Monday, December 30, 2013

The Church is Perfect, but the Members Aren't

Hey guys,

It was great to talk to you guys on Christmas. It is good to know you are still there. I hope grandpa is doing all right. It is good that he will stay with you for a little while. Tell him I love him. I wish I could be with you guys at this time.

Things here in Goiana are still going well. This week I enjoyed our Sacrament meeting, the talks were about how the Church is perfect but the members aren’t, and it was kind of cool because we have been trying to teach this to some less-actives. We brought them the talk by Elder Bednar, "And Nothing Shall Offend Them," where he says it is really impossible to be offended, you have to allow someone to do it. He says a great portion of our spiritual maturity is measured in how we react to these offenses that happen. He said it is usually the reason people go in-active, and it is true.

Also, some of our investigators are having trouble integrating for this same reason. So, I have learned quite a bit about it now, which is a great blessing to me, because this topic has great importance. I have pondered about why the Lord doesn’t establish the Sunday school classes with professional teachers, or have professional and trained clergy...maybe there would be fewer mistakes. But I know that the Lord is perfect, and does everything with perfect order, and I realize that we learn in the Church, not just knowledge from the scriptures, but how to be Christ-like.

So, in Sunday school, when the teacher hasn’t prepared well, or teaches wrong, or makes mistakes, we learn how to love, and to have patience and be supportive, even when it seems like the last thing we should do. We learn how to deal with the offenses that happen verbally or in our own minds.  Without these opportunities, we would learn nothing. How can you learn how to forgive if no one ever offended you, or to be patient if you never had the chance? So, this is how to really learn how to become Christ-like, to apply what we learn and learn by experience. It’s good that the members of the Church aren’t perfect, otherwise it would be too easy.

This is what I have had the chance to ponder this week. I also like the scripture that says Jesus will be rejected and spit upon, and He will suffer it. I think too many times we overlook this example of His perfect charity, or when he forgave on the cross and said, “they know not what they do.” That wasn’t a shallow statement...He meant it. When He was spit upon, he wasn’t boiling inside to fight back. He really forgave.

So the little offenses we experience, the Lord can help us to forgive and to humble ourselves. He is the only one who knows how. I know that Jesus Christ is perfect and the Church He organized was organized this way for a reason. I know our Prophets and the Twelve Apostles and all the brethren down to the bishops and ward auxiliary leaders are called by Heavenly Father, not only for their own progression, but the progression of the kingdom of God. I love you guys. Hope you are doing well. Have a great week!

Elder Hoyt

Monday, December 23, 2013

Feliz Natal!

Hello my family!

Wow, it is shocking to hear about grandma. (Grandma passed away December 22) That came up quick. I will miss her. But like you said, it is exactly right. It is sad to have her leave, but we know where she is. We keep watching this video, Together Forever with people. It’s an awesome video. I think you guys have seen it already...maybe we have it.

Everything is going well here. I’m excited to talk on Christmas with you guys! I think the Google Hangout will work out well. I wrote down the username and password. 

This week, we had an exchange with the Zone Leaders and I stayed here. It was super good, and I learned a lot from Elder Flemming. He is from California too, San Francisco, or around there. He speaks Portuguese really well, and teaches really well, so I saw things I need to improve.

We also got a new Ward Mission Leader, a returned missionary who just got home recently. He was a good missionary too. He is helping us get references from the members. He helped us get tons yesterday. A lot of times the members have references, and they don’t know they have them, so you have to ask about family and things like that, but it was sweet. He is super excited to work with us too.

For Christmas, we are going to go to a bunch of people’s houses and sing Christmas hymns, and spend some time in member’s houses. It will be really cool. I hope you guys have a good time in Utah, and I love you all! Merry Christmas!

Elder Hoyt

Monday, December 16, 2013

If it is True...It Needs to be Said

Dearest Family!

Hello! This week was great! I always have so much to say, and I don’t know where to start. I really enjoyed hearing about the missionary work in the Seminary class! That is the sweetest thing! Sounds like the Seminary class is incredibly united, and that you guys are having a blast! That is so awesome! 

Some great things are happening here as well. We are visiting this investigator named Wedja. We found her sitting outside her house talking with her neighbors, so we showed up and talked with all of them, but Wedja was the most interested. She would like us to visit every day if we could, which we have been. We are working a lot with her. I asked her why she wanted us to keep coming back? She said she just feels good when we are there. We testified of the Holy Ghost, that the good feelings she feels is the Holy Ghost. She told us she prays, but doesn’t get an answer, so we told her that a lot of times the answer comes, but we just don’t notice. That’s when we started asking about why she keeps inviting us back. So, we basically helped her realize that she already has been feeling the Spirit---that she will feel it when we visit, when she reads the Book of Mormon, and when she goes to Church, that all of these things are confirmations, and she will feel the Spirit during these times. So, she went to Church with us yesterday as well, Stake Conference, and it was an hour away on the bus. And then we visited with her yesterday, and she said she definitely believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that this is the only true Church. She said she was thinking about it and praying, and she realized that none of the other churches here talk about how they started, except ours. And she realized that if he weren’t a prophet, we wouldn’t have the Book of Mormon. So, she is going to be baptized! I am super excited for this. So I realized, all we need to do is have the Spirit, and the person will feel it and understand, then we help them realize they are feeling it, and help them feel it more!

Also this week, I learned something sweet. I have been a lot bolder in saying that our Church is the only true Church on the face of the earth. I decided---if it is true, it needs to be said. I really like when Elder Holland gave his name to the world as a witness, and he said it as clearly as possible that he knows the Book of Mormon is true. I decided my role as a missionary is to say what is true to the point where people can’t misunderstand. I say I know it is the only true Church, but I don’t say this just because I am a member of it, but because it is the truth. When people say things that aren’t true, I stop them and say, actually no. I do it in a nice way though, but the people actually listen way better when we do this. I realized it is the only way to teach really. You can’t agree with what they’re saying, and then say what you want to say, which contradicts what they said, without them noticing. They will notice. I am realizing more and more the power of the restoration and its purpose, and staying stronger with commitments. I have also been bolder with commitments. Sometimes people give a bunch of excuses to not do something, and in the past I kind of weakened, and had sympathy, and agreed---yeah, it would be too hard for you to go to Church or to keep the commandment. But this week was different---you can’t leave people feeling comfortable in breaking the commandments. So in summary, I was used to always leaving people feeling comfortable and agreeing, but I realized how important it is to leave people with an understanding of the truth.

I love you guys and I am super excited to talk to you on Christmas. It is supposed to get hotter here, I can’t imagine how, but I will embrace it. Have a great week! Happy Christmas! Feliz Natal!

Com amor,
Élder Hoyt

Monday, December 9, 2013

What are the Chances?

Dearest Family,

Hi! I am still doing well. I loved what you said in your email, mom, about really trying to help your Seminary kids build their testimonies, rather than cover the material. I know that is when the Spirit works too. I really miss the Seminary class, and that is so cool how you compared their earthly lives to going off to college. That is really what is most important. The Assistants said, even if you just teach one principle the whole time, it is better that they understand the one principle and feel the Spirit, rather than understand nothing. So, that’s what I am working on too. It’s something that is kind of challenging. It’s funny too because sometimes the gospel has words that people have never heard, for example, atonement. So, we have to teach the words, because it isn’t a common word. So we ask, do you know what that means?

Also, this week we had some miracles. We were eating lunch in this restaurant, and the lady working there said she always used to visit our Church. As we got talking a bit more, she said she had read the Book of Mormon a lot too, but had never talked with missionaries. So, what are the chances? We will meet with her this week. Also, this week we were finding less-actives on this list, but all the roads and numbers on the houses were wrong. A house can have the number 2, and the house right next to it can be 45, and the next house would be 103. It gets kind of challenging. So, we stopped in front of this house on the sidewalk, just to pause and look at the list, and I heard the people in the house stop talking, and I felt like they noticed us. So, I asked them the name of the road, and the guy helped us out a little bit, but then, this lady came outside and greeted us saying, "oi Elder"---usually no one says Elder. And then she said she is a member from Recife visiting her cousins. Then we talked a little, and it turns out, she was leaving right that minute, so we were there at the right place at the right time, and the family invited us in after she left, and we got to know them a bit more. They are married, which was sweet, and they don’t have a definite church. We taught them the restoration, but we will return this week and talk more.

Anyways, we just have these small experiences, but then afterwards we just think of all the small things that Heavenly Father did to make that little meeting work out. Maybe the family wouldn’t have received us if that member from Recife weren’t there? So that was a cool experience.

I am grateful to be here serving a mission. I know this gospel is true, and I am in the perfect place. I love my family. I have never loved you guys so much in my life, as much as I love you right now. I know that this is the true restored gospel, the only true and living Church. I know Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ. I know that only The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the power of the priesthood, the power of God, and because of that, we can be sealed together forever. There is no other Church, no other priesthood; it is here, now, never to be taken again. I love our family. Thank you guys for writing me. I miss you guys. Have a great week!

Elder Nathan Hoyt

Monday, December 2, 2013

Very Sweet Experience


Transfers were this week, but I stayed in Goiana! Woohoo! This week was especially exciting, we had a division with the Assistants..."we better get this place cleaned up!" Hahaha! (Quote from The Best Two Years) But really they came and did a trio division, so one stayed in Goiana 2 and the other stayed with Elder Jara and me. They helped us out with our teaching, so it was really cool. They taught us how to teach people to their understanding, and that you don’t have to teach a whole lesson. If a person is having a hard time understanding something, don’t move on. It was something I really needed, because sometimes it is hard to know what a person understands because usually they don’t understand very well. I mean they have an American and a Chilean teaching them something they have never heard of before, with a whole new one knows gospel words. So, we are getting a better feel for things, and it is feeling good.

Just yesterday we had a sweet experience, very sweet experience. I will tell you about this woman named Marilede. It was one of those times that I know for a fact that her faith actually grew, and that she felt the Spirit. She was feeling a little iffy about baptism, and going to Church and everything, but she really likes us, and believes all we say, she feels the Spirit with us. She said we are messengers from God. But yesterday she went to Church and loved it! It was testimony meeting, as you know, and everyone said they know the Church is true, and shared great testimonies. When we visited Marilede yesterday, she said she loved Church, and now she knows it is true. She said she knows because the people express from their hearts, and that is what is most important. Also, her husband and her mom both died this past year, so it has been really hard for her. We taught her about Heavenly Father’s Plan a while ago, but yesterday she told us this experience she had. It reminded me of a passage in Preach My Gospel about listening, and how important it is to listen. It is very hot in her house, and she talks really quiet and slow and a lot, but we endured in listening, and it was very important because she talked to us about the time we told her how people who die don’t forget their life on earth. She said she was about to sleep, and she was just thinking about that. She said it gave her so much comfort. That she felt so peaceful in this thought, and knew that it was true. Then she told us how her faith is growing, that we planted a seed, and she felt it has grown so much. It is just really awesome teaching her. She is like perfect. She says she wants to be baptized, but wants to do it slowly, because she likes doing things slowly, and thinking through them. I can understand that, but it will be awesome.

Also this week, I have been reading "The Fourth Missionary," a talk given by a mission president. I will send it to you. It talks about the difference between giving all your will, or giving it grudgingly. It is really cool. He says you cannot receive the blessings and be changed, if you want to be doing something else the whole day. Maybe it is hard to do these things, but all we need to do is make a decision to give all we have, because it is a lot easier than battling in our minds against the will of the Lord, and our own will all the time. It is something that I have been thinking about. You can read it though, and let me know what you think.

But I am still doing well, and Elder Jara really liked the baptism. He is speaking really well. He said a prayer in Spanish the other day, and I understood every word just about. So I got really excited that I can understand Spanish, now that I know Portuguese. It is pretty funny because it sounds just like Portuguese, but a really weird accent. I hope all you guys are doing well. I love you all, and hope you have a great week!

Com amor,
Eder Hoyt

Monday, November 25, 2013

The stress was thick, but the Spirit was thicker!

Hello again my family!

So this week we had the baptism of Vinicius. He is 11, and we have been working with him a couple weeks now. He has already been going to Church for a while. His aunt is a member, and it was sweet because his whole family came to the baptism. It was crazy though what happened. The other missionaries in the other Branch scheduled a baptism also, and it was going to be the same meeting as our baptism. So, Saturday night they cleaned the font, and I thought they would fill it as well, but they didn’t. So halfway through Sacrament meeting, Elder Cuevas called me and said the font is empty. The baptism was planned for after Sacrament meeting. So all of a sudden things got really stressful hahahaha! So the font was filling pretty well, and we thought it would be filled in time, but then the water ran out because we were getting buckets and using the sinks to fill the font, so neither the sinks nor the font had water. At this point I just wanted to die! So the story does end happily. We postponed the baptism until 3 o’clock, and the Church regained water in time, and everything went fine. There were just not as many people at the baptism as would have been. Elder Jara baptized Vinicius, the first person he baptized on the mission. He said he felt a huge peace when he walked into the font, despite all of the stress. So, the stress was thick, but the Spirit was thicker. I am just glad everything turned out all right.

Also, the Zone Leaders did a division with us this week. I went to their area and stayed with Elder Perreira for two days, and the other Zone Leader did a division with Goiana 1 the first day, and Goiana 2 the second day. The area where the Zone Leaders work is called Paratibe. I met this perfect couple that will be baptized next week. The wife had already been going to Church when she was young, but her parents didn’t let her get baptized. So, when we invited them to be baptized she said, I really really want to. She already had a testimony of the Church and wants an eternal family. So it was a sweet experience. It was the first time at Church for her husband, but he seemed really on top of things, he accepted to be baptized as well. So, it was just really cool that the wife had already been prepared.

I am still doing well here! Still loving Goiana! My “Chilean son” (that’s what missionaries call those they train---“my son”) is doing well also. I am hoping to improve a lot of things this week, and I will let you guys know how it goes. I love you all so much. Have a great week!

Elder Hoyt

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Love Goiana

Hello family!

I am doing so well here in Goiana. Our Ward Mission Leader went with us to Condado again to introduce us to his family. Last week we visited the sister of a member who lives there already. The member and our Ward Mission Leader introduced us, and she just loved us, but she travels a bunch and lives in Condado, so it’s hard to visit. Even though it will be hard to visit her again, I guess our visit had a bigger impact than we thought because she spoke with the wife of the member, Silvana, and told her how much she loved our visit. As a result of this, we now have an appointment with Silvana. She is the spouse of the member. We were able to mark a visit with her for this next week. She already has a lot of questions about the Church, and it’s going to be really good.

Also, yesterday while we were in Condado, we missed the bus, but the members were with us, and called another member for a ride...only a couple members have cars. Although missing the bus seemed like a problem, it turned out to be sweet. There was this guy next to us who missed the bus too, and the member offered him to ride with us. On the way, the member talked to him about who we are and everything. The guy was getting excited and started asking for us to visit him in Condado as well. He has a band and works a music shop in Goiana. The Lord really is directing us, and all these things have purpose.

The training is going well with Elder Jara. He is a great missionary, speaking very good Portuguese. Some of the hardest times are when people say they understand him better than they understand me hahahaha. So he is speaking very well, he learned really fast because Spanish is similar to Portuguese.

But I really love Goiana. I love all the members here. I think I could stay here for the rest of my mission! The members are great. They are helping us a ton. I am still super excited to be a missionary. I am really trying my best to fulfill the purposes of the Lord. I am grateful for you guys and your support. I love the emails. I love you all, and hope you have a grand week. I love Goiana...we will visit here in the future.

Elder Hoyt

Monday, November 11, 2013



The time here is just flying. I feel like I was just here writing last week! Very weird! This week was splendid. We found a bunch of new investigators, and our Ward Mission Leader went with us to Condado on Saturday to meet all of his family, students of his English class, and a referral of another member. So it was sweet! We are really trying to get down there and get things going. I am super excited! 

This last week we had our first English class that I taught. I just kind of did the first one free style because I don’t have a book or anything. We only had one student though, and he is now a new investigator. He is 21 and his name is Diego. He knows a lot of the members already, and went to Church this last Sunday, and everyone welcomed him. He was asking me the name of the Prophet, and it all went great. We are going to teach him later this week, so we are excited. Church is really important for these people to see what it’s like. 

We have a young couple we are teaching, and they are part of another religion, separate religions actually, one is Catholic and the other is Evangelical. The first visit after we taught, they were trying to prove the Restoration wrong, not too aggressive, but just skeptical, but it happens sometimes. So I was thinking of how we can teach to the point where they can't help but pray and ask, and have a strong desire to know it’s true, and I thought---we just need to present it how it is. How glorious it would be if God called another prophet and restored all the truths that were lost. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this did happen? Well it did. So last visit we felt inspired to talk about eternal families. We said how we don't want more members in our Church so we can be the biggest church, and have the glory of men, but we are really here to bring messages of joy, that your family can be eternal, that through the restored priesthood that can be possible. They didn’t seem to have any objections, and I felt like that was what was right, what we did there.

Also Mom, I loved that you told your Seminary class about how you and Dad raised our family. It is exactly how Heavenly Father wants it. I want to raise my family how you raised ours. I really have such strong feelings for every single member of our family. I bear my testimony about our family all the time, and how it is through the Gospel and our Heavenly Father’s plan we can have the greatest joy in this life. Edna visited a family in our ward this week to help them move, they invited her to help. They just moved a couple streets over, but Edna said how she wants her family to be like that, all praying together and loving and everything. When she said that, I felt like I just wanted to stand up and yell---Let’s do it! We are here! We are showing you how!---I just got so excited, but it is hard because she doesn’t have a lot of support from her husband. They aren’t married yet, and she still needs to quit smoking. But we are going to go there and set goals with them, and talk about the family, and get them to do family prayer every night. It will be great. 

We also had a reactivation this week of a young woman. So, the Young Women's is still growing! I love Goiana. I could stay here my whole mission I think. I love the Branch and all the members. Everyone is so nice. I am best friends with all the members now. 

Thank you all for the emails. I love you all so much. I haven’t forgotten anyone. You guys are always in my prayers. And Edna prays for you guys too :) She says please bless the family of Elder Hoyt. I love you all!!!! Have a beautiful week, filled with uplifting experiences, and a positive attitude, and everything will go right.

Com Amor,
Elder Hoyt

Monday, November 4, 2013

Life is Great!

Hello my family!

So, this past week was the first week of being a trainer, and it was pretty crazy. I was a little stressed, but now everything is sweet. My companion is already speaking great Portuguese, because Spanish is really close to Portuguese. I really know that I am receiving divine help and strength from the Lord.

This week we had the baptism of Rayssa. She is ten, and has been going to Church for a while now. Her brother is a member also, and he is 17. She will be confirmed next week. Also, we are having much success with the investigators. We have this investigator we've taught twice named Marilede. I love her because she really has faith in God, and she is just so humble, and really has a lot of respect for us. She said she knows we are angels sent from God, and that we really are His servants. It just makes me happy when people have been prepared to receive us. She has had experiences in the past with prayer to the point where she has so much faith in the power of prayer, and she is going to pray about the Book of Mormon. We invited her to be baptized, and she is a little hesitant because she doesn’t like doing it alone, and she wants her cousin to become a member too, whom we have been talking to as well! It’s crazy because the street where she lives has all her family, her brother lives next door, cousin above, and many more. They will all be baptized in the future! I think all we have to do is bring a member with us to help teach, and everything will go right. She will be baptized eventually.

Also, the members are working with us a lot. Our Ward Mission meeting is on Sunday, and all we do is go out with the members and visit all the less-actives. There are a lot of them. I am just super excited because the less-actives usually just need an invite. They always know it’s true, they just need a little help, and they always have family members to bring who are non-members as well. Also, we are starting an English class this Saturday in the Chapel. We found a non-member, friend of a member, who really wants to learn English. So that will bring in more people! Also, we began visiting another city that’s part of our area, called Condado. Everyone says there are a lot of people over there that the other missionaries were working with, and if we find at least five people to be baptized, there will be a new Branch over there. 

So, this last week I really learned the importance of faith and trust in the Lord. The Lord has given me more faith through prayer. I have faith that the Lord can help us start a branch in Condado. It sounds crazy, but you need to have the vision that anything is possible. Non-believing just brings discouragement and kills the desire to try, but I am just so excited to do everything possible to move the work forward. I love this Gospel! It is the truth! There is nothing more pure or that can bring so much happiness and peace. I love you all. I have been missing you all. Have a great week!

Elder Hoyt

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Sweet Experience

Hi my family!

So, my companion is CHILEAN, he is from Concepcion, Chile. He is brand new on the mission from the Missionary Training Center in São Paulo, Brazil. Luckily his Portuguese is pretty good already. He can already speak well, definitely a lot better than me when I got here. So, I picked him up last Wednesday in Recife, and I brought him back to Goiana with Elder McFadden and his new companion. Elder McFadden is training a missionary from Peru and is District Leader here in Goiana. So we are super excited to get things going!

The first week of training was pretty crazy, a little stressful because I have never trained before, but there is a first time for everything! Yesterday was the highlight of the week. We went to a member’s house, and his wife is a member of another church. We brought some other members with us. It was a sweet experience. The wife started asking questions about our Church, and the member we brought just started bearing powerful testimony and answering her questions so well. It really made a difference because she saw that Mormons are normal people, and that we are happy! I was shocked to hear some of the doubts and rumors she had heard about our Church. With every doubt that was cleared, the more light and understanding she got, and the more interested she got by the minute! Then I shared my testimony and a scripture about the Atonement from the Book of Mormon, and afterwards she asked how I learned to speak so fast, and the member that was with us just lit up and said, this is the true gift of tongues, and bore his testimony about the Spirit. It was just an incredible experience to see her asking more and more, and the member just loving it! So, that was a great part of the week.

I am so excited to see the vision Heavenly Father has for His work. I love this opportunity! I feel like training is going to be kind of tough, but that’s I what I felt like when I first got here. Now I have another mountain to climb! I know I have the assistance of Heaven by my side. The key is to have the faith and the power to do it! No matter how difficult it seems, we will always be able to overcome. I love you all so much! Have a great week and keep up the great work!

Elder Hoyt

Monday, October 21, 2013

I am going to be Training!

So, transfers were today, and I am going to be training! I am so excited! We found out last night, and came to transfer meeting this morning in Recife. So, I am in an area called Pina right now. I will sleep here tonight, and pick up my new missionary tomorrow. We will be staying in Goiana 1, and Elder Mcfadden will train also in Goiana 2, and be District Leader. I have no idea who I will train, I am pretty sure he will be Brazilian. But I am so excited! I know I will grow a lot. 

Goiana is doing well! We got a reference yesterday from a member. She invited her friend to hear the lessons, and he said yes! So, I am excited things are going so well. We are also still working with Edna and her family. They were sad to see Elder D. Sousa go. Also, we have a lot of other potentials, and I just can’t describe how excited I am to train!

I am just humbled at the faith my Mission President and the Lord have in me that I will be able to do this. I also believe I can do it through the help of the Lord. The main reason I am excited is that I will really be able to experience the Atonement, because I know I will not be able to do this alone. And I really just want to give it my all, and be the best I can, and that’s when I will receive the strength I need. I have really been thinking that one of the most important things in this life is the influence we have on other people, because almost everything we do influences other people, whether by example or by direct influence. So, I think we should have the goal to be an influence for good wherever we go, and whoever we come in contact with. It is kind of like the baptismal covenant, to stand as a witness, and you can show your testimony and witness best through your actions. 

I don’t have too much time to write this week because of the transfer, but I will give a better update next week. But just know that I am so happy and excited to work very hard. And I definitely feel that the Lord loves me very much. I also know you guys love me! Thank you for all the support! I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Elder Hoyt

Monday, October 14, 2013

What Else Matters?

Hello my great family! I just read all your emails! You guys are all great! 

Our friend Ellison got baptized this last Saturday! He is a great kid, 17-years-old. So, now everyone in the family is baptized except the parents, but the marriage papers our coming. He said, "I don't know if this will be easy, or if this will be hard, but I know it is right." I thought that was really inspiring, for my life as a missionary as well. It reminds me of the talk, “It's True, Isn’t It? Then What Else Matters?” Serving my mission, so far, and giving all my time, really makes me wonder a lot, what else matters? Just like Lizz said, “shouldn't the purpose of God be our number one purpose, since we are His?”

This week was my second to last week in training. The 12-week program required that I take control of all teaching and planning situations. So, it was a little bit different, it was great though. Something I have felt this week, is that I am so incredibly weak. I don't know why, it just came out of nowhere. It was not a bad thing. I didn't get discouraged or sad. I just felt so humbled because I am here in Brazil as a missionary, unable to speak, scared, just a kid, selfish, and then I realized everything I have been entrusted with, and how much trust God has in me. It is a lot of trust that God has in us. But I am glad I felt like this, I read about Paul in the Bible where he says he glories in his weaknesses because he knows the power of Christ is within him, when he is weak he is strong. Just like in Ether, we are given our weaknesses to be humble. I know I will be strongest when I put my trust in the Lord, and not in myself. After hearing General Conference, and just reading your emails, I really feel this desire to improve, and everything I need to change is made clear. It is just becoming more Christ like.  

I really want to be the best I can, I want to fulfill the mission Heavenly Father has sent me to do. I know He wants me to be happy here. I am trying hard to understand the language still, no matter how tired I get. I really want to be an instrument in the hands of God to fulfill His purposes. That is really my goal. I am so excited to be a missionary in these latter-days, especially when the work is hastening. I know this Gospel is true. I love it all, and the Plan of Salvation, and the perfection of it. It really is perfect. The more I understand, the more amazed I get.

This last weak I learned a little more about opposition and why there is opposition, and about the choices we make, and our free agency that was given to us, and is key for our eternal growth. I remember a talk I once heard, where the Plan is compared to driving a car...when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, think of it as if they were in a car trying to drive, but the car was in neutral until they partook of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which brought about opposition in all things. Then they could move forward because there was such thing as backward. I think it is a really cool comparison, and really helps my understanding.

I am grateful for the trust that God has in each one of us. Also, for the love He has for us, and how much patience He has with us. I love you all, and I miss you all. The time here is really flying by though, these months are just going! I start a new month and it’s over! But I hope you all have an awesome week! Love you!

Elder Hoyt

Monday, October 7, 2013

Conference Was So Awesome!

Hello My Dearest Family!

So, I am doing great! I got to watch ALL of General Conference in English, and I loved every minute of it. The Prophets are inspired, and everything was so true. The truth feels good to hear. It was broadcast in the Chapel, and I was in a classroom with a little TV taking notes with Elder McFadden, the other American. Loved Conference! 

I have noticed, I have a growing desire to know the will of God, and I place it at higher importance more and more. I have never been so excited for Conference as I was this time. I have never listened so intently as this time, because I am realizing how important it is. The single most important thing in the world is know the will and word of God, so we can act on it. General Conference happens twice a year, and everything spoken has been carefully prepared just for us, to uplift us, and provide us with spiritual strength. One thing I have been thinking about, that I think is pretty significant, is obedience. It is key, just like so many General Authorities said, and what was asked for in the prayers..."please help us, not only to listen, but act on these things, be not hearers of the word, but doers also." I love a line from King Benjamin where he says, "if you believe all these things, see that ye do them"--- simple as that. That is something I am working on, I know it is true, I just need to do it. 

I realized one thing that keeps us from being obedient is pride. In a way, it is where you are more worried about what other people think, than what God thinks. This may be one of  the biggest obstacles to obedience....being worried about offending people or losing friends. This fear keeps us from doing what God has asked, but it is in no way justified. That’s why I loved Elder Uchtdorf’s talk in Priesthood session, he kept saying “Rise up! You can do it, now! I know you guys can do it now.” 

A special theme I noticed in Conference was missionary work. One of my favorite quotes was, “be a real friend!” It is true, when people notice that you have a true desire to help, they can feel the love God has for them. Have this attitude and share personal experiences and testimony with friends. Follow the invitation and reach out to one person before Christmas. Pray for missionary experiences! And trust in the Lord and His promise that your mouth will be filled. 

Nothing else would make me happier. I know this is what the Lord has asked. I love you all! I thought of you so much as I watched Conference, I missed watching with you. Hope you all have a great week!

Com amor e carinho,
Elder Hoyt

Some of the roads we walk on

Monday, September 30, 2013

Minhas queridas crianças...

Hello my dearest family,

So, this week was pretty solid. We had an exchange with the Zone Leaders. I stayed here in Goiana and worked with Elder Pereira, he is from Rio de Janeiro. The second day, I was on exchange with Elder McFadden, from Goiana 2. He is from Mississippi. It was a 2-day exchange because our area is far away, so the Zone Leaders exchange with Goiana 1 and 2 while they’re here.

Yesterday was sweet because we were at the Church while the ward was doing choir practice, and I was talking to this member all by myself. I have done it a lot of times, but this was like a full on conversation and I understood it all. I was super happy. So, things are still improving in that direction. It is weird because it is so hard to see my progression because it is a little here and a little there, so it doesn’t feel like I am progressing a ton, but I definitely am.

Also this week, I studied about Nephi, and his vision when he was taken up in the Spirit. It was really because he wanted to know what his father saw, and he diligently sought it. The same is with us, we can receive so much just so long as we want it and seek it.

Also this week, our investigator Edna, is incredible. Saturday night she was like, I am happy, and we said why? And she said, because I am going to Church tomorrow! I was happy too! I can really see a change in her since we first began teaching. She loves for us to come over. Every time we leave she is like, you guys are coming back tomorrow? It is a wonderful opportunity to be teaching her. And last night we had a really good lesson with her. I could really feel the Spirit there with us because after the lesson we asked if there was anything we could do to help with anything, and she said no, and then right before we left she asked if there was anything that she could do to help us! She was so sincere though. She was asking if we wash our own clothes and everything. So, we are working towards baptism. She is just working on quitting smoking. She is always praying for help, and she is so humble. She is great.

I am super excited for General Conference. It has been a long wait for me. I will be able to watch it in English too.
Oh Mom, I wanted to tell you I love those quotes, especially the first one...a man doesn’t desire Christ until he knows why he needs Him. That is why it is so important to know the Plan of Salvation and the Fall of man. Sounds like Seminary is going swell! I miss being in there with you!

The time here is going by so quickly! It seems like just yesterday I arrived in Brazil. I am trying to make it last. I love you all and am really thankful for the emails. I look forward to them every week. I love you all so much. Thank you for your examples of living the Gospel. Have a Spirit filled week!

Elder Hoyt

Monday, September 23, 2013

Clark Kent

Hello there, my Family!

I am doing well here! We had Zone Conference in Recife this last week. So, we traveled two hours on the bus to get there. It was a great Conference, about true conversion, our own conversion as missionaries. I love the subject of conversion. I realized yesterday that is the most important thing to have on your mission, your testimony. Being in Brazil and speaking Portuguese, just talking in lessons was kind of just a thing like, “Whew! Okay, I said something!” or like, "Okay, I should probably bear testimony now." But I realized that testimony is much more important than I ever realized. It is because that is really when the Spirit can testify. And the Spirit will testify if you bear sincere testimony, in whatever language. A sincere testimony does not have to be masked with fancy words or an intelligent vocabulary, it just needs to be things you know in your heart, and not in your head. All this I learned from the Conference, and then I experienced it yesterday.

We were teaching a less active who was a returned missionary from only a couple years ago. It was actually two of the ward missionaries and me, and my companion was somewhere else. But the ward missionary was asking, what can we do to help you get to Church? And he kept saying, I don’t know, I just need the desire. So, I was able to bear my testimony about how the Spirit can give you the desire, like He gave me last week. It wasn’t anything fancy, but I felt the Spirit there. I was trying to figure out what was different, and why I felt so much better, and why I felt I made a difference, and it was because I bore testimony of something I had experienced, and I knew it was true, and it was something I really wanted him to know. But really something I realized that brought me a lot of comfort, is you can be a smooth-talker and have a super flowing lesson with beautiful words, and be super smart with all the gospel knowledge in the world, but it won’t matter if you don’t have a testimony, and have the Spirit confirm it. So, I don’t have to learn fancy Portuguese to be a missionary. So, that was something that made me pretty happy! Everyday here gets better and better. My understanding gets more and more...I learned something today that I didn’t know yesterday. 

Something that is making me happy is that our converts are super active. Joyce, Mariana, and Edla, and one other girl are the Young Women of our ward. Yesterday they sang, Stand in Holy Places, for our Missionary Fireside combined with both Branches, Goiana 1 and Goiana 2. And they are always going to Seminary. Also, our family that we are working with is progressing still. We are working on getting them married, but it will take some time with the paperwork. Also, the oldest son is working towards being baptized as well. So, eventually they will all be sealed in the Temple. That is the vision here! We are also teaching the parents of a Sister Missionary who just got back pretty recently. So, things are going well. I love my mission more and more each day. 

Mom, I really liked your comparison to the Tree of Life, how we partake of the fruit each day. Last transfer, I had the Tree of Life picture as the cover of my planner, I really like it. But you’re right, we can partake of the fruit daily, and we need to! And bring others to partake of it with us! President Holmes in Michigan taught us really well about the Tree of life. 

Something funny that I have to share is that I wore my glasses to Church yesterday and even the people in Brazil think I look like Clark Kent!!!!! HAHAHAHA. I came all the way here, and it is still consistent! It’s great! I had a good laugh to myself about that. 

Well, it was great to hear from you all this week. It is always the best! I think about you guys all the time. I love you all so much. Have a swell week!

Com carinho,
Elder Nathan Hoyt

Monday, September 16, 2013

Dirt Roads

Cara Família!

So, this week was great. Remember how you said you fasted that I would feel the Spirit in greater abundance? Well I did, in every aspect. My Portuguese this week just took a giant step in progression. I can all of a sudden understand way more than ever...having conversations by myself, answering phone calls, all of it! Another aspect was that I just felt great. I was able to recognize that I literally felt the Spirit guiding me to make right decisions. I had this feeling that I just wanted to do everything I could to be a better person and a better missionary, a refreshed perspective on everything. So, thank you so much for fasting for me!

The Temple was sweet experience. I understood a lot. I love sitting in the Celestial room and just thinking. Everything is so tranquil.
So, I had a crazy experience last week! We visited another English class, and I told them about the United States again. This class was really shy until the end, and then they talked to me a bunch. But the funny story is on the way back. 

So, we were waiting for a combe---these are crazy in themselves, it’s a VW bus used as a bus. They pack them full of people. Last time this guy was standing up as we were going. We had about 12 or 13 people in there. One time the money collector guy just hung outside the sliding door the whole time hahaha---anyways, waiting for a combe, and a "taxi" pulls up (just a random Brazilian with a car) and yells, "Goiana?" I look at my companion like what do we do? This guys looks sketchy, but then the member of our ward (the teacher of the class) was like, “Oh, just take these two guys.” So, we get in...this is where it gets crazy! So, we are going on this road, just kind of a single road in the middle of a lot of fields, and then we make a u-turn. I didn’t understand, but I guess he was saying the oncoming cars were flashing their brights, signifying that there were police up ahead collecting 20 dollars from everyone. So, we take this alternate route, a muddy dirt road with huge puddles everywhere. We weren’t in your typical off-road vehicle either. Then, after a while, the guy stops the car, and gets out to see if we passed the police yet. My companion and I are just wondering if this guy is trying to steal us, or something hahaha. But we got going again, and finally made it back home. I wasn’t scared at all though because Elder S looked completely fine, so I figured I misunderstood or something. But that was something kind of funny that happened.

I am able to talk to my companion now, so we climbed that mountain. We are able to joke around a little bit. I realized though how important prayer is, and communication in general, but especially with Heavenly Father. How can you have love for someone with all you heart or trust someone, if you never talk to them? I realized that it is so similar with Heavenly Father as it is with other people. The more you pour out your heart to your friend, the closer you become. When someone shares with you their struggles, you have a desire to help them. But imagine you talk to someone for 30 seconds, and say, “Hey, I’m going to need some help later today, alright thanks,” and then leave. I need to have greater respect for our Father in Heaven. I need to treat Him better. I was reading Alma 5, and it made me think---would I be able to look Christ in the eyes? It is the ultimate test of a pure heart, because He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our thoughts and our intentions. Alma 5 is a pretty great chapter, so this is something I have been thinking about.

I am so happy to be here on a mission. It is the greatest opportunity I have had in my whole life. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I love the scriptures. I really do. Before I didn’t, now I do. I love Heavenly Father, and I am so grateful for what He has made of me. I love you all!

Have a great week!!

Com muito amor e carinho,
Elder Hoyt

Monday, September 9, 2013

This Is All Going By So Fast!

Meus queridos! This is all going by so fast. I have just completed one transfer in Brazil! Our District stayed the same for this next transfer, so that's sweet. We are going to the Temple in Recife on Wednesday! It is pretty far away, so we will be taking buses for a couple hours, and it will be an all-day trip. We will be sleeping at another missionary apartment near there because the buses stop going after 5pm. So, today is a normal day, except we are writing emails.

Well, this last week was sweet. I have a very funny story that happened yesterday! So, we were eating lunch with the members, and I accidentally spilled some rice on the floor, and I was like---Oh no! I was wondering if I should clean it up, or leave it because no one saw. So, I decided to wait till after dinner to do something, but then towards the end of dinner, a little chick or pintinho (peen-cheen-yo) came into the house, and ate most of the rice hahahaha. I loved it! The door was open and there were a lot of chickens outside the house, so he just came in. No one had a problem with it hahaha. So that was great!

We also painted a house this last week. Our Bishop got in a motorcycle accident, he is a moto taxi driver. He is all right, but he is cut up, so the Elders quorum and the missionaries painted his house. The paint is really different here, it was sweet though.

On Saturday, we baptized Joyce and Mariana, they are 12 and 13. I baptized Mariana, and Elder S baptized Joyce. He confirmed them in Sacrament meeting yesterday also. 

I really liked what you said about confidence in the Lord. I have been thinking about that lately, too. For me, it has been a struggle because I had no confidence in myself with my ability to speak Portuguese, and I realized that's not what I needed. Something Lizz helped me realize was the Lord could have me say whatever or do whatever He wanted, if it was needed. So, I needed to trust in Him that He would help me. I was relying too much on myself, and it was weak. And really, it is all pointing to pride. We need to recognize the hand of the Lord in all things. 

I love the story of Nephi going back and getting the plates. Nephi is so amazing because he always remained faithful, no matter what. His trust in the Lord was firm, through everything...the plates, the broken bowbuilding the shipbeing tied up by his brothers. Each time he trusts in the Lord and never murmurs. I have been studying about the conversions of the Prophets, and how they relate. Something I noted is that the person always has a desire for the welfare of their brethren. Enos immediately had the desire for the welfare of his brethren, same with Alma the Older, and Alma the Younger and the Sons of Mosiah. They in turn brought the truth to thousands of others. I love the Book of Mormon and receiving personal revelation. 

I love the scriptures. I love the lesson Alma taught to his son Helaman. He said the words of Christ are like the Liahona was for Lehi and his family. It worked according to their faith and attention they gave to it. It led them to the Promised Land. The words of Christ can lead us from a valley of sorrows into eternal joy and happiness. It was the same with the Children of Israel, where all they had to do was look and live. All we have to do is read, and the words of Christ will tell us all things that we should do...ALL things, is powerful. So that was very enlightening.

I am so grateful for all the support from my family and for all the prayers, and for fasting for me. My stomach has been fine this week as a result. I am so glad to be here on my mission. It is going by so fast already. I have learned so much, and I can say that the mission is the best experience of my life. I have never grown so much spiritually. I love you all, I will talk to you next week!

Elder Hoyt

Monday, September 2, 2013

Still Trekking!

So, this week was sweet! We baptized Rodolfo (16 years old) on Saturday, and confirmed him Sunday, we also confirmed Stenio, who we baptized last week. Things are going sweet! I gave the message at the baptism about the people of Alma being baptized in the Waters of Mormon, and how they would receive the Spirit more abundantly upon them. It went well! 

This week my personal study was awesome. I have been trying hard to be able to have good studies, like where I am engaged and learning by the Spirit, and think about what I have studied all day, and treasure up the word. It’s always a struggle because I don’t know what to study, or like how to study, but I have really been working on it, so I was blessed with awesome studies this week. I was comparing each conversion of all the different prophets in the Book of Mormon (Enos, Alma, People of King Benjamin) and asking questions to myself, and it was just awesome! I really got so much out of it. Oh, and it was all in Portuguese by the way. So that was a blessing as well, I am understanding more and more, here a little and there a little.

I am growing in my love for the Book of Mormon. I have actually just realized the way I look at the Book of Mormon is a lot different than it used to be. The more time carefully spent studying and pondering, the greater my love grows. It is what was taught to me by President Holmes back in Michigan. If we treat the sacred truths we are given, and follow them as closely as we can, record them, and treat them like the sacred truths they are, we will be given more. We also need to keep an open mind. It is all so sweet! Spiritual knowledge and light is real, it is actual particles of light, and you can feel it. I have felt it. After that sweet personal study, I just wanted to do everything right and submit everything to the Lord. I felt like Superman! So, I have been trying to do that ever since, and it is going incredibly well.

This week we visited a school with one of the members. She teaches English at this school, and the kids were all like 14, 15, and 16-years-old. It was pretty funny, I was trying to tell them about California in English and Portuguese both, there wasn’t much to say though, I forgot it all! I really can’t remember. They asked what we eat there, I could only think of us eating just whatever we wanted. Here, they just eat rice and beans, so it didn’t make sense to them. It was fun though, and then I taught them the Restoration in English, I am not sure how much they understood, but we got like seven addresses of kids we are going to visit. 

I wanted to address your concerns about health issues. So, we buy a big 5-gallon jug of water every week and drink that, all the people do that too. And I never go barefoot. We are supposed to wear flip-flops around the house at night, so I do that, and shower with them too. We don’t drink soda much. I prefer water or juice. The meat is refrigerated too.

The humidity is crazy here! Always feel wet. It is funny though because you get used to it really quick because there is no air-conditioning, and the house is really open. So, walking outside is the same as inside.

I can understand everything basic my companion says. Every once in a while he says a new word that I write down. I want to master the language, so I have been studying extra hard, and trying my best to understand.

Well, it is so good to hear from you! I look forward to it every week! Thank you for your prayers! I love each one of you! I am so happy!

Com amor,
Elder Hoyt

Monday, August 26, 2013

No Growth in the Comfort Zone...No Comfort in the Growth Zone


The language is getting better and better. Towards the end of the day I am always exhausted mentally though, and physically, of course. I have never walked so much in my life! So, this week we baptized Stenio. He is a great guy, like 27. He really has a strong desire to do what's right. He had no problem with any of the commandments. He was just super humble and willing, really an awesome guy. So, that went well, and he will be confirmed next week. Edla was confirmed this week as well. We didn’t get to teach Jonas again yet unfortunately. We wanted to go yesterday, but he was busy.

Baptism of Stenio, a member baptized him. It was one of his good friends. His mom came to see also. 

It is weird though because I am getting used to living here, and I can tell because yesterday we went in a car with a member to go teach someone. It was my first time in a member's car because not many have them, they generally have motorcycles because they're easier, but it was a super nice truck. I was like in shock when we got in hahaha like---Wow! This thing is sweet! Smelling the leather and the whole bit hahaha just kidding, I really did though.

The floors here are always tile or cement. The carpet is non-existent here, so it’s a little sad to not have carpet. I will try to get some pictures of the homes. They are all right exactly next to each other, and painted bright colors, like pink and orange, blue or yellow. And when you buy a house you own the sidewalk in front of it, so you can do what you want with it. So, the sidewalk is different along the whole street, some are tile or just cement.

I haven't used the insect repellent yet. We put a fan on us at night, and I think that keeps the mosquitoes off. The windows don't have screens though, so in the balcony-type room, it is just covered by bars. So, every other night there is this pink lizard guy on the ceiling, I am going to give him a name soon if he keeps coming back. It has only rained two times luckily, and I guess it doesn't rain at all in the summer, which is next month.  So, I guess it is supposed to get hotter. I used the umbrella last week, I like that thing a lot because it is so small, its like 007, no one knows I have it, they're like---where did you get that? The shoes with the laces are doing well, the bottom is starting to separate though, but I think I can get them repaired.

So, this week has gone a lot better, we are starting week five today, which is really weird. So, I have been here about a month. The other day I bought a Coxinha, like a little fried dumpling with chicken inside, kind of hard to describe, but I asked the guy all by myself and everything. Today I tried to buy ham for sandwiches, but I only knew how to say meat, so it went a little rough. This week I also talked on the phone with a member to confirm lunch. My companion just does these type things, he starts calling, then he hands me the phone. But there is this cool quote from somewhere, it says there is no growth in the comfort zone, and there is no comfort in the growth zone. So, I guess it can be good to be uncomfortable a lot. But it is true, it is hard to speak, but you just have to do it. Also, I listened to the talk by Elder Bednar about the spiritual gift of discernment. That put into light a lot of things. You guys should listen to it. He talks about Mormon being 10-years-old, but "Quick to Observe". So, I have been trying to observe everything and discern people’s needs. 

I also like the talk by Elder Holland, "Lord, I Believe". It is so true, just like it says in Alma 32, "even if you can no more than desire to believe, let that desire work in you.” I think I learned something quite interesting in my last lesson in Michigan. As a missionary, sometimes I had the attitude that the people were doubting our lessons. When they would ask questions, I would almost get a little offended on the inside (depending on the question). But in my last lesson, the guy asked, why did Peter, James and John give the priesthood to Joseph Smith, why not Jesus? At first I would normally be like---this guy just wants to argue with us or prove us wrong or something, because a lot of times that was the case, but this time, he was actually wanting to know the truth, so we just explained about the authority being given to them from Jesus, and what that means. So, I needed to change my attitude as a teacher. It was a sweet experience though because I wasn’t frustrated when he asked, I thought to myself, that’s a good question, and then we answered it. It is really important though not to question everything with doubt. Because like you are saying, there is no faith. I love that talk from Elder Holland, though, I love the General Authorities.

Something really sweet about this week though, is I learned that discouragement does not come with trouble. So, when you have a problem, it does not require you to be discouraged, and that is with everything in life. So, a lot of times we let in these discouraging thoughts like I can't do it, or I am not qualified. These thoughts come from Satan, he is trying to attack our faith and fill us with fear. I know it because I have felt it. So right now, I am filling myself with positive thoughts and promises from the scriptures, praying harder for help, because when you completely trust in the Lord, you have no fear to accomplish what he asks. So, that is what I am working on. I tend to have these thoughts like---oh, wait until you can speak well, then you can be a good missionary and teach. But I can't wait, I have the responsibility right now. Faith is believing, but the evidence of our belief is when we act, or for me, when I open my mouth and try to speak, that is when I can access the gift of tongues. So, this week I am going to put in more effort to do all I can to speak Portuguese. It is so awesome to be here and talk with all of these people. I love you all and miss you. Thank you for your prayers.

Com amor,
Elder Hoyt