Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Phone Call/Best Present Ever!

Merry Christmas!  We got to talk to Jake on the phone exciting to hear his voice.  He was at a member's house with his companion and two other missionaries and their recent baptism, Jake.  We had such a fun time talking to him and also got to say hi to Jake.  He didn't write to us this week since he knew he would get to talk to us on Christmas Day.  He did tell us that the family he talked about in his last letter, that has 4 boys has set a baptism date at the end of January and they have just started teaching them so tune in next time for more details.  We will be in Mexico next Monday and I'm not sure what kind of e-mail access we will have so if we don't post anything next week please don't give up on us.  We are posting some miscellaneous pictures that members in Oklahoma have posted on Facebook.  


 Ward Christmas Party!  I'm sure they do really get lots of missionary work done with a little dose of fun on Holidays.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Thousands of Doors/Rejection/Miracles

This week Jake wrote us quick individual e-mails instead of a family letter.  Here is the e-mail he sent to his Dad.

Hey Dad how's it going? I've been hearing some good stories about what is going on back home, and I've had some good laughs. This week has been a pretty awesome week. The other night we were walking around at night just trying to find people to talk to and not really wanting to knock doors because it was late. We were walking down the street and me and my companion felt like we needed to turn around, so we did and we started walking the other way. There were a couple members that lived in the direction we were headed, so we thought we would end up there. Then as we were walking there was a street to our left that looked really dark and there was a dead end sign, so we didn't see a big reason to take that road, but we felt like we needed to. We turned and started walking down the road and saw one small house at the end with a lot of Christmas lights. We knew that was the one, so we pulled out a Book of Mormon and headed up to the front door. We knocked and saw that it was a pretty busy house, but they let us right in. We had just walked into a gold mine because the 2 parents were extremely nice and willing to listen and they have 4 boys, 3 of which are old enough to be baptized. We quickly went through a watered down version of the Restoration because we didn't think they'd let us stay for very long. After that they were still listening though and were ready to hear more, so we started going over some of those points again. It was a pretty amazing experience to knock one door that night and find a family of 6 ready to be taught the gospel.

Why do we knock doors? We have knocked thousands of doors over the months and have been rejected so many times. Just like in that case, the Holy Ghost could easily lead us to the right people and we could find hundreds of people to teach. Why do we have to knock on so many to find that one when it could easily be given to us? Elder Holland expounded on Christ's teachings to Peter, and said, acting as if he were Christ, "If I want fish, I can get fish, what I need is disciples." I look at the little trials we face every day and little by little they build us. The call for us to be better disciples has always been there and I want to say thanks because you have been a great example to me of what kind of disciple I want to be. In many of my little trials I have decided not to become offended or let them bring me down because I want to become better. I want to become like my dad.

This Christmas season is an exciting time and we have seen some amazing miracles. I hope our family gets to see many Christmas miracles as well. HFF
Elder Hoddy

Monday, December 9, 2013

Jake's Conversion Story/Car Accdident on the way to Jake's Baptism/Jake is Baptized!

Ok so this has been an interesting week. Monday was P-day so we had a lot of fun and did some good things that night. Tuesday was a normal work day and we had 3 appointments but none of them were home when we got there, so that was not too great. Wednesday was another normal work day, and we found an awesome new potential. We also got to meet with Brady and his girlfriend Nikki which was super awesome.
 Then Thursday hit and things kinda got crazy. There were lots of snow and ice storms which was kind of cool, but our cars got grounded so we couldn't go anywhere. That probably would have been fine in the city, but out here in rural Oklahoma we were pretty limited on what we could do. We knocked houses in the small neighborhood by our house, but there wasn't much else to do. We spent lots of time cleaning and organizing our apartment which was lame. Some of the days we got picked up by members which was a life saver because we were getting pretty bored. It has just been kind of crazy not having the normal missionary life the past few days.
 Then Saturday was a pretty crazy day. To start things off we felt an earthquake. We were just sitting there reading scriptures when the ground and walls start shaking. We were pretty excited, but it was a small earthquake. Then Jake picked us up for his baptism. So we were just riding along in Jake's jeep on the snowy roads with our happy chit chats and good stories when we hit a nice patch of ice and start sliding. There was a big white truck coming towards us and we were going pretty fast so we didn't have a whole lot of control. There was also a nice large ditch on the right side of the road. Looking between the two options of head on collision and ditch, we chose the ditch. We slid off the road and into the ditch. We went sideways for a long time once inside the ditch and there was snow flying all over the place. Then it all stopped and it was kind of weird because we were way calm. We got out and somehow we hadn't flipped, we ended inches from a fence, and somehow we dodged a light pole. The guy in the truck pulled us out of the ditch, we changed our tire, and we were on our way. Wow the Lord was definitely protecting us on that one. It was the first real crash I've ever been in too.
 So we went to the airport to pick up Jake's friend then headed to the baptism. The ward Christmas party was right after, so they left the church cold becase there were going to be so many bodies in there. That was bad news for the baptism because we were cold. We got out of the font and we were shivering. Being the geniuses we are, we both forgot towels as well. We got creative and everything worked out though.
 Looking back to the start of Jake's conversion it really started more like 10 years ago when he was in high school. He had a good friend named Danny (the friend we picked up at the airport) who got him to take the lesson back then, but Jake wasn't ready then. We knocked on Jake's door about 5 months ago. The prompting came that we just needed to be really nice and smiley, so we did and Jake told us he was busy right then but that we could come back. Well for the next month and a half Jake did pretty good at avoiding us. He told us that he even hid his car one time so that he wouldn't have to talk to us that night. Haha from his perspective he says it was like being a prisoner in his own home. At one point we showed up to his house and knocked on his door but no one answered. The problem was that his car was in the driveway and we could see one of the chairs rocking because someone had just got out of it. We decided to stop trying at that point, but for some reason we just couldn't stay away. We finally met with Jake and had an awesome lesson in which he committed to read the Book of Mormon. Danny called us that next Monday and we began the tag team effort of baptizing Jake. The next few months consisted of a lot of ups and downs. There would be times when Jake would show so much potential and we would be running around screaming in our apartment because we were so excited. Then there would be times when we would want to give up because we no longer knew how to help him. In one of those hard moments I asked dad for advice and he pretty much just told me to be patient. When I read those words I knew deep down that Jake was going to be baptized someday. I somehow just needed to learn to be patient. As Jake continued to read and pray his desire for truth continued to grow. Finally the point came where Jake wanted all of this to be true and he was willing to do whatever he needed to do to get his anwer. That was much more easily said than done though. He wanted to gain a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon but it was just such a struggle. He knew there would be a lot of pressure from family and friends if he decided to join. He had to know if he was going to withstand that. We had so many lessons with that as a focus, but we just couldn't figure out what was going to push Jake far enough for him to realize his answer. It was quite frustrating, but we had a lot of hope. Then one day we decided that we were going to have Jake choose whether this was all true and he was going to take that answer to prayer. Well during that lesson we didn't end up doing that because Jake had received his answer the night before. That was one of the most exciting days of my life seeing the gospel glow in his eyes. He had changed from the first day we had met him months earlier and he was prepared to become a member. Jake took us to dinner a few days later, and I realized that my time in the Village had come to an end because Jake was spiritually self sufficient and no longer needed Elder Hoddy.
 I left soon after but I got to go back for his baptism. We stood in the baptismal font and the words came, "Having been comissioned of Jesus Christ..." How special are those words right there. That is a life changing line with so much deep meaning behind it. D&C 18:15 And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance uno this people, and bring, save it be one sould unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! Missionary work is amazing.
 So after the baptism we hung around for the ward Christmas party and got to see all the people from my last area. We went out to leave and Jake had another flat tire. It came off the rim too, so we ended up going back to the airport to get a rental car and he took us home. Saturday, December 7th, was one of the craziest and best days ever.
 This week has been amazing and the gospel never ceases to amaze. The church is true and it blesses these amazing people and it blesses our family. I have learned a lot of the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ, but my testimony's strength lies in the simple truths. Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith is a prophet and restored His church to the Earth. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been restored to the Earth with a living prophet and the Book of Mormon as its cornerstone, we must read and pray each day to strengthen us, and I want to be part of this forever.
 The church truly is amazing and will never be taken from the Earth again. We are so blessed as a family and I am happy to be a Hoddy. HFF!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Wonderful Thanksgiving!

Ha alright so this week was pretty dang awesome! Thanksgiving made me kind of trunky because everyone was with their families having a good time, and we all missed being home. Everything else was awesome. Last week while we were tracting one day, we didn't have a lot of time, but we felt like we needed to tract a small culdesac. We could tell it might be kind of rough because it was a wealthier neighborhood, but the last house at the end looked really loving and had some good quotes on a sign. We decided that was where we were going to finish and it was going to be the end to a good day. We knocked on all the houses before it, and like anticipated, they weren't the nicest people. However, we got to that last house and the sweetest lady came out and talked to us for a bit. It was cold outside so we didn't want to keep her out for too long, but she said we could come back. We went back on Tuesday this week and had an amazing lesson. She gave one of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard and she has already started to read the Book of Mormon. She has so much potential to be baptized, and we have been so blessed lately.

Thanksgiving was a total blast. We weren't aloud to proselyte so we spent our day at some awesome members' houses. There are four Elder in our ward, so we played football, soccer, and whole bunch of other stuff with the members. We made up this awesome Uno game that we played for like 2 hours. It was just a great relaxing day that we all needed. We spent a lot of time with a part member family, and we were able to break down a lot of barriers with one of the daughters who isn't a member. She didn't like us, but after that amazing Uno game she jokes with us, and it seemed like she enjoyed church this week which was a miracle. We had lots of things to give thanks for.

 On Friday we went on exchanges so I was with a new elder who has only been out for a few weeks. His name is Elder Beus and he is hilarious. He is such a talkative guy and he has tons of good things to say, but he's scared of talking on the phone. He called someone, turned it on speaker phone, and then ran out of the room. Ha he came back and talked to the person though. We were in his area and found a ton of cool people to talk to. We found 7 solid potentials who might listen to the lessons which is kind of a bummer because it's not my area, but we're all on the same team. With like 15 minutes before dinner we decided that we needed to talk to 1 more person who needed the gospel, and we had heard the quote that if we truly knew what our message contained we would be running from house to house. Ya we decided to run from house to house. People were looking at us like we were crazy. We were all out of breath and stuff. There were some awesome people that we talked to though, so it was totally worth it.

 Earlier this week we were walking around a neighborhood and talked to people. Someone told us we could come back, so we were standing outside writing down their address and stuff when people pulled up and parked at a house near us. 3 teenage girls came over and started talking to us, so we told them we were missionaries and that we would love to share our message. One of the girls dad was there so we taught them the restoration. They were pretty crazy, but it was a cool experience. Then Elder Park and I were walking around last night and there was some really dense fog. This area is pretty rural, so we couldn't see a whole lot and it was pretty dang creepy. Then we heard footsteps behind us and there were 2 people running down a hill towards us. We were kind of freaking out because we were in a pretty creepy place and there were people running towards us. Turns out it was those girls. It's not every day that people come up to us or run up to us and ask more about the gospel. They said they'd be at church next week, so we'll see what happens.

 Well this week has been a pretty awesome week. We got yelled at by someone who doesn't like missionaries, or service, or love I guess. Ha people these days could use a little more charity. Elder Park and I are having a good time and lots of success. Glad to hear that Thanksgiving was a good time. Have a good week. HFF!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pam's Baptism/3 New Investigators in Choctaw!

Alright so this has been a pretty awesome week. We picked up 3 new investigators which isn't incredible, but going from 0 to 3 investigators is a real good start. Elder Park and I have focused a lot of our studies on how to find people better because it's not very easy to get into homes and start teaching. If two guys showed up on your door and wanted to talk about religion, would you pay attention to what they had to say and let them in? Ha that's the classic problem, but we've been diving into the Book of Mormon and trying to figure out how Ammon, Aaron, Abinadi, Alma, and all those other awesome missionaries got people to listen to them. It has been working pretty well and we've found some good potentials. That's not to mention the 3 awesome investigators we found.
Matching Ties!

On Tuesday we met with an investigator named Bill who actually looked into the church about a year ago and is interested again. The problem is that he tells us he'd be baptized if he were 52, but he's 72 and he's too old now. We had a really good lesson though and his powerful prayer at the end consisted of him asking to be directed where he should go. He's a total talker and it's hard to get him to stay on topic, but when we do there are some powerful moments with the spirit pretty strong.  He has a lot of potential to join the church.

Then on Wednesday we met with a wonderful lady named Cindy. We met her while we were out walking a few days before that, and she was the very last person that we talked to. It was time to get back in for the night so we almost kept walking, but the spirit let us know we needed to stop and talk to her. Our first lesson with her got us pretty excited because she seems pretty interested in reading and learning about all of this. We actually get to meet with her again today so that should be awesome!

That same day we were knocking doors and met this guy Brady. He let us in to pray with us, but we ended up teaching the whole first lesson and he seemed excited to read the Book of Mormon. He was sick that day so he wasn't able to go to work. I guess it's not good that he was sick, but it was a total blessing because we probably wouldn't have met him otherwise. Brady is definitely looking for truth. Good news for him because he now has the Book of Mormon.

I got to go back for Pam's baptism this week which was pretty incredible. I was reminiscing on the whole process of how she was baptized because months before I got here to Oklahoma Sister Hammond had been praying for missionary opportunities. Then this lady named Michelle came along and Sister Hammond started to have a lot of gospel discussions with her and was helping her with a lot of things. I remember one morning Sister Hammond called us and we talked to her for a while, and she told us that she was going to invite Michelle over so we needed to clear our schedule for that night whether she came or not. That definitely showed a lot of faith on her part because she invited her and Michelle didn't show up; however, that whole time that Sister Hammond had been working with Michelle, Pam had gotten in on a lot of the conversations so she decided to come that night instead. We had dinner and taught the Restoration lesson. By the next time we met Pam already had a testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet and that the Book of Mormon was true. That just continued to grow through the weeks that followed that, and the gospel started to fill holes in her heart that she didn't even know she had. Pam was able to be baptized on her birthday which is super cool because November 23rd is now her birthday and spiritual re-birthday. Ha it was pretty cool. I was blessed with the opportunity to confirm her, and it was so cool to hear what Heavenly Father had in store for her. The words, "Receive the Holy Ghost" are so powerful and it is so amazing to see someone gain that gift. Pam is definitely a very special person and I'm excited to see her grow in the gospel.
Pam's Baptism

Yesterday was pretty crazy we got like 2 centimeters of snow, so they cancelled church and we were told that we couldn't drive our cars. I guess Oklahoma isn't used to these kind of conditions. The area that we live in is pretty spread out too, so we could bike around but that would be pretty innefective. Luckily, an amazing member came and picked us up and wanted help to do her member missionary work. We made loaves of bread to deliver to her neighbors and got to watch the restoration dvd. Then once the bread was finished we went out to deliver the bread. This is when things got crazy. We would go up to doors and offer people the bread that their neighbor made and they were saying no. I looked at them and just thought, you fools why don't you take our bread? I mean it makes sense when people say no to our message because they hear crazy things about us and don't know what they're missing out on, but when we put a warm loaf of fresh baked bread in their face, it just doesn't make sense why they wouldn't take it. Haha I'm used to getting rejected by this point, but when you reject my bread now we got a problem. Jk, but it was actually super funny to talk to the people. After a while we were able to give away the bread, but we just couldn't get over the fact that people didn't want some delicious bread in a cute bag with ribbon on it.

Haha anyways, I talked about the bread thing for way too long, but this has been a pretty awesome week. Elder Park is an amazing missionary, so we're going to have a lot of fun and success in this area. Life is good all the time. I love you lots and hope you have a good week. HFF!

Love, Elder Hoddy

Monday, November 18, 2013

First Transfer/Choctaw/New Companion

P-Day Shopping
P-Day  Shopping
Dang this week has been crazy! I finally left my first area which was super sad, but I am so happy to be here in Choctaw. We spent a lot of Monday and Tuesday saying goodbye to people which was not my favorite memory, but I sure loved spending my last few hours there with my favorite peeps. Jake was with us both nights because he loves us so much and he had to have a goodbye. I can't wait til december 7th to see him again. Pam is getting baptized this Saturday though, so I guess it won't be too long before I go back to the Village. I'm super excited and I get to do the confirmation.
So my new companion, Elder Park, is so awesome. We've been out the same amount of time which is super nice and we are having a blast together. The other Elders that are serving around us are awesome too. One of them is my good friend that we served around a few months ago and now he is in my district, so I was so happy to see him and we're having a blast already.
I definitely miss so many people from the Village area, but this ward seems so much more like family, so I'm so excited to be here. At sacrament meeting everyone was so excited to see us and there were so many kids running up to us and saying hi. It's kind of like the town of Vineyard here too because so many of the people are related. This area is a lot more rural, so I'm getting to experience a lot more of Oklahoma. The only bad part is that we don't have any investigators. We have been working hard the last few days though, so we have some great people with potential and some good set appointments throughout next week. The people here are seriously so funny.
Well I don't have a lot to report this week, but I'm really excited about this area so I should have some good stories. Thanks for everything and I love you lots. Have a good week.
Elder Hoddy


baby Elder Hoddy and Uncle Zachary

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kevin's Baptism/Spiritual Self Reliance for Jake

(Sorry I am late getting this posted.  I have pictures to add but will have to do that later)
Ok wow so this week has been pretty intense. I'll start with the best highlights of the week. Kevin got baptized! It was all pretty scattered that morning because we were trying to get so much done and making sure everything was ready. Then the baptism started and the spirit totally entered the room. Kevin had a lot of family there that aren't members, so they were able to feel of the importance of baptism. The talk on baptism was super powerful and totally set the stage for the baptism. Then Kevin went into the baptismal font with his uncle. I could hear a lot of his family start to cry and the powerful words "Having been comissioned of Jesus Christ" were said. Then Kevin was baptized and came up crying. It was seriously such an amazing moment to watch him making all the right decisions and to be able to feel the spirit testify of its importance. Kevin's grandma, after watching that, seems like she is ready to start taking the discussions, and I feel confident that she will be baptized. It was awesome to see the amazing ordinance and the effects of one person's righteous decisions.
After the baptism, Kevin's girlfriend gave an inspired talk about the Holy Ghost. She talked about the love and comfort that it had given her through the challenges in her life, and it really set the stage for him to propose shortly after the baptism. It was one of the best days on my mission.
Then with Jake we had a whole bunch of lesson with him. On Thursday we had a lesson with him and talked a lot about sacrifice and gaining a testimony of Joseph Smith as a prophet and the Book of Mormon as the word of God. This has been a huge struggle lately because he wants to be baptized and says he will be baptized, but is struggling to gain a testimony of its truthfulness. He set a new baptismal date for December 7th and he says that he will definitely hit it.
Then on Friday we had another lesson with Jake and decided to teach the last 2 things that he needed to know before baptism. One of them was follow the prophet, so we were talking about that and Elder Evans asked, "Do you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet?" Then the reply came. "Yes"! Quickly my mind started thinking, "Did he not hear the question?", "Is he messing with us?", "We better ask again". Again, "Do you know that Joseph Smith was a prophet?" The reply was the same, "Yes". Next, "Do you know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God?" Again the reply was "Yes". So we finished it off with "Do you know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world", and one last time we heard the word "Yes"! Then I heard the word yayyyyyy shriek from my mouth. Although I tried to hold it back I was just too happy. Jake finally has a testimony of the gospel and is ready to be baptized. It was so awesome.
He actually realized that as he was writing a blog post for one of his friends who runs a blog about Mormons. He wrote it from the perspective of an investigator and kept writing the erasing it. Finally after rereading Alma 32, he started to pace and came to the realization that "This is true to me". He finished the blog post and now has a testimony of the restored gospel.
Then on Saturday our dinner appointment cancelled, so Jake took us out to eat. We had a super fun dinner and got to talk about a lot of fun things. Jake has probably become the best friend that I have in Oklahoma, and we have a blast talking together. After dinner I reflected back on the dinner that there had been no promptings to teach him the gospel and no promptings to bear testimony on a topic. I realized that Jake had become spiritually self-sufficient. He now has a strong testimony, and although he needs me as a friend just as much as I need him, he no longer needs me as a missionary. I got the call the next night that I'm leaving this area.
It's crazy to look back on the last 6 months and wonder what I've accomplished and if I did enough. I can't completely answer either of those questions, but this has been an incredibly uplifting experience. Kevin was baptized, Jake is ready for baptism and I get to baptize him, and Pam is also ready for baptism and I get to confirm her. It is really sad to know that I'm leaving, but it has been a blast and I love the ward here. There were a lot of other great things that happened this week, but this has been a good ending to my time in the Village Ward. I didn't mention Pam enough because it has been amazing to be part of her confirmation as well. I can't wait for Pam and Jake to be baptized and I'll definitely come back for those and send pictures.
Anyways, I guess this is the life of a missionary. What matters most is the wonderful people you get to be around, and I have been really fortunate.
I love you all and hope you have an amazing week. Keep up the good prayers because they make a difference for us.
Elder Hoddy

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween Fun Missionary Style

Okey doke so this has been the usual awesome week.
On monday we had a good ol time for p-day and partied to hard-core 4 square (team edition) Chief Judge Hoddy rules once again. P-days are always a blast here and we have an awesome zone, so it's always fun to see the other missionaries. Then that night we visited the Helsleys with a member and had a little FHE lesson. It was so awesome. Rori, the 6 year old daughter, conducted the meeting, and Aidan prayed in front of us for the first time. Then we had a good time singing Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam. Ya the kids were going a little crazy at that point so it probably wasn't the best song decision, but we sure had fun. Then we read about Alma the Younger for the lesson. We used the children's version of the Book of Mormon and it went pretty awesome. We hadn't planned what we were going to do for the activity, so we decided to act out the entire story for an activity and it actually turned out super good. I got to be the director/narrator, so I just got to stand there and tell everybody what to do. Sister Helsley came in as the angel with a blanket cape and a halo and started to rebuke her child for leading people away from the church. The kids got to have fun being Alma and Alma the Younger. It was just a good time. Then we had a closing song of once there was a snowman. Ya we didn't learn from our mistake with the earlier song because the kids went crazy again. Hopefully they will start making FHE a tradition each week.
On Tuesday we visited some less active members in the morning and had an interview with President Walkenhorst that afternoon. We were waiting for the sisters to pick us up because we don't have a car, but they backed into something so we were late. President Walkenhorst is one of the nicest people I have ever met and every time I meet with him I always feel like a good missionary and inspired to be a little better. It is really cool to be around him and learn from him. Then that night we went teaching with Jake. We were a little bit nervous to take him teaching because you never know what some crazy person is going to say, but it turned out super well and he really enjoyed it.
Wednesday was a real good time because we had our ward trunk or treat that night. Elder Evans and I went with dinosaur hats and mustaches. Ha it was awesome! The Helsleys came and few less active members as well, so we had a real good time walking around, spreading the gospel, and partaking of the blessings of baked goods.
Halloween was also a lot of fun. We sing at a retirement home each week for service, so we got there and realized that we needed some good Halloween songs but we only knew like zero. We came up with some real good winners though right on the spot, and the people there loved it. They were taking videos and pictures. It was pretty crazy because we're not used to the paparazzi. Jk, but it was a good time. Then for dinner we ate at a recent converts home and Jake came with us. After dinner he taught the restoration to all of us with one of the sister missionaries. It was pretty awesome to see him teaching the gospel, and he's pretty dang good at it. He will be such a strong member pretty soon.
Friday was awesome. We ate Chic-ful-A for lunch and got to go to the temple with Kevin that night (I got the chicken strips meal). Kevin is doing amazing. He is super excited to get baptized, and even more excited to go to the temple a year after baptism. He is always so happy to meet with us and we are officially done teaching him everything he needs to know before baptism. His interview is tonight and he is going to pass with flying colors. The temple was something really special because he loves the idea of being able to live with his family forever. Ha who doesn't love that idea. Anyways, We're pretty excited for him. The baptism is all scheduled for this upcoming Saturday.
On Saturday we finally got to see Pam again and we helped her move within the same apartment complex. She has decided to move her date to November 23rd which is her birthday, but she is going to be completely ready by then, so we're pumped. We also had a really good lesson with Jake, but he doesn't feel ready for baptism on the 9th. He still struggles with a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon even though we feel like the answer is punching him right in the face. I've thought a lot about it though. Jake easily could have received an answer a month ago and joined the church; however, he is continually giving up more and more and trying so much harder to find answers to his questions. Receiving an answer at this point would mean so much more to him than if he received one a couple months ago. He can count how man Dallas Cowboys games he hasn't watched on one hand. That's for his entire life, but he left both games early this week, so he could come to all three hours of church. He didn't check scores this week either. He is so close to baptism at this point, we just need to find the tipping point that will help him decide to be baptized.
This week has been a good one. I guess that things that make a week good out here are how well investigators are doing. They are all doing pretty well, so I'm happy. I hope everything is going well back home. Keep me updated. I love you all! HFF
Elder Hoddy

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Baptism Dates Set!

Dear Family,
Ok so this has been another good one. We met with Kevin, one of our investigators, and he has already planned out his entire baptism, he has gone through the baptismal questions, he reads the Book of Mormon every night, and overall he is just ready. He is going to be baptized on November 9th so we are so excited. Keep praying for him though because you never know how Satan is going to attack right before people make these kind of covenants. We've been meeting with him for a couple months and every time we meet with him he is more excited about it all. We're so excited too!
I forgot my joural today so I'm trying to write all of this out of memory which is way harder because I put a ton of good stuff in there. We have enough good stories to last for a while though so I think we're in good shape. On Monday we got to teach a Family Home Evening group for singles over 30 which was a total blast. We didn't have time to prepare super well, but we were talking about Christlike attributes and Preach My Gospel has a really good activity so we were set. We split everyone up into different groups and I got to chat for a while with a bunch of really nice ladies. On a scale from 1 to awesome, it was pretty dang neat.
We got to see Jake a whole bunch this week, and some of my favorite quotes are, "I'm 99.9% sure how this all ends", and "Not only do I want to be baptized, I will be baptized". He's getting a lot closer to baptism and we still believe that he's going to baptized on November 9th. He went from not believing in Christ and thinking the Book of Mormon was a total joke to starting to believe in Christ and confident/hopeful that the Book of Mormon is true. He is getting so close, but looking back at how far he has come is amazing. He has been prepared over his life to hear this gospel and he is going to be a very strong member. Someone came up to church this week and is trying to set him up with her friend. Someone on the public affairs committee invited him to dinner with us too because he knows a lot of people that work in politics. Our ward is really excited to see Jake and Kevin at church each week and they're both getting so close to baptism. Just another week and a half.
We also met with the Helsleys multiple times and they're definitely making progress. Sister Helsley has basically told us that she believes what we tell her and she loves how family oriented it all is. We are trying to build her a support system because she has so many friends from other churches, and she doesn't have a whole lot of support from our ward. Once we build that up she will take a lot more steps though. We talked with their neighbors for a while about ideas how we can help them. They are some of the funniest members ever and Brother Adams was dancing around the exact way that dad does. I sarted dying laughing when he started doing it.
Overall this has been a super awesome week. I'm super bummed that I forgot my journal, but this is plenty I guess. One day we were riding through the slightly less wealthy area (hard-core ghettos, hide yo kids, hide yo wife), and Elder Evans stops to give this guy a card and he starts screaming, " Methodist! Methodist! Methodist! Methodist!". Haha it was like we were offending him by just being in his presence and he wouldn't even look at us. We got a total kick out of it though, and we always see so many funny things in that area. We also meet some of the most humble amazing people, so you never know what you're going to get.
Anyways I hope things continue to go well at home. Sounds like Vegas was a good time, and you're all having fun. I love you lots and have a good week. HFF!
-Elder Hoddy

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Baptism Dates Set And An Egyptogogist?

Dear Family
This has been another one of those awesome weeks. We met with Jake a lot and he definitely getting closer to baptism. He was struggling with the Book of Abraham for a while because he felt like the Book of Mormon was true and the book of Abraham was false. They're translated by the same prophet so I guess it kind of makes sense why that would be a problem. He talked with his friend Danny and an Egyptologist which answered a lot of question, but he still has a couple struggles. We took him to a baptism of some other missionaries and he thought it was pretty awesome. Jake still feels good about his baptismal date of November 9th so keep praying for him and he'll make it.
Kevin, another one of our investigators, also has a baptismal date for November 9th, but he has already planned his baptism with who is going to baptize him and who the speakers will be, so he is pretty set. Things have definitely been looking really good for us and we've been having an amazing time here.

After asking Sister Helsley some questions this week she told us that she believes that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. That was a huge leap in the right direction, and we had a lesson on prayer with them and she prayed in front of us for the first time, so she is getting continually closer and closer to baptism. She doesn't want to set a baptism date and she still has a lot of pressure from family and friends to do other things, but we think she'll make the right decision in the end. One Wednesday we went over to talk to their neighbors and she came out with a huge smile on her face and said, "Perfect timing I made hot chocolate". It was the best hot chocolate I've ever tasted because she made it from scratch with love and some awesome ingredients!

We went on splits again and I got to visit Pastor Bob with a member again. It's always super awesome to talk to him and I learn cool things about the Bible. We started talking to him about the Book of Mormon which he has a lot problems believing there can be another book since he was raised with one book and he has taught about this one book for the last 43 years. At one point I felt like the spirit told me why he wasn't reading the Book of Mormon. It came that he doesn't think he'll find the Book of Mormon to be true, and he's scared that he'll have to tell us that and we won't come by any more. We basically told him that he was cheating himself by not finding out the truth of the Book of Mormon. He told us that if he felt it was wrong he would let us know, but if he felt that it was true he would embrace all of this 100%. If you look at church history there have been hundreds of pastors who compare the Book of Mormon to the Bible and end up joining. We are praying that he will be open to the answers he receives. He is one of the nicest people I have met out here and he deserves nothing less than the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

On Saturday Elder Nelson came back to visit the mission so he took us to breakfast. It was so awesome to see him and we talked about all the funny things that happened when we were companion. I miss him a lot and wish we could have served together longer. It was so awesome to see him. I also saw this Narnia pop up book at a members home on Saturday that was the craziest pop up book I have ever seen. I had to take a video of it. Ya basically Saturday was a good day.

There is always plenty of fun stories to talk about, but I'll leave you with these for the week. Sounds like everything back home is going well so that's good to hear. Have a good week.
Love Elder Hoddy, HFF!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

3 Miracles A Day Challenge

What's up family?!
This week has been the usual incredible week that a mission provides for ya, but one of the coolest things ever was when we took Pam, an amazing investigator, to the temple. That's where the picture came from mom. So we get there and we're having some pretty neat gospel discussions, and boom the inspiration comes to go ask a member of the temple presidency if he'll talk to her. So we walk in the temple and guess who is standing right there in the waiting room. Ya it was a member of the temple presidency. So we walk on over and start telling him the situation, and he's like, "ya bring her on in and let's have a little talk" so we walked casually back to Pam and the members that were with us (more like ran with smiles a thousand feet wide) and told them that we could go into the temple and talk about a few things. Pam got to go into the waiting room and Pam got to talk to a member of the temple presidency for like 20 minutes. He answered all of her questions so much better than we could and it totally set the mood for the night. We walked over to the chapel across the street after and had a little lesson about the atonement. Pam has been so prepared. She already fully believes in the Book of Mormon and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. She is excited to go back to the temple and she wants to read the entire Book of Mormon before she is baptized. Her baptismal date is December 7th. Exciting stuff :)
This week we were asked to write down 3 miracles every day, so I was doing really good about doing this on Monday, but the rest of the week totally spaced it. Monday was cool though because I sat down to write a few miracles and they just kept coming. I could think of so many amazing simple things that happen in one day and there were probably so many more that I didn't realize. That day we gave out all of our BofMs, we picked up some awesome new potential investigators who came to church this week, we had some awesome lessons, we got stopped by some guys and had an awesome conversation, we showed up to meet with a less active member at the perfect time because of the conversation, and so many other things. I guess an attitude of gratitude get you a long way.
Oh and bad news I picked up a guitar this week and I can't really remember any of the songs that I've learned. It's such a bummer. I'll have plenty of time to relearn everything in a couple years though.

We met with the Helsleys and Jake a lot this week. Sister Helsley still likes to learn a lot, loves having us around, and wants her kids to play with the other lds kids; however, she is having a tough time making that leap of faith to want to know if everything we are showing her is true. It's only a matter of time though.
On thursday we went on splits so Elder Evans and I split up for the night. I got to visit Pastor Bob and we had a really cool lesson. We watched President Monson's Sunday morning talk and Pastor Bob really like it. He lost his wife last October, so he felt connected with President Monson. He has been taught the King James version of the Bible all of his life and he has such a tough time believing that there can be another book. Our conversations are consistently about the Book of Mormon and priesthood authority. He even recognizes that his unwillingness to search the Book of Mormon is largely because of his pride, so we are still trying to figure out how to overcome all of this. He is doing great though and one of these days it's all going to click how this works.
On Friday I had the most delicious sandwhich I've ever eaten. It was pretty much a little piece of heaven drizzled with magic sauce and bacon. yum

Earlier this week we knocked into a house of this super nice baptist lady and her two teenage kids. She made us a deal that she would read our book if we came to her church, but with our beautiful art of persuasion and the spirit, we got her and her daughter to come to church and read the Book of Mormon. They loved seeing all the little kids at church and we are pretty excited to meet with them. We also went to their church and it was pretty interesting. They had a really good pastor that seemed like he would be an awesome mormon. It seems like there are so many amazing christians that would join if they only knew what we had to offer. I guess that makes our job pretty important. Time to step up our game.
Overall this week has been an amazing week. I love hearing about all the adventures that are going on back in Utah and I've having lots of my own. HFF :):):):):):):):):):):):):

Elder Hoddy

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Conference Is Awesome!

Conference was so sick! When President Monson said, "Conference is now over" I was like crying on the inside because conference is the best. Ha kind of funny because I don't think I've ever paid attention like this for conference. It seemed like there were a lot of reoccurring themes in conference and I have no clue what really touched our investigators, but they were touched. The thing that probably stuck out to me the most as a missionary was probably about the simple everyday decisions that we make define us. I love that because I definitely want to not only change my actions but my character. Ha it was cool! There was a lot of other awesome things like these people are children of God, and we live God's standards not man's. I guess I can't even begin to summarize conference, but I think the best part was hearing President Monson speaking in the morning session. If investigators listen to nothing else that's what they need to hear. We are so blessed to have a prophet today and he speaks so powerfully. We thank thee oh God for a prophet!

That's so exciting that you're going to Mexico. I'm so jealous, but I can totally imagine dad looking it up on youtube and then going down to build. You guys are going to have such a blast... without me :'( Jk I'm super excited for you)

We met with Jake a whole bunch this week and he is doing awesome! He is still struggling with a perfect belief in the church, but his questions and search for truth are so deep that once he converts he will be a powerful member for the rest of his life. It might be hard to get there, but it will be worth every effort. He watched 3 of the sessions with us and loved them. I think he really liked Elder Oaks because he is super into politics, and Elder Oaks had a pretty good chance of being a United States Supreme Court Justice, which is no small feat, until he was called as an apostle instead. Everything about the gospel makes sense to him logically. How could Joseph Smith - an uneducated boy - write 531 pages of religious text that nobody has been able to disprove in the last 180 years? Why would such an intelligent man like Elder Oaks give up such an amazing career to be an apostle? Why do young men give up their lives for 2 years to go on missions? Logically he knows this is true, but he needs the spirit if he's really going to be converted. It's going to be a process, but he'll get there.

We also watched a few sessions with our investigator Pam, and she would ask a question about something, so we'd explain it to her. Then it would be explained like ten times better by an apostle. I think all of the questions that she had were answered during conference and she set her own baptismal date last time we met with her, so she is pretty committed to all of this. The gospel just makes sense. I don't understand why people have such a hard time believing all of this, but then again Satan wants people as far away from the gospel of Jesus Christ as he can get us, so it is always a constant battle.

Oh and we also went to Hibachi grill. That place is delicious. This was actually my second time in there and it was joyous to me.

On Thursday we went north to do some singin at an old folks home. We had an tail wind on the way up there and we were flyin. It's always a blast singin to them, especially when we sing the primary songs with actions. Ha it's always good fun to watch them be a snowman tall tall tall then melt suddenly. Then on our way back we were battling the elements. The wind was blowing straight against us and we were tired and it was not so fun, but we made it to the Helsleys and we taught the Plan of Salvation sidewalk chalk style and it was a good time. The kids got to draw it out and walk through and stuff. It was awesome. The Helsleys are definitely moving in the right direction, but there is still a lot of pressure. Luckily good always wins.

This week has been such a blast and Elder Evans and I are having a good time. We are being treated pretty well and I don't even remember the last time we tracted. Elder Ballard's talk about fear of missionary work was so awesome. if you pray for missionary work you will find it. Doubt not, fear not (D&C 6:36) Members are picking it up. I love the promise that if every member reaches out to others, millions of people can feel the love of the Savior by Christmas. I love you all so very much and I consider myself pretty lucky to be a Hoddy. HFF

Elder Hoddy

Monday, September 30, 2013

Pastor Bob Bears His Testimony!

Hey family!
So this week has had some pretty quality stuff that's been going on. I'll start with the good time we had in fast and testimony meeting yesterday. We've been teaching this guy named Bob who has been a pastor for over 40 years so he knows his bible pretty well and he's good at what he does. We got him to come to church yesterday, but we didn't really have time beforehand to explain what our service is like, so while everything was starting I was trying to explain how people could bear their testimonies and why we take the sacrament and stuff, which he thought was super interesting. Then during testimonies he leans over and says I want to go up there and introduce myself. Obviously I wasn't going to try and stop him or anything, so he gets up there and shakes the bishoprics hands and gets up to the pulpit and says, "Well obviously I'm not a Mormon" Everyone had a pretty good laugh. He was wearing a preacher caller and stuff and it was pretty obvious, but it was like the one moment during sacrament when all of the sudden everyone was listening. He talked about pride and arrogance and how that had been a big problem earlier in his life. Oh ya and by the way he has been pentecostal all his life so he's used to yelling hallelujah and amen and stuff like that. At one point in his testimony he makes a point and then says, "Amen?" and you could hear a little grumble in the audience of people saying amen, but not really sure if they should. I wish I could tell you this story with my voice because it was super funny and awesome, but it was so cool that he got up there the first time he had ever stepped foot in an LDS church. He'll be baptized one of these days.

We set a baptismal date for Jake on November 9th! That's still a little ways away, but he has been reading like crazy and he's keeping commitments and stuff. We've been talking about strengthening that desire to believe and he has had a lot of support from his LDS friends who live in California. There are a lot of good things coming in his future. It's kind of tough to look at all of this from his perspective because he's lived a certain way for the last 28 years and now he's realizing that all of this is true and that he needs to change his life. Living the gospel is so worth it though, and we know he'll realize that.

We watched the restoration movie with the Helsleys this week and it was awesome. It seriously answers so many of our investigators questions about Joseph Smith and the early church. They found it extremely interesting because they didn't know that there had been so much persecution. They are definitely progressing towards baptism, but it might take a while. The idea of 3 hours of church seems crazy to them, but they love how family oriented everything is. I also saw a tarantula crossing the street that night too which was awesome.
On Friday we met with one of our investigators named Dave who is a super devout Catholic, but is always interested in learning more. He took us for a ride in his diesel powered Audi which was crazy fast and he said he'd take us mountain biking today. I guess we're not allowed to go Mountain Biking so he took us for a bike ride around a cemetery this morning. It was actually super fun because there hills and stuff and we saw all these different grave sights. Dave is also one of the coolest people to hang out with, so we had a fun morning. He's also one of those people that you know they'll recognize the truth of our message someday, but it's going to take a while.

This has been an amazing week and we found out yesterday that Elder Evans and I are both staying in the Village Ward for another 6 weeks. We are both super excited to be staying because things here have been awesome. We're teaching a ton of people and we have a couple baptismal dates set for this transfer. The people here are awesome.

Well by the sounds of the emails I'm getting, life is going pretty good in Orem. That is definitely going to be weird to come home to such a different neighborhood, but that'll be fun. I love you family! We are the best family there is. HFF

Elder Hoddy

SEPT 23rd Letter that I forgot to post

Dear Family,
This week was another good one filled with adventure. We ate with our Bishop and their neighbors, who are also members, on Monday which was a super fun day. It was a pretty relaxed dinner just talking about different things. The best part was when we started talking about the different churches and the whole idea of the trinity (Godhead is the same being), and the bishop sarcastically said, "Oh ya I remember that part in Matthew where it says, behold this is my beloved me in whom I am well pleased". It is crazy how much of the simple doctrine that Christ taught has been skewed by man. Everything in the bible points the the Godhead being one in purpose and glory but three separate beings. Sometimes it seems like every possible way that man could skew the truth has been skewed by one of the churches here. I guess that's the workings of the devil though because he'll tell us 9 truths if he can get that 1 lie in with it. We are so blessed to have the fulness of the gospel.
Yesterday we went to another pentecostal church because we were invited by an investigator who is a pastor there. It is really weird because he does not fit in with the people there. They start with their Christian rock concert and people are dancing and yelling and stuff. This one old lady ran up to the front, put her arms out, and started spinning for like two minutes. She was down for the 30 after that because she felt sick. It was kind of weird. The biggest impression I felt was that the people there lacked the spirit with them and tried to fill that void with human emotion. I wish that all those people knew what we had to offer them. Before we left our pastor investigator stood up and told everyone that we were there. He asked, "Who loves Mormons"? Everyone was raising their hand and shouting amen. Then he talked about pride and we should never be too prideful to listen to what others have to say. He told the congregation that he was going to teach us and learn from us. That sounds like a great deal to me. It seems like the other pastors just try to get people to scream and yell, but Pastor Bob just likes to get up there and teach how the Bible can help our lives. Anyways he fits in as a Mormon much better, so hopefully we can do some good work there.

On Wednesday we biked a lot, so we went all over the downtown area meeting with less actives and talking to people we saw out and about. We had a lot of success talking to people and passing out cards and stuff, but we started head back late, so we realized that we had about 25 minutes to get back to our apartment and like 7 miles to ride. We were already super tired from biking all day, and it takes forever to get out of the city. Then the sisters called at the moment, so we had a short conversation with them and told them we had to go then a free bus passed by that said it was going to Walmart. Walmart is only like a mile away from our apartment, so we started booking it trying to catch up with the bus. We were flying through neighborhoods with the wind at our backs. We got some downhill and actually caught up to it and hopped on. That right there is a miracle. We were able to get to our appointment on time and had an incredible lesson with a lady named Pam. She came to church this week as well and we set a baptismal date of November 9th. She is an awesome investigator and it is awesome how everything just works out with the Lord on your side. She has been searching for peace in her life and it is so cool because she is finding that as she reads the Book of Mormon and prays.

Oh and other awesome news... The Helsleys came to church as a family for the first time this week. We have been meeting with them pretty much the whole time I've been here and they are finally starting to make some big time commitments. They are such a fun family and eventually they will realize that this gospel is something they want to be a part of. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the best way you can build a family and we have been given the fulness of that gospel. I can't wait for them to be baptized. They fed us on Saturday and Sunday, so I think they like us a lot. It is just a matter of time.

We met with Jake a couple times this week, but we had a really cool experience as we watched the new restoration movie. That movie is super powerful and Jake told us how it crystallized his two options of choosing whether this is all true or it's the greatest lie ever created. Ya he's definitely going to recognize that first option. He told us that he has a desire to believe as well which had been a struggle to get him to decide that, but we were so happy to hear those words. That night was kind of like a dream because we spent our night watching a movie and eating pizza. Ha we don't get very many relaxing moments like that, and we got to feel the spirit the whole time. Basically it was awesome!

I could honestly tell tons of stories because I've started to write a lot more in my journal so I remember things I did during the week, but that right there is pretty good. So I hear from some pretty reliable sources that Dad sang in sacrament meeting. I also hear that there was no video taken. I'm disappointed. Jk that's awesome and I wish I could have been there, but way to go dad. Sounds like some good stuff is happenin in Utah. I love you all. HFF
Elder Hoddy

Monday, September 16, 2013

Will You go to Prom With Me?......Awkward!

It's been another one of those exciting weeks out here in Oklahoma. One thing that I forgot to tell about last week was that we had dinner with the Helsleys and a member family and afterwards we were going to teach the Plan of Salvation. Dinner was a lot of fun conversing with one another and making fun of the hilarious Elder Hoddy. Afterwards we started talking about the Plan of Salvation and pulled out cards that make it easier to explain, but then someone made a joke about something and sister Helsley left the room. I guess Brother Helsley found out that he has a growing tumor in his ear and that was a putting a lot of stress on Sister Helsley. We put away the cards and started talking about the priesthood blessings and what they can do. It turned out to be an amazing lesson even though we didn't teach what we were planning. We got to give them both a priesthood blessing and it was a pretty awesome opportunity.

On Monday we played soccer for Pday which was so fun because we never play soccer for Pday. I'm pretty sure I'm getting a whole lot worse, but it is still fun to kick the ol ball around. We also met with Jake that night and the lesson was kinda rough because he had been so busy over the weekend that he hadn't been reading the Book of Mormon or come to church. He felt like he was losing his desire to know if it was true. However we quickly turned the frown upside down and got him back into it. It seems like satan is trying so hard to keep him away from the Book of Mormon and praying and everything. Too bad Satan is not going to win this time because the spirit has been helping him a lot. We met with him and Saturday and he is doing pretty amazing. He's reading everyday and he really wants to know if the Book of Mormon is true. I don't know when he'll be baptized, but it'll be soon.

We also met with this super high energy reverand guy and his wife. I was kind of skeptical going over because last week some guy met with us and pretty much just wanted to bash the whole time. That wasn't the case here though because it was an awesome lesson. We went through the restoration and both him and his wife listened intently and were reading the little pamphlet we gave them. We had an awesome conversation about the Holy Ghost and he loved Moroni 10:5. They're definitely going to be baptized someday. It was also super fun because he said that he had received revelation that he should never shake another man's hand again so he gives hugs to everyone and it's always entertaining to watch.

Wednesday was a real fun day. We went to visit a former investigator and see if we could get them to come to church, but the daughter ended up asking me to prom which, on a scale from 1 to awkward, was pretty awkward. We told them the sisters would stop by and hopefully they'll have some success with that. We also sang at an alzheimers retirements home which is always a blast, but one my favorite people there is starting to have a lot more problems. In two weeks she went from almost normal to barely being able to speak and move. It is so fun to sing primary songs and do stuff with them, but so sad to watch them get older.

On Saturday we went to a baptism in Elder Evans old area which was a total blast because I got to see all my missionary friends that are down there. It seems like I'm making so many friends here and they're always leaving me and going to other places. I guess I'll see them all again someday though.

Yesterday was a pretty crazy experience. We got invited to go to catholic mass with one of the sisters' investigators. We had never been to that building, but it was super cool so we were excited. The father priest guy came up and talked to us before and was just letting us know some of the basics about mass. Then during his little sermon part he gets up in front of everybody (probably around 800 people) and starts bashing on mormons. He told them that we believed in multiple gods and all this other stuff. It was super annoying because he knew we were there, so we didn't know why he was saying all that stuff. I have thought highly of other catholic priests before because it seemed to me that they were honestly trying to do the best that they could for the people around him, so it was a total shock to be bashed on by them.

Anyways this week has been amazing. I haven't told a lot of what happened, but we are teaching a lot of people. I think we have 18 investigators right now, so our days are pretty busy with visiting different people. The ward has become a lot more excited about doing missionary work as well, so we are excited. The bad experiences have been completely drowned out by all the amazing things that are happening around here.

Mom reminded me that we are all in such different parts of our lives right now. Gradeschool, Jr. High, High School, Mission, or College it doesn't matter because we're a family and we're still close to each other. I love you all tons and wish I spending more time with ya, but I guess I can't complain because eternity sounds like enough time for us to do lots of things. Keep emailing me and telling me about life. HFF
Elder Hoddy

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Prayer Makes All The Difference In Missionary Work

K I'm real sorry, but I don't have a ton of time to email today because we have appointments and stuff, but anyways this week has been so legit. So there are all these people here that we call Okie talkers and they will just talk for hours and you don't have to say anything, but anyways, we saw this guy on the street so we went and talked to him and he pretty much explained the Baptist religion to us. Me and my comp probably talked for like 1 of the 45 minutes we were there, but it was pretty interesting. If I ever get bored with the fulness of the everlasting gospel, eternal salvation, and all the other incredible blessings that come with it, at least there are other options. Jk, but that's just classic Oklahoma for ya.
So this week we have been visiting our star investigator, Jake, quite a bit, and it has been incredible. After meeting with him for a couple weeks I think he has already finished 1 Nephi and probably 10 to 15 other chapters. He is cruising and he loves it. He tells us how the Book of Mormon really hits him in the chest, so this week we've been trying to get him to recognize that he is feeling the spirit. I think that he's starting to understand, but we'll see tonight. We left him with Moroni 7 as one of the chapters, so I'm pumped to see what he thought about that.
We've also been trying this new thing with members where every time we visit someone we try to get a name of someone that they're working with that we can pray for. It has been working really well because the members are starting to meet their neighbors and share stuff. Also we have a name that we can follow up with. Oh and you can't forget the amazing difference that prayer makes in missionary work. It seems like as we pray and get the members to meet their neighbors and stuff they become really excited about the work which is awesome for us. Well I don't have a ton of time to email today, so this one is going to be kind of short, but I love you all so much. Hoddy family forever!
Elder Hoddy

Monday, August 26, 2013

Elder Hoddy Turns 19 and Gets a New Companion!

Happy 19th Birthday Elder Hoddy!

Ok so bad news... I'm not an immature 18 year old anymore, I'm an immature 19 year old now... haha but I love it. This week has been a little crazy. Of the six missionaries that were in our ward last transfer only 2 of us are still here. My new companion's name is Elder Evans and he is a super awesome guy. It was kind of sad to see all the missionaries go, but I'm reminded that where one door closes another door opens, and we had a lot of opened doors this week.

The most amazing thing that has happened is we have been meeting with this guy Jake. We met him a couple months ago, but we've been having a really hard time meeting with him. We finally were able to meet with him and he is taking it all in so fast. We met with him on Thursday as our follow up to the restoration, and we talked about faith. We read some verses in Alma 32 and left him with that chapter and 3 Nephi 11. He told us how Alma 32 really hit him in the chest and he has been so excited to meet with us. He asked us if we could stop by on Saturday so we went over and taught him more. It's crazy how fast he is progressing and learning about the gospel. His heart is so open to learning and he has been prepared for the gospel. He also has a huge support system of friends from high school who are members. We are really excited to be meeting with him. He's amazing.
My birthday was a blast. We had district meeting in the morning, so the sisters brought cupcakes and made me a hilarious card. I forgot it, but I'll send a pic next week. We knocked doors for a while and met some great people. None of them were incredibly solid, but they will be someday. We just keep telling ourselves that we're dropping seeds. Planting as we go. Then a member saw us, so we talked in his house for like 20 minutes and he gave us popsicles which was awesome. Then we had a dinner with some of my favorite members, the same ones who pranked Elder Anderson, and had a great discussion about missionary work. I really value their friendship, and it is extra awesome because they're on our missionary team.
I just picked up the package this morning. I think it was there on time, but we weren't home so they took it back to the post office. I haven't gone through all of it, but I'm cracking up. I love the rolled up 19 ciggy dollars. Ha this package is awesome. Thanks for everything and I love you all so much.
-Elder Hoddy


Monday, August 19, 2013

An Awesome Missionary Weekend!

Woohoo this week has been a good one.
P-day was just killer because we played 4 square for a couple hours. Things were gettin pretty heated and intense, but luckily chief judge Hoddy was there to settle all disputes and reign as king for a while. The next couple days we did some service and met with some people. It was great. On Friday the sisters had a baptism which was really awesome. The spirit was really strong there and it was exciting to see. After that we saw one of our potential investigators, Jake, and had an awesome lesson. We taught the restoration and one of his roommates sat in and listened. We were kind of rushed for time, but we have another appointment this week, so we should have time to do everything.
Saturday was a really awesome day. I don't really remember what happened in the morning cuz it's already been two days since it happened, but after dinner we decided to knock a few doors and we had more success than we've ever had tracting. We knocked on this one door and the people let us right in and started talking to us. There were two families there and they were in the process of making dinner. Most people say that they're too busy to talk to us, but these people let us right in, offered us dinner, and talked with us for a while. It is so incredible to meet families that you can teach. Especially ones who truly act like Christians instead of just saying it and shutting the door on us. There were some other really nice people, but that was a highlight of tracting for my mission. Then we had a lesson with Leon. He's taken all the discussions, and come to church plenty of times, so we were hoping to have a lesson on baptism. His favorite members came with us and they gave powerful testimonies, but in the end it wasn't the right time for him I guess. He's such an amazing Christian that it's hard to believe that he won't accept the gospel someday though.
Sunday was another amazing day. We went to Life Church with the Helsleys that morning and it was not at all what I expected. They had a rock band, and great play places for the kids. Ha it was a really fun place for church. I thought that it was going to be another church that was just asking for tithing and trying to get members, but I felt like the leaders really were trying to help the people. At the end of the day however, it is very clear that they are missing many important things contained in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The power and authority to baptize and give the Holy Ghost is missing. There is no sacrament. No one gets to be sealed to their family forever. I thought it was a good church, but it was not Christ's church. The Book of Mormon and Bible clearly teach the way to eternal life, and although Life Church teaches a lot of truth, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints goes so much deeper and contains it all. People misunderstand us, but the work goes on. Haha we were actually asked to leave a couple of times because they thought we were proselyting. Oklahoma is the best and I love it here. The people here are amazing and I'm getting so much closer to the ward here. It's going to be sad when I leave. I found out last night that I have at least another 6 weeks in the village ward, so I was pretty happy about that. I'm getting a new companion on Wednesday though we we'll see how that one goes.
Well it sounds like life at home is pretty awesome. I can't believe Jace is in Junior High and that's so fun that Aunt Melody had Beckett. You'll have to send me pictures of him. I love you all and hope you have a good week!
-Elder Hoddy

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fruits of the Spirit; Love, Joy and Peace

Mom and Dad,
Hey so I totally forgot to bring my journal today, so hopefully I'll still remember what happened this week. Ok so Elder Nelson got the big transfer back to Utah this week. It's been so crazy not to have him here joking around and making us laugh. On Monday and Tuesday we were pretty much just visiting people and letting him say goodbye. It was pretty sad watching people cry that he was leaving. After we dropped him off everything seemed so weird. I still can't believe he's gone. I've been with him since I've been in Oklahoma and he's suddenly gone. Ha things have been great with me and Elder Anderson though. We had some awesome lessons this week and have been having a good time.
We were teaching a family this week and we read from the Book of Mormon in the most read chapter 1 Nephi 1. It was really good because we need them to start reading the Book of Mormon if they are ever going to be baptized. The mom asked if people not born into our church could be baptized. Ha kinda freaked us out because we got real excited. We had a great lesson with them and their kids were able to come to church the next day, but I guess the parents were busy. Missionary work has been so exciting lately. Everything seems so simple to me how our church is the only church that contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel, but often it is so hard for people to understand the importance.
Ok so this family in our ward gave me this really cool idea for FHE that they had tried. The parents pulled out PMG (Preach My Gospel) and talked about lesson 3 in chapter 3 and then had the kids teach it to each other. Haha they call their house a pre MTC now and the kids love it. We were giving them some quiz questions and it was pretty awesome.
That's so exciting that you all went to the temple together. I'm super jealous because we only get to go twice a year, but I'm happy that you got to go. I told Jace to go a while back, but he hardly ever emails me so we haven't talked a whole lot. Oh and that's awesome that you got called into the relief society this week. You're going to do great momma.
 There's a quote in Preach My Gospel that says, The Spirit is the most important single element in this work. With the Spirit magnifying your call you can do miracles for the Lord in the calling. Without the Spirit, you will never succeed regardless of you talent and abillity. Basically the Lord isn't asking us to be perfect servants. He's asking us to have the Spirit with us and do our best. In Galatians 5 it talks about the fruits of the Spirit being love, joy, peace, etc. As we strive to have these in our life and to bring them into the lives of the people around us, we are able to bless lives, and as others are lifted we are lifted as well. Ha it's kind of a nice little cycle how we help others and the Lord helps us. Haha oh and don't worry about saying I miss you. I know I'm supposed to be here and even though I wish I could be having fun at home with the fam, this is where I'm called to be and this is where I want to be. I love you both lots and I hope everything continues to go well. I pray for you each night, and I know you both are blessed for all the work you do.
Elder Hoddy

Monday, August 5, 2013

Short Recap of the Week

This week Jake e-mailed us separate notes so there are 2 short posts for this week.
Hey Dad!
I'll give you the weekly update of Oklahoma. Monday we had P-day so we messed around and played sports for a lot of the day. Tuesday we had temple conference which was so cool. If you have done an endowment session lately you have to go. It was really fun to see a lot of other missionaries as well. Wednesday was the usual day of visiting less active members and investigators. Thursday we visited a part member family and sang at an Alzheimer home which is always hilarious. Friday we finally got our air conditioning fixed which was awesome. Saturday we went to a baptism for one of Elder Nelson's old investigators so we got to go on a road trip. Sunday we went to catholic mass with an investigator, then went to the true church of Jesus Christ, and finished with dinner and a meeting.
We had a good week and we're having a lot of fun with the people here. It's sounds like a lot of good things are happening at home as well. I love you dad! Also if you find the priesthood lineage I would really like it.
Elder Hoddy