Monday, December 26, 2011


Dear Family,

Well, this isn`t what I said I was gonna write.  I didn`t really have time to think about it so this is going to be real boring.  Next week I will try to write something more interesting.

It was really good to talk to you.  I am glad that everyone was there too.  Thanks for talking to me for so long.  Nothing happened yesterday.  We went to church... we only had sacrament meeting so basically we had all day free.  My first convert here in Pasto (Edinson) invited us to eat lunch with them.  Other than that, the members pretty much forgot about us.  Thats ok, I guess...  It is Christmas.   We kinda wandered around all day looking for something to do.  We didn`t really want to interrupt people`s Christmas activities.

Thanks for the presents mom!  I kinda needed new socks and I always love a new tie!  I really like all of them.  Thanks.  

Well thats about it....  Sorry.  Love you lots and hope you have a great week!!!


Monday, December 19, 2011


Dear Family,

This week was good.  Pretty normal... but good.  It`s actually starting to get pretty tough because no one is home and no one wants to let us crash their parties.  Hardly anyone goes to church this time of year.  Just the really faithful ones.  

Well I have to say that it does seem a little bit more like Christmas this year than it did last year.  Pretty much just because it is cold.  There isn`t any snow, but we are in the middle of  ¨winter¨  here.   ¨Winter¨ just means that it rains a lot...  But yeah it feels a bit better this year than it did last year.  I guess it could also be because I`m not new and I can understand spanish and stuff.  Last Christmas was pretty rough for me.  

This week I did divisions with Elder Sanchez.  He`s a new good buddy that I`ve got nowadays.  He was born in Colombia, but moved to the Dominican Republic.  He is really funny and fun to hang out with.  But he is companions with Elder Zuñiga and is having a tough time being patient enough.  I understand a little bit of that because I have had to do a lot of divisions with Zuñiga.  So it was a really fun division because he got to relax a little bit.  We worked hard and everything but made sure to really enjoy ourselves.  I feel bad for the guy but also I feel really lucky to be able to have such a good companion.  I have definatley had my fair share of hard companions...  but I think it is probably something that we all have to go through.  Anyways, I guess I am just trying to say that it is really cool to be able to wake up everyday and feel good about working with your friend.  Not worrying about if he is gonna explode if you do something he doesn`t like... things like that.   We rarely have disagreements or any type of problem.  We just get up and work.  Nothing more to worry about.  The lesson I have learned is that we need to feel like this everyday of our lives.  We need to be happy with our work, family, friends and just the direction our life is going in.  If we can find this, we will always be happy.  No matter the trials that come our way.

So, Saturday...   I think I will try to call at about 1 00 (colombia time) which is about 11 00 your time (i think...look it up maybe, just to be sure).  There could be a difficulty with finding a place that is open.  I will have to find an internet cafe.  I am quite sure I will be able to find a place, but just in case, be ready for anything.  Mom, have your email open just in case, so we can communicate if something goes wrong.  I was able to get on and make and account on skype so my username is corey.hoddenbach.  I think it will all work out really good.   I am really excited to see you all!  I haven`t spoken english for a while so we will see how it goes.  I don`t have a problem writing every week but sometimes when I speak, I get a little tounge tied.  

Well, I will see you on saturday!  Love you lots!


Monday, December 12, 2011


Dear Family,

This week was good.  Pretty normal except for the Christmas Party thing.   Other than that, not a whole lot new...

The Christmas party thing was fun.  I got to talk to a couple of my friends that I hadn`t seen for a while.  And we got to see Pres Prince and his wife.  Pasto is kinda hard to get to... so they arrived pretty late.  They went to the airport in Cali early in the morning and every single flight to Pasto was sold out...  So they got a flight to Bogota and another from Bogota to Pasto.  So they got to Pasto at about 1 00.  We sang Christmas songs, played games, ate food and got presents.  I was especially happy to get 2 packages from mom and dad!  Thanks!  But anyway, it was a pretty good day.  

After the party, I talked to President Prince for a minute about my companion.  We get along really well and stuff but sometimes he seems kind of down or turned off.  So I felt like I should ask him if there was anything I should know.  Turns out that I have been given a special assignment... again.  Its pretty much the story of my life as a missionary.  Apparently, he has had some problems with this in the past.  He is a good guy and a good missionary but sometimes seems a little depressed.  My new job is to figure out what the deal is and how to help him.  I actually really enjoy my special assignments... 

Thanks for writing back about what your desires are.  I really enjoyed reading about your thoughts.  I have been thinking about it a lot lately and I am trying to figure it all out.  I think I am going to write a good long sermon or something for Christmas and I will include more of my thoughts.  So for now I will write just a little about it.     Lately, I have thought a lot about my future.  I know I am still a ways away from that but I gotta have an idea of what direction I want to go.  While I agree 100% with each of you about how the gospel and family are the most important, I have found service to be right up there close.  I have learned through serving the importance to serve.  I have learned that I want to spend my life serving.  I don`t really know how yet... but I do know that that is what i want to do.   For me, one of my many desires is to serve and help other people.   (more to come on this subject)

Well sorry this is kinda short and boring... but I love you lots and hope you all have a good week!


Monday, December 5, 2011


Dear Family,

This week was good.  Me and my companion have gotten to be really good friends and are really enjoying this transfer.  So, things are going really good and I am really happy.  Pasto is really cool.  I love it here.  The people are really nice.  Everyone loves us.  And I have really gotten to be really good friends with a few members.    We are also really excited for Christmas here.  They say it is really cool (lights and stuff).  We`ll see I guess.   Christmas is way different here.  The truth is, it is basically a drinking holiday here.  Its kinda sad and makes me miss the good old White Christmas at home.  But it`ll be good.  We have a bunch of invites for Christmas Day.  

Speaking of Christmas, this week is our Christmas party thing with President Prince.  I think it`ll be cool.  They also advised me that I will be receiving 2 packages!  I don`t know from who yet...  but thanks in advance!

Well, we ended up not being able to baptize this week.  We had a problem with an investigators family.  She really wants to get baptized and all but it is causing a bit of tension, especially with the mom.  But it gives us a bit more time to really get her prepared.  She will be a good Relief Society Pres. one day.  Now we will teach the lessons again and in more depth.  Sometimes, we don`t get a chance to really teach everything before baptism.  

Thats pretty crazy hearing about Centerville and how she got destroyed... what did you do to deserve that? haha.  But it kinda makes you think doesn`t it?  Why did it happen?   I have learned in my mission the reality of how everything happens for a reason.  Sometimes the reason is big and sometimes it`s small... but there is always a reason.  My prediction...  the purpose is to get the people to serve each other.  Its something we often forget to do.  Things are better when everyone helps everyone.  I kinda wish I was there to help...

This week, a member printed me off a talk (in English!) by Elder Anderson that is called Educating Your Desires.  I really enjoyed it.  He talked about how powerful our desires really are.  More than anything, I really liked a couple of questions that he asked.   What do you absolutely believe?  and,  What are you willing to fight for and never let go?  I have thought a lot about these questions this week.  I think they are very important to ask to yourself.  Once we know the answers to these questions, there shouldn`t be any wondering what we should do with our time.  Simple but powerful questions.  So, I want to hear from you about this topic.  So I am giving you homework...  Next week I would like to read a little about what you absolutely believe and what you are willing to fight for and never let go.  Thanks.

I hope you have a good week!!!  I love you lots!!!