Monday, September 18, 2017

Week 94 & 95

Hello Friends and Family,

This has been a beautiful week! So much has happened.

On Sunday we had a pleasant surprise when a lady and her daughter came to church. Earlier that week we had so many appointments scheduled that we had to go on splits to get to them all. I went with a recently returned missionary and later our recent convert. Elder Rogers went with another member of the ward. As we were trying to meet back up at the end of the night, we noticed a car had pulled off right next to the church with its hazards on. We decided to pull over and see if there is anything we could do to help. Long story short, a lady had run out of gas and needed help getting to a gas station. While we were helping her we told her that the church she stopped at was the church we belonged too. She quickly realized that there was no coincidence, but that God had brought her to us. We invited her to church and she came. Even better was the ward embraced her and she said she would come back next week with all 8 of her kids who still live at home.

Our investigator with a baptismal date is doing wonderful. She was able to meet with the bishop to get to know him a little bit and is going to go to Family Home Evening with some members. She is quite excited for her Baptism on the 23rd of September.

Planning transfers also went smoothly. The mission had sufficient trainers and the storms have rerouted enough to enable to missionaries to get to the mission. 

Our ward is also planning a non-members Sunday. Every person we seem to talk to brings up the event without our asking and talks about the people they want to invite. Having it just be announced, I am quite impressed with the amount of invitations that have been extended already. It is absolutely thrilling to see the members feel the joy of sharing the gospel. I'm grateful for our ward mission leader who has really taken this idea and is bringing into reality.

I am so grateful for the chance that I have to serve a mission. I am grateful for the testimony that I am developing. I know that this church is true. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that there are living Prophets and Apostles.

Love y'all,
-Elder Shill

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Week 93

Dear Friends and Family!

This has been such a busy week. We were able to go on 3 exchanges, which was a blast. During zone conferences we gave a training about maintaining a model area, which includes having a model apartment. It has been really fun then going on exchanges and seeing spotless apartments when we walk in. The first exchange was with the Newport News North Elders. I got to be with Elder Collier again, which was absolutely awesome. The second one was with Kilmarnock and the third one was with the Newport News South Zone Leaders. All of these missionaries were absolutely fantastic. I was so impressed by the level of their dedication to the work. 

This week was much better for proselyting in Portsmouth for us. We were able to meet with several of our investigators and we even set a baptismal date. Hopefully she is able to progress in the gospel to baptism. 

Sorry about the short email again. 
Love yall,
-Elder Shill
 
P.S. I should have a couple pictures on Google Drive soon. 
 
 

Week 92

Hello Friends and Family,

This week has been a blur. Walking into church on Sunday I felt like I had returned from a 1 month vacation. We had 3 zone conferences and two exchanges, all of which went extremely well. 

Zone Conferences were fantastic. The topics were PMG Chapters 8,9, and 10. In each conference we had two trainings. The first training was in a District Leader Training Meeting. This meeting is for all the Zone Leaders, District Leaders and Sister Training Leaders in the region. Our training was about cleanliness and raising the culture of the mission. We committed the whole body of leadership to hold a model of cleanliness for the rest of the mission. It was neat to see how all of the missionaries quickly jumped on board and chose to raise the standards of the mission. Our second training was about becoming a successful missionary. I love how PMG defines a successful missionary. I know that a successful missionary is only a missionary who has become converted to Jesus Christ.

Our investigators are doing well. We haven't been able to meet with many of them because we have been out of town all week; However, the ward is doing a great job of fellow shipping our investigators while we have been gone. 

Love yall,
-Elder Shill

Monday, August 14, 2017

Week 91

Hello Friends and Family!

I am sorry this is going to be a short email. Today we have to drive to North Carolina to pick up some departing missionaries. Anyways, life is great. We finished a fantastic week of exchanges, MLC, and proselyting. We met a great new family that came to church this week. Its always special seeing people come back to church for the fist time in many years. It was especially neat to see several other investigators be at church. Yesterday we also had a dinner appointment with some members and their friend happened to stop by and we were able to teach her the restoration. 

I am so grateful to be apart of this church. This week I went through the whole Book or Mormon quickly highlighting the prophet's testimonies of the savior. It was like reading only the best parts of the book. I see more clearly how that book will bring someone closer to God  than any other book. I know that it is the word of God. 

This week is going to be busy. We have 3 exchanges and 3 zone conferences in different parts of our mission. We are going to be in our area on Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday. I am excited to go explore other parts of the mission. 

I know that this church is true. Jesus is the Christ. There is a living prophet on the earth today.

Love yall,
-Elder Shill

Week 89, 90

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE PACKAGES! It was perfect and the pens were exactly what I wanted! I really appreciate it! Sorry I wasn't able to email last week. We were running around finishing all of the transfer logistics. Transfers are a miracle. All 30 new missionaries got to their areas safely and with all their belongings. I was absolutely astonished by how well everything went. Its neat to create a plan and then watch it unfold.
 
Everything is going really well. We haven't had a lot of time proselyte so we haven't been able to find any new investigators. We are getting back into finding mode though. We thought a couple investigators were going to be at church, but they weren't able to come. I am just grateful for how much the ward loves the missionaries. Yesterday one of the councilors in the Primary Presidency asked us to teach the 10 year olds because all of the adults were out of town. That was probably one of the funniest things I have ever done. Those kids were so smart and absolutely hilarious. 

Sorry I can send a longer email. I am trying to fill out college applications. 

Love you,
-Elder Shill

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Week 88

Hello Friends and Family

This has been a busy week. All of the members are realizing how soon Elder Snow is leaving so people have been trying to schedule appointments with us for a final goodbye dinner. My new companion was called this morning. I am incredibly excited to serve with him. We actually sat by each other on the plane ride out, so it will be interesting when we both leave.
 
I have accidentally started a tradition of making bread every p-day. I found a bread maker in the apartment and several months ago Sister Weed gave the entire mission a bread recipe. Now every Monday morning both sets of Deep Creek Elder come over to have fresh Mediterranean bread.

Transfers are still hectic. Its pretty fun trying to figure out how every missionary is going to get from point A to point B along with deciding were they are going in the first place.

We committed one on our investigators to live the word of wisdom and the lesson went extremely well. I was really excited to see how well they accepted it and promised they would try it for a little while.

Tonight is actually going to be a really fun night because we are going to do some more service for a family we are trying to work with. I am so excited because I think they are not only interested in our free labor, but they might be a little interested in our message. Hopefully everything goes well tonight.

I love yall,
-Elder Shill

Week 87

Hello Friends and Family!

I apologize for how short this email is going to be. We went to the Zoo this morning and then ate all you can eat sushi as a full zone and in about 4 min we are going to meet with President Weed to begin planning transfers. I love ya'll. This week has been amazing. The family that was baptized now has callings so they are doing such a fantastic job. 

I love ya'll!
-Elder Shill

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

Monday, June 5, 2017

Week 80!

Hello Friends and Family!

This has been another great week! Our zone conference went perfectly as planned. It was amazing to see all of the Zone Leader's and Sister Training Leaders instruct all the missionaries. For part of the conference we built a mock ward counsel and we invited President Weed and the local Stake President to be missionaries and the Ward Mission Leader. It was pretty comical seeing the reversal of roles, however it was also extremely instructive on how we can better work with the leaders in our area. All the missionaries were the other ward council members. 

As far as the work goes, we were also able to find 5 new investigators, 3 of which are a family we tracked into. We also found a couple other potential investigators that seem to be promising. Personally, I feel like the hardest part about missionary work is finding a potential that seems interested, and then the next time you come by they are definitely not interested. Its a bit frustrating, but it just opens our schedule to find those who are seeking for the truth. Our current investigators are getting busy with work so we aren't able to meet with them often. Our one progressing investigator contracted strep throat so we haven't been able to seem him in a while either. 

I am so grateful for this church. In my studies I quickly went through the Bible and found examples of the pastern of apostasy. There are so many examples of the church going astray and then God restoring it again to the earth. The biggest example of this is when Christ came and established his church because it had gone astray. After it had fallen astray again, Joseph Smith was called to restore the church to the earth for the final time. I am grateful for living prophets and apostles. I love this church.

Love y'all,
-Elder Shill

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Week 79

Hello Friends and Family!

This has been such a great week and it has been incredibly busy. On Wednesday we had to drive up to Portsmouth VA for a Mission Leadership Council. There we planned for a zone meeting, a zone conference and discussed ways to improve the mission. Needless to say, my brain was fried especially because of how early we had to wake up to get there. It was fun though. I enjoy seeing all the other missionaries and working with President and Sister Weed. 

On Friday we had interviews with President and Sister Weed, which went well. They are both fantastic and I feel like a sponge soaking up all of their wisdom. Afterwards, the joined us for our last zone meeting. If you hadn't heard yet the church has discontinued zone meetings because of how frequent zone conferences are. The first zone conference we helped plan is going to be tomorrow. I am pretty excited for some of the training we will be receiving. 

We were able to find a couple new investigators despite all of the meetings. We almost had a couple more but we were unable to set up return appointment so they don't officially count yet. Elder Hansen and I are still working to find more people to teach. He is such a good missionary and I absolutely love serving with him. I'm pretty amazed by how many stories he has. 

I am grateful for this church. I know that it is true and that Jesus Christ is the Savior.

Love y'alll,
-Elder Shill

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Week 78

Hello Friends and Family!

This has been an incredible week. I absolutely love serving with Elder Hansen! He is so enthusiastic about the gospel. 

We had a pretty cool experience yesterday. Since yesterday was Mothers Day we decided to visit an investigator on Mom's Ln. She wasn't home so we did a little trackting near by. After a couple doors, people seemed to not be interested. Nevertheless, we continued trackting. On the last door we decided to knock Elder Hansen's said this was going to be a "4th floor last door" house. The young couple who answered happened to go to a book club with about half of the relief society. She said she would be interested in hearing our message latter when school gets out. Later, as we were walking back to our bikes a man ran out side with a nice cold glass of water and offered it to us. We were so thankful because of how hot it had been and we had biked for a solid 30 min to get to that neighborhood. 

I know that this church is true. I am grateful I can be apart of this marvelous work. I love sharing the gospel.

Love y'all,
-Elder Shill

Monday, May 8, 2017

Virginia Chesapeake Bay Missionaries with Elder and Sister Cook


Week 77

Hello Friends and Family!

This has been a pretty great week! All of a sudden the work is picking up steam. We were able to see quite a few people this week which was a huge blessing. I have also observed that since Miracle May has started, the ward seems to have become more missionary minded. We are hearing about more member missionary experiences than before. I also love reading the document the mission has put together. Its like Miracle Facebook!

About a month ago we were thumbing through our areabook and we noticed an investigator that the missionaries lost contact with. We decided to stop by and see if he would be interested in meeting with us again. When we met him we couldn’t tell if he was actually interested but he agreed to meet with us after his vacation. Many weeks later he finally finished his vacation and we set up a visit. Last week we finally got in his home to meet with him. No more than 30 seconds in he started expressing how much he loved the Book of Mormon and started bearing his testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. He had no idea why the missionaries stopped coming by because he was eager to learn more. At the end of our visit he assigned himself the 1st book of Nephi. Yesterday when we called to confirm our appointment for tonight he also gave us 17 questions he came up with as he read.  

On Saturday we received our transfer calls. I will be staying in New Bern and Elder Hansen (a different Elder Hansen) will be coming down to be my companion. Elder Collier is going back up to Virginia to work in a newly created ward. I have absolutely loved serving with Elder Collier. He is one of the hardest working missionaries I know. 

To top the week off, the North America North East area had a broadcast from Salt Lake City. Presiding at the Meeting was Elder Oaks. There were some absolutely fantastic talks about living, loving and sharing the gospel. It was amazing to hear an Apostle guide this specific area. Elder Oaks gave a great talk about missionary work and how the members need to be doing their part in it. He quoted himself quite a bit and re invited all the members to pray for missionary opportunities. 


I am so grateful to be serving here and to be apart of the wonderful work! I absolutely love being a missionary. I know that this church is the Lord's Kingdom on the earth today. 

Love y'all,
-Elder Shill



 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Week 76 "Miracle May"

Hello Friends and Family!

This has been a great week this week! We were able to find a new investigator, who I feel has been well prepared by the Lord. Elder Collier and I were looking at the map of our area and concluded we needed to venture out into the country a little bit. After some quite harsh rejection, we ran into our investigator and he warmly listened to our message. He loved talking to us and said we would love to come to church one Sunday. The Lord is preparing people all over the world. I am so excited to have this opportunity to share His gospel. 
 
Our mission also started "Miracle May" which I am so excited about! Everyone's favorite Bible/Book of Mormon story usually revolves around a miracle. In 2 Nephi 27:23 "For behold, I am God; and I am a God of a miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith." I know that the great miracle of this dispensation is the gathering of Israel, both living and dead. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be apart of so great a work. This month we are going to pay special attention to all of the tender mercies God gives us. I expect miracles to happen and when they do our mission has a Google Document for us to record them. 

I invite y'all to participate I'm Miracle May by praying with real intent for missionary opportunities. When the miracles come, PLEASE let me know and I can include them in the mission document. 

I love y'all!
-Elder Shill
 





 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Virginia Chesapeake Elders

 
Virginia Chesapeake Bay Elders
 
 

Week 75

Hello Friends and Family!

Once again I had a pretty good week. We found a couple new investigators and they seem like they are really interested in our message! They dont just passively listen to us speak, but they ask us a lot of questions. Im pretty sure if you were to ask them if they were investigating the church they would say "yes", which is a huge accomplishment. 

To finish of the week I got a little food poisoning, but I am feeling much better now. There is nothing a little sleep and Ibuprofen cant fix. I did manage to make my way to church and have the sacrament before I slept the rest of the day. Being sick really helped me appreciate the sacrament because I had to make the choice to take it. It would have been easy for me to use throwing up as an excuse to miss church, but I know how important it is.

Other than those things, nothing out of the ordinary happened. We are still living life, and working our hardest. I am grateful for this church and for Jesus Christ. I know that its true.

-Elder Shill


 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Week 74

Hello Friends and Family!

I am so grateful for this opportunity we have had to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. I know that He lives! So many things have happened over the past week. 

On Saturday we woke up bright and early and traveled just over 3 hours with our Ward Mission Leader to hear Elder Quinton L. Cook speak to our mission in Virginia Beach. That was such an incredible experience! I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had to hear and meet an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ. You could feel the spirit fill the room as he entered. I had no doubt that he truly had the companionship of the Holy Ghost. Even though my conversation with him lasted not more than a greeting and a smile, I could feel the spirit witness to me that he was one of the Lord's anointed. During his talk he taught us about the beautiful relationship between Christ's resurrection and missionary work. He showed us how the Lord's final command was to preach the gospel to all the world. I have often wondered what it would be like to have been one of his original disciples and to see Christ ascend into heaven. It would have been such a beautiful moment to see, in essence, the complete Plan of Salvation. That moment where religion became reality must have had a profound effect on the young Apostles. I am so reassured that there have been men and women in this day and age, starting with Joseph Smith in 1820, who have seen Christ and witness of his divinity and of the reality of the Plan of Salvation. I am grateful for the opportunity I have to stand as a witness of Him as a "lower case apostle." My favorite part of this meeting was his testimony of the Savior. It was powerful.

The next day we had Stake Conference and had the opportunity to hear for Elder Keetch. The talks were fantastic, especially since they were all centered on Easter. We also had an investigator come to church which was such a tender mercy! We haven't been able to have someone come to church in a couple months so we were glad to see someone actually come. Understandably she was a little overwhelmed by the number of people and how nice everyone was, but she enjoyed it. 

I love y'all!
-Elder Shill



 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Week 73

Hello Friends and Family!

Unfortunately I do not have a lot of time to write this week, but this has been a fantastic week! Long story short, prayer works. I know that the Lord guides those who seek his council. We had a couple experiences where we asked for and received guidance. I know that we were lead to specific people. I know that this church is true and that Christ is the savior of the world. We are about His work and we are striving to do it His way. I know that God loves us and wishes for us to come home and reach the potential He sees in us. Isn't that a marvelous thought? The creator of the universe pays particular attention to our lives and understands our circumstances. We, being as the dirt, are on the fore front of God's mind. With Easter approaching, I know that Christ lives. I know that he literally guides this church today. I know that because of His Atoning Sacrifice we can be cleansed of sin and receive relief from the guilt and shame. Because of Him our confidence can wax strong in the presence of God.

I love y'all
-Elder Shill

 Happy Easter !

Week 72

Hello Friends and Family!

This has been another great week! Finally the long awaited General Conference arrived. We have been telling everyone we can about it. On Thursday, we went on a General Conference blitz where we invited every person we had recently talked too to Conference. There were so many inspiring talks. I have found myself more deeply committed to Jesus Christ and his gospel. I am grateful for the 10 hours of counsel and self reflection. I absolutely loved watching general conference. As a mission, we focused on finding the invitations and promises extended from each talk. I was amazed at how many promises are in store if we obey the counsel given by the prophets. Most of the session we watched at the church, but for the Sunday evening session we watched it at a members house. 
 
Friday night the we were able to watch the Easter video. If you have not watched it, please do! After browsing a couple of the principles of peace we had a huge desire to go share the video with everyone. We hopped in the car and drove to the downtown area of New Bern and started talking with everyone on the side walks. We were handing cards out like they were candy! Every person we saw we gave a card. At the end of the night, as we were walking back to the car, Elder Collier approached a younger couple and gave them a card. Turns out, they were former investigators from a couple months ago that lost contact with the missionaries. They also said they would love for us to come back over so we could keep teaching them. Miracles :)

I am so grateful for the many blessing that I have. I am grateful for Jesus Christ and His Atonement. I am grateful for the opportunity I have to be here and serve Him.

Love y'all,
-Elder Shill

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Week 71

Hello Friends and Family!

This has been a really great week! We received our transfer calls on Saturday and Elder Collier and I will be staying here in New Bern for another six weeks. I am super excited because this area is beginning to pick up speed. We bought some new white boards today so we could more easily keep track of everyone we meet. We now have a grand total of 4 3x2ft white boards. That's a whopping 24 sq-ft of creative space! Hopefully we will be able to track every person we meet and help them progress to the waters of baptism.

Pollocksville has become one of our favorite places to tract. Before we started budgeting our miles it was near impossible to go there because it was too far away. Now we are able to be there about once a week. As we were retracting, we knocked on a door and the family let us in. As we were teaching them the restoration they started to explain to us that right before we had knocked they had been talking about finding a church to go to. The Lord really does prepare people for us to talk to. The lesson went well and we are so excited to introduce The Book of Mormon to them. I love seeing someone who I know is prepared to hear the gospel. We found another family that we were able to teach as well.

We also found several families as we were tracting in New Bern that warmly welcomed us back. I am quite excited about a couple of them. We haven't been able to teach any of them yet, but soon we should be able to have a couple of families in our teaching pool. 

Another highlight was the Gospel Principles class. This week it was on the Priesthood and amazingly there were a lot of members there who usually go to Gospel Doctrine or aren't able to come because of work. There were many comments that were shared about how the Priesthood has been a blessing in their life. I think one of my favorite parts about this church is how it is built around sharing testimonies. As I heard the testimonies of these experienced members I was so grateful for the Priesthood that I hold and resolved to honor it better.  I know that God's authority has been restored to the earth.

I love yall,
-Elder Shill

Monday, March 20, 2017

Week 70 :)

Hello Friends and Family!

This has been a fantastic week! I love being here in New Bern. 
 
We have seen many tender mercies this past week. Since Elder Collier and I reinvented tracking last week, we have created a new finding activity called "retracting". It works just like it sounds. We retract the streets we have already knocked, but hit only the houses that didn't answer. I don't know why we have more success doing this, but we do. Even the people we already talked to seem to talk to us again. On Monday we had an appointment scheduled with a potential who lived quite a ways away and we were pretty sure they were going to flake their appointment. Since we only have a very limited amount of miles and the number they gave us was wrong, we almost didn't go. When we showed up for the appointment they were not home. We decided to retract the street and found 2 more potentials. One of them is incredibly solid and we gave her a Book of Mormon. When we called to follow up on her reading she actually had read and had questions. We are so excited to start teaching her. 
 
We were also able to work in a distant part of are area called Maysville. It is a smaller town we can easily bike. We didn't find any outstanding potentials there, but it was good for us to get to a place the missionaries rarely go. 
 
We also did a musical number in sacrament meeting. I'm not going to lie, it was pretty good. Elder Collier sang, "I Know That My Redeemer Lives" and I played an arrangement for it. I was shocked at how quickly I was able to learn all 7 pages of the song. The Lord definitely wanted us to preform it. 
 
Life is great! Thank you for all of your love and support. 
-Elder Shill

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Week 69 "The 'Key' to success"

Hello Friends and Family!

This has been an awesome week! We picked up a new investigator and I am so excited to start teaching him because he actually prayed about Joseph Smith and his 1st vision and he feels good about it. Elder Collier and I have re invented tracting and are planning out where we are going each day. Every day something good happens to move the work forward. I am so grateful for all of the prayers and I am grateful that God is granting them. We had a really neat experience this week!
 
Every missionaries dream is to have 100% certainty that promptings are from God and not just personal thoughts. I am a firm believer that if God wants us somewhere he will get us there somehow if we have a desire to be an instrument in his hands. A couple weeks ago, we tried to contact a former investigator. After knocking on his door we walked back to the car to go to our next place. When we went to get into the car, the key to our car stopped working. We only have a fob because our car is a push start. After repeatedly pushing the unlock button we decided that we should just start tracking because there was nothing else to do. Soon after we started, a member drove by and hopped out of his car to talk to us. He bore such a powerful testimony of Jesus Christ and his second coming. Each of us were edified and filled with hope and faith in Christ. After about 10 min we had to go. When we walked back to the car it quickly unlocked.

Another time the car locked again, and we started walking to see if we could talk to anyone. We didn't see anyone. From an initial perspective this event seemed like a waste of time because nothing came of the car locking.

Another time the car locked late at night. We immediately looked around us to see if there was anyone we could talk to hoping that God needed us there at that moment. We saw someone so we began to walk to them. They saw us and ran inside and closed the garage. A little discouraged we tried unlocking the car but it was still off limits. As we walked through the neighborhood Elder Collier suggested that we pray. During the prayer the words "Door on the left" ran through my mind. Literally as we were closing the prayer, the door on the left opened and 2 people walked outside! We quickly ran up to them. Noticing their shock we gave them pass along cards and invited them to go to Mormon.org. When we got back to the car we were able to unlock it and go home.

Another time we walked into the church building to pick up a priest to come out with us. We stopped briefly at the Family History center because he needed to check something before we left. When we went out to the car it was locked. Being slightly more seasoned now, Elder Collier and I immediately said a prayer to ask God who we needed to talk to. We felt impressed to go back inside and talk to a lady at the family history center. We awkwardly re-entered the room and introduced ourselves to her. We talked a little about family history and then the conversation shifted. She said that she was not interested in converting, but she helped run some sort of hospital and they frequently ran services for a variety of faiths. In this hospital there is a large group of people who are seeking for something. Throughout the week the hospital brings in ministers of different faiths and has them present what they believe to help these people find God. She wanted us to come by and for 45 min explain Mormonism and invite people to join the church! Unfortunately this hospital was out of our area, but we quickly gave her phone number to the correct set of missionaries. When we went back to the car we could unlock it.

Another time we were contacting a media referral, but she wasn't home. When we walked back to the car it was unlocked but wouldn't start. Elder Collier and I said a quick prayer to ask God for direction on where we needed to go. We walked down the street a ways and saw a lady sitting in her car. We tried to give her a card, but she told us that the missionaries just came by her house and had already given her a card. She hadn't viewed the website yet so we re-invited her to do that. When we walked back to the car we could unlock it. As we were backing up, the lady that we were trying to contact opened the door. Quickly we re-entered her driveway and presented the bible she ordered. We set up a return appointment and received a referral from her!

Looking back on the second time it locked. I wondered why we didn't have miraculous success there. I have 2 hypothesis. First, it was a test to see if we would act in faith. Because we chose to go out God was able to work with us later because he knew we would work. Second, we forgot to pray. We thought someone would magically fall into our lap. I bet if we had prayed that night we would have maybe walked a different direction and talked to someone.

Needless to say, God is real!

I also had the opportunity to speak in sacrament meeting! My topic was showing your testimony through your example. It was pretty good ;) 

Brothers and Sisters, I know that this church is true. There is nothing better than feeling the Spirit guide you. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Read it regularly. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I know that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
 
 I know it!

I Love yall!
- Elder Shill

P.S. Not all of these experiences happened this last week, but we are blown away by these miracles

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Week 68

Hello Friends and Family!

This has been quite a week! On Thursday we had a special MLC because some people from the MTC were visiting our mission. I'm not going to lie, I totally thought we were going to get iPads. Every time the thought entered my mind it just became more possible. Unfortunately we did not get the long awaited iPads, but we did receive some fantastic training on the Plan-Study-Teach cycle.  I loved being able to hear the training first hand and I am excited to begin implementing what I learned their. Everything we do as missionaries is designed to help people develop faith. Brother Mills explained that our entire life we have been sheep nurtured and fed by the word of God. He said, " Each of you has been going to church, seminary, and studying the scriptures to be fed, but when you put on your black name tag you became a shepherd! You are responsible to feed his sheep!" He invited us to stop studying for ourselves and to focus completely on the people we teach. We then learned a pattern for discerning testimony and deciding what invitations we need to extend. My favorite part of the MLC was President Weed's testimony at the very end. It has been amazing to watch him grow into his calling the past couple of months. He bore a beautiful testimony about us calling order out of chaos. That is what the gospel does to people. It produces order in a chaotic world.
 
The work is still going here. We had to pass our only investigator to another set of missionaries because he lived out side of our area. Elder Collier and I are starting to become quite creative in our finding efforts. We are creating sub areas and carefully scheduling where we will be each day of the week. We are also developing trackting records so we can record which streets we have knocked. I am so excited to put our new plan to the test. We may not be having the most success, but we are definitely putting forth our best efforts. 
 
I love yall,
-Elder Shill
P.S. Please watch the Face to Face with President Eyring and Elder Holland! It is amazing!
https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/face-to-face/eyring-holland?cid=HP_SA_4-3-2017_dPFD_fArchive_xLIDyL1-C_&lang=eng

Monday, February 27, 2017

Week 67

Hello Friends and Family!

This has been a pretty good week. We have continued to stay on our bicycles because we are still out of miles. Nevertheless, the work moves on and we managed to find a couple of new investigators. I am pretty excited. The work is starting to pick up which I am grateful for. Instead of doing hours of trackting we have been trying to set up more Active Member lessons. It has been really neat watching the spirit of missionary work enter into people's lives. I love it. 

As for my studies this week, I had this urge to accept a challenge from President Baker. He used to be Methodist and so he grew up believing in the trinity, which he never understood. In one of his stake conference talks he invited the stake to read through the New Testament marking all the verses that could denote a Trinity in one color and all the verses that could denote three distinct personages in the Godhead in another color. Being up for a good challenge, I began reading through the New Testament. In 4 days I am half way through Mark and It is obvious that Christ, God the Father, and the Holy Ghost are 3 distinct personages. Out of the 30+ verses I highlighted, only 3 could I rationalize to support a trinity. The remainder support the Godhead as three distinct members. I am quite excited to finish this study.
 
We were able to go on exchanges with the APs, which was really fun. Since there were 3 of us and a youth came out with us, we went on splits while on exchanges. We were able to teach several lessons that night and then we participated in Family Home evening with a member. It was a lot of fun.
 
Zone Conference was also this week. It was about chapter 10 of Preach My Gospel. President Weed is trying to pass have all the older missionaries pass on their institutional memory. It was kind of weird being on the giving side of knowledge instead of the receiving side. President Weed also showed us a fantastic presentation about unfulfilled prophecies in the New Testament. He explained that for centuries people have been confused by why many of Christ's prophecies seemed to never come about. Especially Him establishing his Kingdom on the earth within his generation. He then explained that this prophecy was later fulfilled by Christ's visitation to the people in America where he established his Kingdom and the people lived in an extremely righteous manner. I wish I knew more of the details, but if you want to learn more there is a beautiful report called "Saving Christianity" written by a lady in North Carolina. 

I know that this church is true!
-Elder Shill
 









 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Week 66!

Hello Friends and Family!

This has been a pretty good week. The work here is quite a bit harder than the work in other areas I have served. We have been talking to literally everyone because we have been on bikes for the past couple of days. Elder Collier and I are working the hardest we have worked but we haven't seen any numerical success yet. All the lessons we taught were to members, most of which were active. Despite the numbers, we still feel like successful missionaries because we are recognizing promptings and we are obeying them. If anything, this last week has shown the Lord that we are here to work no matter what he asks us to do. It is extremely rewarding to see how God has guided us to be at the right place at the right time or to say the right thing.

I think its really funny how well we teach together. During roll plays we cant seem to figure out how to teach in unison. We each stop awkwardly and say things that don't transition well. However, during a lesson the Spirit begins to teach and Elder Collier and I masterfully teach together as if we had refined our lessons through a lot of time and experience.  It's neat to watch the way we teach change to fit every person's needs. I know that the Lord is in this work.

We had the opportunity of planning Zone Meeting this week. MLC (Mission Leadership Councel) is on Wednesday and Zone Meeting is on that Friday, which does not give us a lot of time to plan. We were able to quickly and prayerfully put everything together. One of the training's we were asked to give was about meals with members. Boy were we struggling to come up with a way to present everything. Finally we came to the conclusion that we should ask God for some direction. The moment we finished our prayer we remembered the story of Amulek feeding Alma and from that we built a simple lesson structure. The training went perfectly.

Last night we biked to one of our investigators house. She had not been returning our calls or texts so we needed to stop by to see if she was still interested. It has been several weeks since the last time we saw her. When we got to her house, neither of us were sure if it was the right thing to do. It was dark, Sunday night, and we did not want to infringe on her personal time. The last thing we wanted to be was obnoxious. As we began to bike away we decided to pray and ask God if he needed us to knock on the door, or if he needed us to knock another time so we wouldn't offend her. Soon after the prayer, our concerns were still there but our fears were not. We decided to knock at the late hour. She was surprised to see us, but was excited to set up a return appointment for later in the week. 

Another time this week, we were walking to as less actives house when Elder Collier felt like we needed to knock a street. Amazingly almost every single door we knocked on opened and we had the opportunity to talk to almost everyone on that street. No one was interested, but the Lord gave us plenty of opportunities to share the gospel. Usually only 30% of the doors actually open. 

Promptings usually come an inconvenient times. On Saturday we were racing home because we had a member coming to pick us up for dinner. As we were biking a man walking his dog happened to be in our path. We decided to talk to him. We learned that he was technically Methodist but he really had more agnostic views. He posed this question to explain his concern: "If an alien (because they would have no bias) came to earth and was given an encyclopedia of World Religions which one would he say is the correct religion? All of them have an important person, a sacred text, and a geographical region." This is probably one of my favorite questions! From his initial question we established the base that a God who governed the universe and created all things, in short a God of order, would have one church and one religion and he would want people to know what it was. We also agreed that He would want the whole world to be apart of His religion. From there, we explained that the difference between our church and all the other churches is we believe in The Book of Mormon, which is another testament of Jesus Christ. Without this additional witness, Christianity blends into the other religions. With this witness an alien would see two nations on opposite sides of the world testifying of the reality of Jesus Christ. Both of which claiming to have seen and talked with Him. The records of these completely isolated nations seamlessly weave together as if they had been corresponding with each other. 

I know that The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It is an undeniable witness that Jesus is the Christ and this is his church. I know that the Lord answers sincere prayers. 

I love ya'll,
-Elder Shill

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week 65

Hello Friends and Family!

This has been an incredible week! I am loving being in New Bern and Elder Collier is absolutely incredible! He has been out for 17 months and is from Washington State. He and I are getting along extremely well. I am excited to learn form Elder Collier this transfer. 
 
New Bern is beautiful. There are huge bridges and a smaller city area. There are statues of bears all over the place because Bern in German is Bear. Im going to try and take a picture with them all. The ward is fantastic! Everyone is so loving and friendly. The missionaries are pretty integrated into the ward fabric. I can tell we are going to know the members quite well before we leave.

We have had so much success this last week and we don't know were it is coming from. We only taught 5 lessons, which is a big jump from the 20+ in Kinston, but that in know way represents the quality of work we did. 

One of the lessons was with a new investigator who was invited to investigate by a friend. The spirit was powerful during the lesson and we noticed our phraseology and teaching styles completely change so we could teach in a way he understood. Another person we are working with called the Bishop. Once again we noticed the Lord's hand in His work that we get to help Him with. Another time, we were prompted to stay in an area and tracked. Later a member saw us and talked to us for about 10 min. The spirit was definitely present and we each came away from that meeting edified and with stronger faith. Early in the week we gave a priesthood blessing to an older lady. She and the rest of her present family were astounded how we expressed that God was pleased with her note taking during church. Unknown to us, she had been the ward historian and was one of the oldest and first members in the area. The spirit was definitely present. One night we prayed and asked God who we needed to stop by. Almost instantly we had people come to mind and every one of them were home. Divine guidance is real! During church we were able to participate in the Primary. After church we heard a child ask her mother when they could have the missionaries come over. The spirit was still present. 

Stemming from Elder Oaks talk this last conference, our Stake vision for member missionary work is to have every member pray with real intent. Because we are the ones who bring this vision to the members we decided to live it our selves. We made our transfer focus: Because we love Christ, we humbly submit our will to His by praying with real intent and acting on the first answer we receive. The only thing I can contribute our success too is God. He has been answering our prayers. There is no shortage of promptings when we humbly seek our Heavenly Father's council. Each prayer we give we give God our commitment to act if he will tell us what to do.  He loves us because we are His children and he wants us to return home to live with Him. He wishes to guide us through our lives. I have learned from experience that praying with real intent brings blessings. 

I know this church is Christ church.

I love ya'll,
Elder Shill
 
P.S. I forgot my camera again... but I do have pictures,
P.P.S The mission bought some new cars and now we are driving a brand new 2017 Malibu. It has Wifi :) ... but we dont have anything to connect to it...

Monday, February 6, 2017

Week 64 Transfer to New Bern

Hey Friends and Family!

This was a pretty good week! We got our transfer calls on Saturday. I will be going to New Bern to serve as a zone leader there. I am pretty excited for the opportunity I have to go to a new area. I actually had a mini-missionary from their so I hope I will be able to run into him again. I have absolutely loved serving in Kinston. The members here are fantastic and the work is flourishing. I loved it and I will definitely be visiting this place again. My new companion is Elder Collier. I have only briefly met him at zone conferences but from what I have heard, he is an incredible missionary. I am quite excited to serve with him!

We have had a lot of learning experiences this week. Unfortunately we had to drop one of our investigators who was not progressing. I am amazed by how much I have learned to love the people here. It is a bit depressing investing so much into someone and not seeing them progress. It just helps me remember that I am not the teacher. The Holy Ghost is the only teacher and if people do not do the basics of the gospel, then they can never receive a witness from God that it is true. Sometimes I think that if my testimony is strong enough then I can push conversion into someone. I wish that was true. I can only bring the spirit to the heart. I cannot bring it inside of their heart.

We have another investigator who gave us a really good question about being the only true church and how that isn't fair to the rest of God's children. First of all, I am so glad that she is actually listening and legitimately investigating the church and not just listening to us blabber! I have had so much fun discovering the doctrine of universal salvation in the scriptures, which includes the doctrine of baptism for the dead. I have astounded how plainly the scriptures teach. Every time we roll play the lesson another scripture pops into our head. Second, I am grateful that her philosophies about God match the doctrine of the church. She just doesn't know it yet! :) 

We received a couple of referrals I am pretty excited about. There is an un-baptized youth that just requested a set of scriptures for her birthday. That is incredibly impressive. Hopefully Elder Vranes can help her get baptized!

I love yall,
-Elder Shill

P.S. I did take pictures this week, but our car is currently in the shop and we left the camera in it....

Week 63

Hello Friends and Family!

This has been an incredible week. Transfers are coming up this week and I think I might be leaving. We will find out officially on Saturday. I love this area and all of the people here. I have had so many fun experiences! For P-day today we went to Greenville(my last area) to play football and go bowling. I was amazed at all of the memories that flooded back to my me as I saw a house, recognized a corner, or reminisced about the people. There is no doubt that the people I meet and places I visit will forever hold a special place in my heart. 

We went out biking again this week. I think the bike is 1000% better than a car for missionary work. It is so much easier to talk to people. We throw our bikes on the back of our car and drive 15 miles out and spend the day biking and talking to everyone we see. Unfortunately there were 30-40 mph winds the day, but that didn't stop us. Our quads were killing us by the end of the day. One of the neighbors of our investigator was out in their yard picking up insulation that had blown all over. We spent the next hour picking it up.

We were able to get into a lot of less active families homes this week! One of our appointments fell through so we were stuck with a member for another hour until our next appointment. Luckily we had done our planning. The first couple houses didn't open up. The last backup we had lived out in the middle of the boonies. With nothing better to do, so we made the long haul to their house. Around 8pm we finally arrived and carefully knocked on their door. Visitors at that time of night and in such a secluded area is pretty uncommon. The husband was so relived when he realized it was just us( Apparently there had been some robberies a couple weeks ago). He warmly let us in and we shared the Restoration with him and his wife, who is a non member. They both seemed interested!

There is also another family that we have been trying to visit most of my stay here in Kinston. Finally we were able to visit their home and we were able to bring a member of the Ward Counsel with us.  

Our progressing investigator wasn't able to come to church this week, but we did see her after church. I planned on teaching the Word of Wisdom, but as we were following up with her commitments the conversation shifted to Home teaching. The spirit brought back scriptures the explain the doctrine and then we explained how it works. She was amazed by it! 

I love ya'll,
-Elder Shill

Monday, January 23, 2017

Week 62

Hello Friends and Family!
 
We had so many hilarious experiences this week and we accomplished a lot of work.

I went on two exchanges this week. My first one was with Elder Free who is a spanish missionary. I love going on spanish exchange because it forces me to listen to the spirit in order to teach a lesson. I wouldn't say I have the gift of tongues and can understand everything, but somehow I do understand the context of the conversation. As we were tracting a new trailer park we ran into a family that converts about every 3 years to a different church. They were very warm and friendly. As we (or rather Elder Free) talked to them on their door step they invited us inside to look at a picture they had up on their wall. Hanging on the wall next to the front door was a beautiful yet bizarre picture. There was a floating island full of people surrounded by a river of lava. This island was a melting pot full of different races, cultures, and political views. Among the people were angels of God standing as ushers. After browsing the people I noticed the last angel standing on the edge of the island throwing people off into the lava river. Every day when these people leave their home they are reminded of the awful damnation that awaits the wicked. How quaint... We did have a really good lesson with a less active family!

The second exchange was with Elder Horton. The engine light to the car turned on so we spent the first half of the day in the dealership. To pass the time Elder Horton and I went out to tracked a nearby neighborhood. Rarely will I skip a house while tracting; However, as we started to move to our next house we noticed the open side door and a rather old lady in her birthday suit.... Needless to say we skipped that house.  

We picked up a new investigator who lives a stones throw away from our recent convert. He is an older man who has lived in the area for well over a decade. I love when people understand the message of the Restoration and recognize how necessary it was. As we taught you could see the message click inside his head.

We pulled out our bikes on Thursday! I cannot tell ya'll how much I missed biking. It is so easy to talk to people because you can stop anywhere. We drove 15 miles to Grifton and spent the whole day up their talking to as many people as we could. We were able to find a couple potentials. Plus, we visited a less active family and set up a return appointment for them. 

With all the fun we had this week. My highlight was having our progressing investigator come to church and having the ward open their arms to her. I am so grateful for the charity the members have here. This is the perfect ward to come to for the first time!

I love ya'll,
-Elder Shill
 
Sharing the gospel is literally what brings me the most happiness in life. Out of all the things I have done in my life I feel the most accomplished sharing the gospel.

District Conference


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Week 61

Dear Family,

With the start of the new year, President Weed was instructed by his leaders to hold interviews and zone conferences every transfer. Unfortunately for President Weed that tripled his load, but I am grateful for the extra instruction I get to receive. This transfer the conference was supposed to be held here in Kinston, but a man in the ward passed away and his funeral was the same day. After some minor stress on the Relief Society President, President Weed contacted the Greenville Wards and moved the whole conference there. 

The conference was nice, I learned a lot about working with members of the church. One of the trainings was about using social media. We all thought we were going to be authorized to use Facebook, instead we were taught how to conduct "The List" activity from PMG with Facebook. We learned to have members pull out their phones and have them prayerfully identify a friend they could share a video with. Then we have them share that video while we are there.

We also studied the Susan Fulture Case Study, which is about a missionary and what she did to work with the members. 

As far as funny stories go, we received a call from a Sister.  She is an incredibly sweet, loving, Sistser.  During her call, she informed us that her cousin, an elderly member of the ward with some slight dementia, had thrown away his TV because he thought it was broken. However, he usually manages to unplug it and forgets to plug it back in. She asked us if we could quickly run over and dumpster dive for his TV. After some decent searching, we concluded that garbage truck had already come and his TV was gone. 

This week we also went on exchanges with the zone leaders. Elder Talbot, who came out with me, joined me in my area while Elder Vranes went to Greenville YSA. It was fun to see how much we had progressed since entering the field. It was also amazing to see how powerfully we taught. We met one man.  As we began to talk to him we each noticed how the Holy Ghost was guiding our words. He did not believe in Jesus Christ, but he did believe in a God; something of higher power. He grew up reading the Bible but had lost his faith. Through the conversation it became evident to us that we needed to teach him about why a faith in Christ is so important. We used the Plan of Salvation to convey our testimonies. We saw him feel the spirit. I know he felt it because of how much he understood exactly what we were trying to teach. He would try to state his beliefs, but he would recognize his own confusion. We just need to meet with him again.

I Love yall,
-Elder Shill
 

 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Week 60

Hello Friends and Family!

This has been a pretty great week! I think it is absolutely crazy that a 1/4 inch of snow pretty much shut down all of Kinston. Even church was canceled. We were going to see Elder Cook on Saturday, but the weather turned bad so we weren't able to drive up there. I hope that he comes back to visit our mission. Anyways, because of the weather we were not allowed to drive for the past 2 days, which is really frustrating. There are only so many hours you can put into your areabook without going insane. We were able to find a member to take us out yesterday and we had a surprisingly productive day despite not having a car.  
 
So there is a man we visit who is mentally handicapped. He LOVES the missionaries. Every time we come over he cleans his room and asks us for another pamphlet (He has a stack of pamphlets about 8in high). He also keeps the pass along cards we give him in his pocket. When we park in front of his house, if he doesn't appear within 10 sec we know that he is not home. Usually we stop by and share a really quick message, but the last 2 times we had him teach us the lessons. Last time he taught me the Restoration as Elder Vranes pretended to be his companion and helped him teach. This time is was our turn to teach Elder Vranes. As we began teaching we heard a little bit of snickering behind us. Several of the caretakers in the home quietly walked into the room and were watching us teach. When they noticed that we noticed them the promptly hid outside the door but stayed close enough they could hear. It was kind of neat having him teach an audience, even though he didn't know he was. 

I love y'all,
-Elder Shill

Fun Pics



Week 59

Happy New Years!
 
Another year has come and gone, and I can honestly say that this has been the best year of my life. I have never experienced so much continuous joy.  I literally can not think of a bad thing that happened the entire year. I am grateful for everything that I have learned and experienced this past mission. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to help a couple people enter the waters of baptism and become active in the church. I am grateful for the increase of the spirit I have felt. I am grateful for the friendships I have been able to start. 

This past week has been incredible. You know that moment when you are certain you are feeling the spirit confirming your testimony. Yup, that is the greatest feeling in the world. I love teaching the gospel. I love watching it "click" in people's heads. A couple days ago, we were teaching a lady who happened to be a former investigator from about 16 years ago. The lesson was going abnormally well (which is a great thing). Throughout the lesson, we could feel the spirit and we knew that she was one of the elect. As I was teaching, Elder Vranes heeded the spirit's prompting to invite her to be baptized. She responded with an optimistic tone, "I might :)" Instantly the spirit ran into our hearts. We each felt the burning in our bosom. Recognizing the perfect opportunity to teach her about the spirit, we asked her, "Did you feel that?" She quietly said,"Feel what?.. When I said maybe?" She had felt the witness from the Holy Ghost that our message was true. We have not been able to see her yet, but we have a return appointment for tomorrow. 

New Years Eve was pretty fun as well. We started the night by going to the Fireman museum and eating dinner with Bro. Basden. He was a former Fire Chief so he told us some neat stories. My favorite thing in the museum is a historic fire-extinguisher that you would hang from the ceiling. It used a chemical called Carbon Tetra-chloride, which was later used in chemical warfare. Since we weren't allowed to proselyte we went to Spanish's apartment and played board games. At 9 we went to our apartment, planned for the next day and then went to sleep. I think I was in bed by 10. 
 
Happy New Years!!!!
-Elder Shill