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

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