Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014

Hey guys! Whats up!? It sounds like you guys had a really fun week! I bet you are stoked for Thanksgiving this week! We are! We are going to visit two families... one I don't really know yet and the other, I have met a few times. It's going to be a really fun day. Most of it. We have a zone activity in the morning to play ultimate frisbee.. so that means I'll sit on the ground for a couple hours.. but after that  the day will be sweet! haha 

Next Thanksgiving I will be there! That's weird.. but normal at the same time. I don't know. I always talk about not wanting to come home because I like being on a mission.  I feel like that's kind of a faithless attitude so I'm trying to be more excited to come home... don't get me wrong, I miss you guys and I can't wait to see you... but it really is good to be a missionary. haha 

You guys will have a lot to be thankful for this year. I saw something in a member's home once. One night for fhe they pulled out a giant piece of paper- like a really big one, three by three feet or so. They hung it on the wall. Then they all wrote things they are thankful for on it until it was full. I invite you guys to try it! Thanksgiving week! Hang up a big piece of paper in a place in the house that gets a lot of traffic, that you pass a lot. And put a pen next to it. Then every time you pass the paper you have to write something that you are grateful for until the end of the week. I guarantee you guys could fill a paper that is like ten feet long... but for the sake of time, it doesn't have to be that big... haha Then you can count your many blessings at the end of the week. yay. 

Brother K left for Florida on Friday. We met with him a lot before then. He is on fire. Tuesday, we taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ lesson. We were on exchanges and I stayed and one of our zone leaders elder Ferrin came here to work with me. We had a great lesson and talked a lot about repentance, we have covered a lot of the other subjects and repentance is going to be a big thing for brother K to understand moving forward. The good news is that he already has the desire to make these changes in his life. All he needs is a little doctrinal push to motivate him I think. I think that he will be able to do it. While we were teaching the gospel of Christ, we were at the B's home. A member in our branch. Brother B joined the church later in his life and he shared his story about how it all happened. It was an awesome story and brother K loved it. Then bro B invited brother King to be baptized on the 20th of Dec.  It was sweet. Brother K is praying about it. He is really looking forward to it. 

Oh, yeah... so we are in the ward choir here, right? Well, we sang in sacrament meeting this week. The song we sung was in Spanish... haha I didn't even know how to say all of the words... let alone sing... ... We have been practicing it in choir practice every week... well... sometimes I was on splits.. .and then I don't go to choir.. haha But yeah. You would have laughed seeing me up on the stand singing in Spanish... I don't think anyone heard my voice out of the choir because people kept saying we sounded great. That may be the first and only time that people compliment my singing. haha So, check that off the bucket list. 

It was a pretty good week. and to top it all off I find out today that Federer and Wawrinka won the Davis cup for Switzerland! whaaat!? I am sorry I missed  that. It is not often that you meet people who follow Davis cup - but I did! haha So I hadn't heard any news about the ties except for what you told me last week... so that was a sweet surprise! haha I'll have so much to catch up when I come home... and a ton of time to do it too. haha

I have been thinking a lot on gratitude this week. And last two weeks since they asked me to speak about it kind of. As I have pondered that, I think the things I am most grateful for this year are things which give me hope and things which have helped me become more converted to the Lord. In my mind, there are many things which stand out. A couple of those things are the book or mormon and the atonement of Jesus Christ. The book of mormon is something that I treasure. I've definitely felt the power of the book of mormon. It teaches us true and simple doctrine. It is full of invitations for us to act and promised blessings. When ever I read the book of mormon it renews my hope for the future and refreshes my view of what is going on around me. I have found so much needed direction in the book or mormon when I needed it. I remember my last semester in school I was having a difficult time. The more I have learned the more I see how I could have handled the situation differently. But one thing that I did right was turn to the book of mormon. I remember making it a priority to turn the pages of the book of mormon daily and read the word of God. I know that is one thing that really helped me out then and has continued to help me as I strive to be an effective missionary and go through life. I know that the book of mormon is true and it is the foundation of everything I hope for. If the book of mormon is true than I believe I have a great future ahead of me. If it is not, then I do not know... the good news is that I know it to be true. And that witness which I have received through the power of the Holy Ghost is something I am very grateful for. 

The atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the work he has done and is doing and has promised to do in my life is something else that causes me to be grateful. I look back on my life and see that I have not always been the person I should have been. I am not yet the person I want to be.  I know of the work the Redeemer has done in my life to help me. It is because of Jesus Christ that I can look back and say - I am better than I used to be. As I reflect on that, I am filled with gratitude. I know that I still struggle to be who the Savior and I want me to be, but because of the gospel of Jesus Christ I am hopeful that I can and will continue to improve according to my faith, diligence, and obedience.  And life will be good. 

Reading your letters today is also something I am grateful for. I have been blessed to have a great family. I love reading the letters you send me. And it is quite a blessing to be able to email every Monday. I enjoy sharing my experiences with you guys and I enjoy reading about what's going on with you guys. I am really grateful for all the support that you guys have given me as I have been serving a mission especially. It is nice to be able to talk to you each week and hear your reports of the week. I am excited to talk to you guys on Christmas and it will be fun to come home and hang out with you guys this summer. I have met a lot of people in the last eighteen months... haha And I often find myself recognizing that we really do have a really cool family. If you guys were members in my ward, I would love to come to your house. haha You guys would be the favorites. haha 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!! 

I love you guys! 
elder Hinkle

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2014

Hey guys! We have had a great week this week! It's getting really cold again... This week is supposed to be even colder but today is nicer. Not looking forward to the winter... but oh well.. Sorry, the other missionaries here like to email really early... so I beat your emails to the library. haha My bad. Maybe I will get them before I leave, we will see. 

People wise, brother K is doing great! We had some really good visits with him this week. We taught him about the plan of salvation this week. It went pretty well. We were at brother B's house and brother K loves him. haha We taught the first half and finished by talking about the atonement of Jesus Christ. We emphasized that baptism is the way we receive the gift he wants to give us. We invited bro K to be baptized on the 29th. He said he would but he will be out of town... haha So we extended the date of Dec. 6th. He said he would pray about it. We left it at "we are not making you promise to be baptized on that day, just setting it as a goal." He kinda didn't say anything definitive so we aren't sure ... He has been telling everyone that he is going to be baptized soon though. haha Yesterday in church, I overheard him telling multiple people that he is going to be baptized in a few weeks, so there you go. haha We also invited him to attend a baptism on Saturday. He was stoked about that. So we went and watched this baptism. We met with him about 30 min beforehand to teach him more about what baptism is and that lesson went very well too. Brother K really liked the baptism. When the lady was baptized they forgot to use her middle name and brother K was like, "I cant believe they messed it up! It's like the one time she is going to be baptized and they had to do it again!?" haha I reassured him that we will make sure they do it right at his baptism. haha He wants to meet with us more and is always asking if there are activities he can come to. Unfortunately this branch is not huge on activities. So we are working hard to keep him involved and busy. haha We are meeting with him tonight in another member's home to finish the plan of salvation. We are going to teach with the temple in mind and prepare him for the rest of the week. We hope to have the visit after that with a family history consultant and get him started in family history. Then, this Saturday we are going to go to the temple and the visitors center. Whats up!? haha It's going to be sweet! So yeah, things are looking good for him. He loves the church. It's fun to work with him and the members are being great about welcoming him and welcoming him into their homes. Awesome.

We had dinner with this old guy on Wednesday... We were walking to the car and he was legitimately about to fall over. I caught him mid fall and put him back on his feet but yeah.. I feel bad for the guy. He is a really awesome guy but he has some serious health challenges. Super funny too. Just classic old guy - "I sure am glad you caught me elder." haha Just as calm as ever. 

We have been low on luck with potentials lately. So we don't really have any news about new people. Well, that's not true - we have a return appointment with a lady named E this week. We were going to meet up with them last week but she and her daughter got sick with the flu. So we rescheduled for this week. They seem like a pretty cool family, so hopefully that lesson goes well. I won't be there. I am going on exchanges this week and so I will miss that appointment. 

We are going to have a really good week this week. Good news - I will be here for the highlights too. The temple trip this weekend will be the best. I will try to take some pictures when we go down. And I will tell you more next week. 

Elder Perkins' visit was awesome. He talked about a lot of really good things. I felt like I was seriously called to repentance... He talked about being positive. He only said a little bit about it but that hit me pretty hard. I am pretty positive with regard to everything missionary work related, but I have been less positive in my personal life. Having my ankle injured for so long with no way to fix it anytime soon has been draining. Having to protect it and refrain from doing anything risky has had me saying things like "I can't" a lot. That is not a good thing to say... in fact, it is a very destructive thing to say...  When I was playing tennis I was trying to be very disciplined in my mindset - trying hard to focus on the positive. I think that has kinda faded as I have been on my mission. So I got a solid wake up call this week. It's easy to just get down when you look at all of the problems in front of you. It takes more work to focus on the positive and see things with an eye of faith. There is a language of faith. The way we talk about things and think about things has a great effect on how we feel and perceive what is happening in our lives. I think it especially important for me to try to be more positive when looking at my personal life because it will help invite the spirit to be with me to a greater degree. And that is always good. Discipline is very important. The ability to say this is what I am going to do and then do it, is something that sets winners apart. The discipline required for daily obedience and faith will forge our future. If we discipline our minds to see the world in a good light then we will have a great future ahead of us. Elder Perkins talked about faith grows. He talked about how we can help other people's faith grow and the pattern applies to us as well. The final stage of faith is when it becomes a principle of power. Faith can be a power to the point that when we have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we can make things happen in our lives that could not happen if we did not have faith. The book of mormon teaches plainly that in the strength of the Lord we can do all things. The book is full of people who had faith in Christ sufficient to do things that even they admit were beyond their own power or ability to do. Elder Perkins taught that the key to developing this type of faith is to eliminate doubt and fear. They hold us down. Even the Savior specifically said - 'doubt not, fear not.' He directed us to look unto Him in every thought. And to be of good cheer. That phrase - be of good cheer is one that I particularly like. Inasmuch as we have faith in the Savior, we can be of good cheer. It will make our lives better. 

But some of the things I thought were interesting from elder Perkins... one thing he brought up that I really liked is he asked us "what is the difference between a tool and an instrument?" There were many different answers. His was the best. He taught us that an instrument can be tuned and a tool cannot. One thought that popped into my mind is that makes a tennis racquet an instrument. haha But another thought was closer to what he was talking about. Alma rejoices in his opportunity to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord, this was his joy. Elder Perkins told us to always remember to be an instrument and not a tool. Don't be a tool! haha Let the Lord adjust you and tune you. Repentance is key to allowing that to happen. It's hard to do but brings great blessings. If we will speedily repent then the Lord can fine tune us to perform the work he has in store for us. Our greatest  joy in life will come from doing the work that God has for us to do, when we really let the Lord use us. If I remember right pres. David O. Mckay told us about our personal priesthood interview with the Savior at the day of judgement. Question 3 was the Savior would ask for a reporting of how we used our talents. We are all unique instruments in God's hands and I believe that He wants us to use our talents in his service to the best of our ability. As we walk the path of obedience we will prosper in the land. Life will be good. The question then becomes - what can I do to be more in tune with the Lord? What do I need to adjust in order to do the work He wants me to do in the way he wants me to do it? Harder questions. 

It was good to hear from you guys today! It sounds like you guys are busy as ever. haha Just always remember to devote adequate time to the Lord!!!

I love you guys! 
elder Hinkle