Tuesday, December 30, 2014

"He was the happiest man you ever saw."

December 30, 2014

Dear family, 

It was great to sykpe you this week! Thanks for all you do, all your support, letters, and prayers. The call made me want to do a better job in my emails. We'll see how I do.

So this week Presidente Vasquez asked us to study the atonement. So I read every reference to the Atonement in Preach My Gospel. One thing I noticed by doing that is that almost every time that it talks about the Atonement in Preach My Gospel it also talks about the Doctrince of Christ (faith, repentance, baptism, gif of the Holy Ghost. and enduring to the end). In following the doctrine of Christ, we apply the Atonement. Without that, it's just like, "God did this great thing for me, and through it I can be made clean from my sins, but how do I use it?" In this last general conference, Elder Jorg Klebingat of the Seventy said, "Because the Atonement of Jesus Christ is very practical, you should apply it generously 24/7, for it never runs out." We apply the atonement of Christ by having faith in him, by repenting, by making and keeping sacred conenats with him, by recieving the Holy Ghost, and by enduring to the end. It's that simple.

It the end of the sykpe call, Dad said something about me having an accent. I'm still not entirely sure it he was joking or not, but every now and then, I really do have trouble remembering words. For example, one day Elder Giles and I were talking and I couldn't remember the word for "mittens." I was just like, "What are those things called? Muffins? Miffens?" It's a struggle. Elder Giles and I try to speak just Spanish. I really want to improve my Spanish. I don't have a latino companion, but that doesn't have to stop me. But now my English suffers a bit.

I attached a photo. In that photo is me, someone named Danilo, Max, and Elder Giles. Danilo is another really cool guy. He's a little bit mentally handicapted, but he's basically pure goodness. When we first met him, we found that he loves to read. So I asked him if he was reading the Book of Mormon. He said no. So I explained a little bit about the Book of Mormon, then commited him to read it everyday for the rest of his life. He was just like, "Thank you so much! I didn't know I supposed to be doing that!" He read through it in about 6 weeks, and now is about half way through it again. Evertime we see him, he shows me where he's at. He's really poor and just keeps his scriptures in a ziplock bag. For Christmas I gave him a new ziplock bag. He was the happiest man you ever saw.

So Krist! And Ivan! That's so exciting! I'm so happy for you guys. I am going to miss the weekly updates comparing his size to various types of fruit though.

I love you all!
Elder Hilton

Sunday, December 28, 2014

"When I think about my time here in Nueva Concepcion, I'm going to think about him."

December 23, 2014

Dear family,

Merry Christmas! We're doing well here, and really excited for Christmas. 

Final plans for the skype call. I will call at 10:00 AM, Dicember 25, Salvadoreñan time. I'm not sure what time zone you guys are in, but I hope that works for you guys.

We had a Christmas dinner here for the branch last Saturday. It's kind of interesting, here the missionaries have a little bit different role. The Elders quorum was put in charge of set up and clean up. That's fairly standard, but there's no elder's quorum here. Some that just leaves us. So Saturday was a bit crazy. We ended up hauling all the tables and desks from our house to the church by hand. Then we set up, decorated, put some Christmas music going (the blue-grass Christmas was perfect). Then we picked up the food, helped get the activity started, helped served it, and then afterwards cleaned up. But it was fun, and a great activity. We had investigators there, a lot of less active members, and some non-members. We really get a unique experience serving here in a small branch. It's great.

So I want to tell you guys about M. I wrote about him a little bit the last time. 

So about a month a so ago, we were teaching a lesson on someone's doorstep. We were about to finish the lesson when an old man showed up and started listening (it was M). It was kind of funny because he was like, "I'm sorry I'm late guys. I was watching TV and didn't know you were here." We just thought he was a really nice old man so we got his reference and told him we'd come back the next day.

When we came back, we explained that we like to start our visits with a prayer. He said that he would offer it, and during his prayer he asked God to bless "los élderes." After the prayer, we were like, "Hermano, are you a member?" It turns out that yes, he was a member. He had been batised about 50 years ago. He hadn't had any further contact with the church until now.

So in that first lesson, we gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to church. We told him we would pass by him Sunday morming to go to church together. But when we got to hims house Sunday morning, no on answered the door. That was kind of disappointing,  but Elder G said jokingly, "Maybe he just got so excited he couldn't wait for us and is already there" We laughed, but when we got to church, he was there! And he's come almost every Sunday since then. He's actively reading the Book of Mormon. 

There was just one moment when things looked really bad. We had that one lesson where everything just went wrong. The next Sunday he didn't come to church. I basically told us that he didn't want anything more to do with the church.

Then a few days later we saw him in the street. And everything had changed. He was really happy, up to tears. He said he now knew that the church was true, and that we were true representatives of the Lord, and that whatever we said, he would do it. Apparently his brother appeared to him in a dream. Still not entirely sure what happened in that dream, but now everything is different. He basically woke up with the desire to be baptised for his brother. He is now one of the most active members of the church. He comes to church every week, stays all three hours, participates in the classes, and comes to all the church activities.

Every time we see him, he talks about wanting to be that baptisms, and he tells us of more people who's work he wants to do. He's preparing to go to the temple. He is awesome. I'm so glad we got the privilege to meet him. We really didn't do much. When every I think about my time here in Nueva Concpecion, I'm going to think about him.

So I know that I've never written this much. Or said much about anyone. But I really wanted you guys to know about Max. And I basically copied strait out of my jounal for my letter. Made things much easier.

Well, I love you guys!! I'm excited to see you in a few days!

Elder Hilton

Monday, December 22, 2014

"Family history. Working miracles."

December 16, 2014

Dear family,

This week was good. 

I got your package! Thanks for everything. The first thing I did when I got it was take a picture, just because there was so many fruit snacks. And glasses. That was a really good idea. I still hadn't forgotten about that, but I have no idea when I would have been able to get them. So thanks for that.

Well, Mom asked how L and N are. They actually just got baptised. I really don't do a great job writing about the investigators. I'll try to be better on that in the future. They are doing quite well. They seem so happy. I baptized N and Elder G baptized L.

Mary asked what happened to make the spirit leave in that lesson. The lesson was with a guy named M. He's a really cool guy. We was baptised about 50 years about and is just now coming back. In that lesson he got really upset about the government and started going off about that. Then he told us he was too old and now basically didn't want to have anything to do with the church. That was a little sad. But a few days later we saw him in the street and everything was different. Apparently his brother appeared to him in a dream. I'm not entirely sure what happened in that dream, but no he's really happy, has completely commited himself to the gospel, and knows that the church is true. And he wants nothing more than to go to the temple do his baptism. Family history. Working maracles.

And I'm out of time. I love you!
Elder Hi

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"This week we had a big trip to the temple for the investigators."

December 8, 2014
Dear family,

Thanks for all your letters. I really do enjoy reading them.

This week we had a big trip to the temple for the investigators. It was a big mission wide activity. In all, about 800 investigators went to the temple. We brought 2 investigators. Their names are L and N. They're a family; L is the mom. They also have a brother named D, but he wasn't able to make it to the temple trip. The trip was a really good experience for them. First we had a virtual tour of the temple in the chapel next door. Then we split into groups and went around to different classrooms where there were little presentations. Just being near the temple brings a special spirit, and I think they could feel it. L and N are preparing to be baptized and think this trip really did help them.

Quesions for this week. Health. I'm doing well. My cough isn't a problem anymore. I do feel short of breath every now and then, but I think that's just the way it's going to be until I can start seriously exercising again. But it's not that bad, and I've still got plenty of medicine. What made the assistants such good teachers: it's hard to say. I'm not sure if I could pinpoint it exactly. But as they taught, I definately could feel the spirit, and, being their investigator in the practice, I felt the desire to be baptized.

We had an experience this week that really helped me better understand the influence of the spirit. We were in a lesson. The lesson had just barely started. It started ok, but then it quickly took a few bad turns, and then the spirit was gone. It just left.  We quickly got out, and then I just stepped to the side to say a quick prayer. It really did not feel good at all. After the prayer I felt much better. We, as members of the church, have the right to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. Sometimes we can feel it more strongly than other times, and that's usualy when we say we can feel the spirit. But I feel like we just get so used to it that we don't recognize its constant presence. In that moment, it was just gone. I felt so bad. Then it came back and I felt so much better. I feel like we need to appreciate better what we have, and recognize that not eveyone has this gift. Understanding this really strenthens my desire to help others be baptised and recieve the gift of the Holy Ghost.

I love you guys!

Elder Hilton

Monday, December 1, 2014

"Things are really picking up now."

November 29, 2014

Dear family,

We had a good week here in Nueva Concepcion. We continued finding a lot of new investigators this week. Things are really picking up now. I remember how when we first got to this area we ended up just walking around a lot. Now we still walk a lot, but we've got a lot of work too do. Now we just got to keep up with the momentum we've built up.

I got your thanksgiving letter! Thanks for that. We had a very nice Thanksgiving here. To celebrate it, I attempted to make banana bread. We don't have an oven or anything, so I got creative. I mixed chopped up banana into pancake mix then made pancakes out of it. It was actually really good. And I also had yogurt, and of course that makes everything better.

Questions/answers. New foods: I just eat whatever I'm given. I usually don't ask what it is. They probably do have other fruits and vegies, but I probably don't know it. The food here is pretty normal. It's not like Korea where you would have no idea what you're eating. Usually it's some combination of rice, beans, eggs and tortillas. We make our own food for breakfast and dinner and then pay a member to make us lunch. I do like making all of my oun food, but the member's food is good too.

This week President Vasquez came here to talk to Presidente Melara. He brought the assistants with him, and the assistants did practices with us. That was really cool. They teach really well and I learned a lot from them.

Well, I love you guys! Thanks for everything!

Elder Hilton