Monday, December 13, 2010

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

Dear Family,

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

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

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

Love, Ben

Monday, December 6, 2010

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

Sweet Bruise from running to the bus stop!!

Elder Hunter making Adobe Bricks!!

Ben making adobe bricks!

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

Hi Family!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love, Elder Hoglund

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

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

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

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010 Finding A New Friend

Dear Family,

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

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

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

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

Love, Ben

Monday, November 22, 2010

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

Hi Family,

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

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

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

Chau, Elder Hoglund

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010 Biking in Pocito.

Argentine Soccer jerseys

with Elder Hunter

"The Pose" Hiking with Elder Hunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love, Elder Hoglund

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

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010 Tracking in a Tornado?

Hi Family!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love, Elder Hoglund

Monday, November 1, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010 Halloween in Argentina and Soccer Jerseys!!

All right family, let’s go through the rundown of the week.
Tuesday—We walked a lot and had a lot of appointments fall through. We had a lesson with an inactive member tonight that really made me sad. The knew that she needed to read the Book of Mormon, pray, and go to church to feel better and so her life would function better, but refused to do it. It’s like knowing the medication that you have to take and being too stubborn to take it. I don`t now what she was waiting for but it made me sad and reminded me of a stuck-up child. I really hope she comes around and makes the decisions that are going to bring her happiness in this life.
On Wednesday we had the Argentina census. I was registered as an official head of house in Argentina! It was pretty funny. We had to stay in the pench until about 6:30 at night because we didn`t know when the people who were going to do the census were going to pass by. We passed the time preparing for an activity we had last night (more to come on that!! It was exciting!). We also went to the chapel that night after they let us out of our cage to go clean the chapel. The second counselor in the Branch Presidency here always calls me a “Pecho Frio” a cold chest (kind of like I hard heart or a really cold person I think) because I`m from Utah. So to all you “Pecho Frios” out there, I pass this message along and give my saludos from one Pecho Frio to another.

On Thursday as we were teaching a man named Juan Jose, he mentioned to me a phrase that I will remember for the rest of my life that to me illustrates the importance of baptism, the remission of sins, and repentance. He said, “Every day my backpack feels heavier and heavier.” I know that we all feel like that at times with the problems that life throws at us and our backpack seems to get infinitely heavier and heavier until we can’t carry the load anymore. The Savoir invites us to come to him, for “his yoke is easy and his burden is light.” We take upon ourselves this burden the Lord wants us to carry by getting baptized and living the gospel and really our backpack is emptied out every time we take the sacrament. And that initial emptying the backpack when we are baptized is a step that we will never forget for the rest of our lives and a step that I hope Juan Carlos takes. We need to find him again this week.

We also had a very cool ward Halloween party/asado (what would an Argentine party be without an asado?) We had to leave early when the party was just getting started, but we did get a little bit of meat and some pictures.

On Sunday, this activity that I was telling you about, we had 5 companionships come from our Zone to work in our area. It’s part of an activty our Zone is doing this transfer called around San Juan in 16 days. Each week we are travelling to 2 or 3 different Zones and working in their area for an afternoon. Me and Elder Moriarty (an Elder that was in the MTC with me) got the chance to work together again and we rode around in bikes, saw some beautiful sunsets and saw some miracles as we went and taught.

It was a fun week and i hope this paints a picture of what’s happening here in Argentina. It’s fun here and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything, but the time for my mission is winding down and I do want to see all of you again. I do miss home and I miss each and every one of you (especially my family). I want to see them so bad and sit down and play a game with them after eating Sunday dinner while we eat popcorn and find random words in the dictionary or play scrabble or listen to each other speak in foreign languages. (I guess I’ll be able to do that for reals when I get back home J) But I love each of you so much and I’m happy and content to be right here right now. Plus, Christmas is coming up and we’ll get the chance to talk then.

I love you! Have an awesome week! Take care!
Love, Ben

P.S. The photo that is attached is of some kids that came by Friday night trick-or-treating (I had to take a photo). The other photo is of an original Argentina soccer Jersey that I bought. It was 300 pesos, but so worth it.) I also bought that Boca Jersey that my companion is wearing too, an Argentine soccer team. (I kind of went all out this week and am not going to buy any more Jerseys).

Saturday, October 30, 2010

New Area, New Adjustments, New Challenges, and Of Course New Blessings! Monday, October 25, 2010

Sosa Family from Trapiche. SO HARD to leave them!!

Giant Soccer Game on Preparation Day!!

Carmen Leiva, a recent convert from Trapiche. She just CANNOT say the word Hoglund. :)

New Companion: Elder Hunter from Phoenix, Arizona!

Moto Bike for cruising the Argentine country side!

Hi Family!

It`s good to be able to write you this week and tell you a little bit about my new experience in my new Zone. I got transferred out of Trapiche in Mendoza centro and got moved to another campo area of the mission; Pocito, San Juan. It`s my first time out of the province of Mendoza in my whole mission and a big change to go from the bustling downtown to a purely campo area again. It reminds me of Colonia Bombal and is absolutely beautiful. The mountains are so close, it`s almost like being home.

My companion is Elder Hunter from Phoenix Arizona. He is incredible and I absolutely love him. He has just over 5 weeks in the mission and it`s almost like training again. He is so humble. When I say that we are going to go and do something he just says OK, smiles, and goes for it. He truly reminds me of the example of a little child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love. I hope to more like that one day. His Spanish is incredible for only being out here 5 weeks and we`re going to have a lot of fun experiences us two out in the campo of Pocito.

So, a question, have you ever arrived in an new area and the first thing that you do is leave on divisions with the Branch President to go visit less active members and investigators? That is what we did the first night I got to Pocito. We went in and got to know the branch president, President Lobos (he`s been a member for around 8 months and was made the Branch President 2 weeks ago and has tons of desires to do the missionary work) and one of his counselors, Hermano Bravo. They played a joke on me when I first got there. We went in to have our meeting before going out to work and Hermano Bravo said, "Oh no! They changed the Elders again? Just when we start to have a good Elder that starts to do good things they take him out and we have to start over." I didn`t say anything, but sat down and thought this was going to be an interesting transfer. The meeting continued and they stated very bluntly, "Elder, we want to know how you work here." I said, "Well, I want to work how you`re working now, it doesn`t make any sense to come here and adapt what you`re doing here now if you`re already having success." They very firmly stated, "But Elder, we are asking YOU what YOU want to do." I nervously pulled out my mission plan that we had been using in Trapiche and briefly explained it to them. Hermano Bravos took one quick look at it and tossed it aside. "No offense or anything, but I don`t like your plan, I don`t like it one bit." I said the only thing that could really possibly be said in that situation... "OK." I continued sitting in silence and then they finally cracked and said, "Elder, welcome to Pocito, take some pesos and go buy some cookies and Coke across the street in the Kiosko and let`s get to know each other a little bit." I didn`t like the joke.
But we are friends now and working hard together. I love these two guys and Hermano Olmos, the other member of the branch presidency. They are incredible, loving, and excited to work. We proceeded to leave on divisions that night and I had the scary "opportunity" to ride on the branch President`s moto (eat it up Brady. :) ) all in the countryside of Argentina vising members of the church. It was beautiful scenery and I will never have the opportunity to serve a mission like this again. I am so grateful for the opportunity the Lord has given me to serve a mission and be His missionary. I am realizing more and more every day what it means to be HIS missionary and I am grateful for every moment...the difficult ones and the good ones. I learn more every day.
We visited with a man named Crispin Lopez who came to Elder Hunter and his companion Elder Jones telling them that he wanted to repent and that he knew that they could help them. The two missionaries looked surprised but agreed to help him. We proceeded to visit him the following days and this humble Bolivian man and his sweet wife Petrona really truly have desires to repent and change their lives. We went to look for them at the house and walk to church with them with a member family Sunday morning and they couldn`t go because of an emergency that happened with their baby, but they stuck around the house long enough to "not make us come in vain" according to his words. It was a nice gesture of them and I hope the progress continues this week.

New area, new adjustments, new challenges, new blessings. It`s all another chapter in the mission of Ben Hoglund. I love you all. Thanks for all your love and support and here in the following e-mail are pictures!! Have an awesome week everyone!

Elder Hoglund

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010 The Argentine Chef!

Cooking Tacos for lunch with the Zone.

Ben's Food Creations!

Elder Hoglund's Presentation

Hello my wonderful family!
Wow, October is flying by! Let me fill you in on what has been happening here in Argentina this week. One morning me and my companion were going to leave the pench and found it to be much colder than we had originally thought it was going to be. We left the pench in short sleeves, turned, looked at each other and decided wisely that coats would be necessary. However, now the sun is out and spring and summer are creeping in.

This week was incredible! A little disappointing that our investigators didn`t make it to church, but I know they have their agency and that I have done all I can do get them to come to church. I know they will be blessed if they do it, they just have to take the first step! That first step is sometimes the most difficult.

We visited with Sebastian on Sunday night and he said that he was going to get married to his girlfriend because he wants to get baptized so bad. The news he gave us was that is was going to happen in December and he wanted us to be there for the wedding. He then asked if he was still good for his baptism in about two weeks. We hadn`t quite explained yet that in order to be baptized you can`t be living together with someone (coviviendo o juntado...I can`t remember what it is in English). We explained that to him and he took it well. He said he would talk to his wife to be and then get back to us. He is so special. He has such a rock solid testimony of the church and wants to get baptized. I remember when we asked him about Joseph Smith when we asked him if he thought he was a prophet. He makes sense. It does make sense, this whole gospel just makes sense and I love it. Sebastian is progressing along and he`ll come along.

With the Sosa family, they are having their doubts. The mother is really having doubts and doesn’t want to make the commitment to come to church. We`ll see what happens this week. Her spouse and kids are coming along and have tons of questions. We had a lesson with them during the week about the entire plan of Salvation with the little drawings and everything. They absolutely loved it and were asking questions about where we go after this life and were laughing and rejoicing in their new knowledge and unity their finding as a family. Javier, the husband, is a stud, he`s just a humble guy who works painting cars and every time we walk by their house we hear and smell him working away (the paint smell is pretty obvious.)
This week Elder Quebbeman and I sang in church and had the primary program. Ok, we didn`t have the primary program, but we watched it. Those little kids re so cute.

To share a little bit about what I`ve been learning this week. I have learned this week basically about agency. That the Lord wants us to make our own choices and live with the consequences of our choices. The Lord had given us the biggest possible gift that could possibly be given to us, the ability to choose. We are in this earthly crucible (good word :) ) to learn how to use this gift the way the Lord has given us. The instruction booklet to this gift is the scriptures. They teach us what we should do the potential that all of us have when we use this gift correctly. One thing that stood out to me as I was reading the Pearl of Great Price the other day . The Lord is talking with Enoch in heaven and Enoch sees that the Lord is crying. He is very confused as to how the God of the whole universe could cry. Enoch asks the Lord how it is possible. The Lord then says the following.:

32. The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy brethren; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto man his agency;

33. And unto thy brethren have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they hate their own blood;
Basically the Lord is sad because of the way His children used His grand gift of agency. The Lord was the perfect parent and yet even before the world began, one-third of his children fell away and were lost, never to have the opportunity and chance to return and live with Him again. Many many more will be lost on this earth, just because He was willing to give man their agency. This gift is so important and I am learning how to use it better and better every day, I pray that we can all use this gift of agency in the way the Lord wants us to use it so He can bless us and help us all reach our ultimate goal, which is living with our Heavenly Father again.
I love each of you so much and feel very strongly that each and every one of you need to read this message. I challenge you to read and act upon it. I know that as you so do you will experience the security and peace that comes from following the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Thanks for all you do and I love you!

Now for some short, funny experiences to wrap things up, then we`re done.

Brady, I remember that you used to talk about how cool it would be to have a motor on your bicycle so you didn`t have to pedal. Guess what I have seen a lot of here in this area that I haven’t told you about until now...Motor Bicycles. They are normal bikes, but oh they are not so normal. They have an incredible motor attached to the back that allows the user to pedal with leisure. When the motor doesn't`t work as well as you want it to, which happens frequently, feel free to pedal. In fact, you`d better pedal anyway, your legs will probably take you a whole lot further than that motor will.

Mom, I saw a peluquero canino the other day in the street (a person who will go to your house to cut your dog’s hair). There was a man on his moto (a small motorcycle similar to a moped) with a big box on the back (I assume it was to carry dogs) that said peluquero canino. It was incredible and I think Moki and Skooter could use it.

I love you all and thank you for everything that you do. It`s been a few weeks since I`ve heard from some of you. Please send me e-mails, I love e-mails and it makes me feel more attached to the world at home I know someday I will have to return to. Anything and everything you have to share is important to me. I love you and keep working hard!
Elder Hoglund

P.S. The pictures are some of my food creations I have made in the last little while. We also made tacos today as a Zone, I cooked all the meat and really have gained a love for cooking here in the mission. It`s so fun to create stuff and then eat it.) I`ve never felt better health wise in my whole life than what I feel right now in the mission. I love it!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010 Just Be Yourself!

Hello Family,

OK, so I think we`ve developed quite an addiction to paying TEG (Argentine Risk) as a pention. I would rather play games with you, don`t worry. We played it again this morning and I lost. I was so close to achieving my objective too. Anyway that`s kind of on the side, let`s get to what happened this week!

This week was a little disappointing as Sebastian and The Sosa family didn`t make it to church. We tried everything this week but in the end they fell through. I feel good though knowing that I gave my best effort and there was nothing else that I could do. They are incredible and we did end up meeting with Sebastian on Sunday night. He is still rey (that means very...and also king, in Argentine Spanish) excited for his baptism and absolutely loves the plan of Salvation. He ate it up last night.

The Sosa family didn`t come but went to go play futbol with the ward earlier this week and want to go play it again. They wanted us to come with them but they were playing really late so we had to go back to the pench. We are spending a lot of time with them and their little kids Emmanuel and Niko are awesome.

This week we found the most incredible man. His name is Jose and he really wants to get baptized he accepted a fecha for the 23rd of this month and is such a humble guy. He said he`s talked to missionaries a lot and is sharing a room with a guy who listed to to a charla with us last week.

The Elders of Estanzuela had a way cool ward activity planned (they are the Elders that live with us and have their area right next to ours) but the only problem was that not very members showed up. It was going to be an activity called "the flight to Hawaii" kind of like Dallin`s family here in a little bit right? Elder Cardus is headed home so I think he had airplanes on the mind, but that`s all right. He`s got his future ahead of him and is a very loyal missionary.

I saw someone here with a Boston Celtics shirt the other day and I thought "what is that doing in Argentina?" I don`t even know if they know what the Boston Celtics are they`re so involved in their futbol. It was funny and I had to laugh.

Dad, I keep talking to tons of Colombians down here and they always seem to be the most receptive to the gospel. I don`t know if that`s what it was like for you in Colombia or what happened, but Colombians are awesome. If you remember I also had a Colombian companion for 4 and a half months. Interesting huh?

Kind of what I`ve been thinking about this week is how the Lord is preparing people and all we have to do is be ourself. I`'ve been learning a lot about being ourself. When we are not ourself, we are fake and the people can tell that. When you push too hard to do something you are not being yourself. Let`s take it easy and be ourselves OK?

Love you all,

Eder Hoglund

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010 Conference Miracles

Elders Hoglund & Quebbeman and Brother Henn, with their
investigators: Javior and Claudia Sosa and their children,
Nikolas and Emmanual.

Ward Mission plan poster!
Good Work Elders!

Hello Family,
First off, How is everyone!? I always love reading your e-mails and it`s nice to know everyone is alive. I`ve included a few pictures because I know you love pictures. :)

This week was absolutely incredible. There was really a special spirit as we went to work inviting people to conference and trying to help our investigators get to the chapel.
This week the assistants came and worked in our area with us for two days. It was really fun to be able to split up and cover lots of ground and do scheduling for 4 people. We had a lot of success and I learned a lot of things. The Lord really is mindful of us in each and every one of our individual circumstances and knows exactly what we need at any given point.

The Sosa famil is coming along really well! This week Claudia (she`s the wife, the husband is Javier and their oldest son is Nikolas (10 years, he always calls me Sr. Hoglund) and next comes Emmanual (8 años) said that she didn`t want to get baptized on the 16th because she didn`t feel ready to be able to say that she got baptized until she went to church and tried it out for herself. I thought that was a great idea! That is exactly what we want. They did come to General Conference and absolutely loved it. They got there for the Sunday Morning session and a member, Hermano Henn, picked them up in his car/truck. It was incredible to see how welcome they were, how the Henn family had saved them a seat on the front row and how friendly everyone was to them after the meetings were over. They loved it and were absolutely awed by the scenes from the conference center as they had never seen anything quite like it before. We`ll see how they progress this week.

Sebastian wasn`t able to make it to the General Conference but we visited with him last night and he is still way excited about his baptism on the 16th. His eyes lit up when we started teaching him about prophets last night and he is absolutely convinced and converted to the gospel. We`re going to have a few bumps in the road, but I believe he will get to baptism.

Antonio, sad story. We just can`t get a hold of him and he hasn`t come to church. I don`t know what more we can do for him.

Some stories and experiences this week. Yesterday in the bus I talked to someone named Luke that had lived in Provo and Orem for 12 years, went to Provo High School, and is only 23 years old. I very well could have seen him during the process of my high school carreer and who would have thought that we`d meet in Mendoza, Argentina on a bus, it was fun to talk to him for a bit. His name is Luke Villegas if any of you know him.

General Conference was awesome! I loved the talks and was amazed by how personally they applied to me. I loved Elder Christopherson`s talk on a consecrated life.

One thing I learned this week was that there are decisions that don`t matter. I have in the past got really hung up on the small and simple things that don`t matter such as what brand of toothpaste to buy or whether I should get carrots or peas for lunch. There are small and simple things that do matter such as scripture study and prayer, but there are other small and simple things that really do not matter. Like President Monson said in general conference "things that will have Little or no effect in you personal salvation." President Uchtdorf quoted a similar statement, and I paraphrase it; to take a step back slow down, and focus on the most important things. I have found as I do this I have more peace and am learning how to do it more and more every single day. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn this lesson. I feel more free.

I love you all! thank you for all the support! I feel your love.!

Elder Hoglund

Monday, September 27, 2010

September 27, 2010 Street Shooting?

Elder Hoglund loves those Argentine Treats! :)

Elder Quebbeman: Celebrating the 4th of July!
Hello Everyone!

It is so good to be able to sit down and write about this week. Let`s see what happened. This week we had a pretty fun week. We`ve been working all week on getting our ward mission plan ready to present this Sunday. We weren`t planning on presenting it this Sunday, but the bishop wanted us to present it so we got it ready and presented it. I have attached the plan so you can see what we`re doing here in the ward. I`n really excited about it and I feel like it will help the ward to participate more in the obra misional. We`ll see how it turns out here in the following weeks.
Antonio is still progressing but really having a hard time finding work. He`s supposed to find out today if he got a job in a local peluquerìa (Hair cutting shop). He loves the Book of Mormon every night and absolutely loves it. He`s in Alma and finds a lot of comfort in reading the Book of Mormon. He didn`t look like he was feeling too good in church today. I pray for him and please pray for me to be able to know what to do to help him.

Hugo is not coming along.

Sebastian is coming along really well! He has a baptismal date for the 16th of October and attended church for the first time yesterday. The talks in church were completely directed towards him. Earlier this week we went with Hermano Agrain, the first counselor in our ward, over to Sebastian`s house to have a charla with him and Hermano Agrain really bore a powerful testimony about the power of the Book of Mormon and his conversion story. The next Sunday in church, Hermano Agrain gave a talk and it really helped Sebastian a lot.

This week I had an experience I want to tell you about. Me and Elder Quebbeman were walking in the street when all of the sudden someone jumped out in the street with a gun and started shooting us. We were able to get away and as soon as we looked back we saw the guy who was shooting us get stabbed by his friend. It was all in plastic though so we`re ok. :) There were some kids playing in the street and I thought it would be funny to include this in my e-mail.

Last P-day we played a really fun game called Teg, it`s like an Argentine version of risk with the names of the different countries all in Spanish. I thought of you mom and your maps in the basement that you have of all the continents so you could learn the different country names. Imagine doing that in Spanish! It was fun!

This week I have learned a lot about having patience with others. Elder Hoglund`s desires are not always the desires of the Lord even if Elder Hoglund wants the person that he is teaching to be perfect NOW, Heavenly Father doesn`t want that. Heavenly Father wants us to progress on the path to perfection gradually, understanding that we have faults and that if we stay on the path that leads to Eternal Life, we will get there. The changes can`t happen now and we have to be patient with others as they work to overcome their weaknesses and change. It`s the same thing we`re doing and Heavenly Father has enough patience to wait for us as we progress gradually on the path to perfection. Imagine if Heavenly Father wasn`t patience with us. We`d be pretty mad and frustrated and so would He. But he`s not like that and understands us perfectly. I know He loves us and wants what is best for us and that is paso por paso.

(Little by little)
Love, Elder Hoglund

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010 Where's my glasses?

Hi Family!

It`s so good to know that you had such a good time at Lake Powell! I love Lake Powell!! Here in Argentina it`s starting to heat up.

Let`s see, what happened this week. This week was a pretty eventful week in the mission. Elder Quebbeman and I moved from the office pench to a different pench and waited outside the pench with all our luggage while we waited for the other Elders, Elder White and Elder Cardus, to come let us in and give us the keys. They are awesome! I am going to send photos next week of what we`ve been doing, what the pench is like and what the other Elders are like. Elder Cardus was an assistant and is in his last transfer of the mission and Elder White has 5 transfers in the mission. Elder White is from St. George Utah and Elder Cardus is from Buenos Aires and was living in Spain just before he came on the mission. Elder Quebbeman, my companion, I don`t remember if I`ve ever told you about him. He`s from Oregon and grew up on a farm. He has spend lots of time out in the fields and knows how to work hard.

This week we`ve been working a little bit with Hugo. It`s a little disappointing. He`s not very committed to changing. We keep going by and he keeps saying that we should come Wednesday and that he likes to talk. We`ll keep coming by Wednesday and I pray that he can find the desire to change.

We did find an incredible family that accepted a baptismal date for October 2. It was incredible. We said in the lesson, if you knew this was the true church, would you get baptized. Claudia, the wife and the husband, Marcos, said yeah for sure. They didn`t make it to church on Sunday so we`ll have to move their baptismal date back but I am excited to work with them. Caludia told us the wonderful story about how in the past she and her husband didn`t want anything to do with religion and things were going really bad for her and her husband. It came to the point where she did not have a place to live and slept in the plaza for a night. She was in desperation and at the very end of her rope. She just laid down and prayed to God that help would come. Just when she did at that moment her husband came up to her in the park and said, "honey, I found us a place to live." It was incredible, they started going to back to the catholic and started to change their life. She says that she feels that God has something big planned for her. I told her that yes God did have something big prepared for her. Their two kids Niko and Emmanual are awesome. We had a good time playing with them and their dogs while we waitied for their parents to get home one day. One of their dogs just had puppies that are about 3 days old and haven`t even opened up their eyes yet. It was so cute!

We are working with Sebastian and Rodrigo(his younger cousin) as well. I have a funny story about this. When we were teaching Sebastian and Rodrigo. I had the hardest time remembering his name. I kept calling him Roberto or Alberto. So I told him to keep my glasses and then at church on Sunday I had to tell him his name correctly before I could have my glasses back. I spent the rest of the day working without my glasses, which was pretty funny. But Sebastian and Rodrigo are awesome, Sebastian has a lot of true questions and is really pondering about the Book of Mormon.

We`re also working with the Paez family, that family of 9 I mentioned last week. The mom is an incredible mother and has done an incredible job with raising her family. It`s going to be difficult to get them to church but we`ll do what we can to help them to get there.

I learned this week about patience, about how we need to be patient with ourselves and others in our mutual weaknesses. Perfection does not come all at once. But when the desires of our hearts are denied or delayed, we have ot have faith and trust in the Lord that things will happen in the proper and right time as we strive for the goal of Eternal Life.

I love all of you! Have an awesome week!

Elder Hoglund

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ben was busy moving and making lots of changes this week. Next week we should get all of the details.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Monday September 6, 2010 Another change? FINALLY PICTURES!

Elder Hoglund & Elder Quebbeman with Antonio! Both with new haircuts! Cute Antonio cutting Elder Hoglund's hair! Elder Hoglund in The Offices with his family!
Elder Figuera getting his shoes shined. Cost? 4 Pesos.

Dear Family:

I want to start out by saying that I feel that there are more miracles that happen on the mission than I have room to tell in this or in any letter. I know that the lord is blessing me every day with experiences that are helping me gain experience and know how to handle life and bring others to Christ. This week we had a really special experience with Hugo and his family. Hugo is a man that really wants to change his life. He let my companion and another member in for the first time about 2 weeks ago and we have steadily been working on him and finally got a lesson with him and his whole family. He really wants to quit smoking, drinking, and doing drugs and his family wants to read the Book of Mormon and change their lives. The rest of the family is motivated to read and Augustin, their 10 year old…(I think) is really excited to read the Book of Mormon and has a goal to read the first 10 pages by Wednesday. The mom is reading and I love the family, we have such a fun time with them.

We have little commitment cards that we are giving out to people that I absolutely love and I feel that with these commitment cards people feel much more self-committed and driven to complete with their goals. I know that goals are so important and I feel like I say that every week, but I am realizing the importance of knowing what you want and understanding how to get it.

Antonio is progressing along really well, he came to church again this week and also came to our family night we had about temple work and doing family history. He has such a family history and shared so many little stories about how he found important dates of his ancestors. He feels like he´s part of the family.

We met a man on the street the other day named Sebastian. We were walking to another appointment and passed by a house where we have been working for the past 2 or 3 weeks. I felt like we should pass by and say hi and see if the people we had been teaching were there or not. The man that attended us said the lady we were looking for was there but asked if we could wait a minute for her. We agreed and began talking to him. He was very open and we had a wonderful chat with him. He at the end invited himself to church this next week and we have a return appointment with him Tuesday night. I know that the Lord has a plan for us that many times we cannot see but that we should seek to do His will and the way will open.

I feel like the mission has thrown me yet another curve ball, something I didn´t see coming. I was informed by President today that I will be out of the offices in a week working full-time in the area of Trapiche, which is very close to the offices. The former pensionista that designed the program I am using now is coming in to combine three office jobs into one computer and me and Elder Quebbeman are going to be on standby and have phones so they can call us to the office if they need us. I feel like this is going to give me a great opportunity to practice being on call and being willing to roll with things as they come. I feel it´s going to be a great opportunity and I´m feeling good about what´s coming around the corner.

To answer some questions about the Nopes, they´re incredible! they invited us over for lunch today and really helped us to feel at home. they really take good care of us. In the offices there are 4 elders there permanently. President wants there to always be two Elders in the offices. Things are changing a lot here and I love how every day teaches you to roll with what comes. I feel like it´s preparing me for life after the mission.

I feel that this week is going to be spent a lot on training and organizing things for when I leave next week. It should be pretty fun!

I love you everyone!

Love, Elder Hoglund

Monday, August 30, 2010

August 30, 2010 No jam please! I'll just scoop up everything on my plate with this bread. Thanks.

Hello Everyone!

I hope everything is going oh so well back in Utah. Let me fill you in on Argtentino life. I realized this week how Argentine I really am. We had the new couple missionaries that we have been training this week, Elder and Hermana Nope, invite Elder Quebbeman and I over to their house Saturday night for dinner (number 1 realization, it was different to get a dinner invitation and not a big lunch invite). After teaching during the day we went over to their house that night and opened the door and (realization number 2) started speaking English with them. We had crock pot meat with potatoes and carrots (that was pretty much normal, the Argentines generally speaking love their meat). It was really good though! There was gravy and everything. The other thing that contributed to realizing that I really have become pretty Argentine was when Hermana Nope offered to put jam on my bread. I thought in my head that that just wasn´t right. Bread is supposed to be used for scooping food and cleaning off your plate, not to put butter and jam on. It was so much fun just to have that kind of cultural experience and realize how much Argentina has rubbed off on me. I love it!

This week was incredible. We were trying to get a hold of Antonio all week but weren´t able to get through on his phone. He lives outside of our area and his landlord doesn´t like the church so we weren´t able to visit him this week. We weren´t able to contact the member he lives with either. We were praying during the week that he would get to church when lo and behold a miracle happened and he showed up at church on Sunday early and so happy to be there. I think this happened early this week, but just to share an experience about him, there was one night where I was calling him to set up an appointment for the following day and he told me he was reading the Book of Mormon. I told him that was awesome and asked him if he had any questions. We proceeded to talk for a little bit and I bore my testimony to him of the Book of Mormon. He feels something and he knows it´s special. Keep praying for him! We want to put a baptismal date with him this week.

New Missionary Couples!
This week has really been all about helping the new Matrimonios feel comfortable here. It´s been really fun as we´ve taken a few trips outside the office and given them their first tastes of Argentine life. Hermana Nope is who I am training to do my job and it´s been so fun! She loves organizing and cleaning so that is what we have been doing to the office. It looks tons better! Her husband, Elder Nope is an incredible missionary! We were in a furniture/appliance store in a meeting with one of the head guys there and started to talk about the family. Elder Nope grabbed just enough of the conversation to know that we were talking about the family and bore his simple and powerful testimony on his family and his purpose here as a missionary (3 Nephi 5:13): It was incredible! The guy said that I wasn´t going to change and he wasn´t going to change but we gave him a phamphlet on the proclamation to the world on the family and he very anxiously accepted it. It was so much fun! He also talked with a few people in the street and bore simple testimony. Simplicity and sincerity is just at the bottom of it all. Just make it simple.

We´ve been working with a man named Hugo. He really wants to change his life. He´s lived a pretty difficult life and wants to change. I know that it´s going to come about a little bit at a time, but as long as it comes about a little bit at a time, it´s coming. That is what´s important, that we change a little bit at a time. I think of the scripture Alma 34:16- it really is by small and simple means that great things come to pass. I guess that´s more true than I know.

Ok, so I tried to find my camera cord, but I couldn´t find it this morning. I don´t know where it is, I really need to find this camera cord. I thought I had another way to get around it by using an SD USB adapter that we have here in the offices, but my XD card doesn´t fit. Don´t worry, we´ll find out about what´s going on and I´ll find some way to send pictures to you.

I learn so much here every single day. I´m learning to look for opportunties to learn at every moment and find moments to improve. I love the mission, I love life!

Have an awesome week this week!

Elder Hoglund

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday August 23, 2010New Missionary Couples & Zone Conferences

Hi Everyone...

I am so excited to write everyone this week. This week was an incredible week. I have grown a ton and learned a lot.

This week we had a Zone Conference and we spent the week getting pedidos ready. Pedidos are the materials that the missionaries DVD´s of the Restoration, Boxes of the Book of Mormon, little brochures, etc. It was pretty fun seeing as it was my very first time and I learned quite a lot. I´m excited to organize everything here and get the penches taken care of. Right now we´re in the process of getting a few Elders some new penches because of location problems, they´re pretty far from their area. I feel it´s a great opportunity to be here and to learn from these experiences every day.

Today was so much fun, Antonio, the investigator I mentioned in my e-mail last week came to the offices and gave us a hair cut. He mentioned that he worked cutting hair and both of us needed haircuts, so we asked him if he would like to come cut our hair. He´s hair cutter who goes to the people´s houses and cuts hair. He came to church yesterday and had an incredible experience and he absolutely loved coming to the mission offices today and cutting not only our hair but another missionary´s hair as well. I know the Lord is blessing him for his efforts to come to church and makethe right decisions. We took pictures and I forgot to bring my camera cord to the offices yet again. I will find it and send some pictures next week.

We also had our own Zone Conference this week and it was incredible! We talked about the new 8 focues of the mission and how to apply Preach My Gospel to teaching people, and not lessons. I have really learned a lot about the Spirit this week. how it really is the voice of reason and makes sense in your mind and in your heart. It has to make sense both in your mind and in your heart. Sometimes it just makes sense in our minds and we reason it out but something just doesn´t feel right in the heart. And sometimes we do what we "feel" is right, but it doesn´t make sense in our head. The Lord will always tell us with reason and with feelings. Logically and Spiritually.

Just today I got the chance to meet the two new missionary couples that have arrived in the mission. Elder and Sister Packer and Elder and Sister Nope. They are incredible and we have been taking care of them today. Helping them get settled in and feel welcome. We are going to go over to their pench tonight and try to fix up their water filter. It should be pretty fun. I will be training Hermana Nope on how to be the materialista and how to live in Argentina. She is from Louisiana and her husband is a CPA who has traveled around a lot. I´m excited to learn from them and it should be a fun experience.

I love you all! Thank you for your e-mails and I have hiked to the top of Timp to answer Mom and Dad´s question and I would love to do it again when I get home. Have an awesome week!

Elder Hoglund

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010 "creer es poder" To believe is power!"

Hola mi familia,

All right, number one I am so sorry I did not write last week. Things got really busy in the offices, but that´s no excuse. I should have written you and I really am so sorry for it because you have always written me so much. That´s not going to happen again, I really want to talk to all of you. Let´s start by giving a quick wrap up of what happened last week.

Well, I had an experience that was pretty fun. I had a dueño (landlord) call me about 2 weeks ago and we had been negotiating back and forth about a new price and a new contract. I like doing it because it´s giving me a chance to grow and practice how to negotiate. President wanted me to bump the monthly rent down 100 pesos but the landlord was very set on what she wanted. In the end she ended up saying she would come into the offices last Thursday to talk about it. I was cutting it down almost to the last minute and didn´t prepare as thoroughly as I would have liked to but she came in on Thursday and we ended up having quite a nice chat between her and I and President. It turns out she didn´t want a contract at all because she trusts us and we said ok. We ended up being really good friends and she went off to visit her son who she was visiting for the holiday we were having here in Mendoza. I went and shredded the contract J.
I learned a lot from this experience, number 1- that trust in a person´s word is more powerful than any kind of contract. It´s nice to know that!

We also had quite the fiasco with missionary agendas. So as the situation would have it, we found ourselves as a mission completely out of agendas this week. Missionaries were calling and asking about agendas from all sides. Awesome! An opportunity to solve a problem, this was going to be fun. I had put an order for agendas earlier in the week but was informed by the confirmation e-mail that they were going to be arriving in 2-3 weeks…we needed them in two or three days…ok awesome, what else do we do. I ended up calling a neighboring mission and they emergency shipped me 70 agendas to hold us over until our agendas could get there. We needed the agendas right away to get them out to the assistants who were traveling to some Zone Conferences pretty far away this morning. Anyway so we got everything shipped out here from mission Neuquen and we thought everything was going to fine and dandy. Elder Sandford and I went out to the terminal this morning to pick up the package and forward it on a bus to the Elders in San Rafael only to find that the ticket booth and the place where you pick up packages was closed today because of a holiday today (It´s San Martin Day today, he´s pretty cool and has a lot to do with Chile and Peru I think). Anyway long story short, I ended up making some makeshift agendas in a word document and sending it to the whole mission this morning so they could have a paper to plan for the day. This was an experience of learning, I enjoyed the experience and it was a good experience to take all the twists and turns and roll with them…this leads into what I wanted to talk about next.
I have been studying faith a lot this week. Let me explain why faith in Jesus Christ is so important. I want to start off with a question. What do you do if you believe what someone says…you do what they want you to do right? You trust them. You trust that if the Lord commands you to do something, there is way to do it. 1 Nephi 3:7 look at it, it says it better than I do.

Speaking about faith a little more generally it is to believe. There is a Spanish Phrase that I like…”creer es poder” (To believe is to be able OR To believe is power) Poder means to be able to and it also means power. If you believe it, you have the power to do it. I know there were trials of faith this week that the Lord put in my path. One day I felt really sick, flu-like, but we needed to get out and work (I will tell you about the miracle that happened that day a little bit later). There was this trial with the agendas, there were so many things that happened every day, but if we believe, a situation will arise. Ultimately our only true source of faith is in Jesus Christ, that through the atonement everything will be made right, that justice and mercy will be served and we press on. My challenge is that next time you are faced with a trial instead of doubting that you can pass through it or looking for excuses around it to believe, make a plan and have faith.

That was pretty much me rambling my thoughts about faith, but it´s how I feel. I´ll end with the miracle that happened this week and let everyone go. That day I was feeling sick we left the Offices and went to the chapel where we were going to meet up with a member who was going to work with us for the afternoon (here in Argentina “afternoon” extends well into the nighttime FYI). Anyway we got to the chapel and started having a wonderful chat with this man. He shared with us that he had been having a hard time finding work lately and that he was looking for something to fill the void in his life. We had a wonderful discussion with him where the Spirit was really strong. At the end of the lesson he offered a kneeling prayer to Heavenly Father asking him for help in finding work. Not three minutes passed after that and he received a text message with someone telling him that they had work for him. We all four just stood there gawking at each other. I know that God answers prayers and that He is waiting to bless us. TRY IT!

I love you all and I will send pictures next week…I will remember my camera cord and I will take pictures I promise. Please have a good week! You´re all awesome!

Elder Hoglund

Monday, August 9, 2010 Oh where, oh where is Ben?

We forgive Ben for not writing this week, even if we don't know why! :)

Monday, August 2, 2010 "Do you have anything you don't want?" Welcoming the new missionaries!

Hi Family,

It´s looking like it´s going to snow tonight. We´ll see. It was so good to read everyone´s e-mails! Thanks for the e-mails and for letting me know how everyone is doing. I absolutely love reading them! Thanks for sharing so much about what is going on at home. Let me tell you a few stories from this week.

Last Sunday, (I didn´t share this story last week, but oh well) we were walking to a lunch appointment and we saw an old investigator out in front of their house. I didn´t know them, but my companion said we should go over and talk to them. So we started to talk to them and they promised us that they would come to church. None of them came this week, but I won´t lose hope, we´ll pass by them again and see what´s going on.

This week we taught an incredible family of 5. There was a brother-in-law and a sister there I think that didn´t live there but the other three did live there. We proceeded to have a wonderful discussion and they had a lot of questions about Jesus Christ. That is what this new program that the 12 are implementing in every mission is all about. It´s not about teaching a lesson more so about having a discussion guided by the Spirit. They found that lots of missionaries were still just giving rote presentations of the material they learned rather than teaching according to the needs of the people they were teaching. This lesson went really well and we had a few return appointments for this week. With limited time in the field, the lessons we do have become more valuable. We weren´t able to find them again, but we´re going to find them this week and progress with them and see if they´ve read the Book of Mormon.

Work was crazy this week! I shared with Nanna a few experiences that I want her to share with the family, but it´s wonderful and I´m absolutely loving it. Today for example, we went to Subway for lunch to enjoy the Preparation Day and my companion gets a call telling me that President is waiting for me in the offices and is going to be there until 5:00. I had spoken with him earlier that day and needed him to sign some stuff but he left and said we should leave it until tomorrow morning. But I guess he came back and wanted to sign it and meet with me today. Surprise! :) So we took a bus as quick as we could and got to the offices in time to receive some instruction from him and to get his help on a few Pench issues. I love receiving instruction from President. He is like an open book, always teaching, we just need to be ready to learn. It was a fun experience today! I loved it!

Tomorrow we have the missionaries who are finishing their missions going home. They are staying with us in the pench as well as quite a few other missionaries. That means that they are leaving a lot of stuff and I get to play the favorite game "Do you have anything you don´t want." They have a lot they don´t want, so I ended up with a few shirts and some other stuff I think is pretty cool. Anyway, the new missionaries get here on Wenesday and I am so excited to greet them and welcome them to Argentina. It´s going to be so much fun!

Let me tell you a story from my work this week. Have you ever had a landlord call you and tell you randomly that they´re going to increase the rent from 650 to 900 pesos and hang up the phone really quick. Also, have you ever had the opportunity to try to negociate closing a pench when the dueño wants to take as much money away from you as he can before you sign the termination contract? I have had the opportunity to deal with both of these things this week. I love the blessing that my work is and it is giving me experience that I will never forget for the rest of my life. My mission is blessing my life so much!

Anyway, this week I have been learning a lot about obedience and gaining a lot from my personal study. I learned from my new companion Elder Quebbeman from Oregon that I should pray that the Lord can open the eyes of my understanding. This really helps me to see the big picture of things and opens my eyes to the things the Lord wants me to learn. I have been learning that obedience really is a protection and that we should be exactly obedient to be safe. Picture yourself walking on a path that is 5 feet wide with a cliff on either side. If the wind blows or if someone pushes you, you don´t want to be right next to the edge right? You want to be in the middle of the path and ready for the push. That is why complete obedience is so important so that when the trials do come you are not moved off this path and mortally wounded, you can keep on going because you were prepared.

This is my thought for the week. I love all of you with all my heart! Have a good week! Ben

July 26, 2010 Fourteen Elders sleeping in the "bird cage"


Hi Everyone,

Thanks so much for your e-mails! I absolutely love reading about what´s going on, what hikes you´ve been on and what fun adventtures you´ve had during the week. It sounds like there is a lot of running, a lot of heat, and quite the opposite from here. We´re starting to warm up a bit this week and it should steadily get warmer and warmer as the months go on. Maybe it´s just a one week thing, we´ll see what goes on.

This week was crazy! We had a huge training here at the offices for all the Zone and District leaders in the mission over the course of 3 days. There were traveling here from all parts of the mission and sleeping in different penches around the zone. We had about 14 missionaries sleeping in our pench. It was ok though because we have this place in our pench called the "bird cage" where there are 12 extra beds or so. These are for when the new missionaries come to the mission they have somewhere to sleep the first night and when the missionaries that are going home come to the offices, they have some place to stay. It makes me remember my first night here...with the snow:). We were busy helping that conference move along and President and Hermana Lindahl with various things they had for us to do.

We went to President´s house on Saturday because his Blackberry broke and he had one emergency delivered to him. So we went over to his house, took care of his Blackberry problem and then he commenced to show us around the house and teach us some lessons about finanace and whatever really. It was fun to listen to his counsel and spend a few minutes with him.

This job is a little bit overwhelming, but I love it! There is a lot to do. Things can happen so quickly. For example, this morning when we were working there is a man who buzzes in and asks for Elder Figueroa (the Elder who was the Pensionista before). Anyway, long story short, we let him in and he comes and talks to me about a law that has changed that makes is possible for President to be able to sign contracts right away without first sending for the approval of Buenos Aires. It made sense, and it was pretty nifty. This job is teaching me to be confident and firm. I guess that´s they way it has to be in business. I´ll be dealing a lot with Argentine law and revising and renewing contracts. Dad, to answer your question about how much training I have before the the job falls on my lap, I have this week to do the job alone (my companion is not allowed to be in the offices to help me, he and another missionary are going to be out working full-time in our area the whole week) and then half of next week and then Elder Figueroa is out in another area. So I´m learning quickly, and I need to learn quickly. It´s fun and it is such a blessing to be here in the offices. One of my friends here is Elder Sandford. He´s 27 years old (we celebrated his birthday this week) and it a convert of about two years. His conversion story is incredible and I have worked with him beore, but now we are going to be working even more closely due to the nature of our assignments. He is so converted to the gospel and I admire his testimony so much. He has such determination to do what is right and to have his focus where it needs to be. I am so excited to work with him. I am so excited to work with Elder Figueroa this week and figure out all that I need to do to be ready for transfers next week. I hear that´s crazy, so it should be fun.

What else happened this week, we went out to work yesterday and on the way to a lunch appointement after church, we ran into an investigator that he other Elders had been looking for for quite some time. We stopped and talked to them and got them really excited about going to church. One of the girls committed to going to church and the other two kids said they would come as well. I´m excited for next Sunday and this week to see what happens with them. We´ll keep working with the wife of a recent convert (Roberto Vera) she is way cool and supports her husband but is Catholic and doesn´t understand that we both can´t be right. It´s either true or it isn´t true. But we´ll keep working with her. We had a pretty frank discussion with her about the Book of Mormon yesterday and I hope she reads and prays about it. It was incredible!

I have something to say about obedience this week. It was interesting, I was studying this morning and the thought ran through my mind, "Where do the commandments come from?" They come from our loving Heavenly Father. Let´s stop and think about who He is. He is our loving Heavenly Father who knows everything from the beginning, he is all powerful. If He commands us to do something, it´s because He knows the consequences of what are going to come and He knows that we will be blessed for being obedient. It´s like being obedient to your parents, if your parents tell you not to go play in the canal, it´s not because they don´t want you to have fun, it´s because they know that the canal is dirty, full of piranahs maybe, (Elder Blackham in Brazil surely has more Piranna stories than I do.) and that you are going to get hurt. At times we don´t understand why our parents tell us to do things, but they DO understand and they want us to be safe and happy. Heavenly Father has lived what we are living right now, He wants us to have an enjoyable earthly experience and guide us safely home, we just have to listen to Him and do what He says, we´ll be safe. I bear testimony of that and of the importance of keeping the commandments. I know that´s true.

Well, I hope everyone has a good week. It was so good to write you. Keep up the good work and having fun. Brady, get feeling better soon bud, that surgery sounds intense. I love you all! Bye!

Love, Elder Hoglund

July 19, 2010 "No lights, no power, Help me Elder Hoglund"

Hello Family!

A broken wrist!? Oh no buddy, I'm so sorry to hear that! That's a bummer, you will be out of the swing for a few weeks then I guess. It sounds so good to hear that overall everyone is doing well. It seems like the Super Salad Summer Social went really well for you Mom. I am happy to hear that the yard looked nice! I would love to see some pictures of it to see the wonderful work Dad and Brady did on it. I loved hearing about Sister Walker's talk on service and mom, that quote you sent me from President Hinkley was wonderful. I absolutely love your quotes! Please keep sending them. I got your package the other day and I absolutley loved it. The New Era ad is so true. We need to live life unplugged. Life is so much more wonderful like that. Part of preparation day is to visit historical sites and other culturally significant places and I have very much enjoyed doing that and have adquired a hunger and thirst to learn about things. When I grab a book I hunger and thirst after what there is to learn. I love taking notes when I learn because it helps me retain knowledge better and learning is just fun.

Ok anyway, that was a little sidetrack, but this week was fun! I am learning my new job and little by little taking it over from Elder Figueroa. I am learning a ton from him and still have tons to learn. I love asking myself, "what more can I do?" because there is always something more to do in the job.

This week we went and visited all of the penches in the Guaymallen zone to do an inventory, to see if anything was broken and what they needed from us. It was fun to go around and take a look at what different situations the Elders live in and how I can help. I want to do a lot of improvements to the penches and help the Elders out so they can more focus on the work. The days are really busy and I love it.

To give you an example situation of what might happen, we're sitting here tranquilo waiting to go to a ward mission activity we were going to have later that night when all of the sudden an Elder calls and says, "Elder Hoglund, we have no light, our power just went out and we're talking to the landlord right now, we want to move!" I am really grateful for Elder Figuroa in these types of situations because he knows what to do, not only that I am grateful for these types of situations because it gives me the chance to grow! This has been a valuable situation to learn from and I am learning to be more firm and to be more confident. It truly is a blessing the Lord has called me to serve here and I know I am here to learn for a reason.

This week I have been learning a little bit about humility. A little while ago my good friend Elder Andrew Blackham who is serving in the Belen, Brazil mission sent an e-mail in the which he described humility. He described it as thinking, "you're just as good as the next, but not better." I think this was a quote from a general authority or someone else who visited his mission. I LOVE this description of humility because many people would have you think that humility is walking with your head down, and a sullen expression on your face. In Preach My Gospel, notice how much it talks about confidence going hand in hand with humility and you will find that humility has everything to do with being confident in the Lord and in doing his will.

What else happened this week? Well, I've been running in the freezing cold every other morning and I LOVE it! It snowed the other day here. I don't have my camera cord with my so I won't send the photo this week, but next week I'll send in on over to you. It doesn't snow very often here. I arrived in Argentina nearly a year ago and I remember that my first night here it was snowing. It hasn't happened again until now. I find it fun that it snowed almost exactly a year later on my year anniversary in Argentina.

I pray that everyone is well. I think about you. Thank you for everything you do! I love you!

Elder Hoglund