Reassigned Salt Lake City – Letter 1

Dearest Family,

What a week it’s been! I’ve absolutely LOVED serving Spanish speaking! I’m living in Glendale, just south of Rose Park in a place the missionaries fondly call “The Box”. It’s definitely a lot different than Layton, but it’s amazing. My new address is:

Elder Isaac Hoffman
917 W, 700 S #4
Salt Lake City, Utah 84104

you can also always send anything to the mission office, Edison street address. All packages should probably go there, as I don’t think we have a place to get packages at the apartment. Can’t wait to hear more from all of you!

The area we’re in is pretty ghetto, a very transient area. We cover the Pioneer Stake, Buena Vista branch (the Spanish branch). The branch covers the whole stake boundaries, about two square miles, and their are a ton of foreign people here of many different nationalities, especially Mexican and Tongan. The people are so humble and wonderfully kind to us. I’ve eaten a lot of really good Spanish food, we still get fed every night but now it’s all Spanish food! We’ve got some good people we’re teaching, Osvaldo (9), Jesus (late 20’s), and Rosa (early 30’s). There are a lot of good potential investigators we have, but it’s hard to get ahold of them. Many people here work two or three jobs and aren’t home very often, so it’s a little tricky sometimes. We’ve seen many amazing miracles here already, and the Spanish is coming right along, though it can be a little hard sometimes when people are talking a million miles an hour.

My new companion is Elder Firpo, he grew up in Seattle, Washington but both of his parents are from Argentina and he was born there, so he’s completely fluent in both Spanish and English. He’s short, bold, and very straightforward, and he’s a really awesome missionary! He’s been helping me with my Spanish, we only speak in Spanish throughout the day and I’ve been studying and reading like crazy to try to get the hang of it. My comprehension has gotten a lot better, but I’m still struggling with speaking it very fluently. Improving quickly, though, thanks to all the help from God.

Thank you all for the awesome emails! It sounds like things are wonderful back home, I’m so glad to hear that Missy had puppies! and 9, too! One for each girl. (; Are they miniature or full sized golden doodles? Mom, Dad, so glad you had such a wonderful 20th anniversary! I loved the picture I got with you and the temple. Keep being awesome, all of you!

My week:

Monday: We had our P-day, I found out in the morning I was being transferred and then we went to Sportsplex. We had splits for the evening, Elder Remington taught a family home evening to one of the Bishop’s families, and I went around with Brother Abbot to try to contact some potential investigators. Brother Abbot is awesome, one of those amazing people who’s always willing to serve. Dad, I think he went to Bountiful High the same year as you, I wonder if you knew of him?

Tuesday: We went and had lunch with our district, then I packed up and then we went to Talon’s lesson. It went really well, he’s SO ready to get baptized! We taught him about the covenant we make when we get baptized, read Mosiah 18 with him, and set up some more of the program for him. I said goodbye, which was sad, but I should be able to go back for his actual baptism, which will be nice. Also, his 22 year old brother Collins who isn’t a member sat in on the lesson, I think he’s softening up. Esther, did you get to write that letter to Talon? I think I gave you the address, but let me know if I didn’t.

Wednesday: The morning was spent finishing packing, then we went to the Mission Office for transfers. I met Elder Firpo and we went to our area. I dropped off my bags at our apartment, and we started walking around and stopping by people. I think I was a little in shock from all the Spanish, but it felt good to start speaking it again! I met the branch presidency, all awesome guys, as well as a lot of other members of the branch.

Thursday: In the morning, we went to do service at welfare square, which is about a five minute walk from our apartment. We cut and bagged bread all morning, it was a little crummy (haha) because we were there for a while and bagging bread gets boring, but it was really good to just get out and serve, and we met a lot of cool people there. Plus, they gave us bread! Elder Firpo took me all over the place meeting people he’s been working with, and I’m having a hard time remembering all their names because their Spanish and there are so many of them. I’m slowly starting to get the hang of it, though. We went to dinner with a Peruvian family, they were awesome and the food was DELICIOUS! It gave me hope when they were talking about a missionary who had eaten with them then came back in a year speaking perfect Spanish. At six, we taught Osvaldo, a nine year old boy who’s family is all members except for his dad. He was pretty shy, so we didn’t teach him too much, but he wants to get baptized and we’re excited for him! There are a few people we’re teaching who speak both Spanish and English, but we teach most people in Spanish because they’re more comfortable with it.

Friday: After district meeting all morning, we went out to talk to a couple people and then ate with a Spanish family. After dinner we went to Temple Square to meet an investigator (it’s really nice being so close, we get to take people there a lot!), but she didn’t show up, so we went back. We taught Jesus, he’s really awesome and listens really well. It was hard understanding him because he talks quietly, but the lesson went well and the Spirit was very strong there. That night we went to a Fiesta at the church for Mexico’s independence day, they had tons of really good Latin food and we got to meet a lot of wonderful people. I absolutely love the Latin culture, it’s awesome!

Remington 198Saturday: After studies, a Chilean guy took me back to Layton to see Elena’s baptism. I was able to hold a decent conversation with him, thankfully he talked pretty slow because he’s older. Elena’s baptism was amazing, the spirit was so strong and it was so nice to be able to feel of the power of the Atonement, that Elena was able to be clean of all of her sins and enter into a sacred covenant with God. I came back and we ate with the Moore’s, the husband’s American and the wife is from the Dominican Republic. They are returning to activity in the church, and they made DELICIOUS tacos! That night we had a lesson with Jolynn, we met her and her friend Susan on the street on Thursday. It went really well as well, though she wouldn’t be able to get her parents permission for baptism.

Sunday: In the morning, we went to Music and the Spoken word at the conference center with Adelmo, one of our investigators who’s going to get baptized. We were sitting there and soon realized that instead of Music and the Spoken word, we were at a 116 multistake conference with Elder Russel M Nelson. Not what we were expecting, but it was still great! Once we got back, we went to a meeting, then to church (which starts at one, it’s so nice!). We had an investigator come to gospel principles, so we were able to sort of teach the lesson to her needs. After church, we went to dinner with a Brazilian guy and his wife, and then spent the rest of the evening stopping by some part member and less active families trying to help them out and setting up lessons. We’ve got a lot of really good stuff set up for this week, and by next Sunday we should have at least one or two people on date for baptism!

This transfer will be a whole new adventure, speaking Spanish and serving here in such a different area, but I’m so excited for it! The weather has been really nice lately (lots of rain!) and there are so many good people here who are willing to listen to our message. I’m in Mosiah right now in my study of the Atonement in the Book of Mormon, and I just got to King Benjamin’s dying address. It contains some of the most beautiful truths of the Book of Mormon, including an extensive lecture on the Atonement. I especially liked two verses: 27 and 30 of Chapter 4.

Verse 27 says: “And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.” It isn’t required of us to “run faster than we have strength”, but that we do all things wisely, in order, effectively, and diligently, that we may “win the prize”. Sometimes as a missionary, you get caught up in thinking that you have to run faster than you have strength. Benjamin’s words tell us that it isn’t required of us to work harder than we are able to, just that we are wise and do things in order, being effective and diligent in the things we’ve been asked to do, and then we will achieve great things.

Verse 30 says: “But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts, and your words, and your deeds, and observe the commandments of God, and continue in the faith of what ye have heard concerning the coming of our Lord, even unto the end of your lives, ye must perish. And now, O man, remember, and perish not.” Watch your thoughts, they become your words. Watch your words, they become your actions. Watch your actions, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny. If we stop the chain at the beginning by keeping our thoughts virtuous, uplifting, and positive, we will never have to worry about our destinies. Remember this, and perish not. I love you all so much, thank you all for your wonderful emails! Hurrah for Israel!

Love, Elder Hoffman

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