This is the view from the upper window of Ben's pench.
It's nice and cozy.
When it rains it doesn't rain directly on Ben,
it drips just off to the side
of his bed and there is a little bucket there to catch the drops. :)
This picture is at the Baptism of Elias. Here we have good ol`Elias, his girlfriend and the mom of his girlfriend.
Dear Family and Friends,
Going back to Colonia Bombal to baptize Elias was quite the experience! It was so fun to see him all dressed in white and know the baptism is a new beginning. That he is clean of his sins and that he is at peace. Just looking at how happy his is in this photo says a whole lot more than I can describe. Anyway, the trip was really tiring, but well worth it, something I will never forget.
Ok ,to answer some questions, I have only received one package of spicey crackers up until now but this question that mom sent me makes me think I will be receiving more which really brightens up the day! I have not gotten the pictures yet...to answer the question if I am saving the spicey crackers for Christmas....well, they are already gone. My missionary friends and I decided to eat them...I actually finished off the bag this afternoon in a bowl of cereal...what a GREAT treat! Thanks so much! My missionary friends loved the little spicey crackers, which I thought was great. Most times people think I`m pretty strange for eating them...I don`t blame them really, but it was fun to see that they liked them.
This week has been absolutly incredible. My Spanish is coming along so well with the Latin Companion. My accent is improving and I am able to Speak and understand much more quickly. Understanding others is stillthe hardest thing for me to do but I know that it will come along with Practice.
This week we spent a lot of time verfying contacts and having them not be there or them telling us to come back another time. We were trying as well to contact our progressing investigators this week too but a lot was falling through. If there is one thing I have learned on the mision is that when things get hard, it`s time to get excited because with a little more hard work there is a blessing lying just around the corner. This definitely happened. When I was in Colonia Bombal on Sunday, my companion went out with another missionary and there were three people that made it to church!! Maria...who is going to get baptized the 26th of this month. David...her 14 year old son with a mind as sharp as a tac, and Camila, a little 10 year old girl who has been coming to church with another member family because her parents are inactive. Blessings come, we just need to keep working hard.
Christmas is fast approaching and here it just keeps getting hotter. The first official day of Summer is, I think, the 21st of December. It is a little different to see the Christmas trees and the plastic Santa Claus in front of store in all of his snow gear when it`s not exactly the climate for that kind of stuff.
I have dropped a little weight in this area. I think it`s because I am controling how much I eat...ok, I haven`t done so well in the past two days, but we`ll get better....and my companion and I are trying to go running every morning. Throw in some ab workouts and hopefully things turn out all right.
I love you all, I`ll write next week! Talk to you all soon!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
This is the view from the upper window of Ben's pench.
Posted by Ben at 4:26 PM
Sunday, December 13, 2009
My Dear Family and friends,
I number one, feel blessed beyond measure to have a family that loves me as much as you all do. I never will be able to thank my Heavenly Father enough for giving me a family where there is so much love. I…really am speechless. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TIFF!!! Way to be born!
I`ll just keep on writing. So yesterday we had Zone Conference and it was incredible! We learned about having companionship unity and I am excited to apply that in my companionship in our work in Pacifico.
I am getting used to my new area still, and I absolutely love it. The ward mission leader here is 21 (we just celebrated his birthday) and is SO willing to help us. The members are incredible! I really don`t know where to start. I have tons of things on my to-do list that I want to do…wow this week has flown by! It really seems like yesterday that I was e-mailing everyone.
Hey, AMAZING news, I am going to be able to make the trip back to Colonia Bombal this Sunday and baptize Elias! I asked President today and he gave me permission to make the trip. I am so excited and I WILL send pictures and let you know how it goes.
So this week it rained here for the first time in about 11 months and boy did it rain!! I was just about to go to sleep and I heard the sound of dripping water next to my bed, the roof was crying because it was raining so hard. So we put a bucket and some rags next to the bed and that took care of tha!! No worries!!
Oh, and I got the package of Spicy Crackers this week!!! Thank you so much!!! Oh man I am excited to eat those!!
Ok, so I need to go, I am so sorry this was such a scattered e-mail, but I love the work and miracles are happening here. Spanish is coming along very rapidly and I am going to work very hard in this next little while to the get Spanish down, get the accent down and be able to speak like a native. I really want that and I know it can happen. I love you all! Thank you all again for the thoughts and prayers!
Posted by Ben at 4:49 PM
Friday, December 4, 2009
Transfer to the Province of San Rafael! New companion: Elder Ramirez from Cali, Colombia November 30, 2009
I am so sorry I did not write to everyone last week. I had a mix up with the internet and only had about half the time I normally have to write and it ended up just not working out. I am so sorry.
These last two weeks have been quite the blur. Getting transfered to a new area, getting a new native companion, moving to a pench with 4 Elders in it. Quite the experience, and I am loving it! Having a Latin companion has already helped me improve my Spanish a ton. I learn new words and phrases every day and my mind is getting more accustomed to hearing the Spanish and I don`t get lost near as often now. It is a huge blessing to have this opportunity and I want to learn as much from it as I possibly can.
An experience ihad (I wrote it like that the first time I wrote it, then I corrected it, then I decided to leave it like that because it lookds like iPod) right before I left Colonia Bombal was incredible. Elias is an investigator we have been working with the whole time I had been in Colonia Bombal. About a week and a half before I left, we left a challenge with him and the Familia Chapana to read a little section, a little part of the Book of Mormon, every single day that week and after each time to pray and ask Heavenly Father if the Book of Mormon was true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet. We told them that we were going to do the challenge as well and come back in a week and see how it went. We wrote them little reminder notes and everything. We came back the following week and I asked Elias how it went, he said that he hd been reading in the mornings before he went to work (he works a ton, this was defnitely a sacrifice and an act of faith for him). He said that he felt good about it. I asked him about if he wanted to get baptized and he he feels like he needs to but was still unsure. I asked him if he believed that God could answer his prayers right there and right then. He said yes, we both and everyone really believed that God could answer his prayer right then and there. So we all kneeled down and Elias prayed to know if he should get baptized and then we waited on our knees for about a minute to wait for the answer to come. After we had sat ourselves down again I asked him how he felt. He started to cry and said that he knew he had recieved an answer. He was praying with real intent, and really wanted to know if he should get baptized and if these things were true and he got his answer. We were all very emtional and I asked him if he wanted to get baptized the 12th of December. He said yes.
This is a miracle!! Things like this don`t just happen. He is not the only person that week who we kneeled down with together and people got their answers. We did this two other times and each time they recieved their answer. It was a week of miracles. Absolute miracles and I testify of that.
Elias wanted me to come back and baptize him and I would absolutely love that! He is one of my most beloved friends, but I don`think that distances being what they are it would be doable. I live about 5 hours away in a bus from him now. Oh, if I could recieve permission I would LOVE to go back and baptize him on that day. But the thing that is most important is that he is getting baptized and I absolutely love that!!
The bus ride to my new area was long but it was on a DOUBLE DECKER bus and was way fun! I am now in an area called General Alvear in the Province of San Rafael I think. The area is called Pacifico. My companion is Elder Ramirez from Cali, Colombia. I don`t know if that is where you served your mission Dad but it`s way awesome to be a companion from the land where Dad left his tracks. This area is MUCH different than Colonia Bombal. My eyes were a little opened when I got here to how campo Colonia Bombal was. I`ll definitely be sending some photos, but its a whole lot smaller and we share the area with the Hermana`s. We are doing English classes every day during the Siesta in our church with the Hermana`s so our companions can learn English a little better.
We are in a district of 6. Elder Ramirez (Colombia) and I (Good ol`Lindon, Utah), Elder Mendoza (Honduras), Elder George (Portland) who is in just his second transfer), Hermana White (Utah), and Hermana Arrierez (I think).
Anyway, I`ll send this e-mail, then some pictures, then another e-mail if I have time. But I love you all and cannot wait until Christmas so I can talk to all of you. The work is going so well here and I absolutely love you all!!!!! Brady...I am so happy to see how you are playing! Keep working hard! I absolutey admire your hard work and dedication! Stay focused and remember your brother is really praying for your success.
P.S. For Preparation Day we had an Asado, a big Argentine thing. If you like eating tons of meat with lots of juice and fat, this is the thing for you. So, I really don't like it. It tastes really good, but I really do not like to eat that much fat. :) So, Bye for now!
Dear Family and Friends,
Sorry I don`t have tons of time, this computer started acting up and cut my time pretty short, but I`ll do what I can. Thanks so much for the updates of what`s going on. I`ll try to fill you all in on what`s going on.
We finally found out why Luis and Estella had been avoiding us. Maybe it was our Spanish, or maybe it was just Satan working WAY overtime, but somehow, Luis thought that tithing was 10% of our income annually PLUS an additional 50% of your income. Wow! Now we would have some pretty nice chapels if that were the case! Anyway, so we fixed that problem and they should progress a lot this coming week.
We went to Elias` birthday party yesterday. He turned 21 and we did a challenge with him...Daniel Chincha (remember the recent convert...he`s so incredible!) and the Familia Chapana who has been helping us our a TON with them that everyday they have to read a part of the Book of Mormon and then after reading their part pray to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet and if the Book of Mormon is a true book. We made little reminder notes for everyone and everything. They are all going to get answers if they ask with real intent, and have faith in Christ. I felt so good about giving this challenge to everyone and I am so excited to see how it all turns out!
I love you all take care. :)
Love, Elder Hoglund
Posted by Ben at 8:03 PM
Sunday, November 15, 2009
So our bikes are broken, but not to worry, we have some members that know exactly what to do. They took our wheels to get them fixed and we should have them up and going by tomorrow.
As for what happened this week. We had an incredible lesson with Elias yesterday. It was such an incredible experience. I`ll try to set it up a bit. So Elder Boyd and I had one of those days. Nearly everything we had planned fell through and Luis and Estella got cold feet and have started avoiding us. We were laughing our heads off because it was so obvious that Satan was out and working hard to get them to not want to go forward with the lessons. I know it will work out, we`ll just keep working hard having a good attitude and being obedient and things will turn out. The Lord is in charge! Anyway, so we were walking back to our pench when we run into Elias randomly (definitely not random). He tells us that he`s been studying and everything and gave us some hours when he was available. That was such a blessing from the Lord. We had a great lesson with him yesterday. I now have a stronger testimony of the importance of prophets and the Book of Mormon. The Bible alone is so confusing. There are scriptures that contradict each other and I was so lost when Elias was showing us some scriptures in the Bible. Modern day prophets and the Book of Mormon keep things running how they should, it`s pretty incredible! Elias still feels that he needs to get baptized and after Elder Boyd and I sang a hymn and talked a little bit the Spirit was very strong. We were going to put a baptismal date with him but there was someone coming to the house and we got rushed out. It will happen soon, he is so incredible!
Maria came to church this Sunday to sacrament meeting with her 3 kids and Gino, her husband wanted so bad to come, but the patron (their boss) said he had to work in the fields on Sunday Morning. Satan at work. But he wants to come and that is incredible! We want to go work in the fields with him so he can come this Sunday! The way the thing with the fields works is that the family lives on the land and takes care of what is growing on the land. Their payment is roughly a place to live and about 30 percent of the income of the harvest...if that. It makes life pretty difficult because when their patron says work...they kind of have to work if they want somewhere to live. Please pray for them.
The Spanish is coming along, I found out I am leaving Colonia Bombal in about 2 and a half weeks, so there is that much time to make miracles happen here in Colonia Bombal. I love you all!! Until next week.
Posted by Ben at 3:35 PM
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Hi Friends and Family!!
I love the Money 33 license plate Brady! Feliz Cumpleanos y todo!
This week has been incredible. We had Zone Conference this Friday and so that means that we had Interviews with President Lindahl on Thursday. I really want to be like him. He is so loving and so giving. After interviews were over he was walking away from the chapel and turned around and asked us if we had time for ice cream. After doing that he pulled out 100 pesos and told us to go buy some ice cream. He is just so loving and caring and I want to learn a lot more from him so I can learn to be more Christlike.
It being Zone Conference I just got a HUGE load of letters! Tons of Dear Elders from Shalyn`s mom with Andrew Blackham`s weekly missionary letters and other letters. That was pretty fun to get. Please pass along a huge thank you to everyone who sent me letters. They are incredible!
We have been working with Luis and Estela this week. They were able to come and see a confirmation earlier this week and Elder Boyd said that he overheard Luis asking Estela if she wanted to get baptized...it`s definitely on their mind and this week the miracle will happen. A miracle already did happen. We had been fasting that they could be able to come to church and it turned out the Estela got a job this week that will allow both of them to come to church this upcoming week.
The appointment we had with Gino and Maria this week fell through but they are doing well. We are going to do an incredible lesson with them called Sr. Huevo and teach them about the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love how Elder Boyd taught me that object lesson. I will definitely show it all to you when I get back.
We had an incredible lesson with an investigator that has just kind of been there for the last little while. We haven`t focused a ton on him because of various reasons, but we had a lesson with him and his member girlfriend last night and he said that he has been feeling lately like he needs to get baptized and he really has questions and wants to know the truth. Elias is his name and he is incredible!
I was a little sick this week, but no biggie. I just needed a little recouperation and we`re good to go again. The Lord really does support us. When we have work to do and we want to do it, we can pray for strength and He will strengthen us so we can do His will. I have a stronger testimony of this because of this week.
I hope you all enjoyed Halloween, not much happened here, I think it`s more of an American holiday. Anyway I love you!! Take care Bye!
Posted by Ben at 11:07 AM
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Hi Friends and Family,
What else has happened...oh! We got permission to use BIKES! This is opening my mind because this area all of the sudden has so many more possibilities because of all we can do now! This is such a blessing to have bikes so we can have more citas and talk to more people and get to places that before were really hard to get to because they were so far.
We just had mother`s day this week in Argentina. It`s different down here than in the states. But anyway, it went well! There were a lot of people absent from church because they were visiting their moms and such but it was awesome.
So my companion is absolutely incredible! This week was my first full week with him and we are best friends! He works incredible hard, we talk to so many people during the day, and have confidence in the message of the gospel. I am learning that this good attitude works out really well. Just always have a good attitude about what is happening and you`re happy! I am also learning to have an obedient attitude as well. Just have a good attitude and an obedient attitude. But the work in Colonia Bombal is going so well. Opening the mouth is so awesome! I love talking to random people about whatever topic and then tying it back to the gospel and seeing if they want us to come over and teach them. It`s fun to talk to random people and get fun stories and teach about the gospel. I LOVE doing that! But Elder Boyd and I are working hard and it`s awesome!
Louis and Estela are progessing along. They are both eating up the Book of Mormon, they love it! We keep leaving reading assignments and Louis always reads them. Right now he only works on Saturday and Sunday so we fasted this week so he could find a job that would allow him and his spouse to come to church on Sundays. He really wants to come. We also invited him to play soccer with us with the ward on Friday night, he really wants to come and we will see how that goes. I want to pass by his house and go play with him so he can make some friends in the ward and not make going to church such an intimidating experience. This will be awesome.
We taught a lot of first lessons this week, so this week we will find a lot of people who are progressing. A random experience, we were just going along and opened the mouth with a woman in front of her house yesterday (confidently and happily) and she smiled back at us and invited us to come sit in the shade in front of her house. She goes in her house and comes back out with two glasses of pop and brings out some chairs for us. Elder Boyd and I looked at each other like...all right, I guess I can`t refuse that. After we got to know her a little we shared a quick first lesson because we had to go to another cita. But we will definitely be back.
Last night we also had an incredible visit with Gino and Maria...I talked about them a while ago, they needed to get married so Maria so could get baptized...she really wants to get baptized. But Gino doens`t want to get married. Not to worry though! We had an incredible Spiritual appointment with them and they are definitely going to get married and baptized soon. Elder Boyd was the Elder that needed to be here right now for that family. He shared some other stories from his mission and helped Gino to realized that they are pretty much married already (living together with 3 kids) and that marriage would pretty much be a signed paper and that`s it.
Elder Boyd is so awesome and I absolutely love when the Spirit tells us exactly what we need to do and say and what exactly we should not do and what we should not say. In this case, the Spirit was telling me to let Elder Boyd go for it because he was the Elder meant for that family! It`s so awesome!
Things are moving along, the work is moving along. It still hits me at random times that I am actually living in Argentina and speaking Spanish. I`ll be listening to people sometimes and it clicks in my mind that I am ACTUALLY speaking and listening in Spanish and my mind starts to have a spasm. It reminds me of when Peter was walking on the water. He walks on water (does something impossible for himself through relying on the Savior) and once he realizes what he is doing, he starts to doubt and starts to sink. I just need to always have the confidence that the Lord is helping me and have faith that with Him I CAN do this! With His help I CAN do this. It`s awesome and the Spanish is coming along.
I love you all! Take care everyone! Miracles WILL happen if you watch for them! Look for God`s hand in your life and you`ll find it.
With All my Love,
P.S. The Argentine bus system is awesome! It`s fun to be lost! :) I love it!
Posted by Ben at 12:01 PM
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I am so excited to write you this week and tell you what has been going on. It has been quite the exciting week. At the first of the week, we found out for sure that my trainer Elder Boudrero was leaving for San Luis and that I was going to be staying in Colonia Bombal. Needless to say, I was a little bit intimidated at first because that would mean that I would need to be doing most of the leading, guiding and communicating for the first little bit because I knew the area a little bit. This implies more communicating in Spanish. Let me tell you that who the Lord calls, he qualifies. I certainly did not feel qualified to stay in Colonia Bombal and be a leader there, but the Lord has blessed me so much. This week I have felt so much Heavenly help in my communicating and in everything I´ve been doing. I have learned to have a good attitude and an obedient attitude and this is bringing the confidence and faith that everything will work out. There have been two or three times this week where I have been giving a lesson and the Spirit has just taken over. I was speaking in Spanish very fluently and things just kept coming out. The Lord has blessed me so much this week with the communicating and understanding skills to do what He needs me to do. I know that the Lord is helping me...it´s been quite the incredible week.
Today for Dia de Preparacion, we got together as a Zone and played a little futbol and basketball. That was pretty fun. Afterwards we went and made tacos...that was also pretty fun, our Zone is incredible. People here play futbol SO well, it´s incredible. It´s fun to watch!! I occasionally try to get in on the fun.
My new companion Elder Boyd, is incredible! He came here to work and we are so excited to work here in Colonia Bombal together. He is from Atlanta Georgia, has a thick southern accent, and is so energetic, friendly, and the best worker. He is helping me to step up the work here in Colonia Bombal, he is such a wonderful Elder, and I sure do love him.
We had an incredible first lesson this week. We were walking in this new neighborhood that people have been living in for a little over a month or so and we ran into one of our less-active member friends talking with his friends. We went over to talk to them and ended up talking for quite a bit of time about what we do as missionaries. Luis, the member´s friend, really wanted us to come over to his house after we were done talking to him. So we set a return appointment for the following day and that night was one of the best first lessons ever! The Spirit was so strong, everything in the teaching flowed smoothly, the Spirit was directing, and Luis and his wife are very interested in the church. We left them some reading assignments and told them to read and pray. We had previously planned an activity with the less-active member family in which they were going to invite their other friend (not Luis, by the way, the less active member family is called the Familia Fredez) to watch a church movie with us. So we also invited Luis and Estrela (his wife) to the activity at the Familia Fredez´s house. They said they would read, pray, and come with us the following night.
When we came back the following day, they had both read, prayed, and were coming to the activity!!!! This is incredible! We went to the Familia Fredez´s house and watched The Testaments and afterwards had a good talk. Everything is going so well except for they weren´t able to make it to church the following day. We are going to work with them this week and get them to church. They are so incredible, Luis is so interested and wants to know...not only that, he wants to DO as well, his wife as well, but Luis especially. Oh...another bonus, they are married! This is so incredible and you will definitely be hearing how things are going there. I sure do love them.
I tried to make some Brownie, cookie things with some frosting in between for the lesson we had with the Familia Fredez...that was a scary cooking disaster. It ended up being edible, but I sure had quite the experience trying to add ingredients that the recepie did not call for to try to make it work. It was pretty funny! :)
I´m having some fun experiences trying to lead Elder Boyd around Colonia Bombal. I´ll admit that it´s difficult, but I am loving it! We´ve started having a little bit of Spanish study every day while everyone is taking their Siesta. I am understanding most people when it comes to speaking, it´s really fun to communicate with people and be able to speak their language. How fun!
The work is moving along, I am having tons of fun. I had a really good learning experience in which I learned to have a good attitude and an obedient attitude and I will never have a bad experience in the mission. I will definitley have difficult experiences, but they will never be bad because I will always be looking for the good and taking the good out of experiences. This was so helpful to me I hope it´s helpful to all of you. I love all of you so much! Take care until next week.
Posted by Ben at 9:35 AM
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
This is picture of the future missionaries in Ben's ward.
First babtisms for Ben. Daniel Chincha and Juana Zeballos.
Ben hiking in the Andes!
As for conference, we were able to listen in English in one room while everyone else listened in Spanish in the other rooms. It went so well and I absoluely loved it.
As for how we find people to teach. As part of the system the mission has set up we have what are called Open the Mouths. While we are on the sreet or while we are walking we will stop people and present our message and tell them we want to come by their house another day. If we can see they´re not busy right then, we´ll start teaching them right then and there. We find many people just by walking the streets, geting the contacts and coming back another day. I want to start working here with the members more. When we teach with the members things go so well. They help so much. The members here are incredible, I absolutely love them.
Thank you so much for the prayers and support I get from home. You will all never be able to feel how grateful I am for all of you and how much I love you.
Let´s talk about this week...I am so excited to send you pictures of the first baptisms I saw here in Argentina. The baptism happened on Saturday and went so well. Both Daniel Chincha and Juana Zeballos were so excited and happy to be baptized! They both love the gospel so much and are such good examples to me! The baptism happened on Saturday and then they were confirmed yesterday in church. Daniel said that he definitley felt the Spirit very strong. I´m so happy for him! When Juana came up out of the water she was laughing and so happy!
This week we have really been wrapping up the preparation for their baptism and contacting a lot of people. Because this area is very spread out it takes a lot of time to go from contact to contact and if our plans fall through we are limited in our options in where we can go and what we can do. But this week we have tons of contacts!!! We have "opened our mouths" a ton and have a lot of awesome people with whom we are excited to stop by! I have a meta (goal). I want to have a baptismal service for 3 people on the 31 of October. I know that as we work hard and aim for this the Lord will help guide us to those that are ready for baptism on this date. I felt awesome about aiming for this goal and I will talk to my new companion about it when we have transfers on Wednesday. Please pray that we can be lead to those who are ready for that date and that my companion and I can know how to best prepare people for that day.
Speaking of my new companion, we have transfers on Wednesday. I am staying in Colonia Bombal and am way excited for all the possibilities this area has. My new companion I found out last night is going to be Elder Boyd. He is from Georgia and speaks Spanish very well. His mother is from Buenos Aires and his family lives in the United States, so it sounds like he knows both equally well. You´ll all definitely know more about it this coming week!
I´ll send this e-mail off so I can make sure I send the photos off of the last 2 weeks. I love you all! :)
Posted by Ben at 12:25 PM
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Hi friends and family!
To answer your question about being thin. Yes, my suit pants are very big for me and I am wearing my jeans right now which are much too big. I tightened the notch on my belt 2 notches and they stay up...It´s pretty funny :) I am eating plenty, but we walk tons of miles each day. As you already know, the area I am in is very campo they call it. It´s very big with tons of walking.
General Conference was absolutely amazing and I absolutely loved the messages! I learned so much and had so many answers to my questions. The Spirit really is the teacher. We can sit there and listen to the exact same message, but the Spirit will teach us the things that are personal for us to know and do. It really is incredible. The gringo Elders went and watched conference in English while everyone else went to the big chapel in the stake Center in Maipu to watch it. We had food in there and really we just learned a ton! Conference is so incredible. We were watching the last session of Conference on Sunday and they had just announced that President Monson was about to speak and the signal cut. It eventually came back in a few minutes, but we were scared we weren´t going to be able to listen to the prophet speak.
To get to conference, the ward rented us a Trafic (a bus to go pick up investigators and ward members who would have difficulties getting to conference). We we had quite the full trafic and our investigaters really enjoyed conference a ton. It´s been such a fun opportunity to tell people that we have a living prophet and that he was going to speak in conference in a few weeks. It´s so powerful to be able to say that and some people think we´re absolutely crazy I´m sure. But I know there is a living prophet in Thomas S. Monson and that the things he tells us are directly from God. They are the things that we need to do as a church to become better. People may not accept us, but I know it´s true and I grow to know and feel the truth of it more and more as I learn and grow.
This week in my studies I learned something incredibly awesome that I want to apply the next time I get the opportunity to teach (my companion is still doing a lot of the teaching, I still have a hard time understanding what in the world people are saying sometimes. It it will come, I´ll just keep working hard and trying and I know with time it will come. I´m having a way good time learning to just keep on trying.). I learned that all of the first messages that we teach are centered around the gospel. The first lesson is about the Restoration of the Gospel. Lesson 2 is about the Plan of Salvation, which, central to that is the gospel. Lesson 3 is the Gospel (Not too hard to relate that to the gospel). But I realized that and learned that central to the Gospel is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. You can relate everything to the gospel, and then relate everything about the gospel to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The Atonement of Jesus Christ is the center of everything, that is what became a lot more clear.
Today for Preparation day, we went as a Zone to Cerro Arco. It´s a hike that looks so much like Utah. When we got to the top of Cerro Arco, there was an incredible view, that was partially obscurred by the large amount of dust in the air. It was really windy yesterday so there was still a ton of dust leftover in the air. But it was way fun. We just got back and now I´m sitting down writing about it. I´ll send some pictures of it.
Right now we´re trying to find some more people to teach and are preparing Daniel and Juana for their baptisms coming up on Saturday. They are way excited and it´s fun to see the changes they´ve made in their life to get themselves ready and how much they feel that the church is true and how much they want to learn more about it. They truly are examples to me, I admire them so much.
Well, I love you all, I´ll try to write better in my next e-mail. I´m pretty tired from our hot hike. But I love you all so so so much. You all have no idea how much I love you all and want to respond to each of you. One day I promise I will. Thinking about all of you makes me want to try harder and work harder. I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!! Until next week.
Posted by Ben at 11:25 AM
Sunday, October 4, 2009
This is the school in Mendoza where Ben
and the other missionaries helped to clean up
A picture of the missionaries having a lunch
break at the service activity.
Elder Hoglund and Elder Boudrero with the Famila Nieva, the family they usually have lunch with on Saturday afternoon.
Elder Hoglund sending us an e-mail! Cute Ben!
Elder Lucas, Elder Robinson, and Elder Hoglund pulling weeds
at the school.
Let´s see, this week was really really eventful and I am way excited to tell you all about it. We ended up not having the baptism this past weekend but moved it to the 10th of October. We also have two others that are going to be baptized that Saturday as well. Daniel Chincha is one of them. He´s 20 years old and is one of the most incredible people I have ever met. His dad died when he was 5. He has two older brothers but still, he grew up pretty fast because of what happened. One summer he worked hard enough to earn enough money to build his family´s house that they are living in now. He is incredible. He has been attending a church down here called Jesus te Ama. We walk past it every Sunday Morning on our way to church. The church starts at 6 in the morning and is full of loud music and singing and clapping and guitars and such. I need to record what it sounds like one morning when we walk past. Anyway, he´s been attending that church for about 4 years and has been inviting his friends to that church and everything. He´s been attending our church for just under 2 months now and is so worried about his friends. How they are not going to be members of the church. He wants them to be
members too. He´s incredible if you get the drift.
Last night we had an incredible visit with him and the Familia Chapana...(it´s so important to have members there). We watched the Testaments movie and felt the Spirit so strong. I also studied a little bit about the Sabbath Day as well. Elias is a friend of that family as well and has been investigating the church for a time. HE has a lot of questions about why the Sabbath Day is on Sunday, so I got the chance to study that and give him a list of scriptures about the Sabbath Day being on Sunday. It was fun and I hope it shows him that we really do care and want
to help him with his questions.
On Saturday we had a huge four-stake service activity! It was part of the worldwide day of service the chuch was doing down here. We went to a school is Mendoza Centro and weeded and took care of the grounds there. It was fun to see everyone serving to help this school. There should be picures on President Lindahl´s blog I would think.
The weather down here has been pretty chilly the past few days. Lots of wind and big ominous clouds up against the Andes. But, we´re doing well. We used the space heaters a little more than we have been using them but we´re doing good. :) Let´s see. I´m going to send some picures now. But things are well here. I love you all so much! Until next week.
Posted by Ben at 1:55 PM
Monday, September 21, 2009
Hi Family and Friends
I love you all so much
Here`s a short e-mail, but I am so grateful to send pictures to you this week too! Any other specific requests for pictures, I`ll see what I can do. This week was incredible! We had our interviews with President Lindahl and had Zone Conference. I love hearing President and Sister Lindahl speak. They are so inspiring and know exactly what needs to be said. President Lindahl is such an example to me of how to lead with love. I`ve heard about people who are so scared to have interviews with their mission presidents because they are scared. Here, I love speaking with President Lindahl, so uplifting and I want to be so much better after interviews with him. It makes we want to be the most loving person I possibly can be.
Yesterday we did service at the church. In front of the church was looking pretty ugly with weeds and such, so we spent a little bit cleaning it and making it look nice. We got roped into staying afterwards and playing futbol with the members of the ward because someone had left to go get us sandwiches and we were to wait until we could eat. They were done serving and wanted to jugar con la pelota...They are INCREDIBLE with the pelota! I have never seen people play like they do. They make MTC soccer and almost any soccer I`ve seen in the states look like child`s play. They are magicians with the ball! It`s pretty incredible. Anyway it was pretty fun and the church looks really good after the service.
We have a baptism this Saturday, my first one! I`m pretty excited for the lady that is going to be baptized...Juana Zeballos. She is an incredible lady. I`ll send pictures.
Well, that`s about it. Missonary work is incredible! I love doing this work and I love all of you. Take care, keep running, hiking, making huge things of salsa, you`re all incredible. Love you and I`ll pray for each of you!
This is Octopus tentacles that Ben ate for dinner!! Yummy!!
Ben says: "Elder Mendoza is one of the funniest people I have ever met! He's only been a member of the church about 2.5 years and he was studying to become a catholic priest before he joined the church. He shared with me his conversion story and it is incredible. I really admire him for making the decision to serve a mission. He has such an indredible, firm testimony of the gospel. I sure do love him and he really inspires me to be a better missionary."
This is Ben's companion at the MTC, Elder Taylor. He is holding up a sign that was in the stairwell. The people who had the swing flu were quarantined to the floor beneath Ben. :(
This is Ben's "Sweet Good Pench"! He loves his home.
This is Ben's district at the MTC in front of the Provo Temple.
Posted by Ben at 5:40 PM
Monday, September 14, 2009
Hola mi Querido Familia!
This week was awesome! We worked way hard and saw lots of miracles happen. We are teaching a way awesome familia...the Famila Padilla. We`ve been trying to find them for a while and finally found them. They want to get baptized and they are married! How awesome is that! They are a young couple are just got here about a year ago I think from Bolivia and they got married at a Registro Civil in Bolivia! They want to get baptized, they have a 10 year old son, they are married, they are awesome people. I am so excited for them! They want to read the Book of Mormon and they obvisously want to know it`s true before they join the church. Please pray for them, they want a big change in their lives.
We also set my first baptismal date this week! Juana Zeballos, one of our investigators, the mother of a very recently returned missionary said that she wants to get baptized on the 26th of September! I am so excited for her! She had a stroke a few years ago and can`t communicate hardly at all, but she can understand others perfeclty fine. She is so excited about her baptism and we are way excited for her too. We`ll keep on passing by her house.
This week we`ve really been changing the way we go about contacting and teaching. We are teaching towards baptism and really letting people know that we want them to get baptized the first time that we teach them. We teach them about the importance of baptism and then we tell them when we are setting a baptismal date and ask them to prepare for that date. This is awesome because it really helps us to teach with power and get right to the point. We`re not wasting time, they`re not wasting time and it helps them realize the power of the message. We did this towards the end of the week after our Zone Leaders taught us about the importance of putting a date with people. That, coupled with the converting power of the Spirit and the Book of Mormon combined, has really helped us out the last few days. It is really helping us to teach with power and Heavenly Father is putting lots of incredible people in our path that are ready and want to get baptized. This has been a fantastic week and I am really learning the about the power of the message.
I`ve also been studying about Charity, which is the pure love of Christ and I was thinking what about how I feel when I feel the pure love of Christ... Those feelings that I feel when I know that Christ loves me are the exact same feelings I want others to have about me. I love learning about this and putting it into practice.
Last Preparation Day we went to this really fancy restaurant in Mendoza Centro. There I ate some Octopus tentacles, some cow stomach, and some other things that I really don`t know what they were, but I knew that I was only going to have this experience pretty much once in a lifetime so I decided to chow down on what I could. I`m still alive so I think we`re all right. I`m just glad I didn`t think too hard about what I was doing while everything was still going on, otherwise I may have had a hard time...Wow that was good.
Anyway, after that we went to the Plaza de Independencia. I should learn more about it before I write about it, but it was awesome. My companion has pictures on his camera that I will get and send. It was such a fun day! While we were walking in Mendoza Centro a bird decided that it wanted to use the restroom right above Elder Mendoza`s head (the name of one of my Zone Leaders, not to be confused with Mendoza Argentina). It wasn`t too hard to laugh at that.
So here`s some cultural stuff. Everyone loves soccer down here. There are two teams that it seems like everyone follows...River and Boca. I have a feeling that when they play later this month there will be a lot of rejections if we are clapping doors. We`ll see how it goes...I`m still deciding who to cheer for. The members obvisouly have varying opinions of what I should do. But I have the feeling they are a little biased. In one member`s house there is pretty much a shrine dedicated to Boca. There is a giant stuffed Lion (with padding, not a real lion ) with tons of Boca garb on it. We`ll see how it goes, I`ll make a decision sometime.
I love you all. Keep working hard and e-mail me questions of things you would like answered.
Posted by Ben at 7:30 PM
Friday, September 4, 2009
This week are transfers and Elder Boudrero and I figured out that we are getting the chance to stay together in Colonial Bombal for another 6 weeks. I am so excited to have the opportunity to continue to learn from him. We are growing to be really good friends and I sure do love him. As for the Google Earth thing. The Colonial Bombal Chapel is the chapel where we attend church and the Pench in which we live is really close to the Barrio Primavera. I got a letter from Sister Blackham saying that some missionaries had placed some kind of mark on those locations and I thought you would love to know all this as well.
It seems like the letters take anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks to get there. Fun stuff.
The following is a picture of where I live. This wonderful Pench is home to me! This thing on top is a water tower for our pench. (No picture) And we also have bars on our windows. Almost everyone here has bars in front of their windows and fences wth giant gates in front of their doors. This is a very calm area from what I hear, but it´s all about security. The church is the same way. They have bars and locks and stuff. The church actually got robbed a few weeks back, a member told us about it and it sounded really bad, but when we went to check it out, it was bad, but not as bad as the member made it sound. She made it sound like they had taken the ceiling tiles off as well, but it wasn´t that bad. The thought I actaully had about that was that regardless of what they rob or take from the chapel. It does absolutely nothing to slow down the work of the Lord. The thing that matters is the truth of the gospel. No matter how hard anyone works, they can´t take that away. It was a pretty calming and pretty amazing thought that no matter what else is happening in the world. The knowledge of the gospel is the anchor that makes everything matter. Without the gospel, regardless of whither someone is rich or poor life doesn´t have a direction or meaning.
This next photo is a picture of Ailine, the little girl of a member named Hermana Vale. She talks so much and loves her little rabbit. They live on a farm and just have very little, but she is always so happy and last week we ate lunch with the family before doing some service with them, she asked us if we wanted her to sing for us so we weren´t bored. She then commenced to sing a beautiful version of something about the Argentine flag very loudly. So cute, I love that girl!
This last picture is just about a dollar of bread in Argentina, a little less. When buying bread, here, the peso goes a long way.
That´s about it, I am out of time. This week was fantastic, we did divisions with some of the prospective missionaries in the ward, that was a really big growing experience to be out on my own with someone who has even less experience with missionary work with I do. J. It was awesome.
I love you all. Thanks for all your thoughts, prayers, and letters, they all help! J Bye.
Love, Elder Hoglund
Ben's Bed. Oh MY!
A Peso's wrth of Bread!
Ben and his little Argentine friend who likes to sing to him.
Posted by Ben at 7:12 PM
Monday, August 24, 2009
Hi friends and family,
So, funny story about the internet today. We were going to the Cyber to use the internet, we got there, sat down, and the power went out. How funny is that. So we took a little walk back to our pench and decided that there must be something about this e-mail thing, I am not quite sure, but it was pretty funny. Thank you so much for the updates, I love you all and again apologize for the lack of a respone you get from me when it comes to your individual e-mails. One of these times when we get the e-mail thing right I will respond to each of you individually. It would make me really happy to do that and let each of you know that I really love you and care about you. Let,s see, here is a little bit about this week.
Yesterday I had an experience in which I learned a lot about the power of the Book of Mormon. We went to a church of another religion on Saturday night, (it was something that Elder Aidukaitas sp?) challenged the mission to do. He said that when he went he ended up baptizing about 50 people in the congregation. It is a huge opportunity to find people who are really good people and love religion, who are looking for the truth. Anyway we went, and I just felt terrible during the church. I was just feeling terrible, really feeling the Spirit churn in me and tell me what was happening was wrong. My companion told me to read in the Book of Mormon and just like that the Spirit came back and the horrible feeling I felt was gone. It really is a night and day difference and I know it is real. When we read the Book of Mormon, when we open it and read a page or two we will feel something different. We will feel the Spirit, something is different about that Book and it has power to convert. This was incredible.
There are so many miracles that happen when we are obedient too. We need to be obedient so the Lord can bless us. I know this is true and have seen it thus far in the experiences of my mission.
Sorry to cut it short. We need to go shop and be back at the bus stop, otherwise...well, we need ot catch the bus. Things are wonderful here. I am learning tons, I love everyone so much. I will send photos one day. Thank you for your patience and your love. Really, this shouldn,t happen. I really hope next week i will send some photos. Take care, I love you! With much love,
Posted by Ben at 7:05 PM
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I am so sorry that I am writing this so late. I know that you are probably having a heart attack wondering what is going on in Argentina. Know that everything is ok. The bus that we ususally take on Monday either came really early and we missed it, or really late and we got it. Either way, we just had enough time to get our shopping done on Monday and then we stayed the night Monday in the Zone Leader`s Pench (Apartment) so we could be closer to the Zone Conference that we had the following day.
On Monday we stayed at our Pench for the day. We were going to play soccer, which we should have done, but my companion was sick so we stayed at the pench and and got some cleaning done and attempted to go do e-mail. The Argentine police gave us a ride to where the e-mail place was, this was pretty fun. We were waiting for the bus and the Police car comes zipping by us. Stops, turns around, and comes up to us and asks where we were going and if we would like I ride. Of course we said yes. When we got to a Cyber (a place where we can access computers and do the internet thing) it was closed. Just a sidenote, we live about about a 45 minute bus ride from the city, so everything is pretty far.
We went back to the pench, had some lunch and I washed some clothes in a bucket and hung them up on our clothesline to dry. I really liked doing this, it was pretty fun to see the clothes turn out so clean and smell so fresh. Tuesday, we had Zone Conference with Elder Bowen from the 70, and got back to the Pench with not enough time to go the the Cyber and e-mail (Zone Conference took all morning and afternoon and was absolutely incredible.). Then this morning we went to go to e-mail and the power was down. So.......now we`re here and it is good to be able to write you and tell you what`s going on. Thank you so much for the love and patience with me, we are going to get better with getting the right busses and getting to places early so we can have enough time to e-mail on the day we are supposed to.
Some stuff to mention specifically in prayers, pray for us that we can find some people who are interested, it`s been a while since we`ve had a new investigator truly interested in the gospel. We need to get out there and find someone. I love the updates about the Family and the happenings of the ward and just what is going on.
Here are some things I learned at Zone Conference that I really wanted to share with you. The Zone Conference was so incredible. Elder Bowen taught us for over two hours and it was the most spiritual outpouring of knowledge that I have ever experienced. He taught us so much and he said that next time we go to the Temple to focus on how the word, Lord, is used, and see who it refers to. He told us incredible things, but the Spirit was the real teacher and I felt so edified and ready to do what the Lord wants me to do. I don`t have my notes with me right now, but the Spirit really taught me that what I need to do is not to have Excuses, Doubt, or Fear, but instead to make Experiences, be Obedient, and have Faith. It was so incredible, he truly is a man of God. He was definitely acting under the authority of the Twelve Apostles. He also said another thing, that Preach My Gospel will prepare us for our own Personal Ministry more so than any other book, or something like that. I think it would be safe to say that Preach my Gospel will really help prepare us for our personal ministry in life. It was really good. (More on the Zone Conference below. :) )
Let`s see, this week was pretty incredible. We were teaching the Barbera Family one night and they had some friends over to gamble and such. They started asking us questions about what we were doing here and it led to an incredible first discussion with the Spirit really strong. Oscar Barbera`s boss was there and one of the reasons Oscar has not come to church is because he works on Sunday. Hugo (Oscar`s boss) really felt the Spirit and said that he was going to read what we gave him. This is going to turn out well .We also taught two other people, Nancy and Jose. Jose is 16 and is going to serve a mission someday. He really understood what we were talking about and loved it. When we were teaching him how to pray at the end of the lesson, he said, so if I was to pray I would do this, he then gave us a quick example of what he was going to pray for, and it was just perfect. Usually people are really hesitant about praying and he just really wanted to do it. We haven`t spoke with him yet, but I really think that he prayed. I really want to talk to him soon. Nancy pretty much was the same. It was pretty incredible. We were talking about the Book of Mormon and we were talking about how Moroni hid the plates and then about Joseph Smith. We said something about Joseph Smith and she said, “and he was guided to the place where the plates were!” or something like that. It was incredible to see how much she loved it and how much the Spirit was teaching her. The Barbera family is having a tough time progressing. They are really poor and Oscar is really limited in his movement because of his leg injury just over a year ago. They love it when we come, but they really aren`t showing much progress. We need to make some big steps forward in the next few days or move on.
When we teach by the Spirit, we are able to teach as Jesus, “as one having power and authority”. When we teach by the Spirit, people feel that power and authority, but have no idea where it comes from. We are just two kids coming to their house to teach them about Jesus, but there is something different about it. It`s definitely not us one bit, but the power of the message and the Spirit testifying to their hearts of the truthfulness of the message. The Spirit is so powerful and I am realizing more and more every day how essential it is in the work.
Back to our Zone Conference. :) Elder Bowen taught us so many things about the church and what we need to do here in Mendoza, Argentina for the work to bloom. The Spirit taught me individually what I need to improve so I can more be the missionary the Lord wants me to be. It really won`t go well into words what I felt and learned. It was one of the most enlightening experiences of my life to hear everything the Spirit had to tell me.
The language is still difficult, it is really terrifying at times to speak with people because I don`t know if when they speak back I will be able to understand or not. Some people I can understand very well and others I can barley understand if at all. I know the Lord will help me as I keep praying for His help and keep working hard. My trainer is so wonderful to teach me what I need to know. He`s so great.
Weather is good, we finally had the Zonda and boy it was incredible. There was tons of wind and dust everywhere. The morning before it happened, our Zone Leaders called us and said they were in it and that we should look for refuge. We could hear the winds blowing from pretty far away. It ended up being tons of dust in the air and the wind blowing really hard. It was pretty fun.
Well, this was a bit disorganized and a little long, but I think that might have been because I have a keyboard that works well this week. It has been a struggle to find one that types really well without the keys getting stuck. I love you all. Keep doing good things! You are all so incredible and the best family in the world. Take care this week, I love you.
Love, Elder Hoglund.
P.S. I think next week for reals there will be pictures.
Posted by Ben at 4:27 PM
Hola Familia,¿Como andan ustedes?
That is the general term used to say "How are you doing," or something like that. The literal translation is "How are you walking?"
The weather is getting better, its getting pretty warm. Here, during the Winter to Spring transition and in the Smmers too, there are huge dust storms called Zondas. We heard from the landlord this morning that there is going to be one tomorrow. We will see, I may be on divisions with another Elder in the city where Elder Boudrero tells me they may not happen, but we will see. As for what I eat every day, it is nothing too out of the normal. Argentina bread, Argentina cereal, Argentina Milk, which is pretty good. Nothing too out of the ordinary. Except for I have eaten Cow Stomach (Mondongo) at a members house, and something called Queso de Chancho. They take a pig it seems like, and just put it all into an edible form...EVERYTHING from the pig. When we had it, there were hairs in it...it was not very pleasant. But we move on .
Lets see, here is what happened this week in a nutshell.This week we had some more incredible lessons with the Barbera family. They need to get married, we are teaching them tonight I really want it to go well and hope they will feel the Spirit. One thing among many I have been learning is about the power of faith. I need to have the trust in the message of the gospel. Really, the gospel is going to bless everyone who comes in contact with it. I know it will and thus, I need to share the message with everyone. No fear. There was an experience this week that really helped me out with overcoming fear. I had my first interview with President Lindahl and a lesson taught by the Assistants to the President. They are so wonderful and we learned that faith and fear cannot exist in a person at the same time. They challenged everyone to overcome fear and we are only able to overcome fear if we face it. They specifically asked me, (the newbie) if I would go up to the front of the bus on the way home and share a breif message with everyone on the bus. My stomach was swimming with fear and apprehension, but I did it. I went up to the bus driver and asked him if I could share a message about God with the people on the bus. He said I could do it if it was cortito (pretty short). So I did it and then went around and asked the people on the bus if they were interested in the message. Everyone turned me down, but I hope they felt the Spirit and know a little more about the message of the gospel now. Faith and fear will not exist together. Speaking of faith and fear, I gave my first talk in Sacrament meeting on Sunday on Faith and Fear. It went well and the Spirit really is the teacher here. It is only through the Spirit that we should teach, if it be of any other way it is not of the Lord. It is incredible.There is so much going on here everyday and I am learning tons. We are teaching a bunch and "Opening the Mouth," not enough, we are going to do better this week.
That is about it in a nutshell. Love you all.
Ok, I think that is good for this week, I need to write my letter to the President and go. I love you all, keep up the good work. Thank you for all your prayers and support, I feel so loved from everyone.
Till next Monday.Love,Elder Hoglund
Monday, August 3, 2009
This week we went to teach the Tarifa Family. I have never seen someone so willing to make sacrifices and do what she feels is right (Hermana Tarifa). It is a huge sacrifice for some people to get to church here, some people live very far away and it is difficult for them. But Elder Boudrero and I had a good lesson with her on Saturday night and she said she would come Sunday because she felt that it was what she needed to do. She did come Sunday for the first time and it was different for her, but she liked it a lot. She loves reading the scripures and has such a pure heart. I really felt the Spirit when we were teaching and she did as well. I love singing hymns with the families at their houses, we have done that a few times and it brings the Spirit so strong, it is wonderful. There are so many experiences I want to share but we are running short on time this week.
Argentina is very new. President Lindahl encouraged me to enjoy the Journey and take it easy. I love the mission. It is difficult of course, but I am learning quickly and am receiving a lot of help, support and love from my companion, other Elders, and members.
The Spirit is real and the work moves on.
Love, Elder Hoglund
Posted by Ben at 8:09 PM
Monday, July 27, 2009
Ok, what has happened in the past few days. It sure seems like a lot has happened. So I got off the plane and Hermana Lindahl, my mission president´s wife, snapped a photo of me and afterwards, President Lindahl came up and gave me a huge hug and a welcome to Argentina. They are both so awesome and I´m excited to have them as mission presidents. We had an amazing dinner with them that night and then I slept, along with the other Elders who came with us, at the Assistant to the President´s house that night. Of course the first night I get to Mendoza it snows for the first time in like...I don´t know...quite a while. I thought it was way funny because everyone was so surprised that it was snowing. "This never happens!" Everyone kept saying that, I thought it was pretty neat. We had a little bit of training that next day and were off to our areas with our companions. The Pention or "Pench" as they like to call them here, that I live in is really nice compared to what most of the people in my area live in. Oh, my area. Ok, I´m in an area called Colonia Bombal and in the Maipu Zone. It´s about a hour outside of Mendoza and it is what they like to call the campo. It is about as farmland and out there in the boonies as you can get. There is a lot of walking because the distances between everything is so great. The people here are so nice and will talk about almost anything for hours. When we go and talk to people, we hardly even know them and they will just talk and talk and talk and talk, which I really need because I can´t understand a whole lot of what anyone is saying. It´s kind of funny when people are talking to me and I just stare back trying to figure out what they just said. I just try to communicate using body language and laugh if they laugh and nod every once in a while and really try to understand what is going on. They´re really friendly and understand that I am trying to learn the language. I´m grateful for their examples of friendliness.It´s kind of cold here, we have two space heaters in our Pench that help us stay warm. Then when we go out in the cold, we just bundle up and it´s alright. We are in the middle of winter right now and it´s not very cold compared to what the middle of the winter might be in Utah. So we´re doing well.It was actually pretty funny. I lost a glove while walking in a place where there was hardly any light, maybe I´´ll find it one day...Anyway, I´m not sure what I expected in the mission field, but it is incredible. We just go out and talk to people and spread the gospel and have a good time doing it. There´s hardships of course! But it´s going well and I´m so excited to be here. A couple of stories from the first few days.We went to teach a family that has almost nothing. The familia Barbera (Varbera en Español I think) They live in a house the equivelant of a bamboo shack with dirt floors and everything. They´re whole house is smaller than our living room by a long shot. You just walk in the door and they have a fire, a little cooking area, and two beds for the parents and their 4 little kids. We taught them about the restoration of the gospel and I was able to bear my testimony in Spanish at the end and say that even though I don´t know much Spanish, I do know that the church is true and that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I do know that and I know that the Church and the Spirit is the exact same in Spanish as it is in English. While we were teaching the feelings of the Spirit came into that house and while it may have been a little cold outside, it was so warm in that house and the feelings of love and peace that the Spirit brings were so strong. I love that the language of the Spirit is the same in all cultures and languages and I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that we have a living prophet on the earth today in President Monson.At this lesson my trainer also mentioned that we had a pretty long walk back to our Pench because we did not have a lot of bus fare money left and the mother of those children pulled out 3 pesos and insisted that we take them. I honestly didn´t know what think, they have absolutely nothing and they wanted to help us out and give us whatever they had. I have been humbled this week to realize that all these people, even though they have almost nothing would give anything to help us out. They would take the shirt off their back and give it to you if you said they needed it. I have learned to be more grateful for everything that I have, never take anything for granted, and give whenever I can, and in the case of these people, even give when they can´t give. Wow.I´m learning a lot. I´m adjusting to Argentine culture still and just trying to do my best. Please pray for those families here that are just waiting and wanting to hear the gospel. Pray for these people that are having so many challenges and just need some help.I should probably go now, but I just want to say that I love you all and that Argentina is awesome.
Take care,Elder Benjamin Hoglund
Ok Family, I think that about does it. Everything here has been a pretty humbling experience, I don´t know a lot and I rely on my good companion Elder Dustin Boudrero from Logan Utah for a lot. He´s a great companion, really patient with me and helping me out a lot in everything I don´t understand. We were talking the other day about what I would like to learn from him, and I said, "how to survive in Argentina." Without him I would be so lost. He´s an awesome companion. Anyway, I´ll write next week. I love you all and I hope to hear from you all soon.
Posted by Ben at 4:07 PM
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tuesday July 21, 2009 3:37 P.M. (Argentina Time)
This is Elder Hoglund when he arrived at the airport in Mendoza!
He looks a little tired! I got to talk to him when he was at the airport in Los Angeles. He is SO EXCITED to be moving on. His group went on a short tour of the downtown, took care of some paperwork at the mission office, then was transported to President and Sister Lindahl's home at 6:30 for a welcome dinner and pictures with the president. Then to bed for (hopefully) a nice LONG sleep.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Well, I think it's coming down to the final days of the MTC experience. They say that we're ready to go soon, so I'll keep on preparing as best as I can and hopefully be ready to go to Argentina on Monday. This week my companion and I had a fantastic experience. My companion's knee is still not doing very well (which I really hope gets better soon, we're going to get an MRI on his knee tomorrow and we'll know better after that, so please pray for him) so we went to a Sports Injury place to get it checked out. While we were there we had so many missionary opportunites... I guess it helps out a little bit when you are a set-apart full-time missionary, but they were incredible. When we first went in, we sat down with a mother and some young kids. They were all members of the church but we were still able to sit down with them and talk about how they are children of God. We told them that there are people in this world who don't know that they are children of God and that God loves them. I asked the little girl how that made her feel, and she said, "bad". I love it, children answer so simply and so profoundly at the same time. I told her that was right and at the end my companion and I challenged the little girl and the two little boys that next time they saw someone who looked like they were having a bad day or were sad to go up to them and tell them that they are a child of God and that God loves them (I hope we included that last part, I can't quite remember for sure...oops). It was a fantastic little teaching experience and I hope they remember that.We also had the chance to give someone a blessing there. There was this girl at BYU soccer camp named Sidney and she had just hurt her ankle pretty badly. She had the faith after she saw the missionaries (my companion and I) to ask for a blessing. It was an incredible example of faith and I know that she will be healed rapidly.I've been learning a lot this week about the importance of diligence and how we just need to keep pressing on and relying on the Savior during the hard times and during the good times. Diligence is a key attribute in the lifelong process of developing the attributes of Christ. The MTC life is coming along well. I enjoy what's happening every day and am excited to try all this out in Argentina. I love you all! I'll probably write next week from Argentina assuming that I do not have a Visa delay. Take care!
Ok, we checked with the Travel Office just barley and learned that I am NOT delayed, however my companion as well as three other Elders in my district are. Please pray for them, it can be hard. Thanks for all your love and support one more time. I'd better go and have some dinner and get ready for the devotional tonight. I'm pretty excited to find out who it is and learn some more. I love my mission and I'm so excited to get into the field.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Well, it's good to have some time to write and say hi and tell you what's been going on the last little while at the MTC. First off, thank you to everyone who's sent me letters. I love getting those letters and hearing what's going on back at home. Also Mom and Dad and all others, thanks for the Spiritual thoughts. I really love them and it helps keep me focused on the work.
Anyway, here are sone happenings from the week.
I had such a fantastic experience teaching Lesson 1 about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My companion and I were teaching another companionship in our district in Spanish. Let me preface this a little bit, each companionship was given a little slip of paper with a specific problem on it that we were supposed to find out as a companionship and adapt the lesson to meet that problem. We had no idea what the problems were, and didn't find out what their problems were until after the lesson. So, we're practicing adapting our lesson to the needs of the investigators and I was very prayerful because I wanted to find out what this problem was and help them out. I was about to go to Romans 8:16 at the start of our lesson. It's a scripture we like to use to start out that lesson at times. I guess not every time though, because as I went to go turn to that scripture and ask them to read it, I felt such a strong prompting not to read with them that scripture. I felt it kind of odd, but I felt prompted not to do it. So I said something like "I don't want to share this scripture with you right now. I don't know why, but I don't want to." So, under the guidance of the Spirit, I proceeded to ask a few more questions about their belief in the Savior and what that belief prompts them to do. As we got talking I felt prompted to turn to another scripture in 3 Nephi that talks about baptism. I read that scripture, we talked about it, and went on with the lesson. All the while, I have no idea why I did that, but I know that I had to do that.We talked about it after the lesson and it turned out that the scripture I shared in 3 Nephi was the exact scripture that talked about their problem. Their problem was that they didn't see why they had to join a church. They thought they could just believe in Jesus Christ and they would be saved. The scripture I shared talks specifically about how baptism in the gate and how we must enter that gate in order to come into the presence of the Father; baptism is essential in order to enter the Kingdom of God.I had absolutely no idea that this was their problem at first, all I know is that I followed the promptings of the Spirit, and that the Spirit guided that lesson. It was not my knowledge, my wisdom, my understanding AT ALL! I had no idea what was going on. I just followed the promptings of the Holy Ghost and it all worked out somehow.I know that the Spirit is real and knows all things. I know that if I follow those promptings that everything will work out how it is supposed to. I know that even though this was a practice experience, the Spirit told me those things I needed to do to help them solve their problem. I know that the gift of the Holy Ghost is a real gift and power and that if we follow those promptings, we will be lead to do and say those exact things that we need to do and say. I know this without a doubt and testify of the truthfulness of the restored gospel.That was a fantastic experience this week.
Love,Elder Benjamin Hoglund
Posted by Ben at 6:03 PM
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
So this week has been a pretty eventful week, it seems like every week is :). Let's jump right into it! For devotional last week we had Richard C. Edgely of the Presiding Bishopric come and speak to us. He talked about a few mission experiences and had a few of us missionaries respond at the microphones. He talked about planting seeds, compared it to missionary work, and said that sometimes it takes a long time to find out the fruits of our efforts and they aren't always recognized right away. It's good encouragement. I have also learned that a successful missionary is one who gives his all, regardless of what the outward fruits seem to be. Sometimes it seems like nothing is happening, and no growth is happening, but I know that if we are working our hardest, smartest and doing our best to follow God's will, it is all working out for the best.This week in the Referral Center (where we call people and confirm if they have got different church matierals they have called in and requested) my companion, Elder Taylor did a personal callback with a lady that told him to call her back in 2 weeks. We hit the 2 week mark this week and he called her back. She said something like that she had thought about reading the Book of Mormon and listening to the missionaries, but said that she wasn't interested. Elder Taylor said ok and hung up. He did a few more callbacks while I studied and we were about to leave and he said that he was going to call her back again. He called her back and said something like, "I know you're not interested, but I know that this is vital to your life and is something that you need in order to get back to Heaven." The Lady said something like "...ok, I'll read your Book, I'll start right now!" We're calling back in a week and we'll see how that goes, I'll be sure to let everyone know.I'm so grateful for the promptings of the Holy Ghost that guide us to do things that sometimes do not make a lot of sense, but always feel right. I am so g rateful that my companion followed the promptings of the Holy Ghost and helped us learn a little more about what it means to be God's servants. I love the promptings of the Holy Ghost.This week I have learned a lot about being bold with love. The world NEEDS the message that we have to share. How can we not be bold and "invite others to come to Christ" with love. I have learned that we show our love for our investigators when we boldly show them how the gospel of Jesus Christ is necessary for Salvation and how it WILL make their lives happy. The Gospel is definitely something to be Bold and loving about.As for other news this week. Elder Taylor and I tried out for a Special Musical number and a chance to perform in a Fireside, Devotional, or other event and it was rather chistoso (funny). I loved the experience, the lady who evaluated us was so loving. We were told that she had considered taking our song, "My Kindness Shall not Depart From Thee" out of the MTC Musical Number selection for a while and everytime she hears the song she says. "I like it...but." She said we performed it well, but it's a very situational song that unless people know the background it is not as spiritually powerful. She did say that she wants to use my voice in something she's putting together in the future. I don't know that that is, but we will find out and I will let you know :) I just thought it was funny that we're probably going to be the reason she takes the song out of the MTC musical number selections...:) I had an awesome time praticing the song and auditioning with it though, it was fantastic!Also, this week in my District, we had a funeral for the language of English. English is now dead and we are for the most part, speaking only Spanish. My mind is definitely getting a workout with all that Spanish, but I love it and am growing to love the Spanish language more and more every day. It's hard to speak at times, but I am learning more all the time and am grateful for the opportunity. We teach Lesson 1 in the Teaching Evaluation Center this Friday, I'm excited to see how it goes! Well, that's about all. Take care! I love you all!
Con Mucho Amor,
Elder Benjamin Hoglund
Posted by Ben at 12:45 PM
Wow, another week has passed by just like that! It's mind-boggling to thing that tomorrow (Wednesday) I will have been serving for a month!! That time flies so fast when you're going going going every single day...I absolutely love that!A lot has happened this week. At the first of the week my companion was pretty sick. We thought he had the flu for a little while but after quite a few stops to the health clinic and one time where they had him stay in a sick bed for a while, he's doing just fine. It turned out not to be the flu. We knew it was bad though when the Health Center knew us by name and my companion by his first name.This week my Spanish has come a long way. We have been learning a few grammar principles that have really expanded my horizons and enabled me to communicate more clearly in Spanish. It's still confusing a lot of times, but I'm getting to the point where if I really work at it, I can understand (at times) a lot of what I read. I've still got a long way to go though and am excited to keep working hard. This week I feel I have learned so so much! I believe that I could write that statement every week. But I feel that I am growing so much as a person and am continuing on in that process of becoming what the Lord wants me to be. I'm excited to work on developing Christlike attributes. We had a Fireside in the past week in which the Speaker said that on a mission is the BEST time to develop Christlike attributes and drop the bad attributes. I'm really excited to get down into this and study it more and work every day to become like Christ. I know that as I rely on the atomenent to become more like Christ the more I will be able to teach with power. It will not be my words that have power, but the Spirit will teach with that power. It's all about the Atonement.This week truly has been one of the most growing times of my mission to date. I'm learning more how to trust in what God wants me to do and humbly give my will over to Him. I've sure got a long way to go but I know I have grown quite a lot by giving my life to Him.As for other news. I think the Prophet is coming to speak to us not this Friday, but next Friday. I can't think of too many other reasons they would have a "Special Devotions," a "Special Choir," and move the Devotional from it's normal time on Tuesday to Friday. We'll see how it goes though, I'm pretty excited!This week Elder Taylor, my companion, and I are auditioning for perform a Special Musical number (Not to be confused with the Special Devotional or the Special Fireside... :) ). The Musical number is "My Kindness Shall not Depart From Thee" and is one of my favorite songs. We'll see how it goes, I will for sure let everyone know.I know this church is true, and the God leads and directs His church today. His way is the way of happiness. I testify of this fact and know that God loves all of us! Take care everyone!Ok, that's about it.I love you everyone. I pray for you. I'm so happy to be a missionary out serving the Lord!
Love,Elder Benjamin Hoglund
Posted by Ben at 12:41 PM
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Hello everyone! It's another week gone at the MTC and wow! This week absolutely flew by! It went by so fast and I still have so much to learn! So, I'll start by talking about the flu thing that's been going on here at the MTC in the past little while. There are rising numbers of flu cases each day, one of which I think may be my companion. I don't know quite yet though. We are going to a doctor's appointment today at 4:30 to see if he has the flu or not. It might be the case, I hope that he is well and it's just mild. From the Health Clinic, we did hear that there were 17 more confirmed cases of the flu just today... and we went to the Health Clinic in the morning...so there's a lot of sickness going around here. So far I have not gotten the flu, I have had a little bit of sickness the last couple of days, but not anything serious at all. Just some coughing every now and again, but it's nothing bad. We hope and pray that everyone will be able to remiain well and get feeling better so they can serve the Lord and perform their calling.So here's a general idea of what goes on every day in the MTC.
This was my schedule for Monday, June 8th. 2009.
7:00-7:45 Personal Study
8:15-9:45 Gym and Gym related activities (pre-gym and post gym time)
9:45-12:30 Instruction with Hermano Pope
1:15-5:30 Instruction with Hermana Murillo
5:30-6:15- Dinner6:15-9:00 Missionary Directed Time (This included many things such as Personal Study, Companion Study, Language Study etc.)
9:00-9:30 Plan for the next day
9:30-10:15 Prepare for the next day at the apartment (Iron clothes, write in journal, clean apartment, reivew notes from the day, more study, a little more work out time if I want to do a light workout, prepare for bed)
10:15- 10:30 Quiet time/ Go to bed
Then we get up in the morning and do something like that again. It's really so incredible and I am learning so much! The Spirit is so strong here and there is no other place I would rather be. I'm learning how to better squeeze every second I can out of the day so I can go to Argentina as prepared as I possibly can be!My district is Amazing! They're the people I go to class with, live around, and pretty much do the MTC experience with for a lot of the time. Right now me and my companion as well as the other three Elders in our District are outnumbered by the sisters by 1. Tomorrow one of the sisters is leaving for another MTC in the Dominican Republic so we'll have even amounts of Elders and Sisters in, by comparison, a rather large district. We're learning a lot and are excited to get to our various places and serve. There's only one other Elder in my District going to Mendoza with me, Elder Robinson. The others are going to other places in Argentina or completely different countries.The Language is coming along. I'm needing to work harder and harder because I realize how much I still need to learn in order to teach effectively in Spanish. It's coming along every day though and I want to keep learning more! So, I was studying the other day about the power of testimonies and how much they bring the Spirit. In the Book of Mormon, it talks about how when Nephi bore testimony, it was so much by the power of the Spirit that the people could not disbelieve him. I know that I CANNOT do that by myself and i need the help of the Spirit always! I have got to keep on striving to live by the Spirit and live righteously so when I bear testimony, the Holy Ghost can give my works authority and power. Again, I know that will not be me and will only be by the power of the Holy Ghost. I know this is true. I know that this church is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Thomas S. Monson is the prophet, God's mouthpiece, today.Until next week everyone!
Take CareElder Benjamin Hoglund
Posted by Ben at 9:30 PM