Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Week 74

I am happy and healthy and the members here are taking good care of me
so do not worry mom :)

Yesterday I got good news. I got a call from Costa da Caparica my
first area and they told me that they were finally able to get
permission to baptize Romão, Jelson's little brother who we had found
and started teaching..  He asked that I and Elder Dufree came back and
were there at his baptism.  Elder Durfee has been home for a while
already, so he cannot make it but Romão wants me to be the one that
baptizes him. So hopefully if everything goes well I will get to go
back and visit the old area and perform his baptism next weekend.  It
is a wonderful feeling that he has stayed strong for so long and that
our efforts there are going to pay off finally.  It is really special
to see the aftereffects of our efforts, because if I have learned one
thing it is that most of the time we will never realize to what extent
our service will make a difference because the fruits of our labors
just keep on coming forever.  But I am sure glad that the Lord blessed
me to be able to see this one hopefully.

We found one guy knocking doors yesterday that was baptized when he
was 12 and has been inactive for years and has his family that he
married into that is all catholic and has gone back to being a kindof
lazy catholic that works a lot.  He has a really awesome family (he
looks just like the rock) and his wife is really cool and interested
because of some of the stuff that she has heard from family members
that she has that are members of the Church in the united states.  I
think that they have lots of potential and I am so glad that the
elders 20 years ago made that link in that man's life to the chruch so
that we were able to get in his door and meet his family.

We had a really tough time this week with the silva family.  We really
dedicated basically all of our attention to them and I got super
obsessed over trying to find solutions to their problems so that we
could have them baptized this weekend.  It was a real fight but the
Dad is just really prideful and stubborn and even threaten to call in
like a child services thing or something if they did not let it go for
now.  He has definitely hit his children before and so we are being
very careful with him so that he does not do anything to hurt those
wonderful children.  I get so sad when I hear his children talk about
him, a three year old yelling to him that he is a bad man and that he
does not like him, also a 10 year old saying that he will call the
cops the next time that he hits him, and a 13 year old praying that
the evil spirit can leave the man that is holding them back from being
baptized.  It is really tragic.  We fasted with the entire family to
have their father's heart softened and allow them to be baptized but
the situation is really complicated and we were not successful in
getting his permission still for this week. We had his verbal
permission but when we tried to get his signature on the baptismal
forms he realized that he had some authority and decided to abuse it
immediately.  I got really depressed about the whole situation and not
being able to help these wonderful children and it really made it a
tough couple of days, but we got out of it and we are going to keep
working with them, I know that it will all work out in the end and
that they will get what they truly deserve.

Ola Presidente
Este semana tivemos algumas dificuldades. Nos focalizávamos demais em
fazer tudo para que aquela família fosse batizado mas não conseguimos
por causa de falta de permissão do Pai. Fomos mesmo ousados com ele, a
família inteira jejuou connosco e fez tudo para ele aceitar, mas ele
não deixou e ameaçou para ligar alguma associação e criar muitas
problemas. Vamos ter muito cuidado com ele porque ele tem um historia
de abuso com os filhos e certamente não queremos isso. Foi mesmo
deficil para mim a ver a família a chorar que não podiam ser
batizados, e fiquemos muito desanimado e atrapalho a trabalho, mas
aprendemos e arrependemos e especialmente com a tua carta esta semana
sabemos o que temos que fazer e nunca mais deixaremos para

Sempre estamos a aprender e vamos continuar a por todo a nossos
corações neste trabalho. We are going to work hard this week and do
everything to be more possitive in our challenges and be able to
always be finding new people to teach and to baptize.

That was my main lesson from this week was the importance that being a
father really has. I find it so sad how lightly most people in this
world take that important responsibility of being a parent.  I never
want to give my children any reason to hate me and I never would want
to hold them back from making good decisions and having the happiest
lives possible.  It hurt me deeply to see children begging their
father for something wonderful and he not even hearing them out even
when they are in tears and being super sincere and respectful. He just
kept saying that they are not prepared even thought his 10 year old
can explain the plan of salvation and they all have been reading the
pamphlets and everything.  They have taken the stuff we leave with
them with them to school and kept reading even when they get teased by
their peers, they really are truly amazing and just because of a
stubborn father they are not getting the opportunity to be baptized
still.  This man is a father, but he does not really deserve the title
in my book, because he is not fulfilling the role he chose to be out
parting instead of loving his family,  he came home at 7am on Sunday
morning and got angry when after a half an hour his family got up to
get ready for Church, he lies to us to try to get us to give up on his
family and verbally is rough on his children.  We want to put an end
to this and bring the peace of the gospel into the lives of these
kids.  They deserve better.

I am so glad that I have the gospel in my life to help guide me in my
preparation for being a father one day.  I am also so grateful for the
examples of wonderful loving fathers that I have in my life.  I know
that I can always go to my father and get the help that I need that my
dad is always there for me ready and anxious to go out of his way and
make sacrifices on his part to be able to help me out.   I know that
the Gospel helps us so that we can be the best that we can be,  it
takes away our pains and regrets, it gives us hope, fills our lives
with love and stability, and keeps us going in the right direction
always. Thank you all for being such wonderful examples for me, for
lovingly creating and blessing your families especially you dad.  I
hope that one day I will be able to be a man like you and give my
children the father that they deserve as I was given.

I love you all so much

Com Amor
Elder Hobson

PS  I love you too Mom, and the same goes for you :)

Monday, January 18, 2016

Week 73

This week was an amazingly successful week.  It was one of the busiest
weeks that I have had so far in my mission. We literally were
constantly running from one lesson to the next so that we could teach
all the people that we had plans with.  We had to do divisions with
the members so that we could be in 2 places at once to be able to get
all that we needed to done done.  Every single day for almost the
entire week we were with people that we were able to set up baptismal
dates with and we should be having a good number of baptisms in the
next couple weeks.  I have tons of stories that I would love to tell
you all but I defiantly will not have enough time to get them all to
you right now.

We have been working a lot with Edson.  A guy that has about 22 years
and showed up in church the first week that I got here in Cacém. He
has been progressing a lot lately but for several reasons he is scared
to make the commitment of baptism and he has some rough home
situations that he wanted to clear up before he took that step.  So
once we finished teaching all of the commandments and he had
completely accepted all of them really willingly, we sat down in a
lesson where we were determined to get him to finally accept a date to
be baptized.  It ended up being a really intense lesson that took
about 2 hours of teaching him and explaining to him all that there is
to know as to why he should be baptized and how he is already ready,
being that he knows he wants to be baptized and says that he does not
have any doubt in his mind that the Book of Mormon is inspired of God.
It was really intense and we really gave it our all and he finally
accepted to be baptized on the 31st this month.  It will be the day
after his 23rd birthday. It was really cool to feel the relief in the
room and the Holy Ghost fill up the Chapel (because that is where we
have taught him all of the lessons) confirming to us all that this was
the right thing to do and that everything will go well.  I could
really see the difference in his semblance and in his stress levels
when he finally accepted.  Once he got passed that point everything
changed.  He now is talking about being a missionary, where it is that
he would like to serve, he has been helping us plan the baptism, and
he has even been out and taught some of our other investigators with
us.  I can really see the peace that we can bring into our lives when
we decide to follow our Savior.  He went from struggling along and not
having that much growth to drastic changes because he finally decided
to get out of the way and put his life in the Lord's hands.

We have seen lots of sucess working with inviting people to be
baptized immediatly so that they can know what is our vision with them
and what we are really doing here.  This was a big reason I think for
all of the sucess that we are seeing right now.  We did our best to
teach this principle in the zone meeting that we had this week,
hopefully they learned some things.  I felt that it was a really good
meeting and It was definatly a new challenge to put one of those
meetings together where you have to run it together instead of by
yourself.  But Elder Nogueira and I are getting along really well and
he is really willing to be flexible so that is perfect being that I am
a little stubborn still.  haha

We have been working with Alexandre a bit as well and he really wants
to be baptized now but he still needs to be married.  He came in and
explained really humbly what they cause of his divorce was for the
bishop and us along with the bishop when he first was getting to know
the church, which was a financial thing that he did not tell his wife
about before doing and has put them in a big mess because he lent
money to a friend. It was really cool to see him really humble himself
before the Lord and do what he can to make the wrongs right.
Hopefully we will be able to help Guilhermina accept his repentance
and see that he has really changed so that they can become married
again.  It was a wake up call to me that we really need to be careful
with all the decisions that we make in marriage and that we really
need to communicate well always. I know that it will all work out in
the end.  But it is always better if we can avoid making these giant
messes in the first place.

Our other big success story is with the Silva family.  On Monday we
were walking around lost, trying to find the apartment of one
investigator that we wanted to pass by but we were not finding it.  So
we began talking about how were knew that we were getting confused
because the Lord had a different elect in mind that he wanted us to
find in that moment.  So we kept going but really attent to our
surroundings.  We say a lady (Auda) hanging up some laundry in a big,
beat down house in the middle of a bunch of apartment buildings with a
little kid running around her in the yard.  So we walked over to the
fence and said hello and she lit up immediately and told us that some
of here boys had seen us walk by a few minutes ago and had wanted to
talk to us.  A 13 year old kid came to the window and started talking
to me in English (Elder Nogueira does not speak any english).  We
invited ourselves in and got to know the most prepared family that I
have every met.  They have 4 boys in the house right now with 8 kids
in total. Rogerio (17), Pedro (15 who is in Spain studying), Sergio
(13), Helder (10), and David (3). They are so cool and right from the
get go they have been super interested.  We told them why we are here
(which is to get people ready for baptism so that they can receive the
blessings that God has for them) and then we committed them to get
baptized on the 24th of this month.  Since then we have been teaching
them all every single day, they absolutely love us and have accepted
all of the major commandments. There has been some difficulties that
we have had to really fight to get past, for example the dad is a
Jehovah's witness, but not really if we are honest.  And we have
already basically converted him as well just talking twice, he
literally thanked us for teaching his family because he said that he
has tried in the past and they never wanted to do anything with
church.   He also tried to put off the baptismal date a bit but the
kids are not having any of that and are more then willing to show
their dad that they are ready for the 24th.  Unfortunately they are
not married so the mom will not be able to get baptized yet this next
weekend but we are going to work with her on that.  All the members
were amazed with the kids and loved them at church. I was in Sunday
school with them and Rogerio was blowing away all the other youth.  He
is really amazing and they are already going to go to Seminary and
Rogerio already started practicing with the stake youth Choir.  This
week will be fun to get to do the last preperations with them so that
they will be ready for this week. I am so grateful for the blessing of
having found this family and I hope that we can continue to have the
spirit guide us to these people  that the Lord has prepared for us
here in Cacém.

Love Elder Hobson

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Week 72

I decided to expand where I send out this family letter.  I was
thinking about all the comments about the reunion this year and I
thought that it is awesome how united our family is and I wanted to
start sending my letter to all of you from now on for the last year of
my mission. Thank you for all of the love and support that you have
shown me on my mission and throughout my entire life.

I am enjoying my time with Elder Nogueira. We are working really hard
and getting a ton of things done.  I expect that we will continue to
see a lot of success in our area.

This weekend we got to do a bunch of service.  We spent the morning
working on a house of a less active family that is moving and they are
needing help to get the last touches done so that they can get moved
in and get back onto a normal schedule. made me think of home a lot as
I was putting together light switches and plugs and stuff in there
house.  We went from there right on over to another service project
where we were ripping up all the overgrown parts of a less active
families yard.  It was a ton of really hard work but I really had fun
working with the young men that we have here in the ward, and it was
awesome because we had the entire family out to church the next day
which really shows the fruits of service.  I love doing service and I
know that it is really what we are out here doing every day. The
greatest service that we can possibly do for someone is to help them
to come closer to our loving Heavenly Father and help them have a
chance at having an eternal family.

This week it just happened to be that we taught a bunch of our
investigators the word of wisdom and we kept taking all of the coffee
out of their houses to help them get past the temptation.  It was
really interesting to see the different reactions that these people
gave us as they were accepting this commandment.  Alexandre and
Guilhermina accepted well without much of a challenge, and have been
going strong without coffee even after 70 years of drinking coffee
every morning for breakfast. It was really amazing to see them have
that miraculous success as they put their trust in the Lord to give
them the strength to get past their weaknesses.  Sonia and Sheila
eventually accepted the challenge, but they were super reluctant and
really went to show the lack of desire that they have to really do
what is necessary and make sacrifices to be able to follow the Lord,
and it showed the next day because they stayed out all night long
partying and did not make it to church because of that.  I really have
been studying about the commandments alot this week and I really liked
one story that was shared by one of the sisters that spoke this last
conference that spoke about her granddaughter that did not want to
wear her seat belt. I know that the commandments really are all there
for a purpose and that they are there to bless us and protect us given
by a loving heavenly father. Even if we may receive a commandment just
to give us a chance to show our love and obedience to Heavenly Father,
I know that He will greatly bless our lives and help our faith to grow
as we follow his commandments.

One of the highlights of this week was with the confirmations of
Nilson and Octávio.  They both chose me to confirm them so I did two
confirmations right in a row in sacrament meeting.  It was a cool
experience.  I was a little worried that I would basically give them
both the same blessing because they are both in really similar
situations in my mind and we had even done most of our teaching of
them both together, but when I gave the blessings they were actually
completely different.  It was a real testimony to me of the power and
actuality of the priesthood that it really is Heavenly Father acting
thought his children. I know that the blessings that I gave did not
come from me but were truly given from the Lord.  I am so grateful
that the Lord has made it possible for us to act in his name and bless
his children here on the earth.  I am so glad that I have always had
that opportunity in my house and in my life to be able to ask for a
blessing if I was needing one. I have really seen how valuable that
really is out here on the mission as I have had the opportunity to
give many blessings.

Com muito amor.
Elder Hobson

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Great start to the new (and last) year

Well I have to say that I could not have asked for a better way to
start out the year then with those three baptisms.  Octávio and nilson
are friends that are always running around together and Nilson was the
only member of his family who was not yet baptized so we started
teaching him and octávio wanted to be baptized as well and now we have
a group of neighborhood kids that we are teaching and we have been
reaching out to their families at the same time and we are finding a
lot of really cool people doing this. It is really fun and we are
going to keep seeing a lot of sucess there I think.

Quick question...  Are you planning on passing through italy before
getting me or whatever happened with that in the end?

For the new year we did not do anything too special we had to be home
at the normal hour and we just had permission to stay up until
midnight so we basically just chilled at home for a bit and messed
around a little at night.

We have been working with a member named Rosa that moved here from
Cabo verde for a short amount of time and her friends.  They were all
able to come to chruch this weekend which was really cool and
hopefully we can get them to start progressing as soon as possible.
They are really fun people and Rosa is such an awesome example for
them that it makes it easy to see the blessings of the gospel in a
normal members life.  We are seeing several people that are growing
quite a bit and we are doing a lot of work with the members here
becuase a lot of them have family members and children that have not
yet been baptized and just need a bit of help to be able to take the
step.  The way that we work here is really awesome and it is just
really efficient and with our new leadership position and the way that
the missionary department changed the way that leaders work in the
mission just barely it is going to be really important that we keep
having lots of sucess in the work.

We also had transfers come in today. I will be staying here in cacém
(we live on rua ponte nova, Nº1 by the way) and now I will be working
with Elder Nougeira who is Brazilian.  We are now the zone leaders in
the zone and they moved the area of the zone leaders so we will be
staying here.  I am super excited for this transfer.  Also Elder
Pitcher my good buddy from the Azores is now going to be living in the
same house as me which makes me really excited.  All the changes are
really exciting and I am ready for the new set of challenges that I
now have and I am excited that I get the opportunity to keep working
with these people here in Cacém because we were able to get a lot
going here in a short 6 weeks even with all the Christmas distractions
and challenges and I know that this area has all sorts of potential to
baptize a lot of people.  So we are going to go out and get it done.

I just have to say that we are seeing lots of miracles happening right
now in my mission and I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have
to be here working for the Lord toughing the lives of these people.
It is amazing to see people change and to have this happiness come
into their lives.  I do not have any doubt that what we teach is true.
It is so amazing to see people come to know these things as well, and
it always is really sad to see someone that thinks that they are
better off without the gospel in their lives.  I know that it is never
too late for any of us to change and to have everything that the Lord
wants to bless us with in our lives. I know that this is his church
and that he lives and loves us. I know  that he has a plan for us and
will bless our families eternally.  I am so glad for his guidance in
my life and I hope that we all can be attent enough to recognize it
and humble enough to follow it.  I love and miss you all.

Boas entradas! Com amor
Elder Hobson