Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19, 2014

We have had an awesome week here in Columbia! It's been crazy. Crazy stories, crazy miracles. It baffles me that it's all happened in only a week... when you look back at things, you just feel like they happened forever ago because the days are so full... but then time goes really, really fast... and it doesn't seem that long ago that I left home... I don't know... it's weird, but it's fun! 

So we did not see the Miranda's on Monday night.... They canceled with us again.... but that's ok. We will get in with them and teach them about the restored gospel! haha That fell through and then another appointment for Friday fell through... but then we sent them a text inviting them to church! ... no answer... but they came to church!! All three hours too. haha It was great! And they loved it! But yeah... sister Miranda loved relief society. The sisters took care of her and it turns out relief society talked a lot about the book of mormon and she said it answered a lot of questions that she had. And Danny, their son, had a blast chilling with our ward mission leader's son in their class! And bro Miranda was participating in classes and super social with everyone. It was so cool! The bishop was stoked! Yesterday was just a good day. I'll start there... haha

We have continued to have good visits with John. We are doing our best to help him out... it is tricky though... it's just an interesting situation. We have been pretty straight forward with him. And he has told us this week, his goal is to find out if what we say is true. And if it isn't, then he will decide what to do from there. If it is true, then he will make plans to be baptized and he said there is a plan to follow. haha Pretty sweet.

This week, we encountered many many agnostic people. Their favorite phrases are "I don't care," "it doesn't matter," or ... "whatever"... haha It is just so interesting how pervasive the philosophy of "it doesn't matter" is in the world today. There are so many people that we meet who just don't care about God. It is so sad... and dumb. 

Oh! Brother Zhen's daughter got baptized! That was sweet and he baptized her! It was cool! So that was a great way to start our Saturday morning! Then, we went to the mission conference!!! That was awesome! Just a priceless experience! Elder Ballard is awesome! An apostle of the Lord, Jesus Christ! So cool! I'll pass on a few notes, but I'll have to be brief - 

Elder  Clayton spoke with him. He talked about the phrase "hear Him." This is my beloved son hear Him! And how we hear Him in our lives. We hear him in our lives when we follow the commandments of the Lord with exactness. We hear him when we serve others. We hear him when we are faithful home and visiting teachers. We hear him when we take time to read the scriptures and pray everyday. We hear him as we are are kind and cheerful in our homes. We hear him when we attend our church meetings and partake of the sacrament. And when we hear Him, we will be happy because we will have the spirit of the Lord with us. Our goal as missionaries, and members too, is to help others hear Him. They hear Him as they keep commitments and things like that. We must help them. 

I liked his message. Over the course of my mission, I have pondered the words which our Father in heaven spoke in the first vision. I have tried to imagine how exactly He spoke. I try to imagine what He emphasized and what kind of tone of voice he used. I can only imagine Heavenly Father speaking to Joseph Smith, pointing to his son, Jesus Christ and saying "this is my beloved son, hear Him!" in the most loving way possible. I imagine that when He says hear Him, He is pleading with people to listen. He testifies that Jesus is the Christ and that following Him is the only way to the celestial kingdom and then, He pleads with us to hear Him. He implores us to listen. He has given us the ability to chose for ourselves but he begs us to choose to follow Jesus Christ. He asks us to do that because He knows how much joy and peace is available if we do. Our best bet is to hear Him in all we do. 

Elder Ballard spoke for about an hour. He spoke about a lot of things that are directed to missionaries. But some applies to you as well. He told us that someone had recently asked him how he does it? How does he keep going? He responded, saying - 'I remember the Savior. I keep a picture of the Savior in my scriptures and whenever I am tired, I pull it out and look at it. I remember Him. There is a phrase in the book of mormon "look and live!" It goes so well with what he spoke about at that point. His picture of Christ was the pass along card of Jesus Christ coming out of the tomb. The one that is taped to the front of my planner at the moment. I love having pictures of the Savior around. I got one once in a Christmas card from the institute at SVU. I really loved that. I still have that picture. I remember taking great care to ensure that it would not be bent or damaged in any way until I got a frame for it. It is on my study desk right now and I look at it everyday. Elder Ballard's words on that topic were a powerful message from an apostle of where the real source of power lies. Elder Ballard relies on the Lord all of the time and we can and should as well. 

Hey I've gotta go! I hope you guys have a great week this week! Sadly, I am out of time... I wish I had more time to talk to you guys... And I will, on Monday. haha Until then, have a great week! 

I love you guys! 
elder hinkle 

Monday, May 5, 2014

May 5, 2014

Hey family!! 

It was great to hear from you guys today! Sorry, I am a little short on time today. Caleb shot me an email so we had to talk a bit. haha It was good to hear from him. Hearing that Coach Johnson is working with USU was sweet! That's awesome! He was the best coach ever. ahh!! That's crazy! I honestly can't wait to play again. I just need to keep myself in the best condition possible so I can jump right back in when I get home. When I get home, I pretty much just want to coach and play. That's the dream. Then, I will play for USU and still get to work with Coach Johnson! That's cool that Jenna is cheering with Ethan's sister. Now, we just need to get Jack playing tennis with Ethan's brother. Jack - I have had great anxiety over you and all of this baseball playing.... and now you are pitching...baseball is not easy on kids. I know you're super good at it but let's be real, you are super good at everything. I don't know... I'm just saying...but the plays dad told me about sounded pretty sick.  Whatever you do, do it well, right! haha Also, good to know that you guys named the dog. hahaha So, I did know that you replaced me with a dog, but I don't think you ever told me its name. haha Sorry. Elder Pail and I had a good laugh about that last Monday. haha I was like "who is that?" haha 

Are you ready for terrible news? ... Elder Pail is getting transferred... it's a bummer. We work pretty well together and there is a ton of good stuff happening here and we have a ton of fun. I don't know the new guy. Elder Christensen. I don't really know anything about him. Hopefully, he is cool too. I'll let you know on Sunday. Oh yeah, Skype Sunday!!! What's up!? I will give you guys a call sometime this week to set it up. Can't wait!!! That's going to be a party! Same drill as last time from what I understand. 1 hour on the dot. haha

Anyway... we have had a fanflippintastic week! Story after story, miracle after miracle! agh! I don't have the time for it all! I wish I could share more of my mission with you guys! It's like the perfect movie - very uplifting, lots of comedy (always clean), some adventure, a little bit of action, and absolutely no romance. Perfect. haha but yeah... 

So I guess I'll start withTuesday - you get the highlights...which are like the best of the best at this point... 

We had one of the best lessons that night! We were over at Sammy's house for the next visit with Rafael. (Sammy's Mom's boyfriend)  I told you about him, right? If not, sorry but I don't have time right now... haha So we taught him and we had a great visit. Long cool story short - last time he asked to learn more. This time we did some htbt (how to begin teaching) and taught about the Godhead and the holy ghost. The spirit was definitely there while we were teaching him. Great guy too. So we are going back tomorrow!!! We will teach the restoration. So yeah, when we taught him this week he made us tacos. They were delicious tacos. 

Wednesday was insane! I thought the earth was being flooded again. It rained all day long. It rained hard! So we were going about our day dreading each time we had to run from the car to a door and get drenched in ten seconds and we got a call from a member who's on vacation in Elder Pail's home town. haha Crazy, right? Before they left, they took a picture of us and then, when they were there, they just happened to meet his girlfriend and yeah...that was weird. But  anyway...they called us and they asked us to go in their house and see if there was any flooding. So they gave us the garage code and we went over. So we go in and we are going into the basement and elder Pail is in front. No lights on. He says, "Alright, I'll find a light switch and then we will look for water." Then, he stepped off the stars into the water. haha The basement was covered. Lots of water....so we helped out as much as we could... but we had an appointment with John so we didn't have too much time. Long story short - it all worked out and we helped. 

The lesson with John that night was interesting.  In answer to a lot of questions he had last week about death and suffering and stuff.  We decided that we needed to help John understand how to find these answers himself in the scriptures and from God. They don't mean as much when they come from two eighteen year olds...haha So we did, under the direction of our ward mission leader and hopefully the holy ghost, we set a plan. Bro Cintron asked us to give him an assignment that was pretty large. And we gave it to him. He said he would do it.  I know that the answers he needs can be found in the scriptures, I just hope that John is ready and he does get them. We meet with him tomorrow night. We told him that the next appointment he is going to just teach us what he learned. The assignment is pretty extensive, so if done properly, he will have learned a lot and tomorrow will be a great visit. The ward council fasted for him this week as well. 

So another highlight is that we are starting a sports night. This last week, we had a trial round. We invited people and it turned out that we had a ton of success. We actually bit off more than we could chew for this first time... haha It was awesome! We had one of our investigators there and he loved it! That was Ryshaun. Everyone calls him Smilie. That's his street name. Everyone really does call him that. haha So that was great! 

Saturday was the best day of the week!!! So we visited brother Zhen. Solid visit. Before that, we had coordination meeting so we needed to make up some study time and prepare a bit. We did that in a gazebo in a park. There was this guy who just finished playing tennis. I chased him down and we had a great street contact. His name is Steven. Hopefully, I talk about him in coming weeks. Then, we went over to the Miranda family. Awesome fam. They invited us over for dominican chicken. It was delicious. We played a game called ice breakers during dinner. Each person essentially gives a short intro for themselves. We laughed a lot and learned a lot about them. Then, we sat on their couch eating these ice cream cones they gave us-butter pecan. Elder Pail's favorite. haha As we sat there licking our ice cream cones, we couldn't believe what was happening. They loved us! Then, conversation turned to God and religion. They are looking for more purpose in life. They have tried many churches but don't feel like the one they currently attend is completely right for them. Both parents had past experience with missionaries. Roger, the dad, told us that he doesn't really know what it means to be a mormon, and he wants to learn. We were stoked! So we offered to teach them and they were excited about it! We will meet Friday! Danny, their son, is coming to mutual Thursday! They are coming to church this Sunday! Boom!! They are excited. We are excited! Our bishop is excited! haha You guys should be excited! hahaha It was a miracle! And this Friday will be awesome! They couldn't make it to church yesterday because their son was really sick. But they will come next week.

Then, yesterday was a blast. We found out elder Pail was leaving. I mean, we got the call, it's not like we didn't all see that coming... haha So we met with a lot of people. And set up even more appointments. He did good work here. The ward will miss him. And I will too... haha

So yeah... those were the highlights of our week! It was fantastic! Now, I get to talk to you guys today and then I will see you at the end of this week. Can it get better than that? Oh! yes it can! We have a mission conference with elder Ballard coming up on May 17th!!!! Whaaat!? I am stoked for that too!!! So we had a good week. A lot happened. 

I will talk to you later this week. I've gotta go.

Love you guys!
elder hinkle