Sunday, December 13, 2015

I saw everyone from Nueva Concepión! Yay! So cool.

December 7, 2015

Temple trip! I saw everyone from Nueva Concepión! Yay! So cool. I attatched a picture of me with the M family. President M´s parents say that they are planned to get sealed when they have a year of being members. That unfortunately will be right after I go home. But I´m still really excited for them. I feel a very big conection to that family.

The family Hernandez came to the temple. Wendy, who is the one who is most ready to be baptized, had surgery on her eye, and the doctor prohibited her from getting her face wet for a month. So her baptism will have to wait a bit.

This change is only 4 weeks long so that no one will go home on Christmas. Next change will be 8 weeks long to make up for that. Elder W has changes. I have been called to train, so if everything works out, next week I will write home with the brand new missionary. I´m pretty excited.

I still don´t know much about Christmas. I imagine it will be like last time. We´ll skpye in the house of a member at whatever time we want. Even in the morning.

I love you all!

Elder Hilton

So I´m finally learning how to recognize stress and deal with stress. It only took me 20 years.

November 30, 2015

Dear family,

I´m feeling much better. I´m now completely recovered. I was well taken care of. My companion helped, and some members and even investigators gave us food to make sure I kept eating.

Unfortunately we didn´t do much for Thanksgiving. They don´t celebrate it here. We did sing a few Thanksgiving hymns in companionship study though. 

I haven´t gotten my package yet. I imagine that it has arrived but that it´s still in the office. I should get it next week.

I´ve been pretty stressed this week. And I finally figured out why I never got stressed until the mission. It´s not that I never got stressed before the mission. It´s that the moment I got even slightly stressed before the mission I would release it all on the piano. I made my best music when I was stressed. And because I played the piano so much, I never got the chance to recognize it for what it was. So I essentially was always stress free. I was never stressed for more than a few hours. But now I don´t have that outlet. So I´m finally learning how to recognize stress and deal with stress. It only took me 20 years. 

We´re going to have another temple trip for investigators this Saturday. That should be a great experience.

The H family is still progressing. They´re always in church now.

Well, I love you all!

Elder Hilton

"Ah, dengue is terrible."

November 23, 2015

Well, from your emails it sounds like several of you were sick this week. I hope you all feel better. This week I was sick too. I said before I left the office that I was exited to see what adventures awaited me. Adventure number 1: dengue!!

Ah dengue is terrible. It´s somewhat like chicungunya. It´s carried by mosquitoes too. Chicungunya is more painful, but dengue is more dangerous.

I started feeling sick right after writing you guys last week. Once we got home from writing last week we took my temperature and I had a fever of 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Nothing we did brought it down. It stayed that high for all of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. On Thursday is started coming down. It hovered between 100 and 101 all day. On Friday my fever finally broke.

The good thing is that the only symptoms of dengue that I had was that fever and a chicken-pox-like rash. So I actually felt ok. No headache, no nausea, no joint pain or anything. 

Now I just feel a little weak but I´m getting better fast. 

Another good thing is that this is one of the most successful areas that I´ve had. It´s definitely easier to manage an area if you´re not in the office. Even if you have dengue.

We have some really good investigators, the Hernandez family: Morena, Wendy, Kevin, Delma, and Caren. All of them go to church. Wendy is almost ready to be baptized. She wants to do it. She should be baptized within the next month and then the rest of the family will follow.

Aguilares isn´t as small as Nueva Concepción. Normally about 70 people go to church every week. It´s definitely much more self sufficient than la Nueva,

As far as water goes, I´m back to only having it half the time.

Something cool happened this week. A member called S M who got baptized about half a year ago and is now less active called us. He called us because he remembered that they had taught him about the different "phases of progression" in the gospel. He told us that he got baptized on a Saturday, then the next day the they layed their hands on his head, and then they gave his the aaronic priesthood. He said then they told him about the Melchizedek priesthood. They told him he need more preparation in order to receive that. Then he got a new job and had to work Sundays so he stopped coming to church. But then he remembered what they told him about the Melchizedek priesthood. He remembered that he was still missing something. So he called us. He wants to come back to church now. And he wants our help. That was so cool to hear! That experience strengthened my faith.

I love you all!

Elder Hilton 

I´m in a place called Aguilares.

November 16, 2015

Hello family!

Well, I´ve left the office. Things are very calm now. My last week in the office was very busy. We didn´t even have time to study or proselytre on Monday or Tuesday before changes. They always let us now which areas they are going to open really late so we always have to scramble right before changes. They reopened Los Lencas II and put in sister missionaries so we had to emplty out the apartment in front of our house in a very short amount of time. We were using it as a storage unit. It was full of everything from closed areas: fridges, beds, tables, microwaves, etc. It was pretty crazy.

We also gave a presentation to the new missionaries about updating the online referrals. That was cool. That is something that we´re starting. We´d never done something like that before.

But now all that is over. I´m in a place called Aguilares. Things feel so calm now. I like it. Aguilares is actually where Elder Caldwell went when he left the office. It´s a branch. It´s actually fairly close to Nueva Concepcion. So it´s pretty likely that I´ll have to go over there for some meetings.

My companion is Elder W. We actually were in the MTC together so I already knew him. He´s a good missionary. Very obedient.

The house was a disaster when I first got here. But it´s already a lot better. My second day here we got up early to clean up a bit. We filled up 7 bags of garbage. Then we ran out of bags, but there was still trash left.

Well, I love you all!

Elder Hilton

Sunday, November 15, 2015

2400 referrals

November 4, 2015

Hello family!

First of all, before I forget, changes are next week. I will be leaving the office. That means I won´t be writing next Wednesday. I won´t be writing until Monday, the 16 of the November. From then on I will be writing every Monday.

This Monday was a Salvadoreño holiday, day of the faithful dead or something like that. Everyone went to the Cemeteries. So that´s where we went too. We talked to everyone about family history, familysearch, temples, and eternal families. It was a lot of fun. We did that throughout the entire mission. As a mission was got more than 2400 referrals of people who wanted to learn more about that.

We also did a service project for a family moving in. They had their house remodeled so it was a mess. We helped clean it up.

I´m excited for my next area. I can hardly wait to see what my next adventure will be. Wherever I go, I know that it will be where the Lord needs me.

I thoroughly enjoyed being it the office. I know that it was where the Lord needed me. I was able to do a lot of good here.

I love you all! Thank you for everything!

Elder Hilton

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I felt so much joy.

October 28, 2015

First of all, I am not longer sick. It passed by quickly.

Also, thank you all for the birthday wishes! And for the package.

Something really cool happened this week. The mission did a family history activity for the recent converts. There is a member here in San Salvador that has a call center. Because it has a ton of computers, he offered it to the church for a night so that all of the recent converts could get together and do family history. It was just for members, missionaries weren´t going to go, but I went with the assistants to help out because I know family history.

So the activity is starting, and we´re standing by the door listening to a small presentation, and in walks M, one of the people who got baptized when I was in Nueva Concepcion! Wow! I was so happy to see her. She hadn´t seen me yet so I tapped her shoulder. She instantly burst into tears when she saw me. She was so happy. Also from La Nueva was a man called J. he was one of my investigators and now he´s been baptized, along with his wife, R.

M told me that the branch is doing well. That L and N are still active. Along with I. And R. Although she did tell me that R´s health is deteriorating. She told me that they´ve set the goal to be sealed as a family. But they haven't gone to the temple yet, not even to do baptisms.

I was able to help M look for names. We found two, a male and a female. One for here and one for R. Now they´re going to go to the temple. And they want to go as soon as possible.

That night I felt a bit of how it must feel in the celestial kingdom. I was so happy. I felt so much joy. I felt so blessed. I can´t even adequately express it. "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!" (D&C 18:15). I felt that joy. 

As a side note, last Sunday we visited a family in our ward that we didn´t know. There´s lot´s of families like that because we´re all new. It´s a very active family. They were so happy that we visited them. They said that the missionaries hadn´t visited them in years. They in turn gave us four things:

1. An opportunity to serve them (they need help moving or something next week). Yes!
2. Offered to help us with some visits on Wednesday. Yes!!
3. Commited to share the gospel with some friends they had in mind. Yes!!!
3. Said they´ll make us lazagna next Sunday for lunch. Yay!!!!

These are the kind of things that make us happy as missionaries.

I love you all!

Elder Hilton

Nothing serious, just food poisoning I believe.

October 21, 2015

Dear family,

Today´s letter will be a very short one. Mostly because I´m sick and sitting at a desk is a struggle. Nothing serious, just food poisoning I believe. I´ll be better really soon.

I love you all. Thank you for all you letters and prayers. Thanks for the birthday wishes. I love the mission. 

Elder Hilton

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

But now I'm so grateful just because we have water.

October 9, 2015

Dear family,

This was a good week. Granted, a busy one, but good. I loved general conference. We were even able to see a few of the sessions in English. That was great. Even though it's the same thing in Spanish, it's always so disappointing to hear their voices and then have it covered up by the translator.

Things have calmed down a little bit. We never did find a new house but we've moved in with the Elders in the ward that borders Los Alpes. Their house is right on the border of the two wards so it actually works out pretty nicely. I love the house. It's soo nice. San Marcos is a little bit cooler than my other areas. And the house is on the top of a hill, so there's always a really cool breeze. And the house is like half open air, so the breeze comes through the house and cools everything off. And the house is clean. And new. And we have a water tank, so we always have water. We only have water every now and then in the other house. I'm so grateful to always have running water. It's interesting how my expectations have changed. If I were to move into a house like this before the mission I would have complained about not having hot water. But now I'm so grateful just because we have water.

I have two companions: Elder N and Elder B. Elder B is the migration secretary. I've been with him almost all my time in the office. Elder N is a pretty quiet guy. But he's really smart. He's picking up everything really fast.

Next week we will write on Wednesday, not Friday. President has decided to give us a P-day. Monday was supposedly our P-day, but Monday is actually our bussiest day in the office, becuase that's the day all the day all the other missionary write, send in their key indicators, send in their baptism records, energy bills, water bills, etc. Lot's of work for us. That's why we used to write on Fridays to try to conteract that. But it didn't help that much. Last Monday we left the office at 7. But President wants us to rest every now and then so he's changed that.

Well, I love you all! Until next Wednesday!

Elder Hilton


October 2, 2015

Well, we had changes this week. And a lot of things changed. Significant changes:

1. I'm training Elder N to be the next general secretary. Elder N and I went to the MTC together so we already know each other. He's a very natural secretary. I attached a picture of us.

2. They closed Los Lencas I (our area). The financial secretary and the records secretary are going to stay in the ward, but we are opening an area in a ward called Los Alpes (in San Marcos, El Salvador). And because they wanted it to be a surprise so they didn't tell us anything. We don't even have a house. We're still living in our house in Los Lencas. We have the car right now we just drive to our area and back every day. I'm not sure what we'll do when we don't have the though.

It feels weird to be in this area. We've had a lot to do in the office this week, so everyday since changes we've gotten to the area at like 7:30 at night. I still haven't seen our area in the day.So we get there, it already dark, we don't know how safe it is, and we don't know our way around. 

The day of changes we got to our area, parked the car in the church and met some of the members and the bishop. And we met our Amulek amongst the members. His name is J. He's a young return missionary. That first day he gave us a referral and set an appointment to go visit him with us. After meeting the members, we drove back to our area.

The day after changes (Thursday): We still had a lot to do in the office. We left the office around 6:30, dropped off the other companionship in Los Lencas, dropped off the assistants in their area, and then drove to our area. When got there, everything was pitch black. The city had lost power. We found the church (the only place we know how to find) and Jose was there waiting for us. We parked the car by the church, and then he took us to the referral he gave us. There is no way we could have found it on our own. We had never been there before, and there were no lights.

But he guided us. He took us to the Ar family: E, V, and L (father, mother, son, in that order). E is not a member but wants to be one. V and L are less active members but want to be active members. We're very grateful for J. There's no way we could have found them without him. 

Los Alpes looks like a really nice ward. I still really haven't seen the area during the day yet, but I think it's going to be good. We're really excited. It always is sad to leave an area behind though.

Well, I love you all!

Elder Hilton 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

We are learning how to follow the spirit.

September 18, 2015

Dear family, 

This was a good week. We are learning how to follow the spirit. We´ve been trying really hard lately to listen to the spirit and to live in such a way that nothing impedes its presence. This week I´ve felt it more strongly than before in the mission. It´s a really big blessing: we know where to go, where not to go, what to say, what not to say, and we know right away if we´re doing something wrong. The spirit is so important. Without it, we cannot really be missionaries. We can do the things that missionaries do, but we can´t truly be missionaries.

I´ve realized that if I didn´t have the gift of the Holy Ghost, I would be a different person. For example, sometimes as missionaries we get really tired, and we just want to rest. But we can´t, because we have a work to do. If we give in to those desires and slack off when we should be working, the spirit leaves, right away. But the harder we work, the strong the spirit is. I personally prefer to have the spirit, so that´s why I work hard.

We´re struggling a little bit with our area. We are able to find new investigators, but whenever we come back for the second appointment, they always make excuses, like there´re busy or something, or we just never find them again. So that´s the current issue with our area, but we keep working hard, and we keep feeling the spirit. That´s what makes it all worth it.

M still says he wants to be baptized, but not until next year. And recently we haven´t been able to find M.

So last time I said I would tell you a bit about what I do as a secretary.

The general secretary is responsible for everything “general.” That is to say, everything that is not handled by the financial secretary, migration secretary, or the records secretary.
My duties as general secretary include but are not limited to:
·         Making Reports
·         Buying/distributing materials
·         Managing Referrals
·         Obtaining legal documents (birth certificates, marriage/divorce documents, etc.)
·         Sorting/distributing mail
·         Managing phone numbers, making the directories, etc.
Well, in short, that´s what I do.

Well, I love you all! Thanks for everything!

Elder Hilton

Share the gospel! Be missionaries!

September 11, 2015

This week I was studying in Preach My Gospel chapter 9. That chapter starts with this sentence: "The doctrines and principles in this chapter will strengthen your faith tha the Lord is preparing people to receive you and the restored gospel. He will lead you to them or he will lead them to you." Then it lists some scriptures to show how the Lord is preparing his children to recieve the gospel.
1. Alma 13:24  For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory.
2. Alma 16:16-17 the Lord did pour out his Spirit on all the face of the land to prepare the minds of the children of men, or to prepare their hearts to receive the word which should be taught among them at the time of his coming—That they might not be hardened against the word, that they might not be unbelieving, and go on to destruction, but that they might receive the word with joy
3. D&C 84:88  And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.
4. D&C 136:33 For my Spirit is sent forth into the world to enlighten the humble and contrite, and to the condemnation of the ungodly.

After reading those scriptures, I asked myself some questions:

1. Do I believe that there are angels at this very time in my area preparing people to receive the gospel? 
2. Do I believe that the Lord has poured out his spirit upon the people of my area? 
3. Do I believ that there are angels around us supporting us?

I´d like to say that I have have faith in those principles, but that faith could definitely be stronger. We can develop faith by experiment, as Alma teaches us. We can experiment upon these things by following the principles we are taught in Preach My Gospel.

Also, the way that people are most frequently prepared to receive the gospel is through the guys! Share the gospel! Be missionaries!  You can be the angels that so many people that are wandering looking for the truth need.

I thought you guys would like to get to know my mission president better. This is his  profile, complete with a video:

I´m pretty much out of time for today, but now that I´ve got some time here, I can more succefully explain what I do as a secretary. So I´ll try to talk about that next time. If you´ve got questions about that, send them to me.

I love you all! Thanks for all your support!

Elder Hilton

Things are finally calm again

September 4, 2015 

Dear family,

Things are finally calm again. The busyness of changes are over. But it will be back in a few weeks. Time seems to go by so much faster in the office. 6 weeks seemed like a lot more time before I came here. Maybe it´s because our work is centered so much around changes. 

Change week (week 1): sooo busy. 
Week 2: recovering from changes. 
Weeks 3-6: preparing for changes.

Then the cycle repeats again. 

We have two pretty positive investigators now: M and M.

M came to church a few weeks ago. He also went to a baptism service. He´s reading the Book of Mormon. And he´s praying. He says that he can´t fall asleep at night because he´s thinking about it so much. He says he´s sure that he wants to be baptized, but he wants to wait. He´s thinking about being baptized next year. We´re working on that. We think that the problem is the way he´s praying. In his prays he just says "give me understanding" and stuff like that but he doesn´t specifically ask "Is the Book of Mormon true?" or "Was Joseph Smith a prophet?" I think that once he does that, he´ll be able make a decision.

M also wants to be baptized. His challenge is that he´s trying to stop drinking. He´s been drinking almost his whole life. But he´s trying to drop it.

Dad asked when I first heard the "music of the gospel." I honestly can´t think of when I first heard the music. I think that´s because I had such great parents. I´ve been reading the Book of Mormon ever since I was born because we always read together as a family, every day. We always prayed as a family. We always had our family home evenings. There was a big focus on the temple. I was taught how to read the scriptures daily, how to do family history, etc. The list goes on. Our home is truly a holy place. I´d say that that is was mostly what made the difference for me. So I suppose that in order to strengthen the youth you need to strength the parents.

Well, I love you all!

Elder Hilton.

Elder Barwick says hi.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

This week was great.

August 28, 2015

Dear family,

This week was great. This week we had:

1. A temple trip
2. A visit from President Nelson and the area presidency

Wow. So good. First of all, the temple trip. I brought a ton of cards. We got 20 names done. The temple is so peaceful. 

Today was the visit of President Nelson. That was great. It was the 3 missions in El Salvador combined. Our mission put together a small choir. I got to be in that choir. It honestly wasn´t the best sounding choir I´ve been in, but the best part of it was that be got to be in front with all the mission presidents, the Seventy, and President Nelson.

The temple trip and the visit took some time, so we´ve been more busy than normal, but that´s ok. Someday we won´t be so busy. We´ve been so tired lately. But oh well. It´s better this way. It makes us grow.

Mom asked how often I see Elder G. He was in the choir to (we´re actually standing together in the picture) so lately I´ve been seeing him about 2 times every week. But now I´ll probably see him at most once a change. We´re like best friends now.

Well, I love you all!

Elder Hilton

I´m sooo busy

August 21, 2015

Hello family!

Well, things haven´t really calmed down much yet. I´m sooo busy. So this will be a short one again.

Thoughts about this week in the order they came to mind:

1. We had changes this week again. Wow. Lots of work. And yes, stress. But I´m managing it well.
2. Today I helped President and Hermana V with their family history. That was really fun. The hardest part was helping them get over the technological barrier. And finding out Hermana V´s password.
3. Last week the ward had a family history activity. Our bishop asked for our help. I helped someone find 5 names. That was great too.
3. This morning I had to be in 5 places at once. We had choir practice, we received a shipment from the distribution center, closed an area, I had a meeting with President V, and I did my first baptism interview. I´m now a district leader. It´s like President wants me to grow a little bit more.
4. Elder V, the secretary with the most time in the office is training this change. I´m the secretary with the second most time so that would mean that it´s likely I train next change. That would put me leaving the office in about 3 months.
5. Next Friday President Nelson will be coming to talk to the 3 missions in El Salvador. That´s why we´re having choir practices. We´re going to sing for that.
6. Pictures! One with Elder G, at choir practice, they other at a service project. We were cleaning up trash. There is a lot of trash in El Salvador.
7. Last week we actually were able to find 12 new investigators. So far this week have 4.
8. Our most positive investigator is M. At first he didn´t want anything to do with the church, but then he went to the temple activity. Every since then it was different. He´s committed to coming to church this week. He is seriously considering being baptised.

Well, that´s about all I got. I love you all a lot.

Elder Hilton

Thursday, August 13, 2015

August 7, 2015

Well first of all, I´m now doing much better. I´m not sick anymore. I´m just somewhat tired. But that´s all.

Yesterday we had another trip to the temple for investigators. It was different this time because we were running it, not just attending. We were there all day. There were 3 sessions divided by location for the entire mission. In all, 1700 people came. It was a pretty big event.

The best part was when we saw everyone from Nueva Concepcion. Hermana V had assigned us to buy pizza for the missionaries that ran the temple activity. So Elder V and I took the mission pickup and went to Little Ceasers. When we came back there was a bus blocking the entrance to the temple so we were waiting outside the gate when suddenly Elder V told me to open the window. I did and there they were. We had a little reunion there in the street but then the guard got mad at us so we parked to car and ran back real quick. Their bus was waiting for everyone to get back so we got on the bus to say hi to everyone. There was President M, his wife, R, M, I and R (President M´s mom and sister, they got baptized too after I left), I (President M´s daughter), R (President M´s son), M, E, and D (President M´s grandkids), L, N, H, R and E, and M. While maybe not all those names are familiar to you, I was really excited to see them. Elder V too, because he actually started his mission in Nueva Concepcion. 

R was so happy. He kept telling me over and over again, "I will never forget you." Over and over again. M seemed close to tears. I feel such a strong connection to the M family. Well, to everyone from Nueva Concepcion. I don´t think I will every feel like another area like I do about Nueva Concepcion. Unfortunately I didn´t get any pictures with them.

Well, that´s about all I got this week. I love you all!

Elder Hilton

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Truly Good and Without Guile

July 25, 2015

This week I read the talk "Truly Good and without Guile" by Elder Ringwood from the last session of general conference. It made me think of one of the sisters in our ward, Hermana Torres. She´s an old lady that lives alone. I´m not sure if she´s a widow or not. But she´s quite possibly the most converted person in the ward. She always goes to church despite physical limitations that come with age. She always reads the scriptures. She always does her family home evenings, even though it´s usually just her alone. She goes to the temple regularly. She tries to do her family history even though she doesn´t know how. She fasts and pays a fast offering. Basically, she is truly good and without guile.

I realize that I´m pretty far away from that. I lack much. But "the good new of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that the desires of our hearts can be transformed and our motives can be educated and refined.

We do that by making and keeping covenants with God. When we got baptized we started the process of converting ourselves into new creatures and each time we take the sacrament we take a step closer.

In Doctrine and Covenants it states that "in the ordinances thereof the power of Godliness is manifest." The power of the atonement is manifest in our lives as we participate worthily in ordinances of the priesthood: baptism, confirmation, the sacrament, temple ordinances on behalf of ourselves and our ancestors. It´s a process.

I feel like the mission is a special time we have been given in order to further that process of conversion. We are able to focus all of our time on helping others enter into covenants with God and receive those ordinances. I´d say that focus definitely has an effect on us. I´d say that family history has the same effect on us.

Answers to questions:

1. How do we find new investigators?

We talk to everyone and we ask everyone for referrals. We don´t really tract. But someone will give us a referral, we find them and knock on their door. Even if they don´t receive us, we´ll ask them for referral. Then we look for the referrals that they give to us and do the same thing.

2. Why do I think new investigators is most important?

Like it says in Doctrine and Covenants section 4, the field is white and ready for the harvested. Our main purpose as missionaries is not to plant seeds. We are here to harvest. We need to find the people who are already prepared, the chosen of the Lord. So we need to find a lot of investigators. Let´s say in one week we find 12 new investigators. Of those 12, maybe 2 will keep there commitments and progress. Because our time is so limited, we stop visiting the 10 that don´t progress, keep visiting the 2 that do progress and find 12 more. So in order to find the prepared people, we need to find a lot of investigators.

There were more questions but I´m just about out of time.

I attached a picture of me directing a missionary choir. We sang at a recent stake conference. The class I took at BYU has really come in handy. At one point I used both hands to conduct and everyone was really amazed at that. I don´t think they´d seen anything like it before.

Well, I love you all!

Elder Hilton

Friday, July 17, 2015

He said that if we think we´re working harder, but we don´t achieve more, we´re not working harder.

July 17, 2015

Hello family!

Things are going well over here. I´m enjoying the mission.

I feel like I´ve finally got the hang of balancing our time in the office and the area. 

In my extra time in the office, I like to make graphs so that I still feel productive. In our mission we have 4 standards of excellence: Baptism dates, church attendance, progressing investigators, and new investigators. I wanted to see which of those key indicators affected baptism most. So I added up all the standards of excellence for 9 areas over the last year and a half. Then I compared that to the number of baptisms they had. Then I made a scatter plots, and took the lines of best fit.
Inline image 2
The more horizontal the line is, the more the key indicator affected the number of baptisms. If the line is vertical, it hardly affected it at all. So, I found out that the key indicator that most affected the baptisms was new investigators. Then came church attendance. Then progressing. Then baptism dates.

I also looked at the history of my area. I have all the numbers back until the beginning of 2013. The standard of excellence for new investigators per week is 12. With the exception of one week, our area had never gotten that many. It´s not that our area´s a really hard area, but I think that past secretaries have that because we´re in the office it´s ok if our area doesn´t do as well. But that is not true.

We´ve started working a lot harder in our area. A little while ago Elder A, an area seventy, visited us. One of the things that he taught was that if we work harder, we achieve more. He said that if we think we´re working harder, but we don´t achieve more, we´re not working harder. I  have come to know that that is true. So, we´ve started to work harder, and we´ve achieved more. Two weeks ago we found 14 new investigators. Last week, even though it was changes week, we found 12. That was truly a challenge. Monday through Thursday we had barely spent any time in the area and had taught only one lesson. But we worked like crazy on the weekend and were still able to achieve it. 

So statistics are somewhat limited, and numbers are just numbers. But they help up focus more and they do help motive us to work harder.

I´m pretty much out of time so this might be it for today. Mom asked me to explain how we find people to teach, but I´ll explain that next week. Just remind me.

I love you all!

Elder Hilton

It's been pretty crazy.

July 11, 2015

Hello family!

Well, transfers week is almost over. It´s been pretty crazy. The challenge of this week is balancing our time between our responsibilities in the office and the area. But from here on out things should be pretty calm until the next transfers.

Time, in the mission, seems to go about 2 times faster. But in the office it seems to go about 3 times faster. We never really know how much time we´ll be in the office, but I´m guessing that I´ll be in here for 5 changes. Wait, just a quick note about changes. The real name for them is transfers, but in Spanish it´s translated as "cambios" which literally means "changes" in English. So we call them changes. It´s a bit of a translation error but it´s stuck. We know it´s not the real word but it´s what we say. Anyways, in a normal area you always get really anxious around changes because you don´t know if you have them or not. But here there´s no surprise. You have to train someone to take your place before leaving so you get a whole 6 weeks heads up.

We´ve starting teaching K´s sister B again. Before she used to recieve the missionaries but she stopped. But she started again and she wants to be baptized. Her biggest chalenge is that her Dad does not want her to be baptized. But hopefully he´ll soften his heart and let her.

More family history stuff. President V wants me to teach him family history. He's actually going to come to the office a little bit later today so that I can help him. That should be fun.

I love you all!
Elder Hilton

Our office work is picking up a little bit.

July 4, 2015

Dear family,

Our office work is picking up a little bit. We´re getting ready for transfers next week. The week of transfers is the busiest week for us. The change meeting is on Wednesday. On Monday and Tuesday we´ll be getting all ready for that, arranging transportation, sorting materials, taking everything we need to the chapel in Santa Lucía, helping take care of the new missionaries, etc. On Wednesday we have the meeting in the morning, then after that we´ll race over to the office and get to work. My item of highest priority is making what we call the tarjetero. It´s a little card that has contact information for the mission. I need to update that every change. On change week we just do our best to keep up.

I got my package this week! Thanks so much. It was perfect. I love the new music, the fruit snacks, japanese money, Jambalaya, todo. Thanks for Meet the Mormons too. It´s great. We had already seen it as a mission and President wants us to be able to start using it as a finding opportunity. We´ve already put it to good use.

We´ve worked up to running 3 miles in the morning. We do it in half an hour. It´s not that much, and it´s not that fast, but it´s a start. In our defence, it is pretty hilly. It really does make us feel better though. Even though we get up earlier to do it, we have more energy in the day for it. And it helps me breathe better. 

That´s so cool that you guys have been able to each other and some old friends again! Everyone´s growing up.

I love you all!
Elder Hilton

A baptism!

June 2, 2015
Congratulations Aimee! So happy for you.

K got baptized! I attached pictures. She´s was really excited. She wants to prepare to serve a mission in a year. Unfortunately her family isn´t interested in the gospel right now, but the ward is doing a lot to provide support for her. In the picture we were a bit sunburned because we had a service project that morning.

This week we didn´t have much to do in the office. Last change, I felt like I could barely keep up with all the work we had. Now I don´t feel like that. Now I´m ahead of everything. Before we would leave from the office around 5 each day and I wouldn´t even finish with everything. Now I finish with my office work around 12. I´m not entirely sure what changed, but oh well. We´re leaving much earlier from the office now. We get much more time to work in the area which is good.

O already moved.

On weekends we eat lunch with our bishop. Usually while we´re eating his wife who´s really interested in family history asks me a bunch of questions about familysearch. So I help her a lot with her family history. That´s about all we´re doing with family history right now.

We still go running in the mornings. I attached a photo of our area that we took while running.

Well, I love you all!

Elder Hilton

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Share the gospel online. It works.

June 20, 2015

Hola family,

This has been a good week. I´m beginning to see the true importance of social media missionary work. One of my duties is to manage the referrals for the mission. About once a week we receive a referral from, referrals from people that went to the site and asked for the missionaries visited them. Those are the best referrals. Some of them wrote:

     "I would like to be a member of your church."
     "I am very interested in learning about your church and especially in being baptized."

Wow. That´s just so cool! Social media isn´t even authorized for our mission, but if it But it´s not, and I think that part of the reason is that we´re not even using what we have. When I came to the office there were about 200 unassigned referrals from the past 2 years.The secretaries before me haven´t been taking care of them. But this week I finished assigning them all. Now that they´ve all been assigned, the mission needs to start using them. Anyways, share the gospel online. It works.

I was just reading in Jacob 5. I really liked verses 70-75. The Lord of the vineyard calls his servants and says to them: "Go to, and labor in the vineyard with your might...and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself...."

And so the servants go and labor "with their mights" and they did "obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things."

And the vineyard started to grow and thrive and there was much fruit. And the servants and the Lord of the vineyard had much joy together.

One interesting thing I noticed was that the servants themselves didn´t gather the fruit. The Lord said, "ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself." All that was required of the servants was that they were diligent and obedient. Our personal abilities and talents are not what matters in this work. The Lord just requires that we work diligently and that we be obedient to the commandments that he has given us.

Well, I love you all! I attached a photo. It´s especially for Dad.

Elder Hilton

Thursday, June 18, 2015

"The Music of the Gospel"

June 13, 2015

Hello family!

This week we weren´t quite as busy. We were still busy, but it was más tranquilo. I even wrote in my journal a few times this week. It´s really hard to find time to do that here.

We´ve started to get up early in the mornings in order to run a little bit. That´s been good.

We finally got the general conference Liahona. I´ve really enjoyed reading the talks.

I read the talk "The Music of the Gospel" again. I really like that one. It made me think about being a missionary. There are missionaries that learn the steps of being a missionary but never hear the music (the spirit). Those are the missionaries that don´t want to work, or that want to go home because "dancing without music is awkward and unfulfilling." Those who learn the steps but never learn to hear the music "will over time become uncomfortable with the dance and will either quit dancing or, almost as bad, keep dancing only because of the pressure they feel from others who are dancing around them." 

The other thing I took out of that talk is how we teach the gospel. "The challenge for all of us who seek to teach the gospel is to expand the curriculum beyond just the dance steps." Our investigators need to hear the music too. Some of our investigators never hear the music. Becuase of that, some don´t even try the dance. Others try the dance but then get uncomfortable and stop. So how can we teach them to hear the music too?

First of all, we need to be able to hear the music ourselves. We must have the spirit. We must be worthy and clean.

Then, we must teach the steps. We must do that "by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, by love unfeigned, and by kindness." These are the attributes that invite the spirit. When we have these attributes, then they can hear the music.  

I don´t think I answered any of your questions that you guys asked me last week. Mom asked some questions about the picture of the boxes for changes. Those boxes were had Books of Mormon, pamphlets, DVDs, and varios other missionary articles. There were also so packages from moms. All the packages come to the ofice and we distribute them every 6 weeks at the change meetings. So yes, here in the office I´ll get my packages a lot quicker. The big garage is the garage of the chapel that you can see in the mormon message about the El Salvador temple dedication. That´s where we have the change meeting.

O is going to move soon. Since I´m in charge of the referrals, I´ll make sure that the missionaries where he is going teach him. K is going to get baptized soon.

I attached some pictures so you could get an idea of what our area looks like.

Well, I love you all!

Elder Hilton