Monday, March 28, 2011


Dear Family,
This week has been really good and super fast.  I litterally can´t believe that march is almost over.  But I am super excited to watch conference this weekend.
We have this investigator that we ¨accidently¨ found.  But she is super prepared and we taught the word of wisdom to her the other day (the word of wisdom is a huge problem here in Colombia... that and the Law of Chastity...)  and she told us that coffee really isn´t bad for you and that doctors have proven that it is good for some sicknesses.  I was a little worried when she told us that but we got to bear testimony of it and we could see the change in her eyes and she said that she would give it up.  So she did and now she is ready for baptism.  Oh and she is coming to Manizales to watch conference.  ella es una investigadora de oro...
Speaking of the word of wisdom,  (it took me like 5 minutes to remember what its called in english...)  Colombia has a lot of problems with it.  Everyone drinks coffee.  Everyone drinks.  Everyone smokes.  And everyone smokes marijuana.  It is incredible.  (marijuana really reeks by the way...)  The cops don´t do anything about it and anywhere you go, you can smell it.  But also i have learned that in ChinchinĂ¡ there is a crapload of iniquity.  So maybe in my next area there won´t be a ton of it.
So it is very very likely that I will be transferred on april 14.  I am kind of excited for it but also I love chinchina.  But it will be nice to start fresh again. 
My companion is really good and I have learned a lot from him.  He is way better than my other companion.  The other two missionaries that live in my house are pretty annoying and I´ve almost flipped a lid at them a few times.  But overall I am pretty dang happy.  I understand 90 to 95% of eveything and can pretty much express myself how I want.  It is still hard but it is a lot easier to enjoy everything now. 
It was super good to hear from all of you!  I hope you all have a good week!  Love you all!
P.S. the pics from last week are of chinchina.  All of my area.  And the man is the branch mission leader. 

Monday, March 21, 2011


Dear Family,

This week was really good but not a lot happened...

We had one really awesome experience that I want to share.  Last Saturday, we were searching for a reference.  We found the house and knocked on the door.  They weren´t there.  In Colombia, all of the houses are conjoined so the lady next door answered and let us in.  She instantly opened up to us and wanted to hear our message.  She accepted the baptismal committment on the first lesson.  In fact, she responded saying, ¨claro!¨ which means (more or less) ¨clearly!¨  and then she said, ¨how can I prepare?¨   It was super cool and so last week we have been working with her a lot.  She has come to activities and to church and everything and is pretty much already a member.

So now I don´t have a lot more to say... so i will tell you something that I think I forgot to tell. 
So the food here...  So the main dish of the day here is lunch.  And when I say main dish, I mean the dish is HUGE!  I remember my first day here... The lady brought out a soup (a very large soup...) and i thought oh its not that much.  Then after eating it and being full.  She brought out the lunch.  It was a plate stuffed full of food in the shape of a mountain!  So my point is that everyday here, lunch is huge.  So I have not felt hungry since the day I came to Colombia...

Also this week I experienced 2 pastimes that I used to enjoy.  1.  Froot Loops.  Holy cow! those are good.   2.  Hot Shower.  I had my first hot shower of 4 months this week!

Well I am doing good and it sounds like you all are doing good to!  Have a good week!


Monday, March 14, 2011


Dear Family,
This week was really awesome.  (Disclaimer... I don´t have tons of time today but I will do my best to report as much as I can.)
My new companion is super cool.  He is definately weird... but I like him and I have learned so much.  He is from bolivia and has 18 meses in Colombia.  My area was split this transfer and I had to give up all my investigators to the other missionaries.  It was tough and now its tougher because we have to find new ones now...  So we have spent a lot of time contacting.  We door contact a lot.  Usually its not the most effective way but it has really worked.  When they let us in, we teach the Book of Mormon.  It is super cool to teach the Book of Mormon and we have started doing something really cool.   We teach the whole lesson and then at the end we say, ¨so how much do think this book is worth?¨  The first two times they said, oh I don´t know like 20 or 25 mil pesos. (10 or 15 dollars)  But the 3rd time we did it the lady pulled out a bill of 50 thousand pesos and wanted the book.  (25 dollars... yeah its a freaking ton here...)  But then we give it to them for free and they love us.  then we committ them to baptism!  And its working.
Not a whole lot of things very interesting are happening but I am super happy.  We are 100% obedient and I love it.  I love this work so much!
I can´t believe that general conference is so close.  I am way excited for that.  But it means that I am about 1 fourth done with my mission...  It has gone by so fast. 
It sounds like eveyone is doing good and stuff.  Congrats dad with you awards and stuff!  Thats way cool!  And I cant believe what happened with ron.  Thats sad.
I gotta go...  Love you all and hope you all have a good week!

Monday, March 7, 2011


Dear Family,

This week went fairly well.  It was super crazy and super unexpected...
So my companion left.  It was harder than I thought it would be for some reason... Even though he wasn´t obedient, we were really good friends.  I definately didn´t appreciate him as much as I should have. 
So on tuesday night, I found out who my companion was going to be...  I got the call and was told that my companion was going to be Elder Mamani from Bolivia.  And then I learned that we were going to have 2 more missionaries in Chinchina!  I was super excited at first.  But then I started thinking about the responsabilidad that was about to fall on my shoulders... 
So this week I have been the tour guide of Chinchina.  Well at least it feels like I have.  We have 4 missionaries in the apartment and it is jam packed.  I´m not the biggest fan of that.  The other 2 Elders are: Elder Tumbaco from Ecuador and Elder Castro from Peru.  All of the new missionaries are pretty weird and stuff but I have learned to like them.  Well, not all of them...  Elder Castro is freaking annoying and pretty much creeps me out.  And he thinks we are best pals and everything.  Oh and he stares at me all the time.  And when I see that he is staring, he doesn´t look away.  Man alive its weird!  But my companion is way funny and we are having some really cool experiences.
The wedding and the baptisms happened this week!  They were both really awesome experiences.  The weddings are always a bit weird because they want us to party... but we can´t.  But after 3 months of really hard work, they are members.  It was so cool to have that experience. 
I have learned something very important this week.  When I was frustrated with all the responsabilities that i have had, I started noticing how important it is to be friends with the members.  I was always nice to them and they were always nice to me (mostly...).  This week I have needed their help so much.  And now I know that I have some really awesome friends.  And they come with us to help us teach and they give us referalls (i think that is the word in english...) all the time.
So, my spanish is going pretty good.   I am understanding about 85%.  It is kind of weird knowing a different language...  In some of your emails, you asked me what it is like.  It is really weird because it is normal.  I am thinking in mostly spanish and it really is like a switch that I can turn off and on.  But it is just normal now to be able to understand and speak. 
Anyways... Everything here is going good and I hope everything is going well for all of you!  From the sound of things, it sounds like you are all prospering without me...
Love you all!!!
    Elder Hoddenbach
fma Alcaraz.  (we found out the night before the baptism that their smallest daughter only has 7 years... that was a close one)

fma Alcaraz

Elder Shelley and I when we were on division en Villa Maria. (and yeah believe it or not Villa Maria is butt cold...)

the mom and her 2 daughters is la fma Montes.  The baptism (and marraige) of last week.  (the husband is the goal for this transfer... he smokes.)