Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Arrived in BRAZIL!!!

 Hello Dear Families!

We just want to inform that your missionaries arrived safely in the Brazil Recife Mission!
They are such great missionaries and we are excited to see their work.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rats in the Basement


So, my interview with the President went well! He didn't say anything about the Visa, and I asked his wife, and she said that three people have gotten their Visas, but it wasn't my District or me, so we will have to see. I'm really on a roller coaster here with the Visa thing. It's like being in limbo. But I asked him about teaching with the Spirit, and he shared with me some awesome experiences about it, and I realized that I need more humility. So, I have been working on that, and being more thankful, and seeing the good in people. It is really a challenge to change what is on the inside, you know? Like when you open the door to the basement and the rats run and hide. The rats are there and you can hide them, but the real goal is to get the rats out completely. It’s the same thing with our lives. So when you get impatient and react to something, you say---well, if that didn't happen, I would not have acted like that. But that is like saying---if they didn't open the basement door so fast, then the rats would have had time to hide. It is our true character that we have to work on.

I really liked your thoughts on the Sacrament and the relationship between the Savior and us. That is a great insight. It makes me happy to hear about your thoughts, and how you pondered on that. It really gives me strength to hear your testimonies.

This last week was really good. We had a member go with us to a couple lessons, and he is a really good member-missionary. He bore a powerful testimony, and taught so well that the investigator said he needed to come to Church. So he was there yesterday! He loved it, and he noticed how simple the Church building is. He said since there are no decorations or distractions, he is able to think about the Savior and God a lot easier. He is great! We are going to see him again this week. 

So, the best miracle we had last week was pretty crazy. We hadn't had too many lessons to start out the week, and then on Thursday, we were doing "bike for baptism," so everyone in the mission bikes, and tries to find new investigators and talk to everyone. So, even though that day we had the most appointments we have ever had scheduled for one day, we biked! So we were going everywhere, and it was so hot and super humid. And I think all of the appointments we had weren't home, BUT we found other people and taught them instead! So, in the end we taught more people than we had planned for, even though we had planned for a lot! Then we biked again the next day, and again and again, hoping it would happen again. But I just thought it was very cool because we could have said---well, we have too many appointments, and we didn't know we would have to use bikes, or it’s way too hot and our appointments are spread too far apart---but we did it anyway!

I wanted to give you my testimony...I know that prayer is two-way communication with Heavenly Father. The more we pray with real intent, and all the energy of heart, the closer we will feel to Heavenly Father. Prayer is the only way we can receive knowledge of spiritual truths. Prayer is how we receive revelation. I know that God leads The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through His servants. I love you all, thank you for all the support.

Elder Hoyt

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Miracle Everyday!

Dearest Family,

There is a cool scripture in 1 Thessalonians 1:5 that says, “...our gospel came not by word only, but by power.” It really emphasizes how real the Spirit is, that we don't learn just from reading the words and piecing the information together, but we learn by the Spirit that touches our hearts. That’s why we need to teach with the Spirit, so that it can touch the hearts of the people and teach them the truth. I have realized there is great opposition in this world to righteousness. People feel that it doesn't matter what they do, so the main thing is getting people to care. 

This last week we had instruction from the Zone Leaders about there being many things we can't control, and we have no need to worry over those things, or let them effect us in a negative way. The things we can't control are our companions, people we teach, ward members. Things we can control are how we react. The key is to act and not be acted upon (2 Nephi 2). We always have our freedom to choose, and even when we decide not to choose, we are making a decision. So that is something I have been thinking about. Like I said, we are definitely up against opposition, but really it gives us an opportunity! Sometimes it helps me to look at it that way. It is an opportunity to show faith in the Lord, to ask for strength to overcome the challenges that arise. Sometimes you feel in a bad mood and forget to call on the Lord, you lose hope and just say, this day is done, nothing good will happen. 

We went to this referral's house we got this last week, and this guy with oxygen tubes in his nose answered the door. He said go away, I don't want to buy anything. I said (with a big smile), "Oh, we aren't selling you anything! We actually came"...then he interrupts and starts yelling, and says to get off the porch, and won't listen to anything we say. I asked, "Is Catherine there?" (name of referral). He won't listen because he is yelling, and I try to tell him we were actually requested to come here! So eventually, we just had to leave, but that type of thing never leaves you feeling good. Maybe later we will try again, and hope the person we were looking for answers the door. But in times like those, you really need to pray, and we didn't, and I really wish we did. But we need to pray always, and remember who is behind us. 

So, we have had a couple experiences like that, of people saying we preach false doctrine and stuff, but it has really strengthened me. "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16)." I used to hate when people yell at me, now I love it!! Just kidding, I still hate it, but I have learned to take it. And I don't mean I take it and stare at the floor, I listen to what they are saying, but I am still working on it not affecting me. I think feelings of discouragement and temptation goes back to one thing, to get us to forget who we are. We are really just tempted to forget we are sons and daughters of Heavenly Father, but if we can remember that, not just the words, but remember what it means, then we don't need to be discouraged. We can be given peace in times of trial, not as the world gives it, but as the Son of God gives it (John 14:27).

I know we are sons and daughters of God, and He loves us much more than we can understand. We can begin to understand and know the mysteries of God through obedience and diligence, service, patience, and as we strive to live the Gospel. As we learn what He has prepared for us, how much God has entrusted us with, we can be strengthened in our faith and love towards Him. I know that is true. I always think of when Jesus asked Peter, "do you love me?" (John 21:17). I picture Jesus asking me the same thing.

I love being here. We have a miracle everyday! Yesterday an investigator that missed the first lesson with us two weeks ago was home! So we have tried her a bunch of times, and her grandparents answer and say she will call us. So that rarely happens, but we had no way of getting a hold of her. Then yesterday she answered the door! She said she didn't have our number! But she said she wants to learn something new each time we come over. We were like, that's great! That’s perfect! You are awesome! So, she said yesterday during the lesson that she was thinking the same question Joseph Smith had, that she didn't know which church was true. She doesn't like the churches where people shake and things like that, but she wants to go to a church. So, she said she was wondering that for a while, then we walk up to her car while she was cleaning it. She was like, yeah it was pretty crazy that you guys showed up! She is 19 years old and has a lot of ambition for college and everything. We are excited to teach her again today!

So, things are going well! I really enjoy receiving letters from you all. It is a huge strength to me for the rest of my week. It definitely encourages me to know that my family is supporting me and loves me. Some people don't have that, and I realize it is a huge strength and blessing. I love you all so much. I am so thankful for your examples. I think about you all often! I really am grateful for the packages too, I am excited to get them!

Elder Hoyt

Monday, July 8, 2013

More Than Just A Religion

On the Fourth of July we did missionary work like normal! And then we baked a cake for Elder D's birthday. Definitely, I have experienced some great times, and some hard times this week, but I have learned so much!

I wanted to share with you something President Holmes taught me about the Fall, because we are all born innocent without sin, and we each have our own individual fall. There is a scripture in Moses 6:55 that talks about Adam’s children, “when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.” And so we all become fallen and carnal, and that’s why we need Jesus Christ. There is a quote that says, “the more someone understands the Fall, the more they understand why we need Christ.” I have understood more about the Fall this last week from 2 Nephi 2 in the Book of Mormon. I have read it so many times, but this time, I came to a greater understanding! There would be no progression without opposition, men are free and can choose liberty and eternal life, or death and misery, but what gives us the ability to even make a choice? The Atoning Sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ, He makes it possible for us to choose liberty and eternal life. Without Him, there would be no choice, except death and the power of the devil. I now understand the Fall deeper in my heart.

We were so glad to have dinner at a member’s home yesterday! A very loving and welcoming family! I just felt right at home, and when we left we were so uplifted! The wife was telling us about her missionary experiences, and it was just so refreshing! We were then able to go teach this new investigator about the Restoration, and she loved it! She really recognized us as servants of the Lord. It was funny though, she said she felt like my eyes could see through her into her soul. It was a great lesson, and she already has a strong testimony of prayer, which she bore to us! We read with her Moroni 10:2-5 and asked her what it meant, and she wanted to mark it to show it to someone. She said she is so excited to read the Book of Mormon. It was so great! I know that she is a true follower of Jesus Christ and a seeker of truth. I hope we can strengthen her testimony!

Bianca is also still awesome and progressing! Before we left last time, she said wait, when are you guys coming back? So she beat us to it! She is like the most golden investigator though, so it’s completely different going to her house.

It is awesome to be able to tell people I am headed to Brazil, they are really impressed, and I just say, yeah we take this seriously. Then I tell them my sister is serving a mission for the Church in Siberia, Russia right now, and then their jaw drops. They ask all these questions, and then they realize that it is more than just a religion. This is the work of the Lord! We don’t just walk around and give out cards, we bring people the Spirit of God, and we are commissioned to do that. It really makes a difference when you say, "yeah we are just missionaries and stuff, and we teach people and share the gospel," as opposed to, "We are missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are full time servants of the Lord." That is really what we are, and we take our calling seriously. So it is great to be here!

After teaching that family last night, I don’t want to leave now, so that’s good! So, I'll work on wanting to leave Michigan once I get to Brazil! That’s another lesson I have learned, to love where you are. 

I know the Gospel has been restored to the earth, and we are led by a modern day prophet, I know the Spirit speaks to peoples’ hearts, I know the Spirit can be our constant companion, and can tell us what we need to do to become closer to the Lord. Just think, what can I do to be a better disciple of Christ? You will have a thought come to you, choose whether to act on it or not. That’s what we did in our mission, to become more consecrated servants. It is so awesome! I know it’s true, I have received so many blessings! I have received more faith. I love you all so much! Thanks for thinking about me!

Elder Hoyt

 Downtown Detroit

 Detroit River

General Motors Building

Monday, July 1, 2013

I Will Never Stop Being A Missionary

Tudo Bem!

So, my Visa is FINALLY ready! Wow, I just got settled in. I will leave at the end of the transfer, pretty much on my birthday! There is a slight possibility I might move again because I guess it isn’t legal to have three people in our apartment, and this lady told on us. The manager of our apartments is in our ward though, so it might be fine. And they really don’t want to move me again, because I have moved a lot. I don’t want to move again either, but it has happened in the past, so just to be safe, send any handwritten letters or packages to the mission office.

The missionary work this past week has been going awesome though! The Bishopric asked a missionary from each companionship to bear their testimony on missionary work this last Sunday. So I bore mine on how the Lord is with us side by side in His work. It was just for like five minutes because there are three missionary companionships in our ward, I don’t think I mentioned that last time. But the Bishop is starting up this member missionary program, so we can get more member lessons, and have the members more involved, because the Lord has asked that the members lead missionary work in their ward, and the missionaries support them, not to have the missionaries as the only ones who do missionary work. So we are really trying to get the ward involved because we need people to stay active and not just get baptized.

We actually invited this investigator, Bianca, to be baptized last night and she accepted for the 28th of July! It was so awesome! She is super nice, and the best experience with her is last time we were reading Alma 34, and explaining the Atonement and what it meant, and then she was like "ooooooooohhh" like she understood. And I asked, what---Did you understand something better? And she said, now I know what it means when the Bible says that. So it’s awesome because she really is trying to learn. She read the whole Plan of Salvation pamphlet before we came, so it’s really a blessing to be able to teach her. 

Also, we have been talking to a lot of people on the street and jumping right in to teaching them the Restoration. Actually, on the bus coming home from Detroit, I taught this girl a brief Restoration lesson, and told her to get a free Book of Mormon. She seemed really interested in it. We are really having a great time teaching and doing the Lord's work.

I know the Lord is here preparing people, and working here with us, as we strive our hardest to let Him. I like the scripture in the Olive Tree Allegory:

“...labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me, ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come.” Jacob 5:71

The Lord of the vineyard sent His servants down for the last time, and they worked in the vineyard, and the Lord worked with them also in the vineyard. I know He is working side by side with us. What an honor that is! It is an honor to see how much trust the Lord has in us, and how much faith He puts in His children. The more faithful we are, the more trust and power He gives us.

I know this Gospel is true, and has been restored through a prophet of God, who was a humble seeker of truth, foreordained to be the Prophet of this last dispensation. This is last time the servants of the Lord will go forth. The work is hastening, and it is something amazing to be a part of. I will never stop being a missionary, this is the life! 

Well, it’s nice to hear how things are going, I love you guys so much. Have a great week!

Elder Hoyt