14 June 2010

Two Little Nuns and The Promised Land

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

O-HI-O!

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.

THE PLANE RIDE/ARRIVAL

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!!
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.

MEETING COMPANION/TRAINER

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.]

PEOPLE, PLACES, AND THINGS

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.

I LOVE YOU FOREVER AND ALWAYS!!!

Love,
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

2 comments:

mackensie neptune said...

So awesome! Whenever I am having a downer day and need some uplifting Nicole advice I am happy I can come on here and read her testimony!

Kim said...

I have laughed and cried reading this. I'm so inspired by this sweet angel! Thank you for sharing. I made Ryan sit and listen while I read this to him. I'm sure it touched his heart as well!

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