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