Friday, December 27, 2013

December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!!! 

I got your package!!! I haven't opened it yet... way to tell me what it is... haha Two more days... Thank you very much. I am excited to open it up. I also got the package from the Finklea's. Thank you.  That's under my tree as well. Well, kind of a tree... its an aloe vera plant. It is sitting on the window sill and my packages are stacked under it. haha It was the best I could do. I got Grandma's package too. It makes you feel pretty good when the stack of gifts is taller than the tree. 

The mission Christmas party was a blast. I spent the night with the Frederick zone group that was there when I was... It was a party haha.  I met Dennis Pita. He's huge. haha He totally came to our christmas party. He talked for a bit about the role faith has played in his life. He shared how his hip injury initially was looking bad and was an injury that could end his career. Then, he got a priesthood blessing and good treatment. Sounds like he is good now. He either is playing again or expects to return to play. He talked about how while he was injured he took a step back and for the first time in his life, he was able to see himself as more than a football player. He was pretty cool. His wife came too and they both just shared short testimonies. The mission gave us rings.. the say "rwh" on them... I tried but there is no way I can wear a ring.. It's completely ridiculous. It will be quite the deterrent when I am thinking about getting married... It couldn't possibly be worth it.. It drives me nuts... so it's sitting on the floor under my desk right now.. haha The party was fun though. I am sure that there is a million new pictures on the mission blog, including one with me and Dennis. 

It's pretty crazy that it is almost Christmas. What is today the 23rd of December? Really? haha I'm pretty sure I left just the other day on May something... In one week, I will have been out for seven and a half months.. That's crazy.. 

We have a pretty good christmas day lined up. We are having breakfast with a couple that morning. We will probably end up eating lunch with the member that we are skyping with and we have a dinner set with members as well. For the dinner appointment that family is going to have their less active parents over for dinner too at the same time. It's a trap! I'm not sure that their parents know that we are going to be there or not... haha They are a pretty funny family so it should be pretty fun. Christmas eve, we have dinner with the bishop and his family. We are looking forward to that because the bishop here never has the missionaries over for dinner... as long as Elder Plumb has been here it has never happened. So we really need to establish a relationship as a bishop. It is something that I have been trying to find a way to do for a little while. Spring will be nice because we can offer to do some more service stuff... no one wants to take us up on service when it is cold outside... 

Oh yeah! We have parking lot duty at the temple on the 26th! That's awesome because that means we get to go to the DC temple and we will see the lights! I think... haha It should be fun. I have heard that the DC temple is pretty great. I am excited to see it. 

I have to say, I dont think that I have said "Merry Christmas" as many times in my life as I have this Christmas season. haha It's just like a habit now.. Someone bumped into my cart today at the store. They said sorry. I said Merry Christmas. haha 

We also had a stake musical fireside last night. We had a great turnout! There were a ton of people there. We gave tours of the church and different displays that were set up. Then there was the fireside which was really good. Our old elder's quorum president came back and played the violin. He makes violins and he plays really well. He really stole the show. 

I got a christmas card from the Burnham's. Tell them I said thank you.  

Anyway... I've gotta go. I hope you guys have great christmas. I look forward to seeing you Wednesday. 

Love you guys,
Elder Hinkle

Sunday, December 8, 2013

December 2, 2013

Hello Family!
It's good to hear that you have all had a great Thanksgiving! I am sure you guys had a great party. haha We had dinner with two families. We ate with the Wallwork's and the Huffman's. Wallwork's was pretty good and we had a great visit with them. Huffman's was good I am told. I didn't eat theirs... I was pretty full. haha
There was a tender mercy of the Lord this week. I got to go back and play Frederick zone soccer today. It was a blast. Elder Ashton had a doctors appointment there so we hitched a ride with him.
So, fun fact about Annapolis. There is a guy here who is known as Bagman. He is some random black guy who is frequently seen running around the city carrying a big black bag. The story goes that he runs around catching all of the evil spitis in the town. Pretty crazy guy... haha No one knows really who he is or where he came from.... he is just Bagman. Runs really funny too. I wish you could see him. It's crazy.

Oh yeah... just found out at soccer that some great things are happening in Frederick. Ricky is going to go to the temple for an endowment session with the Elders. So sweet! I wish so much that I could go with him... Also, Steve, the tennis player, invited Brother Ferguson and I to play in  a tournament. I missed it.. haha but that's awesome! Best news this week is about Ricky!
Anyway, have a great week!
Love you guys,
Elder Hinkle

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 25 (Out 6 months)

Hello family!
This last week has been a great one! There have just been so many miracles and so many sweet things happening! Leaving Frederick was kinda weird. I will definitely miss the members there, they are awesome! We were pretty busy those last two days I was in Frederick. I didn't really take the route of going around saying goodbye to people, I just stuck to business as usual. And I got lucky. haha We had dinner with the Kippin's Monday night. That was great. They have a tradition that they give all of the elders a shirt from his store, "if the shoe fits". So I got a sweet shirt from the coolest shoe store in Frederick. Then, later that night we had an appointment with the Ferguson's. Brother Ferguson said I need to marry Diondra Ensign. haha That's his plan to keep me in the family. Then, Elder Dorsey was going to marry Nicole, the older sister, because he is the senior companion. haha We all had a good laugh about that.
The next day, we had a sweet miracle. If you remember the Robert's, they were the ones with all the signs and we mowed their lawn. They found out I was leaving and desperately wanted to feed us. Their neighbor told us that they were wanting to contact us, so we stopped by and they were super excited about it. We already had a dinner appointment that night so we set up a desert appointment. We went over and had a great visit with them. They were sad to see me go and they were very complimentary of Elder Dorsey and I. It was neat. We had the chance to do some teaching and we said a prayer with them, which was huge because they really aren't interested in the gospel but the spirit was definitely strong while we were there. It was sweet. This time we visited, I really felt like we brought a special spirit into their home.
Earlier that day, we met with Ed. haha He was super sad that I was leaving. We can't travel to Thurmont because of our restricted miles, but he came down to Frederick and we met at the stake center. So this was another sweet miracle. We had just had zone training that day and our zone leaders talked asked us how often we bear testimony of Christ in our lessons. And we talked about how powerful bearing testimony is. So we met with Ed and at first we were just talking with him about whatever. So then, the conversation turned to one of Ed's favorite topics, what I will do when my mission ends. He likes to bring that up because I told him it's never going to end. haha So we told him about transfer meeting and I said I would go up and bear my testimony. He thought he was being funny and he asked me how long that would take. I just said "start your timer." And then I just bore my testimony. The spirit came in super strong and Ed was all tearing up. haha Funny, in retrospect, because he is never like that. While I was talking he kept saying that he would have brought in his video camera so he could of recorded it. I ignored him and just kept bearing testimony. haha We had to get going to another appointment so we were wrapping up. So I finished and on that note we asked if we could close with a prayer. We asked him to say it. This guy has not prayed outloud in years. The last time we really pushed for it he took time before we came and wrote out a prayer... in German. Then he prayed in German. So we caught him this time and he prayed! It was sweet! This guy hasn't prayed outloud in all the time I was there and he has told us that it has been years since that last happened. It was an awesome miracle! haha
So transfers went well. Packing wasn't too much fun, but it all worked out. haha Elder Plumb is a pretty cool elder. I think we will be a good team here. Annapolis is cool. Full bike area! I love biking, but it has been cold. Last night it was in the twenties. Thank you so much for sending out the coat and gloves! Just got the second package you sent; just in time too. haha The ward here is much smaller than Frederick. Still a ward though. We get to work with all of the students at the Naval Academy, apparently called Midshipmen. They are pretty cool and are a great fellowshipping crew. haha We have a midshipmen investigator named Ryan. The mids are great fellowshippers for him. It's like the ideal situation. Anyway... it is crazy that I am literally on the East coast. And the naval academy is sweet. We also have a senior missionary couple here, the Hilliard's. They are in charge of military relations and they work with the midshipmen a lot.
So the night I got to Annapolis, we had an amazing miracle! The Annapolis elders recieved a media refferal at the start of the week for a Toni Cain. This lady had visited the Salt Lake temple visitor center and was blown away by what she learned and felt. So she requested missionaries to be sent to her house here in Maryland. That's when we come in. We had an appointment for that night on Wednesday to meet her and see what's going on. We did not have a ride though and it was really far away... so our plan was to visit a member and beg for a ride. haha Luckily, it totally worked out. The Wallwork family is an older couple who recently returned from serving a senior mission. They hooked us up with a ride and we went to see Toni. Toni turned out to be really cool. She has a crazy story, you need to google her. She is a trauma surviver turned motivational speaker. She lived on the streets for nineteen years and is now doing quite well. So she visited Utah on business and happened to stop by the temple. She loved it and wants to learn more. She also has a boyfriend who is LDS. He lives in Utah but he is going to be at our next appointment this Friday! haha Crazy! We had a great visit with her. The Wallworks were a huge help in this lesson! She shared a sweet experience about how here husband joined the church. She told us how when he was not a member that her and the kids would group up and pray that he would join the church everyday while he was in the shower. Years later he told her that everyday when he would take a shower he just felt like he was being told that he needed to join the church his family belonged to. haha Crazy story! The spirit was super strong. I know that the spirit spoke through me in this lesson. We were talking about God's love and I just bore solid testimony that God loves her and the spirit was super strong. So she seems awesome and it was a great start to the transfer. haha. This Friday will be sweet. 

Anyway, have a great week! Have a very happy thanksgiving and, Mom, have a very happy birthday! It was great to hear from you today. I always enjoy your letters. I also enjoyed the letter you sent in the package. In the spirit of thanksgiving I want to tell you what I am thankful for. Just before I left on my mission I was was in the temple and I came across   1 Tim 1:12. It says "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry." I love my mission and I am so thankful to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Alma 34:38 says, "worship God in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth, that ye live in thanksgiving daily for the many mercies and blessings he doth bestow upon you." I am so grateful for our Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for their constant involvement in our lives. I know they are helping me each day and I know that they are helping you too, because they love us. That tops my gratitude list. Have a great week! I will talk to you this monday! I gotta go!
I love you guys,
Elder Hinkle

Monday, November 25, 2013

November 18, 2013

Hey guys! I am exhausted today. It's been a sweet day and I'm tired already. I played tennis with Brother Ferguson this morning after running a few miles. Then we got to play soccer today, which was a blast. It was a great last preparation day here in Frederick. Unfortunately, I haven't had much time to pack. Not quite sure when I will fit that in... It was great to hear from you guys! It sounds like all of you had a fun week. So, Mount St. Mary's is in Frederick. haha Well, Frederick area, it's actually in Emmitsburg. If you remember the Catholic professor, he worked at Mt St. Mary's. Crazy. Sounds like I will have to shoot him a text and let him know that the Mormons beat the Catholics. haha I cant believe Travis came home. Time is flying by. It's funny. We have had great weather during the latter half of the week and since time seems to be going so fast, it is hard to believe that its November. It's close to seventy degrees outside right now.
We have had a great week this week! A lot of stuff happened. I got hit pretty hard in the face with the soccer ball today so this might be kinda' jumbled.... I apologize in advance.
So, story number one. I'll start with the end. We had an entire family of Chinese people come to church at our ward. None of them speak English... haha So let me back up a bit. We have been pushing street contacting. We talk with everyone. So we are riding our bikes through a neighborhood of town houses and we run into this Chinese guy. Mid twenties. Sweet Nissan 350z. His name is Suni. So we start talking with him and quickly realized that he didn't speak much English... but we persisted. Using mostly gestures we gave him a card and somehow got the idea that his roommate was interested. So we went back another day to try to meet him. We knocked on the door and met Suni again. This time he was with who we presumed to be his mom. He opens the door and we say hi, he responds with nihow and then he starts speaking Chinese to his mom. We didn't know what was happening but he invited us in to his house. Then he invited us into his room to talk with him. We didn't do too well.... we tried as hard as we could to get the idea across that we were missionaries. His mom spoke a bit more English and asked us if we were the neighbors. Then she asked if we worked at the mall.... clearly we were not effective. haha So then we got the bright idea to pull up in Chinese. So we pulled it up on his computer. Suni saw the home page and just said "me go." haha Elder Dorsey and I looked at each other in bewilderment. haha After a quick Chinese conversation both him and his mom wanted to come to church. Crazy. So we gave them time and location and they said they would come. So a couple days later we stopped by with a translator. There just so happens to be a sister in our ward who is from China. Her and her husband came with us to meet Suni. We knocked looking for Suni and met five other Chinese people. None of them were Suni or his mom. haha But after we started talking with them in their house they wanted to come to church too. So they did. We had a bench of Chinese people in our ward. I'm not really sure how that went. I was on exchanges with the zone leaders in their area. But it was a pretty crazy story.
Exchanges with the zone leader was pretty sweet too. It was a Sunday exchange so we went to church and then came back to eat lunch. I was fasting yesterday so during our lunch hour I was just chillin on the floor. Elder Despain, the zone leader was just eating some food on the couch. Pretty mellow. So we hear some one knock on one of the adjacent doors. "Hello, we are from St John's Catholic Church and we are just going around meeting people in the  area. How are you doing today?" That got our attention. Catholics proselyting? That doesn't happen everyday. Needless to say, we were ready to answer the door. So they knocked on our door. We answered. It was a young guy, Brother Brian as we called him, in training to be a priest and a Hispanic nu. We called her Sister Maria. The young white guy was pretty timid and the nun was like super passionate. They started right into their door approach and about half  way through the guy interrupts him self and says "oh, you're Mormons." haha So Elder Despain entertains the conversation for a little bit and we moved on to some gospel conversation. The nun, shared her feeling about Christ. It was good. Super passionate.  We taught the restoration when they asked about Joseph Smith. We taught about prophets. We taught about the plan of salvation and gave them a pamphlet. We taught about the gospel of Jesus Christ a little bit and invited them to tour our church building and set up some Catholic/Mormon service project. haha It should be sweet for the zone leaders. It was funny. Like no bible bash. They just asked us questions. haha So we taught a Catholic priest and nun.
We have had a ton of service lately. The leaves keep falling. It is a never ending job. We have had a few sweet service opportunities for non members. All leaf removal. But one house stood out. We went over to this one guys house, Mr. Graves. We made a pile of leaves that was over six feet tall and at least twelve feet in diameter. It was simply amazing. I have never jumped in a bigger leaf pile. Simply massive.
We have had great success with sharing Elder Carlson's advice with the members. The members love it. We are hoping to get a lot of new faces to our ward Christmas party. It's going to be awesome. I realize that I forgot to send it to you guys last week. I will do that right now. Done. You should definitely read it. There is a lot of good stuff there. I have a new idea too. Unfortunately, I only have two days to implement it into the Frederick ward. I was talking with the zone leaders about setting up individual family mission plans. There is some good stuff there. The zone leaders have tried it with some success. I am going to refine it a little and get it started here. It's such a sweet idea. Hopefully, I will be able to send you guys some stuff on that too. I think it will really help some members who really want to get involved but are struggling to figure out what to do. My idea behind both of these two projects is that this hastening the work with member involvement thing is all new territory for the members. It's also new territory for us working with members so much but that's not a big deal really... Anyway, whenever you get into new territory it is helpful to have some instruction on what to do. Then they can do something. When they do something they feel successful and want to keep doing things. I like the idea behind it. I am really excited about the family mission plan idea. I cant wait until I have some time to develop that idea more fully.
Not going to lie... I am struggling to remember more of the stories from this week... I must have gotten hit harder than I thought.. haha Just playin'. It just all blurs together.. I need to be better at keeping a journal...
It's going to be a little sad to leave Frederick. I love this ward. It's a great area and it has a lot of great people. I'm leaving so soon too. I had a feeling I was leaving though.. Ok, I pretty much knew I was leaving. I was still hoping I would stay though.
We have a great night planned for tonight. We are having dinner with the Kippins, visiting the Ferguson's, and then visiting the bishop and Ricky. Should be a great night. Solid night to go out on...
So I am going to the Annapolis! My new comp is Elder Plumb. I've heard great things about the area.  I am optimistic to say the least. It sounds like he has been there for a really long time too. It will be nice to have someone who knows the area. I have also heard that we do a lot of biking in Annapolis. I'm stoked! I love biking. One of my elder friends just came from this area and he says its great. Plus, the apartment has a gym. Whaaat!? I am really lucking out with gyms on the mission. I have heard great things about the members there too. I am sad to leave Frederick but I figure the Lord knows what He is doing and I will be in the right place this coming transfer. Should be good. The worst news of all is that I have to pack... that might be rough...
Oh, I did get the coat by the way. It was on the doorstep when I got home Tuesday. Good thing too. Tuesday was freezing. Coldest day of the week. Brother Ferguson's coat was good but the one you sent is better. Much better. haha.
Another one of my elder friends, Elder Holm, hooked me up with a ton of music today. Pretty excited. He got me a copy of a cd that has a ton of different albums on it. So far I know that there is seven.... I am sure there is more but I am not sure how many. Plus, he drew me a sweet picture to put in my signing journal.... I don't have one.... haha Maybe ill start one. Probably not... its like a mission year book. Doesn't really sound like my thing. But I'll keep the picture for sure. He is a really good artist, so its pretty cool.
So I am not quite sure how this next week will shake out but I think it will be good. Transfer meeting is always good because we get to hear the testimonies of those missionaries coming in and those returning. The retuning missionaries get more time so they are usually more interesting. I hope all of you have a great week back home. Is thanksgiving this week? If it is then have a great day/party. haha Not sure what I will be doing. I will talk to you next week and give you the scoop on Annapolis. I am certain it will be a good report. Until then...
Love you guys,
Elder Hinkle

Notes from Elder Carlson's talk to the Baltimore Mission November 2013

The Work Of Salvation
Elder Carlson, Second Quorum of the Seventy

We have all been called to the work of salvation. You are a disciple of Jesus Christ and now you have been called to declare his word (3 Nephi 5:13). How can you help? Elder Carlson shared some practical ideas that we could use to talk to people. We would like to share some of his insights with you!

4 Things You Can Do To Attract Attention:

  • Smile!: people can see the joy that the gospel brings to your life. When you are always smiling it attracts attention! 
  • Focus On Helping Other People: People will notice you as a disciple of Christ when you are always doing little things for other people. In the world today that attracts attention!
  • Live What You Believe: Live so that those around you can feel the influence of the spirit. The spirit attracts attention!
  • Share: Don’t be afraid to share what you believe. Confidence attracts attention!

Talking About The Gospel:

  • People learn things when they are ready and willing to learn. Remember that we cannot recognize who wants to learn about the gospel or who is ready (1 Samuel 16:7). 
    • You succeed when you invite: After that it is up to the person you invited and the spirit.
    • Every invitation is important: when you extend invitations it shows God that he can trust you. The more He trusts you the more likely He will be to place people in your path who are prepared to hear the gospel. 
  • You don't have to be their best friend to introduce them to the gospel.
    • In fact, it may be easier because there is less at stake when you dont have to worry about your relationship. 
    • When they accept your invitation they will be better friends than they were before.
    • If they are not interested in the church do not lose interest in them! 
  • Be honest, loving, and direct when you talk to people about the gospel.
    • When they ask a question, answer the question that they ask directly so they can learn what they want to learn when they want to learn it. 
  • Always leave people with a good impression.

How To Create Gospel Conversation: 

  • The idea is to get them to ask questions so you can talk about what they want to talk about. Be able to answer with short simple answers.
  • Ways of doing this:
    • Use Mormon language: if people don’t understand what you are saying they might ask some questions. When you answer their questions you are teaching them what they want to know about your church. For example, you could mention family home evening, mutual, or relief society and elder's quorum. We use weird words. 
    • Mention news articles about the church: the church is in the news more than you might think. Casually bring up the latest news article you have read about the church. Haven't read any recently? Check out Times Magazine or Mormon newsroom. 
    • Talk about church activities: tell people how much fun you had the other night at the latest ward activity. Maybe you can invite them to the next one! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week 23, October 21, 2013 (5 months out tomorrow)

Hey guys! Loved reading your emails! It sounds like all of you are doing great.  The Halloween party sounded like it was a blast!

Anyway, our week was solid! We stayed pretty busy and did some great member work. Sunday school was probably the highlight though. There is a guy that has been coming to our ward with his member wife every Sunday forever. We just call him Brother Mendoza. He holds a calling and everything; he just isn’t baptized. The Sunday school lesson this week was all about moving forward. President snow said that as long as there remains a step forward to be taken, it should be taken. Brother Mendoza knows the gospel after being taught by many sets of missionaries. He lives the gospel as far as we know. He wants his newborn son to serve a mission. haha So our elder's quorum president asked Brother Mendoza to give this week’s lesson. We loved the idea. We went over and offered to help him prepare the lesson. After some solid preparation we asked him why he hasn't been baptized. He was raised Catholic and so he gave us the classic apostasy complaint. But we didn't really address it. We just let him teach the lesson. On Sunday, he showed up prepared to teach and delivered an awesome lesson. He doesn't speak great English but he did really well. About half way through he asked the question to the class: "for you as members of the church, who have already been baptized, how are you continuing to move forward?" He got some sweet answers because he really seemed to ask as if he actually wanted to know. Then, he followed that up a bit later by asking us all to go around the room and say one step forward that they will take this week. He said that he knows that the missionaries always ask him to read the scriptures and he doesn't always listen but he will try to do that this week. Best elders quorum lesson of the transfer. The spirit was definitely there and I am sure that everyone was taught. Hopefully Brother Mendoza will jump on board one day.

We also had a lot of sweet service opportunities this week. We put up almost ten hours of member service alone! It was good. The best service project we did was for the Ferguson’s. They had some yard work that needed to be done so we helped them out. We cleaned out their gutters, mowed their lawn, and then moved on to the big project of "trimming" one of their trees. This was like extreme arbory. haha Brother Ferguson might be sending you a picture... haha He likes to do that. But we took down about half of this massive tree. We were there mostly for the lower branches and stuff. Brother Ferguson, however, was not messing around. He climbed the tree, chainsaw in hand, and sawed through some massive branches. Watching these big branches fall down never got old. haha So the first one he cut down wasn't to big. I mean, don't get me wrong, it was a solid branch, possible the size of a small tree.... so I am holding the ladder while he is sawing through. When he makes it about halfway the branch snaps and swings down right where I was standing. I think I was quite literally quickened by the spirit now that I look back on my impressive dodge. This branch was probably five feet above me and maybe five feet in front of me. Not sure how or why it moved so far but the important thing is that I dodged it. And the ladder did not fall…so then Brother Ferguson continued higher up the tree to cut off some bigger branches. He starts to cut in to one and it starts leaking. He stops cutting and calls down to let us know that the tree was crying. haha Then he mercilessly proceeded to cut it down. He told us that the saw was going through it like butter and then this massive branch just fell. The whole inside was rotten. It was just wet mush that looked like mud. It was really rotted inside and we were amazed that the branch hadn't just fallen down sooner. As soon as the blades cut through the outer layer the fall thereof was exceedingly great. And thus we see that it is not what we see outside but the state of the tree inside that determines the trees ability to withstand the chainsaw. So then we moved on to the branches that over hung the house. These branches were pretty high up there. Sister Ferguson wanted the branches cut down but was quite nervous watching her husband leave the ladder to climb the tree, while holing the saw, in order to get to the higher branches. Before he attempted this daring act he made sure to ask Elder Dorsey and I if we were both praying for him continually. haha He was probably twenty feet up cutting of these branches… it was crazy. He would cut about halfway through and then we would jump up and grab the ends of the branches in order to pull it down. This way he could avoid the snapback of the branches and not fall out of the tree. It was a blast. We probably ended up cutting down about half of this tree. When we were climbing around all of the trees on the ground Brother Ferguson and I felt like we were in that scene of Jurassic park when they were in the trees. Throughout all of this I somehow managed to lose my magnetic name tag.  We worked right up until our next appointment and then quickly changed so we could get there on time. I changed and was like, oh no!! So I ran outside to look for it. Elder Dorsey was all like we have to be there in five minutes. So I told him I would say a prayer so we could find it in two and then get there in three. haha Totally worked. Prayed for help, we found the tag, really quickly considering that it was in the middle of all the massive branches on the ground, and took off. I should have been more specific in my prayer. haha I only asked for help in finding the tag and that's what I found. haha Still missing the magnet. haha Oh well. I will probably just order a new one. They are making different name tags now rather that the classic design. Glad I found my classic version, its like a collectible now. So I’ll get a new version so I look like a new missionary. haha We now have a return appointment tomorrow to clean up the mess.

Drue has repeatedly canceled appointments this week... not great but they seemed to be legit excuses. She is just busy. We are going to give her to the sisters. President just enforced a rule that if there are sisters in your area then they teach every single sister. The sisters will still pass along the updates though so I will let you know of any progress. We will probably visit her once more in order to tell her that the sisters will teach her now. This will be good because it will be easier to get the relief society involved.

Fall is definitely here. The leaves haven't quite changed as much as they will but the still look pretty cool. It reminds me of Virginia.  It’s getting cold... It’s been in the low fifties-high forties in the mornings and has hung around sixties during the day. 

We are having dinner with the Kippin’s tonight, which is going to be good. And then we are booked with appointments for the rest of the night. It’s going to be great night. Hopefully, it sets a trend for the week and we can stay really busy. We really need to find some more investigators. The Secler’s did not come to the primary program. Really disappointing but we will figure out another way to get in touch with them. The primary program was really good. They had solos and stuff, which was neat. They definitely have a higher standard for the kids in this program than any program I was in. They sang in different languages and like half sang different words... I would not have made it through tryouts for their primary. I would have stuck in nursery forever.

Anyway.... I’ve got to go now. It was great to read your emails, and will look forward to hearing from you next week. I’m doing great. I’m learning a lot, working hard and having fun. I will talk to you next week.

Love you guys,
Elder Hinkle

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Week 22, October 16, 2013

Hey guys! Sorry I didn't get to email on Monday...library was closed. We were going to email yesterday but we had some things come up and so now its Wednesday. It’s great to hear from you guys though! It sounds like you are all doing well and staying busy. 

I can’t always remember things from pre-mission life. As time goes on the mission veil only gets thicker. haha

Jenna sent me a picture of her Halloween costume. I can’t believe it’s almost Halloween already! I want to start a missionary boo. I’m thinking of printing off a picture of a ghost with a tie. haha Someone just gave us a platter of sixty cookies so we need a way to put them to good use. I think we might also set up our car at the trunk or treat. haha It’s going to be fun.

We stopped by the Kippen’s last night to talk with them about conference and stuff. We were talking to them about their trip to Utah and stuff and it sounds like they had a great time. They got my favorite session of conference too. Anyway... so they started talking about spending time with the Ensign’s and Sister Kippen kept calling me Josh. haha It was so weird. Then Bishop Kippen was all, "No he’s not Josh. He is Elder Hinkle. You can’t just be dropping names lie that." haha It was so funny. Love talking to them. They have started reading a book about missionary work and are all fired up! We love it! I can’t remember what the book is called but I’ll let you know if you want to check it out.

Then Sunday night, the Ferguson’s had family in town so they invited us over to meet their family. haha I met Brother Ferguson’s sister who played tennis for BYU! It was pretty sweet! She was pretty cool but I totally forgot to ask her for some advice... psh… not sure what happened there.. mission veil...Haha

This government shutdown is driving me’s all people want to talk about…but on the bright side more people are home in the afternoons! I’m not sure I should be happy about that but it’s nice for us. haha

I appreciate your prayers for Drue, but sadly I must inform you that she canceled the baptism. Pretty crazy turn of events here…we were all set and it was Thursday night. We had spent all day making a program for the event, inviting people, making sure the home and visiting teachers could come, securing refreshments , and whatever else.  She opened the door asking if we had got her text and we were all like, "What text?"  Super weird conversation though...Really fidgety, pretty much no eye contact. Kinda’ defensive... not like Drue. But she told us that she just wasn't ready to be baptized. She still loved church and meeting with us but the baptism was canceled. We said that was fine and set up an appointment for the next day. I’m hoping for the best. If she truly isn't ready and doesn't have that spiritual confirmation that this is what she needs to do then it is a very good thing that she didn't get baptized. That's the way I see it anyway. So this gives us a good chance to really help her get that.

Last night, I was on exchanges with an Elder Welch. Says that Dad did his anesthesia for some operation. Anyway... we had a good day and we were going to finish up by visiting Ricky. Hopefully, you remember Ricky, I always will... haha So Ricky is the most harmless person ever. Nicest guy you will ever meet. Janet lives in his basement. Ricky calls her Vicky and she does not like it. The funniest things happen in that house... haha so on the way I was telling Elder Welch about Ricky. All about how he was a pretty shady character. He ran with a tough crowd and had been arrested a couple of times before. Told him that he was a crazy drunk and that I really hoped he was in a good mood that night. Elder Welch, being a fairly new missionary, kinda’ asked what he should do in our visit. I told him that he needed to just not offend Ricky. Shake his hand firmly, never look him in the eyes, and he must call down the stairs to say hi to Vicky, because if we didn't she might get upset.  hahaha! So we get there and Ricky answers the door. I asked if Ricky was there and he just laughed. We walked in and I motioned for Elder Welch to call down to "Vicky." He did so. Janet aka "Vicky" is a super old lady. She screams back up the stairs "my name is not Vicky!!! Ricky! Stop calling me that!" Ricky is laughing his head off because he calls Janet Vicky all the time. It’s like his pass time, messing with Janet. haha Shortly thereafter I introduced Elder Welch to Ricky, member missionary extraordinaire. Then, we sat down on Ricky's couch and talked with him for a moment. We always sit in the same places in Ricky's house. So instead of taking our stuff in we have slipped a book of Mormon in between to couch cushions. So I sit down, and assumed it would be there. We talked and then at the end Ricky asked if we had a thought for him. I said yes. He asked if it was in the Book of Mormon. Elder Welch asked why I had told him to leave our stuff in the car. I smiled and reached behind my back into the couch cushion an pulled out my..... gospel principles book!?! hahaha Ricky pulled a switch and I totally missed it! Normally, I catch it but not this time. haha So after a good laugh I got my Book of Mormon back and shared our thought. It was priceless though.

Anyway...those are all of the highlights that fit today. It’s been a good week despite a series of unfortunate events. 

Love you guys,
Elder Hinkle

I printed of a ton of general conference talks and have been studying them. So cool. Elder Maynes’ talk on spiritual endurance still stands out to me. I loved that he made the connection between endurance and consistency. As a tennis player, I can definitely relate. I think a solid reflection of your spiritual endurance is your consistency of correct choices. I love that relationship. It’s really made me start to think about ways in which I can increase my spiritual endurance so I make more consistent correct choices. Spiritual fitness!!! Also, President Monson’s talk was spot on. I love how he talked about trials and what not and then stated that our purpose should be spiritual refinement. It’s true. That's what trials are all about. Also, Elder Ballard’s talk was inspired. We talk about it all the time with members. haha

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week 21, October 7, 2013

Hi! Great to hear from you guys again. Sounds like you are doing great. It's good to hear that Grandpa is doing well.
We have had a really great week this week! It's been really fun! If I had more time to write I would tell you all about it but the highlights will have to do. 
Tuesday, we went on exchanges. Elder Dorsey left and I stayed in my area with an Elder Hally. Pretty cool Elder. He is playing basketball at Westminster upon his return and used to live right next to Eagleridge. Anyway... we had an appointment with a guy who we contacted the week before, Frank. In the last meeting, we talked at noodles and co. and got to know him. After listening to him for a while our closing remarks were that we had a message we wanted to share with him that would dramatically impact his life. We met him again in noodles and co. because their noodles are delicious and Frank works there. We planned to share the message of the restoration. - In noodles, while eating noodles. just kidding, we ate before we taught. It went really well. Elder Hally and I taught pretty well together considering that was our first appointment together.  The Spirit was there  and the message seemed to make sense to Frank.  He definitely felt the spirit as he read it and we kept it rolling by informing him that Christ's church is again on the earth. Things went well. We then asked him if he would be baptized and he said he would. Pretty sweet lesson. It was one of those lessons where you walk out of it just super stoked to be a missionary. It is so good.
Later that same night Elder Hally and I took Drue to the stake center to see the baptismal font. Drue is doing great. I should probably mention that she passed her interview with the president. Everything went really well and she is going to be baptized this Saturday. We showed her the font and everything else that she wanted to see associated with her impending baptism. Then we took her into the chapel. I love doing church tours and finishing in the chapel. The Spirit is strong there and it is really cool to be teaching in it when its all empty. We went up by the sacrament table where we had set out some trays for decoration. We taught about the promises Drue is about to make with God by reviewing the sacrament prayers. We also emphasized that while she will get baptized in water only this Saturday, she can renew her covenants with God every Sunday and that it is a life long commitment. It was pretty great. I know I was feeling the Spirit.
So that brings us to general conference. Wasn't that amazing!? There were some powerfull talks. There is nothing like general conference for a missionary. in the opening prayer he prayed for all of the missionaries and I could just feel that support and sustaining influence. It was energizing. A very cool feeling to know that at that moment so many members were gathered in prayer and asked for a blessing on the missionaries. Anyway... we got a sweet invite to watch general conference Saturday morning. The sister missionaries from another area called us and asked us to come over and watch gc with them, a member, and a new investigator they had contacted that lives in our area. His name is Louie. Really chill black guy. He has one of the most soothing voices I have ever heard. He needs to read audio books, but that's not important... more importantly, he loved conference and the sisters made german pancakes. Does life get better?
We went over and watched the Saturday afternoon session with Drue. She really enjoyed it as well. We stayed in contact with Louie through text and he had stayed to watch the second session. We were stoked. Then we invited him to come to the priesthood session with us and he came with us! Even better there was an ice cream social before it started, which he came to. We introduced him to a million people but I heeded the voice of the Spirit to find his perfect fellowshipper. I just had this feeling as I was standing in line to dutifully eat my ice cream that I needed to go talk to this guy who  just got back from his mission. Not sure what I had to say or why I was leaving my new golden investigator, I figured it out right as I approached him. So I took Isaac, the rm, to meet Louie. Now Louie is going to a ysa bonfire with Isaac tonight and playing tennis with Isaac tomorrow. We will be meeting with him later in the week. Should be good. I'll keep you posted on his progress. By the way... the sisters taught the first vision and he believes that that happened. Also wants to read the Book of Mormon.
Sunday session we spent with the Ferguson family. Both sessions and breakfast and lunch. haha It was a fun day. Missionary marathon for them. We were texting Drue after each session about favorite talks and she watched all of the sessions. Then tonight, we are doing an fhe with the Ferguson's and Drue. It's going to be sweet. We have the lesson about feeling the Holy Ghost. We will try to get the kids involved. We are promised there will also be an activity so it should be fun.
Can I just say that I love conference!!! Please let Tyler know that the decision to go to homecoming instead of the priesthood session was the worst decision ever. Please use those words. Oh boy...
I had a lot of favorite talks.... haha Can't wait for the Ensign. Among my favorites were: Bednar's on tithing; Hollands talk, no surprise and then the finishing combo of the Sunday morning session. Elder Maynes through President Monson. Loved it. Love the idea of spiritual fitness. That's something I think about all the time. And then to be followed up with talks on endurance and capitalizing on adversity was great. As President Monson said - one of the best sessions ever!  The poem he shared was pretty sweet - the stronger the wind, the stronger the trees! (exclamation point!) haha
I know I have waited to the end for the most important news, sorry. But now I can finally tell you about zone soccer! It was a blast today. So we normally split into four different teams or so and switch it around a bunch. I managed to get my self on two maybe three teams (I'm not quite sure) today and I got to play for pretty much the entire time. ah.. So good.
It is great to hear that Jenna went to do baptisms this last week! Jenna, you will find that there is no place on earth like the temple and that it is one of the best places to be. Before I left, I spent hours there. Doing baptisms for the dead is a very important work. When you do baptisms for the dead you and I are very much on the same team as we do the work of salvation. You may be unable to pronounce their names but one day I am sure you will meet them and they will be filled with gratitude that you were baptized for them. Drue will also be going to the temple for her first time after she is baptized and we are excited for her.
Oh yeah... we had call outs last night as well. haha Staying in Frederick and stoked! This coming transfer is going to be a blast! I cant wait. When drue goes to do baptisms I will get to go with her and see the DC temple! Hopefully, I will remember the camera and I can send some pictures. Although I don't take pictures often, it is even less often that I remember to bring the camera to the library... haha sorry.
Great to hear that the books have arrived. Looking forward to reading them. I do love a good book to think about. of course I am never short of material of that sort on my mission. The standard works are always full of new insights. It's quite amazing. I often find myself wishing I had more time to study. There is just so much to learn.
Brother Kippen, Bishop Kippen = same person. They are there now haha super cool people. And yeah, he is the one who gave me the shoes. And I can't say that im thrilled with the twenty two minute time. Although I am a missionary now I can still remember when I was an athlete and ran faster... ugh.. I've noticed that my metabolism has slowed down too. It's not good. We just don't move enough. I don't need to eat nearly as much as I used to. Kind of a bummer.
hahaha!!! Elder Dorsey just got his tiwi card suspended for forty five days! We just barely got the call. hahaha Now, I should probably get mine... I've been a little lazy with that. I had just let him drive me around places. I have the stuff, no worries. and let's be honest, My odds of living past the fourth transfer just got so much better. haha Don't tell mom. haha Just kidding, I know she is reading this. But no worries, I'm driving now. It's all good.
It's true about what Brother Ensign said in his lesson. The mission field is full of success. I can't believe that I've been out four months. It doesn't feel that long at all. I only recently realized how old I was. Early on in this week, I was talking to someone who asked how long I had been out. I quickly responded that I had been out three months. I was talking to Elder Barzee who came out with me and that when I found out that I skipped a month. Whoops, my bad. At the end of this transfer, I will have spent a quarter of my mission in Frederick. Twenty five percent of my mission will have already happened. You will have received one fourth of all of my total letters. these stats are startling. the numbers are baffling. I cant quite understand where the time has gone. I have decided that I will just continue telling everyone that I've been out three months. If all of you could please do the same that would be wonderful. Except for any college tennis coaches.  We should probably be honest with them. Otherwise remember, three months.
I hope your fhe is going to be as good as the one im going to tonight. You have some tough competition, So good luck. I have got to go but I will talk to you again next week. Oh... I forgot to send you the poem Ed wrote... sorry. Maybe next week. He was convinced I was leaving. Can't wait to show up on his doorstep. haha anyway... I hope you all have a great week. Stay spiritually fit by saying personal and family prayer, holding personal and family scripture study, and having family home evening. - you know I will. A little more emphasis on the personal though since you guys are two thousand miles away...
I love you guys,
Elder Hinkle

Week 20, September 30, 2013

Hi again! I am a bit rushed today, so please excuse the lack of flow.. (I use that excuse way to much). Anyway, it was great to hear from you today. It sounds like you're all doing well. The primary program sounded great. That's a great opportunity to invite people to come to church. Ours is coming up and we are working with members to invite their nonmember friends to see the kids sing. For ours this year, the parts are all taken from the kids talks that they have given through out the year. It's a pretty neat idea.
It is turning more fall here. Mornings are chilly. The days are really nice though. Leaves have not started changing yet but I am sure it wont be long. The fall season will bring a lot of great service opportunities. Picking up leaves at Grandpa's house all of these years has prepared me well for the coming month. haha It will be a great opportunity to help out members and their nonmember friends. It's perfect because we will be able to talk to the people we are working with as well and get to know them. There will be a ton of leaves.
I am stoked for general conference this weekend!!! It is going to be great. as missionaries we are all really looking forward to it. We have been milking the oppertunity too. We have an investigator's inactive mother coming to her house to watch it, which is sweet. Then we have another guy who is going to a member's house to watch it. It's going to be fun. Our investigator went to the relief society broadcast this last week and loved it. From what we have heard it was all about keeping baptismal covenents, which is perfect for our investigators.
Oh, and we taught her about tithing and fasting at the bishop's house. We introduced her son to the bishop's son, so they could play while she went to the relief society broadcast. We went in and I just played with the kids for about twenty minutes. We played ninja. Unfortunately, they left me and just went and played with each other. They are friends now so thats good.
So...I also ran the 5k this week!!! Took thriteenth. Not bad but I didn't win... I ran it in about 22 minutes. It makes me realize how much I have gotten out of shape.. I used to be so much faster. It wasn't bad for being a missionary though. We all looked sweet in our shirts and ties with our running shoes. My bright blue nikes looked much better than the usual black leather ones.  More comfortable too..
Thursday, I went on exchanges with Elder Barzee. It was fun and we biked all day which was also fun. I think we rode about fifteen miles or so. It definitely beat sitting in the passenger seat all day. I am torn between being efficient with the car and being less efficient but getting exercise on the bike...
I played tennis with Brother Ferguson this morning. It was fun, but I broke his strings... haha Then he took us out to breakfast. It was a good morning. Brother Ferguson is hilarious, so we had fun. Our dinner conversation kept comming back to the sample of scapple that the resturaunt provided free of charge. When the waiter was telling us what scapple was, she defined it as being all of the parts of the pig that are unfit for sausage and hot dogs mixed together. haha As appetizing as that sounded we had been fed scrapple earlier in my mission and we advised Brother Ferguson to get something better. Noticing his indecision, the waitress brought a sample, free of charge, for us to enjoy. haha It was a fifties style dinner and I am pretty sure we were the only people in there who approved of laughter.. haha
None of the other elders would come play basketball with us so we have had a pretty open p-day. We went over and had lunch with another member and helped give his wife a blessing. She is pregnant and is having some complication.. I don't really know... They fed us lunch though. It's been a good p-day. Nothing like soccer but still pretty good.
In our 5th Sunday lesson I ended up sitting next to this girl who is about to leave on her mission. The lesson was given by Brother Turner and he taught about having effective fhe. Which would have been really interesting had I been able to focus because I've been to his fhe and it is really really good and he is a great teacher. I am told that the lesson was really great but im not really sure. I was totally distracted... this girl just started freaking out about going on a mission two days before she is supposed to leave and she decided to ask me about it... I missed almost the entire lesson. I just sat there in the back trying to help her out without breaking mission rules by offering counsel to some girl. The white bible makes it pretty clear  its really not my calling to counsel in personal matters. It would have seemed that my hands were tied but in our corellation meeting later that day I got the prompting to tell the sisters to go and visit her. Sisters counceling sisters is a little less against the rules anyway... Anyway, long story short is that she was excited to go and then Sunday morning she freaked out. We left class and I told the sister missionaries to go and visit her that night and now shes all good  and excited again. Yea. While I would have really loved to have been able to listen to Brother Turner I am glad that I was in a position yet again to follow the prompting of the Spirit and help someone out in a round about way. I love it when I recognize that I folowed a promting and it works out and I get to see all of it happen.
To answer your question this is the last week of the transfer. People keep assuming I am leaving because I have been here a while. I, on the other hand, am not so sure. I adamently assert that I am here to stay! haha Brother Bozman, Ed, wrote me a poem and read it to me last night. I told him I need a copy and when he gives it to me I will type it up for you. It was too funny. As he read it aloud Elder Dorsey and I were crippled with laughter. For the record, that was the first time an old guy wrote a poem about me. He scheduled his traditional expect-the-worst-end-of-transfer lunch.  In order to prevent any missionary from leaving without saying good bye he schedules lunch the week prior to transfers in order to arrange one last meeting. haha In case he is right please dont send anything to the apartment address.. Just send it to the mission address so it gets to me regardless of where I am. Not sure why I would say that.. I'm staying in Frederick for a long time time so it wont matter, right?
We have a lesson set up tonight with an older couple who invited one of their friends over to chill with us. We will be treated to more dessert and a great evening of conversation. Then we are going to share a spiritual thought from the Bible. It should be good. It is a great opportunity to help their friend feel the Spirit and get to know him better. It's exciting.
The Ferguson's are getting ready to make a move on their friends and invite them to learn more. Sister Ferguson has been wondering what it would be like to have them taught in their home so we are going to have the Ferguson's invite another investigator over for fhe soon to give Sister Ferguson a taste of what it is like. It will be great. Then we are hoping that she will be more comfortable extending the invite their friends to join us for dinner or something. It's has been really exciting to see the Ferguson's get involved in missionary work and reach out to friends. They have really started to be a lot more proactive about it and are now turning into one of the best missionary families in our ward at the moment. It's great.
Oh! Very important! As missionaries we invite people to do things all of the time. My invitation to you today is a very important one. I would like to invite you all to think of some different good things for me to eat. I've got to start mixing it up a bit. Anyway... I've gotta go. I will talk to you guys next week and tell you more about life in Frederick. Fortunately, thanks to email, what happens in Maryland, does not stay in Maryland.
Love you guys,
Elder Hinkle