Archive | May, 2014

Oh what a beautiful morning

27 May

It is strange to be writing to you all on a Tuesday! I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day. Our day was great! I’ll get to that later though. First off, spring has finally sprung here in Montana. The trees are all in blossom and the grass is plush and green. Walking around town is like walking in a flower garden There’s tons of cottonwood flying around too, just like at home. I think my allergies would like regular snow more over cottonwood snow though!

Last Monday night, we had a really nice evening with a part-member family. They fed us dinner, and we did Family Home Evening for them. We ended up talking about how trials make us stronger and better. To illustrate this, we showed how a plain, flat piece of paper couldn’t fly very far. But with every “trial”/fold, it eventually was made into a paper airplane, and then it could fly! We then had a paper airplane competition out in the backyard. It was so fun! They are an awesome family and I love working with them.

Early this week, we had another lesson with our new investigator. It went great! We brought the 2nd Ward sisters with us, because we actually had to transfer her over to them because she was in their area. So sad! It’s all God’s work though, so it’ll be good. We did a lot of service earlier this week too, especially helping people pack and move. I’ve decided that I am going to have significantly less junk around my apartment when I get home! Wednesday night, we went to dinner with Alex and her mom. It was such a nice evening! They had been wanting to take us out to dinner as a “thank-you” for the baptism. We went to a really cool new restaurant in downtown Bozeman called “Open Range”. It was seriously the best meal I think I’ve had since coming out on my mission.

Our ward is the best. Here’s another really nice example: so on Sunday during gospel principles, we were talking about fasting. I made the comment that I can rarely do a “true” fast because of my medicine, but the way I fast is by eating very simply and small. I made the example that instead of eggs, bacon, etc, I have just a piece of toast. Sister Jones made a comment that “Sister Hoggan, you’re a missionary, you never get eggs and bacon!”. We all laughed and moved on. After church though, a sister came up to us and said, “Sisters, I have a pound of bacon and a dozen eggs at home that I want you to come get. And I won’t take no for an answer!”. SO NICE! So we had eggs and bacon for breakfast this morning!! 🙂 It’s little things like that that just make your day as a missionary.

So here’s a random interesting fact about me lately- I’ve taken to drawing! I’ve always enjoyed art, but I never really took any time to develop any skill in it. Well, lately I’ve been doodling anything and everything I can find a picture of. I don’t have any pictures of what I’ve done with me, but I’ll try to remember to send some home soon. My latest “collection” (haha) is a bunch of cartoon farm animals on sticky-notes up on our closet door. We named each of them with Book of Mormon/LDS puns… hahaha. For example, we have “Melchize-duck” the duck and “Moo-riancumer” the cow.

On Saturday, we went to a baptism for the 1st ward sisters. It was so nice! The 2nd ward sisters are having a baptism next weekend as well (it’ll all be in Spanish though… that’s be interesting to attend, lol). After the baptism on Saturday, Sister Jones and I finally got our interview with President Mecham! He interviews all the missionaries every 3 months, and our district was the last ones for this round. It was so great to get to talk with Pres. Mecham- he is truly an inspired and wonderful man. I was also able to talk to him about something that had been weighing on me. Last week, I found out that they had pulled the full-time missionaries from Meeteetse and made it a shared area again. I just wanted to cry. I talked to President about it though, and he said he is planning to put more missionaries there soon, and until then I had his permission to contact the Sisters in Cody who are covering Meeteetse and talk to them about my promptings for that area. In fact, President said that he expected me to have 6-10 phone calls with the Cody sisters over the next couple of weeks. That really helped me out a lot!

Sunday was a great day and we met a lot of new less-actives! We were able to add two new families to our teaching pool, and we are going to teach the discussions to one of the family’s 7 1/2 year old to get her ready for baptism.

At the parade!

At the parade!

Yesterday (Memorial Day) was so good too! We went with the 1st ward sisters and got free breakfast and then watched the parade downtown. Then later Sister Jones and I went to the planetarium show at the museum, which we had free tickets to. We had a great cookout with a family in the ward, and just generally had a really nice day. It was amazing how much more time you have when you don’t have to email!

So that’s me for this week! Thank you all for your letters, your prayers, and your support. It really means so much. I love you and miss you! Have a great week!!

An interesting week

19 May
Isn't Montana beautiful?

Isn’t Montana beautiful?

I, Sister Hoggan, having been called by the power and authority of God, do begin my record pertaining to the work of salvation in Bozeman, Montana. It being the 7th month since the beginning of my ministry, I do write somewhat concerning the experiences the Lord has granted me this week…

Last Monday, we went to the famous Museum of the Rockies here in town! It was pretty cool. A member of our ward is a docent there, so she gave Sister Jones and me a private tour of the dinosaur hall. I was pretty pleased that I still remembered quite a bit of my dino history from my “Age of Dinosaurs” class that I took at OU. We took lots of pictures and had a really nice afternoon there. I love museums so much!

Awesome museum!

Awesome museum!

Dinosaurzzzzz!

Dinosaurzzzzz!

On Tuesday, I led a discussion in District Meeting on humility. I talked about something I learned from my Temple Square companions: The 4 C’s. The 4 C’s are things that you should avoid if you want a happy mission, or, as I applied them, if you want to be humble. They are: (1) Don’t Complain, (2) Don’t Compare, (3) Don’t Compete, and (4) Don’t Criticize. Each of these things drive away the spirit of humility. I was pretty happy with how my discussion went overall, and I learned a lot from the comments of the other missionaries.

The Sisters in my district.

The Sisters in my district.

In another random story, all weekend our car had been telling us “low tire pressure”. Well, by Tuesday it was pretty noticeable. We went over to a gas station to fill it up, but we realized we didn’t know how, nor did we have a tire pressure gauge! Thankfully Heavenly Father was watchin’ out for us. We asked a guy parked next to us if we could borrow his gauge, and he was so kind and filled it up for us and even checked all the other tires! So nice. The tire ended up leaking again soon, so we took it over to Tire-rama the next day and got a nail pulled out of it and got it repaired.

Also on Tuesday night, I had one of the most… interesting…. meals I’ve had since coming out on my mission! We went over to an older couple’s house who had just gotten back form snowbirding in Arizona for the winter. When we sat down, it was a lovely meal all laid out on the table, and Sister B brought out the meat from the oven. Brother B asks us, “Do you like roast meat?”. I respond “yes”, but I’m sitting there thinking, “now what is roast meat? Maybe it’s just a roast”. The lid for the container was removed, and I saw a meat unlike any other I have every seen in my life! It was cut in long, sausage like strips and it also coiled around to make little spirals. (Honestly it looked exactly like dog poo). Being the brave, bold missionaries that we are, Sister Jones and I both took an appropriate amount of meat and started eating. It was actually pretty good! Especially with the homemade gravy that Sister B had made. At the end of the meal, Sister Jones finally asked Brother B what the meat was. He was like, “You don’t want to know”. We told him that we had already eaten it and liked it so he ought to just tell us. Well, much to my surprise, I had just eaten and thoroughly enjoyed elk heart! Definitely a dinner to remember.

My and my comp

My and my comp

As for the rest of the week, we just did a lot of service and teaching! We helped two different families pack up and move. We had a really good lesson with our new investigator this week, but we just found out that she is exactly one street away from being in our ward. We have another appointment on Tuesday this week, so we’re gonna bring the 2nd ward sisters with us and do the hand-off. It’s sad to not be able to teach her, but it’s all the Lord’s work! It’s rained nearly everyday this week, and Thursday we got a mini thunderstorm. I miss the good thunderstorms from Oklahoma! Not missing the tornadoes though. Stay safe everyone, and I love you all!!

Workin’ hard in Bozeman

13 May
The Bridger Mountains make for a beautiful sight!

The Bridger Mountains make for a beautiful sight!

We had a pretty good week this week. Our meetings and scheduled appointments were all jumbled around though, so I was never quite clear on what day it was each day. On Tuesday, our Zone Leaders challenged us to tract for an hour a day if we don’t have appointments. Our mission is pushing hard to break the record of baptisms in a month for the mission- 70 baptisms! We had 52 last month, so I think we can do it! On Tuesday also we had dinner with our new Ward Mission Leader and his wife. They are so awesome!

On Wednesday, we had a impromptu meeting with the missionaries here in Bozeman to help us practice tracting a little bit. It really helped! In almost 7 months on the mission, I had never received training on tracting, so that was needed. And as Preach My Gospel says, nothing happens in missionary work until you find someone to teach. We are gonna “find” like crazy this week! We had a really cool experience later that day. We contacted an online media referral named Beth. Now, the thing about online referrals is that they usually don’t really work out because people do it as pranks on their friends honestly. Well, when we contact Beth, she let us right in and started talking to us. Her daughter has been investigating the church down in Billings, so she was curious about it too! We are gonna go back this week and teach her the Restoration, and we are so excited!

Thursday, we had Zone Training and it was super good. They focused a lot on helping people make and keep commitments and following the Spirit. Our zone leaders shared with us a pretty funny “finding” story that they had had the night before. The zone leaders had just come from a hard lesson and were feeling kinda down, so they decided to get some ice cream. Well, they knew that a tub of ice cream would be the most cost effective, but they really wanted Dairy Queen! So they pull over their car and try to decide. Elder Johnson finally was like, “Go with what you KNOW, man! You KNOW you love Dairy Queen! Go get yourself a chocolate extreme!”. (This is the point that we all started dying laughing. Elder Johnson is usually a pretty “reserved” elder, so to hear him tell this story is hilarious). So they went to Dairy Queen, and actually ended up meeting a less-active in their ward working there that they had been trying to find! The Lord truly does work through a variety of ways- even your stomach sometimes.

Friday was a day full of service pretty much. We were so tired by the end of the day! We volunteered at the food bank for 4 hours, and we ended up having to help unload a truck with just us and a couple other people because the other missionaries had to leave. It was fun, but hard! Then Friday night we helped a member that we teach, Cara, make stuff for her bake sale on Saturday. So much baking! It was pretty fun though. 🙂 We had a really good lesson later that night with some less-active youth in our ward. They were both really attentive and interested, and we both feel strongly that they could be reactivated soon. This past weekend was good too, but I’m totally blanking on what we did, haha. I promise we did missionary work!

The picture I couldn't get to upload to Facebook!

The picture I couldn’t get to upload to Facebook!

I love you all so much. Thank you for your support and prayers- they mean so much! Have an awesome week!!

May already?

6 May

I cannot believe it is already the month of May! The weather here has been just beautiful this week. The grass is finally green too! Now that it’s May, I think spring has arrived at last.

A perfect rainbow for a perfect weekend!

A perfect rainbow for a perfect weekend!

Well, my most exciting news of the week is that one of our investigators was baptized and confirmed this weekend!! Things really could not have gone any smoother during it. We had a great turnout from the ward to support her too. Words cannot even express my happiness for her. She worked so hard to get to this point. She texted us last night, and this is what she said: “I cannot believe how much of a difference I feel today. I am filled to the top of my spiritual glass and I’m trying to hold on to it as tight as possible!”. The power of the Spirit is so real, and it is amazing to see it affect the lives of those we teach. She even asked us yesterday at church if it was allowed for her to go out teaching with us… we were like, “uh, yes! and it is encouraged!”. She is just so great.

Our sweet new convert!  Best day ever!!

Our sweet new convert! Best day ever!!

The beginning of the week was good, but nothing too crazy really happened. On Monday, I did manage to cut my finger pretty bad on the steering wheel of our car… so lame! It’s taken forever to heal, but thankfully I have lotsa bandaids so I’m taken care of. On Tuesday, our investigator got kinda nervous about her health being good enough to be baptized this weekend and was thinking about postponing. No bueno! We brought some elders over with us and they gave her a priesthood blessing which was really incredible. Then our District Leader did her baptismal interview right there on the spot! She passed with flying colors and was much more at peace about being baptized on Saturday.

On Friday, we subbed in Seminary for the teacher, and it reminded me so much of Meeteetse! Except I had like 7 students that were all freshman. It went pretty well I’d say. We talked about Mormon chapters 1 and 2. Mormon was such an amazing man! The lesson gave this awesome quote by President Hinkley: “While I sometimes regret that people do not call this church by its proper name, I am happy that the nickname they use is one of great honor made so by a remarkable man and a book which gives an unmatched testimony concerning the Redeemer of the world. […] Anyone who comes to know the man Mormon, through the reading and pondering of his words, anyone who reads this precious trove of history which was assembled and preserved in large measure by him, will come to know that Mormon is not a word of disrepute, but that it represents the greatest good—that good which is of God”. You can call me a Mormon anytime! Also, quick random related story, but it cracks me up that the members here call us missionaries “the Mormons”. Like, we walk in to a dinner appointment and they say, “oh hey, the Mormons are here!”. I love it.

On Saturday morning, we went to the “Morningside” devotional with Vocal Point! They were sooooo good. Then they stayed around a little bit and we got to socialize with them! After the devotional, we ran around and did all the last minute preparations for the baptism. The baptism was beautiful. Our investigator’s mom got some fancy gourmet cupcakes from a place in town, and we ended up taking home the left overs. It was wonderful.

I love being a missionary! It’s the best. I love you all so much, and pray for you daily. Have a wonderful week!!