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Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Mother's Day! (I don't know what else to name this email...) 5/13/13

Had an amazing conversation with Katie last night.  She is doing so well!  Her countenance was peaceful.  She's happy and it shows! You will be happy to know she feels your prayers and they buoy her up! ~Linda

Happy Mother's Day! Haha I just got off skype with you all, and I think I forgot to say that. Sorry! I want you to know that I was thinking about you, Mom, all day yesterday. Me and my companion even let ourselves cry a little bit from missing our moms, and it was a good and much needed cry. It prepared me for today! I thought I was going to be a mess...crying the whole time I was skyping, but I wasn't too bad. I prayed so hard to use this skype session to strengthen me and not to tear me down and make me homesick. I'm still praying that it works, but as of right now I feel completely uplifted and literally lighter! To have a connection with your family when you've felt SO alone and SO far away is so encouraging. It makes me feel like you're not all so far away. I think it'll hold me over until Christmas :)
David's home!! That is so funny...we're like opposites right now. I miss home, he misses his mission. I'm excited to hear how he's doing. And I'm half jealous of him for being home/half sad for him. I miss home, but I'm so glad I don't have to focus on myself right now and worry about school, work, etc. I'm sure it's extremely hard.

Anyway(s), this week has been AWESOME! Comparatively. I still wake up every morning homesick (dreaming of home will be the death of me). I wake up thinking I'm home and then the heat hits me and I realize I'm in the Philippines, it's the worst feeling in the world. But how am I dealing with it? I just get up, start reading the scriptures, and eat my oatmeal. That's about all you can do. On the mornings where I wake up exhausted and homesick, I get more exhausted and more homesick the longer I lay there. The only way to get over it I'm beginning to learn, is to get to work. So I want everyone to know that I'm trying! I'm trying to work hard, but know that I am not perfect yet. There are still mornings I allow myself to lay there, and it is not worth it. I need to be better. Every week's a new week. If there is something you need to work on, start today! If you can't think of something specifically, then pray for something to work on, and after your prayer, open your scriptures. There is ALWAYS something we can do better, and the scriptures will ALWAYS tell us what that is. Try it, it's cool.
This week we had zone conference! For those of you who've served missions, you know those are a BIG deal. We had zone conference with 2 others zones, so I got to see Sister Lindsay, Sister Bray, Sister Hurless, Elder Call, and Elder Kaafi from my batch! I've never been so excited to see an American before. It was so good to hear about how they were all doing. We're all struggling! Which is hard to hear, but it's so much easier knowing I'm not alone. The mission is hard. And the only way to ever understand how emotionally, physically and mentally draining it is, is to go on a mission. This week Sister T and I found out just how poorly our branch is doing. 79 members came to church yesterday, out of 0ver 600. We have 600 inactive/less active members. Do you know how much pressure you, as a missionary, feel to be responsible for 600 souls? And not only be responsible, but feel inadequate to make a difference? How is this brand new missionary supposed to affect the lives of 600 people enough to encourage them to come back to church after years of inactivity? I have no idea. But you know who does? The Lord. There is no way any missionaries could ever be effective unless the Lord prepared his people to hear you. I am learning to have faith, and to trust the Lord that this is where I'm supposed to be. Whether or not I feel adequate is not important. Anything is possible through Christ. We just have to remember that, I just have to remember that. If I can do that, I will be successful. So here we go!!! I've got a lot of work to do :)
But not only do I have work to do, you all do too. Anybody who reads this does! As members of Christ's church, we are just as responsible for these souls. Missionaries CAN NOT do their work effectively without members. So yes, I am calling everyone out, including myself before the mission. If you aren't helping the missionaries, or helping the inactives/less actives, then you are not doing your job as a member of this church. PLEASE help the missionaries. Ask how you can help. Refer friends to them. Take 5 minutes out of your day to tell someone who doesn't come to church anymore that you miss them. That is all it takes. Once you do that, the Lord will help you. It's really that easy. Missionaries teach and help others to understand the gospel, Members fellowship. What is the point of baptizing people into our church if they don't continue to go because of the lack of fellow-shipping? There is no point. Help the Missionaries.
Here I go, making everyone feel bad. Haha sorry. That is not my point. I love you all! And I love all the support. It makes me feel stronger EVERY day to know how many people love me and pray for me. So thank you :) I am doing a lot better this week. I've had this goal to be happier and find things to laugh at and find joy in. It's totally working! And not only that, but I'm reading my scriptures. It's the only familiar thing to me right now. And the Lord has blessed me with an amazing increase of understanding for the scriptures. They are SO fun to read! I love it! So thank you for your prayers. Know that they are helping. I can feel them helping :)
I don't have any funny stories yet. The dogs hear scare me...they are infested with fleas! And one night sister Tand I had to literally run until we felt like the dog wasn't following us. They just roam around everywhere, like wild dogs. It's sad and scary at the same time. So oddly enough, I miss Mika. What else? I ate fish last night!! And it was tasteless!!!!! So I was able to just smile and say it was good haha. Easy :) and we had it with rice, of course. There hasn't been a day yet that we don't eat rice. I am starting to crave it...which is the weirdest feeling. I still miss America, but I've made it my goal to stop comparing like Kevin Smith and Sister Raddigan suggested. It's really hard not to compare. America is so much nicer, and cleaner, and cooler haha. But I promise, I'm trying. The people make it so much easier. They are SO nice. They joke around 24/7 too, so we're always laughing haha...even if I don't get the joke. They just like to laugh. It's a good distraction.
I love you all! I have to go! I'll try to attach pictures! Have a good week!!!!!
Sister Hogge

Yes...I ate that :) that was my sunday dinner this week :)

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