Monday, August 29, 2011

Letter #5: Still in Provo MTC

How are you? I love to hear from you. Thank you for writing. It means so much.
The MTC is great. I continue to learn and grow and become a better person everday. Dad thank you for having us set goals. It helps because now we set daily goals. It's cool how fast we progress when we keep track of ourselves.
Dad, thanks for your e-mails and advice. I just read it and I feel great. It's funny I was just reading about Lehi's dream (in Portuguese yay!) and thinking about the scriptures. I love them and understand their purpose better now. Elder Jefferey R. Holland taught that the scriptures are the pure vehicle of the Spirit. It is so true. I love the inspired words of prophets of the Lord.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I just got called to be district leader on Sunday. It's a great opportunity. I love my district so much and want them to be successful missionaries. I read and learned from D&C 121 last night to try to get in the right frame of mind. I think I have finally begun to understand humility (I have daily goals to work on -- like not boasting at all). I don't want to lose what I've learned. D&C 121 talks a lot about what Christ taught his apostles when he was on the earth and they wanted to know who would be greatest in the kingdom of heaven. He taught that they that exalt themselves in this life wll be abased and they that abase themselves will be exalted. He taught that the greatest in the kingdom of heaven would be the servant of all. The Gentiles have their way of leading. The leader expects to be served and honored. He exercises dominion over others. But leaders in the Kingdom of God have to love and serve and not be served. King Benjamin talked about it. Joseph Smith talked about it. And Jesus Christ himself taught it. It is one of the mysteries of God and the kingdom of heaven. I hope I can live the way they did.
I'm so grateful to all of my friends who have written me. It is great to here about them and their lives. It kinda reminds me that real life is still going on. My world is missionary work.
So, I heard that there was some big hurricane on the east coast. How is everything? I might get reassigned over there in the next couple weeks. Which reminds me that Elder Morrey got reassigned to Billings Montana Mission... That's where Elder Stauffer is! I'm so jealous. That was like one of the three missions I wanted to go to. Florida, for Elder Tagg and Meachem and then Alabama (to make Nartkers dreams come true, tell him I'm praying for Alabama).
That's really all that's new with me. We get to teach investigators (who are our teachers being investigators). This week Elder McNeil and I taught Paulinha about the Law of Chastity. I really felt the Spirit directing me while I taught. It was so strong. She had questions about homosexual relationships and we were able to teach her lovingly and boldly. She wants to get baptized. She also had problems with the Word of Wisdom but we are praying for her and she hasn't smoked or had coffee in over a week. Our other investigator, Diego, is committed to baptism! It seems like a miracle because he didn't seem very interested at first. This upcoming week I get to be an invetsigator for another companionship. I take the role of someone I know that I think would be blessed by the message of the gospel. I am really excited.
Anyway, I love you so much. Do what is right and you will be blessed. The scripture that is the theme of my week is Isiah 40:28-31. It's beautiful and powerful.
Good luck with everything. I'll see you soon. Is it wied to think that I'm 1/24 done with my mission. It's going to go by too fast.
Elder Hodson

Monday, August 22, 2011

Spencer Letter #4

Hello from the MTC!
How are you? I love getting letters from you. It makes my day. Ben, Samantha, Josh, and McKayla... you need to write me. I want to here from you.
This week has been good. I'm very used to MTC life. The food is getting old. I'm staying in shape though. I love the elders that I've met here and the friends I've made. I love all that I've learned and how I've changed. Everyday I try to be a better person. It's fun. I'm happy.
Yesterday for temple walk I took pictures with Elder Davis and Elder Morrey. It's Elder Morrey's last week here. It's going to be sad to see him go. He's a great person. The MTC has helped him out a lot. He's a fantastic zone leader. I don't think I could handle the job.
Well life is pretty much the same here. I read a lot, learn Portuguese, and practice teaching the gospel. It's pretty repetitive but I love it. I finished the Book of Mormon, Jesus the Christ, and Our Heritage this week. As well as reading Matthew, Mark, and Luke. I just started John. I want to finish the New Testament by next Friday and then start on the Old Testament or Doctrine and Covenants.
I love studying the life of Christ. I've learned a lot. I've thought a lot about the reason Christ taught in parables. I recommend reading Jesus the Christ and then the gopsels in the New Testament. Use the footnotes and the JS parts.
The scripture I wanted Josh to read was Duet. 31:6-8. I think I finally got it right. It's always good advice though.
One elder in my district got his visa this week. He leaves next week. The senior district just got reassigned. They're going to Detroit, Pittsburg, St. George, and Riverside CA. Elder Morrey will get his this week. Ha ha I hope when I get mine I go to Alabama so Nartker's dream will come true.
I'm super excited to see Elder Olpin this week. He's not on my branch but I'll still see him a bunch. And I wrote Elder White last Monday. I'm not sure what mail travel time is like though.
Anyway, I love you so much. The church is true. Tell everyone. It's weird how I thought I was a pretty good member missionary before I came out here but now I wish I had done so much more. The gospel is the most important thing in my life. It's the most important thing that anyone can accept in this life because it will provide the saving ordinances that will allow them to return to live with God. Share it.
Love you,
Elder Hodson

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week 3: Another Letter from the MTC

My family! I'm sorry that I didn't e-mail last week. It's kind of a long story. I got locked out of the system. Anyway, I'm good now. Nothing bad happened btw :)
The MTC is fantastic. I love it here. I read the scriptures all day. I just got to Ether in the Book of Mormon and I'm over half way done with Jesus the Christ. We have devotionals and firesides every week. I got to hear from Cecil O. Samuelson last Tuesday. I loved seeing him again. He is an awesome guy. He focused on Timothy chapter 4. Go read it.
We've had two members of the 70 talk about faith. I love faith. Mine has grown so much stronger these past, three weeks?, (it feels so much longer, and so much shorter at the same time. It's a wierd feeling). The basic question of faith is, "Will I act based on hope or will I demand a witness before I will act?" The cool part is that after we act we recieve that witness and our faith grows. Then there are new things to have faith about. Joseph Smith taught that's it's like a ladder. We grow one step at a time. I'm trying to run up the ladder right now. I'm just trusting in everything the scriptures and prophets have said and continue to say, and it's working.
I have such a strong testimony of Jesus Christ as our savior and Redeemer. He is the Son of God. He does in reality live and he wants us to become liike him. We can literally become "joint-heirs with Christ". i think that's in Romans. The Bible is true. The Book of Mormon is true. It testifies of Christ. That he is the Jehovah of the Old Testament and the Savior of the world. He told his disciples, "other sheep i have which are not of this fold. Them also I must bring and there shall be one fold and one shepard." The other sheep were the Nephites and lost trivbes of Isreal. He visited them and taught them his same gospel. The Book of Mormon is very much like the Bible but it didn't go through so many years of confusion and translations. it was translated through the power of God. He had a plan to bring the fullness of His gospel back onto the earth.
In 1820, young Joseph Smith was reading in James. he read verse 5 that says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God; that giveth to all men liberally and abraideth not, and it shall be given him". Joseph acted on this promise. He went to a grove of trees and prayed to ask God which church he shoud join. In a miraculous answer to his prayer, he gives the following acount. "I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, it descended gradually until it rested upon me. When the light rested upin me I saw two Personages whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing in the air above me. One of them spoke to me, calling me by name, and said, pointing to the other, "This is my beloved Son. Hear Him." The two personages were God the Father and Jesus Christ. Thus began the restoration of Christ's church that he had organized while he was on the earth. Over time, Joseph recieved the priesthood and saving ordinances that man can enter in to, to return to our Heavnly Father. We have a prophet today. The heavens are not closed. This church is lead by Jesus Christ, not men. The heavens are not closed.
I feel the Holy Ghost in my life daily. We can talk to our God and he will answer us through the Holy Ghost. Miracles are possible. i'm living one now. There's no way I could learn Portuguese this fast on my own. i have the Lord's strength with me. This is His work. He welcomes all to come unto His church and forsake family and past beliefs, to be a part of His kingdom. he lives and will return. i can't wait for that day. I am doing all i can to prepare the world for His coming by sharing the truth that I know with others.
It's good to hear about all of your differnt activities. Keep it up and work hard. Josh, do good with football. Read Deuteronomy 34. it's something like that. i can't remember. you'll like it. Ben, talk to me bro. Samantha and McKayla you are amazing. thank you so much for writing me. My time is almost over so I have to go, but read the scriptures everyday. All of them. Bible, Doctrine and Covenants,  Pearl of Great Price, the words of the living prophets and especially the Book of Mormon. If you read it and pray about it you will know it's true. I love you so much. be good. Always be exactly obedient to the Lords commandments. Don't try to bend them. Share the gospel with your friends. They need it. Everyone deserves it. Whether they will accept it or not is their choice. But give them the chance.
Love, Elder Hodson

Thursday, August 11, 2011

2nd Letter

Today was a good day because we heard from Spencer again! We didn't get an e-mail on Monday of this week, but we got a letter in the mail today.

Spencer is doing great! He says the MTC rocks! They are only speaking to him in Portuguese and he says, "The new immersion curriculum is a miracle. Elders are getting the gift of tongues. That's the only way to describe it. Many people are leaving fluent. I can already understand almost everything my teacher says. He said he's seen elders leave the MTC now knowing more Portuguese than he know after six months (in Brazil). It's because our teacher only talks to us in Portuguese and we have to teach in Portuguese. I get a new investigator tomorrow. His name is, Diego (pronounced gee-e-goo) in Portuguese. I can't wait to teach him."

Spencer also said, "I got to go to the temple this morning. I love the temple. I think I am starting to understand a little tiny bit. I think it was President Hinckley who said he thought he finally know what the temple was all about. he said that when he was like 90. So, I've got many years to go."

On another note, Spencer said that gym time is fun. He says, "I usually run at least a mile everyday and then go play basketball and four square. Four square is a blast! I love it. My district kinda owns one of the courts."

We are glad that Spencer is having a good time and learning a lot. We miss him and we love to hear from him. I'm glad he remembered to send Samantha a birthday card last made her day!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Spencer's First Letter Home

Hola! Tudo bem? I love the MTC! It is fantastic. I already feel like I have learned so much and come to know our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ so much better in my short half week here. We work ALL the time. Usually when I wake up at 6:30 in the morning I do not want to get out of bed. It helps that I'm on the top bunk because the adrenaline rush from leaping off helps wake me up.
So, I'm part of a new teaching program where our professor talks to us in Portuguese. I think he's probably only spoken English for like 5 min total over the past week. It has helped a lot though because it forces us to try to understand the language. We also have already taught two lessions to Maria. In only Portuguese! She doesn't speak any English. It's challenging but I've learned that even though I can't speak Portuguese, I can speak by the Spirit. Thomas S. Monson said something along the lines of - there is one language common to all men; the language of the Spirit. It talks to their hearts so that they understand. It's funny, we had a workshop the second day we got here where all the new missionaries teamed up to teach investigators. A lot of people wanted to talk and tell them what they believed about the church and why the gospel was true. It didn't have much of an effect though. All of the talking didn't amount to much. Finally, we started to listen to the spirit and try to understand the needs of the investigator. We spoke the simple truth and that is what the investigators wanted.
Oh Elder Morrey is my zone leader! It's great to have him here. He's been out for just over a month and I think this is his first week as zone leader. He's doing a great job and has an awesome companion. We took pictures with Elder Enoch Davis durng our Temple walk yesterday. I'll send pictures eventually. My companion is Elder McNeal. He is a good person. He's very clean and has a solid understanding of the gospel. I'm helping him get excitied about learning Portuguese. We are praying for help from our Father in Heaven as we work dilligentely to learn the language. He is from Portland, Oregon area and went to BYU-I. Fun fact - someday he wants to be a nurse. He'll be great at it too. We've set some good companionship goals and I know we can be successful.
Over this past week I have come to really know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. The restoration of all things was absolutely necessary and the authority to act in God's name and perform saving ordinances is again on the earth. Joseph Smith did in reality see God the Father and Jesus Christ. He restored the same church that Christ instituted while he was on the earth. I have started to understand the importance of following the spirit. It really does work. Haha I also have begun to learn the need for humility. I got too proud after my first teaching with Maria and the next time the Spirit wasn't there. I feel like learning humility is going to be a long, painful process because I'm a pretty awesome person.
I'm running short on time and the computer will kick me off soon, but just know I love you and miss you. I should write today. You can use dear elder while I'm here at the MTC. It's free. And you can send me cookies with dear elder!!! Make sure Grandpa get this email. And Jake Thompson. Got to go! Tchau!
Elder Spencer Hoodson