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 today...so 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