Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 22, 2013


  Wow! What a good week for email! Do this more often!
  I loved that talk. I was tearing up. Go ahead and use as many
examples of Angola as you all want! Things here have gotten a lot
easier with all of the challenges of temporal things, but... it's
still pretty intense, haha people need to know that! And you should
all be happy to know that Elder Money has made a full recovery. It was
just some virus, according to the clinic. I felt bad that he was so
sick, but it passed, and we're ready to hit it hard this week!
  Well, we were going to have a baptism, but our candidate didn't
show up. Pretty annoying. We're going
to have a few chats with mister BB about this one. But other than
that, I'm really excited for the coming weeks. "..." finally came
around with living the law of chastity, so we'll see his baptism soon.
  The thing I'm WAY excited for is this family that we're teaching.
The mother's name is M, and her and her four kids are set up for
baptism on the fourth of may. M went to the Universal church (the
one that got shut down), and never felt that her baptism was valid
because the spirit that she felt went away. She knows doctrine
amazingly well. She understands everything, and she's felt the Spirit
in church, so we think that she's ready. The really cool story here is
that of her daughter, E. On the first
lesson, she said: ''to be sincere, I don't believe in God... He wasn't
there when I needed him.'' So we invited her to read and pray about
the Book of Mormon, and to ask God if He was there. She did. It was
very surprising, because most people don't understand or don't read at
all, and she understood it perfectly, and read quite a bit. We asked
her to read one chapter, but she read 4! Then she prayed and felt a
''relieving feeling''. They all loved church, so... baptism!
  But other than this, the week went pretty slowly. But I LOVE YOU ALL!!!

Elder Alex Hobbs

April 15, 2013


  Weston's ads are so funny! I love the Edgar Allen Poe ads. That was
clever. That really is too bad that you have to run against a friend.
I remember, when I ran, pretty much all of the class offices only had
one competetor, so most people just signed up and got elected! I won't
lie though: as I read the ones of the last airbender, I said to
myslef: ''nub''. hahaha!
  Things here are all going well. We had a baptismal interview for
BB, and he'll be getting baptized on Saturday. He's a weird one. But
he keeps his commitments and goes to church, so he's good to go!
  News is slow. The week was good, we had a lot of lessons, and I got
to go on a division with Elder Wilson. He was with me in the MTC, and
we get along really well. President Thompson has his birthday
tomorrow. We were at a member's house, and they showed us a facebook
post. On the facebook page ''kuduro de Angola'', the page owner took a
picture of some missionaries walking out of a store and wrote: 'I
always see these two guys walking in white shirts, two by two, and
with backpacks on. Who are they?' We read some of the comments and
thought that they were really funny. The good news is that all of the
ones that were false never got any likes, while the ones where people
said: hey they're nice got about 6 likes each. These were some of the
comments: 'I don't know'. 'They're missionaries! Here's a link to the
lds.org site.' 'Are they terrorists?' 'They believe in polygamy and
they're all pediphiles!' 'Mit Romney is their leader! He's racist
too!' 'Their headquarters is in Salt Lake City. The church made
millions of dollars when the olympics were there in 2002!' 'I talked
with them once. They were really nice guys.' 'I see them a lot in the
airport around 10pm.' 'Don't worry about them! The muslims are the
ones that are invading! We need to stop the real threat to our
country! Stop the muslims!'
  We were just laughing and laughing. But the member we were with is
Lassalette, the governor-senator, and so she was mad and is going to
put an ad about us in the local paper! That will probably help with
contacts a lot!
  But I'm doing well. No complaints. I love to hear that good things
are going on back at home. Keep me updated on EVERYTHING! I'm excited
but scared. I remember telling Elder Walker how crazy it was that he
only had 9 months left... and now he leaves in 5 weeks! That's where I
am!!!!! I can't wait to come home, but I don't know how I can leave. I
definately am excited to share advice for Weston and his mission, and
I also have some plans to party it up with Owen once he's left.
Paintball anyone? What do ya say Owen? Plus, I still have my list of
things to do with Dona when I get back!
  The heat is down, but the humidity is up! I love you guys!

Elder Alex Hobbs

April 8, 2013


  The rain fell this week... literally. We had a HUGE rainstorm that
pretty much changed the face of Luanda. I heard that some people in
some of the deeper bairros died. All missionaries are alright though.
We did some service and helped some of our neighbors bail water out of
the house.
  We taught a lot this week. We saw H and A two nights ago...
I forgot how much I loved that family! Their marriage is still a
little far off, but they've set the goal to have all documents
completed by April 20, and I've mentally set a baptismal date for the
4th of May. But they are so cool. We had an awesome lesson with all of
them. Their family reminded me a little of what ours was back in the
day, so I had a lot of fun.
  We have a couple of investigators with baptismal dates that are a
little on the weird side... T is a man who claims that dark spirits
follow him, and then followed his ex-wife when they separated...
because of this, he wakes up at 2 and 4 in the morning to pray... and
he had a dream that all the missionaries got around an imbondeiro tree
and burned it down... but he loves coming to church, so we'll see what
  As for my painting, I'm not going to get it from the Benfica praça!
Elder Money had them do one of the first vision, and it looked like a
4 year old drew it! It turns out that most of the vendors don't even
know any of the artists whose paintings they sell! haha. But that's
alright. I've been doing good.
  We saw the priesthood session of Conference yesterday. I really
liked Elder Beck's talk on becoming a better minister unto others
through your words and actions. That's what I'm going to work on!
  Well, I would say have Owen join the choir! I remember him having a
really good voice! Plus, there are benefits from choir... trust me on
that! You get to do some cool stuff. Do it Owen!
  Well, I love you all so much. I'm excited for mother's day soon!
Keep on keepin' on!

Elder Alex Hobbs

April 1, 2013


  This week was a weird one. There was a ton of stuff going on. Zone
conference, a branch actifvity, and an engagement party for some
members in one of my old areas. Lessons were not high in number, and
it was a little rough of a week. But I'm ready for this next one, and
Preisthood at President's house is going to be a big boost!
  The new transfer starts today! We'll be seeing one another here
really soon! I'm excited! Elder Money and I are here together again,
so no new big changes.
  I'm not sure what to write, but there was that cool engagement
party. I got to see Elder Kelsey again. We chatted it up, talked about
the mission, how to have good studies, the language, and laughed up at
our ''glory days'' together. It's really weird to see them go here in
a few days. It kind of makes me homesick, but that gets cancelled out
by the knowledge that I'm going to be an ''older guy'' really soon.
Way cool!
    Elder Money and I think we met before the mission. Do you remember
that trip to Vegas when we went to the magic shop, and we bought that
trick that allows you to levatate cards? Well, Elder money went to
that same shop and bought the same trick. We both remember another kid
there, and I remember him being blond and shorter than me. Crazy
right? I think we totally saw eachother before the mission! haha
  I'm happy that you all had a good Easter! Ours was different. It
came and went, almost without us knowing! But Sister Abdo (one of the
Brazilian couples) gave us a bag of candy to enjoy. It was Awesome!
    See you all soon! I love you!

Elder Alex Hobbs

March 25, 2013


  This week was great! So, we had a ton of fun. We were out in a
place called Simione (and it is about as sticks as you can get here in
Luanda), when a big old African rain came in. It DUMPED! It was a lot
of fun, although we did miss a lesson or two (Angolans hate rain and
cancel immediately at the sight of rain), we got to go and play soccar
in the mud with some people on the street. Then we waded through waist
high to knee high water on the roads until we got home. It was WAY
  I already told you about how Hhad gotten that document from
the provinance... now they have to renew all their other documents!
It's annoying, but they say that the other one was the hardest one,
and that all these others can be done in the city. Plus, we have a
member from the branch who has experience with the government, and she
got called as a marriage coordinator for the branch. So things should
go by fast from here. Hopefully they'll be able to get baptized by
April 20.
  Elder Money and I have a lot of fun here. We're always joking
around and talking. It's been nice having a companion to keep me
happy! Things are good with us here.
  I took out some money today (about 60$) and went to Benfica again.
We got some pretty good deals because I showed the vendors some magic
tricks that I learned, and so they cut me a deal if I could ''smell
out'' their card that they had chosen. Pretty fun stuff! We got some
cool sculpture stuff, and I got some gifts for y'all. Plus, get this:
I asked some of the paint vendors to do a painting of Lehi's dream. I
gave them a section of the book of mormon to read, explained it, and
they agreed... but they want 50$ for it. What do you think? Would that
be a good deal? The painting itself is a big one, so I think it would
be worth it.
  So I was reading an old Ensign here in the house, and I found this
''Opening the Heavens'' article. Read it, and live it! It is the best!
It comes from the August 2009 Ensign, by Elder Yoshihiko Kikuchi. Here
it is:

''Do you want to feel the love of God more powerfully in your life? Do
you want to feel more in tune with His Spirit? Do you want to have the
heavens opened to you daily?

There is a way you can feel a daily renewal of Gods everlasting love
and drink from the fountain of living waters (1 Nephi 11:25). It
follows a pattern set by the Prophet Joseph Smith when he went to a
grove of trees early one morning in 1820 seeking answers to his
questions. I speak of a morning devotional time spent in prayer,
meditation, and scripture study. If you have a devotional every
morning, even if only for a few minutes, you will be deeply blessed. I
know this to be true.
Escaping the Noise and the Tumult

The Prophet Joseph Smith once made this interesting observation about
opening the heavens: The manifestations of the gift of the Holy
Ghost, the ministering of angels, or the development of the power,
majesty or glory of God were very seldom manifested publicly, … but
most generally when angels have come, or God has revealed Himself, it
has been to individuals in private, in their chamber; in the
wilderness or fields, and that generally without noise or tumult. 1

Unfortunately, modern life is filled with noise and tumult. Our
society provides so many distractions that unless we make the time and
effort to extract ourselves from them, the voice of the Spirit may not
get through to us. That is why on a spring day in 1820, Joseph Smith
left his home early to enter a grove of trees so he could pray in
quiet seclusion about a question of religion. The answer came with
astonishing clarity when both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ
appeared to him, ushering in the dispensation of the fulness of times
(see Joseph SmithHistory 1:1419).

In similar ways, the key to gaining the spiritual strength we need
lies in what President Thomas S. Monson once described as entering a
sacred grove of our own. He was teaching bishops, but the counsel
applies to all members of the Church: Every bishop needs a sacred
grove to which he can retire to meditate and to pray for guidance.
Mine was our old ward chapel. I could not begin to count the occasions
when on a dark night at a late hour I would make my way to the stand
of this building where I was blessed, confirmed, ordained, taught, and
eventually called to preside. The chapel was dimly lighted by the
streetlight in front; not a sound would be heard, no intruder to
disturb. With my hand on the pulpit I would kneel and share with Him
above my thoughts, my concerns, my problems. 2

Of course, these sacred grove moments do not duplicate what happened
to the Prophet Joseph in the Sacred Grove. We dont enter into these
devotional times expecting to see the Father and the Son any more than
Joseph Smith did. But we can trust that Heavenly Father will answer
our prayers; how He answers them, however, is up to Him.

There is great power in setting aside quiet, prayerful, meditative
time. In the stillness that accompanies our pondering, we can come to
know the Father and His Son (see Psalm 46:10; D&C 101:16).
The Power of Morning Prayer and Scripture Study

When I served as a mission president in Hawaii, I had many
opportunities to speak with young elders and sisters struggling to
become better missionaries. I remember one missionary who became
deeply discouraged. His missionary work had become unbearable to him,
and he started doubting his testimony. He came to me with the request
to send him home.

Instead, I asked him to follow the example of Nephi in pondering and
praying about his concerns and desires (see 1 Nephi 10:17; 11:1). This
is a practice I have followed for many years and a practice many other
General Authorities of the Church follow. I asked the missionary to go
to his apartment and do the following:


    Rise from his bed earlyin his case, a few minutes before 6:30 a.m.

    Exercise for a few minutes.

    Wash his body and shavemake himself clean.

    Dress for the day.

    Go to a quiet place inside his apartment.

    Kneel, subdue his spirit before Heavenly Father, and call upon
Him. Talk with Him in reverent prayer.

    Wait for His holy inspiration, pondering the scriptures or a
recent general conference talk and think about the specific problems
he faced.

I promised this young elder that if he did this and immersed himself
in the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, for a few minutes
every day, he would experience feelings of joy and would receive
strength to go on. 3

A few days later he came to see me. His eyes filled with tears as he
told me of his experiences during his early-morning devotional time.
He served wonderfully as a servant of the Lord and completed an
honorable mission. His wife recently told me that he continues to rise
early to have private time with his Heavenly Father.

I taught this same principle to each of the missionaries over whom I
had the privilege to preside. I was concerned that we were not doing
all we could to bring the light of the gospel to the Hawaiian people.
Within a relatively short time after the missionaries started this
practice, the number of referrals we received from members increased,
teaching opportunities went up, and the number of baptisms in our
mission doubled and then tripled. All of this happened because the
missionaries efforts were magnified by power of the Holy Spirit.

I know from personal experience the spiritual power that can flow into
your life if you follow this practice. You will feel the love of God
and a cleansing, purifying regeneration of your spirit (see 1 Nephi
11:2225; D&C 50:2829). You will experience moments of revelation,
when the Spirit whispers to your spirit what you need to do to be a
better father, a better mother, a better son or daughter, a better
disciple of Jesus Christ.
Finding Solutions to Everyday Problems

I know a good member of the Church who has a successful marriage and
six beautiful children. She is trying to be the best companion she can
be to her husband and the best mother she can be to her children. She
is an effective Young Women leader in her ward. But sometimes she
feels she isnt good enough. She becomes discouraged and feels an
emptiness of soul.

She came to me one day with her husband and described the
powerlessness she feels at such times. She had discussed her concern
with her priesthood leaders and especially her husband but had yet to
find relief. I suggested that after her husband left for work and
their children were in school, she find a place in her home and there
reverently and humbly visit with Heavenly Father. I suggested that she
express her gratitude to God for her blessings and then wait for His
holy inspiration. She committed to do this daily.

Sometime later I received a letter from her. She said that as she went
to her knees in those quiet moments each day and dropped her burden at
Heavenly Fathers feet, He took her concerns away. She felt of her
great worth to Him and learned more of the healers art 4 as He
healed her soul.
Greater Understanding of the Atonement

As we use daily devotional time to gain greater spiritual strength, we
will be blessed to better understand Heavenly Father and the Savior
and His Atonement. We will taste of the goodness of Jesus (Mormon
1:15). We will feel with exceedingly great joy (1 Nephi 8:12) the
power of His eternal love. We will come to love the Savior even more
for what He did for us during His mortal ministryparticularly in
Gethsemane, on the cross, and in the Resurrectionand for what He
continues to do for us today (see John 6:51; Alma 7:1112).

A number of years ago, Elder Melvin J. Ballard (18731939) of the
Quorum of the Twelve Apostles had an experience while visiting the
Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana, USA. At the time, he needed
inspiration and strength to help the people in that community.

One night he had a dream in which he was ushered into a room, where he
saw the most glorious being I have ever conceived of, and was taken
forward to be introduced to Him. … He smiled, called my name, and
stretched out His hands toward me. If I live to be a million years old
I shall never forget that smile. He put His arms around me and kissed
me, as He took me into His bosom, and He blessed me until my whole
being was thrilled. As He finished I fell at His feet, and there saw
the marks of the nails; and as I kissed them, with deep joy swelling
through my whole being, I felt that I was in heaven indeed. The
feeling … then was: Oh! If I could … go into His presence and receive
the feeling that I then had … , I would give everything that I am and
ever hope to be!

I knowas I know that I livethat He lives. 5

I dont know if you will have that same kind of experience in this
life. But I do know that if you continue to meet daily with Heavenly
Father in the private chambers of your home, you will come to know Him
and our Savior in ways you couldnt otherwise (see 3 Nephi 19:1623,
2529). May you do so and have the heavens open to you in whatever
glorious ways your Heavenly Father has prepared for you.

Do you want to have the heavens opened to you daily? There is a way.
It follows a pattern set by the Prophet Joseph Smith.

These sacred grove moments do not duplicate what happened to the
Prophet Joseph in the Sacred Grove. But we can trust that Heavenly
Father will answer our prayers.

As we use daily devotional time to gain greater spiritual strength, we
will better understand Heavenly Father and the Savior and His
Atonement. We will taste of the goodness of Jesus and feel with
exceedingly great joy the power of His eternal love.''

  I'm doing good. The area is slowly growing, we've got some neat
people committing for baptism, and my house is full of cool Elders. I
miss you guys like crazy though. LOVE YOU ALL!

Elder Alex Hobbs

PS Mom, we have lunches at members houses all week except tuesday!
PSS I loved the pictures!

March 18, 2013


   This week was very rewarding. I've learned a lot in how to
communicate with our Father in Heaven. I read a talk in an old Ensign
we had lying around, and it was just awesome! It's called: Opening the
Heavens. Elder Money and I also put the pedal to the metal, and we
ended the week with a good 15 lessons. The area is growing!
   Now for the big news: H got his last document! He said it was
a fight at the conservatory, but he got it. He'll be coming back
today, and we're going to talk about the marriage with them soon. They
might not get baptized this Saturday like it was planned, but this is
the fastest couple I've EVER heard of getting married. It's been a
miracle. Be obedient on your missions Weston and Owen!
   As for Elder Kelsey getting mugged.... well, it was not even at
night. The sun hadn't even set. They were even way close to their own
house! And it's a big rich appartment-condo. It was just a weird
situation, but Elder Kelsey totally laid waste to six men... and he
got some awesome scars too! It's a little strange to think that he's
leaving in 2 weeks, but he's tired... he needs it. :)
  It's really weird to think that I'm coming home soon as well. I am
going to cry when President Thompson leaves. He has helped me so much
on my mission. I wrote him and Sister some letters and told them not
to open them until the end of the mission! I hope that we can keep in
  But things are good here. I'm doing well, there's a lot of members
that are feeding me, and I can't complain. The work is hot and hard,
but it's coming along and very rewarding. I'm just trying to put in my
all now. I've learned a lot and I'm becoming a ''veteran'' elder.
  Para bens to Saren! The wedding looked beautiful!
  Keep doing all that you're all doing. I love you! I gotta take some
more pictures fast!

Elder Alex Hobbs

March 11, 2013

Que isso?!

   Mom was the only one who wrote me a letter this week! So this email is dedicated to mom!

   This week was awesome. Elder Money is such a great companion. We talk about EVERYTHING, and he speaks the language super well. I'm still just having a great time out here. I feel great, but a little scared that I've been in Angola for a full year now. I just want to baptize all of Africa!
   So H and A will be headed out to a provinance tomorrow to get their final document for marriage so that they can be baptized. Plus, H hasn't drank a beer for an entire week and a half now! It's awesome. I'm way excited!
   So our area is going to grow pretty fast. We're getting references from missionaries and members pretty fast, mostly because our area constitutes a good one sixth of the city. Wish us luck!
    There isn't a whole lot that happend from this week. It was kind of slow, but it's going to pick up REALLY fast this week. We're going to go play some soccar with some african kids behind our house today. Then we're going to take some pictures out in the jungle. Yes, I said JUNGLE! It's going to be awesome!
   Keep me updated on everything. I should have a lot to write you all about this coming week, because it's going to be a work week!


Elder Alex Hobbs