Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Continuing in Choluteca!

Dear Family and Friends,

       Tuesday morning Hermana Arango and I were crossing our fingers that we would both be able to stay in Choluteca and, thankfully, we were. Changes were on Wednesday (as they are every six weeks), but we stayed in our area like normal. 

      We´re studying the Book of Mormon as a mission and Hermana Arango and I are actually in about the same part. It´s interesting to share what we´ve learned from our personal study. I want to testify that I know that by doing the small things, especially studying the word of God daily, we can keep ourselves closer to Him and be blessed with miracles. There are days in the mission where studying isn´t scheduled out like normal, like on Sundays where we have church and weekly planning and appointments with people. But as I´ve tried to do a little more, I´ve found that it keeps my mind more positive and I´ve been able to work through things better.

      On Thurdsay, my companion and I were sick to our stomaches. We´re not sure exactly where we got it, but thankfully it didn´t last too long. We still went to our zone meeting that day and received a blessing, so that helped a lot. 

       There are a lot of new faces in the zone, which is fun. We´re still praying at five to be more unified and see miracles. 

     This week one of our miracles was finding a few new investigators. One is an older couple, Suyapa and Gonzalo, and Gonzalo is the brother of a Brother in the ward. We´ve talked to them before but it´s been hard to have a lesson with them. .  But, we were passing by their house Wednesday, they were home and the brother was there. I don´t know what the lesson would have been like without him. He has a powerful testimony. We were also able to visit the wife, Suyapa,on Saturday and she accepted a baptismal date for next month. We still have some work to do with them though.  We also have a new investigator named Erika who is 11 and very sweet. I don´t know how we haven´t met her or her family before because they live close but they were visiting Melissa one day and she already wants to be baptised. We´ll have to teach her very well to help her understand everything, but she´s very smart and we´re happy to be teaching her. I just hope we can teach more of her family. 

      Saturday was wonderful. Naturally I was nervous before, but Melissa´s baptism was very beautiful. She´s on the path and that´s so so important and it just filled me up with happiness!  We´ve worked hard, but I know that there would have been no conversion without the Spirit, without the Book of Mormon, without hymns and praryers and  going to church. These things become a pattern of life and it becomes who we are. 

       Some of our investigators have been hard to find because of their work or because they don´t do the simple things. Some straight up tell us they don´t want to listen anymore. But Life Is Good and there is so much to be thankful for. 

      A Big Happy Birthday to my awesome brother, Miles! Can´t believe you´re 17!  And to everyone else, I Love you and hope that everything with school and work and auditions goes well and you still have time to pray and eat and work and have fun together! 


Hermana Hogge

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Time to Laugh, a Time to Weep

Ok, that title might have been kind of scary, so I´ll start with the sad part. 

The sad part is that an abuela - grandmother - in the ward passed away this last week. She lives one block away from us and we eat dinner with her granddaughter twice a week. I´d only visited the grandmother, Patrona, a few times. Actually we had planned to go sing to her on Friday, but she passed away Thursday night.  Everyone gathered together and sang hymns at the house and the next day there was a service in the church.  Though it´s been hard, It helped me understand the importance of knowing Heavenly Fathérs Plan for us, and that we will be able to see our loved ones again. 

So, some good news is that Melissa´s baptism will be this Saturday. And another young woman and her mother that the other hermanas in teh ward are teaching will be baptized the same day! 
Also, on Sunday, we went to church, and, despite our efforts, didn´t have investigators. But, a young woman, Demaris, who invited her friend to listen to the gospel awhile ago told us she had news. Good news. We haven´t had a visit with her friend for weeks, because he hasn´t been in the area. I don´t know exactly how, but Demaris told us that he wants to be baptized. And he wants to serve a mission. He´s nineteen right now, but he could still go. I was surprised and I´ve just been so happy today! 

I was also happy because we went to the beach again. The hammocks, the wind, the waves. Very relaxing. I´ve got pictures. 

We´ve been working with retention of members as well as investigators. One is with an hermana who´s been sick but is getting better. We went to offer service on Saturday. I didn´t know you could sweep a back yard wiht a broom, but aparantly you can. And tyou also spreasd water over the ground, so the dust doesn´t get everywhere. They didn´t attend yesterday, but we have a family home evening with them tonight. And it´s her daughter, Angie´s birthday! She´s honestly one of the most loving people I know. She´s turning 11. 

These are called tajaditas. I´m pretty sure that´s how you say it. they´re fried platanos, almost like a banana, with onion and peppers on top. Yummy! There´s also this restaurant here called Wendy´s, I don´t know if you´ve heard of it. I might be in love with the frosty in a cone. 

Well, I think that´s it for now. Tomorrow I´ll know if I have transfers. I don´t want transfers, but everything is through revelation, so we just have to trust in our Heavenly Father. 

Thank you so much for all your prayers. Really, our zone is more united and we have been seeing miracles. I love you all very much!

Hermana Hogge

Thursday, January 15, 2015

"But I am a Princess Here"

I may not look like a princess after a four-hour bus ride and lots of wind, and after getting up at 3 something in the morning to get there, but it is still Our Father´s House and, therefore, I am a princess here.

Well, this last week, I´ve been taking in the moments I have here, and one blessing that we have is that we do really have a good ward. The bishop broke his foot but still goes to church, and we´ve been able to take some young women out with us to visit people. Our ward mission leader, Hermano Luis Felipe, is great. He´s like a grandpa to us, and I´m finallly starting to understand what he´s saying. 
We try to talk to people in the streets and outside their houses, and most people are pretty open to talking to us. There´s this area called Barrio (neighboorhood) Los Fuertes (the strong). It is well named, it´s a bit tougher. There aren´t many people in the streets, hardly any members, and people aren´t as receptive. We went to talk to one woman outside her house and introduced ourselves as missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She bluntly said she already attended her church and wasn´t interested, but quickly pointed out another woman on her street that could use our message. We can get references like that sometimes. 

         We talked to the woman that lived there and she said we could come back, but we haven´t been able to have a lesson yet. hopeufully we will soon. Shortly after we talked to her, we also talked to some people that were preparing to cook a large lizard to eat. We invited them to church, but they didn´t come. . . 

        Sometimes it seems that our investigators are progressing slowly. The good news is that Melissa has a baptismal date for next saturday, and we were able to talk about baptism with her grandmother there. She´s really awesome and I´m praying that all will go well. 

         We also have a newer investigator named Yuri. When we went to talked to her outside her work, she grabbed a couple of chairs and invited us to talk to her. She has gone to church, she just has some questions about baptism. Because she´s already been baptised twice. But all will be well when she gains her own testimony that this is true!

        One of the greatest blessings of this last week was being able to go to the temple! It was so beautiful! And the trip was well worth it. It was interesting in Spanish. I needed some help, but everything worked out fine and I was able to feel a special, encouraging Spirit there. That´s a blessing I want for everyone. 

We had a very good zone meeting, but we realized that we need to work harder and be more united as a zone. So, we have some ideas and one is that, every day, at five oclock in the afternoon, everyone in the zone says a prayer. It doesn´t matter where we are or what we´re doing. In fact we´ve done it in the middle of a lesson a few times. But at this time, we pray together for the missionary work here in Choluteca. It would be awesome if you could pray with us, whenever it´s possible. You can set an alarm - i think it would be six for you - and say a prayer in your heart. I know that acts of faith and obedience bring miracles. The other day, we were visiting some less active members, (Hermana Lesmi y Hno Mailor) but their house was unusually dark and quiet. Then the couple that lived there just happened to be passing by at the moment we arrived. They moved to a different house, still close, but we wouldn´t have known otherwise. We gave them a big calendar that we´d made that has scriptures and prayer as a family to remind them every day.  I believe we were meant to be there. 

Compañeras and the Temple

         And, as part of your prayers, I know their more powerful  when they are specific, and I ask that you can pray for me to learn the language better. I understand a lot more, but my companion still has to repeat almost everything she says. i know it will still take some time, but it would be a blessing if you could pray for me. 

        Thank you so much, each and every one, for your examples. 

        Hermana Hogge

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Feliz Navidad!....and everything else from the last three weeks! :)

So I (Annette) have to apologize about my lack of updates on Jessy's blog! She is alive and well. The holidays plus switching jobs plus being sick are my top three excuses this past month. But we did get to Skype with Jessy on Christmas!!! What a good Christmas present! :) We had no idea what time she was going to call. This is the email we received Christmas Eve: 

December 24, 2014

Feliz Navidad!!!
I don't have a lot of time, but good news: Melisa will be baptized on saturday! Horay!!
The best thing that happened this week was yesterday, the reunion that we had with all the missionaries! I will tell you more about it, so sorry I don't have time right now :(
Love you all!
Remember the meaning of Christmas always! John 3:16-17 and Johnn 17:33 have become some of my favorites this Christmas!
Love you,
Hermana Hogge

Isn't she cute? Happy happy happy!

She started tearing up when she saw us all gathered together on the couch to see her. It was so great to hear her voice and hear her stories! What a great Christmas.

Quick random side note: 
My family received a box of chocolate covered fortune cookies as a christmas gift from neighbors. The fortunes were all holiday related and submitted by random people. Allison and Miles opened up this one: 

Ummmm.... coincidence? I think NOT! Kind of crazy! 

Here are pictures from when she got together with the other missionaries in her mission for Christmas! 

"Hna Arango and I at the Christmas party with the other missionaries! Those were gifts from a ward in Utah and we got things like socks and candy and an orange! It was nice!"
"Me, Hermana Bowler and President Bowler"

Then we got to hear from her the Monday following Christmas. Unfortunately, she wasn't feeling too great. :( Here's her email: 

December 29, 2014

Dear friends and family, 

First of all, skyping my family was the best christmas present I could have asked for. 
(See? SEE? The fortune cookie was RIGHT!!) 

I love you so much! As for the rest of the week, last week..it didn't really go as planned.  First of all, I told you that Melissa was planning on being baptized on Saturday. But, that didn't work out when she had to work until 9pm. Now her family is telling her to wait. It's frusterating but we just have to be patient. There was a brother and sister baptized on saturday though! Monse and Dustin, 12 and 10. Hermana Molina and I had the opportunity of teaching them a little when we had the whole ward. They are very sweet. 

The other bad news is that I´m sick right now. It started around noon on Christmas. I came down with a fever and was really tired. I have been well taken care of though. I've been resting, plus my companion is really great and makes sure I do everything that the hermanas enfermeras (sister nurses) and Hermana Bowler tell me to do. These past few days haven't been fun. But I've been comforted by a priesthood blessing I received. I was told not to worry about my calling. I¡m already feeling much better and I know it is through the atonement that I am and will be healed. I have a little more timne to rest, but after that I will be able to get back to work. I am going to the doctors tomorrow. 

There isnt much more to say about this week. Keep being awesome, and keep me in your prayers, (even though I know you already do!)

Love, Hermana Hogge

January 5, 2015

Well, I´ll start with the good news of this week: I am definately feeling better! 

"This is me today! Look how healthy I am! Yay!
And this is the outside of my apartment. It´s a nice place." 

This last week went something like this:

          Everyday I rested, and Hna Arango worked with the other Hermanas that are here in the ward as well to do divisions, so Hermana Arango and one of them could visit some of our investigators, and one of them would stay with me. At the end of the week, we didn´t have very many lessons with people. But this week will be better :) 

Every night, I talked with Hermana Bowler. She´s the mission president´s wife, for those that don´t know. Her calling is basically to be the nurse for the english-speaking missionaries. We also have two hermanas that are called as hermana enfermeras that serve the spanish-speaking missionaries. We talked to both, but mostly I talked to Hna Bowler and gave her uptdates. The first few days, I had a fever and did not have an appetite. But, my companion made sure I ate, and the members brought us food sometimes too. Once it was a quesedilla-type meal, with tortillas filled with cheese and chicken and tomatoes and peppers. Yummy! 

At the beginning and end of the sickness that I had, which here is called denge, I also broke out in a weird rash. It didn´t itch or hurt at all. I just looked like an alien. 

         The only time I went out was for tests at some local clinics. One is called San Rafeal and the other is the laberatorio Flemming. I got my blood drawn and I was tested for denge and other things like my white blood cell count and platelets. I didn´t understand all of it, but what I did understand was that my wbc and platelets were below normal, and I was given instruction to stay home and rest until they were back up to normal. And the good news is that they are normal now! So I can be around people again.Horay!

       On Tuesday night, we actualy had a special visit from President and Hermana Bowler. Thankfully, the house was clean and everything (because, of course, it´s always clean).  They were in the area for zone conferences, which I didn´t get to go to, but that´s ok. They are really good people, the president and his wife. I have a lot more appreciation for both of them and all they do. 

        It´s been boring and a bit stressful to be inside for nine days, but I know that, like the blessing I received said, I have been healed by the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And now I understand that to mean physically and spiritually. I wasn´t alone. He´s been with me every day and for that I´m very grateful. I was helped to have patience and hope. And I also read a lot from the scriptures and general conference, and that was a blessing.  I really liked President Uchtdorf´s talk from preisthood session, when he invited all of us to adopt the attitude of the apostles when they asked ¨Lord, Is it I?¨when He said that one of them would betray Him. It´s helped me to be better about not blaming others or my circumstances and focus more on what I can do, with His help.

         I´m sorry to hear that some of you are sick, too! I hope you´re already doing better as you read this! And remember that you´re never alone!

         New Years here passed a lot like Christmas Eve, with lots of noise and fireworks outside at midnight. 

          As for our investigators, we´re still working with them. Like I said, this last week was slow, but this week we should have more oportunities.  Today has been a fairly normal Pday - we took a bus to el centro (downtown) of Choluteca, paid our light bill, bought grocieries at a supermarket (which isn´t very super, but it does have peanut butter). We took a taxi back, and we started talking to him, and it turns out he´s been our taxista (taxi driver) before. I didn´t remember, but he even remembered Hna Molina. I think his wife is a member. He doesn´t live in our area but hopefullly he will feel the Spirit and attend church! That´s a big step for people. We didn´t have investigators in church this sunday but the other hermanas did and I sat next to her and tried to help her understand the hymns and why we raised our hands and the sacrament and everything . Hopefully that helped.
        Well, there´s my week. Now go have a good one yourself! :) As always, thank you for your updates and prayers and pictures and your love. I love you all very much!

          Hermana Hogge

"As requested, a picture of my apartment. Tada!"