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 Mormon.org 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