Monday, May 27, 2013

First Prayers

Hopefully, I get news about the Visa soon, but if not, I just need to plan on serving here for forever, because that’s the only way to really be the most effective missionary I can be. It’s a tough thing. They give me money for only two weeks at a time, just in case I leave, so I feel like I’m leaving soon, but I might not be.

One of the best lessons this week was on the Plan of Salvation, and making wrong and right decisions in life. Before we talked about it, I asked the guy what has been one of the happiest decisions in his life? He said when he went on this internal cleanse from drugs and smoking for like two weeks. And that was perfect for talking about knowing when we make wrong and right decisions. And you can just tell how the Lord had prepared him, and he knows he is doing the right thing. He prays to be able to change, and learn more about the Book of Mormon. It is so awesome. I love hearing people pray for their first time. They are the most sincere prayers I think. 

So, something cool about what you said about the Book of Mormon, and about the statement Joseph Smith made…that’s one of my favorite statements. We were at this lady's house, and teaching her about the Book of Mormon because she is a recent convert. We read the Introduction a little bit, and then I read to her that statement from the Introduction, "the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding its precepts, than by any other book," and the first thing she said was, I feel like I’m not as close as I used to be. And we told her, we know you can get closer by reading the Book of Mormon, and by praying with sincerity. It is true. That is one of the times when I really felt like we cared about her, and we were teaching her by the Spirit, because we knew what she needed. She had a true desire to want to become closer with Heavenly Father. It was the best.

We have also been teaching about the Atonement too. Something I knew before, but now I know even better, the statement from Preach My Gospel, "everything unfair in life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ." Isn’t that an incredible statement? The thing I understood better though, is it doesn’t mean when we are going through a hard time, it will automatically change our situation, and make it back to the way it was, this would stump our progression, because we are here to experience things and to learn, we learn most from our hard times. If those hard times were taken away, how would we learn and become strong? Paul says that he treasures his trials because when he is weak, he is made strong. So we shouldn’t ask for our trials to be taken from us, but we should ask for strength in our trials. That’s why Paul says he is strong through Jesus Christ. He has overcome the world for us, so He would know how to give us strength.

It is sad when people don’t understand, and they decline the Gospel because they are going through hard times. It doesn’t make sense. We met this lady at this random door who said she doesn’t want us to teach her because her son passed away two years ago, and she is still having trouble. But we said that we know this message can help her. Some people think of Church as just a Sunday thing, and how much sacrifice we have to make, and time we have to invest. But really, Christ suffered for us! Not that we would go to Church every Sunday, but that we could receive strength in our lives when we go through tough times. When we feel guilty, feelings of depression, sadness, unhappiness, frustration, He will come down into the pit, and lift us out of it. He doesn’t require much of us, He only wants for us to be happy.

We are asked to sacrifice some things for Him, and sometimes we complain, and when we do complete an assignment, we make sure everyone knows about it. Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice and never said, "but look what I’ve done, look how bad I had it," even when we don’t do what He asks of us. He could only think of others. If we are to become like Him, we need to do the same. We need to change our outlook and attitude by yielding to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and becoming a saint through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Spirit will always guide us. The more we listen to the Spirit, the more promptings we receive.

I love all this, and I hope to improve so much more, so I can know how to teach others, and become a better missionary and better disciple of Christ. I love all of you so much, and I think about you all the time! I’m glad to hear everything is going so well. I love the Book of Mormon! Have a great week!

Elder Hoyt

Monday, May 20, 2013

Exciting Things!

Eating lunch with Brandon and Whitney was so awesome! I got a little piece of home! It is so crazy how we came all this way, and then we are two minutes away from each other! We had a nice dinner with them. 

Things are starting to heat up here pretty nicely, so that’s good. I was using the backpack from my carryon, but my back would get super sweaty while riding bikes, so now I use the side bag, and I like it much better. 

I have been reading a lot out of the Book of Mormon in Portuguese. It’s really cool because it makes me think of things differently, it like opens up new understanding. I think it is really helping my Portuguese, too. I am on 2 Nephi 5 now. 

Oh, and we are getting really creative with food. Well, not really, just more than I have ever cooked. I thought you would be proud to know I make egg muffins in the morning, and hamburgers for lunch, and Saturday for dinner we made Hawaiian haystacks! This family gave us supplies for those.

So anyway, thanks for all those inspiring quotes and thoughts! You are right…I do love them! I like the one you said Scott T quoted in his talk, also.

“In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited...hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes. The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you already this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith.”  -Elder Jeffrey R. Holland-
It went along with something really cool I learned this week from President Holmes. The way we can gain more knowledge is by being true to the laws we have already been given. By doing this, we are given more. More knowledge enables us to have more power to act, and not to be acted upon. I think the coolest thing is comparing it to the Wright brothers. They followed the laws of aerodynamics, and were able to fly. They were able to act on gravity and not be acted upon by gravity.
I was thinking about it last night, the commandments and word of God are truly given to us for us to be happy. Why would He give us these things to bind us down? It is insulting to think the commandments bind us. They really just enable us to have the companionship of the Holy Ghost, and so many more blessings. God has so much wisdom, and how small are we to question His way…to question His plan and promises that we are blessed with by keeping the commandments, to question His ability to bless us. 
There is a scripture that says something like, if ye being evil think you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much greater gifts can God give to you. Heavenly Father has things He wants us to become, greater than we can imagine. This is a blessing on its own, having a Father in Heaven who wants us to become as He is. This fact is just perfectly aligned with His character though. We are His work and His glory. We are everything He cares about, just like our children are everything we care about. Teaching them to walk in the ways of righteousness, by example, is the most important thing, especially in this day when it is so hard to be influenced for good. 
The only way is to seek the good, to read the scriptures, and to be filled with knowledge and light to guide us. Heavenly Father carefully sets up each aspect of our lives to help us grow and learn to the greatest potential possible. He stretches us and gives us strength when we fall short. He asks that we communicate with Him through prayer, and He listens to us. He encourages us countless times in the scriptures to ask Him, to come to Him with anything…rely completely on Him, and He will never leave us. 
Sometimes I find myself selfish and ungrateful, like my whole life. How incredible is the love Heavenly Father has for us…everyone one of His children, even those who rebel against Him! I know He loves us more than we can understand. The knowledge is not for us to just say, His ways are higher than our ways, and give up, though. We can gain knowledge upon knowledge, as we are obedient to what we have been given.
So, anyway, there’s everything in my head. Now some exciting things from my week! So, that guy that called to us from his car, and we followed him home has not been following through with the appointments, unfortunately. But there is a lady who called to us from the street, right outside our apartment, and she asked us for a Bible. We said, Book of Mormon? And she was like yeah! And so, we met her and gave her the Book of Mormon, and she was all excited. She said she used to meet with some nice guys like us, and they would have nice discussions. We made an appointment with her and met with her yesterday. She talks a lot, but it’s really nice because we know a lot about her, and exactly what she thinks about everything. She has an extremely strong testimony of the Atonement and prayer and the Bible. All good things! It was incredible…she is like golden! She was telling us how she knows it is important to be living our religion, and not just go on Sundays! She said she is looking for the true Church. We taught her the Restoration, and she loved it all. She agreed with everything, and showed so much faith. She doesn’t doubt that the Book of Mormon is true. She still needs to pray about it, though. But she wants a quad combination just like us, so she can have it all together. We committed her to baptism for June 22nd, and she said, “Yes, of course,” and wants her daughters to be baptized also. She has definitely been prepared to receive the Restored Gospel. I’m not sure if she could be more prepared! So that was incredible!
Other than that, we have been teaching a lot of less-actives, and finding new investigators. Things are going great! The best way to teach with the Spirit is to care for the people you teach, and truly listen. That is something I have learned, it’s like night and day. When you care for them, you are guided, when you don’t, you’re not. Simple as that!
I love you all! I know this Gospel is true! I truly, honestly, love reading the Book of Mormon because it can guide us in every aspect of our lives. It is truly the word of God. Thanks for writing me letters and supporting me! I hope you all have a great week! Love you!
Elder Hoyt

Monday, May 13, 2013


OI! Tudo Bem!

Como estao? Eu estou contente e estou amando o missao. Still practicing! It was great to talk to you all yesterday! Wow, it was awesome! Just like old times! It was great to hear all your voices. Thanks Spencer and Lauren and Grandma and Grandpa O for coming to talk…very nice to feel all the love!

So yeah! I didn’t say on the phone, but the other day the coolest thing happened. We had just finished our dinner with some members at a restaurant, and we were coming home on our bikes. We were waiting to cross at the street corner, and this guy yelled from his car and asked, "Are you guys Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness?" Obviously, we yelled back that we are Mormons. He said, "Have any Books of Mormon?" And he did say, “Books” of Mormon haha. We said yeah, and he said to meet him at Somerset, which we did not know where that was, so he turned, and we followed him as best we could. Somehow, we managed to get to his house. He was a young guy with a girlfriend and a couple kids. We gave him a little taste of what we believe, and set up an appointment to meet! He wasn’t there when we went back though, but hopefully this next week we will get to meet with him. It was just cool because if we had not been at that exact place for that 30-second time span, we would have never seen him…very cool!  

So, yesterday during Church, we got to watch the kids in Primary during singing time, so the mothers could go to Relief Society…pretty fun haha! And the little boys were like so excited to see us. Something cool made an impression on me yesterday. The kids all drew pictures of the Prophet, and wrote what they would do to follow him. All the little boys want to go on missions, at age 8. I don’t know if they fully understand everything, but it made me realize how important family is, because the children grow up with the Light of Christ in them. They all wanted to serve, and I guess the only thing that stops them is the influence of the world. I just hope that they develop their testimonies to withstand it. They are so protected in the home, that’s why it is a perfect place for them to grow and develop their testimonies. They can become strong without bad influences, until they can hold their own.

I thought about that when the guy yelled at me. I got all discouraged because it was the first person I talked to, and I hate when people yell at me, that’s why I never give anyone reason to, or try not to. This guy didn’t have a reason except that I am a missionary, and I’m not even sure he knew which Church I was from. I was too scared to talk with anyone else after that, and I thought to myself, what the heck am I going to do, I can’t handle this. But then I remembered, I’m not on my own. We said a prayer right there on the side of the street with our bikes, and I remembered. I remembered our Savior and what He had done. How much He loved me, how much He was cheering me on. Then off we went. Think about how much love He has for us. Mom, do you remember that one time I was in the car with you on the driveway, and you said you could help take my pain away, that mothers can help take away the pain, that you have the ability to feel it with me? After you said that, I was thinking about it later, and I thought, that’s exactly what the Savior has done for us. He loved each one of us so much that He wants to bear all our pains for us. He wanted to take it all away. It’s way more than we can comprehend, but I want to be able to experience the Atonement more, and be able to use it more. I know we can become so much stronger when we rely on the Lord. 

I want to do that more. And I want to be a better missionary. It’s hard to do it. It’s easier said than done, especially being the week-old Elder whose been trained to teach in Portuguese haha. I’m learning all I can though. I love you all! I love all the support. You are all the best. I pray for each of you Mom, Dad, Ryan, Carina, Lorenzo, Spencer, Lauren, and Lizzie. Eu se amo voces. voces sao familia maravilhosa. Obrigado por seus oracaos. 

Elder Hoyt

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I'm in Michigan!

Hello Family!

So I am here safely. We were picked up from the airport by the Assistants, and driven to President Holme's house. We took pictures and were fed hamburgers! We hadn’t eaten anything all day, so that was so nice! We then got interviews with the President, which was great. He is an awesome guy! He is going to be released in six weeks, but I get to have him for a little bit. He had all this information about me, so that was funny.

It would have been nice to go out proselyting, but our second flight was delayed a little bit, so there wasn’t enough time. All we had time for was interviews, and then we just watched Mormon Messages…well, Elder B, two other Elders and I did, everyone else got to go proselyting, and then I slept at the Assistants’ apartment, and the next day we went to the transfer meeting at the Church. I got new companions! Two of them! So I’m in a trio. I guess they usually put the Visa waiters in trios because they could leave at anytime.

Everyone is asking me how long I’m going to be here, and I was like I have no idea...hahahha. But today I just got an email from the Church, and it says, by now you have probably realized your Visa has not been approved. So yeah, I have realized that, but I’m glad they told me, so we are on the same page here.

But I’m so excited to be serving here! I have no idea how to do anything, except teach and speak Portuguese, but I also have a strong testimony of the Gospel and the happiness it has brought to my life. I also have the Spirit as my guide, and Preach My Gospel, which has the answer to everything! I also have great trainers…Elder F and Elder H! They have been out almost a year, so this is going to be great.

My P-day is on Monday, and I will be calling on Sunday. I’m calling at 5 o’clock here, so I think that is 2 o’clock in California. So I’m excited to talk to you guys!!!!!! It was awesome last time, how you got everyone on the phone, I loved that! Sorry I could only talk for a little bit, there wasn’t much time. We didn’t want to cut it as close as the first flight. Okay, well, I will talk to you all on Sunday! Love you all so much! You are all the best!

Elder Hoyt

Hey, I forgot to give you my address. Just to let you know really quick, I live at:

510 Hickory Lane, Apt. 104
Westland, Michigan 48185-3435