Monday, August 14, 2017

Mexican Referrals, Gorditas, and "Rauliny"!

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Mexican Referrals, Gorditas, and "Rauliny"!
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2017 13:46:11 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

We got robbed this week! We met several cool people this week, but none of them lived in our area, or even our mission for that matter. We sent a referral to Fort Worth (spit), one to Arkansas, and two to Mexico. Mexicans are not very good at describing their addresses by the way, they give it to you backwards, and they include, what I assume is the equivalent to a county. So we taught them all and then we find out they're just visiting or they're moving. But they're super cool and super solid, I hope they get baptized one day wherever they are.

Note from Mom: Scott and I thought he literally got robbed (financially)... turns out he meant spiritually!  Sheesh!

Like 2 weeks ago I talked to this lady outside of an appointment that fell through, who was holding a bag of dough. I asked her what she was making and she said gorditas, so naturally I said if she needs help eating them we could come by. She said if we want some we could come back on Sunday! So we went back last sunday and she hadn't made them, but we did talk to her about what we do as missionaries and showed her the Book of Mormon and gave her a restoration pamphlet to read. 

Well we went back the next Sunday (yesterday), and she wasn't there. BUT her husband handed us a plate of gorditas she had made for us! They were the best gorditas I've ever had. They were Al Pastor (pork) and Barbacoa (beef). And she gave them to us on a plate, so we have to come back to give it back to her (I wonder if that was on purpose). A gordita is like a papusa, except instead of cooking everything inside the dough, they stuff it after, OR a sister missionary who eats to much (spanish joke).

some amazing gorditas

Otherwise, most everybody else has been really flaky. Either not coming to church or not keeping appointments (or are just visiting from Mexico). So not much progress investigator-wise.

We gave several blessings this week as well. I gave my 2nd and 3rd Spanish blessings Ive ever given, and I did surprisingly well I think. Blessings/praying in Spanish is hard becuase as a missionary, we only ever use -usted- form and not -tu- form, but we are to specifically pray in tu form. Usted shows respect and is the formal version of tu. Tu shows casualness, how you address friends and family. Blessings are also kind of tricky because you kind of jump around 1st and 2nd person, and plural/singular and stuff like that.

I also got to do my first baptismal interviews this week. They were 3 kids from the Hermana's area, they get baptized this saturday I believe, and then their mom gets baptized hopefully in September, and dad is already a member. Baptismal interviews are kind of cool, because they're not a test, and you can still kind of explain things in the interview. Its more to be a witness that they are ready and worthy, partially to help them know themselves that they are ready and worthy. 

We also had this couple come to church, that haven't been to church in years. They own a pancake house (kind of like that one by us that mom doesn't like, with the really long roof), so they are open on Sundays. They have active family members there at the church and the other part of the problem is that he's a fan of the drinkin. They also have two daughters that live with them that have non-member, live-in, significant others (one of them IS married). Well we've been stopping by them trying to get them to church, and they love us (everyone loves the missionaries), but they never made it out, and last week, after we left, the wife called us to come back and when we came back he asked (or she told him to ask, not sure) to give him a blessing to help him overcome his temptation to drink (he hadn't drinken in a couple weeks, but really wanted to that day)! Then after we did that they made us chicken wings. I kind of felt like an old timey apostle, where they would show up and preach and perform miracles then would be fed and housed and stuff lol. But they came to church this week!! One of the family members there at church was getting all teary eyed. Cool experience.

On Friday, a member gave us money for dinner, so we went to this little pizzeria thing pretty close to our apartment. We thought it was weird because it was a pizzeria thing that had mexican soda advertized right on the main sign. So we went in and talked to the guy, who was a super nice mexican guy, and ordered some pizza and stuff. We ordered a lot, and were a couple dollars short, that we were going to put on our card but he said not to worry about it, I guess he was the owner guy, who's likeness was used for the logo (see attached picture), "Rauliny"! 

We like that he just added -iny to his mexican name, so that he could name an italian restaurant after himself. Anyway, while we were waiting for our pizza he brought out a Watchtower and asked us if that was the religion we were from, we said no and gave him one our pamphlets and he said he loves visiting and learning about other churches. He didn't come to church but he was really cool and we'll stop in again.

An update on Mohamad: We were driving by a Mexican supermercado with a member, after visiting a few people, and we saw his motorhome outside! We stopped and knocked on it and he was very happy to see us! We haven't seen him in like a week and we lost our phone that he had the number to, and we've been worried about him. Anyway, he has been having to buy a gallon or two of gasoline everyday to run his generator flor air conditioning and TV. As we've established, he dosent like expenses, SO he showed us the 100 ft. extension cord he bought from Home Depot that he's running through the back door of the grocery store to siphon off electricity for free lol. He also got it all registered and got plates and everything! Hes growing up! 

Well thats about it for this week! 

Love yall!
Elder Hogg


A crazy truck

some more of that delicious/expensive pie

Other pics:

Monday, August 7, 2017

We Bought a Motor Home!

Subject: We Bought a Motor Home!
Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2017 15:27:17 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

Hola Familia

This week we bought a motor home! We had this neighbor here in our apartments named Mohammed, here's from Baghdad, Iraq! Around the time of the Iraqi war he moved to Jordan, but it was still pretty dangerous I guess so he applied at a bunch embassies, but at the time, the US was the only western country taking in refugees, 3000 families and 2000 singles, so he applied and got in (he's single). Some refugee service paid for his $1700 plane ticket, and hes been paying it back $25 a month for like 7 years lol. 

An American guy he knew helped him and his roommate find this apartment here, and they've lived there for 2 years, but now his roommate is moving out and he doesn't want to have to pay both sides of the rent. SO, we were commissioned to help him buy a house, or a mobile home or a "car" (by commissioned, I mean he kind of just told us that we could help him lol). Anyway, we had him meet us at the library so we could help him on craigslist to look for whatever it is he wanted, because he did NOT want to rent anymore. 

First of all he brought us Dairy Queen chicken tenders to eat, at the library. They come with gravy to dip in, and when we were done eating he asked about the gravy and we said its good, and tried to explain what gravy is, then he just grabbed it and started drinking it, and we tried so hard not to laugh, didn't work out to well, we were not expecting that at all lol. 

Anyway after 2 sessions at the library, we found a motor home (we figured out that's what he meant by car), in his price range, on craigslist, that he decided he will park at the Mexican Grocery store he works at, and live in it, so that he doesn't need to commute to work either, (we know he can't do that, but baby steps). 

The only other problem is that is was in Fort Worth, so we found public transit route  over there, its a 2.5 hour ride, in total. So we called the guy for him and set it all up, then sent him on his merry way. 

Tbh it was little nerve-raking, we were expecting a call, in broken English, saying hes lost on the side of the road in Fort Worth, with no money (because we are pretty sure had nearly 8 grand in cash with him??) and hes kind of our responsibility now. 

So we went on with our day and didn't hear anything, not even about how to get home, or how to drive a motor home (we think he assumes since we're white and speak English, we know how to do everything in America, hence, asking us to help him buy new living quarters). So the next morning we are studying and we hear someone moving outside so we peak out the blinds, and there it is!! A 28' 1999 Ford Shasta Sprite, right there before our eyes, and a little Iraqi man moving his things into it. 

We were floored, we couldn't believe it, this is the same man that watches Spanish television, speaks ZERO Spanish, but its the only station he can find the news on lol. So this week we had to help him get a PO Box, transfer the title (originally we thought he needed to get it registered (long story short, he does, but after 2 hours on the phone at the DMV, we figured he just wanted to transfer the title, so he didn't need to)), then he came back because he needed a state inspection so we drove all over the place, looking for somewhere that could fit a 28' motor home into their shop, but eventually we went to a really sketchy tire shop were there was really cool Palestinian man (who spoke perfect English), that could communicate with Mohammad, and it got figured out (I think). 

Anyway, he was able to figure out insurance on his own and, as we speak, he should be getting it registered and getting new plates. Its doesn't sound like a big deal, but this motor home has been a whole saga these last couple weeks. Long story short we saved an Iraqi man from homelessness. 

That same day we got the inspection we lost both our phones (the area had 2, because when they combined the Spanish and English work, nobody asked if he had 2 phones). so that was its own ordeal. Otherwise I would send you a picture of his texts, here's an example: "Hallo Fren GEBS u ok?" GEBS btw, is Elder Gibson, who Mohammad said has hair like Trump lol. He was also sure to bring up Mel Gibson. Also every time we go to his house hes eating a bowl of lettuce with a lime, and for whatever reason never has the air conditioning on? 

Hes a really nice guy though, he gave us Mexican candies and little sodas, and bought us pizza once. On pizza he said for "one year" he ate pizza thinking pepperoni was beef, but someone explained to him it was pork, and he doesn't eat pork, but he still eats it because he likes it. 

He is in no way a practicing Muslim btw (they don't eat pork I don't think?), hes also a big fan of drinking and going to the club on Saturday nights. We asked him about praying and stuff and hes says hes not a hypocrite, so because he likes to drink and go to clubs and eat pepperoni he doesn't pray. He seems really indifferent about religion in general, but likes the little pass-along cards missionaries have given him so he keeps them in random places around his apartment (now motor home I guess?). We've found out that if it interferes with him drinking in anyway, he not interested lol.

Anyway other than that, we met a lady from Cameroon, and we are going to try to start teaching her, shes not a big fan of the idea of the Book of Mormon but she likes us, and were going to try to get a French one for her. There was also a Cameroonian guy in the Spanish branch this week! His wife is best friends with our Branch President's wife, and they blessed their baby, so that was cool. I love African accents btw, they're awesome, we have 2 African people in the English ward too (one from Ghana, hes a really cool high priest, and a recent convert from Nigeria). We also set a baptismal date with a 12 y/o member of an active family. He hasn't been baptized because his Dad is not a member and not super fond of the idea I guess, something like that. Anyway, missionaries have been trying to get him baptized for a while now, but it looks like its finally going to happen. 

Thats about it this week,
Love yall!
Elder Hogg

P.S. Shout out to Grandma Debbie and Aunt Carrie!! Happy Birthday!!!

This section, Brett responds to my pictures from Debbie/Mason/Phoenix visiting and our State Fair pictures from the food competitions... (Mom/Sue)

Stop sending me pictures of all yalls' amazing food! We're trying not to spend money this week, and It was someone's birthday today and people brought a bunch of ice cream sandwiches, so that's all I've eaten today, we don't do member dinners on p-days. 

It all looks amazing! Tell Pheonix I say congratulations! And congratulations to you too! I miss this time of year. The zoo looks awesome, did they change the Big Cat house?? Has it always been that cool? Its awesome that you caught them while they were all active! 

Tell Scott he better win the bet, but I also kind of want to see him with a shaved head. 
(Scott is betting his friend he'll have longer hair than she does at the end of the summer.. whoever loses has to shave their head.) 

Tell everyone I miss them and i'll be home not too much longer after this time next to year!

Also the first armadillo i've seen! (I didn't kiss it though)

Our district!

Monday, July 31, 2017

Bone Marrow & Oysters

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2017 13:41:22 -0500
From: Brett Hogg

Hows it going fam!

A relatively slow week, we had MLC (mission leadership council), so we spent most of the day there or driving to and from Frisco (where the new mission home is). Then we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders, one of which I replaced here in this area, so he was able to show us where everyone he taught in the past, that was worth going back to visit, was at and where they worked the most, so that was nice. Spanish work here in the area has been really slow, most Hispanics we find also understand english and would rather go to the english ward because its at a better time, or just don't want to come to church at all. lol

President Dalton came with us to a couple lessons! I guess he's going to start going out with missionaries at least once a week. He brought his son (14 I believe?), and his daughter (17?) went out with the Hermanas (Sister missionaries) here in our district. It was kind of weird to be honest. I'm not used to people coming with us to lessons and kind of taking the lead, usually we (and usually me, I'm really working on not taking over lessons, and letting my companion talk more lol) do most of the talking and the member jumps in every once and a while or shares part of the lesson or whatever, but President took the lead, which isn't bad! I'm not complaining! Just not very used to it and it kind of threw my groove off lol. It was still really cool to have him there though, I'm looking forward to teaching with him more in the future.

Yesterday we ate dinner with this really cool hispanic family in the branch, and she fed us this really good soup, that had a big bones in it. She told us the best part, and what most hispanics do, is take out the bone marrow, and put it on a tortilla and a little salt, so that's what I did! My first time eating bone marrow I think, wasn't bad, it was just a tiny bit, and pretty much just tasted like beef. Also this week I tried oysters for the first time! Our Italian branch mission leader took us out to get sea food, and he ordered some. Kind of like when dad tried them for the first time, I figured I wouldn't buy them myself, so I better try them now. The oysters themselves don't really taste like anything, just the weird texture. They had pico de gallo and avocado on them so they pretty much just tasted like that, with a gooey part underneath lol

Anyways not much else happening this week, 
Love yall,
Elder Hogg

Random street art photos, one of rochester, And a stop sign on the train tracks lol

Monday, July 24, 2017

I had to attend Addiction Recovery

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: I had to attend Addiction Recovery
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 2017 13:47:56 -0500
From: Brett Hogg Hola!

It's been another week in the field!

We only get so many miles a month and we've pretty much used all of them. So on Saturday we walked! We walked to the church, and then visited some people around the church, then we got a ride to visit a couple more people, then a ride to dinner, then after dinner they dropped us off in an area, then we walked home from there, talking to people and stopping by people on the way. We have bikes but the key to our lock wasn't working, and we didn't feel great about not locking our bikes in Oak Cliff lol. I don't remember the exact route we took but I included a map. It was in the high 90°s, 100° maybe. My shirt was thoroughly soaked.

Yesterday/Sunday, we got a ride to church, and our Italian/Mafioso branch mission leader picked us up after the english ward, and its associated meetings (We're usually in church from 8am till about 5pm, they don't overlap the meetings because of parking and class rooms I guess). He said he could pick us up after church and feed us dinner, but we had to go to the Addiction Recovery meeting with him, since hes called to be the group facilitator for the stake. The meeting was super cool, The Spirit is super strong in there. Definitely a highlight of the week.

We also had our first interviews with Pres. Dalton, that was pretty neat.

Other than that, we met and talked to some cool people but otherwise, not a whole lot of new progressing people.

Anyway love yall!
Elder Hogg

We left a card at the house with that sign lol

Monday, July 17, 2017

A slow week in The Cliff

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: A slow week in The Cliff
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2017 13:49:25 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

Hey Fam! 

My new companion is Elder Gibson, he's from Henderson, Nevada (Las Vegas), He came out in December. Our district also got a new Hermana, she's Peruvian! She can out from Utah though, either way, we traded one authentic Hispanic (Elder Flores) for another lol.

Work wise it's been really slow here lately. The guy I told you about, how he just walked into the Grand Prairie building wanting to be baptized, his date had be pushed back, but he's still going to be baptized. There's another guy from Arkansas who we started teaching a couple weeks ago. When we heard his accent Elder Flores and I though he was Australian or something lol. We gave him the Book of Mormon and he wanted to start from the beginning, well we lost contact with him for about a week or so, and he when we got a hold of him again he was in Mosiah! Yesterday he was finally able to make it to church and he loved it! Then he decided to break our hearts and told us he had to go back to Arkansas because of family stuff (he's a pretty young guy), he's hoping he'll be back. So he is going to get baptized for sure, just probably not here.

We talked to a few different people that are really into idea that black people are Israelites/jews. That was interesting, it doesn't really stir me one way or the other but some people get really into it. lol. Here in Oak Cliff we regularly get asked why Jesus is white in paintings lol (i'm not sure He is btw, he's pretty Olive-toned/tan in most of them), but usually we tell them we don't know what color he is and if he is black, it wouldn't matter to me, it doesn't change what he did for us. You meet a lot of characters here in this area, that's for sure!

We also had dinner with our Spanish Branch mission leader. We have dinner with him every Wednesday, then we have coordination meeting. But this week he took us out to this nice Italian restaurant. Hes actually italian from New York, grew up speaking italian at home, and still speaks some kind of Sicilian dialect with his mother who lives with them. His grandfather was the Governor (which i guess means he's basically the Godfather of the area) of his town in Sicily, and fell in love with the help, which was looked down upon by the family, but they had kids so the kids where put in a orphanage/monastery, so his dad grew up with Franciscan monks until he left (can't quite remember why), but then he started apprenticing with a painter and started painting cathedral ceilings, until WW2 where he was drafted under Mussolini and fought under Rammal (hes not a big fan of Rammal btw) and became a spy and spied on Germany for Italy and got captured and push out of a plane and treaded water for 8 hours until a boat picked them up. Eventually he married a lady and moved to New York because he was a big fan of democracy and freedom and stuff, and had our branch mission leader. Bro Gloria has his own crazy story. I'm going to make a movie about it I think.

Anyway next week is already looking like a good week though, work wise, we'll let you know!

Love, Elder Hogg

Another weird Spanish fact: The Spanish word for Beef Steak is Bistec, pronounced the exact same way as Beef Steak just without the F, lol. And that's not even TexMex-Spanish, that's how they say it in Mexico!

Sorry about last week I had like no time! I'm trying to get better at writing you guys!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Transfers: I'm staying in Oak Cliff, and Elder Flores is leaving

Mom's notes in BLUE..

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2017 17:06:13 -0500
From: Brett Hogg <>
To: Susan J. Hogg <>

As of right now I'm staying in Oak Cliff, and Elder Flores is leaving! He's going out to Nacogdoches!! It's really weird, so far the list of people being transferred/not being transferred, is weird. I wonder if it's just because of the transition, or if it's is going to be weird forever lol.

Update: We heard that his new companion will be Elder Gibson. Pictures to come! 

Not a whole lot to report on this week, we didn't do much for the 4th, just a lot of fireworks in the street.

Thank you so much for the package!! I love the ties! I should be good for a good while.

We had a funeral for the outgoing missionaries that was fun we cooked up a ton of that meat, and had funeral potatoes and Mac and Cheese, it was pretty neat.

(We wrapped them in seran wrap)

Note from Mom: I think if this is hilarious... I hope others do? Haha

Also we handled a snake...

Also, show this picture to a Mexican, it's hilarious.

Brett had asked me to send the GPS (we aren't using it) - so I sent him a blow-up globe... (and the GPS). Apparently these pictures of them looking at the "Globe Position System" at Texas... and I don't think it was working...

More street art ... 

Eeeww?  I'm glad I send him treats!

Oh yea also we smashed an Old tv!

And we keep seeing signs with bullet holes but we never get a picture of them. Well we finally got one!

Monday, July 3, 2017

New mission president

Our beloved mission president (and wife) for the Texas Dallas mission has returned home! We love President & Sister Taylor so much - they had a huge impact on Brett and our family as he went through the cancer diagnosis, treatment and returning to the mission. 

A mission president serves for 3 years over a mission area.  The new mission president is President (and Sister) Dalton.  It's quite a transition time for the missionaries!  A Mission President's family moves to their mission area for the 3 years and are over the missionaries for the selected area.  It's quite an undertaking!  They do receive training for a few weeks prior to their move.  Here is the announcement about Brett's new mission president.

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Date:Mon, 3 Jul 2017 18:39:40 -0500
From:Brett Hogg 

Sorry this letter is so late! President Dalton called a meeting today so we could meet him, it was neat. We met most of his family, he has a daughter and son (9 and 7, I think?) That are here now, and two more (15 and 17, I think?) that flying out here soon (they're at EFY/camp/trek). They seem like a really cool family. They're a little stiff right now, but I'm sure they'll soften up soon enough.

Other than that not much else this week, we do have 2 cool new investigators. They're a couple and the guy was in Jail for a short time and while in there he promised God he would change and get baptised, so he just googled churches and found ours because it was open at a convenient time and showed up at the Grand Prairie building (he lives here and she lives in Arlington, so it was half way for them), and they talked to the missionaries, who referred them to us and they came to church last Sunday, and have a baptismal date! They're really awesome.

Well that's about it really, everything else is just everyday missionary work really.

Elder Hogg