Argentina – Week 89

Dearest family,

I only have a couple minutes, but I want you all to know how very grateful I am for you and for the way you have supported and lifted me up in the past two years. I am forever grateful to my Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, for His sacrifice and for the opportunity to be a representative of Him. I love Him.

I had the best week of my mission and of my life. We had an incredible miracle! We found a part member family on Thursday that was ready to come back, and two of the boys, Ramiro and Agustin were baptized yesterday in an amazingly spiritual baptismal service, along with two other boys of the same ages of another part member family. I felt the spirit so strongly all throughout this week testify to my soul that this truly is the work of the Lord.

“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

I love you all! See you in a few days.

Elder Isaac Hoffman

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Argentina – Week 88

Dear Family,

This week has been incredible! Although I was super sad to be leaving Bolívar and all the wonderful people I got to know there, including the members, investigators, my companion, etc., it´s been amazing to come back to Viedma! Although it´s only been 4 weeks since I left, there are so many awesome changes that have happened. A few highlights:

  • Church was absolutely STUFFED on sunday with 70 of attendence, much more people than I have ever seen at church here. Theres a new missionary couple here, Spaniards who´ve lived in Australia for the past 40 years, super awesome converts to the church. This is their 7th mission, and in every mission they´ve made AT LEAST one stake. The futurue of Viedma is looking great! Among those who were at church were the Guaquimir family, Eva y Graciela, Macarena y Belen, the Villanueva family (Elder Tucker and I got to participate in the naming of Gicela´s new baby), Mirian, Alejandra, and many other wonderful faces. It was awesome to be there! The spirit was so strong, 3 confirmations, a baby blessing, and many wonderful testimonies.
  • Awesome family home evenings with many part member families we´ve been teaching. It´s so good to see everyone again and see that everyone´s doing so well!
  • Elder Tucker´s doing awesome, he´s grown so much as a missionary since I´ve known him, and I´m very grateful that he´s going to be my last companion. We´re best friends, and it was like coming back to see my brother again. I love teaching with him, too, we already know each other really well and have our teaching patterns down and the way we do the work.
  • The gospel is AMAZING! As I was pulling in to Viedma in the bus, I finished the book of mormon again, this was the first time I read it from cover to cover in Spanish and actually understood (I had read it in the beginning of my mission but hadn´t understood much, haha). Although I´ve studied it a ton in these two years, it was so wonderful to read from cover to cover in a month´s time in Spanish and see the big picture again. I KNOW that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I would give my life in defense of the truth of that book, and I WILL give all my life in it´s defense and making sure as many people as possible know that it holds the words of LIFE. I especially felt the power of Moronis last invitation:

“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God. And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot.”

That same invitation is mine for all of you. Come unto Christ, be perfected in Him. I know that this is God´s work. I have no doubts. I have seen His hand manifest on a daily basis, and feel His spirit as I read the scriptures, as I pray, as I partake of the Sacrament, and as I preach and testify of His gospel. I think next week I´ll have time to write as well, but if not, I leave you all with this: Being a missionary has been the best experience in my life. I could never express my gratitud to my Savior for allowing me to see the miracle of conversion, to be a first-hand witness of the work of salvation. I absolutely love it, and I will miss it dearly, but I know that it doesn´t stop here. Perhaps this train is coming into the station and I´ll have to get off, but there´s another train waiting for me. I´m so very grateful for the way I´ve changed in these two years, and for the way I´ve grown, and for what I now know. I know that God lives. I know that He loves all of His children. His plan is a plan of justice, and a plan of mercy. It is a perfect plan. His Son, Jesus the Christ, lives. He truly gave His life for us, and He took it up again. I know that His gospel has been restored through the prophet Joseph Smith, and that the Book of Mormon truly is the word of God. It is convincing evidence of the restoration of the Gospel. I love my Savior.

I love you all so much! Keep working hard, somebody needs you.

Atentamente,
Elder Hoffman

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a few noches de hogar with Romina and family, Kedak family, and a funny sight in a hotel on our way to Romina´s. On Saturday Argentina played against Chile for the Copa America, and LOST! Everyone was so sad, they really don´t like chilenos here… haha

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Argentina – Week 87

Well, dearest family, it´s been a very interesting week in the grand Argentina Bahía Blanca mission.

After a wonderful week with lots of amazing lessons and people that we´ve been teaching, the zone leaders called Saturday night with emergency transfers. I´m going back to Viedma with Elder Tucker! Haha, I sure wasn´t expecting it, but I´m super excited. There are so many people there that I was so sad to leave and many who I didn´t get to say goodbye to, and many more that I wanted to help continue progressing. Now I´m super excited for the opportunity to have two weeks there to bring souls to Christ! They were a lot of emergency transfers because this week there is a leadership conference, so President released all the leaders who are going home in two weeks to call new leaders so that the new Presidente can start off with a clean slate and train the new leaders. I´m sad that I had to leave Bolívar, because I truly love that place and those people and my amazing companion Elder Hermosilla, but I feel that it´ll be great to see old friends again.

Right now I´m in the bus station of Bahía Blanca with Elder White. President and Sister Cifuentes, the new president and his wife, get here on Tuesday, and early Wednesday morning my Spanish parents head home to Elche after 3 years of missionary service.

More than anything, I feel gratitude. Deep, deep gratitude. Elder White´s headed of to Santa Rosa for two weeks, and last night as I was talking with him and Elder Watts, it became so real that two whole years have come and gone as a messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Being a missionary has changed my life forever, and I will never be able to fully thank God for being so merciful as to allow me to experience His love and see the miracle of change in the lives of the people who accept Him and His Son, and who truly begin to live His gospel. As I´m finishing the book of mormon again, I came across a scripture that I had almost forgotten about in 3 Nephi, the words of the great prophet, Mormon:

“Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.”

I too a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Song of God, and have been called by him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life. We preach the gospel for that reason, so that the sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father might come to the knowledge of their Redeemer and be saved by Him.

I am so grateful to have this calling, and I will cherish every second of every day that I have left. I´m excited to go back to Viedma where I know the area and the people, it´ll be easy to focus in just preaching the gospel and inviting people to come unto Christ.

I´m grateful for goodly parents who taught me what source I should look to for the remission of my sins, who taught me to look to the Savior of the world and live in every sense of the word. I´m thankful for the Book of Mormon. How I love that book! It truly contains the words of Christ which “carry us beyond this vale of sorrow into a far better land of promise”. I know that God lives, that Jesus Christ is His son and gave His life for us, and that they have restored the gospel of the Lord, the doctrine of Christ that is perfect and unchangeable.

I love you all so much!

Until next week,
Elder Hoffman

Argentina – Week 86

Dearest family,

This week has been absolutely AMAZING! I´m so grateful I got transferred here at this time! To make a long story short, the district to which our little branch belongs became a Stake on Sunday. We went to an incredible conference which was assisted by Elder Viñas, Elder Salas, President and sister Parreño, and over 700 members from the new stake. It was awesome to see the dedication of the people here who have worked so hard so that this place could become another “stake in zion” and have all the blessings of a full fledged unit of the church. In the conference, there were two amazing subjects that touched me very deeply:

1. For the love of Zión – President talked about the reason that Isaiah preached and profesied about the gospel, which was for love. I´ve felt so deeply the power of our motto in the Argentina Bahía Blanca mission, that this work is done for love of our Savior and love of our neighbor.

2. Seek Him early – Elder Viñas talked about seeking the Lord early, that we should always seek him and go to him in prayer, in obedience, in love, and in humility. That way, when we truly pass through trials and hard times, we will have the confidence to go before Him and ask for His help. Let us not wait for the hard times to seek the Lord.

My times all up, but I want you all to know the God lives and loves every one of His children. He cares about each and every one, and that is why he gave us the incredible and infinite gift of His son. I love him, and I´m so very grateful for His sacrifice.

I love you all so much! Keep on keeping on in the work of the Lord!

Love
Elder Hoffman

P.S.-

This is Presidente and Sister Parreños last week in the mission, so after the conference we had a quick goodbye conference. I´m so grateful for these two amazing people who have helped me so very much to know my Savior and to live His gospel. Pray a lot for them this week, it´s gotta be hard to be finishing a 3 year mission!

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Argentina – Week 85

Hello family!

I feel an incredible love for my Savior and gratitude for the wonderful opportunity I have to serve as a missionary. I know that His mercy is the only means by which we can be forgiven and clean. I LOVE to share that with others!

My companion, Elder Hermosilla, it’s amazing, really. It encourages and helps me lose myself more every day in the work of salvation, and I admire his great example. He works very, very hard. We get along very well, and that is helping us a lot in the work.

It has been a very good week, we were contacting lot and had some great experiences. I love working with members, I realize more every day how important they are in this book. Last week we met a woman named Esther and her daughter Maria on the street. We began to teach them, and went with members. It was perfect, the family that live nearby went to visit them and became good friends, and another time we went with the president of the Relief Society, who already knew this sister. When Esther and Mary came to church Sunday with the family Vigne, they already knew a lot of miembros and went home quite happy. (: It is important to work with members.

I have been reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning again, and I’m in Alma 30. I love to read that book. I know that it contains the fullness of the gospel, and I always knew it, but now I have such an immensely big love for that book that I can not stop reading. In one of our lessons with other investigators, Noelia and Victor, and the branch president, Noelia shared her experience with the Book of Mormon. She had gotten one through her sister who was investigating the church, and read it from cover to cover. She said it was the first book in her life that she had actually finished, because when she started to read,she could not stop because of the curiosity and interest it gave her. However, she still does not accept it as the word of God, because she says she hadn´t read with that in mind. We testified to them both about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and invited her and her husband Victor to read sincerely and ask God about its truthfulness. As we taught them, I felt a deep appreciation for the Book of Mormon in my life and for the blessing of knowing that is much more than a book that captures the attention. When reading I felt what Isaiah describes, “For those who shall be destroyed shall speak unto them out of the ground, and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit” I know these people really lived, and who wrote to our day, and that this book has the power to help us return to the presence of our heavenly father. So I am extremely grateful. I love the Book of Mormon!

Yesterday was the baptism of the daughter of our branch president, Emili. It was great to be there, and I’m glad they came many members and investigators, especially Ivan, a friend of President Molina. After she was baptized, I was able to participate in the confirmation of Emili. I felt something so strong that told me that the Lord knows this child and has great things for her if she obeys and does her part. I love that feeling, and I’ve come to feel it much more since i´ve involved myself in God´s work; that the Lord knows all of us individually and loves us and wants the best for everyone. No one is destined to fail. I love you all family! Have a great week, cause I sure will. (:

Sincerely,
Elder Hoffman
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Hola Familia!
Siento un amor increíble por mi Salvador y agradecimiento por la maravillosa oportunidad que tengo de servirle como un misionero. Sé que Su misericordia es el único medio por el cual podemos ser perdonados y limpios. Me encanta compartir esto con los demás.
Mi compañero, Elder Hermosilla, es increíble, la verdad. Me anima y ayuda a perderme en la obra de salvación, y admiro su gran ejemplo. Trabaja mucho, muchísimo. Nos llevamos muy bien, y eso nos está ayudando mucho en la obra.
Ha sido una semana muy buena, estuvimos contactando muchísimo y tuvimos algunas experiencias muy buenas, la verdad. Me encanta trabajar con los miembros, me doy cuenta más todos los días cuán importante que son en esta obra. La semana pasada habíamos encontrado a una mujer que se llama Ester y su hija María en la calle. Empezamos a enseñarles, y fuimos con miembros. Fue perfecto, la familia con la cuál fuimos a visitarles viven cerca y se hicieron muy amigos, y en un otro momento justo fuimos con la presidenta de la sociedad de socorro, la cuál ya conocía ésta hermana. Cuando Ester y María llegaron a la iglesia con la familia Vigne este domingo, ya estaban conociéndoles a todos y estaban muy contentos, la verdad. Es muy importante el trabajo con los miembros.
He estado leyendo el libro de mormón desde el principio otra vez, y ya estoy en Alma 30. Me encanta leer ese libro. Sé que contiene la plenitud del evangelio, y creo que siempre lo sabía, pero ahora tengo un amor tan inmensamente grande por ese libro que no lo puedo parar de leer. En una de las lecciones con otros investigadores, Noelia y Victor, y el Presidente de rama, Noelia nos compartió su experiencia con el libro de mormón. Lo había conseguido por medio de su hermana que estaba investigando la iglesia, y lo leyó de tapa a tapa. Dijo que fue el primer libro que terminó, porque al empezar a leerle, no podía para porque le interesaba. Sin embargo, ella todavía no lo acepta como la palabra de Dios porque dice que no lo leyó con eso en mente. Le testificamos acerca de la veracidad del libro de mormón y les invitamos a ella y a su esposo Victor a leerle sinceramente y preguntar a Dios con respecto a su veracidad. Mientras les enseñábamos, sentí un profundo agradecimiento por el libro de mormón en mi vida y por la bendición de saber que es mucho más que un libro que capta el atención. Al leerle he sentido lo que describe Isaías: “sus palabras susurrarán desde el polvo, y su voz será como uno que evoca a los espíritus.” Sé que estas personas de veras vivieron, y que escribieron a los de nuestro día, y que ese libro tiene el poder de ayudarnos a regresar a la presencia de nuestro padre celestial. Por eso estoy sumamente agradecido. ¡Amo el libro de mormón!
Ayer fue el bautismo de la hija de nuestro presidente de rama, Emili. Fue muy bueno estar allí, y me alegró mucho que llegaron muchos miembros y también investigadores, especialmente Ivan, el amigo de Presidente Molina. Después que se bautizó, pude participar en la confirmación de Emili. Sentí algo tan fuerte que me decía que el Señor conoce a esta niña y que tiene grandes cosas para ella si es que obedece y hace su parte. Me encanta ese sentimiento, y es lo que más he sentido al participar en la obra de salvación: que el Señor nos conoce a todos individualmente y nos ama, y desea lo mejor para todos. Nadie es destinado al fracaso.

Atentamente,
Elder Hoffman

Elder Bellido and I in front of the chapel here, a couple pics of our chapel… The baptismal font is pretty awesome, haha. poor emili and milagros got baptized with REAALLY cold water
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milagros´s baptism, elder hermosilla and i
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last day in Viedma
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Argentina – Week 84

Dearest family,

We had some amazing milagros this week! When we got here to Bolívar I immediately fell in love. This city is beautiful, it´s a lot more well kept and clean than the other places I´ve seen here. It´s a small city about 4 hours away from Buenos Aires. Population of about 36,000 people, and 16 by 16 blocks. It´s doesn´t feel quite that small, it´s got a nice center area and beautiful avenues with lines of gorgeous palm trees in the middle. Our apartment is two blocks away from the cute little church house where the branch meets, and it´s very safe and relaxed here. The only thing is that it literally turns into zombie land during the siesta from 2 to 5, but we´ve still been able to find some awesome people during that time, so all´s well.

My companion is AWESOME, he´s got a great attitude and he´s super focused and fun to be around. I love the paraguayan accent, it´s a sing songy quick bouncy kind of accent, kind of like a parrot trilling and singing but obviously not that shrill. We get along really well and so far had a great time together.

So when we got here on Tuesday, we went by all the investigadores to get to know them. One of them is Milagros, a 15 year old girl who´s been investigating for about 3 months. She´s been about to get baptized two or three times, but every time things fell through at the last minute. When we began to talk to here, I asked her about her testimony, and it was incredible. She´s come to feel very strongly that this is the path she needs to take, and wanted so much to be baptized. So, we invited her to be baptized on Saturday. She agreed, and we started getting everything prepared. On Friday we had a lesson with her and the member family that introduced her to the church, and we finished ironing out all the details. Everything turned out perfect for her baptism on Saturday, although she showed up late because her parents were putting up some last minute doubts, but her friend Micaela and her parents also came to the baptism and loved it. It was an awesome service, and I felt so strongly the spirit as she got baptized in the tiny little makeshift pool font. Afterwards, she was talking to us and said, “My dad doesn´t want me to be a missionary, but I´m going SI o SI”. It was awesome. On Sunday in the class we taught to the branch youth, she was asking more about the temple and said that her next goal is to go. I know that the Lord puts miracles (or Milagros) in our path when we seek to be instruments in His hands. I love Bolívar!

Love,
Elder Hoffman

Argentina – Week 83

Querida Familia,

Well, truth is I wasn´t expecting to be transferred for the last six weeks, but so it was! I was really sad to be leaving Viedma and Elder Tucker, but very excited to be here in Olavarría. I´ve always heard about this zone because it´s got really great members, and just in time will become a stake on June 20 something, so I´ll be here to see the change from district to stake. My new companion is Elder Hermosilla, from Paraguay. I´m super stoked!!! He´s new, this will be his second transfer, and he´s already a great missionary from what I´ve seen. He comes from a great missionary family and he´s got a lot of love for missionary work, so I feel like it´s going to be a great six weeks. I´m actually going to be in Bolívar, which is a small city about an hour away from Olavarría. It´s a tiny little branch that still meets in a house, which I´m really excited about. It should be an awesome experience. Elder Bellido came to Olavarría from Mar del Plata too, so we´ll be together in the same zone! Elder Bates took my spot in Viedma, which I was super excited about. It was crazy this week seeing a lot of the elders from my group going home (Elder Pritchett, Elder Orme, Elder McCord, emails from Elder Bates, Elder Bringhurst) but it just made me thankful that I´ve still got some time left to keep seeing miracles. I feel really good about Bolívar.

This week I started the Book of Mormon from the beginning. I´m in words of Mormon, and up until now I´ve been feeling so deeply a love for the scriptures, and especially this time around have felt the amazing dedication of those who worked so hard to write them so that we could be have their words and draw nearer to Christ. I had a pretty cool experience in divisiones last week, as that day I had finished first Nephi and read the scripture from Isaiah:

“But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me—but he will show that he hath not. For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.”

I´ve always loved that scripture, but I felt it impact me much this particular day, and I didn´t know why. I love the reference to a mother´s love for her newborn child, because to me it is the greatest love their is on the face of the earth. Christ tells each and every one of us that even when a mother may forget her newborn child, he will never, ever forget us, because He has engraven us upon the palms of His hands. His atoning sacrifice not only means that we can become clean from sin and overcome the problems of this world, it also means that Christ knows and cares profoundly for each and every individual. He knows us all by name and will never forget us. As we were knocking doors, we came across a nice woman named Ana. We began to talk with her, and she was very nice and told us that she had a good friend who was a member of the church. As we began to ask about her religious beliefs, she told us that she didn´t believe in God because of things that had happened in her life. We began to teach her, and she said “Dios se ha olvidado de mí.” (God has forgotten about me). In that moment, I knew why this scripture had impacted me so much. I shared it with her, and she was touched and accepted a return appointment. It was a small experience that reminded me just how much God knows and cares about every one of us. He will never forget us. I am sure of that, just as sure as I am that I´m sitting here typing in this ciber cafe in Olavarría. I love you all so much! Thank you for the pictures, letters, and encouraging words. I´m so grateful for each and every one of you. Keep going strong!

Love,
Elder Hoffman

P.S. – Next week I´ll send pics, I don´t have my cable with me