Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Moving Business

Hey Mom:) Sorry you haven't received the physical yet, that was my bad. I'm pretty sure I was told to email it back to you, but I had it in my head to mail it. I got the physical Wednesday evening, but all the post was closed by the time it was done so I planned to do it first thing Thursday morning. We had exchanges with Gouda on Thursday and had to switch trains at the airport so I figured that'd be the perfect place to send the letter from so it could immediately be flown out.  However, this kind man from Orem, Utah, Brother John M. Edmunds, called up the elders last minute and offered to take us all out to breakfast. He was passing through Amsterdam and wanted to do what he could to help us out. What a sweet guy. He treated us to an amazing breakfast buffet at the Amstel Hotel that was definitely the best I've had my whole mission. After breakfast though we had to go to a different train station than originally planned so we could be on time. No biggie, I'd just have to pay a little extra to get it shipped from some other post office, but as long as I got it out by 6 pm I knew I'd still be good to go. Once I got to Gouda, we had appointments right away, but a little later in the afternoon we turned towards the train station to head off to some small doorpje to do some look-ups and contacting only to find the station blocked off due to a bomb threat. Well, that changed our plans. So we headed to a post office to get the physical sent out while we planned what to do only to learn that they didn't send mail express to the USA. Lame. However, on the way to look up a positive contact we'd made earlier in the day we stopped to talk to a man, Lennert, sitting on a bench outside his home. We had a really great conversation during which he accepted a copy of the Book of Mormon and committed to come to church on Sunday. I talked with the Gouda sisters yesterday, and he totally did, and they have an appointment with him this week! So exciting. Anyway, this email really isn't flowing, but I did get the physical in the mail Friday morning at the airport and paid it express so you should be getting it any time now. 
As for the rest of my week, it was pretty great. Monday evening our friend Daniel, who was just baptized taught us the plan of salvation. He came prepared with scripture references, questions, the works! We were super impressed as was our ward mission leader who said he'd never met someone who was so knowledgeable after just being baptized. I'd like to say it's because we taught him well, but really it's just because he's great :) Some other cool things about Daniel from this week are that Friday evening we had a dinner appointment with his mom and her boyfriend. She made us delicious Indonesian food and he made us a delicious dessert, but the best treat of the evening was learning that Daniel had given his mom a Book of Mormon and she'd read through 1 Nephi 17, so cool!! Also, Daniel introduced himself in sacrament meeting Sunday and bore the most beautiful and confident testimony ever that totally set the whole tone for a spirit-filled hour. What a great guy :)
Another beautiful thing that happened this week was an appointment we had at the De Leeuws (a senior missionary couple) home with Zuster Schwab and Zuster Rigdon and Fabien. Fabien is a friend I met over a year ago in Haarlem who was just baptized in April or May. We had a sweet reunion/farewell since the De Leeuws, Zuster Schwab,and I are all leaving here soon. It feels so good to be wjith others who you've grown in the gospel with. It reminds me of Alma 27:1-4:

"And now it came to pass that as Alma was journeying from the land of Gideon southward, away to the land of Manti, behold, to his astonishment, he met with the sons of Mosiah journeying towards the land of Zarahemla.
Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God.
But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer, and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority of God.
And they had been teaching the word of God for the space of fourteen years among the Lamanites, having had much success in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, by the power of their words many were brought before the altar of God, to call on his name and confess their sins before him."

 Now, our experiences have been nothing like that of Alma, Amulek, and the sons of Mosiah, but they have been pretty good, and it felt good to be together again.
Zuster Schwab and I also had a chance to do exchanges together this week and it was so fun! We had some quality contacting time together and I got to learn from her amazing missionary skills. When she speaks with people they immediately feel her love for them and her love for Jesus Christ and are so intrigued and engaged that they talk and allow the spirit to work in them. It's fantastic to see the change in just a few moments as she bears testimony and invites them to learn more. Not everyone accepts, but even those who don't admit to feeling or seeing something different about her. She's wonderful.
I wish I had more time to write all the miracles and experiences we've had this week, however, I am a terribly slow/distracted typer so my time is about up! Just know that the Lord is busy and at work here in Amsterdam and a marvelous work is going forth. I am so grateful to be a participant and witness to it. 
I love you all a ton! Try not to stress too much with moving plans :) As far as my stuff goes, I don't know that I can really provide you with much specific instruction other than what I've already said in previous emails...but if you ask me specific questions maybe I can be of more assistance...sorry :/ 
Anyway I love you all!! I really wish had more time to write because there are so many more people I want to tell you all about, but we'll save it for next time!


Zuster Becky Hinchcliff      

Holy Places

Holy Places D&C 101:22 & 64

Mom, you and I are so similiar, I love it! I also take advantage of any time I have to do hidden exercises ;) It's funny that you say your week was long and boring because it sounds like you all are very busy with a lot! Haha my week in any case has just zoomed by! This week has been so amazing and I got host Zuster Wood and Zuster Townsend on exchanges here in Amsterdam and go to Gouda for exchanges with Zuster Djoukeng, each one was so amazing! I learn so much from all of these girls, they are such great examples! Zuster Wood and Djoukeng came out with the same group as my companion, Zuster Larson, and they are some of the most incredible missionaries I've been privileged to serve with. They're all just so prepared and motivated! I have a full testimony that they have been hand-picked by the Lord to start off the wave of sisters we're getting here this summer. I'm bummed I won't get to serve with all the incredible sisters the Lord is sending our way, but I'm eternally grateful for the honor of serving with who I'm sure are the top. 
Some miraculous experiences I've had with the sisters this week are:
-Witnessing the miracle of a priesthood blessing and a confirmation
-Having locked doors literally blow open giving us access into a building full of children of God searching for the truth
-Teaching a woman who is so prepared for baptism that she's committed to making the covenant this month after just one lesson
-Working hard despite an appointment falling through and due to diligence and enthusiasm running into people who needed us at the end of our hour. 
-Food was provided for us every day this week and in abundance!!
-Interviews with President Robinson
-Celebrating birthdays
-Cheering up a woman who has lost all hope 
-And so many other wonderful things, big and small, that change my life on a daily basis. 
In RS yesterday we watched a mormonmessage about a girl's preparation to take some names to the temple. The RS president talked about how each moment of preparation can be considered a "holy place" in the timeline of our day, week, life, existence, etc. because they prepare us for greater and better things. She also talked about how in times of difficulty we can create "holy places" as we come to rely on the Lord and really exercise faith in Christ's Atonement. That's what I feel a mission is for me. One big "holy place" that allows me to come to know the Savior in an invaluable manner. I am so grateful for all the experiences I have every day here. 
I love you all and hope you have an amazing week full of miraculous moments as well. I am so grateful that you are my eternal family! What blessed am I!! 
D&C 101: 22, 64 Behold, it is my will, that all they who call on my name, and worship me according to mine everlasting gospel, should gather together, and stand in holy places;... That the work of the gathering together of my saints may continue, that I may build them up unto my name upon holy places; for the time of harvest is come, and my word must needs be fulfilled.

I am so glad for the work the Lord has done to gather our family together and all that He continues to do so we can stay together in holiness. I am also grateful for what He trusts me to do to help others.
Love you!!!
Zuster Becky Hinchcliff

May 27th

Real Fast
So, our p-day hasn't really gone as planned and turns out I don't have much five minutes. I'm printing out your emails so I will read them later and respond to them next week. 
This last week for us has been really great. I got to go on exchanges with Zuster Omozokpia in Gouda and with Zuster Townsend in Dordrecht. I had a lot of fun, learned a lot, and got to teach people too :) Also, here in Amsterdam we had some really amazing and spirit-filled lessons and a baptism! Our friend, Daniel, was baptized yesterday at church. He had probably the best attended baptism I've seen my whole mission, we just all love him! He's a golden guy and he's making a difference in the lives of those around him. 
Well, I'm afraid that's all I have time for this week, but know that I love you, the church is true, Heavenly Father loves you, Joseph Smith restored the true church of God to the earth, the Book of Mormon is true, Thomas S. Monson is a prophet today, and did I mention I love you all? Because I really and truly do!!! 
Love, Zuster Becky Hinchcliff

May 20th

Well, I've had another great week starting off with an exchange with Zuster Omozokpia in Gouda! She is wonderful and I get to have another exchange  with her this week and one with my MTC companion, Zuster Townsend. We haven't served with each other since leaving the MTC, it'll be an exciting couple of exchanges, I know it!
This last week I got to participate in the Rotterdam Zone Training. I was super nervous, and sweated swimming pools, but I really enjoyed it. I love the gospel and sharing it with others who love it too is encouraging and just feels nice. I love teaching investigators and others, but there's just something different about teaching a group of missionaries. It's probably the eagerness they all have to actually listen and  the spirit they already bring into the room. It's very fulfilling to both speak to a group like this and be a part of it. 
Because I serve in Amsterdam I also got to attend the Den Haag training where I was particularly edified by Zuster Schwab's portion of the training. This sweet angel was my other MTC companion and she spoke about being a successful missionary. When I first came on my mission, things were quite different than I pictured. And that's an understatement. My whole mission I've been seeking to understand how to do things according to the will of the Lord and not according to how I picture things going and simultaneously seeking His approval to know I'm doing things right. During Zuster Schwab's training we read from Preach My Gospel, "You can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when you feel the Spirit working through you," and I felt that I truly have His approval. I've read that sentence many times before, but at last I received the accompanying confirmation I've desired. I am so grateful. As I reflected on this wonderful feeling and other things discussed I thought on 3 Nephi 7:15-16, 21
"And it came to pass that Nephi—having been visited by angels and also the voice of the Lord, therefore having seen angels, and being eye-witness, and having had power given unto him that he might know concerning the ministry of Christ, and also being eye-witness to their quick return from righteousness unto their wickedness and abominations; Therefore, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their minds—went forth among them in that same year, and began to testify, boldly, repentance and remission of sins through faith on the Lord Jesus Christ....And it came to pass that the thirty and first year did pass away, and there were but few who were converted unto the Lord; but as many as were converted did truly signify unto the people that they had been visited by the power and Spirit of God, which was in Jesus Christ, in whom they believed." 
Nephi was a very spiritual man. That said, He did not have had a "picture-perfect" mission. But he didn't let it bring him down. He turned his circumstances into a springboard of opportunity to lift others up. He testified boldly and I know he worked according to the Spirit, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to perform the later miracles he did and help the few be converted. Furthermore, those who were converted were not converted by Nephi's efforts, but by the Spirit his efforts brought. So, yeah, maybe his mission was not picture perfect, but I would definitely say it was ideal. 
I am at a point, took me a while to get here, that I feel the same about my mission. I know my mission hasn't been picture perfect, especially not considering the image I first formed, but I know because of the continual confirmations I have from the Spirit, that my mission is ideal. I wouldn't have it any other way. I know that ideal is possible for all missionaries. So whether we help thousands or just a few come closer to Christ through faith in Him and His atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end, we can know that those few or thousand are, "converted to the Lord; [and] as many as [are] converted [will] truly signify...that they [have] been visited by the power and Spirit of God, which [is] in Jesus Christ, in whom [we believe]." I know this is true. It's my mission experience.
The other segments of both zone trainings were also very enlightening and fun, however, this is the experience I treasure most. 
As far as Amsterdam itself goes, things are moving along quite nicely here. One of our friends is committed to being baptized this upcoming Sunday and he has a lot of great support from friends in the ward and stake. Another great person we're currently working with is the best friend of our ward mission leader. One of our companionship goals for this transfer was to become besties with the ward mission leader and bishop. To accomplish this we came up with some smaller goals and in the process I felt like we should ask our ward mission leader if we could arrange an appointment with him and this specific friend. He'd talked about him a few times and I felt impressed to see him. Things were arranged and after a spirit-filled lesson, Sung is excited to learn more. As far as improving our relationship with the bishop goes, we have dinner with his family tomorrow. Things are happening here in Amsterdam! And I've only mentioned a few :) What an exciting feeling to be apart of the Lord's work!
I feel like big things are going to be happening for us this week, and I'm excited to allow these things to work in me so I can springboard into the thousands waiting to hear about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. 
I love you all sooooooo much!!!
Love, Zuster Becky Hinchcliff