Monday, February 25, 2013

Week 43- Big News and Bike Repairs

Well, this was a crazy week! Probably the most insane one of my mission! Specifically one event.... It was sooo crazy!!!

So, we were out tracting last Wednesday, and we were knocking on door after door. we came up to one house, and the door was cracked open a couple of inches. As we approached, we noticed it was dark inside, and we could hear the noise of somebody doing something in the kitchen. It sounded like they were chopping something to prepare for dinner. We knocked on the door and there was no response. So we rang the doorbell and the chopping stopped. We hear this "who is it?" - a man's voice. We call back in that we're the missionaries, and he invites us in. As we poked our heads in, his head came from around the corner to the kitchen and he smiled and invited us to take a seat and he told us he'd be right with us. We sat on the couch that backed up against the front wall, and waited as he finished chopping the meat he was preparing, then he finally came around the corner. He had this HUGE cleaver in his hand and an apron on that was covered in blood. He kind of stood there for a moment, and the look on his face was all I needed to know this was NOT the right place to be. I turned to look at Elder Ray to see if he was getting the same vibe, and he wasn't there. He had totally dipped! so, here I am, alone with this guy in his house, and it's time for me to stick with my companion. I grabbed my backpack and got up, but by then, the cleaver man had moved around the other couch in the room and was between me and the door. So, I turned and threw my backpack as hard as I could at the window and, thanks to the 6 Books of Mormon I had in it, it broke through. I then made a break for it and dove out the window after my backpack. And I ALMOST made it! As I was going through the window, the dude caught my ankle!! I slammed down on the windowsill, and took a few nasty cuts from the broken glass (which are all bandaged okay now). So, now, I'm REALLY freaking out, and just scrambling trying to get out. I'm here thrashing just clinging to this rosebush outside, my hands getting torn to bits, and this guy is just relentless, trying to get me back inside his house, with this monster grip on my ankle and he's just standing there, yanking hard, just pulling on my leg! Kind of like how I'm pulling on yours now.

For real though, it was a crazy week. We heard last Thursday that our mission is loosing two of our zones to the Richmond mission so they can create a new Chesapeake mission! It's pretty crazy! We're still awaiting news of how that's going to impact us as missionaries, but we're excited.

My brakes on my bike gave out this week. So, after riding a couple days without brakes using grass, hills and my feet to stop me, I decided I needed to increase my safety rating a bit, so the Spanish Elders took us to this ho-dunky bike shop in the middle of the city that gave me some brakes for free! haha. It was pretty sweet. So, I replaced my brakes, fixed Elder R's brakes, because they were also having trouble, and oiled both of our chains for smoother riding. It was definitely a week of repairs!

Our District had our first Weekly Power Hour, too. It was pretty fun! Pretty much, Every Saturday at 1, we're picking one of our areas, and just all tracting somewhere in it. It was way cool! We got 3 hours worth of tracting done in one hour! Next week it's our area. We're excited for that :)

We have one investigator named J who we're really excited for right now. He had a job as a long-distance truck driver, but he quit so he could have more time to meet with us! And he now has a new job (thanks to the employment services out here) and is getting ready for baptism! It's amazing to see the faith of some of these people out here as they make such great changes in their life. A couple weeks ago, some traveling pastor gave him some DVDs that were very weird, and the first thing he did was invite us over to watch them with him! He asked us "From the standpoint of the true Gospel, what do you think about this?" It was a great opportunity to simply ask him if he felt the Spirit. And He answered his own question from there. It was so amazing.

well, My times up. I gotta run, but I hope everyone has a great week, and Rachel, I hope you enjoyed the Temple! I'm so excited for you! I thought of you as we were planning last Friday: "Oh! She's in the temple right now!!!" Love you!


Monday, February 18, 2013

WEEK 42- another day another destiny

Well, this week is certainly off to a good start!! We went to the temple this morning (one year to the day from when I went through for my first time) and it was great! It's been SIX MONTHS since I've been to the temple, which is WAY too long. I REALLY needed the boost I received in the House of the Lord.
It was kind of fun, there were 10 missionaries in our session. Something about the temple actually being open on Monday (due to the holiday) brought LOTS of people from our mission. We saw even more from our mission after the session!
One of the coolest parts though, was it was Annandale's stake temple day. Out of all the temples in the world, only 7 have Priesthood Rooms in them. Of those 7, only 2 are used for Stake Temple Days. One of those temples is the Washington D.C. Temple. We were privileged to join for a meeting there on the 7th (top) floor with the Stake Presidency, the Temple President, and their wives. It was amazing, being able to hear talks given on topics that are too sacred to discuss outside the temple, but now within those hallowed walls, we were able to talk about it.
Another fun thing, Jenny Oaks Baker is totally in the Annandale Stake, and I met her in the temple today.
Our Stake Conference was fantastic, too. It was SUCH a spiritual feast, and one of our investigators came, and absolutely LOVED it! He asked us after if it was recorded to watch back. haha. We introduced him to the General Conference section of ;)
One funny story. After Stake Conference, our ride didn't show up... So, the Riggs family took us home! They're in our stake, and offered a ride to us. So, we got to ride with all of them. We were all squished in, since there was more people than seats, but we made it work. Anyways, the funny part... I was squished up against Kimball, the Riggs' Daughter. Couldn't resist the opportunity to make a joke, of course: "President, I'm sorry." "What happened Elder Hodgson?" "Well, due to the seating situation we've resorted to, I, uh... I'm... sharing physical contact with your daughter." President, always ready to play along with a joke, hopped right in: "Kimball, you behave yourself now! I'd hate to send Elder Hodgson home because of my own daughter!" It was great. He's hysterical. Last transfer meeting, he had a Sister missionary show up in jeans to freak out one of his assistants... :P
We had interviews this week, too, which I always love. President Riggs gave me probably the best compliment I've received my whole mission. He asked how training was going (I'm still training), and I told him I loved it, and if I could, I wouldn't complain if I trained my whole mission. He told me “very honestly  if the Lord will let me,  I’ll keep you training as long as I can.” He said other very nice things too…but you get the idea.
So, I remember one day, it seems like just yesterday, I hopped on my bike for the first time. I remember laughing, seeing my trainer's bike. I remember his U-lock was hung over his handlebars and made clanking noises as he rode. His front fender was missing and his rear fender didn't have the fancy little 4-inch extension piece that mine had. His bike made all sorts of creaking noises, but somehow managed to take him where he needed to. Yesterday, I looked over at my bike, and I didn't see it there. Instead, I saw a bike that used to have a U-lock fastened securely to the frame with a fancy clip that came with it. The clip is broken now, and the lock now sits over the handlebars. The clanking seems natural now. I saw a bike whose front fender gave out months ago, though I disregarded it since it didn't do much anyway. I saw a bike with the extension piece freshly broken off from use. I saw a bike that was freshly oiled and tuned-up to stop the creaking it still made to a lesser degree. Long story short, I saw my trainer's bike. It was a weird moment for me as a missionary.
My thought this week comes from something that was said in the temple today. "The power of the atonement will always have more power than Satan's blundering and weak threats." I just loved that. When we make mistakes, Satan makes us think we're in his power, and that there's no hope. False. That is one of the greatest lies Satan tells. When we make mistakes, there are few times in our life where we can see Christ's power less. When we make mistakes, that's when we need to turn to Him and let His atonement heal us. Satan cannot have any power over us that we do not give him. So don't give him any power! No matter what happens, or how many mistakes you make, turn yourself over to the power of Christ. For there, there is real power.
I hope you all have a great week!
Love you all!
-Elder Hodgson

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Week 41 - los missioneros

Well, this week was pretty killer! We had two investigators set baptismal dates in two days, I led my first district meeting, we had training from President Riggs for our zone, and I went on two exchanges with other missionaries.. One of which was in Spanish!  Nothing Boring in DC!

It's been exciting. I was really nervous for my first district meeting, but it went well. After announcements and stuff, I started us off with our transfer theme. I've decided to create a theme for the transfer and different members of our district present messages every week with different parts of the theme, and we then work together to set some goals for the following week off of what we talked about. It's going  well! Our weekly goals for our district are working well to help us improve our missionary work and grow closer together as a district. After that, we talked about the book of Mormon. I had everyone kneel together in their pairs they were working with and pray for the Spirit to bring them revelation of things they can do to help their investigators read. Miracles followed, and it was amazing to see.

Wednesday was training with President, and he went over a lot of the things we went over at the meeting with the missionary department there.  He is Awesome!

My first exchange this week was with Elder H, one of our zone leaders. We had a fun little miracle where we went to check up on someone and knocked on the wrong door, were let in, and taught the restoration! We need to make mistakes more often! haha He also certified me to conduct baptismal interviews which was cool. So, now I can help people come unto Christ by allowing them an opportunity to witness that they are prepared to make their first covenant with God.

My second exchange was with Elder N, and he... is a Spanish
 missionary... Yes, I had to spend a day trying to teach people in Spanish... It kinda hit me in the head how little spanish I really know. It was amazing though to see how the Spirit doesn't need a language. I was able to testify and to feel the spirit when Elder Ness testified. though, I was the subject of a couple of jokes I think... I heard the word "gringo" followed by laughter more than once...

Hey, dad. Who was your mission president in Samoa? There's a brother here in the ward who served there under President Te'o...

Well, that's pretty much it... It's warming up a bit this week, which is nice... I don't have to bundle up quite as much. We're working hard and seeing many blessings as we do so.

Lots of adjustments are happening, too... With the younger sisters coming in, there are many new rules regarding elder/sister communications, etc. haha it's funny. technicalities aside, though, it's been amazing to have some of the first "young" missionaries come out this transfer. They have such burning desires to be here, and you can just see their faith emanating from them. It's incredible to see so many jumping at the opportunity the Lord has given them. One sister I talked to literally had less than a two month process from when she started her papers to when she hit the MTC. The Lord is hastening his work here, and these enthusiastic missionaries are wonderful examples to me. Though, it's making President Riggs work pretty hard... By the end of the month, he has to come up with 9 new areas!!! haha

Next Monday, I may not be emailing... Libraries will be closed for Washington's Birthday, and we'll be going to the temple. It's going to be really special for me, because I went through the temple for the first time a year ago to the day from next week. February 18, 2012 I took out my endowments, and February 18, 2013 I'll be back in the D.C. temple on the other side of the country, giving someone else that privilege. I'm really excited :)

Hope all is well! Talk to you.... maybe in two weeks.... we'll figure it out!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Week 40-....member of the THUNDER THIGHS club now.......

Well, transfers came and went, and here I am in a new area! I'm back in the saddle, finishing training again, and I have also been called to serve as a district leader.
My new companion is Elder Ray . Pretty funny, huh? Elder Ray and Elder Hodgson as companions... We used to joke about this... He's great and is a total scriptorian. It's amazing to see someone who knows so much about the scriptures. It's incredible!
We're the "Annandale B" area. We share the ward with the Zone Leaders and it's definitely a new dynamic. I've gone from one set of missionaries in two wards to one set in one ward and now two sets in one ward. We're definitely all here for a reason though. We've had a FULL schedule every day so far, and our planning mostly consists of confirming appointments rather than figuring out what to do. It's definitely a new thing.
At transfers, someone made a comment about how nice President Riggs' car is, and he said he'd love to give all the elders the all-wheel drive of his car so we'd be safer. I made a quick joke about how I'm used to one wheel drive, so two wheel drive and a heater would be a definite upgrade. He laughed for a moment, put his arm around me, and just said: "Elder Hodgson, I love you." "I love you too, President." Came the response. Then, he walks away quickly and says over his shoulder: "I hope you love biking!" And here I am, still pedaling away. I've officially joined the "thunder thighs" club, which is an exclusive club only allowing missionaries who ride bike for 9 months consecutive.
also, the rumors are true, this transfer is 5 weeks long. But then we return to the 6 week cycle. So, I just got a week cut off from my mission.... grumble grumble... It's only a week, but I feel so sad that I'm losing all that time. anyways... I'll be returning home on May 2, of 2014 now.
We have a total of 11 missionaries serving in our ward. The four of us, one family history Elder, An Office Couple, an Two Employment Specialist Sisters, and Another Senior couple who also does employment!!
The work here is definitely hopping, and so are the missionaries! It's been great!
My district also has two Spanish Elders in it, so it's been fun working around them. I'm a little scared for exchanges with them though... haha
Elder Ray sprained his ankle the morning of transfers, so I tore up some bedsheets and made him a brace until we could buy him a good one... He's doing better now, though he's still limping.
We have 25 new missionaries in the mission! Including, but not limited to 1 18 year old Elder and at least 6 19 year old sisters! It's incredible seeing these amazing missionaries step up and respond to this marvelous call from our Prophet.
We don't have a ton to report other than that. If I were to start talking about all our new investigators, I'd just talk your ear off, but just know that we're busy, we're working hard, and we're happy.
Love you all!
-Elder Hodgson