Tuesday, August 26, 2014


So I guess we can say that I am now a pro at de-licing! So if anyone needs help, I got you covered. haha hopefully the lice is gone, never to come back again! This week has been a little bit of a strange one, but we have seen miracles nevertheless!

We are teaching a 19 year old YSA, Matt, and it is going so well! He truly is so prepared! He has already come to church twice and we are teaching him a lot too. He has already accepted baptism! We extended a baptismal date as well and he is praying about it, so we hope he gets an answer soon. He truly is golden. He asks such good questions, is reading and praying every day, and has so much faith! I think he has had a few concerns with his family, but he knows this is true and he knows it is what he wants to do. The first time we had met him he said "I've only known about this for 4 days and it is already making a difference in my life." We are so excited for him, he is going to do great things.
Oh and something else awesome that happened this week was that I got to go back to Louetta for a baptism for someone that I helped teach!! It was so awesome to get to be there again and to be a part of it. I didn't know if I would be able to go, but it all worked out and it was so good to see all of those people again! It was perfect too, because they needed a pianist and I got there right in time to help them with a musical number and interlude. It was so amazing to see Francisco enter into the waters of baptism! The Spirit was so strong. I asked how he felt afterwards and he said that he feels like a burden was lifted off of him, that he felt lighter. So that was really awesome that I got to go back for that!
That is kind of all I want to say about that this week, and I want to turn my thoughts over to Grandpa Hoj. To begin, I just want to say how grateful I am for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Where would we be without it? I am so grateful for the knowledge that we have and for the plan of salvation. I know that we will see him again and I know that because of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice, we can all live together again. I have had incredible feelings of peace and gratitude this week as I have thought of him and all of you back at home. I wish that I could give you all a big hug! I am praying for all of you as well. I want to share an experience that I had with you this past week that has strengthened my testimony. We had Zone Conference this week the day after I found out that Grandpa had passed away. I was doing really well and then they announced that the opening song was I Know That My Redeemer Lives. For anyone that knows me, they know that song will get me every time. Tears began to well up in my eyes and my throat was all choked up as I thought of grandpa. It wasn't feelings of sadness, rather a feeling of overwhelming love. As we began to sing I found I couldn't get anything out. So I listened to everyone else sing and focused on the words of the song as tears began to roll down my cheeks. I realized in that moment all that is possible for us because of Jesus Christ. I copied and pasted the lyrics to the song and hope that you would all read them. Jesus Christ lives. I know that. And because He lives, we can too. What joy, peace, and comfort I have from knowing that. I cannot even imagine how difficult it would be going through something like this without knowing about the plan of salvation, yet there are so many people that do. I am so lucky to be on a mission right now where I can help people understand that! Help them find that peace and that joy. So this week I think I am just grateful. It is experiences like this that make us stronger and better even though they are hard. But thanks to the love of our Heavenly Father, He sent His son to suffer for us so that when those moments come, He knows how to succor us. What a miracle.
I'd like to just end by sharing a quote with you that really has changed my perspective of the Atonement. That really it is something on such a personal level.

"We know that on some level Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane. It's our faith that he experienced everything--absolutely, everything. Sometimes we don't think through the implications of that belief. We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family. But we don't experience pain in generalities. We experience it individually. That means Jesus knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer--how it was for your mother, how it still is for you. He knows what it felt like to lose the student-body election. He knows that moment the brakes lock up and the car started to skid. He experienced the gas chambers of Dachau. He experienced napalm in Vietnam. He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism...His last recorded words to his disciples were, "And, lo, I am with you always even unto the end of the world." (Matt. 28:20). What does that mean? It means he understands your mother-pain when your five year old leaves for kindergarten, when a bully picks on your fifth-grader, when your daughter calls to say that the new baby has down's syndrome...He knows the pain you live with when you come home to a quiet apartment where the only children who ever come are visitors, when you hear that your former husband and his new wife were sealed in the temple last week, when your fiftieth wedding anniversary rolls around and your husband has been dead for two years. He knows all that. He's been there. He's been lower then all that."
Chieko N. Okazaki, "Light Up!" p. 175
Former General Relief Society Councilor 1990-97

He knows everything that we have been through and all that we will go through. HE KNOWS AND HE LIVES. Never forget that! We must let Him help us and comfort us! Once again, I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ and the fact that I can experience happiness and joy even though moments can be hard. I love the gospel, I love my Savior Jesus Christ, and I love all of you! I hope that you have a good week, and good luck to Liv and Tay with school starting! You are in my prayers!!

1. I know that my Redeemer lives.
   What comfort this sweet sentence gives
    He lives, he lives, who once was dead.
   He lives, my ever-living Head.
   He lives to bless me with his love.
   He lives to plead for me above.
   He lives my hungry soul to feed.
   He lives to bless in time of need.
  1. 2. He lives to grant me rich supply.
    He lives to guide me with his eye.
    He lives to comfort me when faint.
    He lives to hear my soul's complaint.
    He lives to silence all my fears.
    He lives to wipe away my tears.
    He lives to calm my troubled heart.
    He lives all blessings to impart.
  2. 3. He lives, my kind, wise heav'nly Friend.
    He lives and loves me to the end.
    He lives, and while he lives, I'll sing.
    He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King.
    He lives and grants me daily breath.
    He lives, and I shall conquer death.
    He lives my mansion to prepare.
    He lives to bring me safely there.
  3. 4. He lives! All glory to his name!
    He lives, my Savior, still the same.
    Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
    "I know that my Redeemer lives!"
    He lives! All glory to his name!
    He lives, my Savior, still the same.
    Oh, sweet the joy this sentence gives:
    "I know that my Redeemer lives!"
Much love,
Hermana Hoj

Monday, August 18, 2014


Hey there fam,
Hate to break it to ya but this is going to be a short one today. Wanna know why? WE GOT LICE. haha sick right? It's not that bad, just a pain! We've been picking lice and nits out of each other's hair all morning like savage monkeys. So I'm just going to have to send you some pictures with captions for this week's email which is kind of a bummer because it was an awesome week. But we've just got a whole lot to do to decontaminate ourselves! haha what a story right? Oh well, what can you do? Hope you all have a great, lice free, week! Peace out, I've got to go put a bag of mayonnaise on my head.

Much love,
Hermana Hoj
        Some other more happy photos :)
                              A visit to Livingston Lake

                           Sister J went through the temple!!!!!!!!

                                    Our sweet Jeep Compass


Monday, August 11, 2014

Can I get a Hallelujah?!

Howdy folks! (there is definitely more hick used than Spanish here)

How have you all been!? It sounds like all of you are pretty busy and have a lot going on. Each of you are in my prayers every single day, and even more this week with everything that everyone's got going on. Just remember that little Hermana Hoj over here is praying for you when you need a little added boost, and hopefully that will help in some way.

What a week this has been for me! We've had lots going on--some miracles, crazy experiences, learning/growing opportunities, name it and we've probably had it. That is definitely one thing that I love about Huntsville--it's like a box of chocolates...you never know what you're going to get. So here are some fun and great things that happened this last week.
                                    Helping at the blood drive
On Tuesday I had my first MLC! It was wonderful! It's where all the zone leaders and sister training leaders meet with President for a training for the next Zone meeting. It was amazing! President talked to us about Master Teaching, becoming a teacher like Jesus Christ. He used the example of the Socratic Method--that the truth resides within the learner. It's our job to help the people discover that truth that is already within them! So that was a really great perspective, and it is not easy to become a master teacher, but it will help us so much!

Here is the weird/hilarious experience of the week.
We went to 3 Spoons (a frozen yogurt place) to meet with a member and there was a lady sitting next to us alone. I was so distracted by her because she looked so lonely. Her son and granddaughter came in and after that I kind of didn't think more of it. Hermana Fletcher and I left and we were almost home when she mentions she noticed the lady and wanted to talk to her too. We were driving really, really slow debating back and forth "do we go back?" Since both of us received that impression we decided to turn around and go back to give her a card with our number and the address for the church. So at this point we're both feeling pretty good, really feeling that we are following the spirit even though it's weird that we were going back. So we walk in and this is what goes down.
We say, "Ma'am, can we give you a card?"
"For what?"
"We're missionaries"
"Yes, for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints"
"Oh, NO. NO. Not Mormons. You all believe in the wrong Jesus! It's not the Book of Mormon that saves you, it Jesus Christ!" (In my mind I was like, well...duh...haha she had a lot of misconceptions about Mormons to say the least.)
Then she starts saying, "Oh you poor girls, you are confused, you need help finding the right path." And you could tell that her son was embarrassed that she was being so hostile, and he's just like "Calm down, it's okay!"
Then she says "My son can pray, he can pray real good. Let him pray for you."
So here we are, in the midst of a throng of people in 3 Spoons, they're sitting and we're standing, joining hands for prayer. He begins to say a prayer, it was a good prayer, very nice--he too prayed for us to find the right path. hahahahaha and here comes the best part. All of a sudden this lady just starts shaking and shouting with her hands in the air. "Praise the Lord!" "Oh yes! That's good!" And then he says amen and Hermana Fletcher and I are shocked/trying not to burst into laughter. Then the lady turned to Hermana Fletcher, reaches out her hand to touch her forehead and says "Do you feel it? Do you feel that power?" So Hermana Fletcher and I walked out of 3 Spoons like "What was that?! What just happened?!" never having expected that to occur. haha Just goes to show you never know what will happen...but all in all I think God had a good laugh watching us go through that experience. It was so funny, I think mostly just because that was the last thing that I had ever expected to happen! Being a missionary is awesome.

Here's a Lori story too. We asked her to teach us the lessons, to make sure she understands it and to see where she's at. We get to her house and she disappears and then there was a knock on the door. Lo and behold, Hermana Morgan was at the door! (aka Lori) She had a name tag, a Book of Mormon for each of us, a card with her number on it, she did it all! haha and it was so funny to see how she literally was in the routine of a missionary lesson.She shared Alma 26:3 with us which she had found on her own! She said she liked how it talked about how they had been in darkness but had found the light of God. She is incredible! She knows this church is true!! (She is really excited to teach us about the Law of Chastity...hahaha)
In a different lesson with her, she started asking us about our pet peeves. She said she wanted to spice up the lessons by making us overcome our pet peeves by facing them and becoming humble so that they're not pet peeves anymore. I told her that one of my pet peeves is eating with big spoons. (Yeah, it's something I realized on my mission...I always pick the smaller spoons.) So, Lori gave me a giant spoon, literally like a serving spoon, to take home and eat with this whole week so I can be humble and overcome my pet peeve. haha Eating with that spoon is terrible, but I guess there are worse things in life. She told us her pet peeve is painted on eyebrows, so she is going to talk to the woman in our ward with painted on eyebrows. haha and Ken said "Yeah next time you get up there and bear your testimony I want you to stare at her the whole time!" We want to show up with painted on eyebrows too, just to see her reaction. We'll let you know how that goes. Oh and Lori also said this to me this week, "It's a good thing you're a missionary and not a pot head because you'd laugh at everything." hahaha so count your blessings that I'm a missionary mom and dad. 
                               Humbling myself with my "big spoon"
Despite all of the funny things about the past week (and I only told you a few!), we have had awesome miracles too! Here is a great one, about Sid. 
It is true that as we put our efforts into finding, and more importantly our faith in the Savior to guide us to the prepared, that He does! We knocked on a door and a man opened up, already knowing who we were before we could introduce ourselves. We talked for a few minutes, but he had to leave for work so we set an appointment to visit him later that week. We took a member with us and had one of the best Restoration lessons that I have been a part of. His life experience right now almost exactly correlates with the experience of Joseph Smith before he went to the grove to pray. We helped him understand how he can be taken out of this confusion and more readily receive answers from the Lord to guide him to the right path. He committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray that night, and to come to church the following day! And, he did! After sacrament meeting we asked him if he had the opportunity to read and pray and he said, holding up his Book of Mormon, "Yeah, I did. And this book is true." AHHH!!! That doesn't happen every day in the life of a missionary! Such a miracle!! He had taken notes with correlating scriptures in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, it was awesome! He really wants to know and he had so many great questions in the gospel principles class, and the members all were so nice and friendly! We are hoping that he will accept baptism this next week, he is so prepared! Knocking doors really works when you've got the Savior on your side. It's usually always the very last door you try (which was the case with Sid too!) so you just have to keep going and keep trusting in the Lord!
Then, lastly, here is my little thought for ya'll this week. Yesterday in our Sacrament meeting someone said something that really struck me. This is essentially what he said/I interpreted. As a missionary there are so many times where you talk to someone and they say "No thanks, we're happy where we're at" or "We're content with our lives right now." We cannot be content! We are here to tell them that they can be happier, that they can have more! Who wouldn't want that?! By saying that we are content, that is saying that we don't want to grow more, that we don't want more of the blessings that God has ready to pour out upon us. Contentment=stagnation. If we are stagnant, we cannot become better, we cannot grow! So we've got to push aside the idea of being content with our circumstances and instead work to continually improve them! So I hope that each of you this week will recognize how you can avoid that stagnant state, push yourselves, and watch the Lord shape you into who you are made to be! I love you all and remember that you are in my prayers!!!

love love love love love
Hermana Hoj


Monday, August 4, 2014

More Cows Than Humans and about 8 Prisons!