Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Week 19 –Ets

Well, apparently, I'm not a very good trainer. They sent be back-up this week.
We didn't get to go to Washington D.C. yesterday, but still didn't get to write because we were running a transfer.
It all started a few weeks ago, when Elder J went home for a surgery. He had been serving in Brambleton with Elder C so Elder  C needed a new companion. Enter Elder P  a visa-waiter from India. Apparently the church can only get one-year visas to India, so missionaries spend 2-4 weeks of their mission here in the U.S. waiting for a renewal. Well, visas came through, so Elder Pace is back on a plane to India! Leaving Elder C alone in Brambleton. So.... they combined us!!!
So, we've got 3 elders in 3 areas.... We're calling it Bramble-Bell-burn. :D
We have ward conference in 2 of the 3 wards this week... haha
I'm glad that Rebecca had fun at EFY, and that you all had fun in Tahoe, and hearing about Rachel's dance class was so amazing! That sounds so cool how you helped serve with it!! I'm proud to call you all my family.
Rebecca is doing EFY in Fiji next year?!?! No way!!! That's sweet! I'll have to let Elder R know... He'll be there come april... maybe you could meet him!
Btw, I have a picture of Rachel, Rebecca and I, and they're starting to draw the attention of some Elders out here.... It's kinda funny :P Y'uns are beautiful :) (I just learned "y'uns." apparently, it's "bergian" (from fredricksburg) for "You ones")
Grandma and Grandpa, I also wanted to thank  you for your help with the mission. I appreciate it so much..
This week has been another busy one... I think the highlight was when N’s  mom gave us an open invite to their home. It was a great feeling that the spirit had touched her in a way that she felt comfortable around us and particularly with us around N. He is very close with his mom, which is great, so we really were hoping she wouldn't be opposed to us once she met us. Just another small testimony that prayers are answered.
We've been trying many new finding strategies too. Since school just started, we figured we'd try meeting kids as they leave high school... We've since abandoned that strategy. It's really good at finding a whole lot of female potentials who turn out to have zero interest in the gospel. It's really frustrating. You know what works though? Using members, prayer, and priesthood keys. I think we'll stick with that. ;)
We had a bit of an adventure last weekend. Saturday night, we were in the Leesburg Elder's car as they took us to introduce us to a person they met in our area.
Anyways, we were pulling back into the church parking lot when Hurricane Isaac hit. We didn't get anything too bad like some people, but we parked the car, and looked up at the clouds, which were quite the sight. We were leaning out the window and enjoying it for about 15 seconds when a few raindrops started sprinkling down. Then we saw the clouds shifting really fast and really.... much.... we tucked back in the car, and rolled up the windows as a rumble shot across the parking lot at us. Just as we got in, we saw it come flying across the parking lot. It was literally like a wall of water. WHAM!! It rocked that poor Malibu like a linebacker ran into it. Literally, the entire car was rocked by the rain and wind hitting it.
So, we did what anyone would do. We got out and ran..... to the church. We made it inside just as the power went out, and watched as mother nature did her thing. Sprays of water were hitting the church building even under a 20-25 foot overhang. It was amazing. Then, we realized we left the car on. So, of course I ended up running out in that madness and parking the car, then running back in. The entire parking lot was seriously an inch and a half of water, and it has a pretty intense drain system.
Turns out we didnt' even get the worst of it. In Chantily, a tornado touched down and ran up, across the Potomac, into Maryland and out to the Atlantic! And in Centreville, they recorded 1/2 dollar sized hail! It was quite the sight.
Later that night, we came home to a dark complex. The power was completely gone. Elder C  did not feel well, so went straight to bed. I wrote in my journal by flashlight, got ready for bed, and even ended up showering in the pitch black! I only lost the soap once, so it wasn't too bad... haha.
It's been an eventful week, and we're ready for another in all 3 wards!
One sad thing I've noticed is how little there is to commemorate today. 11 years ago today, our nation was hit with a tragedy, and even here, so close to where one of the planes hit, there's almost no recognition of it. PLEASE do your best to keep in mind what our history is, and how remembering it can shape our future.
Earlier this week, I saw another strange phenomenon. I'm not even sure what to call it other than "dry rain." We were riding, and my face was getting hit with raindrops, but when I looked at the ground beneath me, it was completely dry. It wasn't too unusual I guess. I mean, from a meteorology standpoint, it's quite easy to explain, but it fascinated me. It caught my attention just enough to get me thinking (which isn't hard to do when riding a bike for a long time). I began thinking of it in terms of the atonement. Imagine for a moment that you are the ground. Now imagine that rain falling upon you is like sin. What even 5 minutes ago was a clean, light piece of concrete is now beginning to be covered in little dots. They stand out. They show. Some even splash and look messy. Eventually, the entire surface is covered, and the concrete is cold, slippery and dark. When the sun affects the sidewalk though, everything changes. The water evaporates, and the concrete is just as it was before. JUST as it was before. Maybe the process of rain and evaporation even cleared away some smudges of dirt too. The point is that through the atonement, or when we let the Son affect us, we can be made completely spotless, light, and warm again. Just like we were before. I received a letter a few weeks ago in which the author spoke on this subject a bit too: "With the atonement, we can be COMPLETELY clean." They said. "When I'm standing before the Savior, I'll just be a mess, blubbering about all these things I did, and He'll just say... 'what are you talking about?'" Because we used His atonement, we will look as if the rain never even hit us. Imagine now that we use the atonement even more consistently. We can't avoid sin anymore than concrete can avoid getting rained on, but if we keep the warmth of the atonement close to us, if we use it daily, sin has the same effect as "dry rain." It doesn't even stick. It rains, sometimes it even pours, but we are unchanged. We know our purpose, we know who we are, and we dont' let it affect us. We can look as dry and be as dry as we were the day we were baptized ALL THE TIME as long as we keep the Savior close to us. We're mortal, so we can never avoid the sin, but we have the ability to clean it up almost the second it hits. That I can improve at this, and that we all can get closer to the Savior is my prayer.
Love you all. Let me know how I can serve you. I didn't come here to get bored, and sometimes the hardest work we do is on our knees.
-Elder  Hodgson

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