Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sister Rebekah Hoggan is HOME!

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

With much love,
Will and Sarah Hoggan

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

Mission Accomplished: Well done, Sister Hoggan!

Monday, September 8, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 1, 2014

Prestigio Pizza

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

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

I love you both tons, 
Sister Hoggan
   

Monday, August 25, 2014

Èlder Costa, Dad, do you remember Èlder Costa?

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

Com amor,
Sister Hoggan

Monday, August 18, 2014

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

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

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

Sister Hoggan

Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy Father's Day!

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

Yours truly, 
Sister Hoggan

Monday, August 4, 2014

Sister Faria and Èlder Balduino

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

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

Monday, July 28, 2014

When we lose the ones we love.

Dear Mom and Dad,
      This week went by so fast, and we did a whole lot. I don't think I interviewed 36 people in one day, but we still did a lot and God was watching all of it. But before I tell you about about all the crazy things we did...Last week Sister Marin from my MTC district returned home. Lucky she went when she did because the doctor told her a few more weeks of what she had and she would have come home from the mission recuperating in a wheelchair. This next week we are losing another valente querida [faithful, valiant dear one], the beautiful Sister Leite. That's right, both the sister I trained, the sister she trained, and the sister who trained me have all gone home. Sister Leite is going home on 5a feira [Thursday] because of the fibromyalgia pain. She been having a lot less, but decided that it would be better to stop. I talked to her mom on the phone today for a brief moment, and then after LOTS of hugs had to let Sister Leite go. She´s changed a lot here on the mission field. We made big plans for her for when she gets back. 
    We have my last conferência de zonas where I got to bear my farewell testimony. What? I still have awhile to go, but this was the last opportunity. All the missionaries going home in the next 3 months bore their testimonies. We´re losing quite a big number the transfer I go home. I talked about Sister Dalton´s talk when the general YW´s presidency chose gold to represent the value of Virtue. They chose gold because it is of greatest value when it is pure, just like us. How do you purify gold? You burn it...well, almost. You put it in fire, melt it down, and let everything fall out. After being almost destroyed, it is quite lovely. Just like us. After passing through trials that often almost destroy us, we come out super pretty, and ready to enter into God´s kingdom (well, that's the goal). There´s also a phrase at the end of our mission hymn that we shout like crazies... "E Proclamar Bem Alto, Èis A Restauração" [Shout out loud, "Behold, the Restored Gospel!"] I talked a bit about the phrase and how we can shout it really loud for the people here where we serve.
     This week my trio went on a trip to the city of São José do Rio Preto, it´s 4 hours by bus from here. We spent 1 day on divisions with our sisters, one day dividing with Sister Beck and her sisters, and then came home just in time for interviews with president, and weekly planning, and conference the next day. We also had Festa Junina with our ward on Saturday, it was fun, and there was lots of food. Its the annual Brazilian cowboy party. Its great. Mostly its about the food, but there is dancing too. We watched the members dance a bit and then had to leave. 
     After all the adventures we worked about 2 days in out area. One of those days we spent waiting for our investigator to show up to his baptismal interview. He called us and said he would be a couple hours late, so so we got improvise with our plans. Then other a member asked us to visit her brother and his wife. We found them alright....and his married children and their grand-kids. Its like they had gathered together and were waiting for us. We were given 8 new investigators in one week! What?!
    Its hard to think about the fact that I'm coming home in a few weeks. I'm going to miss the people here so much. For as much as I want to see my family again, its going to be really hard to leave the people here. 

I love you, 
I hope you are helping the missionaries, 
Sister Hoggan

Monday, July 21, 2014

The World Cup....is that basketball or baseball?

It´s a bit dark in this LAN House and hard to see the keyboard.

Dear Wonderful Family of Mine, 
          Did my letter to dad seriously just make it there? I think that means if I send letters home right about now I will make it home before they do. Eeek! 
         This week was AWESOME. We had a sad moment when my dear Sister Ana Maria Marin (she lived with me in NY) had to go home because of back pain. She´s been on best rest for awhile now. But, in exchange, the beautiful Sister Britta Beck has now joined our trio. She joined us at the end of this week. I forgot to charge the phone Saturday night, so the battery died Sunday while we were in the street....President tried to call us, along with the office elders, and others trying to let us know Sister Beck was coming our way. With a dead phone we found out when we went to our weekly meeting with the Ward Mission Leader and she jumped out and scared us. When we powered up our phone later we had about 25 missed calls. Of all the days not to charge your phone!
         We have this new thing of receiving references we give to the office. Literally, my companion and I pass them on, and they come back for us to contact. Its happened twice already. One of the last contacts we made in Campos Eliseos we gave to the office as a reference, and we now live in the area of that contact. They sent him to us as a reference and we contacted him last night, Lucas. He´s so cool! Its a great experience to teach someone who is really, really smart where you can explain about the Reformation versus the Restoration. Honestly, being able to explain about the Reformation is so much fun. Its even better when we find people like Carlos who understand it. We had used all of our copies of the Book of Mormon we had carried that day, so we are taking one back tonight. 
        The other find of the week: we started teaching a woman and her 2 daughters and managed later to teach her husband the Restoration. She´s Brazilian, but her husband was born in Lebannon. He was born Muslim, but now practices no religion. He didn't understand the purpose of prophets or Christ and wanted to know why there are so many versions of the Bible.  We happily answered all of his questions... it turned out we taught him all of the Restoration. It started out though as him asking about how we pay for our missions or if the church pays for it.  He gave us his Portuguese translation of the Koran as we were leaving. He´s not going to read it any time soon and thought we would be interested. Has anyone else received the Koran in another language lately?
       I think its really cool that you shared "Missionários Sem Plaquetas" at the mission preparation fireside. It was a blast to make. Tiago filmed most of it while were stuck not working because of the cup. 
       I have not yet received my birthday package, but that's okay. It will arrive before I leave the mission field. Dad still needs his birthday card too, so....
 
I hope you know I love you bunches.
Don't get too trunky. 


Sister Hoggan

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I believe in Hugs!

July 14, 2014

They say a picture is worth a thousand words...so I guess I talk a lot. I don't trust people to put pictures on Facebook after our missions because I always slacked on putting up photos, so I took all the photos off my companion's memory card.
Dear Mom and Dad, 
   I don't have a lot to say today because I spend half an hour uploading all these photos. I hope they are all new to your eyes. I had a wonderful week and I love you a tons. We have this man, Carlos, who is progressing awesomely towards baptism. I am stoked for him. I'm still going strong down here, don't worry. 
    I'm going to write a journal entry in my personal journal, on this nifty topic "This I Believe." If you remind me Ill share it with you when I get home. I hope everyone isn't to excited for me to get there, I still have a ways to go. 

Te amo....Muito!
Sister Hoggan
 

"Saudade" means "Missing You"


Birthday Celebration
 

Missionários sem Plaquetas

July 7, 2014

Dear Mom and Dad,
     First off, Dad...HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I neglected to tell you in my last letter, so I thought I would make a point of it today. I have no idea when you will get to read  this because I think you are all partying at Family Reunion. Say hello to everyone for me? Is David´s fiance there? Weird, he´s getting married. But hey, the family has to keep getting bigger. 
     My new ward has no overflow to the chapel...it´s one of those cute chapels with wooden benches that looks like it was made for a branch. Sunday there were 190 people at church. What!? They put wooden chairs on the ends of the benches to help squeeze more people in. Its great. If only every ward was like this. 
     This week was nuts. We had Conselho da Lideraça [Leadership Council] on my birthday...yay! It was great.  On Friday we got up and caught an early onibus to the other side of the mission for divisions. The phones here don't call out of area so we can't call our sisters directly, we have to go through the office. We got to the other side of the mission and tried to call the office, president, the sisters that live in our house, but couldn't talk to anyone. Apparently `long-distance´ calls are not determined by the area code of your phone like in the states, but rather where  you are calling from. Everyone that was previously long distance became available and everyone we should be able to call became out of range. 
    I met a reporter in the street this week. I didn't know she was a reporter until we made contact. We talked about how we can't watch the world cup because we are...Missionaries! We talked about the mission and how great it is and how we want to bless her life. She called us later in the week wanting to write a newspaper article about us. Unfortunately we were on the bus heading for divisions so we couldn't meet with her. I hope it works out for the next game, it would be cool to make it in the paper in a foreign country. 
  So our onibus for divisions going there took 3 hours and we assumed the same amount of time to come back...nope. It was a 4 hour return. We had planned it just right to get home at the end of the day. It would have been perfect, but instead we got home at 10 at night and got to wait in the bus terminal for the bus to our house. We were out until 10:30. It was strange to be out at night. We got home safely though, so don't worry. 
     For my birthday... my companion (who is AMAZING) made me an omelet, with cheese, because all is better with cheese. She is so sweet. We had conselho da liderança. They sang to me at the end, I felt really special. Sister Beck and Sister Marin (from my MTC group) had spent the night at our house because of the meeting and brought me cookies and a handmade card. The cookies apparently were supposed to be in barter for a cake from the office elders, but they didn't survive. They were good cookies. One sister in our ward bought me a flan cake (also known as pudding cake) and invited her friends over. We taught them how to pray and then ate cake. The sisters that live in our house bought me a cake too and salgadinhos. They spelled out "Feliz Aniversario" [Happy Birthday] on the floor and surprised me when we came home at night. Basically I was really spoiled. People here are really nice and I felt really special. 
   Here´s another Happy Birthday Dad, the card will be a bit late...sorry. But its true, I do love you love. I hope Family Reunion is wonderful! I hope Aunt Abby makes lots of yummy treats. She had one recipe that I really want, I think its called Addiction. 

Love you a brasilian, 
Sister Hoggan
P.S. (Note from Rebekah's dad): The title of this post refers to a video made by the ward mission leader in the prior ward. Rebekah is in the video. Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=651706798247133

Monday, June 30, 2014

I'm 22! Or will be on Thursday.

Hi Mom and Dad! And wonderful family of mine!
    Its true, I'm turning 22 this week. What!? Its the same age I will be when I come home from my mission. Strange. One of the sisters in our new ward offered to bake me a cake when my companion told her it was my birthday. 
    The week before I left the greatest area in our mission, Campos Eliseos, we started making a video with our Ward Mission Leader and the other missionaries in our ward because we had 8 in total. We got transferred one week before the fireside where they watched the finished product. The office Elders let us know it was a hit and that our recent convert (whose refuses to speak in public) bore her testimony at the fireside and it was great. The fireside was called `missionarios sem plaquetas` [Missionaries without name badges]. We were promised a copy of the video before we left; I can't wait to see how it turned out.    
     White-washing-ish is very strange. [FYI: "White-washing" is when both missionaries are transferred out of an area and two new missionaries are transferred in, so there is no transition or hand-off. The new missionaries start with a clean slate as they serve in the area.] The sisters who were here before us left us one investigator who they had taught once. We marked with her twice, once she flaked and the other we were super late. So we´ve been trying to talk to everyone and trying to teach wherever possible. The office elders make contacts in our area too, which means we get extra references. They really are the best. We have two areas that we work in. The other sisters have the area that divides our area in two, I don't understand the logic behind it but that's OK. We have to take the bus to arrive in either one of our areas, and also to come home. We don't live in our area. I think I mentioned that our area includes downtown Riberão. As you imagine downtown would be, there is a large amount of apartment complexes. It doesn't bother me too much except it takes away a lot of face to face conversations. The door man always asks you who you came to visit, why, and the ages that family. Then he asks them if they want to let you in. If they  don't respond, don't recognize you, or don't know who you area, he won't let you in. So...they are pretty hard to enter. We also have the really nice houses out in the middle of nowhere. The other sisters that work here have a similar area. There are at least 2 malls in our area. We passed by one on the way home the other day to try and grab a bite to eat... Anyone who thinks Brazil is a 3rd world country (including the Brazilians who say that) has not been through this city. Maybe its just because this city is special, but there is a fair amount of rich people here. 
     I was thinking about how to convert the rich and intelligent, because we have been asked to focus a bit on them...But they are fairly hard to come in contact with, they live pretty cut off from street life, and are in areas you can't enter. Once we find them, they  need time to listen to us, and then to believe that this can truly improve their lives. Somehow, we´ll make it work.
    The mission field is amazing, in our house it seems to be like living with 3 Americans. The ward here is incredible. All the organizations have complete leadership, the Bishop served a mission in Provo, Utah (so did his brother), and is pretty excited and so is our Ward Mission Leader. All is well, all is well. I´ll fill you in on more miracles next week. God is great, and so is the gospel.

Love you tons, 

Sister  Hoggan

Monday, June 23, 2014

White hair White jumper

Dear Mom and Dad...and wonderful family of mine,
    After 4 wonderful transfers with Sister Marchant, and her being in the same area for 6 transfers....who can guess what would happen? I was transferred. What!? And my new companion is...Sister Marchant!!! That's right, nobody saw that one coming. We moved together to the area next to ours. Our new area starts where our old area ended, literally across the street. The sisters that were in this area moved to our area and we are taking over theirs. I cried when we left Campos Eliseos, not my house, but the people that we left there. It was hard. I´ve never stayed in one place for 4 transfers. Luckily lots of the members in our old ward work in our new area. Our area is downtown Riberão Preto, so everybody works here. 
     This week was AWESOME. So we were teaching, up until we were transferred, this cute 80-year-old woman. She really is cute--I´ll send you a picture later, or just bring it home with me in a couple months. We were looking for one of the less-active young women and found her instead. She lives with her adult son who is also a member of the church, but isn't very active. He apparently has been wanting his mom to be baptized for awhile. She is a bit hard of hearing and doesn't understand everything we say, but she knows we love her A LOT. She has the memory of an 80 year old with the beginnings of Alzheimer´s disease. There was a moment where the doctors almost made her move to an elderly care home, but we fasted for her and she got to stay in her own home! Then we fasted again so that could remember everything in order to pass her baptismal interview...and she did!
    Sunday morning we went to by her home to walk her to church. We asked if she was ready to be baptized and she started laughing. Pronto nada, hahaha, não vou me batizar não. [Ready nothing, hahaha, I'm not going to get baptized.] But she went to church. When we came by in the evening to walk to her baptism she was leaving her house. `Irmã, where are you going?`...I'm going to church, I just can't remember how to get there so I'm going to ask the neighbor. Look at her, beautiful, really old, full of forgetfulness, and full of faith. She gets big points. Her whole family is active in the church and probably never imagined she would get baptized. We had no idea how to get a hold of them, but one of the sisters in the ward helped with that. We arrived at the chapel and her grandchildren and a few great-grandchildren were there, all ready to watch the generation head enter the waters of baptism. Honestly, she was adorable in her white jumper.  
    The elders baptized a father and his son. I felt the water; it was pretty cold for an 80 year old woman. She went right on in. Sister Marchant asked after if the water was cold, she hadn't even noticed. I had not imagined when we began teaching her that so many wonderful people were connected to and waiting for her. 
     Ben, Monica, Alena, and hooligans, congratulations on making it to Indiana. You really are troopers. Remember that one time Mom flew from Hawaii to Gilroy and Ben and Nic got the Chicken Pox and barfed all over Mom...? At least that didn't happen this time, right? Monica, I hope it was an easy flight. 
     Anyway, in my new zone there are 7 companionships. The zone leaders and us are the only people not training new missionaries. We have the zone of new missionaries, how cool is that? It makes sense:  the training program for new missionaries is called the 12 Week Program, and I have 12 weeks left. 
    I love you lots!

Sister Hoggan

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

HAPPY FATHERS DAY AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY AUDREY!

I'm sorry I don't know when major holidays are. I don't have a calendar and Father's Day in Brazil is not on the same day. Can somebody hug Audrey and Dad for me? Much appreciated. 

Dear Mom and Dad, 
    This week was great. Before I share wonderful stories I would like to announce that I am alive, and safe. 
    Having said that, someone threw a bomb at us this week. Yes, a bomb...those things that explode with lots of noise that you only see in movies. It wasn't the highly destructive type so I'm still intact. We were walking down the street and out of nowhere we see it fall, sizzle, we look at each other with expressions of `how should we react`, and it exploded. A nice flash of light and ALOT of noise. Apparently one of the men on the street likes to throws bombs and write threatening notes to his neighbors, you know, the usual. Our hearts were pounding for like an hour afterwards.
    I think out-of´the-ordinary things are required to happen to missionaries, that's just how it is. 
   The zone leaders had a baptism this week! The mother of one of our young men! I love to see people get baptized, but there has to be an extra specialness to it when its your mom. Mom, just so you know I talk about you all the time here. People want to know if my parents are members of the church...I tell them all about you were baptized at 17 and then found dad. Or dad found you. 
    Brazil played the first round of the world cup this week! And won! It was like Christmas in June. We came home early for a few sweet extra hours of studying. Everytime a goal was made we could hear the cheers of everyone watching. Fireworks, firecrackers, shouts of joy, and  maybe a few loud barbaric yalps (name that movie?). I feel for the Brazilian missionaries because it really is like Christmas for them and they can't be part of it...They won though and that counts for a lot. Brazil plays again on Tuesday. We should be studying again but we´re asking for special permission to make a movie with our Ward Mission Leader. Its going to be sweet. 
   My trainer went home today...she did not want to leave, but she´s been here for more than 18 months. I'm going to miss her.
    Basically, I'm safe and happy and I love you a lot.

Filha preferida, [favorite child]
Sister Hoggan
 
"Tutu" is Grandma in Hawaiian.
New shoes arrived! (Old shoe on right.)
 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Why do we serve missions?

Dear Mom and Dad,
    It sounds like the two of you had the time of your lives this week...go figure--Alena was there. It is so strange to me that Alena has truly left Hawaii. People here generally have never heard of San José, so I tell them I live 40 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge (o ponte de São Fransisco), they get pretty excited about that. But honestly, the beach is better in Santa Cruz. I´m glad amid all the working you find time to play. 
    Mom has Hoggan Fiduciary business cards now? Parabems! That seems like a big step in the right direction. I looked up the word fiduciary, by the way, in my Português dictionary awhile ago and its not there; it was a sad day. People probably wouldn't have recognized the word though, even if I had found it. People don't recognize it in English. 
    This week was great. We had stake conference, which was actually a broadcast do Cidade do Lago de Sal...Salt Lake. Elder Ballard and Elder Scott spoke as well as our area 70s, who I recognized. One of the 70s that spoke had actually visited our mission. We had a few investigators with us too which was awesome.... We almost had a third, but she did not want to go to church if it was different than normal. She said she went to the big meeting once and had a lot of questions. She said she´ll go next week though. 
    We are teaching one of the cutest old women in the world. She got to give us the news this week that the doctor is making her move to a senior care home. She is not excited. We are not excited. She doesn't know where she is moving to yet; I'm hoping it is in our area so we can keep visiting her. She likes church and I think she wants to be baptized too. She keeps all the commandments,  although she doesn't know that she does because she cant remember them. She is so sweet. She went to stake conference with us on Sunday, but had to leave halfway through because she wasn't feeling well. It broke my heart. 
   We had divisions this week with the sisters in that one city where I had depression. It was interesting to go back and teach with other sisters there. It was different to go to parts of my area that before had been out of walking distance for our companionship. They were happy and smiling and laughing out there. It was great. They are in a trio, with my treinadora who is going home in 10 days. She does NOT want to go home. Sister Castro is so cute, she wants to say in the mission field forever. 
     I went with Sister Castro and a new missionary, and my companion went with the trainer. We had a great time and I met such incredible people that I never imagined lived in that area. So different, so much better, and pretty sweet. 
    My feet and my knees are really happy with these new shoes, thank-you again. Brasil is amazing, just so you all know. You should all come down here some day. There are a few foods you should try, I´ll try to make them when I get home if I can find all the ingredients.  I love you tons! Dad, parabems pela vietnamita! Tenho muito orgulho de você.

Te amo!
Sister Hoggan  

Monday, June 2, 2014

Will you marry me? #2

Dear Mom and Dad,
    Why is Audrey so big? I don't remember telling her she was allowed to do that. It´s okay, she still remains with status super cute. Congratulations to David!  Are you going to make it out there for his wedding. I got a package this week of...

SHOES!

Even being a girl, I don´t think I´ve ever been so happy for new shoes in my life. I´ve been refusing to buy new shoes because I knew your package would get here. You have really good taste in shoes. They are soooooo comfortable. I was starting to feel the lack of support of my shoes in one of my knees. Less than a day in new shoes and its gone. Sweet relief. I opened the package in the mission office, took a picture (as tradition) of my old shoes, and threw them away in the office. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. I paid 60 dollars for the package, I don't know if you had to pay a lot to send it, but it was all so worth it. 
    This week I got a cold. I usually don't get sick here. My voice has been suffering a bit, but I got a bit of extra sleep and its getting back to normal. 
    I had my first real conselho de liderança [Mission Leadership Counsel] this week. Spiritual feast. We had put in our planners for it to last 2 hours like district meeting does, but to a wonderful surprise it was about 5 hours long and included duas refeições [two refreshment breaks]. Pão de queijo é maravilhosa [Cheese bread is marvelous]. Sò falando [Just sayin']. I don't know if I mentioned this in my last letter, but my zone leader got mysteriously transferred last week to who knows where. He is now part of the traveling assistentes [assistants]. We have a pair of office assistentes and a pair of traveling assitentes. They go on divisions with all the district leaders, I assume zone leaders too like normal, but district leaders too. 
    Our mission is getting bigger every transfer. We should have an increase of about 70 missionaries by the end of the year. How cool is that. Is our mission in San Jose getting an bigger?  I remember the miracle of baptism in our stake a few months back....we should do that every month. That would be incredible.
    We are starting to teach someone new at the cemetery. This time he´s not security, he supervises/coordinates everything that happens on the day to day. He´s pretty cool. He actually lives in another area, but he´s here all the time. 
    We had a ward activity this week, gracefully put on by Ward Mission Leader, Tiago. When the activity started there were more investigators than members present. How cool is that? Actually, I started praying for members to show up so there would be people to sit with all the investigators present. Shortly after lots of ward members appeared. They played a trivia game created by the Elders, people were really intense, lots of competition. 
    All of the sister from my MTC district had a sleep-over this week. Actually the ones that don't live there were passing through for leadership council. The only sister missing is serving in Manaus. We joked about how much time we don't have left, Sister Beck very gracefully informed us of our limited time in weeks...we laughed not wanting to hear that. I love Brazil, it´s wonderful. 
     I hope everyone has a great week.  Ben, Monica, good luck moving to Indiana. I hope it all goes smoothly. Alena, the next phase is going to be amazing, take care.

Love you tons, 
Sister Hoggan

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A First Time for Everything

Dear Mom and Dad,
    How does e-mail time go so fast?! I just finished writing president and look over and have not a whole lot of minutes left. Its probably because I kept looking at the photo of how good looking you all are. Ben, sweet beans brother. It must be one of the most special experiences to bless your own child. You have a first born son, what! He needs Auntie Bekah to pinch those cute little cheeks. 
    This week we went on divisions with the sisters in Batatais....its a cute little town about 40 minutes outside the city limits. It is adorable, yet is pretty dangerous. The sisters come home when the sun goes down, or shortly there after. I had a blast with them. We bought a birthday cake for Sister Freitas. When we got home and finished planning, we lit candles, turned off the lights, and surprised her. 
     As we were leaving the next day I wasn't feeling so great. I think I ate something bad. I got diarrhea. We ran to catch our Onibus [city bus], which ended up being late. Running when you are sick isn't fun. This cute little lady walking in our direction was reaching out for other people and large objects as walking supports. She said she was going to the pharmacy. When she got to me she grabbed my arm to help stabilize her. I tried to help her grab the wall so I could grab my bus. But, she started bending her knees, and before you know it she collapsed in my arms. I don't think she ever lost consciousness, but her body went limp in my arms. People started to notice and we set her on the ground. Two men nearby lifted her into their car and took her to I assume the hospital. I got up, grabbed my Onibus, and started for home. However it was hot and stuffy in the bus; I don't know why nobody opened the window. For about 3 seconds the bus was miraculously quiet. I yelled at the driver to open the door, pushed past all the people, and barfed for the first time in Brazil. Yep, it was not fun. I'm glad we stopped before he left city limits. I felt weak for the rest of the day but we were able to work still. 
    Actually, that same day we had a triple baptism! Yep, we baptized a set of 3 sisters (siblings). It was awesome! I love when people get baptized. I wrote about their mom and few months ago who wants the gospel for her children. Our ward mission leader got to participate in the confirmation Sunday. It was his first. We were all super proud of him. I love our ward, it really is the best. Anyway, I think there is a lot more sad new than good news is my letter, but honestly this week was fantastic, the craziest part just happened to be sad. I love you all a ton and hope you have a great week. You are the greatest family ever.

Love you!
Sister Hoggan

Monday, May 19, 2014

Parabems!

Dear Mom and Dad...and Alena, Ben, Nic, Monica, Katie, Audrey, and Brody,
      Was it really just last week that I talked to you? I don't think so,but I don't know, time flies at such a strange speed I don't even understand. I opened my email today with awesome graduation noticias of Alena and a super cute picture of her.
      So today the maintenance guys are cleaning the apartment complex water system, which means no water all day. No showers, no toilets, no...yep, you name it, attached to water and it doesn't work. We set aside a fair amount of water in buckets to use during the day so we were fairly prepared. Hopefully it will comes back soon though. It sure makes you think twice about food storage.
     So I went to the doctor this week for I think the 2nd time on my mission. They don't have family doctors here like they do in the states. You can't just call and make an appointment to talk to a doctor, you wait in the non-emergent emergency room to have a chance to talk to him. We waited about 3 hours so he could write me a prescription for my sore throat. I still have a sore throat though. I'm a tad better than I was before, but I'm going to see what else I can do to make it better. 
    We had ward conference on Sunday....with a record number of people in attendance! Yay! We also had a ward talent show this week that was highly entertaining. However, there was this really cute 10 year old girl sitting next to me who apparently could dance really well, but she wouldn't go up and perform...I was a bit bummed. I found out though that after all the missionaries left she got up and sang REALLY well. 
    The work is wonderful and so is my companion. I love it here. 

Com amor, 
Sister Hoggan

What a wonderful mother´s day!

May 12, 2014

Dear Mom and Dad,
   It was great to see your smiling faces yesterday. It was the perfect end to a crazy week. We hardly worked in our area at all this week. Eeek! We went on divisions one day and then we had another day of weekly planning and mission leadership council which took most of the day....and the next day the 70 who directed leadership council gave us more training in a multi-zone conference. The rest of the mission had their turn the next day. Our visitor was Elder Moroni Torgan. I hadn't heard of him until I got here, but he had great words for us. He helped us see how we could MAJORLY improve. We´ll see how the next transfer goes with the many changes we get to make. 
    Our ward now houses 4 companionships of missionaries. I think our zone leaders who are now joining our ward are actually splitting their work between 2 different areas....does that mean we have 3.5 companionships? Our bishop is really excited. My entire district now serves in the same ward. This transfer is going to be crazy.
     Elder Torgan had a lot of advice for us, but one piece I found was particularly interesting about faith. He shared examples of Book of Mormon prophets/missionaries and talked about the faith they must have had to have seen the miracles they did. He asked then, what the difference was between our faith and the faith of those who lived in the time of Christ and in the Book of Mormon. Why is it they saw so many miracles? Because they had more faith. He told us that if we all had faith like missionaries in the Book of Mormon, then we would see miracles like those in the Book of Mormon. That´s a fair amount of pressure. Eeek!
    I get to serve as sister training leader again this transfer. I am stoked. It´s incredible to see the other sisters working. As you already know, I get to be companions with Sister Marchant again too, uau! We put on our white board this transfer as well as the last a goal to not be transferred. Apparently it works. Who knows, maybe I´ll stay with her until the end of my mission?
    Just as a quick ode to you Dad, I remember, by heart, how to make apple pie. Thank you for being such a great teacher. This afternoon I´ll be making apple pie at the home of one of the irmãs. It is something Brazilians only know from American films. She said I needed to make one just for her and then another to share at FHE that night which is at her house. 
    We lost two of our wonderful missionaries today. An elder and sister who both went home for health problems. One was our mission choir director who was helping us prepare for a multi-stake musical fireside. The other was a sister I was blessed to serve with for about a week or so and is Sister Leite´s companion. She was one of the first to meet the virtue scarf. Its hard to watch people go home sick. 
     Just so you know, you all looked beautiful yesterday. Sister Marchant says you all look like me....I think that it usually goes the other way around, that I look like you, but that's ok. Eu amo vocês muito. Até a semana que vem.

Sister Hoggan

P.S. Alena, I believe it is Hoggan family tradition to graduate barefoot. At least that's what you all told me when I finished high school. Just saying. You can do whatever you so please with this information.

Monday, May 5, 2014

What, Its Mother`s day!?

Dear Family!  
    Nobody has any idea what day Mother´s Day is here. It dawned on us all this week....we get to talk to our families on Sunday! Boy am I sure excited. I'm excited for you all to meet Sister Marchant too. Her birthday was yesterday and a couple of the members planned her a surprise party.
   I don't think I'm getting in a whole lot of words this week because I'm trying to send lots of pictures, but its ok because I love you all and will talk to you face to face in less than a week. Eeek!  Thanks for being so wonderful.

Sister Hoggan
Goals: Don't get stressed, Don't get transferred.

Note the monkeys in the tree.

Bananas!

Add caption

Ninja missionaries

New shoes and old shoes

Monday, April 28, 2014

Eeek, the chicken´s on the floor!

Hi Wonderful Family of mine!
     I hope you are having a great week. I am glad to hear that Tutu is doing so much better. One of the ways I know my grandmother is the best, is that she trains for the Tinman triathlon less than a week after having cancer! But hey, its Tutu, what do you expect..? There is no stopping that woman.
    Alena, I sure hope that whoever buys your senior project puts it on display somewhere because I would really like to see it up close. It was cool on the wall in the picture, but I think it would be even greater in person. 
    This week was nuts, as most of them are. We went on....divisions! I thought I knew all the sisters in our mission but apparently there are a couple I have yet to meet. I worked with one of them this week, Sister Sidan. She´s from Argentina. We had a great time, but I think I should start taking an umbrella on divisions with me because we arrived at their house and it starting pouring rain. Luckily it stopped once we started working. We had lunch with one of the sisters in their ward. She gave us pão de mel...which means honey bread, but I didn´t see honey anywhere. It looked more like a giant hostess cupcake (ding dongs?), but she filled some with coconut, others with doce de leite, brigadeiro...it was goooooood.
    We also had another day where we went to the chapel and had mission choir practice. Our choir is about 25 missionaries; we are preparing for a musical fireside in July that we are going to give. President however hosted a fireside this week and wanted us to sing. We started at 9 am and went until the fireside at 7 pm with a couple hours for lunch and dinner. That´s a lot of singing. Just saying. But I liked it a lot, so it´s okay.
     So this fireside was 25 American missionaries who served in Brazil between the years 1948 and 1970. They are all adorable old men and their wives. A few shared their testimonies and president spoke at the end. One of the younger missionaries that was visiting (he was about 50) translated everything into English for the non-Portuguese speaking wives. He was having a bit of a hard time, he understood about 80 percent. It was really funny because all of the speakers spoke English perfectly they were just speaking in Portuguese for the members. Whenever the translator messed up or didn't understand the speaker quite right, the speaker himself would mutter the right word to the translator and the translator, who was also American, would repeat. Group Portuguese....it was quite the laugh. One of the Brazilian sisters who is learning English decided to help the American translator too. Group English from the Americans and Brazilians. It was also pretty funny. Also, the fireside was meant to start at 7:30, but the visiting Americans got lost on the way to the chapel. It doesn't help that our neighborhood is mostly one-way streets. Anyway, they arrived at 9:30 and the fireside ended at 10:30. We got to stay for all of it. President announced though that every missionary had to be given a ride home. Sweet. We didn't sing nearly as well as we had hoped, but the fireside was a tender experience. 
    I love you all pass-along-cards and sunscreen. Hunches and bunches.

Sister Hoggan

Monday, April 21, 2014

Patterns of Light

Dear Mom and Dad,
    Way to many things to share and waaay too little time. HAPPY BELATED EASTER!!! I hope it was a good one. Considering Tutu left the hospital, I think we can safely say it was a good one. I have the strongest Grandma in the world. Boy am I happy she's getting better. Thanks for keeping me updated. Did somebody give her a big hug from me? Thanks.
     The last week of Christ´s life is a huge holiday here. People stopped working on about Wednesday and everyone is on holiday until today.  Which means nobody went to church this week. I think all of our investigators traveled...sad. But hey, they are all with their families so I can't complain too much. Families are the greatest. There is a series of 3 videos on the Church website called `patterns of light` that I hear are pretty great if you want to take a look. We watched the first one on Sunday during lunch. 
     While walking to our last appointment yesterday we stopped to talk to a group of men at the park. One of them apparently paints pictures on tile with one finger. He showed us his painting which he did with just one finger. Thats right, one finger. He asked if he could paint us one...sure, why not. So this 60 year old man ran one, grabbed his paints, and painted each of us the sunrise with just one finger. Its drying in my apartment. 
    I went on divisions this week with sisters in another area. I was companions with....Sister Leite for a day. Its really interesting to see how the other sisters progress. It was a great day, and we had a really tender experience teaching the Restoration at the end of it.
    Ben..... MAN, CONGRATULATIONS. When are you moving? I saw when classes start, but when are you moving? A masters, in 11 months, is that normal? But seriously, congrats. I always knew you were a genius.              
     Dad, go ahead and grab my mountain bike from Aunt Susie´s house. Mom using it would be far better than it rotting, that's true. There should be a helmet with it too. If she decides she doesn't like the bike, you can sell it too if you would like.

Anyway, that was my one hour. Boy does it pass fast.
Te amo muito!

Sister Hoggan

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sister, you are going to have a hard time adjusting to English when you go home.

Sister Wonderful Family of Mine,
     So apparently I won't get to write anybody separately this week. We lead divisions this week for the first time. We started with the sisters that live in our house. This week we will be branching out to one of the other areas here. We will get to have lots of sleepovers this transfer because of divisions. It was great. I got to be companions with my companion from the MTC. My companion, who is 19 years old, went on divisions with another sister who is 27...what do I teach her she asked? Don't think about teaching her, just go love her and whatever you need will come. Teach each other. It was fun. And funny. It think 2 Americans surprises people. They are used to always seeing a Brazilian and American together.
     THANK YOU for sending me new shoes. I suggested Merrills or whatever they are called because another sister has a pair and says they are great. Hopefully you found out my size from what was in my closet. You really are the best family ever. Thanks. 
     Thanks for filling me in about Tutu too. I know sometimes people don't like to share news from home with missionaries because they think missionaries will get distracted or what not. I like to know. I hope things go well in the hospital, that the doctors are really nice to her, and the hospital bed is comfy (sometimes they aren't...). I love you Tutu!
     I got to watch the General Women`s broadcast this week. It was all in Portuguese. We had 3 American Sisters watching, but all in Portuguese. Its weird hearing them translate conferences out of your native language and into something that is slightly harder to understand. The talks were great, and I loved when they had all the little girls stand up and sing to their mommies. 
    Our friend and recent convert Debora was called as Young Women´s president this week. She's been a member about 3 weeks. She's a bit nervous, but we all know she will do a good job. And, more importantly, Heavenly Father knows she is going to do a good job. It is fun explaining everything about the YW's program to her...Personal Progress and all. There´s alot to understand about the YW's program. The recent convert of the elders, Tiago, was called as our ward mission leader. Hurrah! We didn't really have one before. Tiago is also excited about his calling, but a bit nervous as well. He really wants to serve a full time mission but is 26 and has to wait a year before he can serve and I think the cut off is 27.  Being sad that he can't serve like us like he so much wants to, he is stoked be responsible to work with us all the time. He too will do a great job. Just weeks as new members and God has huge work for them to do already. 
     The Gospel really is Great. I was reading in the Book of Mormon this week and came across the story of Sherem in Jacob chapter 7. I never noticed before how great Jacob is. It says that Sherem specifically sought out Jacob because he knew of the greatness of Jacob´s testimony. He must have had an incredible testimony for an Anti-Christ specifically decide to come after him. Great story, and pretty short too. 
     Just so you know, I love you all ALOT. Can someone give Tutu a big hug for me please, and Grandma Shari. Best grandmas ever, just saying.
 
tem um otima semana!
Te amo, 
Sister Hoggan

Monday, April 7, 2014

Transfers!

Hi Mom and Dad....and Ben, Monica, Audrey, Brody, Nic, Katie, and Alena!

I hope to write lots of awesome stuff this week so I'm going to address this one to all of you and then try to send real letters to you later.

Guess what? They called me as a Sister Training Leader! Its kind of like being a district or zone leader, but I'm only in charge of sisters. All of the mission leaders are elders, which means they can do divisions with other missionaries to help them in their teaching, except with the sister missionaries. But since we have about 40 sisters in our mission, we have 3 companionships of sisters that do divisions with the other sister in the mission to help teach them and make sure they are ok. This week was transfers...President called and asked if I was close to my companion Sister Marchant. I thought for sure he was going to call her to be Sister Training Leader (why else would President call on the day of transfers?)...But what did he do, He called us both! That's right my dear family...I am sticking with Sister Marchant for another transfer and we are going to be Sister Training Leaders together. Eeeek! But of all the people I could be with, she's great. We are responsible for 6 companionships of sisters. 6 times going on divisions in a transfer...wow.

I have a few comments about General Conference. Was it great or was it great? We watched in English in the High Council room. There were about 15 of us. Most of us actually spoke English. We had 3 Brazilian elders with us too: 2 that understand everything and a 3rd who didn't understand a lick. He wants to learn English. We also had 3 or 4 ward members there that spoke English really well and the parents of some of the outgoing elders that had come to pick up their sons. If you want to come pick me up, you would be super welcome, but I think I`ll probably see you in the airport when I touch down. 
     All of the talks were great, but I (I think like everyone else) have a few favorites. The one that comes to mind right now is about our 4 minute Olympic performance. Being, our 4 minutes (perspectively) here on earth. That puts it in eternal perspective. Isn't having a prophet and 12 apostles just the greatest? I agree with Katie, it is truly a deep joy we feel for those who share the blessings of the fullness of the gospel with us. 

We have this adorable elderly woman we have been teaching for about 2 months now. She loves us bunches and thinks the gospel will bring her happiness (I think the same thing!), but she does not come to church. I think she gets ready, but just cant convince herself to leave the house. We decided to stop teaching her once or twice, but every time we do she appears again and wants to learn. She just doesn't want to stop learning. Hopefully she will being to progress now.

I think that covers most of it. Just so you know, I loved all of your letters. I'm excited for Alena to graduate! I know its a bit early, but I can't help it. I love you tons wonderful family of mine.

Sister Hoggan


Monday, March 31, 2014

Mr. Darci and Mr. Bennett are Brasilian.

Dear Mom and Dad,
     I spent awhile writing a couple of my siblings today, they are great. I love them a lot. What is Nic doing in Newfoundland? I really like the pictures, but what is he doing way up there? Some snow would be nice though (just saying). Shoes don't tend to last so long down here because the sidewalk melts the soles and they wear out really fast. I bought new shoes twice; they just don't last, not even a month, not even nice shoes. I think what I have will last a few more months though. 
    This week we started mission choir practice. Our mission choir director, Elder Ruberson, listened to lots of people sing last week and we are now in 24 preparing for a Restoration-ish fireside. Among the music we have "Consider the Lilies of the Field" and "O Divine Redeemer." All of the music is, of course, in Portuguese. At least one piece they couldn't find in Portuguese, so one of the office elders translated it. We started this morning about 9 and are singing until 6. We have 4 p-days to prep. Here in about 3 months or so we are going to sing for the stakes of Ribeirao Preto. It should be great.
    Debora was confirmed this week! I just love watching people make covenants with Heavenly Father; its just such a tender experience. Tiago was confirmed too. We sang `Daughter of a King`with Debora in Sacrament Meeting the same day. Tiago commented afterward...she is new and already sharing her talents. He was handing us photos he took at his baptism. He is an awesome photographer. Alena, you probably would love to see his pictures. Ok, so my time just ended and I didn't even notice. I have to go, but I love you both a Brazilian.
    Have a great week and keep up the great work sharing the gospel. Quick idea, something we do here is that we have Family Home Evening in members' homes. We bring a friend, volunteer to share a thought or to bring dessert, and the member family does the other parts. Its pretty awesome. We have lessons with members and members meet our investigators without having to leave their home. Just a thought.
 
Love you, 
Sister Hoggan

Monday, March 24, 2014

B...b...b...b...baptism!

Dear Mom and Dad,
     That's right, I hit my year mark this week. Quinta feira...whatever day of the week that is in English. I think it means Thursday, but you stop thinking about the days of the week having real names when you only call them by number for so long. But yep, a year...eeek! My departure date is set for September 15, just in case you wanted to know. That's when the next transfer starts. 
     We had a baptism this week! Our friend Debora was baptized yesterday, juntos com nosso outro amigo Tiago [together with our other friend James]. We had a double baptism with the elders and it was AWESOME. You work and work and work to help people prepare for baptism. You just want them to understand that you feel so amazing when you get baptized by priesthood authority...please just read and pray about what we say. If people only understood how great the blessings of the gospel are from the beginning, more people would chase after it. But, that is part of agency and part of the process. We have to let them find it for themselves. 
     Her husband was able to watch her be baptized. It was the first time he had entered into one of our chapels. It was really special. Really, really special. The elder who baptized Tiago is now serving in another area (he was from the companionship to first find Tiago) and actually taught Debora while he was here too. He had no idea that she too was going to get baptized. What a wonderful surprise it was. It was truly a tender experience. When he complimented us on our special musical number at the end, I asked if we were going to sing at his baptism too...? I think I caught him off guard. But that's ok.  
     That was the highlight of my week. Just so you know, I love you both a ton and am glad that you are having a great time back in California. 

Com um grande abraço, 
Sister Hoggan

Monday, March 17, 2014

God tries those who try

Dear Mom and Dad,
     The office elders sent me an e-mail asking for my information so they can buy my plane ticket home...6 months and I'm back eek. They like to tease me about having to send in my information to go home, but one elder teasing me is finishing in about 3 weeks so he can't laugh at me too much. Man, watching someone you work with be so close to the end is strange. 
     Just so you all know, I did by myself some Brazilian shoes, so I can walk again. I actually have had to buy shoes twice now. Brazilian dress shoes aren't quite as good for walking, but that's ok. I bought red shoes with red bows...I click them together and say there is no place like home. Actually I don't, but I do feel like Dorothy. 
     I don't know about you, but I am beyond stoked for General Conference. Can it come any faster? It seriously is like Christmas...and this time the stake center is in my area so it will be easier to coordinate watching it in English. [For those of you who would like to check out General Conference, it will be broadcast live on April 5th and 6th at LDS.org.]
     We were suppose to have the baptism of our friend Debora here this week, but her husband needs a day off so he can watch her be baptized and he finds out super last minute when he gets time off. We called her Sunday morning and she told us it would have to wait another week. Que triste! We had even made brownies for her baptism. First time I've made brownies in Brasil...its ok though, we were troopers and ate them for her. We gave her husband a Book of Mormon this week too. He believes that we want the best for his family and that we are called to preach the word, but he has lots of questions that he asks her but not us. He won't sit down and talk to us because he is always working, so we wrote our testimonies in the front of a Book of Mormon and left it open on his treadmill (his wife said it is a guarantee he would find it there). He thanked us for it later, I sure hope he reads it. It really is the only way you are going to know if its true, you have to read it (just like any other book) and then ask God (because its his book) if it is true. Its a guaranteed response too. I love the Book of Mormon and I'm currently reading it for the first time all the way through in Portuguese....other than the Isaiah chapters it is pretty simply written. Even without natively speaking the language I understand 95% of the words.
      I am really glad my memory card got to you, I was starting to get nervous about that it. I said a prayer that it would get to you this week, and God responded pretty fast. I love you so much. Dad, you are the best member missionary I have ever known. High five. Have a great week!

Muito amor, 
Sister Hoggan
The sister missionaries in my zone.
 

Missionary shoes that have fought the good fight. 
 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Fastest email ever

     Fastest email ever. This week was incredible. Our ward Relief Society President came home from traveling and decided she wanted to visit every single sister on our ward list. We are hopefully going on divisions with her this week. My companion from the MTC is arriving tomorrow and will be living at my house. We had 8 people at church this week (I was so happy I almost cried). Two teenage girls we are teaching decided they want to wear skirts too. Yay! That means they want to keep coming to church!
    We are going to have a baptism this week. Our friend Debora is going to be baptized this weekend and the elders are going to have a baptism next week. We got a reference for a teenage girl who wanted to come to church. We arrived at her house not knowing what to expect....my companion recognized her as someone who she had taught once and never been able to return to teach her. This young girl told us about she prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true and got a really, really special answer. Really special. The Lord is blessing us so much. Missions are purifying kilns, put they are also full of such joy. 
     Thank you so much Mom for sharing about the virtue scarf with me. Can you give Sister Olsen a hug for me the next time you see her?

I love you both!
Sister Hoggan

P.S. Did Mom's birthday envelope ever get there?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Hello Baby... He said something!

March 3, 2014

Hello Wonderfully Enlarged Family of Mine,
     I was the happy recipient of many photos of my nephew Broderick today...I got lots from Ben and a few of the hospital from you. Ben and Monica are blessed with beautiful kids. Congratulations! I have been telling everyone in this city `Meu sobrinho vai nascer essa semana` ['My nephew is going to be born this week'] or `Ele vai nascer em 2 dias` ['He is going to be born in 2 weeks']. He is going to be really handsome. Just saying. 
      This week we were in a trio with Sister Rodrigues, and we will continue working with her until next Monday, and her companion along with the rest of my MTC district arrives in Brasil. We have been getting along really well as a trio and so far the work has been great. This week Carnival began....everything is closed. The shops close, school closes, etc. Everything closes and the people have about 5 days off. Basically its just a huge party. Closer to Rio de Janeiro (pronounced Hio, not Rio) and other large cities, the parties get bigger, but so far here its been pretty tranquilo here. I think mostly, people are just glad to not be working. 
    By the way, Mom, how was your birthday? Did you receive the envelope I sent you with lots of photos. I took a huge risk with that envelope, so if you could tell me if it got to you that would be great. I guess we can say that you got Brody for your birthday, which must have been the greatest present of all. 
     This week we had lots of people come to church with us which was great. I was pretty excited. A mom and her daughters, along with another woman we are teaching and her daughter...they seemed to have liked it which made me happy. 
     Eu sei que o evangelho de Jesus Cristo esta na terra e realmente tem tudo. Tem um profeta, tem 12 apóstolos, tem poder, tem tudo, e sou grata que tenho esse conhecimento. Parabems Papai por compartilhando o evangelho com todas as pessoas. Voce e um otimo exemplo para me. Amo voces! [I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is on the earth and that it really has ever everything. It has a prophet, it has 12 apostles, it has power, it has everything, and I am grateful to know this. Congratulations Dad for sharing the gospel with others. You are a great example to me. I love you!]

Sister Hoggan

P.S. Hi Brody!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Count your many blessings, name them 2 by 2...and it will suprise you what the Lord can do

Hi Mom and Dad!
     This week was the week of miracles! We made a street contact a few weeks back that neither my companion or I thought would come out to anything, but this week it did and it was a blessing from my Heavenly Father. The woman we talked to apparently felt, after we left, that she really did need our message and really wanted to talk to us. She tried to chase us down but we had already disappeared. She called people trying to find out how to get us back. She got a hold of us and back we went. We taught her and then came back a few days later and taught her whole family about the Restoration. She has 2 teenage daughters and one that is almost teenage.Eeek, that's a lot of teenage girls in one place! It was truly a special experience. Heavenly Father blessed us with a miracle and I knew that I had been in the right place at the right time. It was truly a tender experience to be in their home. 
    We had transfers this week. Sister Marchant and I were really nervous because we don't want to get separated. And we are...going to stay together! I am so happy about this! We have lots of sister sleeping at our house tonight because the new missionaries get here tomorrow. We are receiving another dupla (companionship) to work in our area. 3 duplas here, its going to be great! One of the new sisters is Sister Rodrigues--she's Brasilian, and wonderful. The other is a secret for now until she gets here....actually, I already know who it is. Shhhh. They will make a great team.
     You should have gotten lots of emails with lots of photos this week. I hope they all came through. Parabems to Grant and David for making it home alive. You two are great.

I love you lots! Congratulations for Stake Conference, it sounds like a whirlwind of an adventure.

Sister Hoggan
 
Missionary action figures!

Playing "Ninja"

Sister Hoggan (L) and Sister Marchant (R)

Housemates

The Transfer Board in the mission office
 

Monday, February 17, 2014

She`s from Argentina....she`s from another planet.

Mom and Dad, 

So I am trying to send you photos again and the computer is being difficult. I hope you got at least one though...it looked like it sent before the problems started.
     Yesterday was, well, interesting. We had been fasting to have investigators at church because people seem to have such a hard time with that. Especially because it is at 9 in the morning, that is really early for many people here. Anyway, there were 5 visitors at church; the only catch is that we didn`t invite any of them.... I only knew who was one of them was. But it was still an answer to my prayer. 
      Yesterday was also the day for getting hit on. Yay! My companion and I stopped to talk with 2 men in the street. One started talking to my companion and he was interested in learning more about the church. I shook the other man`s hand and he kept trying to hold on! He even tried to put my hand to his face. I nudged my companion like 6 times to go. But the other man was so interested in our message. Finally I was just like "Sister, if you are going to grab his address you have to do it now... and a lot faster." She did and we walked away. The man I talked to kept trying to say lots of nice things to me about beauty and virtue, etc. We talked to another man on the way home last night who noticed that I had the last 3 bites of an apple I was eating in my hand. He asked if he could have some. Um, I slobbered all over it... But he still wanted the apple. He reached up, grabbed it, took just a nibble, and handed it back. We said good bye as fast as possible. What a day!
      Other than that part, this week was great. The members in this area make extra-delicious food, we are really blessed. We had family night at the bishop`s house and invited all of the recent converts in our ward. It was a lot of fun. We also found this guy in the street, about 25 years old, who spoke almost fluent English, just with a Portuguese accent. He wanted to practice his English, and we let him. We even invited him to hear about the gospel in English. It was a tender experience inviting someone to hear about the gospel in MY own language. I started tearing up. 
       Three of the people from my MTC district arrive next week including my companion from the MTC (finally da certo, yay!). They will have 2 weeks of Portuguese lessons in the Sao Paulo MTC because they only have 7 months left on the mission and are just now arriving. 
     I loved the photos, you all are looking great. Alena, you are a doll. I love you all lots and lots and lots. Have a great week and keep looking for opportunities to share the gospel. And keep me updated with Monica, 2 weeks, really?

Sister Hoggan

P.S. Dad, the elder you met that speaks Spanish is actually Hispanic, which is why he speaks so well. He spent only 12 days in the MTC. I served on Get Connected Council with him along with the other girl you met a few weeks ago, Megan. I'm glad you got to meet my friend Jared (i.e. Elder Lopez Currasco).
Sister Marchant (L), Sister Hoggan (R), and friends

Sister Marchant and Sister Missionary action figures!

Sister Hoggan with Star fruit.

Sister Hoggan and Sister Marchant with (part) of a loaf of chocotone. Chocotone is like the sweetbread, pantone, but with bits of chocolate instead of bits of candied fruit. There would be more bread to see if they hadn't EATEN so much of it!