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 aƱos) 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