Thursday, April 28, 2016

Week 23

Hello Friends and Family,

This has been a pretty good week. I absolutely love my new companion. His name is Elder Tebbs and he is from Bryce Canyon UT. (Its kinda weird how many people from Utah are serving in this mission). He has been out 21 months so this is his second to last transfer. I love how dedicated he is to the work and how obedient he is. I can guarantee we are going to be seeing many miracles the next 6 weeks. We tried to prank Elder Tebbs by having a member bang on our door late at night and pretend he was Anti. It didn't work too well because Tebbs recognized them, but it was still incredibly funny. 

As for me, life as a missionary is still good. I love meeting new people and sharing the gospel with them. There really is nothing that brings joy quite like sharing the gospel. 

Things I learned this week:
  • Just because someone did not accept the Gospel the first time, does not mean they will never accept it. This is Elder Tebbs second time being in this area so we are visiting a lot of people he used to work with. Several of them have opened up their hearts a bit more and want to start meeting with us again. It has been really neat to hear about how much people have changed in 10 months
  • It is easier to be 100% obedient than 95%. There is literally nothing to worry about if you are doing your best to be obedient. You know you have the spirit, you know God trusts you, you know that everything will work out. When you put Christ first, things just work out.

Sorry this weeks email is a bit short. We have a lot to do, and not a lot of time to do it. 

-Elder Shill

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Week 22

An explanation for those who don't know missionary lingo... (Like me!)
"Impending death" refers to a missionary getting ready to go home.
To "kill him" means to be that missionaries last companion before they go home. 
Yes, I had a slight heart attack when I read the fist sentence, but all is well :)
Here ya go!

Hello Friends and Family,

This week has been incredibly long, yet incredibly short with the impending death of my companion. It has been pretty funny watching Elder Tortorici ride the emotional roller coaster bouncing between totally trunky and 110% dedicated. We were still able to have several amazing lessons. My new companion is Elder Tebbs. He has 2 transfers left in his mission so I think I might kill him as well. I hear great things about him, so I'm pretty excited. 

This week numerically was not the greatest, but the lessons we did teach were incredible. We set 3 new people with baptismal dates! We were also able to see many people we haven't seen in a long time because Elder Tortorici was leaving. Everybody wanted to say one last goodbye. 

As for me, I am doing pretty well. Missionary life is quite literally the greatest. If I were allowed, I would do this every day. I have no idea how to describe it. Its long, hard, and incredibly rewarding. My area is mostly a college town. ECU is about 10 min from my apartment. There is also quite a large "hood" community here as well. Some times I feel like I'm back in Newport News. I heard once, that Greenville was nationally ranked for some of the worst drivers, and that is completely true. I see some pretty bizarre driving. My favorite part about the area is the people. Every one is incredibly friendly and will talk to you at least once. 

As for things I learned this week:
  • Recently President Baker has had the entire mission studying prayer. There is so much more to prayer than I thought. I suggest reading the Bible dictionary definition of Prayer. That alone opened my eyes to how significant it is. Prayer becomes instinctive as we understand our true relationship with God.
  • Quickly adhering to counsel brings rapid improvement. As we counsel with the Lord, we learn of things we need to change, do, and improve. The sooner we make those changes, without being compelled, the more blessings we will see. Our opportunity to receive correction helps us quickly grow and become better. 
  • One thing I learned from Jesus the Christ, is Christ was able to learn so quickly because of his sinless life. He was constantly being filled with further truth and knowledge. If we want to know if something is true, we need to be striving to live like Christ. As we apply correct principles in our life, then the spirit can testify of their truthfulness. I see this in my life, and in my investigators lives. Hearts are softened once you try it. 

I love yall. Make sure to be a member missionary!
- Elder Shill

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Week 21

Hello Friends and family!,

This has been a pretty good week. It has been a little bit slower, but still busier than weeks we have had in the past. With this being the last week of the transfer, I am both relived and terrified to know that I will probably be staying in Greenville. This means that I will be taking over this area until my companion catches on. I am so thankful that I get to stay because of the people I have been able to meet. There are so many wonderful people here. I had no idea of how much of a people person I am - a bit ironic because of how introverted I used to be. There is nothing worse than leaving loved ones behind. The greatest thing I am learning on my mission is how to love. 
As for fun things that happened this week, last p-day we went fishing in a members pond. It was incredibly relaxing. I literally put a bare hook in the water and snagged a fish, several times. If you put some bait on the hook and held it slightly above the water the fish would jump out and try to grab it. I caught at least 10 little small mouth bass. Today, we had a Pig Picking, which is pretty much the greatest barbecue ever. I love North Carolina's vinegar sauces! Since Elder Tortorici is leaving this week, members are fighting for spots to feed the missionaries. We are double booking dinners and several lunches. In other words, I'm probably going to gain at least 20lb this week. Totally worth it though. We also went to Pirate Fest, a local party kind of like the Farmington days. It was pretty fun and we handed out tons of cards. 

One thing I am learning as a missionary is to slow down. Now there is a difference between slowing down and being lazy. It is so easy for me to start thinking about 2 or three things at the same time. I have noticed that when I do this, I always end up missing something or forget to do something. In life, we all bombard our todo lists and try to accomplish as much as we can in the shortest amount of time. However, there is value in dedicated time. I have learned that as I make sure I write everything down and attack one thing at a time and do each item well, I have a happier, stress-less life. 

I love y'all,
-Elder Shill

Monday, April 4, 2016

Week 20! :)

Hello  Friends and Family!!!

This week has been absolutely incredible! We met so many new people this week and, to put the cherry on top of the ice cream, we ended it with General Conference. I am so thankful for my opportunity to watch General Conference from a missionaries perspective. I have gained huge amounts of respect for the leaders of the church. Conference was literally the best 10 hours I have had in a very long time. The spirit was burning in my chest. We also found 5 new investigators this week, several who are legitimately investigating the church.
You know what makes my day as a missionary??? When I start talking to somebody and they say "I know a Mormon, he/she is a phenomenal person. I have a lot of respect for them." Whenever I here this I send silent prayers of gratitude. I remembered a funny joke about pilots the other day. It goes, "How do you know if a person is a pilot?..... He will tell you." It is my dream that in the future people will change this joke by replacing the word pilot with Mormon. As the world becomes darker our consistent light burns brighter. PLEASE let people know why.

Things I learned: 
  • Do what your told, and then a little extra: Being on the side that is always asking people to do things, It really means a lot when someone actually follows through with what they say they are going to do. It is so frustrating when people don't keep their commitments it makes me want to keep all of mine and more. As I was reading the scriptures I was looking through the footnotes and saw a reference to trustworthiness. I then started pondering how we need to gain trust with God. If we want to be an instrument in the Lords hand we need to prove ourselves willing to work and keeping our commitments to Him. As we strive to do this we will see our lives change and we will see His hand in our life.
  • Obedience to gospel principles is the only way to learn of their truth. I forget exactly where it is, but in D&C there is a scripture that states obedience brings light and truth. A couple verses later, it said that disobedience removes light and truth. This is why it is so critical that we remain temple worthy so we can always qualify for the confirming witness and further knowledge about Gods eternal plan for us. 
  • Stop planning and start doing: I have been a strong believer in this phrase and now I have a general conference talk (by Elder Arnold) to back it up. Please watch this!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Week 19

Hello Friends and Family!

To me, Easter is the most important holiday of the year. It is without a doubt my favorite holiday. Frequently as members of the Christian world, we nonchalantly use words like resurrection and atonement without completely understanding the hope that emanates from these simple words. Phrases like, "He Lives" and "Hallelujah" ring passively through our minds. Like many, I never fully realized the significance of this celebrated event. It wasn't until I had the opportunity to frequently bear my testimony this week on the resurrection of Jesus Christ that I started to comprehend what Christ had done for me. He Lives! Because he lives, we know that Jesus Christ is the Christ, the savior of the world, the son of God, the prince of peace, the creator of the world, and the light and life of the world. His resurrection is proof that He is the Great I AM. I am so grateful to dedicate 2 years of my life to teaching people about Christ and the hope he brings into our lives. Because He lives, we will too.

As for my week, it has been pretty good. We are still working our hardest and were able to find 4 more people. Unfortunately none of our investigators made it to church, but several less actives did. I'm hopping that the harder we work, the more referrals we will get from members in this area. 
The most important lesson I learned this week is the reality of Christ. 
I love yall,
- Elder Shill
Feeling the Force