Monday, December 30, 2013

The Virute Scarf

In my studies for the last 2 weeks or so I have been getting the impression that I need to fast more often. I planned to fast, but on the day of the fast something happened and I did not end up fasting. Because my Heavenly Father is wonderful, I have kept getting the impression that I need to fast. This week I finally did it....it was much needed and will certainly not be my last fast before the end of the transfer. I fasted to learn to have faith and wisdom to trust in the hand of the Lord and not mine own. I want to have more faith in the Lord. It seemed like on the day that I fasted that I was extra annoyed with my companion, the contact we received from one of the brothers in our ward told us he and his wife would not read the Book of Mormon because he asked their bispa (the female version of the word bishop) and she told him not to...small, but yet frustrating things kept happening, and our week ended with 2 others sister missionaries finding a sanctuary in our home. The Lord is testing Sister Hoggan.

    So 2 sisters that work in an area that is part of our zone, but not very close to us, got a threatening phone call on Sunday night. The members here think whoever it was was joking, but if they were, it was not funny. They called the sisters, addressed them as sisters, and told the sisters that they were outside their house, they had someone captive, and if the sisters didn't pay ransom they were going to kill whoever it was that was with them...freaky. They called president and passed the night at our house. The bad guy called again with more wonderful words for our dear sisters. We returned to their home today with 3 of the brethren from our ward and our zone leaders to collect all of their belongings. The 2 of them will be living in our house until further notice. Fun, eh? Honestly, I'm fine. They were pretty shaken up when they got to our house though. 

     It was a truly special experience to open our home to the 2 sisters who needed us. They were pretty nervous when they got to our house and there was an expected amount of crying. I grabbed from my closet a red scarf. My mother sent me a red scarf because there is a picture on one of the walls of the temple where I live and the woman in the picture talking to Christ had a red scarf. Mom talked about how she loved the red scarf of the virtuous woman. While on the mission, she sent me a red scarf, to help remind me that I am a virtuous woman. I call it the scarf of virtue. Whenever something happens in our companionship and someone needs to cry--liked yesterday with the 2 sisters that joined our home--I grab the virtue scarf, wrap it around her, and explain why it is the virtue scarf. Talking about covenants makes everyone feel better. There truly is power in remembering our covenants. There is also something special about having a warm red hug to wrap around you when you are sad.

As normal, this week was pretty hard. Who would have guessed it? But, it is okay because the Lord is in it and I now have 2 more friends to share our time with. Yay! Ben, Alena, thank you for your emails, you are both wonderful. Nic and Katie...Merry late Christmas! And a Happy New Year for all.

Sister Hoggan

Monday, December 23, 2013

The rains came down and the floods came up

Dear Wonderful Family of Mine, 
     So Christmas day probably between 2 and 4 in the afternoon is when I`ll be trying to find you all on Skype.
    This week we had Christmas conference which was marvelous! We got a stern training on mission rules from President. The rest of his training was a bit more upbeat. 
     My companion got sick this week too...it`s really hard to explain to people that when she catches the rain it makes her sick. She has asthma that attacks with the weather too, which makes it all super frustrating. I`ve been trying to explain that to those who help us. Its been hard. The President`s wife asked that my companion not pegar a chuva [get caught in the rain], everyone else just says to suck it up and work and if she gets sick she gets sick. I'm trying to balance training her, pushing her to work, and stopping when it is necessary. I feel fairly alone in doing this. This week I was a lot happier, but dang, it is really hard to have a companion that gets sick because of just about anything and nobody gets that. It rains here all the time which isn`t helping the situation.  
    Anyway, I`ve been trying to ask for help because I don't always understand how to work with her. Its hard. It really is. I`ve been learning to have a better attitude in my day to day work and accepting what the Lord has given me. I feel like my plate is heavy, but he trusts that I can do this or else I wouldn't be doing it. I love the Lord. I love to serve, I am grateful for the gospel. Its true. Congratulations on all of your wonderful missionary experiences. Until Christmas!

Sister Hoggan

Monday, December 16, 2013

One Short Day in the Emerald City

Hi Mom and Dad! 
   Today I am happy, which means a lot. Its not that I'm depressed, I'm just struggling, and its hard to be your happy-go-lucky self when you are struggling. I am close to the mission office this week, we are practicing with the mission choir for the mission Christmas concert. The Elder directing it is doing his job. Certinho. [Right on.] We are doing all sorts of singing exercises that for are are pretty silly, but apparently make us sound better (like singing with a whole walnut in your mouth, its pretty hard....I'm telling you). 
    I caught a virus of some kind this week and had 3 days or so of diarrhea, as well as a stomach ache, headache, and a rash of some sort on my shoulders, and a sore in my mouth. We went to the hospital and they made it all better. I was actually mostly recovered by the time I went to the hospital, but they helped make it better anyway. I tried to go to non emergency care, but that only works if you make an appointment days in advance. I got completely better and then caught a cold. Yep, I am singing with a cold. I was helping the soprano section yesterday sing the highest part because it is a bit hard for Brazilians to enunciate English words...(we are singing in English), but I decided not to help them anymore because of my cold. Everyone is being really nice to me though which always helps.
   My companion feels pain of all kinds. I'm not sure if it is all pain pain or the unfamiliarity of being really tired pain. Its a bit of a surprise though when you are walking down the street and your companion complains about chest pains. We are talking with people though and that is helping. We don't know if she is going to go home yet. She doesn't like to talk to anyone other than me that she is feeling pain (not helpful), but in the end it is all going to work out as the Lord has planned. 
   I have 40 minutes of Christmas to talk to you all, yeah! It has to be just family, I think everyone knows that. We can go Skype or we can go cell phone...I think Skype is significantly cheaper and I would love to see you all.    We are going to Skype in na casa de Irma Angela on Christmas, after lunch. My time it should be between about 2 and 4 o`clock in the afternoon. I have no idea what that means for you guys. I hope it works. We don't have permission to call and coordinate with you, so let me know in the next email. And possibly mas or menos [more or less] the time difference.
    Thank you Suzy Lee for your email, you really are wonderful. Thanks for the quote from Brother Daly too, it really made my day. My leaders here are helping me a lot, which is making a difference.

I love you both! Time is short and I'm trying to type as fast as I can. 

Merry Christmas to my family. I really do love you and and appreciate your prayers. 

Love, 
Sister Hoggan

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas Choir

Dear Mom and Dad,
    This week was...hard! Yep, it was hard. We spent 3 days close to the mission office visiting doctors for my companion. They all say she has the same thing. She`ll be fine in the end. She is taking a lot of different medicines, but seems to be slowly getting better. 
     We were asked to help sing in the mission Christmas Choir too, which I am really excited about. We are singing half the songs in English and half the songs in Portuguese. We are going caroling next week with the mission choir too, I think at the mall and maybe a few other places. For Christmas I have 40 minutes via Skype or telephone to talk to you both and whomever else in our family is present when I call through. We will have to coordinate this later. 
     I am still going through the refiner`s fire with my companion...it is not a fun process whatsoever. I will tell you more about our experiences together later. I think this letter is probably going to be a short one. I'm trying really hard to be happy. It is slow in coming. Being happy right now is a lot of work for me, but, when  I get through this all, it will be okay. I am learning to hope for better things. I love you both. Thanks for sharing your missionary experiences with me, I love hearing about them. Thanks to Letta Meyer too for her email, it helped me a lot.

Lots of love, 
Sister Hoggan

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Day?

Dear Mom and Dad,
    Thank you both for your words of your encouragements...Alena too and Letta Meyer. I got your package,  I think last week or early this week. I don't remember exactly, but it came. And today I got a beautiful package from Julia Monda, who understands me very well (it was See`s chocolate...). I didn't do anything special for Thanksgiving. I didn't even remember that it was except that the elders called to tell us. I taught my companion the word Thanksgiving, but that`s about it. I also thanked Heavenly Father for many of the blessings he has given me.
    This week we went back to the hospital, but only for an hour or so because my companion was having really sharp chest pain. The doctor told us it was part of the recuperation process and gave her pain meds. She spent the rest of the evening in bed. We are in Ribeirao Preto this week. Today was transfer meeting (neither my companion or I were transferred). We talked to two different doctors today; we will talk to another on Wednesday before we go home. My companion has Fibromyalgia and Asthma, which attacks when the weather changes. We are all praying a lot for her.
    She learned this week that if she doesn't get better, she may have to go home. Honestly, the her being sick part isn`t too hard. Its the emotional reaction she has to it all. She found out only 5 months ago that she has Fibromyalgia so she is still learning about it. Its what happens after the phone call about maybe she needs to go home. Its that moment when she learns that her dream may be coming to an end and she starts to cry. That part is hard and there isn't a whole lot I can do as her trainer or her friend to comfort her. I don't know what is going to happen, but whatever does, I know that the Lord is in it.
     I know that the Lord loves me and that this is his work. He cares about each of us. I know that there is much I am learning now, and much more that I have yet to learn. Thank you for all of your prayers.

Sister Hoggan
P.S. Mom, the red shawl you sent me is doing lots of good. We call it, in Portuguese or course, `the shawl of virtue` and I wrap it around my companion (and it is wrapped around me sometimes too) when it seems like everything is against her and she is crying.  It is like a comfort blanket, but rather our shawl of virtue or sisterhood.

Monday, November 25, 2013

House Hunting

Dear Mom and Dad,
     Dad, you are wonderful, thank you for the rock climbing analogy. And the prayers, you are all so wonderful.
     I spent a day and a half of this week looking for a new house, President would like to put a second companionship here. We haven't found anything promising yet. The only options so far are about an hour, walking, from the chapel.
    I don't have a lot of time, I spent most of what I had writing to President. I took my companion to the hospital on Saturday, she has a form of asthma that spikes when the climate changes, and it changes a lot here. We arrived Saturday morning about 10 am and we left today, Monday at about the same time. She is feeling a lot better, but we are going to be really careful with her. Yeah, that about sums up my week...we went house hunting and we spend um bom tempo no Hospital. Foi muito dificil. We are passing p-day in our own house, but we are going to spend most of the rest of the week with the sisters in the area next to us. They too have a sister who has health challenges at the moment. The two sick sisters will stay together and I will teach with her companion. We'll see how it goes.
     Its hard, but I love you.
Sister Hoggan

Monday, November 18, 2013

Working hard, even with challenges

Dear Mom and Dad,

    So another week goes by. Times flies really fast here. I'm going to take your advice, Dad, and read in Doctrine and Covenants 123:17. Thanks. Thank-you to all those who are helping my companion financially too, she is really grateful for it.

    This week was hard again. My companion has fibromyalgia, so her body always hurt. It hurts because it hurts, it hurts because she is working really hard, and when she has strong emotions (which she often does, because missions are hard) it hurts even more. I am trying really hard to serve her everyday...you love people more when you serve them, right? She woke up 2 or 3 times this week with a sore throat and was unable to get out of bed.

     Today she was sick again. I woke up, studied, and cleaned most of our house by myself. She woke up, I finished cleaning, and we left to write our families.

     I feel like I do a lot of things by myself. I try to do a lot in our house, because I know my companion is having a hard time. Its hard to do it by yourself, but what can you do when your companion is already maxed out? You just keep doing it by yourself. I feel pretty lonely a lot of the time. She wants to know why I'm not super happy-go-lucky like her. Normally, I am, but when I have someone to share things with, and I don't feel like I can share personal  things with her. I look forward to email time each week because I get to write about how I feel to someone who listens.

     She trying to be a great missionary, she really is. But sometimes, you just need a little bit more help than you are getting.

     We had a baptism again this week. It was the mother of the girl we baptized previously. She was so happy to get baptized. When her daughter was baptized and described the feelings she felt after she was baptized, her mom didn't understand. How do you explain how you feel after baptism? When she came out of the font, I asked, so do you believe your daughter now? She said yes and tried to describe how she felt. It was a truly wonderful moment.

     Thank you for all your prayers, I honestly don't know where I would be without them. I haven't received any packages yet, but I am going to pass by the mission office this week, maybe there will be something there.

I love you both and my siblings too (sorry I don't write the 4 of you very much).

Always,
Sister Hoggan

Monday, November 11, 2013

God, give me patience...NOW!

Dear Mom and Dad,
    This week was a bit better. We are going to have a baptism on Saturday...yay! The woman who will be baptized is the mother of our recent convert (who was baptized 2 weeks ago).
    So as President suggested, I have been trying to talk to my companion more. When we don't talk to our companions we explode. I've been working on talking to Sister Leite. We are learning to get along. Its all a process and, honestly, it is really tiring. Her natural reaction to negative situations is anger, which is really hard for me. She is frustrated a good portion of the time. She isn't frustrated or angry with me, just with how things play out. Its really hard for me to have to be next to someone who is so different from me. She comes from a part of Brasil that is very different from here and its a big adjustment for her. I keep trying to think about how it was for me when I first arrived on the mission so that I can better support her.
    I feel like God keeps giving me high-maintenance companions, and I don't understand why. Sometimes I feel like maybe its me. Maybe I am the one with problems and everyone else is normal. I think at some point or another all of my companions had thanked me for being the calm, collected one, who can help them learn patience. Its kind of hard to always be the patient one, but someone has to be.
      Other than that...we had Mission Tour this week. Our Area Seventy is visiting our mission and the others surrounding them. Elder Mazzagardi I think is his name. We got a wonderful training about the importance of Preach my Gospel, always making Baptismal invites, and making lots of contacts. He is wonderful. He told us to read 2 Nephi 31 everyday and then, after, to invite your companion to be baptized, just as you would an investigator. And, that if we did that every day we would become much more powerful missionaries.

     To answer a few of Mom's questions before we run out of time. I live a a house with 2 medium small bedrooms. We sleep in one and keep the majority part of our belongings in the same one. In the other room there are a few spare mattresses for when other sisters pass by our house, an ironing board, etc. We also have a kitchen with a stove, fridge, etc. and a small living room where we study. Imagine the 2 room townhouses, but a bit smaller and without carpet. I actually really like our house. We have a washing machine and hang everything on clothes lines. There are only 2 of us that live in our house, my companion and I...

I'll try to answer some more of moms questions in a letter after, I'm running out of time, sorry. Thank you for always praying for me, and for Sister Leite. We both need it. I love you both. Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful adventures with me.

Lots of love,
Sister Hoggan

Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Dear Mom and Dad,
    Training is wonderful, but you`re right, it is a big responsibility. My emails have been short, I don't remember if all of them are short, some are because of time, I think another because I wasn't feeling so great, but mostly I think because of time. Sister Leite is wonderful so far and is so much easier to work with than my last companion. She has more experience in the mission field because she served a few mini missions. I feel that I am able to teach more powerfully with her.
           I love missionary work, truly, it`s wonderful. People (like my last companion) are just so dang complicated. Arrgghh. I think that about sums it up. Oh, and my other problem is that the culture here is that people expect your life to be an open book. That is not how it works in the U.S., when you want a private conversation with an adult, you ask for one, and no one has a problem with that. But here, people are so open, its kind of odd. It has its ups and downs.

    That about it for right now.
    Sister Leite is so much easier to work with. She is truly a wonderful missionary. She comes from a really poor family though. The stories you read in the Ensign magazine about people selling everything they own to make a week long bus trip to the temple for the first and maybe only time in her life. Yep, that's my companion. She`s short a few supplies for the mission and didn't know what kinds of skirts work for missionaries because she took out her endowment in the MTC. Ive been sharing a lot of what I have with her, we`ve traded a few clothes as well.

She works really well and that's the important part.
Could you do me a few quick favors? Could you send me a recipe for brownies?
Love you tons,
Sister Rebekah Hoggan
   

Monday, October 28, 2013

Training: Sister Leite (Sister "Milk")

Dear Mom and Dad,
    So I`m training...my new companion is Sister Leite (or in English, Sister Milk). She`s from Para, which is way up in the north of Brasil; Missao Brasil Belem).  So far, she`s great. She served a mini mission or two before she got here....7 months worth of mini mission, which means she knows a few things already. We`ve found new investigators together and have been teaching the first lesson alot. She turns 22 in November so she`s a bit older than me, but that okay. Something that I`ve noticed about my companions so far is that they all like pink and makeup...just something I noticed.
    I had my first transfer meeting too. I didn`t go last time I was transferred because my area was so far from the mission office...But it was great. Those of us who trained stayed close to the mission office for 2 days. The new missionaries arrived on Tuesday, I think the American Missionaries arrived on Wednesday. Anyway, I'm short on time...I'm trying to help my new companion with photos. Talk to you all next week. Love you!

Sister Hoggan

Monday, October 21, 2013

Transfers!

Dear Mom and Dad,
     So....transfers! And...I'm not going anywhere. But, that doesn't mean that people aren't coming to me! I'm going to be a trainer. I don't know who I will train yet, we find out tomorrow. Arriving tomorrow are 12 elders, 6 Brasilian sisters, and 4 American sisters. I don't know if any of the elders are from my district in the MTC, but I know that the sisters are not. We have 2 sisters still on visa wait in the New York, New York South Mission. My companion was transferred to a new area and she is going to train too. There are 3 duplas of sisters in our zone and starting tomorrow, they will all be training. Ahhh! It´s going to be awesome.
     Congratulations to Aunt Kris and Uncle Pat, give them big hugs for me, ok? I like the name Georgia, I think its pretty adorable. And to Ben and Monica... I was telling people during transfer meeting at the bus station that I was going to find out if it was a boy or a girl today. The office elders told me to pass the news along when I know, they want to know too. I am going to be an auntie again!!
     This week was a bit stressful. My companion was really anxious for transfers. She`s been in the area for 4 months and had a feeling that she was going to leave, but really didn't want to because it is her first and only area so far. Its always hard to say goodbye.
      The work is great. I'm really excited to train. And, I'm really excited to hear about all of your great missionary experiences. My family is seriously the best. Keep up the great work, I am so proud of you all.
With much love,
Sister Hoggan

Monday, October 14, 2013

Seriously, she finds out tomorrow?

Dear Mom and Dad,
     Sorry, this email is going to be a bit short....the keyboard I`m using doesn`t like me very much.
     I can`t believe that Monica finds out tomorrow if Audrey is going to have a brother or a sister, the injustice. Actually it`s ok, I´ll look forward to hearing about it next week. Just don`t forget to tell me ok?
     This week is the last of this transfer, I have no idea what will happen. Mostly likely I will stay in this area, but you never really know. The Lord does though.
     We had 4 investigators come to church with us yesterday, it was great! We had a mother and her daughter and 2 brothers. They all seemed to like it a lot. I also heard a great analogy explaining the fullness of the gospel this week. If you know something about Brasilians it will make more sense to you....Following Jesus Christ is like eating rice and beans. If you eat rice and beans you feel satisfied, but if you eat them every day you lack essential nutrients. The Church is not only rice and beans, it`s all of the other nutrients too. When you eat just rice and beans you feel somewhat satisfied, but to feel truly satisfied, you need more. The are many places where we can eat rice and beans, but all of the spiritual nutrients--along with the rice and beans--are only found in the Church of Jesus of Christ of Latter-day Saints. The church of Jesus Christ is on the earth!
     I hope you all have a great week. Ben, Alena, and Nic too, don`t go crazy with all the things you have to do, ok? I love you guys. And Monica and Katie too! Have a great week.
Mom, good luck with the cast. Take a few pictures for me?
Love you,
Sister Hoggan

Monday, October 7, 2013

General Conference Passes so fast when you're in the Mission Field

Dear Mom and Dad,
     This week again had its hard moments, but they were outweighed by the  joyful ones. Conference was amazing, was it not? I watched the 4 main sessions in English. I did not get a chance to watch the Relief Society broadcast yet, but that ok. There were 4 Americans in my zone, 2 elders and 2 sisters, watching together on a computer in what I think was the library or the clerks office? I'm not really sure. I loved how much they talked about missionary work....he he he. We all did. When they talked about the missionaries being equally yoked in the hastening of the work as the members I thought about the experiences you have been sharing about sharing the gospel with those who live near us. You rock! Keep up the good work. I also liked how much they talked about families. The Lord truly does have a plan for our families and his purpose is for us to live together eternally. 
     It was mostly just the missionaries at the stake center because most of the members were watching on the internet at home. As long as people are listening to the prophet, that`s all that matters. We had a young girl who`s about to turn 15 come to conference with us. She`s investigating the church. She stayed for both sessions...we were about 20 minutes by bus from home so we all stayed at the stake center from 1-7 o`clock. That`s a lot of hours for someone to stay at church, but she loved it and even took some notes. I wasn`t able to watch with her because I was in the other room watching in English, but my companion said she loved it. 
     We had zone conference this week with Presidente Brum. He gave a great training on how faith leads to miracles. For the work to move forward as intended we all need to have faith. And how do we show our faith? By acting. The Lord knows we truly want his help when we work hard for it. It`s like Sister Carole M Stephens quoted in the Saturday morning session....you receive no witness until after the trial of faith. 
     Thanks for your uplifting words and experiences to help me through my trial of faith, and for sharing with me trials of faith that you have passed through. I know the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the Earth. And we can all know it, if we read the Book of Mormon and then ask God if it is true. Other people can tell us it is true, but we will only know of a surety if we ask our Heavenly Father...he has all the answers.
      Keep sharing the gospel like you already area. And congrats to our neighbors on their exercise feats. Pretty soon they`ll be playing water polo. It`s entirely possible, just saying. 

I love you both, 
Say hello to everyone for me...

Sister Hoggan

P.S. I caught the part about Agnes Hoggan and told all the other Americans about it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

People, LISTEN to us!

September 30, 2013
 
Dear Mom and Dad, 
    This week was great, a bit challenging, but great. We got a letter from President this past week, talking about how we can improve the work here in our mission. We`ve been struggling a bit as a mission to help people receive the gospel. We are also short about 30 American missionaries because they do not yet have documents (visas). We`ve had a few mini-missionaries, called and set apart to serve as part of our mission for a transfer or 2 before they serve their own calls. We had one here in our zone, he`s awesome. 
 
    We`ve found a few people to teach, but they don't understand what we say...not that they don't want to, but they really don't understand what I say. Its super confusing, and super frustrating. I believe that I'm doing my part, I really do, but it really seems like people don't want to receive the wonderful message we bring. Arrgghh.

    Mostly, I'm just a bit frustrated at the moment. I'm fine, I really am. My companion is wonderful and we had great divisions this week working with our Sister Training Leaders.

    I know that the gospel is true and I know that the Lord loves me and has a plan for me. I know that I have a purpose here in this city. 

    Thank you for sharing your adventures from home with me...mom, seriously? How do you manage at work with cast? Get better soon, ok? Your missionaries experiences are awesome.

Love you tons, 
Sister Hoggan

Monday, September 23, 2013

Its Almost General Conference!

September 23, 2013

Dear Mom and Dad,
     Your letters were wonderful (and Alena`s too!), thanks a bunch. It sounds like things are going really well at home. I love hearing about the adventures you have...give the Alum Rock Ward a hug for me. That`s really sad that that happened to their building. [The LDS chapel at White & Patt is undergoing seismic retrofitting of the entire roof. Part of the roof was left uncovered during Saturday's downpour, which has done terrific damage to the chapel. The two wards that meet there are temporarily relocated to another building, likely for months.] And poor piano! Speaking of pianos, guess who plays the piano during Sacrament meeting? I do, and its actually a piano this time, not an organ, which is wonderful.
    One of the best parts of the week was yesterday (I love Sundays, church is seriously amazing). The bishop called my companion and I out of Relief Society and said....that he had forgotten to assign people to give talks in church. He felt sooooo bad. He asked if I would be willing to speaking for 5 minutes on whatever I wanted. Would I be willing, YES! I was so excited to speak, even without much notice. There is no sarcasm here whatsoever. I was stoked. I read from Matthew 24 about the signs of the last days and how that gospel will be preached one last time before the coming of the Lord and then about Moroni and the title of Liberty. I knew I wanted to share the 2 scriptures but was not quite sure how they tied together. I was the first to talk....I read both scriptures and talked about war. That we are in these last days and it seems like only bad things happen in the world, but we can't dessistir [quit]. I explained to the ward that we are in a spiritual war against Satan, we are fighting for the souls of men. We need to raise a spiritual standard of Liberty and fight for the souls of our brothers and sisters and the way we do that is through....Missionary Work! Our ward mission leader spoke after me (same idea, 10 minutes on whatever you want) and he talked about missionary work within the church, which is home and visiting teaching, and helping our less active brothers and sisters. How incredible it was to me, that, without planning, our talks focused on such similar topics. It was truly inspired. 
    Dad, I'm glad you are catching up on everything...this is good. Say hello to Henderson for me; I hope the cookies turn out great. Keep up the great work, I love you both.

Com amor, 
Sister Hoggan

Oh, P.S. for Mom. Technology-wise they have us using a cell phone, that about it.

[Note from Sister Hoggan's dad: General Conference is a semi-annual gathering (either virtual or in person) of members and friends of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where we are taught by living prophets and apostles, and other leaders of the Church. Music is provided by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and other special choirs. It is inspiring, instructive, encouraging, and a spiritual feast. You are invited to watch and listen to Conference too! Streaming video is available live online at LDS.org, and is available after-the-fact as well. Conference will be Saturday and Sunday, October 5 and 6. Prepare to be inspired!]

When you wish you knew sign language...

September 16, 2013

Dear Mom and Dad,
Thanks for sharing your gospel sharing moments with me. I love hearing about them...Mom, I did look at your profile. I like it a lot. Basically, you love the beach and you love the Lord; its a great combination.
I'm liking it a lot here in Franca Seminario. Its definitely different than Penapolis, its a lot bigger. We were walking in the street this week and passed a few men taking a break from constructing a home. I didn't think much of it, but I felt like we should go back and talk to them, so we did. One actually worked there and there other was homeless and just talking to them. The second asked us--who is Joseph Smith? What a great question. We crossed the street where there was a bench.  We sat down and talked to him for a few minutes.  He had been drinking, so we kept it short. We didn't answer his question, but rather taught him that he is a child of God and got him to pray. I then took the water bottle from my backpack and traded him for his three bottles of alcohol. He was reluctant at first, but we traded. After praying with him, we walked down the street and emptied them into the garbage. We invited him to meet us the next day...same bat time, same bat channel. We had a meeting with the elders the next day, so they joined us in teaching him the 10 commandments.
We have been contacting as many people as we can this week to find people to teach. We have found a few and continue to work because I know that if I do my part, the Lord will bless me. I love it here. The work is hard, but sweet. It really is the work of souls.
Its really exciting to hear about the young women of our stake leaving on missions. You rock! Where has Keely Lu been called to serve?
Have a great week, family of mine. I know Tutu's birthday has already past, but darling Tutu of mine, I know you tend to celebrate birthday months rather than days or even weeks, so....
PARABEMS para voce, nesta data querido, muitos felicidades, muitos anos de vida! (its the Brasilian birthday song).
Love you lots!
Sister Hoggan

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Chicken Hearts and Captain Barbosa

You can ask about the title later....

Dear Mom and Dad, 
      Guess what, I got transferred! Yep, I am now on the other side of the mission. It was about 7 hours by bus to arrive in my new area. I had some really tender moments saying goodbye to people in Penapolis. There are so many people there that are special to me and it is hard to imagine the world without them, but I know that the Lord needs me in a different place. My new area is in Franca, Seminario. My new companion is Sister Costa; she`s been on the mission for 3 months, she too is Brasilian and doesn't speak any English. But, she`s adorable, has a great testimony, is excited to work, and so far is really nice. I think I`m going to like it here. My new area is about a third of the size of my last area which means significantly less walking.
     I`m doing great here, I really am. I cried when I left Penapolis, and when I left my companion, Sister Castro. When I was in New York, the English district leader shared a thought with us about the difference between a brotherhood and brothers in the hood. Interesting thought. When we pass through moments that are difficult, blood, sweat, and tears with someone, we form a brotherhood. When we hang out with people and don't have those trying, defining moments, we are merely brothers in the hood. The kind out relationships we want to form on the mission with our companions are brotherhoods, or in my case, sisterhoods. I formed a very tender sisterhood with Sister Castro. It was by no means easy, but I experienced some incredible tender mercies from the Lord with her that I will never forget. The Lord knows what he is doing when he calls us to serve together. 
      I'm stoked to work with Sister Costa aqui. The whole mission is waiting anxiously for those still waiting for visas. My companion from the MTC has yet to arrive in Brasil, she now has 3 transfers in New York. There are about 12 sisters that we are fasting for, we expect their visas any day. 
     I love hearing about everyone`s adventures, they sound amazing. Ben and Dad in their triathlon, Monica and Audrey and their cheering, the camping excursions....I especially love the part about Grandpa Bob. What a special moment Dad. The kayaking adventures sound magical too, it`s good to try out new spots. Next time you should bring a tarp with you and do like Dad did with Brother DeCaires on the cross-country ski trip: hold it between you and let the wind really carry you.
     Thanks for ordering those few things Dad. I know its kind of expensive, but I really appreciate it. Have a great week ok? I'm great, I love you both!

Yours truly, 
Sister Hoggan

Monday, September 2, 2013

Doggyzinho

Hello Wonderful Parents of Mine!

This weeks is transfers. I have no idea what is going to happen. My companion has been here for 3 transfers and I have been here for 2 and I just finished the 12 week missionary training program. I´ll let you know what happens next week. 

We had a couple days this week where it was really hard to find people to teach. My companion and I were both pretty tired and it´s starting to get pretty hot...we weren't having much success, so we stopped and said a prayer asking Heavenly Father to give us a hand. We try to be obedient in all things and are working hard. We continued walking and passed the house of a young woman, my companion waved and said hello. I asked ``Sister Castro, do you know her?``She said no, but the young woman came to the gate and let us in and we starting teaching her. It was one of the fastest answers to a prayer I have ever received. We asked God for helped and minutes later we were sitting in this woman`s house talking about Christ. 

We went on splits this week with 2 young women that live in the Elders´ area, Barbara and Amanda. One just received her mission call and the other is working on her mission papers. We met up with them after district meeting and caught the bus to our area. I taught with Barbara and my companion taught with the Amanda. It feels odd to be without your companion...but the two of us did just fine together. We returned to the bus station after the lesson and contacted ALOT of people. It was great. Oh, I forgot, before we went on splits, we demonstrated to these 2 young ladies how to contact people and had them practice. We were giving them a few pointers, when...a mother and daughter walked right past us and we were able to demonstrate what we were talking about. It was perfect timing. It could not have been better planned.

It was about time for Barbara and Amanda to return home, we were waiting and the bus station for my companion and Amanda. 5 minutes before the bus was supposed to live they hadn´t shown up yet. I went ahead and had Barbara buys 2 tickets for the bus.  At 6:30, when the bus should have left, my companion still hadn´t shown up. Barbara was kind of worried, but I was fine. We are doing the work of the Lord and he helps us, even to catch the bus. My companion called saying they had missed the bus that arrives in the bus station. They finally got a hold of a member that gave them a ride. We stalled the bus for as long as we could, and right when it seemed that all was lost and the bus was going to leave, my companion and Amanda showed up and we sent both young women home in safety. It was quite the adventure. My companion had a good laugh about it later. We both had trusted in the Lord, and he really did help us. The bus driver wasn't going to wait, but somehow I convinced him to. It was great.

I love hearing about your exercise adventures. It sounds like all is going great at home. Keep us the great working you two, sharing your testimonies, and helping every hear about the gospel.

Pai Celestial ama voces. Eu tenho um testemunho do evangelho, especificamente sobre o profets Joseph Smith, o sacerdocio, e que o Livro de Mormon e verdadeiro. Familias poderao ser eternas. Somos filhos de um amoroso Pai Celestial.

Amo voces! 
Sister Hoggan

P.S. I found prunes here, I really like prunes. Who would have thought that....I made my companion try them, she wasn't so keen about it and doesn't really like them. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine unto understanding.

Dear Mom and Dad...and the rest of the Hoggan clan!

We had a great surprise this week...multi zone training with the mission president! We missed the memo that it was happening and found out this week. It was in Rio Preto which is 3 hours away. We spent the night in Birigui (which is an hour away) and then rode with all the elders in our zone the last 2 hours the next and arrived in time for an awesome training. President talk about the importance of revelation through prayer, through the Book of Mormon, and through the Holy Ghost. He introduced each principle, our zone leaders gave a demonstration, and then we practiced teaching about each of these 3 things. It was great, really helpful.
I´ve been working on learning to trust in the Lord. It is one thing to trust in the Lord in your day-to-day life, but it is another when you are teaching someone else about the gospel and extending commitments...all in Portuguese. The Portuguese is coming along pretty well, you would be pretty surprised at how much I can say, I know I sure am. Its different though, to say things in Portuguese than it is to teach and share your testimony. I'm working on merging the 2 and trusting that God will help me with all of it, and, although I may not be the best teacher in the world, the Holy Ghost is, and he is the one that truly does the testifying.
Thanks Monica and Alena for the awesome photos! I'm glad you all had a great time together at the beach house, I especially loved the picture of Gemma and Audrey.  
 
Quick question: after my mission, will I be able to access this email account so that I can grab photos and notes that are important to me?

Also, if you try to send me anything in the mail, could you possibly include a memory card or two? I'm having difficulties finding them here because we don't have a lot time and don't live near a place that sells them.  I found one, but its causing me a bit of grief. 2G and larger if possible. If not, its okay.
Thank you for your prayers, they really do make a difference. I love hearing about your adventures at home. Great job sharing the gospel. Keep up the good work. Congrats to McKenzie too, we are the same age.
Love you bunches!
Sister Hoggan
Sister missionaries at the zone training

Doce (sweet roll)

Sister Hoggan with maracuja (passion fruit)


Monday, August 19, 2013

A Quick Note

August 19, 2013
Dear Mom and Dad,
I'm not really sure how long this letter will be because we have a questionnaire to fill out about Preach my Gospel, to help better the work here. Just out of curiosity, did you and dad send emails last week? I didn't see any, but I got awesome emails from my siblings! My companion´s mother had trouble with her email so she didn't hear from her mom either.
Your adventures at the beach house sound wonderful. I look forward to those pictures! Congrats on all the cookie making too. I'm glad you all liked the photos and that Audrey was excited about them. I'm pretty sure Monica´s pregnant...any details about when Audrey´s little sister is going to arrive?
The work is great here, but really hard. I have a cold and have lost my voice somewhat which is super frustrating. my companion is taking care of me.
We had 2 baptisms this week, a mother and her 12 year old son. They were so excited it was awesome. After they were both baptized, the mom bore her testimony to everyone who was present. I felt really blessed to be there.
I love, have a great week! Sorry I don't have time to write more.
Yours truly,
Sister Hoggan

Happy Father´s Day!

August 12, 2013 
I know I already wished you a happy Father´s Day, Dad, but it just so happens that in Brasil, Father´s Day is in a different month, so I get to celebrate you being the best father ever, twice!

Dear Mom and Dad,
      I sent you some presents, they should have arrived this week....one of the them is named Ben, another Monica, Nic, Katie, Alena, Audrey,....and another one, I'm not really sure what her name is yet. I hope you are having a great family reunion.
      Maybe I should be slightly jealous that you are all there together and I am not, but I am here and I love you all. I think I can safely say congratulations to Ben and Monica? At first I thought the surprise in the photo was that the tortoise peed, just kidding. When did you find out that Mo is pregnant..?When does my niece arrive? Details, if there are any please.
       I got Nic and Katie´s letters this week, thank you a Brazilian. It sounds like you are having a life full of adventures together.
       This week passed by so fast, it was nuts. Last week, a missionary serving from the branch here returned from his mission. He wrote saying that he wanted to baptize his little sister when he got home. We started teaching her this week. We taught with him to help his little sister receive the gospel. She is 8 years old and is eager to learn. Her baptism was supposed to be Saturday, but the Primary (children's organization) was hosting a Father´s Day ward activity\presentation on Friday and since the whole branch would be at the chapel already, we decided it would be best to hold her baptism on Friday. So, after the ward activity, we all gathered together and watched our adorable little investigator enter the waters of baptism. What a truly precious moment it is when we are able to partake of the blessings of the gospel with our families.
        There was massive amounts of food at the Father´s Day activity. They ran out of plates for people to use, so we waited for people to finish eating so we could wash their plates and eat (they were glass plates, not paper, don't worry). My companion decided to be creative and used the lid to one of the pots as a plate. It was the lid to one of those enormous pots that they have at the church that is used to cook food for like 40 people...yeah, she used it as a plate. It was hilarious, but hey, it worked.
       We had divisions this week with our sister training leaders. The drive from their area (in the same city in the mission office, Ribeirao Preto) to our area is about 5 hours and there are 2 buses a day that make the trip, one at 10:30 am and the other at 11 at night. We´re not allowed to travel at night...so they arrive at 4 in afternoon, and leave early the next morning. It´s really great to work with them though.

Monday, August 5, 2013

And then there was one...

Dear Mom and Dad,
     I hope you are both having a great week. All is well here in Brasil!
     Well, when I say all is well, I mean with me and my companion, but we had some interesting experiences this week. We didn't have district meeting because of transfers, which means we didn't receive new planners. Anybody who has served a mission...please imagine missionary work without a planner. It is a nightmare. We were writing everything on a piece of paper, but then you need another sheet for references, goals,....it was crazy, especially when we counted our numbers at the end of the week. But, the week was an AMAZING week of work.
     We also weren't able to get more copies of the Book of Mormon because we didn't have our meeting. We started the week with, I think 3, and have been trying to use them oh so wisely. We always do, but you are especially careful when you don't have a way to get more. Luckily Heavenly Father knew this was going to happen. Normally we teach about the Restoration and share the Book of Mormon at the end, but because Heavenly Father knew this was going to happen, he had us share the Book of Mormon with lots of people, teach about it, but not teach the Restoration. And then, when it happened that we didn't have more copies of the book, we went around teaching all the people who had one about the Restoration. We were able to teach lots of lessons, and people already had copies of the Book of Mormon.
      Congratulations to my home stake on setting incredible goals to share the gospel. I am really proud of you. The missionaries that are serving in your area will honestly remember this experience for ever. They will write about it in their journals and share it with their children. I'm not joking in the slightest. Ill be praying for you all too.
      Our branch had a missionary work activity on Saturday. We met up at the church, had a quick training...(we opened with a song and prayer, the ward missionary asked if everybody remembered how we had done the activity last time...tudo bem.) We made a quick poster and off we went. We put pictures on the poster of precious parts of the gospel--the priesthood, temple marriage, temples baptism, families, etc. We then went to the center of town, set up a table with Sunday school manuals (teachings of various prophets), copies of "The Living Christ", and "The Family Proclamation to the World." We talked to everyone who walked past; handing out the book as gifts, and sharing our testimonies of those things that are important to us. We talked to about 200 people. It was great. I love our little branch.
      As a random side note...in English class this week I taught the names of different fruit, and colors. When we got the fruits: lemon and lime, we had a bit of a confusion. We figured it out more or less, and I laughed about it later at the grocery store with my companion. In Brasil, the small green fruit that we call limes in the US are called limao, and the large yellow fruit we call lemon are called lima. Basically, lemons are limes and limes are lemons. When you make a cup of herbal tea, in the states we use lemons, here, they use limes, because limes are lemons. Ummmm hmmm, think about that one long and hard.
      Mom, I loved what you said about the conference talk ´When You Save a Girl, you Save Generations´. I loved your thoughts about how that talk applies to you. Its funny that you would mention to me to think about this because I have known this for awhile and actually used your experience in explaining to one of my investigators the impact his decisions will have on his posterity. I explained to him that my service is a result, in part, of my mother's conversion. Its true though, there really is power in saving the soul of a girl. 
     I love you all and hope you have a great week. Keep me updated on the status of the stake progress. To my friends who may be reading this...to anybody getting married or receiving a mission call lately: you've got to remember to tell me these things!
Love you,
Sister Hoggan

From Dad:
Sister Hoggan mentioned 2 documents and a talk in her letter that you may find of interest. You can read them at these links:

Monday, July 29, 2013

I know that Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet of God.

Dear Mom and Dad,
     Greetings from Brazil! We had transfers this week and...I'm staying in Penamy as companions with Sister Castro. I wasn't too surprised to find that out. I'm not really sure why, but the elder who was supposed to tell us all about transfers called on Thursday to tell us that he wasn't going to tell anybody about transfers until Saturday, just hours before they happen. I'm not sure if that was his idea or not, but we all waited anxiously to find out. All of the sisters here are now training new missionaries, and we have about 14 new sisters coming in next transfer so there`s a possibility I`ll be training....
     A big high five and congratulations to Papa Guy for finishing the Tin Man Triathlon like a stud. My grandpapa is pretty much the bomb, just saying.
     We`ve been teaching a girl about 14 years old that for some reason always seem to be embarrassed to answer our questions. (Oh, the words for embarrassment and shame are the same...um, I don't think they are quite the same thing, especially when you are joking with your friends and say some embarrassing). She is willing to pray, but always appears to be embarrassed. I tried to explain to her that embarrassment to talk to the missionaries is one thing, but more importantly, embarrassment to pray is a tool that Satan uses to keep us from communicating with our Father in Heaven. I think she got the point, I hope she starts feeling more confident. Being 14 is hard enough. We don't need to be 14 and feel like we can't talk to God; imagine how much that would stink.
      We`ve actually been teaching people who really struggle to pray. There aren't very many specific things to say in a prayer, you just address God, say what you want, and close in the name of Christ. If you have a hard time talking to God, you can tell him that. You can say pretty much anything you want and he will listen. He is that great. He really does want to hear from us every day, and I am trying really hard to help people understand that.
      I tried to make German pancakes for the 2nd time for my companion (using the temperature our phone says is the equivalence of what I think the oven should be at....) It didn't work again, so I decided to crank up the oven to way hotter than it should have been. And it worked! Yay! I think our oven might just have a difficult time retaining heat.
      I'm glad work is going great Mom. And Dad, thanks for more of your lessons from camp, I really enjoy reading them. Congratulations also to Elder Chandler on his call to the Idaho Twin Falls Mission. I remember when he put in his papers...he was so stoked at the prospect of serving a mission.
      Out of curiosity, can anyone tell me if Jordan Clark and Alec Judd have returned from their missions yet? I don't remember when they were supposed to come home.
     Any whooo, thank for your letters and prayers. And the comic strip about my fear of spiders (pretty much every spider is big, Dad; just because you can`t see it doesn't mean it can`t see you. tee hee hee.) Have a great week.
Com muito amor,
Sister Hoggan

Monday, July 22, 2013

Milho Sorvete (Corn Ice Cream)

I think I've seen about everything when I....then I ate corn Ice Cream in Brasil. I couldn't pass it up. It was kind of gross, just for the record.

Sister Castro, what is black coconut?
I don't know, coconut com pecados... (coconut with sins)
Oh, ok, guess I wont try that flavor then. 

Dear Mom and Dad, 
     The end of my first transfer in Brasil! What is this nonsense? I have no idea if I'll be staying in this area or moving, I guess its all part of the adventure.
      I had my first baptism this week. A young man named Florisvaldo. He thinks he is 23, but he told us his birthday...he's actually 22. Tudo bem. It was really special. This kid has a testimony  that is just so amazing, he really has sincere desires to follow the Savior. His baptismal service was Sunday at 8 am, before church, and he was confirmed that day. The Spirit was really strong. Its moments like these where you know you are so blessed to serve.
       Our branch celebrated Festa Julina this week too. I was really confused in New York when the Spanish ward started all their activities an hour later than they said they were going to, in Brasil its 2 hours later. The party was supposed to start at 6 and we said the opening prayer shortly after 8. The food was amazing! Lots of cakes, hot dogs wrapped in rolls (a sort of description), peanut butter bars, popcorn...lots of food. And, for good friend Alex Grambow, lots of accordion music. All the music was accordion music, its was pretty awesome. People dressed up as Portuguese cowboys too, at least that what I understood. We had 6 investigators come, which was the highlight of the evening, as well as a few less-active members we have been working with. It was a blast.
      I had a great week with my companion. We have really been able to overcome a lot of our differences and are working together just great. Its amazing how much two people can grow in 5 weeks. I am really grateful for her. I tried to make her German pancaked this morning. I accidentally added too much flour and the oven was in Celsius, but we figured it out. The oven reads up to 290 degrees Celsius, 204 Celsius is 400 degrees Fahrenheit. I don't know why our oven goes that hot. They didn't turn out how I wanted, I'm going to try again later this week. But, she liked them so all was good. We put sweetened condensed milk (the universal sweetener here) and shredded coconut on them...they were pretty delicious. 
      Congratulations to Andrew Garrett on his call to Germany! And any others that have recently received theirs; Congrats to Marcus Olsen for entering the MTC too and good luck down under. I'm glad you had a great time at Camp Richie, I liked it there a lot. Especially the lake. I kind of wish I had been able to try the stand up paddle boards, they sound like a lot of fun.
      Dad, your letters are not to long, they are just great. I especially like hearing about your lessons from camp. The cup game is pretty hard to learn, but once you figure it out, its a blast.
      I love you both, thanks for writing me every week. And for praying for me too! Keep up the good work. Hello to my siblings too.

Yours truly, 
Sister Hoggan

Monday, July 15, 2013

Let Us All Press ON (the hymn)

Dear Mom and Dad,
What a week! There are so many things I want to tell you, but alas, I will only share a few. Eu mandei uma carta para voces in today's mail so keep an eye out for. I've never sent mail from another country to the United States, I think you just add U.S.A. to the address? They didn't teach us about that at the MTC. I put one in the mail for the Gunns to, so hopefully they will get it.
This week we planned to have 6 baptisms. Its a huge goal, I know. But think about it, 6 children of God talking the first step on the strait and narrow path. We planned like Ive never planned before, fasted prayed, coordinated everything. But in the end, it is not us that chooses to get baptized. Agency is truly one of the greatest gifts that God gives his children. And sometimes the agency of others is really frustrating. It can be really frustrating to understand so much and want it for other people, but not have them want it for themselves. We had 1 investigator at church yesterday, and its not someone we had ever met. There is one family in particular that my companion and the elders before her worked with a lot to prepare for baptism, but, they are moving this week. Hopefully they seek the gospel in their new home. The lesson I learned this week is was agency and the timing of the Lord. Heavenly Father has a plan and we do all we can to follow it. Sometimes we want things to happen, and they don't, because the Lord does things in his own time, not the time of the missionaries.
This week I also had some great experiences with "first seek to obtain my word and then I will give unto you in the hour that you need." I had some great personal study time this week and was able to use many of the scriptures I had read during personal study, in lessons. Sometimes Sister Castro has to tell me its time for me to use the scriptures I read, but I was able to use them. Yesterday we talked to this amazing less active family about the importance of going to church (for the of you who have you who have questions about the importance of going to church, I'm telling you its essential. You can ask my parents why its so important, they can explain...or you can write me and I'll tell you). My companion lead into the conversation for me..."Sister Hoggan read about the Sacrament this morning in the scriptures, what did you learn?" And so I shared. It was great. the Spirit was really strong.
Its funny, I can say lots of things in Portuguese, because its really hard for me to understand people I've never met before. Last night during our lesson, I had this problem. The family we were teaching asked if I could knew how to speak the language because I hadn't said anything. My companion explained that sometimes I'm a bid timid when I first meet people, but I know how to speak the language pretty well. I'm timid because I don't know what they are saying. I open up in later lessons because I start to understand their accents. Oh well. I'm lucky to have have a native speaking companion.
I love you both! Congratulations to all the members of the San Jose stake that are receiving mission calls! I can't wait to hear where you are going! Have a blast at Young Women's camp too, and with the biking.
Love always,
Sister Hoggan

Monday, July 8, 2013

If I get Brasilian documents will I automatically be Brasilian?

Dear Mom and Dad,
     I'm not really sure how much time I have, I think most of the new American missionaries aren't writing their families this week because we are all in the mission office waiting to go with the office elders to the federal police to get Brasilian documents...so they don't deport me. I'm the only one writing right now. 
     I found out why I didn't get to finish writing 2 weeks ago. I was watching the missionary broadcast from President Monson and my companion was watching on the computer next to me. She accidentally watched the wrong video (which was much shorter than the broadcast). She finished everything before me and thought we were supposed to be done. We found out later from the district leaders, when she talked to them about the broadcast, that she had watched the wrong video. We laughed about it and all was good. 

     This week was much better than last week, I didn't cry, yay! It was still really hard to understand the language though. I understand most of what my companion says, but not when other people talk. Other people have accents that I am not used to. I often understand the gist of conversations, I just don't feel comfortable contributing, because I also semi understand. I think it confuses my companion when I don't talk to people, because I understand her just fine. Oh well. 
 
     The office elders scheduled all the new Americans to get documents today in Ribeirao Preto, but forgot to tell us...we are 5 hours by bus from them and the only buses leave at 10:30 in the morning and 11 at night. We are not allowed to travel at night, so we are on a last-minute, 3-day trip to the mission office. We have lessons we were going to teach! Oh well.
  
     We planned to have like 5 investigators at church today, but they all fell through. We met a dad on the street though on the way to church and convinced him to come with us. He asked if the church was nearby and my companion said yes...nearby as in like 1.5 miles. He came with us, it was great. 

I forgot to wish dad a happy birthday...Happy Birthday Dad! I want to write you a letter, but I'm running all the time to keep up with people. As soon as I get a moment I will write you. Please excuse me. I love you!!!!!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

Thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes. I love you all so much. Ben, Alena, Nic, Grandma Shari, .....I want to write you all. 

The card came through a day or two after my birthday. My companion made fried pancake thingies for me on my birthday, they were delicious. I was grateful for breakfast too, people don't really eat breakfast, mostly just crackers to hold over until the mid day meal.

I started teaching English classes this week. We invited the whole city. Lots of people said they wanted to come. We had 7 primary kids. I tried to teach them how to pray in English, it was really fun. They were adorable.

Thank you for the words of advice too. They are always welcome. 

Dad, be careful with those shoulders. Its not fun when we take on more than we can handle. I have the quote you sent me in my scriptures, I stole a copy from your office. Its often a lot easier to remain quite than to respond to whatever people say, because of the language barrier. Its hard to be patient sometimes, especially when you want to talk to people. It all really is a process. I really appreciated what you said about the refiner`s fire; about voluntarily entering it. 

Thank you for all your prayers. I got a priesthood blessing last week, it was all in Portuguese, but I managed to understand lots of it. Part of what the elders said is to know that the Lord is taking care of your family, they love you, are praying for you, and all is well. It was wonderful to hear from you all this week. I love that Audrey knows who I am too. Yes! 

Take care, I love each of you, even though I don't really write you all. Remember that my email is to each of you.

I love you both a bajillion, 
Until next week, 
Sister Hoggan

P.S. I got a letter from Grandma today and a week or too ago, from the Jepsens. Thank you! When does Doug come home? Is he already back?
I get to meet President Broom this week, I´ll tell you all about it next week.

P.S. Can you give Doug and Myrna Gunn a big hug for me, they really are the best!
 
From Sister Hoggan's dad:
The quote she mentioned in her letter is from Elder Marvin J. Ashton, a modern apostle of Jesus Christ, on the topic of Charity. Charity is another word for love, specifically the pure love the Savior has for each of us, and which He wants us to have for others. But sometimes we struggle in the application of the principle. Here is the quote from Elder Ashton:
"Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another's weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other."
Birthday breakfast, compliments of Sister Castro

Happy 21st Birthday to Sister Hoggan!