Monday, April 22, 2013

April 19, 2013
Brazil-bound sister missionaries at the Provo Temple fountain--with an unexpected elder who snuck into the picture!

Sis. Hoggan (L) and companion, Sis. Casperson (R)
Dear Family of mine,
Each Sunday and Tuesday evening we have devotional; they do a pretty good job at not announcing who the speaker is beforehand...So this week, we're all sitting in the auditorium waiting to start and in walks...Elder Richard G. Scott! Yep, that's right, Elder Scott. Who would have imagined that? It was a wonderful surprise to hear from him. He spoke about receiving revelation from the Lord, specifically through prayer. We heard a talk a week or two ago which was also about revelation, which focused more on being careful to how you receive guidance from the Lord because we often confuse his words with our own desires or the desires of others. I think we all left that talk uplifted, but a bit concerned about how we receive answers to our prayers. Elder Scott's talk however was much different. He spoke about how the Lord want's to help and how we can receive great guidance from the Lord as we pray and seek to do his will. I felt very uplifted when I left. Something I've noticed the last few devotional speaker's have said in their talks is that the Lord does not call us to fail. It's interesting me how much I've hear that lately, but it's true, and important that we remember that. Sometimes we feel inadequate or discouraged, but the Lord really does call us for a specific work. He calls us and then uses our gifts and talents to do the work he needs us to do. He really is there to support us and we really can receive direction from him.

Last week I think I mentioned that I set a goal to speak only Portuguese for a day, and well, I almost did! They try to have us "fala sua lingua" (speak your language) as much as possible because we tend to learn the most when we have to come up with the words rather than resorting to our English comfort zones. My whole district decided to join in on the goal, but after about 2 hours they were done. So it was just me, Sister Hoggan, trying to converse with 11 other people who really just wanted me to speak English. It was a bit frustrating because you feel like the odd one out (which technically, I was) when everyone is speaking one language and you are trying to speak another. There were a few times when I resorted to  English because people who don't speak Portuguese don't know what you mean by "Eu nao falo English" (I don't speak English). I pushed on though and made it until about 6:30 and class started and the whole class was in English. I got almost the whole day; I was just alone for most of it which was discouraging.

My companion and I have been teaching a young man for almost two weeks now. This week we were able to teaching about the Restoration of the Church, God's plan for families to live together eternally, and the whole plan of Salvation. At the end of our Plan of Salvation Lesson, we asked him if would be prepare to be baptized. It was amazing to sit there and talk with him of God's love for us and the eternal blessings that come from enduring to the end. You really do come to love the people you teach, even after only after a couple weeks. As you sit there teaching, helping their search for truth, you feel in part of the love God must have for his children. Every soul is great in the sight of God.

On a much lighter note, the Elders in my district are really funny (but you can't tell them that because they won't listen to such nonsense). They have been learning the Portuguese terminology for telling jokes and add commentary to as much of the lesson as they can. They have "assigned" us each personalities. The only sister in our district going to Manaus, she is also the quietest sister, has been deemed as really mean. The Elders talk about how she is always out to get them and tell the teacher all about it. She never does anything to provoke them, they just like teasing her. I have been deemed as the one that always cries. I'm never upset or in pain, they just make me laugh so hard I cry. Every time I starting laughing they tease "Elder, your going to make her cry again. Pull yourself together woman" or once I'm crying, their favorite phrase is "She gone". Each sister has been assigned something different and the elders love to tease us for the stereotypes we have been given. It's pretty funny. We all definitely get along though. We have been blessed with a district that learned to love each other fast.

I'm writing this letter from the laundry room, where there are 3 Polynesians singing Hawaiian music with 3 part harmony. They sound beautiful.

Well, that's about all of my time, I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Com muito amor,

Sister Hoggan

P.S. The first picture is of some of the sisters if our district, with a silly elder who decided to sneak in. The second is of Sister Casperson (my companion) and myself outside the Provo Temple.

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