Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Aug 10, 2015

Here we go. The week of lasts for me on my mission. Last P-day, last
email home, last everything. I never thought this would come, and I'm
still in denial I think. I'm full of bittersweet emotions!

For those of you who don't know, I was transferred from Snowflake for
my last transfer. I've been able to spend the last 6 weeks of my
mission immersed in Spanish work in Phoenix again! It was a little
tough at first to get back into complete conversations in Spanish, but
I've been able to feel comfortable again luckily. I was released from
my zone leader position, but asked to be one of the district leaders
in the Paradise Valley Zone, which I've absolutely loved. That
transition was a little difficult for me as well. I had only been a
district leader for one per transfer before this, but lots of their
responsibilities had changed since then. I had to relearn everything
related to that calling.

Last week I was asked to baptism a woman that I interviewed. She is so
Christlike and loving to all people. She later told me that the reason
she asked me to baptize her was because of our birthday (which is
September 1 for both of us) and I guess I was able to calm her nerves
going into the interview. She felt good around me, which makes me
happy to hear. Also, this past Saturday Elder Thompson and I had a
baptism for somebody that we taught. His name is J and he is an
incredibly prepared 16 yr old. Our bishop decided to give him the
priesthood yesterday, which is a pretty rare thing to happen in this
ward, but the bishop felt strongly that he was ready!

I can't relate over email the emotions and feelings I get from
actively participating in this gospel. The plan of salvation that God
has prepared for us is amazing! I know that it, as well as other
truths and doctrines were restored through the young Prophet Joseph
Smith. Every time I think about him and other prophets that we've had
since then, a powerful feeling of comfort fills me and I can't help
but testify that they are real men called of God to bring his sons and
daughters (each of us) closer to him. I'm grateful I've been able to
serve in this capacity as an extension to the prophet and apostles.

I know that my Savior and Redeemer lives. He lives to give us a
're-do' in life. There is an unlimited number of 're-do' we can use IF
we are striving to improve. He loves us unconditionally and always

That's about as good as I can get over email. I'm excited to see and
spend time around each of you when I get home!

I again thank you for the great amounts of support you've shown me
throughout my life and during this part of it especially.

Elder Pilkington



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 22, 2015

We've been staying busy in Snowflake!

A week ago, we were completely packed. We had exchanges two days that week, an all day temple trip and 3 days in the valley to hear from Elder Lynn G Robbins. At that meeting, we discussed responsibility and accountability. It was true and powerful doctrine that he used to teach us. The bulk of the discussion was focused around agency, which I think is an under appreciated gift we've been given. It allows us to grow and progress through our time on earth, but we also will have outcomes that we will have to take responsibility for. We got back early Sunday morning, just in time for our 7:30 ward councils. We literally had zero time to 'take it slow'. We were rushing all week. It was a fun week though!  

This past weekend, we had another baptism! C was able to be baptized and confirmed by one of his friends who is the Elders Quorum president in that ward. It was so neat to feel the spirit and see his joyful reaction upon coming up out of the water. 

We set a family on date this week. We know the Lord's hand has been involved! The changes we've witnessed are indescribable and they have made an incredible change in their lives. A true softening of hearts from the Lord. Their date has been set for July 11.

We have been approved for the area book/planner app on our ipads. This stage takes hours to complete, and we only have 1 week to do it. We've pretty much been asked to take whatever extra time we have between studies and dinner to record the names from the area book. It will be a slow week with lots of time spent inside, but after this, we'll be able to get through things lots quicker. 

I'm just about out of time. I know the Lord is continuing to move His work forward. He has given us another tool to bless our lives with the ability to share what we know and live. He's given us great tools to move his work along for a long time! First, the Liahona was used to guide the people to where the Lord wanted them to be. Second, the Urim and Thummim have been an incredible tool to help translate the scriptures we have today. Now, we have been given technology that will bless the lives of many. The cool thing about this tool compared to others the Lord has provided, is that each of us have access to it! Use it and see the miracles happen! 

Elder Pilkington


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

June 8 and 15, 2015

We had a full week and we're looking forward to another packed week.
First, we had a baptism! I think I've told the story already, but K has been struggling to make this decision for a while. Her mom is part of another religion and her dad is a member of ours. She just turned 18 and decided to be baptized. She's the most converted 18 yr old I've met! At her baptism, we filled the entire chapel! There were over 150 people there to support her, including her mom and other siblings who aren't part of our religion and probably 20 people from her mom's side of the family. All together, we counted about 50 non members.
Throughout the week, we stayed busy with lessons and other activities. We didn't teach as many lessons as we maybe would've liked to, but the quality of each of our lessons was high. We have 2 more baptism dates that will happen this month, and 3 others that are scheduled for this month, but will most likely have to be pushed back.
I had a really neat experience with family history too! We have a temple trip this week, and in preparation for that, we took some time one day to find some names to take with us. I've always kind of felt like my family history was almost done and being taken care of by others, so I wasn't really expecting to find a whole lot. As I was searching the family lines, I came across a particular family and had a strong feeling to work on them. I assumed I needed to work on the father and spent all my time on him. I found out, when I got ready to print his ordinance form, that he was a duplicate and all his work had been done already. I still felt like I had to work to do within the family, so I went to the children and found that none of them had their work done yet! I had to find a little bit of info to be able to request their ordinance work, but now I have 5 different names to take with me to the temple!! Who knew family history was exciting.....?

I had to spend a few days in the valley for a Mission Leadership Council Thursday and Friday. We talked about ipads a little bit more. They gave us some instruction on how to most effectively use the area book and planner app and we discussed the decrease in numbers since the ipads came out. Although helpful and efficient, I think a lot of missionaries waste time on their ipads. Hopefully we can figure out how to reduce the negative and maximize the positive with our new tools.
We have a lot going on this week. Exchanges with the assistants, temple trip, and another MLC with Elder Robbins this coming weekend.
Thank you for the prayers, letters and love you send me. It helps!
Elder Pilkington


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

May 28, 2015

Buenas tardes!

I have set several new goals for the last two transfers of my mission.
The first one and the one that can affect you the most is my goal to
send a weekly blog email. I've been pretty bad about that over the
last several months, but I want to keep you involved more often.

We just finished another transfer. I spent the last 7 weeks in
Snowflake with Elder Rayas as the Snowflake Zone Leaders. It was a fun
transfer with lots of neat things happening, but it was a stressful
one for me. I'm glad it's over and new things are happening in the
area. I'm staying in Snowflake another 6 weeks as one of the zone
leaders in the zone. My new companion is Elder Holladay, who was
previously a district leader in the same district as me in Snowflake.
I'm part of a split zone leader companionship, which means Elder
Holladay isn't the other zone leader. He's spending this transfer as a
'zone leader in training' kind of thing.  My 'zone leader companion'
is serving about 45 minutes away in a town called Heber. I've been
told that after this transfer I'm heading to the valley again to
finish my last transfer in Spanish work.

So many neat things have happened over the last week.
1. We received our iPads! To some, it may be concerning that 85,000 of
the Lords servants are now able to use technology, and that's an
understandable concern. I see this as an incredible opportunity to
share the gospel of Jesus Christ even more during our service period
as well as a chance for us to develop positive habits with technology
that will allows us to avoid/overcome future obstacles related to

2. One of our longtime investigators announced over the pulpit on
Sunday that she's going to be baptized before she goes to college. She
is part of a family that is half LDS and half Catholic. Her mom is an
amazing lady who loves her family, those around her and the Lord. She
has been raised catholic though, which has made it difficult to do too
much teaching. After graduating seminary and being around members of
the LDS church, she decided to make the decision. We met with her on
Monday afternoon and she set a date for the 3 of June. Luckily, we've
taught all she needs to know without actually teaching in a typical
sit down lesson setting. Her interview is tonight, and she'll be
baptized in a week!

3. We also have 3 more people on date. One of them is a
15 yr old who will be baptized early in June, another who will ALSO be baptized early in June, and another who has a date for late July. We are working hard with multiple
other people who have studied the church out in their minds and have
born testimony to us that they feel it's truthfulness. Their biggest
issues are smoking for some and difficulty with commitment for the

I continue to be a witness of the Lord's hand in our lives. He has
always and will always love us for who we are and is always open to
helping us grow. I'd be lying if I denied the power of the priesthood
that I've felt throughout my life. I know the Lord restored that power
and many other truths through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and those
truths continue to be the building blocks for the restored church of
Jesus Christ that we have again on the earth.

 'Doubt your doubts BEFORE you doubt your beliefs.'

Elder Pilkington

Sent from my iPad

Elders Pilk and Rayas

Elders Rayas and Pilk

Breakfast at a members house

Looking up old pictures of Dad

Getting a cow ready to be tagged

Tagging the poor cow

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

April 8, 2015

Happy Easter!
What an amazing time of year. I posted on facebook earlier this week how much I've grown in my understanding of Easter. It really is true! I used to get excited (and I still do! :)) for the time spent with my family doing Easter Egg hunts and eating pounds of jelly beans alone. I now am beginning to understand the true and honest meaning of Easter and how I can personally be affected by our Savior.
As I watched my last General Conference of my mission this past weekend, I thought and prayed a lot about my relationship with Christ and also about how I can become more like Him. The first two sessions on Saturday talked all about family and marriage, which was an answer to prayers for me. I'm not 'trunky' or anything, but I have been thinking a lot about the future. I've been thinking about how I, (and the Lord), want my children to be raised. The more I ponder it, the more I realize just how much this mission has prepared me. Whether I start my family in less than a year (don't worry mom, it's not too likely), or in 5, I have a firm testimony and comforting feeling that the Lord will bless and guide us as my wife and I seek His counsel.
I really enjoyed the Sunday sessions of Conference too! It was 100% centered on Jesus Christ and very powerful. I strongly encourage you to take time to watch this powerful testimony of our Savior and how He matters in your life.  Testimony of Christ
We have just finished with our latest transfer and I am staying in Snowflake as a zone leader. I have a new companion named Elder Rayas, who I've known for my whole mission. He goes home in July, just 1 transfer before I leave. What we've heard from our president is that we'll probably both finish our missions here. That means I'll only have 3 areas in my mission! This is a great place to finish though. The work is great and the people are loving.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE watch the BecauseHeLives video that I put on Facebook and also, WATCH THE TESTIMONY OF CHRIST!! It is amazing how much He's done for us compared to the amount we include Him in our lives. He needs to be everything to us!
I can't wait to get home, (again, not trunky), and apply the things I've learned on my mission.
I love you!
Elder Pilkington

Monday, March 30, 2015

Mar 16, 2015

Here is comes. The once a month (that's what's it's turning out to be) large letter.

Wow, it feels good to send one of these things again. I apologize for delaying them each time. 

There have been so many things happening in the little town of Snowflake, AZ where I got transferred. I am a zone leader in the Snowflake Zone which covers Snowflake, Concho, St. Johns, Eager, Springerville, Luna, Pie Town, Nutrioso, etc. It is a HUGE zone! 

The work in our area in Snowflake had been rather slow for some time, but is now picking up tremendously! We had zero investigators on date in January when I got here, but we now have 7! We are both very excited and happy, but also very grateful the Lord has given us so much work to do. It has increased my testimony that the Lord WILL take care of our areas when we are away taking care of other responsibilities. A big portion of our week last week was spent in the valley for meetings and other events. 

We have one date for March 28 with A. He is a Mennonite searching for the truth. 

We have one two for April 4 with C and C. 

Curtis is an interesting character but the Lord has softened his heart so much! You would never guess by looking at him that he wanted to be baptized, but it shows how little we know/understand compared to the Lord. (Proverbs 3:5-6) 

C is amazing! He is the husband to one of our active members and we have seen so much progress in him in the last few months. He has been investigating for many years now, but I believe that now is his time. 

The next set of dates is a small family of 3. The husband (M) is Spanish (YES!), the wife (D) is Native and their 11 year old daughter (J) is a scholar. She honestly knows more than I do about religion. It helps quite a bit when her parents have questions, but at the same time, she has been attending a baptist church with friends for several months. 

The last one scheduled is in July. J has to figure out a few things first. He's a great guy! 

On a funnier/sadder note, we've had some pretty fun experiences with animals this week. 

The first and best one is the story of how Elder Hinds and I wrangled and saved the life of a horse. It was a cloudy weekday night when we left town for Concho. As we pulled around a corner, we saw a little horse walking by itself down the middle of main street. Luckily, Snowflake is a smallish town and people stay inside after dark for the most part. As we crept up behind the horse, it almost got hit several times by oncoming traffic, so we started flashing our lights at the oncoming cars so they'd see it. Us doing that attracted the attention of two different police officers who turned their lights on and between the three of us, the horse was boxed in. That's pretty much it. It was mad and tried to kill Elder Hinds, but that's a different story ;)

Next, (reader discretion is advised)

On our way to Concho that same night, as we were both reminiscing our heroic life saving event, I completely destroyed a Jackrabbit. It was suicidal I think, 'cause it waited until I was a foot away and jumped in front of the car. The next day on the way back, the same thing happened. This one ran the the middle of the road right as I passed it. I wonder why there are so many troubled rabbits out here..... 
I know that God loves us all. He is waiting for each of us to turn towards Him so that we can feel His love in our lives. He sent His Son to carry out probably the most important part of His plan. Due to the sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we can never fail. No matter how much we fall short (and we WILL fall short), we will be able to start new. They both love us unconditionally, and that love has the power to fix any problem in life. Look to Them and They will comfort and guide you. 

I love you. My gratitude of your support increases each day I wake up. Keep it coming please! :D 

Elder Pilkington 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Feb 23 & Mar 1, 2015

FEBRUARY 23, 2015
I felt like this week was a huge improvement for us. The quality of our lessons was far better than it has been in the past, which made me happy :)

As we left zone conference last week, we decided to stop at Subway for dinner, but as we walked in, we realized that it was out of the zone and went back to the truck for the phone so we could call for permission. We later were grateful we made that step to be obedient. After we got the OK, we went back in and a lady got in line behind us. She was a member and was super happy to see us! I guess she had been praying for a while to be able to feed the missionaries as she has elders in her ward and they can't go in because she's single. She had really had a tough week prior to this miracle. When she walked in, she knew Heavenly Father had answered her prayers. She paid for us and sat next to us and we had a great conversation with her. As small as that seems, I know Heavenly Father cared about her enough to put us in that situation. If we would've left that prompting to seek permission, we would've completely missed that entire experience. It amazes me every time I see little miracles like that.

We had an excellent meeting with one of our bishops who was really inspired by Elder Nelson's leadership meeting on Saturday. We are developing a plan to best help the ward become and remain missionary minded. We're hopeful! :D They already do great with giving us referrals. I doubt there are more than 20 people that haven't been talked to by missionaries or our members.

Elder Nelson was inspired as he addressed us on Sunday. He said that the faith of the members there was 'tangible' which I think is a really neat way to describe it. We had a breakfast with our Stake President on Friday morning, and he asked if he could reserve benches for us and our investigators. Of course we accepted his offer and we filled all the space given to us. We were on the 2nd row listening to Elder Nelson. As good as his speech was, I thoroughly enjoyed hearing from the Snowflake Temple President and his wife. They stressed the importance of temple attendance, which is the only reason I'm excited to go home.

MARCH 1, 2015
So, first things first. We just got done with a WILD FIRE WING CHALLENGE. I won a hat, because I finished all 12 burning wings in 3 minutes, but I was still trying to swallow some meat when it hit 3 min. Had I finished it all, I would've won a free meal too. Be proud of me for that one and PRAY that my bum bum doesn't light on fire when that stuff comes out tonight.
As for transfer news, I'm staying with Elder Hinds again as zone leaders in Snowflake. I'm really happy I'm staying here. We now have 3 people on date. J is on parole, so his date is set in the future. July 25 this year. A is a Mennonite, but is super interested in our religion. His date is set for the 28th of this month. C is married to an LDS woman and is slowly gaining interest. He'll hopefully keep his date of the 21st,  but he unfortunately hasn't come to church yet. We'll continue praying for that. Two of my former comps, Elder Clements and Elder Strike are now in the zone, which I'm super happy about!



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Feb 2, 2015

This week was busy but rewarding!
We started it off with a nice game of golf last P-day. We get to play for free in Snowflake. I played horribly, but that was expected since I haven't touched a club in months and never played that well beforehand anyway. We're going to play again today, so hopefully I can improve.
We decided to do our exchanges early this transfer, so we were out of town from Monday night through Thursday morning working with other missionaries in our zone. It covers out into Luna and Pie Town, so it's a pretty good drive to be able to visit the other missionaries. The exchanges went really well!
As I did my personal study during those exchanges, I prayed that I would be able to take something from my BOM reading. I did! I read in Alma 60, and in verses 5-12 it talks about the neglect of the armies. I twisted it a little bit and thought of it in a street contacting way instead. Every time we pass someone on the street, we are neglecting their right to hear the gospel AND we're giving the adversary more time to work with them. ESPECIALLY in the mountains, we HAVE to talk to everyone if we want to have teaching opportunities.
When we came back to Snowflake, we did our best to get into the routine again. We took some time to contacts as many formers as we could over the phone and actually got several people to accept lessons again! One of them even came to church!!! The phone is a huge tool that we sometimes don't utilize to it's maximum potential.
We had an amazing lesson with a family who has been inactive for the last several years because their son committed suicide. It was sad to think that they were denying blessings that they need just because of their son's choice. The Spirit was very present and taught very powerfully as we testified of the Plan of Salvation. We were able to share our own stories of how WE came to the knowledge and understanding of the Plan. I don't usually cry during lessons, but a few tears were shed during this one. We invited them to be sealed as a family in a year from now, and they thought for a long time and said they'd think about it.
We were able to deliver some gifts from our Mission President to the Temple and Stake Presidents in the area. It was so peaceful in their homes, and you could easily tell that they are faithful members of Christ's church. We have such great leaders in this area and are extremely privileged to serve with them.
On Saturday night, we had a meeting with our Ward Mission Leader about the work in the ward. It was a little stressful for me, because we felt stuck between a rock and a hard place. It was 9:25 and we told him we had to leave in order to be home by 9:30 (a mission rule). He wouldn't let us go without a piece of pie and a 'quick' visit with his wife. What do we do? We can't be disobedient, but we don't want to be rude to members either. We expressed our desire to be obedient and each took our piece in one bite and left. At church the next day, he was announcing to all the members that they could trust us because we were EXACTLY obedient and that we WANTED to obey ALL the mission rules. It was so neat to hear that from him. I know we made the right decision and gained member trust from it.
I was able to share my testimony in both of our wards yesterday which I really enjoyed. I hope the members will see our dedication to the work and intense desire to do what's right always.
I hope you enjoy your week and ALWAYS think about what the Savior would do. I know that as we model His example, we will be happy.
Elder Pilkington

Monday, January 26, 2015

Jan 26, 2015

Happy 2015!

Sorry I'm a few weeks late. I'm not doing as great as I would've hoped on getting these letters sent out. 

First of all, you may have seen the animal pictures already. [I love animals. They taste supa goooood (Not the eagle, that's illegal) (I'm a poet)] {Not funny, Thomas...}There is a bald eagle on the reservation in Mesa that we've taken pictures of. Another one was of me skinning a sheep. In Mexico, they have a tradition of eating sheep every New Years Eve. We went out to the sheep field that the church owns on the res and caught one for the ward party. That's all the detail I'll give. (You're welcome Mom ;))  {I, Jill,  asked him if the Sheep's name was Lucy....got to get a little guilt in there, right?  It didn't work. This was his response....}
Nope, but close. His name was SAAAAAAM (in a sheep voice)

After having spent the last year in Mesa in the Mesa Grande Ward, I've been switched to the mountains! Several things have changed actually. First, I'm now 100% in English work. No mas espanol. Hopefully I don't lose it too quickly. I'm still going to study as much as we have time for.
Second, I'm a zone leader again. I was kind of hoping the transfer long break they gave me would be two or three transfers long. It was great to have the entire day to work in the area. I really am glad to be able to serve in leadership again though. So many fun stories come from other missionaries that we're able to work closer with as zone leaders. Third, we are covering two wards. That will be a big change to adapt to. 

My companion is Elder Hinds. He is also from UT and lived most recently in Layton. He has been serving for about a year. More details on him will come. 

I'm in Snowflake. Luckily, there's no snow, but I was still asked to buy some warmer clothes and boots. The area is great! We cover two wards, Snowflake 1st and 8th. Our boundaries are pretty much east of main street to the county line. One half of concho rd is 8th and the other half is 1st. Our ward mission leaders are brothers. One of them is the city judge and the other is a guard at the prison. Both have some pretty neat stories. We go to meetings and church starting at 7 am and are gone until about 3, so it's not as bad as the missionaries covering 3 wards who are gone until 5. The zone covers all of Snowflake, Concho/St. Johns, and out to Eager. The entire part of the mission in New Mexico is one area and is in our zone. (I may be wrong on that, but we DO cover at least part of New Mexico in our zone.) It takes about 1 hour to get to the missionaries in Concho/ St. Johns and another hour from there to get to Eager.  I'm excited for the service we'll be able to do. I'll send pictures in the next few months. 

This is a big change for me, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to grow. I have faith and trust that the Lord will help me as I struggle with the language barrier for the first few weeks. I know that this IS part of His plan for me and that He knows my full potential. I'm excited to see how this change will provide me with a stronger ability teach in English and to figure out the best way to help this area grow. 

I know the Lord lives and loves us each. He truly does have a plan for us all. 

Until next week! (Or a few months... sorry ;))

Elder Pilkington

                                                                            Bald Eagle

                                                              Dead New Year's Sheep :(

Skinning the Dead New Year's Sheep...How is that a celebration?

                                                            Bald Eagle on Reservation

                                                      Elder Pilkington in Snowflake on P-Day

Monday, January 5, 2015

Jan 5, 2015

This Christmas wasn't as festive as last year. We had half decent tamales and tomatoes with feta cheese. I loved seeing and talking to you again :) Calling home has changed since the first Christmas, but I still love it! I'm feeling good about things. We just had interviews with President Sweeney and he gave me some different information that I'm a little nervous about.  In the interview I had, he asked me about going to English work. He think it will be a good change for me and I would have to agree with that. He also told me that big things were coming, which I translate into training again or maybe a zone leader or something of that degree. Other missionaries have been joking with me and saying I'm going to be the assistant, but I'm pretty sure that's not a thing. The zone leaders we have right now know something that I don't and won't tell me--haha. I guess I'll just have to wait. We get our news on the 17th.  The elders that I'm with are awesome! The ward is great, but I'll be sad to leave. I'm having all the members write in my little book, and everybody is saying I'm their favorite missionary because of how long I've been here. It'll be like leaving home probably!

I had a little surgery on my toe for an ingrown toenail.  It's feeling better now. I'm supposed to soak it every night and clean it in the morning. I got surgery with a different elder named Elder Walter. He is in the mountains now. He put like 4 shots in the toe to numb it and then just did it in front of me. It was nasty to watch, but I didn't feel anything. He just pulled back the skin and cut it out. I think it was straight down. Then he did something to it so that it wouldn't grow back.

Dad mentioned some things about following the promptings of the spirit.  I've found some great things about it. One of my preferred scriptures to share with members that also goes along with the Spirit and the Spirit of conversion is in Luke. I believe it's 22:32. It teaches us that once we've been converted, we are to turn to our brethren to strengthen them. I think there is a focus there on our brethren who have already joined the church but that are struggling. I look back before my mission and never once  looked around the congregation to see who was missing. Now, that is my entire focus and I'd like to bring that home with me. ALSO, a sentence I've come to hate when our bishop asks a member how another member has been, is, "That's not my family." Just because you aren't assigned to them means you can push their welfare and well being off to the side? Not in God's book.
The area is going ok. We don't have a lot of progressing work right now, but we DO have a date for THIS Saturday. O's son who is like 20 is getting baptized in our ward! We began to teach him when we were teaching his dad, but he is married to a native woman who doesn't speak Spanish so we transferred him to the English ward. They taught him the majority of the gospel, but he then decided to switch to Spanish again. I'm so excited, especially because I was one of the first teaching missionaries! Pictures to come. We'll have to come back to their sealing hopefully. It will likely be in January or February of 2016.
                                                                            P Day!

                                                              Had to have toenail surgery

                                                        Great baptism with family of 3

                                                         Elders Pilkington and Strike