Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Week 91 Elder Bednar

Well this week was definitely highlighted by the visit of Elder Bednar and the two days basically completely focused on him.  Both meetings that I was at were basically question and answer format in a really interesting way.  It was a wonderful experience and it felt just amazingly personal for talking with an apostle.  He of course taught us a lot of wonderful things, but the things that stood out the most to me was that he taught us how to learn from the spirit.  It was really amazing to watch him teach and see such a masterful teacher that has had so much orientation and mentoring with Apostles and prophets on top of his years of teaching as a profession.  It is amazing because I almost felt like it was really simple things that were being discussed all of the time, but afterwards looking back I see that that is not exactly the case it is just that he does such a wonderful job of elevating those in the congregation to be able to be there and understand what he has to teach us.  Giving us a little peek into his vast reserves of knowledge.  It was a really fun experience.  It was also interesting to see the members that are newer or less active there in his presence when he was talking to the stake in a special devotional.  I had to explain to Amelia that lady that we baptized a couple weeks ago the rarity of this and how special it really is to get to see an apostle.  A lot of the members really just did not quite comprehend exactly what was happening, but I am sure that it seems like the same thing for the authorities that travel the world when they come to our parts and they see how we often lackadaisically frequent the temple or pass by as if it is nothing in comparison to these members that cannot stop talking about the temple even thought they most often only get to go once or twice a year.   It is interesting how the church and the doctrine are the same no matter where you are in the world, but the culture of the church really is a different thing in all places.  

On the way back from the Bednar visit in the Bus I was sitting next to Amelia talking a bit getting to know her a little better and having some good laughs when we got talking a bit about some of the things that Elder Bednar and Elder Johnson of the Seventy and their wives had said in response to the questions that were made.  (Very cool how the wives have a major responsibility in teaching as well as he gives a very large amount of time to the women to answer the questions that the people ask him)One of which talked about how the parents can help wayward children and how leaders can encourage youth that are struggling to come back to the straight and narrow. They explained that we cannot take away their moral agency (not free agency because that is a false doctrine) in anyway clearly, but that the righteousness and obedience of the parents to their covenants can have a spiritually enticing, motivating, and pulling effect on the children encouraging the Holy Ghost to continue working on the child to try to get them to choose the right.  It is amazing to me the power that ordinances and covenants have in our lives, especially the sealing powers that make eternal families possible.  Anyways I was telling Amelia that I was seeing this affect take place with her two daughters being that one had finally accepted baptism during this week and the other is starting to soften up a little. We then were making a bit of plans as to how we were going to strengthen her daughters even more when the younger one who is really tall, but only has 12 years sat up from being basically asleep during the entire bus ride and says out of nowhere that she has decided she would like to get baptized with Yara.  It was really cool and crazy that she, being a really shy girl said something like that so suddenly and so boldly out of nowhere.  Amelia and I had a fun little celebration.  This family was really difficult in the beginning but it has been so amazing to get to see them making these changes lately. Both of them are scheduled to be baptized next Saturday which is super exciting. 

Ihita and Evan will be moving to France this week in search of work. Sad to see them go but I will be able to keep in touch with them and keep talking with them.  I got to see the Brodericks (the senior couple that I have served so much with) at the conference with Elder Bednar.  It was a really wonderful surprise.  They are still calling me their trainer which still makes me laugh really sad to basically say goodbye to them now that there is basically no chance that I will see them again before the end of the mission being that they are heading back out to the acores.  We tried to help one of our really awesome investigators quit smoking and we wanted to fast with him but he could not resist taking a coffee which was really sad and it all went down hill.  so sad to see how people let their freedoms get taken away because of their decisions.  Another man that we are trying to help him save his family relationship as he is having rough patches with the mother of his daughter.  (that is why you get married first)  That is basically how I have really learned the blessings of the commandments is getting to see so many people suffer from disobeying these laws.  I really know that it is all a blessing now. 

WE got to have our meeting with Presidente Tavares and Presidente Gustavo this week. (I sent a message to president Tavares after church to make sure that he did not forget this time.. he got a good laugh out of that one)  It was a good meeting where Presidente Gustavo was basically prepared to tell us how he wants us to do things and what information that he wants us to get so that we can work well and have effective meetings.  So he gave us a really specific assignment as to what to bring next time.  But since I actually had gone to one of these meetings with him on a weird division situation with the zone leaders about a year and a half ago I had remembered basically what it was that he had asked for and how this meeting usually went so we had already prepared a couple reports (which was exactly what he had finished asking for all typed up and organized with several copies).  He was really shocked and gave us a weird look as to how we had gotten this revelation out of nowhere or how we had known what he was going to ask for.  It was a really cool thing and we really gained a ton of his support and  confidence because of that simple move. It is amazing how little things to get prepared like that can make all of the difference.  The mission really does get you prepared for all sorts of situations in life and I am so grateful for all that I have been learning every single day.  It sure is a pleasure to get to work with such wonderful leaders and I have learned one thing is that when you get chances to make a good first impression and set the tone of meetings you better not show up without having prepared something.  I think that is a good way to look at using this life as a time to prepare to meet God once again.  It would be rather unfortunate to make a poor returning impression with the supreme all powerful creator of all things.  Best we prepare well, I know it will pay off in the end and we will be blessed for every little effort that we give.  Gotta always be doing our best.

Love Elder Hobson

PS congrats to Christina and Kyle for graduating! (and anyone else that I have not heard about)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Week 90 Temple week

As predicted this week was a little challenging because of all of the
members that we usually work with going to Madrid to go to the temple,
but is was a good week still. We had transfers and we had a lot of
changes continue to happen throughout the week. We now have a new
elder that is in our house that is from Canada.  He is a really cool
and he already understands the language really well.  It helps him out
that he already speaks french and English fluently, but he really is
an example.  he has been here a week and I still have not had to speak
to him in English and it is the first week of his mission and he is
able to understand us all well enough to keep up conversations with us
all day long.

Oh by the way Ihita went to the temple and then bore her testimony
about it in sacrament meeting. I got to translate her testimony for
her which is super challenging because her English does not make all
that much sense most of the time, but it was a cool experience with a
unique spirit there.  Her husband Evan went with her as well and just
sat on the temple grounds while she was in the temple. It was really
cool to get to see the glow in their faces as they came back. They
really do love the church and each other. they have lots of challenges
and really rough life, but they are almost always happy and they find
that joy in really simple things as the trust in God to lead and guide
them. We also had 4 members that went and did their endowments this
week as well as two of them are about to leave on their missions to
cabo verde and Mozambique.

we have been seeing some really cool people recently.  We got to know
a little better a member here that is a little less active and seems
like a really simple man especially because he has a hard time
speaking Portuguese because he is from gunie bissao but he is a really
amazing artist and he is also a musician.  Sometimes I get a little
bit distanced from the people as we are trying to get them to accept
to hear about the gospel and they consistently are rejecting us, but
when I take a minute to step back and to remember that these are
amazing people that I am getting to know and getting to talk to.  When
I have those moments and remember that I have the opportunity to bless
the lives of these people all day every day even if it is just because
I can give them a joyful smile when they are having a rough day. It is
really an amazing opportunity to get to serve a mission and be out
here with these people.

Yesterday we had a meeting planned with the stake president and
President Tavares, the mission presidente, with the other zone leaders
in the stake, and we all were there except for president tavares.  I
gave him a call to see where he was and he had completely forgotten.
Funny thing to get stood up on the mission by our own Mission
president not something that happens every day.  It sure gave me a
good laugh and humanized him a bit more when I heard him make a yelp
on the phone when he realized that he had completely forgotten about
the meeting.

We have been studying a ton of Elder Bednar's talks about faith and
prayer in preparation for his visit this week.  It has been wonderful
to get to really focus so  much on these gospel principles that are so
basic seeming but really are the essence of everything and the doorway
to everything else.  I am really enjoying as I am trying to do better
with my prayers so that I can really pray with faith looking to make
actions and align myself more with the savior.  I am really looking
forward to getting to hear a little more about these super important
topics this week personally with Elder Bednar.  I am going to get to
see him on Friday and on Saturday since Bishop asked that my companion
and I helped out on the bus that we are taking for the devotional that
is for the members.  The other missionaries are not getting to go the
the second meeting but since we had a special request from our bishop
and from the stake president as well to do this we get to go to the
second meeting as well.  I am super excited for this week.  It is
going to be hot and sunny and we are going to be getting to see an
apostle several times so I am not sure what could be much better then

Love you all
Elder Hobson

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Week 89 A chegar

We had our transfers this week and I will be staying here with Elder
Easton for my second to last transfer.  It is crazy to think that I
only have one more call that I could get to pack up and leave before
it is on a long plane ride.    I feel like I should still have a lot
of time left in the mission, but it is winding down quick.

So this week we had the baptism of Amelia.  It was a pretty strange
baptism honestly.  We had a really tough getting it all prepared
because we had her committed to be baptized firmly only with about 15
hours before the baptism.  She had already decided that it was the
right thing for her to do during the week much earlier on, but we were
not sure if she was ready.  Thankfully she was basically perfect in
the baptismal interview and so we did not have any doubts that is was
the right thing to do to go forward with her baptism.  We had to fight
against the rain to get the baptism done, but we did manage to get
them to to chapel.  It was a really good experience for her daughters
who are more reluctant in getting baptized because they are just a
little rebeldes. One of them even stayed to watch a missionary open up
his call and then for a farewell party that we had for another
missionary. The girls are starting to get a little bit more open with
us and they are also starting to feel really comfortable in the church
with all of the members.

This week could be a little tricky trying to work with the members
because most of the members that we usually work with will be spending
the week in Madrid at the temple.  A lot of the young men will be
getting their endowments done so it is really exciting, but a little
tough for us to have people to teach with us.  But really good news is
that Ihita will get to go was well. She is the lady from Bangladesh
that is becoming a good friend of mine since it is usually me that
translates for her during sacrament meeting.  She is really excited
and ready to get to see the temple.  What a special experience for

At church this week we had a new less active come back.  He is being
well received by the bishop and he is already making lots of progress
especially as his sister in law is getting taught by the other elders.
He is an ex pastor of an evangelical Church in Brasil.  He was
converted by a friend that is a member but because of all the
rejection that he had from his family for making the change he became
inactive for a couple years.  Now he is trying to come back and he is
just so awesome.  He is super humble and ready to accept help and get
taught from young men and others that are much less experienced then
him in things such as biblical studies being that he has a degree in
theology.  It was really impressive for me to see so much humility
coming from a man like him.  Really a pretty rare case for someone to
be so willing to accept having to do a pretty major restart on all of
this something that has been so central to his life for so long.  I
really like him and have high hopes for him.

We are sad to see that Elder Empey was transferred out of our house,
but on the bright side it will make it a lot easier for us to get to
bed on time since we have been really bad about staying up really late
recently with him talking for a long time.

 We have been studying a bunch of stuff from a worldwide training for
missionaries that we had earlier this year in preparation for our
visit with Elder Bednar. It is cool really see how simple this work is
and how many times that we have to study the same things to be able to
continue to get revelation about what we need to do with our missions
so that we can do well in representing our Lord and Savior.  I think
that is it amazing how we learn and grow and how we are revealed the
things that we need to know in the right moment when we are doing what
is right.

Here is a quick quote from Elder Empey's dad that has to do about love
that Elder Empey shared with me.

I love you pal.  It was so good talking to you my man!  You look and
sound great!  Good luck in your new calling and territory.  I read a
book on energy and leadership this week.  One part of the book said it
is a scientific fact that when you have love in your heart, it sends
out an electromagnetic energy that can be measured up to 10 feet away.
The idea is, that if you have love for the people you lead, serve, and
work with they can tell and they will feel it.  Focus on that love and
send it out bro!  The missionaries you lead will benefit from feeling
your love for them.

Let them feel it.

Love you all
Elder Hobson

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Week 88 Jardim Zoológico

Today we went to the zoo!  I felt like I was at home in the Boise zoo
as a 4th grader running around with all the school kids that were
there on a Monday morning.  It was weird to be there Because it felt
like an amusement part in the united states, but then they would have
announcements and everyone around was talking in Portuguese.  The
coolest part was defiantly the dolphin show that they had.  Made me
really want to go swimming, especially because it is pretty warm out
today, but it was definitely worth going and seeing.

One day this week I was doing a division with Elder Empey and we had
stopped to get a quick snack for dinner as we were walking to the next
lesson, but as we were walking I was still handing out pass along
cards to everyone that walked by, without even saying anything.  (I
find it really interesting that people are much more likely to accept
a card if I do not say anything and just hand it to them.  Whenever we
try to talk to someone and they do not really want anything they
always make a big scene and do not usually accept the cards. So now,
when we do not have any time to stop and talk to people I have the
habit of just handing out cards with a smile as we walk by.  lots of
the time we get thank yous while we are doing that which is always a
refreshing and encouraging change)  Anyways I am saying this because
this week we saw the fruits of these little efforts to spread the
word. One of the guys that I gave one to had been walking a little
behind us and when we stopped to cross the road he turned the corner
and I gave him a card as he went up and we went down.  We got about 20
yards down the road and I looked up to see if he was looking at the
card.  He was.. then he stopped looked up into the sky for a second..
looked at the card a little more and then glanced back at us really
quickly.   on the second time that he glanced back I caught his
attention and smiled and waved.  He waved back and then motioned for
us to come over to him. We got over and he explained that he was an
active member all of his youth.  It came to the point where he had to
choose between going on a mission and joining the army and he chose
the army where basically things started to go a little away from the
church from that point on.  Until just 3 months ago he had been living
in England but his father recently passed away and so he came down to
Portugal to be with family and try to rebuild some long lost
relationships. He realized with the death of his loved one that he
needed to put more of a priority on his family.  It just happened to
be that the card that I handed him was one that talks about family
history.  And he just ended up saying that he wants to come back into
activity now.  It was really a miracle to see how the Lord really does
find a way to touch the lives of his people and guide us in really
marvelous ways.  It was a testimony to me that he magnifies our
efforts and that all efforts in his work are worthwhile and no little
thing goes unnoticed.
This week we had a good zone conference that we had to put on.  It
went nicely and every meeting that we have to do gets easier and
easier for me to prepare.  It is cool how we learn how to do so many
things like this on the mission.

We were able to have a lot of people come out to church this week.  It
was a cool experience to get to see these people making progress and
making the right decisions.  I know that they are getting close to
baptism.  Hopefully some of them will accept to be baptized or take
the last steps to be able to be worthy of that blessing here quickly.

I have wonderful news about our Bangladesh friends. Ivan, Ihita's
husband has decided to be baptized in the church and become a
christian.  He is now reading the Book of Mormon and would like us the
elders to help him get rid of his doubts and questions as he gets
ready to be baptized and leave behind his atheist beliefs.  He is
saying that he is ready to have "mormon life and mormon family."
unfortunately they are facing a lot of persecution, they had their
store robbed and Ivan has gotten into a couple fights as he is
defending his beliefs.  I gave Ihita a blessing today after church
that was a little scary to me, when I blessed her with the ability to
recognize the promptings of the spirit as to when to run and when to
hide.  I realize that they probably still have a long fight ahead of
them, but I know that the Lord will take care of them as they try to
do what is right.

I have been studying a ton about love recently.  I want to develop
more and more love for my companions and for the people that we are
serving and meeting every day in the road or in their doorways. I have
always felt a love for them, it has never been that hard for me, but I
want to really come to one day look at these people as Christ truly
looks at them.

Teach, teach, teach, that is basically all that we do all day long
every day.  and the funny part is that a lot of the time the person
that is learning the most is me.

See you on Sunday at 17h00 our time, 10h00 your time.
Love Elder Hobson