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

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