Tuesday, February 22, 2011

An update on my life

Well, I guess it's been a while since I've posted on my blog. My mom's been taking really good care of it and documenting my life pretty well while I was on my mission. I'm so grateful for her. Well, since I came home early from my mission for health reasons I have been pretty active. I have applied for BYUs spring semester and applied for a job at Key Bank as a bank teller. I hope to find out if I will get the job and be accepted for school within the next week or so. I really hope it all falls into place. It's nice to relax and do what my mission president told me to do, but I'm ready to get out and start doing things again. It's time to start to live life! I've got a lot of plans and a lot of good things that are going to happen in my life and it fun to think about all the possibilities that are in the near future.

Medically I have nearly recuperated all the way. When I got back from my mission I gained 35 pounds in about a month and have felt myself be able to relax more. Things are going really well and I guess the purpose of this post was to let everyone know that I am doing well and that life is about to pick up speed again.

I am going to New York in a week and a half with my little brother and my dad; that is going to be fun. I should definitely post pictures and write about that experience. So basically to wrap things up I'll say; look out life, here I come!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010 New Companion: Elder Galcia from Peru

Dear Family,

This week was absolutely incredible. At the first of the week my companion Elder Hunter left and I got my second Latino companion named Elder Galicia. He is from Peru and is crazy. I love him! We are having a good time in Pocito and I am learning a lot from him. This week we have been working a lot to get to know the area and getting to know each other. I have been learning a lot this week. Really I have been learning a lot about being calm, relaxed and being yourself. We had a stake conference on Sunday in the which President Lindahl spoke. He bore strong testimony of the atonement of Jesus Christ and the power that it has in our individual lives.

I learned what it is like to have integrity. The stake president said something about integreity that I thought was very interesting. He said that integrity is being able to live with yourself at the end of the day with decisions that you make. Integreity is a personal commitment to do what we know is right and to adhere to certain principles and guidelines.

It`s so fun to be here on the mission and I look forward to speaking to all of you at Christmas. Until next week,

Love, Ben

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010 Ben can make adobe bricks now!! Way to go Ben!!

Sweet Bruise from running to the bus stop!!

Elder Hunter making Adobe Bricks!!

Ben making adobe bricks!

Ben, Elder Hunter, and Gloria
at her baptism! The mother of
Juan Carlos.

Hi Family!

It was good to hear from those who wrote me this week. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers, I really feel them and they help me to push on and do my best.

This week Umberto has been a little bit difficult to get a hold of and we have not got a hold of mi nueva amiga either. But we`re working hard and having fun out here in Pocito.

This past Saturday morning we got the chance to go make adobe bricks to help out a less active family in the ward. It was fun, as i have never had the chance to make adobe bricks before. It was interesting as they make these bricks to sell to make a living. The father has had back problems lately and the son had a injured foot when we got there to help so I was grateful for the opportunity to help them.

We had interviews with President this week as well as training from the assistants that has really helped me perfect my goal-setting techniques. It`s helped me focus my efforts and use my time more effectively. It was also really good to have an interview with President as it seems like every time I leave his office after interviews I leave the office with a new vision of things and a new way of coping with the problems (we like to call them opportunities) that we face every day. President is a man with a lot of wisdom and I feel blessed to have the association that I have had with him.

I`m still learning a lot about not pushing people and letting people have their agency. I know it`s a big principle to learn because we want so much for others to have happiness, but the truth of the matter is that no one can have happiness unless they choose to do so. I may have a million dollars the nicest car in the world and the biggest mansion in the world, but I may not have happiness because I don`t look for it. It really is a personal choice for each and every one of us.

Transfers are this week. I am staying in Pocito and Elder Hunter is leaving, I don`t know who I will be getting as a companion. We will see in a couple of hours.

I love all of you and at this Christmas time, take time to reflect on the Savior and all He has done for you in your life. I know He has affected me in more ways than I will be able to count. Have a wonderful day and I`ll talk to you in 19 days! Here are a few pictures for your enjoyment.

Love, Elder Hoglund

P.S. One picture is of a sweet bruise I acquired when me and my companion were running to catch a bus 2 weeks ago and I tripped and fell. It would be nice to have a movie of that wouldn’t it? :)

One of the pictures is of Elder Hunter, Gloria, and I at her baptism.

The other pictures are of us working in the mud making the adobe bricks.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010 Finding A New Friend

Dear Family,

This week was a week of miracles. Sorry I`ll have to cut this so short, but I have learned a lot this week. One short experience that I want to share with the family. We went to the brother of an inactive member named Umberto. We originally were going to ask him for permission so that his twelve-year old daughter could get baptized, but we decided that it should be our focus to invite him to come unto Christ and invite him to be baptized. Now we are looking at the possibility of inviting the whole family to be baptized. He was very receptive and we`re excited to keep working with him this week. I know that the Lord works through small and simple means to realize his grand and eternal purposes that we sometimes do not understand.

We`re working with the Torrez Family that we found this week who is an incredibly happy family that is happy to receive the missionaries. We`ll see how they progress this week and let you know this week.

This week Elder Hunter and I had an experience with finding a "New Friend." We were standing outside someone`s door and I turned to Elder Hunter and said "Elder Hunter I want a new friend." We knocked on the door and sure enough Etelvina was there to be my new friend. We talked for about 15 minutes and set a date for us to come back and share more. I know that the gospel is all about making friends and teaching us how to live peacefully one with another. It was fun to gain a "New Friend." We`ll see how she progresses this week.

I love you all! Thanks for all your e-mails and support! Keep up the good work!

Love, Ben

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday, Nov. 22, 2010 Finding Mom's look-a-like!

Hi Family,

Wow, this week was one of the weeks in which I learned the most in my whole mission (it seems like every day is like that). But before I start telling you about the week, let me tell you about a miracle that happened today. My companion and I were in the busy bus terminal in Mendoza talking to some people and out of the corner of my eye I watched a lady eyeing us as I was talking to a family. We commenced to talk to the next family and while I was talking to this family the lady came behind me and started asking my companion questions. I was a little nervous for him because he only has two months in the mission and this lady obviously wanted to talk for some time. I finished my conversation and moved over to talk to this lady. It turns out that she`s been traveling in the United States, Canada, and Brazil for the last year and a half “looking for Jesus.” She has spent the last 5 months in a monastery in Brazil (she`s from Colombia by the way, I keep having miracle experiences with people from Colombia. Dad I don`t know how it was on your mission but if half the Colombians are like the Colombians that I`ve had the chance to get to know on the mission, you probably had a lot of people to teach.) but decided to leave after she felt that what she was doing there wasn’t the truth. She was just heading to a friend of hers that lives in San Rafael (about 3 hours south of Mendoza) and had just missed her bus and ran into us. About 30 minutes later, my companion and I had explained the whole first lesson to her and gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon and a Restoration brochure. She is going to read it and get in contact with the missionaries down in San Rafael. The Lord really is preparing people and this lady is one of the most prepared people I have met in my whole mission. It was incredible to hear that story and I pray that the Elders find her in San Rafael. She needs the gospel.

We had the baptism of Gloria on Saturday (photos not included due to USB damage on this computer… possibly next week…anyway…) and she was so excited to get baptized. She reminds me of mom a little bit. Yes mom, I know she is Bolivian but your skin is very dark and her hair is roughly the same color as yours. We had a little experience after her confirmation (I got to do the confirmation again, that was special) in sacrament meeting that was a little exciting. We needed her signature on her baptismal record because she and her son Juan Carlos were going to another part of San Juan for about a month to work and they were leaving right after sacrament meeting. So sacrament meeting ended and what to my surprise, Gloria is nowhere to be found. I asked where she was and someone said they saw her get into a truck with her belongings and had already left. My heart nearly stopped right there. If we don’t send in the baptismal and confirmation records it’s like she didn’t even get baptized. So we asked a member for a ride and he gave us a ride to Gloria`s house where we found the house in an uproar because everyone was leaving. We ended up getting the information that we needed and said our goodbyes to the people there. I will most likely see them in about a month, but it was probably Elder Hunter`s last time seeing them. Anyway, it was exciting, like I said.

I love all of you and I know the church is true. We`re working to find more people that want to change their lives and I`m learning more and more every day that I cannot force people to change, but that people need to want to change. We all have our agency for a reason. It`s what the war in heaven was over and the war continues on down here. May we all make the wise decision and choose to give our agency to the Lord. Take care everyone!

Chau, Elder Hoglund

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010 Biking in Pocito.

Argentine Soccer jerseys

with Elder Hunter

"The Pose" Hiking with Elder Hunter

Awesome Baptism with
Juana Jorquera,
Dina Archilla, and
Juan Carlos!

Hi Family
I am excited to write you all about this week. This week was possibly on of the craziest that I had in my entire mission. I`ll tell you what happened. I`ll send more Photos next week. The Branch President has my camera. I lent it out to him so he could take some pictures.

Tuesday was one of the craziest days in my entire life. We wee working with my Zone Leader, Elder Ruiz in my area going around with the Branch President and visiting the members. With Elder Ruiz earlier in the day we had the chance to go visit Raul and Analia who by chance (definitely not) are acquainted with Juana Jorquera who was just recently baptized last Saturday. Raul was a reference from another member, but we found out when we got there that he is the nephew of Juana. They were both excited to accept us and accepted a baptismal date. They didn`t make it to church so we`ll keep working and progressing with that. We`ll see what happens this week.

This week I`ve really learned that the Lord is preparing people everywhere to listen to his message. On the way back form district meeting in the bus I talked to a lady who was interested in getting baptized on the 4th of December. She read the whole Restoration Brochure in front of my face and I tried to give her a Book of Mormon in the end, but she gave it back to me and said “no, this first (referring to the restoration pamphlet), then that later. I didn`t have anything to argue with when she said that! It was wonderful. You just never know where and how the Lord will be preparing people to receive his message; I just know that he is.

The Zone Leaders came out to our area twice this week to help us out with the number of investigators that we have. The Lord is blessing us a ton. We`re running everywhere on tour bikes and having a wonderful time out here in Pocito.

We`ve been working a lot with Gloria (the mother of Juan Carlos who was just baptized this last weekend) She is scheduled to get baptized and confirmed this Saturday, we just need to teach her. We also had another man come to church this week named Santiago. He was a man that we invited off the street to come to church and we said we could help him find rent. He had just come from Salta, Argentina and was wandering the streets looking for rent. He showed up to the church the next day and it ended up that we were able to help him find some rent and help everything work out. We have an appointment with him later this week, I just pray that he has real desire. This week we had a lot of investigators fall through and not make it to church. So that`s the sad news, but we`ll work this week and prepare the investigators we have to make and keep their commitments.

It`s been a great week. Love you all so much! Make it great week! ¡Chau!

Love, Elder Hoglund

P.S. Elder Hunter and I. I didn`t know that Brandon went to Peru with Elder Hunter`s brother. How neat is that!?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010 Tracking in a Tornado?

Hi Family!

Ok, so now that I have the month right, let’s get down to business.

This week we had the opportunity to prepare all week for the baptisms of Juana Jorquera, Dina Archilla and Juan Carlos. I will send pictures next week as this week I do not have my camera cord. It was awesome! The branch building was in an uproar as we tried to get everyone baptized. Elder Hunter and I were at the church building until about 10:00 that night draining the water out of the baptismal font. I also got to do the confirmation of Juan Carlos the following day in front of everyone in the sacrament meeting. It was the first time I had done a convert confirmation and it was a special experience.

Juan Carlos is a chico of 19 años who is trying to change his life. He lives a simple life and his brother Diego got baptized a few weeks ago. I really hope they both go on missions.

Juana Jorquera is a lady of 60 years mas o menos who is just incredible. She has been living in the building of another church and has been taking care of this building for quite a few years. She takes care of the building and I think in place of pay they give her a place to stay. She wants to leave because of some things that happened in the church. She is also so dedicated to the gospel. We were teaching her all this week. And she is just so ready to accept the gospel. The first time we taught her she wanted us to know that she was going to be a loyal tithing and fast offering payer. She is so dedicated to the gospel and in the short span of 2 or 3 weeks that we know her I have already begun to see the great change happening in her heart. She came over to me after her confirmation in sacrament meeting and gave me a double beso (a kiss on each side of the cheek, it’s the common Argentine greeting here, but I felt it meant a whole lot more). She was definitely prepared to receive the restored gospel.

Diana is a chica of 10 años and the majority of her family is inactive. Her parents have been inactive for a long time and her brothers and sisters go every now and again. But we were able to pass by and teach the family and we hope her baptism reactivates the family. We’ll be passing by this week and teaching and we`ll see what happens.

This week was incredible! We had he opportunity to go work in a Zonda yesterday afternoon. Do you remember when I was telling you about the Zondas in Colonia Bombal. Well the one we had yesterday was about the same as the one we had in Colonia Bombal about this time last year. We were in another area working and Elder Bills and I (he plays football for BYU, you’ll see him when he gets back) got the chance to work in a tornado. The wind was so strong and there was dust everywhere and no one in the street. It was pretty bad, but we had a good time and learned a lot from it. No pictures, sorry.

I love you all my family! I hope you have a good week!

Love, Elder Hoglund