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Tuesday, May 7, 2013 week down 5/6/13

Ironically she refers to wishing she had time to tell stories and then proceeds to write another book...

I wish I had time to tell you stories. But I'll tell you a little about the area. We're the first sisters here, and I'm the first white sister, so EVERYONE stares at me. It's really weird. Everyone calls me beautiful and says, "hello" to me. Which is funny because I wear NO make up and my hair is always up in a bun, and I'm always sweating. So it's weird. I've had no experience with the food here. Well, a little bit. We ate at the Branch President's house last sunday, but that's all the foreign food i've had. It's hard to eat here, because I have no idea what anything is. I just eat fruit, bread, rice and peanut butter. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it.
So yesterday was church. We went to church and I was just so overwhelmed again. Every time we go out, I get so overwhelmed with the language. It's so hard.  And trying to stay awake in church is hard enough, imagine not knowing ANYTHING that is being said. They sing in English, but that's about all. Anyways, that's what I fasted for yesterday. A desire to speak the language. Once I can speak it, even just a few words here and there, I won't be so homesick. And guess what? It came! Well it comes and goes, but it came yesterday during language study after church. I know 50 words in Waray Waray now. And last night at MCM I spoke Waray Waray for the first time to the members. They asked me to pray, and I said as much as I could in Waray Waray. They were SO proud of me. We spend so much time with the members, so I feel really close to them already. So to have them be so proud of me felt so good. Imagine when I can actually speak to them :)
Our mission is focused on reactivating and finding professionals. The church here needs strong leaders. We had 124 members in sacrament meeting this week, last week was 104. That's not a lot. But we worked this week on visiting less actives and inviting them to church. We got 20 people! that's a start!! (I think they come just to see a white person...I'm the talk of the branch right now.) We've also gotten a few less active girls to help us around the city. We're both EXTREMELY unfamiliar with Borongan, so they've been taking us to members houses. We taught 14 lessons this week. That's including 2 to our investigator, Brother "L". I invited him to be baptized last week during our first lesson and he said yes. He was so ready to be taught. He's been hanging out with the members for a while and his aunt is a member. He's just been waiting for us I guess. He gets baptized on June 1st. My first baptism already!
Tomorrow we have Zone conference, and the next day we go to Tacloban (6hours away), for a tri-zone conference. I get to see Sister Bray, Lindsay, Elder Call and a few others from our batch. I am SO excited.

My right leg has about 50 mosquito bites on it. I might have to come home without it.
Anyways, I should probably go. Thank you for your prayers and your love and your support. I thought the MTC was hard...psh. But I had to go through that hard time to be able to handle this one. And I have to go through this hard time to be able to handle the next one. So I'm grateful for struggling. It's hard in the moment, but I know it'll be worth it. I'm grateful for the people here. They've been so open and accepting of me. I can only speak in English, and most everyone can understand me. They're just all too shy to talk back. But i've been able to bear my testimony to a lot less actives and the spirit has been so strong. I'm so grateful for that, that I've been able to feel useful and touch so many members already. But I also know that the Lord has blessed me with that for now, but expects me to try harder to learn the language.
I love you all so much. Thank you for everything. I wouldn't be here if it hadn't been for your prayers and examples. They give me strength.
Love, Sister Hogge
( pictures this week)

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