Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Last Three Weeks

Sorry, I haven't posted Spencer's letters the last couple weeks because we were having a problem with our computer, he is doing great...here are the highlights from the last three weeks:

 Letter 1:

Family!

Happy Thamksgiving! Would you like to know something very sad?  Brazil´s never heard of Thanksgiving. This was like one of my favorite holidays of the year full of thanks (giving it) and food. I bet you´re going paintballing on Wednesday... So jealous. But it´s ok, like every other day here  is a holiday for something seriously  they have a lot. I don´t think they like to work a whole lot. Missionaries don´t get holidays though. We work a lot.

Well this week was legit. You know when you´re just doing everything right and you feel good? Like when you just work super hard and keep all the commandments and just feel so confident. I love it. We didn´t have a whole lot of success in numbers this week but we worked our tails off. I´m starting to learn how to listen to the Spirit and really testify. When I first got here I was scared to talk in Portuguese. Now, I can´t stop. Remember Yulka? She´s deaf and we´re trying to teach here about the church and get her ready for baptism. Well, we´ve had people come from hours away to talk with here but now here parents (who were born and raised Catholic) aren´t letting her get baptized. Her dad lives in another state I think he has another family and stops by here about once a month. The mom said she would talk to her husband about it. She did and he said no. So, we asked to talk to him. He said he didn´t think she was ready and we said ýeah she needs a responsible parent to help her´ and taught him about the church (just in like 45 seconds - we were late for a meeting) and invited him to pray about it. He was like ´no no I don´t think anyone can know if a church is true. They´re all good because everyone is looking for God.` And stuff like that. We just bore such solid humble testimony about the Church of Jesus Christ, that it´s perfect and absolutely true and that we know it because we´ve received a witness from God. He changed. I don´t know what will come of it but I´m hoping for a miracle. But, whatever happens it´s just so cool to literally be the instrument of the  Spirit. To have it flow through you and let God talk to His lost and wayward child.

Oh, so other cool news! I´m buying a guitar! I know I´m stupid but I had 50 american dollars and there´s an elder going home next month and he was looking for american money. He was going to sell it to a member but I was like Ì have american money´and he was like ´´sweet deal.´´ so I´ll  be getting it just before Christmas. Also, my comp has  a harmonica and it´s sweet and i think I´m gonna buy one of those too. I´m gonna come home super talented. Get excited.

I do not get to play soccer. Mission rule. Too many elders were getting hurt so President took it away before I got here. I´ve seen some soccer on the bar TV´s when we walk by though. They´re pretty dang good.

They have this little bug zapper things here that are awesome! They look like tennis rackets but they´re electric. You turn it on and just pass it over the bugs and they get obliterated. It´s SUPER satisfying.  Thought you´d like to know.

So missionary time. Read your scriptures every day. Pray morning and night with REAL intent. Not baby  prayers. Establish a relationship with God. Keep all the commandments and ALWAYS do what´s right NO MATTER WHAT. I promise that if you do this your eyes and ears will be opened and you will learn and understand truths that you had never thought of before. Read John 8. It´s super good. Verse 32 (I think) is baller. The truth will make you free. Think about it. Don´t sin. Read Jesus the Christ chapter 8, 9, or 10. It´s on page 112 about how Christ progressed. D&C 93  is helpful and the JST to the end of Luke chapter 2. Get to it.

Love you all. Missions rock. I´m just about as happy as I´ve ever been. Stop watching TV and wasting time. Go buy a harmonica and get better than me.

Talk to you next week,

Elder Hodson


Letter 2:

Family!!!
 
What up? Good to hear Thanksgiving was good. I´m starving. We don´t get lunch on P-Day. I ate like all my food today too. I make some good eggs and toast though. And sometimes I butter this little cream crackers that they have here and toast those too. It´s actually super good.
 
This week was rough numbers wise. Lot´s of appointments fell through. But as far as learning and self-inprovement goes it was solid as always. Elder Costa, who was just released as a President of the 70 had a zone conference with us this week. It was ridiculously good. He taught us a bunch about the Atonement - it was amazing. That´s 5 General Authourities we´ve had here this month. We´ve learned a lot. I got a letter from Corbrett this week that said something I really liked. He said he has a great love for the General Authorities because they´ve made obedience their goal. I really want to do that too. They´re just solid, solid men of God.
 
Oh so cool story, today we found a house that sells 20 mangos for $1. We bought 50. There are so many ways to eat this things. You can make juice or eat them like an apple (the skin isn´t super good but it´s not terrible, I like it more than most people do), you can cut it in a grid and eat only the good stuff, or squish it all up until it´s like a waterballoon and suck out the inards. We´ve been eating like all day. I love mangos.
 
We had our first legit bible bash this week. My comp said he´s always liked to do it but since he´s been with me he´s tried top calm down. But she was really asking for it. We stopped by to contact a reference from some other missionaries. THe mom wassn´t there so we told her daughter that we would come back another day. As we were talking to her the neighbor blasted some evangelical music super loud (I honestly think their pastors tell them to do it when talking to the Mormons because it takes away the Spirit SO fast.) Anyway, she leaned out her window and started to talk to us. It was so obvious that she was trying to nicely show us that we were wrong. So we nicely showed her that we´re right, with a little conviction, power and authority. It was kinda fun. But the more I talk to people the more I know that Church is true. It is perfect. All the others were founded by men but the CHurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was established by God and Jesus Christ themselves through a modern-day prophet. I just want to tell everyone! IT´s so said though to see people not accept the truth when it´s right there in front of them. And like I said this week was rough numbers wise.
 
But, some good news - I bought a coconut this week. You just buy the whole thing and drink the juice right out. It´s pretty good but not as good as you´d think.
 
Oh yeah, I forgot... I got an ingrown toenail this week. We went to the hospital to get it removed. Ha i wans´t too worried because I saw ny comp at the MTC get one taken out but I guess I forgot that I´m in Brazil. They layed me down on a bench in the hospital with one of those totally officialy, medical, dentist-looking lights directed at my foot. They gave me one of those sticks to bite down on and then started tearing the infected toenail out of my toe. It hurt like heck but the good news is I´ll be alright and I won´t loose my toe. That night we had some important appointments to go to so we still had to walk a bunch. It didn´t hurt to bad though.
 
K totally kidding about the bite bar. They number me up so I didn´t fell a thing. But my comp was watching during the operation and I was just laying there with my eyes closed cause I didn´t want to watch. About half way through I looked up to talk to him and he was gone. That didn´t reassure me. Then I just closed my eyes and tried to ignore the pressure in my foot.  My comp said that it was pretty bad. The first thing he did was just shove the scissors into my foot and take out the infected part. But I have some med´s now and I´m cleaning it with alcohol every night. I just have to wear flip flops for a while which is probably the worst part. 
 
But life is good. I´m working and finding the balance on beinf perfect and having fun. I know we´re meant to be happy here but is it more important to be obedient? Won´t obedience eventually bring the greatest happiness thoiugh it may not be immediate? Alma 27:17-18 is Ammon´s happiness after successful, self-less service. That´s the joy I want. D&C 59 talks about fasting being pure joy. I´ve been trying to figure it out. Let me know what you think on the balance between obedience, fun, and true, pure joy.
 
Anyway, love you all. Thank you for being awesome. Josh, McKayla and Alex thank you for writing. i miss you too. And Ben and Samantha... But you guys rock. See you soon.
 
Love 
 
Elder Hodson 
 
Letter 3:
 
 Family!!!

What up?! Christmas is nearing but with the attitude here you wouldn´t really know it. Ha I was talking with one of our investigators and said that Christmas is my favorite time of the year because everyone is super happy and giving, you know Christmas spirit stuff. She just looked at me like I was an idiot and said that not everyone´s happy. Apparently Christmas here is different and everyone just drinks. I´m a little bit sad about that but I guess it´ll be ok going two years without Christmas.

Anyway, this week was great.  We were on fire. We taught a lot this past week. Ha on Saturday we saw these ladies carrying a super heavy bag, it took like 3 of them to carry it, and offered to help them out. We ended up carrying it like 2 miles for them and walked right past the church so it was super easy to talk about the gospel and everything, and we were wearing our name tags which makes it easy to talk about the gospel too...

But we´ve had some good experiences this week. You know how you´re faith in something slowly builds up over time like a tree, talks about it in Alma 32- you know what I´m talking about. Well, my testimony of fasting is getting to be a pretty solid tree. Things just seem to go right when you fast and you can just feel the Spirit flow through you a lot easier. It´s sweet. And someone gave us a pizza while we were fasting so that was cool too.

But, we had a super cool baptism this week, not that they´re not all cool cuz they are but, this one was cool. The guy is 62 years old and he used to be a homeless drunk. He´s living with his sister now who´s a member of the church. We had a family night over there last week and got to know him. He´s a super cool dude. Anyway, we passed by everyday and taught him everything and he was baptized yesterday. But, I could see the change in him over the week. The hope that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brought him. He´s a super quiet guy but he´s got the light of hope in him now. He´s so humble and sincere, ah I love him! But the baptism was cool.He´s the last member of that family to get baptized so everyone was super happy. His brother baptized him and everyone was crying and the Spirit was so strong. It made me think about how important families are, how lucky I am to have such a good family, how I want to be a better brother and son, and one day a great father. I love the fact that families can live together forever. I think it is one of the most beautiful parts of Heavenly Father´s plan. Just think about it,ponder it.It´s amazing. Eternal Life is going to rock.

So I found out something interesting.People think we can brainwash them.It makes so much sense to me now. Sometimes we´ll have awesome first lessons and then they´ll ask us never to come back again. I was so confused. But I guess people tell them just not to listen to us at all. They tell them that the Spirit they felt is us brainwashing them. It´s ridiculous. I was wondering why we weren´t baptizing like everyone we talked to. But, just so you guys know, I do not know how to brainwash people. Sorry. Only how to open up the windows of revelation so that the God they profess to believe in can talk to them for like the first time in their lives through the Spirit. They don´t understand what it is though. Ah, the enemy is so smart. We just gotta work harder and trust in God to beat him. He wins a lot of battles though. It´s super sad.

Anyway, the mission is going great. I love it out here. I´m learning so much, doing my best to develop attributes linked with men of God- both to prepare personally for the future and the responsibilities I´ll have and to be a more effective tool in building up the Kingdom of God on the earth, and meeting and sharing my testimony with so many people.I´ve got a lot of friends here in Brazil.And even though a lot of them are lazy and full of sin, I love them so much.The people here are different from back home but, they are children of God and I love them all. It´s something I realized just the other day but it´s made a big difference for me.

Anyway, be obedient. Keep the commandments.When we make obedience our goal, when obedience comes from a desire to please God and do what is right, when it´s our journey, we are made free from the weight of sin.It no longer has power over us.We are free to learn and develop like nothing else. Just trust in God and always do what is right. Remember that through Jesus Christ, and only through Him, all things are possible.

I love you all so much. Thank you for supporting me and not forgetting me :)

See ya soon,

Elder Hodson

P.S. Scripture of the week 2 Nephi 2:8-9 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Meeting Elder Bednar

Hey family,

Just got back from talking with Elder Bednar. He´s awesome. That´s 4 of the 12 that I´ve seen while I´ve been on my mission. I´m trying to meet the whole group. Anyway, he gave some super cool advice on how to learn about the Atonement. Read the BoM in 6 months as many times as you can and afterwards right a 1 page paper on what you learned about the Atonement. Legit.

And with packages, I did get the photos and the package. I hear that I´ve got another in the office so it should get here tomorrow. Thank you! The candy was super good! It´s almost all gone though... If you could send me candy every day I would love it.

So, here´s some cool stuff I learned about Brazil. 1) You can kill here and not even get in trouble. It´s kinda dumb. But there´s a dude here who´s friend killed, well a lot of people, and he just got isolated to one city. So with this please read Alma 19:22-23 and pray for me haha. Nah, the best part is I´m not even worried a bit. Being a missionary brings a lot of courage. I see some pretty bad stuff but we´re never touched. Our entire building was robbed the other day, except for us.

2) People here are crazy for not joining the church. The other churches here straight up rob people. The put people at the doors and take all of their money when they leave- like out of their pockets and bags. Our church doesn´t do that and it´s true. It seems like an easy choice to me.

Anyway, life is terrific. We´re starting to have a lot of success. It makes the mission fun.

But, that´s about all I got for ya this week. Everything is good.

Anyway, love you all. Be good. Read the Book of Mormon as many times as you can in the next 6 months. Elder Bednar also, whenever he has any question, gets a new copy of the BoM and reads it for 6 months and afterwards writes a one page summary on the answer. Oh, and he kinda reminds me of Dad. Like for real. I felt like I was at home for family night. It was nice.

Elder Hodson

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

This Is My Life Now!

Family!

Hello from the front lines! How are all of you? From the e-mails it sounds like things are going great. We just had stake conference too. They reorganized the stake here and everything. Two seventies came and my mission president and everything, it was absolutely fantastic. Our investigators loved it. One of them called it ´linda´ or beautiful. I wish I could´ve heard Dad speak though.

This week was weird. Like, it was super cool at first. I don´t think you would believe how much I´ve learned this week. The scriptures really are amazing. Sometimes I feel like some monk who knows about this like higher spiritual path in life. It´s sweet. The best part is that it´s real and it´s all true. I´ve gained such a testimony of the truthfulness and reality of this gospel. So, I´ve learned a ton this week, Cool part. And, we taught a ton of people too. Our teaching is getting to be really powerful. The Spirit is super strong. Another cool part. So this whole week I´ve felt on top of the world like everything is finally going perfect, everything that I ever wanted out of a mission. I had plans to literally baptize 25 people next week.

And then guess what happened? No one came to church. We had two investigators and a few less actives but our families didn´t come. I was so stoked. But, when we passed by to pick everyone up, they all came up with excuses like- ´well I said I was Catholic`, ´I´m tired´, or ´we´ve got visitors´. Just really lame excuses. We made it pretty plain why they needed to come but they all still stayed home. That was a humbler. I still don´t quite understand it.

Anyway, love you all. Do what´s right. It brings joy. IF it didn´t there would be no point to it. But I have you. You make me happy. Families really are what it´s all about. I can´t wait to be with you again. Until be good. Read your scriptures and pray. Serve people. Do everything you can to come to know God. And prepare for your mission know. It really does pay off.

Until next week,

Elder Hodson

Friday, November 4, 2011

Life Is Good

  Family!!!

I´m gonna answer some of your questions that I remember. First, the language. It is awesome! I have such a solid testimony of the gifts of the Spirit. I studied them a lot this week. It´s super cool how much you can learn from the scriptures and how real it all is. I would recommend a deep and honest study of the gifts of the Spirit. They are literal blessings and power that we can receive from God when we keep all His commandments (D&C 46:8 I think.) I didn´t realize how important it was to be perfect until I got out here. I always kinda liked to do what´s right but now it´s different. If I sin it´s like I gotta repent right away. So I´m doing everything I can to be perfect. It´s hard though.

Anyway, with the language - yes I can speak it. I feel like I need to become fluent for the role the Lord has for me here, like the work I´m meant to do. I don´t like to waste the Lord´s time. It´s really frustrating to be helpless and not able to speak. I´m not fluent yet but I´m hoping by the end of my next transfer. . But, the Lord definitely helps missionaries communicate with people. My companion and I are actually learning sign language in Portuguese to help a deaf girl. She´s 11 and the only thing really stopping here from being baptized is that her mom wants her to understand our messages better. The mom´s been translating but she doesn´t know all the words we use, like, ´Holy Ghost´, so we went a learned from this other deaf girl that God put in our path. It really is cool all the miracles that happen out here. God wants people to join His church and he´ll give them the opportunity, they just have to accept.


OK so super cool news. The temple ground here is gonna be broken in two weeks and guess who´s coming? Elder Bednar! WHoo I´m sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo stoked! I love Elder Bednar. He´s gonna do a mission conference thing e tudo. We just got the talks we´re supposed to study, today. It looks like it´s going to be on faith. Ah, we get to meet him afterwards too and probably do a question and answer session. I cannot wait. Two weeks from today and I´m gonna meet an apostle.

We, had our first rain shower here. It´s nuts. It´s kinda funny though because there´s a system to the rain. It´s starts raining in the morning and always stops whenever we need to leave. Then when we´re inside it rains and when we leave it´s sunny. God loves missionaries. I think we´re getting into the hottest month of the year. I´m pretty stoked but my companion definitely  isn´t. He´s from Idaho and likes snow and stuff, gross. I love this sun. It´s so hot and feels so good. I wish I could go run and go to the beach and stuff sometimes. Temptation stinks.

Well, even things are exciting and fantastic and wonderful... they´re super hard too. Some days everything goes wrong and all our lessons fall. This week we found out one of our investigators, who we were super excited to talk too, died. Everyone else here is stubbornly Catholic or Evangelical. Sometimes it´s hard to teach them. But, despite all of the difficulties and failures, I love everyday. I know that this is where God wants me to be. I know that I´m talking to the people I´m supposed to talk to. Everyone needs an opportunity to change their life. Everyone needs an opportunity to break free from the chains of sin that are holding them back from walking on the path that leads to Eternal Life. I think some of the saddest moments in my life are when I see people who don´t want to accept the gospel into their lives our change. Everyone here professes to believe in Christ but they won´t do anything for Him. We just taught some people for the last time this past week who we were super excited about. They got an answer about Joseph Smith being a prophet. They prayed and asked God if the Book of Mormon was true and they got an answer. They straight up said that they knew the church is true, that is really is the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth again, but they won´t change. They won´t come to church. They won´t stop drinking coffee. It´s so sad. But I´ve realized that we really do get to make whatever we want out of ourselves. We choose to follow Christ our take another path. 2 Nephi 2:27 is straight up true.

And so, even though we get a lot of rejection, it´s awesome to know that I´m doing what God wants me to do. To follow the Spirit and feel it testify of our words so powerfully that they know our message is true. They just have to choose if they want it. It´s good to be a missionary. A literal messenger of Jesus Christ. He´s with us everyday.

Love

Elder Hodson

Thursday, October 27, 2011