Monday, December 29, 2014

The New Year! What awaits us?!

Monday, December 22, 2014

It's Christmastime, Texas Style!

Hola mi familia!! Feliz Navidad!!!
I was recruited to be the angel in the ward nativity . . .
Gotta love my "ramen" wig

Can you believe that it's already that time of the year? It's hard for me to believe it...especially since for Christmas we'll have weather in the upper 60's. haha Definitely not something I'm used to, except I guess you don't have snow either, huh? 
Ward Christmas party with the Ward mission leader
I don't have a whole lot of time today, so I just wanted to share a miracle from the week and then my testimony as well. 

We went to visit a potential investigator that we had, D, and she was so excited that we came over. We watched the He is the Gift video with her, and no more than 10 seconds into it she said "Just by what I've seen, I already know that what this is saying is true." She felt the Spirit, and more importantly--she recognized it too! She is so incredible! She also came to our ward Christmas party with her 2 kids and we gave her a church tour as well. She is really wanting to learn more about the church and what we believe. She is searching for the truth, and at this time of her life, I know that she is ready to accept it. She recently separated from her husband and is trying to get back into church again. She is truly amazing and is so excited to keep learning, and we are excited to help her find more peace and joy in her life!
Missionary conference with Pres. & Sis. Mortensen and family

There is something so special about Christmas as a missionary. The things of the world become less and less important, and the only desire that you have is to show God your appreciation for His gift to us by sharing the gospel with others. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to have two Christmases as a missionary (even though I miss you all), I know I will always remember them. It's so amazing how your Christmas as a missionary truly does make you focus on the real reason behind the celebration. I've been thinking a lot about how lucky I am to be a member of this church and to have the knowledge that I have. Even more so to have the opportunity to share that message with others. I am so so very grateful for Heavenly Father--that He was willing to send His Son to the earth to atone for our sins. I am so very grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, and for His willingness to descend from His heavenly throne to a lowly stable. He has set the perfect example for us and has provided the only way for us to return back to our Heavenly Father. Everything is made possible because of Him, He is the Gift.

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 2 Cor. 9:15

I love you all so much and look forward to seeing you on Thursday! Merry Christmas, and share your testimony of why you celebrate Christmas with someone. I LOVE YOU!!!!

love love love love love
Hermana Hoj

Monday, December 15, 2014

White Christmas!

Hola hola !

What a miracle filled week we have had. I'm going to start of with one of the main highlights from the week, being.....
Oh my goodness, it was one of the most spiritual moments that I have ever had. President Mortensen gave me permission to go back to Huntsville to see her baptism, and I am so very grateful for that. Ah. It was such a beautiful experience, one that has been ingrained into my mind and my heart forever. L has gone through so many trials, and she has stayed faithful through them all. I think that Satan knows the potential she has and was doing everything that he could to stop her path of progression, but with the incredible faith that she has in the Lord, she was able to overcome all of her trials and temptations. I cannot even come close to explaining the feelings that filled me as I watched her be baptized. It's just not possible. I think that those feelings are something so special, that we cannot describe them sufficiently while we are on the earth. She stepped out of the font with tears streaming down her face, and it was evident that she was filled with the Spirit. I gave her a towel and she looked at me and I asked her how she felt...she was all choked up and said, "I am so happy. I have been waiting for this for so long." At the end of the baptism she got up and shared her testimony, and that's when the tears really started falling from my eyes. I was so touched by the Spirit and I couldn't help but cry tears of joy. I love her so much, and to be able to have finally witnessed what she has been working so hard to get to was one of the most touching experiences of my life. She is amazing.
Some other miracles from this week...
We have two new investigators! One is C, he is 19 years old and has such a strong desire to learn. We were talking to him and he asked us "What do you do when you start to lack faith?" He was telling us how it's easy for him to give up on himself, and we were able to talk to him a lot about faith. We talked about faith as a seed, and also about how God never places limits on us, so we can't place limits on ourselves. If we do, we'll never get to what He knows that we can be.
The other is L. We knocked into her and she told us that we could come back and share a message with her. We asked her how God has played a role in her life and she shared a remarkable story with us. A few years ago, she had a brain tumor--it wasn't cancerous, but it needed to be removed. All of the doctors she went to told her that it was too difficult of a surgery to attempt. Finally, there was one doctor who said he would do it. It was the same doctor who had operated on Kennedy. During the surgery she said that she died for a few moments--she doesn't remember everything that she saw, but she remembers seeing her grandparents and hearing God's voice. It wasn't her time to die yet, and she came back. It was so cool to hear that experience from her! I am so so excited to teach her the Plan of Salvation, I know that there will be things that will be ever so familiar to her as we talk about it. THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!

                               Hermanas Saenz, Hoj, and Hammar
So, that's about all that I have time for this week. Solo quiero que ustedes sepan que yo se con todo mi Corazon que el evangelio de Jesucristo es verdadero. Yo se que mediante las ensenanzas que recibimos de El, podemos encontrar paz, gozo, y felicidad. Yo se que Dios nos ama y nos conoce perfectamente y que quiere que todos regresen para vivir con El otra vez. Por eso, nos Ha enviado Su hijo unigenito, a redimirnos y salvarnos y ayudarnos encontrar el camino a volver a El.
I love you all so so so so so so much!!!!
Hermana Hoj 

Monday, December 8, 2014

From the Country to the City

Hola !!!
The view from the parking structure at my apartment complex
So I have had a complete change this last week! I went from the northern most part of the mission, to the southern most part. From the country, to the city. I am now in the Heights! It is definitely a big change from where I was, but I already am loving being here! There's a part of our area that's pretty nice, and then the rest of it is pretty ghetto. It's so wonderful! We absolutely love it! So at transfer meeting I found out that I would be companions with Hermana Saenz and that we would be white washing our area! We've got a lot of work to do. I know that the Lord has incredible miracles prepared for this area. Hermana Saenz was born and lived in Mexico for 9 years, and then moved to Chicago and has lived there since. She is a convert to the church, and one of the most amazing missionaries ever! I am so excited to be here with her! But....there's also another surprise. On Thursday morning we got a call at 9:30 from President Mortensen saying "We have a surprise for you, the two of you are going to be training. We need you here in half an hour." Haha we were so excited! It was a big surprise to us too! So Hermana Saenz and I are training a new missionary and her name is Hermana Hammar--she is from Rigby, Idaho and is such a sweetheart! Her Spanish is already really good too--and she's already a great missionary! I know that she is here for a reason. I am already learning a lot from her. She is super wonderful and we are so excited that she is here with us. This week has been really busy. We have been running all over our area trying to get to know it and the members that are here as well. If the members that we planned to visit weren't home, then we would contact and knock doors around them and try to find those who are prepared to accept the gospel! We are working hard, that's for sure! There are 4 Elders in our ward as well and they have been a big help for us too. Needless to say, it was wonderful to go to church on Sunday and meet the ward! I already love them all so much! It was fast and testimony meeting on Sunday, and before the member of the Bishopric finished sharing his testimony, there were already about 15 people on the stand waiting to share theirs. They have big hearts and strong testimonies.
Hermanas Hammar and Saenz in the front
Hermana Hoj squashed between two Elders
Off to serve by shoveling a compost pile!
So yeah, I already love the members. We are fed by them lots and loved by them even more. They are wonderful! I learned how to make really good tortas this week too. :) Yum! We call the Hermana that makes them Hermana Torta because she makes them for us every other week. We also have one investigator from the Hermanas that were here before us who is progressing towards baptism, but she was supposed to have a baby on the 4th and the baby still hasn't come yet, so once her baby is born we'll be able to work more with her! We are really just so so excited to be here. Today during companionship studies we were all talking about what we had studied on our own, and we all were led by the Spirit to study about faith. It was not a coincidence! We took that as the Lord telling us that we need to up our faith and work in unity so that He can bless our area with the miracles He has prepared! We'll be praying and fasting a lot and doing all that we can to witness the miracles of the Lord.
That's about it for this week. We know that there are great things to come!!
Con muchisisisisisimo amor,
Hermana Hoj

Monday, December 1, 2014

A Fond Farewell to Huntsville

Hey y'all!

It sounds like you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Aren't we so very blessed? I just cannot stop thinking about how blessed I am right now. I am so grateful for everything we have, and most importantly, the gospel. To use Jo Ann's words, "It's the best of the best." 
A little Texas hay bale art!

So I'll tell you a little bit about what we did for Thanksgiving! It all starts off with eating way too much. haha We started off the day with G--she is just the sweetest girl. We shared a Thanksgiving message with her and asked her to share with us what she was grateful for. She said something that I love so so much. "I'm grateful for what I have and what I don't have. If I had everything, then I wouldn't be grateful." Wise words for a 17 year old! It definitely made me think, and it is so true. Then the rest of the day we were kind of house hopping. We were invited to eat Thanksgiving dinner/lunch about 4 times, but we had one big dinner that we had to prepare ourselves for that night, so we told them that and had I guess what you would call "tastes" of some of the food that they had. We went to the Shiver's house for our big Thanksgiving dinner and had delicious food! It was all traditional Thanksgiving foods, and my favorite part is always the pumpkin pie. So yummy! We also visited Jo Ann (she was the one that sent y'all the picture of us), Ken and Lori, Brother and Sister was a good day! But the best part of the day was just being able to be with so many people that you just love so much! That's really what it is all about. Of course I missed all of you, but I was being well taken care of here. I'm so so so grateful for the amazing people in my life, and for the opportunity I have had to meet so many amazing people while being on my mission. It makes me just so so happy. I can't ever explain the way I feel!
We had some amazing miracles at church on Sunday...the A family came for the first time! I love that family so much! They are so wonderful and are so prepared to accept the gospel and apply it as a family. They loved church! We also taught them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ that night--you can see in them that they know it is true. It makes me so happy to see the happiness and hope that is brought to them as they learn more about the Savior and His gospel. The next miracle has a little bit of back story. On Saturday afternoon we were going to visit a potential family and when we knocked on their door about 10 people came and answered it. They had family over for the holiday break so we weren't able to meet with them right then. Many of the little kids came out and we gave them pass along cards with pictures of Christ on them. One of the little girls said that she wanted to come to church and asked if we could write on the card. We wrote our phone number and the address of the church on the back of the card. Sunday morning comes and we are greeting the members and investigators that are there for church, and here comes the same 7 year old girl we talked to the day before with her grandma! Her grandma said that J woke her up that morning and she said "Grandma, we need to go to church today!", showed her the little card, and then they got up and came. They stayed for all 3 hours and her Grandma, M, was making so many wonderful comments in the Spanish Sunday School class! It was so amazing that the desire J had to come to church was seen by her grandma and they were able to come. We were so surprised, and so grateful! They really enjoyed it and want to come back again next week.
I will miss these amazing people!
College Station 2 Zone
I am so thankful for my time with Hermana Loo
She is amazing!

This last week truly has been so marvelous for me. I have had many epiphanies this week that have helped me to understand why it was that the Lord sent me here to Huntsville, Texas. And as I recognized that, it's now time for a change. Transfer calls came in last night, and the Lord needs me to go somewhere else now. I am so very grateful for the many incredible opportunities I have had, the miracles I have seen, the people I have met, and the changes that I have made while I have been in Huntsville. I know that it was all for a reason, because I can see the necessity of it all in my own personal life. The Lord knows me so well and He knows exactly what I need, and even if I am not able to see it on my own He helps me put all the pieces together. Once I can see the big picture, He knows that I have more growing to do and that changes are ahead. I will always treasure Huntsville and the experiences I've had and the people I have met here. I am ready and excited for the new change that is ahead for me. This week I learned that I need to have faith in the future, that the Lord has even better things ahead for me. As I came to that realization, I was filled with peace and I know that I am going where the Lord needs me to go and will be doing what He needs me to do. I'm going to end with a quote from Elder Holland.

"The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives." Here I go, wish me luck!

Con muchisimo amor,
Hermana Hoj