Elder Hilliard called to serve for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

 Week 53

Well this has been a good week for us. (If anyone is confused why i dont always know which week i am on, i will just leave it at "using html gmail is much more difficult than standard"). We have done some good work this week and we continue to find new people to teach almost everyday. We have almost 20 investigators right now. Yesterday, we didnt have standard church, because it was branch conference. It was nice to hear some real talks given. Enthusiasm during the hymns, and just not being in charge were great parts as well. I have had to lead church with my companion for the past 7 or so months, so the change was welcome.  My main message this week is about one of the trials of missionary work, and membership in general.  That is, mocking. Here on this island is the most mocking of the church i have seen in my life. We ride down the road and are called various names such as "wolves" or "friends of joseph smith".  The problem here comes from leaders of other churches making fun of us combined with the strong "want to be looked at" attitude of the youth.  But none of the taunts really get at me, because the mocking is not something new to the church. Christ was mocked at every corner, and he stood as the literal son of God  of whom we all profess to be followers.  Christ told us that his church would be mocked as well as the members thereof.  All the mockers are just fulfulling prophecy as far as i am concerned.  All we do when we hear the malicous words of others, is either ride on, or explain the truth of what we believe.  That way the lies spread by others dont have as much power.  And this is something we will all face at some point in our lives and all we can do is bare testimony, correct misconceptions, invite them to learn more if they want, and move on with our lives.  Well, there is my rant for the week. Hope you all have a good one. I love you all.


Elder Hilliard

Ps remember who you are

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Week 31( I am a little late in posting)

Well, things are good here in Kiribati.  The weeks are really starting to blend together.  Time goes by so fast.  I am sure that before I know it, I will be boarding that plane to come home.  But, for now, I am focused on doing what the Lord wants us to do.  Not really much to report from this week.  It was business as usual.  But, I was thinking this week, while listening to some music, of an analogy for this life.  All of us, everyone in the world is in a big high school orchestra.  Right now, we are all performing in a concert.  Our piece that we are playing was written by God.  Each one of us has a unique part to us, that is still part of the bigger piece.  We are all trying to perform to the best of our ability and knowledge.  The problem is, not everyone is prepared.  Not everyone has been practicing, and others didn't even bring their music. They are everyone who has not received the gospel, or are less active in the church.  We as members in the church have our parts, and we have been practicing, at least a little bit, but know one is completely prepared for everything that is in the piece.  Luckily, even though all of us are a little confused at times or we don't know exactly what is in store for us, God has given us some help.  We have all the first chair players.  The apostles and other general authorities, with the prophet being our concert master.  With their help and example we can hear our parts, and see how they fit into the bigger piece.  Then we have our conductor.  Jesus Christ.  He knows the piece perfectly.  He knows all of our parts, and he knows exactly how to help each of us overcome our struggles.  But we have to watch him, and pay attention to his... uh... stick/wand of power/ I don't actually know what it is called but that is the Holy Ghost.  We have to look for and pay attention to his promptings if we want help from Christ.  We also have one more help, what we called managers in our orchestra.  These people take time from playing their part, to go and help others.  They can't play other's parts, but they can give them their music, or they can point out and clarify what is happening or what is coming up next.  These are missionaries, leaving their life for two years to go help others.  Even though life itself goes on, they give up their life back home for just a little while so that they can help others understand.  But, even with all this help it can be hard, some people don't want to play their part, or they don't understand the importance of practice.  but we can still help each other.  We can answer questions that they have about the piece and even though we don't know exactly what is happening in their part, we can still guide them so that they know how to deal with what might come.
So, I hope this analogy made sense to everyone.  Sorry if it didn't but hey, I am not perfect either.  (I am also terrible at writing, but these emails help with that a little bit).  Anyway, I love you all and I hope you all have a good week.


Elder Hilliard

PS remember who you are.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Week 30

I just had to share this beautiful photo of  Elder Hilliard
Ngaia, e biri nako te tai.

Man, time sure does fly here.  Things are good here the small world of Butaritari.  The work is going well, and so far, I haven't had any problems.  Unfortunately, Elder Hungai got pink eye this past week.  But, he is fine now.  It really is incredible how fast pink eye spread here in Kiribati.  It started in Betio (on Tarawa the main island) moved to my old area Temwaiku in a day, and now, it is starting to go around here.  Somehow, I have been blessed not to get it.  Anyway, things are great here.  We have plenty of investigators and they are all doing really well.  My favorite Bwareke, is hilarious.  He is a little crazy but he is a lot of fun.  We also like to joke about his name, because it is very similar to bareke, which means dirty.  He really is a character.  Also, this week, we had a huge crab fall into our well.  And then it drowned.  So our shower water was nasty for a few days.  But, we finally got it out and cleaned up the well, good as new.  No problems now.  Church here is a little different.  We are very small, no branch president yet, just a unit leader, and we only have about 30 people at church each Sunday.  It is also almost completely ran by us elders.  It is fun though.  This week I taught the Youth/YSA class.  It was good, except that there was a huge dead fish on the beach.  It made it very difficult for us all to stay in the area.  but we got through.  I think that is all for this week.  Love you all, hope you have a good week.


Elder Hilliard

PS Remember who you are.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Week 27

Imwaain I a waak Kam na bane ni mauri moa

Hello everyone!  This week has been good.  It has gone by very quickly.  It has been a little bit different though.  Good news first, we had a baptism!  Mwariki got baptized.  It was a very small baptism though.  Just us elders, the branch president, the YSA president, and the branch mission leader.  It was a good time though.  We baptized him in the ocean.  That was quite the experience.  The waves were huge and the were carrying big rocks the whole time.  I almost fell over 3 or 4 times.  It was good though and I think that it was a true conversion for this man.  Also, Elder Thomilinson finally arrived yesterday (my sunday).  He is great.  He is pretty good at the language and really good at teaching.  I am excited to work with him.  Now, for the less-good news.  I already know the next transfer.  It is 3 weeks (half way) through this transfer, my companion just arrived, and I already know who my next companion is going to be.  What is good about it though, is that I am going back to Bikenbeu.  I am excited to see that family again.  But, I have to stay focused, because I still have 3 weeks left here.  The other bad news is that this week was really slow teaching wise.  Because almost everyone on Tarawa has pink-eye.  My Kiribati companion also had pink-eye, so we were trapped in doors for a couple of days.  Luckily the power didn't die, and we have air conditioning in our new house.  Anyway, that lead to a lot of study time for me.  I read through the entirety of President Hinckley's discourses part two.  It was so good.  Very insightful and has changed the way I look at tracting and how I look at sharing the gospel.  First, this work is extremely important.  It was a reminder that the salvation of souls is on the line.  We have to be dutiful and help as many people as we can.  Second, I really like this line that President Hinckley repeated often, "We are not out to change the truth you have, we ask you to bring what you have, and see if we can add to it".  We are here to convert people.  But we are not here to make fun of, or bring down other people's beliefs.  Sometimes, being a missionary, you see you investigators beliefs leading them to make bad choices or whatever they do.  But you have to remember that everyone is different, and everyone needs our help in different ways.  Some people just aren't ready.  So long as we build their faith in Christ.  And that faith is true, their heart is true, and they are really looking for a fullness of the truth, that is where the biggest successes happen.  We baptize a lot of people in Kiribati, but there are a lot of less actives as well.  I take that to mean that I have to do better in making sure that these people are converted. Not that they just finished their lessons.  Well, that's my soapbox for this week.  I love you all.  Hope you guys have a good week.


Elder Hilliard

PS Remember who you are.

 We sent him a new backpack. He is really proud of it.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Pictures and Week 25

Elder Hilliard on his beach

In a field

At a baptism 

another field

At Paradise Restuarant                               Wow, week 25. I am already about a quarter of the way through the
mission. Time sure does fly. Despite the hardships or set backs, I really have enjoyed my time thus far. The work we do is definitely worth anything that we go through. Sometimes we forget that, especially if we don't see the results immediately. But, finally, our work here in Temwaiku is paying off. We have a baptism this week. And it is a good one. I am really excited. This week was good. Elder Kennedy flew off to Nonouti but my companion won't be here for awhile, so I have been working with a visa-waiter since then. It is weird being in charge of the area. But, it is good all the same. One of the craziest things that happened this week is that we had drumsticks. Not the chicken ones, or made of wood. But ice cream. That was really good. We were so amazed. But the most exciting thing it that we just watched conference yesterday and the day before. I loved it so much. This has got to be one of the best conferences that we had. The priesthood session really hit me hard. I felt like all the speakers were talking directly to me. I really loved what Uchtdorf said about being happy. Especially because it is something
 that Mom tells me all the time. We are as happy as we choose to be.We can choose if we are happy in our situation or not. I have seen this in my time in Kiribati. There have been some tough times. But when I remember that I can choose to be happy, I am a lot happier. I
 can focus more on the work. I can help my people more. That has to be one of the most true counsels I have every received. And I definitely think it is something we can all do. We can choose happiness no matter the circumstance. Especially if we remember the gospel of Jesus Christ. His gospel is the only way to true happiness.Hard times will hit us all, and we will all be sad at some point. It is part of life. But we can choose how much we let the hard things affect our future. Or affect our beliefs. I know this to be true. I hope you all have a good week and strive to be happy. I love you all.

 Elder Hilliard

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The number is 14

Well, this week has been good.  The work here is moving along really fast.  We have so many investigators and so little time.  We are constantly on the move to get to our lessons. If we have less than 10 lessons in a day we are doing something wrong.  I just love to see so many people that are willing to take on the commitments and change to follow Christ.  It's amazing to see the changes that happen in these people's lives.  This week we have 7 baptisms from this area, and 7 people that I taught in my old area are getting baptized as well.  It's crazy and great.

Some interesting things happened this week.  One of our investigators tried to teach us about purgatory when we were teaching the Plan of Salvation.  My companion's bike is broken and we had to fix it with random spare parts around the house, but it is still pretty much destroyed.  That's what happens when you hit pot holes.  Our service this week was roofing a house using sheet metal.  And that same night at dinner, a lizard fell from the roof, in another member's house, and it fell right into my cup that still had drink in it.  What are the odds?  Then the biggest thing that happened was stake conference.  This past weekend, we got to hear from a Seventy.  He was a really good guy, and he talked to us missionaries quite a lot.  We even got to have lunch with him after conference on Sunday.  It was pretty sweet and I learned a lot from his visit.

Well that's all for this week, hope everyone is doing good and has a good week.


Elder Hilliard
Garrick's first Bei(skirt)

1st week in Temwaiku January 17, 2016

Temwaiku has been an adventure thus far.  But it is great here.  We have a lot of investigators and a lot of people ready for baptism.  The work here is moving fast and I love it.  So, I have a bike now, and our house has a separate room for sleeping.  It even has a little bit of air-conditioning. Still have rats but they are less of a problem.  Some weird things that have happened so far, one of our investigators had a dream about Thomas S. Monson saving him from being killed.  Which was awesome, because now he knows that he is a true prophet.  Then, right after that lesson actually, I had a weird experience.  With my new companion we pray before and after every lesson, away from from the investigator and in addition to our prayers with them, and we say them in English.  So I had been praying in English all day, but for some reason I could not say the prayer until I spoke Kiribati.  It was definitely a surprise and it was awesome.  

Some other interesting things.  I got to eat a burger at a place called Titarbakiti (basically pronounced "starbucks"), and I got to see two of our new investigators get married.  I am really glad to be here and even though both my companion and I are new and not good at the language, things are somehow working.  We see the hand of the Lord everyday.  And I am so grateful for that.

Also I'm going start teaching you guys some Kiribati.
Mauri! (may-oo-ree)-- Hello
Tia Bo! (sah-bo)-- Good bye (literally we will meet)
Ko rabwa (ko-ra-pa)-- thank you
Te raoi! (te-roy)-- your welcome (literally the goodness)
And now for the fun ones which is what I will start sending every week
ni karokoa-- until (ni=of ka=make roko=come a=make it a verb)

Well hope you all have a good week


Elder Hilliard

PS Remember who you are.