Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It's Been A Glorious Two Years!

It's been a glorious two years. I really don't know how to express my gratitude as I look back to the amazing memories, friends, and opportunities. There are few gifts I cherish more than the opportunity to serve in the Oklahoma City Mission.

One email could never explain all that someone learns in two years, but I'll share a couple things today. In John 6 a group of people seeking for Jesus, finally find him and he says to them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled".

These words hit home. We don't seek our Savior because it's the popular thing or because we're scared of punishment. We experience Christ and we want more. We taste of his love, glory, and mercy. Without hesitation we desire more. Then as your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase. I seek my Savior because of the special experiences we have had together.

After two years of labor I will come home with 2 suitcases, relationships, and conversion. What was given to me out of this experience was better than anything I could have imagined. I now have an Oklahoma family and I better understand my heavenly family. The sacred relationships with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are treasured above all else.

It has been so hard to think about leaving this life. I love walking the streets holding the Book of Mormon. I love the mindset of trying to figure out how to tie conversations into the restoration. I love bearing testimony frequently of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I have loved the opportunity to serve this way and I'm really going to miss it.

Now I will look forward to the future service opportunities.

I could go on and on about the amazing things of the mission. And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

Signing off for the last time,
Elder Hoddy

Sunday, May 10, 2015

It All Comes Down To The Atonement Of Jesus Christ

We had a mission conference with Elder Corbridge (photo above) of the seventy yesterday which was an incredible experience. That's why we didn't email yesterday. It was amazing to see the confidence that he taught with as he talked about baptism for the remission of sin and the way we teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. It all comes down to the Atonement. Everything else points to that and things that don't point to it aren't worth our time. We watched a short video of the Garden of Gethsemane and he asked us to describe the message in two words. Someone immediately responded, "Thank you!" It was such an incredible moment as we felt an immense gratitude for our Savior. Elder Corbridge gave us the words he had, but he said they weren't as good. It is amazing to watch the way general authorities teach.

Another amazing thing that happened was that Haley (photo above) got baptized on Saturday! It has been so cool to see the transformation as she has grown in the gospel. She didn't know if she even believed in God when we first started meeting with her, but she has prayed many times and gotten answers. She has read a lot of the Book of Mormon, and she has been coming to church every week. She seems so much happier now. I don't know everything that goes on in her head, but it has been a great opportunity to be her missionaries. During the baptism as the words were being said there was an incredible peace. She has now been baptized by the priesthood authority for the remission of sins. Haley is eternally better off because of this decision.

Have a good week Momma! Love you.

-Elder Hoddy

Thursday, April 30, 2015

We Will Become New Creatures...How Cool Is That!

This has been another solid week! We've seen a lot of miracles and the zone has seen incredible growth. 

We had a really cool opportunity talking to a Less Active friend this week. It was a great time chatting with him and we had one of our favorite members with us. At the end he shared that he had a huge struggle with God because his daughter has had special needs her whole life and he doesn't understand why God would do that. It was a special opportunity to bear testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the resurrection. We don't know if he will ever understand why this happened, but he can find peace and acceptance. We hope that he will gain that.

A few scriptures I wanted to share.

Matthew 4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Christ has better things for us and he invites us to change, but to obtain something we need to leave where we are now.

Helaman 5:10 ...the Lord surely should come to redeem his people, but that he should not come 
to redeem them in their sins, but to redeem them from their sins.

Our Savior isn't content with us being stuck in the mud. He wants to help us out of it. He didn't atone for our sins, so that we remain imperfect. He atoned so we can be like him. He redeems us from our sinds instead of in our sins.

Mosiah 27:25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;
 26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.

We will become new creatures! How cool is that! We leave behind the past. We are redeemed. The natural man becomes extinct and we see a reflection of our beloved Savior instead. God wants us to be better. I love the truths taught of our Heavenly Father teaching us.
Elder Christofferson said, "A God who makes no demands is the functional equivalent of a God who does not exist". He does require that no unclean thing can enter into the kingdom of God.

Life teaches us about what truly matters. We put so much effort into things sometimes only to realize we're left with nothing in return. Spiritual matter will always leave us filled. Church, prayer, reading, fhe, temples, and all spiritual things will leave us filled everytime and we will look back with gratitude for the amazing life God has brought us. Well best news of the day... We're an eternal family. Love you. HFF

-Elder Hoddy

Friday, April 24, 2015

Rely Wholly On The Merits Of Him Who Is Mighty To Save

Elder Beus and I have had another incredible week!
We got a new ward mission leader this week and he has been such a blessing. He is a man that is truly striving to magnify his calling. We are having a missionary movie night this week watching Meet the Mormons and He has come up with plans to visit a few families this week to talk about missionary work. We can't wait to see all the things that comes from this.

We had an incredible experience with Anne this week. She had been having a lot of challenges these past few weeks, but everything has changed drastically for the better. We didn't know it, but she watched general conference and loved President Uchtdorf's talk. It's amazing how Heavenly Father gave her opportunities in life to be humble and now she is progressing quickly in the gospel. We had a member over there the other day testifying about what Jesus Christ had done for him when she looked up the said, "The Atonement!" It's amazing that she gets it. She came to church yesterday as well!

Helaman 4:
 13 And because of this their great wickedness, and their boastings in their own strength, they were left in their own strength; therefore they did not prosper, but were afflicted and smitten, and driven before the Lamanites, until they had lost possession of almost all their lands.

Whether we like it or not the trials come. We signed up for this. However, our ability to overcome challenges largely depends on our strength to endure and hopefully we are like the people of Nephi "relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save" (2 Nephi 31:9). Sometimes as a missionary I've said to myself, look how far I've come. I'm so glad to be different. I then begin to forget how it was that I traveled so far. My Savior. We are a team. The motivation, strength, joy, peace, and everything else I owe to Him. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. We sat on a couch yesterday bearing testimony to a couple why they should live a commandment and we explained our motives that first we teach them because we love our Savior and second because we love them.

So what is the evidence in us when we are relying wholly on His merits and when we are left in our own strength? Although I will only suggest one today, I hope you will think about your personal evidence. Personal prayer is an incredible indicator. What are we praying for? Did you pray today? What did you pray for? If you don't remember, why did you take the time to petition at all if you're not willing to put effort in to look for His blessings? You are a child of God. He wants to answer your prayers and He wants you to grow from the experience. As you pray sincerely and look for the answers, you will learn to rely on His merits and not your own strength.

Another miracle we remembered. Our friend Baylee walked into church one day and said that she was thinking about becoming a member permanently. She was baptized in February and invited her friend Haley to learn more. Now Haley is getting baptized next week and she invited her friend Bethany to one of our lessons this past week. Hopefully this pattern continues on for a while. Baylee's attitude is that she is going to get all of her friends to be Mormon. She is an awesome member missionary!

Thanks for all the support! I love each of you very much! HFF

-Elder Hoddy

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Spirit Is Real And Will Testify Of Truth

Another amazing week with the Elder Beus in Yukon, Oklahoma!
There have been a few scriptures I've been pondering about that I want to share. I hope that you will ponder your desire to follow the Savior and think about what you can do to better understand the promptings of the Spirit. They are Matthew 16:15-17.

 15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

I love this example of obtaining spiritual truths. Peter knows that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. How? How does he know that he is the Savior? Is it because of the miracles? Christ quickly answers this question by telling us that flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee. Up to this point, Peter has had many emotional experiences and has worked with the Savior closely. To clear up any confusion the Savior states simply how Peter could know such an incredible truth that it was revealed by "my Father which is in Heaven".

Now in this mortal journey full of opposition we have the incredible opportunity to learn what the spirit feels like. It's a life long process that we are getting so much better at. When I see any of the children of God struggling with the ability to recognize the spirit, I rejoice at the fact that they are trying. They joined the club. Like Peter, their desire to follow the Savior has become evident.

As I drove down the road one day I asked my wonderful companion how I could better recognize the spirit. He laughed then looked at me and said, "trial and error, trial and error".

Are we humble and courageous enough to follow promptings however difficult they may be? I honestly have said yes and I have honestly said no to that question. When I have said yes there have been miracles. There was a different sense of confidence and peace. When I said no, life was a little empty.

We read that the fruits of the spirit are love, joy, and peace, but sometimes it seems the fruit is at the top of a tall tree on a tall mountain and we're far from that. I testify that the spirit is in your life and it will give you many opportunities to enjoy this life. The joy of the gospel isn't too far. We can recognize and experience it.

We were on exchanges in Clinton this week and we met an Atheist named Andrew. We talked about religious perspectives and no matter what we talked about he seemed to know an answer for everything with his philosophical arguments. Elder Christofferson spoke about moral relavitism last conference and I felt like he was talking about Andrew. He believed he was his own highest power.

We then pulled out our scriptures and gave him our only proof. We read James 1:5. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. We couldn't prove which men wrote the bible, when they did it, or why. We couldn't give him a live video of the first vision or let him watch the Savior appear to the people of the Americas, but through our life's experience of the things which "[our] Father which is in Heaven" has revealed to us, it is true. We bore testimony and he sat there quietly. We challenged him to pray for the first time in his life and there were no more arguments, only the question of, should I believe? I can't wait for that question to be answered.

The Spirit is real and will testify of truth. 

I am loving my mission. It is changing my perspective of everything and I love it. I have fears and I have weakness, but I am watching the Savior help me overcome those.

I love you all! HFF!

-Elder Hoddy

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Christ's Power To Redeem Will Always Be Greater Than Our Power To Fail And Fall

This has been another fantastic week. We found out that I will stay with Elder Beus for the next transfer here in Yukon. We are losing a big part of our area though because our stake added two new wards yesterday! It was really exciting news. We got to hear about the growth of the stake. Since 2000, when the temple was built here, this stake has gone from 3000 members to 5900, and surrounding stakes have seen a lot of growth as well. The stake is going very rapidly and the work is hastening.

We were driving to visit someone this week, but her car wasn't there, so we flipped around and headed to the apartment complex we felt inspired to go to. One of our good friends Bobby was outside, so we rolled down the window and talked to him for a couple minutes. We asked if we could have a lesson and he invited us up to his apartment. We started chatting for a few minutes then he stopped us because he needed to tell us something. He told us that on his way home from work he decided that he didn't want to meet with us anymore because he didn't think that it was true, but we showed up 15 minutes after he was thinking that. To him it was a sign to keep going. We had a special lesson where we were able to bear testimony that God wanted him on His side. He was reluctant, but the spirit was working on him. Without us asking he is making many changes in his life to be a better man. His roommate recently joined the church and we visited him yesterday. He told us that Bobby bought a bible to prove that the Book of Mormon is true, and he believes it is true now. We have a lesson with him tonight, so we'll get to hear all of that from his own mouth! He is such an amazing man. We can't wait to see what Heavenly Father has in store for our good friend Bobby.

I was reading in Mormon the other day and found this verse.

Mormon 6:7 And it came to pass that my people, with their wives and their children, did now behold the armies of the Lamanites marching towards them; and with that awful fear of death which fills the breasts of all the wicked, did they await to receive them.

I'm sure that had to be a very saddening and discouraging moment for Mormon. He knew this was the end of the people he loved, and they stood there fearful and unrepentant. In the Bible Dictionary under fear it says, the first effect of Adam’s sin was that he was afraid (Gen. 3:10). Sin destroys that feeling of confidence God’s child should feel in a loving Father and produces instead a feeling of shame and guilt.

Contrasting that with the Stripling Warriors in Alma 56 we read,

 46 behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go, lest they should overpower the army of Antipus.

 47 Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.

When we face challenges and mighty winds what kind of confidence do we want? And what will it take for us to build that confidence? Challenges will come in this life regardless, but our reactions to them will differ drastically by our preparation. We can build our spiritual 72 hour kits, food storage, evacuation plans, and anything else. It takes our simple efforts of prayer, scripture study, church attendance, fhe, and other basic things. These efforts root our lives deeply into the foundation of our Savior. I bear testimony that Christ's power to redeem and strengthen will always be greater than our power to fail and fall. We can stand face to face with the greatest challenges of this life with complete confidence of victory. The winning team has already been chosen.

I love each of you. Thank you for all your efforts in the work of salvation. We stand as a great team in the work of our God. HFF!

-Elder Hoddy

Sunday, March 29, 2015

I Have Felt To Sing The Song Of Redeeming Love

(We didn't get a family e-mail from Jake this week so I am going to include and excerpt from one of his hand-written letters)

Dear Mom,

I forgot to share my thoughts on being perfect in Christ.  I think I mentioned the example of 2 bank accounts joining in marriage.  If we had debt and our spouse had assets they would balance each other and hopefully the assets would outweigh the debts.  With Christ that is always the case.  On His team we have an abundance of assets.  Imagine our family becoming a choir; we wouldn't be terrible but we wouldn't be winning any competitions either.  Then imagine the seven of us put in the the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  Their voices would drown out our imperfections.  If we yoke ourselves to Jesus Christ, the view of this life becomes absolutely beautiful.  There will still be mistakes and errors, but the overall perception of this life will seem perfect.  

The way I view my mission up to this point is that it has been perfect.  It has been an absolutely amazing opportunity.  The Mistakes and problems seem drowned out.  Christ will do this with every individual.  He has enough assets for all of us if we will simply stay with Him.  

I used to teach about the Atonement from my intellectual understanding, but I now speak from experience.  I have felt to sing the song of redeeming love and I do feel so now (Alma 5:26).  I bear testimony that Jesus Christ lives.
Love, Elder Hoddy 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Compared to Him We May Be Nothing, but to Him We are Everything

That's a lot of events for a couple days. So an experience I had this week... I've been trying to imagine Jesus in the room with me in many situations lately. The other day I sinned then imagined him in the room. I prayed and said, "Sorry, what do you want me to do?" I thought His answer would come, "Get on your knees and beg for forgiveness", but instead it was a "Come here and hug me" answer instead. I stood confused and in awe at that amazing revelation. Why would he let me off like that? I had messed up. I was mad at myself but he let it go like it was nothing. This didn't seem fair. Why? But then again if all of this was fair we might as well give up now. Realization flooded and I was filled with a deep sense of gratitude that this is God's system: forgiveness, hope, light, mercy. Jeffrey R. Holland said, "surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don’t expect it and often feel they don’t deserve it". We experience the atonement more often than we think. The world tell us we're small and unimportant. God tells us we are the reason he took the time to create worlds without number and a perfect plan. Compared to Him we may be nothing, but to Him we are everything.

I read a scripture this morning... it's included in my notes, D&C 78:17 Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children, and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath it his own hands and prepared for you.

We don't understand all that He has for us.

Thanks for your thoughts mom. I share them often with missionaries, members, and investigators here. I've shared them in trainings as well. They are very valuable to me. Dad's have been very valuable as well. I let a struggling elder borrow the quotes dad sent me because they are so insightful and motivating. You are doing better than you think you are. You're relationship with Christ is better than you think it is. I bear testimony of these things. You truly are never alone.

D&C 76:72 describes what you were talking about with the "I will keep trying to do it by myself" comment. This scripture describes those will attain a terrestrial glory.

D&C 76:69 explains your "I can't do all this by myself" comment. They who are just men made perfect through Jesus... These are they whose bodies are celestial.

Keep up the good work mom. This life was meant to be one of learning. There is a great series on called His Grace. It's amazing to see what our Savior does for His children.

Oh and don't ever worry about writing too much... I have plenty of time to email in this area. We're doing a combined zone pday and training today, so there will be 44 of us each playing volleyball and receiving a great training. It's crazy that there are 42 missionaries in this stake compared to the 2 in our home stake. Life is going well. Life is happy.

So we got an investigator named Anne this week. She is a single mom of 3 children. She has a 20 year old son in the air force, a daughter at OSU, and a daughter in junior high. We met her at another investigators house and she walked up with "You should probably leave" attitude, but we started talking about her family and her walls just crumbled. We bore testimony of the atonement and gave her a priesthood blessing. It was amazing to see the change in attitude. People here are scared of the white shirts and name tags, but we're 20 year old missionaries with the best message they could possibly hear. It is amazing to see the Spirit soften the hearts of people as we meet with them.

Thanks for everything Momma! Love you! HFF

-Elder Hoddy

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

O Lord I Have Trusted In Thee, And I Will Trust In Thee Forever

This week has been another amazing one... Every time it snows we've been getting out on bikes and everyone thinks we're the coolest thing since sliced bread. Jk, it wasn't that cool, but we had fun doing it.

So I've been pondering a lot about obedience this week. Nephi gives the perfect thought for obedience in 2 Nephi 4...
34 O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh; for I know that cursed is he that putteth his trust in the arm of flesh. Yea, cursed is he that putteth his trust in man or maketh flesh his arm.

Our obedience shows Heavenly Father that we trust His way more than our own. On our own we really can't do a lot. Our flesh is week, but the power of God is endless.

1 Peter 1... 
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

My thoughts on obedience are pretty simple. Behind every command is a blessing. Heavenly Father wants to bless us with good gifts, so he gave us the commands we need to obtain the blessings. The gospel contains the perfect answers. When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes a quest we are endowed with great power. The Spirit will always tell us to be obedient while the adversary tell us the opposite.

If we want to live after the manner of happiness and keep our inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we must be obedient. We should live after the manner of our Savior and pursue his attributes. I feel a great power and great sense of satisfaction when I am obedient. It makes this life worth living.

One of the greatest moments of my week was in a lesson with our recent convert, Baylee, and her friend Haley. We watched one of the Restoration videos, then had a short testimony meeting. Haley hasn't grown up religious and considered herself to be agnostic, so all of this is new to her. She has been really reluctant to pray in front of someone, but she prayed with Baylee for the first time. Baylee came up to us after super excited about how well things were going. It was great to see how special the gospel has become and that she wants to share it with everyone. I'm grateful to be part of such a faithful life. The gospel is miraculous.

Thanks for all the support. I love each of you. HFF!

-Elder Hoddy

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Free Forever To Act For Themselves


This has been another great week! I've been pretty lame at sending out family emails lately, but I'm trying to repent and be better
     Haha so we got these things called TIWIs this week. Anyways basically it's a little black box in our vehicles that tracks if we're speeding, accelerating too quickly, braking too quickly, and a bunch of other lame things. We try to have a good attitude, but we usually end up yelling at it when it tells us what to do. It is teaching us some good lessons though. We nicknamed it the kiwi and vowed never to eat such a fruit again. The first day we had it we were late to an appointment, so I was frustrated that we were going so slow on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. Elder Beus was really frustrated too. We realized a good lesson about agency as talked about it taking our agency, but then we realized that if we would just choose to drive better, it would have no control over us. If we choose to be righteous, the bad consequences can't touch us.
     I've thought a lot about Elder Christofferson's talk, Free Forever, to Act for Themselves. The opening line says. William Shakespeare’s play The Life of King Henry Vincludes a nighttime scene in the camp of English soldiers at Agincourt just before their battle with the French army. In the dim light and partially disguised, King Henry wanders unrecognized among his soldiers. He talks with them, trying to gauge the morale of his badly outnumbered troops, and because they do not realize who he is, they are candid in their comments. In one exchange they philosophize about who bears responsibility for what happens to men in battle—the king or each individual soldier.

At one point King Henry declares, “Methinks I could not die any where so contented as in the king’s company; his cause being just.”

Michael Williams retorts, “That’s more than we know.”

His companion agrees, “Ay, or more than we should seek after; for we know enough, if we know we are the king’s subjects: if his cause be wrong, our obedience to the king wipes the crime of it out of us.”

I've thought a lot about true freedom. Do we as adults have true freedom or is something that belongs to young children and babies? I guess that depends on what we want to be free from. We hear the line the truth will set you free, but do we really believe that? All of the knowledge we've attained in this life bring us a responsibility that we wouldn't have without it. The companion's comment that the knowledge is, "more than we should seek after" denies him of opportunities to grow on a personal level. Every time we open ourselves to receive revelation we are saying that we want more responsibility and freedom. The work of the Lord will go forth without us, but we are the work of the Lord, so we should go forth. I can have baptisms without being obedient, but to get something out of it I must be obedient to some extent. 
     Examples would be taking the opportunity to receive confirmation that the Book of Mormon is true or revelation on the best way to fulfill a calling. With the knowledge we receive comes a call to be better. They say ignorance is bliss, but ignorance is cheap.
     The Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days (D&C 64:34).
     I bear testimony that freedom brings happiness. It takes effort to grow, but it will always be worth it because we walk side by side with the Savior through every growing process.
     My challenge is seek anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy. Once you taste the joy of freedom you will never regret the added responsibility.
     The work is amazing and we see many miracles. I'm grateful for all the support and I know the prayers make a difference. I love you and hope you have an amazing week. HFF!

-Elder Hoddy

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New Companion/Daily Walk With The Savior

We did not get a family letter this week but I will share Jake's testimony in the letter I got this week.  Also we got his official return date--Thursday May 14th--Yay!
Farewell to a great companion, Elder Whitehead
Happy Missionaries--Dinner at the Bishop's House!

Today I will simply bear my testimony.  Jesus Christ loves us.  He always has and always will.  I remember being at Especially For Youth when I was 17 and we were given a challenge to sit and read about the life of Jesus Christ.  For the first time my eyes were open and this man, Jesus, was real.  He was more than a person who lived 2000 years ago.  He was there for me and I knew it.  When I listened to the talk titled "The Character of Christ" another very real experience happened.  I sat there in the Missionary Training Center learning about Christ's outward thoughts instead of turning inward to his own personal needs.  I felt the love of Christ once again.  The spirit was so strong and I was so motivated to do everything I could for my Savior.  Many times we feel amazing moments with our Savior that we will never forget.  Those times are special as they add great strength to our testimony and foundation.  however, day to day we forget those moments as we get caught up in life.  The only solution is to have our own daily walk with our Savior.  It has to be personal. There should not be a day that goes by where we don't feel His love and the Spirit's direction.  Without our daily walk we will not live the way our experience has taught us to, and we will live beneath our privilege.
I bear testimony that Jesus Christ is in your midst.
Love, Elder Hoddy  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

We Cannot Be Perfect In This Life but We Can Be Perfect In Christ

ELDER BEUS!!! He is going to my companion starting tomorrow and he is seriously one of my favorite people in the whole world. We served together in the Choctaw ward forever ago! Heavenly Father must really love me!

Serving with Elder Whitehead has been so much fun... We've made a lot of post mission plans, but he's on of those BYUi kind of people which is a huge bummer. I served by him in the Village, Choctaw, and got to be his companion. We are friends forever. Anyways there is simply a lot of excitement around here with the soon arrival of Elder Beus.

Here's a quick thought for you that I've been sharing today. I read D&C 50 and verse 40-41 really stuck out... Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth. Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me.

Having Christ in our lives is like joining bank accounts with a rich person in marriage. Although we have incredible amounts of debt, Christ's assets are infinite. If we will use His atonement and grow in grace we will never need to worry because assests will be always be greater than debts. We cannot be perfect in this life, but we can be perfect in Christ. I love the quote about the blasphemy we tell ourselves that our power to mess up is greater than Christ's power to heal and redeem. We have a Savior to watch over us all the time and he cares about us more deeply than we can imagine. I am so grateful for my Savior and his gospel. I hope you will take as many opportunities as you can to learn the gospel. #OurDailyWalk

Watching Elder Whitehead prepare to go home has been really interesting. His greatest excitement is to spend time with his family and he has so many different goals than when he came out. Last night, he bore his final testimony to one of our favorite investigator families and let his heart out on how much better off families are in the gospel. It is amazing how much peace we have in this life know that we are a part of an eternal family. That fact gives me a lot of motivation to be my absolute best. I am grateful for the amazing Hoddy family and all the support that you give me. 

The valentines box was hilarious! All of them were so good and I read them all a few times. Thanks for doing that.

I love you.

-Elder Hoddy

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Prayer and Priesthood Blessings

Dang that's sad to hear about Grandpa and Liz. I really hope that everything turns out alright and good things come from this. As far as Livi's hair goes I think it's pretty cool and I'm glad she did it. It might scare me a little bit if she was planning on keeping it forever, but High school seems like the time in life to be a little crazy and do some fun things. There will be plenty of time to be grown up, so I'm glad she's being adventurous and having a good time. Ain't nobody got time for boring people.

Mom the topic that has really been on my mind lately has been prayer. I have pondered and pondered truly trying to understand its power. We read so many scriptures that if we ask it shall be given and if we lack wisdom, God will give liberally, but too often we forget or don't understand the power in these promises because we fail to recognize the answers. And, as it is written-- Whatsoever ye shall ask in faith, being united in prayer according to my command, ye shall receive. (D&C 29:6). If you want to take the time to unite the family to pray for something, I promise that the prayers will be answered, and that is not my promise alone. An important question to ask is, what does it mean to pray in the name of Jesus Christ? Does it mean to say His name at the end? I think very literally we should be asking for the same things our Savior would ask for; however Jesus Christ thinks differently that we do, so we have to find the right things to ask for first. You must... Ask the Father in my name, in faith believing that you shall receive, and you shall have the Holy Ghost, which manifesteth all things which are expedient unto the children of men (D&C 18:18). And it shall come to pass that he that asketh in Spirit shall receive in Spirit... and it shall be given you what you shall ask (D&C 48:28, 50:30). I testify that our prayers are answered. If we pray sincerely, our righteous desires will grow and we will be given the things we need most. We must ask for the things that are right, believing that we will receive (3 Nephi 18:20) I challenge you to look for more in your prayers and to search for the answers.

I had a great opportunity to give Elder Whitehead a blessing yesterday because he has kidney stone and was in a lot of pain. I thoughtfully carefully about the right things to say because I knew the counsel and blessings were coming from our loving Heavenly Father. The promise came of divine assistance to get through his challenges and we finished our night in peace. The gospel is true. The gospel is real.

-Elder Hoddy

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weakness And Doubt

Mom, I just got your letter and it was amazing! It seriously came at the perfect time. Sometimes life beats us down or sometimes we beat ourselves down; either way that came in the moment that I needed a little pick me up. Life is good right now. In fact we have amazing investigators right now. Somehow I still feel like I'm not working hard enough though. I feel like I worked a lot harder in Enid and saw less success while here it is simply given to us. For some reason I felt better working harder even if it was for less. I want these last months to be the best ones.

So I shared some thoughts with my friend Haley that I wanted to sent to you. It's not super focused, but I like it...
If we were born complete we would never feel a need for God, so instead we are born with weaknesses that will teach us to depend on Him. Why?.. Why would God want us to depend on Him? Simple... We were not like our Father in Heaven and for us to become like Him, we would need the help of the only One who knew how to get us there. Heavenly Father sees your heart - desires, passions, frustrations, etc. - but more importantly he sees the end goal. He sees your potential and also sees the path to get there. Thus the words of Elder Holland, "God doesn't care nearly as much about where you have been as He does about where you are and, with His help, where you are willing to go". 

Then comes the weakness and the doubt. Why did I do that? Why am I not better? Why can't I be more like them? Why does this happen to me? In our time focused on "me" we miss the awe of what Heavenly Father has done for us. The fear of the journey blocks the beauty of the end goal and the remedy of Jesus Christ. But overtime our experience teaches our perspective to keep pushing forwards. One by one the challenges come and with the help of God we beat them. We learn something new and we feeling the exciting reminder that this truly works. Our Savior's atonement is real. Then we see the next challenge and the process repeats itself. The problem comes when we get so wrapped up in the immediate challenges of life that we forget how far our Savior has already taken us and that His help will never end. "We learn on the one hand that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and on the other, that we need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven. The only fatal thing is to sit down content with anything less than perfection. (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)"

I loved your thoughts on the "are you striving" questions. We are simply asked to give our best. Have a good week mom!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Now In Yukon Oklahoma....There Are Going To Be Miracles Here!

This has been a fantastic week in Yukon. I'm still getting used to everything and have no idea where we are most of the time, but I love it. Elder Whithead has been a great friend since the beginning of my mission, so it has been easy to play off of each other as we teach.

One of the greatest parts of being here was PEC yesterday. I was taking note of so many things because these men have a great understanding of gospel leadership and their example taught me more in an hour than anything I have ever read. I absolutely loved the way the bishop lead, followed up, counseled, and did many other things. My experience could have easily been drowned out in a room with great men, but they treated my comments like gold. I am so grateful to be here, and I feel like this is a ward that does great things.

D&C 10:46-47 And, behold, all the remainder of this work does contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy prophets, yea, and also my disciples, desired in their prayers should come forth unto this people. And I said unto them, that it should be granted unto them according to their faith in their prayers.

I love that our Heavenly Father didn't force the prophets to say everything. The scriptures contain words from men that cared about us and wanted us to have the knowledge they cherished most. It adds perspective and helps me to ask the question why the doctrine and stories written were so important to the people in the Book of Mormon.

Last week a girl named Bailey walked into church and told the missionaries she wanted to be baptized. I walked straight into a gold mine! She is super excited to get baptized and is learning really quickly. I have prayed for progressing investigators every day for weeks, so it's amazing to see answers like that come. She is quite the amazing person

I'm in the OKC 5th ward and it has been wonderful. I love the people here and I'm having a great time. There are going to be miracles here this transfer.

Oh ya I also am running low on contacts. My prescription was for 2 years, so they should let you get more.

I love you Momma! Have a wonderful week.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Transfer To Yukon After A Great Experience In Enid

This week was another amazing one as we begin the new year. I got the call that I am getting transferred to Yukon with Elder Whitehead. He was my district leader over a year ago and is about to be on his last transfer. We will have the Oklahoma City Temple in our ward boundaries which is going to be a huge blessing. Hopefully we'll be able to sneak over every once in a while

One of my favorite experiences was as we visited with Cindy, a new investigator, for the first time. Prior to finding us, she had been sincerely praying that she would be able to have the the Holy Spirit with her all the time. The member with us looked like a kid on Christmas morning when he heard her say that. He is a recent convert and was so excited for her. She talked about the way she felt the Spirit and how excited she was. Cindy is very intelligent and inquisitive. We had been praying night and day for progress and investigators, so Cindy Sutton truly is an answer and a miracle.

D&C 5:16 And behold, whosoever believeth on my words, them will I visit with the manifestation of my Spirit; and they shall be born of me, even of water and of the Spirit-

This verse stuck out to me this week as I read it. There is not doubt in the Savior's words as he says this simple phrase. I truly believe these great people we meet can, will, and do receive confirmation about our message. The gospel is simple and I am grateful for it in my life.

Leaving Enid is really sad. I have made so many amazing friends that I don't want say goodbye to. Last night we said goodbye to a couple people and it was so sad to think I may not see them again in this life. I truly can't imagine my life without the experience of coming on a mission. It is all worth it because of the relationships and conversion I have gained.

Thank you for all the support. I love each of you and am so grateful for the role you play in my life. Have a great week and year!

-Elder Hoddy

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Thought From Jake's Mission President

President Walkenhorst said this in his email this week... As we begin another new year I hope that you will evaluate where you are and want you want to become. Set goals for the coming year. Take time to counsel with the Lord as to what He wants you to become. Read and ponder your patriarchal blessing. Are their expectations that God has for that you are not putting forth enough effort to obtain? Remember that He has a "perfect vision" of you and for you. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians in 1 Cor 2:9, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." What has God prepared for you in this coming year? What will He bless you with? What are you willing to do to obtain those blessing? How hard are you willing to work? What aspects of the "natural man" will you overcome next? Take some time to ponder and set goals for yourself

I hope you have an amazing week momma! I love you :)