Monday, May 23, 2016

Who is up for Round 2!

Well, how do I explain all the feelings of this morning...I read all the emails about Hudson, yes I did cry. That dog was my puppy. I grew up with that bear since I was 6, I’d say we got pretty close. So that was really sad news.
So this week went by so stinking fast!! Literally I don’t know where all the time goes...The best thing that happened was ELDER BEDNAR CAME!!! YEAH!!!! It was incredible!!!!! But I will get to that in a minute! So we’ve been working a lot with the listão and this week we were 2 days in a car finding these references with the members, it was stellar. The very first person we met, it was the daughter of Família Paiva. She wanted nothing to do with us. We were really worried that they wanted to stop working with the listão but we had one more person to visit named Elsa. So we started off and for like 20 minutes we were searching for the house. I have such a strong testimony on prayer so we decided to stop the car and say a prayer so we could find the house and within 5 minutes, we found Elsa´s house. The Paiva´s didn’t want to go with us to the door so we went. We met her husband and as we explained why we were there she almost started to cry. Her birthday would be the next day and she was so grateful that someone remembered her that was a close friend. We gave her a book of Mormon and a DVD as well. It was such a good moment and we even got her number and called her the next day and she was just so cute with us. Missionary work is so much easier when we have references. Truly the Listao was inspired so we could work with members! 
Also we have Manuel and Paula that are getting married this week and she’ll be baptized next week!! We called them this morning and talked about all the paperwork and Manuel got super excited to tell us that they’ve almost got all of them and the money! We were screaming all morning!!!! Then Paula gets on the phone and talks about who she wants to baptize her and all! It was nuts! She acts like a 5 year old sometimes and it’s really hard to teach her and we were struggling to figure out a way to teach to make her understand. We taught the first lesson 3 times... and when she talked about baptism, I wanted to cry!! SO EXCITING!!!! 
Lots of other people this week, lots of members helping, lots of great thing are happening here in Viseu but the highlight of the week was Elder Bednar. He came on Thursday so we got up at 5 to get there at 10. We got there and I was so excited to sit at the feet of an apostle of God. It was incredible. Elder Bednar was just so incredible. All week we were asked to study 4 talks and come prepared with questions. We get there and he asked what we learned and we responded and then he asked how we could apply that to our life and to the mission. He used a different kind of teaching. He really got us to learn from ourselves. He was making us agents instead of us listen to a talk. It was interactive and I can tell you that I learned stuff completely different than my comp. Incredible that way the spirit works differently with every person. To show our faith, we need to pray in faith and then act! We can pray for something and then not do anything for it, we can’t just wait. I really loved him talking about being agents rather than objects. In the church we are treated like objects rather than agents of faith. Really any aspect of the gospel requires faith to act. He shared lots of verses from the book of Mormon with a new twist on faith and pressing forward. We talked a little bit about fear during the conference and it was interesting that fear only happens when you are stopped. When you are continuing in faith it’s more of a doubt or a wonder, but fear only comes when we stop progressing. We kill that fear by moving, even if it’s a baby step. Also, the Lord will not let our weaknesses get in the way of the progression of his work. The atonement covers those weaknesses, Ether 12:27. Loved the whole conference. I got to shake his hand and his wife asked about grandma and then Elder Bednar turned to me a smiled and told me he loves our family. It was a very special moment.
Loved this week! It keeps getting faster and faster. I’m so thankful for the time that I have. I love the mission and all the ups and downs and all the way around. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end and a better way to start. Love it! I love Jesus Christ, and the fact that we are progressing beings in this world. I love him and everything that this work is doing. Love you all so much!! I’m so blessed to be apart of this family :)
Sister Hillam

We have mission counsel this week, a wedding, next week we have a baptism and then we start divisions! It’ll go by so fast these next few weeks!! Stoked!! Packed full of missionary activities!!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sister Costa and Me

The bet was on and I beat them so we taught the lesson!
We have a subway in Viseu.
The Sisters of Viseu
Go Viseu!

Eu Sou Sister Helama (I am Sister Helaman)

First off, Sorry if it’s someone’s birthday or anniversary! Time just goes by so fast!! So I will first explain everything that happened from Tuesday on:
I received the phone call from the Presidente and I didn’t know how to feel. So I ended up just crying and I’m pretty sure Sister Phipps got a little scared because I was laughing but also sobbing. It was all a very strange moment for me. So then we had district meeting and I needed to go pack my bags to catch a bus 4 hours later. So I started packing and we went to Porto in the rain, so I got to Gaia in the rain and left that same way I got there. We met Sister Phipp´s new comp at the bus station and then they left while I got on my bus. Got to Viseu, dropped off my bags in our apartment and then headed off to a meeting at the church.
My companion is Sister Costa from Brasília!! I’m finishing her training :) Her old comp was Sister Smith from Idaho Falls! Small world!! So Presidente told me that the area was struggling a little bit that I was being set there to build it up. He told me my comp was a super hard worker and to go to work. Well you couldn’t have told me anything better than that!!  I’m Sister Training Leader with a brand new Sister Training Leader as well. We live in a 4 sister house!
First full day was amazing! I LOVE VISEU!!!!!!!! IT`S INCREDIBLE!!!!! Our first lesson for the day was with a lady named Paula and a less active Manuel that are living together. We planned her baptism and their wedding!! Such a great way to start the transfer!!! I was really lost pretty much all week. I have no idea where I’m walking or where I’m going, which is really strange for me. I was struggling in the beginning because for more that 9 months of my mission, I opened areas, so I had to find my way and figure things out. So it’s weird to not know the area and be led instead of leading. It actually felt good to have someone already know the area; it makes the work a whole lot easier!! So for the first day I was completely lost and I’m so grateful that Sister Costa is patient! But we taught another lady named Humberta that loves the missionaries and we’re going to baptize her this transfer! That’s our plan and we just need her to accept a date, and go to church of course! We met this cute little sassy lady named Lila who’s already talked to missionaries and accepted us as well. Overall, a very successful day!!
Thursday I couldn’t honestly tell you what happened because I was trying hard to get to know the area. It’ll come though! We saw Humberta again with a member named Judite (JORDAN- she says she knows you, at the time she only had 1 little girl, I’ll try to get a picture with her this week) but anyway, Humberta loved having her there! We met another lady named Dorinda that promised to read the BofM and was sincere about it, she’s super cool too!  Then we called a family from the ward to do that Listão thing that I explained awhile ago, and turns out that the mom, Lidia, needed help writing a talk about 2 parables of Christ. It was super great because we’ve been having problems getting them to work with us through the Listão. But it was a miracle in disguise because her talk was about not putting your candle under a bushel but on a candlestick, and she thought about the Listão. Miracles!!!
Friday was super fun! Ha-ha we met with Paula and Manuel again and tried to teach but she got a little sick, but they promised to go to church and they went! Later that afternoon, while searching for people to find, I happened to see 2 boys playing basketball and I had a thought `I’m going to go challenge them to a game and if I win they have to listen and if they win, we leave. ` So I told my comp and that’s what we did. I won, and they had to listen. Fransisco and Diogo where great! I think 16 or 17 years old and they actually listened pretty well! Ha-ha it was super fun to contact them! Never had done it and I felt bad for winning but hey, we taught them and gave them a book of Mormon! I think it was a success! Then we went to the chapel and met some members there and I got asked to play the piano on Sunday haha! Surprise!! We had an amazing lesson with this guy named Carlos that we met on the street! He got to meet some members and really liked it and right in the middle of our lesson, a member named André came walking it. He really wants to serve a mission but can’t really walk. He has a huge testimony about the BofM and he told our investigator to read and that he needed to know. He kind of killed the spirit but Carlos took it well and accepted. He was super elect! He just happened to be the first guy we contacted here in Viseu! Super Elect!!
Saturday we went on a hunt for a house with the other sisters. Really quick, we have 2 sisters training, Sister Costa and Sister Christensen, they are hilarious when they try and communicate! Usually they ask me what the other one said, it’s great! But anyway at this lady’s house that we found after an hour and a half of searching, we were talking and Sister Costa said something. Luisa looks at Sister Christensen and asked, `what did she say? ` Sister Christensen said, `Não sei.` we all just started dying because Sister Costa speaks better than all of us! Super funny. Man I just love these Sisters!!! We met with Dorinda again she hadn’t read but we met her mom and her mom told us if she could read, she would read everyday and read all of it. It was super sweet of her mom! I want her mom to go to church! After that lesson, we had an incredible lesson with a less active in our area. He still reads and prays but was accused in the past of doing something and hasn’t been for 20 years. It’ll be a work is progress!
Sunday was stellar!! Lots of members and Lots of members still remember Jordan!!! It was awesome!!! Good times! I played the piano for sacrament meeting and then got a call to play for the choir as well! It felt good to play but I’ve never played for a choir before! It was a first day for everything! I’m glad that I can help here :)
Honestly, after Gaia I was pretty upset. I loved that area, but I made a promise that I would give it all till the very end, and I got here and the week went great! All I could think was, `Why am I so blessed? ` I have an incredible comp. Next week I will explain a little bit more about her story. She works super hard and gets along great with people. We have a great area and the members are more the happy to help! They are so excited to work with us! But as I was thinking as to why I am living the mission dream a thought came to my head. `Sister Hillam, you’ve worked hard your whole mission, You’ve been obedient and followed the counsel of my servant President Amorim. ` I started to cry. I have no regrets. I know that I’ve given everything and I try to give more. I love the mission, and can honestly say that in my mind, everything is calm. I know the Lord has accepted my work because he’s giving me this area, my comp, and this ward for a reason. All of it is just incredible. I love you all so much. I couldn”t have asked for a better family:)
Love you!!

Sister Hillam

Monday, May 9, 2016

A Mother's Day Baptism

Irma Hillam, Graciete, Odilia, Irma Phipps

The Best Mother's Day a Missionary Can Have!

Querida Família,
It was so good to see all of you!!! It was also very strange to actually see living beings rather than words on a screen and to hear voices rather than a robot in my head! It was so good to talk to you all. I loved every minute of it!! I was so happy to share this day with you all. I meant the absolute world to me. It was probably the best day on the mission. (I’ve probably already said that...but seriously this one tops it!) Mom, I love you so much!!! You look so good! I walked out of the room and both Odilia and Graciete said that I look like you! :) What an honor that I have!! They loved talking to you all and seeing the whole family! Graciete leaned over to me at the baptism and was so excited to talk to you! They have been waiting since the beginning of the transfer to see you all! Mom, Love you so much! Couldn’t have asked for a better mom :) 
So I will start on Sunday and what an incredible day it was! We got up early to get on a bus to go to Porto for our stake conference. Man was it good to see all the members in one room! It filled up so fast and we even had members standing in the back because there weren’t seats! So good to see that! So we get there and sat on the stand because I was in the choir. I held together the alto section pretty much all by myself, but it turned out pretty good!! I looked like an elder in my shirt and black skirt. Awesome! Right before the conference I needed to go to the bathroom so I walked around the corner and almost ran into Elder Kearon! We were both so surprised to see each other and actually said that you all met at conference and that you talked. He asked how much time I had left and then he went silent. It was a very special moment for both of us. Then the conference happened, we sang, “Come Come ye Saints, Bela Sião, and I’ll go where you want me to go.” During the last song Elder Kearon turns around and did a small smile and gave a little nod. I started to tear up because we were singing `I’ll go where you want me to go` It was great! And then he came and talked to me after the conference and just asked to say hi to you all. Graciete and Odilia got to shake his hand which they were head over heals about! So cute!! :) Then we got back on the bus to go to the chapel to get the baptismal stuff ready to go! The baptism went great and we sang, “You raise me up for the last time”!! After Odilia told us that she felt like she was going to float away that she was going to fly to the heavens. She felt so happy and so touched that she started crying during the last song. It was so cute. I just love her so much!! Then we ran to their house and called, then had dinner. It was the best day to be a missionary!!! It was awesome!!
This past week I had an interview with presidente, which went great! It was 45 minutes long. He asked me how I was and my mission and I just started crying. I told him I didn’t want to go home, that I loved the people and it’s been the best mission. He got a little teary too and said that you don’t find very honest missionaries like me. It made me cry because I honestly feel like I give it everything. It was very kind of him to say that about me. I love President Amorim, He is truly inspired.
This week we painted a house for one of the elders recent converts José. He’s living in one of Odilia´s houses in our area, so we painted it, cleaned it up and are only missing a few other things. It was super fun because all the people that were there were recent converts and the missionaries. The forces here are all recent converts! It’s awesome!!
It was a great week! If I do get transferred, it’ll be the best way to end my adventures here in Gaia. I love it here. I love these people, Love the mission, love my presidente, love my comp, and love everything. It seems like I’m living a dream come true. I never thought that this work would make me so happy. Sharing Sunday with you was like bringing one side of the Oreo cookie to the other one. It was such a sweet moment for me to combine the 2 things I love most, my family and this work. Thank you for that call. It really was the best last call. I love you all so much!!

Sister Hillam

The Mission, a Preparation for...

Where does time go?! Really though...I’m starting to freak out a little. It seems like yesterday that I was writing on the 25th of Abril and now it’s Maio...yikes. Quick responses to questions, Transfers will happen next Tuesday. I’m pretty sure that I’m leaving to my final area, which makes me really sad. But who knows! That’s just what I think. As for flight plans about the end of the mission...I have no clue. I have an interview with Presidente this Tuesday so I will ask him about it. He’s been really busy with zone conferences and interviews with the missionaries so I haven’t wanted to ask him. Yes we will have the baptism of Odilia this Sunday so I don’t know what you want to send her but she’s SUPER EXCITED!!! Everyday she talks about her baptism and how excited she is! She’s already a little missionary! I will go on to explain the Hand of God this week. Incredible, just incredible. Oh and she’s really excited to talk to you all on Mother’s Day! As for the time I will call, I will call between 7-8. I honestly can’t give an exact time because we don’t know how long this baptism will take on Sunday. We have Odilia´s and the Elders are also baptizing a man as well. So between 7-8:15ish is when I will call. But I’ll be able to get on my email and send a message before I call. It’ll all work out! So excited to talk to you mom!!! :D seems like yesterday that I was calling from Matosinhos! 
Now we start this week!! What a week!!
Tuesday we had district meeting which was great but what was really cool and this has never happened on my mission, we get a call from one of our members who was in the chapel saying that a women was there wanting to know more about the church! Kelly is from Cabo Verde and wanted to know more about the church! So we taught her and invited her and she loved it! Sadly she moved to Holland (great place but sad for us!) this week too. But she sent me an email with her address so she can find the church there! It was a super powerful lesson! Then that day we met another lady who really listened to our message as well. Her name is Irmalinda or Linda. She’s a sweet heart and she accepted the BOM and our invite to baptism. Sadly she had problems with her boyfriend this week so we couldn’t teach her more but she’s super sweet! 
On Wednesday, it was a little rough for me. We got a call from Rafael saying he wanted to meet up with us that night so we did. Presidente told us that we needed to give him to the Elders so we marked with them as well. Not going to lie I was really sad afterwards but I knew it had to be this way because I would feel worse if he were baptized for the wrong reasons. He’s a good kid and the Elders are going to help him a lot! We also had our meeting with the ward mission leader which is always fun! I’m going to miss this ward a lot!!! They all just want to help the ward grow! After our meeting we started decorating the chapel for the wedding, which was fun because the Irmas in the ward were all over it! They loved it!
On Thursday was the wedding so we sisters got up and went right to the church to finish up the decorating of the chapel. Did our studies, went back to the chapel to practice, `You Raise Me Up` OH and on top of that, I was asked to give a 5-minute talk on the meaning of the song and Christ at the wedding. haha that was fun!! (P.S. we call Fatima, mom and she calls us her angels. I don’t know what to do, I have lots of Irmas that I call mom here...) So We did some more song prepping and then went to get the brownies we made for the wedding and then came back to the chapel. So I need to do a little bit of background on Fatima and José. A few months ago the Elders started teaching Fatima, and we ran into the member named José Neves, who will be called Neves. So right when I got here we had heard that these 2 knew each other and were actually helping each other out. Fatima was living with this man named José Jesus. She didn’t really like him and Neves really like Fatima so he purposed to her and she said that maybe it would work out. Well at this same time the elders wanted her to be baptized. One day she called up Neves and said she wanted to be baptized and she wanted to marry him. They did a little trade of houses so Neves went to live with José and Fatima went to live in Neves house. So she was baptized and now José, the Ex, is taking the lessons and is to be baptized this Sunday as well! What’s interesting is that José is still really good friends with Fatima and they usually eat dinner together and he basically lives with Neves and Fatima. It’s all a really weird situation. You can imagine how José must feel...ouch. But It went beautifully and it was just fabulous! We had to stay almost until 11 because people were still at the chapel and we had to close up, but it was good! We met a lot of people who are interested so great missionary opportunity!
On Friday we finished cleaning up the wedding and just had a good day talk to everyone. As we were walking to our appointments we stopped and talk to this lady and she told us that she was going to church with one of her best friends Maria Jesus. So what do we do, we taught her before she went! It was such a `in the moment` lesson and was it great! She just smiled at us the whole time. I’m pretty sure she didn’t understand very much, but she likes us and called Maria Jesus after we left. Cutest old ladies :) haha I have a knack with old people. Then we had to run off to meet up with the Elders and Odilia. Man she is a tough cookie! She gave us missionaries a reference of this guy and she went with us to meet him, let’s just say she told him to listen to us. It was awesome! She just laid it on him that he needed us! Stellar missionary! And then after that we went and ate at the newlywed’s house and what did we eat...Sardinhas!!!! SO GOOD!! We ate all of the fish, bones and head included! I enjoyed it. My comp...not too much haha so fun!!!
Saturday we went to Porto because Sister Phipps and me were asked to sing at the activity on Sunday. We went to practice and guess what song we say...`I Often go Walking` your favorite song mom :) I cried of course because Sunday was mother’s day here and I got to sing in to all the mom’s here and I get to remember these moms. I have and the most incredible one in the world, My mom. The practice went great and then we came back to work in our area. 
Sunday was Mother’s Day here so the kids did a little Mother’s Day song and it was super cute! Love when the kids do programs! It’s the best, haha you always have the one kid... :) Then we had choir in the afternoon and had to run off to Porto for the activity. We were the first musical number, we didn’t sing as great as before but everyone said it was the best one, so well done for only one practice! It was a really good program and Odilia and Graciete loved being surrounded by so many members and being there. They are really putting themselves into the church. They sing in the choir and go to all the activities that they can. I just love them!! The program went great and in the end they sang We’ll Bring the World His Truth. Just overall a good activity to remember moms :)
As for the hand of God this week. Because of the wedding and what not, José needed/needs to leave the house that Fatima owns because he can’t pay anymore so he was going to have to live on the street. Well Odilia stepped in and found him a place to live. I got to thinking about the plan that God has in our lives. If it had not been for Neves and Fatima getting married and what not, José wouldn’t want to be baptized and if it weren’t for us finding Graciete, Odilia wouldn’t have been able to help José find a house. God uses His children to build His kingdom. If one of these things didn’t happen, I don’t know what would have happened but the situation is all too perfect to deny that God designed it. Now 2 more children will return home. I love the gospel, and I love my Father in Heaven.
I put this as the topic because we had a wedding and then we got to remember the importance of motherhood. It was a really good week full of blessings to see the happiness of a couple just starting on eternity together. On top of that we get to remember the importance of mom.
Mom, I know I’ll get to talk to you on Sunday but I want you to know that I love you. You are my best friend. Sister Phipps and I do little flashback moments and most of the stories are of you and I. All the habits that we created little things that you did for me. I will name a couple that came to mind: The chick-flick shelf and ironing while watching them, our picnics watching Pocahontas when I was little, and our taco Tuesdays, pancakes, basketball games, etc. I’m a little prideful when I say I had my mom for 5 years all to myself. :) I just remember so many days when your smile meant the world to me, or when it was a rough day you always knew. Some how you always knew what to do. You gave up everything and put your wants and desires aside to make me who I am. I honestly can say, I want to be just like you. I love you so much. As for the brothers, hey, we have the best mom in the world! And dad, you got lucky! I love being the baby girl because then I don’t have to share my mom with another sister :) Love you mom!!

Sister Hillam