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).