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Monday, October 21, 2013

Conference, how much do we truly love the Lord? (Oct 13)

First...before I begin...HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! 50 years old, grabe. Bata pa ikaw ;) So glad you all had fun in Utah, I love all the pictures! Everyone looks so happy and for now i'm okay with Kobe taking my place, He's cuter than I am anyways :) How did you like your birthday dad? Tell me all about it! I'm so proud of mom for being sneaky and surprising you with the trip. So awesome! 

I finally got to watch General Conference. It was better than Christmas, oh my, I loved it! ("EXCLAMATION POINT!") Isn't conference just the best? I want to talk about everything, but there's so much! The most important thing I think we can all learn from conference is that we need to be more Christ-like. We have so much we need to develop before we will be ready to meet Christ. My favorite talk was the talk on developing our Meekness. Giving all the credit to the Lord and allowing His hand to be in our lives every day. To turn to Him always, rely on Him, have faith in Him. To have a desire to do His will, to do His work, all because we love Him. That is the most important thing we can do. Remember the first great commandment is to, "love the Lord thy God". Do we really love God? I'm all of you are saying, "Of course we do!" That's what I said to. But what are we doing to show Him we truly love Him? Are we turning to Him always, praying and seeking His guidance before we do anything, loving ALL His children, doing His work? What are you doing to show your love to your Heavenly Father?

This week is truly going to put my love for the Lord to the test. The Sister's who lived with us got transferred out and their area got closed. So we now have their old area and our is so huge. We have about 5 missionaries go home last transfer on medical release (2 from my batch), and only 8 total missionaries come in. So things are starting to level out. We've have about 30 new missionaries every transfer, so to only get 8 was super weird. So I'm now white washing my 4th area haha. The sisters had the city, and a lot of the neighborhoods around the city, so it's a lot to cover. They also had a lot of investigators. We finally just got 6 golden investigators in our area, and now we have all of the sister's too. Needless to say, we are going to be busy. I love how the Lord trusts in me. Time after time He's trusted me to white wash an area, and I don't feel like i've ever done it as efficiently as i could. This time will be different. We're so excited to work hard! It's probably going to be the hardest working transfer I've had, so it'll be a huge growing experience. Sister Purificacion and I are excited :)

That's about all the happened. There were 8 missionaries in Calbayog, 4 Americans. Now there's 6, and I'm the only American. I felt so overwhelmed on transfer day, saying bye to the sisters and hello to a huge area. But conference really came at perfect timing. It opened up my eyes to a lot of inspired thoughts, things that we as a companionship can do to be more effective. this transfer there will be no distractions, all work, no play. And while I'll miss all the fun from last transfer and having sisters in the apartment, it'll be so good for us. So I'm motivated and excited for the work!

Again, thank you all for your love and support. Work hard, and strive every day to be better :) When you do that, you'll see success, I promise that, the apostles and prophets promise that, and the Lord promises that. When you are obedient and desire to work hard, and then go and act on those desires, you'll succeed in everything you endeavor to do. I love you all!

Sister Hogge

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Obedience = Love (Oct 6)

Hello family! So to answer everyone's questions at once, no i did not get to watch conference. Not yet at least. It air's this weekend in the Philippines, and we have to drive about an hour and a half to our District Center to watch it. Luckily though, we'll be able to watch all 4 sessions. I can't even tell you how excited i am! Unfortunately, we didn't and won't be able to watch the Relief Society session. But that's okay. Reading it will be good too :) I'm looking forward to it. So next week I'll have more to say about conference. I skimmed your notes on conference, kind of wanting their talks to be a surprise (is that weird??). So next week na lang!

This past week was interesting :) our work was super slow. So I don't know if you remember mom, I'm not even sure I told you, but a few years ago when i was playing soccer up at BYU-I, I got slide tackled by my coach. Ever since then my knee will just hurt randomly. So this transfer it's been really bad. Some days I'll just wake up and it'll be so bad, other's it's totally fine. I finally told my District and Zone Leaders last week about it and they called Sister Andaya (Mission President's wife) and she had me go down to Tacloban to get it x-rayed. Looks like I need to do physical therapy! I'm just letting you know all this before I forget :) I'm totally fine. It hurts when I bend it, so sometimes I have to hop down the stairs, and sometimes I just look a little...retarded (I don't think that word's appropriate for a missionary, sorry.) But yeah. So asiya la.

Basta, our work has been slow, but I'm LOVING it here. I can't even tell you. I LOVE training. I was super stressed the first week, but since's been a BLAST! I have been so blessed on my mission, and so blessed in this area. The people here love the missionaries, and they love missionary work. I'm super impressed with the progress of this branch. There's a still a lot to do, a lot that they don't do, and a lot to improve, just like everywhere. But i've felt nothing but love and support from everyone here. We personally haven't had a lot of progression with investigators. We had one inactive family come to church this week. Sister P saw them walk in during sacrament meeting and hit me and shook me so hard and pointed at them! I looked back and couldn't believe it. Miracles are happening :) We have FHE with their family tonight, so that'll be fun :)

We had an encounter with a crazy Nanay (what kids call their mom's, but what we call older women - grandma-like women) this week, hahaha it was so funny! We were teaching J., our Recent Convert, at a member's house. We started teaching him and this nappy looking nanay with a sack over her shoulders comes to the door and just squats there and and stares at us, and then looks at our shoes, and starts opening her bad as if to put our shoes in there! J. yelled, and I jumped up and ran over to the door. Nanay almost stole our shoes!! What the random?? Haha and then she pulls this tattered up Aklat ni Mormon (Tagalog book of mormon) and asks us if she's allowed to rip it up...J. is so cute, he was like, "Diri pwede Nay!" and then she just continued to squat there with this crazy look in her eye. Haha we were laughing almost the whole lesson, it was super funny. When they closed the door on her, she'd poke her head through the bars in the window and push the curtains aside and just talk to herself. No body seemed to understand her. It was awesome haha. Oh my, I love the Philippines. We were going to leave, and Jonas lives down the street a little ways, so we all left together. Well we get out and we look over and see Nay hunched over in front of this house, doing who knows what. when she saw us, she got up and walked/ran over to us. It scared Jonas so bad! He sprinted back inside the house, and said something like, "See you later sisters!" he left us to die basically. We didn't pause though. We yelled down a tricycle and ran across the street to get away from her. Only in the Philippines!

Wow this is super long. So lastly, i want to share the training we had this past week at our Zone Training meeting. Our Zone leaders focused on Obedience. Now i'm not a bad missionary, but I know that I can be 10x more exactly obedient. they asked us why we were here on a mission, we all gave different responses, all good responses. But the only reason why anyone should be on a mission, is out of Love for our Father in Heave. In Alma 57:21, it talks about how the 2000 stripling warriors obeyed with exactness because they loved their mothers, they loved Helaman, their leader. We do things out of love for them. And the only way to fully serve my mission, to fully serve the people, is if i do it out of love for my heavenly father. How do we do that though? How do we change our purpose of doing something from selfishness, to love? Well, it's easier said than done, but we obey. That's it. When we overcome something through obedience, we feel happiness and joy and love. When we try to be more obedient, one thing at a time, we are blessed. Don't let the small things take over. Be obedient, and pray for your desires to change. Do it because you love your Heavenly Father.

I love you all, as I say every week. I am so sorry I don't have a lot of time to do hardly anything. To email everyone, to send a lot of pictures, but know that I love you all, but most of all, I love this work. I love my Heavenly Father. I am SO lucky to be here, not to rub it in anyone's face, but seriously...this is the life. Serving the Lord is so great, and it's so humbling and so rewarding. It's just the best. I miss you all, but I DO NOT want to come home. This is where I'm suppose to be.

With love from the Philippines,
Sister Hogge

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Lord is always with us 9/30/13

What a week, do i say that every week? Well, what a week :)

So Dad wants details, so i'm going to try my hardest!

We had exchanges last Thursday at 10am Philippines time with our STL's (Sister Training Leaders - So like ZL's (two Elders assigned to each area of missionaries are referred to as "Zone Leaders" or ZL for short). There are 3 sets of STL's in our mission, and there are probably 70 sisters or so. So they are busy going on exchanges with each companionship every transfer. They are so amazing! We only had a few hours with them because they had to get back to their area for a baptism, and their area was 4 hours away. So we went to contact a few investigators we've taught a few times. One wasn't home, so we were asking her neighbor, May, when she'd be home. Well, May asked us if we wanted to come in and we looked at each other and said, "Syempre!" Haha so we began to teach her, find out what she needed, ask her about her life, religion, family situation, etc. It was such a great lesson, and while we're on the topic of May, I'll skip to last night. Sister P and I taught her again last night, the full message of the restoration.  What a mess, haha our language was all over the place, i felt so unprepared because we just stopped in on her, there were no fans, we had 2 members with us (which just adds to the pressure), I'm the trainer so I'm still taking the lead and making sure things aren't awkward and such haha, and and we haven't worked for 2 days. So I felt like it was a mess and i was super distracted...but it was the most spiritual, humbling experience. I know, from that experience, that the Lord really does prepare people, and when the Lord prepares someone, it doesn't really matter how horrible you do, as long as you try. She was the most real person i've taught. We asked her to be baptized and she said, (translated) "I don't want to be fake and say yes right now, but i will if i get an answer and after i learn more about your church. I want to really know." - Is that a golden answer or what? I was amazed. The Spirit totally helped us in that lesson, and looking back, even though I struggled and it was so embarrassing, we gave the whole message of the restoration, in the language, and she understood. I take no credit for that, other than being where the Lord wanted me and doing it despite my fear and abilities. He totally provided a way for us to get through to her, and that was definitely through the Spirit.

So, that was cool :) Another cool story? Ready? So Friday was set aside by our mission president as an all day cleaning the apartment day. So that morning, Sister P came downstairs and was burning up, so i gave her ibuprofin and told her to go back to bed. she was better at lunch, went to take another nap, and came back down at 5:30 burning up again. We took her temperature, she was 106.9 F!!! My stupid unintelligent self sent her back upstairs to sleep (little did i know she was "cold" so she had the fan off and her covers were on, oh and i forgot to make her eat when she took the medicine) She came back down a little after 6 to go to the bathroom, and Sister B and I asked her if she was response. She got out of the bathroom and looked like she was going to pass out! We quickly called the ZL's, and Sister Andaya (her Mission President's wife) to know what to do.  We sat her in a chair while we waited for the ZL's to come bless her and just wiped her down with cold cloths to get her temp down. Her head and eyes kept rolling and she was unconcious for about 30 minutes! It was the scariest thing of my life. the elders got there and we rushed to the hospital. (Well, we walked until we found a tricycle that could fit all of us and take us there -  emergencies in the philippines haha, so funny). Basta, we got there and it still took a lot of time to get her to talk but she ended up being fine. We totally saved her life/almost killed her too. Super dramatic. We weren't allowed to work Saturday and Sunday just so she wouldn't relapse. 

Wow, I am out of time. I need to go. But there are my 2 stories for the week! (Detailed enough dad??? :) let me know what i'm missing)

I just want you all to know that i love being a missionary, it makes all the random experiences so much more cool since i'm a missionary :) haha This work is so special and so sacred. And the Lord watches over his missionaries. How blessed were we to have worthy ZL's bless my companion. And she ended up okay :) and how blessed were we to have the spirit with us in that lesson. Such a sacred calling.

Love you all! Have a good week!!

With love from the Philippines, 
Sister Hogge

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Alive and kickin' 9/22/13

So I hear there's a lot of storms up near Manila, and everything makes sense. It has been so windy and stormy this past week! Nothing huge, but I was curious why no one was worried. Anything not a "Bagio" is called "Low Pressure" even if the wind is crazy and it's raining and the waves are huge and crashing everywhere, if it's not classified as a "Bagio", then none of the Filipinos are worried (if they aren't worried, i've learned not to be worried either). So all's well here in Region 8.

The other day, Sister Pure and I were riding a tricycle down the highway, next to the dagat, and we got sprayed so hard every time the waves crashed. It was SO windy. Luckily my skirts are heavy enough to not flash the whole town. We walked home that day and sister pure had to hold down her skirt with her bag and umbrella while we walked. It was funny because everyone's going about normal, but the palm trees are swaying back and forth so forcfully, the ocean is so wavy, and the sky has been dark the past few days. It looks like a storms a coming, but waray. Just the effects from up north. 

Anyways, that was a really bad description. Mom, you asked me how things were really going, if I was struggling. I'm glad to say, I have not broken down yet. I'm honestly still doing fine. Training is fun, sister Pure and I get along great! I know there's a lot more that I could be doing, but i'm trying my best, and I'm learning a lot on the way. I'm not perfect, so I'm not expecting myself to be perfect. Mistakes this transfer have helped me grow more than they have stressed me out. It's still way hard. The way of living, in a cramped apartment, totally stressed me out at first, but we're settled in and used to our arrangements, so honestly...everything's going fine. Our area's a bit far from our apartment. Our appointments are all over the place. We'll have one in Carayman, then one in Greenland, then one in Rawis. They're all like far from each other, which makes it really expensive to travel everyday. So we're learning to organize and set days and times to go to specific places so we aren't all over the place. It's a learning process for sure haha.

We had a fun experience the other day. We traveled all the way out to Carayman to an appointment, only to be punted. We stopped by 2 other of our investigator's home's and they were both very cold with us. We've been struggling so hard to get an investigator, a good, solid one. So we headed back, praying for inspiration on the way back home. We decided to stop to try a former investigator named Gina. We went to her door and asked if Gina was home and she said, "Yes, come in!" (In Waray). We went in, followed her upstairs, and she seated us as she went and grabbed her book of mormon and pamphlets. What the!! The progress record said she wasn't really interested, but we got there, started asking her questions, and she wants to be baptized! We were shocked. We invited her to church (she didn't come...but that's okay), and we have a return appointment on tuesday. We're excited to see what she needs and see what we can do to help her. Our first real potential progressing investigator here.

There's so much that happens here, that i don't even know what to focus on. Just know that i'm alive and doing GREAT! Really. I was thinking the other day about what it would be like to go home, to be in the states. I started crying. I am so nervous to come home (did i already tell you this...i feel like i did). Basta, I love it here. No, I don't love being fat and sweaty, but the Philippines has become my home :) I'm so greatful for this next year. Keep me in your prayers I'll keep you in mine.

Love you all!

Loving the philiippines, 
Sister Hogge

ps. Oh my goodness, you know how there are 3 American's in our apartment, and 1 Filipina? Well, we're wearing off on her. We're teaching her American slang, and now she can recite the Pledge of Allegiance. It's so funny! Filipino's english is so proper, so to hear a proper little filipina say things like "catch ya lata bro", sugad, is hilarious. We're having so much fun. Asiya :)

Any questions????


Me with my package! Loved it!! (Anybody feel free to send me things. American's candy and stuff is so fun to give filipinos!)

Me and a scared little kid that I made sit by me on the bus. There was no room anywhere else, so he sat by me, we talked, i gave him candy, and we were bff by the time he left :) so fun! (the rule "don't talk to strangers" doesn't apply here haha)

Just in the philippines playing soccer at the beach for pday. Living the life.

"Blindness cometh by looking beyond the mark" 9/15/13

This week has been hard. I love it here, I really do. I don't know what I would be without the things I've been through. I officially can't picture myself at home, which is the weirdest feeling. I had a thought of what it would be like to go home the other day and I almost cried (yes, I am going to be one of those RM's). I am so glad I am here for another year, and at the same time I can not believe it's only a year. I'm not ready at all to leave, or for this to be over.
The mission so far has been one of the most humbling learning experiences of my life, and while there are times I don't feel like i've changed or improved myself, just the fact that i can't imagine going home or not doing this work tells me i'm changing without knowing it.
Training is so stressful. I love it, but at the same time I don't. There is so much pressure and responsibility you have to take on, and I am so independent. My job as a trainer is to teach and lead by example, and to share responsibility, because how can you learn if you're not given the opportunity to apply what you learn? Well, I'm learning that very quickly. I read in Jacob 4:14 this week, "Blindness cometh by looking beyond the mark". And I want to compare it to my experience right now. I'm stressed, and not enjoying the responsibility. I feel uncapable, unworthy, unprepared, etc. I don't feel good enough to train this sister to become the sister missionary she needs to become. But that's just it...I'm looking beyond the mark. I'm missing the little moments that make the future possible. I'm thinking too much I guess, rather than just doing the simple things that make up the big picture? Am I making any sense?
I liked David's email this week, he told me to, "Believe in yourself!! Don't ever think you're not good enough. If you are taking the sacrament and praying sincerely and searching the scriptures diligently, you are more than qualified." Man is he right. You tend to forget those things sometimes, especially when you have SO much to focus on. And it's something we all need to remember. "Those whom the Lord calls, he qualifies".
I know that to be true. I know that I am qualified to do this work, to be the trainer and missionary the Lord needs me to be. I know that because I wouldn't be here if He didn't trust me. I wouldn't have felt the promptings from the spirit to come on a mission, or have a desire to serve the Lord.
I also know that He doesn't expect me to be perfect, and we shouldn't feel bad for not being perfect. Our purpose here is to learn how to become perfect. How can we learn if we start out like that? Well, we can't. I know that for a fact. It's a learning, growing process, that we will only accomplish after picking ourselves up and continuing after the many times we "stumble, trip and even fall". We can do it though, because the Lord is always there for us. And that's really all we need to know, that He will always be there, and He will always help us, as long as we try our hardest. 2 Nephi 25:23 (23:25? I can't remember). It is only after we do all that we can do, that His grace will take affect and He will finish the job for us. That is a promise.
I love you all! Thank you for all the support, love, emails, letters, prayers, etc. Please know how grateful I am for them. I know how lucky and blessed I am to have so many people who love me. I feel it, and I just want every one to know who prays and supports me that they will receive blessings. Because I have used every prayer ever sent to me, and they have helped me tremendously.
Continue working hard, and don't stop. No matter what happens, never stop. Ever :)
Love you all!
With love from the Philippines,
Sister Hogge

Calayog, Week 1 9/8/13

Hopefully this won't be confusing.  The first paragraph is mostly Waray so I asked Kevin Smith to translate it for me.  That is below, with her e-mail if you want to compare.  The transformation has been remarkable!  Thanks for your love and prayers.  I believe it makes all the difference!  ~Linda

Maupay nga aga sa iyo nga tanan! "Good morning to you all!"
What a week. I have no idea where to even start. First of all, figured out this week that this was Kevin Smith's area! Kevin, I got your email :) you are welcome to tell me anything about your area, or anyone you want me to visit for you. Unfortunately, The Elder's area is the one nearer to the church, the other Sisters have the city proper, and we have Pido St and on...harayo ora ora! Haha pero ok lang. Mas maupay kon maglakat kami, mas marisyo, di'ba? Not really...pero kinahanglan ako maglose weight, so mas maupay. Basta, area namo sa Rawis, Bagacay, ngan Carayman. Carayman is so far, sugad we got off the tricycle at the Hwy, on that kalsada that leads into Carayman, tapos maglakat kami didto...grabe! Harayo! We got maybe 1/4 of the way in 30 minutes, ngan waray mga balay didto, so we turned around :) Ine nga semana, magadto kami didto, all the way in. Magfinding ngan magcontacting kami, referrals namo tikang sa mga miembros. Oh and Yes, Nagkita ak si Brother Salazar, Maupay siya. Buotan ora ora...we're being taken care of.

Translation for this section: 
"...we have Pido St and on... very far. haha but it's ok. It is better for us to walk, it's more fun, no? Not really, but I need to lose weight, so it is better. Anyway, our area is Rawis, Bagacay, and Carayman. Carayman is so far, like we go off the tricycle at the Hwy, on the road that leads into Carayman, then we walked there, gosh! It's far! We got maybe 1/4 of the way there in 30 minutes, and there's no houses there, so we turned around :) This is the week, we went there, all the way in. We are finding and contacting our referrals from the members. Oh and Yes, I saw Brother Salazar. He's good. Very kind...we're being taken care of."

So yeah, my area's far. but that just means there's more to explore and more people to find :) So this week, that is our focus. We want to make sure we know where all the less actives live and then we're going to focus on finding professionals out there. It's a super pretty bukid (mountainous) area, and it's also right on the coast...ish. Basta, it's pretty :) I love Calbayog. The people here are so nice and patient with us too. And believe it or not, it's hard to change all my H's to S's...I don't know why I'm struggling so much with that! But it's coming :) slowly but surely. A lot more people understand english here than Borongan, so it's a nice default when I'm struggling too much. But I am trying to speak the language. That is our companionship goal. She's super good at English, but she teaches in Tagalog. So we're trying to just cut out English and Tagalog and teach in pure Waray. That way we can both follow along in the lesson. It's fun learning Tagalog though :) I'm starting to understand it a little better.
It's super distracting opening an area. I haven't really focused on the spiritual aspect of the work so much this week, and it really takes a toll on things. I feel like we're just walking around, getting to know people and our area. So now that we're into a better routine, and know each other better, my goal is to be better at studying and listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, and not relying on myself as much. It's hard, but I know that I'm here for a reason, and one of those reasons is to learn to trust in the Lord. He should be my #1 source for help and guidance. Training is such a humbling experience. There is seriously no way I can do this alone...I do not feel good enough or prepared enough, but to know that the Lord knows I can do it, makes me want to work even harder. 
So sorry there's not a whole lot this week. I love you all. Thank you for the love and support always. Remember to do as I'm doing and trust in the Lord. If there's ever something you're unsure about, don't even wait for a second, go and pray and ask for guidance. If you wait, you'll find that there's some way you can figure it out. But why not just go straight to our Heavenly Father first? He knows everything, and He will always help :)

As always, with love from the Philippines,
Sister Hogge


Us 4 sisters in Calbayog :)
And Our area, Carayman, with random goats. It's so pretty and green!

New Area! 9/1/13

Just jumping right into her new assignment!  She sounds great!  What a relief and a blessing!!  Thanks for your love and prayers!  ~Linda

I'm in a new is so weird to transfer! But it is beautiful here. It's so green and there are so many mountains. I'll have to send you more pictures later in the transfer. Too much to do right now haha.

I'm also training, just as a side note ;) I'm opening an area that they split with the other Sister's for us called Calbayog, and I'm training a Filipina. Her name is Sister Purificacion, from Northern Luzon (the island that Manilla is on). She's so cute, she speaks pretty good English, but there's still a language barrier that makes it hard to constantly be communicating. So we don't talk a lot, but we'll get there, I'm sure.

This weekend has been CRAZY. We got to our area on Friday night, late. The apartment we got to was TINY, but we literally got there and just died haha. The next day, we tried our hardest to do our studies, but it was a weird day. We had district conference this weekend so we had to go all the way down to Catbalogan, about an hour or so South of Calbayog (Cal-bye-youg) - that's the only way I know how to explain how to say that word. It's still on Samar, so I was on Eastern Samar when I was in Borongan, now I'm on Western Samar, and up North a lot a bit. Go look it up on google maps! 

So anyways, it's been a crazy weekend. We haven't even been in our area for 24 hours! But we'll get it. We got back late last night to our area, and they delivered our beds...and our beds don't fit upstairs! So our huge bunk beds are just chillen in our kitchen. Waray space!

We taught one lesson on Saturday, to an investigator of the Sister's. That was fun, seeing as I now have to speak Waray Waray S, which isn't too different from Waray Waray H, but it's harder than it seems to change all my "H's" to "S's"...I guess in due time we'll see how it goes. 

I don't really have a ton to add this week, we haven't done a lot yet, I've hardly even spoken the language, which will be hard. When I go too long not speaking it, it gets worse. I feel like i'm going to lose it if I don't at least teach 1 lesson a day in the language. So this transfer I'm really praying for the gift of tongues and praying really hard for Heavenly Father's help. Because I can not do this alone. I'm training and opening an area, and speaking a different language! I need to step it up, and get my head in the game, and turn it all over to the Lord. So that's where I'm at right now.

Honestly, that is about it. We're living with 2 American sisters (There are so many american's in this mission now! they're everywhere!). I really miss Sister Pettijohn, and our huge, clean, bright apartment. But I'm sure I'll get used to the dirty, dark, small, crowded apartment. Adventures right?? The sister's we're living with are SO nice, our zone is awesome, OH and my best friend is in our zone, Elder Muir!!!!! Nicole, you met him. Love that Elder. We were so excited to see each other! We were best friends in the MTC, and he's been in a Cebuano area these last 3 transfers. So it'll be fun to see him struggle too :) Struggling is fun we decided!! 

Anyways, asiya! I love you all! Thank you for your support! Be prepared for next week! Haha prayers would help keep my chin up for the hard weeks that will be coming. I'm staying positive, but some extra help is always needed.

With love from the Philippines,
Sister Hogge

Batch mates!! Elder Muir and I
Kelsey, look what candy i found in Tacloban!
And this is my anak :) she's so cute huh?

Missionary by day, Balut seller by night 8/25/13

Filipina ak na!!! It's official, I ate balut. Explanation to come later.
What a week. Time is flying, and it's actually starting to scare me. Harani na ha 6 months! Missionary work is pushing along. It's been hard work. Sister Pettijohn and I are loving our time together. It's so precious to us, because we feel like any second it will be taken from us. It's important not to get too comfortable, that's what I learned. We work every day like there's no tomorrow. Sadly, despite our hard work, our efforts aren't really showing yet. Waray success upod ha mga investigators. Waray nagsimba hira. It's so frustrating not to see their progress, and to have lessons fall through day after day. Someday's I come home so tired, despite our lack of appointments and I honestly don't understand why. It's hard not to get caught up in the numbers. I just want to be successful and teach and watch these people progress, but it's just not happening. But despite all of that, Sister Pettijohn are trying our hardest to continue and to enjoy our time here as missionaries.
Being a missionary is so much fun. It's so hard, even for us, to recognize the Spirit in our lives. Which is hard for me to understand. But we were talking the other day as we were walking to an appointment and Sister Pettijohn explained, "Sadly, I think it's because we really didn't do much in our lives that involved us desperately asking for the Spirit's guidance. Here, we need it in EVERY aspect of our work. And when we don't have it, we feel completely weak and incapable. So the Spirits presence, and absence is a lot more noticeable." I don't know how I survived back home doing things without desperately calling for the Spirit's help. We were given His guidance as a gift when we decided to follow Christ. What worth is a gift if we don't appreciate it and use it? It's useless. I encourage all of you, to use it. Constantly ask for the Spirit to be with your where ever you are, where ever you're going. You don't want to miss an opportunity to hear him, or to be led to do something. Former missionaries, you remember what it is like to be led by the Spirit. Don't lose it.
In the Philippines, there are Balut sellers EVERYWHERE! They walk around the streets yelling, "Baluuuuuutttt!!!", and I'm secretly a Balut seller. I can yell it better than all of them! Anyways, last week I challenged everyone to eat Balut. If you guys don't really know what that is, it's an unfertilized egg, a half grown baby chick. So when people eat balut, they're eating a little baby chick (with hair, a beak, blood, veins, brain and all). Wow, that sounds nasty when I describe it like that. Well, I ate it! And I got sister Pettijohn to eat it, along with a couple filipinos who have never tried it. Where is this coming from mom? Remember when I'd be the last one at the dinner table with a bowl of cold soup because I would not eat my soup? Or remember how I HATE fish? Yeah, now I'm the one egging (haha, that's ironic) people on, to try nasty food. It's so weird haha. It's so fun though :) It really wasn't even that bad. You drench it in vinegar and close your eyes so you don't see the baby chick staring at you, and you just eat it! Ahhh!!! Trying new food is so much fun :)
That's really about it for this week. Sorry there's not a ton to share. Like I said, being a missionary is so hard, but it's so rewarding. There is SO much I wish I studied before I came out here. I feel so much closer to my Heavenly Father, and I feel like my mind has been open to understanding so much that I didn't even care about before. It's really amazing what the Lord can work with. He's being very patient with me, and I am so grateful for that. Because there is so much to learn and I'll tell you this, "the time is far spent, there is little remaining", so "work with a will"!
I LOVE this gospel. I LOVE this church. I LOVE the Savior, and I LOVE that He loved me so much to die for me. I LOVE that my Heavenly Father trusts me so much to send me here among the Filipinos. I know that this church is true. I know that the gospel is the ONLY way that we will ever be able to truly live and be happy forever with our families. It makes bad people good, and good people better. I know that it truly is the gospel of peace and happiness. I know that through our actions, and through our desires to follow Christ, He will help us. I know that life is hard, I know that life is distracting, and I know that it's hard to just start. But I promise everyone who is struggling, that the only way is through this gospel. Is through faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, and then receiving the precious gift of the Holy Ghost to guide us to righteous choices and literally guide us back to Christ and our Heavenly Father. I can't even express my love for this gospel and this plan enough. Stop feeling alone, stop waiting, and just start from the beginning. That is all He asks :) NOW IS THE TIME!
Love you all! Pray for you all! Think of you all sparingly! Miss you all! And I'm working hard for you all! Continue doing what you're doing! It'll all be worth it, I promise :)
With love from the Philippines,
Sister Hogge


So here's our Balut eating gang :) It was SO much fun, and not even nasty,
and this other picture just made me laugh. Yes, this guy is sweeping the beach. And Sister Pettijohn called him Gandalf haha, so I couldn't resist a picture

And us on top of a jeepney...yes, we top-loaded!!! It was so fun! :) better pictures to come in the future, maybe :)

7 Miracles 7/14/13

Before I start, Kobe is so cute!! I have the cutest nephew. He's so tiny, but I pray for him and the whole family every day. And it keeps me going and keep me connected to you all :) tell him I love him!!! 

So last week, you asked me to look for a miracle every day. When you told me that I was like, "Okay! I can do that! Easy." Haha I sat down with my planner on Monday night with a blank stare, I had no idea what "miracle" happened that day. The same thing happened on Tuesday, and on Wednesday. Finally, on Thursday, I had enough. How do miracles happen every day when you feel like every day is the same? Well, that's the thing. If I feel like every day is the same, then I'm wasting my time here. I decided to turn to my only resource: the scriptures.
The Bible Dictionary says, "Miracles should not be regarded as deviations from the ordinary course of nature so much as manifestations of divine or spiritual power...miracles were and are a response to faith and it's best encouragement...they were never wrought without prayer, felt need and faith...miracles are a part of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If miracles cease, it is because faith has ceased" And then I was referred to Moroni 7:27-29, 33-37, where it asks, "Have miracles ceased just because Christ has ascended into heaven", NO WAY (my translation for "Nay"). If we start off every day with faith in Jesus Christ, to do his will, then miracles will occur. After I turned to the scriptures, I turned to my second source: Sister T. I just asked her, "Sister, do you recognize the miracles in your life?" She sat there, and thought about it, and finally said "Yes." Then she said, "Sister Hogge, you're still here. You're still happy every day, despite what we're going through. We're patient with each other, and we haven't killed each other yet. Those are all miracles."
Miracle #1: I'm still here, and I have the ability to smile and be happy despite the hardships I'm going through
Miracle #2: I can still laugh really hard, which I found out on Monday when my  Zone Leader, Elder M., screamed so loud because a bug landed on him. I've never seen anybody so scared from a bug before, and it was the FUNNIEST thing. I was laughing the rest of the night, it felt so good to laugh again :)
Miracle #3: I organized a musical number for our mission tour with Elder Teh. I hate playing the piano, especially playing while their singing, but I did it. 
Miracle #4: We then sang, me as the only alto, and one verse just me and this another sister. Where did I get this courage to play the piano and sing in front of people? I have no must have really been a miracle haha.
Miracle #5: We have 2 baptisms and a wedding next weekend! At the beginning of the month we weren't sure if they would be progressing enough. But even though we had to push both of their dates back twice, they're officially ready. 
Miracle #6: I made it to 4 months of my mission, this past Saturday.
Miracle #7: I smiled all day on Sunday, despite my lack of enthusiasm to go to church this week. Sometimes you just have to grin and bear it. It was a miracle I made it through yesterday, but I did it.
So there you go mom, there are my 7 miracles this week. It's so hard to recognize miracles that happen every day, but I promise and I testify that they are there. And once you recognize them, you'll hardly recognize yourself. You have the ability to grow every day! So you should never be the same person :)
Thank you for giving me that challenge. It distracted me from the hard times I had, which was very much needed.
Thank you also for your extra love and is still very much needed, and I find out on Wednesday whether I'm transferred, or whether Sister T.'s transferred. We've both changed so much, it's funny you don't notice it at all when you're going through it, but if these things had happened to either of us back home, we'd have given up by now. So despite feeling weaker since i've gotten on my mission, I know that I'm stronger because of what i've endured already.
With love from the Philippines,
Sister Hogge

Pretty cool!  Elder Teh from the First Quorum of the 70 toured the Tacloban Mission.  She's standing right behind him.

quick email 8/4/13

This was all I had time for this week....sorry!
This was at a parade in Sulat, a city up north :) it's fiesta time here in the philippines!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I'm the least creative title maker ever! 8/18/13

Hello Babylonians!!!
Wow, what to focus on this week? Borongan zone is officially legit! We have more sisters! Now there are 4 of us here! We just had our zone activity today, which was a complete blast...why? Because we played soccer, on the beach, in the philippines. That is why. It's actually really cool to think about, but i'm suprised i'm alive right now. I seriously felt like I was playing soccer in a spa. I was dripping sweat, my feet probably have blisters because the sand was SO hot. But it was so worth it. If I die or get sick this week, just know it's from the heat ;) I'm a survivor (not a cancer survivor though...not as cool as dad ;) )
Anyways, yeah. So fun. I'm beat right now, but so pumped at the same time. Which is funny. Our numbers this week were SO low. It's so weird how you'll have 3 weeks in a row where your numbers, investigators, lessons, experiences, etc are just amazing and skyrocketing, and then the next week everything drops to "0". We were so disappointed. But we're not done yet. We're carrying on.
Our investigators are fun haha. They have so many questions, and Sister Pettijohn are learning so much, just about the basic doctrine of the church. (I can't even tell you how much i just want to read every book published from the church right now. It's out of control.) Anyways, it's fun :) Our investigator Mercy, she's 21, she's a fire ball. And she's SO curious! She's half waray/half tagalog. She's not the easiest to understand, but when we taught her the message of the restoration, you could just see the wheels in her head turning. Everything was clicking for her. Everything was making sense. She's SO interested but she doesn't understand it still. She thinks she's just curious and enjoying learning more. But we'll get her ;) Missionary work is so much fun. Even if she doesn't realize what's going on, I know one day she will. Whether it be with me or not. She'll get it, because you can't hide from the Our Heavenly Father's plan, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, for long :)
I think that's about all I have time for. Transfers are again next week. I am so fine staying in Borongan. I am loving it here. This zone, this branch, our investigators, my comp. It's a blast right now, even with the hard discouraging times. Because I am learning so much! I'm trying to just soak it all in.
I love you all :) i'm curious about mission calls. Haven't heard about ANY lately. What's going on? Any updates would be awesome. Congrats to MaryKate and her wedding! AH! I want pictures :) I am SO happy for her :) And I forgot to mention it when I found out, but congrats to all the engagements/entering of the mission field, and to Katie and Tom Hall's baby boy :) I'm so glad everyone's doing so well and enjoying life. It is meant to be enjoyed!
Again, I love love love you all! This gospel is so amazing. What a great plan Our Father has for us. He gives us such direct guidelines and counsel, and endless amount of opportunities to be better, and to learn. But guess what, I will tell you right now, don't wait. Please don't wait to start reading, start praying. Don't wait to be better, or to invite your friend. Do it today! Text them right now! Go read right now! Because the time is running out. It's as simple as that. Alma 34. Read it and Act.
With love from the Philippines,
Sister Hogge

Monday, August 19, 2013

Forget yourself and go to work! 8/11/13

What to focus on this week...I've seen the Lord bless my life more these past few weeks than I have my whole life. I can't believe how much the Lord can do when all you do is show him your desires to be good through your obedience and diligence. The advice President Gordon B. Hinkley got on his mission, as hard as it is, is direct counsel: "Forget yourself and go to work."
This week has been fun. Sister P and I sit in our beds every night and we are always confused how we got there. I feel like we are constantly going to bed, and constantly waking up preparing for another day. That sounds funny, because literally...we are. But the days are just flying right now. And it's all both of us can do to just reach out and try to grasp everything the Lord provides us with every day. We work so hard, are so obedient, and just are doing everything we need to with exactness (obviously we're not perfect ALL the time). But when we're really trying, and really working, that is when we see miracles, and receive blessings.
Sister P and I are amazed at the blessings and miracles the Lord has sent our way. I've got a cool experience for you: We tracted down this really poor street this one day as we were early to an appointment and somehow ended up at such a big house that we thought it was a business building. Well, it wasn't. We yelled at it, "Maupay", and this man came out. "Hello who is it?" (Yes...English, so cool). We told him who we were and he let us in, just like that. We started talking to him (all in English), and just getting his background, his interests, his beliefs. It was so unreal to be speaking to a Filipino in perfect english haha. Then somehow, somewhere, we got into the restoration. The moment that we connected all of his beliefs with ours, and shared our special message, it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. We recounted the First Vision to him, bore testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and promised him that through his sincere prayers, the Lord would reveal any truth he wanted to know to him. He said, "I have no doubt that what you said is true."
I was shocked. I had no idea what to say or do. Somehow, we ended, and we planned to bring him a Book of Mormon the next day (which we did yesterday). Honestly, I don't know what his real intentions are. If he felt the Spirit, if he is interested in joining. But I do know that the Spirit spoke through me in that lesson, I have no doubt. Even though it was in English, there was no way that through all of his beliefs and thoughts, that I could have connected them with ours so easily, and provided him with further knowledge. I hope and pray he felt that spirit. But even then, it is his job to act.
I am so grateful for that experience. I can literally feel the Lord strengthening me every day, and I can feel my confidence in him increase. Whether it's just leading me down the street, or helping me in a lesson. The language really does come and go. Sometimes I can go off in the language, very choppily, but still...that's a miracle. But other times, I just struggle to find the words. And I am finally okay with that. I've seen the Lord's hand in this work, and I know that if he wants me to speak the language, I will. As long as I have that connection with him, anything is possible.
There's still a lot to learn, obviously. And I look forward to the future, when I struggle again. We struggle now, to be strong enough later, to do it again.
I love you all. I'm so grateful for the love and support of family and friends. It breaks my heart to see so many members of the church here come to church on Sunday's and sit alone. There aren't enough missionaries to sit with every person, and it's SO frustrating!  But I am so grateful for their example, and for their diligence. For going to church, even though they have to go alone. Please don't ever let someone sit alone at church! They are there to feel love, not because they have to be there. So be the one to love them :)
With love from the Philippines always, 
Sister Hogge
Ps. HAPPY LATE ANNIVERSARY TYSON AND KELSEY!  I am such a bad sister. I remembered last week right when we got back to our apartment. I love you both :)
Pps. On a fun note, I bought a sundang this week (a Machete!!!) One of our "kind of investigators" made it for me, carved the case and everything. Dude, it's legit. :)

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Oh the Trials 7/28/13

Hmmm...  every other week!  Can any of you returned missionaries relate to this spiritual emotional, situational rollercoater?  I have to say that as a mother I find Katie's honesty refreshing, but difficult at the same time.  I'm so proud of her determination to finish the course, even when it's so hard.  The language will come eventually, but the amazing growth has already come in her recognition of her dependence on her Heavenly Father and her Savior.  So thankful for this girl and all the amazing things I learn through her example!  ~Linda

In the MTC, Mandy (Katie's cousin who served her mission in Peru) told me of how she felt on the mission when she wanted to go home. Maybe there are a lot harder times to come, but I have never felt so discouraged in my life as I did this week. 
This has been probably the hardest week of my life, and that may sound dramatic, but I've never felt so incapable, so alone, so unmotivated, so down and so ready to give up in my life. Sister P. is heaven sent. She's let me break down to her every day, always having amazing, inspired advice. I tried so hard, and at times still do, to ignore it. Giving up is so much easier, and i feel like I'd be so much more helpful and happier at home. I'm so unhappy and stressed here that I am not myself, at all. It's embarrassing some days. And obviously I'm not the best faker, at hiding my true feelings haha. I can't even be fake in an email home.
This week, grabe, was hard. I was excited when Sister P. got here. Then we got to work. As you know, we switched areas with the Elders, so I know a few of the people here, and we always went shopping here, so it wasn't too unfamiliar. But I don't know where anyone lives, I still don't know Waray Waray super well (and Sis. P. speaks Cebuano), and neither of us are very confident in all the things you're supposed to know being a missionary. There's so much that we need to know that we both feel like our trainers just did themselves. Diri maupay, Dili maayo, Hindi mabuti (there's 3 languages for you haha). It's not good. So anyways, I'm leading this area on very little knowledge and a lot of pressure. She still doesn't know the area too well, so she looks to me a lot of the time. And honestly, I have no idea how to share the load. There's just so much to do and know (Forms, information for meetings, people's information, where their houses are, requirements for reactivity and baptism). The list goes on. Basta, it stresses me out, and Saturday night I gave everything over to the Lord, I was done. I couldn't do it alone, and I was stressing myself out trying. I prayed and and fasted to know whether I should go home or not. And I asked, I pleaded, for him to help me if my answer was to stay.
Here are a few things I studied and advice I got from Sister P while I fasted: In one of Mandy's letters to me in the MTC, she said, "You are capable of so much more than you think. In your toughest of times, the Lord humbles you and shows you your weaknesses and then as you endure through those times, he will turn those weaknesses into strengths". That is explained so clearly in Ether 12. I know that scripture, yet I feel like a lot of us, especially me, doubt that it applies to us. Sis. P. told me that in our life we have a backpack. We pick up rocks here and there and put them in our backpacks. Eventually we run out of room. Sometimes we toss the rocks out, so they don't burden us anymore. Sometimes we get used to them, don't mind them too much, so we decide to keep them. Those rocks are our weaknesses and trials. On a mission, we are given a much smaller backpack. We literally have no room or time to carry all of those rocks around with us. There's so much more I need to fill my backpack with. So why would I keep all my rocks? We are given the opportunity to TOSS them! The Lord will gladly take them from us. The hard part is knowing how to give them up. How do I give up the little things about myself that never held me back before, but suddenly are stopping my progression?
At home, I always got what I wanted. If I wasn't good at something, then I would just stop doing it. You don't really enjoy things you're not good at right? Well that's not an option here. I'm not good at the language, I'm not good at teaching, and I don't like not knowing whats going on when people are talking. But I can't give up here. It's not an option anymore. Going home is an option, and if you are all okay with me coming home, I'd hop on the next flight haha. But what would that do? I'd be the same, if not worse, than what I was before I left. It's like choir! When Hebert (her beloved high school choir teacher) would play the piano, and not play the last note haha. It's so annoying huh? He thought it was so funny, and it kind of is haha. But it's like working so hard on a song, like "Sleep" (all my Vocal friends know :) ), and just quitting half way because we weren't good at it and it was getting harder. Finishing and performing that song was so rewarding, because of how hard it was and how much time we spent on it. 
So my point, I've never been expected to do anything this hard before, so of course it's going to be hard. But like Alma and Amulek in the Book of Mormon, Alma was kicked out of the city he was preaching in, but an angel told him to go back? He was probably thinking, "Why and how? They're just going to kick me out again. What's the point?" But He went back, and he found another way into the city, and he found Amulek, who lived in the city and who was prepared for him, to help him (If you want to know about the rest of the story, read Alma 8-in The Book of Mormon, because it's really a good book ;) ). And Moses, who was told that he would deliver the people out of Egypt, but saw no way to do that with Pharaoh in the way. But eventually, the Lord parted the Red Sea so his people could cross the waters to safety on dry ground. So many miracles come from continuing. Just like we tell all of our members. Padayun! When you don't know how to keep going, and you want to do good, just continue. Endure. Sometimes, that's all you can do.
I guess this email was more of a pep-talk for me. I bear testimony that the Lord loves us and he wants to help us. I know that He is so sad when he sees me crying and feeling so alone. And he's sad because he's there, comforting me, and I fail to feel him. When we're sad, and when we're ready to give up, that is when the Lord is there, with his arms wrapped around us. What is our purpose here on Earth? Why would our Heavenly Father want us to be sad and miserable? All he wants is for us to be happy, and we find the greatest joy when we aren't focused on ourselves, on our problems. I know that that is why i've been so unhappy. Because I WANT to speak the language. I WANT to understand the people. I WANT to be a good teacher. Those aren't bad desires! But I know, the second I just step out the door, and WANT to serve his children, that all my righteous desires will be given to me. Life takes patience, diligence, faith, and humility. It takes giving ourselves to the Lord fully. It takes time. It can't be mastered all at once. But if we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives, then we can have hope that one day we will master everything and all our trials will be taken from us. And I share this, as a servant of our Heavenly Father, and in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
With love from the Philippines still, 
Sister Hogge

Manifestations of Love 7/21/13

Definitely an answer to our prayers!!    ;)   ~Linda

Crazy week...none of you will ever believe what's happened.
Sister T got transferred, so I'm still in Borongan! Also...I got a new companion (duh), guess who?? Sister Pettijohn! Sister Lindsay's companion in the MTC! It is SO crazy! So waray follow-up trainer, batch-mates na lang. So now here in Borongan, there are 2 American sisters, who have no idea what's going on. When I found out, I got scared out of my mind. Sister Pettijohn's first area was Cebuano, straight out of the MTC. I know basic cebuano, and the languages are similar, but also...SO different. So right now, I'm leading the area, and kind of getting a feel for how training will be. S. Pettijohn knows no one, even speaks a different language, it's kind of like she's starting over. It's mas marisyo dinhi yena.

Me and Sister P with CJ and J, after their baptism

Manifestations of my Heavenly Father's love for me this week: Heavenly Father answers prayers, because He loves me. Every time I ask him for something in a new companion, he's provided, every time. I just wanted an American companion, so I could communicate with her, and understand her, and work at the American pace, and just have someone to talk to, and oddly as this is...I asked for one who could sing. Random, I know, but I got everything. Sister Pettijohn is from Oregon, she was in my district in the MTC, so we already know and love each other, and she's an amazing singer!!!!!!! I feel so bad, and I feel so needy. I'm always asking Heavenly Father for things, and He's always giving them to me. But it's just proof that I'm not alone, I have NO reason to feel alone, lost, or afraid. But I always seem to feel one of those things at least once a day. The trick I've found, is to just pray to have an experience to get me out of one of those traps. Heavenly Father never fails to help.
Us with Dona C. after her baptism

This weekend was amazing! We had a wedding, and 3 baptisms! I'm pretty sure you remember the family who's little daughter died at the beginning of my first cycle in the field, the Cabacaba's, well...they got married on Saturday, and baptized only an hour later!!! And then 2 boys we've been teaching, who's mom is a member, got baptized. The Cabacaba's are so great, Dona, the mom, has always been really quiet and shy with me. But now that Sister Tumala is gone, she's opened up a lot to me, and is trying her hardest to speak the English she knows. And her and her husband help me with my waray waray. The whole Branch has been amazing! I feel like it's a completely different branch, because now I talk to them, ask them for help, and I'm more myself with them. It's been so good for's kind of like I had to grow up and just talk and try harder. I've been so blessed this week. Things are definitely ten times harder now, but Sister Pettijohn and I talk about it, and work it out, and encourage each other. So I don't feel so alone anymore.
Also, our area got changed. We're now in the city, the Elder's area. President wanted us to switch just to be safe...which is probably better with 2 Americans here now. So it's kind of like we're white washing an area too. So extra prayers could definitely be used right now. I speak the language so much more now than before, it's so fun. Things are improving, and getting harder! Which only means one thing: I'm going to grow even more. 

The new Borongan gang. Us, and our new ZL, Elder C, from American Fork UT. (He's a Pott's twin...he talks just like them, and laughs just like them. It's so weird...I feel like I already know him!)

I know our Heavenly Father loves all of us. I know that despite our times of discouragement, he is always there to help us and build us back up. It's so hard, I know. I experience discouraging moments about every other hour here on the mission, but times like the Cabacaba's wedding and baptism, make EVERYTHING worth it. Especially when they express their deep gratitude for the difference we've made in their life. I honestly don't even know how to describe how rewarding that is. The mission has been so hard for me. Most of the Sister's here were so anxious and excited to serve a mission. So there are times I'm not very motivated to learn the language, or teach, especially when I feel like a failure when I teach or try to speak. But you can't get good at things until you fall, and some people fall more than others. But since I've been able to focus on the little moments, that's when I really see how much I've grown, and the difference I'm making. So recognize the daily miracles, the daily manifestations of love, and like Britt Green told me a few months ago in a letter, look at how much you've accomplished, not how much left you have to do. "If you keep looking forward to tomorrow, you'll have a lot of empty yesterdays".
Like always, thank you for your prayers and support. I love you all. I love you mom. Thank you for everything.
With love from the Philippines,
Sister Hogge

 FHE at the C's house!

The last of the Borongan gang, with Nan F. The day Sister T left.

Haha a few weeks ago, me, sis. b. and sis. l. with our new bags! haha matching matching, purple tripled!

Dona and Paul's whole family, and us :) after the wedding!

Damo mga pictures ini semana! Enjoy! 

Love from the Philippines,

Sister Hogge