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