Monday, March 18, 2013

Full Week - March 17th

This last week has been super full! I love it :) Zuster Israelsen and I have a lot of friends right now who are interested in the gospel so our days our full of appointments and when we don't have appointments we are either out talking with more people or in a missionary meeting :) Haha sometimes we even find time to eat which Zr. Israelsen is grateful for since I get so excited to schedule appointments that I forget to schedule meals...Luckily our ward and investigators are pretty good about asking if we've eaten or simply providing food when we come over.
Some exciting things from his week are:
-We went to Kinderdijk last P-day with our friend, Thomas
-Invited a friend to be baptized and he said yes (!)
-Said goodbye to the Roberts. This is more of an exciting thing for them than for us. Luckily, they are moving back to America and that just happens to be where -I'm from, so I have no doubts that I will see them again :) I love them sooo much!!
-Had many really awesome and spirit filled appointments
-Attended a baptism in Gouda  with some friends
-Went to Zone Conference in Antwerpen <3 I love that city! It was so exciting to be there again and see some familiar places! The conference itself was super uplifting and instructive. We talked about how to be better at contacting and teaching and how to be more personable, we learned more about our endowments in preparation for our temple conference next month (!), and we were reminded to be clean and hygenical...I can assure you all that that piece of our conference was not directed at me. A really cool scripture that President Robinson shared during his training that I really appreciated was 1 Samuel 15:22, "...Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of the rams." Often I think that to be a better missionary I need to sacrifice things like my studies or meals to make more time, however, than I am not being obedient to the schedule we're given. It was a good reminder/kick in the pants (skirt?).
Also, I got permission from President Robinson to make an appointment with Sara while I was in Antwerpen! It was so nice to see her again. I love Sara and her daughters so much and am so grateful that because of the gospel of Jesus Christ we were brought together. I know that it is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we will all be able to be friends for eternity in the heavens with our Heavenly Father. And I am so grateful "that the same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy," (D&C 130:2). Heavenly Father truly does love us and has prepared an eternal plan of happiness.

-Elizabeth Roberts gave us a cool quote:
"Today many sisters are being called to serve. Many more are preparing to serve. Not because they aren't married or don't have anything else to do, but they have the desire to serve. One reason that the Lord wants more sisters to serve is because within the next generation He will send His Priesthood army to the earth. He wants to send choice spirit children to mothers who have been prepared, properly trained and taught in the gospel. What better schooling can a mother have than the experience and growth she gains through serving a mission." -President Gordon B. Hinckley
I am super grateful for my mission. I know that I would not be ready to do all the Lord has in store for me in my life without the experiences and perspective I have gained here. Any girls out there who are trying to decide if they should go on a mission or not, I hope this sways you in the direction of going :) I promise you will experience more joy than anything you've so far experienced.
-Got transfer calls yesterday. I am moving to Amsterdam to serve with Zuster Davies! I am super excited for a few reasons one of which being I have always wanted to serve with Zuster Davies since the MTC, in fact, we are planning on rooming together at BYU, so this will be the perfect trial to see if it happens...:) Also, I had a feeling since I got here that once the Roberts were out, I was too. It would feel weird for me to serve here without them. Zr. Israelsen will stay here in Dordrecht and Zuster Townsend (one of my MTC companions) will join her. I am sad to leave behind all the friends I have here, but I wish them all success and know that as they continue to seek the Lord's will and follow it they will be happy now and in the eternities.
So, there are a few things from my week :) I love you all a lot. Sincerely and truly.
Have a wonderful week!!

Love, Zuster Becky Hinchcliff

PS I got the Valentines Day package! Thank you all so much, I love you!!!

Job or Jonah

You asked me, "Has the reason for my missionary work changed from beginning to now? Have my feelings changed for the reasons I came on a mission since I first left? How do my feelings about why I do missionary work affect the way I do it?" 

So my original reasons for coming on a mission were because I'd always wanted to serve a mission and when the time came it felt right. I knew it was what the Lord wanted me to do. So I set out with the intentions of helping others experience the happiness I feel knowing they have divine worth and potential as children of a loving Heavenly Father and of bringing families together forever. I was pretty confident that I would be successful, and why not? I've pretty much always been able to get what I want by aiming high and working hard. 

The MTC quickly and thankfully humbled me into accepting the Lord's help in these endeavors, which duh, of course I can't do His work without His help, but for some reason I forgot Him in the original equation at so I kept coming up with the wrong results. The MTC gave me some much needed perspective that I clung to when I first entered in the field. Missionary work, turns out, was not at all what I expected. Neither was my trainer. Neither was the language, country, people, weather, bicycling, etc. Luckily (?) one of my greatest weaknesses is pride (...) so despite my discouragement, immense stress and sadness, and strong desire to go home, I stayed knowing that if I gave up it would be the biggest regret of my life. I'd always wonder, "what if?" Plus, there were people at home looking to my example and I couldn't let them down and I refuse to do anything that someone else could use as justification to give up, so I stayed. But not because it was something I really wanted any more. 

After a few months I adjusted and began to find joy in missionary work, not the joy I imagined I'd have when I first set out, but not the misery I felt when I first arrived. Then slowly I began to fall in love with the bicycling, weather (it was spring), the people, country, and language. It became easier to love my companions. And it turns out I LOVED BEING A MISSIONARY! 

At this point of my mission, the mission I imagined when I first came is becoming a living reality. Not because the conditions are any different or easier, but because I am. My reasons for being here now are pretty much the same as when I first came, I want to help others experience the happiness I feel by knowing they have divine worth and potential as children of a loving Heavenly Father and I want to bring families together forever. The difference is that now I know that to accomplish that I have to rely on the Lord rather than myself. I have to strive to fulfill the missionary purpose of "inviting others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end." As I do that, the rest falls into place. My ability to be successful is dependant on my faith, diligence, obedience, etc. and I've finally come to a point on my mission where I want to do and be these things.

So, yes, haha my feelings about why I do missionary work definitely have an affect on the way I do it. I'm grateful for the experiences I've had that have turned me from a Jonah who tries to impose her own will and run and hide from the Lord's, into a Job who humbly and gratefully accepts what the Lord gives her and does what she can to accomplish His designs. Not that anything I've experienced can ever really be compared to Job, but you get what I mean. Mom, I agree with your conclusion, "through these things we can feel the light of God." 

I'm super grateful to be a missionary in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to feel the love and approval of God in what I do. I hope that's something that you all are able to feel this week, the love and approval of God. Don't be discouraged if you don't feel it right away, I promise it's there, we just have to humble ourselves enough to feel it...I'm speaking from experience here :)

Love, Zuster Becky Hinchcliff

PS I have not yet gotten the Valentines box, I am pretty much 99% sure the office received it, but for whatever reason they didn't give it to me yet...I think they are really distracted trying to find new apartments for all the new sisters that are coming. I can never remember the new numbers, but I know that in May there are 13 or so coming and then in June some more and in July even that's descriptive. Basically what's going on is that all the sisters currently in the field are going to have to train even those who just got here a few months ago. Then one transfer later we'll be put into threesomes with another greenie. The mission currently doesn't have enough apartments for all the new ones coming in and the office couple in charge of our housing is going home in a few weeks...haha they're going crazy over there I think and that's why they haven't thought to give me the package yet. I should be getting it this Friday though at our Zone Conference. It's in Antwerpen, I get to go back to my city!!!! 

March 4

Thanks for sending me the details of Adam's memorial. I appreciate the humor mixed in with the testimony. It helps make it all a bit easier to bare. I wish I could've been there with you all, I love Adam a lot and because of the distance don't feel like I get a clean-break or goodbye like everyone else. Weird that he was cremated, but I'm glad that he's still kind of around even though it's a bit creepy....I won't think too hard about it. I don't know how I feel about Brandy telling AJ he couldn't look at the ashes, but whatevs I'm sure he will get the chance later. It's cool that the family gets to pass the urn around, but I do think it's a bummer for his friends who, let's be honest, probably knew him better when he died than the family or most of them anyways, who didn't get to participate in the memorial stuff as much. I can imagine it was pretty devastating for all of them as well. It's cool what the stake patriarch said about Adam. As I read it, it brought me a lot of peace as well and a lot of comfort I didn't even know I needed. Thank you again for sharing all of that with me.

Well, my time is pretty much up, so I'll talk to you all more next week. Know that I love you a lot and that I am really grateful for the Plan of Salvation and that we all can be together forever. Tonight we have a devotional type thing in Rotterdam and the topic is the Plan of Salvation so that's a tender mercy. Anyway, I really got to go, sorry my email isn't so detailed and exciting this week, but I really appreciate getting one from you that was :)

I love you all a lot!!

Love Zuster Becky Hinchcliff


Thanks for the pictures Melissa. You were right. They did put a smile on my face. I'm doing ok right now. I was so confused yesterday when the Robinsons called to say they were coming over. This last Thursday (Valentines Day) we had exchanges and Friday (the 15th) when we exchanged back the Robinson's had arranged for us all to have lunch together. As I walked into the train station to meet up with everyone I found myself in a hug with Zuster Robinson where she shakily told me I've been on her mind the past few days in a worrisome way. She was really concerned. I was really confused. When they called yesterday I was like uh...apparently this concern is really deep. But I figured it must have something to do with transfers or something. I was wrong.
When they first told me they told me I'd had a death in the family my first thought was Daddy, I knew he'd been away. But that didn't feel so. Then I thought someone else from our immediate family, but that didn't feel so either. They told me it was my favorite uncle, but at that point they didn't have his name. I knew.
I knew before I came that someone was going to die. I've known it for a long time before I came, before I put in my papers. It was scary to leave because I didn't know who I was saying goodbye to for the last time. But, I knew it was what the Lord needed me to do.
I searched the scriptures and gospel library for answers after praying, but didn't find much that really satisfied me. So I told Heavenly Father that I would go out and talk with every person in my path and let them know that there is hope in this life and the life hereafter if He would send someone to Adam. And then I did just that.
No one was really interested, but I knew that someone needed me. Then I met Simon. He's this kid, well 27-yr-old, from Lithuania (maybe Latvia...) who was looking for a printer to print his boarding pass to London for Monday morning. Because it was Sunday no place was open. Knowing we had one at the church I wrote the address down for him, gave him directions, got his number, and then booked it to our dinner appointment to see if one of the women could come with us to the church. Barbara, one of our investigators, came along even though she'd just put curlers in. And thus began our 3-hr printer avontuur.
Turns out, the computer at the church needed a password we didn't know nor the bishop. So then Barbara thought of a place that might be open so Simon rode Zr. Raun's bike and I rode achter op with first Zr. Raun and then Barbara as we rode from one place to another searching for a printer. We ended up at a member's house where we met succes! During this whole adventure we'd gotten to know Simon a bit and I'd say we're all friends now. After we dropped Simon off at the bridge that'd take him back, we offered him a Book of Mormon. He politely declined but did accept an invitation to church when he returns. Cool.
Helping Simon was pretty healing for me/distracting. The funny thing is that Saturday night during planning we couldn't figure out what to do Sunday evening after our dinner appointment. No inspiration or names would come to mind. The Lord had it planned for us all along. I have a firm testimony he's involved in the details of our lives. Want further evidence of His love and involvement? Yesterday our ward mission leader wasn't at church, sick. I had a feeling before going to church that he wouldn't be there and I'd need to teach the Gospel Principles class so I'd been pondering what to teach. One of our investigators hasn't heard the Plan of Salvation all the way through yet, so we devoted our class time to that. The only thing is, she went to the young adults class for sunday school. So here I am giving a lesson prepared for someone who wasn't even present. Little did I know it was really a lesson the Lord had prepared for me.
After we got home last night, Zuster Robinson called me with more details, confirming it was Adam. That broke me. I sobbed on my bed for a while before going into the bathroom to pray. I thought on that church movie, The Testaments, where the dad prays for the Atonement to find it's way to his son because he doesn't know where he is and I said a similiar prayer for Adam. I also thought a lot of how Alma describes his repentance experience to his son Helaman in Alma 36 where he says he was in a gall of bitterness and as he remembered Christ and when he repented he felt exceeding joy. I keep praying for that for Adam too.
One of the girls we live with come up to check on me. Seeing as I was balling on the bathroom floor I was obviously not doing well. Sweet Madeleine gave me a hug and shared with me the coolest thing. She told me that when she was at the MTC they were told to always take the lessons they teach super seriously, even if it was just a role-play with your teachers or a member in a practice room who were pretending to be investigators. Their reasoning? The spirit world is among us and as members and your teachers ask questions inspired by the spirit they could really be voicing a question of those who aren't able to to. As missionaries answer by the spirit, we can answer the questions of their soul. Madeleine encouraged me to think on Adam while I was teaching, contacting, etc. saying that maybe I could really be helping him or at least some other lost and miserable soul. I like that idea. She also said that other family members who've passed on can find him and provided comfort too. I don't really know the details of how the Spirit World works, but I was comforted by what she said. Whether or not I help provide him with answers and comfort or someone else though, I just really hope he finds it.
I hope you all are doing well too. I've been praying for it. I am sad I'm not with you, but grateful for the perspective I've learned out here. I love you all and am grateful we're an eternal family. Please stay worthy so we can stay that way.
Love, Zuster Becky Hinchcliff

Feb 4th

This last week was pretty rough...remember that protestant couple we were excited to teach? Yeah, well turns out they broke our hearts, or at least mine. Basically, they've been blinded and hardened to the truth by Satan. I was in tears for most of the lesson and then, before we left he told us the Book of Mormon wasn't true because it promoted agency and they believe God chooses who is righteous and who is wicked. They think Satan's plan is God's! It made me sick to my stomach. They also gave back their copy of the Book of Mormon, it was literally the worst appointment of my life. I've come to love their little family so much and they just threw our testimonies out. It hurt. I tried not to let it affect me, but that combined with the fact that a schitzophrenik investigator fell in love with us made for a discouraging start to our week. Everyone I saw on the street I thought, "they're either gereformeerd or physcho, and either way they're crazy!" I realize that is very much a self-limiting mind-set and I tried to get over it, but it took awhile to break down that wall. From all this I learned it's a lot easier to not build a wall between your heart and the work then to build one just to have to tear it down to be effective. That's definitely not working smart. It is tempting to build, however, as a shield. But I think I'll just have to leave my heart open to pain because I just don't think there's a way to remove it from the equation of missionary work. Actually, I know there is no way because D&C 4 says see that you serve with all your heart. I guess I'll just have to work on the might, mind, and strength part. Luckily from all this my testimony of the Book of Mormon has been strengthened. It really is written for our day, even that part about the Zoramites building a raised pulpit in their church to lift their hands to heaven and shout out blasphemies with a loud voice while following false doctrines. I don't like Satan. He is crafty and uses fraud to win people over, not cool (Alma 47:30). 

On a happier more upbeat note, my companion, Zuster Raun, is hilarious! I really appreciate her humor because this little city place is taking a toll on me. I don't know what it is, but I am extremely tired and emotional here. 

Speaking of places, even though most people here have no idea where NC is even though it's larger than their country, there are a few goldens who not only know where it is, but know people from there. I have a small list of people I am supposed to ask you about or see if you know anyone who know them. They are:
Familie Moran. Their first names are David, Braien, Diane, and Katrin (names may or may not be spelled correctly). The dad is an engineer and lived in Belgium for 3 years and Zr. Van Loven, an elderly lady from the Antwerpen ward remembers them (I think she said the daughter had a handicap).
An Elder Klippel who was a missionary in NC from 1988 to 1990 in the Fayetteville, Ft. Bragg, ECU area.
Sandra Yarborough. She is from Fayetteville but is not a member. Zr.Salden a senior couple missionary in our mission knew her. 
Yep that's everyone. :) Let me know what you find out if anything. 

I was able to see the pictures on the thumb drive, but not the family movies, bummer right? But the pictures were great and I love them :) Maybe it has to do with the compatability of the thumb drive though, so I'll keep trying.

How was your birthday Mom? Did you get my card? Probably not yet, but hopefully soon. 

Gotta go, Love you!!!!!!!!!!

Love, Zuster Becky Hinchcliff