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-
7/14/14 - DJ

Hola Everyone!

So, This week was evidence that we are doing something right. By that I mean that most of our investigators are being hit with trials and challenges that are making it harder for them. In all my mission, I've never seen the Adversary work as hard as he is against us right now.  I assume that means we are doing something right. Slowly all our investigators are pulling through and, hopefully, strengthening their faith and Testimony in the process. 
Adversity is an interesting topic. We always look at the trials in our lives and say "Why does this have to happen to me?" but really it's because the Lord knows we can handle them. An interesting lesson I was taught by one of the members here is "worry when you don't have trials in your life, because that means the Lord doesn't trust you to overcome them!", and really it is so. When we overcome trials, our confidence grows, our faith and testimony grow, and we become one step closer to God. It's and interesting theme to be sure. 

That's all for now. 
Nos Vemos!

-Elder D Hill

Monday, July 7, 2014

7/7/14 - DJ

Hola Everyone!

Well this week was pretty normal with one major exception. We took a trip out to the Temple Visitors Center!
  We took 8 of our investigators out to the Temple Visitors Center to show them 1)what a temple is and 2) the awesome, recently renovated visitors center. It went really well. The visitors center is currently very interactive and everyone had a great time. I could see several of our investigators feeling the spirit during the tour and after when left to explore. 
My personal favorite part was the Books of Mormon (above). You could select any of the books (in the various languages of the world) and the screen above would tell you what language it was, what countries used it, and when it was first published.  Overall a success and we are planning to do this with other investigators in the future.
The Christus
And just so you don't think it's all fun and games, the last picture (below) is of my magnetic name tag. It Broke! and I don't know where. I still have the magnet and the pinser, but the plate is missing in action. I'm going to order a new one to replace it.

That's the fun for now. Nos Vemos!
-Elder D Hill
7/7/14 - Jordon

Well, this week was a little more desirable than last week.

We've been working with the ward council members; working to visit those whom they would like us to visit. It's been going alright so far. We went to visit this one less active family and found out they have two children who haven't been baptized, yet. (Megan, 18, and Logan, 9) However, neither of them is really interested in learning about the Gospel. However, when we mentioned cub scouts, Logan perked right up. He's excited to go. This might be an in. We're still trying to figure out Megan, though.

Also, we've been finding rather interesting ways to intro/teach certain principles to kids in a way that keeps their attention. For example, I recently taught the importance of Scripture Study, Prayer, and regular Church Attendance by juggling. Each ball represents one of them. by juggling 1 or 2 balls in a 3 ball pattern it looks incomplete. So, too, are our lives incomplete when we don't do those things. Another example would be that we once used the Three Little Pigs (non-Shakespearean version) to show the need for a sure foundation. We're getting creative.
Oh! Guess what...We got RAIN!!!! The first rain I've seen since March 1st with the Cultural Celebration. There was just one problem...Shortly before the rain actually started, there was a bit of a dust storm. (See attached picture) It wasn't huge, but it sure made the car dirty. I was happy nonetheless.

Mom: Back off? Why would I do that? Practically every time anyone asks me how much time I've been out, I tell them I've been "out here" for about 19 months, now. (No, it's not lying.) They comment on how I'm coming down to the end, and I respond by telling them that I still have some time left and I intend to make use of it. I have no intention of going back on my word.
Other than that. Not much to tell. We're still working hard, and we're starting to see results. Hope you all are doing well. Until next time.
Con amor,
-Elder Jordon Hill-
6/30/14 - DJ

Hola Everyone!

So.  This week I don't have a whole lot to tell. Diego is excited as a new member and now has an assignment helping our ward mission leader keep track of what we are doing. He also likes to go with us on visits so his testimony is getting reinforced all over the place. He's also introducing us to several of his friends and family members, so we're having success there too. 
We are also teaching another family. The oldest daughter is progressing a lot faster than the rest of the family. She's been to church 4 times already (and you only need 5 before baptism here), but the rest of her family has been busy Sunday mornings, so they've only been to 1. We'll keep working with them.

That's really all the stories I have for this week. nos Vemos!

-Elder D Hill
6/30/14 - Jordon

Well, send some of that rain our way. We haven't had any rain since the Gilbert Temple Cultural Celebration (March 1st).
This week was very dull for missionary work. Not much is happening here at the moment. To be honest, I don't have any cool stories or anything to tell you about. Much like we don't have rain, we're sort of in a "drought" for missionary work in our area, as well. But, we press forward with full purpose of heart. I'm not done here, yet. Keep us in your prayers.
In other news, tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the Arizona Gilbert Mission. WOOT!!!  Today we got together as a mission and had a breakfast, followed by some fun activities. Much water was involved. One of the games we played was really interesting: Each companionship got a towel and went out into the field. The objective: Catch the incoming water balloons. Several missionaries were in charge of launching balloons into the crowd of towel bearing missionaries. On various occasions, several of us started shouting "mine" like the seagulls in Finding Nemo. It was a lot of fun. The closest I got to catching one, though, was one hitting my hand and splashing my shoulder. Oh well.
Tomorrow, we have a Mission Temple Trip, followed by a meeting with the Temple President. I'm looking forward to that.
Oh! Also, President Nattress has decided that we're going to read the Book of Mormon together as a mission. Each day we're being given an extra hour for reading. This will go from July 1st until August 29th. (60 days.) It works out to about 9 pages a day. We've also been asked to invite our families to do this with us.

>Would you (each of you reading this email) be willing take this 60 day Book of Mormon challenge with me?<
Interestingly enough, this goes right up until I'm about to come home. You could kinda use this as a countdown. Once you finish, I'm about to come home. I'd like to know who has decided to take this challenge. Let me know.

Other than that, I don't have anything more for you. I'm doing alright for the time being. I love you all!!! Until next time.
Con amor,
-Elder Jordon Hill-
6/23/14 - DJ

Hola Everyone!

So, this week was cool and normal all at the same time. It was normal because it was more of the normal routine for us; it was cool because we had some really powerful lessons. 
One example, we are teaching Diego's Aunt and cousins (Diego was the baptism from last week, if you don't remember).  They had a death in the family about a year ago, and they've been having problems ever since. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and the Spirit came strong. They expressed that they felt a tranquility and a hope that they haven't felt for a long time. At the end of the lesson, Diego's Aunt said the prayer. The Spirit came super strong, and she began to cry from the feelings during her prayer. It was a very special moment for all. 
Also, for those interested, I'm not coming home early like my brother. I'm due home Oct 13, so that's another 16 weeks for me.

That's all for now. Nos Vemos!

-Elder D Hill
6/23/14 - Jordon con't

Oh! I finished Meganium too. (Pictures below.) It's ok, you don't need to send me another one.

                                               Missionary set

[FYI:  This started as a way to help Jordon in the beginning to relax and handle some anxiety.  He would relax at home by making these paper crafts.  I would send them out with scripture verses written on the back to help with scripture study.  He had to look up the verse before putting the piece in place.  He got the last 3 (top shelf) for Christmas this past year.)

6/23/14 - Jordon

Wow! Where did this week go? I don't think I really have that much to report this week.
We're continuing to follow up on former investigators, and we've started trying to visit the majority of them. Not much contact, yet. It seems like there isn't really much going on in the ward, for the moment, but we press onward, ever faithful. We've been working with the leadership in the ward by visiting people they feel would benefit from us stopping by. We're keeping busy. Sometimes, it seems like we're a little too busy to get everything in. Other times, we blow through all our plans in an hour and a half. How does that work?  
Now for the information everyone is looking for. I've come to a conclusion about my return date. Contrary to the vision I had at the beginning of my mission, I've decided that I will be returning home...September 2nd. The vision I had was that DJ and I would go out together and come back together, but that will not be the case. And before you ask, yes, I've told both the Mission Office and President Nattress about this decision. There's no backing out now. For those keeping track, I'll be returning home 10 weeks from now. Spread the word. (By the way, Ashley Groll really wanted to be there at the airport to welcome me home with a big hug. Make sure she knows/Make sure she knows she can't hug me until I'm released. I'll write her a letter, too.
As for the Mario Kart challenge, Tyler, unless the controls are exactly the same for Mario Kart 8 as they are for Mario Kart Wii, I'll need a little bit of practice first. Granted, I think I'm going to need a little refresher for Mario Kart Wii as it is. But, ¡Desafío Aceptado! I'm sure we'll have plenty of match time when I come home.
That's all I have for this week. Tell "everyone" I return the "Hi" and add a "How are you?"
Until next time.
Con amor,
-Elder Jordon Hill-
6/16/14 - DJ

Hola Everyone!

Firstly, Happy Fathers Day! I have no Idea when Father's Day is in the US, but here it was yesterday. 
Also news this week, we had another Baptism! Diego, who we've been teaching for several weeks, got baptized on Friday! (see below). The baptism went great. We had more of his friends and family there than we had members! We are teaching about half of them and the other half had a great spiritual experience at the baptism. At the end of the baptism, Diego shared his testimony which was powerful and grabbed the attention of everyone since Diego doesn't like to talk in front of people. Overall a wonderful experience for all involved.
Diego is the one in white without the tie.
We are also teaching a new family. The Perez Family. At first they didn't seem very interested, but after we talked about the restoration, they got excited over the idea of a living prophet, and now are learning more and more about the gospel.  They also came to Stake Conference yesterday and there were a lot of good talks given. We'll see what else follows in the coming weeks.

That's all for now. Nos Vemos!
-Elder D Hill
6/16/14 - Jordon

Well, this transfer brought some interesting occurances.
I was transfered out to San Tan Valley. Here's my new address:
Elder Jordon Hill
195 W. Brangus Way
San Tan Valley, AZ. 85143
Does it look familiar? If it does, that's because I've lived here before. I'm back in the Brangus House. I lived here when I was companions with Elder Macfarlane. Want to know something interesting? It was this transfer, a year ago, that I was moved into this house the first time.Crazy, huh?
Welcome to Transfer 15, Companion 13, Area 7. I present to you my newest companion: Elder Cairns. (See below.) He's from Longmont, Colorado. He's been out now for about 6 months. He's a fun Elder. Always keeping me on my toes. This is going to be an interesting transfer. Also, we only cover one ward. Desert Hills Ward. Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes, I'm still in English. (I'm not bitter. Honest!...No, really, I'm ok with it. )
Funny tid bit for you: There is a Hill family that lives in the ward. Every member I meet asks if I am related to them. My response: "No, those are the 'desert Hills'. I'm more of a flat-land Hill." It usually gets a laugh or two.
Oh, I almost forgot, I'm not District leader anymore, but I still am.  President Nattress told me that he had a special assignment for me (which I won't divulge at this time). In his call he said that the district I was moving to already had a district leader, so he didn't need me for that at the moment, for the next transfer at least, but he never actually said I wasn't a district leader anymore. At transfers, I asked him for some clarification. He said that I didn't need to worry about being district leader for the moment, but he was going to leave me as "District Leader" status in the computer system. Strange. I've decided that I'm still a district leader, but I'm not assigned over a district. Hehe.
As for the work in the area...There isn't much to say. When I got here, we didn't have any investigators, and there wasn't really anyone we were working with. in essence, we have to build up from nothing. Fortunately, we have an area book. We decided to go through the formers, and contact all the fellowships to see how each former investigator is doing. We are still in the early stages of this plan, but we're starting to make some headway. Hopefully I should have more to report next week.
So, as you know yesterday was Father's Day. Do you remember how the Church put out videos for Easter and Mother's Day? Well, the Church has put out another............(wait, what?) Oh, nevermind. Sadly there is no "It was Dad" video for Father's Day. Sorry, Dad. And I was so looking forward to seeing what they'd do. A few of us were thinking, "Exploding grill." Oh, well. Happy Father's Day!!!
That's it for this week. Until next time.
Con amor,
-Elder Jordon Hill-