Monday, March 31, 2014

April Fools!!!

This week has been pretty good. Elder Van Halder and I have had some rough patches and things aren't going as well as they used to. We've kind of been talking about coming home because we're not sure that we're doing much good out here. I'd be able to make it home for Clarissa's wedding too. We're planning on calling the mission president tonight and we'll let you know how it goes. It seems like no one really wants to join the church anymore because most people don't look for truth and the members don't really want to share the gospel because all of their friends get offended when they talk about it. The more I ponder and pray the best use of my time would probably be back at college.
      Family! I'm sad that I'm missing out on a great april fools days with you tomorrow and that short paragraph was all I was able to give you. I was trying to scheme up something good for you, but that was all I got. Sorry about that. Anyways, this week has been such a blast. There's so much to talk about, but I'll try and stick to some of the highlights. First and least important but totally awesome, we felt 2 earthquakes on Saturday. We were pumped because you don't get to feel those every day and there were two of them.
      Second and the best part of the week, the Waldens are totally back in the game. They texted us a few weeks ago that they wanted to stay with the church of christ, but with a lot of member support they are investigating again and plan to be baptized. They brought a couple of their kids to cub scouts this week and they came to church yesterday! They are gaining a lot of support from the members here and they're ready to find the truth for themselves. A member that she works with gave her Tad R. Callister's CES devotional about the blueprints of Christ's Church. I really wish every Christian in the world would read that because it shows that the Church of Jesus Christ in the meridian of time is the same as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints. They were pretty excited and we'll probably set a date for baptism pretty soon.
      We got to teach the combined fifth sunday lesson on missionary work yesterday. The members really took over during it and we got to watch the spirit touch each of their hearts. We watched a video from the hastening the work of salvation broadcast which really set the tone for the meeting. Then we began talking about our purpose as missionaries and focused on extending invitations. In our fireside with the youth a few weeks ago we really focused on invitations, so we had some of them come up and share their experiences as they've invited their friends to do things. This was definitely the best part because the feeling was so amazing in the room as the youth got up there, shared their experiences, and bore their testimony. It is so crazy how much power the youth of the church hold, and how much good they can truly do. They have been a driving force for the missionary work here, and hopefully they'll get their parents to join them. Our bishop ended the meeting with a powerful testimony and asked the ward to fast for missionary opportunities the week after conference. With the effort that everyone is putting in, we are about to see miracles in even greater abundance. If people will make the effort to have their friends taught in their homes, I know that many of their friends will be baptized.
      Thanks for all the support. There is no better work than the Lord's work and He wants each of us to have success as we build His kingdom. I love you all!
 -Elder Hoddy

Monday, March 24, 2014

I Glory in Plainess; I Glory in Truth; I Glory in My Jesus...2 Nephi 33:7

This has definitely been a week of miracles. A few weeks ago we got a text from the family we were working with that said they wanted to stay with their church. We sat there for like 10 minutes because we were so bummed out and we couldn't figure out what we needed to do. Her boss is a member and on the high council here and has started working with her a lot though. We met with them again this week and we still have a chance. She respects her boss a lot, so we're hoping something amazing can come out of that. We don't know what exactly we need, but we're going to have a miracle baptism here soon.
     Zack and Felicia are still doing really well. We had some good short lessons with them and they seemed excited about all of this. Elder Van Halder keeps reminding me that I just need a little patience because they'll get there. We just need to help them understand the gospel and invite them to partake in the goodness.
     It's crazy to see how confident Elder Van Halder is these days. In just a few short weeks he has become such a powerhouse. It almost seems like he's at the end of his mission because he is getting so good at teaching. He's always cracking good jokes and making everyone laugh then baptizing people with his majestic words. Ha he's got the whole package.
      I have definitely learned a lot about power in the first three chapters of 1 Nephi. It's usually not very easy to get investigators to read, but starting from the beginning with them and just going through it definitely sparks interest. Nephi is just such a boss. By the end of 2 Nephi he has become such a powerful prophet. I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my sould from hell 2 Nephi 33:7. It is so amazing to read about these great prophets of the past and the strength that they had. Hopefully I'll be able to be as bold as he was someday.
 I love you family! HFF
 -Elder Hoddy

Monday, March 17, 2014

First and Last Place at Pinewood Derby

(I forgot to post last week's letter so I have posted today's letter and last week's letter today:)

Alright this week has been so much fun. Elder Van Halder and I are killing it here. Our focus has really been on part-member families lately and we have been praying to find some that we could bring to the gospel. We didn't think we really had anyone to work with, but now we have a good list of names and 2 solid investigators. It has been a dream because it seems like everyone we have found by  knocking doors eventually stopped investigating. We still have a couple of good options though.
     We got to go to the temple on Tuesday which was a dream come true because it has been too long. We all took questions in there and had a little training beforehand on receiving revelation. We got there a little bit early, so we were able to study a little bit and read through our patriarchal blessings. I was able to gain so many insights about who I am and who I should be. It was humbling and rebuking, but I feel so motivated. While in the temple I imagined some of the people we're working with making it there as well as some of the people that have already converted. There were powerful feelings of how important this work is, as I imagined those people making it all the way to be endowed and sealed. We have taught a lot of temple lessons lately because our goal for these people is nothing less that eternal life.
     I got to go on exchanges with our district leader, Elder Ott, this week and was able to learn a lot. We saw a lot miracles too. We decided to knock on a random door and began talking with the lady that came out. Turns out their family was a member but hadn't been to church in almost 10 years. She said that they were thinking about coming back and we happened to knock on the right door. We also went to visit someone on the ward roster that we hadn't met. Turns out it's a part-member family and they're planning on coming to church soon. They said we could come by this week and share a message. The Lord is providing and Elder Van Halder is teaching me a lot on how to really rely on Him.
     Haha alright so the good ol' pinewood derby. Brother Lumley decided he wasn't going to come, which was super lame, but we've learned a lot about him the last couple times we went over and had some good conversations with his wife as well. He shared some big reasons why he doesn't come to church, so we're going to tackle those and get him active. Hopefully he can help his wife after that. He built a semi truck for us, so we were sure our super arrow dynamic car was going to win. Well our first race against the cubscouts went pretty well and we ended up getting 8th (there were only 8 racers, but we can't win everything). Then we had the beautiful insight that we could strap a hammer to the bad boy since we didn't have any weight rules. Haha those cub scouts didn't know what hit em. Our little Thor monster cruised down for a 1st place finish. We didn't stay long, but it only took us a few minutes to earn bragging rights with the 8-11 years old kids. Life is treating us well.
     We've had a lot of good experiences and we're pretty motivated to make this week amazing. Love you all.
-Elder Hoddy

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Simple Principles of Faith

This has definitely been another wonderful week. It has had its struggles with the loss of investigators, but that has definitely allowed us to refocus our efforts and I know Heavenly Father has a lot of reasons for this. We have found part-member families and decided that we are going to try to focus and reactivating them and baptizing their family members. We got some really good council on it from other missionaries and we're ready to go.
Zack and Felicia are still going strong. We met with him last night and talked about the simples principles of faith. We read in Matthew 14 about Peter walking on water and left them with 1 Nephi 17 because we're going to talk about the ships they need to build in their life to be baptized and get to the temple. When we walked into the lesson we could tell that Zack had the weighed down attitude of a long week. After discussing faith and the potential they held, we left a happy and smiling family for the night. The spirit had changed his demeanor and he recognized what it had done for them. It was uplifting and powerful. We are trying to focus every lesson we teach on the Doctrine of Christ (4th article of faith), and it has changed everything. We fell into a bad routine of trying to teach lessons briefly mentioning that and our lessons lost so much power. We were giving them good information, but now we're trying to help them apply the gospel to their lives.
We have this super fun couple that we're teaching named Dominique and Bud. Dominique is extremely outgoing and she loves to talk. Bud is your classic guy that's super chill and is always cracking jokes. We planned to take them on a tour of the church building this week, so we decided to fight fire with fire and took the most talkative members here. Haha it was so funny. Elder Van Halder and I hardly talked at all, but we got to watch the magic as they connected really well. Our members led most of the tour and invited them to church. The only thing we really talked about was the Sacrament and that was really powerful. We ended the tour at the sacrament table and watched as the spirit testified how important it was. Earlier they told us that they would never be Mormon, but their heart has been softened a lot from reading and learning. They still have a ways to go, but they will definitely make their journey.
Haha little side note... So one of ward members fed us roast beef and mashed potatoes this week. I watched another little pan that had to have the vegetable in it, so I was sure they had the full porntatoes special, but they had green beans. Kind of dissapointing, but there will be plenty of those in years to come. I love you so much! HFF!
-Elder Hoddy

Monday, March 3, 2014

Obedience Pays Off!

Awesome New Companion Straight from the Provo Missionary Training Cntr
Alright this week has definitely been a blast. On Tuesday Jake Parson drove here from the city and went teaching with us. It was so weird to have him on the other side of the table teaching instead of investigating, but he was a powerful member to support the lessons. We were able to meet with Zack and Felicia that night and had a great lesson. We read from 3 Nephi 11 and talked about the Book of Mormon. Jake was able to share his conversion story and all the struggles he went through to find the truth for himself. Zack was asking him questions and the spirit was so strong. We talked to them about setting a baptismal date for March 29 and asked them to pray and talk about it as a couple. Then on Friday we had dinner with them and the Allen family in the ward. After, we had a dinner and reviewed the Restoration and Doctrine of Christ lessons. They accepted the baptismal date and are excited to continue to learn more. We see so much hope and potential in their family.
     On Wednesday we decided to cruise down to the bottom of our boundary and visit all the less active members that we had never met. We met some pretty interesting people and had a good time. There were so many houses that we were scared to knock on and some crazy dirt roads, but we had a good ol time. I wish we had the time to visit them a lot more because there are definitely some members that would become active if we could just give them a little more attention. Then that night we visited Dominique and Bud who are a hilarious couple. We were talking and reading from the Book of Mormon and somehow the story of the 3 wisemen came up. Bud started going off about the story adding in all these crazy details. He is a pretty good story teller and he was making it pretty dang funny. I can't even do the story an ounce of justice because he told it so amazing. I'm not sure if he heard some of those crazy things or if he was just making it up on the spot, but apparently "the wisemen went into the house and threw down the presents. The first two look at the third saying, 'We brought soap and candles, and you come in and throw down a bag of gold? What happened to the 20 dollar limit buddy?" We were all rolling which probably took away from the spirit and we can't figure out why anyone would talk about a dollar limit for the birth of our Savior. I seriously love Oklahoma. I wouldn't trade these people for anything and all the great things they bring into our life.
     One of the little tender mercies of the Lord this week was at the end of one of our days. We got dropped off a little early, so we had 15 minutes before 9 and we weren't sure what to do for the last few minutes before we're supposed to go in. We went and checked our mail, and I asked Elder Van Halder how we could be the most effective for the last few minutes of our day? He told me that we would probably be most effective going in early and planning our day. I felt the same way, but I was praying that somehow he could understand the blessings of being obedient and staying out until 9. We decided to walk around the block for a few minutes, so we would get in on time. As we were walking a house stuck out to us and we decided to knock on it. We don't usually do that because Oklahomans don't usually like us knocking in the dark when it's cold. The guy came out and told us that we could come back and chat sometime and that his neighbor would be probably be interested as well, so we ran to his neighbors and he said we could come back as well. We got 2 great potential investigators right there. Sometimes I wonder what all of us miss out on by not being as obedient as we could be.
     We had another snow storm this weekend which cancelled church. That was super lame because we had some investigators that were going to come, but we still had some fun. We went biking around to visit people and we were sliding all over the place. The snow was pelting us in the face, and it was awesome because this area has a lot of hills. Going down hill we would get some pretty good sliding action. We did the same thing this morning for P-day, but the sun is out, so it was a lot better.
      It seems like time is flying by and life is so good. I love you so much family and I'm so grateful that we have the gospel in our lives. It's pretty scary to imagine what life would be like without it. The hand of the Lord is continually in our life and so many blessings available. HFF!