Tuesday, May 12, 2015

May 11, 2015

Hey guys! It was good to talk to you yesterday! That was fun! I am glad that you were able to meet B and N! They are awesome! For Jordan and Jenna and Jack - remember this is why we serve missions! To help people like B and N be as happy as we are. B touched on how his mom passed away when he was young. As he has learned about the restored gospel, he has expressed to us his joy in learning that he will see his mom again. One of the big things that resonated with him is that he would see her again after this life. It was a special event this Saturday, as N was baptized in behalf of B's mom. N has never met his mom, but she felt honored to stand in her place and be baptized. They were thrilled as they did the work that B's mom needs to enter the celestial kingdom. The gospel has given this family the hope that they will be together forever, and has also provided the power and the direction they needed to do so. Again this is why we do what we do as missionaries. I wish I could show a before and after spiritual picture of B and N. Then, perhaps you would see even more of the value there is in in the work of salvation. It is the greatest work on the earth. It is a honor and a privilege to be involved in it. 

I give you another reason why we serve as full-time missionaries. One word - D. The baptism was amazing.  We asked her if she had a favorite scripture that she would like to include. She did indeed: 2 Ne 4:28-30. "Awake my soul! No longer droop in sin! Rejoice o my heart and give place no more for the enemy of my soul! Do not anger because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of my afflictions. Rejoice o my heart and cry unto the Lord and say:O Lord, I will praise thee forever  Yea my soul will rejoice in thee my God and the rock of my salvation." There could not have been a more fitting set of verses.  D was just full of joy that day. Smiling from ear to ear. It was so good to see.  The baptism was well attended. The ward showed great support.  Everything was awesome. The next day, D came to church and was confirmed a member and given the gift of the Holy Ghost. It was awesome. It doesn't get better than that. To see the gospel effect a change like this in someone's life, especially in the life of someone I have grown to love is a miracle. This is why we serve as missionaries. To be the vessel, to take the Lord's message to his sons and daughters who are perishing in unbelief because they know not where to find the one thing that will help them. They wander in darkness while we are blessed to walk in the light. It is our duty to take that light with us wherever we go. It is our duty to answer the call of the Lord to serve as his missionaries. To be his servants and share the light of Christ with others. 

The Lord has blessed me richly as I have been in His service. Initially, I chose to serve a mission because I wanted to follow the Lord, to do what He wanted me to do. I felt indebted to Him. As my mission draws to an end, I am devastated because I do not want to leave the people behind. It will be hard to come home. I think I will miss my mission every day for the rest of my life. I am grateful that I chose to follow the Lord and do what he would have me do. I am grateful that as I have done so, he has changed me and used me to help other great people. I now feel even more indebted to him. 

Gotta go. 

I love you guys!
elder Hinkle

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May 4, 2015

Hey guys! 
Good to hear from you guys again today! Sounds like you are having lots of fun back there. That's good. Good things just keep happening out here! It's been so so good! ah!! It's been the best! Everything is working out just fine. The Lord truly prepares a way that all things He requires may be accomplished as we work hard and follow His counsel. I have learned that over and over again this transfer. It has been a big load to manage and coordinate all the work going on here but it sure is great to be working hard and seeing miracles happen! 

Brother P! We went to the family history center this Wednesday and we printed off ordinance cards for both of his parents! Then Thursday, we went down to perform the baptisms. Sister N and sister M came with us. Sis N was baptized first for brother P's mother. And bro P was watching. It was a sweet moment. Then, he was baptized for his father.  Elder Smith and I were able to perform the confirmations. It was an emotional day for bro P. It hasn't been too often that he has been emotional in our visits but as his parents were baptized and confirmed, he was so happy and he was crying there in the temple. We had the whole baptistry to ourselves. It was so sweet. Elder Smith and I were the witnesses for the baptisms. Then, we went to the visitors center with him for a moment afterwards. It was such a good experience for him! He loved it and he assured the friendly temple workers that he would be back again.  There was this one temple worker who started talking to bro P and I, and he learned that Joe was recently baptized. We were like how was your day so far? He said "oh, glorious! Every day is glorious in the temple!" And we told him that bro P was just baptized for his parents. He says, "Oh! That's great! Great, grand, and glorious!" haha So glorious is our new word. haha It was so funny. Priceless. Bro P has received a calling as a stake day of service committee member. He received home teacher. The guy who will home teach him is an ordained seventy from back when they had stake seventy. He is awesome!. We are going to coordinate with him and begin the new member lessons with bro P, shortly. He also received a home-teaching assignment. All things are a go. And he is going to be one of the witnesses at D's baptism this coming Saturday! All things are going well for him now.

B and N were baptized on Saturday! Fantastic service! Bro P offered the opening prayer! haha It was so sweet! And in his prayer, he said glorious. haha There was a huge turn out. There were like upwards of fifty or more people there! I think he was a little nervous to offer the invocation but he did a great job! All the missionaries that taught them came back to the service! Elder Burgess and elder Vandergraff were both there. It was a sweet day for both of them as well! And it was fun for us to see each other! It was a powerful service and the spirit was really strong. B and N were so happy. Their testimonies at the end were very inspiring.  The ward loves them so much. It is awesome! The next day, at church was great as well. They were both confirmed and B was ordained a priest. They both have their temple recommends and we are going to do family history with them on Wednesday. That will be awesome! Miracles in the B ward! 

D!  All is well with D as well! She is set to be baptized on Saturday! She is very excited. With each baptism she attends, she feels better and better about it. She is in a good place right now. We are working hard to help her this week. She is a miracle! I will send you some more pictures next week! 

The work of the Lord is rolling here! It's incredible! It has been such a good transfer. It is hard to believe it is almost over. It's sad.. it makes me focus though. Every night when I lie down, I feel like I can see a big calendar hanging over my head. Like one of the calendars that is a thick stack of paper and each page has one day on it. And each day one more page falls down. And the pages are big metal pages. Pages and days that cannot be put back up... it drives me to do everything I can in the last two weeks. Each night, I review the day's activities and I am happy to say that at the end of each night, I have felt that I have done all I could that day. That is a peaceful feeling. It is hard to leave though.... after having stayed on top of things and been so involved with these people for so long it is a very anxious feeling I get when I think of not being here and directly involved anymore. I look forward to connecting with them as soon as I get home. And with brother K. But I trust the Lord and I know he will take care of them. 

I have my exit interview on Tuesday... that's unreal... pray for me. I don't even know what to expect. I feel like a dead man. Sister K bore her testimony on Sunday. She told her story of how she found the church and fell away and then came back. She first met missionaries only shortly before I met her last year. And that is when she started coming back. I told her that before I leave again, we should have another oreo party! Just like last time! She agrees! haha She also suggested that we do bring some ice cream. haha She did not know that I was leaving so soon. haha This ward is just too cool. This has been the best place to serve my last transfer! It's awesome!

C is also doing great! We met with him this week and we talked very specifically about baptism and what it will take. We gave an overview of all of the commandments. He agreed to live all of them. 

Well, I have gotta go now. It has been fun to talk to you guys today. I will see you Sunday. That will be lots of fun; I am looking forward to it. Oh shoot! I just realized that my exit interview is tomorrow!!! Flip! Man, that just got real... 

I love you guys,
elder Hinkle

Monday, May 4, 2015

April 27, 2015

Hey guys! It was good to hear from all of you this week! Thank you for more birthday wishes. haha Just rub it in... I'm getting old. haha 

Interview with president went well this week. It was pretty quick. We talked about the good things happening in the ward and just followed up about a few things we had talked about before. Then we had the temple recommend interview. It was a privilege to be interviewed again to receive a temple recommend. 

B and N are officially brother and sister G! The wedding was fantastic. We went for the ceremony and stayed briefly to meet the family. It was awesome.  Everything is moving along perfectly for them. We will go over tomorrow night and then see them every night after that leading up to their baptism on Saturday. I will send you another picture next week! It's going to be awesome! We have the interview this Wednesday. They are doing so great. We met their family too. They are all pretty cool. They loved the wedding. It was awesome to see how much the ward has come together to help them out. So, so cool. The baptism will be even better. It's all planned and good to go. Nothing but good things to say about these guys.

D has been going strong as well. She is only two weeks away from her scheduled date. What a miracle that is. The L family has been out of town for the week. They got back last night. While they were gone, they had Debbie stay in their house and asked her to paint their shutters white. They told her we could help her. Brilliant. So we did. We went over a few days this week and helped her paint and spent some time with her. She is in Jacob seven last we talked to her! What a great example for all of us of daily scripture study. 

J- Still the man. While I was with D that night elder Smith was with bro P and the high priest group leader searching out family names for bro P. Then, we are aiming to go to the temple this Thursday.  Bro N cannot come. But sister N can and is willing to do some of his family names, like his mom. That will be awesome! We are still working out the final details of the trip. We tried to wait for bro N but the wait would have been too long. So that will be a blast this week. We cannot do baptisms but we will be there for support. 

C came to conference! That was sweet! He loved it! Elder Hales talked a lot about what we teach our children and how we teach them. C said that part really hit home. Perfect. We are going to see him Wednesday again. And he has read another book of mormon chapter! He is doing great! It is good to see him keeping commitments! When you keep commitments, you receive blessings! So that was good! We have great hopes with him and we are going to set a date with him this week! Unfortunately, it will most likely be after the end of this transfer. He has some lifestyle changes that he must make before he can be baptized. But I think he will do it. 

After church, president M called us and invited us over for lunch! It was a blast! They are an awesome family! We had a great time there! And we talked about their family mission plan. After brother P's baptism, a discussion sparked in their home about how this man had not been invited to learn more in 27 years of living in such close proximity to strong members of the church. And the M's resolved that there was more that they could do. It was cool too see how missionary-minded they were.

I am loving being here. It will be hard to leave. I am glad we have so much to do before then. I feel like I have been able to finish out my mission in the best way possible. It's been sweet.  I wish I had more time. I'll be sure to make these last three weeks count. My time in full time missionary service means more to me than I can express. 

I will talk to you guys next week! 

I love you guys!
elder Hinkle

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March 30, 2015

Hey guys! I have more and more good news for you this week! haha It was an awesome week! Just fantastic! The transfer is almost over... one more week. Call outs are this Sunday. I am hoping that I stay here with elder S for obvious reasons. haha This would be a great place to finish strong. We just have so much going on in the upcoming weeks. Each week from here on out, there is like some big event here. Something to look forward to every week. Its pretty unreal. Conference will be awesome this week! I definitely cannot wait for that! B and N will be in town as well as D, so we are going to try to watch a couple sessions with them. 

President Richards came to my district meeting this last week. haha That was pretty crazy! But it was a really good district meeting and he actually gave us some key insights to our next lesson with J. So that was pretty cool. After the meeting, he took us all out to Cafe rio. That was pretty great too. I didn't eat a ton because I knew we were going to the N's for dinner that same night. They make lots of food, really good food. haha President wanted us to invite bro N to speak in one of our leadership meetings. I hope that happens while i'm still here! So, in my last interview with President, he said we should sit down together on Apr 1st and talk about my plans after the mission... so I have that fun conversation coming up this Wednesday... I can't believe that's here already. I need to get my temple recommend renewed as well.. time flies. I tried to tell President the other day that we should push back our going home conversation so I could just focus on the work and stuff, but he said that would not be a good idea. haha So we are meeting this Wednesday .. what do you do? I tell you what, life is much easier when I just think about my mission.... I'm all about playing point by point. One by one. So after I open that door with president this week, I will close it back up again so I can focus. I don't have too much longer... only seven more letters home... It's pretty crazy.

So the good report about bro P - this is just too good! haha We have continued to meet with him regularly this last week. Our first lesson this week with him was when we taught the gospel of Christ.  As we talked about the gospel and as we got to talking about baptism, we emphasized the doctrine of baptism and then retouched on the priesthood authority. It was all making sense to J and he felt the spirit and we turned to him and told him, "Bro N holds that priesthood authority," and  asked "brother P, how would you feel about having bro N baptize you?" And he was stoked about it! He is all about getting baptized. And then, bro N expressed how honored he would feel to be able to perform that ordinance and how he would do everything he could to be worthy to do so. It was awesome. Bro N is the perfect member to teach with, let me tell you! haha He always shares personal powerful testimony and just let's J know how much he loves him and he invites. He has told us on more than one occasion "if i'm going to do it, then i'm going to do it all the way" haha and he does. He keeps the commitments we extend, he is in 1 Ne 14 last we talked to him. He responds with faith quickly and exactly. It's awesome! I hope I can do the same as I receive messages from the Lord! People who are so ready to act on the message we share deserve missionaries who will equally, if not more readily, act on the promptings they receive in order to help the investigators. We are determined to do all we can for brother P as well as our other investigators. There is so much to do! 

So yeah, lots of good things happening here. It is cool to be a part of it. So the next few weeks -game time! This is my game face >:I Very focused. haha So keep these four people in your prayers.  

And I think that is pretty much my report for the week. It was a great week. We are going to continue working hard here. There is so much to do. We are constantly looking for ways we can help the people we are working with. We maintain daily contact with them, which is good. Anything and everything to help them.  This ward is fantastic. 

Have you seen the church's new Easter video. It is also good. It's called, Because He lives. You will like that one too! 

Well, it was good to talk to you guys today! I hope you guys have a great week and a revelatory experience at the Lord's general conference this weekend. I am very excited! 

I love you guys,
elder Hinkle

Monday, March 23, 2015

March 23, 2015

Hey guys!  Our week was amazing! So many good experiences.  We are working with several people. They are in a most important stage of their life. We are aware that the decisions they make now will impact them possibly for eternity; we are very focused on helping them. This is game time for them and for us! Literally, the fourth quarter. So pray for them!

So...conference is in two weeks! What's up!? General conference and Easter! So sweet! We are going to try to watch conference, at least one session with each of our investigators! It's going to be such an awesome day! I am excited! I remember thinking last conference that by the time we had conference again I would almost be going home... it is crazy how fast that has come! And with all that is happening, time is certainly not slowing down. I remember thinking that it would be really close, but I am still in-between the start and the end, which means I'm in the middle! And it feels like that. I feel like I have been very blessed, I feel very focused and I feel like I am in a very good place right now to do the work of the Lord. And I look forward to watching conference with our friends here, I invite you to prepare now to receive the revelation you want to receive in general conference, and I remind you of the promise that if we are seeking direction from the Lord, answers can be found in general conference if we seek them. And remember to noise it abroad through out all the land that the Lord is speaking to all the people of the earth in two weeks time! That is very exciting! 

I have something for you to do tonight as you read my letter. There is a video on lds.org called 'Because of Him.' Watch this video; it's like two minutes long. As you do, think about how Jesus Christ has affected your life. And pay attention to how you feel to recognize the holy ghost. When the video is over, go around in a circle and complete the sentence "Because of Him.....(insert how Christ has affected your life. One sentence) And as you listen to each other, pay attention to how you feel as all of you bear testimony of Christ. That's the holy ghost. I will tell you what's on my mind now. You don't need to elaborate past completing the sentence but I have some more time to write so I will.
Because of Him, I can be my best. It means a lot to me that I can rely on the atonement of Jesus Christ in order to be at my best for these last few months. I rely on Him daily because my best is required daily. And because of Him my mission has been the best two years of my life. Now it's your turn.

I love you guys,
elder Hinkle

Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2, 2015

Hey guys! It was good to hear from you today! I enjoyed all of your letters! It sounds like you guys are doing great and that is good news! 
Elder S is cool. He is a lot quieter than elder B. But he is a good missionary. He is from Utah, pretty close by. He went to Solitude to snowboard. We have been having great success here together. A lot of really good things have been happening here despite the crazy weather. We had a big ice storm yesterday. I have never seen anything like that. haha Everything was just crystalized in ice. Everything. The cars were covered in sheets of ice. The snow on the ground was frozen. It was like someone poured magic shell stuff over everything. So weird. Everything was shut down. Everyone but the missionaries, of course. The ice just meant that everyone else was together and at home. Good time to knock on some doors. Elder S and I would race up the steep driveways trying not to slip and fall back to the start of the driveway. Then, on the way down we came the closest to snowboarding either of us has been for the last two winters. It was a fun night though. I am one of those people who likes to do missionary work and doesn't want the mission to end. 

So the first two days of the week, elder B said goodbye to pretty much everyone. And that sums up those two days. Then, elder S got here Wednesday and we got to work. We met a less active member that I have never met before. So that was a miracle! We went in and had a good visit getting to know her. Her husband was a little less social but he was cool too. He is not a member. Once it was time to leave we were invited to stop back again and she said Saturdays are good. So we will be looking to get in with them again this week. Maybe we will take some cookies. Anyway, that was good. 

The next day we had a very productive day. We found two new investigators! I had met them on exchanges with elder Plumb and the return appointment was this last Thursday. It went very well. The night we met him last week was below freezing cold, let me tell you. Crazy K had taken his dog outside for as long as he could stand to be out there and then we found him. Boom. As we sat down with him Thursday, we asked him why he let us come back and he said that anyone who is outside sharing a message from God in 8 degree weather has something worth hearing. haha Blessings of the cold! So we taught them more. They had never heard of us before but were pretty open to the shortest summary of the apostasy/restoration. Then, we taught them about the role of the holy ghost and gave them some home work. We are going back this Wednesday to discuss the restoration in further detail. It will be good! 

Oh man, I forgot to tell you... so I went to transfer meeting this week and there were a lot of missionaries that I know that went home. A lot. Then, two of the elders that I came out with went home as well. It was awful. Two elders that I came out with and served around for like the first six months of my mission. Man, it was so weird. Both went home to have surgeries... it was sad. I am so grateful that I am able to and have been able to wait to have surgery. I would not want to go home early. But man, seeing them go home early made me feel much more grateful that I have been able to stay out and have not experienced any complications. That would be the worst. 

Anyway, we are working hard to find new investigators and more people to teach! We will find them! B and N are doing great, as usual. As time gets closer to their baptism, we are continuing to pray for them. They are the best. Just an awesome couple with a lot of faith. They have been through some really rough stuff and it is great to see that the gospel is really bringing some light into their lives. That is really cool. 

That is so sweet that Tyler sent in his papers this week!!! That's huge! I am stoked to hear where he gets called to serve! After being a missionary for so long,  I know that will literally be one of the best things ever! That's just awesome! Way to go, Tyler! It will be cool to be able to see him before he leaves and I am sure I will be so jealous... haha So let me know where he goes! That's too cool! 

I am all about finishing strong for the next few months. There is so much packed into them. General conference is in like four weeks. Thats what's up! I can't wait for that! It's like the last week of this transfer. But yeah, I have been working hard to do as much as I can with the time I have remaining. As time goes on, it has been easier and easier to do the work. And it has become more and more enjoyable.  And I know that as long as I stay focused on the Savior and the work that there will be no distractions that can get into my heart. But I do remind myself of that often. I must remember. There is a phrase in the book of mormon "I would that ye should". The prophets often say this when they are inviting us, the reader, to do something they want us to do. In my study, the most common thing they want us to do is to remember what they wrote when we put the book down. We must all remember what our focus should be. 

Oh, I have to go, I will talk to you next week! 

I love you guys!
elder Hinkle

Monday, February 2, 2015

February 2, 2015 Super Bowl

So, as you were watching the super bowl you may have noticed some elements of the competition. There were two teams. Each was led by a coach who was full of wisdom and experience. Well... ok, just go with me on that one. There is no way to be sure. There was one team that was the good team. The coach of the good team will represent the Lord. He is our coach. Through out the entire game, he wears a mic. Through this mic, he talks to his representative on the field - the quarterback. His name is Thomas S. Monson. He's an all-star. Really, really, good. He was on the cover of the Ensign a couple times! The quarterback is the coach's way of making things happen on the field. And the coach is always talking to the quarterback. Except for sometimes, when the team doesn't run the plays he calls, then he gets all mad and rips off the mic. haha For just a moment, the team would be in a state of apostacy. Fortunately, that won't ever happen again because he has put the his team in the game. Led by president Monson, we are all on the team. And this is key, our team wins the game. How we win is by running the plays the coach calls... so the coach tells the quarterback and then the quarter back calls it out. It is then, our most important duty to run the play. The success of the play depends wholly upon the members of the team doing what they are supposed to do. We must sustain the prophet by following his counsel. By running the plays he calls. If he calls out do not drink coffee, then we don't drink coffee. If he calls out don't watch inappropriate media, then we follow his direction. If he calls out to share the gospel with all the world, we respond with all the effort and enthusiasm of a receiver in the super bowl. As we follow the commandments and run the plays we will win. And I testify that we are indeed led by the Lord. That president Monson is His chosen prophet today and we have the world's best play book in the book of mormon. I testify that if we live the gospel, we will not fail in this contest of life.