Tuesday, July 30, 2013

New Mission President Wants 100 Baptisms in August! (average is 25)

Dear Mom and Dad,
This week has been a good one. I keep realizing what a blessing it is to have been sent to Oklahoma. With so many Christians here it seems like every misconception that can be made has been made, and we have to know what we believe and why we believe it. I'm getting the basics down pretty well, but it's still tough when we teach pastors or other people who have studied religion for years. We also get some pretty interesting people. I don't know if I told you about the time when some guy was yelling at us, and told us how wrong our religion is and that King David hated handicapped people. He tried to convince us of a rapture and some weird things about Mohammed. Haha where do people get this information? Haha I've definitely heard some interesting things.
Ok so we met with an older lady this week, and we had met with her a few times before and it didn't seem like she was interested, but we love her because she's awesome so we went back. She told us about a lot of the struggles that she's been facing in her life. In the last couple of years her oldest daughter and her husband passed away. They both died of health problems, but she still blames herself because she wishes she would have done more. We watched her painfully tell us these stories. It is so hard too because we have this message that would bless her life so much, but she won't know how good it is until she tries it. I feel like so many members take for granted the knowledge and gifts we've been given. If she more fully understood the plan of salvation and had the gift of the holy ghost her burdens would be lightened. If she understood the atonement more fully she would have someone to lean on. If she came to church the relief society would have her back. I remember being in the MTC and having the feeling of how can I teach these people?  Now that I have come to love these people it becomes more of a feeling of how could I possibly not teach this person. There are so many good people here that deserve that gospel and the comfort that comes with it. I just hope that they'll be willing to accept it.
Haha sorry about that it just gets so frustrating sometimes that people won't accept and believe everything we say. I always feel like I should be doing more.
We have had a lot of success though. Investigators are coming to church, we're teaching lessons, we finally got some referrals (super exciting!!!), and the ward loves us. Hopefully someone will get baptized soon. The mission average is 25 a month, but the new mission president wants 100 baptisms in August, so we're going to have to contribute.
Anyways I love you both lots, and I definitely chose the best family ever. It's always fun to hear how things are going with the family.
Elder Hoddy

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Trust God and Pick Yourself up and Try Again!

Dear Family,

So this week has been pretty solid, but it started kinda tough. Haha I'll give you some excerpts from my journal because I think I'm funny.

July 16: Today we trekked like 10 miles so I'm pretty exhausted. We didn't see the fruits of our labors we got to talk to a lot of people so I'm sure good things will come from it

July 17: Wonderful day today. All of our appointments fell through, but we still smile lots.

July 18: We had a great day today. We knocked on a bunch of doors and not a single person let us in. (haha we call that street Telestial Kindom Drive now)

Alright so you kind of understand that things were kind of rough, but I found this awesome quote by C.S. Lewis. It doesn't really say tracting in it, but here it is...

We may, indeed, be sure that perfect tracting- like perfect charity- will not be attained by any merely human efforts. You must ask for God's help. Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need, is being given. Never mind. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up and try again. Very often what God first helps us towards is not the virtue itself but just this power of always tryng again. For however important tracting (or courage, or truthfulness, or any other virtue) may be, this process trains us in habits of the soul which are more important still. It cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God. We learn, on the one hand, that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and, on the other that we need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven. The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less that perfection.

We kept working hard and it seemed like Friday and Saturday we were hit by miracle after miracle...

One of our investigators is getting pretty close to baptism, but his mom has always told us that she would die as a Methodist. We were talking about prayer, and she shared an experience that she was praying for a change in her life and soon after she found that she had some medical problems. She had surgery so she has been at home all day and she has started to read the BOM. She is not going to die a Methodist :)

Lester, our investigator who is big into AA, met with us and told us how comfortable he was when we came over and told his neighbor that he would come to church. He has also started reading the BOM and I think his whole family will be members soon.

We went over to visit one of our potentials to try and teach him the restoration, but he wasn't home. However there was a mom and her daughter across the street that we went and talked to. They seem like some of our most solid investigators and we've only met with them once. They decided to come to sacrament meeting after the first time we met.

We visited a less active member and he told us that he wanted to do baptisms for the dead, so he came to church, and set up a meeting with the bishop to work towards a temple recommend.

There were so many other cool things that happened, but I don't have a lot of time to email today. Some of the greatest blessings I have found come from reading the Book of Mormon. Continue to read with the family and by yourself. There are so many treasures in there. I love you mom and I glad that everything is going well at home. You're the best


Elder Hoddy

Monday, July 15, 2013

Missionary Fun!

This week started with the good ol plan of a district diet #chubbyprobs. So, we had this great idea to go to Taco Bell, get AM crunchwraps, and plan this whole thing out... BTW we found a new investigator there so it was inspired. Anyways we planned to stop eating junk food and stop eating out which was a big problem because we pretty much only had junk food in the fridge and cupboard, but it has been working out pretty well... Haha I'll attach a pic of the stuff we threw away. Well now that I've established that we're healthy and eat carrots and stuff I can tell the other fun parts of the week.
We got another companion this week because Elder Nelson leaves half way through the transfer. So we picked up Elder Anderson, who is a really chill Elder, and we went to one of our favorite member families for dinner. Unfortunately for Elder Anderson we had spent time scheming up a real good plan with the Rodriguez family the night before. We set it up and told Elder Anderson how the family was kind of weird, but the dinner would be just fine as long as Sister Farrar (Sister Rodriguez's mom) didn't show up. So we got there and Sister Rodriguez is wearing a polygamist dress and some other funny things are around the house. We hung out talked for a sec then sat down for dinner. Then right before the prayer the star of the show walks in, and we all barely held it together because it was so funny. Sister Farrar walks in wearing a crazy looking dress, crazy make up, crazy little kid items, a dinosaur bag, and just crazy stuff... These are all totally normal people btw. Haha so she sat by Elder Anderson and she just did not give him a break. Dang I wish I could tell you the whole story in person because it was hilarious, but I'll just give you a few highlights. She asked if he was hungry and he said yes so she pulled a hot dog out of her pocket and tried to get him to eat it. She got down his information and told him she was giving it to the police. She was constantly eating off his plate and whispering in his ear. Sister Rodriguez put homemade organic mayonnaise on his plate and tried to get him to eat it (banana pudding). Basically it was an hour long dinner of Sister Farrar acting crazy, and Elder Anderson feeling really uncomfortable. He didn't even consider the whole thing was a joke, but me and Elder Nelson were laughing the whole time. Once we told him he was so relieved, and he was really excited to tell his family how funny the dinner was. I wish we had a video of it that I could send to you.
Well, being in a trio has been such a blast. The 3 of us are having a lot of fun and the ward really likes it. We've also picked up a lot of investigators which has been so nice. At the beginning of the last transfer we didn't know what to do, so we would usually end up tracting. Now when we get home at night I always write down a list of people we were supposed to visit but didn't have time. Everything has totally shifted. We have investigators getting closer to baptism which is really exciting. Missionary work really is the same thing as missionary fun.
One thing that makes it tough here is that some pastors will devote a service to anti-mormonism because they're scared of us. We were working with the sweetest lady and making progress then one day we showed up and she told us that Joseph Smith was a false prophet. It stinks that some people are so anti-mormon that they try and stop everybody else from learning for themselves. We're having a lot more success than failure, so even though those times are really sad, we don't dwell on them. Something really interested that I've learned here is that conversions are almost completely based on willingness to read the BOM and pray about it. I hope that as a family you are still reading a lot. One of these nights you should read the introduction together and focus on the last 2 paragraphs. All I can say is that the Book of Mormon is amazing!
I've hear horror stories about how awful the last 2 summers were in Oklahoma, but other than tornadoes the weather has been really nice.
Anyways you guys are the best. Our family is totally the dream team and will be forever. HFF :)
Elder Hoddy

Monday, July 8, 2013

Elder Hoddy's 4th of July pics


Dear fam,
This week has been another great one. The 4th of July was probably my fave because we got to hang out with members and then go see fireworks. It didn't sound very effective to knock on doors when people just wanted to spend time with their families. We had so much fun that night though. We played this game called smoke the bowl and it's kinda like charades. It got pretty competitive and we laughed so hard that we cried.
Yesterday we had the chance to go to a Roman Catholic church which was a totally different experience. They are very ritualistic and it was not at all what I was expecting. The investigators that took us are some of my favorite people in the world. It seems like most people here are Christians, but it's so fun to find people that truly live a Christian life. They're amazing!
Ok so last night we tried out this new thing called Power Hour! After dinner we ask the members to pray for miracles for the next hour. We went to a family's house that we had just started teaching and it was perfect because they were all home, so we had the chance to talk to the parents and play with the kids. It has been hard to catch them at a good time, so it was so amazing to see them. I also bought a kids version of the Book of Mormon in the MTC and I decided to put that in my back pack that day and I realized that it would be great for the mom to read to the kids so I gave that to her and I'm hoping that it will make a difference in her life.
It has been kind of tough getting investigators to progress lately, but we found out that we have another transfer here in the Village Ward, so I think we're going to have a lot of great opportunities with these people. Elder Nelson goes home August 8th though so that is going to be weird seeing him leave. I've been with him almost my entire time on my mission and we've seen such cool things together. It seems like everyday we get to see miracles and it is so fun to be here. Anyways, I love you all and I'm super jealous that I didn't get to party at bear lake with ya. Hoddy Fam Forever (HFF)
Elder Hoddy

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Goobye President Taylor, Hello President Walkenhorst

Dear Hoddys,
This week has been the best ever. The ward members are super awesome and they love me and Elder Nelson, we committed a girl named Bethany to baptism with the date of August 3rd, we got invited to a Roman Catholic church with some of my favorite people in the world, I got attacked by a 80 year old lady with Alzheimer, and overall it seemed like we just spend most of our days laughing.
The week started off well because we got to play soccer for P-day which was a blast. Then we had dinner with some of my fave members which was super awesome. We were talking about how to get home because they live like 10 miles away, and I just had a great idea of how everything would work and it totally made sense in my head, then my companion suggested something else that sounded super stupid to me because the sisters were going to stop at an appointment and we were going to walk the rest of the way home. I trust my companion a lot though so we did that and while we were walking home there were a bunch of people on a porch, so we went up and talked to them and met Bethany. She's this super awesome 19 year old girl who has lived a pretty tough life growing up in the foster system and stuff. We talked to her for a while and she wanted us to come back. We went back later in the week and she's super excited about the stuff we talk to her about and I can already see how the gospel is blessing her life and how much more it will bless her life. The next time we talked to her we committed her to a baptismal date and I'm pretty confident that she'll keep it. It seems like these kind of faith building experiences are happening every day in my life. It is so fun to see how the Lord works. Our mission president said that missionary work is the Lord's work. He uses us so we can become better in the process. The Lord could easily convert anyone he wanted to, but missionary work is another way that we as his children can build faith and have good opportunites to grow. I love it :)
Ok so there's this LA member in our ward that we love to visit because she's kinda crazy, but she's so awesome! She's super into native american culture and she tells us all these cool things. We went over this week and she had built a huge medicine wheel in her back yard and she had us walk around it and explained how it worked and stuff. We keep trying to get her to come to church and I really hope she does, but dang it is so fun just to go over there and see what she has to teach us.
Our new mission president got here this week which was super sad because President Taylor is an amazing man, but President Walkenhorst is so awesome. He is 7 feet tall so every time I talked to him it was like looking to the peak of Everest... jk but he's ridiculously tall. The Walkenhorsts are some of the nicest people I've ever met. They spoke at a youth conference and we took one of our investigators so we got to go. We had a dinner after and a couple of the mia maids came up to me and were talking to me and then told President Walkenhorst that they wanted me sent to their ward because I was a Hottie. That is like the very situation that mission presidents try to avoid so I'm pretty sure I will never be sent to that ward. Haha Elder Nelson was super funny about it though.
On Saturday we got to do tornado cleanup again which was super exciting. I used to be exhausted when we would go down everyday, but it's been a while so it was such a good break from the normal proselyting days. We were cleaning up trees for most of the time and there was a broken tree surrounded by a bunch of bushes that was right next to a greenhouse, so we cleared away the bushes and there were all these little kittens. They were super cute and we had a lot of fun playing around with them. The owners of the property were pretty excited about it and we had some good conversations with them. These tornadoes and service opportunities are amazing.
Oklahoma has been such a good experience for me so far. My testimony grows everyday and I get to see the light that the gospel brings. Just remember that nothing will ever make you as happy as living the gospel. If you try to do things that invite the Spirit into your life you will find love, peace, and joy (Galatians 5:22-23). I love to hear from all of you and it's so fun to see how your life is going. I miss talking to you so much, but I know we have eternity to spend together. I'm here because I wanted others to have that too. You are the best parents I ever could have asked for and the best siblings.
I love you all,
Elder Hoddy