Hodges, a graduate of Bradley Central High School, and a business management major at Southern Virginia University, is beginning his two-year missionary journey with the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints also known as Mormons.
He is presently training at the missionary center before going to his assignment in Samoa.
At the center, Hodges will receive “training to focus on teaching the Gospel and fine-tuning his skills.”He will also be learning the language and how to be a missionary. They will give lessons plans to help him on his mission.
However, he explained from the time you are 3 years old in the Mormon church “you go into primary classes so the church can teach us how to be a missionary.”
Most families set aside money to help fund the mission journey when their children are older. Hodges, the son of Jack and Wendy Hodges, has several siblings. So he is relying on friends, family and the church to help him with the money he needs to provide the necessities while on the trip.
When “we pay our tithes, we donate money to the general church mission fund,” he explained. This money is given by the local congregation to help its youth.
Hodges said he “likes challenges.” He has been working part time and doing odd jobs to earn the money for his missionary journey.
The missionaries focus strictly on their mission and do not work while in the field. They also abstain from television, telephones and other things that might distract them from their primary goal — to serve Jesus.
While at Bradley and at Southern Virginia, Hodges played baseball. He said he was willing to give up that baseball so he could grow spiritually.
Hodges is looking forward to his two-year mission. He said he wanted to “not only teach others, but grow myself.
“I want to have a relationship with the Spirit all the time. I want to show Him respect. He has given so much. I can give two years of my life for missions,” Hodges said.
He has talked with some individuals who have been to Samoa to get some insight into the culture as well as doing some study on the people.
He received his mission assignment in May. He had interviewed with the bishop and the state presidents. The recommendation is then sent to Salt Lake City, Utah, where the Apostles pray over the applicants and assign them a mission.
Hodges said “we know God will not ask us to do anything He has not given the tools for us to do.”
Hodges said he felt service as a missionary was “what I needed to do. The Holy Ghost guides our mission ... that small still voice. You must stay in tune with that Spirit.”
Hodges will be partnered with another young man when he arrives in Samoa. However, the partners change every six weeks.