Monday, June 24, 2013

Welcomed Everyone :)

Dear Family!

Wow! My Visa is ready! I think I will leave at the end of the transfer. President Holmes said they wouldn’t send me in between transfers because it’s too confusing. Well, wow, I wasn't sure it was coming. It'll probably come like this week then, judging from my MTC pals.

Yes, I am so glad President talked to me. So this new transfer has been excellent so far. It is really what you want to make of something, that’s what you will get. So, Elder A is 26 and Elder D is 19. Elder A has been out three transfers, and Elder D has been out like eight months.

I have a testimony of companionship inventory, it is awesome! It takes care of worries or conflicts, and it is organized in such a perfect way that you cannot get in arguments over it, because you all realize that you are here to do missionary work and your hearts are united as one. You are willing to resolve the conflicts because you know there is something more important. Anyway, it is awesome. 

So, another thing I wanted to tell about is my ward. I have been studying on how to do member missionary work, because I feel like it is the only way to really get people baptized and stay active. Literally the only way for them to stay active is to know some of the members. I guess not the only way, but like 99% of the way. So, this first Sunday at Church, every person I saw I welcomed them in, and introduced myself, and got to know them. I met so many people, and tried to meet as many as I could. I felt like the Lord was pleased with me. It was the best! I feel like the ward loves me! I love them too! I talked to another missionary in the same ward, and I said, this is a great ward, really welcoming! He said, really? And I said, oh yes! You just have to talk to people first, once they feel that you sincerely want to get to know them, they feel special and needed, and like they can trust you.

We need that unity within our wards and within are areas. We need to reach out to people and welcome them. We are all friends here, we are all children of Heavenly Father. He loves everyone here. If you are motivated by that love, and let the love of God flow through you, people will feel it. That was evident to me last night. We came home from the missionary the way, I hope everyone watched that, it was so awesome, I felt so inspired! Anyway, so after we came home, there was this lady and man standing outside our apartments. They were residents, and the guy had just changed the lady's brakes for free. We had our apartment manager with us because he is a member and drove us to the broadcast. So, we were talking to them, and got on the subject of religion. He was talking about how weird it was when his ex-girlfriend would speak in tongues, and do gyrations and things like that. He said it seemed like devil worshipping. And so, eventually, he said, I just don’t know why there are so many different churches? And right then I just felt this surge in my mind, and in all of me, that wanted him to know about the Restoration of the Gospel. I just had such a strong feeling that "he is looking for truth, but he doesn’t know where to find it."

People that have these questions, and wonder about them, and actually care, these are the elect of God! I had to take control of myself, though, I couldn't just spew out the Restoration, I didn't want him to lose interest. So, I told him I had the exact answer for that question. I told him about how there used to be one Church when Jesus Christ walked the earth, the Church that He himself established, under the direction of His Father. And I explained the Apostasy, and about how people tried to bring back the truths, and started forming all these churches. And then I said, you know there was a boy named Joseph Smith who had the same question. Anyway, we talked a little more, and eventually I invited him to Church next Sunday, and got his number to remind him. It was such a sweet experience. He said he would really be interested in coming. I know at that time, I was being led by the Spirit what to say. I know it because I felt the love Heavenly Father has for him, and I wanted him to know the truth so badly that I was speaking with all my heart and soul. I wasn't talking to myself in front of him or going over information, it was all real. I hope he comes to Church this Sunday, though. He would honestly love it, he has never been.

I love missionary work now. I am beginning to love it all the way. It gives you so much happiness! I couldn't sleep last night for like an hour because I was so excited. I know that we can all be missionaries, and when I get home, I will be the best member missionary, and I will lift where I stand. It feels so good to serve the Lord when you do it willingly and with all your heart, might, mind and strength. It feels so good to get home at night and say, we gave it all we could, we are doing everything in our power to bring souls to Christ. We are immediately blessed and given spiritual strength to easily overcome temptation, to be filled with the Spirit, and our hearts are changed!

I love this gospel. There is so much more we can understand about it, we never have to stop progressing. I love the Lord, in Him my soul delights. There is a quote that President Holmes gave us, "Be the missionary your mom thinks you are." I am trying my best. I thought it was a good quote. The more I understand about the Gospel, the more I realize how great my parents are. I love you guys so much! I miss you all! We are as the Army of Helaman! We have been taught in our youth, and we are now the Lord's missionaries, to bring the world His truth!

Elder Hoyt

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Transferred to a New Place

Hi Everyone,

I just got transferred to a new place. I am in a tri-companionship with Elder D and Elder A. My new address is: 

2580 Oxford Road #B2
Berkley, Michigan 48072 

Seems like it is going to be a great transfer! Love you all!

Elder Hoyt

Monday, June 17, 2013

Staying Another Transfer

So, this week has been sweet...Oh so, I have some BIG news. I haven’t gotten my Visa yet (as we all know), but I guess they won't fly me out in the middle of a transfer, to Brazil at least. I think my mission in Brazil told that to President Holmes. So, the only way I would leave for Brazil is at the end of next transfer, which is six weeks. So I have another six weeks here at least. And on top of that, I am getting transferred, even though I already got switched areas in the middle of last transfer. So, I don't know where I am going yet, but I hope I get the package today because that would be prime.

So, tomorrow I go somewhere, and at first I was a little perturbed, because I just start to learn an area, and start to actually help, and then I leave. It’s quite a bit of work to learn an area, and I thought that I was just getting moved without much thought, because I am a Visa waiter, and we always get put in trios and stuff. But then, as Elder B and I were biking to our dinner appointment, we were on the shoulder of the road, and this car pulls off. We were going against traffic, and it looked like he was going to hit us, but he was flashing his brights, so I got onto the sidewalk because I didnt want to get hit. But as it turns out, it was President Holmes! I guess he meant to talk to me at Stake Conference, but he told me he was going to keep me here, but he really felt like I needed to go and be with this other companionship. And he said it was from the Lord, and he wasn't just moving me around like a pawn on the chessboard. And I was like, YES! Thank you, I really needed that. I should have trusted that he was prayerfully considering who and where we would be moved, but it’s hard because I am new, and I'm a Visa waiter, but I'm really glad he was able to tell me that. So Elder B is going to stay in this area (Canton West) and train a new missionary, so I’m going to miss him. 

Oh, and yeah, this last Saturday we had Mission Conference, and we all shook Elder Christofferson's hand, also President Wayne, from the Presidency of Quorum of the Seventy, and Elder Valenzuela from the Seventy, and a couple other General Authorities. So, we were in for a treat! They all spoke to us, and then President and Sister Holmes spoke to us, and their two kids, Matthew and Whitney. And all the missionaries did a special musical number as a surprise to President and Sister Holmes...we sang the Especially For Youth medley, As Sisters in Zion and We'll Bring the World His Truth. It was awesome! 

I guess Elder Richard G. Scott was Elder Christofferson’s Mission President back in the day, and he said it’s different serving with him in the Quorum of the Twelve, because Elder Scott knows a lot more about him than he knows about Elder Scott. So he said, sometimes I look down, and Elder Scott will just be looking at me, and I’m not sure what he is thinking. Pretty funny!

He spoke a little, and then opened it up for questions. I don’t remember a lot of what was said off the top of my head, but I remember feeling how important the Spirit is with relation to missionary work, and that we can actually recognize the Spirit, and that is the single most important skill a person can obtain in life, is to know how to receive revelation. So that is something I am going to be working on, recognizing a lot more how I feel, and if I feel like it might be an impression from the Spirit, to see how the results end up, and really evaluate and be sensitive and follow promptings. Because I figure, if you know exactly what it is like to get a prompting, then you will be much more likely to act on it, rather than if you are unsure. If you are unsure you can say, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, and the strength is not there. It also requires a lot of faith. There’s so much to learn all the time!

And I can really feel the Spirit most when I am testifying to people. Yesterday, Elder B and I were talking to this guy, who was basically telling us that Joseph Smith was a false prophet. And I looked him in the eye and said, “Would the devil persuade men to believe in Christ?” He hadn’t read the Bible or the Book of Mormon, but he knew all about them. So we told him we know this Book is true, not because of what other people have told us, but we know for ourselves, and then we left. But it was really a testimony growing experience, being able to testify to someone who doesn’t believe at all. Usually I am not that bold, but a lot of times you need to be. It’s something I am getting better at.

I really liked what you said about giving your heart to the Lord, really that is true repentance. I have been completely enlightened on repentance, and what it really means...being completely willing to do whatever the Lord asks of you, and trusting in Him. I feel like I really could have listened a lot more to you guys. You have been teaching me these things my whole life, and I never really fully embraced it, but I have now. I'm glad I have finally learned what it means to be converted. I have studied the Gospel all my life, but I hadn't yet fully made the Gospel who I am. I guess that is the conversion process though. Now every time I read anything, I have such a better understanding. One important thing is, you have to want it. So many times in the scriptures after a prayer, the Lord says it will be granted unto you according to your desires...our desires lead to faith, and faith leads to action, or repentance. The way to truly learn is open your heart to the Spirit, and be willing to act on the knowledge you receive.

It is really important that we don’t get comfortable, but that we are constantly learning as much as we can and improving, especially on the mission. I don’t think I will ever be satisfied with my skills and abilities, which causes me to study harder each day, trying to figure out how I can be a better instrument in the Lord's hands. Trying to figure out how to deepen my conversion, strengthen my testimony, strengthen the testimony of others, teach better, ask better questions, recognize the Spirit, how to approach people, how to talk to people, how to work with ward members, how to teach with the Priests in our ward, how to set goals, how to achieve goals, how important it is to magnify our callings, how important Home Teaching is...the list is really endless. But we can really only achieve how much we want to, and how much faith we have, and how willing we are to exercise the faith. Jesus Christ came to earth not to be ministered unto, but to minister to the people. If we are to become as he is, I know that we need to serve others. It really changes us. The more we serve, the more we love what and whom we are serving. 

Love you all! Thank you for all the support! You are in my prayers, by name. I love you so much. I will talk to you next week!

Elder Hoyt

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Visas Are Coming!

Hello Family,

Wow! I'm having a blast this week! So, yes I moved, my new address is:

40548 Douglas Drive, Apt. # 204
Canton, Michigan 48188

Sorry I didn't get to that last week! I don't think I'll be leaving for a little while. Sister Remy from my District got her Visa, so she is leaving the 17th of this month. She is in Detroit with me, and I saw her at Zone Conference. Also my companion from the MTC emailed, and said he got his Visa also, and should be leaving soon. So the Visas are coming!

And thanks so much for your email...when you quote me it makes me feel special! I love you Mom. This lady gave a talk in Church yesterday about families, and she said she received revelation to tell her son that she loved him every single day. And I thought, you know what, my mom did that. Then I remembered everything you have done for me! You showed me so much love, I cannot describe. I will always be in debt. You and Dad both have. I remember that you always told me how much you loved me, and you wanted to read the scriptures with me, and you wanted me to do the right things, but you never forced me. You always loved me into everything. And that is one of the greatest lessons I have can never force people to do things. There are so many things I learn everyday.

But, here we are in last week Elder B and I read this talk, or this experience about a missionary, it inspired us. Basically, our lives are about to change. So, like I was talking about the pureness of heart, this past week we have been learning about purifying ourselves and sanctifying ourselves and having real growth. So first, we need to take a look at ourselves, to know the true desires of our hearts and who we is what you do when no one is looking, it is also what you think when you don't have to, or what you would do if you were alone.

Missionary work is work, but I realize that I need to purify myself, if I am to experience the fullness of joy that I have ever felt in my entire life, then this is the only way. I need to be purified through the love and the atonement of Jesus Christ. When you pray and ask for Heavenly Father to help you remove the things that distract you, and tell Him to take the heart you have, to change your desires, to give you a new heart and fill you with the Spirit of the Lord, you will have the fullness of joy, and the gifts of the Spirit that will make you become something Heavenly Father wants you to be. What He wants us to be is more than we can ever imagine. With His help, we can become full of love, patient, and we can desire everything good, and lay hold upon every good thing. We can have the ability to literally treasure up the word of the Lord in our hearts, so that we can live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God. Once we are filled with the Spirit, and have desires to do all good, and to lay hold upon every good thing, we are on the path of being purified.

I am on this path, and I am so excited to become the most effective missionary I can be, because that is what I want, and I know the Lord will grant it to me because it is my true desire, and because of my faith. I know He can change my desires because He has done it before. I am so excited and I can feel the Spirit so much stronger every time I talk about this. I know that eventually I will love all aspects of missionary work, no matter what continent I'm on. I know that this will change my life, and that the Spirit will be poured out upon me. I will experience the most joy in my life that I have ever experienced.

I love you all. I love our family, and it is so nice to look back and remember how much love there is in our family. Thanks for teaching me, and loving me, and showing me the way. Elder B and I are doing great, and we are getting some more appointments, and trying to help the member missionary work. Thanks for all the support...I love you all!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Hoyt

Detroit Michigan Mission ring

Monday, June 3, 2013

I've Been Mission You All!

So, this week has been quite exciting! I’m in a different area now, the one right next to my other area. I am with a new companion, and not in a tri-panionship anymore. I‘m really excited to start serving with my new companion, Elder B. I’ve known him since I’ve been here, and we get along well. He is from Los Alamitos California, so that’s sweet. He is a good missionary, obedient, and has good desires, which I think is most important. If the Lord looks on the heart, then we should try to also. But really, I like to know the reasons for actions, especially with myself. So this should be a good time.

We are both fairly new to this area, so we don’t have many people to teach. We are starting off small, but we will build it up big! We are going to do our best. So we are trying to build the relationship with the ward right now, because we realize we literally need them. Last Sunday was great, and people are starting to realize that I’m here. I introduced myself in Elders Quorum, but I don’t know why, because I did three weeks ago. So that kind of shows our problem, we need to strengthen our relationship with them. Oh, let me clarify real quick, there are two areas in the same ward, so I’m in the same ward at least.  

Anyway, I loved what you said about listening to the people. It is truly what we need to do. People won't think they need anything, unless we can help them to realize they do, by discerning through the Spirit. Last week we were going door to door, and this lady said she didn’t want us to come back because she had lost her son five years ago, and was still having a hard time. All we said is that the Gospel helps with that type of thing, and she still said no, so we left and kept going.

We got home later that night, and I kept on thinking about that lady and how much she needed the Gospel and the Atonement and the knowledge. We didn’t convey anything to her! She probably just thought that all we had to offer was going to church. I could just tell by the way her face looked, I mean her expression, and the way she talked, that she was having a really hard time. So I couldn’t really let that stand how it was. So we went back and I said, I know you told us not to come, but there’s a video I thought could really help out with your situation. And she said she would accept the video, and so we need to take it to her. The video is Finding Faith in Christ, by the way. Now it’s up to the other Elders to take it to her, but I’ll make sure they do.

It was just crazy how much love I felt for her, and how much I wanted to help her. I know that it is the Lord's love working through me. I just wanted to do everything I could to help her. It was crazy! So, hopefully we can help her. I know that it is so important to listen to people and discern their needs with the Spirit. Look into their eyes, and it will be given to you through the Spirit. Even if they only talk to you for 15 seconds!

We have also had some nice experiences with the Michigan weather. It’s funny, everyone talks about the weather here. "Oh you’re from California, huh? How do you like the weather?" It’s not too weird. It just randomly rains sometimes, and it can be pretty humid. We were tracting, and then it just started pouring rain. Then we went to our dinner appointment on our bikes, and it started pouring. The drops of rain were huge, it was like we jumped in a pool. The pants that I have, called American Rag are sweet. I’ve been wearing those mostly. They dry from the rain super quick.

Something kind of funny is that everyone has screen doors here, so it’s so much fun talking to people through their screen doors, where you can’t hardly see them, but they can see you! One time I tried to open it to talk to them, and the guy like reached forward to hold it shut, and shook his head. People get pretty sensitive about us opening the door. That’ll be the last time I do that!

Something I realized is really important, and I love thinking about, I mentioned it earlier in the letter, it is doing everything with sincerity and pureness of heart, and with the right desires. It is a test of our true character and our integrity. I think it is really cool. If we are pure in heart, we are always more at peace, and more receptive to the Holy Ghost.

For instance, following a certain commandment, think first...why am I doing this? Then dig down deep and find the true reason, because in the Doctrine & Covenants the Lord says, all the commandments He gives us are spiritual and not carnal. So if we are following a commandment carnally, but the true desires of our Spirit are not, we aren’t truly following the commandment. Do we glory in righteousness or do we glory in wickedness? Do we wish we didn’t have to do something? I know I have felt like this quite a bit throughout my life, and I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, because we are judged on the desires of our hearts, but I know our hearts can truly be changed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and by listening to the promptings of the Spirit. By consistently living the commandments, we gain a stronger and stronger testimony, if we are living it with sincerity, and because we love and trust in our Heavenly Father.

It is an honor to be able to serve the Lord for two years, to represent Him. How does He entrust us with all this? This is going to be a point in my life where I look back and say, I couldn’t have done anymore, and I couldn’t have done any better. We will be working our hardest...doing our best. And I know we will be able to find some people to teach!

Glad to hear the Seminary kids are getting their missions going! It’s the best! Tell them to write me letters! I love you all and I hope you guys have an awesome week! Thanks for all the updates on everything! You are in my prayers!

Elder Hoyt