Monday, October 16, 2017

Otro semana en El Cliff

Subject: Otro semana en El Cliff
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2017 13:21:18 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

Hola Familia

A good week here. Probably the biggest highlight was Thursday. We had a guy from Salt Lake follow us/drive us around. He's a higher up guy at the MTC (Missionary Training Center/Provo), and goes around visiting missions to see how they're doing and to help give the Mission President feedback. 

He followed a different set of missionaries around every day for 4 days, and we were one of them! He had a rental car, a 2017 Dodge Charger, that he got to drive us in (we only have so many miles we can put on our car, so we take every opportunity we can to get a ride. Also I would like a 2017 Charger when I get home please). His name was Bro Nelson, he's 33 and joined the church when he was a senior in high school, the only member of his family, hes a really cool guy. 

That was also the same day that we had interviews with President Dalton. When we have interviews we also have District Meeting, you just step out when its your turn, so that was good. He's not supposed to really interfere and just kind of observe mostly, but wound up teaching us a lot about how we can better take advantage of the technology we have here in the mission. He told us that every mission in the United States and Canada will be getting smartphones and Facebook here eventually. 

The Texas Dallas Mission, because it's the best, is basically a pilot mission, meaning we got Facebook like a year and a half ago, and Fort Worth is just getting it now. He also alluded to something else happening in January for us and a couple other special missions, not sure what exactly, but it has something to do with advertising? 

Anyway, he also took us to lunch. We went to Lockhearts BBQ. It was super good. When you order (you order by the 1/2 pound) they pull a giant slab of brisket out of their big smoker, and slice it off for you, and wrap it in paper. I also got habanero mac and cheese, which I regretted. 

We did eventually  get him to a lesson. We had a lesson with an awesome family, the mom is already a member, but the dad is not. The dad has been taught in the past, but we've started teaching him again, and the one son just turned eight. So we teach them both, even though the eight year old technically isn't an investigator, its really more for the dad. But the eight year old accepted to be baptized, the dad said he'd like his son to go first and then we'll talk about a date for him. So Thursday was a pretty good day. 

On Fridays we go do service at the Food Bank here usually, so we did that with the other Elders here close. Afterwards we were hungry so we called and asked how much unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks were, at the Olive Garden here close. The answer was 7.49, so we went. 

Then for a dinner an older lady here in the ward took us out to a diner place, but we were still full from lunch, but we ate anyway, and it was really good (I had chicken fried steak). So by this time we are so full we want to die, let alone do missionary work. But we pressed forward, nothing wavering, in the service of our God.  

(Haha - a quote from a scripture in the Book of Mormon - 2 Nephi 31:20)
Image result for steadfastness in christ

We had some names from the bishop we had to stop by, so we started going by them and not much was happening, until we stopped by this one member, who we hadn't really met before. I had shaken his hand at church once but that was about it. Well we knocked on his house and his wife answered! We assumed he was a single guy because he always came by himself. And she answered in spanish! We assumed she would be english because he comes to the english ward. 

But anyway, they invited us in and we started talking to them and they were super friendly. The wife didn't really know anything about the church, they had married when  he was inactive, and they had gone a couple times in the last 15 years but that's about it. She was super cool and wasn't really into Catholicism (which is a huge barrier for hispanics usually), started going baptist, but really just wants her family to all be on the same page spiritually. Elder Rodriguez was able to share his conversion story (he grew up going Catholic, but after his parents divorced he started going baptist with his mom), and they connected on that. Anyway, they said they would come to church and that we could come back and teach her more. They didn't make it out to church, but we're super stoked about them.

Then on Saturday we helped out at Ceder Hill Country Day on the Hill. A little festival the city of Ceder Hill does every year. The stake had got a booth to show off family history/, and they asked all the missionaries to help. That was fun, there was a parade, and just cool fair things. 

Then Sunday/Yesterday. After church we stopped by a couple Book of Mormon referrals (which are more rare). They were both really cool. They both said they work looking for something that's missing, filling a void. One guy hesitantly told us he was dealing with anxiety and depression stuff and so that was cool to see him seek God, to help him out. Bright futures here in The Cliff.

Con Amor,
Elder Hogg

Monday, October 9, 2017

Orlando & Plan of Salvation

Date: Mon, 9 Oct 2017 12:44:10 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

Hola dudes!

No mucho new this week. Probably the highlight was meeting a man named Orlando. From what I understand he's on basically home-hospice care. Hes kind of in and out of the hospital because he needs a ventilator sometimes I guess. 

We found him looking for someone else, and he invited us in. We talked to him about the Book of Mormon, and said we could come back. When we came back he had read some and we invited him to church and he said he would come. Well Sunday comes around and no Orlando (we're used to it by now), but then we get a text from him telling us hes in the ICU and that he wants us to come visit him. 

Then we get a call from someone in the hospital calling on his behalf, telling us Orlando wants us to come visit him. Well after church and our dinner appointment we head right over there. Eventually we find his room and he's excited to see us! He had a ventilator and whatever other tubes in his mouth so he couldn't talk, but had a pencil and paper. His sister, who was there, said he had stopped breathing there for a tiny bit so they brought him. He immediately shows us his Book of Mormon which he had with him there in the bed! We had left him with 3 Nephi 11 to read, and from what we gathered he had read all the way to chapter 15! 

He wrote out "I didn't make it to church" lol. We told him he had a pretty good excuse and we started to talk a little bit about the priesthood so we could give him a blessing. Last time we saw him we told him we would talk about what happens after we die, because he was a little interested in that lol. So while we are explaining the priesthood a little bit, he writes out "We were supposed to talk about death". So that's what we did, layed out a short Plan of Salvation

He was kind of falling in and out of sleep, so we were pretty much talking to his sister and wound up teacher about the restoration as well, and she thought it was pretty interesting and was marking things in the Book of Mormon we gave her, and taking notes.

We were getting ready to leave and Orlando wrote "I wish I could have made it to church." We told him he's got to make it out next week for sure, and that if he can't his sister has to come. We said a prayer with them and headed out. I want to get picture with him and his writing here eventually. Hopefully he can be out of there long enough to get baptized!

Another day we were eating lunch at the park, and cleaning out the car real quick when this guy was driving by. He randomly stops and looks out and back at us and says "Hey, are you guys Mormons?" We say yea, and gives up a thumbs up and says "Cool" and drives off. We were caught a little off guard lol. 

Other than Orlando, we've found some cool people/families, we'll see if they pan out though. 

And next week thursday! We will followed around by a guy from Salt Lake! Apparently he's a former mission President in Russia, I guess there's a couple guys coming to follow missionaries around and see how we do missionary work here in the TDM.

Con Amor,
Elder Hogg

Monday, October 2, 2017

Last week of the transfer!

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Last week of the transfer!
Date: Mon, 2 Oct 2017 07:33:55 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

Sup fam!

So we had a pretty good, extremely fast week. A couple cool lessons. First, we set a baptismal date with our investigator Arturo. He has (or had?, a little loss in translation) a brain tumor that he got a bunch of radiation for, and it all kind of ruined his eye sight. He cant drive but he reads the Book of Mormon zoomed really far in on his phone. One of our other investigators is the girlfriend of an inactive member of the spanish branch. Shes very pregnant. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and read the Proclamation to the World together, its pretty neat to see a brand new family and help bring them the Gospel.

I forgot to mention last week! I left my tablet on the roof of the car, at the stake center, then drove away. I didn't realize it was missing until we were about to go to bed and I was going to charge it. The Sisters live close to the stake center so I called them first thing the next day to see if they could run over there and look for it. They found it! But the screen was completely shattered, like flakes of glass. They figure someone ran over it because of where it was. BUT! When I got it I peeled off the glass screen protector, and viola! Not a scratch on the screen. The body of the tablet itself and the case are pretty well scratched up around the edges. And it works fine still! Positive reviews to the maker of that screen protector. (P.s. could you send me another screen protector 🙂).

Note from Mom: WOW - that was worth it!! The maker of the screen protector is OMOTON.  Here's the link on Amazon.

Also,  I'm not sure if I mentioned this before but a week or 2 ago a couple of companionships here close,  met up at the park to hand out free water/contact people. We wound up playing soccer with a Mexican family there, and got our behinds handed to us. And we were kind of sweaty for the rest of the day lol. I just now got the pictures so here they are for you! 

We also got a new member of the district! She's a missionary from Puerto Rico. After Hurricane Irma came through and destroyed the whole island, they evacuated all the missionaries. She was saying that they were told to buy 72 kits, and a change of clothes, to last them 3 days in the mission home while they waited out the storm. Well the hurricane was so bad, they were there for 5 days, and the First Presidency and the Quorum of the 12 decided to evacuate everyone. So Elder Oaks got to prayin', the church got on the phone with Delta, and everyone was reassigned to other missions, and ours got a few! The mission President I guess got off the phone with the head honchos, and got up in front of everybody and read off the list of where everyone was going! They came here with literally only the change of clothes they had. They weren't able to go back to their areas and scavenge for their things or anything, they flew right out from the mission home. Elder Pattee got a refugee too, so I'm excited to meet them all. The one we got here in our district is pretty cool.

Then there's conference! We were the first ones at the church building, so we had to figure out how to set everything up. Way more spanish people come to conference so we set it up in the chapel and made all the gringos watch it in the Relief Society room. 

Conference was really good. I really liked Saturday morning. We watched priesthood session in spanish because we had a few people that we're reactivating that came. To be honest, didn't get as much out of it in spanish. Its way easier to zone out when you're trying to keep up with fast talking old spanish man voice. From what I understood, it was really good too. I'm going to go back and rewatch it for sure in english. 

Note from Mom: 2 weekends a year, we hear televised messages from the leaders of the Church. To see all of them, you can click here for a list of all the talks and watch!  It's call "General Conference" and there are 6 sessions: 4 general sessions and one for women and one for men.  All are available on to see!

Also this week, we were driving, minding our own business when all of the sudden, 2 chickens literally crossed the road in front of us, right here in south Dallas. We didn't see why though (🥁). Wish I got a picture.

Oh yea! And our Italian mob-boss branch mission leader made us chicken parmesan, it was delicious.

Anyway, that's about it for this week, I'll try to let you m know about transfers when we hear!
Love yall,
Elder Hogg

Our family tree (Elder Pattee is brothers with the Elder he's standing next to [my uncle], who is training the Elder standing next to my son [my cousin]. The Elder above him, and next to me, is Elder Pattee's current trainee [my brother]).

Our district (with our new sister)

Monday, September 25, 2017

Zone Conference, Cattle Statue Pics and more

Subject: I cant believe this didnt send!
Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2017 21:19:36 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

Not much this week. This Tuesday we had Zone conference, which was cool. We talked about the power of 1, how Jesus Christ worked one on one with people to perform miracles, and stuff like that. Pres Dalton's great great grandfather was a little Irish boy, the only baptism for those missionaries, but now there are generations of members of the church because of that one baptism. And a bunch of other stuff about missionary work and stuff. 

But afterwards we drove by the cattle drive memorial/statue thing and took pictures, partially in an effort to out do Elder Pattee and Elder Coca's horse statue picture haha.

Here is a link to Elder Pattee's photo.

We also had 2 different exchanges this week, one to Grand Prairie! Unfortunately I didn't get to really visit anyone or anything, we were on bikes and the one bike broke and our ride for the night canceled. Then we had exchanges with Elder Fafita and Elder Busch, who serve in the bordering area. Elder Fafita is the Tongan elder I was telling about. Hes 6'8" or something and like 400 lbs or something. Here's  a picture of me sitting on him, playing ukulele. He made us fried chicken one night. Elder Busch is cool, he's quiet. 

Investigator wise, not a whole ton of progress. We did meet a Nigerian man who seems really cool. 

I really thought this email would be longer and I'm really sorry its short. 
Love, Elder Hogg

Monday, September 18, 2017

[Technically] Half Way There!

Subject: [Technically] Half Way There!
Date: Mon, 18 Sep 2017 13:08:09 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

Well as of right now my go-home date is for September 13th, 2018. So I've technically reached my half-way point this week! However I'm pretty sure that Sept. 18th isnt even a transfer day. I did the math though at some point and I think that's wrong and that it should be for sometime in October or November. But then I did the math again recently, and figured that by the end of this transfer I will have 6 months here, 3 months in Plano, and 3 months from my time out before, and that would make 12 months, meaning I'll actually hit my half-way mark at the end of this transfer Oct. 3rd [2018], but that's not a transfer day either I don't think. So, not sure when i'm coming home, but we have about a year to figure it out haha.

This week I got to try some weird food. First off, our branch mission leader took us out to vietnamese food. First he ordered everyone shrimp spring rolls, and pot stickers as an appetizer, but the spring rolls were the size of small burritos, so we were already starting to get full by the time they came around and asked for our order, so I asked our ward mission leader what he recommended and he recommended the egg-noodle Pho. It's a soup with noodles, quail eggs, shrimp, pork, squid, and imitation crab, and who knows what else. I'm not a big fan of sea food but when in Rome, you know? And then Elder Rodriguez ordered some chicken thing, and the ward missionary sister, and the ward mission leader's wife didn't order anything else, and our ward mission leader just ordered 2 more spring rolls! So we felt weird eating a ton of food in front of them, but they were full, so we ate. And my Pho actually wasn't that bad, it was just huge! I took the rest home lol. 

[Note from Mom: Brett hates seafood!  Had shrimp once and never would eat it (much less even a good ol' Wisconsin fish-fry!  I was shocked... haha]

I also got try menudo for the first time! Menudo is a soup made with cow stomach. Hispanics love it and usually make it for special events. I've always heard white missionaries say it's nasty, and hispanic missionaries say its really good. Well there's a restaurant that one of our hispanic members owns, and they serve menudo on the weekends, and they said we could come in and try it. So we stopped by (we usually stop by anyway, not even to eat just to check up on them, they're a really cool family) and tried it, and its honestly wasn't that bad. The meat of course was weird texture, definitely what you think a stomach would feel like. But the broth (or consumé, or caldon) is actually really good. It's basically pasole, another Mexican soup, just with weirder meat.

And then Bang! Friday we got into a car accident. We were driving north on Hampton and I was going to turn on Jefferson so I slowed to a bit, but changed my mind .02 seconds later, so I started to get back up to normal speed. Well in that .02 seconds a guy in a beige Chevy Avalanche thought he could turn on Jefferson and tried to make it before we got there, well it didn't work out, so he hit us on the front drivers side. What the heck?? I feel like he had plenty of time to stop, but I guess not? 

Anyway it pushed us a little bit and made the airbags go off, which made it seem like a way bigger crash than it really was, because it made it way louder and now there's smoke everywhere. Well then the other guy backs ups, hops the curb, and drives off! The nerve of some people. I guess the thing is that here there's a lot of people who don't actually have licenses, insurance, or legal status for that matter. 

Anyway the ambulance and fire truck get there to make sure everyone's good, and help us push it out of the street. Then the police came and took our info. We figured out that the car was still drivable so they said we could drive it to the shop where it needs to go. The only problem was there was a bunch of metal and stuff rubbing against the tire, so the officer guy takes out this giant crowbar he has and gets to work bending it all out so we could drive it. We got the airbags out of the way (using an extra tie we just so happened to have in the back), and drove it to Addison, TX. Elder Wilson, so super cool and awesome vehicle coordinator here in the mission met us there and gave a ride to the Mission Office where he let us borrow another car they happened to have, while this one is in the shop. Anyway not that bad of a crash, just airbags went off and crunched the corner of the car, but most importantly, it wasn't our fault!

They accepted a Book of Mormon 

fixed airbags with a tie!  All set!

We ended the weekend however on a high note and I got to interview someone else for baptism, and It was in Spanish! It was actually the mother of the three kids I got to baptize a couple of weeks ago, so that was cool. Then one of our other investigators got married this week at the chapel so that was neat. The wife is a member already and they've been together for a long time anyway, getting married was just kind of a formality haha. Originally she was waiting for devorce papers from Mexico (a usual thing out here actually, when someone gets married in Mexico then moves up here its some kind of process to get the documentation you need from over there to get remarried). It was a small thing, mostly just the Branch President marrying them and then someone made them a small cake and the Relief Society made a bunch of food. Hispanics love any excuse to cook a bunch of food/have a party.

Anyway, I was worried this wouldnt be that exciting of a week to report on lol
Elder Hogg

Monday, September 11, 2017

Exchanges and the Temple

Subject: Exchanges and the Temple
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2017 15:58:22 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

Hola Compadres!

Its been a pretty good week.

On Friday we had exchanges, and I spent the day with Elder Goff, while Elder Rodriguez went to Irving. Elder Goff is English speaking, and just got done serving in the DeSoto area (basically covers the parts of south Dallas that we don't cover, as well as some of its rougher suburbs) for 6 months. Pretty much all of our appointments canceled, but it was a good day nonetheless. We found these two cool hispanic ladies in the park. I had to talk to them by myself, and usually I can kind of lean on my companions when I forget how to say something, as pretty much all of my companions have spoken better spanish than me (they've all been pretty much either out way longer than me, or hispanic lol). But we got through it haha. We got to end the night by talking to our multitude of 3 kids. We taught them about the preexistence, and you can tell they were really into it, and it gave them some more perspective on life (Idk if you want to add this to the blog but it's super funny teaching them because they'll say things like "that's pretty bad a**" lol). 

Then on Saturday we got to visit the temple. The spanish branch primary does a thing twice a year where they go to the temple and walk around the outside and sing childrens hymns in the lobby (the lobby here is a little bigger than Chicago's haha). We turned into a missionary opportunity and invited a couple part-member families. Unfortunately none of them came, but the coolest part was that that one inactive family that we have been reactivating came. They were a little late so they missed the part inside the lobby, so we went inside with them with Hno. G (The the Italian guy) after everyone left and sat down and chatted for a little bit. The husband has been having a lot of health problems lately and just a bunch of stuff going on, and you could tell they could feel the peace and the spirit in the temple, he said "No me quiero ir" (he didn't want to leave). We talked to them about making getting sealed a goal for them, and told them we want to come back for when they do get sealed. It was a cool experience being with them there, and feeling the spirit with them. 

After the temple Bro. Gloria took us out to Gelato, and the place was run by actual Italian people. So they were speaking italian to each other and we got to kind of explain mormonism to them, it was pretty cool.

Otherwise nothing else really noteworthy. Just trying to talk to everyone, and finding those that are ready!

Elder Hogg

Ill send more of the temple next week when i get them from all the people that were there. 

Elder pattee found this can of tuna at the food pantry they help out at! They think it looks just like me haha. (They added the "Hogg" on the picture)  And notice the Brett on the hat.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Not much new... and Hurricane update

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Date: Mon, 4 Sep 2017 16:30:47 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

Hola Fam,

Not a whole lot new this week. This family we've been working with (the one where they own a restaurant and the dad has little drinking temptation, if I've written about them before), well the dad was in the hospital and hes out now and we stopped in and visited and had a spiritual little moment with them and their inactive son was there with his non-member girlfriend. They all felt the spirit and the mom and dad were tearing up. Then the son asked us where God came from (we told him to read Abraham, and Genesis) lol, and his girlfriend asked about temples. We gave her a Book of Mormon and it was a pretty cool experience. 

As far as the Hurricane, it just rained here a little more than usual, but other than that nothing crazy. When it rains here it starts and goes really hard, the  suddenly stops and starts again. Then there was a huge gas panic which was NUTS. People parked around the block at every gas station. Then by the end of the night, and into the next two days, nearly all gastations where out of gas. So that was crazy, all the car missionaries where worried we would have to be on bikes lol. A lot of stations are still out right now. I assumed it was like that everywhere but I guess just north Texas/DFW. You can probably find the news on it, everyone was freaking out. 

Other than all that, not much. We haven't been able to get back with our micro multitude, and the other lady that we taught with Elder Rodriguez his first day pretty much dropped us. We did help our Branch Mission Leader paint some on his house today, and his wife fed us tacos. Otherwise not a whole lot new. 

Sorry this letter is super short!
Elder Hogg