Tuesday, March 27, 2012

8 Months


Oi, tudo bem? Eu acho que eu só vou escever em Portuguese hoje. Nevermind...

Well, reports for the week - it was a good one. We worked (honestly could´ve worked harder this week though I was pretty exhausted) but next week  we´ll work even harder. We´ve got a wedding to restart and interviews with President, not to mention all the training studying everyday, but it should be a fun one.

We had a baptism for a man named Marcos. It was fantastic! Ha after he passed  the baptismal interview I called the rest of his family in to invite them to the baptism. His mom, on hearing he would ´deny´ their family religion, flipped out. The man´s 28 years old though. It was funny. Anyway, I explained to her how no one can get baptized without an answer from God and that they were welcome to come see what the church is like ( a lot of people have weird ideas about the church  because a lot of supernatural things go on here and they ´re fairly normal.) His parents and sister ended up going to church and watching the baptism! It was awesome! The service went really well too! We´re going there tonight to teach the rest of the family.

We´re also teaching an older woman who´s been Catholic her whole life. She has many family members in the church and is now going every week. She is also preparing for baptism. I´m excited for her. She used to hate the church and kicked out her daughter years ago when she decided to serve a mission. It´s amazing to see how the Lord prepares people - and it doesn´t always happen right away. But we can have faith and trust Him because He knows His children and what they need for their happiness. We just need to do everything we can and then leave it up to Him.

  Well, this week I´ve been thinking a lot about the  great men of the world and of God. There is a man here known as President Cabral. 20 years ago he was the stake president here. He´s a legend. The church grew SOOO much when he was serving. At the time he was called he had been a member for 2  years. He´s now on the high counsel and working with our weaker ward. I´m so excited to have him here working with us. Things should start happening now. He´s very practical in his thinking. W e have to act. It´s that simple. Work. I t´s something that I´ve come to realize in my short time in the field. We can change things. We can change the world. We are children of God with so much potential. If we just do it in accordance with His will, anything and everything is possible. We just have to act in faith. I thought about how Napoleon and Alexander the Great must have felt realizing that they could change civilizations and nations. The same power is ours. But we fight for good. We fight for righteousness. It is amazing to see the power and potential we have. I am realizing it as my 19 year old companion and I build up, not our kingdom but God´s here in this part of Brazil. The capacity to work and do is real. We just have to have the desire to do it an then JUST DO IT. So, work hard and accomplish things. Change the world. It´s more possible than you think. That´s why you need to be an influence for good to everyone around you.

Love you all,

Elder Hodson

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Times Flies!

Hello Home!!!!  February 20th
Stuff here is progressing. I'm never content and always want more but I'm learning to recognize my limits while still working as hard as possible. Training is a blast though! My comp is great. The only down side is that we study for 2 extra hours everyday which results in a loss of 2 working hours. But that down side comes with the upside of 2 extra hours of study! I honestly cannot emphasize how much I study. I love it. I finished Jesus the Christ and I'm reading teachings of Joseph Smith right now (but that's just in my spare time.) When I finish that I'll go back to Jesus the Christ but this time in Portuguese.

You all keep being amazing and remember that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth by a prophet. The more I study about Joseph Smith the more I learn about revelation and just exactly what it means to be a prophet. It's a lot simpler and less magical than a lot of people think. And very real. I've found that many people imagine that spiritual gifts are cool powers that the ancient saints enjoyed but the fact it they are very simple gifts that God grants to the faithful TODAY. They are real and not a distant event to be enjoyed in the future. We have all the rights to the powers of heaven right NOW based on our own obedience to each law placed. Be worthy. Seek for the powers of heaven. We have all the rights as the patriarchs of old to knowledge, power, intelligence, and all the mysteries of God. The Church is Jesus Christ. We have covenants that bind us to Him.

See you all soon,

Elder Hodson

 Family!  February 27th

This week was fantastic! We are working hard and the Lord is blessing us greatly. I am loving my companion and the work he puts in. We are very busy and teaching and finding many people right now. At first I was a little intimidated with the senior companion role but I´m loving it more and more everyday. We are having the faith and courage to talk with everyone about the gospel - and striving to do it in a not overbearing, proud, selfish kind of way. We are meeting some very faithful people who are ready for greater light. It´s exciting!

I can see it in a woman here I know. I´ve known her since I got here 5 and a half months ago. She wouldn´t look at me or talk to me for the first 2 months because she thought we worshiped the devil. We baptized her husband and she opened up to us a little bit more. We baptized her grandson and she sees how he likes church. We talked to her this past week and she´s going to go to church with us on Sunday! It´s what happens with patience and a Christ like example. I´ve been here for such a long time that I´m getting to know a lot of these people and it´s having a very strong effect.

We also baptized a young woman this week who was just shining after the baptism. Her sister will probably follow her and her mom might too. I´m loving the renewed excitement in the area.

I love you all and know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. It is the path to eternal life and happiness. We should help as many as we can along our path reach exaltation with us. Think of how much sweeter it will be if we lead others onto the path! There is no greater reward that we can receive or happiness that we can attain. Serve others. BE examples of Jesus. Be obedient. Help the missionaries. Give them references and go teach with them. Especially Ben. I went many times with the missionaries and loved every minute of it. I wish I had gone more. Don´t miss any opportunity to go with them. Above all just follow the Spirit and seek to hear it whisperings.

See you soon.

Elder Hodson

Dear, dear family,  March 5th
How is everyone? I´m sorry to hear that Sam was sick. That is always super lame. My comp and I haven´t gotten sick yet at all together, which is a blessing here in the field. President told us at a leadership meeting this week that 10-30% of missionaries, either specifically in our mission or Brazil or South America, are sick on any given day. Those stats where pretty unspecific and lame but they´re kinda somewhat reliable.
On Sunday, we went to church a little disappointed and very tired. At church we had one of the best fast and testimony meetings I´ve ever been a part of. It was over an hour and a half long. Just mentioning it I can feel the Spirit of the meeting. No one wanted to leave. The best and most touching part for me was that almost everyone mentioned ´´the elders´´ in their talk. I saw I man who was so far gone, drinking and indulging in the vain things of the world, go to the front and bear his testimony of the church, the restoration, and his desire to take his family to the temple.
I felt so at peace and comforted. God showed me that I need to have more faith and stop getting disappointed when things don´t work out the way I wan them to. That God has a work and He does it through us, and that we are having much success. One of the young women from this giant family who we´ve helped come back to church, literally almost brought me to tears. It was her first time bearing her testimony ever and she was so nervous but she did such a good job. I don´t know if all the love we received was deserved but it made up for the whole week of disappointment.
Then the ward poured so many references of their friends onto us. This week is going to be so good I know it. I´m so happy to be here in these wards. I´ve already been in this area for 5 months and I only have 1 1/2 left. I´ll be sad to leave but I hear they´ve got good plans for me after.
Anyway, training is a blast. My companion is a champ. He loves to work hard and helps me stay clean at home. He´s a good example for me.
Also I´d like to give a special shout out to Wall E. He´s awesome and speaks English. Eric too. They are fantastic men and very open to light and truth. And would love nothing more than to see them progress in the church and become the men of God that I know they can become. They have already been blessed with so many talents and skills, making covenants with God would only magnify and sanctify those God-given talents.
I love you all. I know that the Church was restored through a prophet. I know that the church is lead by a prophet. I know that God loves us and that His thoughts are higher than ours. I know that He has a perfect plan for the salvation of His children and that that plan was wrought out through the sacrifice and Atonement of the Only Begotten of the Father, Jesus Christ. I know that as we receive everything in our lives with gratitude (including the difficulties and trials through which we pass) we will become sanctified and exalted.
I love you all. Don´t sin. Write me letters (that´s a part of not sinning.) Help the missionaries in our ward. Talk to your friends about the gospel and INVITE them to partake of what you have.
Elder Hodson
 Hello Family,  March 12th

This week was super fun. W've teaching a lot. I love how down my comp is to work hard. We start working at one in the afternoon and just go until 9 30 at night. It's awesome. The Lord is putting so many people in our path as we learn how to plan and look for new investigators using Preach My Gospel as a guide. Sometimes I wonder why President made me a trainer when I still have so much to improve on, but then as we rely on the Lord, He does His work through us.

Anyway, this was the end of another transfer. It marks the start of my last transfer here. At least I think it will be my last here. I've been here since the beginning. Now, I just stay one more and finish training  and then I think I'm leaving.

The end of the week was good though. We baptized a young man that we met about a month ago. He'd been going to church with his neighbors and loves the church. After the baptism he started to cry and I thought maybe something has gotten in his eyes but he told me he just felt really, really good. It's sweet to see the Spirit bear witness to others that the church is true. It's a testimony builder for me to see.

Haha filling up the font was fun before the baptism. I had talked to the bishop of Parangaba (where the baptism would be) likle three times. They meet in the morning but wanted to have the baptism at night after Joquei. I saw him get there during the sacrament of Joquei so I figured everything would be alright. I went to check with him the 3rd hour of Joquei and he said he hadn't started filling up the font yet. I went in to check it out and it was pretty dirty with dead bugs and had only two feet of water. The plug also wasn't in. That's when I remembered "If you want something done, do it yourself." I rolled up my pant legs and went to go put the plug in. Unfortunately, I forgot about the phone in my chest pocket. It fell into the water along with my missionary handbook and was soaked. Luckily, it's rock solid and still works. But, the font was full on time and everything went smoothly.

Remember that the church is true. Remember that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored in it's fullness by a prophet. Remember that obedience brings protection from all the powers of evil. Remember that God loves each and every one of us and wants what's best for us. All things really do work together for our good. Joesph Smith taught that those who receive ALL things with a spirit of gratitude will receive Eternal Life. Be grateful for your blessings and trials. Study the scriptures. The give THE correct perspective that we need to be successful in this life. Life, light, and truth are NOT relative. They are REAL. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and through His grace will we be resurrected and receive our eternal reward.

Love you all and see you soon,

Elder Hodson