Monday, December 20, 2010


dear family,
this week was a little better... well a lot better.  I went to a city called manizales (which is the center of our area) it is about an hour bus ride away from chinchiná.  In manizales i went on splits with elder cox from wyoming.  He goes home at the end of this transfer and he is my zone leader.  it was a really good experience to do that.  I learned a lot from him and he gave some words of comfort.  and i got to speak english for a bit.
So i guess i forgot to tell you about my companion... sorry.  Elder Alfonso is from ecuador.  He is 23 and he goes home not this transfer, but the next.  He is a good guy and i really like him.  but he forgets that i don´t know spanish so it gets really frustrating at times. 
We taught a lot of people this week.  we went to this part of our area to meet with someone we had contacted and she wasn´t there... we were kind of discouraged because it is pretty far away...  but right as we were about to leave, we met another family.  they invited us in because it was about to rain.  we taught them about families and committed them to baptism!  it was really cool to see people that have been prepared for us.   this happened a couple more times throughout the week.  so this week,  we have set baptismal dates for 14 people!  (thats a lot...) 
On friday, we had a baptismal service.  we baptised 7 people!  6 of them are from one family and something cool about them is that before we came,  the mom and dad weren´t married.  we told them that they had to be married before they could be baptised.  So they got married and we had the opportunity to go to that.  So its pretty much really cool to see that we can change the lives of some people.
so as of now, the very best way to communicate is through email.  the pouch mail goes to the mission home and i only get it if i go there or if someone from there comes here so its not the best.  and its like 5 hours away.  but don´t hesitate to email.  I would love to hear from you.
So i will call on Christmas.  i´m not exactly sure what time.  i wish i could tell you more but i don´t know more.  I'm really excited to talk to you all!  I hope everything is going well and I love you and miss you all so much!!!
    con amor,  

Monday, December 13, 2010


Dear Family,

sorry i didnt get to email when i got here. i was kind of sad about that. things are going pretty good... this is pretty dang hard though. for the first time, i wish i was home right now. this is by far the hardest thing ive ever done. dont worry, im staying... i knew it was supposed to be but i didnt realize how hard it would actually be. i havent been able to relax in a week. I am having some sort of confusion of tounges... I cant seem to speak either language right now.  I havent spoken a full sentence in english for a week also. I think im going crazy. but tomorrow, i am going on splits with an american so that will help. 

My house is tiny and dirty. just imagine the smallest crappiest apartment and mine is worse. the only missionaries in my area is me and my companion. oh yeah i havent seen an american in a week either.  but there are 2 missionaries for the whole area. I am in a little city called chinchiná. It is a cool little place. lots of people with no morals though... No one can say my name, no one understands me and i cant understand anyone. It is super frustrating. my head is about to explode.  

sorry this is scatterbrained but its exactly what my brain is like. and sorry its kind of somber... im not feeling super good right now and i have a bad attitude so I cant seem to think of anything good to say. Dont feel bad for me either, cause i know i will learn the language and i know things will get better.  

So for now, dont plan on sending letters or packages. just email me. it is super expensive for me to send letters. and it costs over $100 to send a package. so just email me please. maybe take turns writing a big one too. I only have 1 hour to email. Just figure out something that works for you. 

i wish i had more good things to say... the only ones i can think of are that the members are all really nice and all the food is sort of good. They have lunch as their big meal, and when i say big meal, I mean huge meal. And if you dont finish it, they get offended. So pretty much im sick all the time. Oh well. Oh and we have 7 baptisms set up for friday. thats pretty cool. 

anyway, I hope all is going well in the best country in the world. I love and miss you all!


OH I FORGOT. MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Reciban un cordial saludo de parte de la MISION COLOMBIA CALI...  queremos informarle que su hijo esta muy  bien en la misión, él  fue asignado  para trabajar en el area de Manizales     con el elder  Alfonso, sabemos que harán un excelente trabajo.
Cualquier cosa que necesiten no duden en comunicarse con nosotros estamos para servirles.
Adjunto foto de la bienvenida a la misión
Con amor Presidente y hermana Bolívar

Friday, December 3, 2010


Dear Family,
I'm getting out of here!!! It is 100% sure.  I saw my visa today and everything is set to go at 5:00 AM on Monday.  Well except Elder Richens... he hasn't gotten his visa, but it will be here in about a week.  (he is ok with that, so está bien)
It is super weird.  This whole week has been full of doing things for the last time.  Our last general authority devotional, our last p-day, our last time at the temple.  I'm actually gonna miss the MTC.  I'm really excited though.  It is finally real.  I can't hardly believe it! 
This week has been good.  Nothing new has happened though.  I wish I had more to report than I do, but I don't.  Except we actually had a little meeting about health and safety.  It was funny because the guy was like, "You can't eat anything, you can drink anything!"  He pretty much made it sound like we are going to die on our mission.  And then he introduced the water bottle filter thing.  I guess he was on the team that developed it or something.  But he said that we could fill up from any tap, river, or lake, and be perfectly fine.  He said that the filter lasts for like 500 gallons and that it is literally impossible for it to be contaminated.  It was funny because by the end of the meeting, we were all convinced it is the best thing every invented... 
Oh and he kept telling us about other things that his team are working on that were way awesome, and convinces us that we can't live without them.  Then he says, "but they come out next year, so you probably won't get them..."  It was just a funny meeting.  He was this old guy that has no sense of humor too.
But that is pretty much all that happened all week.  We have our last 2 classes with our teachers tomorrow and then a fast sunday.  We are pretty excited for the next big step in our missions.  I'm really excited to see where I will be in 4 days.  It is crazy.
I love being a missionary!!!  I'm super excited to teach real live people.  I know it'll be hard, but I think I'm up for the challenge. 
I'm definately gonna try and call everyone so be ready.  I really hope I can make it work.  It might be kind of early or it might be at about 3 or 4 or so.
Thanks for all the love and support!  I love you all so much.
Thanks for all the letters and everything.  I don´t know my address yet but I´m pretty sure I´ll get to email right when I get to Colombia.
Con Amor,

Friday, November 26, 2010


Dear Family,
I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!!!  I missed you all and thought a lot about you.  It was different having a Thanksgiving without family around.  It was really good though.  But I'm gonna go through my week chronologically...
Monday was a terrible day...  Nothing was going very good and we could all tell.  Then, one of the Elders in our district announced that he was going home.  It was really a shocker.  So Monday just kinda sucked.  He was one of our zone leaders and it was super unexpected.  As a result of our zone leader going home, Elder Richens and I were chosen to be zone leaders with the other remaining zone leader.  So now I'm a zone leader and I'm in a trio companionship.  Trio companionships pretty much suck.
Tuesday was relatively uneventful except for the devotional.  I did give the Opening Prayer in the Devotional though.  But it wasn't an Apostle.  They pretty much shut down the MTC when they heard that a big snow storm was coming.  So we all think that is why they didn't send an Apostle.  But it was Elder Malm of the 2nd Quorum of the Seventy.  It was really awesome and I learned a lot.  Oh and giving the prayer was sort of scary but not really.
Oh the storm...  They announced that it was gonna be the biggest storm in 11 years.  We got about 1/4 inch...   But they cancelled all our classes and so we got to study all day.
Wednesday was a great day.  But when it started,  I was super tired and I was kind of wishing I was with you all for Thanksgiving.  And I didn't want to do anything because I wasn't super motivated.  And we didn't have class til the evening.  This went on for a while until about lunchtime.  Our district leader, Elder Shelley, walked in holding a bunch of papers...  These papers were our flight plans!!!!!!!!!   It changed the day and we were all super happy and excited for the rest of the day.  We still couldn't focus though.
So, I leave the MTC on December 6, at 5:00 AM and head to the airport for our flight at 8:30.  We fly to Atlanta and have a layover there.  We fly to Bogota after that.  We stay in Bogota overnight!  Then at 7:00 AM we fly to Cali!!!  I'm so excited!!!!!!!!!!!
I will write more about that in my letter today.
Yesterday was really a good day.  We had a Morning Devotional at 10:00.  Elder Holland came!!!!!!  It was by far the best Devotional i've ever been to.  The spirit was way strong and I learned a ton.  His whole family was there and it was awesome.  Then we had dinner.  Nothing special.  Then we had 2 more Devotionals and a Service project and then another devotional and then we went to bed.
It was an awesome week.  I miss you all and I love you all!!!  I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!!!  Eat leftovers for me!
Con amor,

Friday, November 19, 2010


Dear Family,
This week was really good!  We are starting to realize that we are almost done here at the MTC.  In 1 week from today, we should get our flightplans.  It is super wierd.  It seems like I just got here.  I'm having a lot of fun and I really like my district and my zone. 
On Monday, the Elders in my zone who are going to Mexico are leaving.  They have been here for 12 weeks now so it is kind of a big deal around here.  But right after they leave, that makes my district the oldest.  It also means that we are the next to leave.  We are all super excited to go.  I can't wait.  I usually spend a lot of my free time thinking about Colombia.  Not that I really have any free time.  The only free time I have is when I am in the bathroom, shower, or in bed.  And the food enables us to have plenty of bathroom time...
So we didn't have an Apostle this week...  It was Elder Pearson of the Seventy.  It was really good.  It was about how we, as missionaries, need to leave behind who we were and become who the Lord needs us to be.  It was really cool.   So speaking of the devotionals... I have been assigned to give the opening prayer at the devotional on Tuesday.  It is the Thanksgiving devotional.   That means that it will most likely be an Apostle.  I'm excited to do it but kind of nervous.  It will be broadcasted to all the MTCs in the world.  But if I'm lucky, I'll meet an Apostle.  I get to sit on the stand during the devotional so chances are good.
Spanish is going well.  We are speaking it a lot and we are all learning it really well.  We started learning subjunctive this week, which is pretty much the last new thing we learn before we leave.  So that's pretty exciting.
So Mom and Dad, I can't believe I forgot to tell you HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you had a good day! 
This week, we taught a bunch of lessons.  We are getting fairly capable of teaching in Spanish.  It is super fun especially when you are saying things you don't understand.  It is super cool.  We are teaching again tonight so I'm pretty excited.
I've loved getting all of your letters.  I miss you all and hope you have a great Thanksgiving!  I'll be thinking of you.  Don't forget to make a video so I can watch it at the airport when I leave.  And Katie, I would make a video of myself speaking Spanish, but I can't because it is against the rules.  I'm going to send a card home with pictures on it soon.  Probably next week. 
Well thanks for all your love and support!  I love you all!  Have the best Thanksgiving ever!!!!!
Con amor,
 p.s. mom i will answer those questions in my letter to you.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Dear Family,
     This week has flown by.  It is crazy how fast time is going.  It seriously seems like last P-day was yesterday. 
     So this week has been good.  We had a really good Sunday, super spiritual and everything.  One of the districts left though so that was kind of weird.  I became good friends with some of them so it was kind of hard.  Oh and on Monday, another district is leaving for Paraguay and Argentina.  I'm good friends with lots of them now too.  But with them gone, that means that we are the oldest district in our zone.  And that means that in like 3 weeks, we leave.  So I'm starting to get really excited.  
     We started teaching in Spanish this week.  It is so cool.  It's hard but I have fun doing it.  It is really cool when you start saying words that you have never heard.  I would have never guessed I could do it.   this whole week we have just taught other investigators as practice.  Tonight, we have a real pretend "investigator."  We go to the TRC and teach all of Lesson 1, which is the restoration.  It will be hard but I'm kind of excited. 
     So learning spanish is going well.  Yesterday, my companion and I went the whole day without speaking English.  It was super hard and frustrating.  It was just a goal that we wanted to do.  We are the first ones in our district to do it so its pretty cool.   Apparently, my district's spanish is really good.  The older districts have told us that our spanish is as good as the missionaries who are leaving. (If that makes sense)  Also they said that the district who had our teachers before we did, we really good too.  so i'm excited to see how good we are.  It is really frustrating though.  Our teachers don't speak English anymore, at all.  I'm finally starting to be able to express myself a little bit so i'm pretty proud of that.
     So the best part of the whole week... was when Elder Bednar came to our fireside!!!   It was super cool.  He talked about doctrine and how the answer is always in the doctrine.  It got pretty deep...  but it was so cool.  In case you aren't keeping count, that is our 4th Apostle.  there is a rumor floating around the MTC that they are having Apostles come all through November.  Elder Holland might come for Thanksgiving.  But who knows,  the rumors floating around here are crazy.
     Also, on Sunday night, Sherri Dew came and spoke to us. It was really good too.  After that we watched the Joseph Smith movie again.  I love that movie so much.  
     So we haven't heard much about our visas.  But we have heard that no one has really had problems with them.  It looks like they are going to be here on time.  Only missionaries going to Mexico and Brazil are having problems.   My friend Chad Zollinger is still here for his 11th or 12th week.  But we have been told not to worry about it.
     one of our teachers is engaged to a Colombian.  He said that there is warm water on the western side of Colombia for showers.  (but thats just cause nothing has a chance to get cold down there...)  He also speculates that we (the ones going to Cali) will likely spend time in the Jungle.  I'm so excited to go.
    Well I'm out of things to say.  That is literally all we did all week long.  everyday is the same here.  Don't worry I'm still having fun, but i really do want to leave.
    I hope everything is going well at home! 
         Love you all, 
P.S. I told Katie about doing like a family video on an SD card to send to me so I can watch it at the Airport.  So do that! please.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Dear Family,
     So this week has been really great!  We had another Apostle come!!  Elder Ballard came and spoke to us.  It was really cool.  I love hearing from the Apostles.  Hopefully they keep coming.  I heard a rumor that for Thanksgiving, they try and get Elder Holland to come.  I love his talks... they are frightening...
     I've been here for a month!! It is really weird to think about. I feel like I've been here forever, but its gone so fast.  That probably doesn't make sense.  The days are long but the weeks are short.  I literally feel like yesterday was my first Sunday here.  It's really weird for me to think that in 1 month I'll be in Colombia.  
    So I haven't really heard anything about my visa except that like the 2nd week we were here, we signed another paper from the Colombian gov't and sent it back. So I think that might be a good sign.  At least I hope it's a good sign.  But I haven't heard anything about the Colombian visas.  There are lots of Elders going to Mexico that are having difficulties.  2 missionaries we talked to have been here for 6 months because they don't have their visas.  They have already been to Phoenix and St. George and now they are back here waiting.  So I guess I'm really lucky I'm not going to Mexico. 
     Spanish is going well.  I am recently able to have a conversation with someone only in Spanish.  It's really weird because I have tried to make it so I'm not translating everything from english to spanish and spanish to english, so that I am thinking in Spanish.  It is pretty hard but I think it is working.  But it is really cool to be able to do that.  we started to practice teaching in Spanish.  That is way hard.  But it is really cool because things start coming out of my mouth and I don't really know what I said.  Next week we teach an "investigator" solomente en español. 
     So something really funny/sad happened the other day.  There was an old lady walking out of the building we have class in, and so I held the door open for her.   She seemed a little frail and confused.  So when she got outside, she started saying things like, "Where am I?... What is this place?... What am I doing here?... How did I get here?..."  And then she wandered away...  (we saw someone help her, don't worry)
     So a lot of Elders in my zone are leaving within 2 weeks.  It's kind of sad becuase we are all pretty good friends now.  But that means that we are soon to be the oldest district in out zone.  That means that more than likely, one of our 3 companionships are going to be zone leaders soon.  We aren't so sure we want to do that...
     Well I'm out of things to say...  I love you all so much!  I hope you are all doing ok out in the pretend world of pretendness that doesn't exist...
       Con amor,
P.S.  yes you can all call me Corey if you want.
P.P.S.  Someone asked me my first name the other day and it was kind of hard to remember.
P.P.P.S  yes I am getting the Dear Elders.  So send more!
P.P.P.P.S  I'm not sure if I did the P.S. thing right, but I don't care.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Hello family,
     So this week has been pretty cool.  On Sunday, there were a bunch of missionaries in my zone that were leaving.  So sacrament meeting was really cool.  There was a really good musical number, and our branch president Shumway spoke.  He is a really awesome man.  He always gives the coolest lessons and talks and things.  Anyways, it was probably the most spiritual sacrament meeting I've ever had.  So I don't think I've told anyone about this... but every sunday, we have to prepare a talk for sacrament meeting.  It wouldn't be that bad, except that it has to be in Spanish!  It pretty much stresses everyone out.  But I guess it is a good experience or something...
     On sunday, we also got to go to a fireside that was really good, and we watched the Joseph Smith movie later that night.  It was a really fun/cool day. 
     On tuesday, Elder Scott came for the devotional!!!  We are way lucky that we got 2 apostles in a row.  It was so cool.  He promised a bunch of blessings to us and I could really feel the spirit.  I was in the choir, so that was really cool, so we got reserved seats and everything.  November is supposed to be a big month for Apostles to come here. 
     On Wednesday night, or Thursday morning... 4 elders from our district left for the Dominican Republic MTC.  It is weird now because there are only 6 elders in my district now.  But its weird because I didn't think I would care when they left, but I became really good friends with 2 of them.  So that's a big change that we're dealing with.
     Yesterday, my companion and I were asked to teach a workshop to the whole zone.  I don't know why we were asked, because we are still kind of the newest missionaries here.  So as it turns out... I had to teach pretty much all of it because my companion is "sick."  So that was a little bit frustrating. Also we taught Lesson 2 two times.  Thats a lot... So yesterday was really busy for us.  I went in to the TE where Brian Messer works, and we did a 30 minute class with him.  It was really helpful and fun to see him.  I learned a lot. 
     Spanish is going pretty good.  Our teachers have stopped speaking english so it is hard, but it helps a lot.  We have to teach the Lesson 2 again tonight. Thats always stressful.  But it usually goes well. 
     Our branch president challenged us to read the book of Mormon cover to cover before we leave the MTC.  Its going really well. I can't seem to put it down when I start to read it.  I love that book so much.  I just got to Alma today so I'm making pretty good headway. 
     Well i'm pretty much out of things to say... except that I'm over 1/3 of my way through the MTC!
         Con amor,
              Elder Hoddenbach
P.S.  Send more letters and stuff... ever since the other elders left, we don't get any mail...

Friday, October 22, 2010


Dear Family,
     This week was so awesome!  On fridays, after p-day, we go to a place called the TRC.  This is where we go and teach "investigators."  I wasn't very excited to do this, but it went really well. Now I'm kind of excited to do again tonight.  I realized that teaching is pretty fun.  Plus we study the material so hard throughout the week so it's cool to put it into action.
     On tuesdays, we get a general authority to come speak to us at our devotional.  They were pretty shady on who was coming which let us to believe it was gonna be someone big...  They were really secretive about all of it.  Then while we were singing and waiting before the devotional, everyone just stands up.  And they usually tell us that we only stand for The Prophet and the Apostles.  So, turns out Elder Nelson was there!  It was so cool.  He talked about missionary work... surprise, I know. It was really good though. It was so short though.  He only spoke for like 35 minutes instead of the regular 50 or so.  It was way cool though and we got so much information from him.
     Other than that, my week is pretty much the same as last week.  It was good.  But everyday is like the one before it.  It's way repetitive but that makes one week seem like one big day.  So really I'm only here for like 6 1/2 more long days.
     Today we went to the temple.  It's really cool to go with a bunch of missionaries. It gives it an even cooler atmosphere.  And we ate at the temple cafeteria again.  Its sooo good.
     It's so amazing how much we learn in 1 week.  It's way cool how much more I understand about the Book of Mormon and stuff like that.  I can't seem to put it down.  Also, spanish is coming really well.  I can almost have a conversation. (probably like talking to a 3 year old...) But it's really pretty fun.
     So I can't remember if I told everyone this, but 4 of the elders in my district are leaving on thursday for the Dominican Republic MTC.  I didn't think it would affect me at all, but I made really good friends with 2 of them. So it'll be a little hard. They are my favorites in my district.  But when we all get home,  they are both going to go to BYU, so that'll be good.
     I really don't have much more to say this week except that I love and miss you all! 
                            Elder Hoddenbach
P.S. I'm going to write letters to some of you this week and some next week.  I just don't have enough time to write to everyone... sorry.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Dear mom and dad,
     I just wanted to let you know that i'm doing really well and I love you lots.   It's been a really good week.  I can't believe how fast it went though.  I seriously though Monday was like yesterday. 
    I'm doing really good and having tons of fun.  I had some really cool experiences this week and have felt the spirit a lot.
    the food here is really pretty good. we got really big meals 3 times a day.  today we went to the temple.  It was a really cool session and it was really cool to have the room full of missionaries from my zone.  My zone is really, really awesome.  Everyone is really nice and friendly.  (There is about 50 people in it)  We ate in the cafeteria after the session and it was so good.
    I don't have a lot of time left.  Sorry I suck at writing emails. I'll write you a big long letter in a minute.  You can give an update for the blog that katie is gonna make from my letter.
     I'm doing really well and I love you so much!!!  The best way to get letters is dear Elder. at least right now it is.  I'll give you a full update in my letter. 
                  Elder Hoddenbach
P.S.  I have a flashing red timer counting down... it makes this really intense.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


hey mom and dad,

     How are you?  i'm doing really good i think.  It's been a really hard couple of days.  but things are starting to get better.  my days have been really, really slow, and i feel like i've been here for weeks.  We are learning spanish crazy fast and we get a ton of information stuffed down our throats.  But i'm learning so much.  My companion is elder Richens, the one we met at applebees.  He is sort of weird and I get frustrated but we are getting along just fine.  there are 3 other elders in my district going to cali.  elders mckay and shelley.  elder mckay is from arizona and elder shelley is from fairview.  My comp. and 2 other elders are going to bogota.  the rest of the elders in my district are going to the Dominican republic and they leave in 3 weeks for the mtc down there.
     I talked to elder hancey last night for a bit.  i don't know if he has changed or if I have changed but I really really enjoyed talking to him.  I'm writing a big letter with a lot of details today since i don't have a lot of time. 
     everyone says to make it to sunday and the time starts flying by.  I hope this is true because it is super super slow right now. 
     i just wanted to let you know that i'm doing ok.  you're letter the first day really helped me to forget myself and get to work.  but i miss you and you'll get a letter soon with a lot more details but i'm almost out of time.
     I love so much!!!
              elder corey hoddenbach