Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Zone Conference

This week was a good one. I cannot explain to you how much the Lord is pushing me. Sometimes I feel like I´m going to explode. This area is making me go farther than I´ve gone before and have to have a lot more faith and trust more in the Lord. However, we´re doing it. We´re making things happen here.
This week we had a super special meeting with President and Sister Souza. Back in Fortaleza, everyone had two conferences. One last week and one this week. The first being a zone conferece, the other a mission wide Christmas conference. However, do to high travel costs between Juazeiro and Fortaleza, we had both of our conferences together, like on the same day. We showed up at 8 in the morning and didn´t leave until after 8 at night. IT was awesome! I felt like I was at the MTC again. Just a nice, big spiritual feast (and a real food feast that wasn´t bad either...
Anyway, I´m excited for Christmas. Things are going great here. We´re doing everthing we can to creat a stake here in a very catholic area (seriously, try looking up ´´Mount Horto/Padre Cicero´´ on google. We ran there today from our house. It was an awesome 2 hour adventure.) . Like I said before, it´s pushing me to my limit, but it´s making me grow a lot too. I ´m learning that just about anything is possible when we work with all our souls and trust in the Lord. Love has got to be our motive and we have to be completely altruistic.
Love you guys. Can´t wait to talk to you on Chritmas EVE!
Elder Hodson

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Holiday Time Again

 October 8, 2012

I missed the last session of conference because we had to fill up the baptismal font though. It was all set to fill up during the first session and them we would baptize between sessions but when we went to check on it we saw that the water had run out! We tried using the fire hose, buckets, and a lot of prayer for rain but nothing was working. The stake president had a pump so we throw the pump in the well we have on the chapel grounds and used a hose to fill up the tank. We had to guard the well after that to make sure no little children fell in and drowned. so that's why we missed the last session. I´m about to listen to Elder Bednar´s talk. It´s cool because, from the part I´ve already heard, he talked about exactly what I´ve been thinking about these past few days and weeks.

So, Joana was baptized, Oséias´mom. She was really happy. Now, the dad might get baptized too. He´s really liking the church and even said he wants to prepare for baptism.

The Church is true and prophets walk the earth again. The Priesthood is also real and with it come many duties, responsibilities, and powers that no other group or sect enjoy.

October 15, 2012

This week was good. We had a solid week of work. Well, I´m taking care of two wards, again. I feel like it´s been this way for almost my entire mission. Anyway, We´ve got some good work going in both of them. Sumaré, which is the larger ward, will have a baptism this week of a young woman who has been going to church with her friend. Jatobá, which needs 60 more people for a chapel, will have 2 this week. We are working very hard.

In Jatobá we´re working pretty much with one recent convert. We´re teaching her mom, her friend, and her neighbors, Tonight we´re gonna grab a bus and go out there again. We also made a contact and brought 4 people to church. Turns out they were the family of this recent convert´s friend from school. We went to pick up this family and because they weren´t ready we got to sacrament meeting as the ward was finishing the sacrament hymn. They saw us walk in with investigators and got SO excited! I think it´s been a while since the missionaries have done ANY work in that area. It was fast and testimony meeting and there were some pretty solid testimonies and the Spirit was strong. Afterwards a lot of members came up and said ´´Elder, Elder, there´s this family that I want you to meet. Pass by this week...´´ it was cool. We´ve got work to do in Jatobá now!!!!

Check out this video. It´s powerful. Christ is amazing. Sometimes we need to be strong and bold in the face of evil. We play a huge role in the bringing forth of the Gospel in the last days. We know it and no one else does. We are the ONLY ones who can preach the Gospel. We are the only carriers of the Gospel. If we do not open our mouths to share whet we know and what we are, NOTHING will change and NO ONE will come to know the Gospel of Christ. We MUST share who we are with other and let our light shine before men so that they may come to know the only true and living God and Jesus Christ who He sent. We are the holders of this truth and the cause of Christ. Others want it. Others need it. They are praying and begging God for knowledge and light to guide them to peace and hope in this turbulent world. There is nothing better than being the answers to these prayers. Sometimes they won´t know that you are the answer that they´ve been waiting for, at first. But after many trials come the blessings. There are many people searching for peace that the missionaries do not know and only YOU know. There are people that need YOU. Share the Gospel. Open you mouth. The Spirit will give you power beyond your own to change the course of your brother´s and sister´s eternal lives. Pray and ask God for missionary opportunities. Fast for them. Plead for them. There are so many people to be taught and the time we have is not infinite.

I love this work and Jesus Christ. i can´t wait to be with you all again.

October 22, 2012

This week I lost my voice and then got sick. I learned that a missionary without a voice is like a doctor without hands or a soccer player without legs. I wanted so much to teach people but couldn´t because of my voice. All I could do was bear my testimony and try to convey to them the importance and the magnitude of our message. I was actually on a division with the assistants this day. I was with Elder Dias in his area (he wishes Micky a happy birthday.) I don´t like being without a voice. I´m almost totally better now but I passed a few days pretty sick. After passing the numbers and planning yesterday I went to sleep at 9:30. I ´m gonna sleep some more today too. 

October 29, 2012
Dear Family,

Anyway, this week Paula was baptized. She´s 17 and lives next door to some members. We´ve been rooting for her so hard for a few weeks now. She wasn´t able to stop drinking coffee for a few weeks and had some problems going to church. Her grandma is also very sick and she´s just looking for something to help her in her life. She chose Jesus. You can never go wrong choosing Jesus. She finally stopped drinking coffee and Elder Omena was able to baptize her. She seemed so happy at the baptism. It´s just so sweet to see the face of the people after they´re baptized. You just know that the church is true and that Christ´s Atonement really does have the power to save us from our sins.

My companion gave a talk this week in sacrament meeting too. It was pretty good. He talked about sacrifice. In the closing prayer, the sister asked for forgiveness for the entire ward.

Anyway, I just want to bear my testimony to you guys about missionary work. It brings life into any person, group or ward that has the faith and courage to open their mouth and share their testimony. It is not hard once we start talking because God gives us the words that should be shared with each person, if we just listen. However, missionary work is also very challenging because not everyone will except the message of Etenal Life the first time, or ever. Sometimes you will feel depressed and hated and trodden on and mocked. You´ll want to give up. You´ll want to go home. You´ll want to play football and frisbee and videogames and date and a million other things. But if you just forget it all and put it to the side and serve God with ALL of your heart, might, mind, and strength, you will have success. Christ will take your soul and make you into what He would have you be. You´ll realize that your desires are changing and the Holy Ghost is working a great work upon your heart. If you serve well enough and search humbly enough, maybe you´ll even experience true joy, as did Ammon upon seeing Alma and his brethren after his mission. That is what it´s all about. not numbers. Not positions of leadership. True, pure, absolute, clean, unspeakable joy. That´s what I want and what I work for. I have great faith that I will attain it. 

I love you all. Please share the gospel. Please just have faith in the promises of God and be righteous. I know He lives. I know He loves us and gives us commandments to lead us to happiness and eternal life. I´ll see you all soon.

November 5, 2012

This week was a good one for me. We had 5 baptisms this week. We baptized the cousins of a member and their friends. It was super fun. I was just in the font and they came walking in in a line. I felt like John the Baptist! But even more important than the fun factor was the fact that they have now received the gift of the Holy Ghost and will one day enter the kingdom of God! They´re super happy and excited. They´re neighbor,  is set to get baptized this week. He´s a good guy and I´m super excited about the baptism.

Anyway, that´s about it for me. I love you guys a lot. I´m working on becoming a better person. There´s only one way to get into heaven and if we want to get there we got to take it. The way gets rougher and the incline higher but our souls expand and our love grows and we become Children of God. Let´s do it! As Spencer W Kimball said,´´ Give us mountains to climb!´´ So go climb some mountains, invite your friends to learn about the Gospel and pray and fast for missionary opportunities. The speed of the work is increasing. The Lord is quickening his work. He is at the doors and comes quickly. Be ready and bring others with you. 

Elder Hodson
November 12, 2012

What up family!
Anyway, the streets that I walk are now paved, at least in part, and not just a bunch of rocks. I´ve been transfered to JIAZEIRO DO NORTE! It´s way interior! I´m in the southern part of the state of Ceará. We´re 10 hours away from Fortaleza and mission headquarters. I was on the bus all night. We left at 11 P.M.
It´s gonna be a blast out here! Please pray for me and my work.  I love this work and seeing the Kingdom of God grow here upon the earth. Remember that miracles are possible, we just have to have unshakeable faith.
Trust in God. Serve Him. Become converted to Him. He will reveal His mysteries unto you.

November 19, 2012
Hello Family!
 The food is the same but the people here are a little better off. Less violence. Hotter. Drier. Has a big statue idol of an old Catholic priest that people worship. It´s a little different here.
Anway, this week was a challenge but I liked it. We searched out and found a lot of good people. We´ve got a good teaching pool now. Thanks you for your prayers. I know the Lord has heard them. This Saturday night as I went around to confirm that everyone would be going to church on Sunday, EVERYONE fell through. They had work, and school and other things that they placed in front of church. I was devastated. I didn´t know who would be at church yesterday. I just prayed and told God that I had done everything I could but I didn´t know who would be at church. I asked Him to help me and do a miracle. He did. I´ve learned that if you just put the work into His hand you cannot fail. I failed this last week but God didn´t. He sent me 3 people. One was a man invited to come to church a long time ago. He wasn´t able to come until yesterday. He stayed the entire time (even an extra hour to watch the baptisms) and seemed to really enjoy it. Another was a lawyer who was´passing in front of the church and felt like he should walk in. We´re going to pass by there and see what the Lord would have us do.
 I know the Lord has heard our prayers. I´m just really excited to be here at a time like this. God is so good. Never get depressed. Only believe. He really is mighty to save His children and will lead those who seek and listen, to the truth.

November 26, 2012
What up fam?
This week was good!
Juazeiro is super Catholic. The work here is hard. God has given me a mountain to climb. i have a testimony that it is possible to baptize in any part of the world, even the most catholic city in Brazil (as Juazeiro is known.)
I worked really hard this week. i´m trying to work more with the members. I´m also exhausted. I´ve never felt so good and so much peace in relation to my like. i know 100% that I am doing the will of the Lord. When His Spirit tells me to do something i do it. This last week I saw a group of people near another church. i felt like i should go talk to them. They turned out to be missionaries from another church. we gave them a Book of Mormon. They said they would read and pray about it. I was surprised at how open they were. We´ll see if anything comes of that.
I know Christ lives and loves us. Follow His example.
December 3, 2012

Well hello family,

This week was filled with some good work. The Lord is answering our prayers. When Jesus teaches us in the scriptures that when we ask, we receive, He wasn´t kidding. I have a great testimony that if we get on our knees and humbly plead with the Lord to bless us and work with us, doing miracles in our areas, our lives, and our souls and then get on our feet and serve Him,listening to the whisperings of the Spirit and working with our whole soul, He will hear and answer our prayers wit blessings, knowledge and miracles. .

I can see that God wants this work done. More than anyone else I think He is the most interested in this work. He wants His children to know His plan and understand the truth of who they are and what they can become.
However, I can now testify with even greater certainty. I really do KNOW by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He is the Son of God. He loves us. He will do all in His power, as He has done all in His power, to save us. He lives today. We can feel His love in our lives. We really will draw closer to Him through the Book of Mormon than any other book. I love Him and declare myself as one of His disciples. Through the way we tread is rough and full of dangers, enemies,and obstacles,He is our captain. He leads the way. He will not allow us fall. We cannot fail when He is with is. He is the Life and Light of the world. He will lead us to our Celestial Home again, if we follow Him. He will empower us through His grace to make us as He is. That is the hope and the faith that we as saints have. I testify that all these things are true. In His name, Jesus Christ amen.

Elder Hodson

Monday, October 1, 2012

Enjoying New Area

This week I´ve been thinking a lot about the family unit. As the prophets teach us, the family is the basic unit of society. The other units of which we are a part have a huge influence on who we are. For example, which nationality, which church, which college, etc. The family has a larger effect on the character of a person that any other place. I´ve seen this week the influence parents have over children in the family. It´s astounding. If the parent is impatient, irresponsible, and just yells all the time, the child will follow the example. I´m kinda nervous to be a dad because it´s a huge responsibility and you have a big influence on the eternal progress of another child of God. I really got prepare and become the best I can be.
 I´d like to share a part of the CES fireside talk given by Elder Jeffery R. Holland. He explained how Zion has always had to flee Babylon to be safe and able to live the gospel. IN all of the dispensations from Abraham to the pioneers, we´ve had to flee. However, this dispensation is different from the others. The time has come to set in our stakes and create Zion in every part of the world wherever we are. We no longer have to run. The time has come to fight back against Babylon and establish God´s kingdom! We cannot be quiet! We cannot run! We must stand were we are and be the light to draw in the elects of God! Think and pray about how you can do that better i your life. As Elder Holland has said ´´It´s getting late.´´ It´s time for us to do more than we´ve done before.

 One of my favorite scriptures is D&C 107:99-100. Read it. Remember it. Just going to church is not enough. Just being baptized is not enough. If we want to be worthy to enter into God´s rest, we must serve with ALL of our heart, might, mind, and strength. So do it. It´s worth it.

I love you all and can´t wait to be with you again. I know that Christ is our Savior and Captain. We are His disciples and therefore must model His perfect life.

Anyway, this week I got to speak in Sacrament meeting. They don´t have a chapel, just a house. There were a good amount of people there though. I had a blast. i spoke about.... MISSIONARY WORK and how it makes us happy. And how we have an obligation and duty to do it if we want to receive eternal life.

We also had a baptism this week. His parents are also very interested in the church. The mother knows the church is true and will likely be baptized in a few weeks and the father is listening to us and said he would go to church! I´m excited for everything that´s happening now. We´ve really got some good work set up in the area now. 

We taught a lot and some miracles happened this week. President and Sister Souza came to our ward and discoursed. It was really good. The Spirit was really strong. We had Lindomar come to church (his divorce is finishing up right now and we´ll start his wedding this week.) 

Alberto also went. His wife was inactive for 20 years but came back to church  before I got here. Her daughter was baptized too. The husband, Alberto, is very Catholic and never had come to church. But, this week he came for the first time and stayed for all three hours! I think he really liked it. We´re gonna work on getting him a date for baptism set up now.
I´ve been thinking a lot about conversion and what it means to really be converted to the Gospel of Christ and be a Disciple. I was thinking, ´´I wonder if I am truly converted? Would I be willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING, not just my life but all of my time, efforts, desires, personal status, and comfort for Christ?´´ I´d like to think I would. I´m grateful that I haven´t been put up to that test yet. I´ve seen so many people who draw close to God with their lips but whose hearts are very from from Him. Be a Disciple of Christ and converted to His Gospel. It is the only path to lasting happiness. Trust in Him and He will direct thy paths.

Love you and cant wait to see you,

Elder Hodson

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Elder Hodson

Spencer is doing great on his mission...I had a busy summer and stopped posting his letters, sorry.  I will post highlights from his letters to catch up to date.  He was transferred and is now in his 3rd area.

Well, this week was really great, other than the sickness. We are working a lot to strengthen the recent converts. It´s cool because there´s two young single adults that have been baptized recently, Eder and Galileu. The first is Colombian and the other is African. Sometimes we walk down the street together and everyone just stares. It´s not often that you see a Colombian, an African and 2 Americans walking down the street conversing in Portuguese. Sometimes I just stop and think about my life and how cool it is.

We are making so many street contacts. I love it. We just talk to random people and I´ve met the widest variety of people and seen how they think and why they do what they do. Many times it´s sad though, because of the many things the world has to offer, everybody has usually attached themselves to something and aren´t willing to sacrifice it or look beyond it. They don´t seek God or His Glory. They don´t understand the true purpose of life. I´m so grateful for the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation that gives us purpose and drive in our lives. It directs our actions because we understand the consequences. I´m so grateful that God called a Prophet in our days, to lead us and guide us on the safe paths and the high roads that lead to salvation and eternal life. Our purpose and potential in this life is so great, but there are so many things to stop and impede that great potential.

 I´ve felt such an increase in my love for the Children of our Heavenly Father lately. I just want to pick them up, carry them on my back, take all their difficulties upon me and help them do what´s right. I was on the bus doing a division with my zone leader and I just felt a huge overwhelming love for everyone I saw on that bus and on the streets. I saw a glimpse of the hope that God has for everyone of them. Of their real potential. Life is the perfect test. We have so many chances to change our old ways and start fresh and new. I love my Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ and My Loving Heavenly Father. They are so good. I just want to be like them and help everyone do the same. SO do it. Set aside the sins that so easily creep into lives and personal characters and put them behind you. Then the sanctifying and uplifting, empowering qualities of the Atonement work in you. Everything is possible to them who believe. I know it´s true.

 This week was fun. We had a good week of work and a baptism this Saturday. His name is Eduardo and he is a miracle. His family is returning to church and we´re going to try to teach his non-member mom now. He was so happy and excited. Sunday he was confirmed and afterwards he received the Aaronic Priesthood. That afternoon he went out proselyting with us. He is a really excited little fellow. IT´s funny because he talks SOOOO fast and he would show the Book of Mormon to people holding it upside down and backwards. But he did not have any fear. He was talking before we did. I like this kid a lot.

 The common link that all these people have is Jesus Christ. They are searching for the peace and strength that He can bring into their lives. I love these people and helping them see the Lord´s hand in their lives. I love to see the hope in their face. When we enter the house and they´ve been fighting and thinking of separation and divorce and by the time we leave, they´re laughing and planning to be together for eternity.

As President Monson has said, ´´There are tired hands to be lifted and broken hearts to mend. Their are souls to comfort and console and lives to inspire!´´ We have such a great opportunity to be a part of the Lord´s work in bringing to pass the salvation of the Children of God. Despite all of our weaknesses He will qualify us and give us strength to fulfill our callings. And there is nothing that will bring us greater joy! For if we labor all our days and save but one soul in the Kingdom of God how great shall be our joy! And if we bring many souls unto our Savior that joy will only grow.
 I´m loving the mission! It´s SO hard you wouldn´t believe it, but that´s what makes it so great. Now, I KNOW it´s not my work. IT´s God´s work and His Glory and NOTHING can stop it from reaching every clime and sounding in every ear! The Church is True! It was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. Jesus Christ lives! He´s our Savior! God wants us to be happy and has a plan for us!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Father's Day!

What up fam!

How´s it going?! I love you guys! I was thinking about you a lot this week. Sometimes when I´m here in this area I ALMOST feel like I´m in the States. IT´s definitely different here.

The difficulties and challenges are continuing to rise. I can´t say it´s fun but it´s almost enjoyable. I know I´ve got to be careful saying this but it´s kinda cool being tested and tried. It´s just makes me want to work that much harder. I´m really wanting to baptize right now. IT´s been a few weeks since my last baptism and I´m fetting (I can´t remember a good word in English for this feeling) anseioso. This week it rained and so a lot of people desisted going to church because they have to walk. Those days are always a little disappointing.

But, a miracle happened! There´s a family in our ward were the mom and younger sister ,of 18 years, are baptized and the older brother has served a mission, but the middle sister isn´t a member. We´ve passed by there a few weeks now and have lunch there once in a while. We´ve talked to her but she´s usually pretty busy with college (philosophy major.) Actually the mutual love of philosophy was what softened her at first. I don´t think she´s ever met a MORMON missionary who knows about the Catholic bishop philosophers of the early middle ages. 

Yesterday, she went to church!!!! It was SOOOOO cool to see her there! Apparently, last week during the temple dedication she went to a conference for single adults and last night she went to some other activity!!! I´m so pumped to see what happens! Her family has been trying for years to get her to look into the church. Now is such a propitious moment for her. Please pray because we´re looking for a miracle. 

Also, lately I´ve been studying the Old Testament manual on P-days and guys, let me tell you, the Church is true. I´m telling you, it´s perfect. It´s amazing how eternal and unchanging the Gospel of Jesus Christ is. The requirements are the same for any man who desires to enter into God´s presence. It does not change with the passing of years or the movement and disturbance of cultures and nations. It cannot be altered, even by a shadow of change. And it all starts with baptism. Study the scriptures and trust in them. Apply the things that you learn. Study them with the intent to find something to change in your life. As you do, your eyes will be opened so that you may see and understand.

Love you all!

Elder Hodson

Monday, June 11, 2012

Happy Birthday Elder Hodson!

Today is Spencer's birthday and also P-day, so we were able to wish him a Happy Birthday via e-mail.  He sounded happy in his e-mail back to us and even though we miss him we know that he is having a great time serving the Lord.  May was a little crazy...can't believe it's been a month since I've posted a letter.  Here are the highlights:

Hey Family!

What up?! Happy June 11th to everyone. I really like this day. This morniong Sister Souza called me and wished me a happy birthday. I made those pancakes (this experience reminded me that I don´t know how to cook the simplest things) and we blew up all the balloons. Thank you for the package. I got  the first one. My Birthday has been fantastic thanks to you. You never fail with the decorations either. Way to go.

This week was cool. We got to watch the Temple dedication of the Manaus Temple. President Utchdorf was there and I was very surprised at how good his English was and how terrible his Portugues was. I guess if you don´t need the gift of tongues it doesn´t come. The dedication was very cool. The church and the Gospel are just so cool. I cant think of anything else that I´m more passionate about (frisbee gets pretty close.) 

Adriana is a woman we found looking for a less active member. She´s been going to church for a month but is waiting to get baptized until she visits interior and then returns. She wants to forgive some people first. I don´t know if I´ll be here or nor but I´m happy to see the change she has made as well.

Aline, who lives with Márcia (a recent convert, who went to the temple dedication with us) is now getting ready to be baptized as well. The work is moving and changing this area and us. I can feel and see the effects that Gospel service is having on my own life. Sometimes I sit and think, ``Why am I so happy?´´ Based on all exterior evidence it really doesn´t make a whole lot of sense. I´m always tired and we walk all day in the hot sun, and no one wants to talk to us and it goes on and on; and for some reason I´m still always happy. It´s what Jesus can do. It´s a miracle. There isn´t anything better in life. 

Love you all and can´t wait to see you again,

Elder Hodson
June 4th:
Hey Family!
This week was fun! This area is sooooooo much more fun, due to the level of difficulty and the fruits. It´s weird because in my old area a lot of people wanted to, or at least accepted talking to us. here people are rich and don´t want to talk to us. It´s so weird for me because usually we can find SOMEONE new each day to teach. Now, we´re working our tails off and finding less people. But I sure appreciate those we do have to teach now. I feel like we´re preparing these people to be disciples of Christ and not just numbers in baptism statistics. It´s a lot of fun. 

Anyway, God is good. He blesses us in small ways everyday. I love to see it and live it. Don´t ever get down. There´s no point to it. 
Keep up the good missionary work back home.

Love you all,

Elder Hodson
May 28th:
How is everyone? We just ended our transfer and are starting a new one. I´ll be staying here in Aguanambi with Elder Receveur. Elder Smith is going to Juazeiro (so far away) and Elder Conceção to Beira Mar (all Favela). We´ll be getting two new missionaries here. one from my group and a greenie who´s arriving today or tomorrow. It should be fun. 

This week was a blast. Elder Godoy of the Seventy was here and spoke with us. He is a man of God. It´s so cool to see the General Authorities. Their so full of the Spirit and you just know they know the church and the gospel are true. They´re so full of faith, hope, and optimism. He was defiantly inspired in what he taught because it helped me a lot.

As for this week, it was good. We found some new people to teach and are preparing them for baptism. 

Hey check out this cool videos that the Church is doing of Jesus. They´re very inspired.

Love you all,

Elder Hodson
May 21st:

what up! this week was fun. I got to travel a bunch to other areas, we had a zone conference, and M醨cia was baptized! it was cool because it was in a swimming pool in our house chapel. She's super excited about the baptism too. she has so much faith in Jesus Christ and is doing everything she can to rely on His all powerful arm. The example of new members really impresses me. To change your life and face the difficulties that accompany that change.  I loved to search for, find, and work with God's children who are looking for more in this world than what is generally offered by the people in it.

My testimony grows everyday of God's love, mercy and goodness to His children. I no longer believe in coincidences. God guides some of our smallest steps when we allow Him. Many times we don't see it until after the miracle has happened and I believe there are many circumstances where we don't see the miracle at all, but it was there.

燗 few examples from this week: Thursday night, around 6 30, After a long days work, I was really needing to use the bathroom, and God did a miracle. I was trying to think of members who lived close by where I could go, and I remembered a mom and son who are members with a non-member husband-father. We went asked to use the restroom and then after she told us she had been praying all day for us to stop by. She was sick and needing a Priesthood blessing. We had no idea. God didn't tell us she needed a blessing, but He lead us there in a strange and mysterious way. It could've been called coincidence or accident, but it wasn't, it was God. In that experience we saw the miracle right away.

Last Friday, we had lunch with an older woman in the ward. her son and daughter-in-law had lunch with us. At the end they asked us to leave a message and we did. It was a simple scripture in Alma 37:17 (I think) about the Lord fulfilling His promises to us. This week we had lunch with the son and daughter-in law. They told us the scripture had been a source of comfort to them throughout the entire week. They have been having financial problems and to remember the promises of the Lord helped them feel peace and comfort throughout the week. The Lord provided them with what they needed. In this experience we had no idea that what we had done had any effect at all, but one week later, we saw what God had done.

God lives and loves us. He does work in our lives. We just have to open our eyes so that we may see.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of salvation for God's children. When we live it, we feel it's power. If you have any doubts, follow Christ's teaching in John 7:17 and just do it. Them the answer will be given after you show your sincere desire ti know and DO (Ether 12:6.) It's the beginning of the Gospel of Christ.

The Book of Mormon is the word of God. Joseph Smith was Jesus Christ's servant and prophet to restore the work. In Elder Morrey's e-mail he posted a link to one of the most powerful testimonies of one of the most powerful men in the Gospel of Christ. What it. https://www.lds.org/pages/mormon-messages?lang=eng&query=testimony book mormon&cid=email-shared#testimony-of-the-book-of-mormon

Love you,

Elder Hodson
May 14th:
 Hey FAM!

It was fun talking to you all yesterday. It was fun to hear all of your voices and hear all about your lives and whatnot. Keep up the good work and being successful. Don´t waste time on stupid things like video games and TV. Instead, focus on developing your talents. ALL of them, mental, physical and spiritual. There´s a lot to learn and get done and time is limited and precious. Make good use of it. 

As for my toe, it´s doing better. There´s actually a funny story about that too. I was on a division with Elder Smith (who was at the MTC with me) and we were looking for a less active sister to bring back to church. She does nails in her house (a lot of people do, apparently it´s a good way to make money here.) Well, when we got there she was following up on a young man´s old ingrown toenail. I was told her that I had one too that was pretty nasty. The man told me I had luck because she knew how to take the out and she had taken his out. We were joking around about that (because I didn´t really believe it) and then she told me to take off my shoe. I was like, ´´What? I thought you were kidding. Last time I got it taken out at the hospital and they numbed up my foot first and i didn´t feel anything. I didn´t come here for this.´´

She told me again to take off my shoe. She was pretty persistent. Now, at this point I had a decision to make. I could let her take out my nail and by doing so show her that I trusted her, or run and she would probably not go back to church. I´m pretty sure you guys already know what I did. I too the shoe off and sat down on her little bench. She grabbed some scissors and started going at my foot. She told me it would hurt, but just or a little bit and after it would get better. Let me tell you... it HURT. First, she had to find the piece of nail that was dug in under my skin and then she had to rip it out by the roots. It was not enjoyably at all. But, the whole time I was smiling and talking to her and at least one of us was happy. Anyway, in the end it all worked out. She got the piece of nail out (it was pretty big too!) and she´s coming back to church with her sister who lives in my ward. But that was probably the most pain I´ve ever felt in my entire life. Do not ever rip your toenail out by the roots.

Well, like I said before, this week was great (except for the toenail). We had the baptism of Maria  (almost everyone here is named Maria) and are working on helping others prepare for baptism and confirmation as well. It´s the best work there is.

But really what hit me since we last talked, is the importance of the Priesthood. Yesterday after we talked, my comp and I were passing by a house of a less active member who had said they would be at church, but then they didn´t show up. We saw the brother playing soccer with his son in the garage and hung out with them a bit. We got around to asking him about church and he said he was sick. We asked him if he wanted a blessing and he said yes. He had never received a blessing before. I was able to explain it to him and then we offered the blessing. The Spirit was strong and I know it was exactly where God wanted us to be. To be a holder of the Priesthood is such a blessing because we literally have God´s power that we can use to bless His children. I always took it for granted because we always had Dad there but now I realize just how special it is. I´m grateful for the opportunity yo bless others through Priesthood service. The Priesthood is centered in service and the greatest joy in bearing it comes from serving others. Ben, Josh, be worthy of the Priesthood. Study hard and serve harder so that you can be powerful holders of the Priesthood. 

Anyway, got to go. Love you all. Thanks for the love and support.
May 7th:
 Hello Family,

This week was fun. We  taught a lot and ate a lot. My ingrown toenail has returned with a fury like never before. It bleeds a lot. The thing is I don´t want to go to the hospital and waste time when I could be working. I think I might go this week if the medicine I´m about to buy doesn´t work. It looks so gnarly. Maybe I´ll take a picture.

Well, I have a lot less time to work in the field now. We have training meetings and I do interviews. They eat up a lot of time. I don´t know how I can continue to find people to teach, baptize, and confirm without help from the Lord. He´ll have to guide me pretty closely now because there´s not a whole lot of time to waste. My district is pretty big too. That means a lot of interviews. But I gotta say that´s probably my favorite part of the mission so far. there really isn´t a whole lot better. The Spirit is very strong and lets you know exactly what you need to know. . 

I can´t wait to talk to everybody, especially Mom, on Sunday. I´ll probably call from 4 to 6 o clock here which should be 12 to 2 there. I´ll plan it out this week and let you know on Saturday... maybe. President hasn´t said anything about the Saturday pre-call yet.

Love you all. Talk to you soon.

Elder Hodson

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Area

Hello querido Family!

This area is great! I´m loving it! It is soooo different from the other area I passed in. The people here are... rich. The members are some of the oldest in the city and we get to eat some of the best food in the mission. From a temporal standpoint this has got to be the best area here in the mission. 

Really the food is one of the shining points of this area, There´s a sister here who owns an all you can eat restaurant. We eat there twice a month. If lunch falls, the members give us a very good amount of money to go out and eat. I´ve already eaten at McDonald´s (which is expensive here) and some other places. There are so many people here that know how to cook and this week we´re going to go teach a chef at a nearby restaurant! Oh man I´m loving it!

On top of all those great things, man companion is great. He´s funny and speaks Portuguese!  We´re meeting some good people who are accepting us and our message. We´ll see if we can´t help them go to church and make covenants with God. 

It´s kinda cool because we have a lot of Africans here studying at the local colleges. One is a member and knows so may people to teach! He´s also helping me learn Criolo(?) not sure if that´show it´s spelled. It´s an African language very similar to Portuguese. Also very cool.

The more I work out here in the field, the more I know that God is a part of this work. Just yesterday we had two experiences. First, we went with the African member! to talk to his cousin who used to go to church but stopped a few weeks ago. She wasn´t there but a friend of her husbands was. He said the last time he had been there the missionaries had stopped by too. But we haven´t been there in 2 months and neither has he. The first time the Elders met him, he hadn´t been by their house in 3 months. God is trying to talk to that man, and after a few hours of talking to him (he had quite a bit of doubts and problems) he´s going to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. 

We´re also working with an English teacher, single-mother here. She is awesome. She went out of her way to contact the missionaries in the area where she works. She´s been going to church and church activities. She didn´t show up at church this Sunday though and we were worried to see what had happened to her. We already had stuff set up for the day  and couldn´t get there until the night. When we got there we were able to help her clean up her house. She said that she hadn´t gotten any sleep because of here s year old who was up all night (I thought of Mom.) She told us about what´s going on in her life and said that she was needing the visit that night. By the time we left she was feeling much better.

I know from these simple experiences, any SOOO many other like them, that God will lead us where we need to go when we go about His work. Many times we won´t even realize we´re being lead, but when we´re worthy and willing, and put in our effort, God makes miracles happen in the lives of His children. 

I also know that there are many people searching for the gospel and would accept it if they only knew where to find it. I love just talking to people on the street. it´s become a new hobby of mine and Elder Receveur thinks I´m crazy but it rocks! We find such good people to teach that way who would never know about the church if it weren´t for us. Most of the time the people won´t accept our visits or will but won´t do anything after. But through all the working, sweating, teaching, and searching, we always find someone who was praying to God for something more in their life. Something to ´´fill the gap´´ as one investigator put it. The heart filler is the Gopel of Jesus Christ. It works miracles and changes lives when we let it. And not only this short mortal life but our entire eternal existence. 

So thank you all for sharing the gospel and blessing others with your testimonies. Help the missionaries and feed them good food. We love good food. 

I love you all and know that the Restoration of the Gospel occurred through the Prophet Joseph Smith and that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. The Holy Ghost testifies of it.

Bom trabalho!

Elder Hodson