Monday, January 20, 2014

First week in Brazil

Hey Everyone, I made it to Brazil! Sorry I couldn´t call everyone like I thought. I didn´t have enough time. I arrived on Tuesday. 
All the new missionaries, the President´s assistants and I went to the Mission President´s house and ate lunch with him. He lives right in Recife, we could see the temple from his house, it´s really pretty. Then we went to some nearby missionaries apartment and had the rest of the day off to relax from traveling all day Monday.

 On Wednesday we were assigned our trainers and went to our areas to begin working. My trainer is Elder Jara, he is from Chile and only speaks Spanish and is barely fluent in Portuguese. He finished his training just before I got here. It is hard to communicate with him because our only common language is Portuguese, which I know very little of. We are serving in Goiana, which is a small city 2 hours north of Recife. Goiana is new to the gospel. There is one church building where two branches meet, but the members are very faithful. They give the missionaries food for lunch every day, or money to buy lunch. They also have a lot of respect for missionaries. Its always hot here!! The Sun is already up at about 5am. and sets at about6pm. It only begins to cool off at about 5pm, so tracting before then is a workout. We have a lot of work to do here and people will generally at least listen to our message. About 1 out of 10 contacts will be really intersted enough to hear more. Goiana is interesting. most of the streets are cobblestone, and there are motorcycles everywhere. There seems to be very little traffic laws out here, basically just dont hit anyone else. I´ve also seen 4 different people riding on horses haha. There are no fast food places, and most of the markets are outdoors. life is just so different here. My district only has 4 elders total. One from Peru, who has only been here 3 months, one from chile who has only been here 3 months, one from Utah who arrived with me, and I. The one from Utah served in California for 5 months waiting for his visa. I´m glad there is another american to speak english with occasionally way out here. Our Zone is called Paulista and has about 16 elders total. I think most of the Sisters serve closer to the city but Im really not sure. Recife is alot like New York or Boston, but the ratio of taxis to buses is switched. There are so. many. buses.

The language is more difficult than I had thought. I try to imitate the accent of the people here when I speak, but I´ve already noticed that different people will pronounce the same words at least 4 different ways. Usually I get the idea of what people are talking about, but not the specifics. It is hard to adjust my ears to it, but I´ve already made improvements since I´ve been here. There is a man from Curitiba( far south in Brazil, where Jackie served her mission) that we teach, and I can understand very little of what he says becuase of his accent. It can be discouraging because I will feel useless. I will feel like I can´t help this person if I cant understand what they need, or any of their questions. But, I know it will get better. The first weeks being anywhere new are always the hardest, especially if you don´t understand the language. I was feeling discouraged but I started to read the christ-like attributes section in Preach My Gospel. Under hope, it says:

When you have hope, you work through trials and difficulties with confidence and assurance that all things will work together for your good. Hope helps you conquer discouragement.

That helped me alot. When I first arrived, I talked to Elder Hoyt for a bit. He reminded me a lot of Grant because of his personality. He just became the Financial secretary, but he trained my trainer and served in Goiana for 6 months before I was here. When I mentioned my discouragement he said thats how it is for all american missionaries here. After 12 weeks, you will be able to comunicate just fine, and teach according to the peoples needs. He also said to just have fun when problems come up. Dont get discouraged if you cant understand people. When are you ever going to be walking around in Brazil with a Chilean teaching about Christ again? Just have a good time when things are out of your control. Don´t get discouraged.

Anyways, sorry I dont have pictures, I forgot my camera at our house. I wish I had more time to write. Stay in Touch everyone. My mailing address: 
Elder Hodgson
Rua das Ninfas, 30
Boa Vista
Recife, PE

Eu Amo Vocês!!!!!!!!
-Elder Hodgson

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

From the Mission President

Olá Famílias!

Gostaríamos de lhes informar que seus missionários chegaram muito bem aqui na Missão Brasil Recife, eles são ótimos missionários e estão muito animados para trabalhar na obra missionária.
Aproveitamos para lembra-los de que a Missão Brasil Recife utiliza do mesmo endereço para receber tanto cartas quanto pacotes:

Rua das Ninfas, 30
Boa Vista
Recife, PE

Hello Dear Families!

We just want to inform that your missionaries arrived safely in the Brazil Recife Mission!
They are such great missionaries and we are excited to see their work.
We also want to remember you that the Recife Brazil Mission uses the same address for both letters and packages:

Rua das Ninfas, 30
Boa Vista
Recife, PE


Elder Peixoto
Secretário Executivo
Missão Brasil Recife
(81) 9186-6321
Emblema da Missão

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Getting Ready for Brazil

Oi!!! how is everyone? I've been good lately. Everyone is stir crazy and is ready to leave the MTC. I'm pretty anxious and excited as well. It's been pretty stressful trying to pack and make sure I don't forget anything important, or pack something that I won't need in Brazil. Also our whole schedule for this last week was changed last minute, and my P-day was moved to today instead of yesterday. Jackie, I'm sending you a package full of some stuff I don't need, or just couldn't fit in my bag. I think the MTC will call you to come pick it up soon. they charge $2 if you take too long, but they also said I could come pick it up 5 years from now and it would still just cost $2 haha. I'm really excited to leave and enter the field. While I'm at the airport I'm allowed to call home, so stay near a phone all day Monday if you can. That includes the Messisco's too, except I only remember Emily and Anna's number but I don't whose number is whose haha. I got a package from the Messiscos. Thank you for all the goodies! There is no way I can eat it all though, so I've been sharing with my district. I'm going 'to smuggle' some of it to Brazil and share with my companion as a sort of peace offering hahaha. I also got Jackie's package yesterday. The pants fit good, and thank you for the power converter, it came just in time!!

I'm still learning a lot. This week in language has been focused on subjunctives, conditionals, and just trying to get more vocab. I feel like I have all the regular conjugations memorized, but I just mix them up because they are pretty similar to me right now, I'll get better with time though. Our teachers say our class is really good at speaking already, and guesses that we'll be fluent within 2 months of living in Brazil. Tonight is our last class time here, so I'm going to be taking a lot of pictures of everyone tonight, I guess you will get them next week along with plenty of pictures of Brazil.

For your talk about member missionary work: One of our teachers living in Utah explained how he met a nonmember on a plane. The nonmember knew plenty about the church because they lived in Utah as well and are surrounded by members, but had never been to church simply because no one ever invited him. That's how simple it is. I know that all you have to do is open your mouth, and missionary work will begin. Even though you are not a "full-time missionary" you are still a disciple of Christ. Because of your knowledge of him, it's part of your identity. Simply by speaking to strangers there is a part of you that has been influenced by the Gospel that will come to mind, all you have to do is share it, and testify of it. Even as a missionary, my only role in missionary work, is inviting and a little bit of teaching. The holy ghost does everything else, it Testifies when I teach, It provides all the feeling and places the desire for the gospel in others when they hear about it. That is true for you as well. We know that in the scriptures when God says something 3 times, it is extremely important, Like when he warns people to repent of iniquity he may say "wo, wo, wo."  Well, God says the phrase " For the fields are white and ready to harvest" 51 times in the scriptures. People are ready to hear the gospel. God is pouring out his spirit upon the Earth, and people are seeking for truth. Don't be shy of sharing the gospel either. That is one of my regrets from before my mission. I should have put more effort into sharing what I know. Next time you second guess whether or not to share it remember what is on the line: Someone's opportunity not only for a happier life on Earth, but for Eternal life after death. Also, don't think about what you will say too much before sharing the gospel. Remember, the gospel is a part of you, you have developed Christ-like attributes, (at least to some degree) through repentance. Just be sure to ACT upon your faith, and open your mouth. I promise you will see miracles if you will look for them. They are everywhere.

 I bought a shoulder bag at the MTC so I don't need anything this week. I will talk to everyone on Monday. Keep a phone close by. Eu Amo Voces!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Hodgson

Picture: Our messy room. I sleep on the top left bed, we had some other elders from our zone with us too. Elder Lee is sitting on the bed, Elder Ballard is writing in his journal, Elder Moss and Elder Hargrove are messing with a toy gun, and Elder Walbrecht is On top of the dresser putting stuff in our room's "Narnia hole" Its a hole were missionaries but goodies for the next missionaries who move into their room. We found a set of cards for "Angry-Birds Uno" Thanks previous inhabitants of 6M- 313!!!!!!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Visa came in!

Hey!!!! I just found out my Visa came in today!!! I'm so excited!!! Its been kind of stressful wondering when I would get it, especially since some missionaries serve 6 months in the States waiting for it to come in. This means I'll be going straight to Brasil on Jan. 13th!!!! I'm flying from SLC to Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX: 12:35pm to 4:15pm. Then from TX to Miami FL, 6:35pm to then from FL to Recife, Brazil 11:00pm to 8:55am. They will let me call people while I'm at the airport so try and stay available between the first flight times if you can. Also send me your mailing address in UT, and everyone's phone numbers. Love you!!!

Elder Hodgson

Happy New Year!

Oi! Tudo Bem! How is every one doing? I miss you all and hope you all had a good New Year. Can you post all of these emails to the blog? and only post the link to my blog on facebook like once a month? This week was pretty normal haha, but apparently some elders snuck out of their residence hall on New Years Eve and started screaming "HAPPY NEW YEARS!!" I guess I'm a deep sleeper because I didn't hear a thing. So we are officially the oldest District in our zone now, along with our twin district ( they came in on the same day as us) Elder Hodges and Elder Pennington are the new zone leaders, they're doing a really good job. You can check them out in the pictures I sent. You got them right? The only difference is Elder Hodges is on crutches now since he sprained his ankle a few weeks ago. The Temple is supposed to be opening on the 6th, so I should be able to go next Friday. This next week is our last full week in the MTC. It's so crazy how fast everything is going by. I'm already a month into my mission!! I'll be in the field in 10 days!! And even so, I've learned a lot in the past month, It's probably been one of the most productive months of my life in terms of how much I've learned. I've learned tons of Portuguese, to the point that I can understand 90% of what my teachers say, and 2 of them are native speakers from Brasil (They are brothers, and they are hilarious. they pull little pranks on each other by asking us to call the other one names in Portuguese: like Bicudo, and Gordinho. maybe Jackie will get it haha) . I can even watch a video in Spanish, and understand most of what they say. But, I've also learned so much about doctrine and how to explain things in simple terms. I'm a better teacher now than I ever have been before in my life.

I'm not sure what else to talk about. Life is pretty simple right now. A lot of studying with 3 hour blocks of classroom instruction about 10 times a week. 3 all you can eat meals a day. An hour of Gym time 4 days a week, I usually just play basketball. Church meetings every Sunday in Portuguese. A devotional talk from either an apostle or member of the quorum of the 70 every Sunday and Tuesday ( which is always my favorite part of the week). The days seem to fly by, I having a hard time believing it's already Friday again, It feels like I just got here last week.

On Tuesday, one of the sisters in our district asked for a blessing, because she was having a hard time with adjusting to the mission, and her grandfather was having some health problems. It was pretty incredible, because normally when I speak in conversation, I'm thinking of what to say next, so that it just flows right out. When I gave the blessing, I had to stop and ponder what needed to be said, and then the phrase would pop into my mind. Then I had to do this again for the next phrase, and so on. The spirit was really strong and it felt like there was a fire in my chest. I hope I am explaining this in a way that makes sense, because it was so different then how normal conversations happen, and It was so different compared to how I normally form thoughts. It was a really good experience for me, and I wasn't even the one receiving the blessing.

This week I've been spending a little bit of time thinking about the immensity of God's love for us. In the just the visible part of the universe, There are about 10 suns to every grain of sand on Earth. They were all created by God. In Mosiah chapters 1-5, King Benjamin does a good job of reminding us to be humble. Everything we are is from God. Because of the atonement, we are permanently in debt to God. This is why King Benjamin says we are unprofitable servants. We are very insignificant when you begin to understand the innumerable amount of God's creations. But despite all of this, " the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." I feel like God has a love for us that I could never understand, because it is too deep, too massive and too complex. This is just something I have discovered for myself with the help of others in the past week and wanted to share, so maybe everyone else could catch a glimpse of understanding about God's love for all his Children. Here is a video that helps explain it as well, I hope the link works:

I don't think I need anything right now. Mom mentioned a letter and food she sent. I haven't gotten anything except and the package from Jackie on Christmas. was also shut down for most of the holidays. I didn't receive letters that were from Dec.23 until about Dec 27th.  Also My branch presidency is still wondering if Mom knew The Ventura family or the Lara family from church in Barcelona. Anyways, I hope you all have a great week. Happy 2014. Happy Birthday Jackie, my big little sister! I love you!

Eu amo voces!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Elder Hodgson