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 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!