Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June 23, 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

June 16, 2009 Spanish, Illness, It's an adventure at the MTC

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

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

June 9, 2009 letter from MTC Week 3 already

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
7:45-8:15 Breakfast
8:15-9:45 Gym and Gym related activities (pre-gym and post gym time)
9:45-12:30 Instruction with Hermano Pope
12:30-1:15 Lunch
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

June 2, 2009 letter from MTC

So, funny story. Here I am in the laundry room at the MTC writing letters, looking at my watch and thinking that everything is fine and dandy and that I have lots of time to write everything I could ever care to write about. After I had written a letter or two I looked my watch and it said about 3:35. I was so satsified that I would still have so much time to write letters when all of the sudden, my district leader comes up to me and asks me if I was going to MTC choir today (he is all dressed up in his Sunday best at this point). I leisurely look at my watch and say something like, "Oh yes of course I'm going...don't worry we have plenty of time, it's only about 3:35." He gave me a look that clearly told me it was definitely not 3:35...then it dawned on me that it had been 3:35 for a long time...far too long. So it really was a lot later than that and I realized that I didn't have a lot of time at all. So, this is going to be very very short. I'm definitely smiling about it, I think it's hilarious... but I am sorry about this being so short. I guess it's time to get a new watch :).The MTC is great. Spanish is coming along. I'm excited to keep working hard. I'm learning tons every day and I know I truly am being taught by the Spirit. My companion is wonderful and our companionship studies are some of the most enlightening moments we have. His name is Elder Justin Taylor from Salt Lake City and he went to BYU last year. He's such a strong Elder and has a deep gospel knowledge and love of his family. I love my companion. I've been studying hope in Preach My Gospel this past little while and inconjunction with faith, it has been SO SO incredible! There is so much to learn about faith and hope and I am excited to continue learning more. Hope and Faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement are two principles with so much power! I'm exited to study Charity next week and to see what I can learn about that.I truly am an instrument in the Lord's hands and I know that without Him I am nothing. I am so immesurably grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ.With Much Love Until Next Week When I Have More Time, :)

Elder Ben Hoglund