Monday, January 26, 2015

A Special Witness In More Ways Than One!

Howdy y'all!

Thank you Chipotle for our pre-fast burritos
I just switch back and forth between that and Spanish. haha it's too great. Hermana Saenz and I were just talking the other day about how lucky we are to get to experience so many incredible things on our missions. So many different cultures to experience and we feel so lucky! The mission is the best.
We have had a great week! We're still trying to figure out how to adjust and set our priorities's a little bit of trial and error, but we're getting it figured out slowly but surely. What's going to happen is that once we get it figured out, I'm going to leave. haha that's how it always works! Once you start to get comfortable, the Lord sends change your way and you get to grow some more! If you're comfortable, you're not growing. So I'm taking it as a good thing that we are not perfect in our missionary work--we're doing our best, and that's all that's asked of us.
We've had a very busy week though with some surprises, some disappointments, some miracles, etc but all in all it has been so great. We decided to push P's baptism back to the 14 of February so that he could have some more time to prepare. They weren't able to get married yet, and we still had a few more lessons to teach. We don't want it to be rushed, we want to make sure he understands everything and is committed to live it. So we are looking forward to a great Valentine's Day filled with the love of God! The best thing you could ever want! haha Here's the surprise that happened this week though. We were sitting in the gospel principles class and Hermana P pokes her head in and motions for Hermana Saenz and I to come out and follow her. So we do, and she takes us to the Bishop's office. We sit down and Obispo asks us, "So, do you know what's going on right now?" We look at each other all confused and answer "No..." Then he said "Hermana P and P are getting married right now and you are going to be the two witnesses." We were so confused! haha but it was so great! They got married, and are now one step closer to becoming an eternal family! That is so so happy! :) 
This week we were able to find 3 new investigators! One of them is the sister of a member. Her name is C. She is 19 years old and has the two most adorable little girls ever. At the beginning we were just teaching her--she told us that her boyfriend didn't want to be there when we were talking to her. But then a miracle happened! Yesterday we went over after church and we taught the Plan of Salvation to the whole family! He was there too and he was loving everything we shared with him. I mean who wouldn't, the Plan of Salvation is so beautiful and it fills us with hope. As we talked about eternal families and the steps that we need to take here on this earth so that we can live in eternal families, you could just see the wheels turning in his mind, and you could tell that it was something that was so important to him. Another eternal family in the making!!! 
One of the investigators that we picked up from the English Sisters is R. She is so sweet! She's an older woman, and she's been taught for awhile. She has a smoking addiction that she's working on overcoming, but I know that she will be able to do it. She wants to be baptized, and I know that the Lord will help provide the way for her to do so. It's a lot of fun, we get to serve her in many ways. She has really bad arthritis and recently had surgery on her foot, so it's hard for her to get around. This week we bathed her dog for her and fixed her dinner too. She really is just so great. Oh, and she lives in this apartment complex for seniors--there are about 4 or 5 members from our ward that live there, so every week we do an FHE with them. haha we had so much fun. The message was shared, and then we had an activity. I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with the game Zip Bah, but it's pretty hilarious. Basically you have to say the words zip and bah without showing your teeth. We thought it would be a fun idea...proved to be right! haha but you see, Rebecca automatically won the game because she doesn't have teeth! haha but we played anyways. It was so funny and everyone had so much fun. I just love being with such great people!
Our weeks seriously are filled with so many things. We are visiting so many people and trying to find people, that half of the time I feel like I'm not even telling you half of what's happening down here! Everything is good though, and I am so happy just getting to be a missionary and getting to experience so many wonderful things. It's so fun! Both of the wards are so different from anything I would be able to experience at home, so I am blessed to be able to experience so many wonderful things! I know that the Lord has many opportunities awaiting us as well, we just have to work hard and be obedient and then He will guide us along! I know that's the case with life in general! So family, work hard and be obedient. I love you all and wish you the best week!

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Hoj

Monday, January 19, 2015

Milagros en todos los lados - Miracles from all sides

This week has been jam packed with things to do, and even better--WITH MIRACLES!!! So we have begun our first week as a Zebra area and we are very busy. But that's the best thing ever as a missionary! We've been running back and forth all over our area between appointments so it's kind of hectic at times trying to be on time to everything. But it has been so wonderful! This week we spent some time meeting the leaders in Melbourne, the English ward, just to find out the best way we can help them and to get names for people we should focus on. There are way too many people to try to see them all and actually get to know them. So we've talked a lot with the Bishop and the Relief Society President. We actually spoke at a Relief Society activity so we were able to get to know some of them a little bit better! Church was fun too. haha we were there all day just running back and forth between meetings, but it was so awesome. We're really looking forward to the amazing work that is headed our way!

A member from Louetta at the Spanish fireside

Something super awesome that happened yesterday was the Why I Believe fireside--the Mission President's Fireside. It was the first one held in Spanish!!! Ahhh it was so so amazing. We (as a missionary choir) sung A Child's Prayer, Called to Serve, I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go, and the EFY medley in Spanish! There is something about singing it in Spanish that made the Spirit even stronger. Ahh it was so amazing! And the best part was it was in my old church building in Louetta, so I was able to see a ton of the members from over there! There were also members there from the other wards I have served in too. Ahh I can't even explain to you the joy that filled my heart being able to see so many of the people that I love so much that have changed my life all in one place. As we were singing I was just looking out over the audience overcome with gratitude for the opportunity I have been given to serve a mission and to know so many of the people that were there. It was such a tender mercy from the Lord and I was just filled with so much love. So that was definitely one of the major highlights from my week. 
Hermana Nunez's famous tortas
Okay now for the miracles. All of them that I am going to share with you came from fasting. We fasted from Saturday to Sunday and whoa...the miracles. Fasting is powerful! On Saturday night we had a Relief Society night with the Spanish ward as well...haha and they had lots of good food that we couldn't eat. We were very tempted by it but we refused to eat and break our fast. And we are SO HAPPY that we didn't. We got a phone call just a few minutes later from the Elders in our ward. They had just had a lesson with one of the investigators that both of us have been teaching, Pedro. They told us that they taught him an awesome lesson, bore testimony, and then he told them that he didn't want them coming back to teach him again. When I heard that my heart dropped and I was so so sad. But...turns out he was tricking them and actually HE WANTS TO GET BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!!! WHOOO!!!!!!!! We are so so so excited! So we rushed right over to his house and congratulated him! So I don't know how much info I have given you about him, but he is the boyfriend/soon to be husband of a woman in our ward. He heard about how families can be sealed in the temple, and ever since that he wanted to learn more about our church. So we have been teaching him and really trying to help him receive his answer, and I guess he did! So they will be getting married this week, and then he is going to get baptized on Saturday! Yay!! We are so excited! I think it's so cool how he has the goal of the temple in his sights already and that it's his motivation for baptism. So yay!!! We are so so so happy for them!! Then here is another great miracle that came from fasting to find new people to teach...yesterday at church 5 members came up to us saying that they had someone that wanted to learn more about the church and wanted to meet with that doesn't happen every day! A young woman also asked us for 500 cards to put on the lockers at her school. That is so awesome! I can't even tell you! Ah so amazing all the miracles that you see on a mission! We are looking forward to all that will be happening in the next few weeks! 

I love you all so much and am so grateful for your support and your love! You are so wonderful! Good luck with everything that you have going on this week! You are in my prayers always! 

Hermana Hoj 

Monday, January 12, 2015

IT'S GO TIME!!!!!!!!

A fond farewell to Hermana Hammar
Buenos dias! Muchas cosas estan pasando ahora, y muchos milagros estan en camino...y'all ready for this?

So it's transfer time and we are going through some big changes. First off, Hermana Hammar is going to be transferred to another area :( But I know that the Lord needs her somewhere else right now and that she is going to do amazing things throughout her whole mission. She's got this!  So here's the second crazy thing. You know inception? Like how they have dreams within dreams? So that's kind of what's going to happen to us...but with whitewashing! :) haha We are going to be doing a whitewashing within our whitewashing! How crazy is that!? So what happened is this--the English Sisters that cover the same area as us are both being transferred, and we are going to be changed to a Zebra area. So we will be covering both the English and the Spanish wards within our area! There is so much work to be done! So in the words of President Mortensen, "It's Go Time!" I think Heavenly Father knew I needed to finish out my mission busy as can be, so this last transfer we are going to be working sooooo hard! Amazing things are going to be happening....stay tuned!

So these past few weeks the whole mission has been focusing a lot on finding new investigators. We are contacting and knocking doors from 6-8 every night unless we have appointments with progressing investigators. I am so grateful for the revelation and inspiration that President receives for us, it is always spot on! Something that has been a little bit hard for us as a companionship this last week is that even though we are finding, when we go back to visit the people that we contact they are either not there, or have to reschedule again. We have had a really hard time getting in with people. Yesterday that happened to us with multiple potential investigators that we knocked into--we had 4 appointments and all four cancelled. We stopped for a minute and discussed what we needed to change about our approach. Our goal is to help them feel the Spirit so that they will want us to come in right then to share the message we have. We decided that we needed to emphasize how much the gospel blesses families--mention it with everyone that we contacted--and as well do all we can to relate to the people with whom we speak. We said a prayer right before our 6:00 contacting for help to do this, to find families, and to teach. When we changed our mindset on how we were going to contact, it made the BIGGEST difference! The moment we stepped out of the car we recognized an opportunity to serve someone by helping her take her groceries to her apartment and she said she would be interested in listening to our message another day. We also talked with a couple who was at the apartment complex selling food...turns out they are a family of 8!!! We found a potential family of 8!!!! And even better, they had been talking with Elders in El Salvador before they came to Texas just 4 months ago! We gave them a Book of Mormon, and they said that they would like us to come visit them. Then we continued knocking and found a woman who let us in so that we could share with her the message of the Book of Mormon. She wants us to come back too! It was a great night of contacting, and I know that it was because of the way that we approached our contacts and that we humbled ourselves before the Lord in prayer. We prayed to find families, we prayed to have someone let us in, we prayed that where we were was where we needed to be and the Lord provided. He always does. We did all that we could to testify of the blessings that the gospel brings us and our families--the happiness, joy, unity, etc. We are so excited to keep going, to keep teaching and sharing this special message with everyone! MISSIONARY WORK IS THE BEST!!!! I love it so much, and I know that these next 6 weeks are going to be the best yet. I love you all and pray for you every day! Have an amazing week!!!
Love love love love love
Hermana Hoj

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Start of A Great Year!

Buenas tardes!

What a wonderful week we have had--one full of the Spirit as a result of fasting, MLC, and Zone Meeting. So many good things in one week. MLC is always incredible--after every single one I leave feeling very humbled because I recognize how much I need to work on. It's so great to be able to counsel with President and the other leaders in the mission, there is so much revelation that comes in those meetings. I learn so much and I am always drained afterwards. It's hard work! haha but it is so worth every moment. The Spirit is so strong and we are uplifted and edified! As Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders we base our Zone Meeting off of the topics discussed in MLC. The Zone Meeting we had went so well, and we were so grateful for that! We had a lot of people share their testimonies of specific questions like "How has your mission changed your life?" or for a convert "How did missionaries find you?" We are working a lot on finding effectively in our mission right now so we talked a lot about that and also a lot about consecration and sacrifice. The Spirit was very strong, and I think we were all pumped up to work after that! There are going to be some really good things happening!
Here's a funny story for the week....
So there we were....knocking doors. Something kind of uncommon to missionaries right? haha We had to go, but I decided that we should knock one last door. As we stepped onto the porch, there was an eruption of barking--probably about 8 dogs barking from inside. I saw there was a pad lock on the door too and thought, they're probably hiding something inside...but I knocked anyways. A guy looks through the little window on the door and says "What do you want?" So I start saying, We're missionaries from the Church of...and then he cut me off and said something I couldn't understand because of all of his dogs. So I said "Sorry I can't hear you, what did you say?" Then he said it again...still couldn't hear him. By the third time I finally understood what he said--"Don't trespass again or I'll loose my dogs on you." hahaha I was cracking up as we walked away. 
                           Dinner with D and her beautiful children

Good news for the week--we set a baptismal date with D. Yay!! We went to dinner with her on New Years Eve and had a lot of fun with her and her two kids. They're so cute. They picked us out necklaces--mine was an angel because I was the angel in the nativity at the church Christmas party. haha We got some good fortunes though! These were mine...words of the wise here.
"Impossible is a word only to be found in the dictionary of fools."
"Love lights up the world."
"You're not afraid of storms, for you're learning to sail your ship."
Who ever said you were limited to just one? 
Then, today was awesome because we got to go to the temple! Yay! It was so wonderful to be there, to be spiritually nourished in the house of the Lord. I love the feelings of peace and love that are always there when you enter. The temple is definitely one of those places where I want to be a lot. That was actually one of my New Year Goals--to go to the temple weekly (well I guess when I'm not a missionary anymore), so y'all are free to join me when that happens! But missionary work is the greatest. It's fulfilling as a full time set apart missionary, but you can receive that same fulfillment from doing temple work as well. It is the same great, redemptive work. Never forget that! I want you all to know that I know that this church contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that I am so grateful to have it in my life! Even more so, I am so grateful that I have this opportunity to dedicate to the Lord to share it with others. Do the same!! LOVE YOU ALL!!
Con amor,
Hermana Hoj