Friday, May 30, 2014

"Another good week here"

Hello everyone! I had another good week here. Lots of learning, lots of studying, and lots of practicing. Last Sunday I performed in a musical number in church. It was hmyn number 88 in the Spanish hymn book. It's not in the English one, and I don't remember what it's called either. But I really, really like it now. I made a simple arrangement of it and 2 missionaries, and Elder and a sister, sung it. It was really beautiful. The people we are teaching are just actors. We are currently teaching 2 people. We're getting much better at teaching in Spanish. While we're teaching, I'm able to speak much more Spanish than I normally can. Sometimes after a lesson my companion will ask me what I said and I won't be able to tell him.
I'll be able to say in English, but I'll have no idea how to say it in Spanish. The temple trip still remains as the highlight of my week.
Today we were able to do 12 of our names. This Thursday the MTC will be rededicated. There will be some 70s here, and during the day there will be an open house and lots of dignitaries have been invited. I'm in a group of 9 missionaries who will sing The Olive Tree at it. I've fallen in love with the Book of Mormon in Spanish. I just wish I could read it all the time, but I don't have time to read as much as I want.

I love you guys! Thanks for your emails!
Elder Hilton

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"Today is a day of great rejoicing"

Hi guys! There's so much I want to tell you. I got through customs just fine. Jet lag wasn't an issue. Actually, everyone else in my district has been more tired than me. My companion's name is Elder Beecher. He's from Utah. He's a good companion. We get along great.
They put us to work right away. On day two, we taught our first investigator. In Spanish. We've taught him about fifteen minutes every day since then. There are about 100 missionaries here. I like the smaller size a lot. There are about 2 hermanas to every 3 Elders. Much more hispanic missionaries than American. There are 7 missionaries in my district; 6 Elders and 1 hermana. I'm the district leader. I really like our teachers Hermana Simon and Hermano Escobar. I really couldn't have asked for better teachers. They both speak pretty good English.
On Sunday, the don't assign the Speakers before hand, they just announce the speakers at the pulpit after the sacrament. I was chosen to give a talk (in Spanish). While I know it wasn't perfect, I felt that God was pleased with my offering. They also do the lessons on Sunday the same way, and my companion and I were called up to give the lesson (this time in English). We hadn't had time to prepare anything because I had been in leadership meetings earlier, but we gave a beautiful lesson about the priesthood, that really couldn't have been better if we had prepared. I feel like my Spanish is really improving, especially because at meals instead of eating with all the other Americans I go and eat with the hispanic Elders. Yesterday we had our first district meeting. I hadn't been given much guidance as to what was supposed to happen there, but it really went well. We basically just talked about how things were going in the district and where we wanted to go. They did almost all the talking. I just guided the conversation and share some instructions from the president, President Cox. This morning we went to the temple. That was a really special, sacred experience. I was able to pass out our family names and we did
19 of them; 13 hermanos and 6 hermanas. While I was in the temple I kept thinking over and over, "Today is a day of great rejoicing." It was as if each of them was coming to me one by one and telling me that, and sharing their love and gratitude. I was overwhelmed by it.
Now I really know that, just as the scriptures say, that the hearts of the fathers will be turned to the children, not just the hearts of children to the fathers. I am really loving my time here. I am getting the feeling that God has really high expectations for me, higher than I could have imagined. I love you all, Elder Hilton. (Sorry that is just one long stream of thought. This is a Spanish keyboard, and for some reason that means the enter key doesn't work).

 (Elder Hilton is in the back row)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

And he's off!

Saying goodbye at the airport.

We also received this email from our happy missionary:

Hola! I am in the MTC now. I only have 10 minutes so this will have to be short. I am doing well. So far jetlag has not been an issue. In fact the other missionaries seem to be more tired than me. In our first Spanish lesson we were taught that "espanol es facil."  I'm excited to begin.  Love you all!

We are so proud of you Alden!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Getting Set Apart

Missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints get set apart prior to their leaving for their mission. Alden got set apart last Sunday, May 4th, and is officially a missionary! He leaves for the MTC in just under a week. Keep him and our family in your prayers; missions can be hard for both the missionary and the missionary's family.

We are so proud of Elder Hilton! And also grateful for his wonderful parents, friends, and leaders that helped him get to where he is today.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Going to the Temple

Missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints receive their own endowment before going on their mission. The word endowment literally means a "gift" from God, and we believe that it really is a gift. In an endowment worthy members receive instruction and make covenants to follow in Christ's footsteps. The endowment "focuses on the Savior, His role in Heavenly Father's plan, and the personal commitment of each member to follow Him." (see here to learn more.)

It was a very special day for Alden and his own family when he went to the Provo Temple to receive his endowment on February 14, 2014. It was a wonderful way to spend Valentine's Day :) Alden's family traveled from Japan and Maryland to be with him. We are all very proud of Alden and his decision to go to the Temple.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Mission Call

On January 23, 2014, Alden excitedly checked his mail for the long awaited white envelope addressed to "Elder Alden Hilton," and was so happy to see it waiting for him. Later that evening friends and family gathered around, in person, through Skype, and on cellphones to listen to him read his call:

Dear Elder Hilton:

You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the El Salvador San Salvador East Mission.

Alden will be speaking Spanish and will report to the Guatemala Missionary Training Center on May 14 to learn Spanish and receive training on how to be the best missionary he can be. After a few short weeks he will go to El Salvador and there share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone he meets.

Alden is so excited, as you can tell from a snippet of his facebook status after he opened his call: "Ahhhh!!! So excited!"

Alden's Mission Blog

My little brother Alden is about to leave on his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and we couldn't be more excited! His darling older sister, otherwise known as Aimee, will be managing this blog for him. I will keep you updated on his adventures and post pictures and emails, as well as his updated mailing address.

We are so excited for Alden to serve a mission and proud of his choice to serve the Lord and the people in El Salvador.