17 August 2010

Home to Heal

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 :)

10 August 2010

Gird up your loins.

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:
Hello Momma,

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...

09 August 2010

A Tender Mercy

Sister Carter and Sister Hill on Tour

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.

Melanie & Terry Haws

06 August 2010

Prayer's Needed

A Healthier Time

Sister Nicole's health has taken a wrong turn and she is now struggling harder than ever to get back to her "old self".  She is faced with the awful decision of whether to continue her mission or return home to heal.  I know my little girls heart must be aching as serving a full mission was her dream and her source of great happiness.  All we can do from so far away is offer prayers on her behalf, which brings me to this post...  personal experience has proven to me that there is power in prayer and especially when being offered by many others in whatever form their beliefs dictate.  This missionary mom is asking if you could include Sister Nicole Hill in your prayers...Nicole and the Hill family would be forever grateful!! 

Thank you for your support, letters, comments and love...Nicole draws such strength from friends and family and with you by her side she'll get through this difficult time.

Leaving you with this - Nicole's missionary plaque has this scripture from Esther 4:14 engraved:
"...and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

02 August 2010

Learning Patience in Mentor, Ohio

Catching Fireflies in Ohio -flashlight substitute?

Howdy from Mentor, OH. If anyone ever needs to use a computer while in the Kirtland, OH area, I would NOT recommend going to the Mentor library. I had to wait 70 minutes for a computer. Obviously Heavenly Father is still trying to get me to learn patience. I better just give in someday.

Christy at her baptism

Anyways, had some solid lessons this week. Taught our 16 year old recent convert, Christy, this week. We asked her how she gets the most out of her scripture study and she said, "It just really helps to apply the scriptures back to my life, what's going on in my life right now." Good grief, I've been out on my mission longer than she's been a member and I still struggle with doing that. She's so wonderful. Great miracle in following promptings from the spirit. Last week, Sister Carter and I felt impressed to teach her about keeping the Sabbath day holy. This week, her work scheduled her to work on Sunday. She had the courage and faith to talk to her boss about why she can't work on Sunday's. Seriously, I love that girl. I was sick a few days later when we had an appointment with our investigator, Laura, who we met tracting last week. So Sister Carter had a lesson with her over the phone. She really wants to read the Book of Mormon so we dropped off a copy on Sunday. She wants to read it and pray about it. I told her that's exactly what we would ask her to do. She shouldn't take our word for it, she needs to take Heavenly Father's word that this book is true. We meet again with her on Friday so I'm excited.

On Tuesday, we met with the former investigator, Jan, that we met last week. She doesn't see the need for the Book of Mormon because she loves the Bible so much. We had her read 2 Nephi 29. She started laughing and said, "That's what I say!" So we explained to her that the Book of Mormon and Bible go beautifully together. The Book of Mormon clarifies things in the Bible. Who wouldn't want to learn more about Jesus Christ?

How did she do that? According to Sister Hill this is the result of tracting. Is she scooting along the ground?

We have a less-active from the Philippines whose husband and 11 year old daughter aren't members. Sister Carter and I stop by her house almost every week, she never answers the door, so we leave a note. She has REALLY bad social anxiety and hasn't been to church in 2+ years. We walk into Sacrament Meeting yesterday and who do we see? This woman WITH her husband and daughter!! She gave us a souvenir from the Philippines. Precious family. I gave my souvenir to another sister who was serving her mission in the Philippines, got really sick, went home, and got reassigned to Kirtland (the complete opposite mission). Anyways, don't ever give up on people! That's the moral of that story.

Chocolate - the perfect cure when tracting doesn't go so well!

I talked to a woman on the phone yesterday when I was making referral calls, and I fell in love with her! She was in her 70's, had four strokes, was just diagnosed with breast cancer, and skin cancer on her scalp. She has her husband drive her down to the local elementary school every day where she volunteers with special needs children in science. She wouldn't accept missionaries though because her husband is a staunch Catholic and wants nothing to do with the Mormons unless they will "play cards with him". C'mooooon. She deserves the Gospel so greatly. Everyone deserves the Gospel. Everyone deserves all the peace, joy, and happiness it brings. We have an investigator, Tina, who I love dearly, who doesn't understand why people fall away from the church. She's so funny. She can't comprehend why you wouldn't want this in your life.

Phone Training with the Butterfields :)

Well, keep the good news coming. Life is so much happier when there are letters in the mailbox. Ha. Just kidding? Missions aren't about getting letters. They just help a lot. The Church is STILL true. It was true last week and it'll be true next week. But seriously, I love seeing the joy that comes into people's lives as they come closer to their Savior.

Be happy!!

Sister Nicole Hill

Are we there yet?  Sister Schumann & Sister Hill enjoying P-Day

Little Extra’s:
Email to her dad:

Seriously, tell David Dransfield that this is the most blessed mission on earth. Tell him to read D&C 38:32, "GO TO THE OHIO." Anyways, seriously. This is sacred land. And he gets to start out his mission in the most special way that no other missionary in the world can. Getting your call to Cleveland is a big bummer. Until you get here and realize how lucky you are. And then you start to question how you, of all people, were so blessed to receive your call here. So thanks for talking to him! I'm so excited for him.

Also, thanks for sharing what Brother Barnett said. That means a lot.

Good luck on your talk on Sunday! The Kirtland saints were definitely blessed for keeping the commandments sooo you can talk about that. Haha. But seriously. Such wonderful people that lived here.

I love you, dad! I wish so badly sometimes that you could be here to talk to people about your conversion. I know KNOW KNOW KNOW that you and mom need to serve a mission. You both have such amazing personalities that could bless lives so immensely. I share your conversion story with just about every investigator we meet with. It would be better if you were here to do it yourself. But it's okay. Maybe you and mom will serve in Kirtland. HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE! Really cool.

I love you!!!

Sister Carter and Sister Hill ready to start their day

A side note to Mom:
Those shoes are SO cute, mom!! I love them. And I do need black shoes, my MeToo's are holy, like I said. Thank you so much. I'm glad I have a mother with such incredible taste.

That's funny about Sister Pickett's niece and friend. It was a whole YSA tour from Washington D.C. that she was with. And I was basically on a roll that day. Somedays I'm able to give spiritual tours. Somedays I have to crack jokes the whole time. It's bad, I know. But you get bored doing the same thing every day. Whenever I would take tours with this sister who has gone home now, everyone would be dying with laughter. We couldn't breathe half the time. She was my personality soulmate.

I'm seeing an OB today! In two hours, actually. There's a bishop here is an OBGYN and he recommended to Sis. Sorensen that I see this one closer to me. You probably talked to her about it, though. Poor Sis. Sorensen is going to be so tired of me. But hopefully all goes well today and we figure out what the heck is going on.

Also, Elder Smith is my District Leader. That's so funny that you found his blog. He had the district fast for me yesterday.

Does dad know a Doug Wilks from Los Altos? And can you send your chocolate chip cookie recipe to Sister Carter?

Oh! The hippie party was so brilliant!! I loved all the pictures! And thanks for making everyone write me! haha. I loved getting all those letters. Really brightened my day. And thanks for the skirts!!! Woooo. You're the best momma ever.

I have to go now, but I love you so much. I'll write you tonight and let you know how the OB goes. Thank you for your prayers, momma. It means the world. I'm so grateful for you. Really, I can't explain it. I just don't know what I did to receive so many blessings. Especially have you and pops for parents. I sent you two a temple anniversary present today. Look for it on Wednesday, I believe. You're so special to me.

I love you!!

Sister Daughter Nicole

Seems like only yesterday Sisters Anderson, Houston and Hill were together in the MTC - look at them now!!