Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Packages for the Mexico MTC!

I found 2 cool sites that will send a package within Mexico to the MTC - and to the Mexico missions!


Both of these also have an option for letters!!  The 2nd one will print a PDF letter and get it to the MTC within a day!

So spread the word to anyone that may need the info.  And of course, If you are inclined to send Brett a letter or package - that would be cool, too!  They don't get many regular letters or packages those first 6 weeks.

I'm ordering today!  I think from the First one only because I like the packages for Easter.  I'll let you know how it goes!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A couple more emails and pics...

He sent a couple other little emails with answers to a couple questions.  He also sent these...

His email said:  "Also here are some pictures from the sky:"

If I remember right this is Atlanta/Georgia

Mexico City

Well I gotta go!! See you next Wednesday!!
Love Elder Hogg 

P.S. Dont be afraid to send emails and pictures throughout the week!

1st email and pics from the MTC (CCM)!!!

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: ¡¡Hola!!
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:15:37 -0600
From: Brett Hogg <brett.hogg@myldsmail.net>
To: shogg@wi.rr.com

It feels like Ive already been here forever and haven't gotten to talk to you guys in months!

My first instinct when I got on the plane was to text you and let you know I was on the plane, but then I remembered I wont have it for 2 years lol. It really would have come in handy a couple times here in the MTC. But I did see you guys waving which was super cool.

I was thinking about Louie C.K.s bit about how amazing flying is and hes right, except that the wings were pretty wobbly which didn't seem right lol. I flew with that sister that Sister Cutler was there sending off, we didn't sit next to each other but we talked a bit before getting on the plane. Based on the landing in Atlanta I think dad would have said he wasn't the best pilot. 

When I got to Atlanta I got on the "Plane Train" and that was really cool, found my gate then got a sandwich (which was not very good, it had this weird seedy mustard on it), and I got back to my gate there was another Elder there. Elder H, hes from Arkansas and looks like Father from Kids next door. Hes serving in Mexico City Chalco. Eventually another Elder came, Elder first name Ian from Maine. Hes serving in Mexico City North. Apparently we were all the new elders from east of the Mississippi because it was just us. Its was less crazy after finding 2 guys in the same boat.

The plane to Mexico had the little TV things with tons of recent, cool stuff on, but I just watched our little plane-course-map thing. And the guys sitting by the windows kept them closed till the very end so I didn't see much. When we landed we started seeing other missionaries everywhere. I guess there was a flight from salt Lake that had at least 30 of them on there. 

In the airport we all got our bags, went through the visa person and found the guy from the MTC (or here as its known, the CCM) who spoke no english (apparently being able to speak english is NOT a requirement to work here btw). He checked our names on a list and we all sat on these big steps. Eventually everyone (except who was on the Atlanta flight) got on a bus and went. We stayed behind with a missionary or two and took a van (which, from what I here is far superior to the bus), we left the airport into mexico city and came right back in on the other side to pick up the missionaries who flew out from Arizona.

Mexico city is exactly how you would picture a semi-third-world country city, except it dosent end, like a Flintstones background lol. A lot of the missionaries here are serving here, I think it would be an awesome place to serve.

We pulled in to the CCM and BAM its a whole other world. [Emma] was right, its like an Oasis. Theres always people maintaining the grounds and cleaning and fixing, I dont even think the grass grows.

We went into this room and got all of our study materials in this cool string backpack, got a packet with our schedule, name tags a bunch of other information. We took new pictures, went to an orientation thing (the first of MANY), and went to our Dorms. Were in the dorms by the way, not the casas, which from what I hear is the way to go. We have the dorm (which fits 3 sets of Elders) to ourselves (we cant get into the other bedrooms, but we don't have to share the bathroom!!). We got all settled in, had dinner, then just kind of hung out with a talked with all the other new missionaries. That was the last time we had free time...

The rest of the week, We found out our districts (ours is us, another set of Elders and two sets of Sisters. Hermana M and Hermana M are going to Arizona and Fort Worth *spits* respectively. Hermana N and Hermana K are going to Redlands, California. Elder B (the district leader) & Elder E-B and Elder M & I are all going to Dallas. They're all from Salt Lake, Boise and Twin Falls. We all have class and sacrament meeting together, and we're all super cool. 

My companion is Elder M from Provo. Hes pretty easy going and knows no Spanish.

Elder B is cool, Mr. Mormon. Elder E-B is a big guy, played a season for BYU football before coming out. Hes always bouncing all over the place, always saying crazy/funny stuff, but hes super excited about the gospel and knows a ton about the scriptures and doctrine and stuff.

Every day we have like 6 Hours of study time spread throughout the day and class with teachers. The class is both Spanish AND missionary/gospel stuff. Ill send my schedule home when I leave and don't need it any more so you guys can see. They've already got us teaching an investigator who comes here like every other day. There's still some debate about whether shes really an investigator or a volunteer member or something.

The food is usually pretty good. You can usually choose between 2 different entres and then they have fruit and salad, and for dinner and lunch they have refried beans and usually some type of rice and stuff. For breakfast and dinner they also have cereal. The first days dinner was either chicken nuggets or a more "authentic" looking chicken. For the first day I just went with nuggets. Now I usually take the more authentic stuff and its usually not bad.

Glad to hear the Pinewood Derby went good and tell Sr. Z I said get well! Its cool that you met Nancy, if you see her again tell her I said Hi!! Ive pretty much gotten over the cough but my nose has not stopped running since I got here.

I cant even imagine snow right now! The weather here is perfect most of the time. In the middle of the day it gets a little warm but not bad.

I have the password card here with me lol, Ill send em to you eventually. Also we get 100 pesos a week for the tienda and to buy soap for laundry and stuff. We get it on a bar code thats in our white bibles (our rule book lol).

Well thats about all for now, I think well come email a little bit more later today and send more pictures.
Love and miss you guys!
Elder Hogg

NOTE:  He sent several pictures and more little emails.  Here is the text from the follow-up emails:

Why so many emails and why he doesn't have apostrophes:  Theyre too big to send to many at a time so youll probably get a couple of these. Also we dont know how to to the apostrophe on these mexican keyboards so thats why the last email didnt have em lol.

About our friends being on House Hunters tonight:  Cant wait to watch them on house hunters! Hope their not granite countertops people... lol.

What is P-day like:  So far P-day has been breakfast and emailing lol! 

The pic of the stuff from Delta/plane: This one is of me filling out my visa stuff on the plane. And they gave me I got a sandwich!

I did the pictures as a video... or this entry would be a mile long!  :)
The pictures loop with the song.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Write to Brett!!

Shameless plug to write a letter to Brett Hogg!!!

He can't get packages yet - but a business-sized envelope can get to Mexico for $1.15 (if you have a different envelope, or have questions - the post office is great about letting you know.) His address is:
Elder Brett Hogg
04/27/15 16 B
Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal

Feel free to email him! (Don't make it toooo long right now.. he gets limited time at the computer and we want him to have time to type. LOL!) His email is: brett.hogg@myldsmail.net
His current P-day is Wednesdays - so only another day and a half and we should hear from him!! 
grin emoticon

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Missionary Experience at Mexico MTC

I saw this and Brett had mentioned this video before he left.  Pretty cool to see how things are for him!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

HE EMAILED! Brett is in Mexico...

Received 3/18 @ 6:30pm:

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Hola!!!
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2015 17:31:43 -0600
From: Brett Hogg <brett.hogg@myldsmail.net>
To: shogg@wi.rr.com

Your Missionary's mailing addres is:
Elder Brett Hogg
04/27/15 16 B
Carretera Tenayuca-Chalmita #828
Colonia Zona Escolar, Gustavo A. Madero
07230 Mexico, Distrito Federal

The estimated departure date for your missionary is 04/27/15. The use of the
above address on all correspondence will greatly facilitate delivery to your missionary
at the MTC. Please don't send packages. (they made me say that)

Hey!! I survived the plane rides pretty well and I did see you guys waving!! I instinctively waved back once I realized it was probably you guys and It kind of confused the flight attendant that was sitting there lol.

Tell Rochester i'll be home soon and Its awesome that Matt and his family (I Decided I shouldn't try and spell their last name lol) were there!

My P-Days are on wednesdays, so ill send pictures and a longer email then, right now they just gave us a couple of minutes in the middle of orientation.

Love and miss all of you!!!!!
Elder Brett 


Here is the email I sent him so he would receive it if he logged in:

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Hola!!
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2015 15:46:20 -0500
From: Susan J. Hogg <shogg@wi.rr.com>
To: brett.hogg@myldsmail.net

Hola Elder Hogg!

We watched your plane land...noticed there was a time difference between here and Mexico City.  From what I can tell - they haven't gone through Daylight Savings Time yet and they do a time change in April?  Not sure - but you'll have to let me know.

We watched you go through security (you didn't see us - but we found a window to watch)... and Margaret, Matt and Sophie were there and hugged us.  Matt said, "Don't worry about Brett, man... he's going to be great!"  It was awesome they were there!!!  We talked and chatted.... then we drove over the Layton Avenue and watched your plane take off!! 
We waved like idiots - but doubted you could see us.  Then we followed your plane on Flight Tracker.

Anyway - things are good here... I'm sad (of course) and Rochester immediately curled up on my neck... and the later on your DAD'S neck when he was laying down in our bed.  Haha..
Loving you - we are so so proud and we feel better.  We can't wait to hear all about your trip - and if everything went okay.


P.S.  Aunt Carrie is still talking............. LOL!!

Goodbye at the Airport

Sue Posting:  The goodbye at the airport was tough... We got there early and he checked in.  He got to use his passport for the first time at the check-in kiosk (and notice it took all of us to "help"... haha):

Then we we stood and talked and did our group hug... and just talked.  No tears yet....
Last minute instructions (When you get to Atlanta, get to your next gate... don't stop to eat or pee... Then once you get to your gate, buy something there to eat...).  Trying to "mom" a little more before he leaves.

Sad... but we're so brave (so far)
Our traditional group hug.. last for 2 years.  

Then it got real:  Time for him to actually go through security and board the plane.  We didn't make it... the waterworks were flowing freely.  I started (of course)... got Brett going... then when Scotty and Brett hugged, it was tough for us all to watch. When Dad and Brett hugged, it was so powerful.  Aunt Carrie took pictures and we couldn't stop with the "last round" of hugs (like 5 times).

Sister Cutler (the Mission President's wife for the Milwaukee mission) was there!  She was waiting for someone to land and she noticed we were sobbing and hanging onto a young man.  She asked us right away if we were LDS and this was a missionary.

She offered to take a group picture.  Oh yeah... you can see we are a mess!!!

When Sister Cutler heard Brett was going to the Texas Dallas mission she said that President Taylor (who is Brett's mission president in Dallas) was her Stake President!  She told us we are so lucky... he is an amazing man and his wife is just outstanding.  Wow!!  How cool was that?!

NOTE: Every mission area around the world is led by a Mission President and his wife is usually called the "Mission Mom" (informally). Brett's mission president is "President" Brian Taylor and his wife is Sister Taylor.  We got a picture and a biography of each of them in Brett's packet.  They have a Facebook page here for the Texas Dallas mission!!  Soon Brett's pics will show up there on occasion!  I'll share on the blog when they do for those that don't use FB.

He walked through... we watched all the way through security (more pics will be added to this piece later today).  We sobbed... and sobbed.... Honestly I think this was the hardest "mom" moment of my life.  2 years..... We know it's going to be an amazing experience... but wow.  That was tough.

NOW... a part where I don't have pictures (DARN!)...

Margaret, Matt & Sophie came to the airport to be with us!  Originally the intent was that they would be there to take pictures and video.  Our communications got mixed and they were at Concourse C (we were at D).  But actually - they were there where and when we needed them most.  After Brett went through security - we saw them... tear-stained and it was so good to be with people who have been through this.  Matt had returned (for a medical leave) the day before from his mission in Uruguay!  After traveling for 10 hours by bus, and 14 hours through airports and planes the DAY BEFORE - he was there to see his friend off on his mission.  He was all smiles - and he said "Don't worry about Brett... he's going to be great."  And then told me he will likely connect with other missionaries in Atlanta who are going into the Mexico MTC on the same connecting flight.

Margaret gave me words of encouragement... and I know what she has been through since our boys have been close since they were little! And watching their family as Matt went off on his mission.  It was so good to connect with them.  We needed them there.

With my sister and my best friend (Aunt Carrie and Aunt Lisa) being there with us... and then Sister Cutler and the W family... And then reflecting back on the Open House and on Brett's friends from school with their farewell (it was the Brett Hogg Farewell Tour)... we are so so grateful.  You all have no idea how much this means.
Our family feels like it was getting smaller .. but only now I realize... it's actually pretty big with all of you!!! :D   

Now off to the Observation area!  We drove to that parking lot (which was locked - but we parked by the gate) and waited to see when Brett's plane took off.  We didn't have to wait long... and there it was!!  We WAVED and WAVED... at both sides of the plane as it turned hoping he could see us.  But then thought it was silly... there was no way he would be able to.  (He did!  See the letter coming up!)

I caught Eric and Scott in the sunrise... and it was so sweet.... I can only imagine their thoughts.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Farewell Open House

NOTE:  When I refer to people, we'll use either just use first name and/or initials.  When I post about Brett's companions and families he teaches, we don't use their full name, respecting privacy, etc.  Also with photos, I'll just post first names or initials as well.  When I refer to a relative - it will be what Brett would call them (Mom=me; 'Aunt' Carrie, 'Grandma' Debbie - etc.). Also know that there are a lot of non-LDS peeps that will read this - so I'll explain some of the acronyms since we sometimes have our own language!  haha.  Feel free to share this blog with anyone! 

Sue Posting:  It was an emotional Sunday.  Sue & Eric talked in church and Scott and Brett bore their testimonies.  For those not members - our Sunday services are "sermons" taught by the members in many cases and our topic was on Service.  We were lucky to have Grandma Debbie, Aunt Carrie and Aunt Lisa attend church with us!  (PS - anyone is always welcome to visit church with us!)

Later Sunday evening we had a Farewell Open House at the church where we had desserts and everyone was invited to come and say good bye, give hugs, take pictures and write in Brett's journal.  SO MANY people came to support Brett and our family!  It was overwhelming to read the cards and journal entries, etc.  We also received so many notes and well wishes from those who couldn't come.  Brett got texts, voicemails and people stopped by just to say good-bye.  We called it the Farewell Tour.

Here are some pictures from the Open House:

Brett's Seminary Teacher (Well - after me, of course! :)

Brett's new Bishop with his first missionary!
Marilyn, Rissie & Brett

Russ & Brett discussing readings in the BOM (Book of Mormon)

Brett's awesome friends from school! Sam, Jack, Esteban - and of course Janie!! ♥

Grandma Debbie - always laughing ☺

Maggie - who helped us the entire night.  She was amazing and a life support for me!  (She is also the Relief Society president in our ward; the Relief Society is the women's organization in our church.)

Our family trying to act normal...  Brett, Mom, Dad, Brother Scott

PIE!  (it's a weird family thing)

Another tradition... posing for an album cover.  We won't be able to do these for 2 more years! :(

Grandma Debbie, Scott, Aunt Lisa, Brett & Aunt Carrie

Brett holding the picture of himself that we had displayed by his journal.  Scott is photo-bombing...