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.