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!

       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. 

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!

Hermana Hogge

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