Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A week of changes!

Hola to All!

My last few days with Hermana Molina were her last days in the mission, so there were a lot of goodbyes, not only here but also in an area close by called Graneros. It would be awesome to be in that area sometime, the people there are really great.  We had one last lesson with a family named Castro and Hermana Molina bore a powerful testimony. I think that touched their hearts and hope they continue to progress.  I think they really can, because they´re children are young and they have awesome friends in the church already. 

But, the other hermanas will be teaching them. And even though I´m sad to hand them over, cause they´re great, I am relieved to say that we have two more hermanas in our barrio (ward)!  Yay! Hermana Woods, from Arizona, and Hermana...whose name I can´t remember because she doesn´t have her own name tag yet. She´s training, she´ll actually be serving in El Salvador.  She´s awesome, though. I really respect her for going out before she´s even in her own mission. She´s from here in Honduras. 

On Wednesday, we left at four thirty in the morning for cambios (transfers) in Tegucigalpa. Saying goodbye to my trainer was hard! But I´m also really happy for her! (Hope you´re able to read this and everything´s awesome with your family!) My new companion is named Hermana Arango. She´s from Panama, from the capital. She´s really great. She only just finished being trained herself. I can imagine that might be pretty tough, but she´s a very good teacher. She´s good at including people in the lessons. She´s more mellow than my previous companions, and speaks only a little English, which is a blessing in disguise for me :) 

Miraculously though we´ve still been able to communicate pretty well. I understand most of what people say, it´s talking that´s harder. I´m still trying to study 45 minutes a day and not zone out when people are talking ;) 

And you don´t have to speak the same language to express love! THat´s the beautiful thing! 
As far as our investigators go Melisa is awesome. She´s still going to chuch before her job on Sundays, without our help. But I want for her to be able to have closer friends at church. She wants to be baptized, but she doesn´t want her family to know. I´m not really sure how we´re going to work through that, but with the Lord´s help I know we´ll find a way. She loves the book of Mormon and I believe that when people recognize who sent us, they´ll stay true. 

In one lesson with an investigator named Francisco, well, he´s facing a similar problem because his family is catholic, too. But we felt like the Book of Mormon would help him decide. 
We haven´t been able to see the familia Romero or la familia Pool yet. 

Hopefully we see the familia Romero soon. I left my hymn book in their house. Plus, they´re awesome and we beleive they can progress. 

This week has been kind of stressful because I´ve been showing Hermana Arango around the area and been doing most of the planning becasue she doesn´t know the area or members or investigators. So, that´s been tough. But I´ve also felt that Heavenly Father has been here with me, maybe even stronger than before. 

There´s also a boy named Kelvin. He basically has no home (he sleeps outside a pulpuria, thankfully it´s warm here), though he does have a job. He´s 15 and has epilepsy and works to pay for his medicine. I think his mother lives in Tegus. It´s really sad, but he´s a kind person. And he was happy with the Book of Mormon we gave him. 

We also met a woman named Alba who sells fruit in our area. We felt the spirit when we talked to her, but she didn´t come to church. But hopefully we´ll continue to work with her. 
Rocio is doing well too! She´s starting her personal progress! 

And Indira and Isis we´re still working with because we love them, but they´re still learning how to keep commitments, which isn´t easy when, again, the family is of a different religion. 

It´s weird to me that Christmas is around the corner! I´m not exactly sure what to expect yet. It´ll be the first Christmas in the mission for all four of us Hermanas in this ward. But it will be fun. All I know about Honduran traditions so far is Tomales. Lots and lots of Tomales. and I´m still getting used to tomales. they´re kind of. . . hard to describe if you haven´t had them. They´re burrito shaped but its not a tortilla. Often they have a little chicken or vegitables inside a sort of thick, warm, soft  wrap. It´s a little weird the first time. But I´m learning to like them.  And I think they celebrate more on the 24th. We´re still working out exactly when and where to skype but don´t worry we will! It may not be on the 25th but it will happen! 
I love you all so so much! Thank you for praying for the Lord´s investigator´s here. They do need it! 
Hope you´re having a wonderful Christmas season! I love you!

Hermana Hogge

I also have new picture of Christ on my wall - thank you Grandma Williams! I loved the chocolate too! Everytime we eat some we say Gracias Abuelita!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Do you wanna build a... Sandman?

So, there have been so many blessings this week! There have also been dissappointments and challenges but I feel like we met people we were supposed to meet and were blessed for the work we did. 

       So, last Tuesday and Wednesday we went to Tegucigalpa again. This time it was for Hermana Molina´s visa. So that slowed down some work here, but we were blessed to sit next to a family that hasn´t really been investigating the church but is very interested in their family history, and another lady whose husband is an investigator, I think. It was really sad to see people who didn´t get visas to go to America. But Hermana Molina got hers, so yay!

          Other good news: My box finally came!! I have pictures, but they´re on my camera. And my camera decided to die. But I will send some pictures from Hermana Molina´s camera today, don´t worry :)  I really enjoyed the package very much, and all the love you sent with it! It really was a perfect ending to a long week.

Receiving her box from home!! 

          One of the hardest things this week happened with Melisa. She´s going through a really hard time right now with her work and it would be very good to keep her in your prayers. 

           We haven´t been able to go with the family Pool, even though Hermana Molina and I prayed and felt impressed to go with them this week. But things have been progressing with the familia Romero. Earlier in the week we invited them to go to the Christmas devotional and even though some of the kids wanted to go, the parents weren´t committed. But then, we visited them again and this time we were armed with a USB full of Mormon messages! And then they said yes :) But as it turned out, not everyone went. But some did, and that was good, and it was very beautiful. it´s been nice to start getting into the Spirit of Christmas. Even though its still, like, 85 or more outside. 

           The highlight of my week was Rocio´s baptism! That day was so stressful. But it turned out to be beautiful and she was so so ready. I am so grateful for her cousin that decided to serve a mission and was an example for her. I was amazed at how clean and pure she felt when she shared her testimony. it was amazing. 


            We haven´t been perfect, but i know that the Spirit is still with us in our work. We were guided to visit a recent convert before the baptism for her birthday, and it is a good thing we did becuase she was really lonely. She´s so sweet though. There are many moments like that, were we visit someone, or contact them in the street, and later it turns out that they really needed us. i know that Heavenly Father has a plan for  us, and for others around us, more than we can fully understand right now. I still feel like i know so little, but I also feel like I know that more than I ever have before. I think that is because of a visit we just had with an old convert of Hermana Molina´s. We are actually in a different area right now, visiting people. We visited one woman whose husband died five months ago, before they were able to be sealed. She´s pregnant and still very discouraged because they loved each other so much. But she´s had some experiences that let her know that her husband didn´t suffer in his accident and that he is still there for her and the baby. It was so sad but so incredible. And I know there is so much work going on right now, on both sides of the veil. That´s my testimony that i leave with you this week. 

           Oh, and we went to the beach today with my zone! it was so fun. I played futbol with the elders and it was really fun, even though I was terrible. it´s been a while. 


           I´m a little nervous about getting a new companion this week but I am praying that we will both be dedicated to the work, and that I will be able to show her around the area and remember people´s names and such. 

           So, that´s been my week!

           I love you all very much, and thank you again for just being yourselves! 
           Con amor, Hermana Hogge

P.s. No I have not eaten the cow stomach soup yet, Annette. I don´t remember what it´s called, but I won´t eat it unless I have to. 
        And dad, to describe my apartment better, we actually have two floors, which is rare. There{s a little kitchen and our desk and chairs and downstairs, and then two rooms upstairs, one for sleeping and one for our luggage and closet. The walls are red. There is no carpet but there is electricity and air conditioning, so that's a blessing. I´ll send pictures soon. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Healthy and happy....tired, but happy. :)


We missed Jessica this Thanksgiving! 

She just needed a little turkey....

But she said she had a good Thursday. :) Here's this weeks news!

Hello to All of my Beautful Family! It sounds like you had a great Thanksgiving!! That makes me very happy :) I had a good Thursday. And I had baliatas - which is like a tortilla with beans and sauce inside. That might not sound very exciting, but it´s actually very good and apparantly you haven´t been to Honduras until you´ve had baliatas. So I´m officially here, I guess. I´ll have to learn how to make it.

        This week was very tiring. There were some disappointments, but also little miracles that let me, and others, know that we are being guided, protected, and inspired. One blessing was this investigator that is in our new inherited area. Her name is Monse and she is twelve, I think. She´s kind of intense, but she´s got a missionary spirit and introduced us to everyone. Actually we have a new family because she asked a Señor if we could just sing a hymn with him when he said he was busy. He´s very nice, but also busy. We met his little family a few days ago and we have another cita (appoinment or date) with them tonight. Hope all goes well with la familia Castro. We are also teaching a few other families- or trying to, they are always a bit harder, but more rewarding at the same time. One is family of a family in our ward, so they are very important to us. Hermana Molina and I prayed very hard for them this morning and we practiced teaching about the restauration. My love and knowledge for this gospel grew. It grows everyday. And in the center is the Savior, and that´s why it´s so awesome. 

       Things are progressing with Melisa, too. Going to chruch is difficult for her because of work, but she loves the gospel so much.  We gave her a journal so she could write about her experiences now and share them with her little girl later. 

       And Rocio is our miracle of the week. Let´s just say Hermana Molina and I were humbled. Ok, not all of it was our fault, but Rocio is preparing to be baptized and so she came out to preach with us. We ended up borrowing her for more than we planned, becuase people like to talk and it was an important lesson. And her mother wasn´t happy. She didn´t let Rocio go to church on Sunday. We feared the worst, that Rocio wouldn´t be baptized.  But we felt prompted to go and apologize. So we did. But she just said gracias  and walked away so we had to insist a little more. But eventually her heart was softened just enough (with some Heavenly Help I´m sure). I´m really excited for Saturday! And I learned a good lesson in responsability too. 

          It´s amazing how much you can be guided when you are trying your best to do what is right. We went to the home of a recent convert and I know that my companion was prompted to think about her when we were in her area. We didn´t know that she was struggling or that her abuelo just passed away. But she came to chruch on Sunday! Actually it was a stake conference, which was great. But it was kind of stressful because Monse and her brother came but their parents don´t go to church and her little brother was sick, so we had a lot on our plate. But Presidente Bowler was there and gave a short talk. That lifted my spirits a lot, because it was about missionary work :)

          I´m really falling in love with the people here. It´s really important to reach out, because you don´t really know what people have gone through or what they are going through, so I´ve learned to be a little less shy becuase of that. Not that talking to people in a language I still struggle with is my favorite thing, but I´m learning to do it anyway because it might be a blessing for them.

           I´m healthy and happy, but at the end of the day I´m tired. But happy  :).  

           I love and miss you all! It´s really interesting having Hermana Molina getting ready to go. We have a lot to do! But even though I love you all so much, I´m actually grateful I have time here to keep teaching and learning and working. 

          All My Love, 
          Hermana Hogge. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bus Rides, Success, and Getting Stuck in the Mud!

What a Week! I wish I had more time, but I´ll let you know right now that this week has been stressful, but I´ve also learned a lot and there have been so many moments were I have LOVED to be a missionary!

This last week I had exchanges for the first time, where I go with one of the sister training leaders for a day. So I went with Hermana Sorensen to San Lorenzo, while Hermana Martinez stayed with Hermana Molina in Choluteca. It was fun, and I learned a lot from Hermana Sorensen. She´s very sweet, and I learned a lot more about service from her. We got caught in a downpour too! They only last about twenty minutes, but at one point Hermana Sorensen had to help me out of the mud! It was really fun though, we had a good laugh. We are fortunate it is warm here. Well, actually it´s hotter in  San Lorenzo than in Choluteca. 

This last week we have been working with our investigators. One very special one is named Rosio. She´s about 15 and we had talked to her about baptism before, but this week she told us that she had specifically prayed and recieved an answer! She absorbs the gospel and the scriptures like a sponge! So does a woman named Melisa that we found. We met her through her abuela (grandmother) who was just sitting outside her house, looking lonely. We felt impressed to go sit with her and sing a hymn. And then we met Melisa! She has a little girl and told us she has always been interested in the Mormon chruch. She prayed to be able to go to church  on Sunday, because she usually works, and her boss gave her the day off!! It was so awesome, on Sunday we had six investigators at church! Yay! and one was a whole family! And that is  a beautiful sight. 

On Friday we had a zone conference, so we did not go to Tegus.  But it was still really awesome. We heard the testimonies of the outgoing missionaries who will be leaving in December 10th, including Hermana Molina. And then we received instruction from our leaders and from President Bowler. He´s a very good leader. It´s hard to do everything we´re being asked to do, especially dividing our area into different days when people have their own schedules and that doesn´t always work. And we have to talk to people on the street but also work with the members. But we believe this is revelation and we are going to do our best! 

One difficult thing that happened this week was that one Hermana went home because she was sick. It was very hard for her, her companion, and Hermana Molina and I because she was in our district. Now, her former companion is in San Lorenzo and Hermana Molina and I have their old area too. 

So, we´re a bit overwhelmed, but I still am blessed to feel a hope that everything will work together for our good. 

Today Hermana Molina and I went to Tegus to get everything worked out with her Passport. Tegucigalpa is, amazingly, not in the Tegucigalpa mission. It´s in the Comayaguela mission. We were there with permission, but the funny thing was when we went to Wendy´s for lunch we met some sister missionaries in the Comayaguela mission. I asked if they knew an Elder Squire and they said he was their zone leader. No way! I said, he´s my friend! (In spanish of coruse) So that was fun.

        The bus ride was very long, but it was also very good for me to talk to people. I promised to talk to every person that I sat by on that four hour bus ride and you´ll be so proud of me because I did! 

       I´ve got a couple of family home evenings to go to now, so I will talk to you again next week! I am healthy and am strengthened by your emails and prayers. Thank you so much! Congrats to the Wilson family with their new member!

       Love,
       Hermana Hogge
       

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Feliz Cumpleaños Hermana Hogge!

Jessica turned 21 on November 15th!! Happy Birthday Jessy!!!
Here she is celebrating with Hermana Molina at Pizza Hut in Honduras. :)


Here is the email we received this week:



When you have faith, you must also have hope. And when you have faith and hope, you must also have charity. -Mormon


So, last week I realized I was trying to have faith without having a lot of hope - hope that if I do my part, Heavenly Father will do His. Hermana Molina and I went over the promises in our calling and I can already see some of them coming true - that when we are obedient the Spirit will be with us and testify to others our words are true. If we strengthen our own testimonies we won't be confounded and our love for the Savior and His Atonement will grow. 

      We contact people in the streets and we have short visits with members to build trust and friendship with them, and we invite them to pray and think about people in thier lives that need the gospel. We don´t knock doors, but we are always very busy!

      We are still working with Indira and her cousin Isis (who is about 15). They have a friend who comes sometimes too. Indira and Isis made my birthday! They gave me a hand made card and some candy, but you can tell they took their time with it. It was so sweet! We think they are grateful for the lessons becuase they are humble and never really had anyone to teach them these things. It´s hard for Indira to come to church on Sundays because she has class, but we have high hopes for her. I really need to take a picture with them! I`ll do that soon.

       Hermana Molina and I also had a very interesting experience this week. We contacted a family in the street and then returned to their home a few days later. Hermano Mohano carves wood and has a great family. Hermana Molina noticed a book on their shelf. 

        As it turns out, it was the Koran. For the first time we had the opportunity to teach a Muslim family! We were there for a while learning about their beliefs. Hermano Mohano taught us why Christmas trees and birthday cakes are evil pagan traditions from the book of Nimrod in the Bible. He knows the Bible very well, but sadly does not believe that Jesus Christ is our Savior.

       Ì`m learning more and more every day about why we need both the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

       Don´t worry, this story gets better. 

       During the visit, a friend of the family came in and sat down. He was quiet and reverent. Hermana Molina and I didn´t know much about him when we bore our testimonies of the Savior and of the Restored Gospel and the Book of Mormon as another witness. 

         As we got to know this other man, we found out that he´s a pastor. 

         I was thinking about inviting all the other religions to the house too, but then it wasn´t my house. 
         But the beautiful thing was there wasn´t much contention there. It really was a very reverent and respectful atmosphere. And the pastor, Antonio, said that he could feel the Spirit when I was talking. He asked for a Book of Mormon! He doesn´t live in our area but I hope he reads it!

          We ended with a prayer on our knees. Hermano Mohano´s daughter (about 7 or 8 years old) said the prayer. It was beautiful. And I think Heavenly Father was happy. 

          We have another progressing investigator named Rosio. She´s 15 and is very smart. She went to church last week but not this week (her family isn´t very supportive and didn´t make much of an effort to wake her up when she slept in) But she talks about her baptism like it really is going to happen. Her mother doesn´t like the church, but I think she will let her get baptized. 

          This week the ward is going to the temple. Hermana Molina needs to pick up her updated passport in Tegucigalpa. It´s a four hour busride but we will go with them and pick it up - we won´t go in the temple but we will probably get to see it! I came here on a bus from Tegus with all the other missionaries going to the South. I was kind of sick by the end but the other missioinaries were very nice.  I stopped at my first pulperia (the little stores on every street  - you don´t go in you just ask for what you want. They don´t have much more than water and milk and snack food)   And I had my first bag of water. we didn´t get here till dark, where our Zone Leaders loaded up our stuff in a taxi and took us to our new apartment, which had nothing becuase we weren´t replacing any missionaires in this area. It´s had missionaries before, but not right before. So most of our investigators and contacts are new. (There you go Dad, that´s my first day story!)           La familia Pool - we had one lesson wiht the mother this week. But we were guided to the key to getting Hermano Pool involved - family history! His family is from England and a lot of other places. I think this will be a blessing for them and others, and open his heart. We´re also working with another family that has a lot of problems, but they have relatives in the ward and that is such a blessing! They are still working through things but at least they had family prayer!! It´s super important.  Thanks all for praying for me! 

        As for the language - planning ahead what to study is important, and I didn´t do very well at that this week. I´m understanding more, but talking is still hard. But I know I´ll get it eventually.

        We have exchanges tomorrow. I´ll be headed for a place called the Obrera. It´s about an hour away.

        Here it doesn´t rain as much as it did, but it´s still green and hot. The people´s houses are bright and small and most of the roads are dirt. It´s flat here surrounded by green hills. Right now I´m in the ciber, which is an internet cafe basically. It´s about 20 Lempira an hour (to us that´s like less than 2 dollars)  I should be able to skype for Christmas but I´m not sure how that will work yet.

        Thank you for keeping me posted! I love you all very very much. I know Heavenly Father is happy when families love each other and stay together. 

       Oh, and thank you for the birthday wishes! it was great. I told you about part of it, but Hermana Molina and I also went to Pizza Hut and had pasta, salad, and  pecan pie! No one smashed eggs on my head (which is apparantly a Honduran birthday tradition) but we´ll see if that happens this week. Or next year. That would be fine. 

Con Mucho Amor,
Hermana Hogge


Here is our sweet Jessy washing clothes at the pila!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Mosquito Repellent, Sunscreen, and Prayer

Hello Everyone!!

         So, everyone had lots of questions, so I`ll do my best to describe my day to day life and share my experiences of this week. Sorry I don`t have pictures today but I am positive I will have more next week. 

         Well, we study a lot in the morning but it never feels like enough! Still, it really helps to practice the lessons ("citas") with my companion. We try to do this with our specific investigators in mind. My companion is so sweet, and she is in her last transfer here, so she has some experience. She is tired a lot, but we both are. I've also been able to open up to her when I have needed to. For example yesterday I was feeling down because I just wanted to be able to fix everyone's problems - we had just taken some food with the Relief Society presidency to some investigators who really have so little. It's really sad, but Hermana Molina reminded me that the most important thing that we, as missionaries, can do is bring people the gospel.

          Some people don't like that but we still try. :)

          We try to talk to at least 30 people every day - in the streets and such. We mostly walk, and walk, and walk. But sometimes we take a taxi or the bus. It's harder for me to talk to people on the bus because it's so loud, but I will learn. 

         I'm still adjusting to life here, but there are poeple here to help with that. One Hermana, se llama Fanny, in the ward made us dinner three or four times this week! Usually its some variation of tortillas, rice, beans, eggs, platanos (similar to a banana) and vegitables. I haven't really had anything that I haven't liked yet. Hermana Molina and I are doing our best to eat healthy :)

         Some of you asked about Indira, the girl down the street. Well, we are still working with her. She was actually the first person that I asked to be baptized. She said yes, but it's difficult because a lot of people her age go to the university on Sunday, and she needs to come to church first. I think she will, but I don't know when. 

        We also received a reference from a member about this really great family - la familia Pool - we met them the other day, and I love them a lot. Magda Pool is so sweet and is really looking to find the truth. They're a great family but I know that the gospel will help them become more united. 

        One of the hardest things from this week was teaching this senior catholic couple. It was hard because my testimony was tested, but it was even harder because they really are great people and we've visited them a few times and I just care about them a lot. 

        After our most recent lesson with them I told Hermana Molina, "Someday we're all going to look back on this and laugh" (because I resally think that they will accept the fulness of the gospel someday) and Hermana Molina said, "Yes. After we're baptized for them." It was so funny, but really it's one of my biggest challenges right now. But everything will work out. 

        My companion does speak English, thankfully. She learned in school and actually went to BYU in Provo (and will go there after), so I will probably be able to see her when I get back! Or maybe she'll drop by for Christmas and say hi :) Or maybe she'll be at her house in San Pedro (Honduras). I've heard that we will be able to skype for Christmas :)

       We're trying to work with the members more. And not just less activies but throughout the day we try to just stop by for 10 minutes or so. The first visit we ask them how they joined the church or their testimonies and tell them more about us. The second visit we are supposed to ask  them to pray about who is ready for the gospel, and the third visit we are supposed to aks for references. This is part of a system that Elder Duncan (70) has asked us to do here. And we've already seen blessings from it. We recieved references that we probably wouldn't have received otherwise. 

     I have not gotten sick, just to let you know. It's hot here, but we drink a lot of water. 2 - 3 liters a day. I use mosquito repelent and sunscreen and prayer. The people are usually receptive, but many are very devout in their faith. I reread Elder Oaks talk from conference about living with others of different beliefs, and after our lesson with the catholic couple, I thought about how that applies to them, too. They have to live with our differences, too. The important thing is to remember that Heavenly Father knows all truth, He knows every person on this earth. And He does answer our prayers.

     I'm really grateful for this time that I've had to stop and think about all the blessings that I've seen. It's been tough but we really are blessed in this work. Thanks for all the emails and prayers! I love you all so much!

Hermana Hogge

P.S. I didn't talk about the language. Honestly I'm still lost, but I'm learning. Sometimes it opens people's hearts a little. Maybe because they feel sorry for me :) But really, my companion is great - when we are walking down the street I can expect her to say "Vocabulario" or "Verbos" Sometimes my brain is like noooo! But I'm grateful for it, really. Ok. I should probably go soon, but I love you all lots! Keep me posted about your lives and such! And always be strengthening your testimony! 
Love, Hermana Hogge. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Bienvenido a Honduras!!!

Jessica made it safely to Honduras!! She is currently in a city called Choluteca, Honduras, which she will tell you about in her email. 
We received an email from her Mission President upon her arrival. This is what it contained: 

Hello from Tegucigalpa! 
 
We want to let you know that Hna Hogge has arrived safely in Honduras. After spending a night with us in the mission home she is now in her new area with her trainer.
She is going to be a great missionary.
I have attached two pictures. You won´t be surprised to know that she spent hours helping in the kitchen her first night here. 
 
Sincerely,

President and Hna Bowler

The Hogge Family had a good laugh over this. Although us siblings don't like admitting it, Jessica always did the dishes at our house without whining and complaining and she always did the most work. So no. We were definitely not surprised.

Hermana Hogge and President & Hermana Bowler


Jessica's new P-Day is MONDAY! So we received our first email from our Honduran. Here is what we received: 

Hello Everyone!

I think I just have time for one big email today. These past few days have been very long, but I have already seen many blessings from being a missionary. It`s so awesome. I love being a full-time missionary (and outside the CCM, as much as I loved it). 

As you know I have a new  companion. My trainer`s name is Hermana Molina. She is from San Pedro, Honduras. So, she knows the culture, the language, and she has been here for 17 months. I have already learned a lot from her. She is so great. 

Hermana Hogge & Hermana Molina

There have been some times with people that has been a bit scary - not dangerous, just that we meet a lot of people that belong to different churches and it's hard to know what to say. And they talk a lot. We met an evangelicist man the other day. That was interesting. Doesn't help that I don't know what they are saying either, but the language will come. I know it will. I am already learning how to speak more in our lessons. It's been a little ovrwhelming but also very rewarding. 

One of the biggest blessings has been a girl our age that lives on our street. She has been looking for a church! She has great goals in her life and one is to serve God. Many of the people here are very humble. Last night when we visited her, she was waiting for us with her Bible in her lap! We love that! We gave her a Book of Mormon and she gave us a little copy of the New Testament, it was so sweet. I hope she continues to progress and feel the Spirit and get to know the ward.
We need to know the ward a lot better, but many members that we have met are great. They tease me sometimes, but it's all good fun. And I'm always so grateful when they offer to feed us. We have a lot of work to do with retention here. My companion taught me that it's like a tree, and the members are the roots. The roots need to be strong and deep so the tree can endure hard things and grow. 

It's mostly hot and humid here. I just realized I didn`t tell you where I am yet! There are three main areas in the Tegucigalpa mission: the city - Tegucigalpa, the Orient - which is the mountains, and the South. The hottest place. 

Can you guess where I was called?

Yep. I am in the South, in Choluteca. Our area is Nueva Esparanza (New Hope).

Our dad calls Hermana Hogge "Jessy Bug", so I thought it was appropriate to use a little lady bug to point out her current location. :)








I really do like it here. Everyone says its good to start in the south because this is real Honduras. It's very poor, and it makes me sad. But we have been blessed with air conditioning and running water in our little casa. :) 

Jessy standing on the porch of her "little casa." 

I love you all so much, thank you for your updates. I`m still getting used to things here but I pray a lot and I know who I have on my side here.  And I know He is there for all of you, too!

Love, 
Hermana Hogge


She also sent one more picture of her CCM District because she still loves them. 


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Week 5: Last Week in the CCM! On to HONDURAS!


It´s hard to know where to begin and what to include, but I can just say that everyday I've found things to be grateful for. 

       I know that Heavenly Father hears our prayers and through prayer we can receive power and strength, even if it´s just asking Him to help me to be patient with others and myself. 

       I guess I can start with last Saturday, with our special devotional with Elder Maynes and Elder Anderson and Elder Pieper. Elder Anderson, Elder Maynes, and Eldder Pieper shook the hands of all 450 of us. There was such a calm feeling when they walked in. We were singing the hymn before the devotional, so we all stood and just kept singing. I wouldn't´t stop smiling the whole time! Elder Anderson included us and joked with us in his talk (which was a bit surprising and very funny) but it was also very powerful. He talked a bit about the process of how they send missionaries to their missions. He said that for most people, they could probably go to several different missions and have similar experiences, but if you approach your mission for what it is (your mission) then you will find in many occasions a feeling that will tell you - this is one of the reasons you were sent here. 

       I'm so excited to find out those reasons. 

       Elder Anderson´s message was centered on the Atonement and the powerful messages found in the Book of Mormon about the Atonement and Jesus Christ. There is nothing that is more important. His Witness of the Savior and His Gospel was powerful.

Elder Maynes taught me that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were the first missionary companions in this dispensation, and appeared to Joseph Smith. I hadn´t really thought of it that way before and I like it a lot. 

       I also had a cool experience with one of our teachers. We've been working with her as a "progressing investigator" named Nina. But her character is actually based on a friend that she has. So after our lesson with her on Saturday, we prayed with her for her friend. He didn't go to church this last Sunday but I hope he will this week!

       We had a special devotional on Tuesday this week, with people from the missionary department. We got to hear the testimonies of a few people, but the main speakers were Brother Jarmin and Brother Mills. From Brother Jarmin and from class, I've learned so much more about reading the Book of Mormon with the investigator and helping them understand it. It´s very important to help them receive their own revelation. 

       Brother Mills was really funny - one of the things he shared with us was the life of an investigator from The District (for those who do not know, it´s basically a documentary about missionaries) It was so great to see the change in his face, in his eyes, in his countenance. Brother Mills helped us to know one great simple truth that I am learning better here, something that President Packer said (not a direct quote but here we go) that Ins´t this true Christianity? It is by giving away (love) freely that it truly becomes ours.

       I know from even my own limited experience that if I don´t focus on the investigator and my companion, it´s really hard to teach. Last night we had a great opportunity to teach some volunteers (they come every week, this is when I teach investigators on Wednesdays, if you remember) and our lesson last night went well. The Spirit was there and I could feel a piece of Heavenly Father´s love for her and I think she felt it too.  Even though we learned after that some of the volunteers were members (our teachers lied to us) it's still been very real, and I'm sure they are blessed for the service they do.

       Yesterday I had a fun experience - I got to welcome the new missionaries and help them email their families! It was really fun, I liked it a lot. It's hard to think that that was me five weeks ago, and that this is my last letter from the CCM. It's beautiful here, but I´m excited to get going. Even in this last week alone I have learned a lot. 

       Even funnier experience - I usually get to sleep after the other girls but I've learned there are benefits. Specifically, listening to the others talk in their sleep. The other day one of the Hermanas was quoting the first vision in Spanish, it was quite impressive. I guess that tells you a little about the memorization and the studying that goes on here :) 

       In all seriousness, though. I´ve learned a lot here and I hope that the people I will be teaching will be touched by the Spirit in ways that will help them to be open to our message. 
       
       I want you all to know that I know that My Redeemer Lives. I´d like to share my testimony in Spanish (and English). 
       
       Mi testimonio: Yo se que Nuestro Padre Celestial nos ama mucho y tiene un plan por cada persona. Dios respete nuestro albedrio, pero El y Su Hijo Jesucristo nos invitan a venir a Ellos siempre. Yo se que el Libro de Mormon es la palabra de Dios, y testifica del Jesucristo. Yo se que este Iglesia es Su Iglesia.  Yo se con todo mi corazon que El es mi Salvador. Yo se que el profeta es llamado de Dios, y habla las palabras de Dios. En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen. 

       My testimony: I know that Heavenly Father loves us very much and has a plan for each person. God respects our agency, but He and His Son, Jesus Christ, always invite us to come to Them. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and testifies of Jesus Christ. I know that this Church is His Church. I know with all my heart that He is my Savior. I know that the prophet is called of God and speaks the words of God. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Week 4: 1 month down, 17 more to go!


HOLA FAMILIA Y AMIGOS!

This week has taught me a lot about the blessings that I really do have -  doing things like writing down what I am grateful for at the end of the day has helped a lot. So has actually getting out into the city. Today we went to the temple.  Driving through Mexico City traffic (which didn´t shock me as much as when we first got here) and seeing how these people live - It made me just really grateful. But my companion and I talked about it and Elder Holland´s talk and talked about how there are a lot of people who don't have what I have and are still grateful people. It changed my perspective. 

          I loved to see the temple. They are redoing the interior right now so we did not go inside, but the visitor's center and the tour that we got with the sister missionaries there was really nice. We watched this video about families and it made me even more grateful for mine :) I was blessed to receive some handwritten letters from my Grandpa Williams this week, which made me so happy. So have all the emails, letters, and support I have received. One of the toughest things I´ve had to see is people who don't have that same support. But through some experiences that we have all had together here and through their testimonies, I know that God is their support. 

Hermana Hogge & Hermana Cook

Templo y districto

         It was good to hear that you continued traditions and made memories this last week, and I hope you all have a good time over Halloween and all that. I love you all, but I know that I am where I am supposed to be. This week has been a little more challenging. Our "investigators" (teachers) are throwing more difficult problems at us, but I know it is because they really care about us and the people we are teaching and want us to be prepared. (And no, Dad, most of the investigators that I talk about aren't real. On Wednesday nights - since last week at least - we teach real volunteers, but other than that we have progressing investigator lessons with our teachers and practice with each other). 

        We had some inspiring devotionals, like we do, but this last Sunday was special because it was from Elder Holland (it was a recording, but even recordings feel like they are live time). He talked about Peter going back to fish after Jesus had died and loving the Lord more than loving fishing - or whatever it may be in our personal lives - and it helped me to see that that doesn't mean I go back to "fishing" after my full-time service is done. We also had Elder Valenzuela, an Area 70, speak to us on Tuesday. When he and his wife spoke, my testimony of this church and the Lord´s knowledge of each of us grew. If I have gained a testimony of anything while being here, it is that Heavenly Father is a master planner, and has a plan for each of His beloved children. 

        Some really really exciting news - for the first time since the CCM's dedication, we will be welcoming a member of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elder Anderson will be speaking to us on Saturday, and I am so excited! It's like another General Conference. I´m really fortunate to be here now. 

         It's hard to believe I will be leaving in less than two weeks but I feel a little more prepared than I did before coming here. Last night I felt a little down because I didn't know how to answer a question, and during our visit with a real investigator last night I could barely understand what she said. But my teacher and companion were encouraging, and I have learned to be more patient with myself, and I know that that has invited more peace into my life. 

         God lives and He loves you, good people!
          Tengan una buena semana! Have a good week! 
         Love, Hermana Hogge

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Week 3: "Estoy muy feliz hoy!"



"Estoy muy feliz hoy!" is a current catch phrase in our district right now. It´s great; I love my district a lot. (It means "I am very happy today")
          Thank you all for sharing your lives and your thoughts on conference! It´s really hard to describe how awesome it was to watch conference in the CCM! It is one of the experiences that I will hold on to forever. We watched conference in English; even the Spanish ones had the English voice over. But that didn't stop us from cheering whenever they announced that someone would be speaking in Spanish! It was cool to listen and recognize words. I loved all the talks, they had such a different meaning to me - I could easily relate them to the lessons I am studying and teaching. One of my favorite talks was by President Uchtdorf. I found a lot of comfort in his words about the light of the gospel. (Thanks Mom for the quote!!) I feel like a lot of the talks were about personal revelation, and I love that message. I love that I can tell people not only about this gospel and the things that I believe and have come to know, but I also that this is something that anyone can learn for themselves. God knows each of His children so well; He knows how to teach each one of them so they will be able to understand. 
          I also really liked Elder Anderson´s testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith. Elder Hales´ talk has a special place in my heart - even with the "investigators" that we have taught so far, we find a lot of people that don´t believe that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are separate Beings. Elder Hales´ talk helped me to know better why it is so important that we understand this concept. For me, it is because I better understand just how loving and selfless Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost truly are. I also loved Elder Packer´s talk, and all the talks on prophets just prepared me to listen to the prophet President Monson, and he in turn pointed us to Christ. I loved that. 
         We had a cool experience in class yesterday. Our teacher, Hermana Balderas, told us she had this dream all night the night before about showing us this video. She didn´t know why, but I´m grateful she recieved and acted on that revelation. IT was "La obra misional y la Expiacion" (Missionary work and the Atonement) We learned that missionary work isn´t easy, but that when it gets hard we can be glad that we are standing shoulder to shoulder with the most perfect Missionary that ever lived. The video inspired Hermana Cook and I to go to God in prayer and figure out the things we need to be doing better. We have a goal of speaking more Spanish and also better understanding the language of the Spirit. I know that we have already been blessed because of it. 
         Last night we had our first real investigators - we were so nervous, and it was hard because Hermana Cook was feeling a bit sick, but it turned out to be one of the greatest experiences. It makes me so excited to go out and teach. First we taught a father and son about Joseph Smith and the restoration. Then we taught this man named Gustavo, he had such a light with him and I just felt that he is so ready to make covenants - I didn't ask him if he wanted to be baptized, but I think I should have. 
        We played lightning\knock-out as a district the other day, and I totally won. I don´t really know how, I just thought you´d like to know :)
        Please let grandma Williams know that I am getting her emails\Dear Elder letters. I am very grateful for them. She even remembered things from my setting apart that I hadn't, and it's great to hear what has been going on in our family - and that goes for all of your stories. Keep sending them.
       I love you all so much! I can´t believe I've been here three weeks already. We just said goodbye to one of the districts in our zone on Monday and Tuesday. They are all going to California and I know they will do great. We got more missionaries in our zone yesterday, and we are looking forward to getting to know them better. 

I hope you all have a great week! 
Love,
Hermana Hogge

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Week 2: "The days are like weeks and the weeks are like days"



The days are like weeks, and the weeks are like days - that´s a saying that I am starting to become familiar with. 

As for how my day to day life is - we wake up at 6:30 (somehow) and are ready by 7:15 (ish), have breakfast, have personal study, language study with our teacher, coaching with our teacher - Our morning teacher is Hermano Lara, but we´ve also had a few other teachers because Hno Lara´s wife is expecting a baby soon and he has to leave sometimes. Anyway, we have companion study, we role play and talk about what we will teach our investigators Sometimes we teach in the morning. We have lunch, then TALL (technology assisted language learning) which really is helpful but we´re all just trying not to fall asleep sometimes. Then we have more study, then we go to gym (love it every day, getting better at volleyball and ultimate frisbee) and then we have daily planning, some more time to study for teaching, and then we have dinner. The food here is pretty good - Tuesday nights are pizza, which is the best. Then we have night classes or a devotional, personal time, and then bed at 10:30. 
So that´s a day in the life right now.
Mexico is beautiful, not as hot as I thought it would be. Or as humid. It´s really nice. I really like the CCM, it´s so well-kept up. (¿Se pronuncian la "se se eme," si?)

Ok, now for some experiences this week. 

       Last week I mentioned I was a bit sick. It never got very bad, but one thing that really helped was receiving a priesthood blessing from some of the elders in my district. It really was very comforting, and I know that Heavenly Father is aware of me, and every one of us. I felt strengthened throughout the next few days, even if I wasn´t over being sick yet. I also think it was a good thing that elders could use the priesthood that they hold. I was also blessed with a companion who helped me keep on top of staying hydrated and who always made sure I was doing alright. 

       My companion, Hermana Cook, is from Orange County California. Her mother is a nurse, and she seems to have inherited some of her characteristics. :) I look up to her a lot. Not all of her family supports her going on a mission, but she really is converted to the gospel and what she knows. She´s also a big Lord of the Rings and Avatar the Last Airbender fan, so that´s awesome. We are learning a lot about studying, learning and teaching together. It´s still challenging but we learn from our mistakes and we´re willing to change our approach, which makes a big difference, I think.

       I am growing to love all the members of my district - I don´t have a picture of all of us yet, but it will come, I promise!
 
        We watched a devotional on Tuesday about preparing for conference, and he helped us in how we need to take notes. He pointed out that we all have to find our own pattern. Heavenly Father works in patterns. But this was a pattern that has always helped him, and I am going to try this weekend: during the talk, write down the doctrine/principle, the invitation (make it personal) and the promised blessing. It´s good to have questions, and important to be willing to act on the answer. 

He also pointed out that they aren`t assigned topics, which I knew. He said "They don`t say to us, Ok, Elder Bednar and Elder Ballard, you speak on conversion. Elder Holland, you light it up."
We´ve heard several devotionals by Elder Bednar, and I love how he jokes with the missionaries, and inspires us to forget about ourselves and get to work. 

I hope the Womens´ Broadcast was good, I will get to watch it this Saturday while the Elders watch the priesthood session. 
 
Spanish is coming along. It´s a lot of learning it in the context of the gospel. A lot of studying you just have to learn to do on your own. But that´s good. And it´s also important help others along their way, too. I know that I receive help every day. Our teachers were good to remind us that we were called to speak in the Spanish language. My companion and I have made more of an effort to speak it, but in the casa we relax more. We shared our pictures or our families with each other and everyone always says what a good-looking family i have, and they are right! 

I love you all! keep me posted on things happening in your lives!

Bryan and Annette, thanks for your gift before I left - the scripture tabs have helped a lot!
Dad, I promise I did not completely forget about your birthday, I just remembered at all the wrong times. So, happy Birthday!
Thanks mom and dad, and everyone, for all the help and support you have given me!

One more quote, from Elder Maxwell. "Without the character of Christ, there would have been no Atonement." I have loved learning more about the character of Christ. When we would turn in, he turns out. That´s not something that we can do on our own, but with the Atonement and the power of God, all things are possible. 

Love, Hermana Hogge (a name which is even harder for Spanish speakers to say, I´ve learned  :)