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

Monday, June 26, 2017


-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Borrachos
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2017 18:41:20 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

Well this week we set a goal to find at least 7 new investigators each, so 14 as a district (just 2 companionship lol). A new investigator means they've had a lesson (been taught a principle, extended a commitment, said a prayer with them) and have a return appointment. Well we found 14 our companionship alone! Granted all but a couple aren't really solid. 

One of them was this Drunk guy (more than a few for that category actually lol), but he was stumbling down the street and when we talked to him he was crying because his dad died. So we walked him home and talked to him and when we prayed with him he was leaning on me and crying. His brother pulls up in a truck and also seems kind of drunk and starts yelling at his drunk brother and then kind of gets mad of at us, so we leave and it was a crazy experience lol. We weren't sure how much his story was true because he was pretty gone. Anyway, he told us he wants to change his life and all this stuff, it was a pretty neat. 

We also broke out the bikes this week. It was a cool 100°F. All of my clothes were damp by the end of the day, and the cards and planner in chest pocket are ruined, felt good to get home and take a shower. 

We also had our last interviews with President Taylor, it was pretty neat, he gave us a blessing in our interview. It was pretty cool.

Love you guys!
Elder Hogg

I had asked him about meals - he wrote the following.  I share because it shows how people can be. When he says "English" or "Hispanic" - it's the language, not necessarily the race.  

The ward mission leader in the English ward and a lady in the Relief society in the Spanish branch handle our meal calendar. It's a little different with a Spanish unit because meals are a big deal to them and they love feeding missionaries, like we could call them an hour before and tell them we're hungry and they'll make something. 

In the past when the English and the Spanish shared missionaries, there were instances of Hispanics crossing out English peoples names and putting their names on that day instead lol. Usually it's harder to fill a meal calendar in a big, rich, English ward than in a Spanish branch with like 20 active members, all poor. 

About the weather:

It's been in the consistent 90s - 100s this week here lol, It makes me miss Wisconsin. Some members told us the other day that a few years back that Dallas broke the record for most consecutive days over 100 degrees (like 40 days!).

About Eric (Dad):

Tell him I love his pictures! The captions make them haha

Our neighbor is this super cool guy and he's moving so he gave us a freezer full of meat!

Also Freddie, they guy from Grand Prairie who came to visit me, came back out to Oak Cliff and took us out to lunch on saturday!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

LDS Addiction Recovery Program

In the last post, Elder Hogg mentioned the church's Addiction Recovery Program.  These meetings are open to members or non-members of the LDS church. They are free (of course) and provide counsel and support for those fighting addiction (or maintaining an addiction-free life).

There is also a Family & Friends of Addiction support group available here, as well.  I have heard these meetings are just full of love, help and inspiration.

Please feel free to contact me if you wish to attend these amazing meetings, or if you wish to remain anonymous - you can find a meeting by going to THIS LINK.  

Nobody asks your addiction or information... and those that may want to attend range in addiction from drugs (prescription or illegal), pornography, alcohol, anger, etc... or even dealing with post-war issues or PTSD (which often triggers other addictive behavior).

Here is the video which is about the program.  Below the video is a link to the ARP page with additional information and several videos.


 Link to the Addiction Recovery Program website

Monday, June 19, 2017

Being a missionary is crazy

Note from Mom... this email made me emotional. The experiences he is having with people in real situations like he's been talking about in the last couple of emails struck me as truly sacred moments... and so real.  I responded that I sure hope he keeps a journal with his feelings and such.  Keep the missionaries (all of them) in your prayers... they are truly doing the work of Christ on earth. 

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2017 14:41:27 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

Hola fam!

Just another week of missionaryness. A nonmenber husband of a member here died this week. He was in cardiac arrest, and called us for a blessing and by the time we got there he was dead. We sat with her for a tiny bit and said a prayer for them before we left. (Please note that medical was called as well.) 

I also went on exchanges with Elder Pattee this week! He's in Shady Grove (Irving Spanish branch), just north west of our area. While I was with him the son of a recently reactivated lady called us and wanted us to come over, which is weird because eveytime the missionaries have gone over there he leaves. Well he's pretty heavy into the drogas, and recently got a girl pregnant, who is also on the drogas. When we got there he was puking, going through withdrawals. He had the shakes and everything, he decided he wanted to change. We showed him one of the Addiction Recovery videos and he promised he flushed everything he had and everything he was selling. He also got rid of his pistol, so he didn't anything really stupid and we gave him a blessing. 

I was thinking though, when else in life do you get to be someone's first call when they want to change their life? We've gotten calls from people who want to quit drugs/use a pistol, domestic abuse situations, when someone's about to die, all while barely knowing these people! Being a missionary is crazy. 

This week's crazy spanish fact: Peacock in Spanish is "Pavo Real" meaning "Kingly Turkey" lol

Love y'all,
Elder Hogg

a guy just riding a horse around a relatively rough part of town lol

just a funny clearance bar thing 

Just a South Dallas pool

Elder Flores in his Wisconsin shirt I sent him -Mom

Also! This super cool member in Grand Prairie, Freddie, heard I was back in the mission and came and visited me at church! He visited me in the hospital when I was here last. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Jesus and the adulterer

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2017 15:36:57 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

This week started out awesome, then took a nose dive haha. At the beginning of the week we had several good lessons a day, and 3 set baptismal dates (not particularly solid, but dates still). Then the second half of the week all our lessons cancelled, almost nobody who said they're were going to come to church, came and we have to change/push back all of our baptismal dates. And on Sunday there was President Taylor's final mission President fireside, and we could only go if we brought an investigator, so we asked a bunch of people but no one was really 100% for sure going so we weren't sure if we should go, we decided not to, but everyone that went was telling us how awesome it was, so we really wish we would have went lol. We had this one lesson with this big Hispanic guy with a bunch of tattoos, and he texted us the other day and asked us about abortion and homosexuals and all this stuff and he told is that the church wasn't for him. We'll we still had a lesson and we found out he was a little extreme on the subject, and had read Leviticus, all this stuff. We told him about the law of moses vs. The new testament and the story of jesus and the adulterer. Anyway by the end of the lesson, he had a change of heart and was way humbled, it was awesome. It was really cool.

Oak Cliff IS an awesome area with a ton of potential I think, but lately we haven't had much success! A lot of people aren't used to commitment I guess. 

We found this little creek thing behind a dam the other day at the park and we decided to explore it a little bit today. Other than that not much.

Love y'all!
Elder Hogg

Also a picture of my district

Also with some more street art (it's ol' Lee Harvey Oswald, next to a jfk quote)