Thursday, September 26, 2013

Two More Weeks in the MMC!

Wow do I have a lot to tell you this week! I have learned so much this week. I always think that I've learned a ton and then the next week I just learn even more. And more and more. I'm blown away by it! Ah so where to begin...I'll answer your questions first. My foot's doing a little bit better, I went to the doctor last week for a check up and I don't have to wear the wrap anymore but the flip flops are still a must. I'm supposed to go back in tomorrow for another check up, but I'm pretty sure I'll still have another week or more. I tried some shoes on and it still hurts to walk in them and I can't go up on tip toe without it hurting so I really really hope I can get it back to normal soon. I miss being able to run and play soccer. But I'm grateful that I can still do some things, I just get tired of doing them over and over again! Oh well hopefully it will get better soon. Mom, I share your feelings with having a cold and a slightly hacking cough. Haha but I think it's starting to get better! The food is still the same old, I'm really surprised that I'm not that sick of it. They work really hard here to get us good food, so I am always grateful for what we do have. And with Mexico City all we get to go out there for is the temple. It's so insane and crazy outside of the CCM gates. I've probably heard 15 cannons today, it's never ending! We always wonder why they do it, but we aren't too bothered by it. 

 As for my week, first some funny things, and then I'll tell you about everything I've learned. On Wednesday when we went in to get my foot checked we were getting up to leave and I started walking to the door. I looked over at Hermana Smith and she started walking the other direction, so I just thought she was throwing something away. But then she completely just passed out! She hit her head pretty hard on a big picture frame that was on the wall and fell down. I am so grateful we were in the doctor's office because I don't know what I would've done had I been alone because I couldn't leave her, and I couldn't get help so I was grateful we were there. She is totally fine though, I think she was dehydrated because we had just come from working out. It was really funny too because I broke sooo many rules. But all with permission of course. The doctor asked me to go get juice for her from the cafeteria so I had to walk over there alone, in my gym clothes, wearing flip flops, going to the comedor when it wasn't open, and I was supposed to be in class. It was funny because I saw elders when I was walking over to the comedor and they gave me the look like YOU ARE CRAZY. hahahaha we have been laughing about that whole situtation ever since. It was actually really funny looking back on it especially since she was okay!

Anyways, like I said I have learned a whole lot this week. Let me begin by saying how remarkable my teacher Hna. Christensen is. Wow, I aspire to be like her. She is beyond incredible!! She put together a practice for us about inspired questions. We worked with our companions and had to ask them questions, but really rely on the Spirit to prompt us to ask inspired questions. I was the missionary and Hna. Smith was the investigator. I began talking to her and just asking random questions, having nooo idea where I was going to go with this. I started to pause more and more as I asked questions to really understand what the Spirit was wanting me to ask. At one point where I could not think of anything to say I  was just sitting there in silence for awhile. Hna. Christensen was observing us and just said, "it's okay Hermana, just take your time." I sat there and finally had a question to ask her. I asked it, and Hna. Christensen kind of laughs and says "Oh my that was such an inspired question" and went away to go observe the other missionaries. The Spirit honestly spoke directly to me, and I know it was inspired because Hna. Smith began to cry, and she doesn't cry! I've made her cry twice! haha okay well actually the Spirit did, but I learned how important it is to rely on the Spirit and to not force anything. Sometimes you do have to take that moment to be still and let the feelings of the Spirit embrace you. 
On Thursday we taught Kaya again (and yes they are role plays. Kaya is played by our teacher Hna. Christensen, but she's playing the role of a real investigator she had on her mission) She is so stubborn and will not even try to pray. I've learned a lot about persistence and teaching to the needs of the people. Then on Friday we taught her again and it was the best lesson we've given to date! I felt the Spirit so strongly. I find it really hard to describe it all, but the best word to describe it is JOY. WE FINALLY GOT HER TO PRAY!! It took us five lessons to do it, but I realized how it is so much more worth it when you have to work for the results. We put everything into it, and the Spirit was so strong. As she was praying, she began crying, and I was crying too because I was so happy that she finally had a desire to pray and begin to create a relationship with our Heavenly Father. He is always there for us, always. In the lesson we talked about faith. We mentioned that without faith and belief you cannot progress further. We used the comparison of fe como una semilla in Alma 32 y how the only way it can grow is by nourishing it by applying what you've learned, including prayer and reading the scriptures. This experience taught me that we often have to work through hard and challenging things in our lives in order to appreciate the good things that come after your hard work. It reminded me of the scripture (I think it's in D&C) where it says that you have to have tasted the bitter in order to recognize and appreciate the sweet. Honestly my favorite teaching experience yet.
And Sunday, as always was so amazing! I love everything that we get to learn on Sundays. At the devotional we watched an address by Richard G. Scott about...yep, prayer. I was sitting there realizing, the Lord is trying to tell me something. The things we teach our investigators are the things that the Lord wants to teach us too. Perhaps I'm just as stubborn with prayer as Kaya, and I need this too! I realized how crucially important prayer is to maintain the relationship with our Heavenly Father. It is just like I am having a conversation with Him, or at least, that's how it should be. I've been praying, but not nearly as much or with as much diligence and heart as I should be. And boy, do I need His help. I really need to do better with that. Sometimes we do not recognize the relationship that exists between us and our Heavenly Father (read the section about prayer in the Bible Dictionary) and then there is a type of distance that's put between us. Sometimes we think "He is not there for me, he does not help me" and we blame it on Him. When in reality it is us that puts that distance there. Heavenly Father will always be there for us, SIEMPRE. It is us that decides how close we can be to Him. It is our choice. So please, let's choose to close that gap between us and Him. I know that if we do this we will more recognize the love that God has for us and we will be more grateful for the many things that He has blessed us with. Look around you. We are so blessed. For me, I have a family who loves me and supports me in all that I do. I have a knowledge of the Lord, who also loves me and supports me in all that I do. I have a Savior and Redeemer who loves me and has suffered for me so that I can return to live with them again one day. Look at the love that surrounds you!! Love is so important, and it is so important that we express our love too. So family, I LOVE YOU! More than you will ever be able to know. Have an incredible week!!
Con MUCHO amor,
Hermana Hoj

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The halfway mark in Mexico!

  Sep 17, 2013
Hola! How are you all this fine week? Mom, sorry you probably have been hitting that refresh button a whole lot today. We went to the temple again! So that's why I haven't emailed until now. We didn't get back until later this afternoon and the internet had problems earlier this morning. So to first address all your questions and comments from the last email...Yes, I have to wear that stupid brace and flip flops. haha walking around in flip flops when it is wet is awful though, I slide all over! But, yes I am indeed the only person here wearing flip flops. I would say that I want other shoes, but I think I'm just going to have to wait until I get to Texas because I have no idea how long it takes to get packages here. Letters take about 14 days to get here. So I wrote you last Tuesday and it wasn't too bad, but I played soccer with a bunch of people after I emailed you (which by the way was so so much fun) and my achilles was killing me. I would turn and have an awful stinging and aching pain up the tendon and couldn't even walk in any shoes. So I went to the Doctor they have here, and thank goodness, he spoke English. He told me that I have achilles tendonitis and that there's a possibility that the tendon was beginning to splay from the heel bone and if I kept playing on it that it could rupture, my calf would roll up inside my leg, and I'd be sent can't do anything but sit ups and push ups basically. But you all know I'm not a fan of we'll see if I get around to that. I still go to the gym in the mornings and do sit ups or things with the resistance band the Ferences gave me (thank you!!!!) or weights. So I'm trying to still be a healthy happy person. It kind of stinks because I want to play soccer or go run but it's okay, I just hope it gets better soon. And I feel really grateful that I went in when I did because I honestly felt that if I had played more the next day it would've been a gonner. It hurt that bad. So I am very grateful I am getting it taken care of.  So let's get away from the bummer part of the week and get to all the happy stuff! The water has not had problems this week, so that's been good! Mi compaƱera and I had to move rooms yesterday though. One of the girls who was supposed to leave this week wasn't able to so she got put in a trio with our other room mates and we just moved next door with the two Hermanas from our district. So luckily it wasn't too bad of a move! I did overpack though, which I always tend to do, so when I get to Houston I'll be sending some stuff back home.  I'm glad Dev's talk went well I really wish I could've been there! Tell her to send me a copy of her talk por favor! And Hermana Pack from my district is from Des Moines, so tell Devyn this news! 40 new areas just opened in Des Moines, and they just got new mission presidents! The Jensens are their names. He spoke in her home ward so her mom told her this...there are 72 sisters there and 280 elders, but it is supposed to go up to 50% sisters! Whoo! I think that is so amazing, this work just keeps on growing! Tell Hannah to email me too! I misplaced her email but I want to hear from her! Anyways, now a little something about my week. We did indeed recognize 9/11 here, drew an American flag on our whiteboard (with all 50 stars and all 13 stripes) and sung the National Anthem! So even though we are in Mexico, we still appreciate our country! Oh, and guess what!? I ROLLED MY R'S!!! haha I was so excited!! It doesn't sound very good and I can't put it in words yet, but hopefully it can come with practice. Such a monumental moment in my life, you should have seen how excited I was. Apparently it sounds like a baby dinosaur though... ??? I don't even know how someone can know what that sounds like! Aside from that, I'll be honest, I was a little down at the beginning of this week. With the whole achilles tendon thing and then we had two lessons that just did not go well at all. I was so frustrated and unprepared for the lessons and had to take a step back and adjust the way we were teaching. The same day we had that awful lesson we practiced teaching one another in our district about prayer in English, and holy cow I felt so so good about it! I just knew exactly what to say and the Spirit guided me so well. My teacher came up to me after and told me I was a talented teacher so that made me feel better too. I just cannot even wait for the day when I can speak Spanish like I can English. That night I really prayed for some help. I really wanted to be able to teach a lesson with a strong presence of the Spirit and figure out why our lessons weren't going well. And wow were my prayers answered. The next day we taught our investigator Kaya and at the end I had a really strong prompting to share an experience. I hadn't prepared at all in Spanish and I had no idea how I was going to say it, but I just started crying. The Spirit hit me so hard and even though I couldn't tell it well in Spanish, I got my point across and the Spirit was felt. My companion doesn't cry, and I even got her to cry! It was exactly what I needed, and proof to me that even though there is this HUGE language barrier, the Spirit can knock that right down. I was so grateful that I could share something from my heart to help our investigator. That was definitely the turning point for me this week, and the week has gone so much better since then. We figured out what we need to do to improve our lessons, and we continually learn from them! The Lord is so mindful of us, and I am amazed by the blessings he allows me to have.
Saturday was a party. Literally a fiesta!! We got to watch a big show here at the CCM for Mexican Independece Day! (And no, it is not on Cinco de Mayo). There were cultural dances, songs, and fireworks! It was so exciting. The Mexico MTC is the best MTC. And Sunday as usual was awesome. All my lessons were so great and so full of the Spirit, and I am continually blown away by how much I still have to learn! I know nothing! We listened to Elder Holland for devo, and watched the Joseph Smith movie! Speaking of Joseph Smith, that is so cool about the family history! Did he really know him, or just live in the same place? And maybe that's why I'm headed to Texas! I've got some long lost relatives to find! Later that night, Presidente Pratt let us stay up past our bedtime (which NEVER happens, so like I said the Mexico MTC is the best MTC) and watch the President of Mexico give his speech for Independence Day through a broadcast. It's a big deal here, they shoot of fireworks and pistols, and we all shout VIVA!! VIVA MEXICO!!! It was a super cool experience and I'm lucky I got to be here for it! Wow, sorry my letter is all over the place this week. But holy cow, I AM HALFWAY DONE WITH MY TIME HERE. How did that happen?! People were right, days feel like weeks and weeks feel like days. I think it's going to be really sad leaving the CCM. I'm really enjoying the time I have here. But I am excited out of my mind for Texas!! Missions are the best, and I feel so blessed to be a part of one. I am learning so much and am trying hard to be a better teacher, friend, daughter, sister, and person everyday. I'm so so so lucky to have this experience, I don't even know how to explain it except for the word Joy. Pure Joy in serving the Lord and bringing others to Him. Just like Ammon, my joy is full! (Alma 26) I am loving everyday I have as a missionary, whether it is hard or whether it is the best day ever. The Lord continually blesses us, and I often feel unworthy of all the amazing blessings I have. You all included! I love you so much and can't wait to write you again next week!
Con amor,
Hermana Hoj
                                                    Hermana Hoj and Hermana Howell
                                                 All the Hermanas in my District


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Rain but no water?!

This week continued to be amazing, and I learned sooo much. And it went by so fast! I can't believe I'm going on my third week. So first off, yes I saw Jessica and got the contacts and brush. Thanks for the treat too! It was kinda funny because I walked into the building where I have class and it's one long hall to the door on the other end. I looked at the door at the other end and saw Jessica passing right at that very moment, yelled her name, ran to her down the long hallway (kind of like those romantic moments you see in movies but without the romance) and embraced! What are the chances I'd see her pass right then and there? Tender mercies of the Lord. So to answer some questions...Hermana Smith is from Bloomington, Illinois, is 19, and went to BYU Idaho. She is hilarious and we have moments everyday where we laugh to the point of tears. We have so much fun together and I've learned so much from her. The best part though is that we're both weird and can be weird together without worrying about what the other thinks! It's the best! I'm pretty sure our district thinks we're crazy sometimes, but, hey, where's the fun in not being 100% ourselves!? My district is awesome by the way, we have way too much fun, more than we probably should but we still work hard. The two other Sisters are Hermana Pack (from Iowa) and Hermana Dillman (from Spanish Fork). They are such sweet girls and we spend a lot of time with them and have a grand ole time! There isn't one person in our district who everyone doesn't love, so I got such an amazing district! There are 4 Hermanas and 7 Elders. ! I'm glad to hear both BYU and Utah got off to a good start! I can relate to the flooded streets, almost every night! Too bad I don't have kayaks.. I wish I could eat peaches and salsa with you! I most definitely miss Mom's cooking. And I'm glad you get to be in nursery too, I'm so jealous! I miss little ninos so much!
Okay, so now for the things that have happened this week. There have been some water issues in our casa so we couldn't shower for a few days, but luckily I had showered in the morning before it shut off so I didn't get too gross. I would be doing laundry today, but that's also broken so we're just experiencing a little bit of roughing it in the CCM! Luckily it's been nothing too bad though! Oh and I've also been having an annoying problem with my achilles. I think it's deeply bruised somehow, and my shoes constantly push on it when I walk so I can't do much to make it better. Unless I wore sandals or something which isn't really allowed. So I can be tough! It's really not too bad, but I hope it can somehow miraculously heal itself. So, this week I have progressed more spiritually than I ever imagined was possible. My testimony has grown so much, and I continue to have more gratitude for the gospel and the opportunity I have to share it with others. We committed our investigator Luiz to baptism! But we aren't teaching him anymore. We have two new investigators, Kaya and another, different Luiz. We taught Kaya yesterday and it was the hardest lesson so far. Hermana Smith and I decided to go into it with not a single note in Spanish. We just tried to speak without a script and follow the Spirit, but it was also hard because Kaya doesn't really want to be taught. So it's hard to get her to feel a part of our lessons and commit to anything, even prayer. But we're planning and trying to find a way to teach her more effectively. It all goes back to learning to love the people. Tay and Jake hit the nail on the head with their emails because I've been thinking a lot about that this week. That is what I set as the biggest goal I have for myself before I left. To be able to see others as God sees them and love them unconditionally. If people can feel of your love, everything will always be better. We got two more teachers too for afternoon class so we're learning all the time! I've also learned that we need to do the simple things to have the spirit with us. However, we need to make then a little more complex. Not just read the scriptures, but study and ponder them. I forget sometimes that reading the scriptures is not a race. We need to take time to understand and recognize the revelation God is trying to give us, it's always there! Prayer too. Put in the effort to make it a conversation with God and form a relationship. Don't just do the "repetitive list" prayer. If we make that extra little effort the Spirit will be so abundant in our lives!
I also learned that I need to learn the language of the Spirit. There's a quote in PMG (pg. 133, sorry I don't have it with me or else I would write it!) by President Monson that helped me realize this. If I can learn the language of the Spirit, then I can do so much more. Even those who don't get called to speak a different language on their missions still have to become fluent in this language. Then learning Spanish will be easier too!
So every missionary has to write a 5 minute talk in Spanish every Sunday and 6 people are randomly called on in sacrament meeting. Sunday's topic was charity, and you betcha, I was the second speaker. So I gave a talk all in Spanish. I guess that's a feat for my second week! Everyone else who spoke also explained parts in English too to make their points clear and I didn't. I started getting a little down on myself because I didn't think I got my message across. But then I realized--I GAVE A WHOLE TALK IN SPANISH!! That's something to feel accomplished for. And if no one understood what I said, God did and that's all that mattered. I felt better after because people told me good job and that they did understand it. It was by no means perfect Spanish, but the Lord helped them understand what they needed to. Oh and my branch is singing Yo Se Que Vive Mi Senor, or I Know That My Redeemer Lives for the devotional tonight! My favorite song, and I get to sing harmony too! On Sunday we also watched all the missionaries here saw 4 kissing scenes! hahahahahaha everyone's reactions were so so funny. Plus, the cheesier the movie, the better it is right?
There was one day this past week, I think it was Saturday, where we went to a room and observed our teaching teaching an investigator. I think after we were all a little discouraged by how little we knew or understood. The thing that's been hardest for me with the language is that I know what the investigator is saying and I know the perfect response but I don't know how to say it in Spanish. I feel like I can't always speak from my heart with the full effect I know I can have. But that will come with time. Anyways, Hermana Christensen (our teacher) could tell we were a little down and felt like we should listen to a talk by Elder Holland. HOLY COW. Words cannot explain the Spirit we felt that day. Everyone had tears in their eyes. I wish you could all have been there. He is so bold in the way he speaks and it pierces your soul. He talked about how his mission meant EVERYTHING to him and how he'd hate for any of us to miss out on that. He said "Don't you DARE go home for YOUR sake." That stuck all of us. This is the Lord's work, not ours. We need to fulfill it in His way, forget about ourselves, and SERVE! I liked when he said "Take it up a notch!" too. He also talked about the atonement and my testimony and gratitude towards the atonement more than doubled. He said something that really hit me and tears came pouring out of my eyes. Christ is a resurrected, perfect being. However, HE CHOSE to leave the marks of the nails in His hands, feet, and sides. Everything is perfected except those wounds, as a symbol of His suffering. These marks are evidence that there is sacrifice in serving others. Christ suffered for my sins, so I have the obligation to testify of Him every day that I live. And that, I will do.
I love you all so much and thank you for your support on this incredible journey. Have an amazing week!!
love love love love love
Hermana Hoj

Monday, September 9, 2013

Apparently Annie is Awesome and Amazing :)

Mi familia!! I have been waiting for this moment all week! And can I just say I absolutely hate this stupid timer counting down up in the corner. It makes replying so stressful! So if I don't get back to some of you my love is to you in this letter. And yes, I could have sworn I packed my brush but alas I got here and could not find it. So I guess I did leave it home! Jessica comes tonight so I am going to hunt her down because I'm so excited to see her! First of all, there is a dear elder in Mexico so if that's easiest for letters then that would be great! I think letters by mail take about 3 weeks to get here, so I'd love letters, but I understand it takes some serious planning ahead so no worries if you just wait until I get to Texas. I love and miss all of you so much and your emails are so wonderful! It makes me miss you all lots but I am absolutely loving it here! Okay so I don't even know where I should begin, I have so much to tell you all and so little time! But I'll try to get it all out. I AM SO HAPPY AND I LOVE IT HERE! So I guess I'll give you a day  by day play by play because then my thoughts will be somewhat organized. So mi companera es Hermana Smith and I absolutely love being companions with her! She's awesome and we have a lot of fun together. It's really awesome and such a blessing too because we are very similiar in our Spanish level so we can help each other out too. And she likes to run with me!! haha we wake up every morning and run for about half an hour and then we also have gym time during the day where we get to play soccer or volleyball and it's so much fun. The first night we got here our power was out in our room so we manuevered around with flashlights, but all it was was a tripped breaker so it was a pretty easy fix. The next day we got right to work with all our classes and what not. I love my district! We spend like 7 hours of every day with each other so we have to find stuff to keep ourselves entertained and we're all getting really close. It's going to be sad when we all have to leave, but it will be good too. My teacher is Hermana Christensen and she is absolutely adorable and amazing! I love her and she is so enthusiastic about this work! I have already learned so so much and she's a  big reason for it. We have classes basically all day, personal study time, language study, individual study, so much studying! I keep saying if I was that diligent in school I'd be an utter genius! I really have come so far already and the language feels like it is coming along great so far! We learned to pray and bear our testimonies in Spanish, and are learning about a lot of grammar. We have already taught an investigator three lessons in spanish! I am able to understand pretty much everything he says to us, it's just coming up with a response that's difficult for us. It's hard too because we're kind of reading from a script that we've prepared and I want to move away from that so badly and just teach from my heart! But that will come with time. Teaching gives me the best feeling, even though it is just practice with the teachers here. It makes me think, if I'm already so happy about it now, imagine how amazing it will feel once it's totally real!! It gets me so so excited. The food here isn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be though! My diet mainly consists of melon (honestly I eat it at every meal), rice, beans, tortillas, cereal, and nutella. haha but it's actually pretty good food! I am always able to find something I like whether it's making a taco with beans, rice, and mystery meat, or fruit loops. Or just a spoonful of nutella. I've probably done that a few too many times. So I am grateful that is better than I thought it would be! It rains basically every day here, sometimes multiple times, and when it rains it POURS. The streets are full of water and the gutters too. Whenever we're out running in the morning there are always people sweeping the water out of the gutters. And it really is so beautiful at the CCM. I love that I was able to come here, it's amazing! We live in a little casa that has about 4 rooms for four girls each and it's a lot of fun. I've got the top bunk to one of the bunk beds and they're not too shabby. I have yet to sleep all the way through the night though, I always wake up to the lovely sounds of Mexico City. Barking dogs, explosive noises (fireworks or guns, who knows...haha but don't worry) and SO MUCH HONKING!! The people here honk like crazy! But it's okay, I usually just fall right back asleep. Sunday was probably the best day here so far though. So chock full of spiritual goodness! My Branch President is Presidente Machado and he is a remarkable man. He lives here in Mexico, and he has more love oozing out of him than anyone else I know. He has such a strong and amazing testimony and such a great spirit about him. I'm grateful I get to learn from him. Relief Society was amazing too. Hermana Pratt (the CCM Presidente's wife) taught about how we need to become fluent in the language of Christ's love. She referred to a talk given by Pres. Ucthdorf given at the YW broadcast this year (I don't know the name though) but if you can look it up to read it you really should! It was incredible! You have to focus on serving God and others to acquire it. I loved that idea. We had district meeting (basically Sunday school) and they talked about families which made me miss you all but made me so so grateful for your love and support for me here. I know I am here for a reason and that the Lord has things in store for me up ahead. So thank you all for everything you do. You are all utterly amazing and I love you all! Then we had sacrament and it was fast and testimony meeting (we fast dinner the night before and then breakfast here). The people who got up were mostly the Elders who left yesterday for the mission field. One Elder said something that really touched me. Something like...when we return home to God, He doesn't want us to return home alone. He wants us to bring others with us. Family, friends, anyone, and everyone. That pretty much sums it up!! That is the reason I am here, and how amazing will that feel to return home, not just you, but you and all those you invite to come unto Christ. It's such a remarkable and humbling thought. Then we had a devotional, and then watched a Mormon movie. It was kind of cheesy as they all can be, but it had an awesome message about el Libro de Mormon. And wow is that book incredible! Wow I have just learned so much being here just one week and I can't wait for the things I have yet to experience. So many people have come up to my companion and I and are like Oh, how is your first week? With such concern, like it's a week of doom. We both just say, it's awesome and amazing and we're already learning so much! Really though, this week has been so so great! Words honestly cannot express how amazing this work is. I love it so much! It amazes me that we are all here at the CCM all united in one amazing purpose, and I am so grateful to be a part of it! How lucky I am!! Today we got the opportunity to go to the Mexico City Temple (so yes, Tuesdays are my P days) and it was beautiful! It's very similar to the Jordan River temple. So we had about an hour busride to the temple because the traffic here is so insane, but it was totally worth it! Oh and funny story, the buses that they drive here are all stick shift so as we were pulling out of the CCM our driver popped the clutch and the bus lurched forward with such force that my face just slammed right into the seat in front of me! haha I was laughing so hard, it was like a carpet burn on my face but it was so funny. Sorry that was kind of a pointless story...anyways the CCM is awesome, and the church is awesome, and missionary work is AMAZING!! I can already feel such an incredible joy from being apart of this great service. I love it here and am so happy. Although I do miss you all :)  I'll try to get back to all of you as best as I can, but I am just crunched on time right now. I love you all so much!! And here is a part of my testimony in spanish..and I can't find the accents so sorry about that. But here goes. Yo se que el Evangelio es verdadero. Estoy agradecidos por la oportunidad a servir el Senor. Yo se que el Libro de Mormon es verdadero y es las palabras de Dios. Yo se que Jose Smith es un profeta de Dios y Thomas S. Monson es un profeta por nuestros dia. Yo agradecidos por Jesucristo y su expiacion y amor para nostros. I LOVE THIS GOSPEL!! Sorry there are probably mistakes, but it's just short and sweet. I love you so so much and hope you all have an amazing week! Til next Tuesday!
love love love love love
Hermana Hoj


I Made it to Mexico!

Hello there everyone! I have made it to the Mexico MTC safe and sound. I am already so happy and so excited for everything thats ahead! The people I have been traveling with are all awesome and I am so excited to get to know everyone better! So we got to Phoenix and our flight was delayed a little more than an hour so we all got to get together and talk and learn about each other a little bit. I don't know how to introduce myself though. I go to say Annie, and then Sister, and then I'm just like wait...Hermana. haha so that will take some getting used to. Sorry if this letter is so scattered, I have a timer running in the top corner and this keyboard is kind of weird. So then we flew to Mexico. I wrote about 15 thank you cards, read two chapters in the Book of Mormon and then I was out for the rest of the flight! But seriously I love love love it already. I just feel so happy and all the people around me are so happy and it's just a happy place. I guess we'll see if I still think that once we're learning and the hard stuff comes! We got to Mexico and had to go through customs and everything, all the people speak Spanish so I basically just know how to respond with hola and gracias and como esta so my conversation is very in need of progress. But that's what I'm here for right? Lots and lots of stuff to learn. Mexico is really cool too. There are so many houses and buildings just absolutely packed in here and all painted bright colors. Lots of traffic too, I'm surprised our bus didn't hit anything as we were driving because the streets are so tight. Anyways, now I am at the MTC, I just got here about 10 minutes ago and from the little bit that I've seen it's beautiful! There are soccer fields too, so I'm hoping I'll get to try those out! We got a packet that has all of our information on it, and my companion is Hermana Smith, but I don't think I've met her yet unless I'm just forgetful of the people I've met which is likely. There are about 40 of us that got here today, the majority of them elders. But I have my tag! It's official! It's so funny because that's what everyone was the most excited for getting here. Everyone's just like "When do we get our nametags!?" I don't really know what's in store for the rest of the day because I haven't read the schedule yet, but I think we are going to a doctor to give our immunization records and then we get to eat! I'm starving right now so I'm excited for that! All I've had so far today is a fiber one bar and a pack of fruit snacks because no one really had time to grab food because the flight time kept changing. And I didn't want to risk eating another fiber one bar and making a  bad first impression for my companion right? hahaha Just kidding, but kind of not...I've met all the people going to my mission that were on my flight and I'm just so excited to get to know everyone better. So far this experience has been nothing like I have expected, so maybe it's best to just not expect anything. That way I won't be surprised or disappointed with whatever comes my way. I'll just take it as it is! Oh and the second I walked in to start emailing you I saw Hermana Barth! So awesome to see a familiar face! She's so cute and is making me excited for the next six weeks! Well, I don't really know what else to say...I don't know much about anything yet, but I'm sure next week will be crazy chock full of information for ya'll. But just know that I am here and I am safe AND I AM SO HAPPY! I didn't know it was possible to be this happy already, but I know that it's all in my attitude that will decide how this experience goes for me. It's so fun and I am so excited to get to spend the next year and a half doing something I love! Maybe I'm too optimistic right now, seeing as how I haven't even done anything yet that's seemed hard except for rolling my luggage up ramps. But I'm sure that will pale in comparison to some other stuff I've got coming! So I love you all so much and keep in touch with Liv's soccer and how all of you are doing! I'm excited to hear from you and hope that this email is enough to hold you over for a week! Love you sooooo much and have a great week! Love love love love love!!
Hermana Hoj
P.S. the pronunciation of my last name here is no better. One elder thought I said ho and two others thought I said whore...hahaha just a funny thing. Our last name never gets old!