Friday, December 26, 2014

Every Time We Ask We Are Given Guidance From The Spirit


Hey this has been a fantastic week! I'll share a couple thoughts with you first.
     D&C 6:14 - for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it has not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.
     Absolutely every time we ask we are given guidance from the Spirit. That's important for us because we are constantly seeking direction on where to go and what to do. What are some of the biggest things you seek direction on and what can you do to receive more instruction from the Spirit?
     We having been praying day and night that we can find investigators who will progress towards the waters of baptism and it is amazing how the Lord provides with people for us to teach...
     One cool opportunity was as we were going to an appointment and there was a guy working on his car outside his house, so we went up and talked to him. He is such a cool kid named Francisco and seemed so excited to talk to us. He loves working on cars and is a senior in high school. We talked to him about the gospel and he explained how much of a testimony it has been in his life. When we walked away I turned around and saw the biggest smile on his face. That pretty much made the whole day worth it. The gospel of Jesus Christ is so special.
     We also had a good time this week as we were headed up to visit some elders and got some interesting directions. We ended up on some different detours through mud covered streets and were doing our best not to slide too much. 
I love being on a mission and I love all of you.
Have a merry Christmas!
-Elder Hoddy

Christmas Conference Time!

We had another great week here. Elder Holman and I will be here together until the beginning of January at the earliest!     Christmas conference was really amazing. Our mission president talked a lot about member missionary work and ways to be more effective with it. Then his assistants talked about getting back to the basics and finding people. It was so much fun to be surrounded by all the other missionaries and talk to good friends. Elder Rodriguez wasn't there which was kind a bummer though. I also got to talk to Sister Neilson (Alisha) for a while. It's always fun to talk to her because she has updates on all of our high school friends. She goes home this week though.     Other than that life is going really well. We started teaching a part member family this week. Every time we walk through the door his face lights up like Christmas morning. Her face isn't usually quite as bright, but we'll work with that. He always tries to convince her to move to Utah, but she's not really going for it.
Here's a sweet Christmas story that someone sent me...
A college friend of mine named Paul received an automobile from his brother as an early Christmas present. On Christmas eve when Paul came out of his house, a street urchin was walking around the shiny new car, admiring it. "Is this your car?" he asked. Paul nodded. "My brother gave it to me for Christmas." The boy was astounded.
"You mean your brother gave it to you and it didn't cost you nothing? Boy, I wish..." He hesitated. Of course Paul knew what he was going to wish for. He was going to wish he had a brother like that. But what the lad said jarred Paul all the way down to his heels. "I wish," the boy went on, "that I could be a brother like that." Paul looked at the boy in astonishment, then impulsively he added, "Would you like to take a ride in my automobile?" "Oh yes, I'd love that."
After a short ride, the boy turned and with his eyes aglow, said, "Uncle, would you mind driving in front of my house?" Paul smiled a little. He thought he knew what the lad wanted. He wanted to show his neighbors that he could ride home in a big automobile. But Paul was wrong again. "Will you stop where those two steps are?" the boy asked. He ran up the steps. Then in a little while Paul heard him coming back, but he was not coming fast. He was carrying his little crippled brother. He sat him down on the bottom step, then sort of squeezed up against him and pointed to the car.
"There it is, little brother, just like I told you upstairs. His brother gave it to him for Christmas and it didn't cost him a penny. And some day I'm gonna give you one just like it...then you can see for yourself all the pretty things in the Shop windows that I've been trying to tell you about."
Paul got out and lifted the boy to the front seat of his car. The shining-eyed older brother climbed in beside him and the three of them began a memorable ride.
Hey so I decided that I was going to restart the Doctrine and covenants and finish it before my mission. I was planning on starting next Sunday (December 28), and I'll write you my thoughts each week and send them to you. Would you like to read along with me?     Ha in other news, we had a pretty cool Christmas party this week. Some of our investigators came and they were fellowshipping the members. One of our favorites, Stanley, was having the greatest time in the world meeting everyone, and he's going to help one of our investigators get baptized right after he does. We also got a picture with Santa, so that was pretty exciting :) Life is good.     Quick thought... and when he falls he shall rise again, for his sacrifice shall be more sacred unto me than his increase, saith the Lord (D&C 117:13). Often times we look for results, but the Lord look on the heart (1 Sam 16:7). Every sacrifice we make is sacred and no effort is wasted. We serve a perfect God.I love you Momma! Have a great week :)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Thanksgiving Highlights!

Hey Momma!
Hey did you get Elder Holman's email? He is wondering why you didn't email him back :) Anyways this was a pretty solid week. Church yesterday was an amazing experience. Brother Pieper got released from the bishopric because he is moving to Tulsa. His wife told the story of the Lord bringing them to Oklahoma and now it was time to move to another place. Brother Taylor replaced him in the bishopric and he told how his family was led to come here. It is amazing to see how Heavenly Father directs our lives to bring certain people together for certain reasons. I loved the peace that was felt and our investigators seemed pretty happy to be there.
     So a highlight of the week was definitely playing football on Thursday morning. We played for a full two hours, and at the end the score was tied 98 to 98. It was kind of a bummer, but Elder Holman was on the other team. Well we ended up losing in like the 5th overtime, but it was a total blast. It was nice to run around for a while. Then we went to a few houses and ate Thanksgiving dinner. A lot of the ward here serves in the military, so that made it tough to get members out teaching with us, but we still had some great visits and life was real happy.     It has been amazing to see investigators come and join the community. We truly are a special people and it is so much fun to see people joining us and helping out in the church.     I don't know if you've seen the He is the Gift video, but if you haven't you should look it up on It is a great reminder about the importance of the season. We taught a combined 3rd hour yesterday about the gift of Christ and our bishop shared the video on facebook along with his testimony at the end of the meeting.
Well I didn't have a ton to report on this week, but life is good. I love you momma! HFF
-Elder Hoddy

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Still In Enid And Happy To Be With Elder Holman Thru Another Transfer!

All I really want for Christmas is a letter from each member of my family... maybe a couple of ties or any other random fun thing you find too.

I found out that I'm staying with Elder Holman for another transfer here in Enid which is a great relief. That means we'll get Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years together. It's going to be a blast.

I was asking the other elders how old Livi looks and they all said 17. Ha she still looks 15 to me. It's been a while since I've looked at the family pictures, but I know Ava and Jace look a lot different. It's going to be weird to come home to older siblings. I'm pretty sure I look the exact same, so that's pretty easy. I wish I could say I was 6'5" now, but I probably won't get another growth spurt til I'm 25. lol

Anyways we had an amazing experience with our investigator Eryn this week. She had already been to church a few times, but we took her on a church tour anyways. It was so fun to talk to her as we walked around the church and joke about the good times in life. We ended with the chapel and asked her how she felt there. It was an great calming feeling that she described. We continued to talk about the sacrament and the blessing it was to us and our families. As a mother she lost her daughter in a custody battle and we can see that the sadness and pain tears her apart sometimes. She is gaining a correct understanding that the church will provide a great support system for the vision she wants to accomplish. She wants a strong family. 

I am so grateful for the strength that the Church provides to our family. We all are becoming so much better and stronger. I love you momma!

-Elder Hoddy

Sunday, November 16, 2014


This is all we got last week---but there's pictures!!

Hey I wanted to share a view of the fun events we've been doing this week...
Ward council, singing in the choir, speaking at church, and the 2014 NBA finals.
It sure was a busy week!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

We Don't Know, ButThere Is Someone Who Does

We had a pretty special experience with two of our investigators. We went over for a lesson to talk about church and the blessing it would be for this family, but sensing contention we quickly abandoned our lesson plan and opened up to 2 Nephi 2.
6)Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah, for he is full of grace and truth. 7)Behold he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.
We began talking about what it means to have a broken heart and contrite spirit, and we could see the mood in the room change. They seemed open to what the spirit was teaching them, but there was still a lot of sadness. Through her tears the wife said, "I've been praying and I don't feel like this is the man God wants me to be with. What should I do?"
Elder Holman and I sat there thinking. We are not marriage counselors. We've never been married. We don't know the circumstances. And we really didn't know what she should do. Our response was the only one we knew. "We don't know, but there is someone who does." We proceeded to drop to our knees and pray with this young couple for help. After the prayer there was an immediate peace that filled the room.
It is sometimes sad to see because we know that if we had been there 6 months earlier they could have applied gospel principles into their own life and become capable of overcoming challenges.
Alma 26:12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things...
Heavenly Father knows us in our individual situations and wants to help us get through them, but first we must ask for help.
Thank you for being righteous examples of living the gospel. I love you both.
-Elder Hoddy

Thursday, October 30, 2014

To EFY Or Not...That Is The Question?

(no family e-mail this week.  Here is a quick e-mail Jake wrote me....he was trying to decide whether to apply to be an EFY counselor or not)

I decided to apply because it's something I want to do. During Sacrament meeting yesterday a family got up and sang the EFY Medley. It gave me a lot of peace and it got me excited about the future. 
     As a zone leader our responsibilities are pretty much the same as they were before. We get to be around more missionaries and have opportunities to help them as well as our own area. It's quite enjoyable.
     I'm getting way to lazy with my emailing and I'll try to be better.
     This week was kind of frustrating because we had a lot of people commit to come to church then they didn't come. Why don't people just come to church? We're going to be working a lot on that. It was fun this week though and we got to teach a lot of lessons.
    Haha Jace always has something new up his sleeve to do. Hopefully he'll watch out for Ebola. I'm pretty sure that's what girls have... or maybe I was thinking about cooties. Ha probably the same thing. Anyways he wrote me a really nice email this week.
     It seems like a lot of our investigators have a lot of challenges in their lives that distract them from the gospel, but at the same time I think it helps them to be humble enough to listen. We just hope to help them understand that the gospel will help them through their trials. One of our investigators, Aaron, lost one of her children in a custody battle and it's hard for her to really focus on anything else. Everything is going to work out though.

I love you mom!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Ring Around The Rosie, Duck Duck Goose and Bubble Gum Bubble Gum In a Dish

(no family e-mail so I will share my momma email:)
Momma!     Ha I don't know what's going on today, but I just don't feel motivated to email people.     Quick update... Matt is doing pretty solid and wants to get baptized, but Valerie is not quite ready to get married, so that's a struggle. We met with the family that had the great experience with the pamphlet, and we had a good lesson. We were outside teaching and their little girls were being super loud, so I ended up on babysitting duty while my companion and a member taught the restoration. They told me that it was a powerful lesson and the family seemed excited about the message. I got to have a great time playing ring a round the rosie, duck duck goose, hide and seek, bubble gum bubble gum in a dish, and other spectacular games. Haha it was a pretty good time.     I love my new companion. I knew him at the beginning of the mission and have always wanted to serve with him. It is fun to see how much he has grown over the past year. He is a good friend to have and I feel like he always has my back.     Mom I definitely have to say that it is a huge blessing to be a zone leader. At the beginning of my mission I always looked forward to the chance that I would have the glory of being a zone leader because I didn't understand what it meant, but every week there are so many opportunities to help other missionaries achieve their goals to be successful. There are also the frustrations that come when they don't work as hard as they can, or they spend their time in unproductive ways, but it is my favorite thing to be able to counsel with missionaries about how we can be our best. Anyways, I simply like the life I live. My patriarchal blessing says that my mission president will determine my capabilities through the spirit and call me to positions of leadership. Well after 14 months of no leadership I wondered if that promise was true or if I had done something wrong that made me undeserving of the blessing promised to me. It seems like Heavenly Father has taught me a lot of lessons on patience lately which is strange because I can tell you that I'm definitely not praying for it. Ha It is a blessing though.     Elder Holman is from Bountiful,  and he is such a fun elder. I can't wait to share the miracles we'll have this upcoming transfer.     I love you mom! Thanks for all your support. HFF!-Elder Hoddy

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Could Tell The Spirit Was Touching her Heart

Hey I wanted to share a few simple experiences from the week...
     The first is with our investigator Matt. He has been pretty solid since I've been here with reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and other important stuff, but he's only been able to get off work once for work and he's not married which has made it hard to progress. We've had many lessons with him and seen him slowly progress, but we've never seen the huge step of faith trying to find the truth or do what God wants him to. We planned a simple lesson on faith for him and went in to talk to him, but this time was totally different. He told us that he wants to get married this month and he has really been praying to see if God wants him to switch shifts. All of a sudden he is being super proactive and wants to be better at living the gospel. The lesson was a good reminder that we put a lot of effort into helping these people, but we still have to wait for God's timing to help them feel and understand the spirit. It is one of the most amazing things to see people make that change.
     Another great moment was as we talked to a man in front of his apartment for a few minutes. At first he didn't seem to want to talk to us much, but we had a good conversation about his kids and different life experiences which softened him up a lot. We showed him the Restoration pamphlet and started talking about different parts of it. We got distracted and started talking about something else when his wife came out. She grabbed the pamphlet and started looking at it while we were still talking to him. I watched her open the page to the first vision and stop. She read it and then she read it again. I could tell the spirit was touching her heart and right after that she turned to her husband and said, "Honey I really think we need to try this". It was a great reminder of how powerful the message is that we share. It will captivate the hearts of anyone who is open to the spirit.
     I love this gospel. I am constantly reminded how amazing it is to believe in a God that listens to us, that cares about us, and wants to bless us as much as He can. I love being a child of God.
I hope you have an amazing week! HFF!
-Elder Hoddy

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

And It Came To Pass....

Yay we finally got a family e-mail!
It's been a few weeks since I've sent a family email, so I thought I better send one... There have been a lot of amazing experiences these past few weeks, but I just wanted to share a few.
     Probably the most meaningful one was two weeks ago as I gave a blessing to one of our Recent converts Gene. He is an amazing man and recently found out he had cancer, so he was going in for more tests the next day. During the blessing I said many things that let him know God loved him and was going to take care of him... I remember saying that everything was going to be okay. However I had not mentioned cancer or healing or anything that I thought I should have said, so I went home really down on myself that I didn't have enough faith to help this great man. The next night some elders came into town unexpectedly for an oil change, so Elder Manwaring and I went on splits with them. We had just gotten out of the last appointment for the evening, so I called Elder Manwaring to decide where to meet up. He told me that Gene had just passed away. It was a really sad evening losing our friend and watching his wife going through the struggle of losing a spouse. However, the comfort came that he had the opportunity to baptized just a couple months before his death and his wife had the gift of the Holy Ghost and a knowledge of the plan of salvation. I realized that the priesthood blessing I had given was not for the man with cancer, but the child about to return to his Father. I know this is God's work and He gives incredible help to us as His children. I am so grateful to be part of this.
     There's also one scriptural passage that gained a very new meaning to me this week as I realized that time only seems to be going faster. "And it came to pass..."  Life moves on and doesn't seem to slow down. As I watched the elders in the MTC singing at general conference, I realized that those were our replacements. Every calling that we receive will only be for a short time. Our maturity is shown as we understand that time will pass, and we make an effort to make the most of it that we can.   
     After writing down spiritual experiences daily I feel like there is something to share with you from every day that I live. We have a loving Heavenly Father. Like Elder Bednar's story of the child receiving the ointment and bandaids, we must find why the gospel of Jesus Christ is meaningful to us and that will give us reason to share it as much as we can.
     I love you all and I am so grateful for all the support. I hope you have an amazing week. God Bless. HFF!
-Elder HoddyAA

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Elder Hoddy had appointments this week and apologized for not having time to write to us but he did send some week better be better:)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Greatest Relationships Are Made When We Grow Closer To Christ Together

No family e-mail again this week so I am posting Jake's e-mail to me.  I asked him to send a brief testimony of the Book of Mormon. 
Alright here's my testimony of the Book of Mormon... This book teaches me not only that God lived, but that he lives and loves us today. Because of its words the atonement has become a reality. We have a God. We have a Savior. They know us personally and have restored the gospel for us to live and be happy. No greater peace can be achieved than by their teachings and those teachings are found here. The Book of Mormon is the word of God.
     Heart t' heart sounds pretty amazing. It is so hard to lay everything down on the altar and admit to our mistakes. It is not easy to be accountable and responsible. In general the things God wants us to do aren't easy. But we know they are so worth it. Have you read preach my gospel? Here's the latest question I've been thinking about. Finish the sentence. Only the gospel will...
     There are hundreds of answers, but it's fun to hear what people think about it.
     This week some return missionaries that I had served close to came back for a sealing. I was talking to one that was about to get engaged. He told me how before his mission he was always looking for the most attractive girl he could find, but now he realizes that what he is really looking for is someone who strongly lives the gospel. Elder Manwaring and I got to teach the 12-13 sunday school class yesterday and they are pretty rowdy. There was one young women though that was always trying to stay on topic and had so many spiritual insights to share. It was so admirable and we were amazed at the strength we saw. It made me think about the way people look at us. Often times we want to joke, but the greatest relationships are made when we grow closer to Christ together.
     I love you mom and hope you have the bestest week :)
-Elder Hoddy

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I Don't Want This Experience To Ever End!

We have started getting e-mails on Tuesdays.  No family e-mail for the last couple of weeks.  Here is a quick message he sent me sweet.
Thanks for all the counsel on what I need to learn on my mission. I really want to do my best. Elder Foster asked a question at the meeting we went to last week. "What will you say to the Lord when you kneel down on the last night of your mission?" Mom I can't imagine that last prayer. It hurts to think about. I've wanted to be home from the moment I stepped into the MTC, but at the same time the thought of ever taking this name tag off for good kills me. I love this! I love going around and talking to random people. I love being around such good missionaries and the amazing influence they bring. I love meeting new ward members and building relationships with them. I love walking in the heat and the cold. I love being tired and then working hard anyways.
     This is the best opportunity I could ever ask for and I have to learn everything I can in the two short years I have been given. 
     The Hoddy family is the best support I could ever ask for. Thanks mom. I hope you know I'm having fun :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What Are The Two Questions We Should Ask Ourselves When Ministering To Others?

I am not sure when Jake's P-day is anymore.  His letters always come on Mondays but the last two weeks they have come on a Wednesday and a Tuesday....I'll keep ya posted...keep reading:)
Life has been pretty crazy as usual. Elder Foster of the seventy visited our mission yesterday, so we got to learn a lot from him. I can probably add some of my thoughts during the family email.
     I like your idea about staying home for Jace though. That definitely is a huge change from 13 to 16 and he'll need all the help he can get. 
     Liv was talking to me about how freaky it sounds to be living on her own in less than a year. It's still so crazy how fast time has gone by. I'll be home by the end of the school year. I feel like my attitude towards missionary work has changed so much. Elder Foster was talking to my companion and told him that the Lord has way better ways to do missionary work than send 19 year old kids on missions. We're here for us.
     I feel like my time is short, so I have been seeking vision for what Heavenly Father wants me to learn these final 8 months. While reflecting in the chapel after a meeting I felt like I needed to look at my patriarchal blessing and I knew exactly what section to look at and it's the one that tells me I'll find a sister worthy of my love and be able to walk with her to the temple to be sealed for time and all eternity. Then there's the one about children and family in the next paragraph. Mom, this is so weird because that seems forever away, but I think that's what I'm being prepared for most. What do you think I need to learn most on my mission?
     We were doing a spiritual thought at a members the other night and felt inspired to talk to the kids about father's blessings. It was so exciting to talk about, but I feel super jipped because I'm missing out. I guess patience is a blessing though.
     I am so happy to be a missionary right now and I feel like we are directed where to go and what to do constantly. We get to be part of something so special. There's a quick thought that I wanted to share that I'll probably share in the family email today, but actually I don't know if I'll have time to send one. There are 4 big things that people want to know when they see us. 1) How can I get to know God better? 2) How can I be happier? 3) How can I be a better person? 4) How can I have more peace in my life?
     They don't want to know about our Book of Mormon or our temples. They want God and they want the blessings that come from the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now of course scriptures and temples and all that good stuff are the some of the biggest tools for them to achieve what they want, but in any teaching or ministering situation we must ask ourselves two questions. What does this person want and what does God want for them? Once we can answer those the tools align and we're able to help. I share this because it applies to everyone we see whether visiting teaching, talking to a child, helping out a friend, or whatever it may be.
I love you momma and I hope you always remember that. HFF!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hanger Shenanigans And Retaliation Towards Sister Missionaries Leads To Awesome New Investigator!

This letter was a surprise.  We didn't get anything on Monday because of Labor Day but got this a couple of days later.  I also posted last weeks letter and some pictures:)

Hey sorry haven't had much time to email the last couple days and today was kind of crazy! Sounds like you had a great time in Cokeville with a lot of fun memories.
     The story of the hanger... So before one of our trips out to Woodward we hung a hanger on the back of our truck to see how long it would last as we were driving. Well it made the whole trip, so we decided to leave it on until the day it fell off by itself. We came out of an appointment this week and the hanger was gone and there was a sticky note on our windshield that if we ever wanted our hanger back we better stay out off their turf (they are Spanish sisters so we share part of our area). We had some extra time, so we drew a picture of two dead sister missionaries holding a hanger (ya, that wasn't very nice of us), and put it on their apartment door. Well that led us to be in another part of town. We walked across the street and saw someone, so we yelled and asked her if she wanted to pray. Turns out she knew who we were because she had taken a semester on Mormons from a Christian college, and she has tons of questions. Her name is Elizabeth. She told us that she was honestly searching for truth and if Mormonism had it then she wanted it. We got to go back with the English Sister and teach her one more time, but she's on their side, so they get to teach her now. This was a great reminder of who is in charge of this work. It was amazing to see that path that we were led on by the Spirit to find Elizabeth and teach her. It is not every day that we find someone searching so diligently for truth.
     I also had a really good experience this week because I got to go on exchanges into a Marshallese area for the day. It was a whole new experience because I couldn't understand anything. When we go into a Spanish area we can pick up a lot of things and contribute, but I had no idea what was going on pretty much the whole day. I can say hello, good, and I don't speak Marshallese. Haha I was with Elder Bess and he had me read the Book of Mormon in a lesson and it was so terrible. I definitely don't have the accent down. or the language. or an understanding of the culture. or pretty much anything :) It is special to hear the gospel preached in other languages though and the spirit is there regardless of what's going on.
      This week I have been working on having an great awareness and gratitude for the spirit. The spirit becomes part of our lives as members of the Church of Jesus Christ because we are under its influence so often, but with a great awareness we can have it even more and have a better confidence in what we're doing and trust that it's working. What a blessing!
I love you momma!

Have an amazing week! HFF!

Team Hoddy/Learning To Love

This is Jake's letter from August 25th....we didn't get a letter this week due to Labor Day:(

Family! This week has been a great week again. We got to go to the temple on Tuesday which was a great learning opportunity. On the way down we got to ride with a senior couple that is really close to the end of their missions. We got to ask them lots of questions about their lives and the changes they've seen in their mission. They said that the biggest thing they've learned in their mission is how to love. I was listening to this sweet Sister missionary and thinking, "You're a grandma! That's what I think of when I imagine a loving person! What do you mean you learned how to love? You've known for years!" I guess at the same time I knew we can all be better at being like Christ. They talked about all the great people they met on their mission and how much they truly care about them. After thinking about it I realized how much substance God gives us and how empty things are without him. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for (Heb 11:1). God is light. God is love. Darkness is the absence of light and hate is the absence of love. This couple was filled with joy and gratitude and I was amazed at what I was able to learn from them. Then while in the temple I was able to think and prioritize the things that are important in my life. There have been many times in my life where I have felt empty and didn't know how to fill the void. Heavenly Father has given me so much and changes my life every day. I am so grateful.
     We have a lady named Deeanna that we're meeting with and she is amazing! She is so in tune with the spirit and so excited about learning the gospel. The first week she went to church they sisters in relief society asked if she was visiting and she said, "No, I'm joining!" Haha perfect answer :) Yesterday we were talking with her and she felt really guilty because she had not kept one of her commitments, but then she said, "It's because I didn't read my scriptures last night. I didn't do the simple things". Those were beautiful words. It really does come down to the simple things that we do in life. Are we reading our scriptures, saying our prayers, and attending our church meetings? Do we want to be better? And thus we see that by small means the Lord can bring about great things (1 Nephi 16:29). She is getting baptized at the end of September.
     Oh and of course I almost forgot to tell you about the best Birthday ever. The district here made Team Hoddy shirts and decorated our apartment with bunches of sticky notes and streamers and stuff. We taught some lessons and met some new people. It was fantastic. Then on our way home that night we stopped by the post office and the family package was there. It was all amazing! I'll throw some pics in.

     Thanks for everything you do! It's amazing to be part of this family... I love you all! HFF
-Elder Hoddy

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Garden Of Enid/The Magic of Bicycles/A Street Named Hoddy

This has been a pretty amazing week. We have never been so busy in our lives and there was so much to do. Our mission calls this place the Garden of Enid because of all the amazing people that live here. It seriously seemed like we were bouncing from person to person trying to make it to all the people we had planned for.
     So one of the most special times this week was on Tuesday as we had exchanges here in Enid and I got a missionary that has been our for three weeks. We set goals to get better at finding, so we chose our weapons carefully and of course pulled out the bicycles (they are magical finding tools). We were riding around for little bit aiming towards some of the investigators and members we have in the area, but I still don't really know how to get around these parts. There was no one outside, so I thought, we really need to find something fun to do, and a nice jump appeared. We were like Pedro and Napolean having a good time and people came outside and started watching. It was the perfect opportunity to talk to people and we got some new investigators out of it. I'm amazed at the small things that are thrown in our life and provide the means to answer our prayers. The prayers for new investigators were answered. Life is so good.
     Oh and interesting stuff... We were in Ponca City as well this week for exchanges and people were telling me about the Hoddy's that lived in town and apparently there is a street called Hoddy. I didn't get to meet them, but I'm going to try real hard to next time to meet them. It's the first time I've heard of someone else with the same last name.
     I feel like it takes too long to type all the stories I want to tell, but I'll tell them to you someday.
A verse I thought a lot about this week is Alma 46:12. Moroni writes the Title of Liberty which says, In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children. I pondered a lot about this verse trying to decide what my personal Title of Liberty is. What is my motivation? Why do I get up every morning and go out to teach the gospel? Moroni's passionate service full of great motives lead him to be a great leader. I'm on an honest search to find my desires.
     Thank you for everything you do. Life here is truly amazing. I love my mission and I love my God. HFF :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

We Do Our Part And God Takes Care Of The Rest

     This has been a pretty amazing week. Life is so amazing here in Enid and we had great experiences this week. One thing that really stood out this week was how often we had the opportunity to bear testimony of the Book of Mormon. There are plenty of things to talk about and bear testimony, but it seemed like so many of our lessons were focused on the simple truth of this testament of Jesus Christ. It was the perfect reminder to us of how much this book means. I love it.
      In this mission there are two missionaries that I have really looked up to because they've been such good examples to me. They've both been great leaders, but the things they were called to do are so different. One of them baptized almost 40 people which is insane for this mission and the other has baptized 2. I got to go on exchanges with my good friend that has baptized 2 and watched him pray, teach, and bless people. I've had plenty of opportunities with both and I realized that they teach with the same power and authority. They represent the same Jesus Christ. We are all part of the body of Christ, but we have specific calling to fill and certain tasks to perform (2 Corinthians 12:14-31).
     This week in Enid we met a lady named Deanna that wanted to read the Book of Mormon and come to church. Well she did both and she told everybody at church that she's joining the church. The baptism date is set and we're ready to go. I am so amazed and so consistently reminded who leads this work. This is the work of God and constantly we see miracles. Sometimes it is so hard to understand why we go through things and why we're not having the success we want, but we do what we're supposed to and God takes care of the rest. Our whole purpose is to invite and help people come to him.
I love you all! Have a great week! HFF!
-Elder Hoddy

Monday, August 4, 2014

We Can Pray And Expect Miracles!

This week has been pretty amazing in Enid, but there were definitely a few things that stuck out.
     We have an investigator named Matt that has been really receptive to the spirit and has noticed how it is changing him. Not a lot of investigators naturally recognize the spirit and seek it more, so it makes him pretty special. We had a lesson about leading by example because his family isn't quite on board like he is, but he is ready to lead them. We also talked about baptisms for the dead and he was crying because his sister passed away and he wants that for her. He still has his own journey, but he is moving in the right direction. Meeting with people like this makes the mission so worth it!
     We were on exchanges in Woodward Oklahoma this week which is super far away from everyone else, but it was fun to be in the rural setting again. Before we left the apartment we prayed that we would find a family that would progress and help the Woodward branch grow. We set off and went to a small town outside Woodward. Elder Harnish was driving and we went to the outskirts of town and decided to knock a door. We went up to it and... no one answered, but there was a trailer a little ways off, so we decided to go knock that instead and this time... no one answered again. Ha big surprise. We got back out to the main road and were about to turn right back into town, but we felt like we needed to turn left. It is about 30 miles before the next main town and there's not much in between, so we had no idea what we were doing, but Elder Harnish turned left and on the last street of the town we turned and decided to knock a door. We pulled into the driveway and a guy came out which made it kind of awkward, but we started talking to him and he was super open to us. We were pumped. Then his wife pulled in and she was super open to the message. We talked about the restoration and went into there home to kneel in prayer. They were excited to see us again and seemed committed to read and pray about the message. Heavenly Father had timed it perfectly for us to run into the family at that time and the elders are going back next week.
     Miracles this amazing haven't happened every day to us, but we were both taught a lesson on the power of prayer and who runs this work. Heavenly Father trusts those elders with a pretty amazing family of 6 that is very open to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We can pray and expect miracles. Often times I've settled for simple miracles on my mission not realizing what God wants to give us. We must live the simple things and be grateful for the tender mercies of God, but we can expect the great miracles of the scriptures to apply to our life. This work is amazing!
      I don't know what I would do without all of you. Heavenly Father has blessed me so much by giving me such good friends and family. I love you all. HFF!

-Elder Hoddy

Saturday, August 2, 2014

New Companion...New Town...Welcome to Enid Oklahoma!

sorry...we were in San Diego and I forgot to post this until now

This week has had a lot of crazy good times already. It was really sad to leave Choctaw, but it has been a great experience so far here in Enid. There are 12 missionaries serving in the city, but 4 are Spanish missionaries and 4 are Marshaleese. The ward here is amazing and I'm learning a lot from Elder Manwaring. He's from Rexburg and he's a pretty amazing guy. He's already been out for 21 months, so he knows his stuff pretty well.
     We have some pretty cool investigators that seem committed to the gospel as well. Ha we visited one guy on Saturday and talked to him about coming to church. He kept saying "maybe" and "I'll try", but we told him he needed to say yes, so finally he looked at us and said that he would absolutely be there. Well we were there at church, but he didn't show up so we stopped by his apartment again and he said that he wanted to have a lesson. He felt bad for not coming, and we had a really amazing lesson about repentance and coming closer to Jesus Christ. I think the spirit threw down a little bit and let him know what he was missing out on, so he's going to come from now on and then get baptized.
     It's so fun to be surrounded by so many missionaries here. They really bring the spirit into our lives. There's a brand new Elder here from Orem and he is always so excited about everything! He's got the greeny fire that the rest of us are jealous of. It's pretty amazing to see his excitement about every little success and he's always trying to help us out with different scriptures. His example has led me to go back to the basics and try to be amazed by the simple workings of Heavenly Father. We miss out on so much because we become accustom to the way he leads our lives. I guess the principle is continued gratitude. Writing spiritual experiences each day has been the perfect reminder for me.
     Leaving Choctaw gave me many great experiences to feel the spirit because I was reminded how much I loved those people and how much I was going to miss them. The spirit has given me the gift and ability to truly love them, and I can't wait to see them again. Leaving some of those homes for the last time was painful though. I just want to be with them and help them, but I trust them in the hands of God. I did absolutely everything Heavenly Father expected me to do for those families and I left without a single regret. I can't wait to see the future baptisms and sealings.
     One insight I had this week was as I studied the topic of desire. I wanted to learn how to grow desire, so that my intentions became more pure and I grew in faith, hope, and charity. Alma 32 had the answer. In verse 27 "awake and arouse your faculties... experiment upon my words... exercise a particle or faith". Desire is something that constantly leads us to good or bad, but sometimes we don't really have a lot of desire either way. We're kind of just sitting there. However, one of the greatest gifts we've been given is agency. At some point down the line we have to act. We have to go seek something better and follow the knowledge and understanding that we do have. Our positive experiences will lead us to grow in desire. It is a deep topic, but I realized that I intellectually understand what I need to do for the most part, so I need to follow what I've been taught and the spirit will give me the rest. Ha it's so simple.
     Anyways life is good. Real good. Thanks for all the support. I love you all! HFF!!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Farewell To A Great Area, Choctaw And A Great Companion, Elder Rodriguez

Well I'm finally getting transferred from Choctaw! I've been here for 8 1/2 months, so it seems crazy that I'm leaving. After getting the call I really couldn't sleep. These people have been on my mind day and night for months and now I'm leaving them. Elder Rodriguez is an amazing missionary and he's going to take care of everyone. We are meeting with our 3 main investigator families tonight and tomorrow, so hopefully we'll have baptismal dates for them and I'll know when to come back. I'm still freaking out that I'm leaving though. Elder Rodriguez has been so much fun to be with. The other night we were talking about Karate and fighting and all this stuff, so we decided that it was time for a luchador match. He told me to choke him and he would show me some moves how to get out of it, but he's really ticklish, so every time I would get close he would hiss at me and push me away. I couldn't stop laughing. I'm really going to miss this brother.
      Something that one of our leaders challenged us to do was to write down our spiritual experiences every day. It sounded kind of dumb at first, so I didn't do it enough, but we have been doing it every day lately and I am amazed how involved Heavenly Father is in our lives. Most of them aren't amazing experiences with great manifestations, but we constantly have simple promptings and we end up in the right places. I feel like I know Heavenly Father better each day after recognizing these things.
     This week has been a great way to end my time in Choctaw though. We got to have another youth missionary fireside last night and these youth are amazing. They took turns coming to the front and we would have them practice invitations, getting to know people, and making people feel comfortable at church. Then we would talk about it. They would always say really funny things though, so it was a good time. We didn't expect everything to be perfectly serious though because we want these youth to have a lot of fun as they're doing missionary work. They are naturals. A little fine tuning on inviting their friends to do things never hurts though. We had some great spiritual moments as well as we watched a couple messages the church has released and pondered about ways each of us can be better missionaries. I'm excited to hear about what they accomplish.
     Life is so good. I truly have loved these people and I am so sad to leave. Thanks for all your support. HFF!


-Elder Hoddy

Monday, July 14, 2014

Lesson From A Member Missionary


This week has been a lot of fun in Choctaw. I am continually learning about our Savior's life and what it means to be His disciple. It is definitely not easy, but each glimpse we get into his life is so fulfilling.
     So I missed Clarissa's wedding, but it was a good opportunity to think and ponder about the things that matter most. She has always been an amazing example to me and I don't think I've appreciated enough everything she's done. I'm proud of my big sister. While she I was in the sealing room I got to ponder and pray and all I felt was joy. What an incredible experience for the family. HFF!
     I had some important lessons given to me this week. The first was the importance of member missionary work. I went on exchanges to Del City this week and got to visit one of the families we had talked to back when I was living there. They had progressed a lot in the gospel as the elders had met with them, and they were happy to learn. They actually taught us some volleyball moves before the lesson, so we're pretty much experts now. We started reading 3 Nephi 11 with them and a lot of questions came up. The lesson took its course and changed to talking about priesthood authority. To the daughter it made complete sense that people need to have God authority to act in his name, but to the mother it was very hard to accept. None of the denominations here talk about any kind of authority (except the Catholics), so it is new and kind of hard for them to think that no one else the authority to baptize. We explained it the best way we could, but she still wasn't satisfied. Finally, we had to go because it was getting late, so we said a prayer and started walking away. The member gave us the keys and kept talking to her. I don't think I'll every forget the picture of him crouching down to be on her level and just talking to her. All he was doing was showing that he cared. He got her number and went over the next day to help her understand things. I was amazed that he was so proactive and caring with someone he had never met. Members have special connections with investigators because inevitably we will leave. They are normal people that add so much security and confidence to the truth of the message.
     A couple nights ago Elder Rodriguez and I were talking about the people we're working with. I really trust him and feel like I can tell him anything. Over the conversation I told him that I have worked so hard with these families, but I could have done more, and maybe if I had done a little more they would be baptized already. Elder Rodriguez lovingly let me know how wrong I was. There was one thing that stuck out to me. We can always do more, but we can never do enough for these people. We have to lead them to the atonement and leave them in the hands of God. We have taught them all they need to know before baptism, we have fasted and prayed many times, now all there is left to do is continue loving them and leave them in the hands of God. It's all going to work out for the best. Elder Rodriguez has been a great example to me these past weeks.
     The last thing I wanted to share was a few verses that stuck out to me this week. Mark 9:22-24. A father goes to Jesus Christ for help because his son had an evil spirit. The father seems to be in desperation and without very much faith to rely on. With his hope that Jesus can help his son the father asks, "if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Christ answers simply and straightforward that all things are possible with belief. Then the father cries out with tears. He says, "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief". This is such an amazing example to me of the power of desire and hope. Sometimes we can't solve the problem and all we can do is desire to believe that Christ will help us through it. As our faith grows, so does our trust that God will fulfill every single one of his promises. He will heal us and lift us. I have seen that in my life because sometimes all I have is a desire to see things work out. We are in the hands of God.
I love you all! Have an amazing week!
-Elder Hoddy

Monday, July 7, 2014

Do You Know God?

      This week has been pretty amazing and I learned a lot. I got to go on a couple of exchanges with different elders and while I was on one we met with an interesting guy named Michael. He grew up Catholic, but he is currently Atheist. Most people here are Christians, so the Atheists are usually pretty intelligent as far as religion goes and they have reasons why they're Atheist. Well this guy has read the Bible,  The Book of Mormon, and The Doctrine and Covenants, yet he is still very lost and has no idea if God exists. A lot of interesting things happened during the lesson, but he asked one question that has made me ponder a lot over the past few days. He asked, "Do you know God?" 
     John 17:3 - And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
      That scripture came to mind as he asked that and I don't remember what I said perfectly, but I've had a lot of thoughts over the past few days. 1) I know there is a God. 2) I know that he knows me. 3) I know that I can talk to him. 4) He has answered me back. 5) I know he loves me. 6) I know His children.   
     My conclusion is that I know God better than I did a year ago or a day ago or ten years ago. We had a long period of time before this life to intellectually understand the gospel, but we came here to experience opposition and both the enabling and redeeming power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. My experiences on this Earth have brought me to know God, but the future experiences I will have will help me to know Him much more. That question has really driven me to know my Father in Heaven more. Jesus Christ gave us the perfect example of the relationship we should have with our Heavenly Father; therefore we follow Jesus Christ.
      One quick spiritual experience from the week...
      We were in the home of a less active member discussing the gospel. To put it simply, he has gotten the short end of the stick in life. At one point he joined the Church and was a strong member, but life's circumstances have made it hard to believe in God. He felt hopeless of the future. We recognized that his past held him back from grasping the joy of the present and future, so we gave the analogy of him driving in a car with a little rear view mirror to remember the past and large windows to see the present and future. He acknowledged that he did need to let go of some of the things from the past, but his present was still very captive from things of the past. Those words stung and I looked at that man just wishing that somehow through the grace of God he wouldn't have to go through those things or that maybe in some way I could go through them instead. I looked around and could tell that my companion and the member with us were feeling similar feelings. Through the spirit we were given the opportunity to feel a small portion of what our Savior feels. We proceeded to testify of the love of our Savior and he committed to read his patriarchal blessing and to look for hope.
      Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
       Despite life's challenges we are never alone. Each of you have helped me to feel the love of Jesus Christ. Thank you. HFF!
 -Elder Hoddy

Monday, June 30, 2014

Spiritual Hugs!

Hey Family!
It's been another great week with Elder Rodriguez. He got his cast off today, so he's got a beautiful tan line on his arm and he's looking great over there emailing.
We had an amazing miracle with the Waldens this week. On Monday we we're going over to meet with Mike and Chessie. Chessie has been really excited about getting baptized, but Mike has had a lot of doubts and hasn't been able to meet with us for a long time. We finally had the appointment set up though, but right before going, Chessie texted us and said that Mike was leaving and didn't want to meet with us. We had just gotten back from dinner and we were with the sisters, so we asked them to come with us. We were frustrated, so we said a prayer in the school parking lot then went over. He was actually there when we arrived, so we were pretty relieved. The spirit guided the lesson and Chessie taught us about the restoration with one of the sister missionaries. Mike got to ask a lot of good questions and recognized that the spirit was there. The next day we felt like we needed to send him Joshua 24:15, and asked him "What day?" He texted back "This day!" He had a few spiritual experiences and now he is ready to be baptized. It is amazing to see how much the spirit can change us if we let it. Mike is such a good guy and he does great at leading the family. I can't wait to see how much the gospel helps him grow.
We got to have a lot of other cool lessons this week and we really focused on getting our investigators to church. We worked so hard making sure they understood the importance and felt comfortable coming. Right before church, the texts started coming in that people weren't going to make it. We were so frustrated that we had worked so hard to make that happen and now people weren't going to make it. We ended up going to the seminary room and talking with Heavenly Father for a few minutes. We both got to experience spiritual hugs and we were able to ponder about the covenants we were about to renew. It gave the sacrament a much deeper meaning that day and I'm so thankful that we had the time to think and pray before then. Our investigators will be there next week and it will all work out.
Life in Choctaw has been great and I'm loving my time out here. It's been fun to see the changes of the ward and area. I know that God leads this work and we are so blessed to be a part of it. Have a wonderful week. HFF!
-Elder Hoddy

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Have You Ever Asked, "Is God Really Answering My Prayers?"

This week has been another wonderful week. Having Elder Rodriguez here has been a huge blessing and the area is seeing a lot of growth. He seriously has a 24-hour smile that keeps me going and makes life easier. He's great.
     One of the great experiences we had this week was meeting with our investigator Tom. He's an older man and we've been meeting with him for a while. He's been in and out of the hospital for the last few months because of heart problems and he has been in a lot of pain. This time when we went over he seemed to be moving a lot more easier and was a whole lot happier than he has been in the past. We gave him a priesthood blessing then began talking about his recent experiences with prayer. He shared in great frustration that he was on his knees every night talking to the Lord and he didn't feel like anyone was talking back. He has been told all his life that he would get answers, so he was praying but felt like he wasn't getting answers. His honesty really touched my heart, and I could tell that he was sincerely trying to talk and get answers. It hit home because there have been many times in my life where I've been on my knees and felt like I wasn't getting answers. The way his life has changed from being sad, lonely, stressful, and in constant pain to the happy, thriving, moving person he was that day was clear evidence to me that God is in every way answering his prayers and his life is so much better for it. Sometimes it just takes us taking a step back and gratefully looking at what we truly have. I also learned how much honesty invites the spirit.
     Another great experience was yesterday as we were invited to attend another church. These people are some of the most kind and Christ-like people I have met in Oklahoma and we were glad to be at church with them. The music was great and the people were great as well. I really don't want to say anything bad about the church because I was strengthened as I watched many good people doing their best to worship our Father in Heaven and Savior, but as missionaries we could tell that there was something missing. It seemed like the people were emotionally searching for the spirit or anything that would help them feel close, but the lack of the spirit was evident. It made me really ponder about what the spirit is and what it feels like. It truly is the deep down inner-peace, inner-joy, and the love that we feel for others. It often is hard to describe because the spirit becomes part of us; therefore, who we become often teaches us more about the spirit than words ever could.
     This week has definitely taught me a lot. Sister Berna is doing amazing. Her testimony has grown and she is very confident that she is getting baptized on July 19th. She made the decision that she is going to get baptized whether she has the support of her family or not, and lately she has felt confident enough to start teaching her kids about the restored gospel. There is a glow about her lately that I haven't seen in many other people, but she is being led by the spirit much more often in her life and it has been great to see her growth in the last few months. The joy that we have with these people outweigh the hard times 1000 to 1. There is no fun like missionary fun.
I love you all and hope you have the best week ever! HFF!

PS I have to mention that Elder Rodriguez can do the perfect Nacho Libre voice, and we have all the quotes that dad sent me, so we are becoming one with our inner luchadore. It's been fantastic.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

New Companion--Elder Rodriguez!

This week was another wonderful week. Having Elder Rodriguez here has been amazing because he is a really good missionary. He wants to share the gospel with everyone, he is always upbeat, he is really humble, and he is an all around good disciple of Jesus Christ. We're going to learn a lot and get work done this transfer.
We had some really special experiences with the McCormicks this week. At the end of the lesson we were about to have the prayer, and for some reason (the spirit) we decided to ask their 3 year-old son Max to pray. He had never prayed before, so his dad got down next to him and helped him know what to say. He kind of struggled, but the spirit was so thick. We share messages the strengthen families and we talk about families a lot, but experiences like that are testimony builders of how real this is. Having a strong gospel centered family is totally available to them, and the spirit testified of that during the special prayer. After the prayer it was a time of rejoicing for all of us and everyone had grins from ear to ear.
We also had a cool realization with them that we had been telling them over and over again how much they needed the gospel and it just wasn't what they needed. We were given a talk about the need for others to serve. Joseph Smith said, "A religion the doesn't require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to provoke or produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation". We prayerfully pondered what Zack could do for the ward and then proceeded to let him know that the ward needs his service. Zack said that he felt like that was the motivation he needed to really search this out. He loves to serve and I can totally see him serving as a scout leader in the next few months. We're pretty excited about them.
I'm really grateful to have Elder Rodriguez here and we have a lot of good weeks ahead of us. He knows his stuff and I'm trying to learn quickly from him.
I love you! HFF!
-Elder Hoddy

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

This Work/Sharing The Gospel Is So Much Fun!

This week has been a really cool testimony to me how involved Heavenly Father is in this work. I haven't been able to be in my area very much because I'm staying in another area with a couple elders and President couldn't find me another companion to work with until transfers. However, every time I have been in Choctaw this week, Heavenly Father helped me use the time as effectively as possibly. We were able to have a lot of lessons.
The Ferris family came to Sacrament Meeting this week and it seemed like one of the speakers spoke directly to them. He has been a convert for 10 years and just got released as a bishop in the ward next to us. He talked about the importance of modern day prophets and combined it with his person conversion story. Their daughter even came to church even though she had an ear infection. It seems like many investigators find reasons not to come to church, but they found every reason to come. I'm really excited for the future of this family.
I get a companion on Thursday, Elder Rodriguez. Hopefully he'll teach me Spanish or something cool.
It's been so fun to stay with these Elders. Their area is definitely a city area and there are so many people to talk to everywhere. Sometimes it seems like we can't get anywhere because we're always stopping to talk to people. I guess that's where the Lord needs us though.
This work is so much fun. I can't imagine not doing this right now, and it's just so amazing to be here. On the way to emailing this morning we stopped to get gas, and I got to talk to the guy next to me for a few minutes about his life and what matters to him. It is just such a cool experience to always be talking about the things that matter most and to watch people smile as you share something uplifting with them. Find opportunities to share the gospel, even if it's with the members around you, and you will constantly be reminded of the great blessings you have. I love you all so much! HFF!
-Elder Hoddy

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Early Transfer for Elder Van Halder

This week has been awesome, but it has been super crazy! Elder Van Halder got transferred early and President couldn't find me another companion, so I'm living with the Elders in the ward next to Choctaw and I'm trying to get splits everyday so I still work in the area. It's definitely a new experience not having a companion to help me plan and always have my back, but the members have been awesome and a lot of people volunteered to help me out this upcoming week. The Choctaw ward is awesome.
     This week I read a talk by Elder Bednar called "In the strength of the Lord", and it has made me think a lot about the way Heavenly Father works and what our relationship should be with him. Elder Bednar talks about praying for strength rather than praying for God to fix our problems. Rather than focusing on the redeeming power of the Atonement, he focused on the enabling power that we could have. In stead of praying that God will solve our problems, we can pray for help or inspiration or anything else we need to accomplish the tasks. In Mosiah 24, Alma and the people are in bondage to the Lamanites. They continually pour out their hearts to God and their burdens are eased. He promises to deliver them from bondage and He easily could have done that from the beginning, but instead he strengthens them in their trials. They show their faith and patience, and submit cheerfully to the will of the Lord. After that He delivers them. I think the same thing happens with all of us. We often pray for God to take our challenges away from us when His will is often to strengthen us through them so we can learn. It is like in weights class when we would do as many pull-ups as we could then someone would lift our legs and help us to do more than we can do alone. The reason is always to make us stronger.
      Sister Berna (future Sister Walden) is getting baptized on July 19. I met her clear back in December, and now I'll get to see the entire process from the time we knocked on the door until the time she'll be baptized by the priesthood authority. I feel like I have been blessed with a glimpse of seeing her the way God sees her. She has changed and truly become an amazing disciple of our Savior. I can't wait for her to make those covenants and continue to become a better person.
     I'll probably be in Choctaw til the end of July, so I guess there is still a lot of work for me to do here. I'm learning lots and the ward is growing. I love it here. Thanks for all the support. Have a great week. HFF!
-Elder Hoddy

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Lesson In Gratitude


This week as a missionary was pretty special. But then again I guess every week is. I learned a lot about the greatness of God and what I still lack to become my best self. We all want greater faith, so I've been pondering about ways that I need to grow my faith. Of course the thought came that I need to start with desire and I didn't have enough desire therefore I wasn't doing enough to fuel my faith. I prayed throughout the week asking Heavenly Father to give me greater desire expecting that magically I would want to be the best missionary so badly. Nothing really changed a whole lot though. Finally, almost in frustration, I asked my Heavenly Father what I needed to do to grow desire. My answer came directly... Gratitude. My mistake was want want want without looking at everything that has already been given to me. He's been carrying me up the mountain and I'm not even taking the time to look back and enjoy the view. Although I was seeking good things, I was missing an important point. We don't need to be given more when we don't understand what we already have. In the last couple of days I have been able to focus on, remember, and cherish the goodness of God. The people we teach, the things we are learning, families, and the simple truths of this gospel.

On Saturday we met with the head pastor of a southern Baptist church to discuss the gospel. It was a wonderful experience as he shared testimony of the Savior and we were able to humbly feel the spirit enter into the room. We have many differences in belief, but we were able to put that aside and share with one another our love for Jesus Christ and what that means to us. At the end of the meeting he shared with us his painful experience of losing his 20 year old son 3 years ago. He still had a certain peace about him that I could tell came from his deep studies of the after life and his future relationship with his son, yet he missed the deep joy that comes from some of the simple truths of the gospel. We can live as families forever. Do we often take that for granted? Absolutely. We have been promised an incredible gift that most don't even begin to hope for. And our joyous responsibility as members of the church is to proclaim what others can have and become through their Savior Jesus Christ. Pastor Mark is a great man and someday he'll have the all the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He's not ready yet, but he'll continually be prepared. We must always have hope.

Remember, Remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation (Helaman 5:12)
I love you all! HFF!
-Elder Hoddy

Monday, May 19, 2014

Watching People Change And Desire The Spirit In Their Lives Makes This Worth It!

This has been such an amazing week of my mission. I'm still trying to figure out what has changed with Elder Van Halder and I, but things are just rolling in our area. As missionaries our success is measured primarily by our commitment to find, teach, baptize, confirm, and reactivate God's children. We've thought a lot about that commitment and lately we have tried so hard to have the desire to help these people as much as we possibly can. One of our Zone Leaders was talking to us (this elder is pretty much the stud of our mission) and said, "I can honestly say that I have given everything I can to this mission". I've thought a lot about that because that's also what many of the prophets of the Book of Mormon could say. Each of us should try to be able to say that because we have all been given special knowledge and callings. We are watchmen (Ezekiel 33:1-7)
     We had a really cool experience with Zack this week. We were talking on his porch about marriage and baptism and the church and all that good stuff. We had a really cool member and he bore his testimony about the temple and how special his wife and family are to him. The spirit was thick on the porch and I'm pretty sure I could have pulled out a knife and cut it because it was so thick. That was something that each of us want in our lives and in the closing prayer Zack asked Heavenly Father that his family would be led to the temple. Watching people change and desire the spirit in their lives makes this worth it. Their family is going to make it to the temple someday. It seems like Heavenly Father has supplied all the needed resources for them to join the church now they just need to take the leap. It's coming soon.
     This week we had interviews with our President this week and there was one question that I really wanted to ask him because I've thought a lot about it lately. I asked him how he has grown a relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. He told me a couple of his special experiences in life that testified that They knew him. President Walkenhorst bore a simple testimony that he knew that They loved him and that They knew him and because of that he had a great desire to know Them and that relationship has grown over time.
      I have pondered about how I know that God knows me and my simple and clear answer is because of you. Each of you have been in my life for a special reason and I feel so blessed for my opportunity to have you here. You are my examples, my friends, and my family. Thank you.
We expect miracles.
Elder Hoddy 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Changing The Game In Choctaw!

Wow yesterday was amazing! That was so much fun to talk with each of you and hear about life. There is something special about our family that I wish I saw in a lot more people out here. I don't know if I could keep going without your support and prayers. I love each of you

This week has been amazing as we are continually changing the game out here in Choctaw. The Lord has inspired our mind in many ways and helped us be successful in our commitment to find, teach, and  baptize. We found another family this week that we're pretty excited about and they a really good member friend that is going to be pretty proactive in trying to help him join the Church. The member is a total stud, so we're pumped. I know that the Lord wants these people to be baptized more than we do, so we ponder and pray about what he wants us to do, and He is putting things in place for people to join the church. We were riding our bikes home in a hurry the other day and saw him putting stuff in his truck, so we decided to stop by and at least give him a card. We asked him a couple questions and he seemed pretty interested. It was all because he knew that member and the member had set a great example for years. We could have missed that opportunity if we had continued to ride by. We have to be obedient and we have to follow commandments.

This week I realized how lucky we are simply to understand who Heavenly Father is. There are so many skewed perceptions in the world and so many people don't know many importance things about Him and his Son. It has made me realize how necessary it is to have a relationship with them. We have to be able to talk to them in our times of need and abundance, distress and success, pain and joy, and everything else we'll feel. He is there for us always and a relationship with them is needed for us to become.

Funny story. We got a referral from and went over and taught the guy. He had a young boy running around and yelling, so after a little while I started to entertain him by showing him pictures of Jesus while Elder Van Halder listened to the dad talking. After showing the pictures for a while the kid yelled, "You're Jesus!" I looked at the dad who had the "What the heck are you teaching my kid" look on his face, and quickly explained to the boy that I'm not Jesus. We all chuckled at the nino and moved on.

Anyways life has been great lately and I'm loving the mission. It was amazing to talk to you and I'm proud of who each of you are. I love you. HFF!
-Elder Hoddy



Monday, May 5, 2014

The Blessings Of A Mission Never Stop Giving!

     This was an awesome week. We saw some pretty cool miracles and we have so many exciting things coming up. We were meeting with a less active member this week and she broke down to us how she knew what she needed to be doing and she wanted to get back to the temple. We were so excited to hear that because there is nothing better than seeing someone head towards the temple. We have a couple other people doing that and it gets me pumped to do missionary work.
     We had stake conference this weekend and it was a pretty amazing experience. We got to hear from President and Sister Walkenhorst, the OKC temple president, the stake presidency, and Elder Hansen of one of the quorums of 70. Quite simply it was a spiritual feast. My favorite story was one from Elder Hansen. He was on business in Hawaii where he had served his mission and he was on his way to do an endowment session. Then a call came that he was needed in an emergency business meeting, so he had to go back to work. After the meeting he realized that he still had time to do a session before he had to leave Hawaii. He got there and sat down in the endowment room next to a big Polynesian guy. They acknowledged each other then he looked back and said, "Jimmy?" The guy didn't know who he was, but he explained that he was Elder Hansen and had baptized him 30 years earlier. It was a pretty joyous reunion as they talked in the temple, and it was so amazing that they had been led together on that day in the temple 30 years later. The blessings of a mission never stop giving.
     This week we said goodbye to the two elders that were serving in the ward with us and we welcomed sisters into the ward. It is definitely a lot different, but the ward is super excited and I know we'll be able to accomplish a lot in this ward with their help. We've focused a lot on the youth here and we've seen some amazing movement from them. They've brought friends to seminary, church, stake conference, mutual, and pretty much everything else they can bring a friend to. With the sisters here hopefully we'll get the young women more involved in the work.
     We had really good lesson with the Farris, Walden, and McCormick family this week. They're all doing super well and they'll get baptized sometime soon. It's kind of frustrating because we have to plan weddings and baptisms, but it will all come together eventually. The ward can definitely use the strength of these families, so we'll keep doing our very best.
      Someone asked an interesting question during stake conference this week... What does the hastening of the work mean to you? I've heard that phrase like a thousand times, but I've never put a whole lot of thought into it. The Book of Mormon was the sign of the beginning of many prophecies (3 Nephi 21:1-2). Things are only speeding up and the Lord is hastening his work to match it. This requires more effort than has ever been given before because we don't want to miss out on this exciting time of the hastening of the work of salvation. It's pretty amazing that we all get to be a part of this right now. To me the hastening of the work means that God has created a plan for us to be happy and it is demanding our full efforts, so we can bring with us many of our brothers and sisters.
     I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week.
-Elder Hoddy

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

If God Believes In Them, So Can We....Never Give up On Anyone.

This week has been such an incredible week for us. Transfer calls were last night and I found out that both Elder Van Halder and I get to stay for another transfer. Neither of us wanted to leave so it was such a huge blessing. We're also getting sisters into the other half of our ward so that should be an interesting transition. We're expecting a lot of good things from them and the ward is pretty excited.
      We had some amazing miracles this week. We were riding our bikes to visit a member that is like a mile and half from us, so we used it as an opportunity to talk to some people. We rode by the middle school and saw someone sitting on a lawnmower a ways off. We kept riding because he looked busy and he was kind of far away, but we knew we needed to talk to everyone, so we flipped around to go talk to him. He was totally uninterested and wouldn't take a card or anything, so we left and kept going. When we got to the spot where we had turned around to go talk to the guy, we saw a 14 year old kid walking home from school. He asked if he could introduce himself and told us that we could come over that night to pray with him and his family. We went over that night and were able to talk to him and his mom for a while about the restored gospel. He has had some challenges with bullying and other stuff at school, so we had some applicable conversations about our Savior. God put Collin in our path that day, but we would have missed him if we wouldn't have followed the command to talk to everyone. It was a powerful testimony builder for us that we really need to talk to everyone.
     Then the other day we were walking out of a member's home and we hear, "Hey are you missionaries?" Another 14 year old walked up to us and started talking about his life. His mom is LDS, but he doesn't live with his mom. He told us that we could come over some time and talk to his family. We've been over there twice now and there family has been really prepared for the gospel. The dad reminds me so much of Jake because he struggles to believe in Christ, but he's looking for truth. Jake got to be there for the second lesson and we all got to feel the spirit testify of truth. We see so much good ahead for this family!
      Oh man I could really go on and on about this week because that was just the start of so many miracles. I learned a powerful lesson that we can never give up on anyone here in this life. Heavenly Father has provided us, His children, with a way to be successful in this life and to return to live in His presence. For us to be disciples we have to follow that and plan for others' success and seek to help them reach their potential. Some of these investigators seem like they're never going to move, but some that I had almost given up on are now progressing the fastest. I learned a powerful lesson that everyone has the potential to accept and live the gospel. If God believes in them, so can we.
     Well I'm excited for another transfer here in Choctaw. There is a lot ahead of us. I love you all so much! HFF
-Elder Hoddy