Monday, February 24, 2014

Pinewood Derby As A Missionary tool!

This has been such a good week. We started the week with a training on desire and it really hit home for me. The question was asked, "What can we become?" Of course the answers started coming about how we could be amazing missionaries and more like our Father in Heaven. Then we were reminded of both sides we could become. We could also become lazy missionaries or servants completely content with what we have. The training was all about how our desire leads us to choose and act. Our choices and actions allow us to become something and it all starts with desire. It was a great moment of realization of how much more was available if I would aim higher. It gave me a desire for desire and that has been something I've been praying for and it has helped us really get going.
      We had some amazing experiences this week, but the best one was probably with Zack and Felicia. We tried to plan a really powerful lesson plan and came up with the idea to talk about the temple. We have a couple of magazines all about the temples, so we showed them those and talked about them becoming an eternal family. At one point we showed them a picture of a sealing room and asked them if they'd like to be sealed as a family. Zack told us that his family matters to him more than anything else and that's what they want. We tied that in with baptism and asked them if they would follow Christ's example and be baptized. He told us that he felt like he needed to develop greater faith and repentance first which is perfect because those are the two requirements for someone to be baptized. Elder Van Halder was bearing powerful testimony and we think that we'll be able to baptize this family. Please pray for them because they are so ready for this gospel.
      We had some other great lessons this week and have a had a lot of fun. We're trying to get to know more of the Less Active members in our area and get them back to church. Our area is pretty big though, so we're driving all over the place and seeing a whole lot of the Oklahoma country. We've had some really good conversations and we're starting to see increased activity. There is this one guy that hasn't been to church for years, but he is the nicest guy and reads and prays daily. We found out that he loves wood working and turns out there is an adult pinewood derby competition coming up, so we're going to build a car with him then get him to the activity and to church. His wife loves to paint, so we're going to have her paint it and hopefully we can start teaching her the lessons because she's not a member. Wow that is one of most beautiful little schemes we've had in a while.
      Haha ok so during our lesson with Zack and Felicia, they were looking up a scripture and Elder Van Halder whispered to me and told me that I'm awesome. I whispered back that he was more awesome. Then we had a little whisper battle about who was more awesome. We looked up to find Zack and Felicia staring at us and it was so hilariously awkward. Zack said, "I like to whisper too". Ha at least he's seen Elf, so that means we're good friends, and we made a good joke about it. The lesson still turned out amazing. We sure are the best dweeb headed elders around. Who else has this much fun?
      We had a lot of adventure this week and we even ate at this scary little chinese place that was only four dollars for the buffet. We have no idea what we ate, we are not going back, and we don't know what the food is going to do to us, but it sure was a good time, and there was this little asian man named Kevin that we talked to for a while.
      Well missions sure are a blast and I'm having such a good time. I found this really cool scripture during studies yesterday. 2 Nephi 9:18 But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.
      Heaven has been prepared for us as we continue to prepare ourselves to live forever as a family. Our joy shall be full forever. HFF!
Elder Hoddy

Monday, February 17, 2014

Timing is Everything/Miracles/Fruits of Youth Fireside

This has been another great week as a missionary. We got to see some great miracles with some of our members and we have high goals for this upcoming week. We were visiting a member a few weeks ago and they told us about a young family who had just moved in across the street. We went over and talked to this guy named Zack that ended up listening to the entire Restoration lesson. We welcomed them into the neighborhood (even though we don't live very close to there) and told them all about the amazing church we go to. The next time we went over his wife Felicia was there and we were able to invite them to volleyball night. We have been able to get them to come to a coule of activities but they weren't ready to come to church. Then yesterday they decided to show up to church and they had a great time. Our ward did a wonderful job at fellowshipping and we got to sit back and watch the magic happen. It was really cool to watch the spirit lead them to church because we have tried to leave that commitment in the past, but they weren't ready to come. The Lord always provides.

Elder Van Halder is doing amazing here. He may have seemed like a new missionary for the first few days, but his confidence and enthusiasm continues to grow and it seems like he is a major part in all the parts of the work. It is crazy to see how much he grew in just a few days and he definitely has the qualities to become a great leader in this mission. We have a lot in common and we are having so much fun together. This is going to be such a fun transfer.
We got to eat with some really fun families this week that have tons of kids and things are always crazy. It is so much fun to see the importance of families and how cool it is to see all the things they get out of having brothers and sisters. It seems like every dinner appointment these days Elder Beus and I bust out a rhyme battle and things get heated. I don't even know how they get started, but the kids sure love them and we have a good time. The good news is that I win everytime like 60% of the time. It's great.

This week I learned a lot about timing during lessons. We had a great spiritual lesson with an investigator family and left them with an invitation which they declined. On the way home the member that was with us called us out on our timing and taught us a powerful lesson. We have been working so hard to have spiritual lessons, but we were leaving commitments at points where the spirit was not at it's crowning point. He told us about planning to make the big invitations right after big spiritual experiences like the first visions or someone's powerful testimony. We tried that on the next investigator we saw and they said yes even though they had not been extrememly excited in previous lessons. It was just another reminder of how important the spirit is in our teaching.
We are already beginning to see the fruits of the youth fireside that we did. It seems like there's always another one coming up and telling us how he invited his friend to mutual or gave out a Book of Mormon. It is so cool to see the youth lead the charge because they add so much energy to the work. Some of those kids are so stinking funny too. They always have good stories to tell us and some of them are just so interesting.
Wow this email is kind of scattered but another cool story is with the Pyeatt couple. We knocked on their house a couple weeks ago and he told us that he wanted to tour our church building, so we set an appointment to show them around. We couldn't find a member to come with us, but when we got there a member from another ward was there and was able to tell about his experience meeting with the missionaries and bear testimony of Christ's restored church. We were able to tell about how our meetings are run, the sacrament, and some other cool things. Then we sat down and went through the Restoration lesson. The spirit was so strong in the building, and they accepted baptism if they find it's true. They are a miracle.
Oh man there were so many amazing stories this week but I'll leave it at that. This church is so true and the Lord provides for his missionaries. I can't believe how many miracles we are seeing and it would not be possible without him. Thank you for all the support and the prayers for this work. I love you so much.
-Elder Hoddy

Friday, February 14, 2014

New Companion/Fun Youth Fireside

(We didn't get a family letter this week so I am posting my mom letter:)
Ha oh man Jace is so funny. I keep trying to tell him that girls have cooties, but it is just not working. The new Elder that I'm training is amazing. We're having a ton of fun and he has such a strong testimony. His name is Elder Van Halder from Nampa Idaho. I think that's by Boise. I'm glad that Jace is having fun playing basketball and I definitely wish I would have stuck with basketball for a bit longer.

 This week has been so much fun. We were able to have a lot of lessons even though we spent Monday and Tuesday saying goodbye to people. Elder Park grew a lot of amazing relationships in the 6 months he's been here. He definitely created a great foundation for us to work in this area and I really hope that this place is thriving by the time I leave. We did a fireside for the youth last night and it was just a whole mess of fun. We had a bunch of kids come up and everyone else would get to choose their scenario and what they had to invite us to do (church, meet with missionaries, mutual, etc.) Then we would be the non-members and they would talk to us and invite us to do things. The whole thing ended up being hilarious with the youth being pretty creative. I'll probably talk a bit more about it in the family email.

Anyways momma this week was great and life is so wonderful. Sometimes I wonder what I would do without this gospel. One of the greatest problems that we face is that people don't have a desire to find the truthfulness of our message. We are teaching this super nice guy named Kevin and he's pretty interested. His wife listened in and we asked her what it would mean to her if the Book of Mormon was true. She basically told us that it wouldn't mean anything because it was her tradition to be Methodist and she didn't reallly care if it was true. That was sad because there is so much more available to these people. If we don't have a desire to change and follow our Savior we will never inherit the Celestial Kingdom. That same thing goes for everyone. Our desire for truth and greater discipleship will lead us into the gates of eternal life. This gospel is so much fun to be a part of and brings lasting joy into our lives. I somehow ended up with the best momma possible too.

I hope you have an amazing week and continually look for the good. You are a great example to many.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Farewell To Elder Park An Awesome Companion!


Sounds like you had a great week. It's good to hear that you enjoy getting so much out of church and the scriptures. I have included the bible as a huge part of my study and there are so many little treasures in there. Some books like Leviticus and Numbers are just way too long though. That's exciting that you got to go to the temple as well. There is something so special about the temple and the spirit that is felt there. I wish I would have got my endowments out a lot earlier because I've still only gone through the temple 3 times. I guess there is still a lifetime to go though. Have you ever read the book Jesus the Christ? That book was written in the temple, but I've only read a few chapters.

       Well we found out that Elder Park is leaving on Wednesday. He's headed to Moore Oklahoma which should be a good time for him. He hasn't served in the city yet, but that's right where the tornado hit last year, and tornado season is coming real soon. My new companion is getting a long transfer here from Provo, so hopefully he's excited to do some work. I hear new missionaries are usually pretty motivated, so we should have a good time.

       This week has been another amazing week. We found some new investigators which is always really exciting and we're hoping that we'll be able to see them progress all the way towards baptism. Our goals are pretty high, so we're going to see what we can do. One of the investigators we found we actually knocked into a couple weeks ago. We had tried him twice when we had members out with us, but we hadn't been able to meet with him. We even had a planned appointment with him one of the times. We were kind of frustrated because we were hoping that everything would just work out, but Heavenly Father had better plans for us. The third time we tried to meet with him we took over the member that He needed us to have with us. We went into the home and there was an amazing connection because they knew each other's families. Now we have great fellowship for that investigator and we had an awesome lesson. I guess we can't fail with the Lord on our side. Everything can be considered a success in one way or the other.

      Anyways just remember that I love you. This gospel is true and it's worth living. Have a good week Momma! HFF


Elder Hoddy

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Wise Man Built His House Upon a Rock

(letter from Monday January 26th--I'm behind one week--will don better this week:)
Wow it sounds like lots of fun things are going on back home. Elder Park and I were just talking this morning about how it's crazy that we've almost been out for 9 months. I remember being in the MTC and thinking that two years sounded more like eternity, and coming out here it didn't seem much faster. After about 3 months everything changed though and my mind accepted that missionary work was my life. Then coming here with Elder Park it has gone even faster because all of the fun we're having. Elder Park has been in this area for 6 months, so I'm pretty sure he'll be leaving in a week and a half. That is super sad to me because he's been such a great companion.
      This week we've been focusing a lot more on getting members involved in the work. Elder Park and I have found 28 investigators since we've been together, but we've already had to drop 10 of them and the other ones are moving super slow. The people who get baptized are almost always the ones that have members to support them every step of the way. We actually spoke in church this week and talked to members how we could work together. We were asked to give 12 minutes talks, but as missionaries we all over planned and had like 25 minutes talks prepared. By the time it was our turn to speak we only had like 5 minutes though, so I ended up sharing a little bit of Jake's story. In one of his emails to me he talked about how I had met a mean person who didn't need my gospel but along the way it became our gospel. Meeting him has definitely kept me going on my mission. There's nothing much better than watching someone completely change because of the gospel.
      We also gave a lesson this week in gospel principles about agency. It has kind of been burdening my mind that about 30% of our members hold current temple recommends. Growing up in Utah we had so much security to stay in the church, but we see a lot of the challenges that people go through here. God didn't make it easy to live the gospel he only made it worth it. Who lived a harder life than Joseph Smith, Peter, Paul, or Christ himself? They had so many hard things yet they did more for this world than anyone else. I wish people just understood how much they miss out on from not actively enjoying the blessings of the gospel. That is why it is so exciting to see Jake have such an excitement about the gospel.
       Oh ya I was wondering if I ever got a missionary plack thingy. I don't remember if you said that I had one, but if there isn't one I would definitely like one and my favorite scripture would definitely be Helaman 5:12; And now, my sons, remember, remember, that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fail.
       Anyways, I love you so much and hope you have an amazing week. Sorry you didn't get to go to the Pink concert but keep that little chinny chin up. Love you
 -Elder Hoddy