Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WADE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow was it good to see all of you and hear your voices!! It was really strange to see all of you and especially the little ones that I don’t know! They are ADORABLE!! Little Ivy with her hair all cute and Luke with his smiles! I really don’t feel like I know you all! So much has changed there! And Noelle, you’re looking really pregnant! Super excited for all of you and this next year! Lots of awesome changes will happen!
So this week was a little difficult for the whole missionary work stuff but what a great opportunity that we had to show our love to our investigators and the members! Really I loved the feeling of Christmas day! It felt like it crept up on us for sure! 
On Tuesday we met the coolest couple! One of our members asked us if we could go sing to a couple of friends of his so of course we jumped on that opportunity! THEY ARE SO COOL!!! Virginia actually lived in Holland for like 8 years so she was showing me pictures and we had a really good chat about Holland for about 20 minutes! And Gonçalo is super famous! He was in parliament and he has a ton of pictures with a bunch of famous people from the states and all over the world! So we sang with them and ended up singing with Virginia and having dessert. It went really well and our member straight up gave them a Book of Mormon and come to find out Virginia really likes to read! We’re going to take them a cake hopefully this week! 
On Wednesday we decided to make presents for the members and families that we were going to meet during the week so we bought a whole bunch of chocolate, gummies, mints, and bags to put them in. Oh my goodness did the members love it! It felt good to give them a little something from the Sisters. And then that night there was the HUGE market in the center of town that stretched for blocks and so Sister Miller and I thought it would be a good idea to go and sing by all the people so we invited the other missionaries and we went and sang at the market! At first I was terrified!! So many people were there and some of them were already drunk! But right when we started we actually had people clapping for us and stayed to listen for a little bit! It turned out way better than we thought! Just another way to get the church’s name out there :)
New Year’s Eve was an interesting day! We went to clean this ladies house and oh my goodness I will never let my house get that dirty...E.V.E.R. The smell itself almost killed me let alone everything else inside. But we were only able to clean one room before we had to get home and go to our other appointments. But before this we were really late because we missed the bus to get there. We needed to call to make sure we could visit Oneida and she let us talk to her daughter in English and it was a Christmas Miracle!!! Her daughter was saying how much happier her mom was because of us and that she agreed that her baptism would be a good idea!!! I wanted to start crying because now her daughter sees the difference the church could have in her life! We’re going to try and get her contact information so that the missionaries can pass by in England! I hope she gets baptized!! But it was incredible to hear that and what a better gift than someone coming unto Christ. Oh and then we get back to our house for lunch to only realize that we left the keys in the house...hahaha always have to have the good with the bad right?? But we were able to climb onto our balcony and slide a card in the door to get it open! It was pretty exciting! haha And then we ended our Eve at Luis Carlos´ house with dinner and reading the story of the birth of Christ. We then went home and opened our packages and the presents we got for one another! It was a great day!!!
Christmas was awesome!! I think I’m ready for the whole wife thing because I was cooking all day long! Sister Bryant and I made breakfast for the sisters, and I got lunch all warmed up, and prepped for dinner! It was awesome! So the buses didn’t work so we walked an hour and a half almost to get to our area but we had TONS of fun!! We took pictures with the huge Santa and with Santa’s house and reindeer! We enjoyed the walk a little too much I think! And then we got to our dinner appointment that we ended up cooking for while the Andrades were gone. I made a cake, and then she decided she wanted potatoes so I made some mashed potatoes really fast and then we set the table and warmed all the chicken and everything up before the Elders and Sisters all got there! Man it was nuts!!! Christmas was a BLAST!!! And of course I got to talk to all of you, which just made my night!! It almost didn’t seem real! The next time this happens will be in May and then I’ll be home in June so that’ll be a really weird call!! By then I might hear that Crystal and Kallie are pregnant again ;) (Please say that I’m right?!?!) 
Saturday was a little bit of a blur! Lots of people were still a little hung over from drinking and partying for the past week. That was a little rough to talk to people but it was still good! 
Sunday was the best! We didn’t have any promised to go to church and so that was a downer in the morning but then a miracle happened!! Sister Miller had to give a lesson in Gospel Principles (she didn’t even have a lesson from the book and she did awesome!!!!! She’s never taught a class in church before Sunday!! Incredible!!) And then I played the piano and during the sacrament in walked a family!!! So we ended up having 3 at church!!! Such a miracle!! We’ve been trying really hard to reach all the standards that president wants and we met our church goal for the month and a couple of other metas too! Miracles do happen if you look for them! And on top of that, we had members ask us to work with them with their friends at church and were invited to lunch and dinner! It was incredible. Helena Caetano invited us to eat pancakes and play Barbie’s with her little girl (man I just love kids!! Seeing her and the nieces and nephews was awesome!) 
I loved this past week that we had to remember Christ. There is nothing better than being on a mission during Christmas. I didn’t appreciate it the first time but this time it has a whole different meaning. I really love the mission and the badge that I wear everyday. Truly Christ changes people and changed people change the world. I’ve felt that so much on the mission. The people don’t always get baptized but they changed. In the future they will be. I learned a huge lesson this week, it’s not about the baptisms, but it’s about the lives you touch and the lives that you help change. This next year will be a year of change for me. I’ve been on the mission for a year now and it’s been nothing but change and I couldn’t ask for better. I want to continue to change and become more like Him. I loved talking to you all but after the phone call I said, `I never want to go home. ` The mission is the best thing and I’m so grateful that I chose to serve. I’ve been torn down and built up in ways unimaginable. I love the mission so much and am so grateful that I still have 6 months to go!!! I’m so excited for everything ahead!! Love my Savior with my whole heart. Love you all and thank you for the support through this year!

Sister Hillam 

Monday, December 21, 2015


MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!! (Almost!) 
Okay, First off, I will be skyping on Christmas!!!! I will call between 8:00-8:30p.m. (1-1:30 you’re time) until about 9:00-9:30 P.M (2-2:30)!!! I’m super excited to talk to you!! We will have a Christmas dinner with Grace and Arlindo Andrade so they offered their ipad and computer to let us call after dinner and after we clean up :) I’m really excited to see you all again!! Oh also, If you could, I would love to give the Andrade´s 17 Miracles as a gift from me! Could you somehow send that too me ASAP? I don’t know what will happen this next transfer, if I stay or if I go.
This week was AWESOME!!!! It went by waaaay too fast!!! You know the week is going to be good when you end P-Day with the Andrade´s eating steak, beans, and bread! They invited us over to plan the dinner for Christmas and then they ended up feeding us, and it tasted SO good to eat a steak again! First time since I’ve left! And then after that day, the week just kept getting better and better!
So Didi (the family- Sofia and Didi) CAME BACK FROM PORTO THIS PAST WEEK!!!!!!! We called Sofia to set up an appointment with her and she said she couldn’t because Didi was coming back in 2 hours!!! We had no idea!!! So now that family is back together and 4 of them will be baptized as soon as they get the final paper for marriage!!! It made us so happy to see them as a family again! We made them a HUGE cake to celebrate Bernardo´s birthday and also Didi´s return. I love that family so much! What a better time to be together than Natal. They were so happy and I felt like I was part of their family! 
We’ve been teaching this really cute lady! She’s 82 years old and her and me are the same height when I’m on my knees! She’s adorable!! We made her a cake for her birthday and she just started crying because none of her kids remembered her birthday. So we spent a little time with her and had a little party to celebrate! She’s a sweet heart. I have recently discovered that I love Old ladies here on the mission!! All you have to do is get in with the old ladies, and you’re friends with EVERYONE! We have friends on the buses now that we use and it’s so fun!!! I’m going to miss my little friends when I leave Madeira! They’re so close to my heart!
Also, Oneida has a baptism date!! She’ll be baptized on the 2nd of January!!! She started crying when she told us how much the contact on the street meant to her. I love her so much! She’s almost to Helaman right now and she’s only been reading for about 10-15 days!! She’s incredible! And she always has her Book of Mormon out and marked when we get to her house!! So elect!! She has tons of friends at church and loves to talk to everyone. She makes our job really easy! 
The end of the week was a roller coaster!!!! On Friday we had Zone Conference with President and wow was it good!!! So let me just explain what happened in the beginning...We got to talking about what President has seen in the past 5 months that he’s been here and the progress that he’s seen. It’s incredible the difference in such a short time! And then we went on to practices and guess who was chosen...WE WERE! I already knew going in that we would be giving the practice. So we did a baptismal invite practice and so did 2 Elders. It went all right but then president showed us how he really wants us to do it and it was awesome! He is truly inspired!!! We watched 2 videos about the mission and then we listened to how members of the church were contacted by missionaries. The spirit was so strong and when you see the genuine smiles of the members, old and newly baptized ones, it just brought the spirit. Then after they sang me happy birthday from last month, ate our `Christmas meal` and opened a present! Oh and best part of all, the last thing we did was watch a movie! And it was `It’s a Wonderful Life!!! ` MADE MY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!! Loved every minute of it! haha he told us all to close our eyes every time they kissed haha the Elders couldn’t take it! It was a really good conference and I was pumped to work afterwards!!!
On Saturday we had our HUGE Madeira District Christmas party and oh my goodness was it a blast!!!!!! Canico, Machico, Funchal, and Camara dos Lobos were there!!! We filled the sacrament room and went into the overflow! We started out with the Christmas film, and a message about the importance of Christ birth and the church he established. We listened to a Piano Guys song and had lots of music! It was so fun to talk to all the members and see the joy of Christmas as we talked about Christ. We had a short talent show where the kids could get up and sing and do some sort of talent. It was adorable! We met Grace’s niece and nephew and we’re actually going to start teaching them the gospel! So they came and by the next day they were asking to see us again! They are the cutest kids ever! And then another member came up to us and brought his friend Brielen and she wants to know more about the church!! If members could just see the influence they have on others, the church would bust with members!! It was just a great night to spread the true meaning of Christmas! 
On Sunday, I gave the gospel principles class on Exaltation. It went really well!! I was nervous about the whole Portuguese/ language barrier but they seemed to understand so that’s a good thing!! I got told the night before so I really threw a lesson together an hour before. It was bad planning but still was pretty good! And then we had a special Christmas sacrament meeting and they didn’t tell me we would be singing 7 songs so I ended up playing 7 Christmas songs in Sacrament...I was nervous out of my mind but it didn’t go too bad! I’m happy to say that my talent on the piano has grown and I’m site seeing better. Thank you for the piano lessons!!!!!!! 
I just wanted to tell you all how much I love my Savior. I love Him with my whole heart. I’m so grateful for this time that I have to share His gospel during this time. I’m so thankful for the example He is for me and the chance that I have to be like Him. He suffered for me so that I don’t have to. He knows me. He knows our weakness and He will NEVER leave us. Actually it’s the opposite. The times we most need Him, He is right there, we just need to open our eyes to His blessings and His help. His birth was the start of a perfect life and of our salvation. We can never forget what He has done for us. Because of Him we can return to live with out loving Heavenly Father. The path is simple if we want it to be. Take the saying from Nike. JUST DO IT! It’s as simple as that. Do your part. Do what He asks. He has promised us so many blessings if we will but open our hearts to Him. He is our Savior and Redeemer. I love Him. I love you all so much!

Sister Hillam

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Merry Christmas

HAPPY BIRTHDAY NOELLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope your birthday is just full of love and kisses!!! 
So we ended up not going to Porto this week but this next week President wants all the Zone Leaders, District Leaders and Sister Training Leaders in Porto. So this next week I don’t know what the time is going to be like so don’t worry if I can’t email, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll be able to email! 
So we had our first Zone Meeting this week!!! I did my very first training in front of everyone with my companion and it’s actually really cool! We did this goal chart between my companion and me a few weeks ago and then we applied what we learned at Zone Meeting and did it all together. It was super fun!! I was REALLY NERVOUS but at the same time it felt good to be leading again! Still am grateful that I’m not a zone leader or district leader! But it was a really good experience. I ended up in a room with the ZL´s and the DL´s all by myself so that was a little weird but it was the leadership meeting so it wasn’t too bad! 
So we met a lot of elects this week! One of them being Orneida! She’s from Venezuela and she’s speaks a mixture or Portuguese, Spanish, and English, so does that make is spenguese?? I have no idea but there are times that I have NO IDEA what she’s saying...but when she starts speaking Spanish it’s a whole lot better! We had met her a week ago and then we decided to call her up and see her and wow is she amazing!! Her son is LDS and so she knows a little but really not too much. At church we gave her a Spanish book or Mormon and she said she’d never actually been in a LDS church and never had the BOM. All I could think, `Are we doing our part as members about sharing the gospel to everyone, even loved ones??` But she started reading the BOM in relief society and she really liked it! She’s super awesome!
Every day this week we felt that we had gotten really close to breaking. But every time we saw the Lord’s hand. Truly sometimes we need to continue on even it we don’t think anything good is going to come out of it. For example: we were an hour late for an appointment because we had no idea where the road was. We tried asking and most people just rejected us before we could ask. All of our other appointments were behind, our member that was suppose to teach with us wasn’t answering…it was just a mess. Finally we just stopped after we got rejected with out saying anything. We were lost, late, and over all just exhausted. I see this lady with a baby and the baby was waving at us. It made me smile a little bit and then as she was leaving the gate I just asked if she knew where the road was and then she surprised us by being English!!! The next line she told us to come by this week!! Literally we had hit the point that we couldn’t do anything. We ended up taking 5 more steps and finding the road. Just little blessings like that make me awe. The Lord knows my weakness so perfectly and knows when I can’t take it. If we can just see the simple things in life, we will see that we do have a loving Father in Heaven who knows us. 
Oh also this week our Zone Leader Elder Da Veiga got SUPER sick. He’d been sleeping and studying by this hole in the wall (with mold) and so he has an infection in his lungs. He went to medical doctors and within the hour they were out of the house and into a hotel. So this weekend we would bring them food because they had nothing in the room so our senior couple would make them food and every night before going home we’d bring them food. He was so sick. Now he’s going back to Porto to be treated by the mission home and the doctors there. It was really sad for him to say goodbye to everyone. We’re all really sad that he’s going. He got here when I did and everything that has happened we all did together. Again, I never want to leave this Island. The idea of is just makes me so sad!!! 
The best part of the week...TEMPLE IN LISBON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don’t know how many of you saw the ground breaking for the Lisbon Temple, but I did!!! I was crying because I was so happy!!!!!!!!!! GRANDPA WAS THERE. I know he was and he was cheering and crying with every single one of us. And he also put this in the letter to all the missionaries in the mission:
`Pensei no meu irmão, que serviu aqui por 5 anos e trouxe pessoas para o rebanho que encontro em vários lugares por onde passo. Pensei em amigos que serviram aqui e amaram este povo e são lembrados até hoje. O Elder Hillam, avô da nossa Sister Hillam, já falecido, serviu muitos anos aqui, como presidente de missão e depois da área, foi lembrado por muitos no sábado a ponto de dizeram que sabiam que ele estava ali e feliz de ver a “água do poço que ajudou a cavar.”`
(Translation: I thought of my brother that served here for 5 years and brought people to the flock that I meet in various place where I go. I thought about my friends that I have served with here and loved this people and are remembered today. Elder Hillam, Grandfather to our Sister Hillam, who passed away, served many years here, as President of the mission and after the area, was remembered by many on Saturday to the point that they said that they knew he was there and happy to see `the water of the well that he helped dig`) 
I have such a huge testimony of the temple. I know grandpa was there. I felt him as I watched the broadcast and I couldn’t help but cry for joy for these people. I love this people so much and I felt the love that grandpa has too. I know that our family is together forever and that I have the best opportunity to share that with everyone around me. I’m so grateful for the gospel and for the heritage that I have. I couldn’t be more grateful for every single one of your examples in my life. I love the church and this gospel. It has changed my life. I know that we have a prophet today and that he speaks for God. I know that Joseph Smith restored the church and because of his sacrifice, we have the truth. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God; that it is the corner stone of our religion. I know without a doubt that God’s plan is perfect and our family is eternal, never to be separated. I love you all so much! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Sister Hillam

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Christmas Bells are Ringing

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY GIRL EMMA!!!!! Man she’s growing up so fast!!! I hope all of your weeks were as good as mine because mine was pretty good!!
My week started out pretty great!! We reached our weekly goals really fast in the week which was really unusual...It took me by surprise but this week we saw the Hand of God in the work. So we had been planning to have a `Night of Pancakes` for about a week now so all week we’ve been planning and prepping for that night so we really didn’t have much time to work. But again, the Lord works with the time that we have. HUGE TESTIMONY OF THIS!!! We were re-looking at our goals for the week and then adding the numbers up for the month and realized that we were still lacking in a few spots. Well now being the STL here on the Madeira, I get to go stand in front of all the leaders and talk about our numbers and why we were below standard. Well we decided this week that we were going to do everything in our power to reach the month’s goal so we could reach Presidents standard. So on Thursday we decided to fast. We made a HUGE Thanksgiving meal, which was awesome! I made mashed potatoes; we had chicken, lots of vegetables, bread, and a mousse for desert! It was awesome!! Gotta love having 4 sisters so we can all cook! So we feasted really well on Thursday! We even had left over’s for the Elders to eat too! It was fantastic! Can’t beat having Thanksgiving on an Island, that’s for sure!! But anyway, after that meal, we started our fast. MIRACLES HAPPEN!!! We really didn’t have much time in between Weekly Planning, Activity on Saturday, Branch Council, and Correlecao da obra missionaria (i can´t remember what it’s called in English...). But we ended up almost making all of our goals for the month! It was incredible to see the Hand of the Lord so close in the work. We worked until the very last minute or every day. It felt so good to work as hard as we did. The Lord is in EVERY aspect of the work; there is no denying it.
So I thought that today I would be flying to Porto for Mission Council but turns out I’ll be flying this next week and starting the divisions with the other sisters. Not going to lie, I’m super nervous to do everything. I look up to presidente a lot and the fact that he called me is something. I think I’m the youngest STL and here in 2 transfers all of them will be gone. I still have this transfer and 4 more. I also think I’m the youngest of the Leaders. I’m excited but also REALLY nervous. President expects a lot of his missionaries. He recently gave us this packet of stuff to see where we are teaching wise. We teach alone and 3 people will evaluate how you did, and then give you numbers. He also created a packet of monthly progresso to see what you did that month, like how many activities did the missionaries do, how many contacts a day, what bold thing did you do, etc. He expects a lot out of us.  `Through the ashes of disaster grow the flowers of success. ` -Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
I was Reading at the end of Alma about captain Moroni and all of you know that the stripling warriors and captain Moroni are some of my favorite stories. We can learn so much. What I loved about Moroni was that he never stopped preparing and strengthening his cities. He was always improving and with every battle he had a new tactic of defense. It’s the same today! We can’t let our defense weaken or Satan will win. The mission is like that. We can’t let our defense down or we become less obediente or less aware of the spirit. It’s so importante that we keep the Armor of God strong and polished. I love the example of Moroni so much!! I love the mission! I love you all so much!! I’m learning and growing so much. I can’t believe how fast it goes. I love these people so much and this Island is my favorite place ever.

Sister Hillam

Don't be sad that it's over, be HAppy that it happened!

First off...HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!!! Man, I can just imagine how fat ya´ll are going to get because of this week! While you’re all off and eating, I’ll be walking and teaching! I’d rather be here than there though! I guess you can come and join me if you’d like :) I love you all so much! 
I STAYED ON THE MADEIRA!!!!!!!!!!!! haha I know that the title says that but it´s true. I’m no longer just a regular missionary. I’m now the only STL on the Madeira!!! I’m over 4 sisters so I guess I get to go do divisions with the other sisters that live with us! I’m super nervous and excited at the same time. I get to go to mission council all alone with the Zone leaders and take care of the sisters. I’m super scared but I know I can do it. I found out literally about 5 hours ago but we got the call for transfers yesterday and ALL THE SISTERS STAYED!!!!!! I’m pretty excited about that!!
Not going to lie, I hate the week before transfers because all I want to do it know what is going on for transfers!! But it was a good week! We met this guy named Helder and he’s very interesting. He doesn’t really believe in God but he believes in a place where spirits live. So we taught him the second lesson and it went really good! We taught and you could see him his eyes and even in his countenance that he was thinking about it and that it made sense. He started out with his arms crossed really hard and joking with us and by the end he really was curious about the life after this one. We left him thinking about the message and by the end his shoulders had relaxed and he was a little looser. THE PLAN MAKES SENSE!! He loves science and so do I so we got to talking and man I love teaching the gospel through science! haha the lessons went really good! 
One morning, everything was just going all wrong. Everything just fell apart and I have such a huge testimony of trials and blessings! This transfer is just full of them!! Anyway we had a really rough morning and then after lunch we just found so many elect people. There was this one street that we wanted to go down for like 2 weeks but we always had lessons on another road so we never could spend some decent time but we had a whole afternoon so we took it to find families! WOW! We found so many people open to our message!!! It was incredible! This week was just full of those times. But every time we were blessed to find people to teach! 
We’ve been teaching a guy named Vitor who is cousins with the district president and we gave him a chapter to read in the BOM and he read it and at our last lesson he asked for another chapter!!! He’s too chill with life, he says that if it makes you happy you should do it. This time we asked him if he knew the church was true what difference would it make? And he said, It would make all the difference in the world.` So now he’s progressing a lot more than we thought but it will still be a slow process because his family is key in the process!! In the same day we went to see Sofia and Wilson her son was there! We used the pyramid of cups to explain how the church is built and after that Sofia wanted her son to pay attention. It was incredible! Even the littlest with 3 years loved it! Truly the Spirit!
This week a member of the branch got married!!! I was called an hour before and told that I would be playing the piano for the wedding...YIKES!!! haha so we got there and I ended up not needing to play! But still lead the music. It was strange to see a marriage outside of the temple but also so happy that they wanted to be together! It was small and pink! And then they asked us (Sister Miller and I) to clean all of it up...So we swept and picked up all the petals and put the chairs back. It was super fun and I felt the happiness of getting married but the sorrow of having to clean it up. I guess you can’t have the good without the bad right?? haha Good thing that won’t happen for awhile! 
So On Saturday we talked to Laura for the first time this week because she’s been super busy with school and her play that starts this week. So we got to see her for 30 minutes and I was just crying. I felt for sure that I was leaving! So we talked to her and President specifically told us to try and mark her before the end of the year but that didn’t happen. We ended up talking about transfers and I got all choked up. I LOVE HER SO MUCH!!! But sadly she had to catch the bus to go and Sister Miller and I just sat and cried it was so sad. We tried to see her on Sunday but because of her theatre schedule we couldn’t see her. We were close to her house on Sunday and the biggest miracle of the transfer happened!!!! This whole transfer I have been praying to meet with her mom and just talk to her. We were really sad on Sunday because we thought for sure that one of us would leave. So I gave her the necklace that you sent mom and while we were there all the dogs were going nuts and her mom came out!!!!! WE TALKED TO HER FOR 35 MINUTES IN HER HOUSE!!!!!!!!! IT WAS A MIRACLE!!! All of the prayers and fasts that the zone, the district, you all, and we’ve done were answered in those 35 minutes with her mom Regina. 
I know the Lord answers our prayers. He answers them in His time and we need to have faith in his timing. I’ve learned to have patience in His timing because usually it’s not when we want but when he wants. I love the gospel so much and I’m so thankful for the Spirit that leads and guides us as we teach and contact. I feel so blessed to be here on the island during Christmas and I feel like I’m too blessed during the mission. I gave a talk on faith and every week I just remember that without faith God can’t work miracles. It’s so true. He knows every single one of us individually. I love you all so much!!!!! Have a great week!!!!
Sister Hillam