Tuesday, January 26, 2016

So the top say 400...

So the top says 400 days..this past week I was writing in my journal and I always do but the day said it was 400 so I celebrated 400 days...wow. It went by way too fast. This week was crazy!! And this week is even going to be better! It goes by way to fast. Literally it seems like yesterday that I was writing...seriously...slow down. We’re starting our 4th week of this transfer...4th WEEK!! Ridiculous!
This week I ended up making 3 cakes! 1 for a family of 8 and then 2 for the women in the ward. I think I’ve officially gone crazy with all the baking and cooking. If I had more time to cook and clean I would probably like it but we just don’t have time to actually do much cooking! It was a little crazy! But we have been working a lot in this area of town where the less wealthy people live and we’ve actually had quite a bit of success! Lots of familias and kids, as well as youth. We met one family with 8, and then another family of 4, and then another with tons of kids that we haven’t had too much success at getting into the house. But we’ve found so many elect people in that area!! We’ll keep working on meeting more people in that area this week! Also on Sunday it was too perfect. The lesson was about Elder Holland´s talk about `Behold Thy Mother. ` And it was perfect to give all the ladies a little piece of cake. It was great!! 
We met this lady this week named Gina and the missionaries already taught her. She told us that out of all the churches, she likes the Mormon Church better. She was really excited to talk to us the first time. She has chronic depression and one day we put her in our plans and I had the biggest impression that we needed to go see her at that time. So we climbed her stairs and I jumped over her little wall she has and right as she was shutting the door I was there. She later said that she saw us on the street and thought, `okay I’ll leave the door open and see if they come, if not I’ll close it. ` Then she said she had a thought, `Close the door. ` She knew it was of Satan but started to shut the door anyway and that’s when I showed up. She said it was a testimony to her! She loved having us and even cried because she was so happy. It’s incredible the way the Lord works through us to bless His children. Love this gospel! 
We were knocking doors at this same area and we even had one of our investigators tell us what doors to knock and their names. It was super fun to work with him. Alvero is super cool but he needs a lot of work but we’re friends with him and his family. His wife passed away last year so we talked to him about the plan of salvation and now he really likes us, he just needs to go to church! 
We had inspections on our house this week. When we first got here it was awful. It smelt so bad and it was pretty dirty too. But now it’s not too bad. The couple here actually said that it looks WAY better than when they were here! We got a new microwave this week, which really helps too! Still have lots of things to throw out but it’s a process, but we’ll get it done!
This week we had an all-missionary training meeting for all the missionaries in the world! Wow it was awesome! Elder Bednar spoke, Elder Anderson spoke, Young Women’s president spoke, and a couple other people from the missionary department spoke. It was awesome! They focused on a lot of basic principles in PMG and just focused on the purpose of inviting them and the spirit. I had lots of thoughts on this too. 
So I wanted to share one of the biggest miracles that happened this week. I had prayed this week for trials to build my faith more and well we had 3 of the 8 family members promised to go to church but the problem was they needed a ride. We called everyone that could possibly help to give them a ride, but no one answered, or they couldn’t. I was really sad. But I had a firm belief that we needed to do more. Saturday night and Sunday morning I prayed so hard. I prayed for a miracle to happen, that someone could give this family a ride. Sunday morning we got a call from on member saying he could give them a ride, but we needed to leave right then and wake them up. So we left to get them. Well they ended up not getting up to go so we had to call off the ride. All I could think was, `was my faith enough? What can I learn from this? Why didn’t they wake up? ` This thought came to my head `Sister Hillam, this is the trial of your faith that you wanted. ` So I went on, trying not to lose my faith. We left to wake up another investigator and he was already dressed and ready to go!! I wanted to cry. So we started walking to church when this car honks at us. I look and it’s one of our members in his car! He offered us a ride to church, all 3 of us! It was incredible! 
The Lord hears our prayers and answers them. We just need to have the faith in His timing. It was a huge faith builder this week. We were exhausted, and sore, and just over all done for the week by the end of the day but a smile never left my face because I had witness a huge miracle. I had asked for a ride for a family but instead it was a different investigator and a different ride. He lives and hears our prayers. 
We’re having a 2 day mission counsel for all the Zone Leaders, District Leaders, Sister Training Leaders, Assistants, Casal Missionaries, all the office staff, and president this week and I’m privileged to give a 5-10 minute spiritual thought. I was thinking a lot about the missionary training that we had this past week and I had this thought, `We teach Christ. ` This has a lot to apply to it. We not only teach Christ, everything we do is Christ. We teach faith in Him, Repentance through Him, Baptized to follow Him, we receive the Holy Ghost to feel Him, and we Endure to the end to live with Him.  We testify of Him, everything we do is Him. Our life should be filled by our Savior. Family, I love Christ. I love the mission so much, no matter the trials that come, I am strengthened by Him everyday. I love you all so much. Thank you for the support!
Sister Hillam
P.S. this is my new address!
Sister Madison Hillam
Praceta Dr. José Sampaio
N. 60 Apt. 53
Mafamude, Gaia


Friday, January 15, 2016

I'm Singing in the RAIN in Porto!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY IVY!!!! Man she’s old and I have no idea who she is! It’s really weird! Congrats Eric and Noelle with the new baby girl!!! Claire, super cute!
As you all know now, I got transferred!! Monday night I got a call that I would need to pack my bags and leave at 4 in the morning. The plane left on Tuesday at 7. That was the only thing I knew. I didn’t know who my companion would be or where I was serving! The rest was all a surprise till I got to the mission office. 
Elder Da Veiga, Sister Da Luz and I were the only ones to leave and they didn’t have any plans for us when we got to the office. I was exhausted! We had only gotten about 2 hours of sleep. But we got there and I was informed that I would be OPENING AN AREA AGAIN!! I’m in GAIA reopening this area! It was closed 1 transfer ago and now they put sisters back here! But I got to the office and received our new phone (no numbers, nothing) and then I sat there for hours because they didn’t know where to put me. My companion is from Fortaleza Brazil!!! She’s been waiting for her visa for 6 months! She had her visa about 3 months ago but it was stolen out of the mission office. She was suppose to be in the first group of missionaries when President Amorim came. But she ended up serving in the Brazil Interlogos mission for 6 months and she got here on Monday! She’s already trained and been STL. So at first we thought that she would be STL with me here in Gaia but nope. Just a normal missionary! So I met her for a few minutes and then she went back to the mission home. No one had a place for me to stay so I ended up staying with the senior couple over night, which was a huge blessing because I was exhausted. Literally hit the bed and I was out!!
On Wednesday she went to the training with all the new missionaries and all the trainers were invited so I ended up going there. She was the number one baptizing missionary in her mission! Pretty much everyone was looking at her. Already famous! So we went through training and everything and it took all day. We also were then informed that our house didn’t have electricity so we couldn’t stay in our house that night. So we stayed at the mission home! 
Thursday we had our district meeting and Elder Platts is my district leader! He entered the MTC with me! I’ve served in 2 of his areas! After that we went with the Elders and met a family that is so elect!! Decio and his family of 4! Met him and talk for a little! Super awesome! And then we went and ate francisinhas, which was a very missed meal on the Madeira!! After that we worked a little bit in our area and come to find out our phone wasn’t working and that our house wouldn’t have electricity till Friday morning. It was all a mess so we ended up staying at the mission home for one more night which was super nice because all it does here is rain. All day, everyday! 
Friday was so messy and gross! We had to get a taxi to take all of our bags to our house that was just nuts. It was pouring rain and I didn’t know exactly where it was. We had 6 bags and 2 binders of our Area book and everything got soaking wet. We had to walk a little bit in the pouring rain to our house. And then we get to our house as the electric guys are leaving and the light didn’t work still! And our phone wouldn’t be working until today. So we were in a mess but we ended up getting the lights working and everything! It was good to have a house and unpack a little! Also the sisters before us left broccoli in the fridge that had thawed and left an awful smell. But we got that all cleaned up and the house is now in a somewhat working condition! IT`S HUGE!!! We have 3 rooms with 2 bathrooms and a kitchen! It’s a very nice house! 
We worked really hard and contacted a lot of people. We met lots of members and invited a ton of people. This week was a week of just survival till you can get your feet under you. I’m so thankful for the trials we had this week and the growth that I’ve seen already. I love the mission. This transfer will be awesome. I can’t wait to see where it goes. We meet so many elect people everyday and the members are a huge help. Love this work and everyday I want to be more like my Savior. I love Him and am so thankful for the opportunity that I have to be a missionary today. Today is the day to DO. Today is the day to BECOME. Let Him in. 
I love you all so much!!! 

Sister Hillam

Monday, January 4, 2016

Merry Christmas

Happy New Year! War 2016 (Fireworks)

(Again sorry if I forgot birthdays or anniversaries!)
So starting this week out I was a little stressed because we had a baptism planned but we hadn’t been able to talk to her for a week because she was in and out with family for Christmas, and then we were to have transfers and that’s always a stress to see what happens. So it was just a week full of emotions!! But it was an awesome week!!! 
So we met this lady names Luisa the week before Christmas and she was super nice and invited us to come back this past week. Wow is she elect. We taught the first lesson and she was super open! We gave her the Book of Mormon but she said she wouldn’t promise baptism till she felt which was all to perfect! She’s a sweet heart! She started our week off awesome!
Then we were able to have an appointment with Oneida and we ended up meeting her daughter!! We taught reading the scriptures, praying, and going to church with cups and knives. So you teach it like this: each cup and knife is one of the 3 principles (read, pray, or church). You situate the cups about a knife’s distance away and then you tell the investigators to create something with the knife’s that a book can stay above the ground and on top of the knives that are on top of the cups...if that makes sense. In the end the knifes need to make a triangle in the middle where they are all interlocked and then you place a book (our spirituality) on top. We taught this and Oneida´s daughter was crying. She had prayed earlier this week to know what her foundation should be. She is so elect!!! We ended up talking a lot about the church and we even got her contact information so that she could be taught in England!!! She’s incredible! 
This story has so much meaning and I don’t know how to tell you this story without making you all confused...But here we go. Sister Miller and I made a list of all the things that we wanted to accomplish this transfer: 3 baptisms, and 1 family to teach. These just being a few. Well we wrote down everything that we would do and our goals to accomplish this and we wrote down everything the Lord would do. We saw the Lord’s part in all of this past week. We didn’t reach our goals of 3 baptisms but at the same time we did. We didn’t reach our goal of a family but at the same time we did. Oneida was baptized and we ended up meeting her daughter and her family. Catarina (Oneida´s daughter) wants the missionaries at her house and her husband, Miguel, is one of the coolest men I’ve met. They are so ready for the gospel. At this time in their life they have been prepared for the gospel. So we met them and here soon they should be baptized. So Oneida was baptized and Catarina and Miguel should be soon as well so 3 baptisms and we found a family. Yes we won’t teach them and baptize them but that’s not what matters. They will help to strengthen the church in England. The Lord does his part when we do our part! It was one of the best experiences that I have had on this mission. I will NEVER forget it!
Anyway continuing on! We had divisions this week and I went with Sister Bryant to my area and it was awesome!! I love new missionaries!!! They teach so simply and with such power. She’s incredible! We talked a lot about the importance of listening to the investigators and then teaching to their needs. She has a gift for it! I wish I had it but I saw how the gospel is SIMPLE, we just over complicate it. It’s so simple a child can understand it so why do we always have to complicate the simple things? I’ve had a lot of thoughts of this. With Oneida it was very difficult because we didn’t understand every Spanish word so we taught very simply and look, we had success. Don’t over complicate things! Love the division I had with her to learn that! 
May I just say the New Years was nuts!! It was like a war was happening! Our President actually told us we were not allowed to leave to see it. Sad. We couldn’t sleep though because we live right by a club so everything was just so loud. So we just went to the roof of the apartment and WOW!!!!! THE FIREWORKS WERE INCREDIBLE!!!!!!! Mom, I’m bringing you back next year! You would have loved it!!! It was a circle around Funchal and then it made it seem like daytime! Then the last 20 seconds or so feels like you jumping off the ground! Everything was just shaking and so bright! Take the fireworks of the 4th of July and times that by 10 and that was Funchal. They had like 14 shoot off points in a circle around Funchal! I’ve never see anything like it!!! LOVED IT!!!! 
We woke up the next day and everyone was still partying! It still really hasn’t died down! Everyone is still drinking quite a bit! So we spent Friday planning Oneida´s baptism and then we had a dinner appointment with Sofia and Didi. I bawled because we don’t know who will leave so it was our last goodbye (or so we thought)! 
On Saturday Oneida passed her interview, and we went to a lot of people’s houses to say goodbye. It was a happy and also sad day. Catarina told us that she hopes we find more people like her and her family (hint to baptism!! Those missionaries in England are SO LUCKY!!!) Which made us really sad because I LOVE ONEIDA!! She’s so amazing. Then we went to Chris from Belgium and she gave us a necklace and bracelets from Belgium as a good-bye present and asked if she could say goodbye at the airport. Which was really sad and we cried when we left. It was brutal on the feelings that day!
On Sunday it was awesome but so stressful! We went to get Bernardo and Wilson to go to church with us and we had the baptism on Sunday! Man was I tired. I ended up making zucchini cake in the morning and having it bake before church. Then we get to the church and the water hadn’t been turned on and then President Ornelas didn’t like the program and then the computer didn’t end up working, oh and the musical number was a fail haha. So many problems! But she got baptized and she was SO HAPPY!! She was crying before hand and after, her smile went from ear to ear. She was so happy and all the ladies in the ward are like her best friends. It was incredible to see the difference. Everything bad that happened all went away after I saw her face. It’s always so much work with baptism and food, along with clean up. Such a great experience. Loved it so much. 
As of right now, I’m still on the Madeira and we won’t know what happens till tonight or tomorrow morning. I love this work so much. These past 3 transfers couldn’t have been better. We ended our transfer by meeting a family and baptizing. Love this work with my whole heart. Whatever is in store, I can’t wait!! It’ll bring a lot of new experiences. I will miss Sister Miller so much. She is my best friend and like a twin to me. (she’s the better half) I’m going to miss her like none other. I feel like we just do and think the same! You make the best of friends on the mission and to leave in the worst. I love the friendships I’ve made and the lives I’ve touched and the people who have touched mine. More importantly, I love my Savior who has changed me more than I can tell. I love being His missionary :)
Love you all so much!! Ficam bem!!! :)

Sister Hillam