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 Mormon.org 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 Mormon.org 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!