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