Sunday, June 30, 2013

Week 6, July 24, 2013

To whom it may concern,

It has been pretty warm here. The car said it was 100 yesterday. I tried to ride the bike but when we were pulling out of the parking lot I went to turn and the handlebars turned but they didn’t turn the wheel. But no worries, I only almost crashed. It has been years since I have ridden a bike and that wasn’t a great way to start off... So, I have to get that fixed soon. Humidity hasn't seemed too terrible yet.

We have done a lot of service this week. It has been nice to be outside a lot, but I can only watch as my Nike Vapors get trashed... I've tried to clean them a couple of times but it doesn’t work too well. It's all good though. We have pulled lots of weeds, moved a lot of furniture, mowed some lawns, worked in a soup kitchen, etc… It’s all good fun.

Two days ago we were playing basketball with another set of elders. The two of them collided and one ended up with a dislocated shoulder at 6:45 in the morning. It was an adventure dealing with that. So we called Sister Richards, the mission president's wife, and asked what we should do. She said to take him to an instacare. The instacares were closed at that time so we just went tot the ER. We all went back there with him and they gave him some narcotic. He was so loopy. So pretty much everything he said ended up as an ongoing joke for the last few days. About an hour after we left, the entire mission gets a text from president saying "if injured and instacare isn’t open, do not go to the ER. And PS. Do not give the mission insurance as the primary insurance." Haha. Apparently we did everything wrong except the first step: call sister Richards.

Hey, what do you call an ocean full of noodles?     A-Pasta-sea ahaha.. I'm sure these get old fast…

The work has been going pretty well. We have a girl named Stephanie who is getting baptized Saturday. Elder Hibbard taught her for a while, I taught her once and then we gave her to the sisters. I barely knew her but that is exciting. From what I have seen, she is pretty solid.

We have one lady on date for baptism, July tenth. She is pretty solid. She is committed but her husband isn't. Unfortunately, he is working in Syracuse right now and we can't really teach him. He was here this last weekend along with his parents, also not members. She was kind of nervous about the whole situation. She wanted to go to church but she did not end up making it yesterday. Not sure what happened, hopefully it wasn’t because of her family.  Oh, also we might be going on a temple trip with her soon to the DC visitor’s center. That will be cool. 

I told you about he Catholic family last week, right? And I think I mentioned another family we are working on. That’s the one with the return missionary son and the rest of his family are not yet members.

Soon we will get a new investigator. There is a family in our ward whose daughter is getting married to a nonmember on the condition that he takes the discussions from the missionaries. Haha. That will be fun. We are going to meet with the family to coordinate and get to know them better. Apparently the nonmember guy agreed but is really nervous. Haha

Those are our most interesting investigators right now. As far as less actives go, that’s a whole different story. Haha My favorite less active guy to talk to now is probably a guy. He is insane! haha. He is like the classic conspiracy theory guy. He talks really fast and goes off on all kinds of tangents. We go and talk to him, keep him company. He is a single old guy who lives in this little apartment. He is also a hoarder, so he has stuff everywhere. There are piles of books and whatever else he has all over the place. The only clear place is where there are three chairs set up so we can sit and talk. I have no idea where he sleeps... also kind of a germaphobe--instead of shaking hands, we touch elbows... I'm going to help him break that habit. Ridiculous... So he finally came to church yesterday. Which was good. Apparently, he googled me and found my SVU Tennis record. Hahaha. Naturally he asked for my autograph. He has an autograph book and now I'm in it. haha That may or may not be why he is my favorite. haha No, we have lots of fun talking to him. Hopefully he starts coming to church more.

The broadcast was great yesterday. Did you guys watch that at all? No new preach my gospel, they were announcing stuff that we already knew. Social media and working with members. It was really good though. Talks from a few general authorities.

It is amazing to think that I have been gone for a month. It doesn't feel like it. Where has the time gone?  I met this guy in our ward. He is from a big tennis family in Utah. Him and his brothers dominate the Timpview record boards. He has asked me to hit with him but I don’t know that I will. Tempting though. It has been fun to talk to him a little bit. He had a brother that went on a mission, returned, and then played at Utah state, and then BYU. I'll play with him if he finds a nonmember to play with us. That would make it a finding activity and central to my purpose as a missionary. haha But I'm not sure that will happen. No worries though, I stay pretty focused on the work.

Anyways, That’s a little background on some people we are teaching. I will let you know as we get new people or people progress. As President Monson said, "a mission is a family affair." I will try to keep you guys involved in what I am doing.

Everyone is talking about man of steel. Especially Elder Barzee. Did you guys see it? We have also heard Star trek was really good.

I have also been busy honing my put-pocketing skills. It has been pretty funny. One of the APs came to one of our trainings. It was his birthday so I slipped him a pass a long card saying happy birthday. I'll get President Richards one day.

I have $6.44 left on my mission card this month. Eating healthy is not cheap. Augh!! Trying to eat an apple a day leaves you penniless.... we also have not converted any doctors lately. My friend eats ramen all the time and has $100 left... I'm trying to take out a loan...

Anyway, I've got to go now. Groceries to buy, people to teach…

Love you guys,
Elder Hinkle

Monday, June 17, 2013

Week 5


Time is flying by. Missionary time is at least twice as fast as normal time. Kind of like tennis time. It’s been another fantastic week here in Fredrick. The weather is still pretty nice and not too humid. I'm told that that doesn't last too much longer though, so we are enjoying it for now. I got the bike. Did not get the bike lock though… not sure what’s up with that.

We played indoor soccer as a zone today and that was so much fun. I think Jack would have been proud - my stats for the day include both a fair number of goals and assists. What can I say, I learned a lot watching you play. I am definitely missing playing ping-pong with you Jack. Those were good times. haha! That’s great you're playing tennis. If the ball is bouncing too high just move either forward or backward so you still catch it in your strike zone. York will teach you that. Maybe one day you will be able to beat me.... maybe…

Jenna will have a blast at girl’s camp. It is crazy that she is that old already. They grow up so fast. Is Jordan going this year too? I bet the two of them would have fun.

So we are doing great. We have four progressing investigators. Progressing investigators are people who have taken at least two lessons and are keeping commitments. Those are fun lessons to teach. We are teaching a young Catholic family right now and its fun to see them kind of connect the dots as we teach them things, especially the plan of salvation. It seemed to answer a lot of questions that they had. It's neat to see that. Another family we have been teaching is a part member family. The oldest son is a return missionary and the rest of the family are not members. We have the younger brother getting ready to be baptized but the mom is tougher. Her oldest was not a super obedient missionary and they have been used to meeting with other less obedient missionaries. It is hard to convince her that we have something very special that other church’s don't have because we don’t think that she has seen the change she wanted to see in her oldest. She is doing good though. We think she will be baptized, it is just a matter of time.

We are having a hard time finding new investigators lately. Since our area just split we gave away half and are now trying to rebuild. Slow and steady. It has been great to continue to learn from Elder Hibbard. He is the district leader so I am on exchanges all the time. It’s pretty crazy. Dinner appointments have also been low lately. The ward is all excited to have sister missionaries. I don't see what the big deal is personally but they like them more than us I guess. If I had a sarcastic font I would have used it there. The sister missionaries are great to have in the mission, even though they take our food and investigators.

Hey, what do you call an alligator in a vest!? --- An investigator! Ahaha Mission jokes...

I painted a house the other day. That was fun. We also mowed the biggest most over grown lawn I have ever seen. Plus we used an electric mower, which just does not work very well. Haha. It was good to be out side for a few hours and work on my missionary tan. It’s coming along nicely. We also moved to our new apartment on Saturday. The actual living area is much nicer but there is no gym. I'm kind of disappointed about that, but maybe we will just go and use the other elder’s gym. Plus, I have my nifty footwork ladder which wont let me down. Footwork can always get better.

Its funny, in the mission field we have some pretty awesome church music. haha I am loving the acoustic guitar hymns Dad got me and the Joseph smith talks are awesome. Then we have Insideout Accapella, which is always good. Some of the other elders have some pretty funny CD's, which are apparently still in use today. Who knew? We have a CD that I think is called Popcorn Boppin. It’s a collection of church songs that have pretty much been remixed. They are pretty sweet. Then I had one of my elder buddies burn me a CD of what he said is some pretty sweet cello/piano music. I just got that today, haven't heard it yet but it sounds sweet! When I get back, be prepared for some righteous tunes that will uplift and entertain at the same time. If only Jack Johnson covered the hymn book....

I got an email from Caleb today. He gave me the update on the tennis world. Sounds like it has been exciting! Queens and Wimbledon just around the corner. Great to hear from him though. Always fun.

Sorry, no pictures today... turns out I’m not really a shutter bug. Maybe I'll pick it up later. Who knows…It is cool to look at all of the trees here. Everything is green.

Oh! Good news - there is a world wide missionary broadcast this coming Sunday. Rumor has it there could be a new version of Preach my Gospel rolling out. But we don’t know…

Fathers' Day was yesterday! Happy Fathers Day! Dad - I love you and I really appreciate everything you have done for me. You have taught me so much and have helped me to be the best I can be. I feel like you helped cultivate a desire for excellence and continuously helped me work toward success. You have supported me in everything I have tried to accomplish. I am very grateful for all of the time we have spent together and the work you have done so far to teach and prepare me for my mission and the rest of my life. I'm sure you were a fantastic missionary and I hope my service will be nothing short of exemplary as well.

On Fathers' Day I also thought a lot about what Heavenly Father has done for me. There is a story in the pearl of great price that I stumbled upon just prior, which really tells a lot about God as our Father. Moses 7:25-33. Enoch sees God and he sees that God is crying. Enoch is surprised, he says you are God, the most powerful and glorious being in the universe, how or why are you crying? God replies in verse 33 and says, "I have given them a commandment that they should choose me, their Father, but behold, they are without affection."

God is happy when we do what is right and succeed in life and He is also very sad when we choose to do things that he knows will bring only sadness. That is why he has reveled his gospel to us. He knows what will make us happy and bring us joy. He has tried to show us that and hopes we learn from His teachings. He also provided Jesus Christ as our Savior so that when we choose amiss we have a chance to learn by experience and grow greater.

Love you guys,
Elder Hinkle

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Week 4

I've been fantastic, as usual. My condition was worsening but I finally requested a blessing and I was healed. So, I'm good now. The first week has gone great. Elder Hibbard is from Switzerland and he does speak Italian. Super cool guy. He has been a great trainer so far and I have really enjoyed working with him. Our area is pretty great; the members here are very involved in missionary work. It has been great to work with them. I've met some people that are related to the Ensign's(who live next to us in Bountiful).  Random, but true. Like I said, I was pretty sick at the start so I wasn’t as involved in the lessons as I would have like to have been. But now that I am feeling better, things have been running much smoother.

By the way, VAMOS RAFA!!!! I've been getting some news about the French Open from some members that play and it was good to hear. Disappointed that Fed lost to Tsonga though. Could have been a Rafa - Roger final just like old times... haha

I am loving the mission and it is a really great opportunity. It is different to be a representative of Jesus Christ outside of the MTC. haha You actually represent Him to everyone you contact. It’s pretty cool. It’s been interesting to transition from Josh Hinkle to Elder Hinkle. I have been pretty much completely repurposed.

We have had a few dinner appointments. Its been so different to be on the missionary side of that. haha There has been some really great food that the members have made for us. My favorite was probably this Thai stuff one family made for us. So delicious; it was like chicken and a ton of veggies in some delectable sauce all over rice. Yep… that was great. On the other side of that I eat a lot of things that aren’t as good as that, or as healthy or tomato free... but they are... delicious! And I mean that like, I don’t like it but I eat it and its always delicious.  So, considering that, I eat whatever they give me. These people love tomatoes, let me tell you... and I think I have eaten more desert in this last week than I've had in the last two and a half years. haha But oh well...

We have met some pretty interesting people here in Frederick. There is this one guy and since we cannot knock doors here he goes around and knocks doors sometimes, hands out pass along cards and Books of Mormon and if anyone he meets is interested, he refers them to us! Incredible guy! 

Since it is Monday I thought I would send you something for family home evening. Its called the parable of the popcorn. I found this in my room, left by the missionary before me. I thought of Jordan because she loves popcorn. haha

"1.  Behold, at the time of the harvest the ears of corn did bring forth kernels which were dried and prepared for the poppers hand.
2.  And it came to pass that the popper did take the kernels, all of which did appear alike unto him, and did apply the heat.  
3.  And behold, when the heat was on, some did explode with promise and magnify themselves an hundred fold, and they did burst forth with whiteness which did gladden the eye and satisfy the taste of the popper. Likewise, others did pop to various degrees.  
4.  But lo, there were some that did just lie there, and even though the poppers heat was alike unto all, they did just bask in the warmth and keep all they had for themselves.
5.  And so it came to pass, that which had given of themselves did bring much joy and delight to many munchers but those that kept of their warmth and did not burst forth were fit only to be cast out into the bucket and to be thought of with hardness and disgust.
6.  And thus we see that in the beginning all appear alike, but when the heat is on, some bring forth all they hath, while others fail to pop and are left to be discarded and forgotten."

Food for thought. haha get it!?

My companion has a saying on his wall that reminded me of Jack.
- I was built to be the best, number one and nothing less.
I have to say, I really do miss playing ping-pong with Jack every night. Good times....

I have to go now... still working hard, still having fun.

Love you guys,
Elder Hinkle

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Week 3--Arriving in Baltimore

June 5, 2013

Hey guys,

I just have some time to let you know that I made it safely. The flight wasnt too bad. We got in yesterday and then we went to the mission presidents house for dinner that night. After dinner we had dessert, which I did eat because missionaries are supposed to eat what they are fed... not sure triple chocolate cake and strawberry cheese cake are really my thing. But, you know, we all have trials. Then we all had an interview with Pres. Richards. There were thirty-one of us so that took a while. As each person went in the rest of us played games and stuff in the living room. Me and my buddy, Elder Barzee, spent our time put pocketing each other and the rest of the people there with pass along cards. It was pretty funny. We got this one guy's pocket so full of stuff... haha
Anyway, after that we spent the night at the Marriot. Traditionally, I think that the missionaries usually stay in the mission president's house but our group was huge. It was funny to see so many missionaries on the same plane.
I met my trainer this morning. He seems pretty cool. Elder Hibbard. He has been out about fifteen months. We are in an apartment with another pair of elders. Elder Briggs, my companion in the MTC, is in the other companionship that As staying in our apartment. so, that's pretty cool. I think we are moving to a different apartment in two weeks though.
We are going to meet with a part member family tonight. I pretty much set up that appointment- the mom sent us a text saying "have you got the new greenie yet? How green is he?"( haha)  And then we go meet the bishop of the ward we are serving in. Should be cool. I am serving in the Frederick area. Haven’t seen too much of it yet, but I'm told that this area is having great success as of late.  Two baptisms are on schedule and its been going really well here.  We don’t tract in this area. We focus on strengthening the members and building their trust to get referrals. We also work with part member families. Humidity isn't  too bad, it actually feels really nice here. It's nicknamed "forever Frederick" because people tend to be assigned to this area for a few transfers at a time. The elder I am replacing spent the last six months here

Ps. there is a tennis court right outside our apartment... haha