Progresso. 
Ok, other news. We Had A Baptism! Rebeca is the oldest daughter in her family. We are teaching the whole family, but for one reason or another, only Rebeca has been able to come to church. That day was a little crazy. In the morning(abt 9am) we received a message from her that she wasn't going to be able to be baptized.  So we started letting everyone know not to come. Later on (abt 1:30pm) we get another message that yes she can, but at 4.  So we went crazy to pull together the baptism again and let everyone we could know.  It worked out well even though we only had a few people show. One of which is Rebeca's sister Karina. (see below) 

That's all for now. Nos vemos!
7/21/14 - Jordon

Well this week was, perhaps, a little dull. Just a lot of the same stuff. Trying to visit less actives, looking for new investigators, following up with old know the drill. We didn't really have any awesome experiences this week, but last night at dinner, we had a discussion about talents, including one of their sons playing a song on the piano (semi-against his will, but he sounded great). I demonstrated how to use juggling to teach the importance of prayer, scripture study, and church attendance. We discussed the various talents everyone had, and we invited them to look for ways to use their talents to share the gospel with someone this week. We're following up with them next week.
We have this one less active member who is having difficulty coming to church. He told us this week that he had off work and wanted to come, but he didn't have any church pants to wear. We found him a pair from one of the members, and gave them to him. The next morning (Sunday) we got a text from him saying he wasn't feeling up to church. When we inquired as to the cause of the decision, he told us he was embarrassed that he had to borrow someones pants. (Really?! That's the reason you won't come today? ) We told him he need not be embarrassed, but that was, in part, what the church was for: to help our brothers and sisters when they're in need. He still didn't come. We're gonna talk to him tonight.

The repairs continue. This time it was my watch band that broke...or more specifically, the loop that holds down the extra part of the watch band. I fixed it with thread I weaved together like I would to make rope. I think it turned out well. (see below)

Alright, I'm sure you're wondering what's happening with transfers...but first something related.
On July 17th, our dinner appointment had Chinese food, complete with fortune cookies.
*A quick note about Fortune Cookies: I've grown to love fortune cookies. Throughout my mission, on various occasions we've eaten at Panda Express or some other restaurant with fortune cookies. Somehow, the fortunes I received always seemed to have application to what was going on. Interesting, no?*

Anyway, so when I was about to open My fortune cookie, I knew it was gonna be good. I opened it, read it, laughed, then turned to my companion and said, "It's official, I'm being transferred." This was the fortune which I received: "A new romance is in the future." (You may commence laughing now. ) Taking this in the same light as my calendar, I interpret it as I'm getting a new companion.

Oh, Book of Mormon Check in -- Today we finished Mosiah 16.
Due to the fact that Elder Cairns reads fairly slowly, and I figured it would be more fun, he and I decided that we would read aloud together...or, rather, I read and he follows along. We have found much enjoyment in this. Especially due to the fact that instead of just reading the book, I'm giving each person a different voice and personality. Before I start a new voice, I contemplate what the character might actually sound like, and try to be true to the nature of the character. Nephi was a rather fun loving, up beat person, and Jacob seemed a bit more solemn and reserved. Isaiah turned out rather doom and gloom. On a few characters, however, the voice that came out of my mouth wasn't quite what I had planned, but it fit the character, in our minds. Apparently, King Noah has a southern accent. Who knew?  (I wonder if the reason for the odd appearances of voices is because that might be how they actually would have sounded coming through my vocal chords. But, I can only imagine, however, that when I rejoin with these historic figures when I leave this mortal life, a vast majority of them are going to chastise me for giving them a voice/personality far from them. Oh, well.)

Which brings me to Transfer business...I'm leaving. Every one of the Spanish missionaries I have contact with asked me if I'm going back to Spanish. I don't know. However, we currently have eight Spanish Elders in the mission. (Trio in Gilbert, two in Queen Creek, two in Florence, and me.) One Elder is going home tomorrow (one in the trio), I'm leaving, and two other Spanish Elders are being transferred, as well. So, there is plenty of opportunity for me to go back to Spanish for my last transfer. (That, by the way makes seven Spanish Elders left over. I don't know if there are any coming in this transfer.)  However, if the Lord decides I'm still needed in English, I'm not certain what I should do with language study. I'll ask President about it should question be applicable.
By the way, for those keeping track: with the conclusion of this transfer, the score currently stands Spanish: 47 weeks, English: 48 weeks. This transfer will determine the winner. Stay tuned, folks.
That's it for this week. Until next time.
Con amor,
-Elder Jordon Hill, the Proud Spaniard-