Monday, September 28, 2015

Opposition in all Baptisms

Good Afternoon folks!!

I hope this email finds you all, and leaves you better than it found you. Just know that I love each and every one of you and hope that you can feel that love and remember the blessings that God has given us. There must be opposition in all things. And it´s healthy, in fact I believe eternally important, to learn to find out how to endure well opposition. And then come experiences that bring great joy.

Knowing there must be opposition, just know that the rule of missionary work is that there must be opposition in all baptisms. But, the ones that are meant to work out will, and often end up as good stories later. For Example -

       We had to change the baptism to friday and not saturday for the Women´s Conference. So, we had to also change the day of the interveiw before the baptism. But the baptism worked out fine - it was really very beautiful. We had great support from the branch. Maria, who was baptised 2 months ago, was also there, along with many other members. 

       Rachel was baptised first and then Xochil. We struggled to find clothes that fit Xochil, she´s ten and is tiny! But we ended up being grateful for safety pins. But then the unthinkable happened in Sunday - we realized that we were all confused about Rachel´s name. In Spanish cultures, everyone has two names and two last names. We confused her two first names - it´s really Ivana Rachel and we had put Rachel Ivana. But, as baptisms must be correct in all things, we had to run to her house, grab  the baptismal clothes, come back and do hers all over again! What a Sunday it was! 

       But everything worked out alright in the end. 

       So they are now members of the church - and all because we were lost trying to find another investigator´s house and stoped to ask directions. They let us in, and let us come back. They came to church. They read the Book of Mormon. They prayed. It´s simple, though many would make it more complicated. It isn´t always easy, but Heavenly Father helps us every step of the way. 

        Other things of the week - Hermana Dubon is still finishing filling out her mission papers(like i said she is a mini missionary) so we had to go to Choluteca. We even passed through my first area and it was all I could not to run to find the people I love there! But that all turned out alright as well. We had to wait sometimes but we filled the time learning English - me teaching, Hermana Dubon learning. I´ve found that teaching English to speakers of other languages is something I enjoy very much. One hospital we went to had a collection of dolls from different cultures and we gaped at them for a while, they were so pretty. That meant speanding some time away from Nacaome, but it was necessary. We also went to Wedny´s there and - surprise - ran into President Bowler (not literally, he´s fine)

            Yesterday I nearly broke my umbrella when a dog started barking at us. I don´t know what I was thinking, but it was the only thing that popped into my head because the umbrella was the only thing I had! But don´t worry, the umbrella and I are fine. No more dog bites. Hermana Dubon and I just laughed for a while about my reaction. 
            Today we spent some time with the zone. This week are changes, but it´s 99 percent sure that hermana Dubon was only going to be here for this change - so It´s pretty sure I´m staying and she will go to her house to keep getting ready. Maybe I´ll train again but who knows. 

         I really enjoyed the Women´s conference and I am super excited for this weekend. I hope you are all too. I love you and want you to always remember it. 

          Hermana Hogge

Monday, September 21, 2015

Daily Decisions Determine Destiny

Thanks everyone for this weeks letters and the experiences you are all having.  I love you all very much. This week has continued to be hot and occasionally rainy, but nothing compared to the week before. 

           Well, we continue teaching and tracting. Rachel and Xochi (I learned this week that´s how it´s spelled, though I don´t understand much how .. . .) are ready. In fact they will be baptized this weekend! We´re really excited for them, they're great girls. They went to activity on Saturday and continue coming to church. We were also able to have more support from a family that lives close to them. They actually moved into the ward about two months ago, but have since been a great support to the branch. So, they´ve helped us a lot in getting to activities and church. But these girls are really great, and continue to learn a lot. I´d like to use Xochi and Rachel as examples to my other investigaters. Xochi is only 10 and she readsmore than most of them!

            One member who had been less active is now active again and has intoduced us to a freind of his, Junior. We´ve had a few lessons and he seems very interested in beginning a new life. Didn't come to church, but we have hope he will come soon. 

             Along with some exciting successes we've had a few surprising dissapointments of investigators who seemed interested at first but now don't seem that they want to change. But, I know that no time is waisted and it's very possible that in the future they will underestand. 

              But I´ve seen a difference in the people that take the time to read and understand and be obedient from those who don't progress. It's so important that we take the time to read, to pray, and to do Heavenly Father's will. Our daily decisions determine destiny, as President Monson has said. 

            This week I passed my year mark (yay) and because another sister missionary was finishing her mission we went as a zone after our weekly meeting in San Lorenzo to a nicer seafood restaurant at a place called The Doors of San Lorenzo. It's like a bay, and it's very pretty there. 

             Today as a district we hiked up a small hill in our area, that has a statue of the patron saint of Nacaome. It's not a large hill, but being so steep and, as always, very hot, I was red and sweaty when we reached the top. But, we had fun. 

            I was reading a talk by President Uchtrorf about adversity. Being here, and having the trails that Ihave had, has taught me a lot. Things I wouldn't have learned had I not been here. Like, how not to get upset when the whole world promises you they'll come to church and almost no one shows. THat's not to say we don't have faith that they will come when we invite them, but we are able to keep moving forward in helping them, or understanding who really wants to follow the Savior. 

             Not much else is new. I love you all very much and hope you all have an amazing week! 
Thanks so much for what you are all doing in supporting each other and me. Never forget how much Heavenly Father loves you, too. 

Hermana Hogge

Monday, September 14, 2015

Singing... and the Rain

This last week was a good one, I´ll say.  Here in Nacaome it´s been - first, hot, and then, rainy. Really rainy. But now it has cleared up. 

        So, our young women Rachel and Sodgi are reading the Book of Mormon and coming to church and everything - the last time we talked about baptism they said they still didn´t feel prepared, but we´ll see how things go this week. They´re doing well though. We´ve also been able to - sometimes quite miraculously - find new poeple to teach as well. President Bowler, amond other chapters of preach my gospel, had us read Lucas 15 in the New Testament, which I highly recommend. But it helped remind me that we are here to find and help and bring back those that have been lost - investigators, less actives, and members that need to be fortified in their testimonies. 

         The first one we found was an inactive member. We don´t understand all the reasons for why people leave the church, but I do know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each one of His children becuase he put us in this young man´s path, who wasn´t coming to church but in a short time, came back, and has desires to serve a mission. 

         Another was Hermano Castillo. One day we were walking along, an appointment fell through, so we contacted a man outside his house. He turns out to be a former investigator - he studied a lot with other hermanas last year, but for his legs could not attend church. Now his legs have healed up, though he still depends on crutches. We´ve began teaching him again, and he said he would come to church. He came. On his crutches and everything (and he´s not that young either) but he came. I was in awe.  Another interesting thing was that - the first time we met him, my companion accidentily left her triple there. For a few days we had no idea where it was! But, when we found it, Hermano Castillo not only gave it back, but had put a plastic protector on it so it wouldn´t get damaged. He´s a very caring person. 

           Yesterday was also a very interesting day - and another testimony to me that Heavenly Father always knows best. We were in a lesson with a member. She´s great, but tends to talk a lot, and my mind had to work in double - being there for her, but also recognizing that there were other people waiting for us. But suddenly I had a very strong feeling bout that thought - there was someone waiting for us Right In That Moment. So I asked, Where? and I felt that the answer was The park. So as soon as we could wrap up the lesson, I tapped my companion and said, We´re going to the park right now. (except, I said in Spanish) With promptings we´re not always 100 percent sure - that´s why they require faith. But I felt sure that we had to try.

         We got to the park and contacted the first people we talked to - which lead to a conversation that left me feeling humbled. We began talking about the church and she said she had talked to me and my former companion before, but we never passed by. At first I didn´t recognize her. But then I realized she was right. For whatever reason Hermana AguiƱada and I couldn´t meet her, but Heavenly Father was telling me that I needed to pay more attention, that she was ready to listen to us. So, we´ll be passing by on Sunday. 

          Many missionary experiences are wonderful. But sometimes they´re also embarrassing. Like, this week we were riding the bus, and there were no seats so we had to stand. But if one happens to not be holding on well enough, then if the bus slows down suddenly, then one might just go flying into the cobrador (the man that takes the money). Not that I speak from experience. 

         On Wednesday it started to get a little rainy, the power in and out (fortunately in right now - and I hope I didn´t just jinx us) but yesterday was a storm. It started coming down really hard and we got caught in it, more than once. But it was fun. And then today we went and played water games with our zone. So I haven´t been dry since Friday, basically. 

Not exactly a glamour shot of me, but that´s ok. The point is, we got wet in the storm. And that´s my apartment. It´s cute. So that´s all.
          And, well, this week on Thursday I´ll be completing a year, which is really weird. But thanks to all those who have congratulated and well, congrats to all of you to, for being supportive during all this time.  I love you all. I may not have changed that much, but in many ways I feel like I have changed. I feel closer to God, and I better understand His doctrine. I definately don´t regret coming out here, even though there have been a few times when I had doubts. So, thanks all of you, for all you do. 

I love you all so much,
         Hermana Hogge

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Good Week

This was taken a few weeks ago and I like it a lot. I've loved all my companions here,
Hermana Ferman, Me (I hope you haven't forgotten what I look like), Hermana Platero,
and Hermana Aguinada. It's special because I've trained them. My daughters :)
Only missing Hermana Dubon, but I'll send another picture with her in it.
 Buenas Tardes! Hello everyone, I´m happy to be able to receive emails from all of you and hear updates on the family. It´s always very important for me to hear.

        Well, this week has been an interesting one, as my companion has been getting to know the area and I´ve been doing my best to guide us around. Hermana Dubon and I get along well. I imagine it´s not easy being a mini missionary, but she does it well, and we´ve been able to accomplish it a lot. 

        This last week, well, I got a little sick and had to take a few days to just rest. I went to Tegus just to have a check up and make sure that nothing was wrong (and nothing is) but it was interesting on our way there we had the opportunity to talk to a gentlemen sitting in front of us on the bus. After we sat down he turned and asked ¨you´re Mormons aren´t you?¨ We said yes and were able to talk to him a little about the church. He had visited with the Elders before, but was still interested enough to talk to us. I had a pamplet of the Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith with me and  gave it to him - he fortunately has a quality that I don´t, which is the ability to read on the bus without getting sick. He read the entire pamphlet, occasionally turning around to make a comment or ask a question, like ¨Wow, so Joseph Smith was only fourteen years old!¨ or ¨This was in the year 1820!¨, and ¨Who is Moroni?¨ We did our best to answer his questions and encourage him to read the Book of Mormon that the missionaries had given him. He´s one of those peole whose progress we can´t follow very much but I wish that we could. 

          We have been able to see progress in other investigators. Rachel and Sodgi, the two girls coming to church with us, also invited their sister Katerine to come to church and she came with us as well. They have the desire to be baptized, so we´re trying to help prepare them before the end of this month. The Lopez family is doing well, still interested, but haven´t been able to come to church, and our meetings with them aren´t as frequent as I would like. Still, they now have the scriptures in their hands and want to read them. So, keep them in your prayers. 

           This week we also ran into an hermano that we had contacted before - something that I´m sure was divine design, because he really needs the light of the gospel in his life. He´s not sure if God even exists or loves him. I am grateful that I know He loves us, so much. He loves us even if we doubt he does. Sometimes we feel He might not be there because we haven´t seen an answer, or the answer we want. But answers always come, I know they do. 

             In the limited time we´ve had to work we´ve been able to see blessings - and in the time I was able to rest as well. I read a lot of the book Our Heritage, which is a brief history of the church and a great reminder of how small my problems really are. We truly do have a great heritage - in the church and within our own family. I love sharing the stories about our ancestors, and I´m grateful to the missionaries that knocked on their doors. 

 Here is my other daughter, Hermana Dubon in a cave in Amapala.

             Well, not much else is new. Ever hot and occasionally stormy, Nacaome is as busy as every but some people in Nacaome are listening to a still, small voice. I hope that we can all take time to listen to that voice. 

             ok I love you all and wish an AWESOME WEEK! Thank you again for always being so great and supportive!

Hermana Hogge

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Power Outage in Nacaome

Feliz Martes! Well, these past few days have definately been an adventure. I apologize that you did not receive an email yesterday. There we were sitting in the cyber and I noticed that the sky outside was getting darker. And darker. My wonderful Nacaome has one very distinct characteristic - when it rains, even just a little, the power goes out. So I was writing when BLACK went the computer. The lights came back on in a few  minutes, I rushed to write another shorter email when BLACK went the computer again. So, i tried not to cry into the keyboard as we packed our things - there wasn´t anything we could do. I knew everything would be ok, but i was more worried for all of you and my new companion, who barely has a few days as a mini missionary.  We recieved permision this morning to write - and when we went to write AGAIN the power went out. But, now it´s back. :) 

          My new companion is Hermana Dubon, and is very sweet. In appearance she reminds me of Ally a bit. She is from Tegucigalpa and will be with me for the rest of the transfer. After being in a trio in San Lorenzo for five days, I was ready to get back to Nacaome, even though it´s possibly even hotter here. But I missed my area and was worried about it. Hermana Dubon and I have already been finding and teaching some good people. Even though there are always the same rejections every day, there are also many blessings that make up for it. 

          We had a nice family home evening with a new family that moved in to the ward. I felt and continue to feel that they have a purpose here in Nacaome. This little branch is growning. We have about 70 or so people every Sunday, and we hope that it keeps growing strong. We have had a few young women investigators that have come to church with us for the past two sundays, Rachel and Sodgi (17 and 10) I hope they continue to progress a lot. This Sunday we also had a special visit from the counselor of President Bowler, President Espinal, that gave us a workshop-meeting in the third hour. It was a blessing and a help to us. Even in branches where there aren´t very many members, Heavenly Father´s work of salvation keeps moving forward. 

           Yesterday we had a fun experience with the zone - we went to an island called Amapala, which is about 10 minutes from the shore in boat. There are elders assigned there, and their house doubles as the chapel. We had fun playing futbol on the beach and relaxing a little. (pictures to come - sorry!) 

           Yesterday evening we left at 6 to work, as usual, and our first appointment was with Hermano Lopez. We were going to visit Sunday, but he wasn´t able to at last minute he had an emergency. But we learned from the experience that Heavenly Father always watches over us. I think I´ve mentioned the Familia Lopez before. When I met them they had two kids. Now they have three. The Hermana Lopez had her baby boy. We visited Hermano Lopez and one of his sons, the oldest, Kevin, 11 years old. We taught on their patio, responding to some questions Hermano Lopez had. We started by singing the hymn about eternal families - and there was one point in the lesson that it started raining really hard! We were under an aluminum roof, and had to stop talking, but the Hermano Lopez called his son over and showed him the hymn we began with - Kevin read it and smiled and nodded. The two of them at the end of the lesson agreed to be baptized. We don´t have an exact date yet but I know that we can set one once we are teaching the whole family. One can feel the Spirit very much when we teach them - we can really feel like we are in the right place at the right time. That was a really good lesson for us, especially after we weren´t able to write our families. 

             So that´s how this week has been. Again, I´m super sorry for yesterday. I hope you are all well and happy. I love you all so very much. I hope you remember that you never need to worry about me. Heavenly Father knows of all of our needs and wants what is best for us - he wants more than anything for us to learn and progress.  I hope we never tire of doing what is good and right  - Doctrine and Covenants 64:33-34. I love you all! Have a great week!

Hermana Hogge