Monday, January 1, 2018

Lufkin Walkin' & Rudolf the Red-Nosed Pumping Unit!

Subject: Lufkin walkin'
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2018 21:44:40 -0600
From: Brett Hogg 


How's it going family!

It's another week in good ol' Lufkin. It has been wicked cold here. It wouldn't bother me much but our truck's battery destroyed itself and corroded the wires around it, and because it's been Christmas and New Year's, it's been at least a week and a half to get it back. So instead we have been hitching rides with the other Elders and just walking! Walking isn't fun but it's actually not impossible to walk Lufkin proper. The Loop (the highway around the city, and what determines how big a city is: "Is it a small town?" "Well, it has a loop." In comparison Dallas has a ton of loops) is only like 4 miles in diameter. The only problem is that it's really cold, and that nobody walks in the cold, except Mormon missionaries, so there's no one to contact along the way lol.

So the other night we got dropped off and were going to make our way back home, but we decided to say a prayer before we started on our journey. Well as soon as we ended our prayer a guy walks up behind us and we offer him a pass along card, and he says "oh are you the new Elders?", and it turned out to be Will Ferrell! He's an inactive recent convert who the missionaries have been looking for! So it wasn't a new investigator or anything but we got to talk to him and a return appointment; he's an interesting guy.

Then we had to go into Dallas for a meeting. We got a ride with some really cool members to Longview, spent the day there, then that night drove with another missionary to Tyler to spend the night. Then we got up at 4:45 to drive to Frisco. Then after the meeting we drove to Tyler, and dropped those missionaries off, then drove to Longview, but it got to be too late, so we spent the night there and in the morning drove back to Lufkin. It's kind of annoying to have to go to Dallas, because that means at least 1 day of not working, and the days surrounding are probably not working in your area. The meetings are good though. 

Otherwise, nothing else really exciting. Next week we might be going to the Lufkin Zoo, which I hear is really nice, so I'll probably do another voice recording, those work pretty well on my end, are they a hassle for you?

Till next week!
Love,
Elder Hogg

A picture of me with the Lufkin-famous, Rudolf the red nosed pumping unit! A guy told us his wife made him go to the lighting ceremony, which bring in a crowd of a couple hundred if not thousands!





Monday, December 25, 2017

CHRISTMAS DAY SKYPE!!

Hi all - there is no letter this time... but we were able to Skype with Elder Hogg for about an hour and a half!  He then sent us pictures (see below).
For those unfamiliar with our church missionary program - we only get to talk to our missionary on Christmas Day and Mother's Day (some exceptions if Father's Day is more appropriate for some missionaries).  We email once a week.  No contact in between (no texting or calling, etc.).  If we have any issues or instances that our son should be aware of (if we are hospitalized and it's serious, etc), we contact the mission office and go from there depending on the situation.  So this was a BIG DAY!!!  We hadn't talked to him since Mother's Day (225 days!!!)

 Some highlights:
*Lufkin is about 3 hours southeast of Dallas - and the area they cover is about the same as the whole Dallas area! (He included a map below!)
*The Spanish branch only has about 20 people! He can't imagine how the members will feed them dinners every night - so they might cross over to be fed by the English ward, as well?  (I'm going to send some food and walmart gift cards just in case!)
*It's VERY RURAL!  They are the only missionaries in the Texas Dallas mission with a 4-wheel drive truck.  They've already helped with baling hay and also with a bull that got out! haha!!
*He's still COLD (which made me laugh).. The highs this week are "only" in the 40s and 50s. (He's going to be freezing when he gets home next fall!)
*He is SUPER SUPER SUPER GRATEFUL for the letters, emails and packages.
*Elder Hogg had very limited time in his last area to reply to emails.. so he hopes that he will have more time now to respond individually, rather than just the "big blog" email! 
*He misses snow!  

But most of all..
*Brett bore his testimony of the home teaching program. Missionaries are often asked to do what Home Teachers should do.... (All families should be assigned a home teacher.) 
*Missionary work is inspired... miracles happen... and lives are changed... it's something hard to describe!  
*We need more understanding between people (all over - in and out of church).. more compassion!! 
*He loves what he's doing... he loves the people... and enjoys even the tough moments, actually!
*He shared some perspective on the Church itself.. the organization and wisdom of how things are set up and what he's witnessed, etc.

He was able to say HI to all of his Wisconsin cousins and his Uncle Nathan - some he hasn't seen in a few years!  We kept him busy and we also got a little time to speak just with us. 




Cousins Meagan, Bethany, Jenni - Brother Scott
And Bethany's older daughter, Evelyn
pictured with Scott!
Brett is feeling good (except for being cold -haha) and doing really well!  He has great energy and hasn't been sick. He already feels like he's "running out of time".. and doesn't want it to end yet.  (He doesn't come home until September/October 2018..lol.)  

He misses all of us, but wants to be where he is... and doing what he's doing!  He loves meeting people all over.. helping people... talking to people.. and just getting to know everyone!!!

If anyone would like Elder Hogg's mailing address in Lufkin, or his email address - just comment to this post or call/email me!

-Brett's Mom, Sue Hogg



Baptism in Oak Cliff!!

Zoom in.. it's a picture of Brett's long-time apartment in Oak Cliff. His desk is below the Texas flag.

Goodbye to Elder Rodriguez. :'(

In Lufkin - time to stack the hay!! 


Opening packages after transfer!

A gnome from Aunt Lisa!


A Bob Ross doll from Aunt Lisa!! Too funny! 
TIES from Aunt Lisa! ♥ (Unknown Sister missionary photo bomb)




GRANDMA DEBBIE'S CHRISTMAS COOKIES! YUMMY!
♥♥♥
(Unknown sister.. haha.. I think she wanted some!)

Klement's Summer Sausage from Mom (or Grandma Debbie - I can't remember)! 


Spicy Wheat Thins from Grandma Debbie! ♥


Wisconsin Hat from Grandma Debbie!



Homemade Christmas Card from Mom!! ♥

Lufkin ward boundaries (see the related size of the city of Dallas! Wow!! They are covering a lot!)


Monday, December 18, 2017

Transferred to Lufkin!

http://www.visitlufkin.com/index.php
Another voice e-mail from Brett this week!! He is being transferred to East Texas, the small city of Lufkin.  He sounds bummed because he loves Oak Cliff so much - and had to say good-bye to great people!  But I think he'll love his new adventure!  The weather is MILD - highs in 60s and 70s this week!   Next week we get to Skype for Christmas and we'll hear more about Lufkin!  ~Mom 



Subject: Voice
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2017 19:06:03 -0600
From: Brett Hogg








Monday, December 11, 2017

Audio Email! (Everything is Super Cool)

This week is a treat - because we received a VOICE email from Brett!  SO good to hear his voice... and only 2 weeks till we get to Skype on Christmas Day!  

Enjoy...
Mom
Subject:Audio Email!
Date:Mon, 11 Dec 2017 18:11:42 -0600
From:Brett Hogg





Monday, December 4, 2017

Wow, what a week.

Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2017 17:40:49 -0600
From: Brett Hogg

Wow, what a week.

First we had a 70 come visit us, Elder Pearson! He thoroughly rebuked us, it was awesome. He was very bold and talked about a lot of different things. He talked about D&C 50:14-21, faith and what happens when we we have/don't have it, and how to get it, planning, finding, helping people, discover their divine identity and how it relates to prayer (Bible Dictionary: Prayer), and even how to give talks! There was so much that he threw at us. It's a lot, and kind of deep to be able to write it out, you really had to be there. A couple things I wrote down:
"Everyone you meet knows the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you can't have a physical body, and not know the gospel is true"
"There's no one leaving the church that is reading the Book of Mormon everyday"
"Faith is a spiritual gift from God" (like the gift of tongues)

And some other stuff, there was so much. It was super good. 

We also had two baptisms! The one kid who ordered a Book of Mormon and the other girl who recently moved into the Ward. It was awesome. Elder Rodriguez baptized the kid, and I baptized the girl. It was super cool and spiritual. I got to do hers in Spanish! She's learning Spanish, and her husband is from Mexico City originally, and even served a mission in Mexico. He's been inactive for a long while, and she grew up in an inactive family and never got baptized. It really worked out because the kids mom only speaks Spanish, and the Hermanas from the other Spanish branch invited their investigators. It was a really cool experience.

Anyway, awesome week,
Love,
Elder Hogg









Monday, November 27, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

From: "Brett Hogg"
Date: Nov 27, 2017

Hola Fam

Happy Thanksgiving! We started thanksgiving by playing the Turkey Bowl with some other Elders and member that met up to play. It was fun, even if our team lost haha. From there we went thanksgiving linner at a Spanish members house, it was delicious. From there an English member had a big dinner for their family and a couple extra people, including us! Also delicious. Then in the evening we headed over to our Branch Mission leaders house for even more thanksgiving dinner. We also got to see part of the Cowboys game, wasn't great. But the again, when is it ever? All around, a great Thanksgiving. Not as great as being yall though of course! 😉




Also this week we got to give blessings to 3 week old, premature babies! It was crazy. Aparently one of the parents' parents are Mormon, and they asked if we could go, and the parents wanted to come. So we went and we had to scrub our arms up to our elbows and then we had to wear a gown thing, and we weren't allowed to bring our phone or anything so we don't have pictures unfortunately. But it was crazy and the spirit there in the NICU was super thick. We got to reach into their little boxes and lay our hands on them. They were born at les than 2 pounds each, they were twins. Anyway, super spiritual experience.

Our gas station investigator is super cool still, highlighted things in the Book of Mormon this time. Shes awesome, but didnt make it out to church this week. Hopefully next week with the Christmas devotional that'll be cool. Haven't been able to get ahold of Orlando unfortunately, we think hes still been in the hospital, but the hospital hes at now is outside of the zone so we haven't been able to make it over there. This coming saturday we have two baptisms, one with a girl that was taught elsewhere but moved here, so we get to baptize her, then we got the 15 y/o who ordered a Book of Mormon that I told you about. So be expecting pictures of that!

Sorry this is so late, but I love yall!
Elder Hogg




Monday, November 20, 2017

Yet another week in Oak Cliff!


From: "Brett Hogg"Date: Nov 20, 2017 4:33 PM
Subject: Yet another week in Oak Cliff

Sup fambam!

This week we taught a new girl. We stopped in a gas station last week, and one of the girls working there asked Elder Rodriguez if he was running away from home because he was wearing his back pack lol. He explained that we were missionaries and we exchanged information and stuff. We met up in the park earlier in the week we talked about religion and stuff and shared the Book of Mormon, and usually we leave the Introduction to read because it explains it better than we can. Well we met up a couple days later and asked how her reading went, and she read! but she kept going too, like she read all the testimonies and other stuff after! Then she had really good questions too, like, why did Joseph have to wait to receive the plates? Why are there 3 witnesses, and 8 witnesses? And we were kind of stunned, because usually people don't read, and if they do, they don't really have any deeper questions or anything. We taught her The Restoration even set a baptismal date with her! Unfortunately she works on Sundays, so that might delay her, but she's super awesome!


On Tuesday we had district meeting in a mini bamboo forest at a local park here. Usually we just have district meeting at the church building, but we want to start doing destination district meetings. We always try to bring snacks to district meeting, thus the food in the photos haha





Then on Saturday we had a crazy day. We decided to bike. Originally it was a horrible idea, then we put some air in our tires and it was a lot better lol. It actually felt really good to bike. We did have to bike to the hospital to give a blessing to a man that is doing really not well, from this really cool family in the Spanish branch. His daughter and her family are in our branch, but came from the Grand Prairie ward, and the remembered me! Anyway cool family.

Then the branch had Thanksgiving dinner. It was pretty good!


Towards the end they had the primary kids dressed as Indians sing a little song and people got up and said what they were thankful for/bore their testimonies, and of course, like any other fiesta, ended with karaoke ranchos (Mexican country music (in general, Mexican music is either country or polka in nature)). Towards the end Elder Rodriguez and I got up with a member and sang a song about a horse lol (it was hard to find a song not about romance and stuff haha). It was "El Caballo Cantador" by Antonio Aguilar if you want to look it up.

Then on Sunday Elder Oaks and Elder Ballard had a YSA Face-to-Face, and they asked missionaries to watch it as well. So we got to watch that which was cool.




Anyway, thats about it, otherwise, same 'ol same 'ol, and I love it!
Love yall,
Elder Hogg