Monday, December 28, 2015

28 Dec 2015

Well I forgot my journal today so this might end up being a much shorter E-mail.

Monday- I can only remember a couple of things but I know we went to the Idaho Museum for p-day. We had a recent convert family come with us. The museum was doing a big Christmas around the world and had all these different nativity sets and stuff. It was pretty neat. The weirdest part is one of our Ward missionaries was there and he and his wife were doing a musical accompaniment and they were crazy good. The only other thing I remember doing that day was dinner with a less active family. This family is a different situation. They have faith in the church and believe it, but refuse to go to church because several times they have been severely hurt by church members. The last time was much more extreme than anything I've heard of before but the situation ended up bankrupting them. I've heard a lot of stories out here about people refusing to go to church because a bishop or a member offended them. So I just want to stress the importance of following your baptismal covenants and striving to be a Christ-like person. People associate the truthfulness of the gospel with how the church members behave. That shouldn't be the case but at the same time we have made promises to stand as witnesses of Christ and be an example of Him. These last few weeks have been a huge testimony builder for me of the importance of charity.

Tuesday- Today we did just about nothing, Elder Gillespie was having severe back pains so we didn't get out until dinner time, and we didn't have any lessons today and I kind of hated it, but I'm not going to push my comp and make him more injured. I mostly just had a study day. I read through 2 Nephi 24 to 32 and I think that 28 and 29 might be some of my favorite chapters.

Wednesday- Today we met one of the craziest investigators I've had and I mean that in the best way. He went to church last sunday before we ever even met this guy. He went to church and just said to the bishop, "how do i get baptized?" Anyway that's how we got the lead we met him in his ummm office. He grows mushrooms for a living. His office is on the top floor of this ginormous old building. We couldn't get up there through the stairs so we had to take this sketchy elevator and as soon as the doors open you see walls that are falling apart and we just thought, "this couldn't be the right place" until we heard music coming down the hall. We met Jason. He's been investigating churches for 20 odd years, but he's way beyond the basics and we went into talking about the Apocrypha and all these other things that aren't bad to talk about but we should focus on more of the basics. The other lesson we had was with like 9 children at once. We had a big lunch/breakfast meal then shared a lesson to all of them. They listened surprisingly well for having that many kids in one room.

Thursday- once again not much happened today but that's because it was Christmas Eve!!!! So everyone wanted to be with their families instead of talking to missionaries. In the afternoon we had a p-day/ movie night, we were allowed to watch any G rated movie which ended up being Toy Story 3. Honestly it was just a pretty chill day.

Christmas- Well this was alot busier than Christmas eve. It's supposed to be a preparation day but everyone took it more as a day off. So a lot of people slept in and skipped studies. But one of the highlights was talking to our families. Elder Gillespie and I went over to the Stafford's. The whole time I was talking Elder Gillespie and the Staffords were just laughing about our Wisconsin accent (I guess we sound like Canadians). Afterwards we had lunch and hung out with the Staffords a bit then headed out to the hospital. We had a visit with our boy Eugene and it was awesome to see that he had all these little gifts from people that visited him. We got kind of shewed out of the hospital because the physical therapist wanted to go home for Christmas. He was super nice about it though. After the hospital we had dinner with one of the High Counsel members, Brother Maynes. It was a fun dinner with a really big family; kind of felt like home. We didn't get to stick around for games though because we got called to the visitor's center to sing. Well that's what the text said, only a few missionaries where actually singing/playing instruments. The rest of the night was board games with the zone. Pretty fun Christmas.

Saturday- Kaci Lang's baptism!!! She was an OAY in an active family so we didn't have to do much as far as teaching her. Also the family wanted to plan the baptism themselves. It wasn't bad but could have gone a lot smoother. The mother was giving a talk on Baptism and had a visual aid with food coloring and bleach but it didn't work so that was a little awkward. But the important thing happened and she got baptized. It was an evening baptism to so instead of losing our study time like we normally would, we lost all our proselyting  time instead. So the baptism was all that really went down that day.

Sunday- We gave talks again. I have a feeling this is going to happen a lot on my mission. I talked on the restoration. The youth speaker before me also did, so instead I just decided to focus on testifying of the Book of Mormon. Then Elder Gillespie talked on hastening the work, which I was a little jealous about. That's become one of my favorite topics because being on a mission you realize how important missionary work is and how important the members are in it. We got the coolest thing in gospel doctrine, it's a guide to symbolism in Hebrew writing.  Revelation makes a sense now or at least a little bit. For example, in Hebrew 6 represents something imperfect or incomplete, and instead of good, better, best they repeat 1, 2 or 3 times. So three sixes would be the most imperfect; hence it is the devil's number. After Gospel doctrine we had Kaci's confirmation and that took a while to get to, There were four baby blessings before her confirmation. It was a crazy meeting.

That's all I have for this week, Hope you all had a great Christmas and have a good new year, Love each other, have charity, and have an awesome week.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

21 Dec 2015

Well I have a lot less time than I normally have for this. Our keys got locked in our car a few days ago and we had to wait until today to do anything about it. We are suppose to take blame equally in the companionship, but I'll just say I wasn't the one driving that day. It's been a bit of a slow and a super crazy week.

Monday- The snow is back! I love it! A lot of people don't but we finally have solid snow that I really hope isn't going to melt away again. Not a whole lot happened that day but we went to a YSA ward's Christmas party which was a little weird.  It was great; we shared a message on charity. The church is on a hill so we were parked on a slope. The snow froze into ice during the party because it was just warm enough to snow and have the snow melt as it fell. So the road was just ice and I was boxed in by other cars and none of us could really move so we had about 7 people running around helping all the cars get moving.

Tuesday- We had an early district meeting because transfer day was tomorrow so we had to bump ahead our meeting, Well we were doing a object lesson that turned pretty physical. In short, I pretty much tackled my district leader, but no one got hurt so its all good. It was a little weird. We were knocking on a PMF door, and it turns out they don't live there anymore and this guy that answered tried to sell us memberships for a dinner club app. I don't think he realized that missionaries are very poor and can't access apps. But he was really insistent and the way Elder G put it was that we got out sold. The rest of the day was just YSA visits and everyone we saw were new move ins that just hadn't found the church building yet or they just go to different wards because they have parents or family there.

Wednesday- Today was pretty special Elder G had an old companion that he was training to go from a service missionary to a full time missionary.  To say the least his papers are submitted now so we had the opportunity to go to the temple with him for his endowment. The temple is always an awesome experience and sadly we are only allowed to go once every 6 months because our mission is for the living not for the dead, which makes sense I guess. Going to the temple didn't leave us much time to see anyone that day, plus Elder G got sick afterwards.

Thursday- This was probably one of the happiest days of my mission.   We were in study when we got a phone call. Our investigator that we've been working super hard with (Patricia), was meeting with a friend of hers who is also investigating the church. Her friend is out of our area but the missionaries teaching her said she couldn't be baptized while on probation, which isn't a solid fact its very dependent on the situation. So she got really curious about her probation; made some phone calls to some higher ups, and she decided that she was ready for baptism. Even crazier yet, we had about two or three lessons with her while she was taking care of her grandmother. We can't see the grandmother anymore because her parents are back and they are not big fans of the LDS. But her grandma had only sat in a couple of lessons and we didn't even extend the invitation to her and she just started reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. So we are really excited to see where that goes. If she wants to take more lessons and is open to it that might soften mom and dad's hearts and we could potentially baptize the whole family. Right now we can only pray. As a zone from Tuesday to Thursday we had set 11 baptismal dates. That's really crazy because on Wednesday we lost a bunch of time due to the transfer meeting, and us two didn't do any work that day because we were at the temple.

Friday- So our morning studies are now just discussions. I don't know how to explain it fully but, we refer to it as deep doctrine. That's normally just some specific detail we have a question that has to do with, for instance the blessing that come from the 12 tribes, or just really specific details to revelations and prophesies that we have seen happen. It's a lot of fun but hard to explain in an email. But any way during our discussion Elder Beck and Green got called to the hospital to give a blessing, about five minutes after they came back we got called in. So Eugene, one of our less actives that's coming back, fell 14 feet off a ladder and his femur pushed into his pelvis and crushed it turning his knee and dislocating his shoulder. This guy already has a lot going on with ex wives and court cases. Then here he is in the hospital bed still happy, not even because of morphine. I know because they allow the patients to self medicate. But he refused because he thought for sure he would kill himself by pressing that button too many times. Anyways even after all this he's still maybe not happy but content. All he wanted was for us to bless him and just make sure he has company. The rest of the day was crazy too but that's a little more confidential so I'm not at liberty to talk about it.

I wish I had more time but I just don't, I hope you all had a great week, and have another good one!

Monday, December 14, 2015

14 Dec 2015

I forgot my camera so I can't send a pic. We just had another Baptism!!! I'm probably going to count this as my first because the last one I just got into the area and the date was already set and lessons where already taught.  Anyways it was awesome. She's an 11 year old that has been super excited for the gospel. I don't know if I already told this story but she was caught by her mom reading Book of Mormon stories at 3am. Elder Gillespie performed the baptism and I performed the confirmation. We are still hoping to get the mom baptized too and she's really close. Its crazy to think that I've been out for a month and a half now. It feels like its been three or more months yet at the same time it feels like I came out 2 weeks ago. I know that doesn't make sense but time just doesn't seem to exist in the mission.

Monday- So I dont know if I included this last week but our zone leaders moved into our apartment pretty much right after the Spanish Elders left. So I'm sleeping on the couch, which I don't mind that's where I normally slept at home. Our conversations are interesting to say the least. They normally pertain to the gospel or people we are teaching but not always. The other three elders I'm living with are all over a year out so they've been getting a bit trunky (especially about women), but they are some of the best guys I've ever met and I hope I can heed the Spirit half as well as they can by the end of my mission.
I'm getting better at shopping and honestly this is probably the healthiest I've eaten in years. So we were waiting for the ZLs to come and open the church building for P-day activity and this couple saw us all waiting so they came over and asked for some help. Their car died and they needed a jump, so Elder G and I pulled up in front of them and started working on it as Elder G is opening the battery box he knocks the hood and it hits him square in the head cut open his forehead.  We just ended up super gluing it shut. The rest of the week every lesson we had people had to ask oh what happened and he was just disappointed he didn't have a more exciting story. We had to leave the activity early for a dinner with a less active and as we were leaving we see the visitor center sisters pull up and start dumping instant potatoes all over the mission cars, lucky timing on our part I guess. Dinner was interesting. This guy is really cool and sane. He has a testimony of God but doesn't understand the atonement. I don't know if he's up set with God but I just cant figure out how to help him. We went to a member's family home evening and brought Olivia (the girl that just got baptized) and her mom just to show them how we try to teach in our own homes as well as at church. The lesson was awesome. The 11th ward has just been so supportive of these two. Tonight was my first exchange!!! but that doesn't really start until tomorrow.

Tuesday- So we exchanged and I'm in the north stake for the day with Elder Ledbetter. He's one of the rougher comps to have. He's a little slow to work but he has a testimony and likes sharing it. But just in being actively working he doesn't try the hardest. I let him sleep in until 7, then I tried to wake him up, and he went back to sleep until 7:45ish when I made him get up. Then we lost about an hour of study time, because he was doing his morning routine an hour later than he was suppose to be. I can't blame him too much the north stake is a pretty discouraging area right now. Two missionaries went there and just didn't keep any records or keep in contact with any mission leaders, and then Jones and Ledbetter got white washed in so they are starting from scratch basically. So the day mostly consisted of going through PMF lists P.E lists and OAY lists. The only glimmer of hope we really had that day was a Latino family that just moved in not too long ago. We didn't know they lived there but we talked to them and they had been taking some missionary lessons back in California and they agreed to start taking them next week. Our day was pretty rough, but Jones and Gillespie had like 5 miracles literally happen. They met with a person we hadn't been able to contact and brought a last minute priesthood holder who turned out to be the best person they could have had. She was in tears (the good kind) and wants to keep meeting. They answered a few people's prayers and found out one of our recent converts is keeping a journal of all the prayers he's had answered. His very first answered prayer was at work. He was trying to help this family that blew a flat but he couldn't find any tires that fit their vehicle so he went to the back room knelt down and said a prayer on the way back he literally tripped over a tire that wasn't there before. Lo and behold it was the only one they had in stock that they could fit on the car. The last miracle is with the girl getting (just got) baptized, so her grandparents are out of town and they normally take care of the great grandmother. Well now we had to meet at the great grandmother's house because Olivia and Patricia had to take care of her. Normally we would never see her because Patricia's parents are rather anti Mormon. Anyway so Jones and Gillespie are teaching them and Patricia says shes concerned about Olivia's baptism She's been praying for a sign to know that it was the right thing for her to do. Then the Grandma shares this story about how she was Christmas shopping last year and she said she was prompted by God to buy this pure white dress that she wouldn't have any use for. A year later that dress was given to Olivia for her baptism and its the best fitting dress she has ever had. So I was pretty jealous that I missed all of that but I'm sure God had a reason for Jones being there instead of me.

Wednesday- My first Zone training and it was awesome. Elder Beck's topic was Charity and it was intense. One of the big scriptures shared was D&C 88:67. Having an eye single to the glory of the Lord was the biggest line in that to me. We talked about how we have to sanctify our hearts if we want to be effective in sharing the gospel. But the glory of The Lord just kept sticking out to me, so I cross referenced that with Moses 1:39.  "For behold this is my work and my glory to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ's purpose is literally to bring us eternal life, that's all they want and that's what they find glory in. So it became focused on God doesn't plan to save a small number of his children. He wants all of us. If we are to have an eye single to the glory of the Lord we desire that every person no matter what they've done to us or to others to receive eternal exaltation. Charity is the pure love of Christ, and that loved caused him to give his life for us. We don't have to die for others but we should be willing to sacrifice to help others in the ways that they need to be helped. I could go on forever talking about charity but I don't have that time available to me. In short the best way for me to be charitable is to look at everyone like they're Ben (my little Brother) and try to extend that love that I would show to him to everyone I meet. This week as far as teaching mostly consisted of cramming in lesson for Olivia to prep her for baptism so I'll skip over a few of those.

Thursday- So today I just want to share one main story, Chris Stuart's first time on splits with the missionaries. I'm laughing to hard to type thinking about this. So last night Elder G had a prompting that we should visit 1650 apt#3 on Crandel street. So we go to pick up Chris, awesome kid, son of the stake president, really really wants to work with missionaries, excited about the gospel. This kids face was smiling the moment he saw us and he was just bouncing in place with excitement. So we pull up to the apartment that Elder G wanted to see. We knock and this elderly guy with a big old beard opens up and Elder G just goes "Hey Ed!" No idea he lived there but Elder G saw him at church last Sunday. I guess he's new to the area, but he invites us in and this is when things get... interesting. We walk in and I was ready to leave. Immediately to our left there was something that I thought was a séance. When we walked in we thought he was trying to talk to spirits or something. He had this area fenced off in his living room,with taro cards scattered all over in a circle and inside the circle was a felt carpet with all these colored and marked rocks and a few random items. He goes to explain about it, and called it a medicine wheel. He smashed together native american, LDS, Buddhist religions, then made an alter type thing. Every rock represented an animal which represented something else. They were all a lined on the four red roads that all come together. He's talking about how one rock is the owl which is the spirit of the messenger of death, and then the wolf which is like the natural man, and all these other things. Chris has never been out teaching before and his face is just confused and off put but he's trying to smile and not offend this guy. He said there's the brass plates of Laban the Gold plates of Mormon, and to put a comparison these are from the paper plates of Ed. So I'm willing to say it wasn't inspired doctrine he was practicing. We tried sharing a message then he went on this rant about how time doesn't pass in your mind and he can drift along the sea of time going from past to future,He's a good guy. I think he might just have some dementia or something.

Friday- we went on exchanges again, this time I was with Jones, Awesome little Ginger guy, willing to work but I think the north stake is really getting to him. He does morning study and always tries to work hard, but I think the lack of results right now is depressing him a bit. We didn't have any lessons taught we only had a handful of people we contacted,and just not much got accomplished. So it sounds like we might try to blitz the area, which means we are going to try and get all the missionaries in our zone to the north stake. That's 20 or so missionaries in an area that 2 would normally cover. We go in go through all the lists and just make as much contact as possible set up lessons and try to help out the area.

Saturday- Olivias baptism!!!! So this got a little rushed two youth baptisms were scheduled for the same day. One right before Olivia's and one right after so we had to rush the service but it was still awesome and its a good reason to have to rush something. The service was great the spirit was there and afterwards while everyones talking, Olivia's great grandma started to just open up to Elder G and me.  I wish we had more time with her, she's super religious and Olivia's baptism, I think, made her more open to The Church of Jesus Christ. We shared a lesson with her we have plans to meet with her one more time before her anti kids come back. When that happens we will probably lose contact with her. She's an awesome old lady probably like ten times, or twenty times more righteous than me or Gillespie, but she just has so many questions that we can help her with.

Anyways I wish I could keep typing but the day is busy and I got to get going soon Love all you guys.

Elder Hoffman

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

7 Dec 2015

So this week has been really up and down but every thing is still going good! We lost contact with an investigator on date to be baptized next week, for about 6 days. The first couple of days we werent that worried but soon we got really nervous, because we still have a number of lessons to teach. So we started praying a lot, we focused studies, and did what we could for the Lords help. Miracles happened I prayed about four different times that morning alone, and two other times in comp prayers. We decided to dedicate an hour to trying to get in contact with them, we went to her house her boyfriends, we called her phone texted. About 20 minutes in we got a phone call from a restricted number. She thought she saw us walking on the street and waved to us. The people she waved  to didn't do anything in response so she called to see what was up. Well it wasn't us or anywhere we had gone past. But those guys got us back in touch with them and they are back on the way to being baptized.
Monday- A little saddening, the Spanish elders that moved in with us left for they're new house, but probably for the best, having multiple sets of missionaries in the same house hold, that get along with each other, seems to interrupt study time. During shopping and all that we ran into one of the members we talk a lot, He gave us this awesome idea for p-day activities that's pretty much blowdart wars, Hoping we get to try that out. Every one was super pumped for our zone activity the leaders kept saying they had this awesome thing planned out that everyone would love. 2 1/2 hours into the zone activity they finally show up and just go yea its not going to work, so we lost most of our p-day just waiting for them. After all the fun and games we went out to find lessons for the week we found like 6 people that were willing to meet so we got really excited for the coming week of teaching.
Tuesday- We lost study time but for a good cause, to help people move. This family had just lost their grandfather so they were putting alot of his things into storage to help the grandmother cope. But the reason we needed to be there was that they were all older women and needed people to move some heavy things around. Well we ran into a problem we cant go in the house if there's no male. luckily as we were explaining the problem one of their sons showed up, He didnt even know what was going on he was just in town. As we finished up they wanted their son to take a grill from the back. We passed it over the fence and as i hopped it to help carry it to the car, all i heard was cracking, we freaked out but didnt see any damage so we are assuming that its fine. As we went out to teach most of our lessons ended up falling through and this continued for most of the week, but we met a very interesting less active. He just moved into Idaho, and he hasn't attended church for 40 or so years. Out of the blue he just decided he wanted to get back into it. This guys story doesn't seem real but he seems completely honest at the same time. Hes an heir to at substantial amount of money but he's dirt poor. He tells us these crazy stories of all the things hes done, sky diving, bungee jumping, he had all these nice cars and houses, but through some bad choices in marrage, when he was 17 and then again when he was 30 or something. But now he lives in an unfurnished apartment, and hes getting his life back together.
Wednesday- So more appointments fell through, so we didnt teach much for lessons, but we got in touch with more less actives. The coolest were the Littles, this family is just awesome, They make Halloween costumes as part of their living, all the kids are like talented artists and craftsmen and they are just super cool. The dad is very less active i think, but loves the church and missionaries, the mom wants to be active but the hard part is their youngest son. He has an auto Immune disorder so his white blood cells pretty much just don't work. He's not a complete bubble child, but its dangerous to take him to places like church or school. Hes one of the sweetest kids I've ever met and they want him to be baptized but getting him lessons or to church is just difficult because if any one has like a common cold it can be a serious thing for him, or if we have the mildest of illnesses we cant go to their house because its a danger to him.
Thursday- My first zone conference, Its pretty much just a big training and activity day for all the missionaries. Our mission president is pretty new so hes still organizing the mission the way he wants it to run and he made alot of changes, im not going to go into detail about them because im sure they wont mean much to you guys, but for all the missionaries that have been out here for a while their mind just got like blown away. I took a bunch of notes on the lessons and talks but pretty much he just said we need to step up our game, and at the same time made a lot of the rules more lenient. The rest of the meeting was just kind of a relief and destress time we did some games and had a talent show. once again all of our investigator lessons fell through so we only had one lesson that night, we took them to the Visitor Center and wanted to talk about eternal families because they are getting ready to be sealed but we didnt know that they were doing Christmas concerts the whole month at seven oclock, so instead of sharing our message we just ended up listening to music.
Friday- Today was the day the miracle happened! Thats all written up top so i wont re-write it. But that took up a huge chunk of our day we met with sever less actives and recent converts (larcs) today. The first was a L.A. and this lady was crazy but in a kind of good way and a kind of not good way. Shes really high energy and intense but hilarious. Christine the best way i can put this is she was just like Ms. Okusko. We talked at the door for a while and they told us to come in, and the first thing Elder Gillespie say when we walk in is "IS THAT A STRIPPER POLE" They had this big exercise pole mounted in their living room it was weird but all their kids were playing on it. Just a really crazy lady, loves Jesus and the LDS religion but has no interest in coming to church, i think she also has a lot of false doctrine floating in her head that justifies a lot of her reasoning. The next family was a recent convert, part member family. and it was the complete opposite. These guys are really chill and relaxed and just the opposite of what we were just in. We tried to start the lesson several times but their little 3 year old kept getting everyone distracted. She's adorable and crazy smart for her age but never sits still. she kept bringing imaginary tea and showing us her "very special christmas tree". we ended up doing a 10 minute lesson on the restoration. Also invest in cloth diapers apparently they can save you crazy amounts of money when you have babies. Sister Vineyard is like a super alternative mom, so she looks into a lot of baby stuff
Saturday- Well studies got really difficult Im in the Isaiah chapters of the book of mormon and i dont understand 90% of it. I KNOW ITS TRUE its just difficult to read. We went to a ward christmas party and i know how awkward it must be for some investigators. I didnt know almost anyone in there, we cover 7 wards and i haven't done much work in this one yet. The food was great and the people were super nice but being busy missionaries we didnt have time to stay for the whole thing. We had another lesson with Patricia and Olivia and i found out that im going to be doing my first Confirmation this coming sunday! We went back to the Littles house because we didn't meet the mother last time, she was sick and didnt want to be near her son. We got to know her and shared a quick lesson on prayer then we were off to meet someone that i havent met yet. His name is Darren and this guy is... i dont even know how to describe him. He's really into Obsidian weaponry. He makes most of it himself, knives, spears, etc. We never did get around to sharing a lesson with him because well hes interesting. He talked to us about how he's doing some possibly not lawful bunny breeding. He uses the bunnies he breeds as a food source, he follows potato trucks and picks up the potatoes that fall off, he does a lot of random things to get cheap food and other living essentials. He's willfully unemployed because he has money saved up and he wants free time to do his hobbies like weapon constructing, and yea just a really different guy.
Sunday- one of the first times in a long time that i had a dedicated fast, and I got a lot of answers. some of them are more personal so im not going into detail, but fasting yields results i can testify of that. Church was great a lot of awesome testimonies but none that i really recall, that much. Im not sure if it was the fast or not but this was the best dinner i think ive had in my life, They had these chicken cloud things they cooked i dont even know what was all in them but they were delicious i ate about half a dozen of them and five roles and then there were sides and dessert, it was just the best meal ever. We lost the Spanish elders but we picked up the zone leaders, they moved in with us and now its crazy in the apartment again. I feel it will be better if i just dont go into detail here.

I still love the mission and i miss all of you guys, but not that much, dont take that the wrong way the mission is just amazing and so far its hard to be that homesick.
Have an awesome week everyone,
Elder Hoffman

p.s. sorry I type so much

Monday, November 30, 2015

30 Nov 2015

This week was awesome. For starters I got my first baptism. Well I didn't perform it and I came into the mission the day we set his baptismal date, But I'm still counting it. His family was less active and he wasn't a member. One day one of the bishops just said you could check on the Kisleys but I don't think you'll have much success. Well the whole family is active and excited about the gospel now and they can't wait to be sealed in the temple. It was one of the coolest experiences I've had and it just really excites me to do more work.

    Monday- P-day was fun as always, I still need to figure out how to shop, Half way through the week I keep realizing all the things I should have grabbed. I didn't take much as far as groceries so this week mostly consisted of eating Nutella waffles. After zone activity we had two lessons fall through so that stunk. The only lesson we ended up teaching that day was to an OAY (over aged youth) Shes nine years old and her parents, I guess, just always got busy so the baptism never happened. We took her on a church tour and showed her the font. during the lesson the parents really opened up and I think they were the main thing stopping her from being baptized. We have a date for her on the 26th.
    Tuesday- Lots of excitement for one of our investigators. So she and her boyfriend were on a walk the other day and decided to just go to the temple visitor center. We couldn't go because it was during P-day hours so we had no idea what had happened. Early in the morning we went to check and see if anyone remembered their visit. It turns out the spirit really touched them one of them started crying (the good kind of tears). They just really felt the spirit and got a bit more excited about the church. Later that day we had a baptismal interview with Brother Kisley. The first questions are just yes and no about faith in God, Christ and Prophets. Then we asked him what does it mean to you to have a prophet. His face just froze. I guess he thought it was all yes and no, But after a bit he answered and from there on the interview went well. At the end of the night we checked on a less active family. The dad was in the truck about to leave and no one old enough was inside, so we talked to one of the sons and the mom on the doorstep. The whole time the dad is yelling out of his truck "Hey I want to drink and smoke, Can you leave so I don't feel bad?" Some of the comments he made were hilarious but he didn't mean any harm.
      Wednesday- Our dinner cancelled on us right away so we had to leave our morning studies to meet with them and they gave us some food. We talked for a bit and they were called to be mission presidents in Africa. They had some pretty intense stories about cars getting robbed at gun point and all the precautions sisters had to take. After our visit it was time for District meeting, since there are only four of us I already got assigned for a training. But I totally rocked it, Honestly it was all the spirit because I had no idea what I was suppose to do. After that we had a lesson in one of the most unstable house holds I've ever seen. They seem to want to change but they are something else. The parents are rather violent to each other not abusive they are just both aggressive people, and they want to raise the kids to be "tough" so at one point the mom encouraged them to fight. As we left we had reason to believe that one of the kids ran away through the bedroom window. We couldn't find her but I'm praying a lot for that family. Things got really interesting at our house because today the Spanish Elders moved in. So with the four of us living there and the fact that we all get along great it can be tough to be proactive in our studies. We ended up keeping each other up until midnight and once I talk about tomorrow you'll see why that was especially bad.
       THANKSGIVING- sooo today was basically a p-day for us but we had service in the morning. at 6 am so we woke up at 5 just to wake up to a snow storm of 6 or so inches already fallen. It snowed till at least noon. The service project was organizing the turkey trot a 5 to 10k run for charity. We got to direct traffic from 6 to 9 am it was pretty cold out luckily I'm used to it and my comp from Phoenix ended up loving the cold but a lot of the missionaries were not happy. After 9 the race started and we had to set up stuff for the finishers and congratulate people as they finished we were there until about 11 o clock. It was a fun day. So luckily with all the snowfall it ended up being my day to drive. Last winter Elder Gillespie had a walking mission so this is his first time driving in snow.The rest of the day was pretty much just meals until they had us do zone activities. We settled on board games because no one wanted to run.
       Friday- Elder G and I both had the same chapters during personal study 1 Nephi 17-19 and we both had one very prominent question. What kind of boat did Nephi build because it says it was a curious ship not of the design of man but the design of God. So we are both really curious on what made it so curious. Anyway that's not important. We had much more spiritual realizations when it talked about Moses and the plague of serpents. After being bitten by a snake the people just had to look upon a statue to be healed. But it was so simple that many did not understand how it would help and they ended up perishing because they would not follow such a simple commandment that they didn't see the point of. This can be related to at least some what to the Word of Wisdom or other modern commandments. People don't see the harm in drinking coffee, tea or alcohol so they refuse to follow the commandment, Now honestly its not too hard to refrain from doing those things but people don't understand how it will benefit them so they refuse to keep the commandment and don't receive the blessings. After our studies we went to see the Kisleys because tomorrow is the baptism. We got them all prepped and ready to go. The program was all set up and they had finished all the lessons. We had a few appointments fall through and we realized this would be a good time to go and see a guy we met by chance named Mike. I think I might have mentioned him last week but we went to apologize because we missed an appointment, Well we got there and he had a real hard time opening the door. Come to find out he just got back from the hospital and his power was shut off his house was literally freezing and he had no thick blankets. We ran around quick to get him what he needed to stay warm and honestly he looked ready to just collapse, By the time we got back he couldn't get off of his couch so we covered him up made sure he was good for the night.
       Saturday- BAPTISM DAY!!!! The baptismal service was amazing it was very focused around eternal families. I haven't felt the spirit that strong to many times in my life. After the baptism things were pretty slow we couldn't get any lessons set up so we just talked to some of the ward missionaries, and got to know them and tried to set up a few things with them. The second family we met I connected with great. They are both recently returned missionaries from.... WISCONSIN. Sister Stafford actually served in Gresham and it was just crazy to meet them. We had a productive meeting and got a lot of things set up. They are so fresh off their missions that they still have that missionary mind set. A lot of good things could come from this.

        Sunday- I had a talk today on the gospel of Jesus Christ. I spent about a whole hour preparing it because that's all the time i had. I only wrote about 5 scriptures down and that was what I had to work with. Elder Gillespie was pretty surprised at the fact I took up the whole 15 minutes with no actual talk structure written down. It felt like it went well and I hope that the members actually listened at least a little bit. We didn't have much for lessons planned so we went to knock a few investigators. W went to one house and they didn' answer. As were walking back to the car we got a call from bishop Whipple. At the same time Bishop Peterson was diving past and Elder Gillespie talked to him. In those 10 or so minutes we got about six referrals, followed up with two of them and its looking really good.
 The Stafford's pet.
Thanksgiving day with Alison's sister-in-law.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

23 Nov 2015

So It came to my attention I never said the area where I'm serving. Its *drum roll* Idaho Falls Central stake *applause* We cover a whole 7 wards and I feel like I know nobody yet. Luckily Elder Gillespie knows everyone. Not yesterday but last Sunday was stake conference and C. Scott Grow from the 70 was there. During the Saturday session he pulled up a ward counsel to explain everyone's purpose and I guess missionaries are included in the ward counsel. So he talked to us and found out I was a whopping four days out on my mission. He decided to test me and started asking questions. I got all of them easy except one, he asked and I paused for a moment, Then I heard the bishop right behind me whisper so I blurted out the answer. No one noticed not even Elder Grow.
     This last week has been crazy we have three baptismal dates and a few more potential dates. This coming Saturday will be Brother Kisley's baptism. There was a big scare for a while because he's in the air force, I believe, but he got a notice that he was going to be deployed. We had no idea when that was going to happen for a few days but luckily that's a few months out yet. The other two dates are in December and those are the 11 year old I talked about last week, and an over age youth that because of circumstances just never got baptized.
     Monday- It was my fist P-day. To start off I did my laundry and it came out perfect, So mom, you don't have to worry. From 10-6 is our "free time" I guess is the best way of putting it. After all the e-mailing we spent most of the day driving with Elder Wright and Elder Leti (sounds like yeti). And it was my day to drive, Well I don't know any of the area yet so going from one destination to another was a struggle. especially when you can't tell who's giving the correct directions. I was told left right and straight and every time some one else was telling the truth. I felt like an idiot my first time shopping for food I didn't come with a plan of what I wanted to eat or anything, Luckily members feed us like.... I can't even think of a good analogy for how much they feed us. Its like a pig being raised for a slaughter or something. Anyway food isn't much of a concern. I think I brought home more left overs than food I bought for the week. After shopping we got ready for the activity time It was mostly just ice cream, basketball, and I'm not sure if we should have been but we were playing Texas hold'm. But it was a lot of fun. Then we totally forgot about a lesson we had scheduled so we rushed over to drop off the other Elders and get changed. After that lesson we had a referral we were suppose to check out but Gillespie in all his inspired wisdom said lets go to here instead. That ended up finding us the under aged youth and we set up a baptismal date.
    Tuesday- Not to much happened on Tuesday. A few appointments fell through so we had some time where we were just setting up other appointments. But the first appointment we had was rather frustrating. So this guy is a compulsive liar. He's in some rough living situations and can keep a job. I want to help him but every time we talk he goes off on rants about how back in Texas he had a farm with 6 pigs and 2 llama and 18 chicken and.... Thousands of cows. For one trailer of cows he could make up to 1600 dollars. Or if we were still in Texas and his wife was home he'd have to shoot us because apparently in Texas, men aren't allowed to be in the same room as another man's wife. Other than that we did YSA visits and that went pretty well, At first we thought we got rejected. This little girl answered the door and her mom came over and looked at us and asked are you missionaries. We replied yes, then she goes we're atheist and slams the door. As we are walking away laughing because that's the first time I got rejected like that, she opens up the door and goes, wait don't leave I was just joking. We talked to her son who has a lot of member friends and is very interested in religion,So he's looking like a new investigator. 
     Wednesday- We had our first district meeting and our District contains four elders. The other companionship is Elders Jones and Ledbetter. We talked about how to better teach and reach people, also the importance of always being prepared. we had a few appointments drop but because of that we got new appointments set up with some youth. We took an OAY (over aged youth) to the VC (visitor center) which is a cool way of teaching people its a unique resource to be able to use and its an awesome way to show people the more eternal perspective of the church since its all about temples.
     Thursday- today was a dream day for Elder Gillespie, It snowed. He's from Phoenix so snow is pretty foreign to him and he loves it, But last winter he was in a walking area so he still doesn't know how to drive in it which scares me. We got another youth who wants to be baptized. He's in a part member family and this kid is like the most mature 12 year old I've ever met. We asked him what his favorite thing in the world is and he goes... aaahh family. He's really excited to meet with us and get baptized so we just have to teach him the lessons and he's good. We had a few more follow up lessons and meetings that evening but the best one to happen was we went to see a member who is recovering from suicidal thoughts. She lost her business which was the main reason for her depression but she's been getting better and was just offered a job for $20/hr so that helped a ton with her recovery. later in the week we tried to stop by again, and her brother let us in. When he went to go get her we could hear her saying, the missionaries shouldn't be here without an appointment tell them I'm fixing the bathroom or something. Her brother walks around the corner and sees us laughing, and just goes "well thanks for stopping by but i guess you heard her"
     Friday- I went for my first actual tracting experience which was fairly pleasant. We went to some sketchy looking apartments and met several people, The first were some college kids, The one at the door was a non-active member and pretty much just said I'm not worried about church right now. She was really kind about it though. The next was a lady who looked about 30ish and she was baptized at 8 because of a friend and then just never went to church again, Once again she just wasn't worried about religion at this time in her life and let us down gently. The next two were fun, a retired and strong Methodist answered the door, he respected what we do but just said he didn't agree with the church. But I don't think he ever read the Book of Mormon. He just went on about random facts that had nothing to do with our actual doctrine, and then eventually started talking about Isis and psychology. He talked for a good 20 minutes to half an hour. The last guys was the best though, I couldn't understand much of what he was saying and I'm surprised I kept a straight face when he answered. He was 70 or so and also stuck in the 70's he had long white hair with a multi colored Native American head band, an orange running jacket with nothing underneath and had it unzipped nearly to his belly button. Tons of grey chest hair and glittered french tip, Now as strange as this guy was he was really nice and actually referred us to someone who needed help.

I'm starting to run out of time again but the missions awesome, As weird or mean as people might be I've learned to care about everyone because I'm more able to see them in an eternal perspective. I'm excited for the upcoming week and hope the best for all of you.
 Love, Elder Hoffman

One last story I got a bit of time. So Elder Gillespie sees the truck of someone he baptized so he followed it because he wanted to talk to them when they got out. Well they noticed we where following them they started like running stop signs and Gillespie is like barley keeping up. Then he goes into a parking lot and Gillespie thinks, "oh he's finally parking." Nope the guy jumps the curb drives through the grass and a ditch to a different parking lot and then just peels out.

Monday, November 16, 2015

16 Nov 2015

Mom, Dad, I love you so much, but sadly I still cant say I miss home. The experience out here has been amazing more than I think I have time to type. But I've been humbled by the mercy of the Lord. Not the mercy he shows to me but to those willing to listen and follow him. I've literally seen lives turn around and I've only been serving six days! We set a baptismal date yesterday, I won't be doing the baptism my companion will, but we're well on our way in the work of the Lord. I've come to a better understanding of the atonement than I've ever had before. I'm so excited to continue in my mission. I hope Ben is coping well. Let him know I said hi and love ya. He better not just be stuck in front of the computer 24/7 either. I don't care if he plays his games but he needs to do some other things. Hope you guys are doing well

Elder Hoffman

Well its been crazy, Elder Gillespie is awesome for starters. He's in the last four months of his mission and he carries the companionship in lessons. He tryies to make sure I say something but it's 97% him. Our first lesson was with a recovering addict and she forgot about our lesson. So we were at her house about to leave and she called us and said "YOU HAVE TO COME TO MIKES RIGHT NOW." So we taught the lesson at her boyfriend's house and it was more of a get to know you since I'm new and then a short lesson on faith. Her boyfriend is a little different. He's a less active member and he's really into ancient aliens and psychics and those kinds of things. The interesting part is her 11 year old daughter is taking the lessons. We met her later in the week and sh's super excited for baptism and just about the church. Her mom found her under the covers with a flashlight at 3 am reading the Book of Mormon stories. She had a talk with her grandma about being baptized and her grandma is like strong Lutheran. So the grandma is saying you already were baptized and the daughters just like yea but it feels like I'm suppose to do this and this church just feels right.
       After that we had a dinner appointment and this elderly couple picked us up, Their car smelled a little funky and Elder G asks, "oh what kind of dog do you have?" They reply, "we don't have one" so we where a bit confused. Half way through the trip I slid my foot under the seat and felt a squish..... it was poop. Human baby poop. No idea why it was under there but it was gross.
       The next really interesting thing to happen was helping a P.I.(progressing investigator) move out of his trailer to an apartment. This guy has a bit of a story. He's was in some shady business and his wife is a recovering meth addict. He recently got out of jail and started meeting with the missionaries. I think his one year old daughter is a big reason he wants to change, but he's been really involved in the lessons and has grown a love for God. His life has taken a 180 turn. He got a solid job at Idahoan; they found a cheap apartment to live in and just in time. Their trailer didn't have heat and the winter is coming. It wouldn't be good for the child or they would have to leave their child. He broke probation because he's not suppose to drive but he doesn't have much of a choice. The cops pulled him over and there were several cops, But for whatever reason they just gave him a warning. Oh and apparently the hotel they're moving into is haunted. But I'm running out of time so I'll just leave on that note. Love all of you!
Elder Hoffman

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Thursday, November 12, 2015

9 Nov 2015

So when I leave you decided its a good time to make a proper bathroom I see.... but I'm happy that its getting done. I'll work on figuring out the debit card. It came a couple days ago. I hope the ward gets more involved in the missionary work. I know its hard for people to give recommends to the missionaries because they don't want to mess up relationships but if you want successful mission work in the Shawano area you need to get the ward involved. I feel we are willing to invite new people into our ward but its not something anyone is seeking to do, and that's what needs to change. We are too comfortable going to church each week and seeing the same faces. If anyone in the ward wants the missionaries to succeed they need to be willing to help and have the desire to see new faces in the ward. I don't have much time so I'm going to wrap up for now. Also if you could send me mom's email. I can't recall it and I want to talk to her.
I know I had a bit of an outburst right there but its true. Two men can't do much for 9000 people. I still pray for everyone back home in the ward and I hope they are all doing well.
Love you dad. Talk to you later.

Elder Hoffman

3 Nov 2015

Congrats to Ben on his calling as the deacon's quorum president.  I hope he takes it seriously. I'm leaving the MTC tomorrow which is bittersweet. My district may have gotten along so well but I know the work I'm going out to do is far more important that what I can get done at the MTC. My first investigator ended up being a real investigator which doesn't happen much here. She took all the lessons well and followed up on our commitments. We talked to her about baptism and its something she really wants. She's going to pick up the rest of the lessons with other missionaries and she will most likely get baptized. The MTC taught me more than I thought it would and in different ways than I expected. Keep letting me know how everything is going at home and try to get Ben to email me again.

Love you dad
Elder Hoffman

This is my district left to right its Elder Frizzell (not like the magic school buss lady) yours truely, Elder Muhlestein, Elder Butterfield, Elder Gilbert, Elder Ravenburge, Elder Whetten (we think hes going to be a future prophet), and Elder Jessen.

3 Nov 2015

Hey Dad, hope its going well at home. We started teaching a couple of people at the MTC., Our first one is a P.I.(progressive investigator) Catherine has an LDS friend and is attending BYU with her so she was recommended to us. She's really nice and willing to listen she has an understanding of God and is pretty much a perfect investigator.  We've already got her praying and she's committed to reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it (Moroni 3:5). Our other one is a bit more difficult. We've met him once for an hour and it was rough. He's from Japan and his parents were Buddhists who didn't practice. So we are teaching a man with zero background in religion. We were told he was interested in the church so we thought going in he would have an understanding and we wanted to just teach the Atonement. But we couldn't because he didn't know who God, Jesus or the Holy Ghost are. He didn't know the concept of sin or blessings, so just on those we spent the hour trying to help him with these new concepts. He's a wonderful guy but incredibly difficult to teach. I look forward to our future lessons with him though.

Love your son,
Elder Hoffman 

30 Oct 2015

Its only been a few days at the MTC but I can feel the change already. As soon as the name tag hit my chest the spirit was on a different level. My district is amazing and I get along with my companion so well. At times I think there's a little to much comroderie. We get a little crazy and disruptive, probably due to the lack of sisters in our district. Most are made up of two companions of Elders and 2 of sisters but we just have 8 guys. We just started to really get to know the other district in our zone and its so great. I think I recall Noah saying that the MTC was kind of miserable for him but I never thought I could love it this much. The promptings of the Spirit come so frequently and although I still don't follow every one, whenever I do I see amazing things happen or people just end up getting what that need.

Its been 3 days but its felt like at least 2 weeks. I'm excited for every day, every lesson, every chance to serve. I can tell that I'm going to love my mission, The people in it, and my companions. I still understand that there may be difficult times but I'm prepared to face them if I can see even more that what I already have. I love you and hope that everything at home and in the ward is going well. But at the same time I'm a little sorry to say I don't miss anything about home, I know I'm where I need to be. Tell Ben I love him and I hope he's having fun. If you could get everyone to send me an email so I have their contacts that would be great.
Love your son,

Elder Hoffman