Monday, March 30, 2015

"When you are in your homes once more, you will look back and give thanks to God that he let you come to Nueva Concepcion."

March 20, 2015

Well, surprise! We went to the sealing! We really weren't expecting to go, because we're only allowed to go to the sealings of our converts. But the Lord apparently wanted us to go, and oh am I ever so glad.

So Elder G is in Apopa as a zone leader. Apparently, he was in a meeting with President V when Elder P (the missionary that baptized President M) called with a few questions about the temple trip. After the call, Elder G casually asked, "Is Elder Hilton going to the sealing?"
President V: Elder Hilton? But he didn't baptize them.
Elder G: Well, no. But we worked a with President M a lot and...
President V: You want to go?
Elder G: Well...yes.
President V: [smiling] Ok. You guys can go.

So that's how we got to go to the temple. Everything worked out to make it possible. If Elder G hadn't left la Nueva, if he hadn't been in that meeting with President V, and if Elder P hadn't called at that exact moment, we wouldn't have gone. That's too many ifs. We feel really blessed.

We found out that we were going in a somewhat roundabout way. We were never actually formally told that we were going. Tuesday, we were in the office with President M planning the upcoming sacrament meetings when President L called President M to finalize some plans for the temple trip. While talking to him President M asked if we would be able to go to the temple trip. After hanging up, he told us that President L had said that we needed to ask President V if we could go, because there were only 3 missionaries that had permission to go: Elder P, Elder G and...he couldn't remember the name of the last one. (He's not very good with our names. He either calls me hermano, misionero, hermano Hilton or hermano Gi. Every now and then Elder Hilton.) 

Anyway, that phone call left me dying to know who the third missionary was. We didn't find out until the next day at the presidency meeting with President L where we asked again. I was the third missionary. I felt very relieved when I found that out. I had been thinking the whole time: "Why would Elder G go but not me? Should I have called President V and asked for permission? Maybe Elder G did."

So anyway, we went to the temple. That endowment session was good, as always. But it did feel different. It felt like the focus was all on the M family. The main reason I was there was not to receive spiritual strength or even to do the temple work for one of my ancestors. While those were factors, that was not why I came. I came for the M family. While we were in the celestial room, we were just waiting for President and hermana M to come through. When they did, they looked so happy. And then came the sealing. That was very special. In the sealing was President L and his wife, us, President T (first councilor in the branch) and his wife, and Elder P. Elder G and I were the witnesses. That was truly special.

After the sealing President L treated us all to lunch and cake. While we were eating he said to us, "When you are in your homes once more, you will look back and give thanks to God that he let you come to Nueva Concepcion." I know that to be true. I love Nueva Concepcion. This little branch needed my help. I've learned and grown so much here.  I'm not sure if I'll ever be ready to leave this area. I've got so much more to learn.

Well, I love you all!

Elder Hilton

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I'm learning a lot.

March 17, 2015

Well family, another week has gone by. It really is quite an adventure. I'm learning a lot. Elder P is a very good missionary. He knows a lot. I'd say that's one of his strongest attributes. He knows the scriptures very, very well. Is my Spanish improving with him? I imagine. Nothing drastic though. However I do think my English is probably getting worse. We'll see what you guys say on Mother's day.

Today I'd like to write about some of the people we're teaching.

A while ago I wrote you guys about G. We met him in the street, invited him to church, he came, and then left to San Salvador and we didn't see him again. Well, he still lives in San Salvador. But we're teaching his mom now. She is just a  really good lady. Just full of goodness. She's come to church 2 times now. She's accepted the invitation to be baptised. We're still now entirely sure when yet, but we're hoping it will be this month. We're very excited for her.

We're also teaching E, one of President M's sisters. She was in the photo of R's baptism. We asked her what would impede he from being baptised, and she said that there was nothing, that she's basically already a Mormon, doesn't drink coffee or anything. She just doesn't know if the church is true yet. That's all that's holding her back. Her 11 year old grandson, E, also lives with her and he said that nothing would impede him from being baptised, and that he would love to do it. He just needs the "ok" of E. So we're praying a lot so that she can get a testimony of the restored Gospel.

We're also teaching someone called R. Her neighbor invited her to church and she came. She's passing through a hard time right now, what with health and other things. But she loves to learn about the Gospel, and I think it is making the difference for her. 

Let it not be said that I don't write about our investigators :).

M is doing well. He's got his ups and downs, but continues coming to church every Sunday and coming to the church activities.

We're very excited for President M and his family. Unfortunately it doesn't look like we'll be able to go with them to the temple. I really, really want to. I'm still very happy for them though.

So it sounds like we're going to Ohio. It's not Germany, but I'll take it. It will be nice to have you guys closer.

One thing I'm trying to work on is to always be in tune to the spirit. It's so easy to become out of tune with the spirit. There are so many little things we have to watch. Things like stress, disapointment, complaining, etc. For example, if I get to church and some of the people that I have come to love so much aren't there, even though they said they would come, I feel sad, I get disappointed. I might complain. If I'm not careful, that will distance the spirit. Or another example, that's somewhat unique to the mission. Yesterday we got to church and found out that 2 of the speakers didn't show up, there wasn't anyone to teach Gospel Principles, the youth, the priesthood preparation class, or the 3rd hour for priesthood. So, we get asked to do all of that. The temptation would be to during the sacramnet stress out frantically prepare for your talk and all the classes. But what then of the sacrament? The sacrament is a time of peaceful reflexion and a time to renew your covenants. Even missionaries need that. So, I'm working on that. Stress is something new to me. Before I never got stressed. So I'm learning what it is and how to deal with it. Learning a lot. 

I love you all!

Elder Hilton

Monday, March 16, 2015

"I really don't ever want to leave this branch."

March 9, 2015

Well, we had changes. Elder G left. He's now in Apopa. We had 4 months together. You really do get to know someone well if you're with them 24/7 for 4 months. We became good friends. My new companions name is Elder P. He's from Peru. Last transfer he was in Chalatenango as my zone leader. Now he's here as my district leader. This is his last transfer of the mission. I feel like I'll really be able to learn a lot from him.

Yesterday President L and his wife came to church here in Nueva Concepcion. That was really great. I really learn a lot from him. For example, how he acted during sacrament meeting. Sacrament meeting starts, and the first thing he does is pull out his notebook to take notes. While the speakers spoke, he paid very close attention. He would nod in agreement often, and every now and then he would say something in agreement to what they said. I thought, why am I not taking notes? Why should he be having a better sacrament meeting experience than me? So I started to take notes. And I learned a lot.

We're seeing a lot of progress in the branch. We've got a young man about to leave on a mission, several people that will soon get the melquisedek  priesthood ( that's a somewhat spanglish spelling, but I honestly have no idea how to spell it anymore), and in a few weeks President M and his family will get sealed in the temple. We are really excited for that. I have really enjoyed seeing the branch progress. I hope to stay here a long time so I can keep seeing it. We spend a lot of time in the little branch office with President M. I really enjoy that time. I really feel like we're getting things done. When we first got here, President M didn't even know how to use the mouse. Now he's printing agendas for sacrament meeting and other meetings, reporting tithing, checking his email, etc. without our help. I really don't ever want to leave this branch.

Well, I love you all!

Elder Hilton  

Sunday, March 8, 2015

We got to go to the temple this week!

March 2, 2015

We got to go to the temple this week! But this time we acually went in. It was so nice. It really is a spiritually refreshing expirience. As a missionary, we don't get to go in that often. I kind of feel like a little kig again, looking forward to the temple, understanding its sacredness, but not being able to enter. I wish I had gone to the temple more before I was a missionary. I feel like I would have been a more prepared missionary. I am very greatful for the opportunity we had this week to go.

We had a bit of an adventure getting to the temple, We were trying to make the 8:30 morning session, so we tried to take the 4:30 bus. When we got to the bus station, there was a bunch of people because the 4:00 bus never came. The 4:30 bus never came, neither the 5:00. Finally someone came by and told us that there wouldn't be any bus, posibly for another week. We really wanted to go to the temple, so we just started walking. After about 15 minutes a bus came. The buses still weren't working that day (not entirely sure why), but one of the bus owners had seen the big crowd of people and had mercy and drove us to nearest city where we could catch a different bus to San Salvador. And then we weren't actually sure how to get to the temple, so we just walked arround for a bit with a picture of the temple and asking for directions. We finally got to the temple, but for obvious reasons, we arrived late. When we arrived, the temple worker at the front desk was really unsure of what to do with us, because we were so late. Then President L came around that corner with a somewhat sympathetic look on his face, gave us both hugs, and put us into the next session. After the session that we did, we were just sitting for a bit, soaking in the feel of the temple, and he just came in, gave Elder G and me hugs, then left. That was the only reason he had for coming in. He really is a great guy. We really admire him. He loves others so much, and he lets them see his love.

Last week I wrote about teaching the assistants about familysearch. That actually didn't work out that well. When we arrived we found out that the mission office had lost their internet. I forgot to explain that in my last letter.

Well, this Wednesday are the changes. Elder G and I already have 4 months together. It's very probable that we'll have changes. We'll see what happens. 

I love you guys!

Elder Hilton

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The baptism went really well. It was a very spiritual experience for everyone who came. They are all very, very happy. We are too.

February 23, 2015

Dear family,

We had some very good things happen this week. Saturday, we had R and M's baptisms. I attached a photo of that. Everyone in that photo is family to President M. The man sitting down is R. Sitting next to him is his wife, I. Standing behind them in white is President M. Next to him in white is M. Far left is Hermana M, President M's wife. To President M's left is I, his daughter. The 3 little boy are her kids. Next to me is E, President's sister. President M baptized Mn. He didn't baptize R because both he and Rene said they would be too emotional, so they wanted one of us to do it. So I baptized R. The baptism went really well. It was a very spritual experience for everyone who came. They are all very, very happy. We are too.

The other photo is us with President L, the councilor of President V that we've been working with, and one of the young men from our branch, at the temple. We were not expecting to make that trip. Tuesday night, the assistants called us because they wanted to come to the office the next day so that I could teach them how to use family search. Later, we were talking to President L and he wanted to take advantage of our trip and have us bring B (the joven) with us and take a little detour to the temple so that he could interview him and send off his papers. So that's what we did. It was really good to see the temple again. And it was really good to be with President L.

I really admire him. I admire how much he loves others and his capacity to serve them. Working so closely with him is one of the best parts of being in this area. He
's a very good example to us and we're learning a lot from him.

Well, I love you all! Sorry that this letter is a bit shorter, but I'm already out of time.

Elder Hilton