Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Big Changes Headed My Way!

Hello there everyone! It was so so great getting to see all of your faces and hear all of your voices this past week! It already feels like it was sooo long ago. A lot of stuff happens everyday over here in the life of a missionary, which is always so good. But it really just made my whole week to get to spend a little family time with you all. Now only 4 more months or something, right? :) haha but who's counting? How has the break been treating you all? It sounds like you are staying busy and getting lots done. Please please send my love to Grace and the other girls who are getting ready to head out and let them know that they are in for the greatest experience of their lives where they will learn and grow more than they ever thought was possible! Speaking of learning and growing, we have transfers tomorrow and Hermana Driesel is leaving me. :( But I know that what ever will happen is in the Lord's plans and that He is helping me become the person that only He knows I am capable of becoming. And there is no way that I can do that without His help. So yes, I will be taking over here in the Woodlands, and I am excited to see what will happen with my new companion and what not. Every companionship in our district is losing one missionary and gaining a new one, and every district leader in our zone is getting changed out! So there are definitely big big changes headed to our zone. But if we didn't have change we couldn't progress, right? So that's what has been happening the past little while. Yesterday all of the missionaries in our ward had the opportunity to speak in church, and it was really awesome! We actually spoke as a companionship and shared a brief version of the lessons we teach with the congregation. Hermana Driesel and I taught the Plan of Salvation and it was so incredible to look out into the congregation and see how the message touched them. I think it was a great opportunity for them to see how much we really care about what we are doing and what we get to share with people. We have a new ward mission plan too, so we are hoping that will help us work more with our members. Anyways, here are some miracles for the week. 
We had an incredible miracle with one of our less active members. She is just getting back into learning about the church again and we have asked her if we could bring members with us before, but she has been really hesistant to let anyone else into her house. We had an appointment scheduled to meet with her and about an hour before we were supposed to go over she sent us a text message. She asked us if we could bring someone to give her sons a blessing of health!! We were able to bring the President of our Elder's Quorum and he was able to give both of her boys a blessing. I know that this was an incredible experience for her. During the blessings she had tears streaming down her cheeks and I know that she was able to feel the Spirit testify to her of the Priesthood power and I know she wants that to be a part of her life again. Her little boy is just adorable too because after the blessing he would go give him a hug and say "You saved my life! Thank you, you saved my life!" haha he is soooo adorable!
One of the less active families that we have been meeting with has an 8 year old daughter who hasn't been baptized yet, and....we set a baptismal date with her!! Whooo!! This is Fatima, the daughter of Carlos and she is such a special little girl. She wants her dad to be the one to baptize her, so what greater motivation could there be for Carlos to get back active in the church? We're super excited and are so happy for Fatima! This family really is so remarkable! So right now we set a date for January 11, but we will work according to Carlos as well. So exciting!
Now for one thing that I learned this week from one of our members. We started talking about the gospel (go figure haha) and how it blesses us and how we are able to become so much more with it in our lives. I shared with them a saying that goes something like "Our church isn't a museum for Saints, but a hospital for sinners." Then Hermano added a really cool insight and analogy to this. He said that in our church we are in "wards" like a "hospital ward." This is where we go to get healed. It is so true!! Here in the church we are constantly being healed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It is the one and only way that we can be completely healed and relieved of our burdens. I thought that was such an incredible analogy, so I just thought that I would share that with you. As far as New Years goals go, I haven't really thought too much about it until now...I honestly barely remembered that New Years was even happening! haha but I'm going to think a lot about that this week and I will get back to you on that. Well, I'm off, but know that I love you all more than you will ever ever know. Best of luck with the beginning of the New Year! LOVE YOU LOTS!!!
Hermana Hoj



Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy Holidays from Hermana Hoj

The Hermanas managed to pull off a Christmas card and get it sent off in the mail. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December 25th

Ether 12:8-11

"But because of the faith of men he has shown himself unto the world, and glorified the name of the Father, and prepared a way that thereby others might be partakers of the heavenly gift, that they might hope for those things which they have not seen.
Wherefore, ye may also have hope, and be partakers of the gift, if ye will but have faith.
Behold it was by faith that they of old were called after the holy order of God.
Wherefore, by faith was the law of Moses given. But in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way; and it is by faith that it hath been fulfilled."

"Heavenly Father gave His only Son so that we can return to Him again one day. Jesus Christ gave His life, and He prepared the way for us to do so. If we have faith, we too can be partakers of this Heavenly gift - eternal life - the greatest of all gifts.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December 24th

1 Nephi 11:31-33

"And he spake unto me again, saying: Look! And I looked, and I beheld the Lamb of God going forth among the children of men. And I beheld multitudes of people who were sick, and who were afflicted with all manner of diseases, and with devils and unclean spirits; and the angel spake and showed all these things unto me. And they were healed by the power of the Lamb of God; and the devils and the unclean spirits were cast out.
And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me again, saying: Look! And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Son of the everlasting God was judged of the world; and I saw and bear record.
And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world.

"One word. INCREDIBLE. I love how this talks about what Christ did while on the earth. He healed people - and He still does today. He was rejected and judged, but still He suffered and died for us. Think of Him. His life, His love, and His sacrifice. His healing and how we are saved because of it."

Monday, December 23, 2013

December 23rd

1 Peter 3:15

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"

"I just found this scripture and it has become one of my favorites. We must sanctify the Lord in our hearts and ALWAYS be prepared to give a man a reason for the hope, joy, and happiness we have through the gospel. Think about it. WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?"


Feliz Navidad!! Do you know what that means? I GET TO SEE ALL OF YOUR BEAUTIFUL FACES IN TWO DAYS!!! WHOOOO!!!
So to address your questions/concerns. Mom, don't you worry I got the package all taken care of and the presents are sitting under our beautiful paper tree. So thank you very much! And Hna. Driesel also says muchisimas gracias a ustedes por el stocking. I have no idea what that is in Spanish. But really, thank you so much! Also, I got the Christmas card in the mail and that made me really happy too. We've got a great little family, don't we? And yaaaaay! I get to talk to you! So we are going to our Relief Society President's house and we are going to use Skype. I'll be calling you at 2:00 our time, so whatever that is your time...I'm not really sure if we're behind or ahead, but you can look that up right? And also, I think I will call you on the phone right before so we can get everything figured out because I don't know if I remember my skype account. So I might have to create a new one, and also I don't know yours either to call you. haha So I will call you on the phone right before and then we can figure it out and then I'll see you all! Whooo hoooo! Okay, so now to telling ya'll a little about my week.
First off, I'm in the last week of my second transfer right now, I am one week away from being done with my training. How did that happen sooo fast? We have no idea what will happen at this next transfer as far as companions go, but all I can say is that I sure am grateful for the opportunity I have had to work with Hna. Driesel and to have her as my trainer. She seriously is the epitome of love. I have been so incredibly blessed to learn from her amazing example.
So, one or two things I'd like to tell you about this week. Here's a little miracle for ya! We got a referral from an Athiest, and now we have two new investigators! haha I think that's pretty great. Even though He's an athiest, He's still working for the good side right? Even if he doesn't realize it. And Mom, you asked about church yesterday. We had a pretty normal sacrament meeting, two speakers and a musical number. And guess what? The musical number was Hna. Driesel, a girl in our ward, and I! We sung silent night and had 3 parts on the last verse! Alto for me as always. haha and then, Hna. Driesel and I sung Divina Luz (Lead Kindly Light in English) at a baptism last night too! I was pretty terrified, I'll admit it--there were about 60 or 70 people there, but it actually went really well. The first verse was unison, second I sung alto and she did soprano, and third we did parts acapella. It was good for me to have that experience to say the least, and I think it was pretty good with the exception of my voice being a little shaky, but what can you do? haha but yeah so I just thought I'd tell you that!
This past week has been full of so much that has happened, and I just want to say how grateful I am for prayer. We have seen so many miracles this week and I owe it all to prayer. I don't have time to share all of the examples with you, but the power of prayer is remarkable! There have been multiple times this week where appointments have fallen through or we didn't have set plans--we had no idea where we needed to be. But the Lord always does, and when we ask Him for His help and direction, we can know! We have been in the right place at the right time a lot this week, and I know it is because we were seeking direction from the Lord and trying to accomplish His will rather than our own. That is when we can witness miracles in abundance! When we align our will to His. And that is exactly what I want to talk about with Christmas being this week. Think of the incredible gifts that we have been given. Our Heavenly Father sent His son to this earth, knowing that He would take upon Himself the greatest of all suffering and die for us. How difficult that must have been. What a gift that is for us. Our Heavenly Father prepared the way for us to receive the greatest of all gifts, eternal life, and Jesus Christ was willing to go through all of the agony and pain so that it would be possible for us to achieve that. Read Mark 14. In verse 33 and 34 it reads "And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed and to be very heavy; And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch." The pain that He encountered was such great suffering that even He was taken aback by the burden He would bear. I cannot even begin to comprehend what the Savior went through for each of us, but what I can say is that I will forever be grateful that He did. I know that it is only through our Savior that we can return to live with God again one day. I know that because of what our Savior went through for us, we do not have to face life's challenges alone. We will make many mistakes, we are far from perfect, but we can overcome any pain, doubt, sadness, or sorrow that we may feel because of the Atoning Sacrifice of our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ. We will never be able to repay Him completely for what He did for us, but we can do one thing. We have received all of these gifts from them, so what can we give them in return? Taylor sent me a quote a few weeks ago that says it perfectly..."Everything that you have to give to the Lord, has its origin in Him, except one thing: your will. He does not have your heart, nor your mind, unless you give them to Him. It is the only gift you have to offer that He does not already have. And so when you give yourself, you truly give everything to Him.” This is the greatest gift that we can give to our Savior, the only thing that we have to give that is not already His! I know that when we give our will and desires to Him we will have a stronger relationship with Him. Please think about that during this week, and throughout the entire year. And remember amidst all the gifts that you will receive this Christmas, there is always one that will stand greater than the rest: The life of Jesus Christ. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
Con Muchisimo Amor,
Hermana Hoj

Sunday, December 22, 2013

December 22nd

John 15:4, 1 John 2:3-6, Romans 8:35-39

John 15:4 - "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me."

1 John 2:3-6 - "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked."

Romans 8:35-39 - "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulations or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

"We cannot bear fruit without being a part of the vine, or Jesus Christ. To abide in Him, we must walk as He walked. NOTHING can separate us from the love of Christ and we can be abundantly victorious. How can you feel and help others feel this love more?"

Saturday, December 21, 2013

December 21st

3 Nephi 18:32

"Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them."

" I love this scripture. It can apply to so many things. Being judgmental is not an option! I think of the less-active members of the church. We must continually "minister" to them. We never know how our service can affect others' desires to repent and return. God will heal them, but He uses us to get others to that point!"

Friday, December 20, 2013

December 20th

Alma 26:27-30, 36

"Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst they brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.
And now behold, we have come, and been forth amongst them; and we have been patient in our sufferings, and we have suffered every privation; yea, we have traversed from house to house, relying upon the mercies of the world - not upon the mercies of the world alone but upon the mercies of God.
And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their temples and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again.
And we have suffered all manner of afflictions, and all this, that perhaps we might be the means of saving some soul; and we supposed that our joy would be full if perhaps we could be the means of saving some.
36 Now if this is boasting, even so will I boast; for this is my life and my light, my joy and my salvation, and my redemption from everlasting wo. Yea, blessed is the name of my God who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land."

"The Lord will always comfort us! I had to include this scripture reference because these are some of my favorite missionary scriptures. I just love it! They have suffered so much, but they have faith and patience. They glory in God and the ability they have to share the gospel. Let us do the same!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

December 19th

2 Nephi 5:27
 "And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness."

Alma 50:23
"But behold there never was a happier time among the people of Nephi, since the days of Nephi, than in the days of Moroni, yea, even at this time, in the twenty and first year of the reign of the judges."

Mosiah 2:41
"And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."

4 Nephi 1:16
"And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God."

"I read the one in 2 Nephi and thought . . . What is the reason for this happiness? How do we get it? Here are cross references I found and studied. I want you to do the same. Read these (the chapters if you can) and look for the similarities in what brings happiness, and on the contrary, what causes unhappiness. Then strive to find this happiness!"

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 18th

Moroni 10:32

"Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind, and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God."

Matthew 11:28-30

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

"Christ invites us to come unto Him. He doesn't ask us to come to Him as perfect beings. He wants us to come to Him with all of our weaknesses, troubles, and imperfections. He will help us find rest, and then it is through Him that we can be made perfect. How great is it to know that we are never alone!"

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 17th

Mark 12:41-44 The Widow's Mite

"And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
For all they did not cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living."

"The Law of Consecration. . . . . giving all you have with a willing heart. She gave all she had - not to be seen of men - but to praise the Lord. Seek to praise the Lord in this way. "

"It was not the smallness of her offering that made it especially acceptable, but the spirit of sacrifice and devout intent with which she gave."
                                      Jesus the Christ pg. 561

Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16th

D & C 78:17-19

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye are little children and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the Father hath in his own hands and prepared for you:
And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.
And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea more."

"We do not understand the greatness of the blessings the Lord has for us along with His help. We need to be thankful in all things that we receive, to truly live in thanksgiving daily."

Ten More Days Till the Best Christmas Present Ever! (Not that we are counting or anything . . . )

Hola Hola Hola mi familia! Como estan este dia? How is the weather up there in Utah this week? Because right here, right now the sun is shining and we are warm. :) haha but I do miss the snow as well, Christmas just isn't the same without it! I, likewise, am super oober excited to get to talk with all of you! At the beginning of yesterday we still had no idea how we would be communicating with you, but we found a solution, and if everything goes according to plan we should all get to Skype or Facetime! Whoo! One of the families in our ward is letting us come over so we can call ya'll. So that will be awesome. I might have to let you know what time next Monday if that's okay. We are still trying to figure out our schedule for that day. Thanks so much for sending the package, I'll be waiting for it! Thanks for being such a great little family, I feel of your love and support through and through every day!

This past week has definitely been a busy one, but that is always good in the life of a missionary. I had a really cool realization this week with an experience we had as a companionship. Someone in the CCM said something about it, but it really struck me again. Here is my little bit of enlightenment from this week. All of us go through experiences and think we do all that we can in that moment. We help others and we grow ourselves. Once we accomplish that experience we look back on it and see the difference it has made and we also think about what we could have done better. We sometimes think that we didn't give it our all. But, what we don't realize is that we have progressed, grown, and learned in many ways through that experience. We didn't have that knowledge in the moment that we were going through those experiences, but now with that new experience we can make it through even more difficult times and continually grow stronger. I don't know if that really made much sense, it does in my mind but explaining it was harder than I thought. haha but basically just that we beat ourselves up too often for not giving it our all when in reality we did. But we gained new knowledge through that experience that can help us along even more. Hmmm..I don't think that's making a lot of sense. haha hopefully the Spirit will help you understand what I mean.
This week we have had some incredible lessons! There is this one investigator we are working with, Celalina, that I just come to love more and more each time we visit her. She is so great. I don't know if I have already told you about her or not, but I'll say it again anyways. She is a woman in her 70s and is the mom of two recent converts into the English ward in this area, but she only speaks Spanish. She cannot read or write, and she has a hard time remembering things, so the lessons have been a little slower than usual, but it's kind of nice that way. She sometimes gets frustrated with herself that she can't remember many things, but I can tell you she has some of the strongest desires I have seen out of an investigator. Her knowledge is not what matters, it's the feelings she feels and the love and desires she has to follow the Savior. She believes what we have taught her to be true, and she has a desire to be baptized too! We just found out that she wants her recently converted son to do that baptism, but it is a little difficult because he is in prison right now. I'm not really sure why, but it was from some accident years ago and they can't afford a lawyer to help get him out right now. So keep him in your prayers if you can, his name is Omar. The last lesson that we had with her, I just felt such strong feelings of love well up inside me. It makes me so so happy to see her have such strong desires to do what is right, and to hear her testify of how she knows it to be true. We watched the Restoration video with her and asked her if she believed it was true. She told us that she knows it is true. She went on to tell us that she had an accident once where she was unconscious. She told us that her brain was still working but that her heart had died. In this moment she was surrounded by darkness, but in one corner of the room she saw a beautiful, beautiful light--just like the one Joseph Smith saw, and she felt so much peace and love. That's how she knows it is true. It is incredible to me how the Lord prepares people to accept this gospel, and I love more than anything in the world to see these people have desires to come to Christ and accept His teachings. Not only accept them, but to live them. I just cannot get over the love and happiness I felt for her in that moment when we taught her. I like to think that maybe the Savior is letting me feel a little bit of the love that He has for everyone.
Yesterday we also had a great great miracle. We decided to try to visit a less-active, part-member family. We have tried to stop by and visit them multiple times and haven't been able to get in with them. As we got out of the car we saw Hermano in his garage, went up to him, and said hello. He told us they were decorating their Christmas tree and asked if we would like to help him! So of course we said yes! We were able to visit with them, help them, and share a Christmas message with them. They also gave us delicious tamales and postre. But that was the first time I have ever visited them since being here, and I am really grateful that we were able to build better trust and a better relationship with them. They even invited us to come over on Christmas! So that was a great miracle, and we are hopeful that we will be able to visit them more often. Beginning with Christmas Day! I have a feeling that I am going to be eating and eating and eating on that day...yikes.
This week I read a lot in Jesus the Christ and have grown to be more and more grateful every single day for His great sacrifice. I finished Mark in the New Testament, so I wanted to read in Jesus the Christ to get more insight and understanding of the last fews days of the Savior's life on earth, His atonement, and crucifixion. Wow, is that a profound book. I learned so many things, and my testimony of the Savior grew and grew and grew. I can't even begin to comprehend all that He went through for us, but I am forever grateful that He did, and that He was willing to do so. Dad, I love what you said in your email about how we have to accept and believe in the Atonement ourselves if we want to be able to feel that healing power. We can't receive that help without having faith and believing that it can help us. I can testify to you that the power of the Atonement is real. I have felt it here on my mission more than I ever have in my life. I am so imperfect and I need so much help from the Savior to help me become as perfect as I can be in this life. Sometimes I get discouraged, frustrated, upset, etc. but ALL of those feelings can completely disappear if we put our trust in the Atoning power of Jesus Christ. How grateful I am to have a relationship with my Savior, and how grateful I am for Him. Do all you can this week to think of Him and His life, and I will be doing the same. I love you all and cannot wait to get to talk with you soon! You are the best family that any person could have ever asked for, thank you thank you thank you for your love and support!
Hermana Hoj


Sunday, December 15, 2013

December 15th

D & C 121:45

"Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distill upon thy soul as the dews from heaven."

" Let virtue garnish thy thoughts UNCEASINGLY. I want to be able to say that I have confidence that in every moment of my life I could be worthy to stand, with confidence, before the Lord."

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December 14th

Alma 26:16

"Therefore let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord: yea we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel."

"Glory in the Lord by doing as He asks. This is when we will receive joy. This gospel brings more happiness and joy than anything else could, and like Ammon says here, it is impossible to put into words."

Friday, December 13, 2013

December 13th

D & C 123:17

"Therefore dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed."

"We should always strive to do all things that lie in our power. And God can help us exceed what we never thought was possible. The trick is to do it CHEERFULLY!"

December 12th

1 Samuel 16:7

"But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."

"You all know this is one of my favorites. Try to put off the natural man and see others through the eyes of God. Look for their potential and do all you can to help them reach it."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 11th

2 Nephi 31:20

"Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life."

"Perseverar hasta el fin!"
"These steps are not all we must do. We must continue to live our very best . . . pressing forward, being filled with hope and the love of God."

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 10th

1 John 4:18-19
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
"We love him because he first loved us."

Exodus 14:13-14

"And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more forever."
"The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace."

Romans 8:31

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"

"The love of God and Christ is perfect and infinite. If we have fear, we cannot have this perfect love. The Lord always fights for us. FEAR NOT."

Monday, December 9, 2013

Many are called but we are all frozen:)

hahaha Mom I love the title of the email! It's been fairly cold here too, no snow but still chilly. So yes, I am very glad that we have a car!
Isn't the Christmas season just the greatest thing in the world? I love it so so much! I'm glad you got the tree, and thanks for sending me some pictures. I love seeing it all even though I'm not there. We have been able to help two members put up their trees so I haven't missed out too much! I actually made a tree out of construction paper last night for our apartment! haha I wanted some kind of decoration so I'll be sure to send you a picture once it's all decorated. hahah construction paper trees. They're the best. But I just love seeing all the lights and what not and people getting so excited for the season! We were able to watch the Christmas Devotional with Carlos and his family last night, so I watched it in Spanish, but I still got some great things out of it! I love the Christmas season and the reason for which we celebrate it. Christ is the greatest gift that has ever been given, and how great it is that we get to celebrate Him!
This week has been great, and we have been able to find some new investigators and potentials to work with. We have seen some awesome miracles too, and I'll share one or two, but mostly I want to share with you what I have learned this week! Okay so one day this past week we were walking over by some apartments to see if one of our recent converts was home to visit. No one answered and as we were walking out we saw a man and started to talk to him about the gospel and the importance of families. We got his information so we could visit him later, but as we were walking away we heard someone call out to us. We turned around and a woman had pulled over across the street and started asking us if we were from a church. She said she saw us talking to that man as she drove past and decided to turn around to come talk to us. She said that she is in need of a church and has been looking for one, but doesn't know where to go. And it was slightly ironic because the day before we were saying, "Ah I wish someone would just come up to us and say 'I'm looking for a church, can you help me?'" And then it happened the next day! The miracles of the Lord and the way that He works! It's so rewarding to get to see it happen first hand as a missionary--there is no greater work on this earth! We haven't been able to meet with her again because she started work the next day, but we are hopeful and grateful for that experience!
Now for the things I have learned this week...the Lord always has a way to nudge you and help you realize what you need to work on. So this week we were able to go to the temple again! Wow wow wow I am so blessed to have that opportunity to go every single transfer. I am so grateful for that! I went with a question in mind of how I can be a better missionary, and what it is that I need to focus on, right now, in this very moment. I wasn't super surprised by the answer I got, but at the same time I was. Sorry that's confusing, but let's just say that I was definitely humbled by the answer I got while I was praying in the temple. The answer I got was my faith. I thought to myself, again? I have known this since I was in the MTC! I received that answer already, and apparentally I needed that realization again! I think a lot of times I recognize what it is that I need to do, then I don't do everything I can to make it happen. So receiving that revelation for a second time was Heavenly Father's way of telling me, you didn't give it your all the first time, and this is what you need right now before you can move on to anything else. I need to have more faith! In so many different aspects of the work. I know that I need a lot more confidence in declaring this message, even though it can be scary...especially in Spanish. (But I think I'm finally starting to get over that) But, the most important thing that I have realized is that I need more confidence in my Savior. That is the key. It's not having confidence in myself, it's having confidence in Him. I know that I need to put everything I have into this work before I can receive much more. I studied about grace this week, and I realized this enabling power--the power of Jesus Christ--is available to everyone. However, it is conditional on our part and our faith in Him. It is only after we give everything that we have that we can receive His help. He expects us to go as far as we can, to push ourselves and stretch ourselves, and then when we reach our limits, that enabling power is given to us and we realize that we can go so much further than we ever imagined. We do not even come close to realizing our full potential, but with our faith in the Savior and His help, we can begin to understand and recognize our potential more and more every single day. (Ether 12:27 for this next part.) In that moment in the temple, the Lord was showing me my weakness and I was humbled because it wasn't the answer I expected to receive, especially for a second time. I didn't think I had a problem with being faithful--I definitely have faith--but there are just some aspects that I need to work on. It is by faith that all things are fulfilled. So, I have committed myself to give everything I have to the Savior, to become that consecrated missionary, putting everything else aside. Tay wrote me a few weeks ago with a quote from our very own Peter Hoj that has seriously helped me so much the past week. I have realized that I need to STRIVE. Dad said, "This life is not the time that we reach perfection. It is the time we 'strive' for becoming perfect. Strive is a far more powerful word than 'try.' To try is to attempt. To strive is to 'endeavor.' Strive has more heart than try, strive has more faith than try, and strive has more motivation at its core." Wise words daddy, thank you! This is what I will be doing with faith in the Lord...I will strive.
That's it for me this week, I hope that you will all do the same. Give the Savior everything you have, that is the greatest gift that we can give to Him. Love you all so much, I'll talk to you (and see you) soon!!!
December 8th & 9th

Mark 4

Read the parable of the seeds and relate it to your life.
1. Seed on stony ground, no root, withers away
2. Seed among the thorns, choked
3. Seed on good ground, brings forth fruit!


2 Peter 1:3-8

"According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped corruption that is in the world through lust.
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Look for the attributes of Jesus Christ, and look at the promise in verse 8. What attribute can you pick to work on more this month?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December 7th

2 Nephi 9:50

Come, my brethren, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come buy and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.

"Everyone is invited to come and partake, without price. Something that should be of most value, this gospel and the atonement of Christ, is free to all. Usually something that is expensive has taken a lot of time and effort. Think of the time and effort of Jesus Christ . . . . . . . yet He still offers this to us without price."

Friday, December 6, 2013

December 6th

2 Corinthians 5:7

"For we walk by faith, not by sight"

"Faith is always pointed towards the future."
                          Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December 5th

Psalms 100:2

"Serve the Lord with gladness. . . . . . "

"Five word phrase and oh so true. There is no point in service if we do it with a rotten attitude."

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December 4th

1 Nephi 1:20

" . . . . . . . . .But behold, I Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."

"We can find the tender mercies of the Lord every single day - in abundance. However, it is according to our faith that we receive them. "

"Miracles were and are a response to faith, and its best encouragement. They were never wrought without prayer, felt need, and faith."  
                                     Bible Dictionary

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

25 Days of Christmas. . . . . A gift from Hermana Hoj

A package arrived today from Hermana Annie.
A little box full of handmade red and green envelopes, one for each day
of December up until Christmas.
She asked that we share them with the readers of her blog.
This is her explanation of what she would like each of us to gain and learn from her thoughts.

"I decided to make my own 25 days of Christmas. This is a compilation of
some of my favorite scriptures, or scriptures that have begun to have more
meaning to me on my mission through my studies and experiences. We like
to call them "Feliz escrituras" because they make us so happy!
Each day, read, study, ponder, and share the scripture for that day. Think
about it throughout the day, then find a way to act on it and apply it that day.
I promise you that you will receive strength and blessings that you didn't even
know existed and that you will grow closer to our Savior as a result."

So Feliz Navidad from Hermana Hoj!

We will share days 1, 2 and 3 today then post one a day until Christmas!

December 1st

3 Nephi 18:21
"Pray in your families unto the Father, always in my name, that your wives
and your children may be blessed."

"A family that prays together stays together. I want to challenge you to pray
together as a family every single day this month! I know life is crazy busy,
but when you put the Lord first, He helps us find a way to do it all.
You can do it!"

December 2nd

Proverbs 15:13
"A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken."

Proverbs 17:22
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones."

"I want you all to have a "merry heart" so that you can have a Merry Christmas! Always go about with a cheerful countenance and give others a reason to rejoice. Be that medicine for someone this holiday season!"

December 3rd

2 Corinthians 12:9-10
"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

Ether 12:27
"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

"Christ receives His power as He works through our weakness. That is how His power is manifested. How incredible is that? Not only are we receiving strength, but our Savior is too. When we are weak, we can be made strong through Jesus Christ. What an incredible gift."

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving in Houston

Hola Hola Hola mi familia bonita!! Como esta este dia?! Ustedes son el mejor familia en todo el mundo...es muy muy verdad!
So I am just doing so so so so so so so so so so so so great right now. This past week has been absolutely incredible, like the best of the mission so far. AND...I just got to eat lunch with the Chappell's (President Pingree's counselor and wife) and Laura Pingree! AAAAAHHHHHHH!! It was just so great and I hope that you got the picture she sent you. I sure do love and miss you all lots, but I get to see you soon so I am so excited! Jake, FELIZ CUMPLEANOS A TI!!!!!! Whooo! The big 25 eh? I hope you have a stellar day. I'm glad you all had a good Thanksgiving! Erin, I hope your foot gets feeling better! Oh and Jake congrats with the publication! Wow that really is sooo cool and such an accomplishment! My family is pretty rad.
I don't even know where to begin...this week has been one of many many miracles. Our path is always divinely guided by the Lord and that is something that I am so grateful for. So first off I'll just talk to you a little bit about el dia de accion de gracias! Such an incredible day, we felt so much love and are so grateful that we are able to recognize the love of Christ in our lives. So here's our miracle for that day. We both felt very strongly that we needed to find a family that day, and we prayed to have the Lord guide us to one. We went to go visit with one of our investigators but she wasn't home. As we were driving back from her house we saw a trailer park that we have never been to and decided that we were going to knock 5 trailers, having full on faith that the Lord would guide us to someone. At the first one, as we were knocking on the door a man pulled up in his car. We gave him our usual door approach and he said that they were just getting ready to leave but that we could come by another time. As we were getting ready to leave a woman opened the door so we began to tell her our message again, and she stopped us and said mid-sentence "I know who you are, you're the missionaries!" Then she continued to tell us that she was baptized into the church but that she has been inactive for 9 years. We knocked into a part member family! WHOO!! Her name is Jasmine and she has two little boys that are 5 and 5 months I think. She is incredible and the timing that we found her was incredible. We visited her again yesterday and she told us that right before we came that first time she was doing her hair in the bathroom and started thinking about how she wants her boys to grow up in a good situation and help them become something great...and then we knocked on the door. It really is so incredible. I used to read missionary experiences and a lot of the time I just thought wow that is so great! But then when it really happens to you, WOW IT IS SO GREAT!!! I looooooooove missionary work! We get to work with the most incredible people and I am learning so so much from all of them. (Oh and quick sidenote/ funny story. We went to go set up an appointment with one of our investigators and her husband answered the door...in his short, blue, checkered boxers. hahahahahahhahahaha he was so so embarrassed. But a little background to this guy...he is the giggliest person I have ever met. You say one word to him, or look and him, and he just cracks up laughing so much inbetween the few words that he can muster out. We were laughing so hard too. As we turned around to leave, he shut the door and we just heard him say behind the door "Oooh my gooosh." hahahaha so so funny.) Anyways, after that miracle we had Thanksgiving dinner with la familia Hales. They are an incredible family. The husband is American and the wife is from Mexico so they speak both English and Spanish. We usually speak Spanish in their house, but as Hermano started everything he was just like...you know what, we can take a break from Spanish today. haha So my Thanksgiving dinner was very much like what we do at home! Before we ate we all went around to say what we were grateful for and then we ate turkey, potatoes, rolls, stuffing, you name it. And of course pumpkin pie! I was full to say the least. We were able to get a lot closer to their family and learn a lot more about them so that was really something special. Then Hermano started talking about how they were clearing a piece of land a few minutes from their house and talked about how they have big bonfires over there sometimes. So, we had a bonfire too! They took us over to the property and we had a bonfire for a little bit before we had to go! It really was just so great. Such an awesome day, and although I missed all of you, having all these people share their love with us made it a little bit easier. This past week has been a really incredible one for me in the sense that I am really starting to feel close to so many of the families in our ward and so many people that we are teaching. I just have so much love for all of them! It's indescribable, but so real. And now for the big miracle of the week...
So you remember Carlos right? He is the father of the less active family that we have been working with, he has the two daughters. On Sunday we passed by their apartment to see if they were going to be able to make it to church. He opened up the door and we asked him and he was straight up honest with us and said that he forgot. And he was like "no it's not okay, we need to go to church." Can I just say, the desire that this man has to become better is something that I am so grateful for. Just wait until you see what happens next. So last week he couldn't come because his car wouldn't start and he told us it was still having issues. He said that he would come to church if he could get it to start. It's a little black slug bug that he is trying to start, and no luck. You can hear the car trying to start, but the starter was having problems. So we decided to pray. He, his two daughters, and us pray to let the car work, not doubting the power of the Lord at all. He goes and tries it again...no luck. But he is determined. He looks at us and says "I know what to do!" He goes to the car, puts it in neutral, and begins to pull it out of the parking space into the open part of the parking lot. Then he starts to push it forward, running right alongside it, jumps in and tries to start it as it is still moving, and to our surprise the car starts! So incredible! They dropped everything in that very moment to come to church with us. They were just about to go get breakfast, so they hadn't eaten anything, were babysitting their niece, the car was having problems, but still through it all they persevered until something was able to work. How incredible are their desires! It makes me think, are my desires to serve the Lord and be better this strong? Would I drop everything just like them to try to go to church for the first time since being inactive?  So they were able to come to the first hour of church with us, and we also had an investigator there! Which was a hhhuuuugggeee milestone for her. But Carlos' family truly is something special. And it doesn't end there. We went to visit Jasmine that day--had an incredible lesson with her too--and then were planning on visiting another investigator. But we got the feeling that wasn't what we were supposed to be doing right then. We didn't set up an appointment to visit Carlos, but we felt like we should go visit his family. We go to his house and he had just gotten home and he had time to visit with us, but in order to go into his house we have to bring another woman with us. We went to go find another woman and ran into one of our ward members that lives in the same apartment complex. We asked if his wife would be able to come with us. She had come with us the week before to visit Carlos and we just feel like their families would get along super well. She said yes, but she told us that they could come over to their apartment and we could do the visit there. So get this...she has been inactive and has only been to church once since Hna. Driesel has been in this area, but she came that day! So her and Carlos are both going through the same experience of trying to get back to church, they both have 12 year old daughters, and both have 8 year olds that haven't been baptized yet. Coincidence? I think not!! We were planning on teaching Carlos' family about the covenants we make at baptism so it was perfect for this family to hear too. We had a great object lesson on baptism and the Spirit was so so strong! Both Hna. Driesel and I shed tears as we testified. Carlos began to tell them the story from that morning with his car and everything, and then he started telling us that he was at his mom's house and was going to eat dinner there. But then he told his mom, "I can't stay and eat mom, the missionaries are going to be coming to my house." And he left. We hadn't set up an appointment with him, but he knew, and that was in the same time that we turned around to go visit his family. We knocked on his door 2 minutes after he had walked in. Can you talk about miracles?!!! The Lord is so so incredible and so good to us. I am so grateful for Hna. Driesel too, for her ability to recognize the promptings of the Spirit. The Lord, like I said, divinely leads us along. We have to be ready at all times to receive and act on the promptings that He gives us. In this visit it was really amazing too, because both of these families were giving us really incredible compliments. Yes, we are missionaries and the focus of the church is on our minds 24/7. We tell them what they need to hear, and I know at times it can seem like we are bothering them. Hno. Hernandez said that when we're there telling them these things they sometimes think, "yes sisters we know, we know." But then when we aren't there they wonder "why aren't the missionaries here?" It was just so incredible to hear that from them, to know that we're really making a difference. Sorry if that was so disorganized and so jumbled, I'm just so excited about it all. The work we have as missionaries is INCREDIBLE. I don't know how to put all my happiness for this work and love for these people into words! I really have just come to love these people so much and I just want the very best for them. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!! This week has just been so so so good, and we have received so many tender mercies from the Lord. I love you all so much and hope that you have an incredible week! LOVE YOU!
Hermana Hoj
P.S. You're gonna get a surprise this week! :)
P.S. x's 2 I don't know that I will be decorating too much over here. Hannah Fro sent me an awesome Merry Christmas garland that I'm going to hang up, but I don't know that we'll do much else! (Thanks Hannah!! You da best)
                                      A little Thanksgiving bonfire 

My District

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tried to come up with a good creative title . . . . . But I got nothing (a direct quote from Annie)

Buenos Dias mi familia!
So good to hear from you all, it's always a good day when you get to check your email! I'm so glad that your Thanksgiving dinner went well and that everyone was able to come! I wish I could have been there with you, but this is the place I've gotta be right now...and I am loving it here in Texas! (quick side note...I think that I have developed a slight allergy to pineapple...I ate it twice this week and both times my mouth was all weird and tingly and itchy! Que triste! Except I don't know that it's really enough to stop me from eating it because it is just too good! haha but mom don't worry I'll be careful) The temperature has dropped, so it's been in the forties here for the past week. It's a good thing I bought tights last Monday! I'm wearing them as we speak! So I am jealous that you get to go to San Diego and experience that beautiful weather! Let me know how everything goes and make sure you drive safe. Liv, good luck with all of your games..kick some butt alrighty? (haha am I allowed to say that? If not...por favor perdoneme.) And dad, can I just say that picture you sent me had me in tears I was laughing so hard! hahahahahahahaha and the caption along with it just made it that much better. Meg looked pretty good too. And then the story of your proof reading skills on the program...that got me too! haha So thanks for brightening my day with some laughter! I just love you all too much. One last thing before I move on...Jake and Tay, or any one who has some good ideas...what are some object lessons you used to teach on your mission? We're trying to get our investigators and the people we are teaching more involved and help them understand it better. So if you have any ideas please let me know!
Oh and one other thing too. Mom, know I am thinking of you a lot this week with Thanksgiving coming up and everything. I know it's a difficult time for you, grandpa, your sisters, the Petersons, etc. and know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers. How great it is to have this knowledge through the gospel that we can live with our families for eternity and that we are never alone. I grow more grateful every day for this knowledge and how it has been able to help me through my life. The power of the atonement is something remarkable that every one of us can feel, and that is something that I am trying to understand and apply more to my life every day. Also trying to help others understand this and have more faith in the Savior. It really makes all of the challenges and difficulties in life so much more bearable. Christ invites us to "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." What a comfort that is to know that we can be relieved of our pains and burdens through Jesus Christ, our Savior. I know that you can be filled with the love of Christ during this hard time. And know that I will be listening to "Come to Jesus" right along side with you!
So this week has been a very interesting one, very different than the ones we've had in the past, but incredible nevertheless! We didn't have many lessons with investigators this week, however hard we tried. We had tons of lessons set up but they all fell through. A lot of things just didn't go according to plan, but I've realized that our back up plans and back up back up plans are usually God's first choice of plans. haha So all of these things fall through and then God helps us recognize what it really is we should be doing in that moment of time. He always finds a way to help us out though, and if we are ready and willing to listen to and follow the direction of the Spirit, all is well. We had a lot of lessons with our members and menos activos and I guess that is just what the Lord is having us do right now. We have seen some incredible miracles through this though! We have met with the same menos activo family that I wrote home about last week, and they are so incredible! They were going to come to church, but we found out yesterday that his car wouldn't start. Ugh. Satan's little tricks huh? But what is important is their desire. It is there! Their desire to return is there and they are so willing to make the steps to come back. Both lessons that we had with them were so incredible and it is really helping him remember those feelings that he had while he was active. I am so excited for them and so excited to see what great things will happen with them! On Friday we had a big ward activity for Thanksgiving and a lot of people came! We were able to get a referral from that and we'll be visiting them this week! It was a referral from Obispo and he says that they seem really ready to accept the gospel, so be praying for them! Saturday was kind of an off day too, but ended tremendously! I woke up a little sick from something I ate at the party the night before so I wasn't feeling well the whole day, but we had a baptism in our ward!!! Whooo!!! One of the investigators of the other Hermanas in nuestro barrio fue bautizado! This was the same man that I was able to extend the baptismal date to when I was on exchanges with Hna. Bruneel, so it was cool because I felt like I had a part in it too. He was so ready and is so happy to finally have been baptized! It was such a beautiful, incredible, spiritual experience.
One thing I learned this week was at our district meeting. We were talking a lot about the doctrine of Christ--fe, arrepentimiento, bautismo, el Espiritu Santo, y perseverar hasta el fin. I realized that it all comes back to this. This is what we are here to teach, the doctrine of Christ! It doesn't matter if I don't have a ton of baptisms on my mission, what matters is that I am sharing this and helping others feel the love of God. If I can help someone increase their faith, that's a victory in and of itself! If I can help someone demonstrate their faith through repentance, even better! If I can help someone take the steps to receive baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost--Whoo!! And if I can help them keep those covenants and endure to the end, wow! It is a process, and not every one is ready to take all the steps at once, no matter how badly we want them to. Patience is key. But in all of these things I can find reason to rejoice. It's such incredible work, being a missionary. We simply must do the best we can do to share what we know, and it's up to the person listening and the Spirit how it will be received. I am so grateful to be a missionary right now. Mom and Dad, I just want to thank you for helping make this possible for me, I don't think I thank you nearly enough! Thank you for raising me in a way to understand and appreciate this gospel and the importance of it in our lives and for helping me have that desire to share it with others. Thank you for all of your sacrifices and time and service to me and others, for being the best examples I could have ever had. I really cannot thank you enough. Thanks for being my parents! I sure love you lots! (And the rest of the fam too. :) you are all just as fantastic) LOVE YOU ALL! Happy Thanksgiving!!
con MUCHISIMO amor,
Hermana Hoj
                       Dinner at an investigator's for his birthday                      

Monday, November 18, 2013

One Transfer Down! Thanksgiving and Christmas in Spring!

 Hey there my favorite family! Como le va?
This week has been a good one! Definitely ups and downs, but that's life right? But overall it has been incredible and I am continuing to see miracles every single day.
To answer your questions...for Thanksgiving a family in our ward, the Hales, has invited all the missionaries from our ward over to their house for Thanksgiving Dinner and I am so grateful for that! I don't know what it will be like, but I'm assuming it will just be regular Thanksgiving foods. This family is great too, they have the cutest kids and they are people that are always striving to do good. So I'm excited for that! We also have a big ward activity this Friday for Thanksgiving where anyone and everyone is invited! So that should be a great finding opportunity for us as missionaries! So if there's anything different here in Texas than our traditional Thanksgiving dinners at home I will be sure to let you know! And wow, thank you so much for that surprise! And give Lance a big thank you for me too! It really came at the perfect time. The day before had been a little rough for me and it was just that extra little dose of love that I needed, so thank you! We have been enjoying the treats and making yummy sandwiches and everything! So thank you thank you thank you! I am so lucky to have a family that is so involved and supportive in everything that I am doing, I know I can always count on you all!
As I said, this week has been so great. I've had my moments, but the goodness and mercy of the Lord always triumphs. Always, always, always. And it's amazing to me the way that He helps us too. I was reading in 2 Nephi 4 and it was exactly what I needed to hear. Needless to say, I was humbled a bit. I just went to LDS.org to copy and paste the scriptures into the email and then realized that it would be way too long, so I'm going to have to trust your word that you will read it all right? Start in 17 if you don't want to read the whole chapter. So Nephi I would say is having a bad day. We all do right? But what I am amazed at is that he doesn't dwell on it! He recognizes what upsets him and he does what he can to fix it! He rejoices in the Lord and shows his gratitude for the things that he has been given...recognizes the good in all things. He knows to turn to the Lord when opposition and adversity comes. He then talks about all of the incredible things that the Lord has shown him, and the Lord's mercy for men and he says: (really read all the way to 35 okay?)
"O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath avisited men in so much bmercy, cwhy should my dheart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength slacken, because of mine afflictions?
And why should I ayield to sin, because of my flesh? Yea, why should I give way to btemptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my cpeace and afflict my soul? Why am I dangry because of mine enemy?
 Awake, my soul! No longer adroop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart, and give place no more for the benemy of my soul."
That was a lesson for me! Why was I letting my soul linger in the valley of sorrow when I have seen the incredible blessings and miracles that the Lord has put before me?! Ah, wow I feel like I was just slapped in the face. haha Reality check right? I just can't believe how selfish I was being. I see so many incredible things happen every single day through the mercy of the Lord and here I was being so ungrateful for them because I was focusing on the things that were upsetting me. So yes, I was humbled through that and I am working on fixing that every day that I live. I really am so grateful for the Lord and for how He helps us recognize our weaknesses and how we can make them stronger. I love my study time!
And for the experience of the week...Sunday (yesterday) we didn't have a single appointment planned. Nevertheless we planned the night before and had faith that the Lord would help us accomplish what we needed to. We were contacting over in some apartments and I felt like we should go visit a menos activo that was in those same apartments. It was kind of weird though because I knew that she worked Sundays and wouldn't be home. But I told Sister Driesel what I was thinking and she said that she was thinking the same thing. So we figured we should probably go if the Lord was telling both of us. And I am so glad that we did. We knocked on the door and her daughter and her ex-husband Carlos who was there with the kids answered the door. He is also a less active member. He began asking us where our church was and we invited him to the ward activity that we have this upcoming week. We asked him if there was anyone that would benefit from hearing our message and his little girl said I do! She took us over to another apartment to visit her sister in law, but she was on the phone and couldn't talk to us at that moment. So as we were walking back to the other apartment we asked the girl when the last time was that she read in her Book of Mormon. She said she hadn't for a long time and we said "well do you want us to come read with you right now?" She agreed whole-heartedly! So we went back to her apartment to sit outside and read with her. Carlos walked out and said, "You weren't going to invite me?" haha so he joined us too! We read in 3 Nephi 11, always a good chapter, and he began to tell us a story about finding someone's wallet and returning it to them. I didn't really know what the significance of the story was, but this is where it gets good. He was saying that when you have lost something and can't find it, how great the feeling is when you find it again. He said that he had been thinking about that and then we knocked on his door, and said he felt that same feeling as we were sitting there reading the Book of Mormon with him and his two girls. I know that he was able to recognize again the happiness that the gospel brings, he had found something that he had lost for awhile. And how happy he was that he found it! I am so grateful that we followed the promptings of the Spirit and I know that there really are divine appointments that God helps us have when we are worthy, and show him our desires and efforts through the work that we try to accomplish.
I am doing great and am so excited to start my second transfer here in the Woodlands! Hermana Driesel and I are both staying here, and all the missionaries in our ward are staying the same too. I am so excited to begin this next transfer! As I look back I can already see how much I have grown and improved just over a short six weeks. I know that it is all because of the Lord and I am so grateful for His continued guidance and help throughout my life. I hope that I can continue to progress quickly and grow to be the missionary that He knows I can become.
I love you all and hope that you have an incredible Thanksgiving. When you go around the table talking about the things that you are grateful for, you can speak for me and tell everyone how grateful I am for the experiences that make you stretch and make you grow. They definitely are not easy but it is so worth it in the end to see how much you've changed. Ah man now that I say that I have so many other things that I want to say I am grateful for. Tell them all that I am grateful for their support and love too, and just for families! Tell them thanks for being a great extended family, I feel so lucky to have so much family that loves each other and gets along so well! So yeah, I should probably stop there or else it will never end. Love you all sooooooo much! Love love love love love! (sorry Tay, I'm copying you)
Hermana Hoj
                                           A Lunch for Hermana

                                        Teeny Tiny Bananas!
                               A present from one of our investigators

A little taste of home!
Thank you Lance Howell and The Store!

Monday, November 11, 2013

"So much love we can't even handle it!"

Hola hola mi familia!

Mom, your title for this emaill was perfect! I'll explain more later on, but this has definitely been a "week of gratitude" for us here in the Woodlands! To first answer some questions...our main focus right now is finding new people to teach. We do a lot of personal contacting lately, knocking and what not but this week we actually received a few referrals too! We try to work a lot with the recent converts here and the members as well, so as we do that hopefully we will continue to get more and more referrals. I'm really excited for this next week too, we have a lot of members coming out to lessons with us which has been something we're really trying to improve on. It's just so hard because we have to work with the investigator's schedule, the member's schedule, and our schedule, but it is so worth it and God is making it possible for us. I feel like we're teaching a lot of people right now which I am so grateful for, but at the same time it's hard to know who is really interested in what we have to share and are willing to do the things that we ask them to do. And I know it's not easy, but where there's a will there's a way! I really cannot tell you how much patience I have had to learn while on my mission. And I know it will continually be something for me to work on! I need to have patience with myself and with the people we teach. Even if we aren't placing baptismal dates left and right, we are making a big effort to show these people how much we love them and care for them. Hopefully when they recognize this they'll have an even greater desire to change because they'll know that we are sincere. It can be really frustrating to be giving it all that you have and not see immediate results, in fact that is something that has been hard for us this week. But we just have to endure it with patience and continue giving our best efforts and when we do see the results of our labors, in the Lord's timing and in His way, how much greater our joy will be. (Read the talk Continue in Patience by Pres. Uchtdorf)

So at the very beginning of the week we were a little discouraged because of what I just mentioned. We feel as if we are working so hard and a lot of the time not really seeing much come of it. On Tuesday I read an article in the Ensign about a woman who only gave gratitude prayers and how her testimony was strengthened from this. So I decided I wanted to try this. Hna. Driesel and I decided to only say gratitude prayers for the rest of that week, and wow was our perspective changed! At first I had no idea how I would be able to do this when as a missionary we need all the help from the Lord that we can get! But it was really interesting to see how rather than asking for things, we put our trust and faith in the Lord that He could make things possible. Instead of asking Him to help us find someone to teach it turned into "We know that with your help and guidance we can find the people who are ready to accept this message." We were putting all of our faith in Him, and then miracles were coming at us from every direction! Just on that Tuesday we saw the biggest difference in our work and we had so much excitement. Our desire to work hard was completely rejuevenated! Listen to all the things that happened to us on Tuesday, and see how the Lord was blessing us for our faith. We went to an appointment and it didn't go through. But then we found a new potential who seems sincerely interested! We have an appointment set up with him and his family this week! A family!!! Then we went to visit one of our menos activos. She also wasn't able to have the appointment because she was sick. But her daughter and her family live with her and let us come teach her. She is so sweet, loved what we had to share with her, and invited us back. So, we got a new investigator! Then we got to eat enchiladas with a member which is just a miracle in and of itself. Then, we went to have a member lesson with a family in our ward. Lo and behold, the mom of this family had her sister over for dinner. She knows a lot about the bible and is very interested in religion. We had a really incredible discussion with her and shared with her some of the things we believe, she pretty much agreed to all that we said. So, we got another new investigator and have a lesson with her this week as well! There were so many unexpected miracles that I am so grateful for. I know that not every person we have another lesson with will be converted, but the Lord was blessing us for our efforts and it is exactly what we needed.

In other news, I went on exchanges twice this week and with one of them we set a baptismal date! He is actually in the ward I go to right now (there are two sets of sisters in our ward and one companionship of elders) so I will be able to see it happen! It was such an awesome experience. He was so excited and I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face. Literally the muscles in my jaw were so exhausted! haha It's so exciting and...ah I don't even have words to describe it. So that was a really cool experience.

Yesterday I had the best food I've had since being on my mission. The same man in the picture I sent you that gives us coca cola every time we visit made food for us while we were teaching his wife. He had homemade tortillas, fajita, onions, jalapeno, avocado, and we had the best tacos in the entire world. Mmmmm. haha sorry that was so off of topic but I just had to share that with you.

Sorry my emails are all over the place, there really is just so much that happens that I don't even know what to tell you all. I wish I could tell you every detail but there are just too many. But I want to leave you with one last experience and my testimony of the restoration. This week we had our first lesson with Maria, who we miraculously knocked into last week. I have never felt the Spirit so strongly while teaching the restoration in my life. It came out of nowhere, but the Spirit testified to me that this miraculous, sacred story is true. We were telling her about Joseph Smith and his experience in the arboleda (sorry I can't think of the words in English. Ask Jake if you need help! haha) Hna. Driesel began to read Joseph Smith's account of the first vision..."Vi una columna de luz, mas brillante que el sol, directamente arriba de mi cabeza; y esta luz gradualmente descendio hasta descansar sobre mi...Al reposar sobre mi la luz, vi en el aire arribe de mi a dos personajes, cuyo fulgor y gloria no admiten descripcion. Uno de ellos me hablo, llamandome por mi nombre, y dijo, senalando al otro: Este es Mi Hijo Amado: Escuchalo!" As she read this tears filled my eyes, and the Spirit I felt in that moment was penetrating. I testified to Maria that I knew this to be true. I know that as I share these teachings, my knowledge and my testimony increases. I am learning so much, and I think that the Lord is really trying to teach me. I'm His investigator. I know that as I submit to His will and give everything I have to know Him, I will be changed into the person that He knows I can become. I must be willing to change, and I have realized that I should always let the Lord change me. I can always trust God and know that whatever changes He makes in me will always be for the better. I have a testimony of this and I know that if I give this mission everything that I have I will be blessed and begin to become the person God intended for me to be. I know that it is not an easy thing to do, pero bien vale la pena.

I love you all so much and love getting to hear from you every week. Thanks for letting me share the things that I learn with you, not all of it is probably right, I know I've still got a lot of learning to do. But the person that I am becoming as a result of these things will be something that I will forever be grateful for. Show your gratitude to God for what He has given you, not only in your prayers but through your actions as well. I know that you will be blessed!!

With so much love that you can't even handle it,

Hermana Hoj