Tuesday, January 21, 2014

You Must Ask For God's Help

(This post has 2 letters, one to momma hoddy and one to the family)
Wow sounds like a pretty crazy week. The libraries were closed yesterday so we didn't get to email, but we can always find time. Sounds like everything is going well back home and you're learning lots about the gospel.
      This week I learned a whole lot more about some simple aspects of the gospel. Early in the week we lost some of our best investigators which was pretty rough, but we pressed forward searching for new ones. We found a lot of potentials, but we couldn't find new investigators so we started fasting to find people and get them to church. On Saturday we had the most awesome day planned out. We had 5 set appointments, many investigators to visit, and potentials to try. We called a few members to come out teaching with us because we had so much to do. Well to make it a short story pretty much everything fell through. We actually only got into one house that day. I sat pondering and asking why everything was falling apart. Saturday was supposed to be our redemption from a hard week, but instead it was becoming our hardest day. Well it turns out that Heavenly Father didn't need us to have amazing success that day. He needed better disciples out of us. I learned that we needed a lot more faith and hope. Relying on our own talents was never going to achieve the success that He wanted us to have. He needed us to become better. We were able to get into one lesson that day and it was amazing. I'll talk about it a bit more in the family email. The day reminded me a lot of the C.S. Lewis quote. "You must ask for God's help. Even when you have done so, it may seem to you for a long time that no help, or less help than you need is being given. Nevermind. After each failure, ask forgiveness, pick yourself up, and try again... The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection." We learned to rely on God with faith and hope, be diligent and never give up, and that He will never forsake us or leave us alone. It turned out to be one of the best days of my mission. How blessed are we to be trusted with trials.
      This upcoming week we have so many amazing things so we're excited. Sound like life back home is going great. Just remember that faith, hope, and charity will conquer anything. I love you so much mom. Have a good week.
 -Elder Hoddy
Alright so this has been a good week. We have an investigator named Tom who just came to church for the second week in a row which is huge because missionary work has been pretty slow for a long time in the ward. We have been trying to figure out how to help him read the Book of Mormon because he's old and couldn't read the normal size print. Then a member saved us and gave him one of his larger print copies, so now he's reading and coming to church. That right there is a good combination. We went over on Saturday for a lesson and his daughter was there who is hard core baptist. We were having a lovely conversation and decided to ask her a question, and she started going off on the Book of Mormon and the church. Ha she had just been waiting for her chance to start talking about it. Everything she said was just the run of the mill stuff that their pastors tell them to say. She started out pretty angry about our religion and especially that we were meeting with her dad, but slowly during the lesson her question were answered and she was able to feel the spirit. By the end of the lesson the spirit had completely taken over and we were all joking and laughing. She took a Book of Mormon and said she would read it. She said she wants to try and disprove it so that is awesome. If she can disprove it, she'll be the first person ever to do so. Ya we'll make a Mormon out of her.
       This week we had a few challenges because investigators were no longer wanting to meet. It is so hard because the people without great fellowship usually turn to the wrong sources for answers. We learned a lot about faith, hope, and charity though, and we know He will help us and we try to strengthen our area.
       We also had a cool experience when we knocked into an atheist who was willing to talk with us. It was realy weird because we almost didn't know what to say. We are way too used to talking with people who believe in Christ, so it was an interesting conversation. He wants to learn more though because he said that he hasn't found the answers that he looks for when he has studied with other churches. Good news for him because we have this little thing called the Book of Mormon to answer his questions.
      I hope everything continues to go well for you. I love you all so much.
 -Elder Hoddy

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Another Amazing Week!

So this has been another one of those weeks as a missionary. They're all amazing so we can't complain. I had some great insight as we visited a less-active couple that we've been trying to get back to church for a while now. We were with their home teacher when we stopped by, so we had a lesson and talked about coming back to church and going to the temple. I realized that their home teacher had been working towards the same goals that we had been working for, but as we came together for a lesson on this occasion it made all the difference and they finally made the committment to come to church. Often times it is frustrating because we thing that our efforts go unnoticed by the ward, but that is kind of hypocritical of us because often times we don't recognize the efforts that they make. It was so cool to see the spirit of missionaries and home teacher combine to bring someone back to church. We need our member active, so that we can hasten the work. There is all the excitement that we have over 80,000 missionaries, but there were over 80,000 back in the 1840's. Today we have over 15,000,000 and we need them all to accomplish this great work.
A while ago we ran into a super nice guy named Tom. He's a bit older, but he's one of our nicest investigators and he's always available to meet which is such a blessing. We've been going over pretty frequently to read the Book of Mormon to him and discuss the missionary lessons. His eyes aren't the best so he can't really read super well, but he loves hearing the stories and the message it contains. He also came to church yesterday which was really cool to see. He's had a lot of problems with other churches he's been a part of, so we're happy to see that he's found the Church of Jesus Christ. We see a lot of good things in his future.
One of the biggest blessings we have is that we are teaching a family right now. The parents came to church last week and loved it, but the kids aren't quite as excited. We met with the parents last night and had an amazing lesson about eternal families and modern-day prophets. There were so many people who talked about that last week in testimony meeting and it was almost like it meant just for them because they had so many questions about it for us. They now understand priesthood authority and are talking about baptism and the temple. They are such miracles and will strengthen the ward so much.
Ha so we knocked into a Jehovah Witness lady this week and had a fun conversation. She was a super nice lady, but obviously doesn't believe everything we do. She kept calling us babe and the scene in Hot Rod kept screaming into my mind. Ha it was pretty bad, but hopefully she'll read the Book of Mormon because of that conversation. I was surprised at how well versed she was in the Bible. Now she just needs to add the stick of Ephraim to that knowledge and get the ball rolling.
Oh and one other good story. We knocked into a guy named Jim, who was a nice guy but wasn't interested. He had been to one of the jails that Joseph Smith had been in and knew a decent amount about the LDS faith. He said it probably wouldn't be worth our time, but we were able to leave him with a prayer. We knocked on the next door, but kept having the feeling that we needed to go back. Finally we discussed it and prayed about it then decided to go back. He came to the door with the "what the heck are you doing at my door again" face, but somehow the spirit guided the conversation and we ended up talking to him for like half an hour. He said we could come back, and we were able to leave him with the restoration pamphlet.
Well this has been a great week. There are always miracles around us and Elder Park and I have worked hard to notice those. Heavenly Father plays a huge roll in our life and is always watching out for us. I love you all so much. HFF!
Elder Hoddy

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Amazing Companion, Amazing Ward, Amazing Investigators.....Life is Good!

Wow it is so much fun to hear about the trip to Mexico. I am so jealous that I didn't get to go and help those amazing people, but I am so grateful that my wonderful family had the chance. I read an excellent talk this week about Jesus Christ's gospel being about becoming. Looking in the past to see what we've done is important, but Heavenly Father doesn't care nearly as much about where we have been as where we are right now and, with his help what we are willing to become. Opportunities like that, though they be challenging and long, teach us how to be better and mold us into the disciples of Christ that he needs us to be. Chances to serve should never be taken lightly because we get to emulate Christ's greatest attribute charity.

 The holidays definitely took its toll on us as missionaries because we weren't able to meet with most of our investigators and knocking on doors is so counterproductive ("Hi we're missionaries and we have a message about being with our families, but we're going to take you away from your family on Christmas"). It was hard straying from the normal schedule because missionary work drives us, and when we were unable to do that it became easy for us to want to be home doing normal things. However, everything is back to normal and we really hit the ground running. We were led to new investigators right after the new year, so we now have over 20 investigators which is much better than the 0 we had a month and a half ago. We had a couple of lessons with the family that we are teaching and they are going super well. Then yesterday was a miracle because the parents and their youngest son came to sacrament meeting. The ward was really excited about that because they haven't seen a whole lot of missionary success lately, but Elder Park has been leading us to a lot of success and the ward is seeing the fruits of missionary work. I seriously have an amazing companion, in an amazing ward, with amazing investigators. Life is so good.

Well it's always good to hear from you guys and I love you so much. Have a good week and a good year.
Elder Hoddy

Buck up Momma/3 Different Reasons for Trials

(This Dec 30th letter is in response to Jake's mom complaining and whining about her experience in Mexico building houses.  Oh to be as positive as Elder Hoddy....that is my quest.)
Dang that stinks that things are rough down there. I can definitely see why Clarissa didn't go down there because this was definitely not meant to be the ideal vacation; however, think of the stories that you can tell for the rest of your life if you put all your effort into this. There is so much good that you can do for those people, so make the most of it. I wish I could trade you places and work down there for a week or two. Acceptance is the key. Ha that's the only quote you sent me out here with and I have definitely read that on a few occasions when things weren't the best. In this life we have trials for 3 different reasons... to bring us to repentance, to refine our character, and/or to redirect our lives. What do you think you can learn from this?

Life here in Oklahoma has been pretty interesting this week. With the Holidays our investigators haven't been able to meet and knocking doors often seems counterproductive. We're not supposed to proselyte New Years Eve or Day either, so it has been hard to stay motivated. We can't wait for the New Year, so we can start fully working again. I miss our investigators.

There's also probably a lot of missionary work you can do there in Mexico. Will you try and give those missionaries a referral for someone who seems willing to listen to the gospel? That would be an awesome family goal and the missionaries there would love you forever. I read this morning in Genesis 48 about the tribe of Ephraim and its role. In the JST there are some awesome insights about what we're supposed to do in leading the charge of Salvation and the accompanying blessings that come with that. We are so blessed to be born in the covenant and to be part of the lives that we live. You are amazing mom, and there is so much good that you can do. No one else can do what you can do, so look for those small opportunities to find the good and share that with others. I love you so much and enjoy the spirit of Christ(mas) as you make others' lives a little bit better.
Elder Hoddy