Monday, March 24, 2014

WEEK 99- back in Annandale

Well, here I am! I'm back in Annandale! it's pretty fun, some members
remember me, some don't, and some have ended up commenting: "Wow!
you've been here for a long time!" haha It's a lot of fun.

Elder Babb and i are having a blast together, too! We've been working
super hard, and trying to get things going. It's weird, because I know
the geography and the members (mostly), but the teaching pool is
totally new. Many of our investigators I still haven't met yet, nor
has Elder Babb. ( they are whitewashing the place so neither of them have been there before, they are both starting fresh!)  We're excited though!

We've been working super hard, too. Neither of us has unpacked,
actually... haha we haven't had time. We're hoping to get some time
this afternoon to get everything settled and cleaned. Elder Riggs and
elder Day   ( the APs) finally had some time to drop my bike by, so i was finally
able to take a diagnosis on it this morning when it arrived. It looks
like I won't need a new part. The crank arm is stripped in a similar
manner to the way my road bike was, so it should just be a matter of
getting it re-threaded and I'll be good! Until then, we've been doing
pretty good on foot. I'm definitely remembering what it is like to
walk everywhere. Especially on concrete haha.

We've been doing a lot to get back settled in. The other day, I got
attacked by a dog! This huge German Shepard totally bit my leg! But
it's ok, because I then had the next 15 minutes to talk to his owners
all I wanted! They almost agreed to come to church ! well, what can you do? The lady did say though she was very impressed
with us and how even after she said she had a church she attended, we
still taught her about our belief and how we came to know it. she said
it was refreshing to see someone who was just willing to share and
testify and invite in a very non-confronttional way.

Elder Babb and I are having a blast together, too. We get along really
well, and he really wants me to challenge him to help him get better,
and I really want him to push me so I don't get trunky. So, it's
working! He even has trunky pills! So far, I've only needed one. i got
my flight plan on Saturday... haha Superweird.

My first district meeting of the transfer is tomorrow (assuming it
doesn't snow again), and I've had a blast preparing for that. It was
funny, last week, Elder Torres (one of the old office elders) and i
(who were both going to be district leaders this transfer) were
talking about all these different ideas of district meetings and
stuff. it was fun!

You know what else is super weird? Being in a family ward! I mean,
there's CHILDREN here!! Where did they all come from!? Ok, don't
answer that, but for real, for the last 6 months, everyone has been my
age! haha

Leaving the Braddock Ward has been a little tough. I've really come to
love it there. Bishop Leonard in particular and a couple of the
members were tough to leave, but that's how it goes, I suppose. Thanks
to all this techy-no-logic-stuff, it'll be easy to keep in touch once
i'm home.

Yeah, so that's perdy much the exciting stuff going on! We're sleeping
super soundly because we're so exhausted, though it's weird to have to
roll in place again...  No more queen size bed... haha

-Elder Matthew Hodgson

Monday, March 17, 2014

WEEK 98- Last week in the office

Well, it's not really a secret. Elder Riggs and I go home together in
six weeks, and it'd be insane to whitewash the assistants, and I've
been here longer, so I'm headed back to the field! So, this has been
my last week getting things done and preparing for transfers. As of
last night, we have a third, unnamed individual hanging with us for
the course of transfer week until Thursday when transfers happen and I
head to my dying hole! Uh, I mean, last area...

There wasn't a ton of note that happened in this past week. We were
busy as usual with missionary work, and meetings, and averting
catastrophes, etc. we fit in two exchanges this week,  so it's hat was a lot of fun!
We've been training the zone
leaders a lot on how to teach the "whys" to missionaries. Frederick
Neicghtze once said: "if you can adequately convince me of the why, I
will figure out the how." So, with that in mind, we've been applying
it to almost every facet of missionary work! Teaching, obedience,
mission rules, etc. in hopes to increase peoples understanding
because, as President Uchtdorf says: "the what informs, but the why

I'm going to miss serving as an assistant, and I'm probably going to
wonder what to do with the extra time I'll have, bit I'm very
excited for what's coming next. I feel like I have a myriad of new,
 skills and paradigms that will help me to sprint these last six
weeks. I'm super excited!

That pretty much our week.  ...I will end with mom quetsions..... Haha love you!

-Elder Matthew Hodgson

 How have the lessons you learned in your youth helped in the mission field?
I really can't even begin to describe all the
little lessons and trials I went through that helped me prepare for my
mission. It's been amazing to see how even the little things have
shaped me. From TNT to tjyc to scouts and the incredible church
leaders I've had. It's amazing to see.

How is your piano?
I don't get to play very much... my technique has really slipped... pretty soon  you will have to put up with a lot of piano mistakes :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

WEEK 97- no rest for the wicked

Well, it's in full swing now! The iPads have been spread far and wide,
and we've been inundated with cries for help ever since! Haha

Our week flew by... Seriously though. Tuesday morning, we had district
meeting, then took off like kishkumen from the judgement seat to get
to the first mobile device training. We did two zones that afternoon.
Then Wednesday, we did two more zones in the morning and two more in
the afternoon.... Same on Thursday. Friday, we had mission leadership

After mission leadership council, we had an exchange, and I was
with.... Elder MUNTON!! It was super fun being with him again. We had
a great meeting with our bishop and had some great training together.

Saturday, we went about doing good. We stopped by a few people, had
some appointments fall through, and then finished the night with an
awesome lesson with an investigator of ours who is preparing to be
baptized next week. During our lesson, he bore his testimony to us
about the restoration and it was incredible to hear. He is a quiet
young man, but he understands what the gospel means to him in his

Yesterday, we saw another young man were working with, who has been
struggling for a while to  get a job. We haven't been able to see him
much because of that, but after talking with him for a bit, we bore
our testimonies about how sometimes The Lord asks us to do
counterintuitive things so He can bless us, and asked him "are you
ready to put The Lord first this time and see what He can make of
you?" He is excited to get more heavily involved and is already seeing
blessings from his decision.

And, well, that's been it. We're busy, we're exhausted, but we're
happy. And life is great!

Love you all!

-Elder Matthew Hodgson

Friday, March 7, 2014

WEEK 96- zone confrences and mobile devices

There was a time early on in the mission of Gordon B. Hinckley when times were tough and he wasn't sure how he was to continue. When that story is told, we often hear of the words his father wrote to him: "Forget yourself and go to work." Rare it is however, that we get the other side of the story. His companion - a relative of my current companion, funny enough - told him very simply: "Elder Hinckley, the only way I'm going to let you go home is in a pine box."

That has been an idea that seems nearly inevitable these past two weeks. haha We've been working so hard, I expect to just drop any day now! but I'll have a huge smile on my face when it happens.
one thing of note, though is the weather!! It's super crazy, it's cold and snowy! We've had a lot of fun learning how to care for a car in the snow, and have become very grateful for a TRUCK!!! We got 18 inches of snow last week, which melted over a warm couple of days, and today, we're expected to get up to 10 again! Last time we ask California to pray for rain! haha we got all the leftovers!! ;)

The past two weeks have been zone conferences. We've had 10 zone conferences that last 7 hours each plus lunch breaks, set up, and take down. Long story short, our daily schedule has become something like this: 6:45-7:00ish leave apartment. 7:30 set up zone conference. 8:00 begin zone conference. 4:00 end and clean up. 5:00 dinner. 6:00-9:00 do real missionary work like it's going out of style. 9:00 stop by mission office and avert all catastrophes that arose during our absence. 11:00-12:00 depending on the night, return home and crash. Because of our schedule, we noticed we weren't getting to do our studies, so we got permission from President to get up early to do that. So, essentially, we're pulling 20 hour days and running the whole time.

and... yeah! That's our week haha.

Last Monday, The two of us, the office elders, and our four Mobile Device Specialists received our iPads and our Mobile Device Training! Then Tuesday, the MDS Elders trained one district on how to use them. Then, tomorrow, the day after and the day after that, we'll be going around training the rest of the mission!!! So, that's pretty exciting.

Man, I really don't know what else to say... haha that's been my past two weeks!

I'm happy, I'm working hard (especially from 6-9, when we do normal work like chickens with our heads cut off), and I'm loving life! Somewhere in this past week, we squeezed in an exchange...

Unfortunately, I left my camera at home this week, as did Elder Riggs... So, no photos today, either...i love you mom ....

Last night President had a stack of papers to sign that he described by simply saying: "your probably don't want to look at this..." turns out, it was our certificates of release! That's DISGUSTING!!! But yeah, I'll survive. I have plenty of time :)

That's about it this week! Love you all!!

-Elder Hodgson
MOM questions:

Well, what I expect of myself is pretty simple. To not hold anything back and to give nothing less than everything I have. I'm working hard to make sure I not only do all the things I want to do, but to also  try to become  what I want to be as well....not doing but TRYING. So, I'm taking a lot of inventory not of what or how I am doing, but  also what I am. It's a difficult process..aahhh life.

iPads are awesome! Our area book planner app is sweet and it makes things super efficient! We have a couple worries about people using them responsibly, but hey, in the real world, you have to learn how to do it, so we all might as well learn on a mission. There are a few apps I wish we could have just to "fine tune the beast" a little bit more, but it's all good :)

We did teach a lesson in  one home that was cool, we taught two lessons to three people at the same time! We were meeting with one of our progressing investigators and he had some family we started teaching, but he started looking distracted, so I split off and taught him about faith and repentance and how they will help him prepare for baptism while Elder Riggs continued teaching the restoration to the other two guys. it was awesome!