Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Late again

(from bottom to top)
1st- Standing in front of the pecan orchards in Las Cruces. Such a beautiful place!
2nd- Blowing out birthday cake, before my birthday, with great friends in Las Cruces. It was her birthday too :-)
3rd- Elder Byrd and I acting cool in our first good rain of the year
4th- Getting drenched and loving it!
Hey everyone,
Sorry my email is a day late again. Yesterday Elder Byrd and I helped some missionaries get around and go to the doctors to have his stitches taken out so I only had a small amount of time on the computer yesterday to email President miller before we had to take off. It was a great week though and I am excited to tell you about it.
I have discovered that I have become an expert at getting in with people through them feeding us. It makes it harder to stay in shape, and I have to work out extra hard, but people love having us over and cooking for us. I have had some amazing meals throughout my mission, and have been the test subject to some fun ideas, but this last week I had some of the more interesting and good tasting food so far. We are working with a great couple found through tracting a few weeks ago who love having us over as many times as we want so they can cook for us. Before I tell you what they concocted for us I will go ahead and tell you a little background on who they are, because it should make more sense then.
There two people are some of the most unique people I have ever met, and I am sure I will never forget them. The first time we sat down with them we said almost nothing, just sat and listened to their story for almost two hours. The wife is about 20 years younger then the husband and I would say the husband is in his 30s, and they are completely in love and perfect for each other. At first they came across very hippie like with many of their ideas and how self sufficient they are, but then they showed us around. They live in the nicest trailer I have ever seen because they love working on it together and invest heavily into it. Their kitchen floor alone is a couple thousand dollars because it is bacteria resistant and good for joints, and much of their molding is solid oak. They also have one of the best theater rooms I have ever seen! Who knew I would ever be so impressed with a trailer? After looking around they showed us two very hidden compartments in their kitchen and bathroom that hold some really high end guns and ammo, just in case. They do not currently attend a church because their beliefs vary from all the churches they have looked into, which beliefs are very close to Christs doctrine that we teach. They love reading the bible and even compare it page by page to the Hebrew and Greek translation to get a more accurate understanding of it.
Then we walked into their back yard and he showed us all of the chilies (peppers) they are growing and I quickly realized he is the biggest chili enthusiast I have ever encountered. They are growing jalapenos, red hots, habaneros, and even ghost peppers (bhut jolokia) which are probably the hottest in the world, which they intend to have me eat at some point. They are such a funny couple, and I love going over and visiting with them, and almost every time we go over near lunch they have an amazing meal prepared. She loves cooking so much that for the first two years of marriage they never had the same meal twice, and they rarely go out to eat. The twist is that in everything they cook they add some type of chili, which to people outside of New Mexico is probably refereed to as pepper. Our last one was brauts (sp?) with caramelized onion and hebanero sauce with a side of potato salad with habanero and jalapeno powder. They also served us jalapeno poppers with their special blend of chili in the cream cheese. Then of course their chips had home made salsa with a variety of different chilies. After that they brought out mixed fruit with habanero powder sprinkled over it and a little whipped cream on top. Don't judge it before you have tried it :-) Every bit of the meal was incredible tasting!
Wow, I just spent a long time talking about them and their cooking so I will quickly wrap this email up. The ward here is amazing and I love serving in this area, although I still miss Las Cruces at times. We are teaching some amazing people and some of them are very close to entering into Christ's church right now. I just don't see how going back to a 'normal' life could compare, so I will have to be sure to take every member a missionary seriously so I don't completely lose this feeling in 6 months.
Elder Inman

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Adventures & All settled now

Adventures (from July 19th)

Greetings :-)
This was a crazy and fun week of missionary work, and I hope all of yours was a great as mine!
On my birthday we were able to go over to the home of some recent converts and eat some cake they baked me. It was a lot of fun and I was able to get to know them and their family a lot better. Both of them are in high school right now and are the only members of their family to have joined the church. Their family is incredibly supportive and amazing people as well so I have high hopes that eventually they will all be ready to be sealed for eternity together, especially with how great of an example these two kids are. They had a family vacation this week and both of the kids left a day later so they would be able to go to church and keep the Sabbath day Holy. They are also very athletic and have already sacrificed certain sporting events to be able to fulfil the promises they made at baptism. If all the members of the church were as consecrated as these two are then missionary work would be so many times more successful!
There were some great things that happened throughout the week in our teaching and training, but I am going to wait on those for now to write about some unusual things that happened on Preparation day. There was an Elder who needed to go to a dental appointment in Santa Fe so we offered to give him and his companions a ride to the train station since they are on bikes. They were running a little behind so we ended up needing to drive them up to Santa Fe ourselves so we decided to spend the rest of the day up there. Since nothing opened until 10 am, and we left at 6am, we spent a good amount of time walking around a beautiful veteran's cemetery and reading the names and dates. It was even more fun when we began seeing headstones that had the AngelMoroni on the top instead of a cross, which I had never seen before. Then we spent some time walking though the Meyer Gallery to see my dads artwork. As we were walking we got stopped by a couple homeless guys who wanted to talk, so we spent a few minutes talking about their lives. One of them said he was from Muncie Indiana even before I said where I was from. How crazy is that?! As we were leaving he told me that he could tell I "will rise to the top in the world". Now I know I will be successful, lol :-)
After spending some time with them we went over to the church building to play some basketball with the rest of the zone. We played for about an hour when one of our elders took an elbow to the face and the skin on his cheek bone split open almost a full inch. We attempted to patch it up with our little first aid kids but eventually gave up and took him over to a doctor in the local ward who had to put 5 stitches in. On the way home from Santa Fe we realized that if we had not missed the train and drove up then he would have had no way to get over to the doctor, or to get back home since it would have made him miss the train going to Rio Rancho. It is so amazing to see how the Lord works in our lives!
Elder Inman

All Settled Now (from July 11th)

Transfers are always such a crazy time and this one is no exception, but I am finally about settled in. Shortly after leaving Las Cruces I realized I had forgotten my water bottle, camera, Preach My Gospel, and scriptures. When I was packing I decided to leave those things out so that I could carry them onto the transfer van with me and use them on the long trip back to Albuquerque, but then I left them sitting on my desk with no way to go back and get them. I was told that the next time someone would be making the trip there and back was 2 weeks away so I got a new water bottle and started teaching and studying from the missionary Book of Mormons. The Lord blessed me though and a great friend from my old ward was able to bring them from Las Cruces to Rio Rancho to give them to me because she was traveling up to see family. I feel like I am beginning to have life long friends in every part of New Mexico and am so excited to travel back through and see them all again.
Much of this week was spent organizing our zone and area since both Elder Byrd and I are pretty new here, as well as going out and meeting ward members and investigators. In just a couple of days I have already fallen in love with the ward members and those we are teaching and am so excited to spend the next while here, however long that ends up being. I have had so much fun already and am growing close to people that I am sure the Lord has placed me here to serve. One of the families here has 5 hilarious kids ranging from 5 years to 18, and they have friends over all the time about the same age. Every time I am with them I cant help but think of how life was with my family and I just love it. Two of their friends were baptized recently and they seem incredibly solid (with very supportive and strong parents), and now we are teaching another one who is very sincere and fun to teach as well. We will be playing basketball with them today so I can remember just how out of shape I have gotten as a missionary. Each family I meet here just makes me more happy that I have been called to serve them. I have also been able to get to know the member we are living with better and he is a really cool guy as well, and was nice enough to give me an mp3 player loaded with approved music. It seems that with each passing month of my mission I am growing to love it more and more!
I will give more updates later :-) Take care!!
Elder Inman

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Happy 4th

Happy 4th!!
I have officially left Las Cruces as of yesterday, and it was one of the more emotionally difficult things I have done on my mission because I love the people there so much now. The only time I can remember feeling like that leaving anywhere was when I said goodbye to my family as I left on my mission. Leaving home was a little bit more difficult, but they were way closer then I ever thought I would get on my mission during transfers. I spent my last couple days saying goodbye to so many people, and getting fed way more then I should have. My last night was spent playing volleyball and watching fireworks with my University ward before I left to pack and leave the next morning. Serving in Las Cruces has changed who I am in an amazing way and I am very excited for when I get to go back to visit all of them, and even introduce them to my family and future family. I hope and pray that I had even close to as big of an influence for good on them as they did on me.
The Lord now has need of me in Rio Rancho, right by where I started my mission in Albuquerque. I was frankly a little disappointed to come back up north after having spent six amazing months down south, but after finding out who my companion is I cheered up quite a bit. My new companion is Elder Byrd, and I served as his zone leader in Las Cruces for three transfers before he came up here to serve as a zone leader himself. He is an amazing missionary and we get along great, and both of us are very excited about how much fun we should have working together. We are serving in the Panarama Hights ward and it sounds like the work is moving forward well here. My living situation is much different then what I am used to since we are living with a member of the ward in his spare bedroom. But from what I can tell after a day I feel I am going to enjoy living here because the member is a really nice guy and his home is beautiful.
It is such a strange feeling to be where I am in my mission right now. Next week I am turning 21 and do not feel at all that I should already be that age, and this month I hit my 18 month mark which is a major mile stone for missionaries. The sister missionaries that came out with me already went home this last transfer! I feel so blessed to have served the mission I have up to this point though. I have had amazing companions, wards, zones, investigators, friends, experiences, spiritual insights and revelations, and I have become the priesthood man I have wanted to be for such a long time. Because of my assignment as a mission leader I have had the opportunity to support and teach more missionaries then I had ever dreamt before I came out here, and life long friends have been made through those times spent in their service. Many of my weaknesses have been made strengths as I have grown as a missionary, and my strengths have become gifts that the Lord has used to better the lives of those around me. My service so far has changed who I am going to be for the rest of my life in a miraculous way and I have complete faith in Elder Cook's promise that everyone I associate with from now on through eternity will be blessed because of my time as a missionary. It has become incredibly apparent why we are asked to serve at this time in our lives because I can not imagine what my life would turn out being without it.
Coming to this point in my mission has caused me to reflect a lot on my mission and who I was and am becoming. I was told by my trainer almost a year and a half ago that at 18 months a missionary has learned the majority of what they need to know as a missionary, so one of two things will happen. They will either take those developed tools and become the most powerful they have ever been as a missionary and teach those to others as well, or they will start coasting through since they are close to the end and happy enough with how they have served already (or because they just want to endure the rest). Through my reflection on my mission so far I understand what he meant and have firmly decided that the last part of my mission will be my best, favorite, and most powerful. I love being a missionary and look forward to what the Lord has in store for the next 7 months.
Elder Inman
P.S.- Funny story... Before I even had time to unload my luggage we had a teaching appointment with a family in the ward. They told me that when they first heard my name, a few days earlier, it sounded very familiar but they couldn't figure out why until very early in the morning when one of them rememberd while laying in bed. They told me that I was all over the Internet and they had read some things about me previously and didn't put it together until right before I was getting transferred in. They are close friends with someone I had grown to be good friends with in the University ward in Las Cruces.