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Monday, March 25, 2013

Elder Inman Letter March 25, 2013

Exchanges week!

So once a transfer (6 weeks) the District Leader will switch places with another missionary for a few days to shake things up. So, Elder McKee (the DL) was with E. Villejo Tuesday-Thursday and I was actually in a town called Dillon. Dillon has about 5,000-6,000 people so it's considered a bigger town up here. I was with E. Richens who has been out 15 months and actually served in Sheridan for his first area. I wasn't sure I was going to get a long with E. Richins, but it turned out to be pretty fun! For one, Dillon has a car, so that was nice. We went to see a guy who is on house arrest and played Monopoly Deal, which is the card version of Monopoly and only takes about 30 minutes as opposed to three days :) Then we helped out with the Pinewood Derby and basically ran the whole thing.

On Wednesday, we had trouble finding people to teach so, we went to Murdoch's which is a ranching store with a little bit of everything. I bought my first ever cowboy hat (yes, I did) which is usually $50 but I got it for a $11! A cool thing about Montana is there is no sales tax on anything. Later that night we went with a guy named Javier to help him do his home teaching. That was kind of neat.

Thursday was probably the highlight of the week. E. Villejo and E. McKee came down to Dillon and we kind of hung out all day because we didn't have rides to get anywhere. The cars get limited amount of miles every transfer but they don't tell you your limit till like 2 weeks left of the transfer. We found out that we had only 50 miles left for the next 11 days and it was 30 miles just to get to District meeting tomorrow haha. But anyways, Villejo and McKee came down and we went to Murdoch's, McDonald's, and an ice cream place. We all used fake names on our orders at McDonald's haha! E. Villejo said his name was "Mahanna" (from Johnny Lingo) and they believed him because he's an islander! So they called out, "Mahanna?" and we all started laughing. I told them my name was Mufasa from the lion king and they just went with it. Awesome. I definitely recommend trying it.

Gene. The one we thought was over 90 turns out to be 82, we asked him. We've been getting kind of frustrated with him because he refuses to read the Book of Mormon and does not believe in organized religion. But this Friday we had a neat experience with him. I was back in Sheridan with E. Villejo and we went to see him. We were informed by someone who knows him, that he actually has dementia. That makes sense, because we've taught him the first discussion 4 times and he still has the same questions we've answered every visit. However, this last time, we challenged him to come to church. We have before, but he said his health isn't usually good enough. So...we PROMISED him...that by the power of Jesus Christ he would be healthy enough to come to church this Sunday.

Sunday came around and he was sitting there in the foyer waiting for us. He was wearing an eye patch because the sun irritates one of his eyes but he was there..dressed in all white. He almost looked like a temple worker. I was so excited!!! Our first investigator to come to church! And the Lord had answered our prayers and Gene's. Then we realized it was fast and testimony meeting. I got nervous reallllllly quick. Testimony meetings are hit or miss for investigators. It turned out to be an AWESOME meeting and the Spirit was so strong. Afterwards, he was supposed to attend his Bible study but instead went home. And we conveniently left a copy of the Book of Mormon in his living room. So we are hoping to visit him this week to check up.

After church was over, one of the youth was going to be baptized. The entire ward stayed just to see this 8 year old be baptized by his father and I thought that was so neat. Every single ward member was there to support. This ward truly is a family and has taken it to a whole new level. We had dinner at Bishop Breakall's home. His daughter from BYU-I was here for the weekend. It turns out that she snapped the same ligament in her ankle playing basketball as I did playing with Matt Smith about 2 years ago! She wanted her dad to give her a blessing and the Bishop asked us to help with the blessing. Jeanie (the daughter) asked if I would do the anointing and asked what the oil actually does. We explained that Olive Oil is the purest oil and has been consecrated and set apart specifically set apart for healing hte sick. An account of anointing with oil can be found in James 5:14-15. So we proceeded with the blessing. About five minutes later Jeanie started to get teary eyed and said her ankle didn't hurt. She was walking flat-footed on it and was limping on it moments before. My testimony grew of the power of the priesthood and that it works according to the faith of the priesthood as well as the one being blessed. A miracle.

So that was my week! Lots of exciting stuff and the work is finally beginning to pick up. E. Villejo and I are doing all the pruning here and Sheridan and more than likely, Elders later on will harvest the wheat. We are just planting the seeds. But I'm okay with that because the Lord doesn't count baptisms, he counts conversions. It doesn't matter who does the reaping so long as they are converted in the Lord's timing.

I can wait for this Easter Sunday. E. Vilejo and I are running the whole program. We are both giving talks, one on the Atonement and one on the Resurrection. We also are doing a musical number, "I know that my Redeemer lives." It isn't until this year that I have sincerely looked at what the true meaning of Easter is. Read the talk, "None were with Him" by Jeffery R. Holland from the 2007 April GC.

Home sounds crazy as usual! How was Prom Torie? Is Jesse still dancing away? He better not be taller than me when I get home! I'll definitely be fatter than him...I've only been out a month and have gained 9 pounds. Yikes. Mom, I've always admired that you magnify your calling in seminary. The kids dont realize how much work you do and I know the Lord will bless you for it. I hope they pay attention to their teachers because the MTC does not teach you doctrine like they used to. You are expected to know the scriptures and are taught more how to teach instead.

Hope you all are healthy! I love and miss you all! The church is true!

PS - So this is the end part of a talk ONLY GIVEN in the MTC. It is not published. I thought you would enjoy Elder Hollands Testimony. Happy Easter!

The Atonement- Jeffery R. Holland
(Two mp3 tracks below. Hope they work.)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Elder Inman Letter March 18, 2013

Good morning good morning!
What a week. It flew by for you too it sounds like! This week was rougher than most, not a lot of success. We zone leadership training in Helena on Tuesday. Getting up at 5 in the morning is not my favorite. But we got to meet the other Elders and Sisters in our zone and E. Villejo and I sang...of course my throat was destroyed so I sounded like I was a smoker all my life. It's alright, it was okay enough to keep the spirit haha. Afterwards we went to a pawn shop and I bought a "Montana Knife." Believe me, they exist. Pretty awesome, I'll have to send home a picture next week, I forgot my camera. I have all sorts of stories today!
Wednesday no one seemed to be home so we did a lot of tracting. No luck there unfortunately :( BUT, we did get to go to the Pinewood Derby! That'sa big deal up here! Non-members come to that and even the young women and all other auxiliaries do the Pinewood Derby! Someone gave us a random car to race and we actually beat one of the scouts with it haha we felt bad. Eventually we got beat out but it was fun while it lasted!

Thursday is was pretty cool. We got to visit Virginia City (about 22 miles South of Sheridan...we got a ride). VC is a really old mining town that actually used to be the territorial capitol of Montana! Now it houses about 40 people during the winter and a few 100 during the summer. It's mainly a touristy place with lots of old museums, an opera house, blacksmith's shops, saloons, and my personal favorite...a hanging hall! How sweet is that?! There is a designated building for hanging people. There was a lot of vigilante justice in this town in the late 1800's. Unfortunately, EVERYTHING was closed for the winter including the museums and restaurants so we could only look through windows. There was only a small mercantile store and a homemade ice cream parlor open. During the summer they have all kinds of shows and stagecoach tours...Jesse would never want to leave! I'll try to send home those pictures, it's basically almost a western ghost town like you see on movies. Pretty legit. Anyways, the reason we were there was because we got a refferal from Bishop of a part-member family. The wife is inactive and the husband is not a member. I don't remember if I talked about them or not, but they had Bishop bless their baby while the non-member husband held the microphone. SO COOL. They told the bishop they would like the discussions. So we gave them a call and they actually invited us over for dinner! They are an extremely nice family. The own a photography business and travel the world. After eating an awesome roast we asked if they would be interested in the discussions. The husband (Grant) changed the subject :( He's not quite ready. So instead, we shared a scriptural thought about how families can be together forever. He seemed to have been paying attention and then he gave us a ride home. Hoping a praying that they will have us back!
Friday was Torie's birthday! So exciting! What did you do? How was it? I heard you did it actually on Thursday? And then went Ice skating Friday? Saweet! And you got a few battle scars from the ice all worn down from the hockey players! You're probably still feeling those bruises I bet. There's ponds up here that probably have smoother ice!
I had a pretty sweet day on Friday...first we visited with our 90 year old, Gene. He's frustrating sometimes and we kind of got into a small bash but we still got him to say he'd come to church if his health permits. But the awesome experience happened afterwards. I had a letter I wanted to deliver (to the Smith's, who sent me an AWESOME package of various green candy and gum, with a label, "Good Luck Greenie!" All of the kids wrote me a letter with pictures. Thank you Matt and Emily! I was afraid it was a "bad buy" that I had from Plato's...). Haha anyway, I had a letter I was going to bring to the post office to mail. As soon as we got there a truck pulled up and a lady got out saying, "Hi Elders!" We assumed she was an innactive or something because we didn't recognize her. We followed her in the post office (stalked, more like). After casual conversation we discovered she was raised in a Filipino home (so she speaks fluent Tagalog) AND she has LDS family that are Bishops in Arizona...if that is not revelation of why I was sent to Sheridan, I don't know what is! SO her and Elder Villejo were talking in Tagalog to each other and then we asked if we could teach her. She said, "Of course! Why don't you come over for dinner sometime!" She offered to make us Adobo (a chicken Filipino dish). We planned for it later on in the week.
THE NEXT DAY. We get a call from Helen Lansing (the Filipino lady above mentioned). She said she wanted to meet today and for lunch instead of dinner. Of course we weren't going to let that go, so we set a time and place. Her son is living with her and was sick so we met at the park and she brought all this cooked food for us. And it was amazing! We came to find out she's hardcore Catholic, and moved here 3 years ago. We had a really good discussion about the Atonement and how God has called a Prophet to lead and guide us today. It turns out she actually wants us to teach her son. Who is 38 and has several physical disabilities. Including 2 heart attacks and a stroke. I wouldn't doubt that she would sit in on the discussions as a protection kind of a thing, and we are hoping that we get to teach both of them! E. Villejo's mom was a hardcore Catholic and converted to Mormonism. There are so many ties to this investigator. It strengthened my testimony that God definately puts us where we need to be. It isn't coincidence that we find this Filipino lady with LDS family in Arizona who wants her son to take the discussions from a missionary raised in the Phillipines, and an Elder from Arizona. I also gained testimony of the Lord's timing. I didn;t think anything of it, trying to mail a letter before the mail was picked up for the day. But God wanted me to mail it at that particular time of the day, walk at a certain pace, and get there as soon as this lady pulls in. This experience reminded me of a quote by David A. Bednar:
"The overwhelming majority of impressions you recieve will come asa result of you being a good boy or good girl and you will have no idea it was revelation till after the fact. If you keep the commandments and commitments God has given you, you will be in the right place, at the right time, and will know what to do, even if you don't know why you're doing it."

So true. Earlier on Saturday we had something more funny happen. A girl just moved in next door. Her name is Amanda, she's 19, and works at the hospital. It's about 8AM and we get a knock at the door. It's her and she says to Elder Villejo, "Do you have a band-aid? I cut my hand." Lo and behold she had the smallest cut in the world on her hand. So E. Villejo asks me if I have a band-aid and while I'm looking she says, "Nice Guitar! I heard you guys singing last night!" E. Villejo says,"Thanks! Did we distrub you?" And she says, "No it put me to sleep..." Flirtatious much? We never found a band-aid. When we told her she said, "It's ok, I'm not going to die or anything, I'm just a wimp." So you work at the Hospital and not only do you not have a first aid kit, but you're a wimp when it comes to the world's smallest cut? Nice try haha. Elder Villejo asked if we could teach her some time and, of course, she says, "yeah just come over!" Little does she know that we'll be bring a member over to teach her. It's amazing to me to see how Satan will discretely tempt us as missionaries. I forgot to mention that while we teaching Helen at the park, there were two teenage girls there (probably about 15) that were flat out annoying. One of them asked if we did exorcisms...on her macaroni and cheese. I feel like my IQ went down just being asked that. But of course there needs to be some kind of distraction right?

Anyway, Sunday finally came. St. Patrick's day gets a litte out of hand here, especially in Butte. There are TONS of Irish Catholics here and they like to party, let me tell you. So we had dinner at the Dustins! Corned beef, potatoes, carrots, cheese and broccoli, with rye bread and green kool-aid. Classic. Then something cool happened. Their son is actually serving in Ireland right now. He sent home a letter SPECIFICALLY "To the Elders" in Sheridan. The Dustin family gave it to us un-opened and said it was for us. We read it out loud and he gave us a few of his friends he wanted us to go see. He has a good reputation around town and said if we used his name when introducing ourselves, they would let us in. So he gave us about 6 names of people he wanted us to visit and he said he was trusting us because his family said we were great missionaries. He had been holding onto these names for the right Elders. I thought that was extremely neat. He also gave us a warning, "P.S. Stay away from my sisters." Hahaha we thought that was pretty funny.
That's all for this week! Kind of long I know, but had a lot to say! Mom and Jesse thanks so much for the letters and the pictures! I didn;t have any and now I have something to put on my wall! I also really liked that picture of Christ. That stinks about the Expedition dying. It's been a good car and has been everywhere. Hopefully it's still got some life in it! How's my little white car doing? I miss that car, you don't realize what a blessing it is till you walk everywhere. And sounds like Dad has been doing some fun gardening! The only service I've done this week was some sheet rocking. It may not be the funnest but it was nice to do something physical and different. I love service projects.
Good luck Torie with the Driving manual stuff! That test is lame. But study the manual anyway, cause I failed the first time haha. Jesse, thanks for your awesome letter! I'll write back as soon as I can! Probably today. And mom thank you for everything! Especially the letter, it made me feel good :) Dad I love you and keep up the hard work! Say Hi to Marilyn and Bob for me! Love and miss you all!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Elder Inman Letter March 11, 2013

Hey Hey!

Week 4 of my first transfer. It was kind of an off week but what do I know, I've only been out a month haha. We met with one of our investigators named "Gene Halsey" who is probably about 90. I don't remember if I've mentioned him before, but basically he goes to a bible study and weekly "meeting" but claims it is not an organized religion but world-wide. Anyway, we came back to teach him a second time and he welcomed us in saying he had been thinking about us a lot. He's difficult to teach. Whenever the Spirit starts to pick up, he 'll COMPLETELY change the subject. And he knows it! For example we were talking about the Apostasy and and when we finished the first vision (spiritual high point), he says, "Did you know the Buddhist have the most members worldwide?" And then he gives us this smirk with all 6 of his teeth. Frustrating haha. Anyway, we actually committed him to coming the church but he has a hard time getting up in the mornings because of some health issues. He did agree to come though so we're hoping for this Sunday.

The weather changes every hour! We were in Twin Bridges and out of nowhere a rain storm hit, with mixed sleet so we got hammered while tracting. Kind of sweet. But freezing rain doesn't feel to good on the face. We also started teaching a 19 year old guy named Brian Todd. He claims to be atheist but has had all the discussions. He also owns the scariest dog I've ever seen. Half its face is ripped off and it's super mangy with an under-bite so you see its teeth. So we knocked on his back door haha and turns out the dogs name is "Natalie." Haha soooo scary. Brian said he's play bball with us so we're trying to get that started. We're actually at the church right now. Funny story about that, we actually got two bikes. And we thought we would try and ride them to the church about 3 miles away. The bike I was riding had no pedal, and no bolts to hold the sprocket on. It was stuck in 5th gear and the front tire was flat. And it was uphill the whole way against 20mph wind. My pedal bars broke off 4 times along the way haha it was the worst bike ride of my life.

On Saturday we actually attended a high school play! Shakespeare's, "The Taming of the Shrew." We heard about the play because one of the families we are teaching has a son who was in the play. We decided it would be good to go and support as well as to show ourselves at community events. We were the only ones ones in suits, so we stood out pretty well! The play was $7 bucks each...BUT Bro. Larsen from our ward (who looks like Gordon B. Hinckley) let us in for free. Righteous Exchange! The play was actually really good, I was impressed. It was hard to follow though, I never liked the way Shakespeare wrote.

One last cool thing! We got a referral actually from the Bishop. There was a family last week that came to church. The wife was Less active and the husband wasn't a member. They had a newborn baby and wanted it to be blessed so the bishop blessed it while the non-member husband held the microphone :) pretty legit. Bishop talked ot them after church and they both agreed to have the discussions. We gave them a call later in the week and they actually invited us over for dinner on the 14th! SO STOKED! Really hoping that the lessons go well. The ward members feed us every night and send us home with food. We have 5 loaves of bread...two of them homemade. And one of the members is a bee keeper so we have legit honey :D

Mike Bias. I think I mentioned him. He's been investigating the church 13 years now. We've been able to talk with him a few different times at member homes. Last P-day he actually gave us a ride home from a member's house and he told us we were doing a good job. Pretty cool to have an investigator tell you that. He's having difficulty accepting the Atonement. He feels like he has to much of a past to be forgiven and he feels like once he is baptized, that he will fall. I really feel for him. I think we all have a hard time accepting just how simple the Atonement is. We think that we there needs to be more of a punishment, or a way we can pay back for the things we do wrong. What he needs to understand is that Christ suffered so that we don't have too. "Repent and Forsake." Or "Confess and forsake" if it requires priesthood leader attention. Enormity multiplied by infinity are the things the Savior suffered for. He condescended below every pain. The cross did not kill Jesus Christ. The people did not kill Jesus Christ. Through Mary, he inherited Mortality. Through Heavenly Father he inherited the ability to overcome mortality. He WILLINGLY gave up his spirit into the Lords hands.

From Elder Holland's 2009 talk "None were with Him":
"...because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so...trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said, 'I will not leave you comfortless: [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you.]'"

Other Spiritual Thoughts for the week:
"There is danger in the word 'Someday' when it means, 'Not this day.'" - Henry B. Eyring

"When we face such temptation of our time, we must declare, I will give place no more, for the enemy of my soul" -Elder Holland

Thank you all for the letters! And Olivia for the package! She sent me a box with a ton of candy, letters, and a coloring book with markers haha awesome :)

Hope everyone is doing well! Love you!

Between the elevation, wind, and cold, my ears are having a rough time. My right ear is almost 100% but now my left ear is starting to hurt. I still have some ibuprofen. Some sudofed and benedryl. And advil/dayquil. if it gets worse i'll call Sister Mecham and she will tell me where would be the best place to get medical care. Otherwise i'm healthy!

Miss you a lot. I'm loving it here but would be lying if I said I didn't miss home. Luckily I have an awesome companion for my first transfer and a pretty area with awesome ward members. Hope work isn;t stressing you out to much! Hang in there. Pretty soon we're going to be doing some service projects. Like sheet rocking so that will be sweet. Have an awesome week! Love you!

P.S. Tell Torie I say happy birthday! I'm sending home a letter, that's why I didn't type it. Hopefully she'll get it friday!

Elder Inman

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Elder Jacob Inman Singing! With Elder Villejo in Sheridan, MT Feb. 2013

We could not upload the whole video here, so we uploaded to YouTube. Follow the link below to see this wonderful video. A little out of character for Elder Inman, but very nice.

As he told us, "Enjoy".

Monday, March 4, 2013

Elder Inman Letter March 4, 2013

It's been quite the week! Things are awesome here in Sheridan/ Twin Bridges. We cover 35 miles of ward boundaries and no, we dont have a car to get from city to city haha. The ward members do their best to help us out with that.The ward here is amazing. There are many widows and they treat us like their grandchildren! Sister Stalder (an 82 year old widow) lives next to us and she gets us food EVERY DAY including homemade bread from her own wheat. I've had Elk steak, pork chops, homemade potatoes, lots of homemade desserts and quite a bit of eggs. My companion loves eggs, being from the Phillipines haha. He's an older missionary (24) but has been out for a year. He actually bought his guitar up here and President Mecham told him he could keep it if he uses it in his proselyting. So we do! And as a result...we got asked to sing in SACRAMENT MEETING this Sunday -__- Elder Villejo wants me to do a solo. That's not happening haha.

Hmm...experiences this week.
1: Nobody was home in Twin bridges so we were tracting for a long time. We came across a devout Jehovah's witness that claimed we didn't know anything about the Bible (while still at the door step). Regardless, she let us in and we talked for over an hour. The conversation went from The Fall of Adam and Eve, to the end of the world, to "God's Government" and then she decided to bring up war and why she does not solute the flag...yeah. Everything was fine at first, and we were both respectful. Till she brought up the military and drilled it into us why we don't need a military. Carefully and as nice as I could I explained that she would not be living in the home, country, or town she is living in, nor would she or I be allowed to worship freely. I also explained that that is why the pilgrims came to this country in the first place. Freedom of Religion and a military to defend that right. It got contentious, we lost the Spirit, so we left. Kind of fun though :)

2. THE NEXT DAY (Friday March 1), we were proselyting/tracting in Twin Bridges. Just walking along a dirt road, a guy pulls over in his car next to us. I'll just quote my journal..
"Are you the Mormon Elders?"
"Yes! How are you doing?"
"Did you know Joseph Smith had 23 false prophecies that have not and will not come to pass?"
I replied, "Care to name one?" A little taken a-back he said,
"Doctrine and Covenants 1:17" So I read the verse out loud, and he said,
"No that's not the right one..." Strike One. Turns out he's hard-core baptist. If your going to claim something at least get the right verse. He proceeded to tell us how Joseph Smith was a false Prophet and how he has been to our sacrament meetings before. We testified of the first vision and the Book of Mormon. Continuing to deny it, Elder Villejo said,
"Who started the Baptist church?" He studdered and said it was made from Jesus Christ. We said,
"Cool, so is ours! A prophet and 12 Apostles!" Strike 2. I said,
"Well, do a little bit of homework, read and pray about the Book of Mormon, and when you find it to be true, give us a call." (Granted I could have handled that better but I got carried away haha).
He replied, "No you do your homework, I already know it's not true." How old are we? It's just a testimony to me that if a 60 year old man takes the time to stop two young men and persecute something he's ignorant of, the church HAS to be true. Real Christ-like man.

Anyways :) I DID have a great week. We are teaching a man named Mike Bias. He has been coming to church for 8 years now and investigating 13 years. We were over at the Bishops house for linner yesterday and he came. We talked for seriously 5 hours with him. Super genius guy who knows the church is true but is afraid that he will fall away if he is baptized. We testified that that is WHY we attend church. Renew the covenants we make. We don't go to church because we are perfect, we go to church because we are not perfect. We got him to tear up a bit and the spirit was incredibly strong. Later that night, some of the Breakhall's extended family came over for desert and familiy home evening so we sang for them. I dont know how this whole singing thing started but it works!

SO today I am in Butte, Montana. Such a sweet town. All the Elder's in our stake are getting together to play some bball and shop at Walmart haha. The library here is 3 stories. A super big mining town. I'm learning all sorts of history about Montana. Turns our there are 3 world famous rivers here for fishing. And Brother Clark, the high priest group leader in our ward, is internationally known. He's the only known Doctor to have performed a successful surgery on a baby while still in the womb...he gets calls from other countries for advice, it's kind of crazy. Lots of amazing ward members. Anyways, things are going amazing. We've found 4 new investigators, have discussions every day, and our name is going around town pretty quick. The people here are so humble and I wouldn't mind staying in this area another 6 months!

That's my spiel for the week. How is everybody? Thank you all for the letters, they definitely keep me going! How is good ole "Surp City?" (Surprise). It's been ridiculously windy here. In the 20's. The electric boots i've used once, and they're pretty awesome. I see deer every day and occasionally moose come around town! Love and miss you all!
Also, include in the blog I walked a good 6.5 miles uphill yesterday! haha have a great week! Miss you!
Jack, Dylan at the Brick Oven prior to MTC Drop-off

Elder Chelson, MTC Companion

MTC District

Twin Bridges, MT
Elder Villejo, 1st Mission Field Companion (from the Phillipines)