Monday, June 30, 2014


Greetings!! How is life treating ya'll this week? I hope it is as good for you as it has been for me this week! Wow this week has been FULL of miracles. So many that I don't think I can even come close to telling you all of them. All thanks to the help of the Lord and my awesome and amazing companion Hermana Miller. We have had such a good week!! I don't even know where to begin to try to tell you all of what has happened this week, so I think I'm going to have to take a different approach to this letter and go day by day. This one will be a long one, so don't get tired in the middle--read all the way to the end!

Monday--After our P-day was over and we got back to work, we had a referral to go visit and turns out that they are members! Their names are Rigoberto and Ricardo, 23 and 21 year olds that are from Mexico. They are stellar! Everyone in their family in Mexico is a member, and since coming here they lost contact with the church. They were preparing for missions and everything, so we are going to work with them and hopefully that's something we can help them still do!  Rigoberto is like a little cowboy, the big belt and cowboy boots, and Ricardo the opposite--snap-back hat, and a playboy bunny tattoo on his neck...haha so they've been out of the church for a little while, but that's not stopping us from helping them come back! We read in the Book of Mormon with them and they really were so excited to start reading again. A funny story, we asked them for their names and birth dates so we could get their records into our ward and Ricardo starts saying "Oh no, I'm good with the church. I was really good friends with the bishops and everything..." hahaha like it was a legal record or something. We are already good friends with them and we are going to get them back to church! 
Tuesday--Things with Vianca (we found out it's Vianca, not Bianca haha) are going so well! She accepted baptism!! Her family from Mexico wants to come, so we have to wait until August, but it's going to happen!! We had some awesome lessons with some other investigators too, when we talked to them about having the proper authority to baptize she said "Well, let's go! Warm up the water!" They were out of town this week, so we didn't get in with them again, but we're hoping they'll commit to baptism too! I also finished the Book of Mormon, so that's just the best ever too.
Wednesday--Drove into the country for an hour to go to the New Leadership Training and saw President and Sister Pingree! That's always a miracle, they are just the best! We also got in with a less active member that I have never taught before!
Thursday--Every person we tried to go see was home! That never happens! The Lord was putting us in the right places at the right times. We also set a baptismal date with our investigator Myra!
Friday--The temple. WOW. Mind blown. This is a day that I will treasure for the rest of my life. The temple President, President Crane, asked us to go through focused on the question "Who am I?" To plead with the Lord to help us understand who we are. I wish I could tell you everything that I learned, but that will have to be saved for a special occasion when we all go through the temple together again. There are just some things that are too sacred to be talked about so lightly. Let's just say that I received lots of personal revelation and the Lord is helping me more than I deserve. President Pingree also asked us to prepare by studying sacrifice and I have learned so much! As I was waiting to go to the Celestial room the words to the song "I Stand All Amazed" came running through my mind. I was overcome with emotion, gratitude, love and the Spirit. Words cannot come close to explain the feelings I had, and I can't even write it all here. I imagined the moment when I would once again enter into the presence of the Lord, and fall at His feet and thank Him for what He has done for me. He gave EVERYTHING. There is so much that I need to give to Him! The world views sacrifice with such a negative connotation. "I have to give something up." We cannot think like that! We know that sacrifice is good. We receive blessings from sacrificing something!! The Lord has everything but our will, and I was just thinking to myself, "Give it up Hermana Hoj, just give it up!!" It's not that easy, but it is so much better that way! Needless to say, the temple session with the discussion after has given me so many answers and has opened up my mind to so many new possibilities. I love the temple and I just want to go back again! 
Then a miracle we had afterwards when we were finding. We prayed to have the Lord guide us to those who were prepared.  We knocked on a trailer, and a young girl came out. We started talking to her about our message and what we do, and I honestly didn't think much would happen. She started to get more and more interested and said we could pass by another day. We asked to say a prayer with her before we left and taught her how. We asked her to say it, but she was very hesitant. She eventually began to pray and then just burst into tears. She began telling us about a dream she had and we know that it wasn't coincidence that we came by. The Lord truly did lead us there!
Saturday--We visited a part member family, where two of the kids are members and the parents are not. We are teaching the mom, she's been taught in the past too, but from what we have been told and what we have seen, the dad doesn't have any interest in learning. We began teaching the mom with her son, and then the dad came in and sat with us! He participated in the lesson!! The Spirit is truly softening his heart, and I hope that we can help the whole family choose to participate in the gospel! 
Sunday--Wow. What a miraculous day!! We went to church early for Barbara and Samantha to have their baptismal interviews for the baptism this Friday. All went well, and then they told us they wanted to change it to Tuesday! So, there will be two baptisms tomorrow!! Yay!!! And, what's so great about it too is that Hermano (their dad) as of right now will be able to baptize his daughters! Ahhh!!! I am so so happy!!! I am praying so hard for them right now! Please keep them in your prayers!!! Then we had sacrament meeting and my goodness is the Lord good! We had 7 investigators come to church yesterday!!! Aahhh! That has never happened to me! We had 3 unexpected member present lessons as well. Then as we were adding up our numbers for the week, we realized that we reached almost all of the goals for our key indicators! SO MANY MIRACLES!!! The Lord truly is so mindful of us!!!

I mentioned how I finished the Book of Mormon this week, and it was the challenge that President Pingree gave us to read it with our focus on the Atonement. He asked us to write down what we learned after, and I want to share part of what I wrote down with you. What an amazing experience it was. I recognized that the Atonement gives us the power to change. I have often thought to myself that there are certain things I can't do because "that's just the way I am." How dare I say that!! By saying that, I am denying the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I CAN change, I CAN do it, because of my Savior. In reality, there is nothing that I cannot do! The Savior is helping me and encouraging me to change--to be like Him. Now, it is not always easy--in fact, I don't think it ever is, but it is possible and fulfilling with the help of Jesus Christ. What is so beautiful about the Atonement is that when we have hit rock bottom, when we are in the deepest pit and have no way out on our own--there is sill hope. The Savior isn't going to reach His hand down and pull us up, He is going to come down to the rocky bottom with us and then help us get back up. He will come down to our level of misery, despair, and imperfection--when He is pure, clean, and perfect--and lift us up to where He is. Because of the Atonement we can experience joy and the pure love of Christ overtake and cast out our feelings of sadness and despair. Because of Him we can change. We can be made perfect too. That is the greatest message of hope in the world! I also learned that the Atonement has no bounds, it is limitless. We can actually apply the Atonement to everything! It has far reaching effects. It not only gives us the ability to change, but also helps us learn how to love. The Atonement contains the greatest act of love known to man, the greatest sacrifice ever given. So, what does that mean for me? It means that as I strive to understand the Atonement and apply it every day, I will feel of that love and I will do all I can to help others recognize that love that is there for them. To do so, I must sacrifice all that I have for the Lord--align my will with His. I must do what He would do! I will be filled with His perfect love. I think one of the purposes of the Atonement is this: to understand it so well for ourselves that we can know how to help others understand it. He helps me, I help them, He helps them, and He helps me again. He is always giving--always giving us His perfect, infinite love. I can become like the Savior!! So then, who am I? I am Hermana Annie Hoj, a beloved daughter of God, a creation of God, with a sacred destiny to become like God. I am loved by God, I am striving to become like God, so that one day I can live with God. So with that said, all I've got left is this: GOD IS GOOD.

Much love,
Hermana Hoj

Monday, June 23, 2014

Yet Another Wonderful Week in Louetta!

Hello to all who I love so much!

                             Hermanas Miller, Hoj, Hill and De la O

How are you all doing this week? One gross thing that happened to me this week....I ate brain...I don't even know what to say about that...gross. Aside from that, this week has been so amazing and one of soooo many miracles! Yes, I indeed did get a new companion! Her name is Hermana Miller and she is from Layton, Utah. She is AWESOME! Really though she is so great. She is 20 as well and has been out for a little over a year. We were actually at BYU during the same time! She was in the same ward as some of my friends from high school...small world, huh? We have a lot of things in common...we love being missionaries (of course), we love soccer, we love fruit, we love peanut butter, we love exercising in the morning (so much so that we even wake up a little early), and there's so much more and I'm sure a lot more that we don't even realize yet. haha but it has been good. She is such a hard worker and is so diligent and obedient. I am already seeing myself become better as a result of being companions with her. I am so very blessed! The first two days we were together we were actually with Hermana Hill as well. She is training this transfer, so we were working with her until her new companion got here. So that was fun too. I also feel very humbled, because the night before transfers I got a call from the AP's and found out that I am going to be a Sister Training Leader. Not going to lie I was a little nervous for that! I've seen some incredible STL's in the past, and I have a lot to live up to! It will be a learning experience for me for sure, but I know that the Lord is going to help me and I feel very grateful to have the opportunity to serve in this calling. Hermana Miller has been an STL as well, so she can help me along the way. :) 
                              Hermana Miller and I with Sister Gaytan

Wow, what a week. Where to begin? We did some serious contacting this week and found a whole handful of new potential investigators. The Lord is guiding us to those who are prepared! One of the miracles we had this week was through a part member, less active family. We got a call from Hermana Claudia asking us to come over, her son from Mexico was in town and she told us that he wanted to talk to us. He has been a bishop in Mexico and is a very faithful member. As we were talking he said "I wanted to ask you a favor. I was hoping that you could begin teaching my youngest sister (Bianca, who lives with her mom, Claudia). She is the only person in our family who is not a member, and I think that with what is going on in her life right now, she is ready to learn about the gospel." She was sitting there with us, and we turned to her as she was wiping tears from her eyes and asked, "Well, what do you think about that?" And she wants to take the lessons! We know some hard things that have been going on in their family, but not everything. There is something that has brought her to this point, and I know that we can help her find the greatest happiness that she will ever find if she will accept the gospel. The Lord works through so many different means to bring about His work, and we have to be ready and willing to sacrifice to make it all happen. I feel so blessed and so grateful to be a missionary! I am able to recognize the Lord's hand in my life so much more as a missionary, and I hope that is something that I can continue to have with me throughout my life. We are so blessed as missionaries, and I am so blessed to be a missionary! During studies this week I was thinking about the role that the Holy Ghost has had in my conversion. There hasn't been one singular moment where everything just clicked and fell into place, but I have had many little experiences that when all put together, have created the testimony I now have. The Spirit has blessed me to know right from wrong and helps me stand firm in the decision to do what is right. However, I think the biggest role the Spirit has played in my life is testifying to me of the truthfulness of the gospel. I know that when I feel the Spirit that I am accepted of the Lord and that He is proud of what I am doing. I know that the Spirit is what has helped me gain my testimony as it testifies to me. I learn through the Spirit, I try to act through the Spirit, and I am trying to align my will with the Lord through the Spirit. The Spirit has been the most crucial part of my conversion, because without the Spirit I could not know the truth for myself. Then it clicked, even though I have heard it one million and one times, how crucial the Spirit is in the conversion of those who I teach. Without the Spirit, they cannot know! Seeing the role of the Spirit in my conversion really made it evident to me how important the Spirit is in the teaching process. Wow, I am just learning so much every day and also realizing how much I still have to learn! It's a process, but I'll get there! Thank you all for your love and support for me and my mission. I feel of your prayers and I am so blessed to have a family full of the best people ever. Because, you are! I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!!
                               Teaching the Primary kids on Sunday
Hermana Hoj

love love love love love (in honor of Taylor returning to the motherland) 


Monday, June 16, 2014

It Takes Sacrifice to Gain Perspective

                                     The Louetta Missionaries

This week has been an interesting one for me for sure, but interesting in a good way. I have had a lot of time to think and reflect and recognize so many things that I need to work on! Hermana Baxter was pretty sick all of this last week so we were inside a lot, but the time was somehow still filled with lots of things and I was pretty busy. I've had a lot of time to study and ponder and try to figure out pieces of the plan that the Lord has put together for me. I don't really even know where to begin or what to say to be honest with I will just try my best to not ramble and write something that is meaningful!

So first of all, this week we had a specialized training with President Pingree, and the focus was the message of the Restoration. He asked us to prepare by reading Joseph Smith History and asking ourselves "How would my life be different without the Restoration of the Gospel?" As I read through Joseph Smith History this time, what stuck out to me was from the testimony of Oliver Cowdery when he said, 
"Man may deceive his fellow-men, deception may follow deception, and the children of the wicked one may have power to seduce the foolish and untaught, till naught but fiction feeds the many, and the fruit of falsehood carries in its current the giddy to the grave; but one touch with the finger of his love, yes, one ray of glory from the upper world, or one word from the mouth of the Savior, from the bosom of eternity, strikes it all into insignificance, and blots it forever from the mind." 

How cool is that quote? You should all go read that and stand in awe like I did as I read them. That is a powerful testimony. I thought a lot about that this week, and needless to say, I am so grateful for the Restoration of the Gospel. I realized that without the Restoration, my life would be 100% different. Really 100% different. The Restoration has made it possible for me to understand and apply the Atonement more in my life. One thing that really clicked for me this week was that it takes sacrifice to gain perspective. Right now on my mission, I am learning to sacrifice a lot of things, but it is the only way that I have been able to gain perspective and understanding in many different aspects of my life. It reminds me of a quote from True to the Faith that says, 

"If you are willing to sacrifice as the Lord has commanded, you will be accepted by Him. He taught: "All...who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice--yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command--they are accepted of me." (D&C 97:8) With an eternal perspective, you can see that giving up the things of the world is really no sacrifice at all. The blessings you receive are greater than anything you ever give up." 

I love that last line, and how true it is! The Lord will never ask us to give up something without giving us something greater in return. Such an awesome promise, all we've got to do is have faith that it is true!
                        Love Sis. Pingree! They leave for home July 1st!

Sorry I don't have too much time to write today, so that's my little message for you today. Transfers are tomorrow and Hermana Baxter is leaving me. :( It's always hard to let companions go, I have learned soooo much from her and it will be so different without her, but I know the Lord is bringing me change so that I can become more like Him! So I've got to run, but I love you all and hope that you have a stellar week!


Monday, June 9, 2014

I Love the Plan of Salvation!

                                                    My Zone
I know I say this every week, but this week has been a week of miracles!! When you are a missionary in the Lord's service, it's hard not to see them. Wowza we are so blessed. Miracle one...I was doing family history this past week and went through the entire lineage that we have on dad's side. I was looking specifically to see where temple work needed to be done, so I requested ordinances each time I saw one. By the end I clicked on the temple ordinances that were ready to take to the temple, and guess how many names I ended up with? 43!!!! 43 names to take to the temple!!!! AAHHHH!!! You have no idea the happiness I felt in that moment and the joy that filled my heart. So I'm going to be sending you a whole lot of names to take to the temple, so you'll have to get on that okay!?
                             Hermana Mcomber and Hermana Hoj
Now another... So you know how last week I told you about the miracle of the Rocha family coming to church? Well, we have even better news now. 1. We set baptismal dates for their girls for July 7th! We're giving Hermano time to come back to church and be able to perform the ordinance, and he has been doing really well! 2. They came to mutual on Tuesday night, and Hermano y Hermana stayed for the Book of Mormon class. and 3. They came to church again yesterday!! and 4. (one more) The girls are going to girls camp! Really all of those things are such incredible miracles!!!! It is such an incredible experience to witness people change. The Atonement is real people! We found some new investigators this week too which was really awesome, because that is one thing that we have been struggling with. In the mission it seems like there are just moments where you have a ton of investigators and instead of leveling out in between it just drops and then the cycle starts all over again. But it is all so worth it. One of the investigators that we have been working with a lot this week is Sebastian. He is 16 years old and he is so awesome. It's been kind of hard because his parents are super Catolico. They said that it is his choice, but they are not super supportive of him talking to us, but they tolerate it. We haven't really been able to meet a whole lot with him but we have been able to talk with him on the phone and teach him through the phone almost every night this week. At first I didn't think it would be very effective, but we really have already seen the most incredible change in him. He has the strongest desire to be better and to know what is right and what will help him. We are still trying to get in with him so that we can visit with him face to face, but we know that we are helping him a lot right now. In the past he has struggled with a lot of self doubt and self harm. He has been so open with us and we have been able to see how he is changing out of that mindset already. We had a pretty crazy experience while we were on the phone with him the other night...let's just say that the power of the adversary is is so strong...but we know and have now seen that the power of God is always more powerful and if we call on him in our time of need, we can overcome anything. It was an interesting and eye opening experience, but I am incredibly grateful that the Lord is there to help us in any moment that we may need Him. Sebastian is progressing and changing so much already. Last night we had an incredible lesson with him on the Plan of Salvation. I LOVE THE PLAN OF SALVATION. There is so much hope in the plan that God has prepared for us, it is remarkable how perfect it is. We got to one of my favorite parts, the three kingdoms. We were explaining them and then at the end asked him, "Sebastian, where do you want to go?" He said, "I want to go where I can live with God and Jesus again!" We told him he can also live there with his family for eternity and he just kept responding with literal ooh's and ahh's and whoa's. That's what I think too! Wow the plan is so amazing! Then my favorite part of all. He said "Yeah, I'm aiming for the top one so I can give Jesus a big hug. I'll be hugging Him and He'll probably say, ' can let go now...' and then I'll just be like, 'No! Wait! Just a minute longer!' " hahahaha it was the best reaction ever!!! I think that will be the best moment ever, and He certainly won't let go! Wow, wow, wow. That's all that I can say. Then, we said a closing prayer and he said the most sincere prayer I think I have ever heard. I love listening to people pray who are doing it for the first time. It is so pure, so humble, and it truly is a real conversation with God, not just a rote recitation. He asked questions with more sincerity and more concern than I have ever heard before. I truly believe that I am learning more from the people that we teach than they are learning from me. I just don't know what I would do without this experience, it is changing me and helping me more than I could have ever imagined. But wow am I oh so grateful for it. BEING A MISSIONARY IS THE BEST!!!! Look for opportunities to be one yourself! Love you all and have a stellar week!!!

Hermana Hoj
                        Some of the amazing food I get to eat all the time!


Monday, June 2, 2014

Attack of the Mosquitos

Well howdy folks!

Talk about a week of miracles. With the exception of all of my mosquito bites, this week has been amazing! But seriously, I dislike mosquitoes soooo much. For some reason they just like my blood and then my bites grow to be way bigger than they should be. This past week I counted 9 bites on one arm, 10 on one leg and 7 on the other. And this is with me putting on bug spray every day. Oh and I also had my first experience of the car being so hot and humid that when I got in I couldn't breathe, so that was fun. The humidity is still not too bad right now, but I can tell the hot and humid is coming. Apparently it all just gets worse from here...BRING IT ON! haha 

Now to the miraculousness of this week. (I'm making up my own words now too) With the help of the Lord we set 3 baptismal dates!!! And it is so crazy how the Lord works through us! He is incredible!!! Ahhh!! So a few weeks ago, I was on exchanges with Hermana Carter. We went into Food Town to do some contacting. As we were walking in, I saw a girl that looked really familiar, someone that I had seen at church before. We saw each other and started talking. I still didn't know who she was, but I knew that she had been at our church before. I assumed that she was a member in one of the areas of the other missionaries, but Hermana Carter didn't know her either. She was there with her boyfriend and they were saying hello to his mom who worked at the store. So after they left, we went up to his mom and started talking to her. We asked if we could come by someday to talk more with her and she agreed! So she gave us her address and phone number. A few days later we tried stopping by and she had just left for work. Then we were on exchanges again this week. Hermana Carter came to our area with Hermana Baxter and when we switched back that night they said "We set a baptismal date!" They then told me that they went to try her again, and again she was gone. Her daughter, who is 15, answered the door and said "She's not here, but you can come in and talk to me!" Then they got talking and she really wants to change her life around, and they set a baptismal date! But that's not all. The other day we were visiting a member family in our ward and I asked them if they know anyone who would benefit from hearing a message of Jesus Christ. They said there is a part member family--the mom was baptized two years ago, and her 8 year old boy and 17 year old daughter wanted to be baptized. They had moved, so we weren't sure if they were in our area or not to teach them. On Sunday he introduced them to us at church, and guess who the 17 year old daughter was? The one that I had seen at Food Town! Her name is Betsy and her little brother is Felipito. We met with them yesterday and working towards them being baptized on June 20th! Which happens to be Felipito's birthday! YAY!!!! Please keep all of them in your prayers that they may be able to reach the dates that we have set for them. Then on top of that, on Sunday we had a reactivation! And also, the entire Rocha family came to church!! AHHH!!!! That was such a big step!!! Hermano came and talked with bishop. (The records of their two daughters were lost so they have to be baptized again. Hermano wanted to do it, but he has been inactive for awhile. So we have been trying to get him to come to church and talk with the bishop to get it all figured out, but every time he said he would come, he hasn't.) And he came! Finalmente!! I was full of joy and happiness and love and everything good! (With the exception of mosquito poison) Really though, I just want to end by saying that because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I truly am happy. Applying the principles of the gospel and the teachings of Jesus Christ bring a happiness and joy that you can find no where else. So I will end by saying, I AM HAPPY!!!! 

I love the opportunity I have to serve the Lord, and I love being a missionary. And I love all of you!! Remember to be happy! (and if you are not, look at the solution I just gave above for finding that happiness, and then DO IT!!!) love you!!!!

Hermana Hoj