So… yesterday as I walking over to do my laundry at BYUI I ran into Jenny again…. Wait. That wasn’t yesterday, that was 4 months ago!! Seriously, it feels like BYUI was just a little while ago. Where has all this time gone?!
So the man from Ghana that was baptized a little while ago, we figured out his plans. He found somewhere he can stay about 4 hours north with another family from Ghana. There are better work opportunities up there. And, apparently, there are more Africans in the ward up there! So we are happy that he is able to move onto a better part of his life. Hopefully he can find a better football team up there as well. That is why he is here; he came to Europe to play football for a little while. Then he will go back to Ghana. He will be a great asset up there.
Last Monday, after our P-Day ended at 6PM, we went the house of a lady named Schwester J. Her fiance is a member and she already wants to be baptized. She even has her own leather bound scriptures already. She is set! And she is super great too! Just an all around great lady. She told us that she had been praying to know something… she knew there was something out there. And then, a few months later, she met Bruder M! Sister Clark and Sister Dunlap are teaching her; I was a little bummed because I wanted to teach an actual German for my first time. All the Africans here speak English. And there is one lady from England that we are teaching.  Heavenly Father has His plan; I will keep practicing my German wherever I can and be ready for when that happens.
On Tuesday we went to teach the man from Ghana we baptized. Afterwards, we really did not have much to do. So we talked to a lot of people on the street on our way back to the U-bahn Haltestelle. We ended up talking to this one African man who said he was on his way to his band practice. Elder Fuller was inviting ALL the Africans we talked to  our Fufu Fest and asked if this guy could play for us at the Stake Activity. I was listening to what the man was saying and then… Elder Fuller says, without me knowing “Can we come listen for a bit?” He says yes and we walk with him. All I could think was: “What is going on? Where are we going? We don’t even know what kind of music this is!” We ended up walking into a Lutheran Church were there were some more Africans. Long story short, we ended listening to some… good?… gospel music for about half an hour.
On Thursday, Elder Fuller had to renew his Tempelschein (Temple Recommend) with President Kosak. We live about a half U-bahn and bus ride away from the Mission Office here in Berlin. We woke up and Elder Fuller said, “Elder, I had the weirdest dream. I had a dream that when we went to the office today, we both got two HUGE packages.” I didn’t think anything of it and said my sarcastic, “Wow! Cool!” When I walked into the front part of the office, Sister Snow, the senior sister at the front desk said, “Oh! Elder Hoffman! A few things came for you the other day!” Little did I know that I received TWO packages that day! One from my neighbors in Danville and one from my mom for my birthday – which I am waiting patiently to open until the 12th!! Elder Fuller and I ate the Swedish Fish as we rode the bus back home from the office. It was a good day. Ha!
As I have been studying German lately, I have been thinking about something President Kosak said when we first got here. Coming from America, we all know the language of the Restoration – which is English. And now we have the opportunity to learn the language of the Reformation – which is German, because of Martin Luther. What a neat opportunity that is! I learned in the MTC that Jospeh Smith actually knew German and studied the Martin Luther Bible. I love studying the Martin Luther Bible; I know that it is one of the closer translations that we can study. Joseph Smith even said that the Martin Luther translation is the best translation of the Bible. I feel good studying it and I enjoy being able to study it because I know the language. I have surprised myself with how well I really do know this langauge. I can follow a conversation incredibly well. I just need stuff that I can say now! Last night, we went to a member’s house to share a lesson on Family History work and Temples (hence why I need family photos!!!) and the daughter said, “Du verstehst Deutsch sehr gut.” “You understand German really well.” I then naturally responded, “Wie bitte?” or “What was that?” Ha! Sometimes I think I don’t understand, when I really do, and then I ask them to repeat it. It’s the worse when they speak REALLY slow for you and ask you 10 times if I understand. Ha!
Oh! Saturday was super cool, too! We had the big Football Tournament for the Stake almost all day! There were about 15 teams there. Anbd Bruder Klimpel, from our ward, organized it. He even invited a few semi-pro teams to come play with us. They came from Dresden, Switzerland, Frankfurt, and England to play with us. They came out for a weekend vacation and played with us for fun. A lot were members actually. But I thought the whole thing was GENIUS! The semi-pro teams added a great variety to the tournament with new faces, skills, and it brought some people who were not members into the tournament. Neukölln ended up having two teams and we had a good amount of nonmembers who came to play with us. Elder Fuller was a little disappointed because we could not play – President said we could not play because there were too many injuries… which was true. He is a HUGE soccer junkie. Then someone asked him to be a referee almost ALL day. In the beginning, I watched all his games and sat with Sister Clark & Dunlap and ate all the cake the members brought and drank tea and talked… We pretty much had a tea party… let’s face it. Then they left and I watched all of Elder Fuller’s games; we were both exhausted at the end of the day. I understand why he was so tired; but I was sitting all day and ate brownies and Pflaumkuchen and Apfelkuchen and drank tea and ate Bratwurst all day. We all have our own cross to carry I guess! But I loved that whole day and want to do something like that at home. It was a huge success!!
And on the tea: I am turning into a HUGE tea junkie here. I am still a little sick and the Tea helps me throughout the day. But I feel like I am on an episode of Downton Abbey with all this tea! Germans love tea and, again, I can live with that!
And General Conference is here!! What are you all looking forward to the most?! Any guesses about new Temples or announcements?! We are having a cooking competition with the other Neukölln missionaries. We have to go far away to watch and need to pack food for in between sessions. We are going to make a casserole. I still need to figure out how to make my banana bread. Sister Clark is famous for her’s…. But the missionaries here haven’t had mine yet….
That is all for now. No crazy photos today from the week.
Elder Hoffman
 1. Fufu Fest flyer that we put in front of the Church.
2. My desk during langauge study…. My life!
3. Pretty day. View from hanging my head outside my window.
4. Same.
5. We ate breakfast here today because we ran out of food yesterday (going to the store today). It is called “Brot und Brötchen” which means “Bread and little Breads.” Which is exactly what they sell. Donuts, pastries, muffins, loaves of bread. I had a Berliner, a muffin, a little salami sandwich, a banana, and a cup of tea for 5€. Oh Germans and their bread!
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Week #6: Neukölln

Liebe Familie und Freunde!
Something I learned last week: do not send packages directly to my apartment. It always best to send packages to the Mission Office. If I move and a package is sent to another apartment, I have to go to the post office with my ID and fill out forms and doing other things that Germans LOVE. They’ll probably make me do something with numbers because Germans love numbers and we don’t want me doing things with numbers. Some of you have seen me with numbers and it doesn’t usually turn out well. 
We had a good week of learning how we can change our approach to missionary work through the members. We are working to strengthen our relationship with our Gemeindemissionsleiter (Ward Mission Leader) and developing creative ways to increase the work! The ward goal is to have 10 baptisms this year. So far we have had three or four baptisms within the past month. So I think that is do-able. But we really want the members to step up their game. I feel like Gordon B Hinckley when I think about their passion for missionary work. I then think, “But it is not enough!” We have been going by showing the Work of Salvation Broadcast DVD and creating a Familiemissionsarbeitplan (A family mission plan) to talk to people, hand out ONE Book of Mormon, talk to someone they know, etc. When we teach people who already know someone in the Church, they already have a network of friends waiting for them. We don’t have to work to create that network for the investigator – which is a huge help!
On Monday I had my first Austausch (Exchange). There are two Mitarbeitershaffts (companionships) of Elders in Neukölln. So we switched. I went to the other apartment with Elder Atkinson for the day and went to all of their appointments. And Elder Barr went with Elder Fuller for the day. I learned some good points about being more meticulous in my daily planning the night before and spending more time on lessons and planning sessions to receive inspiration. I am not good at exploring EVERY SINGLE option available to man in a certain circumstance and get impatient. But that is something I can definitely afford to do as a missionary. I was a little envious because, when we all met back at the Church at the end of the Austausch, Elder Fuller said that we had three new investigators. WHAT?! They were finally able to go and visit some old investigators and Weniger Aktivs (Less Active members). But, with my 12 Week Training Program, we spend a lot of time inside studying right now. But we have been better about visiting people who have already learned about the Gospel. Seeds have already been planted. This is a harvesting Mission. We baptize in Germany!
In a few weeks we have a Stake Activity that we are putting together. It is called “Fufu Fest.” Fufu is an African dish. Not really sure what it is; I always get different answers. But it is an activity to introduce all the African members in the Stake to the German members. There will be food and dancing, and cultural presentations and what not. And the Neukölln missionaries, us, will do a presentation on the Church’s history in Africa. It will be a lot of fun. Hopefully people come. Just like in Life Skills Activities, I found myself making the flyers and posters again, trying to figure out how to get people to come, how many copies to make, where to put them, etc. Ha!! Heavenly Father was obviously preparing me!!
Since we are not teaching very often in German, because we are teaching mostly Africans who speak English, we decided to make one or two short appointments during the week to practice giving a lesson “auf Deutsch.” I think it’s not only a really great oppotunity for me to my German to good use, but to build trust and a relationship with the members. I am probably going to be here through the holidays at least and need to get a started on that.
On Thursday we had our Zone Conference. Our zone (Berlin Süd) was combined with Berlin Nord and another… can’t remember. But it was basically a miny General Conference for our Zones. It was so great. And the best part was that is ALL in English!!!! Hallelujah! Sister Kosak talked about the power of pure, simple testimony and our duty to share it everywhere and with everyone. President Kosak talked about how we already have all the tools that we need to teach and be effective missionaries. All we need to do is open our mouths. Just as the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants says, we must open our mouths for them to be filled; we cannot wait until out mouths are full to speak. The Holy Ghost gives us the words to say when we speak. He reviewed past lessons that had been taught throughout the year. I thought I would share a few “shorts” through out the next several weeks:
Truman G Madsen once asked President Hugh B Brown of the First Presidency why the Lord would put Abraham through the experience of being asked to sacrifice his own son. Obviously God knew that Abraham would be willing to do anything God commanded, and if that was the case, why did the Lord put him through such a test? President Brown aswered, “Abraham needed to learn something about Abraham.”
Oh! I keep forgetting! Elder Fuller’s grandparents live in the Danville Stake! Their names are Allen and Patsy Johnson. Not sure which building they go to. I don`t know them; but maybe someone else does! I told him that when he is in town he should meet up with my family. I am sure you guys would want to take him to lunch or meet up somewhere. It was funny, when I said my usual “I live about 20 minutes east of Oakland.” He asked, what is the name of your town? Do you know Danville? Ha! That will making visiing eachother easy!
Last thing on my list is football. Every Saturday morning, the Gemeinde here (the Ward) has a football game from 9-11 (soccer…). We invite our investigators and a few come. There are some other people not interested in the Church that come as well. Some kids a few years younger than us play as well. Anyways, I am TERRIBLE at playing football! Seriously. These guys have been playing all their lives – like all Germans do. Towards the end of the game I am about ready to give up trying to figure out what is going on. But one of the members came up to me and, when he was leaving at the end of the game, he said, “Elder Hoffman, es ist immer besser!” Hey! He said I was getting better and better every time. I think that this is something that I do need to get good at for my mission. I am learning. Throughout the week I pray that I will play well and learn more about the game. I guess that is paying off! Plus the Germans understand that I would probably beat them in a game of American Football or Basketball, which isn’t entirely true…. But I appreciate how understanding they are!
Okay… long email, I know. But I want to share something Sister Kosak said last week at Zone Conference. I always figured Germans did not talk on the trains or the street and didn’t show emotions because, well, that’s how Germans are. But ever seince Germany was divided, so many Germans have been taught that there is so much badness in the world and they cannot trust strangers or talk to them. And that gave me a new understanding of these people. They are not closed up and stoic because they are German… they are simply scared. There are so many people telling us where to go, what to do, how to think, act, eat, pray, dress, breathe, etc. It is scary and hard to live in such a world. But that’s exactly it: if we live in such a world. We don’t have live in that world. And that is important to me because I am a missionary. I did not coe here to see the attractions or to blend into the culture. How can a 20 year old, wearing a suit and tie, a weird nametag, a smaile on his fae, and an AMerican accent honestly blend in here. That’s right, someone like that can’t and shouldn’t. So we need to break that barrier and actually talk to people (small talk) on the U-Bahns and stop people on the street. Even if it is a typical, American “Guten Abend” or “Hallo!” as we pass one another on the street.
That is all for this week! I hope all is well at home!
Again! Send pictures in the mail or for me to print off! It is important to me!
Elder Hoffman

More Week #5

Greetings friends and family!
First, sorry my emails have not had too many stories or what not in them. This past week I have been keeping a piece of paper with me and write down things that I think I should write home about.
Last week I meant ask everyone if they could send pictures to me! I decided not to bring any pictures with me before the MTC because it would be abother thing to carry around. But I have found that as I talk about friends on missions or from school or family members that it would be nice to be able to show people who I am talking about. So anyone and everyone, if you could send some 4×6 photos to me, I appreciate that. The more the merrier, really. It would be nice to see some familiar faces every now and then.
My address is:
Elder RR Hoffman
Karl-Marx-Str. 168
12043 Berlin
Also, if any other Return Missionaries want to email or mail some tips about learning a foreign language, feel free to email me! I am doing pretty well with the language. I can follow what is being said at Church and at member`s houses (maybe they just speak really slowly to me…). But any tips, advice, or things you did to learn the language or to speak it more or better, send it my way!!
As Elder Fuller and I were doing our weekly planning on Friday, I realized that General Conference is coming up soon! I am super excited. I hope everyone else is excited too. General Conference is always a great opportunity to show friends and family members what we believe. Modern day Prophets and Apostles will be speaking about such basic fundamentals of the Gospel. When I was at BYUI, I was not able to stay at home and watch it my pajamas. So some friends and I went to the Taylor Chapel to watch all four sessions. It was a great experience. I would encourage everyone at home to go to the Stake Center or everyone in Rexburg to go to the Taylor Chapel or the I-Center and watch, dressed in your Sunday best and take notes on ALL of the talks. I had a really spiritual experience dressing up for each session and – basically – going to Church. Maybe just try that this General Conference.
Yesterday the Berlin Pfahl (Berlin Stake) had their Pfahl Konferenz. Again, I set my expectations low because I am in Europe and did not think it would so unified. But, again, I was very surprised by how happy everyone was too see people from around the stake. All the members in the entire city of Berlin came together in Tiergarten. We heard from a Pfahl Präsidentshaft Rat (Stake presidency councilor), some youth about to leave on their missions, our Mission President (Präsident Kosak), the Freiberg Temple President, and the Pfahl Präsident (Stake President… see how easy German is?) And they ALL talked about missionary work. First, I was surprised by how active the ward was in their own missiuonary work and how ready they were to help us. And the Berlin Pfahl is just the same but multiplied by 100. CRAZY!!! The Pfahl Präsident quoted President Hinckley when he visited Berlin in 1996. There were 120 new stakes in Germany at that time. The Prophet said that that was tremendous, but it`s not enough! We need to work harder. Not only is our mission vision to combine to the Districts up in Northern Berlin into one Stake, but, as the Pfahl Präsident said to us, in one year – when the members meet again for Pfahl Konfernz – there will not be a single seat left. There should no more room in the Pfahlhaus (the Stake Center). What a great vision. I look forward to the day when they will all have to meet in a bigger building or even build a bigger meeting house. The missionary work here is vigorous!
I sent a picture of my new bible that Elder Fuller and I bought at the Berliner Dom last week. Here, there is no separation of Church and State. And the German government owns the rights to print copies of the Holy Bible. And the Church cannot print their own with references to other Book of Mormon scriptures without breaking the law. So missionaries are given a version of the Bible that looks kind of weird. It is a hard cover, red, and looks like a regular book. Plus the translation is very hard to follow. Elder Fuller and I looked at the Martin Luther translations for fun and fell in love with them! Some members use that instead because that is what they alreadz had. So members here use both versions; it is fun to compare differences. Elder Fuller reads it all the time and it disappointed that he is just now getting it at the end of his mission. And I am glad that I found it now! It really does make a world of a difference.
The German here are funny. They are known for not showing very much emotion. On the U-bahn and on the streets, they walk and sit with straight faces. No one ever talks to anyone or says hello. We are not allowed to preoselyte on buses, S-bahns (street trains), U-bahns (underground system), or at any Haltestelles (stops or stations). So it makes it a little difficult. But it makes me laugh when other missionaries yell “Guten Abend!” to someone on the street. And they look at us with a confused face. They don`t know what to do. Sometimes they just stare at us and our nametags trying to figure it out.
Oh. And they eat bread like ther`s no tomorrow. They just eat straight up bread. I can live with that….
Ben`s baptism is on Sunday after Church and we are excited for that. So… fun fact. He plays semi-professional football (soccer). But he might be traded to a team in Istanbul, Turkey soon. We are worried because the Church really is not strong there. I think there are like four missionaries in the whole country. SO we are praying for something better. Or that he can even stay in Germany!
Funny stories:
  1. The Sister Missionaries here were at the Church building in Neukölln one evening. They were sitting on one of the chairs in the entrance waiting for an appointment to show up to teach. And a pregnant, hippie lady walked up to the Church, glared at them, and then spit on the ground and left. They weren`t really sure what happened and didn`t really want to get too involved. Funny story, right…?
  2. We were leaving Ben`s apartment and there was a guy with a bunch of pizzas going into an apartment. He saw us and said, “Mormone, oder?” (MOrmons, right?” We stopped and said, “Yeah. How do you know us?” And he was surprised. He thought we were going to a costume party and found out that we were actually Mormons. Ha! We gave him a card with our number on it and left.
I write down about 10 words everday to look up at night and to studz and use. I will include a few every week:
  • Offenbarung = Revelation
  • Knechten = Secrets
  • jucken = to itch/ scartch
  • Sinn = mind, idea, conciousness, sense, etc….
  • vorbereiten = to prepare
That`s all I have for today. There should be more to come next week! I will take more pictures through out the week of Berlin. My sidebag is small and it is hard to carry around a camera. But I will do my best; I need to.
Elder Hoffman



Week #5

Neukölln Gemeindehaus
Our apartment building. We are on the third floor with the window open. It is really cool. The street is noisy. But when we walk into the courtyard, it is very quiet and peaceful. On Saturdaz eveing, there was a little concert of some small choirs and there were people walking off the street into the courtyard. It was beautiful to open our window and listen as we study… I stopped studying and ate a piece of bread… like all Germans do. They sang a few American oldies as well; their accents cracked me as they sang.ImageImageImageImage

Week #4: Neukölln

Hallo meine Familie und Freunde!
I am in Germany now!
Quick: my trainer is Elder Fuller. He is from Seattle and we are getting a lot done! My first area is a section of the city of Berlin called Neukölln (noy-koolln). There are a lot of immigrants in this area. But it is full of good people. This area has the highest concentration of Turks outside of Turkey, actually. Therefore, we have about 4 or 5 African immigrants that we are teaching. No. We don’t teach any Turks. They are all Muslim and they try to convert us when we talk to them.
Hmmmm….. We have one baptism already planned for the 22nd. He is from Ghana and was already in the works. But I am excited for him. He is here playing soccer; his team is like three brackets down from the national team. He’s great. But we have several others that we are teaching. We mostly get referrals from the investigators that we are teaching, Gemeinde (Ward) members, or from other missionaries outside our area. That keeps us busy. Haven’t knocked any doors yet! Or…. klingled any apartment buildings here really….
Meeting President Kosak was great! I really like him! I pretty much guessed what he was like when I saw his picture. I was pretty right. Funny, soft, and takes command of the room. He was an institute Presdent in Russia and Eastern Europe for seven years. Now he has been here for a while. He said that “this is a baptizing mission.” And it is for sure! Between the other two Elders and two Sisters in Neukölln, we will have about  5 (maybe?) baptisms this transfer.
The Gemeinde here is great! There are about 50 people. We has Priesthood Meeting first at 9-ish. Then Sunday School. And then Sacrament Meeting at about 11/12-ish. It was a great meeting.
First, I sat next to this older lady on purpose. I asked if the two chairs next to her were taken and she didn’t hear me. So I had to yell “Kann ich hier sitzen?!” And she then proceeded to talk to me in THE SLOWEST German I have ever heard. It was laughing the whole time. She just thought I was smiling and she liked that. “OOOOOOOO. JAAAAAAAA: DU. Kannst. daaa sitzen.” She then proceeded to tell me how good my German was: “Aber…. deine. ar-tik-u-let-ion ist SEEEEHHHHHR schönnnnnn.” and how one sister missionary here grew up in Germany, went back to the states, and speaks great German, which she does. Beautiful accent. But the other… well she corrects her a lot. HAHA!! Too good! Long story short, Schwester Schmidt is my new home girl in the Neukölln Ward. I’ll send a picture next week of us when i get one.
But the Ward is so great. I expected less because… dare I say it… I am in Europe and thought it wouldn’t be as united. But they are very loving and welcoming and ready to serve. I hope to take advantage of that in getting their help with our work. They even take such good care of their Church buildings. The First Counselor stayed late on Sunday synchronizing all the clocks in the building and putting hymnals back where they belong. I think it’s funny just how German some of these people are though. Sacrament Meeting starts RIGHT on time and they all sush each other 10 minutes before to listen to the prelude music. Cracks me up on the inside.
And today was P-day!! I had my first Dönner and Elder Fuller and I went to the Berliner Dom. He kept making comments about the Catholic Church and making me laugh. Attached are some pictures.
I can’t think of anything else really. I feel like their is more. But I am working hard to get used to all this German. Just when I think I am getting the hang of it, GUESS WHAT?! There are more words!!
But I am doing well. Elder Fuller had a small cold before I came and I ended up getting a bit of it. But I am healthy and eating and able to walk around: it’s a walking area. I haven’t been here a week and I already have all the U-Bahn Haltestelles memorized.
Elder Hoffman
PS: The Y and Z are switched on these keyboards :/ I did my best.


Day 20 – Last day at the MTC

Guten Moregn! Today is Day 20 for me here at the MTC and I officially can say that I leave for Germany tomorrow! SAY WHAT?!?! HOLLA!!!

As great as it is here at the MTC, I am SO ready to go. I have spent the last three weeks within a 3-4 block radius (the MTC, the Provo Temple across the street, and the BYU Marriott Center just next door) and eating cafeteria food GALORE. I am praying that the SLC airport has like a Chipotle or a Costa Vida or something like that. It will be 9AM and I probably won’t even care!

My 4.5 hour layover in Amsterdam will prove to be interesting though. Then my mission president and his wife will pick us up at the Berlin Airport. There will be about 10 of us together headed to Berlin. The other some odd 30 missionaries in my Zone here are headed to Frankfurt on a different flight (SLC to Dallas to Frankfurt) and leave an hour before us. More sleeping time for the Berliners! I think we know who Heavenly Father love more. (Just kidding! He loves all of us just the same :P)

Oh! And there were two sister missionaries behind me in line yesterday at dinner. They are both headed to the Oakland-San Frnacisco Mission! I told them that if they are ever in the Danville Stake or the Alamo First Ward, tell them Elder Hoffman says hi. I didn’t think to get their names.

Our Fast Sunday was pretty good yesterday. All the missionaries who are about to leave have to attend a Departure Devotional on Sunday evening. President Hacking, one of the counselors in the MTC Presidency, spoke to us for a bit. He said that we are going out now to become “somebody’s missionary.” He told a story of a lady he baptized in England. He never was able to stay in touch with and had wondered for years what had happened with her and where she was. One night, her husband found him because his wife was feeling a bit down after her parents passed away. When he called President Hacking he said, “I thought that if I could just find her missionary, then maybe she would cheer up.”

President Hacking asked all the converts in the room to raise their hands and asked if we could remember the names of the missionaries that baptized us. And then I remembered, all the sister missionaries that taught me, I call them “my sister missionaries.” They will always be apart of my life wherever we are and I bet we will probably be something like neighbors or like in the same neighborhood in the Celestial Kingdom. I am so grateful for the opportunity to become “somebody’s missionary.”

Also, last night the former President of the Philippines MTC spoke to us. WOW! There are great things happening in that part of the world! He used the scripture from Alma and Isaiah that reads, “O how beautiful are the feet of those who stand on the mountain tops….” He explained that our feet will enter strange places, kick dogs away, and become very sore. But they will also lead many to the waters of baptism, lead us to find our friends from the pre-existence, and will constantly stand in holy places.

However, something I kept hearing a lot yesterday was something like, “You don’t know how great all of you are. You don’t know what a sight you are. You don’t have any idea about the work you are about to do.”
I do know the power with which missionaries are endowed. I do know what a sight we are. I know how much Heavenly Father loves his missionaries. And I know what the work will be like that is to come shortly. I will be walking shoulder-to-shoulder with the Savior, literally do His work on the earth with His priesthood authority, and I will be lifted up angels (D&C 84). I know all of this and I just felt like I needed to tell people that.

No pictures today. It has been kind of a boring week this week. I am doing a little laundry and packing today.

Ich liebe euch viel! Bis naechsten Montag!

Elder Hoffman

Week #2 (The next post will be from Germany)


Hello everyone!

I am 15 days into my MTC experience. I also have 5 1/2 days left here! WOOT!!

Starting Monday morning, my little district will start abandoning me… I mean leaving for their missions. Elder Lee was the last to leave. I walked him and his bags to the Travel Office here at 3AM. I look forward to seeing him again and know that he will do an excellent work in Toronto.

I am in a new branch now. I moved across campus and up four floors with all the other German missionaries. I will be taking German classes now and learning the language finally! My new companion is Elder Nelson from Corvalis, Oregon. We have only been companions for a few hours now, so I don’t know him all too much yet. But since I am in a new district and branch now, my Prep-Day is different.

Hmmmmm…. so what has been happening…? To the outside world, something amazing happens here every day. But I am so used to seeing and hearing new things that make me think differently; I stopped taking notes on everything because I remember everything I learn. It gets filed away and I know it’s still there because it is a part of me now.

Last night Elder Lee and I walked over to the Marriotr Center on the BYU campus for the MTC Devotional. We never know who is speaking until the walk up to the stand to take their seat. This time is was Elder Neal L Andersen of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. He walked into the auditorium when we were singing some prelude hymns and everyone stood up. I stood up too and had no idea why we were standing. Then I looked WAAAAYYYYY down at the floor and saw a little figure that kind of looked like Elder Andersen… And it was!

Here was the punchline of his talk: “We sacrifice for the things we love and love the things for which we sacrifice.” We love things, like friends and family, and we make sacrifices for them because we care them and want their happiness. But we also love the things we sacrifice. We may not intially LOVE saying a certain word less or spending more time with the scriptures, but we eventually seeing the silver lining and learn to love the things for which we sacrifice.

After the closing prayer, the MTC President came to stand and told us that it was raining very hard outside and that there was thunder and lightning. We were being kept in there for a little longer until it all subsided. We sang a few hymns and Elder Andersen went around and shook a few hands. After the lighting had passed, they told us to go back and try not to get too wet. So… there we all were… some 5,000+ missionaries hurrying back to the MTC in the pooring-down rain. It was fun! What an expereince though… listening to an Apostle of the Lord and then running home in the rain with all these missionaries. Not once did I hear people complaining. They, we, all had a fun time that night. My branch came together afterwards and we all talked about the devotional; it was a really great conversation about love being the central message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and, literally, the foundation of our work as missionaries.

I just have to say that I have so many small experiences here at the MTC. So many of them are just too sacred to share . These experiences are for me and know else could truly understand them. God’s hand is in my life and has been from the start. God’s hand has been in other’s lives, including Elders Lee, Ojeda, and Lucerna. We all arrived together in the MTC and by some miracle were put in the same district. I should not have been placed in that district or even arrived when I should have. All the other German Missionaries being fast-tracked, like me, came last week. I’m not sure who punched what buttons accidentally, but I am eternally thankful for these new friends in the Gospel.

I leave the MTC here in Utah at 5:30 AM on Tuesday the third. I will land in Amsterdam at about 6/6:30 for 4 1/2 hour layover. I have my pass along cards ready! Then I fly to Berlin, where I will land at 11:20AM on the fourth and my mission president, President Kosak, will pick all of us up. We’ll head to the Mission Home, I think, and do stuff…. I just need to try to stay awake that day!!

My next Prep-Day will be in Germany. So I will send an email then.

Ich liebe euch viel!


Elder Hoffman