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