This has been an amazing week, as they all are! We’ve had some awesome experiences and felt the Lord’s hand in everything we do, at all times. It’s truly remarkable to feel his guiding influence in the work of salvation, I absolutely love it. Thank you all again for all the birthday wishes, the gifts were wonderful and much needed (Tell Heather and Jeff the reeses ice cream things were like manna from heaven!)!
Monday: We had our Preparation day at a sports plex, they let missionaries in free so that was pretty sweet! After our day there ended we started proselyting at 6, we had a lesson with a kid named Trey (19) who was baptized when he was young but doesn’t really know anything about the church (there’s a lot of people like that here). It went super well, and he was grateful to have things set straight for him and said he’d go to church at boot camp for the marines. We also stopped by Kevin Hill’s house and talked to him a little, it sounded like he was shooting for Saturday, because all of his wife’s family was going to be there, but unfortunately that fell through. The good news is that he finally told his family with a little prodding from us, and word is getting out. The whole stake is extremely excited for him to get baptized, he’s well loved and known by everyone.
Tuesday: We had a lesson with Talon Snarr, he’s incredible! We were going to teach the Restoration, but he had watched the video that morning so we talked a little bit about dispensations and apostasies and prophets, and then talked about his reading. He’s been reading and praying, and he came with his whole family to Sacrament meeting yesterday and last week. We’re shooting for September 7th for him to be baptized, we just need him to come to all three hours of church the next few weeks leading up to that date. His parents are getting excited about the church again, which is awesome. He has two older brothers, one, Collins, is 22 and isn’t a member, and one, Aden, is 12 and is baptized but hasn’t received the priesthood yet because they’ve been inactive. We’re excited for their family to receive the blessings of the fullness of the gospel as they become reactivated. We had dinner with the Lindmeirs, they have 3 kids out on missions, a girl and her twin brother and then their older sister, who is actually home with them right now because she got in a car wreck in Virginia. She’s leaving on Wednesday, but she’s been a set apart missionary while she’s here so she’s been teaching people with her mom, which has been awesome! We’ve coordinated a lot with them because they know the area well and have been working with less actives and non members in the area.
Wednesday: Wednesday night we had dinner with a nice young couple, the Waddoups, and then after dinner we went on exchanges with President Anderson. He was a bishop and a member of the Stake Presidency, and he has extraordinary faith. He’s also lived in the area for a long time, so he knows everyone. He took us in his car and whipped around town, visiting less active people/nonmembers/part member families and telling people they needed to meet with us and get baptized. He’s EXTREMELY bold and very loving, and we ended up with five solid potential investigators after driving around with him. We all felt so very blessed because the people we saw were home and receptive and ready to hear the gospel. People like President Anderson are amazing, so often we get referrals where people point to the people that live near them that aren’t members, and they aren’t effective at all. However, the few like President Anderson that tell us about the prepared people, go visit them with us, and invite them to take the lessons in their home are the ones who truly see miracles come from their missionary efforts.
Thursday: At district meeting, we got a challenge from our mission president to study the Book of Mormon as a mission, seven pages a day. The challenge was actually from President Bednar, the same one he gives ever missionary he ever talks to: to study a cheap copy of the Book of Mormon, studying one topic. Read it through, mark it all up with what you’ve learned, and then when you are finished write a one page summary of what you learned and how you grew from learning those things, put it in the front, and keep it as a record of your learning. We’re starting with the Atonement. I was so excited when I heard about it, because it was something I’ve wanted to do ever since hearing Elder Bednars talk on the Character of Christ, where he talked about it. Since I’ve been doing it the past three or four days, I feel like I’ve drawn so much closer to my Savior and learned amazing things from that sacred text. When we truly search out and ponder, we find so much more than just reading. I’ve learned a lot about the Atonement, Forgiveness, and Repentance, but so much about other things like faith and desire, too. After our morning of planning and district meeting and Mormon message time, we came home and headed out. We have been going by a media referral every day for about two weeks, and no one has ever answered the door, even when cars are in the driveway. We were getting discouraged, and were going to go by one more time than update the referral, and we went by and someone answered the door and told us when the referral would be there, Thursday evening. It was amazing, we went by and knocked and rang, and no one answered, but as we were about to leave, a car pulled up with Isaac Gonzalez inside. He’s a middle aged man from Tijuana, Mexico, and he didn’t speak much English. It was such a blessing to talk Spanish with him, a great confidence booster for me and helped me brush up a lot. He said that he’s on the board of directors of his church in Salt Lake City, but he said he’s open-hearted and willing to listen and to help me with my Spanish and let us teach him. We set up an appointment for this Thursday, and I’m super excited to be able to teach someone in Spanish! The Lord always blesses us for diligence and perseverance, and I learned from that experience NEVER to give up on one of his children. The Lord knows and loves every one of us personally, and wants us to be able to have the blessings that the restored gospel brings. The Lord never gives up on his children, so why should we? Thursday night we biked out to the trailer park in the north end of our area, we had received a referral there that we were going to try to find. We stopped at Taco Time for drinks because we were dying of thirst, and three people offered to buy us whatever we wanted. Taco Time ended up just giving us a bunch of food and free drinks, and we couldn’t even eat the food because we were so full from our dinner with the Evans (Ward Mission Leader, he’s an AWESOME guy and he has a beautiful little family). We then went to the trailer park to look for this referral, and couldn’t find it ANYWHERE. We realized we were in the wrong trailer park, so we went over to the other one to look for Carlos (the referral). We were biking around when an old man invited us in, saying he had just moved here from Syracuse and was a member of the church and everything. He told us about all his missions he had gone on, and let us know that if we ever needed anything just to ask. He then asked us for a blessing, because he had hurt his back and just moved in. Elder Remington started with a prayer (can’t believe I never thought of that, great way to invite the Spirit and change the environment to be conducive to holy things), then he anointed and I gave the blessing. It was a wonderful experience, I’m so very grateful for the blessing of being able to help others with the sacred gift of the priesthood. That night we got home and Elder Remington burned a shirt because it was his 1 year mark.
Friday: We had dinner with the Matthews in the trailer park (they’re both in the Army, he served his mission in Peru so it was cool to talk to him about missionary work). We tried to find Carlos, but he wasn’t home, and most the people that were out and about there didn’t want to talk to us. We were desperately trying to get a ride/exchange for Saturday, because Elder Remington had 3 baptisms to go to in previous areas, and there was a ward carnival that many less actives/potential investigators were going to be at so I was going to stay in the area on splits.
Saturday: I ended up going with our district leader and his companion to their area for most the day until after dinner. I was grateful that I’m not in their area, their up on the mountain with bikes and they have RIDICULOUS hills everywhere, I was dying trying to keep up with them! We had dinner with the Murdocks in their area, which was delicious! After dinner I got a ride with Brother Evans to the Carnival, and he was my companion for the rest of the night till Elder Remington got back at 9. I got to talk to a lady who came up to me to find the bishop, her mother is 97 and has been a member of the church for 60 years, but her children and husband were never baptized. She has a twin sister, and she had taken the missionary discussions before, but hasn’t been baptized. I got her number and hopefully we can have a lesson with her soon! Elder Remington had awesome experiences at his baptisms, it’s so amazing to see peoples lives change through the cleansing power of the Atonement and the sanctifying power of the Gospel.
Sunday we went to two different wards, one where Darlene House and her grandkids were supposed to be at, and one where the Snarrs were supposed to be at. Unfortunately, Elena didn’t show up to church, but her grandma Darlene did. She’s moving out of her grandmas house with her mom, which we’re worried about. Her mom has a bit of a crazy lifestyle, and we’re worried what will happen if she moves out. Hopefully she can get baptized and find good friends in her new home, but we’ll see. After church, we went and taught some members the discussions with young men in the wards and invited them to have missionary experiences in the next couple of weeks. We went to the Wursten’s for dinner, they had probably the most adorable little one year old I’ve ever seen (except for my sisters, of course), and they were a wonderful family. We taught the Christensen’s, an inactive young couple with a little one year old, with the Lindmeirs. It went really well! Last week Brother Christensen was a little aloof and didn’t seem like he had much of a desire to learn, but this week the Spirit was there much more strong and he had read in the Book Of Mormon and after our lesson and watching the Restoration video, he expressed his desire to get the priesthood and progress toward the temple with his wife, which was awesome, definitely a miracle.
The work is progressing quickly in this area! Kevin should get baptized this week or next week, and definitely by the 31st, and Talon by the 7th. Elena should get baptized soon as well, we just need to talk to her about a date (their family is super hard to get ahold of.) We’re continuing to search for more people who are ready, and we’re excited that the ward and stake are so on board with our efforts. The Lord’s hand is evident in all we do, and it’s truly miraculous. I love you all so much! Thank you for your letters and support, you’re all the best!
Love, Elder Hoffman