Monday, November 3, 2014

Thoughts on sending a daughter on a mission

People have ask me about my thoughts on sending a daughter on a mission and I've given this some thought while Megan has been gone. The answer I give to those who ask and often remind myself is the BEST decision a son or daughter can make. This is a "no brainer". As parents, we try to teach our children to learn to rely on Heavenly Father and this is the perfect way for them to experience that while they are far, far away from home. Even though knowing it is the best decision for them, it is still hard. I was so happy that Megan had decided to serve a mission but I realized real quick that I could either chose to dwell on the good parts of having a daughter out serving a mission or I could focus on that she was gone and I wouldn't see her for a long time. I chose to focus on the good and didn't allow myself to get down. For me that really made the difference.

One day, shortly after Megan had been gone, I was in the car out running errands and my thoughts were on her and how she was doing and I was a bit blue. At that moment, I realized the car in front of me had Washington license plates and in my heart I knew this was Heavenly Father's way of letting me know he was aware of me and how I was feeling. I knew He knew Megan and was taking care of her. It sounds funny, but it was like having a witness that He acknowledged our sacrifice of sending her. After that day, every time I was in the car I would see several Washington license plates out on the road. Some days I would see one and other days I would see many. During the entire 18 months, there were only a couple days that I didn't see any. To me, it was a tender mercy that I needed and it would stir my heart whenever I spotted another Washington license plate. The rest of my family thought I was nuts but it is what got me by. :)

Other thoughts about serving:
So many people have been asked to do some really hard things for the church and for the gospel. ie: pioneers, Joseph Smith, Emma Smith, Jesus Christ (not that I compare myself to any of those listed or others who have given so much), but sending a missionary out for 18 months-2 years really isn't that big of a sacrifice. Sure, they are gone for a period of time and you miss them but that's just it, it's a short amount of time and then they are back and life moves on with them home. Sending Megan really made me think and consider my covenants of standing as a witness of Christ and what that means and what I would do to help the gospel spread and reach people's lives who so desperately need the peace the gospel brings. If I want to keep my covenants, I need to do what is asked of me regardless of how hard it is.

I knew it would absolutely be the BEST $400 a month I could spend on Megan's behalf. I knew there would be so many things she would learn about herself while she was out serving that she could never get another way or so quickly. You name it...spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically. Those life lessons and the deepening and strengthening of her testimony are really invaluable! Such big dividends on so little money spent.

And my last thought:
On the day Megan left for her mission, I gave her a necklace with the word "love" stamped on a square piece of silver. I told her that I wanted her to remember that love is what it is really all about. Because of our love for the Savior and Heavenly Father and also the love we had for her, we could send her on a mission. Because of the love Megan had for the Savior and Heavenly Father, she chose to serve a mission. And it would be the love for those who she came in contact with and taught that would soften hearts and make people want to investigate the church. Also, I really wanted her to have something tangible so when she was feeling a bit down and blue, she could touch that necklace and know we were with her and that she wasn’t alone. She could feel our love and be reminded of why she was out serving a mission. I really believe missionary work is all about love.

These are a few of my feelings about sending Megan on a mission. I know it is different for everyone who sends a son or daughter on a mission and each of us have to look deep inside to see what it is that allows us to give them to the Lord. Some days that is easy and some days that is hard. I've come to realize my kids aren't really "mine". They are on loan to me. I've just been given the chance to teach them and influence them and then I have to learn to let them fly. Some days that is easy and some days that is hard.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Memories of the BIG DAY!!!

As our extended family assembled at the airport to welcome her home it was a great feeling. Waiting for her to come down the escalator was a bit difficult especially when several of the Elders had already come down the escalator and was enjoying catching up with their families. But when I first saw Megan at the top of the escalator, my heart was over joyed for what we had experienced together. There was nothing like it. We had done something that was hard and we had been successful. Megan was home again and our family was complete. 

Minutes later, while watching her interact with our family and extended family, I realized the "old Meg" was back. Her happy, laughing, smiling self was back home and she was the same Meg I'd sent off 18 months before. All of the worry and longing to talk to her and hug her was gone and things were back to how they were before she'd left. It was funny how quickly things fell into place again. It had indeed been a great ride. One I am so thankful I got to be apart of and to take with her. I am so proud of all she's accomplished and all she has learned. I will forever be grateful that she chose to serve! It really is the best 18 months/2 years of their life!

And just like that...she's home!!!

The calendar says it's October 27th, 2014 but my head is having a hard time believing that Megan is really coming home today at 4:08pm. In all actuality, it feels like it has been a while since I've seen and hugged Megan but at the same time, I wonder how can her 18 month mission really be over today? It has gone SO FAST! When she left for the MTC back in April 2013, October 2014 seemed to be SO. FAR. AWAY. but today is the day! It's here and I am so, so, so excited to see and hug her and know that she and we all survived! Our family has been blessed while she has been out serving our Heavenly Father and the people of Washington state and I know she has been blessed for her willingness to serve. For this, I am most grateful.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 76...."I'll be home for Christ......HALLOWEEN!!!"

Hey Everyone!
This week was pretty good :)  Busy :) At least I felt really busy :) We were able to help Sister Johnson, a less-active in our ward, move and that went well :)  This week we are going to go see how they are doing and see if there's anything else we can do for them :)
We were able to go on a Blitz this week with our Sister Training Leaders, since we weren't able to do it when we went on Exchanges.  That was pretty good :)  We found a couple really cool people and found a service opportunity for next month.
I also went to my last Missionary Devotional last night! :(  That was kind of sad but it's really hard to not be excited about seeing my family again :)  I also got to see the Higgins' family (Lake Sawyer Ward) one last time before I leave!  It was so great to see them! 
I am so thankful for this opportunity that I have had to serve a mission and to serve under President Eaton's stewardship.  I have learned so much about the gospel, about myself, and about how to be a better disciple of Christ.  I am so sad to see this part of my life go, but I know that there are a lot of great things in store for me once I get home.  I can't wait to apply the things that I have learned here once I am back home.  It's so surreal to me that I really am almost done with my mission but it just motivates me to work as hard as I possibly can this final week as a full-time missionary.  I am going to talk with everyone I see this week and that goal isn't going to budge.  I have to finish out strong and do the best work I can this week.
I hope everyone has a great week!  I will see you all in a week or so!

Sister Megan Hills

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 75

Hey Everyone!
This week was great!  Really interesting but it was awesome because the Spirit was so strong :)  I attribute that strong spirit to us really talking with everyone that we saw :)  Even though it wasn't a whole lot of people, we worked really hard at talking with everyone and it was awesome!  I will just go through the week and give you an update :)
Monday:  We were able to bring the Epperson's with us to our lesson with Shakita and it was awesome!  We helped answer Shakita's son's question by using the Book of Mormon.  The Spirit was super strong and the Epperson's added just the right stuff to the lesson :)
Tuesday:  We had Zone Meeting all about Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy.  It was really good :)  Courtney had her baby early Tuesday morning :)  I haven't seen her yet because I have been sick but hopefully sometime this week!  I've heard she's really cute though!
Wednesday:  Had a really good lesson with Shakita and her family again :)  We also found a new investigator Wednesday afternoon :)  Her name is Monique and she seems pretty cool!  We taught the Restoration and then invited her to be baptized and she said she would think/pray about it and we would talk about it when we meet with her this week :)  I am excited to meet with her tomorrow and help her feel the spirit :)
Thursday:  This is where the week got really interesting.  So that afternoon, the Elders needed our car to go on exchanges so we said we would walk all afternoon :)  When we got home and went and grabbed the key, we decided that we would leave the car where it was at while we went and ate dinner (the Elders had parked the car in their assigned spot: 295).  One hour later,  we went back to the car and it was GONE!  We were so confused... Long story short, the Elders had accidentally parked the car in 294, not 295 so our car got towed.... can I just say headache.  We called Elder Bryant (he's over all the cars in the mission) and he said we would deal with it in the morning because it cost less to get it out in the morning.  We ended up walking around for about 1 hour before we had to go inside and on the way home, we were stopped by Brother and Sister Bustemonte.  They asked us if we wanted to come to their apartment and have some hot cocoa :)  We ended up having a great member lesson with them and were able to help them with some of their own missionary work.
Friday:  We drove up to Kent with Sister Bustemonte and picked up our car.  
Saturday:  I woke up super tired because I had taken some NyQuil before I went to bed because I have had a stuffy nose and a cough for the last few days.  The medicine totally hadn't worn off so Sister Eaton let me sleep a little longer to have it get out of my system.  Later that morning, we received a text message from someone in our ward about a member.  They had been in a car accident Friday night and they had passed away.  Both Sister Evans-Bottoms and I were shocked!  When we went out to work, we felt like we needed to share a message on the Atonement with someone but we had no clue who that was going to be.  We were then led to the family in our ward that needed us as we drove around and tried to figure out where we needed to be.  We arrived at this family's house at the perfect time because the parents were getting a blessing and they needed the kids to be busy with something else so we were able to share a message with the kids.  It was awesome!  Such a Spirit-filled morning!
Sunday:  Church and normal missionary work.  Mom, Brooke and Everleigh came to church today with their bags and they were so excited that they had them :)
I hope everyone had a great week and had some awesome things happen this week!  I love and appreciate all of you!

Sister Megan Hills

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 74

Hey Everyone!

This week was awesome :)
Tuesday:  We had our scripture study training :) It was so good :)  I learned so much about techniques for studying (like patterns, symbolism, ect.)  I am excited to apply them as I study!  We also got to watch "Meet the Mormons!"  Can I just say, it is SO good!  I want to watch it again and it hasn't even been a week yet!  I am so excited for everyone to see it :)  I would take some tissues because my companion and I were crying during it and my companion doesn't cry.  I won't ruin it for you but you will have to go see it :)
***Not really sure who she is talking about in this next part since she left out some of that information. From what she's wrote, it looks like Jarvin is married to two ladies and I'm sure that isn't correct. :) ***
Wednesday:  We watched the Restoration DVD and made sure that they understood the Apostasy and how God's authority was lost. That was something that they didn't completely understand so we helped them understand better :) It was also good that we watched the DVD because Shakita's husband, Jarvin, wasn't there when we first taught the Restoration. We then extended the baptismal invitation to them and Shakita said that if she knew it was true, she would get baptized but she didn't commit to a specific date yet. Jarvin and Chaaka weren't sure. We were excited though for Shakita because she is willing to follow Christ when she knows that it's true. We have an appointment with them tonight which will be really good :)
Friday:  Mom, I got your package :)  Brooke and Everleigh LOVED the bags :)  They were super cute too :)  Courtney was so happy and so grateful :)  This is going to be a fun week for them too because baby Lily is going to be here today which will be super fun! BTW thanks for the peaches :)  They were so good :)  I finished the entire bottlethat night! :)  It will be nice to have some more in a couple weeks :)
Saturday and Sunday:  I think the only word to describe these two days is AWESOME!  Conference was amazing!  I loved how they talked a lot about improving yourself and make sure that you are converted :)  I hope everyone has set some goals on how they are going to apply what they learned from conference :)

I hope everyone has a great week this week and that you have lots of success in whatever you do :)
Love you all!

Sister Megan Hills

Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 73 {Part 1 and 2}

Hey Everyone!
This week was pretty good :)  We had a couple really good lessons with Shakita and her family!  Last Monday, we taught them the Plan of Salvation and the Spirit was SO strong!  It was awesome!  They seemed to really understand what was being taught.  They still haven't come to church yet which is a little bit frustrating but we are trying.
Women's Conference was awesome!  I loved that it was all about covenants and being prepared to enter the Temple.  I learned so much and can't wait for the talks to come out in print :)

I am SO excited for tomorrow!  We are having a specialized training on scripture study!  It is going to be awesome!  We are apparently going to talk about everything from the Bible Dictionary to symbolism in the scriptures :)  I am going to learn so much and I can't wait!  We also are going to get a sneak preview of Meet the Mormons

Week 73...{Part 2}
Oops!  Pushed some buttons on the keyboard and my message sent before I was done.

Like I was saying, we get to watch Meet the Mormons which is going to be great!  It's a new movie that the Church put out and it sounds really good :)  if you go to, you can watch a trailer for the new movie :)  I would really encourage you to all go see it :)  I will let you know next week how it was :)

That's about it for the week though.  I am so excited for General Conference and the chance that we have to hear from President Monson. :)  Who are you going to invite to watch it? :)  Hope this email finds everyone well!

Picture:  We found this postcard at Wal-mart last week and thought it was awesome!  It's totally how we both thought Washington was :)  Hope you enjoy!
Sister Megan Hills