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.