Monday, March 24, 2014

El Momento de ir is here!


 

                                         My little lizard friend!
Hey there fam,
 
Don't ya just love my little Spanglish rhyme? I don't know that I can rhyme in Spanish yet...so therefore, Spanglish. haha so anyways as you can see by the title of my email, I am indeed getting transferred. So I will find out tomorrow where I will be going! Yes, I am a little sad because I love this area, all the people, and of course my awesome companions, but I know the Lord has helped me do what I needed to here in this area and now I've got the opportunity to go work somewhere else! So it's a good thing too. As far as the birthday package that you want to send, when I get my new address tomorrow I'll send you a letter with it on it and hopefully you can get it in time to send it before you leave. (Oh and tell the Daltons thank you for the birthday gift! Love the skirts!!!)
 
Here's a little review of some things that happened this past week (lots of random stuff too). Made some fresh squeezed OJ, WENT TO THE TEMPLE...WHOOO, threw up for the first time since fourth or fifth grade--so that was fun, found the funniest picture of a llama that I have ever seen in my entire life (to the point where I was bawling from laughing so hard), had a homecoming talk in our ward, and now I'm getting transferred. It's been a busy, crazy, fun, and miracle filled week!
              
                           The infamous llama picture. Doesn't look like
                            he and Hermana Burnham are buddies!
 
To expand a little more on a few miracles. During our weekly planning this week we felt like we really should try to hold an FHE with some families in our ward and were trying to figure out how to set it up. Right before that we had texted a member asking if we could come visit her and her family this week because we haven't seen them in a long time. She responded by saying "why don't you come on Monday night? We'll do a Noche de Hogar and you can invite another family or investigators." What? Did that really just happen? Such a miracle! So now we are doing it tonight right before I leave. Then on Saturday we stopped by a potential to see if we could get in with her. She had friends over so we set up a return appointment. As we started to walk away there was a man cleaning out his car in front of the house and he said "son mormones?" Yeah we are! So we started talking to him, and long story short, he is a former investigator that we tried to visit again but he had moved. And then we just found him again! The Lord is so good at putting us in the right places at the right time. This man has already been to church 4 times and received a lot of the lessons, so I think that he could really be prepared to accept this great message. Miracles are everywhere! Being a missionary is the most rewarding experience ever--being able to witness the Lord's hands in everything you do. He's moving us where we need to be, carrying us forward through the moments that are the hardest, and shaping us into that person that only He knows we can become. We've just got to let Him help us!
 
I want to end the letter this week with one of my favorite quotes from Our Search For Happiness. I hope it will affect you the same way I have been affected by it.
"And an interesting thing happens whenever you attempt to place your feet in Christ's footsteps. If you really concentrate on trying to walk the way He walked--loving, caring, serving, and obeying each step of the way--one day you'll look up and discover that His path has led you directly to the throne of God." -M. Russell Ballard
 
Wow, I just think that is incredible. He makes it seem so simple, so achievable. And I know it is something that everyone can achieve if we can just do what he says--follow Jesus Christ. That's what I get to invite people to do all day every day. How lucky am I? Hasta la proxima semana! Love you lots and have a splendid week!
 
 
 
                           Hermanas Burnham, Hoj, and McOmber
 
 
much love,
Hermana Hoj

Monday, March 17, 2014

Is Today Your Lucky Day?!


    This is Sabaulos. She is the cutest lady ever and has the best smile!

Well, definitely didn't realize it was St. Patrick's Day, and I definitely am not wearing green. Lets hope that everyone else forgets too, right? I got the scripture cases, and thank you so much! Now I can read the line in the white handbook about respecting your scriptures by using protective cases and not cringe! Transfers will be next week and it's looking pretty likely that I could get switched out, so I'll keep you posted on that. I'll find out on Sunday if I'm getting transferred and then if I am, I'll find out where Tuesday. So you'll have to wait a whole week to find out! haha but that's okay!

Just a few things that happened this week. Yesterday all of the missionaries gave talks in Sacrament Meeting, and my companionship talked about faith. I talked about the faith of the Ammonites and the Army of Helaman. Talk about that faith! Holy cow. I love that story so much. Not only the faith of the 2,000, but also the faith that the fathers had to let their sons go to battle in their place. Wow. So incredible. I just love the scriptures so so much. There's a quote by President Hinckley about scripture study that says "I hope that for you this will become something far more enjoyable than a duty; that rather it will become a love affair with the word of God." That's it, I'm in love! THE SCRIPTURES ARE SO GOOD!!!! That is one of my favorite things about being a missionary--all the time that we have to study, and it still doesn't seem like enough!
One other miracle from this week, J is continuing to grow more and more every day, and yesterday he paid his tithing for the first time! It's so awesome to see him demonstrate his faith, and I know that the amazing things he will be able to do in the church are just beginning.

Sorry this is all over the place, but on another note I just want to let you all know that I really appreciate all that you all do for me. I am so blessed and so lucky to have you all in my life. (And can I just say how interesting it is that all of you wrote about Alma 37:37 In your emails? I guess I know what I need to work on! Thanks for the reminder) But that is actually what I want to talk about in my email today--mi familia! I have had some experiences this week that have really made me realize how lucky I am to have such an incredible family. As missionaries we have the opportunity to talk to a lot of people about their lives and lets just say that people feel really comfortable opening up to us...so they tell us a lot. A lot of people have opened up to us about their family lives and their past family lives, and I just have to say that I am so grateful, SO GRATEFUL, that our family has been centered and founded in Jesus Christ and His gospel. Why did I get so lucky to get to come to such an incredible family? I feel so blessed that I have been able to feel of such love and support throughout my whole life. I am so grateful for all of you!!! I realized how important it is to say I love you a little more often, because it can really change a whole lot. So that's what I want to do today, let you all know that I love you.
Dad--I love you because you are a stalwart example of someone who is always striving to be Christlike. One thing that I have learned from you is that I need to put my trust in the Lord at all times, and even when it is hard the reward will always be greater.
Mom--I love you because of the endless hours and effort that you put into serving others. You really have grasped and understood the concept of putting other people first in your life, and I am so so lucky to be a recipient of your service.
Jake--I love you because you are so quick to recognize when others are in need of help, and you don't hesitate to do what you can to show your love for them. Then the other thing that I want to say that goes for both you and Tay is that I love you both because you honor your priesthood.
Erin--I love you because you are so happy. I honestly don't think I have ever seen you upset! Your happiness and positive attitude help other people feel that same way.
Taylor--I love you because you are so diligent in becoming better every single day. You set goals, and more importantly you follow through!
Liv--I love you because you recognize your role as a daughter of God. You know that you have a divine potential and you have a gift of helping others recognize this by the way you love and treat them.
So my family, I LOVE YOU! And please know that I mean that con todo mi corazon. Thank you again for all that you do to help me! Have an amazing week, and don't forget to pray and read your scriptures every single day!
 
                 Why am I so weird and obsessed with llamas?
                            Who knows but I love them!

 
Hey Ya'll!!!

Loooooooove, Hermana Hoj
 

Monday, March 10, 2014

It all Boils Down to Love

                          
                         We learned how to make tamales this week!
 
 
So this week was a little slow for us, full of tracting and finding, but the Lord has blessed us with some incredible miracles. That being, we found 2 new families to teach! YAY!!! Families are the best! Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers to have the Lord continue to help prepare them to accept the gospel. Thanks! :)
 
Speaking of families...we took a little time this week to do some family history and I found some awesome stuff! I found the stories of the people mom told me about who knew Joseph Smith and kept reading more about them and on that line. There is some seriously amazing information in there! Some of them got their patriarchal blessings from Hyrum Smith, some were imprisoned for defending Joseph...whoo! Sooo cool!! Found out that one of our ancestors (I think his name is John Taylor) was one of the 20 men picked to be Joseph's bodyguard. And guess what? One of Hermana McOmber's relatives also was one of them. And then Hermana Burnham's relatives knew Joseph too, so we're thinking that they all knew each other! How cool that they were working together to help others come to Christ's church, and here the three of us are today doing the exact same thing. And again, SO COOL!!!! Also read that Alma Taylor could jump 22 feet in the air and 11 feet backwards. I'm thinking that might be a typo...unless there's a superhero in the family! haha I think he was a pretty rad guy though... check out this quote from his obituary: "His eye was the index of his strong character and Indians were conquered when they looked into his steel gray eyes." Whoo! Go Alma! So that was awesome for me to read about and I am definitely going to keep reading more about all of them.
 
This week I have made one of my goals to pray for charity every day. How am I going to be able to develop it if I'm not asking for the Lord's help in doing so? So I decided to follow Moroni's counsel:
 
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, apray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true bfollowers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall cbe like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be dpurified even as he is pure. Amen.
 
It has been such a humbling and incredible experience for me to see how the Lord is helping me learn this. There have been multiple things that have happened to me this week where my love has just grown for certain people because of their experiences or them confiding in me for something. One example being one of my favorite people that we visit.  She is going through some really hard things right now in her life. The land lords of their trailer park posted notices last week that the park is closing down and everyone has to be moved out--trailer and all--by March 31. How awful is that, right? The situation is super complicated, but she has, for a lack of better words, been abandoned to find her own house and everything. It's a tough situation. We were able to visit with her last night and read some really powerful scriptures with her about pushing through tribulation with faith in Christ. I truly felt such a pure love for her, I don't know how to explain it. More than anything I just want to be able to take all of the hard things away for her, but at the same time I know it's necessary for her to pass through. Perhaps we can't take it away, but we can help her remember to turn to her Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for strength. I felt so much love for her in those moments and was overcome by it. Even though I may not be able to describe significantly how I feel in words, if I do it with love that is all that matters. That's why it all boils down to love. If love is the motivating factor behind what I am trying to express, then I thing it will come across effectively. So after the experiences that I have had this week, I think I am one step closer to understanding how I can develop charity. I've still got soooo much work to do, but that's why I'm here serving a mission! Hopefully I can figure it all out eventually, but yet again, life is a learning process! So I'm going to end today with a quote by President Monson.
 
"Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other may we have the PURE LOVE OF CHRIST for our fellow travelers in this journey through life."


                                One of my very favorite families!

Have a good week! Love you all!
 
xoxo Hermana Hoj
 
p.s. love love love love love

Monday, March 3, 2014

Let Us Be Converted


Today at 11:41 AM
Well hello there!! How are you all doing this fine week? Things here in Texas are just as great as ever. The Lord truly is watching over us and is so mindful of us. We are so very lucky.
 
 
                      
                                   Just making some chile rellenos!
 
So I'm going to start off with a great miracle that we have had this past week. We were walking down one of our dearly beloved streets (literally like Mexico) and a car pulls up next to us and a woman says "Hola Hermanas!" Turns out that she is a member who had just moved to that street two days before. She had us get in her car and she took us down to a trailer they had just bought. She didn't know where they'd be going to church, what ward they were in, or anything--and then she saw us! I know that it wasn't coincidence that the Lord placed us in one another's paths. She has a son on a mission too! Whoo! She invited us to come over to dinner later that week and when we got there she tells us they invited neighbors over for dinner! Ahh!! That is just what we long for as missionaries! That's how we can work through our members to find new people to teach! Unfortunately the family they invited didn't get there until right when we had to leave, but just seeing her desires to share the gospel with everyone is so amazing! She is so excited about the work. I already love her so so much and know that she is going to be an incredible addition to our ward.

This week was full of so much learning on my part. As I am looking back through my journal I think...wait, that was this week? Time is flying so fast and so much is going on that it's almost impossible to remember everything! I had the opportunity to speak at Zone Conference this week on our responsibility in helping others become converted, and that was a good experience for me. I talked a little bit about the difference between testimony and conversion and shared an example from the New Testament about the apostle Peter. In Matthew 16 it says: "13 When Jesus came into the coasts of C├Žsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some,aElias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say aye that I am?
 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the aChrist, thebSon of the cliving God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon aBar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not brevealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."
It's obvious that Peter has a testimony of the Son of God, but we find that He still must do more to be converted. At the last supper Christ says to Peter: "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren." And then there is this AWESOME quote by Dallin H. Oaks: "In order to strengthen his brethren—to nourish and lead the flock of God—this man who had followed Jesus for three years, who had been given the authority of the holy apostleship, who had been a valiant teacher and testifier of the Christian gospel, and whose testimony had caused the Master to declare him blessed still had to be “converted.” Jesus’ challenge shows that the conversion He required for those who would enter the kingdom of heaven was far more than just being converted to testify to the truthfulness of the gospel. To testify is to know and to declare. The gospel challenges us to be “converted,” which requires us to do and to become." 
Whoa, that puts it into perspective doesn't it? I've been learning these things for 19 years of my life and I am still in the process of being converted. It made me think, "What more does the Lord want me to do right now?" As Preach My Gospel says, you can't convert someone past your own conversion. So I need to continue striving and learning to be the most converted to this gospel and to Jesus Christ that I can be, and then I will be a more effective missionary. I hope that each one of you can think about that, what more do you need to do right now to be more converted to the Lord? And remember this " Consecration is the only surrender that is also a victory." 
Love you all so much! Thank you so so so much for all that you do for me. I am truly so incredibly blessed to have such an incredible family. LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!
            
                             THE FATTEST BEAGLE I HAVE EVER SEEN
                                 MEG DOESN'T EVEN COME CLOSE!