Monday, April 27, 2015

Eating Gringos

Buenas Tardes, Amigos y Familia,

Well, we´re still here in Santa Lucia, getting used to all of the rock climbing (almost) that we´re doing, because Santa Lucia is full of hills. I´ve been really grateful to be training Hermana Platero. We laugh a lot when we´re slipping and sliding down the hills. Of course, a lot of things are still new, but she´s been an example to me. She´s often been the one in the lesson to invite people to be baptized, which makes me proud :) It hasn´t been easy, but I´ve really loved training. 

         The other day (can´t remember which) we were with a member family, and the hermana had a recipe book. There´s a type of food called a gringo, which also happens to be the nickname for north americans. (in my case gringa) The family was laughing about eating the gringa. I was like, I´m out of here. No, they´re a good family. It´s the family of the hermana Suyapa that we baptized the other week. She´s still doing well, and the whole family is going to church. 

         It´s a good branch here. Maybe we don´t get a ton of references but there are some people willing to work with us. One that I admire a lot teaches the principles of the gospel class for the investigators and recent converts. He knows a lot and has a gift of teaching. He´s also the hermano that baptized Hermano Eugenio and Hermana Mirta. 

        Their family is doing fine too. The gospel is growing and more of their family is attending church. But we´re still trying to help them be baptized. 

         One of the most amazing oportunities that we had this week is one that I hope I won´t ever forget. Elder Ochoa, the first counselor of the presidency of the area Central America, came and spoke to us on Thursday the 23rd of April.  We got to shake his hand and meet his wife and hear both of them and President and Hermana Bowler speak. It was a really great experience and I learned a lot about the things that I need to be doing better. Especially, have more faith. 

        Despite all the hills and the people that try to contend and the members that want to eat me, I love this area. This last week we were teaching a SeƱor and a girl, his neighbor, entered. The interesting thing was that she stayed, when we were there to teach the elderly man. We had talked to this girl before, but I didn´t know much about her except that she lived on the same street and is 13 years old. But, as we taught she sat down and stayed to listen, so we involved her in the lesson. We found out that she had been listening to the elders before but when the elders were taken out of the area no other missionaries came back. Her name is Heidi and I´m really happy we were able to find her. 

        One thing I learned from Elder Ochoa is that when we don´t invite people to be baptized, when we don´t share the gospel, we´re taking away the oportunity for other people to choose. We take away their agency. Heavenly Father´s plan is for us is for us to be able to use our agency to choose good. As we understand and follow Heavenly Father´s plan, we understand that we need to share the gospel to help others use their agency. 

        Ok, I think that´s it for now. Congrats and Good Luck to all that have exams, are graduating!!, have birthdays, etc. I´ll let you know more next week at what time I´ll be skyping for mother´s day. It will be Sunday in the afternoon - what time do you all have church?? We have church in the morning. 

         Have a good week everyone. God Lives and He Loves You. 

          Hermana Hogge

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cambios... (Changes)

Dearest Friends and Family, 

So, we had changes this week. We weren´t really surprised when they called us Tuesday morning and told us that Hermana Araujo would be leaving Santa Lucia, because she´s been here for almost five months. But, I was surprised when they told us I would be training. 

So, a little nervous, we went to transfers on Wednesday with a large group of missionaries in Tegus. I always like how we do it all together, almost everyone who has changes. Only four hermanas came this change to the mission, and I knew I would soon be showing one of them around Santa Lucia, but I didn´t know which. We greeted them, and, though I wasn´t sure, I felt that one of the hermanas, Hermana Platero, would be my companion. 

And I was right. 

So. Hermana Platero is from El Salvador (So don´t guess that she´s from Guatemala, she doesn´t like that). She´s really sweet, and brings a special spirit to the lessons and area. We´ve been able to find new people and though some are more positive than others, we have hope. 

The influence of Hermano Eugenio y Hermana Mirta continues to grow in their family, with their children. Yesterday we shared a video about the first vision with them and even though the graphics weren´t that great (what can we say, it´s like from the 80s) it was still a successful lesson and two of their daughters are starting to read the Book of Mormon. 

I love the Book of Mormon and try to read from it every day, even if it´s just a little.

I´ve had a lot of responsibilities this last week, but everything is going fine - still healthy, still smililng, still working. 

Love you all so much! 
Hermana Hogge

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Uniting Eternal Families

Buenas Tardes, todos!

This last week - well for the past six weeks really - we have been working with various less active members. But I´m here to tell you that there is hope for anyone and everyone. Similar to my last area, we have been working with a member named Marta. What´s different is that this Marta is a recent convert. After conference, we went straight with her on Sunday and shared from the message that talked about the parable of the prodigal son.  During that lesson I felt it had power. I knew the Spirit was there, and that it was talking to her. She resolved to go to church this Sunday and she did!

We were also blessed to have a baptism this last Saturday. I realize I probably haven´t talked about Hermana Suyapa that much, but she´s been our investigator for a few weeks - that is to say, of Hermana Araujo and I. She´s really been an investigator for many years, and her entire family are already members. But, now was just her time. She´s always kind to us, and she´s a loving mother. Recently she was able to put some things in her life in order, and now she is attending with her whole family.

Hermana Suyapa and us‏

​This is really what it´s all about, Uniting Eternal Families!!! I was really happy in this moment ;)
Also, Hermana Arango told me that two of our investigators, two young women and sisters,that we were teaching in Choluteca were baptized this saturday as well and are going to be attending seminary! 

Eternal Families are the goal. Everyone has a different situation. But I know that if we make a conscious and faithful effort to have an Eternal Family, that Heavenly Father will help us, because that is His eternal goal as well. 

As for the adventures that we saw this last week, well, they might be a little embarrassing for me, so I hope you enjoy. :) 

One in particular occured on Friday. First, I need to tell you a little about our house. When you walk out the door, you walk down some stairs to a large gate (our apartment is connected with a few others). For the door and the gate, you need keys. So, hypothetically, if someone walks out the door, closes it, and doesn´t have the keys, this person would, hypothetically, be locked in. Locked out of the house, but locked inside the gate, to wait among the flowers and papaya plants until someone could open the gate.

       The only thing is that wasn´t hypothetical. . . Hermana Hogge is a little forgetful sometimes. Unfortunately our landlady and the other hermanas that live next door were in Tegucigalpa. So we were there, studying our scriptures and practicing English for about four hours. But, I learned my lesson. Always make sure you have the keys.

        Yesterday Hermana Araujo and I were followed, by a dog. Obviously it had an owner but we didn´t know who. It was a big dog but very sweet. We believe it was our little helper, taking care of us until we got safely home. 
        Well, like every six weeks, transfers always come. I am 99% sure I´m staying here, but it´s possible that Hermana Araujo leaves this week, she´s been here a while. I feel like this change went by very fast, and that I´ve learned a lot about making mistakes and learning from them, patience, faith and hope. I´m so grateful for the restored gospel and love it so much. 

        One thing I would encourage all to do is enjoy the talks from this month´s Liahona. Or Ensign... whichever you read. They are very inspired. Today I have been enjoying the talk by President Packer "The Savior´s Selfless and Sacred Sacrfice"  We are all invited to not justify our sins but come unto Christ, and be perfected in Him. I also really liked "It isn´t a sin to be weak" that gave me comfort as I am trying to be better. Anyway, I invite all to read them, they´re awesome. 

        Thanks for the updates and pictures and prayers! 

All my love,
         Hermana Hogge

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter Weekend

Well this last week was certainly full of adventures and good counsel from our prophet and leaders. I loved this last week, despite some of the obstacles we faced. 

     On Tuesday and Wednesday we had divisions, so one of our sister training leaders came with me and I showed her around Santa Lucia and fortunately didn´t get lost, even though I made her climb a mountain. Our area goes pretty high up, but we managed. 

        Wednesday morning, the first of April, still with our sister training leader, we had an appointment with our goldern family, Hermano Eugenio and Hermana Mirta, to have the baptismal interview that morning. It was the only time we could do it because they couldn´t later and because of Holy Week there would be no buses on Thursday and Friday. 

      I hope you understand how important this was as I relate the following. Hermana Steele and I were heading toward the bus station of Santa Lucia when Hermana Hogge got a call from her district leader. The district leader informed her that he and his companion had accidentily slept in, and had missed the bus. Her heart stops and she tries to keep calm. And then the district leader tells her that he´s just kidding and that they were already in Santa. Then the district leader almost died because of his bad April Fool´s day joke, becuase Hermana Hogge almost killed him. Ok, It was kind of funny later, but in the moment, I was so worried. 

         Unforunately, that wasn´t the only hurtle to jump before Saturday. The other one was the pool. 
 Yes, the pool. In Santa Lucia, we have a branch and don´t meet in a chapel. We meet in a refurbished house. IT´s very nice, actual, and spacious and everything. But it lacks a baptismal font. So, we attempted using a pool. On Friday, we four hermanas went to go see it because we´d heard our branch president had set it up. We found it leaky and a little dirty, and literally spent hours trying to fix it! Many were unreachable because everyone was doing things for Holy Week. It was actually kind of fun, with we four and the pool (and no we didn´t go swimmng). But, in the end, the pool won. We saw it wasn´t going to work, prayed about what to do, and all felt that it would be in the stake center instead. So we contacted our branch president and the missionaries in the area La Esperanza (our stake center - also the area of our sister training leaders.) and organized things for the baptism there. 

          It was beautiful. Though a little pressed for time, after the Saturday afternoon session and before the Priesthood session, we were able to go to the stake center and witness the baptism of Hermano Eugenio and Hermana Mirta Doblado. I never get over how clean people feel after they are baptized. It wasn´t perfect getting there, it never is, but they are faithful, good people and I am so happy for them and their family. It´s also really great that some of their children were able to attend Conference and their baptism. This weekend was so wonderful! I have much to learn, much to improve, but I´m grateful that I was able to witness their baptism. I know that I was only a small part of it - so many missionaries have been visiting this family. And they both shared, after, that ¨being mormon¨ was the last thing they would ever be. But look where they are now. I wish that all the missionaries involved could have been there for the day of their baptism. It gives me hope for other people´s progress that maybe I am only a part of. 

      And, of course conference was AMAZING. I loved the quote by Nelson Mandela ¨A saint is a sinner that keeps trying¨ I also appreciated what President Monson shared about temples and, well, I did my best to keep up with Spanish and will learn more, I´m sure, when i can read them. But it was an amazing Spirit there. 

      Ok, I´ve talked a lot. I hope that you´ve enjoyed this weeks adventures and have some of your own this week.
​Hermanas Bautista, Juarez, Hogge, Araujo and making toritillas por mano

       I love you all so much and hope you all were able to learn from Conference,too. Feel free to share your thoughts with me!

       Hermana Hogge