Saturday, October 31, 2009

Finally got some bikes! October 25, 2009 ~Monday

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,
Elder Hoglund

P.S. The Argentine bus system is awesome! It`s fun to be lost! :) I love it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Success with the Language! New Companion! October 16, 2009

Hello Family,

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´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.

Elder Hoglund

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ben's first baptisms!! Monday, Oct 12, 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!

Hi Family,

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! :)

Elder Hoglund

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cerro Acro-Beautiful mountains October 5, 2009 ~Monday

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.

Elder Hoglund

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Service, Smiles and Sandwiches! September 28, 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.

Elder Hoglund