Thursday, March 27, 2014

March 24, 2014

Hey guys!!! Great to hear from you today!

Transfers - I am being transferred to Columbia! Elder Holt is also being transferred to an area that is in my zone. So we will still see each other a bit. We are being replaced with sister missionaries. I think that will be a huge blessing for this area.  I'm not going to lie, I'm ready to leave here... It's been a tough area because we have had to change things around. Looking back on the area when I first got here and where it is now - It's like a totally different area. I feel like we have done a lot of really good work here in this ward. It's been challenging though because we have been forced to be pretty innovative in how we have made improvments in the area. We have torn it up, just shredded the area. Ah, so many miracles have happened while we have been here to change this area. There are miracles happening here, and when the sisters get here they will be able to capitalize on them way better than we  could have. It would have been tough to stay another transfer. It's tough to continue performing on the edge of your ability, you know? I feel like that's the situation we have been in here. I feel like Elder Holt and I have put in like all we had and the Lord has blessed the people through our efforts. It's cool to look back on the things that happened while we were here. I told Elder Holt yesterday as we were reminiscing - remember the first day you were here and I told you that you were brand new and I wasn't sure what I was doing and that many miracles were going to happen because the Lord uses the weak things of the world to bring about great things? Well, that happened. The entire feel of this area is different. The sisters coming in will have a totally different perception of the work that has previously gone on than I did when came to Annapolis. It is a testimony to me that the Lord will help us as we turn to him. It's just crazy... but anyway... we are excited for this area because miracles are going to continue to abound, let me tell you... 

We had some pretty sweet things happen this week. Monday night was St. Patricks day. We had an appointment to go and visit the Bruneman family that night so we were walking to their house. No bikes due to snow. On the way, Bro Bruneman stopped in front of us in his mini and asked if we would like a ride. Of course, we said yes, and therefore, we got there a little early. Early enough that they hadn't had dinner yet. So, they invited us to join them  for dinner. We had corned beef and cabbage on St. Patricks day! It was magically delicious! haha And we had a great visit with them. Then, he gave us a ride to our next appointment. haha So that was pretty sweet. 

Wednesday was crazy... It was planned to be a great day but everything fell through. Every single appointment or opportunity to do something. It was nuts... We rode past the Weurdeman's place and noticed that their wood pile was slightly diminished. Oh, minor detail... It was pouring rain that entire day before this.... The Weurdeman's burn wood to a lot and the wood stack that they pull from was soaked. So, we went and pulled some wood out from the big wood pile in the back. And we pulled it from the bottom so it was dryer and stacked that on top of their pile that they take into burn... I didn't explain that very well but it was nice of us. haha So last week, Sis Weurdeman told us we had to stop by if we were getting transferred, They invited us in and we had a great visit. They were sad to see  us go and they noticed that we had kept refilling their wood pile and they thanked us for that.... So, they are sad to see us go... From talking with them we learned that we were the first missionaries to come into the house in over eight years.... Now they are feeding us dinner tonight! Boom, miracle!!! They were very insistant that we come over tonight for dinner! They want the missionaries in their home! That's crazy!  Ah! I'm really excited about that miracle! So cool! 

Friday was interesting. It rained a lot that day.  We had a lot of great plans but then when we started to do stuff it looked like it was all going to fall apart but then it all worked out. haha It was a really busy day. We had six set appointments that were scattered all over the place. On bikes thats pretty tough... So we were very blessed to have it all work out the way it did. And we were lucky we followed some promptings from the spirit, otherwise, we would have been in trouble. 

So somehow, we ended up with a tennis ball in our apartment. Obviously, I had to play with it and it was pretty distracting, not going to lie. haha Anyway, I'm pretty focused on mission work... I'm not a huge fan of talking about things from home, especially tennis stuff with other missionaries, because it is a needless distraction...(not to say that tennis doesn't cross my mind every day, That would be impossible. I just don't talk about it much except as a tool to build some trust with people:) haha Anyway, Elder Holt was insistent that we keep the tennis ball. I had to get rid of it. haha So, we went out to visit a less active member and courts just happened to be on the way to her house... As we walked by I was like, "Hey, look at that" pointing the other direction, and as he looked I pulled it out of my coat pocket and threw it onto the courts.... haha  He looked back around trying to figure out what I just did and then he heard the ball hit the court haha and thus ended the tennis balls stay in our apartment. haha It was pretty funny.

We had a great visit with the Huffman's last night. Their daughter Alexis had her baptismal interview yesterday as well. We are so excited for that family. They are working hard to be ready to go to the temple and be sealed as a family! That is an amazing miracle. The progress that the Huffman family has made is just amazing. Bro Huffman has been working hard to be a better ward mission leader and he is improving a ton! It's just awesome! It was kinda sad though... We found out about transfers early Sunday morning. After her interview with the bishop, Alexis runs out and says, "I want you to come to my baptism! Are you coming?" haha We were like "Um.. we want too..." haha She is sad that we won't be there for it. But she wants to be a missionary and so we talked up the sisters a lot. They will be good for her. 

We had a cool visit with Sister Dembia the other night too... We stopped by and just knocked. She was the only one home so we just talked with her on the doorstep. She told us about how she wanted her family to respect her beliefs more and get on board. She talked a lot about how she wanted to live her religion better. It was cool and we were there to build her up, give some ways to start doing that and so forth... We hadn't planned on stopping by at all. This all just kinda happened. Then, at the end, we found ourselves inviting her to ask her boss to let he off work on Sunday morning so she can go to church. She says she will ask too. So that was pretty cool. Plus, we had just intended to stop by and set up an appt., as we were on our way to another set appt. We had a great visit with Sister Dembia that went pretty long. So we missed our set appointment but they called and left a voice mail saying they  couldn't make it either. So, when we heard that after we left the Dembia's, we felt better. It's nice to know that the Lord can fix our plans if they aren't what he wants to happen. haha

I rolled my ankle again this week... which is really not cool... I'm back in the brace again, just limping around.. so stupid. We were at a member's house yesterday and one of the kids wanted us to come outside and play around for a minute. So we go out and I just kinda slipped and rolled it.  So anyway... lots of ice baths... And, I'm back in the brace 24/7 for the next two weeks, I guess. Maybe my next area will be a car area and I will be able to give it a little more rest. We will see. 

A theme of my studies, as of late, has been studying the theme of "inasmuch as ye keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land" in the Book of Mormon. I have found a number of references to this phrase. My count is either 18 or nineteen of the phrase and a few more of the same idea in different words which puts it closer to 22 times in the Book of Mormon. I can't remember.. I have it written down somewhere... I've really gone nuts with this looking for different themes in the Book of Mormon. But, it has made for very profitable studies. I love it. But I wish I could apply what I learn more quickly. haha Like when the lord commands - do it. When we are prompted by the spirit - do it! Then, we will prosper in the land! It shouldn't be so hard... I hope I learn sooner rather than later. ugh... But I do love that theme of the Book of Mormon. It should be our top priority to keep the commandments of God, simply because we should all want to prosper in the land. haha Success is in the details..  It's all about the little things that we do. We just need to do what the Lord asks of us so that he can bless us. So simple. Like tithing. I love how the Lord says "prove me now herewith" and see if I will not bless you. I think it is like that with all of his commandments. He says "I'll tell you what. Just try me. Do what I say and just see if I will bless you. Just try me. Go for it. Any time. Just try it and see if I do not pour out a blessing upon you that there shall not be room enough to receive it." ....Early on in the Book of Mormon, when this is brought up, Lehi says, "I have obtained the promise of the Lord that if ye will keep his commandments, ye shall prosper in the land." We have the promise of the Lord. He has promised us. What a blessing. What an opportunity. It's like a standing offer. So simple. I love that about our Father in Heaven. He has promised us that is the way it works. That's pretty cool. 

It is crazy how fast time has gone... Mom pointed out the fun fact that I'm almost twenty.... That's messed up. I don't want to be twenty. I feel like a kid. I feel like there is no way I could possibly be turning twenty in a month. Anyway... I should be going now.  I will talk to you next week! Until then, have a great week! 

ps. Two more week til general conference!!! 

Love you guys,
elder hinkle

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014

It may be hard to believe, especially coming from me, but we have had a great week here this week. We had a fantastic week! Many of our less actives that we work with were out of town or unavailable to meet this week but we were still able to meet with a ton of people. Plus, we had a day that was really warm right before the latest storm and that was pretty great! Riding around on the bike in short sleeves... ah, its been too long. But anyway.... so Ryan just returned from spring break. We haven’t heard anything from him yet.... so, sorry there is no update there. Mindy - also out of town. But, notwithstanding, we went over and did a bunch of yard work for her and we met her neighbor, Lisa. We got to know her a bit and we helped her with a couple things. We will probably see her again someday. When we were leaving Lisa was talking about how she was going to go over and introduce herself to Mindy so that will be cool. And that was on a warmer day so it was great to be outside.

Cool story- Marie was also out of town, in the best way possible. She went and visited Sister White, her member friend in N. Carolina. We got a text from Sister White yesterday telling us how Marie had joined her family in family scripture study. Boom! Marie loved it apparently and Sister White says that Marie expects us to give her a Book of Mormon. Sweet miracle!! So we are hoping to set up an appointment this week to see Marie.

This coming week we will meet with the Beck’s again. We had the set appointment so we did not see them this week but we are going over soon. The Barry’s were also out of town, in Iceland. But they want us to come over this week to show us all the pictures they took on their vacation! That will be sweet!

So, as you can see there are a lot of people not here that we normally work with. The list goes on and on... haha And all the mids were on spring break so we didn’t have institute or fhe. Therefore, we were forced to really find a lot more things to do and visit with different people than we normally struggle to see… and we were able to see them! It was like a miracle week! We had a lot of good visits.

It was fortunate that we had some extra time this week because we had a new member move into our ward, Sister Baker. We went over and had a great visit with her. She is an art teacher and, let me tell ya, she loves art. haha She is all about art! It’s pretty cool how much she loves it. She does all kinds of different stuff. She has just barely got into sculpting and she is pretty much pro. She has a sculpted head sitting on her desk, which is as impressive as it was eerie. She also carves pumpkins... but on a whole other level than our family does... haha She said that she is on instagram. Have Jordan look for a Nancy Baker and pumpkin carving stuff.... she had some sweet work! Anyway, we had a great visit with her and heard all about different art stuff... she is speaking at a national art convention and she is pretty stoked about that. I wasn’t really sure what she was talking about when she was talking about her art stuff but it sounds legit. Jenna would have loved to meet her and see her stuff. It was pretty cool. I am pretty sure most people feel like I did talking to Sister Baker when they talk with me about tennis. haha Well... not as much anymore... now its more like when we are playing Book of Mormon baseball. I love that game. haha I guess that’s what happens when your entire life is filled with the Book of Mormon. Not complaining about that side effect...

Ok, I can’t wait any longer.... can you believe that general conference is in like two weeks!?!?!?! What’s up!? I cannot wait! I’ve been reviewing some of the talks from last session. Elder Maynes is still my favorite. Hands down. Ah! So yeah, let the countdown begin!

Oh, ok... so here is a highlight for you. Remember how I said that there was nine instances in the Book of Mormnon where we see the phrase "the strength of the Lord"? Right, well, I stand corrected. I found another one! 3 Ne chapters 3-4. It’s like I found another testimony in the Book of Mormon that the Lord will strengthen those who run to him! Can’t have enough of those! I mean... there are a lot more but I like the phrase so it is especially cool. Each reference always seems to teach a different spin too... I love studying them and the associated patterns and the different things the authors point out. This one was cool because it really talked a lot about the preparation before hand. The Nephites prepared early for this battle by following the counsel from their prophet leaders Lachoneus and Gidgiddoni. So that was one. Then, when the robbers come to attack, the Nephites see their terrifying army and fall to the ground praying to God that he would deliver them. The robbers saw this and were shouted for joy because they supposed that the Nephites were sore afraid. But in this the robbers were disappointed. The Nephites were not afraid of the robbers, they just knew where their true strength lied...layed... lays…was. Anyway... so they turned to the Lord. Then, it says that they were prepared to meet the robbers and in the strength of the Lord they did receive them. I love that. The world really does see people turning to God and view it as weakness. But not so! haha The Nephites had prepared diligently and done everything the Lord’s way. They operated on the strength of the Lord and thus they were strengthened and delivered!! I love these references. "In the strength of the Lord" is probably one of my favorite themes of the Book of Mormon to study. Each story is a powerful testimony to me that if we operate under the direction of the Lord, then he will supplement our strength with his and we will win. To know it in theory is one thing, to know it in practice is another... I pray often that my faith will increase and that I may rely on the Savior in more than I do. Also, another thing I love about this theme is looking back on times on my life and recognizing when I have been able to go forth in the strength of the Lord, and when he has enabled and delivered me. And I love that these stories are in the Book of Mormon because at anytime I can refer to them, read them, and draw strength from the testimonies of these people. Heads up... I have another theme counting thing in progress that I am stoked about too… I just love the Book of Mormon! hahah

Oh, one more quick miracle! We visited Sister Kinsella this week and read the Book of Mormon with her. We read in Alma two about the Nephites vs. the Amlicites. Sis Kinsella hates war chapters. haha But in this visit we talked with her about how they relate to us and at the end her entire perception of the had changed. That was sweet!

Anyway... shout out to Great Grandma Erickson! I hope that you are doing great! 

I will let you know next week if I get transferred or not. We will see. This week is going to be sweet. Like I was saying before we have a ton of great stuff kind of lined up already... I just hope it all goes through.  That will give me plenty of things to write about next week.

Anyway, have a great week. 

I love you guys!

Elder Hinkle

Monday, March 3, 2014

February 24

Hey Guys! 

I'm jealous of the weather you guys seem to be having, but I can't complain too much. Our weather is getting much better. We saw the sun today! Warmer weather is really nice. I was fortunate enough to spend the winter outside this year and saying that I can't wait for spring is an understatement. 

Anyway... We have had a great week. It feels like it wasn't long since I talked to you guys last. It was Tuesday, right? Yeah, then we went to the temple the day after.. The temple was incredible! Oh, that was such a great opportunity to visit the house of the Lord. It was a very neat experience. I really felt like I was in the Lord's house. It was unreal. We can get so close to heaven in the temple... it's like it is right there... I felt so honored to be able to go in. Having a current temple recommend is so great. It's like a personal invitation from the Savior to visit him in His home. The peace that is felt in the temple was so powerful that day... I'm not sure I can say too much more to descibe it. It was just perfect peace. I really felt in tune with the spirit while I was there and I recieved some solid personal revelation. What a blessing it is for us to be able to go to temples! I miss having the bountiful temple seven minutes away from me. You guys have got to take advantage! It is the place to be. I left feeling reinvigorated and ready to step it up and really dedicate myself more to God. The feeling was just so very noticeable after not having been in so long. T And it made the experience that much better. Anyway... long story short... everyone should go to the temple. 

Anyway... we also moved apartments this week! Our new place is pretty sweet. Ok, that doesn't do it justice... it's awesome! We have a bedroom, study room, two bathrooms, a living room, and a sweet kitchen. It's actually a condo... yep..I'm living in a condo... They are just prepping this area for sisters. I can feel it. It's too nice... haha You would not believe this place is a missionary apartment. I mean it's not as nice as some of the others I have seen but still... its really nice. We moved in over the weekend. 

We had an awesome Valentines day party with the ysa here. It was pretty fun. We didn't play anything because of how many people showed up. There was a fantastic turn out! We saw some less actives there who almost never come. Plus some nonmembers showed up. Super successfull event. 

After that I left my area for the latter half of the week and went on exchanges with one of my zone leaders, Elder Day. It was a fun exchange. That night we got to go to the army navy wrestling match with a less active in the ward! So much fun! Elder Day was supposed to send me the pictures but that hasn't happened yet... but dang... Those guys were good. They were in such good shape. We know two of the wrestlers on the team because they are members of the ward. It was a pretty fun night. The next day, I was still on exchange, we do two days now; that whole day was crazy. People kept canceling. One investigator we were having lunch with just got up and left... We aren't sure what happened there.. haha Just crazy stuff like that happened. Elder Day wasn't too happy about it, but we played basketball that night with some less actives and that ended the night on a good note. According to the trend of the the last two exchanges, miracles happened in our area when I left. Which is good. haha Elder Holt visited Mindy and shared a spiritual message. Then the member who went with them, Bro. Dudley, invited her to taco night at his house. She then asked if she could have visiting teachers! We talked to the rs pres and now Sister Dudley is her visiting teacher. boom. Miracles! I will keep you posted on how taco night goes! haha Cant wait! 

Last night, we had dinner with the Wallworks. This was sweet. So every Sunday at four, we do an fhe for the Wallwork fam and teach them a missionary lesson. We pull out all the stops. We use the pamphlets and the scriptures and it's awesome. They have kids who are 8-11. Perfect practice for teaching simply. And they are fun kids too so our visits are a blast. Anyway, this last Sunday, we taught about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then the Wallworks had invited us and the Dembia family over for dinner right after! Two of my favorite families in the area in the same place! With delicious chicken tacos! It doesnt get much better than that! So we had a great night. We snagged a ride back to our aprtment from the other elders around 6:30 to pass along the boxes we used to move. A member needed them to pack stuff and Elder Day was going to deliver them. So we were at our apartment pretty early. We kinda ran out of things to do that night after about an hour. So we had about one more hour left of the night. We made some sweet street contacts! One of them was one of our neighbors. He wants to come play ball with us some time, so we are going to make it happen. Super cool guy. He is about to have a baby and about to get married. I'm sure he has a lot of questions that he will one day ask the missionaries. It's gonna happen. 

There isn't a ton more highlights this week. We had to take a lot of time packing and moving and what not. There was a lot of stuff. I still have stuff to unpack. I'm tempted to just leave it all packed up till transfers... but I probably won't... 

We are having a zone conference tomorrow. A big one. It's from eight in the morning to four that night. That's crazy. President will be there. Rumor has it that we are getting ipads. I'm not sure I buy it but if we are there for that long it better be good. haha Luckily lunch is provided. Very important small print. 

No new news on Ryan... we keep meeting with him and he is doing great. No news on the parents though.. ugh... They are really busy apparently. Kind of a bummer but Ryan is in a pretty good situation. He has a lot of solid member friends and he enjoys church and our activities. I'm not too worried as long as we maintain good contact with Ryan.

Isn't it crazy that February is almost over!? It is almost March! And you know what that means... one more month until general conference!!!! I'm feeling the hype! It's building! haha but seriously though.. I've almost been out for ten months. It doesnt even feel like it at all. It's maddness. 

We walked to the library today... I left my bag home.. So I forgot my Book of Mormon.. I feel like a tennis player without a racquet. But anyway.. I am in the war chapter right now. I just read the story about Helaman's army taking the city of Antipus. I love the verses that talk about the strippling warriors. I am sure that if the lived today they would all be elite athletes. Why? Because their mothers taught them. haha... Missionary jokes... Anyway, the reason I a missing el libro de mormon is because I wanted to reference some of those verses. The nephite army in that region of the country were fighting the Lamanites. Helaman's army was like the army of champions. In one particular instance they are in a battle along with the other Nephite armies against the ferocious Lamanites. The Lamanites were having a pretty good day and some of the Nephites were ready to turn back and flee. Helaman's army fought "firm and undaugnted" I love that. The pressure was on and these warriors stayed strong. In the next verse, it descibes thier faith and how they executed every command with exactness. Not only were they still fighting, they were fighting to the best of their ability. In a situation where their fellow Nephites were failing, they were undaunted. They continued performing at a very high level and turned the tide of the battle. The Nephites rightly attribute the victory to these young men, and they rightly attributed their success to their faith and their undaunted exactness. I love that. None of them died. All of them were wounded but the were all preserved by the power of God because of their faith. Moral of the story, listen to your mothers. And also when we are in pressure situations where our beliefs or standards are challenged, obey with exactness. Step up as a disciple of Jesus Christ and stand tall. Come up big in the pressure situation and make the right play. That's what it is all about. 

Oh! I really gotta go! haha SORRY! TALK TO YOU NEXT WEEK! 

ELDER HINKLE