Monday, August 14, 2017

Mexican Referrals, Gorditas, and "Rauliny"!

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Mexican Referrals, Gorditas, and "Rauliny"!
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2017 13:46:11 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

We got robbed this week! We met several cool people this week, but none of them lived in our area, or even our mission for that matter. We sent a referral to Fort Worth (spit), one to Arkansas, and two to Mexico. Mexicans are not very good at describing their addresses by the way, they give it to you backwards, and they include, what I assume is the equivalent to a county. So we taught them all and then we find out they're just visiting or they're moving. But they're super cool and super solid, I hope they get baptized one day wherever they are.

Note from Mom: Scott and I thought he literally got robbed (financially)... turns out he meant spiritually!  Sheesh!

Like 2 weeks ago I talked to this lady outside of an appointment that fell through, who was holding a bag of dough. I asked her what she was making and she said gorditas, so naturally I said if she needs help eating them we could come by. She said if we want some we could come back on Sunday! So we went back last sunday and she hadn't made them, but we did talk to her about what we do as missionaries and showed her the Book of Mormon and gave her a restoration pamphlet to read. 

Well we went back the next Sunday (yesterday), and she wasn't there. BUT her husband handed us a plate of gorditas she had made for us! They were the best gorditas I've ever had. They were Al Pastor (pork) and Barbacoa (beef). And she gave them to us on a plate, so we have to come back to give it back to her (I wonder if that was on purpose). A gordita is like a papusa, except instead of cooking everything inside the dough, they stuff it after, OR a sister missionary who eats to much (spanish joke).

some amazing gorditas

Otherwise, most everybody else has been really flaky. Either not coming to church or not keeping appointments (or are just visiting from Mexico). So not much progress investigator-wise.

We gave several blessings this week as well. I gave my 2nd and 3rd Spanish blessings Ive ever given, and I did surprisingly well I think. Blessings/praying in Spanish is hard becuase as a missionary, we only ever use -usted- form and not -tu- form, but we are to specifically pray in tu form. Usted shows respect and is the formal version of tu. Tu shows casualness, how you address friends and family. Blessings are also kind of tricky because you kind of jump around 1st and 2nd person, and plural/singular and stuff like that.

I also got to do my first baptismal interviews this week. They were 3 kids from the Hermana's area, they get baptized this saturday I believe, and then their mom gets baptized hopefully in September, and dad is already a member. Baptismal interviews are kind of cool, because they're not a test, and you can still kind of explain things in the interview. Its more to be a witness that they are ready and worthy, partially to help them know themselves that they are ready and worthy. 

We also had this couple come to church, that haven't been to church in years. They own a pancake house (kind of like that one by us that mom doesn't like, with the really long roof), so they are open on Sundays. They have active family members there at the church and the other part of the problem is that he's a fan of the drinkin. They also have two daughters that live with them that have non-member, live-in, significant others (one of them IS married). Well we've been stopping by them trying to get them to church, and they love us (everyone loves the missionaries), but they never made it out, and last week, after we left, the wife called us to come back and when we came back he asked (or she told him to ask, not sure) to give him a blessing to help him overcome his temptation to drink (he hadn't drinken in a couple weeks, but really wanted to that day)! Then after we did that they made us chicken wings. I kind of felt like an old timey apostle, where they would show up and preach and perform miracles then would be fed and housed and stuff lol. But they came to church this week!! One of the family members there at church was getting all teary eyed. Cool experience.

On Friday, a member gave us money for dinner, so we went to this little pizzeria thing pretty close to our apartment. We thought it was weird because it was a pizzeria thing that had mexican soda advertized right on the main sign. So we went in and talked to the guy, who was a super nice mexican guy, and ordered some pizza and stuff. We ordered a lot, and were a couple dollars short, that we were going to put on our card but he said not to worry about it, I guess he was the owner guy, who's likeness was used for the logo (see attached picture), "Rauliny"! 

We like that he just added -iny to his mexican name, so that he could name an italian restaurant after himself. Anyway, while we were waiting for our pizza he brought out a Watchtower and asked us if that was the religion we were from, we said no and gave him one our pamphlets and he said he loves visiting and learning about other churches. He didn't come to church but he was really cool and we'll stop in again.

An update on Mohamad: We were driving by a Mexican supermercado with a member, after visiting a few people, and we saw his motorhome outside! We stopped and knocked on it and he was very happy to see us! We haven't seen him in like a week and we lost our phone that he had the number to, and we've been worried about him. Anyway, he has been having to buy a gallon or two of gasoline everyday to run his generator flor air conditioning and TV. As we've established, he dosent like expenses, SO he showed us the 100 ft. extension cord he bought from Home Depot that he's running through the back door of the grocery store to siphon off electricity for free lol. He also got it all registered and got plates and everything! Hes growing up! 

Well thats about it for this week! 

Love yall!
Elder Hogg


A crazy truck

some more of that delicious/expensive pie

Other pics:

Monday, August 7, 2017

We Bought a Motor Home!

Subject: We Bought a Motor Home!
Date: Mon, 7 Aug 2017 15:27:17 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

Hola Familia

This week we bought a motor home! We had this neighbor here in our apartments named Mohammed, here's from Baghdad, Iraq! Around the time of the Iraqi war he moved to Jordan, but it was still pretty dangerous I guess so he applied at a bunch embassies, but at the time, the US was the only western country taking in refugees, 3000 families and 2000 singles, so he applied and got in (he's single). Some refugee service paid for his $1700 plane ticket, and hes been paying it back $25 a month for like 7 years lol. 

An American guy he knew helped him and his roommate find this apartment here, and they've lived there for 2 years, but now his roommate is moving out and he doesn't want to have to pay both sides of the rent. SO, we were commissioned to help him buy a house, or a mobile home or a "car" (by commissioned, I mean he kind of just told us that we could help him lol). Anyway, we had him meet us at the library so we could help him on craigslist to look for whatever it is he wanted, because he did NOT want to rent anymore. 

First of all he brought us Dairy Queen chicken tenders to eat, at the library. They come with gravy to dip in, and when we were done eating he asked about the gravy and we said its good, and tried to explain what gravy is, then he just grabbed it and started drinking it, and we tried so hard not to laugh, didn't work out to well, we were not expecting that at all lol. 

Anyway after 2 sessions at the library, we found a motor home (we figured out that's what he meant by car), in his price range, on craigslist, that he decided he will park at the Mexican Grocery store he works at, and live in it, so that he doesn't need to commute to work either, (we know he can't do that, but baby steps). 

The only other problem is that is was in Fort Worth, so we found public transit route  over there, its a 2.5 hour ride, in total. So we called the guy for him and set it all up, then sent him on his merry way. 

Tbh it was little nerve-raking, we were expecting a call, in broken English, saying hes lost on the side of the road in Fort Worth, with no money (because we are pretty sure had nearly 8 grand in cash with him??) and hes kind of our responsibility now. 

So we went on with our day and didn't hear anything, not even about how to get home, or how to drive a motor home (we think he assumes since we're white and speak English, we know how to do everything in America, hence, asking us to help him buy new living quarters). So the next morning we are studying and we hear someone moving outside so we peak out the blinds, and there it is!! A 28' 1999 Ford Shasta Sprite, right there before our eyes, and a little Iraqi man moving his things into it. 

We were floored, we couldn't believe it, this is the same man that watches Spanish television, speaks ZERO Spanish, but its the only station he can find the news on lol. So this week we had to help him get a PO Box, transfer the title (originally we thought he needed to get it registered (long story short, he does, but after 2 hours on the phone at the DMV, we figured he just wanted to transfer the title, so he didn't need to)), then he came back because he needed a state inspection so we drove all over the place, looking for somewhere that could fit a 28' motor home into their shop, but eventually we went to a really sketchy tire shop were there was really cool Palestinian man (who spoke perfect English), that could communicate with Mohammad, and it got figured out (I think). 

Anyway, he was able to figure out insurance on his own and, as we speak, he should be getting it registered and getting new plates. Its doesn't sound like a big deal, but this motor home has been a whole saga these last couple weeks. Long story short we saved an Iraqi man from homelessness. 

That same day we got the inspection we lost both our phones (the area had 2, because when they combined the Spanish and English work, nobody asked if he had 2 phones). so that was its own ordeal. Otherwise I would send you a picture of his texts, here's an example: "Hallo Fren GEBS u ok?" GEBS btw, is Elder Gibson, who Mohammad said has hair like Trump lol. He was also sure to bring up Mel Gibson. Also every time we go to his house hes eating a bowl of lettuce with a lime, and for whatever reason never has the air conditioning on? 

Hes a really nice guy though, he gave us Mexican candies and little sodas, and bought us pizza once. On pizza he said for "one year" he ate pizza thinking pepperoni was beef, but someone explained to him it was pork, and he doesn't eat pork, but he still eats it because he likes it. 

He is in no way a practicing Muslim btw (they don't eat pork I don't think?), hes also a big fan of drinking and going to the club on Saturday nights. We asked him about praying and stuff and hes says hes not a hypocrite, so because he likes to drink and go to clubs and eat pepperoni he doesn't pray. He seems really indifferent about religion in general, but likes the little pass-along cards missionaries have given him so he keeps them in random places around his apartment (now motor home I guess?). We've found out that if it interferes with him drinking in anyway, he not interested lol.

Anyway other than that, we met a lady from Cameroon, and we are going to try to start teaching her, shes not a big fan of the idea of the Book of Mormon but she likes us, and were going to try to get a French one for her. There was also a Cameroonian guy in the Spanish branch this week! His wife is best friends with our Branch President's wife, and they blessed their baby, so that was cool. I love African accents btw, they're awesome, we have 2 African people in the English ward too (one from Ghana, hes a really cool high priest, and a recent convert from Nigeria). We also set a baptismal date with a 12 y/o member of an active family. He hasn't been baptized because his Dad is not a member and not super fond of the idea I guess, something like that. Anyway, missionaries have been trying to get him baptized for a while now, but it looks like its finally going to happen. 

Thats about it this week,
Love yall!
Elder Hogg

P.S. Shout out to Grandma Debbie and Aunt Carrie!! Happy Birthday!!!

This section, Brett responds to my pictures from Debbie/Mason/Phoenix visiting and our State Fair pictures from the food competitions... (Mom/Sue)

Stop sending me pictures of all yalls' amazing food! We're trying not to spend money this week, and It was someone's birthday today and people brought a bunch of ice cream sandwiches, so that's all I've eaten today, we don't do member dinners on p-days. 

It all looks amazing! Tell Pheonix I say congratulations! And congratulations to you too! I miss this time of year. The zoo looks awesome, did they change the Big Cat house?? Has it always been that cool? Its awesome that you caught them while they were all active! 

Tell Scott he better win the bet, but I also kind of want to see him with a shaved head. 
(Scott is betting his friend he'll have longer hair than she does at the end of the summer.. whoever loses has to shave their head.) 

Tell everyone I miss them and i'll be home not too much longer after this time next to year!

Also the first armadillo i've seen! (I didn't kiss it though)

Our district!