Thursday, April 30, 2015

First Assignment: Grand Prairie, Texas!

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Missionary assignment
Date: Thu, 30 Apr 2015 15:50:51 +0000
From: Texas Dallas Mission 

Dear Brother and Sister Hogg,

We are grateful to have your son, Elder Brett Hogg,  serving with us in the Texas Dallas Mission.  He arrived safely and I have enjoyed interviewing him.  He has been assigned to serve in Grand Prairie, Texas, and his companion is Elder H from Spokane, Washington. Their address is: [ASK SUE].  We have given him a strong trainer to help him get off to a good start.  He seems happy and anxious to do the work of the Lord.  We will meet with Him regularly in Zone Conferences and personal interviews.

Our mission covers the northeast part of the State of Texas.  It takes in a little portion of Oklahoma and goes east to the Louisiana border.  Nearly three fourths of our missionaries are in the “Metroplex” of Dallas serving a population of almost four million people.  The life of a missionary is not always easy, but it will be a growing experience for him, one that will set him on a firm foundation and help him gain habits that will serve him well for life.

Sister Taylor and I are committed to do all that we can to assure a happy and successful mission for your son.  We are confident that you share that same commitment.  It is important to write letters weekly that are positive and uplifting, with support, encouragement and praise for the work he is doing in serving the Lord.  All missionaries face some challenges.  We will inform you of significant concerns or illness as we determine such information would be helpful to you and him.  Missionaries are asked not to call parents or friends as it distracts their attention from their work.  We also request that parents and friends not call missionaries.

We extend our love to you and thank you for sending your son into the mission field.  Please feel free to write or call us if you wish. Sister Taylor manages a Facebook page and uploads many pictures for all to enjoy.  Please visit “The Texas, Dallas Mission-President and Sister Taylor” Facebook page.  We unite our prayers with yours for the well-being, success, and happiness of your son as he serves the Lord in this great work.


Brian K. Taylor, President
Texas Dallas Mission

The area between Dallas and Forth Worth is called the Mid-Cities
(I guess since they aren't outside of the metro area, they aren't suburbs?)
The 5 new missionaries stand up in the meeting.
The Texas mom that was there posted it on the
Texas Dallas Missionary Mom page :)
This is a picture a Texas mom took at the transfers meeting!
I think his new companion is 3rd from the Right.  

Monday, April 27, 2015

Your Missionary has arrived!

 [After a wonderful 15 minute phone call this morning during Brett's layover in Houston, I got this email late this afternoon! -Sue]

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Your Missionary has arrived!
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2015 19:34:44 +0000
From: Texas Dallas Mission
Dear Missionary Family,

We just want to let you know that your missionary has arrived in Dallas and is part of a wonderful group of 5 new missionaries today!

Attached you will see the pictures taken at the Dallas Temple as they came in from the airport.  The group had lunch on the way, and are spending the afternoon and evening in orientation and training.  They will have dinner at the Mission Home with President and Sister Taylor and their family.  Then they will stay the night with a nearby companionship, and in the morning will be introduced to their trainer.  After a little more training together, they will leave for their area and begin their work.  We will follow up with a letter letting you know where they are serving and who their trainer is.

You will receive another email after transfers are complete with the actual location of your missionary.  Monday is their preparation day, so you should receive an email from them next week telling you about their first week in the Mission.  I’m sure you’re looking forward to that!

Thank you for sending us your missionary!  This will be a great experience for them.


Brian K. Taylor, President
Texas Dallas Mission

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Departure and Pictures

[Brett flies to Texas on Monday, April 27th!  He sent a quick couple of emails.. and a lot more pictures.  My sister, Carrie, and I have been sending packages through the two package companies in Mexico.  This week we thought they would want to celebrate their last week at the CCM with Krispie Kremes and Sparkling Cider.  -Sue]

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Departure stuff
Date: Sat, 25 Apr 2015 08:08:56 -0500
From: Brett Hogg <>

So we meet at reception at 4:00 am leave and go to the airport. We fly out at 6:15 am and get to Houston at 8:35 am. Then I have 2 hour layover in which I might call. 

Were not sure if were supposed to be emailing today (we keep hearing different stuff) so this is provably all you might get. Ill probably reply later if you do. And I might reply to a couple emails right now lol.

Elder Hogg <3

[I sent a quick email with a lot of short comments/questions - and asked if he was sneaking email. He sent the following email.]

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Pics
Date: Sat, 25 Apr 2015 20:50:59 -0500
From: Brett Hogg <>

I shared another dropbox folder with you. Most are just random ones from around the classroom. 

[The rest of this email was the descriptions of the photos he sent.  I put those with the pics below.]

Not sneaking, we can email right now, but the teachers are watching us pretty close to make sure were not sneaking onto other sites. lol
Elder Hogg


"Got all the stuff and asked the comedor (cafeteria) people if they could hold onto it for us. We did the same thing with the Milk. The oreos were a full thing and they were delicious! Everybody had some. Everyone is very excited for the sparkling stuff and everyone loved the doughnuts! They all think youre the coolest mom and aunt ever!! Tomorrow after dinner were going to pop open the stuff we decided."

I sent cookies and milk to read with one of his letters last week. Funny kid...

The teacher I have a picture there with is Hermano Ortiz. 
Hes the only teacher weve had from the beginning to the end here

The one of the candy is a thing a teacher brought for us, its like
a reeses cup but a little different. I cant put my finger on it.
The back of my usher tag. Anyone that was an usher signs it before they pass it on to the new one.
They got new ones but were going to still try and pass them down. 

One is of the desk in our room with all the gift bags you guys sent.
Me enjoying the canada dry Aunt Carrie sent me feeling like Mad Men
(ive never really seen it but I bet they look like that). 
We had a Play/Demonstration and the numbers they used were 414 numbers!! 
At first I didnt think anything of it, then I remembered I was in Mexico! 
[Our phone/area code is 414 in Milwaukee.]

One one sitting alone looking down is Hermana S one of teachers and our first "investigator"
(the one that Elder E-B got really mad about being fake). 
One if of our night stand. I had the camera out so I thought why not lol.
Celebration Krispie Kremes with his fellow/sister missionaries!

Just a couple donuts left!

Apparently a close-up of a donut!  Brett is taking donut selfies while
the others appear to be working.. Hmm....
Random pictures

Not sure what Elder E-B is doing with that table?
He seems like a character!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Month 1 / Week 5

[This next week is the last week in the MTC!  He flies out for Texas next Monday! He says he might be able to email on Saturday.  And then he might be able to call me from Texas really quick during his layover in Houston.  After next week - the rest of his mission his p-Day should be on Monday.]

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Month 1 / Week 5
Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2015 09:42:36 -0500
From: Brett Hogg <>
To: Susan J. Hogg <>

Well we hit a month this week!


We also moved rooms, AGAIN. I think this time because people are leaving and capacity is low they wanted to condense all the missionaries into as few buildings as possible (for maintenance and electricity costs I assume). Right now we have just over 170 missionaries here, but a capacity of 1200. I guess its expected to go up in the summer/after school. This time we just moved our stuff because our new classroom already had the good desks lol. If your keeping score at home, thats 4 Classrooms, 3 Buildings and 2 Districts lol.

Theyre doing construction on the "comedor" (mess hall/where we eat) to expand it because ive heard it was overflowing (they set up tents outside because there wasn't enough room inside) when they had this place filled. The one we eat in now is a temporary one. Its a gym with a stage and everything lol. You cant really tell though with all the tables and everything set up in it. Well, while walking back to the dorms last night the other elders thought it would be cool to look around inside the comedor that theyre remolding. Its was kind of cool and I got some cool pictures. Then they decided to clime on the roof because there was like this ladder step thing. I stayed down. And good thing because some security guys came and told them they couldnt do that and wrote down our names and took pictures of them climbing down. We dont think were in that big a trouble but well see.



 By the way I just got Scotts letter and your card you guys sent. The one was post marked like March 20 something, so about a month to get here. I wont send anything physical till I get to Dallas, because I have not heard the best things about the Mexican Postal Service, especially between here and the U.S.

We got a new afternoon teacher, Hermano Medina. Hes super cool. 

[Members receive a "Patriarchal Blessing" and the following, Brett refers to a "declaration of lineage" within that blessing. Here is a link which gives a good explanation of this.] One thing we like to do is ask all our teachers which tribe of Israel theyre from and whether they consider themselves decedents of the Lamanites. All but once weve gotten Ephraim. One said Judah, what the heck?? To the other question we usually get "I dont know, maybe" or "no" (because a lot of them can trace their last names/families to Spain I guess). But Hermano Medina said in his blessing it said he has pure Lamanite blood, how cool is that??? Also his investigator profile asks the perfect questions and everything. We also got this teacher lady who comes in the morning sometimes and shes pretty feisty when we get something wrong or are not doing what were supposed to lol. And she has the highest voice and dosent slow it down at all so she can be pretty hard to understand. 

Heres a picture Hermana M drew of our teachers.
Ill get pictures with them this week.
Shes drawn all of us already haha. Ill take a pic
Our district also decided we really lucked out. Were all super cool, and joke around all the time, and have a ton of inside jokes. The other district in our new zone (14A) really has some problems from what weve been able to gather. Half of them are really nice and cool and the other half are pretty arrogant, and sometimes they clash. We do this thing were they teach us and we teach them. Afterwords we give feedback sometimes and whatever. But a couple of them are kind of mean about it and act theyve got years more experience than us (theyve got here the same day we did). We even heard one day they were going to come in and "Help" us during study time. So we closed all the curtains, turned off the lights and Elder E-B sat in front of the door lol. Well they never showed up, and the next time theyre feed back was way nicer. I think they got talked to or something lol. [Note from Sue... I think these guys need more to do!  I'm glad they get into Texas next week!] 

[I wrote to him and told him that we finally got rid of our green van... like a member of the family that's been with us forever!  It was scrapped this last week.] Im super sad about the Green Machine. That was my favorite car to drive. Really liked the handling and the short dash. And we drove out west once in that bad boy! 

[The side door fell off once... and the driver door could only be shut from the outside. 
The engine was still in great shape - but the master cylinder went out 
and it needed a muffler among many other things... 20 years old so it was time.]

The last email made me miss home. I miss your chili and not knowing where to go out to eat and stuff... But HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

Oh yea, Elder M was so giddy when he found out he got packages (you and Aunt Carrie both). He was really surprised to learn they where from MY family lol but he loved them, and you guys. He decided you guys love him more than his family haha. Elder E-B and Hermana M keep telling me to bring them up to you guys lol.

You probably also got this picture from a teacher:

Well Elder E-B and I in the back are imitating our favorite painting:

Im our favorite guy covered in soot in the corner saying "You hearing this guy??"

Well thats about it for now. I think we get to email again on Saturday. Dont know how much time well have, so you might not get a good email again till im in the field!

Love ya!!
Elder Hogg

Here is were we have sacrament meeting. The Thomas S. Monson Building has a couple rooms like this and then a bunch of rooms with couches (like a living room) to practice teaching investigators.
Patio seating at the comedor
The current/temporary comedor + Elder M



Wow - they have their own Taxi?!  Brett didn't say anything
about these pics... so I'm not sure about all of them.
Front of the campus

Also all the buses here in Mexico are Mercedes-Benz