Monday, July 29, 2013

Week 11, July 29, 2013

Hello family!

I am just marvelous this week!  I played tennis with a ward member. He is the one who is related to the Ensign's. Pretty cool guy. He wants to play a lot now. haha Hopefully we will hit again on Wednesday. Six am sharp. Did you see the racquet I played with? Super retro babolat, pure control. It was the forerunner to my weapon of choice. Unfortunately, it was just the team version so it wasn’t weighted how I prefer. Oh well...

The week has gone well. We made more contact with our investigators. We did end up teaching one. We painted and then he was called to go somewhere and had to leave. But we persisted... only a few days later we returned to mow his lawn and then we shared the message. We shared with him the restoration. He wants us to believe that he is a devout Catholic but he seems pretty open minded to me. We committed him to begin reading the Book of Mormon and pray about the restoration. We will see how the story unfolds.

On Wednesday, I went on exchanges with Elder Urses, the new district leader. He is Elder Barzee's companion. Super chill guy. I convinced him to come to the gym with me and that was the start of a great day, as usual. We had a great study session as we prepared to teach families later that day. First up, one guy is a fantastic guy. He feels the message is true but he wants to learn more before committing to be baptized. We had a great discussion with him and he accepted the invitation to take his study more seriously. After following up with his fiancĂ© at church yesterday, we found that things have been going well. He hasn’t missed a night. We will meet with him tomorrow and find out more. They are to be married the morning of the 5th I believe. Exciting times…

And now we are on to this girl. She has been difficult to meet with lately. But with her awesome member family returning from Ireland, she was at church once more. Great to see her again. We chatted for a bit and we are hoping to set up an appointment with her soon. Should be cool. She is still reading the Book of Mormon. Seems to be good. She doesn’t get married until December, which is good. Her impending family in law seems a little over the top.

There is so much that happens in a week it is hard to remember everything. I forgot to talk about the one family... haha We did meet with them too. They are interesting. He is a strong Catholic lawyer combo. He asks a lot of questions. They got into some pretty deep doctrine before we turned that ship around and told them once more that they really need to read the Book of Mormon. These people... looking beyond the mark...
Oh yeah! So we met with another family recently. She is a recent convert. We met them for dinner at the bishop's home. After a delicious dinner we shared with them a bit about what we believe. They are super prepared to receive our message. The lesson went well and they seemed to really connect with what was being taught. They left excited to read the Book of Mormon. Fast forward to this week. Her sister was in a terrible accident. Truck verses golf cart. Unfortunately, she was in the golf cart. She really messed up her lower leg as she was thrown from the golf cart some distance and landed on a barbwire fence. She has undergone a few surgeries to try and repair the damage but it is still unclear how long she won’t be able to walk. It wasn’t a pretty wound. When she showed me the pictures it took me right back to my days in sports med. You could see that the muscle was partially severed and the bone seemed to be barely visible. But she is alive. We took the opportunity to go over with the bishop and give her a priesthood blessing. So that’s neat. For the closing prayer my companion looked at me and mumbled something. I assumed he volunteered to give the closing prayer, along with about half of the other people in the room. We were wrong. After he had apparently asked me to offer the prayer, we sat in silence for a fair amount of time waiting for someone to begin. You could have heard a pin drop. haha After a good laugh we got it sorted out and we left a blessing on their family as they are going through a difficult time.

Great Grandma Hinkle- I am glad to know that you are reading my letters as well. I heard that you noticed that my frequent, almost overbearing use of "haha" denotes that there is more to say. That is spot on. I wish I could describe some of my experiences in greater detail. I am limited by my writing skills, communication skills in general, and the time I have to write. The situations that I am in are priceless and I can only wish that each day of my mission was a tv show. I am quite certain that the only way for you guys to really understand and comprehend the different moments I have would be to see them. If these two years were a movie it would be a spiritual, comedy, action, drama, comedy show. Yes, I know, I said comedy twice. It was for emphasis.  Now that I think about it, I should emphasize the spiritual aspect as well. Maybe the action...

I think my time is up pretty soon. It was great to hear from you guys again. I wish you the best as you guys do what ever you do. Hopefully all is well. You guys look tan in the pictures you sent me. I am too... but only my face and forearms. haha It’s all good though. I’ll have the summer after I return to get the tan back. I have to say that it is just so great to be a missionary. Life is good. Never a dull day. I get to do a lot of good things and I am really enjoying the opportunity to be in this position. It hasn’t gotten old yet and I do not expect that it will. I'll just keep working hard and having fun. Talk to you guys next week.

Love you guys,
Elder Hinkle

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Week 10, July 22, 2013

Hey guys! 

I had another great week in the mission field. I am still in Frederick. Elder Hibbard is gone now. He has been replaced by Elder Hansen. My new trainer is an interesting character. If you could just watch a day in the life of our companionship you would be pretty entertained. He grew up on a farm in Idaho, but he is not what you would expect. Super OCD about cleaning. Good news for me, he just cleans stuff. haha Where as Elder Hibbard and I maintained a fairly clean living area, this guy has sanitized pretty much everything. His love of cleanliness does not quite extend to every area of his life though. I quickly diagnosed poison ivy on his legs figuring he must be taking care of it. As time went on I noticed the absence of anything like calamine lotion. ching our investigators, but sometimes it feels like I am training my trainer. haha  He is just a funny guy. He has been out four months. Its kinda’ like we are both new. Good news is that the spirit quickeneth all understanding.

Anyway, so this week has been a lot of member work. We have been traveling around introducing Elder Hansen to the members. Elder Hibbard left and that means that I have taken over the area. It’s been fun. I have been forced to kinda’ step it up. With Elder Hibbard I could just let him drive around and he really liked to lead lessons so I would play more of a supporting role. Now I lead out on most things. It’s cool. Different, but I feel like its good. I don’t know the area as well as Elder Hibbard did so planning is a little more difficult but things are working out well. Our stats dropped this last week but there were outside influences working as well. Appointments with people both fell through repeatedly. One had wedding stuff he had to take care of and was forced to reschedule. The had a more interesting experience. We were going to meet with her Tuesday but she was followed by her fiance's father, the Baptist minister. She changed her course and instead of coming to her member friend's house where we would be teaching her she went to another friends house. Craziness.

Ok, so I know that I told her sweet story last week but thinking back I remember it being horribly written and I forgot to finish it. So I am going to start from the beginning. She was driving on a stretch of high way, right? She is low on gas and realizes she forgot her gas card. The gas light goes on and she is no where close to a gas station. So she prayed saying "God, if you make my gas light go off then I will go to church tomorrow." gas light goes off and the fuel gauge goes up. Immediately after she was refueled by angels she got a text from her member friend saying "are you coming to church tomorrow?" she promptly replied "I think I should." BOOMSHAKALAKA! haha Anyway, she did go to church that Sunday and the entire meeting was pretty much tailored to her. A recent convert spoke and shared a powerful testimony. After that our mission president and his wife spoke. Sunday School was on the Holy Ghost. Relief Society may or may not have been beneficial, I really couldn’t say... then we had a fabulous lesson with her that night where she accepted the baptismal goal. The following day was her birthday, happy birthday. Yea. She started reading the Book of Mormon. Word on the street is that she has read the first five chapters. She reads at work when she has the night shift. Anyway, its pretty awesome. We are trying to meet with her this week, so we will see what happens.

In visiting members I took Elder Hansen to visit one guy. hahaha I quite enjoyed watching the two meet. Crazy Brother and the super straight laced Elder Hansen. I rather enjoyed it. You will have to imagine the encounter. He began by asking Elder Hansen to take mugshot pictures. Elder Hansen was quite uncomfortable. His discomfort increased when Ed asked him to try on the batman mask and produced some pictures of Elder Hibbard wearing it. It was a fun visit. Productive too - He finally said the closing prayer! I mean he wrote one and then said it in German but progress is progress. Also he is buying a suit so he can come to church and look good. His words not mine. Naturally, it was at Brother's house where I started spitting lyrics like nobody's business. haha So check it. This is the rap that I rapped for Ed.

I wake up in the morning and I pray for fun.
Hit the gym at six and I’m on a run
Breakfast is cereal, oatmeal and bananas
Next we study in a shirt and tie, NOT IN OUR PAJAMAS!

We think about people and what they need
Maybe we'll share a message or trim some trees
Then we say a prayer and ask if it’s right
If the answer's yes, then SWEET! THAT’S TIGHT!

We go to appointments sometime around two
If you’re on our list then we'll come see you!
You know I’m on a mission, man, these are the times
Out here in Maryland just bustin’ some rhymes
Two minutes prior we were shootin’ the breeze
So now this is my first rap and I’m flowin’ with ease
But now I’m runnin’ out of words and I cant hear a beat
Guess I’ll throw my hands up and admit defeat!

       -alternate ending-
So now this is my first rap and I’m flowin’ with ease
But now gotta stop cause I’m gonna sneeze!
[insert sneeze sound here]

So yeah... he asked us if could tell him what we did that day. I said I could not but I could rap it. And so that happened... hahaha I am sure you guys will have a pretty good laugh imagining me rapping about a day in the life of a missionary in a less active member home. Too bad I can’t give the beat. Someone who reads this will have to rap it. I'm thinking Jenna and Hannah? Kristy and Brant? Tyler and Jaron? Just ideas... one will beat box and the other will take the words. FHE activity, anybody? The alternate was an after thought... sneeze rhymes with ease. It’s lyrical gold.

Unfortunately, I don’t have to much to say about investigators this week. A lot of appointments fell through. Good news is that this week is looking a lot better. We are going to paint Dan's house tonight and we are hoping to teach the first discussion while we are there. We are planning to teach Travis today and commit him to live the word of wisdom. And this is all on p-day. haha It’s going to be fun.

We had to come to the library early today because we are teaching Travis at two and painting at four. We don’t have much time at all to do normal p-day things. We missed basketball today... bummer, but I also got a much needed hair cut. Which was good. My hair was getting long... hadn’t been cut since I left the MTC. haha 

Elder Hansen doesn’t have a bike, but he is getting one so hopefully we will start riding soon. I want to ride my bicycle! I want to ride my bike!!! Bicycle! bicycle!! bicycle!! It was a queen reference. Just in case the younger kids didn’t get it.. Wow, I am really showing my age here..

We have a lot to do today. Which is good. I hope all of you are doing well. I wish you a marvelous day! The mission field doesn’t get old. It is really fun to be out here. I love what I am doing. Working hard having fun.

Love you guys,
Elder Hinkle

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Week 9, July 15, 2013

Great to hear from you guys, as always. You all sound like you are doing well. This week has been pretty fantastic. Lots of stuff happening.

Monday is always cool because we usually drop in on some family home evenings. Two of the coolest family home evenings. One family are youngish with five kids. They always have great discussions and the kids are very involved. They really seem to try to focus on building family unity and doing member missionary work. This last week we followed up with each of the kids about missionary experiences they were challenged to seek out. Their stories were fun to hear. We then talked about ways in which we could all leave Babylon behind. I remember their young kids coming up with some pretty entertaining answers but I have forgotten all of them. The other family are an older family. They have six teenage boys in their family. Some returned from mission and some preparing. We went to their house. We opened with a hymn and then a prayer, the dad shared a message and then we shared a message and had some group discussion. We finished up with another hymn and prayer and then had treats. It was fun. One of our investigators was there also. She is good friends with all of their boys, who are very missionary minded. Flirt to convert right? haha I am repeatedly impressed though by how these families use Monday night to build their family and gospel foundation. I am glad that you guys can read my letters on Monday nights. Out here where there are less members, I think kids and families in general value the time spent in family home-evening much more. It seemed refreshing for them to talk about the gospel. It seemed like a chance they had to get away from the pressures of the world a little bit and I think that family home evening is a great opportunity to provide this refuge and bring families closer together.

President Packer said in the missionary conference thing. In bearing his testimony he said, "I know that Jesus is the living Christ" and then he said "I Know him." There is definitely a difference between knowing about something and knowing something. I would say that I know about tennis. I know about various aspects of the game and I could work with what I know. Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal - they know tennis. They know the ins and outs. They are so familiar with every part of the game that they can do incredible things. Likewise, I think that the idea for each of us is to come to know Jesus Christ, just as President Packer said. To know him as we know each other. I thought about this for a while. Maybe a good five minutes. haha Just playin’, it was longer than that. But it just really sunk in that through reading the scriptures we read about who God is, how he acts and how he feels. That’s pretty cool. When we read we can really come to know him as a person. Then we can pray and have personal experiences with him, one on one. Prayer and scripture study is pretty neat. - That is the understatement of the week.

Ooh! So on Thursday we were given the task of moving a trampoline from one house to another about a mile apart. We started rolling it on its side like a giant wheel. That was pretty fun. Then we tried just carrying it down the road. Then our arms got tired so four of us walked underneath with the trampoline on our heads. We quickly realized that was stupid when the trampoline began bouncing up and down. Then we got a brilliant idea. Our bishop was driving a honda accord behind us as we walked. It was only a matter of time before we directed him to drive beneath the trampoline. We then rested the tramp on top of the car and finished our journey. I’d say that the people who passed by us had a good laugh.

Friday, I went on exchanges and took over the area for the day again. We visited the neighbors of a member. The neighbors, had invited us over for dinner. Because I was on exchanges, we were on bikes and we got lost. Luckily, we left about thirty minutes early because I read my watch wrong. I know... you may pause and laugh here... not my finest few moments. But when we arrived- on time I might add- we were well rewarded. Mrs. had made a delicious feast for us. It was good. But even cooler was the husband's unique collection. Judge is a sign collector. Yes, I had dinner with a judge. That was new. This guy had rooms full of signs. Signs from the 1920’s until now: mostly older stuff, lots of neon, lots of gas pump globes. The rooms we would walk into were unreal! It is my biggest regret of my mission so far that I did not have my camera with me. The good news is that it gives me an excuse to go back haha. But seriously it was too cool. I’m not sure you can really understand what his collection was like without seeing it for yourself. I will have to get a picture for you.

Saturday, we painted an office area and after finishing invited the owner to church. She said she would come this coming week. Then we did yard work for our bishop. Apparently, I have a great talent for arbory, the taking care of trees. We were all surprised, but I am quite sure I have many hidden talents that are yet to be found so I didn’t let the adulation of the bishop and his wife go to my head at all.

So... my dear companion, Elder Hibbard, is leaving me. He has been transferred. Not sure if he is more excited to go east or to be done with our brutally consistent morning trips to the gym.... anyway… I pick up my new companion on Wednesday. Hopefully, he will be as good as Elder Hibbard. Sad to see him go but now I get to take over the area. Should be cool. More work more fun. It will be cool. I have heard good things about Elder Hansen- my new companion. Good, but vague... I’ll let you know more about that next week. Maybe ill send a picture or two.
I have recently started a new habit in my personal study time. As it says in D&C, I study things out in my mind. I make a lesson plan for the person I am studying for. Then, I pray and ask if it is right. If it is not then I redo it. If it is then I am content to move on to study for someone else. It provides a daily challenge to recognize those quiet answers from the spirit. I look forward to the opportunity each morning.
Ooh! Good news about the investigators. Kelly is doing well. She was once reluctant to listen and talk but now she has accepted a baptismal date. It is a soft date. She still doesn’t know, but it gives here a goal to work toward. Very, very, good.

One guy has said that he sees himself getting baptized in the near future but he still wants to learn more about our church. When we taught the plan of salvation he made what I thought was a pretty cool comment. Another guy is a great guy and he talked about how learning about God's plan for him really makes him want to step up and be a better person. It is very nice to know God's overarching plan for us. I can only imagine finding out about it for the first time. It must be crazy.

I think it is important to recognize that all blessings, both temporal and spiritual, come by faith. Only when you realize this can you really know where to begin when trying to accomplish something.

I am happy to be staying in Frederick. We have a great ward helping us out and that makes it pretty fun. We can work with a lot of members and it is neat to have that opportunity. From what I hear, some places are not as cooperative. Oh well..

When I took over the area this last week we rode bikes all day. It was pretty fun. I did get the bike's handlebars fixed. Wow was I nervous riding it before. haha Now it is so much better. Finally found an allen wrench. It is nice to know that when your handle bars turn your wheel will turn with them. So, I’m good now.

So I also like the point of the lectures on faith is to tell us three things that we should do.
1. know and accept that God exists.
2. know His correct character, attributes and perfections
3. know that the course of life we are pursuing is according to God's will.
Working hard, having fun still. It’s never going to end!! haha Catch you later.

Love you guys,
Elder Hinkle

Week 8, July 8 2013

Hello. My week was fantastic again. Time goes so fast. The days have just started to blur together. Good news is that it never gets old. It’s a little hard to grasp that is July and Wimbledon, which was crazy this year, just finished. (I did hear a bit about Wimbledon. I swear I don’t seek out tennis news, it just finds me:) Transfers are almost here already. I won’t know if anything will change until this coming Monday. Where has the time gone?

This was 4th of July week and naturally the missionaries set up the biggest party in town. The commanding general spoke along with the mission president. It was a pretty neat party, plus we nabbed three potential investigators out of it. It was held at one of the stake presidency councilors’ house. He was a colonel in the army and he has so much space. We could not do as much yard work in our yard in a year as we did on his yard in a day. haha It was pretty fun. We set up tents and decorations of all kinds. We had a giant American flag hanging in between two massive trees probably thirty feet in the air. We got a big banner around a campfire area that was pretty high up too. President pretty much uses this party as an excuse for spring cleaning so we did everything from power washing his house to weeding to painting a ton of wooden tables. It was quite the project.

The party was great. There were about thirty missionaries there. We were everywhere!! haha We directed parking and welcomed everyone. I think it was a fantastic event to help give the missionaries and the church a great reputation. There was breakfast and a program. I was in a men’s choir singing God of our fathers. Who knew there was a song in the hymn book that called for trumpet fanfare? haha After we cleaned everything up. There was probably 500-600 people there.

We picked up two new investigators this week. Pretty neat. The first one came on Thursday. She is staying with a member family in our ward. She is really good friends with their daughter. We went over for dinner and to talk with her a bit. We were called about an hour before dinner started so we were excited to get a dinner appointment. Dinner was delicious. We had these fish tacos and fresh fruit. It was probably the best food I had been given on my mission up to that point.   But we realized quickly that we had made a terrible error. We weren't quite sure what the family or investigator was expecting from our visit that night. So our lesson was kind of awkward. She was not very forth coming and but she agreed to meet with us again, which is good. We left thinking that the lesson wasn’t super stellar, but the family thought it was good. We are having a family home evening with he and another family tonight. Should be cool.

Our next new guy went much better. He is the fiance of the daughter of the one of the families in our ward. He called Brother to ask for his daughter's hand in marriage and Brother  told him that he had to take the lessons from the missionaries. haha This family is a great family. In order to avoid a sub par initial performance, like we had, we visited Brother and Sister the night before to coordinate a little bit. It was good to learn from our mistakes. We coordinated and got to know the family better. So then when we came over the next night, things went pretty smooth. They cooked us dinner and the food really started us out on a good note. We had the thickest hamburgers ever. haha They were solid burgers. After dinner we transitioned to teaching the investigator. We had gotten to know him a bit at dinner. He is quiet and seems like a great guy. He kind of reminded me of Brant when he was dating Kristy. A little awkward and nervous around this big family. But on top of that he was around a big family of mormons which he is marrying in to. Oh, and the dad was there. haha He was a little nervous. We started out talking about the Holy Ghost and asked him to pay attention to how he felt as we shared the message of the restoration. The whole family was great and each member was willing to participate in the lesson and share answers to questions we asked them. We hit the first vision and he was hit with a spiritual wall. This guy showed like every physical sign of feeling the spirit testify of truth. haha His breath quickened, his eyes watered, he smiled. You name it, it happened. Kind of funny, but in a serious way. haha The family also made the good move of not pressuring him at all. We really stressed that he really needed to find out the truth of our message for himself by praying and asking God if it is true. His fiance offered the closing prayer and I think she made quite the impression on him when she started crying emotionally halfway through. Remember, they are not pressuring him. No pressure what so ever. haha Just playin’, that’s understandable. We meet with him again on Tuesday. I just realized that Tuesday is tomorrow... haha

The lady who was on date to be baptized on Wednesday moved to Syracuse. My companion is devestated…haha I think it is a blessing in disguise. In my opinion, is she moves up there and immediately gets baptized it is like free publicity. The entire ward will know that she just moved in and that she just joined the church. With the big push for member missionary work, she will get so much attention. haha We should be in contact and I will let you know what happens. Not sure on the date yet though for her baptism in Syracuse.

Writing letters in the library is a race against the clock. There is too much to say in a one hour time block. At the end of one hour it kicks you off. It’s a pressure situation. You have no idea. You guys get to think about what you want to say, maybe even hit the spell check button. I just type as fast as I can. haha It is hard to write back to everyone because of the time. Again the computer types over stuff if I go back so sometimes my thoughts get disconnected. Its not my best writing but it will have to do. I also have the habit of randomly hitting the shift key so sometimes I capitalize random letters.
I took over the area this week. That was fun. Elder Hibbard left to exchange with another elder. Elder Briggs and I teamed up again! haha He was my mtc comp. It was fun. Elder Hibbard doesn’t like biking much, but he left and neither of us could drive so we broke out the bikes! I fixed the handle-bars, don’t worry. haha Turns out that elder Briggs doesn’t like bikes too much either. We only rode like six miles and he looked like he had been through war. This isn’t even six Utah miles, the hills here are pretty much level. haha It was a little funny but obviously I wasn’t laughing at him. That would be mean. I loved it though. First time on a bike in forever. haha It was mostly funny because we rode out to this members house and she wasn’t home. Our next two appointments canceled so we rode back home for dinner. haha Classic right? I’m not minding the heat too much either. I think it feels good. Elder Briggs was pretty exhausted though. The mission rules say dinner must end at six unless in an appointment. Elder Briggs, who just so happens to be the most by the book missionary in the zone, insisted that we rest. Naturally, I did sit ups. haha Just kidding, I obviously prepared for our next lesson. I'm not 18 anymore... We went to a house (have I told you about him?) and we practice taught him the restoration. He loved it and It was cool for us to teach together again after both of us have gotten more experience. It was a neat day.

I liked your thought on the lectures on faith, dad. The quote saying they put "most studious attention to qualifying themselves to the all-important object of qualifying themselves as messengers of Jesus Christ, to be ready to do His will in carrying glad tidings to all that would open their ears, eyes, or hearts."

I believe in fundamentals. I make sure to set aside time every day to study the fundamentals of the gospel. I find this time to some of the most beneficial times for personal improvement. I love studies in the morning. We get up early and work out. I always make sure I work out hard. 1. to stay in shape and 2. to wake me up. After workouts I have a delicious and nutritious breakfast and then engage in my studies. I prayerfully consider what to share with the people I am preparing for and when I am done with preparations I try to study to gain understanding and improve myself as a missionary. When we get our study time in the morning, the entire day goes better. I have to say though, I do not envy you reviewing anesthesia for a couple hours each night. haha

I take a lot of criticism for how I spend my money, but it has become clear that I am not a bad budgeter. I spend all of my money allotted and eat the best food and I don’t run out. I get close, but I don’t run out. I buy calculated amounts of food. Each week- exactly 7 bananas and 7 apples and appropriate amounts of supplies need to make delicious food each day of the week. You know just in case you were wondering. haha I seam to remember you asking if I was starving, so I thought I would share. The only problem comes when other people eat my food, like Elder Hibbard for example. haha But its cool, who ever should take one loaf of thy bread you shall offer him another. That sounds like it could come from the scriptures, right?

I do appreciate the tennis updates though those are cool. Again it types over stuff so I’m not going back. Am I right in thinking that Murray is the first Brit to win Wimbledon since 1938? Or was that just the last grandslam won by a Brit? Fred Perry, if any of you are wondering who that was....

Anyway... I am running out of time again... haha Its probably the most stressful thing in my life right now…
So instead of going to play basketball in the mornings we are going back to the gym. My comp wants to loose weight and I set him up with a pretty sweet work out routine. So that’s good. I like being able to use weights and stuff as long as I have the opportunity. I hope I can start biking more. Good news is that we went over on miles last month so now we have to have a car fast, which essentially means we can’t drive for a day. haha Which means-- BIKING! hahaha I’m stoked. Elder Hibbard, probably not so much. It will be fun.

I got the letters from Jeff and Scott. Its good to know the blog is working. I am glad to know you found gang man funny, because I still laugh about that sometimes. Ah, with all of these people reading the blog I am going to have to start thinking of more interesting things to say. haha And then type them up as fast as possible. This has been a long letter. The computer has never given me so much time to write. I hope life gives you guys enough time to read it. 

I can’t believe Jenna got stung by a jelly fish. haha What are the odds? 

That’s cool that Cameron was blessed this last Sunday. It is neat. We have a part member family who recently had their son blessed. The dad is not a member and he had a good experience. He wants his son to serve a mission. haha And he was at church Sunday and we had a lesson on baptism. Coincidence? Definitely not. He was following the lesson pretty well, just taking it all in. Last time we talked with him we shared the restoration, at the moment he doesn’t really desire to know if the church is true or not. A little indifferent, but we are talking to him Wednesday. Should be good. 

I hope everything is going well with you guys. I'm sure it is. I should probably go now.
Working hard and having fun as usual.
Love you guys 
Elder Hinkle

Monday, July 1, 2013

Week 7, July 1, 2013


Me interchangio por la espania elderes en viernes! Hablamos en espanol toda la dia! es bueno! muy bien hablamos en espanol. haha My week has been pretty much fantastic as usual. As I was trying to say above, I went on exchanges with the Spanish elders this week. That was pretty fun. By the end of the day I was having Spanish conversations with people. I'm sure you can imagine how well that went. Haha. That leads me into my first story...

On exchanges, I started texting this guy named Anthony, trying to set up an appointment. Finally he called for a time to meet. The text read "8 o’clock, behind the giant eagle." (Giant Eagle is a grocery store) I looked at Elder Vargas and I'm like "Haha we are meeting behind a grocery store? Who does this guy think he is?" He quickly informed me that gang man is like a gang leader. Haha. And I soon found out that he was a straight up G. One of the funniest encounters I have had so far. We roll up behind his car and then we follow him further back behind the giant eagle. He had some sweet speakers and he was blasting some of Jordan’s favorite music. Haha. Just playin’ Jordan, you listen to better stuff than this guy. It was ridiculous. He gets out of his car and he and his henchman- yes, henchman is the most accurate description- are in matching black LA tall tees. He has some shades on, also with an LA logo and both are wearing the baggiest pants you can imagine. They were one step short of hammer pants. Anyway, he gets out of the car and walks over to my window. As usual I was in the passenger seat, window down, ray bans on. So we go to do this handshake thing. So we try the first time and he promptly let me know that I did not do it right at all... so we tried some more and the third time proved to be the charm. Haha. He's all "what’s wrong with you?" and so I replied, "I'm from Utah." We all get out of the car and he starts talking to my companion for the day, who, of course, had already learned gang man's secret handshake. He was much smoother than I was. Then gang man was like "hey check out my rims", pops the trunk and, you know, he actually had some pretty sweet rims in there. Apparently he is selling them in Virginia on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the henchman is completely drunk out of his mind. So he was just doing his thing. Gang man probably used profane language more than he used any other adjectives during our following conversation. Gang man is interested in the church. He wants to know that he is good with God. That’s totally cool, so we kept talking to him. After a few minutes of talking to him, I easily gained his respect. Yep, the dude loves me. Haha. I pretty much have street cred now. He was the classic gangster. While we were talking he threw out threats to people passing by. Haha. A guy rides by on a bike and gang man was all "Hey, you-- got any money!?" the kid rode away as quickly as possible and I responded, "come on man, would Jesus do that?" Haha. Gang man was like "I'm a sinner" anyways, I’m not sure it turned out to be a productive visit but it wasn’t my area so it wasn’t my call. Quick side note- during our entire religious conversation there was loud club music playing from his car stereo and the henchman was finger dancing in the background. Oh, it was hilarious! Also fun fact-gang man never takes off his sunglasses. He doesn’t like people to see his eyes. This experience was just priceless. They fit the stereotype completely.

On a more spiritual note, I taught at youth conference this week. In the pictures I am sending you will see my sweet orange shirt I got. I also got a few more of the same shirt in different colors. Haha. Their youth conference was on missionary work and so we, as the elders, gave a workshop for the kids to learn how to do missionary work. We taught them and helped them prepare to teach their "investigators." Then we played investigators. Haha. The kids did well but we got taught some false doctrine. In a lesson on the first vision Elder Hibbard was also taught about celestial marriage and the urim and thummim.  As one girl was relating the Joseph Smith story to me, she told me about how as Joseph began to pray, he was overtaken by the devil. She kind of emphasized it and so I asked "Um… is that going to happen every time someone prays?" she thought for a moment and then responded, "Yeah... you know, some times prayer can be pretty scary but you have to do it anyways." When she proceeded to ask me if I would say a prayer at the end of the lesson I was sorely tempted to say "NO!!!" Haha.

We also had a baptism this week! She is technically the sister's investigator, but we have met with her a little and we know her. And it’s more just exciting to see someone get baptized really. She is great. The bishop baptized her and her family came. All not members of our church. Now they are interested and have an appointment this week. I got to witness and stand in the circle as she was confirmed and given the Holy Ghost. Good day yesterday.

We were visiting a less active in our ward. When we got there, her boyfriend reluctantly let us in to talk to her. He started out not wanting to be a part of this but after he overheard something, he said he promptly turned off the tv, pulled up a chair, and joined the discussion. We had a great discussion with him about prayer. The dude has a fabulous testimony of prayer. He has been in and out of prison and he is trying to really turn to God apparently. Cool guy. They live in a place called Heather Ridge. As we were leaving he got up and said "I gotta tell ya, ya'll are brave comin’ round here." We explained that we were servants of the Lord and were protected but he responded by saying again "I'm just sayin’, ya'll are brave." We visit Heather Ridge frequently. Good news is that he said we can stop by any time and that if we ever need anything or get into some trouble around there, we are welcome to hide in his house. Elder Hibbard and I had a good laugh about that one, especially because we already made jokes about how this place was a little sketchy. No worries mother, I have street cred.

We played soccer again this morning. I have to say, soccer is so much fun. Haha. I had some more great games. Elder Hibbard and I have been waking up at 5:45 every morning to exercise more. He is a basketball player and he came up with the idea. I just make him get up every morning. He plays basketball and I work out. I run footwork drills and do a lot of core and leg-work. I'm lovin’ it.

That’s’ cool that you guys had the opportunity to do some missionary work. The members are the key. Did you watch the broadcast? All it talked about is doing exactly what you guys did there. Whaaat!? Haha. Seriously though. Many of our visits with members are us, visiting with them about how they can talk to their nonmember friends about the gospel. We are like coaches. One sister we are working with just loves missionary work. She wanted to serve a mission but her recently returned missionary husband said that if she went he wouldn’t wait for her. Haha. So she seeks out missionary opportunities a lot. She told us about a conversation that she had with some friends after they had come to church to see her sing in sacrament. In the conversation her friend asked if there were really answers to eternal questions. This sister replied that there are those answers and that she had them for herself, but the conversation did not go any further. So we went over and we essentially practiced what she was going to say to her friend. We had some great role-plays and she did go talk to her friend. Now her friend wants to learn more. Unfortunately she isn’t quite comfortable meeting with us. She just wants to talk with the member.
Elder Hibbard is all worried about his girl friend. Now I play relationship counselor… you can imagine how that’s going. Haha. But he is pretty cool. Oh well. 

Heavy on the story today, but it has been great to talk to you guys. Anyways I've got to go now... Working hard, having fun as usual.

Love you guys,
Elder Hinkle