Monday, August 28, 2017

Greenie Fire! A SON IS BORN

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Greenie Fire!
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2017 16:05:50 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

Note: when a missionary trains a new missionary - they become a "dad".. so funny. A "Greenie" is a brand new missionary entering the mission area (think brand new tree that is green).


What a week fam. First of all, my son's name is Elder Rodriguez. He's from North Carolina, hes 25, and the only member of his family! He joined the church almost 4 years ago, when a friend he had, who was inactive, invited him to church, and then showed up with the missionaries at his house. A couple months later hes being baptized with his best friend, who came with him to the missionary lessons. Then a couple years later he felt like he should serve a mission, so he sold his 2016 Honda Civic, and quit his job as an account and loans guy at the bank and went on a mission. Its not really fair, I don't really even get to train him, hes pretty much already there. I'm just basically showing him how to use the apps on the tablets, and teaching him the schedule lol.

Also we had stake conference and it was nuts. The stake presidency planned this whole big thing for the saturday session. It included a baptist preacher, a muslim imam, and an african gospel choir.  The stake here is part of some "interfaith council". We had this big Juneteenth celebration in our gym with a baptist church in the area, and a muslim guy from a local mosque. And now the same churches were invited to our stake conference. They also work with the family history center there. So the meeting started with this African gospel choir singing (it was really good) and when they where introducing themselves at the pulpit, every time they said "Lord" the congregation had to say Amen. They also brought the archbishop of Africa (they where wearing robes and stuff, but I'm pretty sure they weren't Catholic?). Then a baptist guy gave a song, then they had couple talks about the temple and Joseph Smith, and the Book of Mormon, and a female baptist preacher gave a talk on family history, then our own Elder Grieve gave a talk. Then towards the end an Imam got up and said how he likes working with mormons. There was clapping too after certain parts. I wish I could adequately describe how wild this stake conference was. 

We also had a cool experience where we were knocking some doors of people I had talked to in the past in this super hispanic apartment complex and there was a guy sitting in the park across the street, and Elder Rodriguez pointed him out and said lets go talk to that guy. So we went over there, and he was a 17 y/o kid, and we were talking to him a little bit, then his friend walked up, and it was kind of clear we interrupted their weed smoking sesch lol. Anyway they were talking to us and were really cool and they said we could come by again (after asking us questions about our churches stance on weed lol). So we texted them again another day and they said we could come by, so we came by the park and they had invited 2 other friends, and we shared the Restoration and they were asking really good questions and reading ahead in the pamphlet and were talking about the BOM, and asked where they could get one, and when we handed them one the one kid asked for a pen so he could write his name in it. It was a cool experience, teaching a micro multitude. Then we taught them how to pray and Elder Rodriguez shared his conversion story and they all felt the spirit, then to tie it all together we heard a gunshot (it had gotten dark during the lesson), so we decided it was probably good to head out. 

Anyway, Greenie Fire is when greenies have an enthusiasm for the work, and so you see miracles happen. Usually people who have been out for a long time, and have been rejected thousands of times, get a little jaded. So we've met some really cool people and the work here is looking up.

Anyway love you guys!
Elder Hogg


In a convertible or something?

Whataburger (A Texas favorite fast food place)

a blurry picture of our zone here at p day,

Our district
From Mom: More pictures from Bro. Steve that I received!  I love to get these when he feeds my missionary or when they have meetings!!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Goin' on 6!! PLUS I can't believe I forgot to menion!!

This email is really 3 emails.. so keep reading past the pictures!!!

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Goin' on 6!!
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2017 13:45:53 -0500
From: Brett Hogg 

Well its transfer news day!!

IM STAYING! 6 months in The Cliff baby! Since President Dalton got here transfers are kind of screwy, it used to be more rare to be in an area for 6 months (4 transfers) but its been more common lately. Also alot of people being doubled out of areas (both people transferring out), also a lot of one-and-dones (1 transfer)... like Elder Gibson!! Hes leaving! We don't know where yet. We'll let you know.

Other than that we got a really cool bible referral with a lady that always wondered why there were so many churches, so shes promising. Otherwise the rest of our promising people are 9+ unbaptized kids who we have started working with. Otherwise a pretty slow week.

This just in, I'M GOING TO BE A DAD!! Im training!! I get to figure out who he is tomorrow! Keep a look out on the facebook page! Wish I could think of more to say, but I cant think of anything else!!

From Mom: Don't panic... being a "dad" means you get to train a new missionary. So for the next 6 weeks, Brett's companion will be a "greenie"! 

Love you guys! 
Elder Hogg

Also there's an Eclipse today! Here's what it looks like lol. We don't have the glasses unfortunately.
(Note from Mom... you can tell he's not near the news.. haha.  He's telling us there's going to be an eclipse like we hadn't heard about it.)

See eclipse in box.. it's tiny!  

Picture of the eclipse.. haha

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Oh my gosh!! I cant believe I forgot to mention!!
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2017 15:56:51 -0500
From: Brett Hogg

I got to baptize three kids this Saturday!! They're 11, 11 (they're twins), and 10. 

They're the Hermanas converts, but everyone else in their branch was out of town, so between this one other guy and the person who interviewed them (me), they chose the guy that interviewed them. 

I had to learn the baptism prayer in spanish, and it went really well! Well....  until the 3rd one, first his hand didn't go all the way under, then I kept saying the prayer wrong. You have to accent the beginning of "te bautizo", because if you accent the end of it, its past tense and you have to do it again. After 20 tries I got it and It was really cool. I debated whether or not to wear the jumpsuit or my white tie and pants. Elder Watkins always wore the same thing as the baptizee, so that's what I did. Anyway it was a really cool experience!

Note: We baptize by immersion - just like Jesus was! Since he was our example - we should do it the same way. So.. there are a couple witnesses of make sure the person gets fully immersed. If not - then we say the prayer again and do it again!  In English, it's the following:
I, (name of baptizer), having been commissioned of Jesus Christ I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Of course - it is specifically done in the language that the person speaks... hence, Brett doing it in Spanish.. and it has to be done correctly.  I think the "20 tries" might have been exaggeration... haha.  I hope! 

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!