Monday, March 28, 2016

So Many Blessings...March 28, 2016

Although this week seemed a little difficult at times, looking back I have realized that Sister Westover and I have been so blessed. There are so many things that I wish I could tell you all, but for lack of time, I will only share a few. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLIVIA!!- I love you more than you will ever know! I hope that you had so much fun in Arizona. Don't ever forget how amazing you are. I love and miss you everyday, but I will see you soon! 

Fry Bread- This week, Sister Westover and I were asked to come and help Bishop Tulley's family with some service. We didn't know that the service was making fry bread.... I am not Navajo. These people have a talent. They are fry bread masters! Bishop and his wife taught us how they make fry bread without measurements and then had us make our own. We actually did pretty well! I am on my way to becoming like the Navajos! By the way....fry bread is sooo good!

General Women's Broadcast- After making Fry bread we headed over to a relief society dinner to watch the broadcast. The Broadcast was different than any that I had ever seen before. So much beautiful music and great inspirational videos. I learned a lot that will help me as a missionary and also as a member when I return home. the theme of the conference was Service. So, that is my challenge to you this week. Find someone to serve. Serve them out of love. As we serve people, our love for them grows and we begin to understand them better.

Tears of Comfort- This past week Sister Westover and I were definitely guided by the hand of God in our tracting efforts. Here in St. Michael's, I don't know if you could actually call it "tracting" due to the fact that we actually have to drive from house to house...same concept though. Anyway, Sister Westover and I had an appointment cancel and we were just going to arrive early to our next one when we both had the immediate impression that we should knock just one house before we left. OAs we thought about where to knock we came across a green house on a hill..quite the beacon, right? Needless to say, we knocked. To our surprise, we met one of the nicest families I have ever met here. This older couple has just recently lost their son this past October and said that they had been searching for help. Terry, the mom, said that she didn't know who sent us, but she was glad we were there. Later during the week, we met again with terry and Talked to her about the PLan of Salvation. When we started talking about the spirit world Terry's eyes flooded with tears. HSe couldn't even speak. Overwhelmed with emotions, she finally turned to us and said, "Now I know he's okay. I know where he is. my son is in the Spirit World." 
I have never had an experience like this. terry Needed comfort and had been praying for it. Heavenly Father send two, small, young, WHITE, teenage girls to her home in answer to her prayers. I know that this work is guided by divine direction. Of that there is no doubt. 

I love you all so much and I am so blessed to call you family and friends. I am so thankful for all of the letters and emails of support. I would not be here without you. 

Ha'go'a'neeh! (Goodbye)
Sister Madalyn Hillam

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Easter Week...March 21, 2016

This past week has been crazy. So many ups and downs. there are so many things that I wish I could share with all of you! I just need this whole 18 months to be captured on video, otherwise you would never understand. 

Culture- The Navajo People love their culture. It is so cool to see the pride they have in who they are, but sometimes it's a little too much. Sister Westover and I teach several people who say that they believe the church is true, but they don't want to forsake their culture. what they don't understand is that we aren't asking them to forsake anything. We want these people to be who they are. The only thing that we ask of them is to live the commandments. Some of the Navajo traditions don't coincide with God's commandments and this is where they struggle. One of the most prominent issues we have pertains to Medicine men. In my studies this morning I read the a scripture in Mark 13:22. This verse talks about what will happen in the days before the second coming. Verse 22 says, "For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect." These medicine men are like false prophets. They charge large amounts of money to work "great miracles" with an unknown power. I will tell you one thing, this power is not of God. As missionaries, it is hard to combat this giant issue, but we are working our hardest.This is one Navajo thing that i actually love and wish I had!

D&C 50:22- On a more positive note, sister Westover and I memorized this scripture this week. 
It says, "wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth understand one another and both are edified and rejoice together."I LOVE this scripture. I have really seen the truth of being edified and rejoicing together with those we teach. While there are most definitely moment when we sorrow and mourn together, the moments when we rejoice are far more memorable. There are so many instances when I have seen the light of the gospel affect those that we teach. In those moments, I feel pure joy. Once again, the gospel of jesus Christ is for everyone. Chee Family- There are two individuals who have been such and incredible blessing in my life since the day I arrived in St. Michael's. Their names are ted and Ruby Chee. This couple is about the age of my grandparents, and I see them as such. I adore them. Brother Chee hasn't been to church in over 6 months...that is until sunday!! I cannot express my excitement! The moment Brother Chee walked through the church doors on Sunday I'm pretty sure my heart grew 2 sizes. He just looked at Sister Westover and I, Laughed, and walked into the chapel. that MAn and his wife have no idea how much they mean to me. I hope to someday introduce my children to these amazing people. 
Easter- The past week we have really been focusing on Easter as we teach people. The church has recently put out a new Easter video that we have been able to show people. I have watched it more times than I can count, and I would be happy to watch it over and over again. The message in this w=video is one that everyone in the world needs to hear. As we think about Easter most of us tend to focus on the resurrection of the Savior, which is an amazing thing. This video, however, focuses on the fact that because Jesus Christ was resurrected we and our loved ones will be resurrected also. This has given Easter a whole new perspective for me. If you have a moment, please go to the link below and watch the video. As you watch the video, I encourage you to think of someone you know who could use this message and then to share it with them. take advantage of the tools you have been given to bring others unto Christ. I love you all. I am learning so much and loving this. Even though the mission is hard, I know that this is where Heavenly Father wants me to be at this point in my life. I am so blessed. Happy Easter Everyone!Sister Madalyn Hillam  ​This is a Rez dog that followed Sister Westover and I home during our morning run. She sat outside our door all day while we were
doing weekly sad. 
​One of the only cute rez dogs!

Monday, March 21, 2016

2 Months...March 14, 2016

I am having a hard time believing that I have already been out for 2 months. In some ways I feel like I have been out more than 2 and in other ways I feel like it has been less. I am still learning and that is a blessing all on its own. This week I will be returning the the bullet format..sorry!!
Window Rock 2nd- Last sunday our ward was split! we had been informed that his would be happening, but we didn't expect it so soon. Our new Bishop is amazing and I am so excited to be a part of this new ward. I hope to be able to aid in helping the wad start off on the right foot. Yesterday was kind of sad though..we didn't have great attendance. I hope that it will get better. 
Joy- SO SAD! Since the wards were split, we had to stop teaching Joy and hard her over to the Window Rock elders. Joy is in the other ward and President decided that it would be best for her to be taught by the elders she goes to church with. Even though this was heart breaking, I know that President Adams is a righteous man who has been given authority to receive revelation for this mission. If he feels that this is best, then I know it must be. 
Kellywood Family- Not only did we lose Joy, but we lost a family who was one of the first to welcome me into the area. The Kellywoods are amazing! they are making so much progress. I don't doubt that the elders will do a great job with them, but that doesn't ease the heartbreak. When we went to tell them the news, Tynisa, Their daughter came up and gave me a hug. hse said, "It doesn't matter what you look like. I love you." I don't think she had any idea, but at that moment I needed this more than anything. Heavenly Father continues to send His love through these amazing people. This is sister kellywood! Isn't she amazing!

Growing- The other day I took some time to look back in my journal. Lately I have felt there are so many things that I need to work on, yet I have not been progressing so I just feel overwhelmed. When I took the time to read my journal I finally realize that I am making progress. I have already changed so much. I need to take the time to see the good things I am doing. Growth is hard, but necessary for progression. 
We All Receive Blessings- This week we had a woman tell us that we don't understand her. She basically told us that we had no right to teach her because we didn't have the same background; we were from different cultures, different families, different generations. When sh said this it really affected me. I felt guilty. This woman had made me feel guilty for being blessed with so many things. I felt guilty for being blessed with a functioning family, I felt guilty for having received an education, I felt guilty for being raised in the gospel. I didn't understand why Heavenly Father had blessed me more than he had blessed her. then, I read a talk this morning. This talk was from a 2006 general conference Ensign. Julie B. Beck managed to express exactly how I was feeling. The only difference between her and I was that she provided a solution to the problem. She said, "Through the blessings of the priesthood, the Lord shows us that He is “no respecter of persons.”17 In my travels, I usually have the chance to visit members in their homes. Some of those homes are very basic dwellings. At first I would say to myself: “Why am I blessed with a house that has electricity and plumbing when this family does not even have water near their home? Does the Lord love them less than He loves me?”
Then one day I sat in a temple next to a sister who lives in a humble house. I spent two hours at her side. I looked often into her beautiful eyes and saw the love ofthe Lord in them. As we finished our work in the temple, I had a powerful realization. In all of the eternal blessings, in all of our most important privileges and opportunities, we were equals. I had been “baptized unto repentance,”18 and so had she. I had spiritual gifts,and so did she. I had the opportunity to repent, and so did she. I had received the Holy Ghost, and so had she. I had received temple ordinances, and so had she. If both of us had left this world together at that moment, wewould have arrived equal before the Lord in our blessings and potential.
Priesthood blessings are the great equalizer. Those blessings are the same for men and women, for boys and girls; they are the same for married and single, rich and poor, for the intellectual and the illiterate, for the well-known and the obscure.
Julie B. beck taught me something so important. I learned that just because our earthly lives may differ, we are all entitled to the same blessing of eternal worth. Yes, I may have a different background than the people here, but the gospel is for ALL people. The gospel is the unifying power needed in this world. 
Pictures- This is Sister Kelsey Curley. She just returned from her mission serving in North dakota, Bismarck. She is awesome! Kelsey is so happy and excited to be able to come to lessons with us. It's great!... Don't mind the fact that I don't ever do my hair...

​Yeah...we probably need a reservation..
I LOVE YOU!!! Keep being amazing and doing great things!
Sister Madalyn Hillam

Transfer Blues...NOT! March 7, 2016

This week has been AMAZING! We received transfer news on Saturday..and surprise, surprise..SISTER WESTOVER AND I ARE STAYING! (Haha as expected) I can't believe I'm already done with my first transfer. There are so many things happening and I am loving it! My email this week is mostly just going to be about my bullet points today.
I have learned a lot about myself the past week. I have learned three mail things. One, I don't think I could be any more blessed. I have been meeting so many incredible people here in St. Michaels. Everyday there is someone new who enters my life, and even if they are only in it for a moment, they are a blessing. I have seen the Hand of God hard at work in my life. There is not a single day that He is not present and providing opportunities for me to grow. Sometimes I think back to the Mormon Message, "The Will of God" and I have to realize that God loves me so much and that because of that love He is going to cut me down. One of the sister in the mission once shared a thought with me.
She said, "So many people say that God does not give us challenges we cannot handle. I disagree. I believe that God gives us so many challenges that we cannot handle. He does this because he loves us and wants us to turn to him for help."
The more I think about this statement the more truth I see in it. Heavenly father Loves us so much and doesn't want us to fail. He knows that we will have challenges, but He is standing there with us the entire time. I recently read a poem called The Race and it relates perfectly to our Father in Heaven. Often times, when I am struggling, I imagine that He is standing over me saying, "Get up! I am right here, Get up!" He wants me to turn to him, but I have to take the first step. I am (we are ) so blessed to have a Heavenly father who loves us so much.
The second thing I have come to realize is that my heart continues to surprise me. I'm pretty sure that by now my heart should be in a million pieces because I don't think it can hold any more love. I have never in my life felt so much overwhelming love for a group of people. I think that wearing this name tag with Jesus Christ's name on it has increased my capacity to love. before my mission I definitely loved people. I cared for them, wanted happiness for them, and would have done anything for them, but that was only after I had gotten to really know them and develop a relationship with them. Being on the mission has changed that completely. I feel that being set apart as a missionary allows me to feel the love that the Savior has for these people. Even if it is just in a small amount. I find myself feeling heartbroken at times as well. I want so badly for these people to see the joy that the gospel brings, and when they don't it makes me sad. I thought I knew heartache, but being here, on a mission...lets just say it puts things into perspective. Haha..sometimes, I would like to just take away their agency for a moment and put them on the right path, but that isn't what Heavenly Father wants.
The last thing I have noticed is that I have so much to learn. Every day I learn something. Whether it be from the scriptures, people we pass by, Sister westover, or members. I am always learning. At first, this realization was a bit overwhelming. I thought that I would never be able to understand things and that I would never be the missionary I needed to be. I quickly learned that even though I do have a lot to learn and I am not the most powerful missionary, I am the missionary that Heavenly Father needs me to be. Yes, I have a ways to go. yes, there is so much knowledge to be gained. And yes, it may take a long time. But as long as I am trying my hardest everyday, then I will become the person I was sent here to be. I am a child of God.You are all children of God. I teach that everyday, but sometimes I forget to remember it myself. Heavenly Father will provide a way for me to accomplish anything I am asked to do, as long as I am living worthy of His help.
Sister westover and I have made it a goal to memorize one scripture every week. This past week we memorized the scripture of 2 Timothy 1:7-8
It says, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord."
I have loved this scripture and would like to leave it as a challenge to you. We are given opportunities everyday to share the Testimony of Jesus Christ. DON'T BE ASHAMED! Let your light shine! You might be surprised at what happens when you are ready and willing to open your mouths and share the gospel. God will but the words in your mouth if you are simply willing to open it
I love you all. I can't say that enough. I am so thankful and so blessed.
Sister Madalyn Hillam :)