Monday, July 10, 2017

Week 86

Dear Family!

So this week has been absolutely incredible. 

On Friday the entire "E" family was baptized. Because so many people came Bishop had to have everyone move to the chapel so there would be enough seats. It was such a beautiful service! To make it even better several missionaries were their because they had investigators come to the baptism as well. It was awesome to see so many peoples lives being touched. 

Saturday the "E" Family requested that we come over so they could have added protection from the adversary. In accommodation with their request, and because we love going to their house, first thing in the morning we went to their house for breakfast. After breakfast we did our companionship study with them and they helped us plan for our investigators. Later that day Bro. "E" actually came with us to teach a couple people. He did such an amazing job! I was blown away by how many PMG skills he had. 

Sunday the entire family was confirmed. I had the opportunity to Confirm their son "K". It was amazing. Later during priesthood opening exercises, Bro. "E" was given the Aaronic priesthood and then he gave his son the Aaronic priesthood. A tender moment to say the least. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to learn from the "E" family. They are rock stars who just love the Gospel. 

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were zone conferences. The theme for these conference was, "Preparing the Mission to Train." On Aug 1, approximately 30 missionaries go home and just over 30 come out. The logistics for this are impressively complex. President Weed gave a great talk about obedience and corrected our understanding of the phrase "Obedience brings blessings, and exact obedience brings miracles".  I will share the talk with y'all when I get it. President typed it out because he wanted to give it to missionaries in the future. 

During the zone conference we gave a training about Amalackiah, which is one of the best planners in the Book of Mormon. When I get home, remind me to give this training to y'all because it is the best. 

I love y'all,
-Elder Shill

P.S. Thanks for the Dum-dums! I literally jumped on the couch and started feasting as I explained to everyone why my family sent a box of dum-dums.


Week 85

Hello Friends and Family!

This week has been such a great week. I feel like I am officially moved into the Portsmouth area because I finally attended church their. My first Sunday I had to go to New Bern and the second Sunday was Stake Conference.
For a couple of weeks we have been working with this family that Elder Snow and Elder Richins found. This family was 110% prepared to hear the Gospel. Sunday night they all had their Baptismal interviews and passed, which means that this Friday that entire family is going to be baptized.

We also had an incredible time yesterday doing service for some potential investigators. They have so much faith in Jesus Christ! The missionaries ran into them back in January and we got back in contact with them a couple of weeks ago. Yesterday we helped them clear some vines from their yard and then they fed us some eggplant lasagna and muscles. I loved it.

Wednesday we had a Mission Leadership Council and we finished planning all of Zone Conference. Within 2 transfers pretty much they entire mission will be participating with Training new missionaries. Therefore, our focus this transfer is to train the trainers.

We also went on 3 exchanges this week. For 2 of them we split our tiny area and both proselyted here. For the last one I went to the Tidewater YSA area. Our focus for the exchange was working with members. After doing a little bit of studying we said a prayer and walked out the door. I kid you not, 3 seconds later a lady turned around and asked us if we were the Mormon missionaries. We learned that she had just moved in and was a member herself. She also told us that she had several friends she wanted to share the gospel with.

Love y'all
-Elder Shill

Monday, June 26, 2017

Week 84

Hello Friends and Family!

Good gravy it is busy! I'm grateful that there is so much to do in this area. At first I was a bit nervous because the area is so small, but there are definitely people who are prepared to hear the gospel. The beginning of the week I felt more like an office missionary because Elder Snow and I were always in the mission office working out logistics for transfers. Monday we picked up the departing missionaries and Tuesday morning we sent them home. That afternoon we picked up 4 new sisters from the MTC and introduced them to the mission. Wednesday was busy with Training meetings and driving to and from Greenville NC. On Thursday we skipped weekly planning and had a meeting with President Weed about the upcoming MLC and Zone Conferences. Since Thursday we hopped back into "regular missionary" schedule. This week we have 2 exchanges set up and several appointments with the people we teach. 
As far as missionary work goes this area is on fire. I guess that's what happens when there is a long history of excellent missionaries that have served here. Members are inviting their friends, a family is progressing towards baptism and we are working with several recent converts. I also see the Ward Council diligently reaching out to those who are struggling. 

I'm a bit nervous for how quickly I have to learn this area. Elder Snow goes home at the end of this transfer. Normally when you take over an area you have ample time to learn the members and your investigators. Now I have to keep track of all the missionaries... Members+Non-Members+Missionaries = a whole lot of headache to memorize. Its fun though. I actually really enjoy the quick pace. 

Yesterday we ran into some former investigators that seemed excited to have us come back. They look like a nice family. I heard that they used to feed the missionaries but for what ever reason they were never baptized. Actually, I hear that there are many former investigators that used to frequently feed the missionaries but chose not to get baptized. 

I know that this church is true. I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and I am so grateful I get to be out hear sharing the gospel. 

Love y'all
-Elder Shill

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Week 83 - Assistant

Hello Friends and Family!

This has been one of the funnest and busiest weeks of my mission! Early Tuesday morning I was making crepes for breakfast, just for fun, when the phone started ringing. I quickly ran to the bedroom where the phone was still plugged into the charger and saw that it was President Weed who was calling. My heart stopped beating because I knew that one of the assistance was headed home this transfer and they needed to call a new one. Sure enough President Weed extended the responsibilities of being his assistant to me and told me to start packing my bags because I would be picked up that afternoon and I have been running ever since. When we got to Portsmouth there was not enough time to unpack  because we had several appointments that night. 
Wednesday we began the long transfer process. Elder Richins, Snow, President Weed and I sat in his office for several hours counseling with one another about what needs to happen this transfer. For lunch we went on a date with some older ladies in the ward. They are a hoot! We then went back to President's office and continued working transfers out until our appointments. 

Very similar process on Thursday. Lots of transfer meetings and lots of appointments. 

On Friday our day was filled with 6 appointments (2 of which were dinners) and a district meeting.

Saturday was another really busy day. We had to be at the church at 7:30 to start filling the font for a Baptism. The assistant's investigator Kathleen was baptized around 10:30 and before and after the baptism we were making transfer calls out to all of the missionaries. There were so many people at the baptism and it was a beautiful service. It was probably one of the best baptism I have been at. 

After all of the transfer calls were finished we immediately started the long complicated processes of creating the logistics of how transfers is actually going to happen. This took the rest of the day with our only interruption for an appointment with a part member family. President Weed and Sister Weed picked me up from that appointment so they could drive me all the way back down to New Bern so I could play the piano for the Relief Society musical number in sacrament meeting. That was a much needed drive and time to relax.

Sunday we went to the New Bern Ward for sacrament meeting were I was able to say goodbye to many of the members their. Immediately after sacrament meeting we hopped in the car and drove to the Washington Branch and visited with them for the last hour of church. That was pretty fun. From there we made the 2 hour drive to the Mission Home where I waited for Elder Snow and Elder Richins to pick me up. Sunday was full of appointments and dinners  and blessings as well.

Today is going to be a busy day too. We have to pick up all of the departing missionaries and take them to the Mission home. We have about 5 hours planned in the car. In the evening I get to hangout and learn from all of the departing missionaries. 

Tomorrow we drop off all of the missionaries at the airport and receive the missionaries fresh out of the MTC. The rest of the day is orientation and training for the new missionaries. 

Wednesday there are a couple more meetings and then transfers happen and we pray that everyone will get to their assigned area with out unnecessary complications.

Despite the business of this new assignment I am so grateful I have the opportunity to serve with Elder Snow in Portsmouth VA. This ward is so incredibly missionary minded and I owe that to the list of dedicated assistants that came before me. Hopefully I can catch on quickly and learn all the areas, members, investigators, and missionaries. I can tell these next couple transfers are going to be some of my favorite memories for the rest of my life.

I know that this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that there is a living prophet on the earth today. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.

Love y'all,
-Elder Shill


Monday, June 12, 2017

Week 82

Hello Friends and Family!

Once again we had another great week in the mission field. So many wonderful things happened this week. 
Early this week we found a new family to teach! After trying multiple times to meet with them we were finally able to teach them about the Restoration. Normally, when investigators pray at the end of lessons they say a "generic" (for lack of a better term) prayer. However, this time the mother was very specific. She thanked God for sending us there, by name, and asked Heavenly Father if there were living prophets on the earth today and if this is the route they needed to be on. I am so grateful they are open enough to learn more and ask God if what they are learning is true. 

On Thursday we had a visit from Elder LeGrand R. Curtis Jr. of the Seventy. It was fun being instructed by such a humble servant of the Lord. I noticed that the discussions seemed to focus on Chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel, which helped answer a lot of my questions. At one point he asked us for our favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. As we gave him our chapter he immediately began to quote verses from it. It was ridiculously impressive. 

To put the cherry on top of the ice cream, we finally had an investigator come to church! He was only able to stay for the first hour, but he seemed to enjoy it and he wrote down a lot of good questions during the meeting. The speaker was the stake patriarch, so it was a fantastic talk. 

I love yall,
-Elder Shill

P.S. I will be sending pictures later today.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Week 81

Hello Friends and Family!

This has been a pretty fun week!

We had an exchange on Friday with the Washington Elders, which was super fun. On the way home we saw a sign in Vanceborough for free Hot-dogs. Instinctively we pulled over and joined the hotdog eating party. Turns out the local Methodist church was doing an out reach program to help people feel the love of God in their life. I'm pretty sure we were the last people they thought would show up to their out-reach, but they were so warm and friendly towards us. Hot-dog after hot-dog, we were able to meet several of the members and the pastor.
Another time we were out knocking doors in a richer neighborhood and nice family let us inside. It was just like the "Hello" parody. They took us to their back patio, which was on the side of a river, brought out snacks, and then talked to us for about an hour about the church. They weren't interested in joining the church, but they were interested in reading the Book of Mormon. Hopefully in the future we will be able to teach them more about the restored gospel. 

I am so grateful for this church. I know that it is true. 

Love y'all,
-Elder Shill