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