Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Aug. 20th, 2012

Normally chocolate doesn't top my grocery list, but when you're living in Belgium it's ridiculous not to...

Rebecca Hinchcliff
Aug 20 (8 days ago)
to mejulie
Seriously though, we have good chocolate here and I've only bought the "cheap" stuff. One of these days I'll have to splurge and see what the real stuff tastes like. Maybe if I'm still here around Christmas I'll send some in a package home :) In addition to the chocolate, I'm really enjoying Belgium. I can't remember if I've said this in previous emails, but I really feel like Anterwerpen is why I was called to this mission. I don't know what the Lord has in store, but I really hope I am able to fully do all He needs me to. 
I gave a talk again on the 12th in sacrament meeting. It uses some of the same stuff from a talk I gave in Haarlem, so hopefully it isn't too redundant. Also, it was originally written in Dutch, so if it doesn't flow well, that is maybe why...I hope you enjoy it anyway!

We are all familiar with "the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel...first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost," (Article of Faith 4). But, how many of us are familiar with the fifth, endure to the end?
Preach My Gospel defines this principle as, "remain(ing) true to the commandments of God despite temptation, opposition, and adversity throughout life," (PMG, 70). A good friend of mine explained it as "enjoying to the end." With these two definitions I want to share a personal experience with you all.
Before my mission, I really enjoyed running, working out, and racing. I remember especially a specific race from last summer. I had to run 8 miles with obstacles, or opposition and adversity, all throughout. Some of the obstacles included jumping over fire, climbing over walls, crawling through mud and under barbed-wire, and other obstacles undescribe-able for me in Dutch. I love running so I thought the race would be easy for me. Oh boy was I wrong!
The obstacles were difficult, but the running more so because there were many switchbacks and no distance markers. Thus, I   could hear the finish line the whole time but I had no idea how much longer I had before I was there. For me enduring to the end was the most difficult part. Luckily, friends of mine were present to support me. Actually, it was their support that helped me. And that is precisely what our Heavenly Father has asked of us in order to endure.
In Romans 12:21, Paul says, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." How better can we do that than through service and missionary work?
President George Albert Smith, the eight prophet of this latter-day dispensation, has said, "We will attain our exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom only on the condition that we share with our Father's other children the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and observe the commandments that will enrich our lives here and hereafter," (Sharing the Gospel with Others, 190 or PMG, 12).
In the Book of Mormon there is a beautiful example of this idea of helping others so we can better endure. In Alma 16, the Lamanites have just destroyed the people of Ammonihah, "...and taken others captive into the wilderness. Now it came to pass that the Nephites were desirous to obtain those who had been carried away captive into the wilderness," (Alma 16:3-4).
I find this very interesting. The people of Ammonihah are completely killed. Completely! And others are prisoners. If I was one of the Nephites, I think I would be more concerned for my personal safety and the safety of my family and friends rather than worry about the safety of the "others." But, the Nephites are a good example for me. Do you all know what they did?! They went to their church leaders to ask for guidance. The spiritual leaders of the Nephites gave specific guidance about how they could free the "others." The Nephites were exactly obedient, "...and they took their brethren who had been taken captive by the Lamanites, and there was not one soul of them had been lost that were taken captive. And they were brought by their brethren to posses their own lands," (Alma 16:8). 
I think it's safe to say the Nephites have "share(d) with our Father's other children the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ," (President George Albert Smith, PMG, 12). Can you imagine, not one soul lost?! How can we bring others to the divine "lands" they've inherited?
Luckily, we also have specific guidance from our present day church leaders. In the previous General Conference, Bishop Richard C. Edgely gave beautiful counsel here over in his talk, "The Rescue for Real Growth." He said:
"Regardless of our individual calling—home or visiting teacher, Sunday School teacher, bishop, father, mother, or General Authority—all can engage in the rescuing effort in a meaningful way. After all, bringing all—our family, nonmembers, less active, sinners—to Christ to receive the saving ordinances is the divine calling that we all share. ...our commitment as members of Christ’s true Church stems from the fact that the Lord suffered for every single one of us—the nonmember, the less-active member, even the sinner, and every member in our own family. I believe we can bring thousands to the joy, peace, and sweetness of the gospel, and hundreds of thousands, even millions, in their following generations, " (Ensign, May 2012, 52).

Or, in other words, we must enjoy to the end despite obstacles. I know we can all endure the race of life, thus:
"Courage, brethren; and on, on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice, and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into bsinging. Let the cdead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the dKing Immanuel, who hath ordained, before the world was, that which would enable us to eredeem them out of their fprison; for the prisoners shall go free," (D&C 128:22, see also D&C 24:8).

I know through the Atonement all that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (PMG, 52). Like my race, it is not always easy to endure, neither was the Atonement. But, Jesus had support from an angel, I had support from my friends, and we can all support each other.
Wow! A LOT has happened this week so I'll try to get to it all, but we'll see how quickly I can type...

Eigenlijk, it sounds like everyone is doing well, I'm really glad you got to visit with the family and even gladder to hear how they are doing. I just about peed my pants laughing, when reading about Grandad, not really but if I had who'd have really been surprised? Oh how I love that man!
I also had to laugh to myself as I sat in an internet cafe in Antwerpen Centraal in a tiny room full of computers with sweat rolling down my back and sliding all over my body during the hottest summer in Europe in years while reading about the Geneology Center being closed because of a lack of air conditioning. Although I am in a modern, developed country, it is nonetheless the "Old World" and normal conviences like air conditioning, dryers, garbage disposal, and even ovens, are often viewed as unneccessary luxuries. Oh how I miss them! But I won't complain about the heat, I love it way more than the blistery cold of the winter.

It's nice to hear about people from home and what they're up to, but I got to admit it's kind of weird for me as well, especially since it's second hand. Since being on a mission I feel such a change in me. Not a change of personality, I am still Becky Hinchcliff behind the title I now carry, but my perspective desires, and goals have changed a lot. I imagine a lot of the people from home have changed a bit as well so for those who don't keep up with me personally, I don't really feel like I know them anymore and am pretty sure they definitely don't know me. And I think that is exactly why our Heavenly Father has made it a commandment to pray and read the scriptures. Communication is important in knowing and understanding a person. From my personal communication with Heavenly Father I not only feel like I know and understand Him better, but I also feel like I know and understand myself better.
And speaking of commandments do you remember Hymn 303, "Keep the Commandments"?
"Keep the commandments; keep the commandments! In this there is safety; in this there is peace. He will send blessings; he will send blessings. Words of a prophet: Keep the commandments. In this there is safety and peace."
While on my mission I have really come to gain a testimony of the safety and peace and blessings that come as a result of keeping the commandments, particularly over the last several weeks. I am grateful I can learn from the experiences of others but I know we'd all be a lot happier if they'd keep the commandments too. Honestly life just has a better quality when we do. We just taught one of our friends about the Word of Wisdom the other day and in response to the lesson she said she feels more free. When we were teaching Madina (in Haarlem) about the commandments she said they help her better understand and fulfill her potential. Interesting replies, huh? When understood and correctly applied Gospel principles, such as keeping the commandments, are actually an enlightening and enabling source of strength. The scriptures are filled with examples of this. It is refreshing to see the promised blessings associated with keeping the commandments reflected in the lives of those around us. It is equally heart-breaking to see the despair and pain in the lives of those who ignore the Lord's guidance. But really how dumb is that?! The Supreme Being who created us and knows exactly how we function on all levels and accordingly know's what's best for us gives us guidance to live to our fullest potential and we ignore it thinking we know best?!  Dag!
Madina related this concept to an instruction manual for an appliance. The manufacturer put together the appliance and knows all it's capable of. But if we don't read and follow the accompanying manual telling us the capabilities of our appliance we will never use it to its full potential.

To go with this idea of fulfilling our potential it's important to magnify our callings as well. Ezekial 34 is a good chapter to read more about that in (but really, read it).

Sorry if that sounds like a bit of a rant, I'm just tired of the drama I see when people aren't doing what the Lord asks....

On a more opbouwent note we have some really golden investigators here in Antwerpen! Four have baptismal dates, Gloria, Sara, Tao and Dan. Gloria is from Ghana and will be baptized in just a few weeks. Meanwhile she's busy reading the Book of Mormon and sharing it with her husband and family. Sara is from Peru and is the most inquisitive person I've taught. She has a real desire to know and understand the truth and her greatest desire is to return to live with God. We have had a lot of really wonderful lessons with her and I often feel like Ammon in Alma 26 when I see the gospel click in her mind. Tao and Dan are a young married couple from China and are probably the sweetest people I've met. They love each other a lot and  the idea of an eternal family is beautiful to them. I really love being with and teaching each one of these friends and am excited to see them baptized in the next month.

And one last thing before I go, this week in Antwerpen in missionary week, how cool?! Everyone is busy inviting friends to church activities, sharing the Book of Mormon, and bearing simple testimonies, what cool!!

I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week! And please, keep the commandments!!

Love, Zuster Becky Hinchcliff

Sunday, August 19, 2012

This last week in Belgium was pretty eventful, but not in a fire department kind of way, gelukkig :) 
We currently are teaching a golden investigator we found our second day here. And by found I mean she stopped us. After our lessons with her we ask each other, "Is this too good to be true?" She is so prepared for the gospel and easy to teach we almost feel like someone is playing a joke on us. Fortunately, so far so good. 
Unfortunately, I am now out of time to email (these Belgian keyboards are difficult!) so hopefully in next weeks email I can fill you in better on Belgium. If not, know that I am loving it here and really feel like I was called to this mission to serve in Antwerpen. The Lord really does send us where we're needed. 

Alfons Schneiderlaan 172
Bus 2
2100 Deurne

I know it looks a bit strange, but that is my new mailing address. As far as packages go however, the old package address is the same. I hope this new one is well used :)

I love you all!! Have a great week!!

Love, Zuster Becky Hinchcliff

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August 6th, 2012


rs, a Blessing and a Gift

Sorry to those who couldn't read this last post. I didn't realize it was half 
blacked out. I hope this fixes it so you can enjoy the post. Julie
Rebecca Hinchcliff
Aug 6 (1 day ago)
to mejulie
Well, I am now in Belgium and wow what a difference! Haha the difference
in accent is like the difference between an American and a Scottish accent...
in fact that's what Flams (the Belgium accent) sounds like, Dutch with a
Scottish accent. I actually hope I pick up on it, it sounds pretty cool. Also
the keyboard here has a different arrangement of letters...typing this much
has taken longer than I'm willing to admit, and people here have an entirely
different standard for hygiene than I've ever experienced. Yeah, I'll leave it
at that.

This first week here has been crazy! Rather than biking everywhere we take
 A LOT of public transportation and I have met a lot of really interesting people,
big city life is a bit different from what I enjoyed in Haarlem. But guess what?!
We had a baptism Saturday! It was for this cute 10 year old kid, Shlok, who
the sisters have been teaching for a little. He's from India and is really shy.
So shy in fact that he didn't want anymore people at his baptism than
absolutely necessary, and I think the eight people who did attend were more
than he'd prefer.  There's a great pool of investigators here, mostly
buitenlanders (foreigners) and I'm really excited to get to know them all better.
Many of them are Africans and they are such sweet and friendly people with
 a lot of faith in our Heavenly Father. So much so that many of their names
actually reflect their reverence and devotion, Blessing and Gifty being two
 examples. Right now I basically feel like a greenie again, in a whole new
country with a bit of a different language and being absolutely unfamiliar with
basically everything. Luckily my companions, Zr. Herring and Zr. Jones, are
 down to earth and have good senses of humor so despite our unfamiliarity
with Antwerpen (both Zr. Jones and I are new here) we have a lot of fun,
 even when unexpected things pop up. Case in point, our apartment may or
may not have been filled with gas the other day when we rolled in for the night.
As soon as we walked in we could smell something so we flipped on a light to
 figure it out. Fortunately our apartment didn't blow up right then. My compan
ions immediately recognized the smell so we flipped the lights off, opened
the windows, checked the stove, and called a senior couple who directed us
 to call the emergency number 112. From then on our night was filled with
excitement as literally the entire fire department came with a police patrol
who proceeded to bock off the street while the firemen dressed in hazmat
(spelling?) suits and gas masks went upstairs to check things out.
They identified the problem (a faulty stove) and cleared our apartment. We
were terribly embarrassed as the neighbors and the customers from the
pizzeria we live above started swarming the streets to see what was going
on. After, Antwerpen's firemen explained the problem and filled out their repo
rts, it took us quite a while to get settled down enough to sleep. All is well now
 at the apartment. Our gas has been turned off until a new stove is installed
and the huismeester  was over today to have things measured for a new one.
We didn't blow up or die in our sleep (obviously) and everything is being taken
care of. I am super grateful the Lord loves His missionaries and protects us.
 That's probably the most under-stated thing I've ever written...And that
experience right there is a perfect example of the excitement of our week
and life here in Antwerpen. I'm in for some fun! So yeah,
welcome to Belgium!

Love, Zuster Becky Hinchcliff :)