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)

Monday, June 5, 2017

English & Spanish wards in Oak Cliff area

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Date: Mon, 5 Jun 2017 17:11:33 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

Hey fam!

This week has been pretty cool, Elder Watkins and Elder Cox are home now, Elder Callister was sent out east to Longview, and my new companion is Elder Flores! He's awesome, he's Mexican, moved to Houston when he was 11 or 12, so his spanish is perfect, which we need because now we cover the Spanish branch and the English ward! Now we have a giant apartment to ourselves. Elder Flores came in and cleaned it up too lol.

Elder Flores, Elder Hogg &
Brother Steve Valdez (Ward Mission Leader and Fantastic guy!)

Its been kind of weird trying to keep up with all our investigators and now theirs. It's been good though, we met a cool guy named Homer, He's super cool and wants to get baptized. I also talked to someone who lived in Milwaukee for a bit! She talked to missionaries there and reads the Book of Mormon, and we committed her to baptism, but she didn't seem super solid, unfortunately. We also gave also gave a blessing to this Mexican guy in the hospital, his sister asked us to (she's a member, but he's not). He saw it a sign that he needed to start going t church and stuff. He called us the next day and asked if we could find someone who could cut his hair like a "Hollywood celebrity", we're pretty sure he was on some strong stuff there in the hospital lol

Other than that, just running around to missed appointments lol. Its been raining a ton hear lately, and it's weird because it will stop and then down poor suddenly then stop again. There were even at bunch of street lights that were out.

Anyway, that's about it this week. Sorry you're getting this so late, I'm getting my hair cut at this lady's house and her WiFi is out because of the storms. She was running late so we've spent a good chunk of P-day here lol

Elder Hogg

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Book of Mormon Video Challenge!

This challenge is to find your favorite scriptures about Christ in the Book of Mormon and then "toss" it to the next person to do that same... 

For those unfamiliar about The Book of Mormon... read below the video..

Click above to read the Book of Mormon online. 

The following is the Introduction to the Book of Mormon - which I think explains it better than I can!

The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel.
The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C. and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.
The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after His resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.
After Mormon completed his writings, he delivered the account to his son Moroni, who added a few words of his own and hid up the plates in the Hill Cumorah. On September 21, 1823, the same Moroni, then a glorified, resurrected being, appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and instructed him relative to the ancient record and its destined translation into the English language.
In due course the plates were delivered to Joseph Smith, who translated them by the gift and power of God. The record is now published in many languages as a new and additional witness that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that all who will come unto Him and obey the laws and ordinances of His gospel may be saved.
Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”
In addition to Joseph Smith, the Lord provided for eleven others to see the gold plates for themselves and to be special witnesses of the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon. Their written testimonies are included herewith as “The Testimony of Three Witnesses” and “The Testimony of Eight Witnesses.”
We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.)
Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Last week of the Transfer!

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Last week of the Transfer!
Date: Mon, 29 May 2017 17:40:38 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

This week has been pretty crazy! I went on like, 3 exchanges. First I went to Casa Linda (a spanish área in Garland, TX) with Elder Peterson for about 2 days. I really miss spanish work/food. Hispanics are more willing to talk to you and are inherently more religious. But that also makes it harder because they'll listen to your message, and let you come back (or say they will), even if they have no intention of really considering any other religion other than Catholicism. Catholicism is a weird family tradition with hispanics, even if they haven't been to church in 20+ years or know any Catholic doctrine, they'll commit to dying Catholic. I remember once in Grand Prarie, we were teaching this lady and she knew the Book of Mormon and everything else was true but she didn't want to not be Catholic, I remember she even said once "I don't want to think about if my church is true". 

Anyway, then we ate dinner at a members house, she made us Molé! I haven't had molé for years! It's a Mexican peanut sauce they usually put over chicken. It's pretty darn good. Also it was a bike area, it was like 90° out and a bunch of humidity, so I wasn't bananas about that, but the exchange was fun. 

Then I spent a day, with Elder Grimes. Steve said he sent you a picture. He was cool, he really likes Runescape so we talked about that a lot lol. It was a good day.

It was also Elder Watkins' and Elder Cox's last week so that was pretty sad. Elder Watkins is going to teach me to surf when I go to BYU-HAWAII. They've been pretty stressed too, Elder Cox (who already is known for contacting every single person he sees), has been like hyper-contacting, and Elder Watkins is kind of in denial lol. They leave technically on Wednesday, but really their last day in the area was yesterday because they have to do AP stuff (pick up new missionaries, their trainings, transfers, etc.) Also Elder Callister was on the transfer list too! So unless he's just getting moved over to the English side with me, I'll be getting 3 new roommates! And the worst part is Elder Cox and Elder Watkins knew the transfers this whole time, but refused to tell us! I'll miss them.

Anyway, I'll keep you guys posted!
Elder Hogg

QUICK EMAIL LATER IN THE DAY: I'm staying!! As of right now, the transfer list came out and I'm not on a but it is always subject to change, everyone else is on it though! The Oak Cliff areas (spanish and english) are basically going at be all new).

TEXT FROM STEVE (I'll do a whole post about Steve): "Hi Sister Hogg FYI Elder Hogg's new companion is Elder Flores. I don't know anything about him but I will meet him tomorrow evening also they will also handle the Spanish branch"


The cat keeps coming back and looking through the window, and coming in lol, it's a little creepy when you turn around and he's there staring at you lol.

Found some one in Elder Grimes' area book with the last name Hogg! Pretty sure they're black, so we could be related (Brett keeps thinking he is part black)

There's this really good 'Mexican burger' place down the street a member takes us too sometimes called Burguesa, it's super good and has a ton of stuff on it, even beans lol.

And lastly, we were following Preach My Gospel and talking to everyone!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Oak Cliffn' it

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Oak Cliffn' it
Date: Mon, 22 May 2017 17:54:14 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

Hows it going!

This week was pretty good. We launched a video challenge thing (think ice bucket challenge). I haven't uploaded mine yet but I probably will today. I challenged you guys and Dante, so you better get on to making one! 

Today we went to the Pie Emporium in the hipster part of Oak Cliff (it's called Bishop Arts). It was expensive but super good, some of the best pie I've ever had I'd say (besides Grandma Debbie's of course). They even put it in a little basket thing. 

I also got to see the lady in our ward who owns the house Lee Harvey Oswald was renting a room in when he shot JFK. It was her grandmother's house, and she remembers meeting him when she was younger! She said he was really nice, and shes pretty sure he didn't act alone. She believes it was LBJ, the CIA, and the Mob.

Otherwise just normal missionary stuff. 

Elder Hogg

Just some cool Oak Cliff street art.