Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Life in Funchal

I’m feeling so much better. I still had pain in my stomach this week but not enough to keep me inside. We went out to work and it was good! I finished all the meds last week and now I just need to keep watch on the food. HOW IS WADE DOING??? I’ve been thinking about him all week. 
Transfers will happen this next week so I will find out what happens Sunday night. I’ve been told that stuff is going to change. Elder Da Veiga said that I might be doing something like Sister Training Leader or Training. I really hope not. I’m not ready to take on those responsibilities. But we will find out what the Lord has in store. I really hope to stay on the Madeira but anything could happen. I will let you know next week! The next transfer will be until January 4.

I have no idea where the time goes. This week was just interesting full of ups and downs but when is the mission ever just normal? Normal does not exist! This week the assistants came to do a division with the Zone Leader and President gave them specific instructions to teach with Laura and us.  The spirit was SO strong and she felt it. We couldn’t meet with her after that time except for on Sunday. She told us she had to stop coming to church. She hasn’t been performing well at school and isn’t where she wants to be in relation to that and she’s going to start having training on Sundays. So she came in to say that she’s not going to continue on till after everything is over. She promised she’d come back and then be baptized. We were straight up honest with her and said that life isn’t going to slow down and that she’s only going to have more problems and more life in the future. She was crying the whole time. SHE`S SO CLOSE!!!!!!! We asked her if she’s living all the commandments and she said yes. THE ONLY THING SHE`S MISSING IS BAPTISM!!!!!!!!!!! I was crying so hard. I love her so much and I know she will be baptized. She can’t deny it, she’s changed too much and she is so close to the spirit. I wish you could all meet her! 
We’ve been teaching a guy named Juvenal and he hadn’t really been progressing but he’d still read the book of Mormon and say his prayers. He had a baptism date but it fell because he didn’t get up for church. But we went by his house and talked to him about the Doctrine of Christ. Before the lesson we had no idea what we should teach. Well we get there and the Spirit just lead the whole lesson. We read about the Doctrine of Christ and it talks about being baptized and turning into children and humbling yourself. It really touched his heart, he said, `I have faith and I pray everyday. The only think I lack is baptism yeah? ` GOLDEN!!!! Then we asked him what he thought and then he said, I wanted to be baptized on my birthday, December 24th. It’s the only happy thing that I can give to myself.` He marked his own baptism and everything! Then we read a scripture about small and simple things. BABY STEPS!! ha-ha he said exactly that!!! Thank you BOB!! We went the next day and he’d only smoked 4 cigarettes! He’s making progress right now!! We’re excited about him!! 
So we met this other guy named Norberto on the street and ended up seeing him this week! ELECT!!! We started talking to him and he ended up agreeing on a lot of points of the gospel!! He didn’t even know it but he really wants a family because all his life he’s been switched from house to house, and he really wants to be a good person in the world and follow Christ. We taught the first lesson and it went really good! We marked to see him the next day and WOW! We taught the second lesson and wow! He almost marked himself for baptism!!! We explain how Christ was baptized and then he said, `Oh then I need to be baptized again? My baptism wasn’t valid? `  I wanted to die of happiness!!!! The Spirit was so strong! He’s truly an elect! 
The Spirit was key this week. Really if we follow the spirit we will be used as instruments for God. We felt that we needed to call 2 people and 1 was about to go in for surgery and the 2nd was a lady who had an aunt die. It was incredible to see how we were used to help them feel loved. I love the gospel so much. I feel like I’m a new person.
I gave a talk this week and talked about faith. I love faith. There is a reason why it’s the first principle of the gospel. I talked a lot about Peter walking on the water. Do you not think that he had fear before he left the boat? OF COURSE! But he let go of those fears and doubts and left his comfort zone. He walked on water because his eyes were fixed on Christ and he had the faith that he could. It’s when he started focusing on the things around him that he started to doubt. It’s the same with us. If we start focusing on the things of the world and not on Christ we will surely lose our faith. I love the ending though. We can always be saved. We can always grow in the faith. Key principle is keeping our eyes on Christ through our tribulations. I loved the opportunity to give a talk this week!!! I love you all so much and I can’t believe how fast time goes! Love every minute of everyday because you can’t relive the past! Thank you so much for the prayers and letters. I love you and look up to you all so much! 
Sister Hillam

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Loving Funchal!

Found some goats!

Climbing Anyone?

We are way up high!

A storm on the Island.


Thank you all for the birthday wishes and the pictures!!!! It made me cry to hear from you. I wish you could all spend my birthday here with me on the Madeira! It doesn’t even seem real. My birthday shouldn’t be here yet! Time is just flying and it seems like yesterday that I was starting the mission. I only have 7 months and a little left.  There is still so much to do!
It’s November 2nd and November is just going to go by even faster. 
Literally, I felt like every part of me was being stretched this week. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, and just anywhere you could possible imagine. This next week is going to be the same but I can’t be more grateful for these experiences because now I know that I’m capable of handling so much more than I could imagine!! President talked to us about testifying so that they can’t deny our words. Listening to the spirit and testifying is actually very exhausting. But afterwards it feels so good!! 
President has initiated a thing called the Listão (giant list) and we are to go to the member’s house and write down all the people that families know that aren’t members. This week we executed part 2 of the list. We started teaching those people and through the members we taught. It’s an amazing way of teaching with members but this week we had 4 lessons with the members and their non-member friends and they accepted to hear the discussions!!! It was incredible! So we started teaching a guy named Vitor (he’s a cousin to the district presidents wife) and Natalia (cousin to a sister in the branch) we ended up teaching both half the first lesson and the second lesson!! It was incredible and I know the President was inspired to start this list!! President Ventura (District President) actually wrote a letter to President Amorim about it and then we ended up in the week letter to the missionaries! I’m so grateful for the example of the members and being able to work with them!! 
We met a Belgium lady a few weeks ago named Chris and I LOVE HER!! (She reads the blog mom) We went over this past week and made bread with her and it was AWESOME!!! She’s super crafty and makes the cutest things! We watched Elder Holland´s talk `Behold Thy Mother` with her and it was really good. We love going over and talk to her a little bit in English. Flemish is a beautiful language!!! 
 We met with Laura and had a lesson to plan her baptism and get all those arrangements done. President recently made a cool baptismal invite and gave us some and we handed her one and she went silent. We asked her what was up and she just said, `Wow this is real. ` It hit her that she was actually getting baptized. She went on to say that she didn’t want to disappoint her family if she gets baptized and then she said she didn’t want to disappoint us if she didn’t. We asked her how she felt at church and she said she feels different and good so we testified that that was the spirit. So, we decided to fast together for her to know what to do. I would do anything for her. Prior to ending the night before (halloween) we watched Meet the Mormons and it hit on every single thing she talked about.  Everything in the movie was an answer and on top of that every testimony on Sunday was about baptism! I felt her answer for her!! So if you all could pray for her that would be amazing! I know prayers are answered. I also know our family is big so that would mean lots of prayers for Laura! I know Satan is getting to her, and that He’s working really hard on her because she is one of the elect children of our Heavenly Father.  I just want to be there for her every minute of every day. Every week my love for Laura just grows. I love her so much!!! There isn’t a thing that I wouldn’t do for that girl. I know she can feel what I feel because of the spirit. I know this will bring happiness in her life. I will always love her and do what I can to help her. The Lord will bless her. 
I love the work. Yes there are days that I’m REALLY glad they are over but those days always leave when you have that one good day! Feels like you’re on cloud nine. I love the Madeira and couldn’t have asked for a better place to serve. Time goes by faster than I thought, and yes I regret every time I said the time is going by slow and it’ll never end because you get to this point and you can’t stop. I love that I’m called to serve here!! The more I get to know the people the more and more I love these people!! Thank you all again for the letters and pictures! It really meant a lot to still kind of celebrate a birthday with you all. 
Com Amor,
Sister Hillam

P.S. I will try and send picture later!