Monday, April 26, 2010

Another Witty Title (AKA week 10)

Hey everyone,

I hope you like my creative titles :-) This morning before personal study I was finally able to finish my letter home, so after I print some pictures off at Walmart I will go ahead and send it off for you guys. I'm sorry I am not able to write more often, but I hope you all know that I am still thinking about you very much!

I had a strange experience yesterday when we got the mail. Both my companion and I tend to get so caught up in the work that we go days, or even a week at a time, without actually checking the mail but it is always fun when we do. I got a letter from Elder Radford, Tawny, Harrison, Aurora, Mat, Michelle, and Brenna lately and all of them culminated to make me realize just how much the rest of the world is still moving along while I am on my mission. Brenna's letter was shorter then usual because she is moving into her own appt and just finished the semester, Elder Radford talked about how much the YSA is changing with new people and others leaving, Harrison is old enough to date and is already a ladies man, Tawny is graduating and I got an invite to her open house, Aurora is rocking it in school, Mat is almost ready to send his papers into Utah and is doing amazing in YSA, Michelle is already looking at grad schools, other friends are preparing to send their mission papers in, and another friend is giving up and running away to Mexico. It felt weird realizing that when I get back things are going to be different in so many ways, and some friends and family will not even live there anymore. I feel good with most of the changes though and am so glad that you all are doing so well!

Random side note- Some members that had us over for dinner said they are related to the Radfords so I spent a good amount of time bragging about what good missionaries they are!

Now I want to tell you guys about an incredible experience I had this week! Tawny quoted President Uchtdorf saying to "expect a miracle every day" which is something that I have been saying to everyone so I am glad he backs me up. I don't have near enough time to tell you all the miracles I get to see and be part of, but one in particular stands out to me this week. Last week I talked a little about the Chavez family and how they have started coming to church, so now I want to expand on that story and tell you what else has happened with this wonderful family.

Sister Chavez grew up in the church but has not attended since she moved out, and brother Chavez was baptized 5-6 years ago but has not attended since then. Most of their kids had already been baptized during their brief days of activity, but since then they have been attending a Catholic church instead. When we first knocked on their door they were very nice but during our first lesson with them, 1 1/2 months ago, they let us know that our church isn't true and that it is evil to follow a man, the prophet. Through the weeks of teaching them, many times several times a week, they rapidly had a change of heart and through prayer and study each of them realized that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints holds the Restored Gospel and they were excited to come back to church. This week their oldest son who is 15 received the priesthood and was ordained to the office of a Teacher. The greatest part is that his dad, who just weeks ago was basically anti, was the one who ordained him and gave him the priesthood through the laying on of hands with us in the circle. He is an extremely humble man and said he did not feel worthy to be part of the ordination, but after much prayer thankfully accepted the offer. As he spoke in the blessing I felt the spirit enter and the priesthood power filled the room, and despite my best efforts not to, I had tears streaming down my cheeks. By the end of the blessing I was not the only one with tear stained cheeks and I knew that this family was quickly becoming an eternal unit in our Father in Heavens Kingdom. This Saturday we are holding the baptism of their younger daughter, the only one that is old enough to be baptised who has not yet.

This is such an incredible work and a wonder and I feel so blessed to be a part of it. There is no question that it is through this gospel of Jesus Christ that our Heavenly Father's children receive joy in this life and the life to come. If there is anyone within the sound of my voice or within this letters reach who is living below their potential blessings please pray and ask for help to receive those blessings. Heavenly Father has so many blessings that He wants to give us, and that are available to our families, and many times it is such small changes that allow us to receive those. Why would we decide to live such that our families are not as happy as they could be and lose the power and comfort that comes from obedience to Him commandments? We choose how happy we will be, so I pray that each of you will choose to feel the indescribable happiness and joy that comes from taking true advantage of the atonement and striving to be more like our Savior.

My love and prayers,

Elder Inman

PS. My companion got hurt because of me... It was 8:30 so we were not allowed to start another lesson, but at the same time it feels weird to get back to our apartment that early, so we decided to shoot some baskets for a couple minutes. Playing in the dark and in church shoes are both bad ideas though, and my companion still cant walk well because his ankle is so bad :-(

Monday, April 19, 2010

Week 9

Hey everyone,

So this is probably going to be my shortest letter so far :/ We are going to an Isotopes game today, which is the minor league team here, and we have to leave very shortly. Plus, there were a lot of emails waiting for me, which was great, but I just don't have much time to reply to them today. I am currently writing a letter to my family though so you should be getting that soon, with some of my gospel insights from this past week of study. My companion hurt his ankle pretty bad so lately a lot of time has been spent at home with him icing and resting it like the doctor told him to. I'm not a big fan of sitting inside while people are waiting to hear the gospel, but I have gotten about 20 hours of scripture study cumulative this past week, and am even more amazed with the perfection found in the Book of Mormon.

Before I go I guess I better say at least one good experience I had outside with our investigators, because it was amazing. On Sunday we were sitting down waiting for church to start after we did our round of hand shaking. I was feeling a little depressed because we were not able to get as much work done this week, and I didn't see any of our investigators or less actives arriving. I was starting to get the feeling that I wasn't doing much good here, which I know isn't true but at that time it was sinking in. Then Nate's family walked in, the one I said was getting so happy and doing so well in our appointments, and we ended up challenging him to be baptized and he is now praying about a date. Then right after that Jerry Gajiton walked in with his family. He is someone who we started teaching after I pulled the 'Im new and need practice teaching' move, but he has been taught before a couple times over the past 20 years and has never so much as read any of the BoM. His wife later came to us crying saying that he is reading and prayed for the first time ever, and then he came to church. Wow! Then right after they walked in the Chavez family came in smiling and excited. They are a family that has been less active for many years and no one has ever been able to get into their house even. We have been teaching them for the last month and they are so excited about the gospel. They bore their testimony in class about how we came into their lives right when they needed us, that because of the light they see in missionaries they are coming back, and that they want their youngest daughter to get baptized since everyone else in the family already is. They invite us over twice a week now to teach them, and are getting involved in everything they can with the church. And THEN, at the end of sacrament I looked to the back of the gym, since we fill the chapel and the gym, and saw Sonia with one of her daughters sitting there with smiles on their faces. We went back right away and talked to them and they said they really enjoyed it. They stayed for all three hours and afterwards said they will probably be coming back next week and look forward to us coming on Thursday to teach them.

It was such an amazing Sunday! It's funny how I went from feeling like a failure out here to wanting to yell with joy 1 hour later, even though we were not able to get out and work that much this week. Just goes to show that when we do all we CAN God will bless us and those we are serving. I love you all, and pray that you are being blessed as well!

Oh, and yes mom I remember the dirty cereal bowl analogy :-) You used it at Harrison's baptism I'm pretty sure. Its so weird to think that he is already a priest, passing me up in scouts, and dating!!!! And then that in a couple days Tawny will be turning 18! There are times when I wish so badly that I could be there for all of it, but I know that you all will be blessed much more with me out here serving. I really do love you guys, and pray so many times every day that you will be safe and happy :-)


Elder Inman

Monday, April 12, 2010

Week 8


I remembered that I failed to put pictures into the letter I sent home, so I will try to get some of those sent off soon!

Also, I was wondering if you could get me Jesse's address or email :-)

This week started off great, but ended on an extremely sad and disappointing note. We had Zone Conference this week which was incredible! President Anderson taught a short discourse on the difference between having a testimony and being converted. It was a difference that I had not thought to much about prior but it has been fun to study since. The start to conversion is actually before having a testimony, it is simply believing, meaning someone believes that Christ exists. Even the devils are to this point in the process. The next step is learning more about Christ and allowing faith in His atonement to take root, which turns belief into a testimony. This is when someone believes in Christ, and also knows that it is through him we can be saved and has a hope for that salvation. Finally to be converted we pray for greater faith and work to allow it to grow, and then live our lives according to gospel standards because we love Christ. So the process goes from knowing He exists, to having faith it is through Him we are saved, to loving Him and wanting to serve with all our heart, might, mind, and strength. Obedience is one of the ways we can gauge how converted we are.

And then we were able to meet with Sonia again :-) Her husband was not there, but we didn't feel good about asking where he was. The lesson still went great though. We taught about the pre-earth life and the creation, and then ended part way through our purpose on this earth. We ended up spending a lot of time focusing on baptism as one of the necessary ordinances, without directly asking if they would like to be baptised. Then she said she had already been baptised catholic and asked if it was alright to be baptised twice. So we spent the remainder of our time there teaching about authority and the importance to be baptized by someone who holds that authority, and the blessings that it brings. This coming week we will hopefully be giving some type of baptismal commitment.

What happened Friday is what makes the ending of this week to disappointing. On Friday we met with John and Johnny, the father and son we have been teaching since we first got here. John started off by saying he has been talking to another Mormon and has decided this is not the church for him. Through the 2 hour conversation we had with him we finally found out the 'Mormon' he has been talking to is a past missionary who has since been excommunicated and is now anti, GREAT. We spent the 2 hours with him teaching and expounding the scriptures, showing that every concern he has with the church can be answered in the bible. It was incredible! The spirit was so strong, we answered every question, and bore powerful testimony. In the end though we still ended up praying and walking out for what might be the last time. We ended on good terms, but he still is not continuing our lessons with him. I walked out wanting to cry and punch something at the same time. Why can people not see and feel how true this is?

Well enough with that... Mom said in her email that Tom doesn't think I put everything in these emails concerning missionary obedience, and sadly he is correct. I have been blessed with a very strong desire to be obedient, and have been, but many of the missionaries out here are not. Since I arrived there have already been 6 missionaries sent home for one reason or another. There are missionaries who have weekly movie nights, girlfriends, cellphones, study anti, and some things I would rather not write. I have been told by many missionaries that it is impossible to be perfectly obedient and that trying is a waste of time and will suck the fun out of a mission. Its disgusting, and is causing so many to miss out on hearing about the restored gospel. However, there are still some missionaries who are out here because they want to work, they love God, and they know the gospel has been restored and want others to feel the blessings that come from it. So ya, Tom is right, but I prefer to focus on the great aspects of missionary work, and there are so many that I usually don't have time to write about other missionaries :-)


Elder Inman

Monday, April 5, 2010

Week 7

We did not get as many lessons as usual this week, because much of the time was spent listening to inspired leaders in General Conference, but it was still a great week. My companion has started talking about how close he is to going home, 5 weeks left, and I am already starting to feel like I don't have enough time out here. It seems so real now that we only get one chance to do this, so I better enjoy it and give all I have.

A couple great things happened this week. I hope you remember who Sonia is because I am not going to explain it all again, but we met with her again this week. It was a pretty amazing lesson, starting when we met the husband. We don't know all the details, but he came back and the family was so happy the whole time we were there. He was as excited about what we were teaching as anyone else in the home. When we asked if they would read the BoM together and pray about it as a family he was the first the verbally say yes and smiled as the rest of the family followed. I am so excited for them to become an eternal family through the restored gospel!

Then a funny thing happened as we were walking back to our car after knocking on door after door with no answer. I was laughing about some old lady who looked at us through her blinds and then hid and didn't answer the door when I saw something shiny laying in some rocks in the middle of a field. I picked it up and to my surprise it was a pretty cool looking gold and diamond ring. I picked it up and we threw it back and forth as we continued our walk, not real concerned with it since of course it was fake. Then on P-day we decided to bring it by a jeweler just in case it was worth something. Turns out it is solid 14k gold with several mid quality diamonds lining it. Wow, that's a pretty cool blessing of missionary work. I'm hoping that if I ever get put into a biking area it will cover a good portion of that cost, because bikes are way more expensive then I thought.

Well surprise surprise, it is another busy day so I don't have to much time. My comp needs a haircut today so we are cut short on our comp time again. Last week though, I got a letter in the mail that was crazy to open. It was from Ariel Horowitz with a WEDDING announcement in it. That is so exciting, and made me realize that the rest of the world is still moving even though I am on my mission, what a weird concept. As always I am praying for those back home, and I hope all of you are being blessed for my service here in New Mexico, because you all helped me get out here.

PS, if you have written me and I have not written back yet please know its nothing against you. I love the letters I get, I just have a hard time finding opportunities to write back.


Elder Inman