Monday, August 24, 2015

Choose Joy

Hello Friends and Family,

I don´t have as much time as normal today. Things have been a little different and slightly hectic. This last week were changes (transfers) and Hermana AguiƱada was called to another area. Sadly, I said goodbye to her on Wednesday. President Bowler shook my hand before the meeting started, smiled, and asked Are you ready to trian (again?) I said yes. What I didn´t know is that I would be receiving a mini misionera, Hermana Ferman. But, only for five days. Or, that is to say, she left today. She is from Choluteca and has a calling for the Dominican Republic and leaves next month, but hasn't been set apart as a misionary yet. She´s really great, is a convert to the church, and I know she will do excelent. Right now I´m in San Lorenzo (about 20 minutes from Nacaome) in a trio while I wait for another mini misionara who will be here on wednesday. So, that´s been my week. It´s been interesting. But good. 

Also, good news. My former companion Hermana Platero told me on Wednesday in changes that - you might remember how I told you that her father wasn´t a member? Well, he is now! Her father was baptised this months :) I was so happy for her!

       The best part of this week was the conference we had on Saturday. For a few weeks we´ve waited in anticipation to receive the counsel from one of the Apostles of the Lord. Elder Nelson took time to shake the hands of each and every misionary from Honduras Tegucigalpa and Comayaguela. I felt very fortunate to be there. I know that the Lord cares about misionary work very much. Among various things that Elder Nelson shared - about eternal marriage, teaching your companion your language, and working with the ward mision leader - what stood out to me was his testimony of the atonement and the need that we have to bring the love of Jesus Christ to the people. And to really know and teach God´s Plan of Happiness so that they can be with their families forever. 

          I love this gospel and I am very grateful to be apart of this work. I´m learning a lot - sometimes it´s dificult. But in this conference we also had the oportunity to listen to President and Hermana Duncan  from the area 70 of Central America. Hermana Duncan taught about choosing joy. The mision isn´t easy, but she reminded us that life isn´t easy either, and we can choose to be obedient, clean, grateful - we can choose joy. Though there are many things beyond our control, we can work on and discover what is within our control. 

           I love you all very much and hope you have a wonderful week!

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Words of Christ

Buenas Tardes! How is everyone? I hope this email finds you all well :) 

I´m doing well. In these past weeks I´ve gotten to know Nacaome and it´s people much better.  It´s been hot as usually but we´ve had a few days with clouds and spurts of rain. It´s not what people need, but it´s better than nothing. 

     This has been a week of testing and a few trials, but I know that tests become testimonies and trials can be triumphs. We´ve seen obstacles but also many blessings. 

      We´ve been teaching a father of one of the members, who is an elderly man with a love of the Bible. He´s a good person, but thinks that we´re completely lost. In one small visit that we had with him, he invited us to look up a scripture - I did, out of curiosity and respect for the man. It was a scripture from the new testiment, a warning about following the traditions and words of men. Ouch, hermano, I thought. But it left me feeling a little confused - this is a  very spiritual man. I wondered why, if he has often felt the Spirit  in his life - could feel our message is not true. I felt troubled, but decided to turn to the scriptures. I felt prompted to read in Doctrine and Covenants, and I opened to section 18. I read the chapter and felt inspired by these words:

 33 And I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it.
 34 These words are not of men nor of man, but of me; wherefore, you shall testify they are of me and not of man;
 35 For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you, and by my power you can read them one toanother; and save it were by my power you could not have them;
 36 Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words
I not only read these words but felt that the Spirit confirmed that they are true. I know that all those who seek can find answers, and that we can read in the scriptures the words of Christ - In the Old Testament, the New Testament, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the words of living prophets are truly the words of Christ. I know because I´ve read and prayed and asked. 

       It´s such a beautiful experience to help others do the same. Kelva is progressing a lot. She told us that, even though she had so much studying to do, reading a little from the Book of Mormon before she studied helped her to have a clear mind. She´s praying, but not out of obligation to us.  There´s also an investigator we are teaching that is the mother of a member. Her name is Ilaria, and due to their ditance from church it´s hard to attend. We always have invited her, but she hadn´t showed up. But, her daughter´s example and I´m sure spiritual help from Heavenly Father helped her to take that step. When Hermana AguiƱada and I drew near to the church, my companion said to me - I think that´s Hermana Ilaria. I doubted at first - but to our pleasant surprise, she had come! Not only that but another sister in the ward imediately reached out to her. I was very grateful for that. 

         I got to give a talk in church yesterday - I gave it on charity, and based a lot of my talk from a talk from General Conference - Truly Good and Without Guile. It´s a very good talk and helped me to understand that position and status aren´t as important in the sight of God as being truly good and without guile. The best acts of service are often the ones that only God sees. I know that it´s true. I know we all have the potential to develop the atribute of charity, it we seek it. 

        This week are transfers, but we don´t know if my companion will go (she has almost 3 months here ) or if we´ll both stay. As I´ve only got a month and a half here It´s pretty sure I´m staying, but you never know. I´m also looking forward to this saturday because we´ll be having a special conference. All the missionaries from the Honduras Tegucigalpa mission and the Comayaguela mission will be together (over 400 of us). I´m amazed they found a place big enough! But I´m excited and will be able to tell you more next week. 

        I love you all! Remember to keep doing the little things that are important, spending time with each other, and learning from the words of Christ. I love this gospel. I know that the church of Jesus Christ has been restored. It is on the earth and Christ is at it´s head. I hope you all have an awesome week!!

Hermana Hogge

Monday, August 10, 2015

One Week in Nacaome, Too Many Blessings to Count!

Here in Nacaome it´s been another hot week full of wonderful blessings. I think my faith and diligence is tiried sometimes - like life is asking me how much I really want to go out and work. But Heavenly Father has given us more strength than I thought possible and has helped us achieve more than we could on our own. This gospel really changes hearts, which is why I am always motivated not to give up. It´s true that we are here to help people be baptized, but it´s also true that many times we are here to sew and others are here to harvest. I just received news, for example, that an investigator from my first area was baptized recently. She´s actually the little sister of Rocio, the first person I saw baptized 8 months ago. When we tried to teach her - she was frank with us that, right then she just wasn´t ready and didn´t really seem interested. But, just look at where she is now. 

       We keep working with the people here and finding new people to teach. Gabriela wasn´t home when we passed by, but we´ll keep trying. We had a lesson with Daniel and his mother - who surprised us by intently listening to what we had to say. As I´ve discovered, there really are miracles in this gospel. They often aren´t miracles that the eye can see, but they really do exist. Little by little, I believe her heart will soften. Kelva is awesome. She reminds me a lot of Rocio in a way because she´s very inteligent and absorbs everything, does the reading assignments we give her. Right now she can´t come to church because of her studies but she´ll be in vacations in a few weeks so - cross your fingers and say your prayers :) 

        And  - best story of the week. We found a family! It´s hard to express just how happy that makes me. The Lopez family we found just by opening our mouths one evening with Hermana Lopez - she was sitting outside the gate with her little girl, we started talking. Then her husband and son showed up. And they´re about to have a 3rd  child really soon. They invited us to come back the next day, but when we showed up they weren´t home. We wrote a note and as we left we felt we need to talk to a woman on the street, so we did. As she was telling us how catholic she was, the Lopez family showed up!   We knew that Heavenly Father wanted us to share a mesage with them that day.  They´re both really mellow, kind people. I admire Hna Lopez for even being willing to listen to us - she´s about ready to pop. (makes me think of my own sister´s belly growying :) The sister of Hno Lopez is actually a member. He´s had his doubts about the chruch in the past, but thanks to his sister´s good example he opened up to us. And we´re very grateful to be able to work with them. 

         So, other things. Last night it rained. I heard about your storm in Kaysville, which was a lot worse than our shower here. Though it rained pretty hard for about 20 minutes, it didn´t take down any trees.  
        One day we were street contacting and we began talking to an elderly man  - well we were trying to explain what we believe and I started talking about the apostacy, how the church was lost  - he cut in and started telling me he wasn´t lost.  My companion suddenly developed a cough. We couldn´t stop laughing for about 10 minutes.

         We have a little pet gecko in our apartment. It runs and hides whenever we walk in. We should give it a name. I´m rambling because I don´t know what else to say. My companion and I were feeling a little under the weather yesterday (in more than one sense of the phrase) but today we´re doing a lot better today.  So - that´s been my week. I hope you all have a good one! I love you all so much!!! 

This is me learning how to make tortillas. I hope to perfect it before I get back so we can eat honduran food :)

This is home right now. Thought you all would enjoy!


Monday, August 3, 2015

Zone Conferences & Answered Prayers

Good afternoon - Buenas Tardes a todos. How are all of you? I hope this email finds you all well. And this email also hopes to leave it better than it found you. Because - you´re awesome. 

          This week, we saw some challenges and answers to prayers - and not just our own prayers but the prayers of others. And that, in this work, is even more important. On Tuesday we had a Zone Conference which was really great. We often do practices in conferences and meetings to help us learn how to teach better - this time we did something a little different. To practice balance in our teaching  with a companion, we taught blindfolded. That really helps you learn how to listen. Listening is always really important. We recieved counsel from President and Hermana Bowler, and President also has a new couneslor, Elder Espinal, who shared his testimony with us as well. We were also able to watch Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration. The message of the restoration is a lesson that I´ve taught many times, and for many it seems hard to understand. It`s the most critizeds lesson we teach. But it´s also something I find joy in teaching, and the joy grows when you can see the investigator understanding it too. 
            We found one of these investigators this last week. We had contacted a young mother in the street, who told us we could come back, but when we did she wasn´t home, but her sister was. Kelva is 16 years old and is really absorbing the message we are teaching. She´s very inteligent, and also speaks a little English, which is fun for me because we get to practice. We hope she continues progressing - so far she´s read everything we´ve given her. 

            On Thursday we were leaving a lesson - which hadn´t gone as well as we´d hoped but we still tried to do our part. We had actually found this little family - well actually they had found us. A mother with her two sons approached us and asked if we speak english. When I said yes I do she asked if we could help her son with his homework. Daniel is a 14 year old and he really does understand when you explain the grammer, the books they have here to teach english just aren´t very helpful. So I helped him with his homework, and later we returned to see if we could teach them the gospel. The mother is very religious and not convinced about the message we have - but surprisingly Daniel went to church all by himself. So, we´ll keep doing what we can. 

             Anyway, we were leaving that lesson with them, and a man stopped us and said he was looking for a church to attend. For a second I was in shock because - people just don´t do that. There might have been angels singing in the background. (Hi, we´re missionaries, will you be baptized?) We told him a little about who we were, where and when we had our meetings. We invited him to an activity that night. And he came - we surprised us again, and made us very happy. He works in the police so Sundays are a little hard for him, but it wasn´t an accident we found him. He said he had this empty feeling inside him - but when he came to the activity, he was able to feel peace. We the hermanas misionaries also were in charge of the game, which turned out well. 

                 With Gabriella, we keep moving forward. Maria and her cousin Claudia are still working on their personal progress, they need all the support and help they can get and we´re doing our best. 
                It´s very hot here. I´m just grateful we gave a little air conditioning in the apartment, or I think I would melt. But I keep getting to know the people and the area and learnign to love it. I know that as we use patience and persistence, wisdom and love, we will be able to see little miracles along the way. We can feel the peace that the Savior can give us even if we can´t see how things will resolve.  a new family moved  into the branch and we went to help them move things in. They joined the church 4 years ago and have powerful testimonies of missionary work and this gospel. We love them already. 

            We get around walking, in buses to farther parts of our area, and it moto taxi (like in Santa Lucia) when we´re running a little late. But they´re kind of fun. Um, what else. I don´t know. i´ll end things here with my love and prayers that you will all have a great week and keep the gospel close in your life. Thank you all for your examples and support!!

                    Hermana Hogge