28 June 2010

Let's Go for a Swim!

Every time I walk outside, I feel like I'm swimming. It's SUCH a good feeling. Also, my sarcasm is at it's peak out here. I had a tough week, but the past few days have been incredible and a testimony to me that there is no greater work.

Thursday evening I got a page that I had a visitor downstairs. So I ran down the stairs and who did I see?? Sister Twogood!!! How crazy is that? It was really good to see someone from back home. She updated me on the family. Sister Carter and I got to take her and three of her friends on a fun tour. I stumbled a lot, but hopefully they still had a good experience.
This fabulous picture was taken by my dear friend Janice Twogood who had the opportunity to be given a tour by Sister Hill and her companion Sister Carter - aren't they adorable young ladies?  Janice said Nicole did a great job and they all had a special experience in the School of the Prophets.

This picture is a little blurry (taken from a phone camera) but a cute one of Sister Hill conducting the tour.  Thank you Janice!!
On Friday, 1600 people came through Historic Kirtland!!!! Sister Carter and I weren't supposed to go in that day, we were assigned to go out in our area, but we decided that our service for the week would be to go in and help out. And thank goodness we did. We took three really wonderful tours. The last two were youth groups, which was really neat. You could feel that some were really struggling and the Spirit really put the words in our mouths that they needed to hear. Maybe they were laughing hysterically while I was talking, making me really self-concious, but I survived. And then afterwards one of the young men told me that I have really funny facial expressions. I never knew... Buuuut anyways. So after the fun and games at Historic Kirtland, we went out into our area. We had dinner with a less active couple whose son gets home from his mission in December. We talked about how important it is for them to start preparing to go to the temple with their son in December. I thought about how incredible that would be for me to get home from my mission and have my whole family in the temple with me. I cried a lot during that dinner. I'm excited to see their progression because it's something they really do want. And I'm excited for their son. What a blessing that will be for him! We finished dinner and stopped by an investigator who was drunk and promised us he would be at church on Sunday. Well, he wasn't. Never expect a drunk to keep his promise. After that we met a man who stopped going to church seven years ago. The missionaries before us said that when they met him, he said, "I'm not a member of that Church." But when we knocked on his door, he graciously let us in. His best friend is a woman in our branch so that's a plus. So we talk boldly asked him why he stopped going to church. You want to know why he stopped? Because he likes his Diet Coke. My response to him? "Well, sir, my father is a wonderful man and he drinks Diet Coke." So, dad, thanks for letting me use you as an example. Haha. This man had really silly concerns and we told him they could be easily resolved. Hopefully he'll call us oooor we'll have to go a knockin' on his door once again. We know where you live.

Saturday, we took two life changing tours. The first one completely changed my view of my mission. It was a father, mother, and their 17 year old son, Andrew. Andrew has a severe disability that keeps him from talking, making eye contact, and really any form of communication. We were in the School of the Prophets and the Spirit was definitely there, as always. Sister Carter had just given a memorized account of John Murdock seeing Jesus Christ in the School of the Prophets. And then Andrew makes eye contact with her and starts bearing his testimony. He talked about feeling the Holy Ghost and how much Heavenly Father loves us. I looked over at his parents and they were weeping. They couldn't take their eyes off of him. I could not control the tears. A truly powerful experience that I am so grateful Heavenly Father allowed me to witness. It was really miraculous. After that we took a tour of three siblings, their spouses, and children. We've never had a tour with so many kids under the age of 7, but it was so fun. We sang "I am a Child of God" in the School of the Prophets. There's a lot of love here in Kirtland.

On Sunday, I realized what true anxiety felt like. As I talked to other missionaries about this, they expressed to me that this feeling only gets worse as you go through out your mission. Would you like to know what causes it? People at church. Seriously. You get SO nervous about people preaching false doctrine. The particular event that caused my anxiety was in Gospel Principles, with one nonmember and quite a few less actives. The teacher started talking about beer in the temple. The lesson was on scriptures. I couldn't breathe. My companion was pale. The other two sisters looked they were going to explode. It's truly a fascinating experience. One of the perks of being a missionary. You should hear other missionaries stories about things that members have told investigators. The Church MUST be true because the people would have destroyed it long ago if it wasn't. Anyways, Millie hasn't been coming to church even though we find her a ride every Sunday, but she's been coming up with great excuses the past two weeks. So yesterday we went to visit her and see what's up. We had a great lesson with her and talked about the importance of baptism. She confessed that she really HAS been smoking. That little turd. So Sister Carter asked if she really did want to be baptized and she was just silent. So we told her to think and pray about it and we would meet with her again Wednesday. It breaks my heart because I really love her, but I know Heavenly Father will bless her. After we visited Millie we did a few stopped by a few other people in the trailer park. We walked up to one of the trailers, saw people sitting in the front room, rang the doorbell, blinds suddenly closed and then there was silence. We rang the doorbell again. Silence. We know they're home. Knocked on the door. No answer. WHO KNEW SO MANY PEOPLE WOULD WANT TO AVOID ME? It's the nametag and long skirt. So then we were off to go tracting. But as we got in the car, I felt that we need to do a stop by. So I told Sister Carter and she said, "Okay, let's stop by Tina. No, we'll stop by Jay. Nope, we need to stop by Tina." Neither of us had met her, but the missionaries found her tracting about three years ago and said she believed everything, just has a few issues she needs to iron out. She's in her late 20's and lives with her fiance and 5 year old daughter, Angelyna. Tina has, like, 6 degrees and is obviously intelligent. So I let Sister Carter talk to her while I played with Angelyna. I want to cry talking about these two. Angelyna reminds me SO much of Madison. I even told her that she would be good friends with my niece Madison. I don't know if Angelyna has even been to church but she brought me her Book of Mormon and said to me, "Want to learn more about God's love?" SERIOUSLY??? COME TRACTING WITH US. PEOPLE WON'T HIDE FROM US! Oh my goodness, I cannot explain the joy in my heart. She is so precious. She even looks like Madison. I want her to go to Primary. I know she would love it. I love her and her mom so much already. And we only met for a short time. It's crazy what being a missionary can do to you. Immediate love.

The computer here at the library is going to kick me off in three minutes so I must be off. But I love you so much!!! The downeast shirts were perfect. I'm wearing one right now! I'm glad you got your package, dad! The pictures made me sooo happy. And the part about Brother Owens talk on not judging. Haha. Best parents in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sister Nicole Hill

25 June 2010

My famous daughter?

While at the MTC Nicole relates how a camerman from CNBC came in while she and her companions were practicing their teaching. CNBC was working on a story about Mormons in Business.  Thanks to the diligence of my friend LaRee we have a record of a small moment of that experience.  Watch closely - at about 1:08 - you'll see and hear Nicole sharing a message as she sits with her other 2 companions.  Also in the video is my cousin Jon Huntsman, Jr. - interesting story from CNBC.  Enjoy!

24 June 2010

Kodak Moments from Sister Houston (Nicole's MTC companion)...

Thanks to Sister Houston and her wonderful mom Danette we have a few more great missionary moments captured in pictures!
Sister Houston and Sister Hill at 4:00 am (looking good ladies!) on their way to the SLC airport bound for Ohio

Sister Wright (even though it appears she has 2 names) & Sister Hill after the blue team lost in Ultimate Frisbee.  Is my girl a sore loser or just wishing she could be shopping on PDay?!

Beautiful Kirtland Sisters sharing a park bench.  How is it my girl looks so tiny when she and gorgeous Sister Houston (far right) are the same size?  I'm starting to think she knows how to play up the "little pixie" thing!

21 June 2010


Nicole Arriving in Cleveland and the Kirtland Temple Photo She Took on Her 1st Day (waiting for new pictures)

So here I am, sitting in the Willoughby Library. [sigh] Every day here seems so unreal. Sometimes I see things and I get really excited about being able to bring my family back here. Kirtland is such a sacred place. This Friday, we have about 300+ people coming through the historic sites. It's gonna be craaazy. But I would rather give tours than sit in the Phone Room and call referrals people left. The other night I found a card from an FLDS woman (polygamist) and was really excited to call her. Unfortunately, she didn't answer, but I'll try again soon. Tonight we have a bbq with the Community of Christ. Games and free food! I'm pretty pumped, let me tell you.


-So we're continuing to teach Millie, even though she can't read the Book of Mormon. But she's trying really hard. I made her pinky swear that she would never smoke again and so far she's telling us that she hasn't. Pinky promises can be REALLY powerful.

-One of the less actives we've been visiting came to church yesterday! That was really great because she hasn't been to Church in quite some time. The branch members were really great about fellowshipping. I was proud of our little branch.

-Christy got baptized!!!! I'll send you a picture of her, Sister Carter, and I. She's so strong. One of the most beautiful baptisms I've ever been to. Sister Carter and I had to fill up the font, but this particular font takes four hours to fill up. So we just hung out at the church all Friday evening. We were sitting in the men's bathroom (where the font controls are) and it was really dark. And then I started to think what if I had been able to see this little scene a year ago. I thought it was funny. But I think most things are funny. Anyways, Christy's parents and sister are not members but they came to the baptism! And Christy's mom asked for a Book of Mormon. Sis. Carter and I spoke about the Restoration while Christy was getting changed and then when she came out, she bore her testimony. Ah, that girl is such a rock. I love her.

-Another investigator, a 20 year old girl, came to church yesterday! It was a big step for because she kind of suffers from social anxiety. It was great to be able to sit with her and explain things to her. She has a lot of faith.

-Last night Sister Carter and I invited ourselves over to Sister Bringas' house for dinner. Sister Bringas is from Peru (I think I told you about her last week. We had dinner with her and her sister last Sunday too.) Anyways, we went with two other sister missionaries that serve with us in the branch. Sister Bringas loves Trader Joe's so we had yummy brown rice spaghetti with meat sauce. Sister Carter and I provided the salad which was quite delicious, as well. And then sugar free ice cream for dessert! (One of the sister missionaries that came with us is diabetic and the other has celiac's.) We always have fun with Sister Bringas and her sister Adrianna. We then went to a fireside with them at the Kirtland Visitor's Center. It was for investigators about Heavenly Father's love. All of us sang "I Am a Child of God". The Spirit was definitely strong there. I think Sister Bringas and Adrianna enjoyed it as well. I HOPE they did, at least.

-Met with a man named Eric. He has a mohawk and is super cool. Burns incense. Has 6 million books about every religion in the world. His wife thinks he's crazy. Anyways, he just asked a bazillion questions for an hour and a half. I was exhausted afterwards. He said next week he wants to talk about the Church's stance on homosexuality. I'm like REALLY excited. He totally believes everything we believe, he just doesn't see why he has to get baptized in this life if he can do it in the next life. He'll come around. I know it.

Middlefield, OH is in our area (Google it). Sister Carter said we can go there for Pday next week. AMISH COUNTRY!!!!! Dreams do come true.

In the Boynton home, there are 8 sisters. Sister Houston lives right down the hall from me! And Sis. Carter and I do have a car on the days that we are in our area. We live basically on sites so on the days we're in Kirtland, we just walk. We bring food to make at sites so if anyone has fast, easy, healthy recipes for me, I would be eternally grateful. There is no oven or stove at sites, but there is a fridge, freezer, microwave, George Forman grill, blender, and sink. I am desperate for ideas. I refuse to give into the statistic of sister's gaining weight. Everyone I've talked to here has gained at least 10 pounds. Midgets cannot afford to gain 10 pounds.

Yesterday, Kirtland was having a Strawberry Festival (SIDE NOTE - NOT as cool as Roseville's.) at Kirtland High School and they asked the sister missionaries to come sing at it. So we did. We sang "Popcorn Popping", "I'm so Glad When Daddy Comes Home", and some other songs. Sister Kingston sang a solo! She has SUCH a beautiful voice.

Read 3 Nephi 11.

There is no denying that the Church is true. Miracles happen every day. I thank Heavenly Father every day for giving me this opportunity! Kirtland is truly a sacred place. We can learn so much from the early Saints. So I'm glad Nana is studying up on Kirtland!! Everyone should be required to. The School of the Prophets is such a special place for me. Read D&C 88 about the School of the Prophets. Heavenly Father uses names for it that usually only reserved for temples. I realize now how vitally important is to live our lives that we are always worthy to have the Holy Ghost. There is so much power from the Spirit. So be good.

Sister Hill

Thank you for those sweet, encouraging letters! They mean the world to me. Thank you for taking the time to write those, type them, find pictures, and quotes! I felt very special. So thank you, thank you!!!!!!

I LOVE Sadie's outfit!!!! Hahahaha. Thank you for sending those pictures! Ah, she's so precious. I love that outfit. Dang. We watched God's Plan for His Family last night at the fireside and I started crying. Ugh, I hate when I cry during cheesy movies. But they showed the cutest baby in her crib and I started to think about how I'm going to miss my nephew as a BABY. He's going to be so old when I meet him. But it's okay. I'll suck it up.
Thought I should show you Sadie and "the outfit". Looks like her Auntie Cole 

Again, thanks for the clothes and the sweet letters!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!

17 June 2010

A Detour to the Beginning

While we're waiting for the next email or (fingers crossed) a camera memory card sent from Ohio - I thought it would be fun to look back at the days before Nicole left on her mission.  So many wonderful angels helped us get ready for the day we would drop her off (literally) at the MTC.  Don't forget to read her 1st email from Ohio posted below - she's on fire!

The beginning of a life-changing time!

Nicole's wonderful friend Mackensie Neptune (don't you LOVE that name - the girl will most likely be Martha Stewart's replacement someday) threw a "mission-paper-opening" party for Nicole at BYU Idaho.  I had no photos - only a video filmed at the speed of sound (strange setting for a camera phone).  I just found these pictures taken by Alex Adamson (an amazing photographer) on Nicole's Facebook page. Thank you Alex for the incredible shots of the day Nicole opened her mission papers - and thank you Mackensie for making that day extra special!

Nicole's friend Kristen holding a phone to her ear...note the multi-tasking abilities - a much needed asset in the mission field!

A Missionary Shower (a new concept for me and a fun idea) thrown by our dear friends Lisa Owens (not pictured because she stayed behind the lens) and Bev McIntyre. We didn't have many pictures because eating and talking were far more enticing options!

A contest created by cousin Alicia at a family gathering:  Who could build the best temple out of marshmallows and toothpicks?  And the winner was - cousin Ryan Aiono (he's in a few photo's on this blog - that boy LOVES the camera!)!

A visit to Roseville's annual Strawberry Festival complete with a pancake breakfast, Snake Oil salesman, crazy hats and wild animals hanging with the dinosaurs and cavemen.

Mother's Day 2010 - Nicole and I spoke in Sacrament Meeting (not an easy task for this cry-baby mom). [Note: the fabulous part of being in charge of a blog is that I get to choose the pictures]

Last hugs from Nicole's favorite little ladies - nieces Madison and Sadie - the night before we left for the MTC.

Road trip to the MTC - good books, uplifting videos and laughter through the tears (mom's tears, mostly)!

A "friendly" game of Finger-Twister at a Wendy's somewhere in Nevada (I'm never sure where we are when traveling through the Nevada desert). Christina and Nicole cheer on Trevor and Ryan who can ALWAYS be found in some type of competition!

Daddy and daughter after her last father's blessing before going into the MTC - eye's a little red but smiles none the less.

Our last meal together before "The Drop-Off" - Guru's in Provo, UT.  I'll need to go there again so I can actually enjoy the food without the stomach butterflies.  Love the saying that was on our plate of delicious sweet potato fries - what a perfect one for that particular day with that particular young lady.

14 June 2010

Two Little Nuns and The Promised Land

Note from Mum:  Long post but worth the time - trust me :)


I have finally arrived in the promised land. Okay, let's begin...

My companion/trainer's name is Sister Krista Carter. She's from Bountiful, UT and such a hard worker. I can barely keep up, but I'm learning. When I arrived in Kirtland on Wednesday, she had four lessons planned for us to give that night. But I will get to that soon. I will now start from the very beginning.


After I got off the phone with you, Mom and Dad, we boarded the plane from Minnesota to Ohio. There was a woman sitting by Sister Houston and I who asked us if we were nuns. We explained to her what we did and then got to know her. Turns out she was headed from WA to Ohio to go to the Cleveland Clinic as she's been experiencing severe health problems and has run out of options. She's married with two children, but was taking this journey by herself. She broke down sobbing. She believes in God and has faith that He gave her these trials for a reason, but she was in a dark place. She felt like her husband and children really got the bad end of the deal with having her as a wife and mother. Sister Houston and I bore testimony to her of how much her Heavenly Father loves her. Then we wrote our testimony in a Book of Mormon and promised her that if she took time to read it, she would find great peace and hope. She cried again and said that she definitely would seeing that she had a lot of time alone this trip. We then arrived in Cleveland, OH! We were greeted by President Sorensen and his wife. Returned to the mission home. Had a lovely, delicious meal. Did other neat things. It's all really a blur seeing as I only had two hours of sleep the night before. I had the best night's sleep of my LIFE that night. We awoke at 5:30 the next morning and got ready to head to Kirtland.

President and Sister Sorensen with Sister Nicole
Happy to be in Kirtland!!

It was raining when we pulled up to the Kirtland temple, but my heart was filled with so much excitement. I could barely sit still. It's so green and beautiful in Kirtland and the temple is magnificent. Ah, I can't even explain the emotions I felt. We went inside and met some of the new senior couples and .... KARL ANDERSON!!!! I definitely told him that I read his book. And he said to tell Robert and Bruce Haight "hello". He and Ron (the director from the Community of Christ) gave the 12 of us missionaries, President Sorensen, Sister Sorensen, Elder Butterfield (Site director @ Kirtland), Sister Butterfield (his wife aka the most fashionable woman I have ever met. She said she would give me her clothes when they go home in Sept.), and some of the new senior missionaries a personal tour of the temple! At the end of the tour we sat down on the bottom floor where Jesus Christ appeared and sang the Spirit of God (written for the Kirtland temple dedication). It was powerful. We then went and watched the Kirtland video and headed onward to see the historical sites. We were able to read sections from the Doctrine and Covenants that were received in those very rooms. When we got to the School of the Prophets, I automatically was overwhelmed with the Spirit. Karl Anderson talked to us for a bit and then he and the Sorensen's, and the Butterfield's left. We knelt down and were each individually able to say a prayer to Heavenly Father and covenant with him as to what kind of missionary we were going to be over the next 18 months/2 years. I cried a lot as I was kneeling in silent prayer. And every time I walk into that room to give a tour, I'm reminded of my very first day in the mission field, kneeling down in the School of the Prophets, making a covenant with my Father in Heaven. How many missionaries get to start their missions off that way? I really have no idea what I did to receive so many blessings. My heart is filled with gratitude.


We went over to the Kirtland Stake Center afterward to meet our new companions/trainers. We sat in a circles with the trainers and President Sorensen would call on one of the new missionaries to ask them what they would like to accomplish this transfer. He would then say something like, "Sister Carter, will you help Sister Hill plan more effictively?" Something like that. Then we had a transfer meeting where the missionaries leaving bore their testimonies and whatnot. After that all the Kirtland sisters had a luncheon at the Butterfield's home. I guess an Ohio delicacy is pulled pork and coleslaw sandwiches. Try it.

[There's so much to tell you!! From here on out, I will not give as much detail. Feel free to ask questions someday. October 25, 2011? I don't know.]


We're in the Chardon Branch and there are 100+ less actives in the branch. There are more less actives than active members. So Wednesday night Sister Carter and I had dinner at a member's home. Their 21 year old daughter is less active so we tried to focus on her. She ate dinner with us but didn't stay for the lesson. It's okay, maybe it did some good. The 16 year old son reminds me SO much of Trevor. I was dying with laughter the whole dinner. He ever looks like him. It's crazy. Anyways, that family is really great and has been through a lot. After our dinner appointment, we went tracting. The road we were tracting was SO beautiful and I felt like I was in a movie the whole time. It was so surreal. The sun was starting to set and green, beautiful trees lined the road with fields and fields of bright green grass. Nobody wanted to hear what we had to say except one 16 year old girl, Davin. She was so cute. I love her already. She seemed genuinely interested so we're checking back with her on Wednesday. (Side note - We're at sites all day on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and from 6 pm-9 pm Monday nights. We're then in the "area" on Wed., Fri., and Sun. Does that make sense?) We then we over to a man's home who has recently reactivated. We went with a senior couple seeing as he a single man. He's in his 60's, African American, and so funny. He joined the Church about three years ago and then just stopped going. He recently received the Melchezidek Priesthood. He wanted help on how to bear his testimony in church next fast Sunday. He's pretty sassy, but I like him.

Thursday. June 10th we gave two tours! Sister Carter said I could just study Kirtland history on Thursday and then she and I could role play giving a tour. 30 minutes later she came in to tell me that we had a tour in 10 minutes. I didn't have time to freak out. There was even a nonmember on the tour! Bah. It went well, though.

Friday, June 11th we had Mission Conference with Elder and Sister Foster. They spoke at the MTC last week (SIDE NOTE - Sister Foster is the sister to the wife of the 1st counselor in my MTC Branch Presidency) so Sister Foster came up and gave me a big hug. She's really a wonderful woman. And Elder Foster is so sincere. They gave the same talks they did at the MTC but I was taught so many new things by the Spirit. It was exactly what I needed! That night we taught a less active who just moved out to Ohio from Utah 6 years ago. Her husband is an atheist and works at the Cleveland Clinic. I LOVE HER. Her home was absolutely gorgeous, and she was so fun and free spirited. We got to know her a little better and then taught her the Restoration. She didn't know the Thomas S. Monson was the Prophet. The last she remembered it was David O. McKay. She works on Sundays so it's hard to get her to go to Church but it's possible. I love her so much already. She and her daughter were going out for pizza after we left and then to rent a movie. That's their Friday night tradition. It made me miss mi familia. She invited us to go but Sister Carter and I had just eaten at Panera.

Saturday, June 12th we gave three tours. Tour buses were piling in to the parking lot so we got called in early. The first tour we gave was really powerful. It was a group of 14 people who didn't really know each other, but were on a Church History tour together. When we got into the School of the Prophets, Sister Carter recited some of the incredible events that occured in that small room. I bore testimony. Sister Carter bore testimony. Everyone in the room was crying. The Spirit was so strong, it was undeniable. Our second tour was ... funny. It was a single man in his mid-20's who was not a member and knew little about our Church. We gave him the first lesson with the tour. He would get really excited about things and jump up and down and clap his hands. He even stuck his head in the furnace in the Newel K. Whitney Store. Hm. On the third tour, a young woman came up to me and told me that there was a light about me. She said that in the School of the Prophets, my eyes lit up. She was so sweet. Everyone but one family left from that tour. The mom came up to Sister Carter and I to thank us and told us that one of their sons there was really struggling and she was so worried about him. We walked them over to the Schoolhouse and let them go in by themselves and say a family prayer. A lot of powerful things happen in Kirtland. It's so strengthening.

Sunday, June 13th the Branch President, President Draper, called me up to bear my testimony. President Sorensen (the Mission President) AND the Stake President were there. One of our investigators, Millie (I'll tell you about her soon), came to Church. Super exciting. After Church we were able to meet with Christy. Christy is 16 years old and getting baptized this Friday!!! She's soo amazing and has the strongest testimony. She felt something missing in her life and noticed something different about her friend, Val, a member of the Church. So she called Val one day and asked her for more information about her Church. She can't wait to go to the temple and is already talking about serving a mission, attending BYU, and getting married in the temple. So Sister Carter and I met with her after Church to go over her baptismal interview. She's solid. After that, we met with Millie. Millie lives in a trailer park, cannot read, and smokes. She has a baptismal date set but cannot get baptized until she stops smoking. When we got to her home, she broke down crying. She owes people a lot of money, she's grieving over her deceased husband, and is suffering with health problems. She doesn't fully grasp gospel principles/doctrines, such as the difference between Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, we taught her about the Godhead. We taught her that Jesus Christ died so that she didn't have to feel all the pain the she was feeling. We knelt down with her and she offered such a sweet prayer asking Heavenly Father to take away all her grief. We're trying to get her the Book of Mormon on cd's and a cd player so she can listen to the Book of Mormon, because, well, she can't read. She's such a sweetheart. We comitted her to cut down to smoking half a pack of cigarettes a day and she said. "No. I smoked my last cigarette. I'm never smokign again." So, we'll keep praying for her and hopefully all goes well for her! After that we met with another less active. Sister Carter told me that she's always hiding from the missionaries and canceling appointments. But when we arrived, she had cleaned her house, dressed up, and had her Book of Mormon sitting out. She was waiting for us! She is so funny and told us stories and then we taught her about the Atonement. We were in a hurry because we had to get to Christy's baptismal interview so we apologized and were getting ready to leave when she asked when we could come back. So we're going to meet with her every Sunday now. Then we knelt down and she offered the prayer. She was so afraid to do so but it was beautiful. We made it to Christy's baptismal interview, she passed, we talked to her sister who is not a member and Christy invited her (along with her parents) to the baptism. Her sister is really cool. She goes to Germany every summer basically and is going to New Zealand and Australia this summer. She's an english major/german minor at Ann Harbor. Cool, I know. We then had a dinner appointment at a less active woman's home. She and her sister live together and her sister is not a member. They are from Peru and in the past three days, have lost three loved ones. They were really struggling but said they were so grateful to have the Sister's over to bring a good spirit to their home. We taught the Plan of Salvation/Atonement and they both started to cry. The Sister's that served in the branch before said that the sister of the less active member never even wanted anything to do with the Church and would never sit in on their lessons. But here she was! So many miracles. Sister Carter asked the less active woman to offer the prayer but she really did not want to. I told her that Heavenly Father is waiting to hear from her. So she prayed and again, one of the best prayers I have ever heard. We were there with two other sisters (there are 4 sisters in the branch) and the one told the less active woman that the Lord needed her at Church on Sunday. It was so powerful and bold. I want to be like that.

THAT IS A TON. I AM SOOO SORRY. I love it here, mom and dad!! Everyone should serve a mission. Holy cow. I'm so happy. We're already witnessing miracles here. The Lord blesses us. The Church is SO true. Don't ever doubt it. There are going to be hard days, I know. Like the other day I was on phones calling referrals and this man was not happy with me or the Church. I wanted to cry, but as long as Heavenly Father accepts what I am doing, I'm okay. Have faith. Take those steps into the darkness and the Savior will lead us into the light.

Thank you for being so wonderful!! I am so glad I got to talk to you on the phone! My heart was full. Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMY!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SCOTT!!! I hope your days were wonderful. Better if I was there, I know. But you'll get over it. There was a little girl on a tour with us that reminded me of Madison. She was funny, not as funny as Madison, but close.


Sister Nicole Hill

P.S. - Want to know how many people I have met that knew me already? This Missionary Mom Support Group site is out of control. Hahaha. But seriously. I met Sister Talbot and she's SO cute! And then my companion was on the phone with an Elder and he told her that my mom was scared that I was going to Cleveland. And she could not figure out how he knew that. Technology!

P.S.S. - It is SO hot here. I desperately need short sleeve shirts. I might die. Or my clothes might become permanentely stuck to me. Also, I lost all capabilities of spelling since being on a mission. I don't know what happened. It's terrible.

P.S.S.S. - Don't worry about packages sitting on the doorstep because they actually deliver it to sites so everything is kept very safe.

The Kirtland Temple
photo taken when Nicole arrived

08 June 2010

The Voice of an Angel

"Momma", said the sweet angel voice on the other end of the phone this morning at 4:45 am.  I didn't care that it was so early - it was my missionary!!!  Nicole had the opportunity to call from both the Salt Lake and the Minneapolis airports.  We had a much longer conversation the 2nd time and we were really awake by then.  Oh, how I miss that girl!  Talking to her made me feel as if it was just yesterday that we had dropped her off at the MTC - before that I was afraid time was going to advance at a snails pace.
Nicole in her role as an angel in "The Cumorah Connection"

We asked her to tell us what her best moments at the MTC were.  She said going to the Provo Temple every week was especially wonderful because she knew she wouldn't have another chance until her mission was over and she was home.  She loved the teaching appointments - even though they made her nervous it helped her stretch and grow spiritually.  She learned to listen more to the spirit, her companions and the "investigators" and not always be thinking of what she was going to say next. Actors call that "Being in the Moment" (a special thanks to Miriam AKA Auntie M for that valuable lesson).  She also loved reversing roles and seeing things through the eyes of an investigator.

I found great comfort in knowing she is really ready for this next phase of her mission where she gets to apply what she's learned and studied.  I know she is prepared to serve the Lord in the Cleveland/Kirtland area.

Saying good-bye is definitely the hardest thing a parent ever has to do - especially knowing we won't hear that beautiful voice again until Christmas.  I committed to putting my energy into supporting her and her choice to serve this mission so thankfully we have email and can still write letters - she loves letters [wink][wink]!

05 June 2010

Temple Square and the Paparazzi?

Nicole had the opportunity to practice her "tour-giving" skills at Temple Square in Salt Lake City this afternoon.  Her Auntie Kim just "happened" to run into her and her companion for the day, Sister Andersen from Sweden.  Nicole had the opportunity to practice on her Aunt, Uncle and cousins which was a special experience for all.  In the words of my sister, "Nicole is really a missionary"!  I think my little girl has found her wings in the MTC and is ready to take flight in Ohio.

Teaching on Temple Square

Is that the paparazzi again?

Wait...it's my Auntie Kim!  No Way!

Sister Andersen (from Sweden) and Nicole teaching a captive audience (my sister and her family)
I love that supportive look and comforting gesture from Sister Andersen.
It's amazing that they found someone who makes Nicole look tall(er).

Okay scarecrow...just follow the yellow brick road...
(sorry!  I just couldn't resist...munchkins...tall guy...get it?)

Auntie Kim, Uncle Paul, cousins Ryan and Shelby finishing their special moment with Sister Hill [tears].
The look on their faces says it all...the gospel brings such happiness!

04 June 2010

A Great Day to be a Missionary

Nicole and her Cousin Lyndsey after Nicole's Endowment
(can you tell I'm out of mission pictures?)

Anyong!  (I think Nicole must be wandering over to the building where languages are being taught to those who will serve abroad? or we watched too many episodes of "Arrested Development"?)

This last Wednesday began Visitor's Center training. It was like the whole first week at the MTC all over again. But kind of exciting. One of our teachers is a theatre major at BYU and served at the Nauvoo Visitor's Center. She's super sassy and fun. Three of the sisters in our group are going to Independence, Missouri and two are going to the Los Angeles Visitor's Center, Spanish speaking. We enjoy ourselves. Last night we set up a room like a Visitor's Center and volunteers came in, we gave them tours, taught, got referrals. Sister Houston and I decided to do it as a companionship. The first two girls we had were "nonmembers" and asked us really hard questions. They came up to us after to apologize and confess that they were both return missionaries. Punks. Then we had two members come through. Sister Houston asked them to bear their testimonies about the Savior's love for them. The one girl bore such a beautiful testimony and we were all crying. It was pretty incredible. Even if it was just a "roleplay".

I woke up yesterday morning with a nasty cold. So I bought some Sudafed and cough drops today. I haaaate being icky sicky.

I got a card from Karen Hunter yesterday!! How awesome is that. It made me really happy so I'm going to write her back after dinner. She was born in Pennsylvania and her mom still lives there. So hopefully I get to spend SOME time in Pennsylvania. We shall see.

Tomorrow we get to go to Temple Square from 3 pm-8pm. And I WISH so badly that Auntie could see me off at the airport, but all the rules clearly state that no family is allowed to do so. Bummer. Also, I bought a calling card today for 1000 minutes so let's hope that's enough. Har har har. I think I'll call from Salt Lake City, too if that's okay. It'll be super early your time but that would give us more time to talk? Just let me know. That way the little girls could come over when I'm in MN and you wouldn't feel like all your time was taken up. I don't know. You decide. If I call from the Salt Lake Airport it could be like 5 am your time. Because we report to the travel office at the MTC at 4 a.m. Load up luggage. Drive 30 minutes. Check in. So I'm just estimating that by the time I could call it would like 6 a.m. here. I hate figuring out time. Thank GOODNESS I'm not going to Australia. Now for the clothing, thank you so much!! I really liked the Downeast one and the cardigans. I'm actually wearing the Downeast shirt right now and the pink cardigan. The Express shirts aren't really my style. But that's okay. I gave the turquoise one to Sister Andersen and the pink one to Sister Houston. They thank you. I was thinking more of shirts like the ones from J.Crew or Banana Republic with the flower things on them, kind of? I don't know. The clothing doesn't have to be as conservative as I previously thought. Just clean cut and professional. I also would like some fun white shirts (like the one I wore with my pink cardigan when you dropped me off at the MTC) to wear under cardigans. I'm tired of my plain boring white shirts. And now it's so hottttt here. I don't even want to think about the weather in OH. I also have this dream of a navy skirt with a red and white striped quarter length shirt and red shoes. Or red skirt with blue and white striped quarter length shirt and navy shoes. Let me know if you can fulfill this dream. And maybe some cute fashion scarves. Think Anthropologie but less expensive. Is this making sense? I wish I could just shoooop. Ugh. (I thought about editing this out but it is sooo Nicole.  Could this be why she was voted "Best Dressed" at Woodcreek High every year she attended?)

My Fashionista Trying Out Conservative

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHRISTINA!!! I don't know if you ever got my card. But I sent it! I hope your birthday was absolutely beautiful. I was thinking of you! I love you!!!

Well, I will be calling on Tuesday so I shouldn't say EVERYTHING now. Dad, thanks for the goal setting tips! My companions and I were just talking about how we need to do that. Speaking of goals, I got a REAL referral last night for a young lady that lives in San Diego. I'll be calling her soon. Crazy.

This morning I woke up feeling really sick, but so happy. And I couldn't figure out why. Until I realized that I'm SO glad I made the decision to be out here. I can't think of anything better. I hope you all are realizing the blessings in your life. Heavenly Father has given us so much to show His love. I know He does. So believe it. You're never alone. This work never gets easier, but it does get better.

Thank you for always thinking of me and being so kind!!!! It means the world to me. I love you!!!! And am so excited to talk to you on Tuesday!

P.S. - Tell Madison that she definitely has enough time to draw me a picture.
P.P.S. - I also got a dearelder from Grandpa so I'll be writing him soon as well! So good to hear from him. And Brother Mahkorn sent me the nicest dearelder ever. Can I send you a box with all my letters beeeecause I don't have room for them in my luggage. Thank you, thank you!

LOVE TO YOU ALL! And a huge thank you and hug to all of you who write Nicole - nothing comforts a "missionary mom" more than knowing there is support and love being shown to their missionary!

02 June 2010

The Best Week of Her Life (so far)!

I usually edit Nicole's letters for the blog but decided to leave this one alone.  The good and the not-so-good allow us a glimpse into the challenges and blessings of her life as a full-time missionary preparing to go out in the field. 

Ni Hao! (she really is going to an English-speaking mission)

THIS IS THE BEST WEEK OF MY LIFE. I shall go into more detail later but let me tell you a few important things first. I have another PDay on Friday now so I'll be e-mailing you again in a few days! AAAANNNNND I get to call home on Tuesday!!!!! I leave Salt Lake City at 7 a.m. on Tues., June 8th and arrive in Minneapolis, MN at 10:35 a.m. and don't leave for Cleveland, OH until 1:30 p.m.! So if it's alright with you guys, I'll call home during those hours. Keep in mind that it's Minnesota time. I don't know the time difference because I can't Google. But you can. So do it.

Last Tuesday we had an amazing devotional with Elder D. Todd Christofferson and his wife. He talked about how the apostles feel it an honor to stand side by side with us missionaries. He talked about the power and authority that we each have being set apart as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You just don't realize what an amazing work this is until you're here. I don't know. Maybe some people do. But I didn't. I know that it's the most important thing that I could be doing right now and I'm so grateful that I did make this decision. Holy cow. Why would you NOT want to go on a mission? I love it.

I also went into the real world last week to go to the poopy doctor. It was crazy. People stare at you and then when you make eye contact they quickly look away. I saw this pregnant teenage girl and wanted so badly to tell her how much her Heavenly Father loves her. But she wouldn't look at me. Oh well. The lady that drove me was this sweet old lady who just got back from a mission to Boston. She never married but is really close to her nieces and nephews. I liked her a lot. So the blood test results came back normal. Dr.Alsoimam said that the medications I'm taking can really mess with my digestive system so I just need to make sure I'm being consistent. I'm still alive soooooo that's good. Speaking of which, will you remind my brothers that I'm still alive? Thanks.

Read Alma 26 tonight. That's the kind of missionary I want to be. I gave a talk on Sunday on humility and I used the example of Ammon and Aaron. All glory to God. It's so incredible. I also sang "Come Thou Fount" with my district in Sacrament meeting. It was powerful. The Elders left this morning for Eugene, OR so now we Sisters are all alone! Crazy. I have so many thoughts. I'm all over the place, sorry. But back to Sunday. I KNEW they were going to call on me to give a talk but I was really hoping they wouldn't because the District President and his wife were visiting that day. But then after the Sacrament, President Creer stood up and said, "We'll now be pleased to hear from Sister Hill and Elder Mangleson." Elder Mangelson is actually from Cameron Park. Weeeird. They just wanted the Sacramento area missionaries to speak I guess. It was only a 3 minute talk so no biggie.

Another great thing that I've learned the past few days is asking Heavenly Father if he accepts your work. For example, my very first lesson here at the MTC went SO bad. I didn't think I was cut out for the work. I wasn't spiritual enough. I didn't know enough. But then my teacher Brother Moss could see that I was hurting inside so he took me aside and told me that what everyone else thinks does NOT matter. It's what our Heavenly Father thinks. So that night I knelt down and just asked Him if He accepted what I was doing. And it was such a wonderful, peaceful feeling!! I know that I am on the right road. Unfortunately, Satan also knows I'm on the right road. It happened again the other day. We had this investigator that was so fidgety and kept falling asleep and asking weird deep doctrinal questions that we could not answer. I felt awful about how it all went. But again I went before my Heavenly Father and He once again assured me that He accepted what I was doing.

Yesterday was a real changing point in my mission. I woke up in the morning REALLY depressed. Like, I couldn't physically get out of bed. I wasn't tired. I was just depressed. I didn't eat. My companions went to breakfast without me, went to gym without me, and then came back to get me for class. I could tell they were irritated with me and OH MY GOODNESS was I annoyed with them. So they went to class without me. I just prayed to Heavenly Father that I could overcome whatever this awful feeling was. I received the strength to get out of bed, took a shower, got ready, and then some sisters invited me to go to the bookstore with them and then to lunch. So I did. Ate lunch with my companions. They were still slightly annoyed with me, but I would be too if I were them. I was awful that morning. We went through the day. Had no unity in our teaching. No one would say how they were feeling. But you could feel it. I wanted to cry. And I don't know what happened or when it happened, but something happened. We went in to teach an "investigator" that night. He was a nonmember whose girlfriend just left on a mission and he just couldn't understand. He felt pressured to join the Church so that he could marry her and he thought the Church was all about agency so he couldn't understand why there was all this pressure for him to do something the he didn't feel right about. We only had 10 minutes to contact/teach him. I HAVE NEVER FELT THE SPIRIT SO STRONG IN MY LIFE. I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO UNIFIED WITH MY COMPANIONS. I HAVE NEVER FELT SO MUCH LOVE IN ONE ROOM. Everything my companions said to him, was exactly what was running through my head. Sister Andersen even pulled out this Isaiah scripture which was really impressive. The "investigator" was supposed to stop us whenever we did something the needed to be corrected. But he didn't stop us once. We asked him questions, he answered. Sometimes it was extremely quiet in the room. But the three of us were really, truly, for the first time, listening to the Spirit, to the investigator, and to each other. We just sat there in silence listening. Then we taught him of his purpose here. And how much Heavenly Father loves him. And then I taught him how to pray and how to know if he's feeling the Holy Ghost. And the greatest part is that it wasn't any of us. It totally wasn't. Afterwards, we talked about how all investigators need to first understand that they're children of God and the Elders had not done that at all in their teaching. Then Brother Moss bore his testimony to us. He's such a spiritual, humble man. It was a powerful, powerful night. Then Sister Andersen, Sister Houston, and I went back to our residence hall and decided we needed to thank Heavenly Father for all the experiences. After we prayed together, we went around and said why we loved each other. Then in the middle of that, a sister in our branch knocked on the door. We talked to her. She broke down crying because of her frustration with learning Czech. She's such an incredible example to everyone. Ah, I love her. We talked about trials and then there was another knock on the door and in comes another sister from our branch. We talk and she breaks down crying. She came into the MTC last Wednesday. On Tuesday, the day before she reported, she found out that her mom has leukemia. I LOVE HER. She's so strong. Heavenly Father loves His children. Satan didn't want me to have these experiences yesterday. He's so sneaky and I don't like it.

Anyways, two minutes left. I did see Spencer at the Provo Temple on Sunday!!!! SO crazy. It was so good to see a familiar face from back home. I found him a girlfriend. She's tall and going on her mission to Thailand. haha. But seriously, Spencer's great.