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!