Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Week 26 - Frankenstorm -

Well, I think the big news of the week that most people are waiting to hear about is Hurricane Sandy, the "Frankenstorm." Lots of research and preparation went into this week, and we were WAAAYYYY ready for it. We haven't heard from other areas of the mission yet, but honestly, it was boring here in Ashburn. It was bad enough that no missionary work could be done, but not bad enough to be entertaining. A few elders and I actually put on shorts and t-shirts to go for a run before a mission-wide text went out that said: "Hope everyone is inside and safe. Beware of downed power lines." We stayed in. haha
Most of our week was wiped due to gathering supplies for 72 hour kits, setting up member homes to go to in case it gets bad enough, and filling our stores with bottled water. It was pretty crazy and we were all excited, then it decided to take it easy on us. haha.
So, we were inside for torrential downpour and 45 mph winds for a good two days, but nothing too exciting. Our power didn't even go out. I think we had one grid in the zone go down... haha. We're out and about looking for service now and can't even find one downed tree!!! It's a blessing, and somewhat of a dissappointment. I was hoping for an adventure... haha
So, we're all here now, and it's halloween!!! So, we're gathering at the Stake center tonight to eat pizza and watch Madagascar 3 and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Sounds like it's gonna be fun!
By way of missionary work, the real story is Tony. He's so amazing and a HUGE blessing. I can see very plainly the hand of the Lord in bringing him here to Ashburn. We taught him all the discussions this week every morning at 7:30. Then his baptismal interview was Sunday and he is just stoked now! His entire baptismal program to him is not a day for him, but an opportunity for him to share his new love of the Gospel and his increased fiath with the world. He's inviting EVERYBODY to his baptism and the entire program is designed with the question in mind of "how can I bring the spirit more strongly?" It's amazing. I was asked to play 2 piano solos for it, so I'm practicing up and hoping I can perpetuate the spirit there.
That's mostly it other than waiting out the storm, haha. Know that we're safe, that we're ready to serve others in the area, and we're ready to keep moving forward with the work!
Hurrah for Israel!
-Elder Hodgson

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Week 25- after the trial of your faith...

"The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us."

Well, it's another week here in Virginia! And probably one of the most beautiful ones so far! Elder C and I have seriously spent mornings with our door wide open staring out at the scenery as we eat our meals. It's just gorgeous! I've NEVER seen autumn like this before! The leaves are all changing colors, and pretty much in Rocklin the green leaves fall in a total of a day and a half... haha Some of the bike trails are seriously covered in leaves, so it feels like we're just riding through the forest! It makes me feel like Luke Skywalker speeding through Endor on a speeder bike... except, he didn't have a message as good as the one I bring ;) haha

Quick note to sister Rachel. Mom was talking a bit about your thinking of   serving  a mission.... She said one of the reasons you  you had for “not” was that you didn't want to do "what everybody else was doing." I don't want this to make your decision in any way, but my recommendation is you cross that reason out. Years from now, IF  you decide to serve, you won't look back and say: "Wow, I did what everybody else did." Your perspective will have changed a lot. Your comment will be: "Wow, I was part of a historic group in a critical movement of the last days when I responded to our Savior's call"

So, my first testimony meeting in the field, this guy got up and bore his testimony of the miracle he witnessed to see his wife pregnant after many complications. They brought their baby to church this week.... I feel old.... in the area... haha

Yesterday in church, a woman came and introduced herself to me, asking where I was from. "California" I responded. "Where in Cali?" My typical response: "Sacramento area." (since nobody knows what/where/who Rocklin is). "No, where in Cali?" She says, then continues. "I'm from Rocklin." haha. Anybody know a Sister Hass from 4th ward? She was totally in Belmont Ridge yesterday!!! Haha

Two random, and seemingly inconsequential tidbits....
One, I found out that they have officially split the Hobbit into three parts, with the final part coming out.... ready?. .. .July 2014! Whew! barely made that one! haha,

Two.... well, this one isn't really as inconsequential... You ready for this?.... I'm in physical therapy!!!  So, we were doing service for this guy, and as I'm on my back under a treadmill I'm trying to assemble, he says: "man, I really wish I could pay you all back for this somehow. I mean, you've done so much for me, and I'm just a physical therapist..." Then Elder Coates, the Elder who organized the service project pauses..... "Well, that's actually exactly what Hodgson needs!" I tried to dismiss it, insisting I was fine, I was getting better, etc. but he really wanted to help. So, next thing I know I'm still on my back getting some muscle tests done and telling my story.... Here's what we now think happened:
So, it started back on March 17th. We were home for Blake Magda's mission farewell, and I decided to go for a run that beautiful Saturday morning. Brother Keller's best guess is that I pulled my hamstring very very very minorly on that run, like enough to not notice, nbd, etc. The next day found us spending 4-5 hours with chains on as we snailed our way through Blue Canyon and Donner pass on the way back to school. I was driving during that time, and because of conditions, I couldn't use cruise control. Long story short, I spent about 4-5 hours with constant and varying tension in my leg trying to make sure we came out safe. Jump to Monday morning. I decide to go for another run, and my leg starts screaming. Thus begins the extravaganza. If I remember right, I even pretended to smack my face on a road sign just so I could get a break from my leg without telling anyone that I was hurting. haha. So, the hamstring apparently (and this is the part I'll probably butcher) connects to the hip three times in one central place. I'm told that my muscle tests indicate I tore my hamstring right at that junction. Now, it's been healing, but then I'll do something stupid and tear it again, then it'll heal, then I'll do something stupid again. Bro. Keller says I probably have a chronic tear now. What that means is that scar tissue is now building up trying to solve the problem. So, I now have a heating pad and a series of exercises I'm supposed to do 3x a week to build the muscle back up over the scar tissue that's there. Six weeks from now, I'm supposed to be all set! Provided I don't do anything stupid.... So, this means I'll probably be writing letters today during ultimate frizbe... :( oh well, I'd rather spend some time down now than a lot later. He said that if I continue to tear it, it will probably get to the point that sometime after my mission, I'll have to get surgery to get the scar tissue removed, then have to do 3 months of physical therapy.... My decision: 6 weeks worth now :P haha.So, I've done my routine twice, and it's already improved exponentially. I'm on the mend!
(BTW: Hint. This means I don't get to participate in zone sports for the next six weeks.... Which means I'll be writing letters that whole time... Which means an influx of letters would not be frowned upon ;) ....

So, we all talk about how some days we reap, and some days we sow, right? Well, this week was one of those "reaping" weeks. If you remember, last week I talked about D, the first door I knocked on as a missionary. We met with her again this week and came to know what an amazing woman she is. She began talking about getting baptized, asked if she was still young enough to serve a mission, and even told us that she had been going around showing "The Restoration" video to family members! She has set the date to be baptized on November 14th, and is changing her availability to not work on Sundays, which is a huge leap of faith to keep the Sabbath day holy.

Then there's T. Does anyone remember The family that owns the piano store? They hired a help at the store named T  and he's been living with them. All it took was his first Sunday at church And he's  so excited about the gospel !! . He's been a searcher of the truth his entire life, and feels like he's finally found it. He and the P family  have been doing daily scripture study and discussions, and he's been coming to church every week. He even watched conference! The only thing is scheduling. …we are all soo busy.  We were at their house for dinner, and As always, Sister P sent me straight to the piano. Best "time out" I've ever been on haha. Next thing I know, T is behind me listening (he's a very accomplished musician), and he asks me at the end of one song if I would play it at his baptism!!! Well, after dinner, we finally had the discussion, which went stellar. He shared with us all the little miracles to get him where he is today here, in Virginia, in the home of the P family, investigating the church. When we invited him to be baptized, his response was: "Why else am I here? Absolutely."  So this Sunday is his baptismal interview, and the 4th is the baptism! Holy Cow! Miracles are happening everywhere! it has been such a blessing to know these people and watch the change in their lives . It's purely a blessing to witness.

To be honest, this has come at a providential time. Everyone says that missions get really hard right around this time, and they weren't kidding! I've been “growing” a lot.  This may be a little out of place, but I wanted to share something I wrote. When I'm riding my bike and thinking, then I use writing as an outlet, anything can happen, right? haha:

THIS IS A LONG EXPERT FROM HIS PERSONAL WRITINGS : ( Matthew fans I know will choose to read it , but others may know that he just has been struggling a bit and  is feeling stronger now)
"In the MTC, having the spirit is a wonderful blessing we all enjoy. It is just one of those things that is always there. Like a parachute strapped to my back as I descend from the plane. It gives me guidance and lift, preparing me for my eventual impact in the field. I know that my mission is not merely to make it down into the jungle beneath, but to thrive there. There are people in that jungle who need help. Whether because they are caught in the thicket or because they are lost and without direction, they need my help. I finally make it to the field, pumped and ready to proceed but, as is the case so often in life, the world I find myself exposed to is far different from the one I thought I saw during my approach. Rather than landing in a nice clearing, I find myself on an island, surrounded by a coursing river that flows past me relentlessly. I am so grateful to be in the field finally that I do not immediately realize the need for adjustment in my course of action. It doesn't take long to realize that I need to adapt though. Suddenly, I am yanked from my feet and dragged across this small island I am on. My parachute has caught in the flow of water, which is attempting to throw me from my purpose here. Digging my feet in and praying for strength, I catch my footing, and suddenly I am set. With a sure grip on the cords here, and strong rocks to secure my feet on, I have nothing to fear. My chute is still caught, but I am fighting the pull of it well. This is where the field begins to be more difficult. What was secured to my back as a gift to me - something I almost took for granted - is now something I must fight to keep. As the many gallons of water around me seeks to rip it from my grasp, I must fight harder and harder to keep it with me. Eventually it starts to wear. My body begins to get tired, and my resolve starts to shake. I hear movement along the shore. Digging deeper, I find a way to cling for just a few more moments. Raising my eyes to the surrounding banks of the river, I hope to see help coming. To my despair, I only see enemies. In this jungle are members of both factions. To throw in a twist real quick, there have been an estimated 110 Billion people who have lived on this earth. If the world were to end right now (which it's not), we could calculate that the third part cast from heaven to our earth is about 55 Billion souls. With 7 Billion people alive today, that means that to each soul alive, there are 8 of followers of darkness. Then eliminate anyone under the age of 8. The Savior's atonement covers them. Add more for being one of the 15 Million in the Lord's church. Add more for being a missionary. Effectively, we're facing 1to15-   or  1o to 20 odds. Looks grim, right? Only if you're one on the dark side!. As I stand here, trapped on this island, straining to maintain my grip on this parachute of the spirit, my enemies gather around me. They stand on the shore stringing their bows with malice glistening in their eyes and cruelty brimming from their demeanor. They long for my failure. They hunger for my destruction. That much is clear. Suddenly, I am accompanied by someone. This person steps up and grabs a hold of the chords I so desperately cling to. As they pull, I feel my burden lessen, and I look up to see my Savior pulling on His load. Suddenly, I find new life. Remembering whose side I'm on, I continue pulling with renewed vigor. As we pull, I call to Him that we are outnumbered. He smiles and repeats the words of one of His chosen prophets: "They who are with us are more than they that are against us." Suddenly, I look up to see one of the canibalistic devils knock an arrow and fire it at me. I close my eyes and turn my head, bracing for the piercing pain of the arrow. It never comes. I only hear a clanging sound. Opening my eyes, I see another man - the one who deflected the blow - standing beside me with a shield. I call my thanks to him, and he casually responds: "Don't thank me. Your mother prayed for that one." Now, looking around, I see more men with shields. They stand there blocking the darts sent by my foes; the foes of all righteousness. Looking back, I see a multitude of angelic guardians - more than fifty in number - pulling on ropes they have fastened to the line which my feble arms are wrapped around. I realize I am merely a part of a team in this fight. I am not alone. And thus I am today. When my focus slips, and I look through the wall of shields around me, the number and animosity of my enemies on the far shore frightens me. But, keeping my focus firmly fixed on He whom we rely on keeps fear from my mind, and keeps me intently watching the things I am meant to be doing. Now, I stand, pulling on this parachute, trying to keep the spirit with me. The river does not pull any less, but my allies and I pull more. When we look behind us, we are reminded of all those who support and encourage us. We are reminded of the powers of heaven which are forever at our backs, filling our sails and taking us forward. As Brad Wilcox put it: "The task ahead of [us] is never as great as the power behind [us]." When we keep things in the right perspective, we realize the honor it is to be standing here, aligned with the great men and women who have gone before, and who are here right now. When we keep things in the right perspective, we gain the strength we need to continue in this difficult endeavor. More than anything, when we keep things in the right perspective, we realize that, with Christ, it is never about what we can and can not do; it is about what we will or will not do. For with Him, all things are possible."

It's been a struggle. Sometimes the spirit almost feels like it's fleeing from you, we have to fight for it so hard. I've never experienced this much growth in this little time. I loved the MTC, but if I feel like there's one thing I resent about it, it's that when I came to the field, I had been trained to think I was God's gift to the mission. Then, I get here and I realize that my mission is God's gift to me, and that I am God's gift to a few people here, just like some people are more of God's gifts to me. Long story short, I'm not "the one" out here who  tries to help and save people. I'm part of a team; part of an army. It has been very humbling….

And boy has being in Ashburn helped me to realize that. In the MTC, I WANTED a rich area, because I was determined I wanted to go in and turn it around. I was going to prove that I was capable of thriving among the wealthy, even they needed to be served. Then I had to learn patience. I had to learn faith. I had to spend weeks writing down zeros in my planner after crashing into my bed every single night. Waking up the next morning, we'd hit the ground, KNOWING that "today is the day!"  we could change a life.   Then we'd come back home after a full day of work and draw more circles in the books. It wasn't until I had finally admitted that I had to rely on faith and that I honestly was okay with JUST HARD work …then,  things started happening. Now that I've started to base my success off of my satisfaction in myself, in my growth I'd had, and in my closeness to the Spirit and to the Lord, the Lord is blessing me by giving me the desire of my heart: the opportunity to show people that with enough faith comes miracles, even in Ashburn. I just needed to grow that faith first.
I'm not trying to say in any way that I've made it or that the hard times are over, but just that after the two hardest months of my life, where I've literally spent weeks saying to myself: "just make it through today," The Lord is saying in His way that He hears my prayers and that it is possible to get work done here as long as we truly rely on Him.
I love you all, and I look forward to talking to you soon.
-Elder Hodgson

Monday, October 22, 2012

WEEK 24- Priesthood practice

 Matthew had some Family stuff to discuss and council for his sister so this is a short letter this week…

So, this week has been crazy busy! The first door I ever knocked on? like my first day in the field?  She is embracing the gospel and wants to be baptized.  That was pretty exciting… she wants to be baptized soon.

Sorry this is so late. One thing about being in a bike area.... if the car is on errands and the weather is wet,   that leaves Elder C and I in the apartment all day. We had fun, but didn't get out much... haha Wrote a bunch of letters though, so I'm getting caught up on that.

Yesterday was Zone conference from 9-4, so that was pretty insane too!!! It was sooo good though! Tons of fun, tons of spirit, and a little scariness too!! haha during our practice teaching, President Riggs came and sat in on Elder Cannon and my lesson. I got crazy nervous for some reason! Go figure, put me on a stage, and I'll do ANYTHING, but ask me to teach in front of an authority figure? can't do it haha. I think part of the anxiety came from being a trainer too

In Zone Conference, we learned a little bit about the implications of the new age change... Our mission is expected to hit 250 missionaries by next summer! We're at 170 now, so that's quite the jump!!! They say we'll probably end up with multiple companionship per area... It's gonna be crowded, but it's gonna be good great as the service goes forward!!!

I think the story of the week though is Fred. He was a referral we received this week that just had one note on it: "requested priesthood blessing." So, after playing phone tag for a couple days (something very typical with referrals) we finally got a hold of him. I was really nervous about giving the blessing. Something told me that he would ask me to, and it freaked me out. This is something I haven't told many people, but I am often very insecure in my priesthood. I guess it's just that I feel unpracticed. I feel... I don't know. It's not feelings that come from the Lord though. I try to humbly accept the opportunities that come our way so  I can to use the priesthood and help fight those feelings. Well, I hadn't given a blessing in a while, and I was really nervous, and of course he asked me to give the blessing. After teaching him a bit about the priesthood and where it comes from, Elder Cannon anointed him for the blessing, and afterwards it was my turn to seal. Feeling the final pangs of inadequacy, I prayed and shoved them aside, then just began. Jeffrey R. Holland once said: "The moment you submit to the powers of heaven is the moment that you stop talking and the spirit starts. And that is when the world trembleth." I felt that as I was blessing Fred. I stopped talking and the spirit started, and I could feel the presence of the spirit as it helped me bless him. Throughout the blessing, tears streamed down Fred's face as he repeated under his breath: "Thank you Lord. Thank you." When I finished, my face was also wet with tears, not because of the blessing I had spokem, but because of the blessing that had been received. It wasn't my blessing I had given, it was  the Lord’s  and it was a huge blessing to me to be a part of it.
Love you all, and I'll talk to ya next week!
- Elder Hodgson

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Man, was that conference good or what? I'm way bummed out, it ended too quickly...
What does everyone think about the mission age adjustments? Pretty crazy, huh? I suddenly feel like a very old missionary :P  There's been a lot of talk here among missionaries as to how that will affect us. With the younger elders, the talk is mostly about what maturity levels will be like (they're already pretty low at 19), and how we think they'll do here. With the younger sisters, some elders are feeling like its time to start buckling down and being more obedient... haha More sisters likely, and they'll be "our age" haha. It's funny to watch everyone process it all.
One thing I realized that's kind of weird... remember Rachel? That one sister I have? haha. Yeah, she's technically eligible in April now... weird stuff.
Speaking on Rachel, Elder Call got your letter. He says it's hysterical. "Man, your sister is awesome! I almost wish this were real!" He says, then he suddenly smells the perfume on it... "Yeah, definitely wish it were real." haha. It was funny. Thanks for the good laugh.
Sorry I didn't email yesterday. The libraries were closed for Colombus day (or for Canadian thanksgiving... who knows?)
Mom, thank you too for the package. We decorated our apartment all up, and it looks very festive now :)
So, word of the week: Poindextrous - to be able to communicate equally well with nerds and normal people alike. New goal in life? I think so! haha. I love though how the definition excludes nerds from being normal... Maybe it's the other way around? who knows! I just thought it was funny.

This week was busy busy! Last Tuesday was my 5 month mark, and I spent it on an exchange with Elder O, who came out of the MTC the same time as me! So, us two 5-monthers worked together for the evening, which was way fun seeing how we've both grown in the past 5 months.
We've been noticing a pattern lately called "nothing happens before school gets out." It's kind of a bummer, so we've been trying to find ways to fill that time using things other than just knocking on closed doors of empty houses. The solution we found? SERVICE!!! It's awesome. More service is always good and we had a little confirmation today that it's the right thing. In Zone training this morning, we received word that President Riggs wants us to find time to do more service! How cool is that? We buckled down, thought, prayed, went on our exchange and both came back from that thinking: "man lets find more service." And it's EXACTLY what President Riggs wants us to do :) It's amazing to see just how much we're guided by the spirit here.
But, MAN! Service has been awesome! This one lady in our ward had surgery recently, so we spent a couple hours last Thursday practically relandscaping their backyard. Weeding, trimming, mowing, we just did it all, and it felt SOOO GOOD!!! I never thought I'd say this, but I miss yard work! The sun beating down on me, the sweat dripping down my face, little bits of dirt stuck under my fingernails, small cuts and scratches from the more tenacious and aggressive weeds, the smell of freshly cut grass, MAN I miss that! It was great. The best part of all though is the feeling you get from doing something for someone that they can't do themselves. I'm crazy excited for this service push!

I finished reading the New Testament in my personal studies this week, which officially marks that I have read through all the standard works. It felt great to hit that goal after having it for so long. I'm almost done with Jesus the Christ too, and I think that may be hands down my new favorite book. I've learned so much about our Savior and what He did for us. Most of all, I feel like I know Him better, like I know His character more. It's just a beautifully written book, and I can't wait to finish it and read it again.

Mom asked how it felt to baptize N. The only way I can really describe it is incredible. It almost didn't seem real that I would have the opportunity to perform such a vital ordinance for someone I love so dearly. The idea that it won't be the last time I have the opportunity to participate in something like that is just humbling. We had to perform the ordinance twice because his knee came up the first time, but the second time was the charm, and he was very grateful. When we got back to change, he stopped me, threw his arms out, and said: "hang on. You're not getting away from this wetness yet." And gave me a huge hug. He told me that I am one of his best friends and thanked me profusely for helping him find this truth. He was just so excited. It was an amazing experience.

Well, the weather is cooling down here! We're starting to wear sweaters more, and starting to have to plan for member rides and such to avoid the rain! haha. Elder Ca and I both love riding our bikes in the rain, but it does make people a bit less likely to allow your entrance... particularly in an area this well-to-do... We've had a few killer lightning storms (which were really funny in the trio because Elder C has a fear of lightning), and some days where the weather just can't make up its mind. Nothing like "mini-Isaac" that we had though, the winds haven't even come close to the 70-75 that we had that day.
Oh, just a bit more business while I'm thinking about it: Dad asked how  finances are working  out in the field.  I use my mission card for "mission things" like food, hygiene supplies, etc. Extra things (like cardigans, notebooks, etc.) I use my credit card for..  I'm actually  on the verge of getting my monthly allotments reduced because I'm not using it all. After 5 payments of $165 a month, I have about $480. So, I'm not even spending half of what they give... In fact, in order to keep my allotments, I've been nominated to buy the entire zone pizza for Halloween... haha

So, how did everyone like conference? Pretty amazing, huh? Any favorite talks? I loved the one by Elder Oaks about our call to protect and stand for children. I hope they gave him some extra security that day as he left... haha It was amazing though! It made me very grateful for my parents though as I was listening to him. As he talked about children who suffer and have hardships and how we need to help them, I couldn't help but think of the foster children I had the opportunity to meet, and that's not even half of the ones my parents have taken in. And on top of that, my parents aren't the only people I know who foster! I testify to anyone out there who has ever, for whatever reason taken a child into their home, that they change their lives. I saw that in all three of the foster children I met, and I promise that their lives are better because of the things you have done. I tear up just thinking about the positive impact you have on these helpless children.
Today, in zone training, we closed with the hymn "we are all enlisted." The 3rd verse caught my eye. "fighting for a kingdom and the world is our foe. Happy are we. Happy are we!" .... why?!?! The entire world is your foe, and you're HAPPY?!?! But as I thought about it, I realized that no matter what happens in our life, we can be happy. President Uchtdorf said just last weekend: "Happiness is not dependent on external circumstances." WE make the choice! In Alma 4:11-14, we read about a people who are exposed to major wickedness, yet they find joy. I testify that we can find joy through our faith and through the hope that we have in Christ. What a wonderful opportunity to hear from our prophet this week. Our cups are full, and I encourage us all to read, study and pray about the things that were said. I love you all! Thanks for your letters and prayers.
-Elder Hodgson

Monday, October 1, 2012

week 22- busy Sundays

It was one of those weeks we like to call "transfer weeks" where all sorts of stuff happens that you didn't expect. We got our transfer calls Tuesday night, saying we were staying together as a trio, so, Wednesday and Thursday were normal working days for us. Friday, however, we got a call from President Riggs saying that Elder Call would be getting a new companion. So, Elder O is here now! He was serving along the pacific coast in Washington state for the past 13 months, and here he is now! haha. It was pretty crazy. So, it's Elder C and I here in Ashburn/Belmont Ridge again.

 A couple weeks ago in church, the ward choir sang a "peace" medley that I thought was really cool. It was a medley of "Be Still My Soul" and "Where Can I Turn For Peace." Those two hymns have always brought a lot of comfort to me, and it was really neat to hear them together and feel the spirit of it. Missionary life is stressful and busy and sometimes tense, and it was just very comforting to just sit back and enjoy a piece like that.
I don't know if you all remember Brother C, but he was the one I gave the blessing to before his surgery and he ended up with blood clots. Well, he came to church the past two weeks! It was sweet to see him, and a testimony builder to me of faith and the priesthood.
Well, I think the biggest event was church yesterday. It was insane! We showed up at church, and it was the Ashburn primary program, which was awesome. I didn't get to see one of those last year because I was in my BYU ward, so it was way fun to see it. They have a huge primary too, so it reminded me of home a bit. haha.
After that, we showed up in Gospel essentials, and our ward mission leader had to run, so asked us to teach. We walked in, and there was only two people there! Bro. Purdon (the one who owns the piano store) and his friend, Tony. Tony is a very talented pianist who is currently staying with the Purdons, so it was great to talk to him. Because it was just the four of us, we had the opportunity to share a lesson on a more personal level. He is a very faithful Christian man who is looking for more truth, and said he really felt something wonderful when he walked into church yesterday. It was incredible to get to share our testimonies with him, and it was great because we could relate things to piano and he would GET it so well. It was a wonderful blessing.
In Belmont Ridge sacrament meeting, Dotty showed up! We didn't think we would be able to see her this week, but she made it! By the time we spotted her, it was after the sacrament, and she was across the chapel, so we didn't get to sit by her. After church, she got up and started leaving, so we went to go talk to her. Of course, that's when about every member in the ward suddenly wanted to talk to us in the foyer. Apologizing profusely, we wove through the crowd and literally followed her into the parking lot. We talked to her for a bit, and invited her to stay for the rest of church. She agreed to stay for Sunday school, but then she had to go, she said. What she wasn't expecting, was Sister Sch .      the Sch family are one of the member families Bishop Lewis identified for us to visit. They are always asking: "are you teaching anyone in our neighborhood? We want to help fellowship and teach!" So, suddenly it dawned on us (or, rather, the spirit smacked us with a 2x4) "HEY!! Dotty lives       around the corner from the Sch!" So, we invited sis. Sch       to Gospel Essentials, not even knowing Dotty would be there. Well, they just hit it right off, and Sister Sch       convinced her to stay for third hour! It was amazing. The members can be such an incredible blessing.
After church, Nate was ordained a priest, and he was so excited for it, it was great! Bro. F (S’s dad) ordained him,  we were able to be in the circle, and Elders C and O even made it! It was awesome.
So, here we are! Looks like I get to finish my first six months here in Ashburn, which is sweet :) I love it here, and I sometimes wonder what it will be like leaving. This IS my mission so far.... haha. It's weird to imagine me serving anywhere else. But I don't have to worry about that until November at least... :)
Until next week!