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