Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sister Rebekah Hoggan is HOME!

Dear friends and family,
   It is official: our missionary daughter is home! She is safe and sound after 18 months of dedicated service, weighing the same as when she left, but is not the same person she was when she left. Her heart has expanded even more with love for others, she can more clearly articulate what she believes, why, and the difference it makes in her life, and she speaks Portuguese! Thank-you, one and all, for your love, prayers, and support of her while she has served. You have made a difference.
      To reiterate the prior invitation, she will be speaking in our sacrament meeting worship service this Sunday, 9/21/2014, at 9:30 a.m., sharing some of her wonderful experiences from her mission, and helping those in attendance get a glimpse into the joys and sorrows of being a missionary. She and we would LOVE to have have you join us that day to hear her speak. Address: the LDS Church located at 3110 Cropley Avenue, San Jose, CA 95132 (major cross-street is Cropley Ave. and Morrill Ave.) Please, come join us!

With much love,
Will and Sarah Hoggan

P.S. Attached is photo proof that she is home!
Actually, she beat us to the San Jose airport, having caught an earlier flight than we expected!

Mission Accomplished: Well done, Sister Hoggan!

Monday, September 8, 2014

I hope Google tanslates this correctly for you...Boa sorte e até logo!

Dear Family of Mine,
    Vou escrever essa carta em Português e ver se vocês conseguirem entender ele antes que eu chego em casa. Não sei que falo por minha família a última semana a missão.
   Nossa semana foi super difícil, as pessoas que estamos ensinando querem muito estar feliz e ter milagres, só que não estão dispostos fazer algo para ter estas mudanças. Me lembra de Moisés e a vara do serpente. As pessoas só tinham que olhar e seriam curados. As pessoas que estamos ensinando tem passados muito complicados e só tem que começar obedecer os mandamentos, orar, etc e suas vida mudariam, mas ele não querem mudar. Querem a mudança sem ação e isso não e como presta.
    Muito vezes achamos que a solução a nossa problema será apresentado se só oramos. Mas as milagres vem depois a prova de nossa fé. Primeiro agimos e depois Ele nos abençoa até. 
     Então, se você estiver buscando um milagre, obedeça os mandamentos...faz sua parte e depois Deus ajudará (Doutrina e Convênios 82:10). 
     Basicamente, essa Pais eé muito legal e todo mudo deve conhecer. Amo muito aqui...As pessoas, açaí, pão de queijo, muitas coisas. Amo o povo aqui. Não posso esperar a compartilhar eles com vocês. Estão prontos?

Te amo!
Sister Hoggan
 
(Dad's translation)
Boa sorte e ate logo! (Good luck and see you later!)
 
Dear Family of Mine,
    I am going to write this letter in Portuguese and see if you manage to understand it before I get home. I don't know what to say to my family in the last week of my mission.
    This week was super difficult, people we are teaching very much wanted to be happy and to have miracles, only they aren't willing to do anything to have these changes in their lives. I remember Moses lifting up the brazen serpent on the pole. The people (who had been bitten by poisonous snakes) only had to look at the brass serpent in order to be healed. The people we are teaching have gone through many challenges and only need to start obeying the commandments, praying, etc. and their lives would change, but they don't want to move, to do. Wanting changes in life without doing anything is simply not how it works.
    Often we think that the solution to our problem will be given to us if we only pray. But miracles come after the trial of our faith. First we act and then He blesses us.
    So if you are looking for a miracle, keep the commandments...do your part and God will help (D&C 82:10--"I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.")
    Basically, this is a great country and everybody should visit it. I love it here...the people, acai, cheese bread, many things. I love the people here. I can't wait to share them with you. Are you ready?
 
I love you!
Sister Hoggan
 
A note from Rebekah's parents:

Dear Friends and Family,
   Thank-you, one and all, for your letters, packages, emails, prayers, good thoughts, interest in, and support of our missionary daughter these past 18 months (almost). She will be returning to San Jose on September 16th--just about 8 days from now. Good heavens! She hasn't exactly figured out what her plans are when she gets home, but we know that the immediate plans are to reconnect with friends and family. And probably buy some new shoes. :)
   As is a tradition in our church, she will be speaking in our sacrament meeting worship service after she returns, sharing some of her wonderful experiences from her mission, and helping those in attendance get a glimpse into the joys and sorrows of being a missionary. She and we would LOVE to have have you join us that day to hear her speak. The service is from 9:30 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. on Sunday, September 21st, 2014 at the LDS Church located at 3110 Cropley Avenue, San Jose, CA 95132 (major cross-street is Cropley Ave. and Morrill Ave.) Please, come join us!

With love and gratitude,
Will and Sarah
If you have any questions, give Will at shout at 408-712-9457
 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Prestigio Pizza

If I get this right, this should be my 2nd to last email home. It might be the 3rd if I write the day I fly out, but don't expect too many more of these.

Dear Family of Mine, 
    This week I met somebody else who remembers you, Dad!...Èlder Costa. He´s pretty convinced you won't remember him, but I took a picture with him anyway and will show you when I get home. He lives in my current ward with his wife and his son Leanardo, who is our Ward Mission Leader. 
    Mom, congratulations on being released as Gospel Doctrine teacher. Even though you stayed there forever I think people still liked your lessons. Well, at least a year and a half ago they did (I knew because they told me so). I think whoever gets to teach the Gospel Principles class is really lucky. Bishop Anderson, if you´re reading this and we happen to need a Gospel Principles teacher in our ward for a few months when I get home....I wouldn't complain. The Irmã [sister] who teaches it here is great. She is good at explaining things simply and helping anyone who is new feel really welcome. 
    Finding people to teach this week was super rough. All of the things we planned fell through. The lessons we planned with members, with investigators, people who committed to watch the other sisters´ baptism, go to church, etc. We planned and people canceled. BUT, we also had some very tender moments. We found someone who was super excited to hear about the gospel; I'll tell you more about him when I come home. And yesterday the Lord put two more people in our caminho [path] who are in need of the gospel. I am excited to help them. They´ve definitely had it rough in their lives and could use some of the Atonement´s healing power. 
   Anyway, I´ve got to run. But, its okay because I'll see you soon. Strange.

I love you both tons, 
Sister Hoggan
   

Monday, August 25, 2014

Èlder Costa, Dad, do you remember Èlder Costa?

Dear Family,
     You have all got to stop being trunky. I still have people to baptize before I come home. I guess I can´t tell you not to be trunky, but...If we just keep working, we don't think about it and the end will be a surprise. 
     These last few weeks we have been fasting a lot for the work to go forward. Our ward is doing amazing. The chapel was so full Sunday. They filled all the benches and then filled in almost all the extra space with folding chairs When you have Sacrament meeting last, its motivation to finish your lesson on time or you won't find a seat in the chapel. What a great problem that is, not having enough seats in the chapel to hold everyone. 
    We didn't have very many investigators with us at church on Sunday, but some very special friends walked into the chapel. It has been awhile since they walked into the chapel, but Sunday they were there and it was a very tender moment to see them again. 
     We had Family Home Evening with one of these people this week. We made cookies with her and her family. Just a note of advice for other people reading this: If your family doesn't like family home evening, it needs to change. I think sometimes people find FHE a burden, but the point is to spend time with people you love. If you don't enjoy how its planned in your house, plan something else. Say a prayer and eat cookies. It counts. Eating cookies with someone you love could save your relationship. 
     Other adventures of the week...we were making contacts with people on the street. We passed a man and then decided to go back and talk to him. He was polite, but it did surprise me a bit when he said--I'll be honest with you both, I sell drugs--What? Yep, he just told us he sold drugs. He told us briefly how it was his way of helping people. We gave him a pass along card and left. Never had that happen to me before. There were a lot of other people nearby, pretty populous area, don't worry.
     I was also invited this week, along with my companion, to be the guest speaker at the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We haven't gone yet, but one of the youth leaders asked us to come talk about what it is like to be a missionary. I think it would be an awesome experience.
     I love you both, a lot. Keep on sharing the gospel...I'm super proud of you both.

Com amor,
Sister Hoggan

Monday, August 18, 2014

Just go to Church! (name that movie...the District!)

Your jobs are not to be sick when I come home. Ok? I sure hope you feel better soon!

Dear Mom and Dad, 
     It sounds like the 2 of you had a blast of a week. I REALLY liked the missionary experiences. Thanks! You should come out here and share the gospel...we wouldn´t mind. 
    So I´m at the LAN House in the elders´ area because everything we want today is super close together in their area and we have to travel either way to use the internet. All the people in my area are pretty rich so there are no internet cafés...so we grab the city bus to some place that does. One of the Elders in their house left his shoes outside the door last night and was warmly welcomed this morning by a scorpion sleeping in his shoe. He is at the hospital getting his foot taken care of. Fun, right?
    I can't believe time is flying by so fast. Last night, after most of our appointments falling through, we visited a young lady and her husband. They are both about my age and her mom is a member of our ward. We went over with her mom and little brother and taught about the Restoration. It was one of the best lessons of my life. He had really, really good questions. I could see his minding churning as we shared our message. I can't wait to go back and teach them again. When it was time to go we asked if he had any more questions about the message and he responded,"What do you believe is paradise?" Wow, whole nuther lesson, but an awesome question. 
    I love it here. It is the middle of winter and super hot. I´m going to die in Idaho. I love you both a TON!  Have a wonderful week and keep sharing the gospel like you do.

Sister Hoggan

Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

Okay, so I said last week that his name was Elder Baldwino, but I guess his name would have been Elder Pereira. Dad, did you serve with Elder Pereira? He came up to me on Sunday and asked if I knew William Hoggan, so I sure hope his name sounds familiar.
Dear Mom and Dad!
     Yesterday was Father´s Day here. Basically people made nice lunches for their dads and then everyone just relaxed for the rest of the day. They didn´t seem to be spending too much time with their families after lunch, but whatever. I hope you did something special. So I really am on the home stretch. I'm not going to lie, its a bit hard not to think about how close the end is. Its just so strange that I will be in another country here in a few weeks. We are still working really hard, don't worry. It is just one of those thoughts that is a bit hard to push out of your mind. I will most definitely sleep when I am old, but I also took a few minutes to sleep today (p-day) because we walked a lot this week. We had found a great group of investigators and were stoked to teach them, but they started flaking on us so we got to find new ones, which involved a bit of walking. One of the neighborhoods here has lots of apartments that we can enter and the people there are really receptive, but its a lot of outdoor stairs. We were blessed to find lots of new people, but did go up and down a fair number of stairs. 
     This week was really hard, teaching wise, because no one wanted to go to church. Going to church is pretty important, just saying. If you ever want to do something to make the missionaries happy...just go to church. We will love you forever. But, we endured to the end and having an awesome companion makes it all just fine. You can get through just about anything with someone super cool like SISTER MARCHANT by your side. Yup, we had transfers last week and my new companion is Sister Marchant. When I come home I will have passed 9 months (or half my mission) with Sister Marchant. She´s great!
     Somebody asked me to marry him this week. He didn't wait for my response though, so I don't know how sincere he was. He just walked by said `marry me´and kept walking. It was a bit strange actually.
     I'm happy, I'm alive, I love you tons.

Yours truly, 
Sister Hoggan

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sister Faria and Èlder Balduino

Dear Mom and Dad,
    So I actually met Elder Balduino first. I think that's how you spell his name. Its a bit funny to be approached at church in Brazil...Sister, do you know William Hoggan? What kind of a question is that, I thought to myself...of course I know William Hoggan. I responded that he´s my dad. I got really excited when he said he was your companion. Yep, I met my one of your companions. He then walked down the hall and told Sister Faria, who then came and found me and asked to take a picture with me. Mission reunion. 
     This week was geat, thought Sunday was rough. Sister Beck was transferred back to her first area so we said goodbye to her today. But Ill see her again soon so its okay. Working in a trio was  blast. Its great for working with the members....you send one sister off with a member and then the other two go tackle someone else. 
    Our friend Carlos was supposed to be baptized this week but was being super wishy-washy. He didn't come to church on Sunday...we announced his baptism anyway. We went by his house after church to see what was up and he said he´d decided today wasn't the day he was meant to be baptized. I was not happy with him. It turned out to be good that he wasn't baptized because he had some concerns to resolve first, but I had been so excited for him. We´ll see how it goes in the coming weeks. This week we had an awesome amount of people we were teaching, a few dropped us at the end of the week. One starting reading the Book of Mormon after some good pushes, and did not like it. Well, she liked it, just not that it was scripture. 
    The hardest part about teaching people is that you love them sooooo much and you want to do everything you can to help them, so it really hurts when they tell you they don't want more help. Breaks my heart.
     Between this transfer and next will lose most of the zone leaders, assistants, and sister training leaders....President is slowing calling in others to help. It will just be interesting to see who will fill the spots when we all start disappearing. Luckily, there are some pretty amazing missionaries here so I'm not worried. 
     I love you a ton. Please don't get too trunky. Dad, Elder Balduino says hi. And if mom someday decides she doesn't like mountain biking, I've decided, can you at least wait until I get back to sell my bike? 
   
Lots of hugs, 
Sister Hoggan

P.S.   My birthday package came this week and it was AWESOME!!!! Thank you!