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Monday, June 24, 2013

Elder Inman Letter June 24, 2013

First Baptism!

Hoorah! Chase Slade, our investigator we told you about last week, decided he wanted to be baptized this past weekend because he didn't want to wait! So it was an incredibly bust week. After FHE, we taught Chase the Plan of Salvation and set his baptismal date for the 22nd at 7 pm. I'll get to that later :) After FHE we played Ultimate Frisbee with the ward because we had two investigators and less actives there. We played in our pros clothes (church clothes) and got some sweet grass stains! We go all out.
I never get tired of service. One of the members in our ward called and asked if we could help him with spreading mulch and gravel. We went about 2 in the afternoon and it was in the 90's so it was really hot! His name is Joe Weitz (who was the one who drove us all the way to the Indian reservation). The Weitz family has a HUGE garden and property. Every vegetable you could think of. We were asked to make a walkway probably about 20 yards long and 5 feet wide. The borders were railways ties, so we had fun moving those! We shoveled gravel as the walkway and it turned out pretty nice :) His mom got us ICEE's and later on in the week, Joe took us out to Fuddruckers for dinner. So good! Later, we taught Chase the 3rd Discussion (The Gospel of Jesus Christ) and then the Word of Wisdom in the same night! We were going rapid fire with him.
Wednesday was the best Zone Leader Training I've experienced so far. I was asked to give a discussion, but wasn't given a topic. After some prayer and study, I felt like I should talk about what it means to "Cry repentance unto this people (D&C 18)." The Spirit was incredible , I loved it. Lots of great lessons. Later we met up at the church with Chase to talk about the Law of Chastity and Tithing. Chase taught US. He had read the pamphlets, studied them, and all we really had to do was say, "Amen!" Such a stud. We drove up to the Heights (East Billings), to teach a lesson to a new investigator named Dillon. He is on the third discussion as well, but seems to only be doing it for his girlfriend because he won't commit to anything. I know first hand, that that is not something we should pursue...
However, we FINALLY got to have an appointment with Tim. He is the investigator who comes to all activities, is best friends with members of the ward, and lives with his grandparents who are Mormon. He's pretty rough looking but has come to church twice. We taught him at Josh Smith's house (our EQP) and just shared a thought on Faith. He isn't sure if God exists but because of recent events it opened his eyes juuuuust a little bit. 

Thursday we gave Chase the baptismal questions at the temple! On the grounds, we went over the questions so that we could teach him anything we didn't cover well. He was SO ready. After that, we went to visit a less active and ended up moving his Piano into their new house.
Transfers have begun...And the office is so chaotic! I have so much work to do online for President it's crazy! I now keep track of President's calendar, interviews, phone contacts, baptisms, and track bikes. It's super awesome but a big responsibility! Recently Presidents phone contacts have been disappearing...and we found that another senior couple has their phone synced with his iCloud, and they've been deleting so many contacts and changing them! Making it very fun for me :) We disabled their phone haha. Chase had his interview with the District Leader Elder Palazzo and was all set to go! Friday night we got a call from a guy named Roberto. Apparently, he called the mission home and wanted to know about the singles ward. After meeting him at a park, it turns out that Roberto has only been a member for a few months. He grew up in LA and was a hard core gang get away from that, he moved to Richmond, VA and the same thing happened. He joined the military and was involved in an accident in Iraq that caused him to lose his Achilles tendon, and destroyed part of his brain which now causes him to have seizures. He googled the nearest church and lo and behold it was the Mormons! he is thinking about moving here to Montana and wanted to check it out. So, he came to Chase's baptism and church Sunday!
FIRST BAPTISM! Dun dun dun. First of all, it was the last Saturday of the transfer, so we got to go to the Temple with our Zone. I received so much revelation about the pre-existence and understanding the adversary. The more we know about him, the more prepared we are to beat him! Afterwards we helped some non-members both move out, and move-in to a new home. Moved two entertainment centers by hand...I'm sore :) Once home, we changed and went to the church to building to fill up the font. It is SUPER old fashioned and was pretty large. So, we left it running and went to our dinner appointment. Two girls in the ward took us out for Sushi! I still haven't tried it yet, they all shoveled it down before I could. But I did get an extremely good Salmon. We raced back to the church hoping that the font wasn't flooding the church. Luckily it wasn't! It was full and ready to go an hour before the baptism! Which is perfect...except the water turned Luke-warm :/ Felt bad about that. I swear half the ward showed up. People were standing because there was no room left in the Relief Society room! Chase was baptized by his best friend Tyler Nelson. It reminded me of Baptizing Dom and what an amazing experience that was. The Spirit was so strong. When everyone left, we couldn't figure out how to drain the font...It didn't seem to drain for the 30 minutes we waited. So we left it over night and luckily it was empty the next day haha. 
Chase was confirmed in Sacrament meeting and was told in his blessing to serve a mission! This was given by our Bishop and we stood in. It's a neat feeling. Chase ALREADY PAYED HIS TITHING and his records aren't even finished! Something else cool in Sacrament was that a set of twins were both called to California speaking Mandarin Chinese. Tim came to church the last two hours and we taught him the Restoration after church. I know he feels the Spirit but he doesn't want to accept that feeling quite yet.
So it was an amazing week! Very productive and spiritual. Elder Bonaro and I are staying in Rimrock another transfer! WOOOOOO! I was so happy to hear that. Can you believe I've been out 5 months and will have been out 6 months by the end of the transfer? Almost a 1/4 done already! Sounds like Torie is going to be exhausted from the past few weeks of non-stop spiritual awesomeness! Jesse is becoming more like me every day! :D I don't know if that's a good or bad thing...but it is great to be ambidextrous! I'm pretty sure I've missed like 5 reunions so far haha. I'm missing another one! Thank you for your journal entree's dad, they help! And mom thank you so much for that letter, it came at a critical time! I will right back asap!

Spiritual Thoughts:
"You can't put on the Helmet of Salvation without putting on the Breastplate of Righteousness"

"The Sword of the Spirit is our only attack weapon, and it's the very first thing that Satan makes us put down."
"If you were accused of being Mormon, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"
"The shield of Faith can guard every part of your body...even if you only have faith to rely on, it is sufficient until you can regain the rest of your armor."
"The next time Satan reminded you of your past, remind Him of his future." Matthew 25: 41
Billings MT Temple

Bonaro, Tyler Nelson, Chase Slade, Me

Me with Chase Slade

Elder Wasden, Elder Bonaro, Me, Elder Payne (the Zone Leaders). Gatorade Gang.

Assistants to the president- Elder Davis and Elder Olsen

Me and Elder Bonaro

Monday, June 17, 2013

Elder Inman Letter June 17, 2013

Spiritual Steroids!

The most successful and probably spiritual week of my entire mission so far. Holy moly...
So as always I'll start with last Monday! It was P-day so I actually went with Elder Davis, one of the AP's to go golfing! Ministers get to golf for free on Mondays so we just show them our ministerial certificate and play! Meanwhile, Elder Bonaro was with the most annoying Elder in our mission haha. He said he didn't want to play cause he never has before! He regretted it later.
Tuesday, Elder Palazzo (other companions in our apartment) thought it would be a great idea to drink a bottle of magnesium to "clean his system." He spent more time in the bathroom than outside of it the whole day. He destroyed our toilet. Anyway, we got a call that there was a guy named Alex who had recently been in an accident, was now out of the hospital, but needed someone to buy him and his mother groceries. So we went to the hotel by Billings clinic and it turns out that Alex is the SON of that lady we gave a blessing to last week! Same accident, he had a broken neck and arm. Larissa (his mom who we blessed), was now sitting up, in a chest and back cast, and could now walk! She looked so much better! Her bruising was going away and she said that she was already feeling much better. It was so cool to see the results of a Priesthood blessing work so quickly! And while we were there, someone shouted, "Elders!" Another out of town LDS lady wanted a blessing before going into surgery. Her daughter (probably in her 40's) gave us a a card that had 30 bucks in it. We aren't supposed to take money but she said it was for dinner. We didn't have a dinner appointment so we used it at Denny's!
Every Wednesday we do splits with the ward. We had 3 members show up originally. I went with 2 of them named Clark and David. Both recent RM's, and Bonaro went with James. Almost to a house, we got a call from Bonaro saying to come back to the church. We went back and Bishop was doing interviews with sisters so there needed to be another Priesthood holder in the building. RIght when we got there, Tyler Nelson showed up for splits. Clark said he would stay. but then Tyler volunteered. We joked that Clark must be needed on the splits! We went to see a less active named Ryan Baker. He talked to us outside on the porch and Clark hit it off so well with Ryan! Both do extreme sports (wakeboarding, snowboarding, skydiving, etc) and so they talked for a good 20 minutes and I didn't have to say anything :) Ryan came to ultimate frisbee that night and came to church Sunday!
Thursday. AWESOME. A member of the 70 (Elder Arnold) came and spoke to us at the stake center in a conference with probably 90 Elders and Sisters. Something SO COOL happened. We were all in the cultural hall and Elder Arnold was speaking. Out of no where it starting hailing and pouring rain harder than I have ever seen in my life. The building was literally shaking and all the power went out. This occurace happened during a spiritual high point. Elder Arnold said that Satan was crying. Angry because the spirit was so strong. With the power out, we continued our conference. As a general authority, Elder Arnold gave us all "clean sheets." A brand new start, re-baptism. In the dark we sang, "I know that my Redeemer Lives." We walked outside...and it was one of the sunniest, clearest days I've seen since being here. Not a drop on the car, no water spots on The Lord's vehicles (our trucks). It seemed like 2 different days. We saw tfull grown trees uprooted, and the streets littered with tree branches.
BAPTISMAL DATE! After eating lunch at Subway, Tyler texted us saying that Chase Slade wanted to meet with us that day. Chase Slade was a past investigator who had a baptismal date and then moved. He moved back to here with a job at Target! We taught the Restoration with Tyler present. I had the opportunity to share the First Vision. Never before had the spirit hit me so strongly when sharing Joseph's words. Afterwards, after a short pause of silence, I asked Him if he would be willing to follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized by someone holding the Priesthood Authority of God. Watery eyes, he said Yes. I am SO EXCITED! It will eityher be this weekend or in two weeks.

Service! I love painting. Tannah O'Bannion is a very active recent convert but her dad is a less active and her mom slightly anti. Some of the ward, ourselves, and the sister missionaries, painted their whole house outside! A bright blue with white trim. The mom had bought us all food and gave us hugs at the end! Small and simple steps :) Other fun fact, we ran into a mom who was LDS with a fiance that was not. We were on team ups with the Zone Leaders so Elder Payne was with us. Payne and Bonaro took the loveseat which left me with the massage chair...darn :) The LDS lady turned it on and I got a massage while the other two were talking haha. Then I shared testimony at the end.
Happy Father's day Dad! It was a great Sunday as usual. We had two less actives there, and an investigator that we taught after church. In the afternoon we came across a Jewish guy in his 30's locked out of his house for two days till his wife got home. He was just watering the grass and was SUPER nice to us. He said he would never convert but he does admire the LDS people for how much zeal we have in our proselyting efforts.
Bishop called us to go give another blessing at the hospital in ICU. In the waiting room a man said, "You call yourselves Elders? You're to young to know anything!" He thought he would show us how little we know by asking how we get to heaven. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end. He said we were wrong and asked if we knew what John 3:16 said. Of course we knew it and he said that we don't understand it. I swear he repeated it 20 times close to our face (the three of us) like we were kids. He said we don't need to be baptized we only need to believe in Christ. We corrected him that like 2 verses earlier it says we need to be born of water. This guy said it meant birth. Which is funny because Christ is talking to Nicodemus who had that same thought and corrected him. He tried to convince us that the guy on the cross next to Christ was told he would be with Christ in Paradise and that he wasn't baptized, yet a thief. First of all, we have no idea if he was baptized. Second all thieves have never been baptized? Third, God was referencing the Spirit world. Long story short we left and gave two blessings. Sorry for venting, I just despise naive people.
Dad, I hope you had an amazing Father's Day because you are an amazing father! You have always been an example to me and have given me strength in times of need. I love you and miss you!
P.S. Jesse's room looks sweet! And the backyard! And Torie is doing awesome things it sounds like! Lacey sent me a package of those big balloons you can hit each other with, and a CD :)
Service Project / Blue House

Monday, June 10, 2013

Elder Inman Letter June 10, 2013


Hello awesome family and friends! Another productive and exciting week here in Billings! I'll start off with a funny story that happened Monday night...
So we are at the church before FHE started for a dinner there with the Rapps (1st counselor in Bishopric and wife). I HATE tomatoes. Every single meal has a salad and tomatoes. So I carefully select just lettuce right? Sister Rapp a little later says, "Oh you already ate your tomatoes?" To my shame I replied happily, "Yup!" So she replies, "We got a tomato lover!" And dishes me 6 GRAPE TOMATOES. I gagged on every single on of them when she wasn't looking while Elder Bonaro can't stop laughing. Sister Rapp wasn't in the room at the time. I guess that's what I get for lying!
Tuesday had to be the worst day of my mission so far. Everything went wrong. We had arranged for a member to drive us to Shepard (15 miles away) to our appointment with Tim, an investigator. As Joe (the member) shows up, Tim cancels 10 minutes in advance. Joe was cool about it and offered to take us to see Less-Actives. We picked the first name on our list, Erica. We had a GPS, and started off to find her. About 20 minutes later of being on the road, the GPS dies and we have no idea where we are with no cell phone service. We kept going...and ended up in LODGE GRASS on the indian reservation. We were the only white people there. It was sketchy. We had cell service in Lodge Grass and found out we missed our turn 16 miles back. We finally get to the turn and the road was so bad that our truck wouldn't even get through it. We were in an Old Cadillac. Other events, we lost our phone for an hour, and for dinner guess what we had? Hawaiian Pizza. And I'm allergic to Pineapple. I ate a small piece by accident and it felt like someone stabbed my stomach lol.

However, the rest of the week was awesome! Kind of a cool revelation happened Wednesday. We were in District meeting and I was giving a discussion on asking inspired questions. I read a quote by Elder Bednar which basically states that the majority of impressions we recieve will be a result of us living the commandments and we wont realize it was revelation to after the fact. Elder Bonaro raises his hand and said something to the effect of, "That just reminded me of Tim! We had already set the appointment, arranged for a member to come, and to go out there. We prayed earlier for Heavenly Father to interrupt if our decision was wrong." We didn't realize till this moment, that God had responded. Tim was called into work last minute and had to cancel. It wasn't the right time or people! Super cool. I have learned that God will not make the decisions for us. We need to "Study it out in our minds" make the decision and ask God to let us know if it is wrong. Works every time!
Also had a very humbling experience. After District meeting, Elder Olsen (the AP) called us while eating at Red Robin. He said there was a lady in the hospital that needed a blessing and he couldn't go do it. Her name was Larissa Johnson. I was speechless when I walked into the hospital room. Her face was burnt on her right side, and was bruised all over. Her right eye was burnt, and her eyebrows singed. I wanted to cry, and she APOLOGIZED for her condition. Bonaro anointed and I sealed the blessing. I completely relied on the Spirit because there were no words I could say. This experience humbled me so much because I realize how small my problems are. Larissa's life will never be the same. Truly humbled.

We have been working so much to find less-actives. And the work is really picking up! This area wasn't taken care of at all, so Elder Bonaro and I started from scratch. We were finding people on our singles list that had been married for four years! But this last week we had 7 less-active lessons, dinner with one of them, and found a few new people in the process. As far as investigators go, there isn't much activity. It is SO difficult to find JUST singles to teach. Tracting isn't an option and we always have to have another Priesthood holder to teach sisters. But, Tim who comes to every single ward activity and even came to church last week, said we could start visiting with him. We also had news that a past investigator who had a baptismal date, had moved and is now moving back!

So now to the sunburnt story. It actually got to 96 yesterday. Anyways the ward had a camping trip to Mystic Lake Friday-Saturday. We obviously couldn't stay over night but there were some less-actives going on the hike! We had permission, and went up Saturday morning for just the hike portion. We took the 2 hour drive and everyone had already started the hike. So we started up and actually met up with part of the group. The special needs girl who gave the Star Wars analogy last week, was doing the Hike! Josh Smith (EQP), Brandon, Jordan, Camille, Amanda, and Tiana (ward members) were helping her the entire way up. So we stayed with them as well :) Josh and Brandon held her hands to stabilize her. About halfway, Nanci fell and scraped her leg. We had no band-aids. Elder Bonaro and I RAN the rest of the hike uphill to the Lake, got band-aids from the group already there, and ran back. It was an awesome experience. This hike was only 6 miles roundtrip. For our group going at Nanci's pace, it took 9 hours. Naci made it all the way and back :) The lake is probably in the top 3 most beautiful things I've ever seen! And now, with 9 hours in the sun, I can't turn my neck because of the sunburn haha. Worth it!

Last story. You asked about investigators. We were looking for a less active. He had moved, but a guy in his 30's named Geo answered. We asked if he was interested in sharing a message about Jesus Christ. He said, "Yeah why not." So he lets us in, and invites his family and Neighbors to "hear a story" haha. The neighbors showed up and said, "Oh..." and left! So funny. But Geo, his girlfriend, and daughter stayed. We taught the Restoration, and left him with a Book of Mormon. And set up an appointment for next week :) He is out of our age range, so we aren't entirely sure what to do but it will all work out :)

Glad to hear the you all are well! I am healthy and actually dropped weight again back down to 190 (I bought a scale at a thrift store). The ward is awesome, Bonaro is awesome, life is AWESOME! Love you all and have a great week! And a picture of Mystic Lake!
So...the Montana, Billings mission is 1 of 6 missions experimenting with Online proselyting. Basically, every missionary in this mission will eventually have a missionary Facebook account. The idea is, to add everyone in the area you are serving, post spiritual uplifting thoughts and even teach lessons. For example, I am friends with Tim (an investigator) on Facebook. Recently I have been talking to him a lot about BMX (biking) because i did that for a while. With Facebook, we can teach those who aren't comfortable with a face to face lesson at first. This last week I taught 3 discussions online. Also, the Bishops or Ward mission leader in each ward will create a "Like" page for the ward. To post events, thoughts, and when church is. It is awesome! My job in the mission home, is to build the presentations for the Wards on how to create it, a presentation for the standards of being online, and a presentation on what settings to have. I also keep track of President's calendar, baptisms by month and report those numbers to President. It's pretty fun!

Nanci at Mystic Lake, MT

Mystic Lake, MT

Monday, June 3, 2013

Elder Inman Letter June 3, 2013

Productive week! With more driving!

Hey family and friends! What a great week. Sounds like things at home are a little crazy, but this week was pretty sweet. On pday (memorial day) we had a BBQ at the mission home and then went to FHE where we got another BBQ! Afterwards we asked James Singly, the ward clerk, if he could take us to go see some people. One of the LA's we wanted to see actually lives at the house he does. He is renting a room from a members home. Tannah O'Banyon, a recent covert, also came with us to see Kylynn (that's her name). So we all kind of swarmed her house and had a lesson on the Atonement. Kylynn said she just had a few holes in her testimony. It was a powerful discussion and she said she would cook dinner for us any time! So we are eating there Thursday :)
Tuesday we biked to the mission home (again) and actually video chatted with Elders in the Jacksonville, Florida mission about how they do online proselyting. We got some good ideas. A little later I was talking to Elder Suggs who seemed very depressed (this is the Elder serving a mini mission). He decided he wanted to go home early from his mini mission and talked to President about a service mission. So he was excited but then found out their family would not be able to afford it. We had a heart-to-heart conversation on how God has a plan for all of us. A few hours later he was told that his mission was paid for, someone donated their car for him, and he could serve in a month. How awesome is that? Other events of the day. I found my favorite store ever. It only exists in Montana. It is called, "Candytown USA." Any candy you could dream of. Scorpion suckers, old fashioned soda's, and a soda fountain where they make the soda in front of you and the ice cream is PHENOMENAL. The whole store has a 50's theme to it. I could spend hours in there!
Guess what Wednesday was? Yep, another roadtrip! Longest drive of my life, but so much fun! President felt it would be best for Elder Suggs if both Elder Bonaro and I drove him back home. So he gave us the keys to his truck and we left about 8AM! Elder Suggs lives in Outlook, Montana, a town of about 50 people, only 15 miles from the Border of Canada. About a 13 hour round trip! We switched drivers halfway both times so that neither of us got tired. We dropped Elder Suggs off and decided to go to the Canadian Border haha. So we did! Got a picture of the gate and the flag! Border patrol there is a could walk to Canada haha. On the way back we stopped in Glendive (halfway) at a Taco Johns. Basically a knock off Taco Bell. Had actually a pretty cool experience. We went to order our food and the cook came up to us and asked if we were forced to go on missions. We exxplained that we actually pay our own way and choose to be here. Then he said, "Well I'm a Christian." Elder Bonaro responded, "Great! So are we!" And the cook replied "OH NO. Nononononno you arent Christian (as we're wearing our name tags in his face). We asked how so, and he said, "When you compare the Bible and the Book of Mormon, they totally contradict each other." I'm like..."Have you READ the Book of Mormon?" He claimed he did and we asked what difference there is and he didn't have an answer. He then said, "Well...Christians believe we are saved by Grace. Mormons believe you are saved by works." I quoted James 2:17, "Faith without works is dead." He said that was true but he couldn't "do this right now." So he left haha. Although we are absolutely saved by Grace when it comes down to it. But without works like Baptism, the sacrament, the Temple, etc then we wouldn't be showing our Faith. This occasion reminded me of a scripture found in D&C 100:5 saying that as long as we are preaching and speak the words that enter our heart, "you shall not be confounded before men."
It's been raining non-stop this week. We biked all day Thursday, so we were soaked and sweaty and muddy. My white shirt was brown mainly from sweat. "How neat is that." Anyways, we've been going down our list of 400 names of YSA to see who is who. JUst that day we found that 2 moved, 1 was married, and one wasn't on record. We found a couple people but not a lot of success.
Kind of a funny finding story...we were looking for a Shonda Schallenburger. We arrived at the home and a man answered. We asked for her and this guy shouts back asking if she was there. We here a reply back saying, "No!" We asked when we could come back and she replied, "Never." Interesting people. We couldn't see her at all. Later that night we found a Kyra White. Who was on our roster but turns out she has a child. She happily let us in and we talked. She is living with her boyfriend, still has a testimony but it is difficult to come to church working graveyard shifts, a child, and a boyfriend who is Catholic. But she said her Boyfriend is interested in taking the discussions! However he is a truck driver, so he is difficult to get a hold of.
Sundays. Again the best. Hasn't failed. So it was fast Sunday and the first person who went up was a special needs girl. This is how her testimony went:
"Something you need to know about me, I love Star Wars. I was watching it the other day and tried to compare it to the church. The church is like the Millennium Falcon. With CHrist as the Pilot taking us far far away back to our Galaxy to avoid the storm troopers. How sweet is that?! So true!
Spiritual thoughts for the week:
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our flesh.
12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;
14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.
15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.
16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.