That's crazy! Rachel leaves for BYU in 9 days.... Holy cow! Remember, no getting married while I'm gone! Engaged...ok, but not married
BEST way to do mail is to send to the mission home. It adds anything from another two hours to another day to get it to me depending on where I am, and it's just easier. If you want though, you can send directly to me, I just wouldn't do it within ten days of a transfer... my ashburn adress is:
20030 Coltsfoot Terrace #101
Ashburn, VA 20147
I expect to be there for at least one more transfer...
My first trainer is Brett L, and he is from S J. I'll get a new trainer when he leaves though because training takes 12 weeks, and I'll only get 5 from him.
Transfers are every 6 weeks normally, but this first transfer will be 5 and the next will be 7 because of the new pres...
Pdays are mondays usually.
(Sunday Dave and I got a text from an unknown number of two elders on the couch…with 2 other folks and a dog on Matthew’s lap)
Oh, if you were wondering about that picture last night, that was Elder L and I at the Reynold's for dinner. They were actually our second dinner (whoa!) one with the ward and one with them. A, the one taking the picture is the Less-Active that I'll mention in just a sec, then on the couch with us is D (the deaf investigator), his girlfriend K (pronounced "Kira" and currently reading the BOM, not ready to talk yet) and their dog, Sadie.
This week in Ashburn/Belmont has been . . . well, slow. It seems we can't get into ANY doors. Appointments fall through, potentials aren't there, tracting is about as successful as knocking down a wall with a plastic baseball bat, and our best referral is in New York for a couple weeks... haha. Pres sent out an email about faith and positive thoughts that really helped lift my spirits. I've been quoting scriptures and quotes about perseverance and faith ALL week.
It's true though, the witness really does come after the trial of our faith. Yesterday, we had a less-active at church for the first time in six years (A), and today, I texted a potential to say hey and he immediately said: "Hey! When are we going to go talk about all of this?" Things do happen, but at the Lord's pace, not ours, and he needs to be sure we know that and that we trust him and are willing to work regardless.
On another note, anybody remember that story about the guy who God told to push the rock? Well, he pushes for a year, then gets mad, saying God gave him something he couldn't do, etc. God tells him "I told you to push the rock, not move it. Look at yourself, you've become strong now." or something to that effect. Well, with all this bike riding from one failed appointment to the next, I'm getting back into shape. I'm trimming down everything from finals week and the MTC and lost 5 pounds this week, along with toning out a bit. That's been one upside... haha
The other day, we were riding our bikes, coming down the driveway of someone who wouldn't let us in, and suddenly: "HEY!! Are you Latter Day Saints?" The tone wasn't extremely inviting, and I didn't really want to be yelled at, but we stopped our bikes and, praying for help, I smiled a huge smile and said cheerfully: "Yes we are!" He stopped and said he just wanted to thank us. Apparently his mom in Fresno was hospitalized and in the three days it took him to get there, the missionaries she had been meeting with had visited her 5 plus times. It was really cool. So, he thanked us for all we do and all our church does, then hopped in his car and left. We took note of his address to go visit later :D
Everybody, please pray for J. She's a recent convert who's going through a lot. I can't share details, but PLEASE keep her in your prayers. She needs it.
Rachel asked a question that I think everybody would enjoy an update on: my leg. I don't know who all knows what, but about March 18 (the weekend we were home for Blake's farewell), after the drive to Utah, I woke the next morning with a sore leg. I have had sore legs before and usually I just put up with it, and after a day or two, I'm fine. This one, not so. It was still hurting after a couple of days and, stupid is as stupid does, I went for a run with some friends and pretty much destroyed it. That's how it felt at least. I spent the rest of the semester limping, struggling to sleep and just racked with pain. I went to the doctor, and they told me it was just a pulled leg and to take it easy. After finals week ended, no such luck. The night I got set apart, I was still limping with very restricted motion. The night before I reported, I got a blessing, and wham! I was fine in the MTC. I still had to take it easy, but no limp, no EXTREME pain, etc. Then I hit the field, and the Lord takes care of me as I do His work. My first few days were rough (we're on bikes). I would be GREAT during the day, then crawl into bed that night with tears running down my face before spending the next hour trying to lie comfortably. Elder L noticed my limp one evening and asked about it, before pulling out an electroshock therapy set! So, I'm doing that every day during scripture study now, and while it's not perfect, my leg is doing much better! It's still sore a lot, but it doesn't hurt. I even managed a small jog last Saturday!!
So, we're near the Dulles airport here, and a common joke among missionaries is: "How far do you think that plane is Ln?" "Oh, about a month!" Well, someone pulls that on me the other day, and I threw out a guess that was a measurement in feet. They pause for a second, then say "Nope! 23 months!" I almost swore. I've been out a month already?!? What the heck!! Where did it go?
Just a cool thought I had. When I reported to the MTC, they gave me a nametag. It felt strange to wear it at first, but I've slowly gotten used to it, and now it just feels like a part of me. The other day during study, I got distracted looking at it. I have a nametag. It has two names on it, neither belonging to me. The first belongs to my Father, my Grandfather, and so on down the lineage to Hodge himself. The other name belongs to our Savior. This nametag not only represents a notice of my call, but a reminder of my goal. I came out here to earn both of those names. At birth, my Father's name was given to me, but it's not mine yet. At baptism, I promised my willingness to take Christ's name upon me, then years later, I took His name upon me, but it's still not my name. I came here to become worthy of both of those names. For years, the phrase "Return With Honor" was etched on the inside of our front door. The night I was set apart, those were the three words my Grandfather left me with: "Return With Honor." My mom once explained returning with honor as this: "While you are outside the walls of our home, you bear with you a name. A family name. Your Father has done nothing but bring honor to that name and be true to that name. He asks the same of you as his son. Don't do anything that you would not want to be known by your Father's name." I'm here in Virginia to bring honor to that name. I'm here to prove myself as faithful to that name, as diligent towards that name, and as worthy of that name. The same follows with the name of Christ. As a latter day saint, and as a missionary in particular, when I leave the walls of home, I bear with me a name. A royal family name. A hallowed name. A heavenly name. The name of Christ. My Father, my Grandfather, and my Savior have done nothing but bring reverence to that name and be true to that name. They ask the same of me as a son, as a grandson, as a son of the house of Israel, and as a son of God. I should not do anything that I would not want to be known by the name of the church, the name of the gospel, or the name of Christ. I'm here in Virginia to bring honor to that name, to bring honor to my God, to bring honor to my Father and to my Heavenly Father. I am here to prove myself as faithful to that name, as diligent towards that name, and as worthy of that name. I was born and raised with the intention of me going out into the world to bear the name "Hodgson" with honor, respect and dignity. I was born, raised and taught with the intention of me going out into the world to bear with me the name of "Christ" and to share it with all who will listen not only on my mission, but throughout my life. My call is to show that I am worthy of both those names, and to bring honor to both those names, so that, 23 months from now (holy snap) when I return, both my mortal Father and my Heavenly Father will both welcome me with: "Well done, my son. You have borne my name faithfully. Now, take it for yourself and go out into the world, for now your true mission begins." Then with open arms, they will welcome me, assuring me that I have done well. I wish nothing more than to hear both of my Fathers say what every son longs to hear: "I'm proud of you."
What have YOU done with His name? Or with yours for that matter?
Until next time from the city of burnt ashes and monty bells,
Love you all!