There are days that I completely understand that Heavenly Father has a plan for each one of us and find great peace in knowing that He is completely aware of me. Then there are days that I just miss Kirtland and can't catch the vision. Today is one of those days.
I'm still obsessed with Kirtland and therefore read all the blogs of missionaries serving there. Today's posts from these blogs brought such sweet experiences that, I hate to say it, made me so jealous. While I'm laying in bed all day, the Kirtland sisters are singing in the Kirtland Temple! This is where the "WHY ME???" comes in. I'm serious.
Glimpse of Historic Kirtland Sites.
I'm being selfish, I know. But sometimes coming home early from your mission because you're sick is hard. Harder than I previously thought. So cut me some slack.
But in other news, I got to be here when this cute little guy came into the world! I wasn't going to meet him until he was a whole year old!
Hayden James Hill.
I'm in love.
So there are some benefits to being home...more than I previously thought.
(Side Note - When looking at my pictures, please keep in mind how sick I was.)
It was in the upstairs of the Newel K. Whitney Store that the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation known as the Word of Wisdom. We know this to be a health code that instructs us on those things that are good for our bodies and those things that are harmful, tobacco being one of the no-no's. Well, in case you didn't know, in the School of the Prophets 20-25 men would meet together and all but two of the men would smoke and chew tobacco. So the Prophet walked into that room to read this revelation to these men, his friends. And what did they do? They broke their clay pipes and threw them into the fireplace! They didn't hesitate, didn't think for a second, they acted immediately. But why? They didn't know the health risks in the 1830's, so why were they so willing to give it all up? Because they had complete faith that what Joseph told them wasn't coming from him, but from the Lord. Which makes sense because a Prophet is a man called of God, chosen to declare God's word among His people (just like in ancient times!).
As I watch General Conference, I think of the example of these faithful early Saints. Do I listen to what is being said by these servants of God?Not just listen, but take it into my heart with the intent to act? Am I quick to heed the Prophet's advice? I should be and here's why. ->D&C 50:36 teaches us (this is the Lord speaking), "...blessed are you who are hearing these words of mine from the mouth of my servant...". We have a living Prophet on the earth today (because Heavenly Father loves His children), Thomas S. Monson who teaches us how to find joy and peace in this life and for forever! Let's not take it for granted. And if you have NO idea what I'm talking about, click on "General Conference" at the beginning of this paragraph, you won't regret it.
Saturday, August 14, 2010 - I'm in the Cleveland Hopkins Airport. Last night was tough; this morning was even tougher. Had to say goodbye to all the sister's living in the Boynton Home with me. President and Sister Sorensen came to pick me up at 8:45 a.m. We had a nice ride to the airport. President Soresen reminded me that if it's the Lord's will, he wants me back out here. He said that if I was well enough to come back out, I would come back to this mission. And truly, there's no better mission in the world. Missions are the best. I am so grateful for the time I have had here. Such a sacred place. I got a call from Elder and Sister Butterfield [Kirtland Site Director and his wife]. Sister Butterfield started to cry because we wouldn't be able to say goodbye. Elder Butterfield got on the phone to tell me that he was proud of how hard I had been working the past week. He said a lot of things that I really needed to hear, to leave Kirtland feeling that I had done my very best. I'm now on the plane leaving the Dallas airport, headed home! Had a really neat experience with a girl waiting for the same flight. We talked for awhile about Jesus Christ and our faith in Him. She told me I had a heart that needed to be shared with the world. She even accepted to have a visit from the missionaries! Heavenly Father definitely gave me a tender mercy in meeting her.
Maybe I did run down the stairs yelling, "I'M BACK!"
Well, now here I am. When I first arrived home, I was at complete peace in knowing that this was the Lord's will for me. It's interesting that in the MTC I had to learn a lot about faith and the scripture, "No witness until after the trial of your faith..." kept playing in my head, proving to me that my Heavenly Father was preparing me for this moment. So I had no worries. If the Lord wanted me back out on the mission, He would provide a way. And if not, there was other work for me to do! But those feelings didn't last forever. I felt that I had received my answer that I was not to go back out on the mission so I called President Sorensen and told him to which he replied, "I know, Sister Hill. Your heart wants to but your body won't allow it." So true, President. If only my heart and my body could get on the same page! Anyways, I was totally fine, right? Well, until last Saturday night during the General Relief Society Broadcast. The closing hymn was "The Spirit of God" (written for the Kirtland Temple dedication, sung at the Kirtland Temple dedication). Did I start weeping? Why yes, I did. For no reason other than I missed Kirtland so terribly. The next day at church things such as missionary work and Kirtland were discussed in Sunday School. Did I start crying uncontrollably? You betchya. I even got quizzed on events in the Kirtland Temple that I could not answer. Did I go home and lay bed, crying, wondering why I had to come home so early before I could actually make a difference, before I could learn more about the sacred events in Kirtland? Oh definitely. From the moment I stepped foot in Kirtland, OH my heart was filled with so much joy! Every morning and night I was on my knees thanking my Father in Heaven for blessing me with the opportunity to serve in such holy land. I even wondered some days what I did to receive such an enormous blessing. So why did it have to end? Will my body ever allow me to go back out? Am I supposed to go back out? Or was that it? I really don't know. But the Lord does! And that is why I have renewed strength to put all my faith in Him.
This is how much I love Kirtland.
[In front of N.K. Whitney's home.]
So thank you Roseville 6th Ward for welcoming me back with open arms. Thank you Dr. Gary for doing your best to get my body working again. Thank you friends (especially Miss Neptune) for being so understanding, supportive, & not hesitating to pick up where we left off. Thank you family for being the absolute greatest, letting me talking about the mission 24/7, & overall just dealing with Hurricane Nicole (oh wait, that's really happening right now?). And thanks be to my Heavenly Father for all these experiences! Because someday I will see how everything provided a way for something greater. I solemnly swear that I will post more often. I will share things about Kirtland that I love and continue to update anyone who cares on the progression of my health.
The "Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow"... Sister's Hill & Decker both struggling with illness.
Usually my post is the much anticipated email from Sister Nicole Hill but today, I am sorry to say, you have only this message from “Momma” Hill…
Can't you just hear the music..."I Did It My Way" (I may have a theme going)?
...and she even has a street named for her.
Nicole fought a difficult battle with an illness that been successfully treated before her mission. She found herself needing the kind of care that can only come from being at home with her family and her doctors. President Sorensen (the Ohio Cleveland Mission President) let her know last Friday that it was time to go home. He assured me that Sister Hill had served a full, honorable mission and had accomplished so much in her short time. Nicole’s desire, shared by President Sorensen, is that she can be healed and return to Kirtland. While it isn’t always easy to accept the answer to our prayers Nicole knows the Lord understands her heart and knows what’s best for her.
They just found out Sister Hill would be going home...sad day!
Sisters Hill and Carter with President and Sister Sorensen on Nicole's last day in Ohio. Thata girl Nicole - always leave 'em laughing!!
Nicole would say that Saturday was the hardest day of her life as she boarded the plane leaving Kirtland bound for Roseville, California. It wasn’t the airport experience I thought I’d be planning for her but our family was there to quietly welcome her home.
Nicole's cousin Ryan (he "borrowed a seat from the airport") and her favorite nieces Madison and Sadie eagerly waiting.
She's arrived smiling through the pain.
Now for the next phase of this journey…Nicole and I will keep this blog going as we document her “road to healing” and share how she prepares herself for the righteous desires of her heart. She'll also offer the occasional bonus Kirtland History lesson. Please feel free to write, email and leave comments on this blog. Nicole will need all the support and love we can offer to help her get through this challenging time.
One of Nicole's most prized possessions...she misses wearing it :(
Thank you for the prayers, the fasts, the letters, emails, comments and in general the outpouring of support from family, friends and friends we just haven’t met yet! We LOVE you!!
Y'all come back now...we'll keep this blog alive :)
Side Note: The titles of Sister Hill's post come from the titles she gives her emails to us...just so you know :)
I've been learning so much these past few weeks. I haven't been in Kirtland too long, but every day I count my blessings for being able to serve in such sacred land.
Our recent convert, Christy (16 years old), has a boyfriend, Geno (also 16). Yesterday we were able to have a great lesson with the both of them. We talked about the Book of Mormon and the strength that comes from reading it with a sincere heart and then praying about it with real intent (meaning intent to act on whatever answer you may receive). I talked about how the Book of Mormon truly helps me to be aware of my divine nature, in knowing that I am truly a child of God. Christy talked about how that was what really drew her to this church, the Book of Mormon and the knowledge it gave her that she was a daughter of God. So we commited Geno to read the Book of Mormon, pray about it, and be willing to act on any answer that he received. He said he definitely would. And then we said, "Geno, as you come to know these things are true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by the proper authority?" He said, "Yeah, I've been thinking about it." Christy's jaw dropped and then she couldn't stop smiling. We had only met with this boy once before and he was already thinking about baptism! I love Christy so much and am grateful for the example she is to everyone around her.
We had a lesson with our investigator Jan on Tuesday. Jan is in her 60s and cracks me up. I really felt that she wasn't going to show up to our appointment because she wasn't returning our phone calls. But we're sitting in the library waiting for her and she runs in to announce that she can't meet with us because she has lost her cell phone and has to go search for it. Well, we ended up teaching her for 30 minutes. Tender mercy that she lost her cell phone? She feels like she's been deceived many times before when it comes to religion so now she's scared. We explained to her that's what the Holy Ghost is for! Heavenly Father doesn't want His children to be deceived. Hopefully she won't take our work for it and take it up with the Lord.
As I've been struggling lately, I find such great comfort in walking into the Newel K. Whitney store, going to the first Bishop's storehouse and remembering Newel K. Whitney's story. Newel K. Whitney was a man that was being prepared his whole life for the Gospel. He went around town delivering Bible's to homes that didn't have a Bible. He had a part of his store (later the Bishop's storehouse) opened for people to bring in their goods to trade and barter. He was always giving to the community. And then Joseph Smith extended the call of Bishop to Newel and Newel replied, "But I don't see a Bishop in myself." Joseph explained to Brother Whitney that the call wasn't coming from him, but from the Lord, so take it up with him. He did just that and the answer he received was, "Thy strength is in me." It's SO vital for us to remember that. We cannot do anything on our own. We need the Lord. We can do all things through Him. I've been able to gather more strength than I ever thought possible by relying soley on the Lord.
Yesterday while singing "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" in Relief Society, I cried like a baby. We must do what the Lord wants us to do. We must. There is no other way. He will support us, strengthen us, stand by us.
Also, I found much strength yesterday in reading "Lessons from Liberty Jail" by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. The Church is true. Joseph Smith is a prophet. He endured. Jesus Christ loves us and the most perfect evidence of that is the great atoning sacrifice He made for each one of us. The Atonement is individual. Let it work in your life.
"Be ye strong from henceforth; fear not." (D&C 38:15)
Sister Nicole Hill
In a 2nd email:
Thank you so much for the package! I just got it a few minutes ago. I looove the journal. Those girls are the cutest. Also, thanks for all the prayers and fasting. I fasted yesterday as well and this is what came of it...
D&C 28:15 - "And it shall be given thee from the time thou shalt go, until the time thou shalt return, what thou shalt do."
D&C 38:9 - "...Gird up your loins and be prepared."
D&C 38:15 - "...Be ye strong from henceforth; fear not..."
D&C 35:3 - "...I have looked upon thee and thy works. I have heard thy prayers, and prepared thee for a greater work."
D&C 124:49 - "Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings."
I was just flipping through my scriptures during Sacrament meeting when I read all of these verses. Then in Relief Society we sang "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" and I felt the most overwhelming feeling of love I have probably ever felt. I'm relying soley on the Lord. It'll all work out for the best because the Lord is in control.
I love you so much!!!! Thanks for all your support. All the sisters here are in love with you. So thank you for being the greatest.
Momma Note: I've run out of pictures from Nicole (she says "they're in the mail") so here's a quick look back at the MTC (Missionary Training Center)...I love the look of joy and anticipation on the missionaries faces!!...no captions needed...
I wanted to share this beautiful email and the attached photo that was sent this evening. After a day of fasting and prayer with a healthy dose of tears for my sweet daughter this was just what my "mommy heart" needed. Thank you Brother and Sister Haws for taking the time to share such a sweet experience...a much needed comfort.
Hello Sister Hill,
Our family just returned from a trip to the church history sites. We toured Kirtland on our way to New York, but felt hurried because it was so busy there that day. (700 Boy Scouts besides regular visitors!) We decided to stop again a few days later on our way to Nauvoo. We explained to the Senior Missionary that we had just a little time, and requested a short tour. We especially wanted to see the Newell K. Whitney store where Joseph Smith received several revelations, including the Word of Wisdom. The Senior Missionary called a couple of sister missionaries to come do that for us.
The first thing the missionaries do at every site we visited is ask us where we're from. Your daughter and her companion, Sister Carter, did so. We are from Bountiful, Utah, and Sister Carter said she is from Bountiful too! Something in my memory jumped out. Sister Hill said she'd had a bad day the day before, and she wished she had something in common with us like Sister Carter did. She said she is from the Sacramento area, and as we visited, we found out that she is actually from Roseville. Our daughter-in-law is from Roseville and her parents still live there. Also, our oldest daughter and her family live in Gridley, and Sister Hill said she knows where that is. She joked that she felt a lot better now because we all had something in common! Although she'd had a bad day, on this day she was doing well and she is an enthusiastic, happy missionary.
These two sisters are wonderful! They are full of the spirit and bear strong testimonies of the prophet Joseph Smith. They are beautiful women who represent our Savior so well! They asked us how they could help us, and instead of a half-hour tour, we ended up spending 2 hours with them because they were so knowledgable and gave us such a wonderful tour, that we wanted to stay. They gave us a lot of new information from what we had received the week before, and taught us so much about Kirtland and the early saints who had lived there. We loved visiting with them.
I asked them if I could take their picture to send to their families, and said that if I were their mom, I'd want every tidbit I could get! I thought you might enjoy having a picture of them working in Kirtland. This picture is in the room where the School of the Prophets met. They asked us if we would like to kneel there and have a family prayer. It was unique that there was no tour behind us, and they both waited for us out in the hall. It was a very special experience for our family.
We're grateful for your diligence in raising a daughter of God, who touched our lives in Kirtland.
I was called to serve in the Ohio Cleveland Mission (Historic Kirtland Visitor's Center) for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After a few months of being very ill, I had to return home. & now here I am!