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

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