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!

Love,
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!

Love,
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,
√Člder 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!

Love,
Elder Nathan Hoyt


Monday, December 2, 2013

Very Sweet Experience

Hello!

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 vocabulary...no 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