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

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Week 76: This Isn´t Missionary Work, This is Missionary FUN!

 Hi everyone! How are you all? It was a busy week! TRANFER WEEK!! This is what happened here. Here we go.... my companion Elder Costa e Silva was informed that he would be getting transferred to Malhado, Ilhéus! We visited a few people in our area so Elder Costa e Silva could say goodbye. We visited Diego and his family and Romilda´s family.

On Monday we reserved hotel rooms for the missionaries departing to home on Thursday. We also went to the bus station (practically our home) and bought half of the bus tickets for transfers. At night we taught a lesson at Romilda´s house and had dinner there. Romilda was really sad that Elder Costa e Silva was leaving.
   We arrived early Tuesday morning at the mission home to meet President and Sister Bangerter to go to the airport. We greeted the 13 new missionaries that traveled from the MTC in São Paulo to the Salvador airport. I always love meeting the new missionaries fresh from the MTC and seeing their first reactions to city, especially the Americans.

 Then we passed the whole day in the mission home giving training and running back and forth to the office, preparing things. That night we took everyone to the bus station, bought more bus tickets, and sent everyone off to their areas. That was when we said goodbye to Elder Costa e Silva. I was his companion for 4 whole transfers.  He always joked saying i would cry when he would leave and i bet him money i wouldn´t. Guess who didn´t cry. haha. Now he owes me ;)  A few people stayed at the mission home and had interviews with President. They delayed and ended up missing their buses. Do you know what that means? It means they sleep in our house and catch their bus to their areas the next day. We arrived at our house really late and had to make room for extra Elders to sleep. It´s quite inconvenient when this happens because there aren´t enough beds in our house and people sleep on the ground. (my companion this time).

   Guess what we did on Wednesday? First we went to the bus station at 5:30 am to switch some Elders´ bus time to a later hour. Then we went to the office to do a few things. Later we returned to the bus station again to buy all the bus passes for the mission council meeting on Friday.
   Thursday was a fun day. We went to the hotel at 8:30 a.m. to assist the departing missionaries get to the airport. President took almost the whole group to the airport. We stayed with Elder Bair (an American) because his flight would only leave in the afternoon. We took him to get a haircut, and to the Mercado Modelo, close to the Pelourinho, and he bought a bunch of souvenirs to take home. Then we took him to the airport! We worked in the office the rest of the day to prepare for the mission council.
   Friday morning, we arrived early in the mission home. We had breakfast there and participated in the meetings with all the zone leaders of the whole mission for the rest of the day. There were some really good, spiritual trainings that were passed to us from President Bangerter. That night, we went to (yes once again) the wonderful bus station to help missionaries get their bus passes and board their buses. We got to bed at 2:00 am, but despite how exhausted we knew we would be, we were determined to have a good P-DAY the next day.
   Saturday morning I called President and asked him permission to leave our mission boundaries to visit a tourism point. He told us we need to rest, but still gave us permission. I was pumped, but super exhausted. We ended up organizing a cool route to see as many tourist points as possible. We first stopped at the Pelourinho and paid R$ 5 to enter an enormous, ancient, fancy, golden cathedral / museum. As we were leaving the Pelourinho area, we ran into a group of American mormon tourists. They called us over and we chatted for a few minutes and took some pictures. They were from Utah and Idaho. One guy served here in Brazil when there were only two missions in Brazil (Brazil North Mission, and Brazil South Mission) and only one stake. The church in Brazil has grown soooo much since then! Then we took a bus to another catholic cathedral called "A Igreja de Bomfim".  This one was free to enter. It was interesting. Close-by there is a small fort and a lighthouse that we visited as well. Everything was cool except for what happened to us. Here´s the story:

   We arrived at the fort and we were walking to the little light house
we got to the other side and there was a guy sitting down in the shade on that little wall / bench he got up and walked to his bike and moved it a bit further away.
I didn´t even pay attention to him. i didn´t even notice him. We continued on and I got in the shade of the lighthouse and i took one picture. Then i took one more
.  Right after that guy came up to us out of no where and told us to give him our phones and wallets. He said he had a gun and pulled up his shirt a little bit, pretending he had a gun (what an idiot). I was thinking aw crap, seriously? not right now man (and a lot of other things running through my head). Then, my companion said this right back to his face. " You don´t have any gun. where is it?" (really risky to say.) Then the moron said. " you just stay right there and i go over there and get my gun" and he started walking to his bike and we walked behind him, keeping our distance. He just pedaled away, but we were crapping ourselves because we didn´t know if he would actually go get a real gun and finish assaulting us. Elder Cantuário knew the scumbag didn´t have a gun on him when he first tryed to assault us, because when he pulled up his shirt a bit to show the gun he didn´t have, Elder Cantuário saw just his wallet. Even though my companion was right, he told me he shouldn´t have ever talked back to him. We just walked back towards the bus station. On our way back we ran into the thief again.
He was with a few other people. he was walking his bike back toward the fort/lighthouse and we passed him. My companion yelled at him, " why would you go around robbing missionaries?! huh? are you crazy?" The dude replyed, "I don´t know what you talking about... I don´t even know you! you´re crazy! " Then my companion called him a favela nickname (tiozão) and we walked off. I was close to whipping my selfie stick out of my pocket to wack the guy with it (joke). Seriously, he made us so worried. I have just withdrawn my mission card money and i had my camera, etc all with me. it would be the worst time to get robbed!
   That´s it. We didn´t get to stick around that area as much as we planned on. We thought it better to just catch a bus and leave. We got off the bus, bought subway, and walked to the office. We got to the office around 4:10 pm and hadn´t eaten anything since lunch the day before, so we bought Subway and chowed down.  :)
   Sunday was our day to really work! Up until Sunday, we saw the airport and the bus station MORE than we did our own proselyting area. Our investigators in Ondina were little neglected this week, being the week of transfers. Although we had very little time to work in our area, I felt happy with the 10 lessons we were able to teach and the new people we found, all on Sunday. I am truly looking forward to being able to teach and follow up on our investigators, inviting them to be washed clean through baptism in preparation to receive the pure gift of the Holy Ghost. To me it is a privilege to be a part of this conversion process in their lives. I´m enjoying this Christmas season serving as a missionary. I like the special contacts we do during this season with the program of #SejaALuzDoMundo ( #BeTheLightOfTheWorld). It is a great tool that we have to contact others and "AWAKEN them to hear about the restoration of the gospel! We must let our light shine even MORE BRIGHTLY!"
   We are teaching a few couples who are great people. Both of them need to be married. One couple has plans to get married in January, so we are happy for them. We are teaching some youth as well.
   Elder Cantuário is a great companion. He seems to be a well-organized, intelligent guy. This first week of the transfer with him went well, despite all the bustle and stress of the transfers. We really value the time we have to work in our area, and we are searching for people who have been prepared to hear our message.
   I know that the time we have in the mission is priceless and shouldn´t be wasted. I realize that every moment is precious and what we do with our time is crucial, especially because time is so short. I am grateful for good parents who have always counciled me to use my time wisely, doing things that lift us up. I am grateful for my growing testimony that I am receiving during my service as a missionary. I trust in the promises of the Lord, and I am grateful for all my blessings. I know this church is true and that Thomas S. Monson is God´s chosen prophet on the Earth to guide us.

-Elder Hilton

Lot of taxi rides and Bob´s Burgers!  #secretaryprivileges 

Saying goodbye to a few of the returning missionaries.  Me and Elder Bair at the Salvador Airport. I knew this guy since my first transfer in the field!  Bye Elder Bair!

 6 elders in one small taxi!! (you can´t even see them all squished back there! ) haha

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Week 75: The Best Preparation for Tomorrow is Doing Your Best Today

   Guess what guys! This was the last week of this transfer! Today we should be informed about the new transfer. We have been really busy, and it´s only going to get busier next week when all the returning missionaries will be going home, and the new missionaries will be arriving. Us secretaries are in all the little details in making it all possible. I have been preparing for all that transfers entails, so the actual day of the arriving and departing missionaries will be less stressful. Anyway, I had the privilege of confirming Diego on Sunday. It was a special experience. On Tuesday we went to the "2nd of July" park to do an exposition and do lots of contacts. It´s located out side of our area and there were few people in the park. Of all the contacts we did, we found only one person that lives in our area.

   President Bangerter is still worried to death about those lost files and I have researched and bought multiple programs to attempt a successful recovery, but not much positive has happened yet. Only some things were successfully recovered. The majority of the things we needed to recover were found by scanning the hard drive, but they don´t open correctly because the files are all corrupted. It is a constant battle trying to figure out what to do without these files we need. President even gave us permission to enter Facebook to get in contact with old secretaries to ask them for suggestions. President was hoping that maybe one of the old secretaries had saved the files on a flashdrive or another computer. I was able to talk with a few old secretaries, but without much luck in finding the files. I am doing okay, because I am doing all I can to help, but President is still devastated.
   Wednesday was the last district meeting with Elder Costa e Silva. I will probably be the district leader after he leaves. I´ve been with Elder Costa e Silva for 4 transfers, so you can imagine how it will be different without him. Elder Cantuário and I get along real well, so we will do great. For lunch we went to Esterlita´s house and she prepared the normal rice, beans, spaghetti.... but surprised us with something I will probably never eat again... OX LIVER! That´s right, ox liver. It looked like a normal meat cut, but when I ate it, it was VERY different. The texture was horrible, and I don´t even need to mention the taste... it was not very pleasing. I hope I never have to eat it again.
  Thursday was a special day. IT´S THANKSGIVING. Even though nothing happens here because no one celebrates thanksgiving in Brazil, we decided to take our opportunity to have a good time. Elder Briggs took us to Pizza Hut for lunch and bought us 4 pizzas. We went with two other Elders too. Like american family tradition, Elder Briggs had each of us say something that we are grateful for before we ate. Then we chowed down PIZZA!!! . One pizza was a yummy chicken, another was Hawaiian, the 3rd was a supreme, and the 4th was a loaded TURKEY pizza! That´s right... turkey on a pizza. We really had the thanksgiving spirit in our pizza.  After we are we went to the office, then to the bus station. From there we went to our area to our appointment. On our way, Eddy stopped at the Aliança Hospital to take pictures with us next to the Christmas decorations.

 Our appointment was with Romilda and her family. We shared a message and she made us a good dinner. This was my Thanksgiving day! I thought it was pretty great. The holiday spirit is a lot different being here in Brazil because there aren´t as many decorations, and it´s not cold outside, but it has been memorable.
   Last week my mom invited me to take some time on Thanksgiving day to write down at the end of my day some things I´m grateful for and them share them with her today. First of all, I´m thankful for that inspired invitation, because without it I probably wouldn´t have thought of doing that. I thought of sharing with everyone what I came up with. Here we go.

1. Heavenly Father sending his son Jesus Christ to show us the way and atone for us.
2. The Plan of Salvation; being able to repent.
3. The restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
4. Modern revelation; the miracle of the Book of Mormon
5. Prophets, apostles, authority and power of God (priesthood) here on the Earth
6. Having an awesome , talented, blessed family
7. Serving a mission in Brazil
8. A healthy body with the ability to do many things
9. technology, education, beautiful NATURE, good food, TENNIS
10. Good Parents, my friends, good books, music

   These are just a few things that I´m grateful for.  When you really stop just for a little and think of all the things that exist that bring us happiness, we realize how grateful we should be. Serving a mission has truly helped me be more thankful for many things. Realizing God´s hand in our lives and in everything can make us happier people. We can feel more trust in Him and in His plan.
   There is a quote from President Donaldson that sticks in my mind. He says " the key to know God is to struggle and so yes, even after 1 year and 6 months I´m still struggling. I still have a lot of weaknesses that I will still have to overcome in the future, but the biggest thing that I´ve learned to love is to sacrifice because once you do, you come to know God. That in itself is worth coming on a mission. I know that your whole mission, you´re not going to be facing discouragement. You are going to be laughing and having fun. You are going to be finding people and seeing miracles. You are going to have discouragement, but if you didn´t have this discouragement you wouldn´t be able to appreciate those high moments that you have. Missionary work requires everything that you have. It requires most importantly your true heart and everything that is in it. This will help you understand exactly what Heavenly Father wants from you, how you can help your family, and the people around you.
   I wouldn´t trade this experience for anything. There has been a lot of things that have happened at home since I left and a lot of things people have gone through. It is sometimes hard to be away, but I´ve learned to trust Heavenly Father and I´ve been able to share that with other people. So, it´s worth it. I love you family.
 Before you know it, Christmas will be here. It´s just right around the corner. Happy Holidays! I can almost count on my fingers and toes the days left until we get to talk over the computers. I´m excited! Have a great week!

-Elder Hilton

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Week 74: The week of Dedication

 This week really flew by! It was our week of dedication. President and the mission council previously decided that we would do this to improve our work and see more miracles and baptisms. So we dedicated ourselves to higher set standards established for this week (waking up earlier, leaving to work earlier, teaching more lessons, etc). Although we ran into lots of obstacles, we saw what i consider miracles. Diego accepted to be baptized this week and we were able to get to know Leo´s wife. Leo and his wife have been living together for 22 years and aren´t legally married! Our goal is to teach Leo´s wife everything that we´ve taught to Leo and invite them to get married and baptized. Her name is Jucileide. She turned out to be really nice and receptive. She was curious about the Book of Mormon without us even talking about it. She just saw it in our hand and said, ´´what is that? your Bible?´´ Then we let her look at it, as we explained what the Book of Mormon is. She wanted to read it, so we gave her a copy with her name written in it. She said she will start reading it and even go to church with us on Sunday with her husband Leo. We were really happy. We were getting ready to go, when she offered us soup that she just got done making. It was a blessing for us that she is receptive. We are excited to teach her and see how she will gain her testimony. We are teaching really good people and some are progressing really well. Maybe i won´t be here to see them all get baptized, but i know it will be wonderful when they are all baptized.
  Diego was baptized Saturday night at 6:00 pm. There was a good number of people that attended because there was also a ward activity/ barbecue from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.. People stuck around to support Diego. On Sunday, we left our house early and took a bus to our area. We had confirmed that Leo and his wife, and Patricia would come to church with us. We got to their houses and Patricia was sleeping and she said she had a bad headache so she didn´t come. Leo said he had a slightly urgent matter concerning his work to take care of so he didn´t come either. No one that we invited was ready to go. I called Romilda (our recent convert) and asked her if she was coming to church. Since we were close by, and none of our investigators would be coming to church, we stopped by her house and we all took a bus together to church. Church started our normally, but I was surprised when they called us missionaries up to help with Diego´s confirmation. When I arrived at the front of the chapel, I was told that I would confirm him. Normally it´s a member of the bishopric that does this, so I was surprised, especially since this was my first time confirming someone as a member of the Church and giving the gift of the Holy Ghost. I was a little nervous, but it went okay.  

  This week we had lots of divisions marked with various member of the ward, in hopes of teaching more lessons to meet our goals. Elder Costa e Silva went with Mike one day, Raimundo another day, and Friday with Vitor. There were two other divisions marked but they fell through. The whole week I stayed with Elder Cantuário and worked with him.  Every now and then we were interrupted with emergency secretarial tasks, such as needing to go to the bus station to buy passes.
  Here is a interesting story. So in the favela, in the area close to Romilda´s house we often see this scary looking white guy with lots of tattoos walking around. This guy has tattoos everywhere; on his arms, neck, all over his face, etc. I never thought too much, because we just walk past him and say goodnight, and he never responds. Thursday night we were at Romilda´s house and we left a bit earlier than normal, around 8:30 pm. We left that area and crossed the road to get to the coast. We just stayed over there and did contacts. The next day on Friday night we had a lesson with two investigators at Romilda´s house. Romilda told us that a shooting had happened Thursday night around 9:00 pm in her own road (its more like an alley way). She told us that there were lots of gunshots firing off and in the end that white tattooed guy was killed. She saw him dead on the ground and she had to step over him to get to where she was going. Then we realized that was the same night that we were walking in that very spot. Luckily, just about a half hour before we left that alleyway before the shooting. It was funny because none of us even heard gun shots and we were close-by. I believe that God was protecting us.

  Well that was my week. I am preparing myself and the office for this upcoming transfer (next week). There will be 13 new missionaries arriving in the mission and 8 missionaries leaving, so I have PLENTY of work to do. Friday afternoon we had a meeting with President Bangerter and we talked about some things concerning the mission, and he gave us some extra tasks. I love this mission, even though its a lot of work and requires so many sacrifices. This week was a week of dedication and doubled work. We had lots of challenges, but also many miracles! I like the quote that goes like this: "There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure." I know that we can do our best in all we do, and when it´s not enough Christ will fill the rest. And when we fail, He is there to forgive us and lift us up. I try to remember this each day as I try to fulfill my missionary responsibilities. I am so thankful for the Savior´s example of charity towards all men. He is the best example. He is the light of the world. " And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the word of truth and righteousness." (Alma 38:9). Of this I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

I love you guys! Share with me how you can be a light for the world, or how you have been one!

-Elder Hilton

We ate good food at the barbecue. It was rice, beans, and lots of meat! There was ping pong and some other games. Edmundo picked some coconut off the tree and we drank the sweetest coconut water i've ever tasted.!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Week 73: Bells have Rang, and the Font is Calling

This will be a quick one. It was a very busy week. We had Mission Counsel meeting all day on Wednesday, then a zone meeting on Thursday. Right after the zone meeting we took Elder Santana to the airport to catch his airplane flight to go back to his area in Porto Seguro, because he missed his bus the night before. During the week I´ve been finalizing flight plans for departing missionaries and preparing for transfers. One Thursday we took Elder Hipólito to the airport. He went home to do a surgery, then he will come back to finish his mission. On Friday at 9:00 am we went to the ´´cartório´´ (according to Google Translate that would mean notary´s office, but i don´t know if that´s accurate). Anyway Diego and Samile were married and it went well. They arrived a bit late, so the ceremony was pretty rushed and they gave us only 5 minutes to stay and take pictures in that room. It was funny because they were all taking pictures with only their cellphones, then Diego asked me to take pictures for him with my camera. Of course i helped him out and took pictures. I am really happy for Diego and his decision to be married. He is showing his faith in Heavenly Father´s promises. Soon, he will be baptized and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

It was a great week for us, even though it was busy and required a lot of work. Work brings joy! I hope everyone back at home is doing well. I like to hear about your experiences that have strengthened your testimonies. It sounds like the temple open house in Meridian has brought lots of opportunities to share the gospel with friends and family. I know that when we look for missionary opportunities we will find them. We can pray to have more. This is what i do everyday. My companions and I always pray that we might find more people to teach and that we may have success. We are teaching a man named Leo. He is 41 years old and seems to be pretty interested. In our first lesson with him, he accepted the invitation to prepare to follow Jesus Christ by being baptized. I know that missionary work is for everyone and that everyone can do it. It starts by simply talking to people. I am grateful for this special time i have to serve a mission and help people come unto Christ by receiving the restored gospel through faith, repentance, baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. It is a great calling. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ heals people and makes us happier. I love you all! Have a good week!

- Elder Hilton
Elder Hipólito and I with his awesome Star Wars neck pillow. 

Eddy Carlos (taxi man) with my watch. He took it in to his friend to get it fixed for me.

 Wedding pictures of Diego and Samile