Monday, January 25, 2016

25 Jan 2016

I've been debating sharing this miracle mostly because it doesn't pertain to me but its pretty amazing to say the least, So the sisters, Bueno and  Park, have been teaching this couple and got them commit to get married so they can be living the law of chastity. The guy has lung cancer and was given four years to live. They got him to go get a blessing from the bishop and he was promised as he faithfully followed the commandments he would see great miracles. A few days later he went to see his doctors and they did a scan and the cancer was gone! So I can testify that miracles still happen, God lives, and THIS IS the Church of Christ. Not all our miracles will be as obvious or incredible as being cured of a terminal illness. But as we are faithful and obedient the Lord WILL bless us according to our needs.

Monday- P-day and we had a pretty legit activity! We took pvc pipes and used them as blow guns for nerf bullets. We did team death match Capture the Flag and just had a ton of fun with it! We flipped over tables for bunkers and used folding chairs for shields. Brother Kaveinga, I hope you're taking notes. After P-day we had a dinner appointment with the Herringtons, a less active family that started coming back. We are prepping their 8 year old son to be baptized and also working to get them sealed. The wife is a pastry chef and made us breakfast for dinner so we ate well to say the least. I'm not positive it was healthy but we ate well. Then we stopped by a referral his last name is Hamilton and this guy has already attended church with his neighbor. He's dating an LDS girl that also lives next door, so he seems pretty golden. He's been softened to the gospel through over coming a drinking problem, so we are excited to work with him.

Tuesday- We had tons of stuff planned for this evening and none of it really turned out, except our recent convert lessons with the Kisely family. Brother Kisely was the first baptism on my mission and that family is just hilarious to be around. He had an appointment to get interviewed for the Aaronic Preisthood and he is now ordained as a priest. A few other things happened today but not anything I'm going to share or bother to take your time with, Before we went to bed we got trainer calls for the coming transfer, and thankfully I do not have to train yet!

Wednesday- In studies today I realized one of the best parts about reading the Book of Mormon is we learn how the adversary attacks us. 2 Nephi 28 or 29 is all about how the adversary works on us. Then every time we see people like Zeezrom contending with prophets like Alma, it shows a lot of the ways that the Adversary tries to lead us away by twisting the words of God. We had a worldwide missionary broadcast for the first time in like 10 years and I took four full pages of notes on everything that was talked about. The funniest part was when David A. Bednar just sand bagged this missionary's answer. He asks what is the role of missionaries and the Holy Ghost in conversion? The missionary answers its our job to put the Holy Ghost into the hearts of the investigator. Elder Bednar responds and goes on like a 5 or 10 minute rant on how we cannot put the Holy Ghost into their hearts. We can only invite and hope that they accept it. Otherwise every person that ever talked to the prophet would be converted. After that spiritual high the rest of the day was pretty good. We had a few lessons and we have one girl that is super beyond ready to be baptized but her mom won't let her. Sometimes agency is just irritating but not much we can do about that.

Thursday- today was a good day a lot of lessons but I'm getting a little tired of going into detail on as many lessons as I am. I had a lot of personal revelation this morning, mostly on building faith and different aspects of repentance that apply in my life. We did a lot of contacting today and set up like 5 visitor center appointments and set up things for like the next two days. As we were leaving a house we saw a car drive by with a teewee and we thought it looked like the Spanish Elders were lost so we followed them for a bit and flagged them down; flashed our brights and stuff trying to get them to pull over and when they did we noticed it was sisters Bradshaw and Miller. They were freaked out because we kept following them and etc. They were on the edge of their area so we helped direct them quick and then went back to contacting.

Friday- I'm skipping Friday. Most stuff canceled and just nothing much happened

Saturday-  We had tons of stuff  fall through but I think I had revelation in a dream. I'm not positive so that might be something to share in a future time. The biggest thing that happened today was transfer call!!!!! And I knew that this was coming but my time with Elder Gillespie is coming to an end, I will be staying in Idaho Falls Central but my new comp will be Elder Browning and I know that this will probably be the best for me, Elder G and I got into a weird teaching dynamic, and I needed a new comp to help me grow more.  Most of the day was people crying because we had to tell them that Elder Gillespie was leaving,

Ok. I'm wrapping this but probably the funniest thing this week was we went to the Ziels. We were talking and their daughter was freaking out because she wanted to say something. So we let her talk (keep in mind shes 5 years old) and we all here her say "my pants are keeping a secret from you"...... We all paused for a second then burst out laughing. We realized she was trying to say parents not pants, but it was hilarious.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

18 Jan 2016

This week was crazy, every other day we were super busy then not super busy. There are a lot of good things going on in Idaho Falls,
Monday- The Zone leaders planned ice skating and I'm still strapped on cash so Elder Gillespie and I just skipped out on it. We did get some sweet stuff at the D.I. (Deseret Industries). The crowning item was a ceramic bust of Joseph Smith that we got for $1.00. Its pretty legit. I should have taken a picture of it. While we were there this one employee kept helping us. Turned out he's a convert and turning his life around to go on a mission. We talked with him for a while and helped him with some questions.  Not much else happened today. We taught Patricia a short lesson. Then her friend Mike showed up and he's a different guy; very open to aliens psychics and etc. So he started asking all the random questions which lead into deep doctrine. We talked about Kolob for a while and different blessings from the tribes of Israel.  It was just a little weird.
Tuesday- I could go on forever about today. Just like last week it was insanely busy. We taught a total of seven lessons and that was after one of our lessons dropped. The first lesson was our buddy Eugene. It was one of his last days in the hospital and he actually started reading!!!! We could tell because when we asked what he read about he didn't start going on a tangent about Porter Rockwell, he actually talked about the Book of Mormon and doctrine. Then we taught Patricia again. We meet a lot with her. If we don't, things normally go bad. As we pulled up to her house she stepped out to smoke a cigarette after like 30 seconds of talking she says, "I cant do this." *puts out cigarette* "It just feels wrong to smoke in front of you two." It's weird but awesome to have that presence that makes people want to be better. Then we taught 4 more lessons so I won't go on and on in detail on each one.
Wednesday- Probably one of the harder days in the week. I went to the north stake for exchanges. The missionary I was with, I talked about him before, most people agree he's one of the hardest to deal with as a missionary companion. He has a good heart but just thinks he is exempt from some rules and he wants to hang out with the families he meets more than teach them lessons. This morning I woke up at 6:30 told him to get up and he wouldn't so I put the alarm next to his bed and took a shower. When I came out he still wasn't awake so I took the alarm and put it on his pillow. He woke up turned it of and fell back asleep. After my workout I went to pull his covers off his face and tell him to wake up. I didnt realize his sheet was wrapped around his face, so when I pulled on them he freaked out and sat up, yelled at me for doing that then went back to sleep. So I started my studies around 8:30. I got him to wake up and we never got any comp study done or 12 week because he was still doing his morning routine at 10:00. The day wasn't a total loss. We didn't teach any lessons but while we were tracting we came to this door and she was a member. She was talking on the phone. About 2 minutes into our visit she started to sniffle and asked for a blessing. So right place, right time. Its awesome how the Spirit leads you so these things work out. We did contact a family and broke the ice but we never got a message in which would have been preferable ( the other Elder was playing nerf wars with the kids).  I should have just stepped up and offered a lesson before we left. It was a tougher day but I had a lot of little revelations.
Thursday- Interviews with the President! Soooo we were told to bring our Area Book to the interviews and if there's one thing we've been terrible at its teaching records. So we spent like 4 hours updating 2 1/2 months of teaching. We had to go over to the Stake Center and first we had to actually organize everything and figure out what had been recorded. That took a while. We had a lunch break and then I realized, "Hey, I have a journal that has everything we've done for the last two months!" So I can without a doubt that keeping my journal has been a huge blessing. We finished up the teaching records just in time; ran over to the interviews and he never even looked at the area book.... but it was a good motivation for us to get it done. So I was talking with President then the question I feared he would ask came up. "So how would you feel about training next transfer?" I've come a long way and training just sounds scary. I told him that I can't say I would be super comfortable training but if that's what I'm called to do; who am I to disagree with the Lord? So this Thursday we will find out all the transfer information. Then with what we had left of the day, we just visited a few members and talked about how they could help us or how we could help them. 
Friday- nothing happened today and I mean literally nothing. Elder G was struck down with an illness so he spent all day sleeping. I tried and tried to find people that could come teach with me and someone that could watch Elder G. Alas, no one was able so I studied a lot. Although I would have had preferred not canceling all our appointments, a day just to study and pray was good for me. I had a huge witness that PRAYER WORKS. But that's a little personal sooo sorry I'm not sharing all of that.
Saturday- Exchanges again. This time I got to stay in my area and I got to comp up with Elder Jones. Awesome and obedient kid but you have to remember we are still 19-20 year old kids. We were driving from one appointment to another. Then I just see his seat fly backwards and his legs shoot up in the air. He whips out a lighter and yea lights a fart on fire in the car.... and it reeked. But it was still pretty funny. So back to the work. Since it was my area this was my first time taking lead in an area and it went pretty well. I had a good plan. Together it was going to be a super productive day but our lessons started to fall through just because people are busy. As a missionary you like to think that people always have time for you but sometimes they just don't. You kind of forget what its like to have a normal life. We did have one lesson and it went really well. A less active mother with 4 kids. The mother is getting interested in the church again and a couple of the kids accepted our invitation to be baptized! So if anything else, that makes up for how the rest of the day went.
Alrighty, I got to get going, hope you all have a wonderful week!

Monday, January 11, 2016

11 Jan 2015

So now that the holidays are over a lot of work has picked up. People don't have family over and they are willing to let us in again!

Monday-nothing too special as far as preparation time went. I have literally like no money right now because my debit card won't work until my new one gets sent, so all I have is my grocery card right now and a couple of spare dollars. The zone leaders are still pretty lazy about p-day activities,. This is the second week in a row we went bowling, which was fun but we are all rather poor and we can't afford to keep paying money to do stuff! So the coolest thing happened. One of our investigators that struggles with addiction relapsed a week or so ago and has just been avoiding us (this isn't the cool part). Today we got a call from her and she had set up and intervention for herself and had us and some of her close fellowshippers just talk and help her out. She even set up a meeting with the bishop all by herself and she's not even a member yet!!

Tuesday- Today was insane!!!! My studies recently have been in Mosiah. I love king Benjaman's address to his people. Its like the first General Conference. Then we had zone training and I really love those meetings. Our first training was on kindness/charity and the next three were all on the Godhead. The main lines that stuck out to me was a quote that pretty much said we cannot have spiritual progression unless we understand who God is! Then the next one is the role that prayer plays in coming to know God. The best way to get to know someone is to talk to them and that includes Heavenly Father.  After Zone training we went to the hospital to help our boy Eugene. We needed to take some things to his landlord for him. As we are leaving the hospital we stop to talk to a nurse who was concerned about Eugene. When we got done a lady stopped us and asked us to give a blessing to her son who had liver failure. He's less active but wanted the blessing and we referred missionaries to him for when he returns home. Then we start leaving again this time we get to the lobby and this guy is walking next to us also about to leave. Then this like 70yo lady stops us and gives us hugs because she's so proud of the work we do. After the hugs the man that was walking next to us had the impression to ask us for a blessing also (the blessing was for his less active daughter).  She was having surgery and she was actually a nurse at the hospital but she wanted the blessing. We left a B.o.M with her and shared a short lesson. Then we got to the lobby again and where stopped a third time. This man wanted us to give a blessing to his son who is active. So we agreed and went to give him a blessing. We spent 2-3 hours meeting with people and giving blessing,. I was drained after that but we had a lesson to get to. Anyway to avoid typing too much about today, we had a total of six lessons and it was an amazing day.

Wednesday- Studies today were Mosiah and it is the end of King Benjamin's address. My favorite part about chapter 4 is that this is where it promises blessing for families. Anyway we started the day by moving Eugene's stuff.  He's getting a new and cheaper apartment to move into once he's out of the hospital. Once we finished moving Eugene's stuff, which wasn't much (it took maybe 40 minutes) we got to move our stuff. We got a new apartment so we are no longer living with other elders which is less fun but probably more productive. We spent a good chunk of the afternoon moving our stuff and picking up furniture for the new apartment. This place has way more room than we need. There's two bedrooms and the living room is almost twice the size of our old one. We even have a back yard! We've had a lesson with the lady that relapsed every day this week, so shes going in an upward direction. We called the 1st councilor in the mission presidency today and he say that because of the relapse he wants us to wait until she's been two months clean until we extend another baptismal date. We had one other lesson tonight then met with one of our ward mission leaders and got like 4 or 5 referrals from him. Lots of good things happening!

Thursday- Our first night in the new apartment and I had a crazy dream that me and Elder Gillespie were fighting evil and random things happened and I became the Green Lantern! It was a pretty sick dream but I don't think it was a symbolic one like Lehi's dream *sigh*. So at 6:30 in the morning we got a call from the lady that we keep meeting with. She is moving this week to another apartment in the ward but as she was cleaning up some stuff from her place she found an old stash she forgot about. So she texted us because she didn't want to relapse again.  We were just telling her to stay strong and 10 seconds later we get a call from her. Shes crying but happy. Turns out she threw it down the sink! We were pretty proud of her to say the least. We had several lessons again today. Its been an awesome week. I'm running out of time so I'm going to start skipping a lot of details (the green lantern dream was probably not necessary to add)

Friday- I did a lot of study this morning more than I'm going to go into, but Elder G had a migraine and spent the first few hours of the day resting so I just had lots of study time. The main thing we did today was we helped the lady move to her new apartment and met a new friend of hers named Frank, This guy has done a lot of time but has also had a lot of change in his heart. Crazy past that i'm not going to go into but he's super nice and willing to help people now. We might even try to see if we can teach him some time.

Ok, well I'm out of time, I hope you all have an awesome week!!!!!

Monday, January 4, 2016

4 Jan 2016

Well my entire mission people have been asking where I'm from and every time I say Wisconsin they go oh... well it must be a lot colder there. I never really had an answer until this last week. It dipped down to -14F one morning and everyone lost there minds! Like not even just other missionaries but locals too were freaking out about how it got that cold. Personally it would be weird to me if it didn't get that cold at some point in the year. The temp jumped back up into the teens the next day, but I have my answer now I guess Wisconsin is colder in general.

Monday- I spent way to much money today, We went to Orange Leaf for Frozen yogurt, then to Cafe Rio and I've decided I'm not going to splurge that much anymore. Today we got to drive around the zone leaders because their car broke down. So we were booking it to get from place to place because we all had different things we needed to get done.  It was a lot of fun too. The zone leaders aren't that proactive when it comes to setting up activities so they decided to try and change that today. They got permission to organize an ice skating activity.... well that didn't matter because the ice rink closed like two hours before they were planning on going. But we came up with a backup plan and we all went bowling! (I shortened this up a lot, there was like 40 minutes of location changes and phone calls). So before bowling we went to get the ZL's car and it wasn't until we left the dealership that I had this realization. As we pulled out, the Teewee yelled, "no driver." I then realized that I had been driving as Elder Green all day because they borrowed our car in the early morning. Luckily I didn't have any violations so all is well. Bowling was pretty sweet; not going to say I did that well but also no one was trying too hard. We met with a less active after the activity and this guy has a long story. He was baptized a year ago and is trying to recover from his old lifestyle but that's along story I don't need to go into. Pretty much he took two hours to tell us he's thinking of moving which we are super excited to hear because that's the only way he's going to start improving his life. This guys literally needs to run away from this town, There's just too much bad influences and history for him to start improving while he's still here.  He ran over a lot of our plans for the rest of our evening, so the only other lesson we kind of had was with Brittany They were leaving for a friend's wedding in Utah, so we couldn't stick around long.  We are so close to getting her to actually progress but she's super ADD so trying to focus on a lesson is a challenge.

Tuesday- We went to the Kisely's (the first baptism on my mission), to do the recent convert lessons. We ended up focusing on the importance of the Book of Mormon. It was funny, as soon as we brought it up he just starts apologizing to us because he wasn't reading over Christmas, and it just shows that he actually has an understanding of how important reading is. We ended up sharing 2 Nephi 29, and focused on the Book of Mormon being a second witness of Christ. Its always a strange one to share though because in a way it yells at people who only believe in the Bible. So if you're sharing that one you better know you're not going to offend anyone.(side note Elder Gillespie's favorite line in that scripture is Thou Fool!! That should say a Bible, we have a Bible and we need no more Bible). Then we decided to go through some OAY lists. Some of them on there are a little older than the typical youth. One guy on it was 33, but we didn't have much success with that; mostly just not catching people home, because no one is home during the week of Christmas!  We got some plans for new year's. When we went to make copies of the list, we ran into our stake president in the clerk's office. I don't know if I've said this before but President Stuart reminds me a lot of President Jones (comparison for those back in Shawano). He's always super smiley. His resting face is a smile. I've never seen him not happy. The best part of the night was making contact with Olivia again. The past two weeks she's been at her grandparents' house who don't exactly like missionaries. She's back with her mom and we could hear her before she opened the door. She just yells, "its the missionaries!" then you hear mom run upstairs.  Yea she's been avoiding us but it gets better later in the week. The last part of today was the death of our car, it hit 50,000 miles! I'm just excited because I got to kill the first car of my mission and if I stick around this area for one more transfer I might get to "kill" my "father". For those who don't know that just means he'll finish his mission with me as his comp.

Wednesday- This morning's study was Jacob 5, the allegory of the olive tree.  It talks a lot about the scattering of Israel and has a lot of symbolism for the Nephites and the Jews and the Gentiles. I feel I'm going to have to read it a few more times to get everything out of it. Then we had District meeting!!!!!! and i forgot to prepare my training!!!! so I winged it.... I mean followed the Spirit. I had about 20 minutes to prep which is honestly the same amount of prep time I put into most of my talks. I normally just think about what I want to say and I can do pretty well with that and a couple of bullet points.  I taught on humility and obedience. The emphasis was on humility in Alma 15:29. It talks about a great check among the people after he establishes a church in that city. That was my challenge to my district. Just because we are on missions and set apart doesn't make us exempt from sin. So every night I invite you to check yourself. Not to get down on yourself about how terrible you are but as a way of refining yourself. Every night reflect on your day and check yourself for one way you can improve on some aspect of your character and if you continually do that, you will continually become more Christ-like. After our training we did some demos which honestly probably were not to effective. We all got into character and chose the most extreme personalities possible which led to goofing around. We had another lesson at the Ziels were we had around 9 kids we were teaching at one time. This time we focused on baptism and I can probably say that I have had better lessons, but the kids enjoyed it and hopefully we can get more individual lessons with each kid or at least family. Today we went to the chiropractor and found out that Elder G's back is pretty terrible, to put it plainly. He had a stress scan on his back. Usually people that come in complaining have around a 30 to 60 on the stress scan. I have no idea what that means but Elder G's back was at 250ish on the stress scan. So we have a few visits that we are going to make to help his back.

Thursday- Today was pretty cool. I got the care package that the youth in my ward sent. The only reason I bring that up is for you Matthew Kavenga. Your letter got a good chuckle out of all the missionaries in our apartment! I'll make sure I'm being obedient, especially in that aspect of my mission. Today was the start of being really unproductive. It was New Years Eve and we got a p-day during the night and all of tomorrow. We all got new not smart phones in our mission and that took a huge chunk of the day just to transfer contacts and set up all the stuff. Today almost nothing happened missionary-wise. We did end up having dinner with a kind of, not really, but a little less active family and they are going to try and prioritize church more in there life. So at least we got that. The rest of the night was movie night and we had about four different stake centers that we tried to use but they were all filled until we got to the Central Stake center (that's mine) and only the ZLs Elder G and I know where that is.Well I wasn't driving today and Elder G drives a little crazy *cough* phoenix drivers *cough*. The only two that kept up with him were Sister Bueno and Sister Park so we had to wait for 20 other missionaries to figure out how to decipher our directions and get to the stake center. We spent the rest of the night playing B-ball and watching Monsters Inc, Not a very productive day.

New Years- We woke up at 8:00 and I've never felt so rested in my life, We visited our buddy Eugene, the one in the hospital with the crushed pelvis, and hes recovering really well. This has definitely been a humbling experience that he needed. Its forcing him to quit smoking pretty much. Its at least a nice jump start. He has pretty much nothing to do all day so he's actually been reading the Book of Mormon. Before he wasn't that keen on keeping our commitments. He would say he read but we asked him what he read out of the Book of Mormon he would start talking about Joseph Smith and Porter Rockwell, so we were able to deduce that he wasn't reading. Also the members have helped so much in his situation. He said he's never felt so much love from others, even in his own family. Its all through simple acts of kindness where people visit for an hour and bring him a snack or a game to play. That's one thing I want to stress to every member is just to be loving and charitable towards others. I'm not saying towards other church members, just to everyone. People notice what we do and that's why we have to be an example of Christ in all places and at all times. We took his name upon us. That's my little rant for this message. The rest of the day was pretty much just board games. We played Ticket to Ride with some other missionaries, went over to president Stuart's house and played Catan,  Some of the most intense ping pong I've played since soccer spaghetti dinners. Then we went to one our Bishop's homes for dinner and ended up playing several board/card games. Then we met back up with the other missionaries and watched Ratatouille, but we left early to do some shopping. Then WE GOT TO PLAN! I never thought I'd be so happy to plan out my day just because I knew that meant we were getting back to work.

Saturday- going to wrap this up. We saw Patricia!!!!! We were waiting outside her boyfriend's house and as we were knocking she pulled up so we talked. Lessons are going to resume and hopefully she'll be baptized in a month or so. She was already ready once, but I'll just say the adversary went to work on her so it'll take a little more time.

I'm out of time for today, Elder G's chiropractor appointment this morning kind of shortened up our time. I hope you all have an AwEsOmE new year, and please just be charitable it makes the world a better place and make us better people!

Elder Hoffman