Monday, December 22, 2014

December 22, 2014-Merry Christmas!

Hey guys! Merry Christmas!! Three days! haha  It will be fun to see you guys on Christmas! We have a pretty packed day - we will be going to two people's houses for Christmas dinner. One at three and one at five. haha Then, we will see the L family a little bit before we skype home. And we may try to see some other people. We will see what we can set up. It will be a fun day. This week is pretty crazy. It's a really weird week; we only get like two normal days to proselyte. Crazy. 

Brother K was confirmed in church yesterday! That was great! His home teacher, brother N confirmed him, which was good.  We did everything we could to have a member of the branch baptize him... I do not know if that is a world wide thing or a mission thing but it sure does make a ton of sense. Missionaries...we come and go pretty quick. I would not be surprised if I am transferred in three weeks. The members stay in the area with the new member. So if the members perform the ordinance, then there is that connection within the ward. Ideally, it is a home teacher or close friend in the ward. We have done everything possible to get brother K a lot of friends in the ward. And he has a ton of them.  Oh yeah, and we had like sixty people there at the baptismal service. Awesome turnout! President Richards came and it was a really good service. After the service, the B family, the other people being baptized, invited us and bro K over to their house for lunch. And so we went with them and we had a good time. And then, yesterday, they were all confirmed. Brother K wanted like everyone in his confirmation circle though.. haha It was funny. And his home teacher was voice, so that was great! So now he has the gift of the holy ghost! Plans are in motion to have him ordained to the Aaronic priesthood. as soon as possible. And then we will get him involved and transitioned into full activity in the church. That's what its all about. We have a lot more work to do to help brother K. But he is on fire and things are going really well. 

That has taken up most of our week. It's been a lot of work for brother K. The week before the baptism, we know, is like a spiritual fifth set tie breaker. Just like the time leading up to serving a mission, just before you leave... satan gets desperate and tries hard. We were very aware of that, so we redoubled our efforts to strengthen bro K in the Lord this week. With faith that if we did all we could, then the Lord would help him. Like elder Sam Wong's talk from conference, "when Jesus saw THEIR faith He healed the man with palsy," we spared no expense in meeting with him every day and getting things in order. We made sure brother K was our priority this week. And that was good. We are glad that everything went so well. Several members remarked that the baptism was a very spiritual experience and they really enjoyed it as well. Awesome.

It was a good thing to have the baptism so close to Christmas. It has caused me to reflect a lot on receiving the gift Christ gave us. That is exactly what brother K did this weekend as he received the sacred ordinances which literally allow him to receive the gift of the atonement of Jesus Christ. That is exactly what we do when we worthily partake of the sacrament of Christ each week in church. Talk about embracing the gift. 

This Christmas season I have reflected a lot on what Christmas means to me this year. The themes of faith, trust, and love stand out in my mind. The prophet Mormon tells us "God declared unto prophets that Christ should come. And by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord, that they may bear testimony of Him, the Lord prepareth the way that the residue of men may have faith in Christ that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts." This Christmas season, I celebrate that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been declared to the world. And even more, the fullness of his gospel has been restored to the earth! What a blessing it is to have prophets, to have the gospel declared, that we may know about Christ and have faith in Him! What a great gift! The prophet Mormon tells us through faith in Christ, we may lay hold upon every good gift. There are a lot of good gifts out there and through faith in Jesus Christ, we can have them. The prophets have told us about the gifts Christ can give us for a long time.... gifts of hope, peace, joy, overcoming our weaknesses and mistakes, living with our families forever. Just to name a few. All gifts, which mean a lot to me personally and seem to resonate with most of the world. So I celebrate that we have the gospel and know of Christ. Because we know of him and his gospel we have the opportunity to have faith in him and lay hold on every good gift. 

There are many invitations the Savior extends to people. The one that seems best fitting to me for the Christmas season is "be of good cheer". That is my invitation to all of you. Do not be distracted by all of the commercial christmas stuff. Rather let the birth of Jesus Christ and his life and his atonement, rest in your minds, that you may be of good cheer. When we remember Christ, we will be of good cheer. 

Our family has so many reasons to be happy. I am glad I am a full-time missionary right now. Because as the prophets have declared glad tidings of joy to the world, I get to help take the word of Christ to people who have not heard it yet by bearing testimony of Him, so that other people can have faith in Him too. It is definitely a memorable Christmas to see the fruits of the work of many missionaries and members in the life of brother K. That is what it's all about. Helping people to come unto Christ and experience the same joy we have felt. 

Merry Christmas again!
Love you guys,
elder Hinkle

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