Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 5

Hello Friends and Family!!!,

Holy cow this week has been amazing! Every day is such an incredible adventure of expecting the unexpected. We have had so many bike problems this week its bazar. Almost every day someone's tire was flat, which really slowed us down. We always tried to patch it, but the patches seem to only last one day. I think there is something wrong with my bike because I have already gone through three inner-tubes. I brought my wheel to the bike shop and I believe its fixed now. I had no idea how much fun, scary, and time-consuming biking would be. (I always wear my helmet mom)

Both of my companions got sick... One of our investigators was sick and I think she gave it to us. The disease was nothing serious, but it did wipe out a day or two of work. Instead of proselyting, I had the opportunity to keep my nose in the scriptures. I can testify that they really do bring the spirit. Both days were still extremely productive because I stayed purpose driven and focused on the investigators we are teaching.  There is always something to learn in the gospel. I have started reading Jesus the Christ. It is amazing! I highly recommend learning about Christ with that book. It explains everything so clearly and goes into so much depth.

Turns out I can cook :) Aside from my usual pancakes and mac n' cheese, I made some pretty good chicken noodle soup. It was a pleasant surprise to find out my concoction of ingredients I found around the apartment tasted pretty good. I'm finding ways to eat pretty well. Some times I feel like I'm on some sort of Food Network Challenge.

Today I played the greatest sport ever! Its called Umpa. Its a combination of Football, Ultimate Frisbee, and Basketball. You play this game on a basket ball court with a football. To score you shoot the football into the basket ball hoops. Instead of dribbling the ball, you throw the ball like ultimate Frisbee with Ultimate Frisbee rules. It was honestly one of the funnest sports I have ever played.

This week we were led to the perfect family! As we started talking to this young mother she started explaining how the world was going crazy, how it is almost impossible to raise kids with strong moral compasses. She was so confused why there were so many churches. I have never seen (with my limited experience) some one so "white and ready to harvest." I know that the gospel is exactly what she wants and needs in her life. We asked her if she would like to be baptized and she said yes. Then she asked if she could get her children baptized. I don't think she completely understands the meaning of baptism yet, but I am so grateful that she is willing to work towards it.

Lessons Learned:
- Christ did not teach like the scribes, who were put into a position of authority because of their knowledge of the scriptures. Christ taught with authority. Because I represent Christ, I need to be bold with my testimony and state things as they are.

- Talk to Every One: One thing I love about my companionship is Elder Allred is the District Leader. As district leader he gets to go on exchanges with the missionaries in the district which means I get to meet a new missionary almost every week. This last exchange I met Elder Anderson and through his example I learned to talk to everyone. Almost every single person we passed on the streets we would talk to and share a quick message with them. Then, because our exchange goal was asking for referrals, we would ask the person if they knew anyone that needed our message. Most of the time we did not get a referral, but there was one person who did. He told us to talk to a group of guys next to the store a couple blocks down. Unknown to him, we had skipped passed these men because we were trying to get to an appointment. When we went back, we asked if we could share a message. Quickly one man started exclaiming that he had Jesus and he didn't need us. As he was rambling on, my companion asked if anyone else would like to hear a message. At first no one answered, but then a man sitting in a wheel chair rolled forward. He started to tell us how he was researching religion. We gave him a Book of Mormon and every time we started to bear our testimony about it he stopped us and said, " I will read this, and I will find out if it is true for my self." We were all astonished.  I cant wait to run into this man again to see what he has learned.

- Priesthood is real: I had the opportunity to seal a blessing for this sick and afflicted this week. I know that God is at the helm of all of our lives. He wants to bless us. Christ said, if we being evil know how to give good gifts, then how great are the gifts our father in heaven gives us. Do not be afraid to ask for a blessing. If you need comfort and counsel, ask for a blessing. It really helps.  

- Record your sacred experiences: Since coming on my mission, I have started to keep a sacred journal. In it I record all of my most precious experiences and lessons I have learned. I read through it last night and found my self reliving those experiences with the spirit I felt. A journal becomes a place to remind yourself of your testimony at its highest moments.


At church, the speaker shared a story about the true meaning of Christmas that I thought was really amazing. I really liked this story and I hope you do as well:

"The "W" in Christmas

Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful
experience.
I had cut back on nonessential obligations - extensive card writing,
endless baking, decorating, and even overspending. Yet still, I found
myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and
of course, the true meaning of Christmas.
My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting
season for a six year old. For weeks, he'd been memorizing songs for his
school's "Winter Pageant." I didn't have the heart to tell him I'd be
working the night of the production. Unwilling to miss his shining
moment, I spoke with his teacher.

She assured me there'd be a dress rehearsal the morning of the
presentation.

All parents unable to attend that evening were welcome to come then.
Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, the morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early,
found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. Around the room, I saw
several other parents quietly scampering to their seats. As I waited,
the students were led into the room. Each class, accompanied by their
teacher, sat cross-legged on the floor. Then, each group, one by one,
rose to perform their song.

Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the
holiday as "Christmas," I didn't expect anything other than fun,
commercial entertainment - songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes
and good cheer. So, when my son's class rose to sing, "Christmas Love,"
I was slightly taken aback by its bold title.

Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy
mittens, red sweaters, and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in
the front row- center stage - held up large letters, one by one, to
spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing "C is for
Christmas," a child would hold up the letter C. Then, "H is for Happy,"
and on and on, until each child holding up his portion had presented the
complete message, "Christmas Love."

The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her; a
small, quiet, girl in the front row holding the letter "M" upside down
totally unaware her letter "M" appeared as a "W". The audience of 1st
through 6th graders snickered at this little one's mistake. But she had
no idea they were laughing at her, so she stood tall, proudly holding
her "W".

Although many teachers tried to shush the children, the laughter
continued until the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together.
A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant,
we understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated the holiday in
the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our
festivities.
For when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and
clear:
"C H R I S T W A S L O V E"

And, I believe, He still is. "
I love you all,
 - Elder Shill

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