Elder Hilton's Mailing Address

Letter mailing address:
Elder Mckay Manser Hilton
Brazil Salvador South Mission
Av. Lucaia, 295, Sala 202/203
Ed. Empresarial Lucaia
Horto Florestal
40295-130 Salvador- BA

Package Mailing address:
Elder Mckay Manser Hilton
Brazil Salvador South Mission
Av. Lucaia, 295, Sala 202/203
Ed. Empresarial Lucaia, Horto Florestal
Horto Florestal
40295-130 Salvador- BA

Monday, May 7, 2018

Week 105!!!!!!!! MY LAST EMAIL!!!!!!!!

The day has finally arrived... the last email. I don´t know if I am happy about this or not. I am excited, but also pretty sad. I am sitting here in the internet cafe baffled at how last this last transfer passed by! It didn´t help that it was a 5 week transfer instead of a full 6 week one. I  loved this transfer with Elder Christofferson. We had a blast and learned many things together. Everything seemed to happen really fast and it has been so much fun! I will start off with our week. Just a heads up, i forgot to bring my planner to the internet cafe so i probably won´t remember EVERYTHING that we did. I will give a quick summary, and I hope i don´t forget too much.

So last sunday night we took a bus to Porto Seguro and slept at the Elder´s house there. Monday morning we woke up and left early the get the Cabral´s Ship thing that we weren´t able to see the last p-day because it was closed. We got there right at 8:30 am and paid 30 Reais (like 10 bucks) to enter. They took us on a tour around the whole historical center then let us to take pictures at the end. After that we went to email our families! When we finished emailing we took a boat to this island place close to Porto Seguro called Arraial daJuda. We explored around and got a little lost, but luckily a nice couple from São Paulo, who were tourists, gave us a ride back to the center close to the spot where we took a boat back to Porto Seguro. We quickly ate at McDonalds then ran home to shower, pack up, and get a bus to a city called Teixeira de Freitas (the sister´s area).  We got our bus at about 8:30 pm and it arrived in Teixeira de Freitas at midnight. There was no bus from Porto Seguro straight to Mucuri (where we would do a division with the elders there) so we had to stop and spend the night at Teixeira. We got a taxi from the bus station to the sisters house to pick up the keys to the chapel, which is where we slept. We got to the chapel and went to bed around 2 am on our incredibly comfortable beds (sarcasm). We slept on chapel chairs! it was terrible!

We woke up Tuesday morning at 5:10 am and took a taxi to the bus station at 5:30 am to catch our bus going to Mucuri that left around 6:00 am. We got to the Elders house in Mucuri around 8:30 am and prepared for our day. We had to take a taxi to lunch because the bus we usually take was delayed because of traffic / commotion caused an accident involving a car colliding with a motocyle that killed one woman and a child. We ate lunch at Brother Dener´s house again (that guy with the huge property that goes all the way to the beach!), then he drove us back to the elder´s area in mucuri.

We had our division and I was with Elder Sobral again and Elder Christofferson went with Elder Souza. The city was seriously DEAD since it was a holiday (it was a holiday similar to labor day). Hardly anyone was on the roads and just about EVERYTHING was closed! Elder Sobral and I tryed passing by some of their investigators houses, but we didn´t have much luck. We were able to find Tiago and Thais, ( same couple who I taught during the last division i did in mucuri). We retaught them the restoration and I invited them to be baptized. It went well. They have a lot of work to do, and  changes to make, but they accepted the invitation to prepare for baptism! Since literally everything fell through that we had planned  Elder Sobral showed me some neat places in their area. We saw some cool ponds, fishing rivers, and beaches. We met back up with the other elders at a burger place and we got milkshakes before returning back to their house. That night before bed, Elder Christofferson and went outside and did some fun light photography.

Wednesday morning we woke up at 5:00 am to catch our 5:30 bus to Teixeira de Freitas. When we arrived at Teixeira, we got another bus to Eunápolis. We arrived home at 11:30 am totally wasted! So much traveling and little sleep! Luckily lunch was with Willian who always conveniently delivers our lunch to our house in a to-go box. We spent most of wednesday resting up and planning for our week.

Thursday we visited some of our investigators and had a pretty calm day. I prepared some gifts for our branch and began to organize my things to make it easier for myself to pack. At night, I got a phonecall from the District leader saying that I would do EVERYTHING for our district meeting the next day since it would be my last district meeting in my mission. I prepared a good training that night about establishing goals and using our time wisely.

Friday morning our american district leader Elder Kilidjian and his american companion Elder Gray arrived to our house at 8:30 am. We made and ate american pancakes first then we held our last "District Heart of America" district meeting in our house due to the other´s elder´s schedule.  To start off the meeting we sang some patriotic american music and hymns to boost up our american pride. (long live district "Heart of America"!!!) Then I did everything in the district meeting and gave my favorite training. Finally to finish, we sang our mission hymns and took pictures of me "dead" since it was my last district meeting in my whole mission! We had lunch at sister sara´s house and it was the first time her husband was home and ate with us! I took advantage and took a picture with their whole family! They are really cool. I started to actually prepare a bit for my homecoming talk as well.

Saturday was pretty low-key. I did tons of laundry in preparation for when i would pack my bags, and we cleaned the house a bit. The rest of the day we tried getting in contact with our investigators and confirming them to go to church. At night we visited the one and only May Kelly (pronounced My kelly) at the best burger place in town. I got the special chicken, and my comp got the bacon burger. May Kelly is really cool so we tood a picture with her. hahaha!

Sunday, yes, my last sunday of my mission! It was perfect because it also happened to be fast and testimony meeting. We hoped to have more investigators at church, but only 2 showed up. One was Madeline, one of Juliana´s classmates from college, and the other was Uanderson, tatiane´s boyfriend. I wanted to bear my testimony towards the end of the meeting so I got in line and i was cutting it really close. Juliana finished bearing her testimony, and I was supposed to be next, but the councilor stood up right after Juliana and said due to the time only one more person could bear testimony after him. He went on and "bore his testimony"... actually creating a very depressing atmosphere describing how he went to the doctor and found out he has a respiratory problem and doesn´t have as much time to live. He told everyone about some of his problems then closed and motioned me to come up. I was kind of uncomfortable going up after such a solemn, sad testimony, but i bore a quick testimony about charity and missionary work. Then I thanked the branch for all they have done to support the elders. The Gospel Principles topic was "Faith in Jesus Christ". It went well and everyone participated including the 2 investigators that i mentioned earlier. For Priesthood, Brother Lenine explained about the Come Follow Me program and how it should work. Before we left church I delivered a thank you letter to all the members and families in our branch.
After church we had lunch at Flavia´s house, then biked to the Branch council meeting at 4 pm. It ended a bit after 5 then the party started! I knew the branch had planned something for me since i was leaving, but i had no idea it would be this big! They had a whole program set up! Complete with an opening hymn, a message by brother Lenine, a special thought by president Almir, testimonies by some members and my companion Elder Christofferson, a special musical number by Juliana and the young women, and ending with a closing hymn and a prayer. Elder Christofferson and I were SUPER impressed! People cryed when sharing their testimonies and thoughts of gratitude concerning my service in the branch. It was very touching. I especially appreciated my companion´s comments and testimony. I love you Elder Christofferson! I swore to myself and Elder Christofferson that i wouldn´t cry during this whole thing, and I almost didn´t. I wasn´t feeling very emotional, but towards the end when the young women sang their special musical number, i may or may not have teared up a bit. They sang a version of Ye Elders of Israel, and they substituted some words for my name during the song and in the chorus. It went like this:

Adeus, ó Elder Hilton, você vai partir;
Sagrada missão você já fez cumprir.

I recorded all of it and right towards the end, the lyrics they sang hit me and i teared up for just a second. I blame to flourescent lights and the fans blowing air in my eyes. hahaha. It was funny because everyone was expecting me to cry or something during the farewell party and i didn´t... until the end of that song. Then everyone shouted, "he cryed! he cryed!" hahaha.
Afterwards we all ate cake and food that was prepared for the farewell party. I gave lots of hugs and took lots of pictures. Although our investigator Branca wanted to come, she couldn´t so she sent her daughter Iasmim to deliver me a present. It was so nice of them! I was so impressed by the branch for having thrown me a party. It was super awesome!

We got back home from the farewell at about 8:00 pm and right when we thought our day was over, we remembered how we had forgotten about the appointment we set up with Israel and his family. We were about to call them and tell them that we probably wouldn´t be able to come over because of the lateness of the hour and all the things we still had to do (follow up on the zone, pass the transfer, etc), when they called us! Ana Cristina said everyone was home and was waiting for us to come over. Israel agreed to pick us up in his car to be more efficient. It was funny because it had to be a quick visit because we would be doing lot of phonecalls, etc. and we quickly realized we wouldn´t be getting home anytime soon. Israel stopped at a pizza place and paid for pizza before driving us to his house. We got to there house and Elder Christofferson followed up with the zone and passed the transfer while i hung out with Israel and his family. We ate pizza and took pictures together, then Israel drove us home. We got home late, and thought to ourselves, "WHAT A DAY!!!" We were totally exhausted!

Monday (today) we woke up and I spent the morning packing my bags, while Elder Christofferson cleaned the house. We got the the internet cafe at 11:30 ish and hours later, we are still here without having eaten lunch. My 12 hour ride bus leaves at 7:30 pm to Salvador.

IT IS SO WEIRD KNOWING THIS IS MY LAST EMAIL!! I don´t know how to end this. The only way i know is with my testimony.

3 Nefi 5:13 says, "  Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been acalled of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."
These are powerful words. We say them everyday before we leave our house to remember who we are. We are disciples of Christ! It is a special calling, one of the greatest callings ever. We carry His name on our chests everyday. As missionaries we are special testimonies of Jesus Christ. Matthew 24:14  says, "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations" I know it doesn´t matter where you are, what language you speak, or what culture you´re in, you are a special witness of Christ as a missionary. He counts on us, We are the faithful, diligent workers in His vineyard. I feel it a HUGE privilege to be a missionary. Despite all the challenges and obstacles, it is worth it. I cherished every moment during my mission in Bahia. It was the best thing I´ve done in my life up until now. I learned so much about the gospel, and about life in general. I see what brings true lasting joy, instead of temporary pleasure. I really gained a testimony of waht really is important in life and what isn´t. I know this next phrase i will say is that well known cheesy phrase, but i believe it is true. Not only was serving a mission the best things i´ve done IN my life, it was the best thing i have done FOR my life. I was a huge learning stretch for me and I can now say that the foundation of my conversion are the personal experiences I have had feeling God´s love and knowing that I´m his son. I know we are all special sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father. I love reading the Book of Mormon and learning so much; feeling hunger and thirst to know more and understand. I love being a missionary and hope to always be one. I´ll do all I can to keep this fire alive, driving me to do all a missionary does.

I can´t believe the time to go is here! I will never be able to express how much i have learned on my mission in just a few sentences. There is too much. I have learned so much, my eyes have been opened, and I feel like a changed person. There is one thing that i have certainty of that is God´s love for me and you. He has loved us since the beginning and he will never stop loving us. I feel his love for me through my family. I love my family and I can´t wait to be with them again here in a few days. I am excited to have my parents meet me here and see the beautiful people of Brazil! I love you all and will see you soon!

With Love

-Elder McKay Hilton

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Week 104

Hey everybody!
How are you all doing?! I hope everyone had a great and fun week! We are almost into May which is crazy! I only have a week and a half  We had a great week here with a lot of fun little adventures and lots of work.  We are hoping for a miracle this week, because we will need one haha! But anyway, I'll just get right in to the week!

Last Monday like I said in the morning we had gone up to the historical center in Porto Seguro! After that we came to use email.  Anyways, after using email we headed down the coast to try to find this other historic place that has a replica of one of the ships in the fleet of Pedro Alvares Cabral, the guy who discovered Brasil! So we got there at about 4:40 pm and they had just closed! We were pretty bummed because we had walked for like half an hour to get there and it seemed pretty cool. After that we didn't know what to do so we started to walk back towards the city center and found a cool place to go bowling. So we went bowling! Haha, it was a blast even though we were a bit rusty.

That night we slept in the Elders house in the center again and then in the morning woke up and we had a division. I stayed with the two elders in the center and Elder Christofferson went to an area here in Porto Seguro called Baianão. He was with Elder Kilidjian and Elder Gray, from our district!

So Tuesday was the division. I was with Elder De Jesus (from São Paulo) and Elder Barreto (from Cape Verde). It was a great time even though almost everything fell through. We ended up doing contacts and teaching some people in their doors. We found a woman whose husband was taught and baptized a long time back in Itabuna. We taught her and I invited her to be baptized to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and she excitedly accepted the invitation. We also had a conversation with her husband and invited him to go back to church. The last thing I did during the division was a baptismal interview of a 14 year old girl named Micaely. She passed it and was baptized this saturday! After the division we met back up with the Elders and Elder Christofferson and I took a bus back to Eunápolis.

Wednesday we were back home after we got a quick bus the night before from Porto to come back home to Eunápolis. So Wednesday we had the whole day back in our area. We had a fun day as well with one failure. Irmã Branca had told us that she wanted to get to know better the life of Joseph Smith and stuff so we had thought that we would watch the 1 hour, Joseph Smith movie with her. We got there and she put the video on her laptop and then connected it to the TV. One thing we did NOT think about was the potential problem that the wifi could go bad. And like usual with these type of situations, the wifi started to go bad hahah. Rookie mistake from two oldies to not be more prepared. So after a good amount of trying we decided it wouldn't work and we just left a normal message. It was funny but we made up for it a couple days later. Anyways, Branca is doing great but she just doesn't feel like she has gotten her answer yet about the truth of our messages. She could get baptized any time and we think she is our biggest hope for this week to get baptized. We are praying!

Wednesday night we headed over to visit Jailton! He is Lucas' dad who is not a member. Lucas is the only priest in our branch and his step-sister is on a mission right now. Irmão Jailton has been to church twice now and he is a great guy. We got there and decided to teach a little more in depth to him about the Book of Mormon. We also felt like we could watch the Restoration video with him,the 20-minute one. Elder Chistofferson has a little USB drive with the video so we figured we could just plug it into the TV and watch it. It always works. So he put in the USB and when he went to click on the video all we saw was a big red X saying, "Format not supported"! Ugh! two failures with tech in one day haha. But it ended up working out because Jailton just watched it on his phone. After we talked about everything we asked him if he had prayed about our message. He sheepishly replied that he hadn't. We told him that he needed to pray and we taught him how to do it. It was really cool and he really committed to praying now. If he gets his answer he can also be baptized any day!

Thursday night we got to visit Israel and his family again! Man do we love that family. Every time we go, we laugh and have fun and also feel the Spirit and learn. Thursday night we had a little miracle because their whole family was there again! Second time in a row! Haha it was great. We didn't have a ton of time but we decided to bring back the memories for them of our first lesson. So we watched the 20-minute Restoration video. The video was fantastic! We felt the Spirit so strongly as we watched a humble farm boy get called as a prophet. After the video ended, we almost didn't want to talk because the Spirit was so strong. we started to bear our testimonies and practically we told them that they need to pray and get serious about all of this. It is sometimes hard to speak boldy but we were blessed to have the Holy Spirit so it really wasn't us doing the talking. They understood what we were trying to say so now we just have to hope that they really have the desire to find out if this is all true! (Spoiler: IT IS!!!)

Friday we made up for ourselves with Irmã Branca and we watched the Joseph Smith movie and it worked! We had gone early to the internet place and downloaded it so it would work without a hitch!! It all went smoothly and we had to have a little heart to heart with her too and speak boldly so she can understand how she can get her answer. We will see how this week goes!

Saturday we had a good lesson with Patrick! He is one of our investigators that kind of tried to get rid of us last week but we still had a lesson marked with him and he told us he would finally go to church Sunday and he actually DID! But we had a fun time too after the lesson when we helped him and his dad take this HUGE wooden table out of a house. We tied it to a rope and lowered it down over the balcony because it wouldn't fit down the stairs. It was a fun adventure and we sadly didn't have the camera with us! Only on the phone and the quality isn't good haha.

Saturday night we had a really cool lesson with this girl named Irana! She is Branca's other daughter that we didn't know existed until she brought her to church last week. She is 17 but is already married, or at least we thought, but I'll get to that. So we had marked with her last Sunday to visit her on Thursday but when we went there she wasn't home! Saturday night we decided to go by and we found her at home! We taught her the first lesson and it was awesome! She accepted everything and at the end we asked, "Irana, what do you feel now knowing that all of this that we said happened." She replied, "Well I am very grateful and happy because now I know which church is the true one, and I don't have to keep looking for it!" We were in shock and then I challenged her to baptism! She accepted! We gave her a pretty fast date because she only needs to go to church once more. We left excited but then on Sunday we were talking to the other girls in the ward after church and they said they thought that she wasn't legally married to her husband Samuel. We were sad to hear that because we had thought they were married. But we will find out this week! And if they aren't we just need to get them married and then baptize haha!

Sunday was a great day as well. We sadly did not have all the people at church that we wanted but we had 4! Irana and her "husband" Samuel came and Patrick too! And one other member brought her boyfriend who isn't a member. Everyone else didn't come because tomorrow (Tuesday) is a holiday here to everyone went out of town. But we had a great Sunday and the last meeting of the day was really cool because the District President gave a training on the new Ward mission plan thing that President Bangerter has been trying to implement in our mission for a month or so now! And we got a new, AWESOME, branch mission leader so we are super pumped about that! Sunday night we had to get a bus down here to Porto Seguro again and here we are! We are going to do a division, a city that is the furthest south in our mission. We still got another 6-7 hours of buses to get. We also might have to sleep in the bus station but we will see haha! We came down here and this morning we got to go to the boat thing! It was really awesome but the pictures are taking forever to upload so we will see if they work! But at least we got the ones from last week!

Anyways, that was our week! We are praying for some last week miracles for our compaionship and we are going to give it our all! I realized this is pretty much my last week in the mission. Only one more week of being called "Elder". This is so crazy. It has gone by so fast! I love you all so much! And I love our Savior!! Have a great week!

-Elder McKay Hilton

crying because we can't see the new Avengers movie!

Elder Christofferson fell asleep with a pen in his mouth

Week 103

Hey everyone!

How are you all doing?! I hope everyone is having a fantastic week. I hope you all had as good as a week as we did! I will try to hit all the highlights but it was a lot of stuff and we are crunched on time! We came down to Porto Seguro again last night because we are going to be doing some divisions or tradeoffs, or whatever you call it in English, with the Elders here on Tuesday. So we decided to take advantage and come see the sights today of Porto Seguro. This is the city where Brasil was discovered!!! So early this morning we headed off to the historical city here and it was super pretty with amazing ocean views and a lot of amazing history stuff!

 Last monday was good. We had a fun night. We headed over to Israel's place. When we got there it was a little weird because Israel seemed really tired and no one else was there. He told us that he had just accepted us that day because he didn't want to be rude haha! He was working overtime at his workshop right next to his house and he stopped for a little bit to have us over and to eat a small dinner. We were kind of sad because we had wanted to teach the whole family and we didn't even really get to have a lesson but it was still good to talk with him and he even took us into his work. He makes these big signs and posters for shops and it was really cool. So that was the only thing with him on Monday but it was a good little visit.

Tuesday night we had a really cool lesson. So I can't remember if I wrote about it but last week we had this man named Jailton at church. His son is the only priest in our branch and he brought his dad. His work schedule changed and now he can go to church. His stepdaughter just left on her mission a couple months ago and he is not a member. Sunday we marked to go see him on Tuesday. We got there at 7 o'clock and had a wonderful lesson. When we showed up they were there waiting for us and we started out by asking Jailton about his religious beliefs. We found out that back a long time ago he had taken the missionary discussions with his kids but had never been interested to be baptized. He then said that he feels kind of the same way now but we were not discouraged! We went right into the first lesson and it was great. It was cool because we got to teach the Restoration in a different style that we were going to train on at the Zone conference later in the week. And it was also really cool because his son Lucas was with us. He stayed pretty quiet the whole time but it was great. At the end of the lesson we told Jailton that he needs to pray. We invited him to read and pray about our message. I said, "Brother Jailton we know these things are true and if you find out that they are true too, it would change your life forever." He agreed and then said he would read and pray about our message. We are just praying now that he gets his answer and that his work doesn't go back to the old schedule!

Wednesday was an interesting day. We just had to organize a bunch of stuff to get ready for the Zone Conference that was going to happen the next day. We got a bus that night and found Elder Gomes, one of the Assitants! He was in a different city with President Bangerter at a different zone conference and was traveling down to Porto Seguro too. The bus ride from Eunápolis to Porto Seguro is just an hour so it was easy. We got to bed around midnight at the elders house in Porto Centro and it was funny because we had to fit 5 guys into a small room because it has Air conditioning!!!!

Thursday was great! We had the Zone Conference and saw our small little zone of 14 missionaries! But we had a great day. Elder Christofferson and I got to give a training on this thing called MRV. In our mission it means "visitas de ministrar, resgatar, e verificar." That means "visits to minister, rescue, and verify." It is just the program that President Bangerter introduced to our mission when he got here 3 years ago to visit less-active and inactive members. The program keeps evolving and changing for the better and we got to talk about it. It was great and at the end we talked about the Restoration and gave a quick little practice lesson using the pamphlet, in like 5 minutes. It was super awesome. That night we got a bus to go back to our area with Elder Gomes because he came to do a division with us. That night we got home and then ran over to Israel's place. We had been planning on teaching them the Plan of Salvation for a few visits but we wanted the whole family there! We had never had a lesson with the whole family present. So we finally lucked out and the whole family was there!!! Quick note, when we got there and we were eating,(they always give us dinner!) Elder Gomes was introducing himself and asking a little about them. Israel started to talk and out of nowhere goes, "...I am also a pastor," *looks over to us kind of lauging* "and I totally forgot to tell you two that." Elder Chistofferson and I were shocked haha! It kind of made sense because he seems like the type but then he started to explain that he is not like a full-time pastor obviously. He is just a like help-pastor and has been part of some groups to start different churches in Eunapolis. Needless we were pretty shocked. Then we started the lesson. We taught the Plan of Salvation and it was amazing. Elder Gomes is the man! He knows the scriptures so well and we were all so in sync. At the end we talked about how it is all possible because of Christ. We testified of the truthfulness and importance of the Atonement and it was so spiritual in the room. And I just went for it, and invited them to be baptized!!! Haha so obviously they have all been baptized in other churches and they told us that and then we focused on the recieving the gift of the Holy Ghost and how they need to get that by the laying on of hands. It was awesome and they kind of didn't really accept the date but said they would pray to know if it is true. Or continue to pray. So it was a great lesson and they said they would come to church!!

Friday was another full day! We finally found this man named Alefe! He was found by Elder Loureiro when he was here in Eunapolis like 2-3 transfers ago. He was so close to being baptized but then Elder Loureiro was transferred and the baptism fell through. I had worked with him last transfer but he was just different. So this transfer we had NOT been able to find him! But we finally lucked out and did! We taught him and it was super great. We watched the video of Peter walking on water and then falling and Christ reaching out to grab him. Then the video of Christ's baptism. We watched those to prepare him for the conversation because he seems afraid to get baptized then just go mess up and go inactive. We told him, if Peter started to lose faith and sink, imagine us! We surely will, but Jesus is there to reach out and grab us! It was awesome and he accepted a baptismal date for May 5th!

Friday we also went by real quick to visit Branca and Iasmin. We didn't have a lot of time because Elder Gomes had to leave to grab his bus back to Salvador and we weren't on bikes. We don't have a 3rd one so we walked and wow I realized that I do not miss walking haha! I love the bikes! It makes things a lot more effecient. Anyways we just went and talked about the last lesson when we invited them to be baptized. They remembered and Elder Gomes asked if they are praying. Branca says she is and then we talked about how we need to put our faith in practice to get an answer! It was really great for the time we had!

Saturday we had a busy day visiting and following up with people for them to go to church on Sunday. At the end of the night we had about 15 people confirmed to go to church! That is usually a common thing and usually ends with like 5 people at church. But man oh man, Sunday was a good one.

We got up early and got to the church early to wait and greet people. First Jailton and Lucas showed up which was awesome! That was already 1 investigator at church. At around 8:50 like no one else had shown up haha! Members or investigators. It was super weird. Then this dude on a motorcycle showed up and said that a member had invited him to come. He could only stay for an hour but we invited him in and he came, that was 2. Then it was like 9:05 and we had to go in to start the meeting. We walked in a little sad and then they asked us to bless the sacrament. When we were about to start Branca walked in with Iasmin and one other girl named Irana, (another daughter of Branca that we didn't know existed haha). We got super happy and that was 5 investigators! So the meeting continued and we were happy but also a little sad because Israel and his family had said they would come and didn't show up. So we walked out and called them and they said they were coming! At about 9:45, during the last talk, Israel and his WHOLE family showed up! It was so awesome because the whole branch looked over and saw them walk in with us! We had saved a row in the front so everyone saw haha! It was so awesome! The last talk finished and the closing hymn was Families can be Together Forever!!! It was amazing! We had TEN investigators at church!!!!!!!!! We were so happy. The members here were amazing and immediately went and talked to all them and treated them great and really fellowshipped. We were so pumped and they stayed. So we will follow up with all these people this week and see what they thought of church!!!!! It was an amazing Sunday that ended that night with a family night transmission from the Area Presidency for all of Brasil!

So that was our week! I am loving this area and the people. I love this small branch and being able to serve here is a blessing. I love my companion Elder Christofferson.  I love the Savior and this work of His! It is a sacred work that brings sacred experiences! I love it more than anything!

Love you family! Have a great week!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Week 102: Happy Birthday GRANDMA TERESA!

How´s it going everyone!!! 

Something special happened this week that I wasn´t completely aware of until I read my family´s emails. I realized how eventful and special this last week was for my family. There were lots of tennis matches, home designing, cookie baking, piano practicing, etc, but 2 things that called most of my attention were 1.) GRANDMA TERESA´s 70th B-DAY, and 2.) MY SISTER GOT ENGAGED! It was 10 years agp when Grandma passed away. I was only 10 years old, so I don´t remember a lot, but those sweet memories of her are marked in my heart. I wish you grandma a happy birthday. I LOVE YOU. Now Haley! Congrats to you! and you too Ben! You are going to get married! How crazy is this. I remember when we were just little kids taking bubble baths together in mom and dad´s bathtub and now we are in our twenties and you are engaged! WOWZERS! Anyway it seems like the week back at home was quite eventful and busy. Now I will summarize how our week went using some of the words of my companion. My companion and I live the same lives (go through the same week) so his words can be considered my words. His experiences are also my experiences. hahhahaha. So just a heads up to those people who happen to read my blog and Elder Christofferson´s blog. It is funny because Elder Christofferson writes really well about our week and I take all the pictures. Elder Christofferson told me that his mom told him he needs to take more pictures and he should take advantage while he is my companion because i have a good camera and I take lots of pictures! haha. So it looks like I am the companionship photographer and Elder Christofferson is the companionship reporter/writer.  So here we go.
Ours here in the mission was pretty tiring but a lot of fun. That is the best part about missionary work is that it is hard, tiring work, but when you find the joy in the work, it is all worth it! I will try to hit the highlights of the busy and rainy week here. It was fun to have rain because it cooled down the weather quite a bit. The funny part about the rain here is that it is just like the movies! You can be sitting inside and it is all sunny and literally in like 1 minute everything goes dark. The funniest part is that out of nowhere it just starts pouring rain. It doesn't start little by little it just goes from nothing, to full on downpour. But it stops after like 5 minutes haha! It is pretty cool, but inconvenient sometimes if you get stuck outside! Anyhoo, here was our week. 

So last Monday after our p-day out of the town we headed home to shower and get ready to go to Salvador. The thing that is tough about being so far south in our mission is that the bus ride is 12 hours long! These buses that we get aren't like school or city buses but they are huge, fancy buses. I don't even know if in the United States, bus travel is still a thing but here it is huge. Elder Christofferson and I think it is pretty fun because we had never really done it before. So our bus was at 7:35 pm and we got to the bus station cutting it pretty close but we made it. We were happy to see that we got the same bus as Sister Alves! She is in an area further south than us in our zone, about 3 hours by bus, and she is a Sister Training leader so she also goes to council. But usually that are where she is has 2 STLs but this transfer it is just her. So she was going to go alone but the secretaries helped her out and got us the bus that she was on going to Salvador and we had no idea so it was a fun surprise. We got to Salvador around 8 in the morning and we were all pretty dead because it is hard to sleep on those buses.

 Tuesday was a fun day at the mission home! I realized how much I had already missEd Salvador and it was fun to be back for the day. Leadership council was great. We talked a lot about General Conference and also about how we can better minister as missionaries. In our mission we do these things called verifications where we get the directory of the area we are serving in and then go find all the inactive people to update there addresses, see if they have moved, and see if they have the desire to come back to church. We talked about how we can better implement that in our mission and how we can be better ministers to those people and our investigators. It was great. I have one more cool experience from council that I will share at the end of this letter! 

Wednesday was tiring because we had to run and grab our bus the night before after council and we got back to Eunapolis around 7:30 in the morning. That afternoon we had a really great lesson with Patrick. He is an awesome guy he just needs to go to church! Anyways we got there and he had read the chapter from the Book of Mormon that we left with him. We decided to teach him about the Plan of Salvation. It was a super awesome lesson and he really liked it. We talked a lot about his purpose on the Earth and how he has been searching for it. We testified that he is here to have joy, and to prepare to meet God. He loved it and we decided to challenge him to baptism. He accepted to prepare for the 28th of this month. We were super excited. Fast-forward to Thursday morning and out of nowhere Patrick calls and tells us that he doesn't want visits anymore and that he had a great time getting to know us but that it's not for him. We were super surprised by this after he had just accepted a date for baptism during a spiritual lesson. Of course something had to have happened. Like someone said something to him or he found something on the internet about the Church that wasn't true or something. We told him we just wanted to visit him one more time and so we kept our appointment for Saturday marked. Saturday he wasn't there but we found him on Sunday night and marked with him for Tuesday but he seemed super normal so we don't really know what is going on with him but we are praying that we can still save him! 

Wednesday evening we also went and taught Branca and Iasmin. They were doing great and Iasmin was super question-y again but it was a good visit. We had planned on teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ but I felt like we needed to teach the Plan of Salvation to them too and it was a great lesson. At the end Iasmin said that she felt better knowing that her grandpa and uncle who have already passed away have a chance to get to know the truth still. Both her and Branca seemed pretty touched by the message and said that they were feeling the Spirit. It was super great! 

Thursday night we finally got to go back to our favorites, Israel and his family. We headed over with plans to teach about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We were a little sad to see that when we got there Jucilene (mom of the family) had to leave. She was headed off to a school meeting. So that night we only got to teach Israel, Cristina, and Clara. Carol the oldest daughter was in her room studying for some big college test she had the next day. But we still had an awesome lesson. We took Books of Mormon for the rest of the family and it was awesome. We ended up reading 2 Nephi 31 with the three who participated and it was awesome. At the end of the lesson we were about to get up to go when Jucilene got home and Carol came out of her room. Israel asked for the guitar and started singing this gospel song. It was kind of funny because he wasn't the best singer but after he finished he handed it over to Carol and asked her to sing. And wow it was so awesome. She plays guitar super good and sings great! She sang two songs and the cool part was that the family like joined in on the chorus and totally harmonized haha! I felt like I was watching a movie. And the song she sang was called "Ser Valente" which means, "Be Valiant". So it was a great night and actually the only night we got to see them last week.

Friday was another fun day. Our district leader and his companion came up from Porto Seguro so we could do a district meeting. And guess what, our whole district is Americans!!! It is so funny. Elder Kilidjian, our district leader, wrote on the board "District Heart of America". It was so funny and we had a great meeting and took some good pics haha! 

That afternoon we headed back to Branca and Iasmin's. We decided before that we needed to challenge them to baptism. So we got there and taught the third lesson about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. At the end we started asking them what part they were in of the Gospel of Christ. They said repentence and then we asked, "well what is after that then?" The answer is baptism so we started talking about baptism and then we had to explain that even though they had been baptized before they needed ot be baptized by the correct authority and most importantly, need to get the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It was one of those conversations that you can't beat around the bush and we did our best and it went well. They accepted a goal for baptism at the end of the month so we are excited about that. 

Saturday was a busy day. We ran all over town talking to people in the rain haha. As of Saturday night we had about 8 people say they were going to come to church. Israel's family, Branca and Iasmin, and one more person. We were excited so we celebrated that night experimenting a little burger place here that we were skeptical about but ended up being SUPER good. My companion and I felt like it was the the first hamburger that we had eaten here that is American quality haha. 

Sunday came and we got a little disappointed. We got to church around 8:50 and Elder Christofferson grabbed the only priest in our branch to wait out front with him. I had the idea to play prelude since I have some cool arrangments of hymns. We don't have a pianist in our branch, just this sister who presses play on the hymns since the piano here has an automatic hymn player. SoI ran inside and Elder Christofferson waited out front. After about 10 minutes no one had shown up that told us they would come! We called Branca and she said her mom had gotten to town that morning and that she wouldn't be able to come. UGH! So then we called Israel who also told us they wouldn't be able to make it. We were crushed. It is so sad when this happens because we had planned a whole special lesson for them that day and told a ton of members that they would come. But looking on the bright side we did have this one guy named Jailton who showed up. His son is that only priest in our ward's dad. Lucas (the priest) brought his non-member dad! We were super excited and he loved church. He had been a ton of other times years ago but never could consistently go because of his work. But his work just changed so for now his weekends are free so we are going to take advantage and teach and try to baptize him! It could be so good because his own son could do it! We are pretty excited so we will give updates on that next week! Sunday afternoon we visited Milena, a 19-year old girl who is a 7th Day Adventist. She is super sincere and that is why we have hope in her. The Book of Mormon is strange for her but she reads what we leaves and is really praying for God to show her the truth. She seems a little confused and overwhelmed by everything that we teach because it makes sense to her but she is also conflicted with everything that she grew up learning in her faith. So she is an interesting one but has a lot of potential. 

So that is about it! We still are recording our daily videos at the end of each day to keep a "journal" that way. But I wanted to share just a little quick story from our council meeting on Tuesday. Now these are my companions words, but I 100% relate to how he felt. 
  "At the end of a long day and meeting President Bangerter got up to share some last words. He started to bare his testimony and started to get emotional. He started by saying,' "I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to work with you all in this great work and to be your mission president." After that sentence he was already choked up and once again, out of nowhere I found myself the same as him. I don't know what it was but I could FEEL inside of me the sincerity of the testimony of that man. I have grown to love and appreicate and look up to that man and his wife in these two short years. I felt an incredible love for him in that moment. I was looking at a hero and hearing him testify of Jesus Christ, His restored Church, and our living Prophet. I felt the Holy Spirit testify to me that what he was saying is the truth. It kind of seemed like he was acknowledging the fact that his mission is ending too. It made me sad to realize, again, that if his mission is ending, that means mine is too. I am by no means ready to leave yet but the reality is the reality. I love being a missionary and serving Jesus Christ and I know that all that I have the opportunity to teach to these wonderful people in this amazing place, is the truth."

I remember feeling the same way as President Bangerter and my companion. While President was saying these things and bearing his testimony, several scenes and memoriese were flashing through my mind of experiences I have had with President. I reflected on the fact that I am also at the end of my mission. I want to do all I can to make it the best and memorable. I am so grateful to be companions with Elder Christofferson. Being with him, I can´t think of a better way to finish off my mission. He is a great missionary (and his portuguese is super good) Shout out to Elder Christofferson´s parents! Thanks for sharing your son with me! He is awesome! 

I hope you all have a great week! Happy birthday Grandma Teresa. I love you family! 

-Elder McKay Hilton

Some friends from the mission

Our lunch last Pday!

Lunch with some members of the church

notice our tucked in socks.  It helps our pants to stay out of the chains.  haha