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Monday, April 22, 2013

Last Pday in the MTC!

So here she goes....  I'm sure the next couple of weeks will be rough, but she'll make it!  Thanks for your prayers and support!  You have made a world of difference to her!  So excited to hear all about the Philippines!  ~Linda

Katie didn't include any pictures this week, so to add some interest to this post, and since Katie is currently en route to the Philippines, I've decided to include some pictures from the www of the Philippines! Enjoy! -Nicole

So Today is my p-day, just until 2, so that we can spend the morning doing last minute emails and laundry and packing. Um CRAZY that this time went by so fast! I can't believe that we're already done with the MTC. Just 2 more full days, and then we take off.

Leyte, Tacloban

We had to say bye to our investigators yesterday and Thursday. And I just realized that I didn't even tell you about them! So we've been teaching them for 4 weeks. (And yeah, they're just our teachers, but it's crazy how in character they are - like every missionary says.) But the first one we taught was Edeline. She has a boyfriend who is in the Navy, so she doesn't see him often, and she has a son that's living with her parents in the Philippines. And she is so interested in the church! It's so cool to see how perceptive she is. But she's had all her family tell her that she's not clean enough to be baptized, that she has too many sins. So our FIRST visit we talked about repentance. It was so weird, but we felt like it was good for her to know about it right away. And she loved that lesson. She was so happy that she could repent, which is the exact purpose of repentance!! To make us happy! I gained my testimony from her that repentance is so important to teach people. Everyone has the ability to be worthy, they just have to show the desire. She gets "baptized" next week, I committed her last week and promised to help her feel more prepared.  So exciting! Our second investigator is Ruel. He works on Sundays, to provide for his pretty big family. He's a fisherman and his work is the only way his family gets food for the week. So imagine asking someone like Ruel to go to church on Sunday. The testimony I gained with him is that as a missionary, I have the authority to promise him blessings if he keeps the commandments and goes to church. And the Lord, depending on the faith of you AND the investigator, will provide the exact blessing you promise. It's a good concept to learn before going to such a humbling place such as the Philippines. There will be people like Ruel everywhere. We didn't get to see the blessings get fulfilled, because we committed him to go our last lesson with him. But I know that it would happen if he shows the faith. The beginning of the week we talked about the Restoration with him, and the Book of Mormon. We asked him to pray about it again, because we had briefly gone over it but he didn't get an answer last week....but he did this week. Our last lesson he told us that he knew it was true. I started bawling! It felt so good to get him to finally get his answer, and sincerely ask for it. He's bringing all 4 of his kids to church on Sunday. (I should have committed him to be baptized, but I got caught up in the investigator!)

Tacloban City

I absolutely love the MTC. It stresses me out to plan for my lessons with my investigators, but it's good for me and I always love it once I'm in the actual lesson. I learned that once I went in there with only my scriptures and our lesson plan in our planner, that teaching was so much easier. I relied on what I knew in my head and the Savior rather than reading sentences I had planned in Cebuano. The Spirit is so much stronger when you struggle with the language. It seems weird, and it is, but it's a cool weird. I'm excited for the Spirit to speak through me next week...Heaven knows I WILL NEED IT!
We had Infield-Orientation all day yesterday, and it was SO much fun! It was from 8-5, so by the end we were all REALLY tired, but I learned so much from it. I learned a new concept that took me off guard yesterday. I've always thought that it doesn't matter what our numbers are, how many baptisms we have, how many investigators we have, etc. And it really doesn't, only because it doesn't show the kind of missionary you are. Sometimes this will be slow and numbers will be low, even when you're trying your hardest. And that's okay! But do you think the Lord cares if you only have 12 investigators instead of 14?...Yes, He does. Every # = a person/child of God, and He would rather have 14 of his children than settle for just 12. Every time we don't try our hardest with every person, and just assume that they aren't ready for the gospel, it devistates our Heavenly Father. It makes me wish that I was at home calling every person in my contacts to see if they wanted to come to church with me on Sunday. I bet that if you did that mom, someone would say yes. So we heard this story yesterday about the importance of referrals. I never knew how important referrals are! As missionaries, we could go around and search all day every day for people who are ready for the gospel, but why not use our resources - aka the members. The most perceptive people to the gospel are those in the middle of a crisis, new to the area, or just starting a family - members know who these people are! It would take us years to figure out who all these people are without the members help! Okay so anyways...the story: These missionaries were teaching new member lessons to this recent convert. One of the Elders asked if she had any referrals, and she said no. Then his companion, being bold, took her phone, scrolled through it, found a name, and said, "So you're saying that (insert name) doesn't want to come to church with you on Sunday." The new member said, "...Okay, you're right. I can call him later and ask." And the missionaries said, "Why don't you do it right now, while you have our support." She did. She straight out asked if he wanted to come to church with her, and he said yes! When the Elder's met him, they asked if he would bring a friend to their next lesson. When that friend came, they asked if that friend could bring a friend to the next lesson. And when that other friend came, they asked them to bring a friend who was interested to the next one. They baptized all 4 of those people 3 weeks later. Referrals are the key! Missionary work is honestly the work of members, not missionaries. We just help prepare and teach people to be baptized. Members are the activators. Invite your friends to church! I feel like that is so important. Constantly give names to the missionaries. You don't know who's ready or not, but the Lord does. So we should be talking to and inviting everyone. That is my goal when I get to the Philippines next week. It's hard, I know it is. But it's so important, and I didn't realize that until yesterday. So be a missionary, invite others to come unto Christ. They are waiting!!
Eastern Visayas Children, Tacloban City

And with that, I'm going to end :) I have been so grateful for all the love and support these past 6 weeks. I can't believe that I'm already leaving, like I keep saying...but I am so excited!! I have every reason in the world to be nervous: I don't know the language hardly at all, I don't know the gospel perfectly enough to teach people, and I have no idea what it'll be like to live in the Philippines. But how cool is it that the Lord knows the language, that the Lord knows that gospel, and the Lord knows what it's like to live in the Philippines. Why not just rely on the Lord, and trust Him that everything will be okay? It's a lot easier to say that than to actually do that, but I need to. I know that without Him, I will NOT survive haha.
This email is getting really long, so I'm going to go. But I love you mom!! I'm excited to share about my experiences my first week next week. It's going to be a complete culture shock. So just know that it'll be okay, but I'll probably be REALLY homesick and REALLY scared next week. Right now I'm okay, I feel really peaceful and ready to be there. But I know that once I get there, I'm going to start struggling. Struggling makes you stronger though, right? Right! So I got this! Just pray extra hard for me, I pray for all of you every night!! I feel like singing the song, "I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready!" from spongebob haha. I'll sing it in Cebuano though! "Andam ko, andam ko, andam ko!" Hahaha
Gihigugma ko namo!! (I love you all!!)

Similar to the View Katie might be seeing, although I think she'll get there during the night...

(a little more from the family email)...

Anything else? Any questions for me? I sent mom an email about my week this morning, so get on her to send that to you all (see above). It talks about how I'm feeling leaving the MTC. Which, I am going to miss it. Jackie, PLAY 4 SQUARE! It is SO MUCH FUN! (For those of you who don't know, Jackie is Katie's best friend who recently received her mission call to the Wisconsin Milwaukee Mission. She enters the MTC May 1st, so Katie is enjoying giving her some pointers! :) We're technically not supposed to go to gym today because we all need to pack, but all of us are, just to play 4 square one last time haha. Nicole, you were right...the Elder's get so into it! But guess what...SO DO I! Haha it's hilarious, because every time I get an Elder out, they freak out. And usually I only get them out because I'm so nervous to have the ball in my square that I hit it so hard to get it away from me, and it ends up looking like I'm a professional 4 square player. It's hilarious. Haha. Oh and I know everyone hates the food here...I feel like I'm going out to eat like every meal. Sausage and Biscuits almost every morning, along with sausage, eggs, hashbrowns, donuts, bagels (they have everything here), and then almost every lunch there's the option of a burger and fries. It's gross, but it's so good. And I won't have that for the next 17 months, so why not?!I hate onion rings, but here, I love them. The Elder's even say they're gross here so I don't understand why I like them. And almost every meal time, Sister Bray, Sister Lindsay and I have a bowl of ketchup and mayo (fry sauce) to dip something in...there's always something to eat with it. Haha every Wednesday and Sunday there's ice cream (Jackie, get the graham canyon. It's so good, but they always run out of it. So check before you eat!!!). Um Friday's are pizza days for dinner, and it's not too good. I always feel crappy after that. They have the best coudon bleu (no idea how to spell that), but it's my favorite meal here. 
And Jackie said that she thinks I lost weight since being here...after hearing about what I eat, and that I only play 4 square (I never break a sweat), do you really think that I lost weight? All my clothes fit the same and I haven't weighed myself, so I really don't know. But I doubt I've lost weight...thanks for the compliment though.

Um, I love you all. This email was completely random, but enjoy! Haha I LOVE the MTC. It took me 4 weeks to realize how much I love it, but now I know. I'm going to miss seeing my district all the time and having teachers. My teachers are amazing.But anyways, I love it here. Elder Muir is like Adam's twin (the Australian elder), so I feel so at home. We act like we're siblings sometimes, and he calls me mom sometimes -  well my whole district calls me mom, it's just fun to be loved and to have had so much time to really feel like a family. It'll be hard to lose that, but at least when I see them in the Philippines I'll feel at home!! 
Love you all again, and bye!!!!

Love, Sister Hogge

Congratulations if you've made it this far! Katie likes to write! :)

Katie's flight as of midnight Utah time. Almost to Tokyo!! and then after a couple hours layover, off to
Manila and then another 4 hour flight on a tiny plane into Tacloban! She will be EXHAUSTED!

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