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