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