Monday, June 29, 2015

A Week of Surprises

Buenas tardes, querida familia, y queridos amigos. Espero que todos esten bien. Let´s tell some stories! 

        Once upon a time, two sister missionaries, Hermana Hogge and Hermana Platero, were walking along the lagoon in Santa Lucia. One of the missionaries, Hermana Hogge, saw something interesting. A little mini library, the size of a birdcage, standing in the sun. And, something interesting inside. A Liahona magazine! But, a closer look told the missionary that it was in English. What? That doesn´t help many people here. So, the sister missionaries made plans to return with more. They did, on Saturday in the morning, with seven  Liahonas, a Book of Mormon, a several pamphlets. They prayed that the right people might be lead to the magazines and the Book of Mormon, and that might plant the seed of belief and faith that might grow within them. (The only awkward thing was that the Jehova´s Witnesses were about 20 meters away . . .we were just, don´t mind us, we´ll just put a few church magazines in here . . . No, but it was good. They´re good people, but, I´m grateful for the truths that I know.)

         This week I´ve learned about planting seeds, and more about the purpose of what I´m doing here. We´re here to harvest the field that is ready and white, and we´ve been able to do that for the people here that are ready. But, I´ve also helped in the planting and growing of the testimonies of others. I´ve come to understand that that is enough. One hermano in the branch told us that he visited Hermano Eugenio with the missionaries 8 years ago. I was surprised, but I know that the small things we can do can make a big difference. 

         On Thursday, well, interesting story. We were at a members house, sitting outside, eating the early dinner she´d given us. And I looked down. And there was an alacran in my lap. An alacran is like a small scorpion. Surprise! I felt so bad, but it surprised me so much I jumped up, the food fell to the floor, and I yelled for my companion to get it off! Ay, no. It was really funny. And thanks to my companion and her shoe, the day was saved, life is good, and nothing happened.

Out of curiosity, I checked up "alacran" on google.
I would have done more than just screamed and jumped out of my chair. 
         Speaking of surprises, this last week was my companion´s birthday. Let me tell you how hard it is to surprise someone that is constantly glued to you. You have to take advantage of when she´s getting ready to call the hermana to buy her a cake. Which is what I did. Another misionary came and crushed an egg on her head  in the morning (Honduran tradition, don´t know why). And I made breakfast. It wasn´t until just before our last appointment that she realized something was up. But, it turned out to be a success. Yay! 

So, it´s not a true birthday party if you don´t end up with frosting all over your face, right? Anyway, as the bible says, there are times to laugh and times cry, to work,  and times to get frosting all over your comp´s face. I´m pretty sure that´s in there somewhere. Happy week everyone!

         As for our investigators, they´re getting along. We do what we can. Every person has different challenges, whether they´re close to being baptized or starting to listen about the church. We´ve gotten to know one woman who owns a small restaurant and is a friend of a member.  This week we asked her if she would like to hear our message and she told us no. But, she had questions about the church, so we ended up sharing about the first vision and the restauration and everything anyway (becuase we´re sneaky like that - like how Ammon was ¨wise yet harmless ¨). And, as we talked more, she told us that she had been baptized when she was young, but afterwards her family traveled a lot. Wow. We were left with our mouths hanging open, but also with the feeling that she will one day return, because that seed is already there. 

          Oh and, remember my second convert Melissa? Well, keep her in your prayers because whe´s going through a rough time right now. 

         So those are my stories this week. I am grateful for all the stories and photos you have shared with me. I´m glad you all had a good time on your trip and returned home safe and sound. Good luck with all that you have ahead. I love you all so much! 

         Hermana Hogge

Do you know how rare you are?

So, not much happened this week.  

      Haha, Just kidding. This week was so full!!

      It hasn´t been raining as much, but sometimes its still been pretty cool. But that´s fine by me. I really like this area, even if it´s a little tougher. I wonder if I´ll stay here, changes are in two weeks. But who knows? 

        On Wednesday, I hit my halfway mark, and we celebrated a little, because it was also the birthday of another hermana misionera. Pictures will come. Part of me can´t believe it, but another part of me can - I´ve felt my time here. 

         On Friday we had interviews with President Bowler. While interviews are very personal, and most details will be saved for later, I felt like sharing something that President Bowler asked me: "Do you know how rare you are?"  He reminded me of something very true. That I have been blessed to be born in the country that I was, in a relatively safe place with religious freedom. I was blessed to be born in the time that I was, with many modern blessings, and to live in a time when the truth has been restored to the earth. I was blessed that this gospel was shared with my ancestors and that people in my family have been faithful and that I was born to good parents that taught me the gospel.  I don´t know all the reasons why, but I´m grateful. I want to share these blessings with all, and sometimes it´s difficult when they don´t accept it - the message or aren´t willing to make changes. But the Savior too was rejected, much mor than I was. And I love and respect Him for that. Though difficult at times, I know that the Savior is with me and I have also known and felt great joy. 

         This week was also a lot about getting Luz ready for her baptism. And let me tell you it was one of the most beautiful baptisms I´ve ever witnessed. I have loved every single one. But this was something special. Over two months after Hermano Eugenio and Hermana Mirta were baptized together, and have remained faithful in the church, Hermano Eugenio had the oportunity to baptize his daughter Luz. That was such a happy moment. Even though it was a bit of a struggle to get all of Luz under the water, I almost cried for joy. As Luz shared in her testimony after, things happen that we can´t even imagine. And it is wonderful. We hope that the familia Dobaldo will continue to grow in the gospel and they will one day be able to be sealed together for eternity. 

          We were blessed to receive a senior couple in our mission. Hermana Oldroyd will be helping wiht the medical side of things and Elder Oldroyd with the housing side. They´re really great, and I really admire them. 

          Well, with some of the other people we´ve found and taught - we´re still working on teaching them and I´ll let you know how things go. 

          I suppose that´s all except one great big HAPPY FATHER´S DAY DAD!!! And Happy Father´s Day to all the fathers! Thanks for being so great. We love you all so much.

​Hermana Vicente and I had a feliz cumpleanos y feliz cumplemes (9 months!) so, we had a little celebration with chilakiles and cake! and that´s Hermana Juarez. My companion took the picture. It was a good day.

           Have a great week, especially my family, I´m so glad you are having a great time. But thank you for also supporting me and being happy that I´m here. I love you all and hope that you have fun, stay safe, and learn new things. 

           Hasta luego,
            Hermana Hogge

Monday, June 15, 2015

You can do this. He will help you.

It´s been a very blessed, interesting week. I´ve tried to learn a lot in these past months, and as we often don´t learn the lesson right the first time, we have to relearn them. But I know that if we really concentrate on our goals, Heavenly Father will help us find the strength, even if we ourselves feel week sometimes. 

         It´s been raining almost every afternoon-night here. Sometimes it has rained so hard at night, I was glad I was inside! The rain jacket and boots and umbrella have come in handy. And I´m grateful.

          On Wednesday, we found some new people to teach. We´re always talking to new people, but one day a few weeks back we met some boys, ages 15 and 13. We helped them take the bus home, but until Wednesday we didn´t see them again. When we met them we asked them if we could return later to their home, if their mother would be ok with that. Positively they said yes, and so we returned later. Their mother opened the door and invited us in. As we walked in I looked at the table and my next thought was How did the Book of Mormon make it here before us?. I nudged my companion and gestered at the book frantically as the woman, Maria, grabbed a chair. As it turns out she had received missionaries before, had even gone to church. The truth is this area was closed, there used to be 6 hermanas in Santa Lucia, but now the four of us are sharing the old area. This little family lost contact of the missionaries, but we hope to help them find the gospel again. 

            On Saturday, we went to an hermana´s home and Hermana Platero taught us how to make pupusas, which is like a thick tortilla with meet and cheese in the middle. They can be really good, but as it was the first time that I and the other hermana had attempted it - it was a bit of a fiasco, but we had a good laugh as the house filled with smoke :) 

            Aaaaand for the best news of the week, of the month, and one of the best of the whole year is that the daughter of Hermano Eugenio and Hermana Mirta, Luz, is going to be baptized this week!!  Yay! She was decided, then undecided about a date, but now is decided agian. She´s been going to church since Conference,  is inteligent and dedicated, and we´re so excited for her. She´s 17 years old and has even been inviting a friend to church. Luz in Spanish means light. Also, we hope to see the baptism of the grandson of Eugenio y Mirta soon as well, his name is Cris and he´s 12. He went and saw the movie Meet the Mormons, has been attending church a lot as well, and his mother told us he wants to serve a mision when he gets older. I love this family a lot, and I love my family a lot. But I know I was ment to be here, so that they too can be an eternal family. Little by little the whole family has been getting involved, and although there are a few that haven´t been very interested, I know that in the future they will have many opportunities to ask for themselves. 

           Heavenly Father has really helped me work on my goals. Like I´ve said, He is always here to teach us and guide us. He wants us to do the right thing. Recently he´s helped me have the strength to be more positive through times of discouragement. 

          I know this gospel changes lives. I know a lot of the time I´ve been focused on MY responisibilites and what I need to do and all that. That´s important. But it´s the GOSPEL that changes lives. It´s the Spirit that changes hearts. I know that all the eloquency and inteligence of the world can´t brign about the change that the Savior can. I know that this gospel is true, it´s truths have been restored, and the church has been organized according to Heavenly Father´s will. 

          About 8 1/2 months ago I was in the CCM (MTC) watching a talk given by Elder Bednar. "You can do this. He will help you." And He has helped me. I´m weak, but He helps me be strong. I know He will do the same for anyone. 

          I love you all so mcuh and hope you have a wonderful week!

          Hermana Hogge

Monday, June 8, 2015

Beloved, Foggy Santa Lucia

This week was very - how shall I put it? - wet. Right now it´s raining. I think we can relate to the weather in Utah right now. Thankfully we always try to be prepared with waterproof jackets and umbrellas. So far, that´s helped us stay dryer. With the rain has also come a ton of little black moths that fallow you around and try to get in your hair and clothes. So that´s been interesting.  

        The rain has made Santa Lucia very pretty, especially in the morning with lots of fog.  And even though some of the roads, especailly when we have to go up the mountain, are slick and muddy, we keep marching on. Sometimes we slip and fall on our bums (ok, that was just me) but we just have to get up again. There might be one part of the mountain that´s more steep than others. Thankfully I had my companion and un hermano from the branch there and I didn´t get hurt. 

          It´s interesting the different ways you can meet people. Sometimes we go to this one house that sells paletas - which are more or less ice cream bars or popsicles. And it turns out the woman there had received the missionaries before. She doesn´t have any interest in coming to church, because she asists her church and wants us to respect that, but she´s a nice lady and even gave us a little food to take home with us. 

         On Tuesday we made pizza with a less active family. I feel like we´ve been able to gain more trust with them and we hope to see blessings for them soon. It´s so important to keep the sabbath day - it´s something so simple but something our Father in Heaven has given us to keep us focused on Him. We have seen blessings with another less active family - almost all of them went to church, and what´s more, they brought a cousin with them whose not a member. That made us really happy. 

          On Sunday we made plans to visit people, including some that we had contacted in the street to visit - but almost all of our plans fell through. So, before we left the apt after lunch, we were praying about what to do.  We weren´t sure, even ater the prayer and talking about it, but we felt the need to visit an investigator that we normally visit on fridays. It was a little out of the way, but we decided to go for it. And, to our surprise, she wasn´t even home. But, outside we met her uncle.  We began talking to him and he said he wasn´t attending a church but had been praying for direction - we taught him that he was an answer to our prayers and that we were an answer to his.  We hope to continue to teach him and his family - he has a wife and four little kids. I know the Lord answers prayers and when we act with faith, he will bless us. And I know that the worth of every soul is great in the eyes of God.

          I´m glad because I get along with my companion. The mission isn´t always easy (see paragraph 1) but we learn how to lift eachother up. And I´m always grateful for all of your support. know that your prayers and emails help me a lot. I love you all so much, and am grateful you were able to get out and have a good weekend and I hope you have a good week. 

         Hermana Hogge

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Reaching Goals & Making Progress

Sending our sister Ally a
HAPPY BIRTHDAY from Honduras!
This week has been full of a lot of blessings. I´m grateful to be here - there was a rumor suposedly that I got sick and went home - I don´t know how that happened. My old companion Hermana Araujo told me. But, nope. I´m healthy and, thankfully, still here. 
         This time is exciting because we feel that we´re getting closer to reaching many of our goals. We have investigators that are progressing toward baptism and we hope we will see some this month. There are always challenges, but in the end that can make the conversion more lasting. Hermano Pablo went to church on Sunday. We´re grateful to have other members of the ward to help us teach him.One is Hermano Ismael, also a grandfatherly age (but he still climbs mountains better than both of us). He´s great because he makes sure the hermanas get home safely. 

          On Thursday we had an interesting experience. We were walking, an appointment had fallen through, and we were hoping to be able to contact people in the street. Suddenly we see a woman carrying a heavy bag and a load of grass (for horses). We offered our help, and when we got to her house she invited us in. We began talking to her, thinking she could be a positive investigator, but then - surprise - she told us she was already a member. She´d been living here for a few months but doesn´t know where the church is. That was an interesting surprise, but we believe Heavenly Father helped us find her. There was also a little girl there (a niece I think), about 11 years old, who told us that she goes to an evangelical church, but wants to be a nun, and also wanted to go with the hermana to our church ...  So that was interesting. We didn´t really know what to say (congratulations?) But I suppose it´s good that she has desires to serve the Lord at such a young age. 

           This Sunday was very spiritual. I was surprised and saddened by the news about Elder Perry. I know we´ll all miss him, and we can follow his example of service and sacrifice. On Sunday we also had a very good lesson about the Sabbath Day. It´s something I´m learning more and more about - we´d shared from Doctrine and Covenants 59 before with investigators and members, but I didn´t understand it as well as I should have. But I understand now that as our Father in Heaven is our example and Creator, even He rested on the seventh day, and we can have the goal to do the same. I have a few things I need to change. But it´s been a good lesson to learn. 

        Today we were talking to our investigator who is the daughter of hermano Eugenio y hermana Mirta - she has a son who has also been coming to church, and apparantly Meet the Mormons is in theaters here and he wants to go. I´m really happy with the progress we have been blessed to see in this family. I know that they are working to be an eternal family. 

         I love all of you very much!! We are so blessed to have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. I know that it´s true, and there isn´t anything more important than finding that out for ourselves and following Jesus Christ. I love the Book of Mormon and I testify that if we read it we will feel closer to our Heavenly Father.   
Celebrating the 2 month mark of Hermana Platero

         Keep being amazing!! 
          Hermana Hogge