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