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!
Monday, August 30, 2010
Posted by Ben at 7:28 PM
Monday, August 23, 2010
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 want...like 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!
Posted by Ben at 7:36 PM
Monday, August 16, 2010
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!
Posted by Ben at 4:19 PM
We forgive Ben for not writing this week, even if we don't know why! :)
Posted by Ben at 4:15 PM
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
Posted by Ben at 4:04 PM
ONE YEAR IN ARGENTINA!!! IT IS AWESOME AND I LOVE IT!!!
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
Posted by Ben at 3:47 PM
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!
Posted by Ben at 3:38 PM
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Well, everything is going really welll. I´m here in the offices of the mission typing this e-mail. Preparation day is a little different now. We come in and do office work in the morning and then in the afternoon we have our preparation day. The 9th of July is Independance Day in Argentina, the equivalent of the 4th of July in the States. So everything shut down here and the people took a break. We went running in the morning and had a good time. I absolutely love running in the morning. The change of area has been really nice, I like it here in the offices. The work is a little bit more fast paced and things have to get done now. I´m learning my new job and my new companion Elder Figueroa is helping me out a lot. He´s a way cool guy! I love him, he´s way funny. He´s from Canada.
Let´s see, I got here Wednesday afternoon and we got straight to work. I´m learning how to manage the Pentions in the mission how the Materials job works and also I deal with cell phone issues too. We work in the offices normal hours from 10 until 4 and then from 5 oclock on we are out proselyting in our area that we share between four Elders right now. It´s called Trapiche. The pench is great, the members are great and the meeting on Sunday was incredible! We had an Elder´s quorum teacher that was an absolute fireball. He was such an incredible teacher and was so well prepared. He definitely had me wrapped up in what he was teaching. He taught a lot about the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood and about having the desire to do things. It is so important that we have a desire to obey the commandments.
I am realizing how much the mission has blessed my life. It has taught me self-discipline like I have never been taught before. I love getting to bed early, waking up early and running first thing in the morning. It´s a huge blessing!
My area is in the city. I´m not sure what the population is but I think it´s bigger than Salt Lake City. There´s busses that go everywhere! The bus system is incredible here! I´m mostly just running from one place to another and learning my job! Things are going really well! Sorry for the shortie, I love you all!
Posted by Ben at 4:30 PM