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Sunday, July 7, 2013

A week without light 7/1/13

Weekly emails are the hardest. I never know what to write!  But I like to be honest, so here I go:

First, I'm an AUNT!  He's adorable. I'm glad his name is Kobe, cause that's what I've been calling him to everyone :) So tell Kobe he's so popular here in the Philippines!
I'm so proud of Kelsey :) She's a trooper, I love her and that I am SO proud of her. She's going to be such a good mother. And Ty's going to be the BEST dad! Haha pretty soon little Kobe's going to be a star basketball player, just like his dad! Note from Linda - (Katie's oldest sister Kelsey had her baby earlier this week) our little Kobe decided he didn't want to wait and made a grand entrance 6 weeks early. He weighed 4lbs 15 ounces, and although he is tiny, he is perfectly healthy.  He's been in the NICU for a week, but we are expecting him to come home in the next day or so.  For those of you that have been in the loop, thank you so much for your love and prayers.  They have worked miracles!  Kelsey is doing great and Kobe is healthy and strong!
Okay, so this week, just like every week, had it's ups, but mostly it's downs... I prayed SO hard for help. To be more patient, and to be happy.  Sunday morning we woke up and went to church, just like normal. We took the sacrament, and went to classes, and everything just felt back to normal. Then we got home and the affects of the Atonement just hit me, and I understood it like never before. We are given a chance to start over every week. When we take the sacrament, we are renewing our covenants and all our sins are wiped clean. Which is just what we've all learned, right? That was the first time in my life that I have needed his help so bad.  I focus on the unimportant times that I feel uncomfortable rather than focusing on what I can do to feel the spirit. I can only control myself, and once I realized that, and turned to the Lord, and continued to try my hardest to love and serve, the Lord really helped me out. I just realized, almost 4 months into my mission, and 21 years into my life, that I have the chance to start over and try harder every week. That's a lot of second chances! How lucky are we?? I am SO grateful for the Atonement, for the sacrament, for this gospel. I have never felt such peace as when I got home from church on Sunday. I literally felt new. I felt no guilt. All I can do is look forward and try to be better. It's amazing what the Lord can do when you are sincere.

So that was my weekend. Today we had our zone activity, which was so fun. So even though home is sounding really good, even now, I am so much more grateful for these little things I'm learning every week. Because I can look back on them and remember the exact feeling I had. What if I wasn't here? Would I still not know the true feeling of repentance? I'm so glad I didn't risk it, and i'm not risking any more experiences! The mission is so hard! I wake up more tired than I was when I went to bed. Even if we don't have a lot of work one day, everything out here is emotionally draining. I feel like my brain is open and my mind has just expanded to everything and all this pressure is weighing on my shoulders. I know and recognize everything I do wrong and want to fix it right away. But I can only focus on one week at a time.
I really hope that none of my emails ever get you down. I honestly don't mean to be so open, but it's so good for me to get out all my emotions haha.  I'm learning a lot.
Now for a Philippines adventure: We had a bagyo this weekend, or a typhoon. It reached a level 2 on Saturday morning, so we weren't allowed to go out and work because it was supposed to be really bad. Well, it rained for a few hours, and then everything was clear, so we went out anyways. But all the power went out, everywhere. So once the sun went down, the adventures started. There wasn't light anywhere, so all the street lamps were out too. But we had a meeting with President, so we went to meet him at the church. We spent an hour at the church, waiting, and talking to all the members with each of us holding a flashlight. That was my language study for the day :) The members taught me every word they could think of and i wrote and repeated it as fast as i could. It was so fun! Then we went to our investigators house and taught them in the dark with just a candle on their table. We read with them in Alma 32, their assignment, and it was fun to just read, and explain, and talk about that chapter. Then we left, and walked home in the dark and the rain (and dark as in almost pitch black, other than the motor cycle passing here and there). We just laughed on our way home, because there was literally nothing we could do. Our phone was dead too, because we forgot to charge it the night before and we had no electricity. So we attempted to walk the 45 minutes home in the dark, while it was pouring rain. When it rains in the Philippines, not a Filipino is in's like they all go into hiding. So it can be hopping one second, and the minute it starts raining, the party ends. Everything is dead haha. So we were lucky to eventually get a ride, after about 20 minutes of walking. Then we got home, and our water was out, and I needed a shower. So i filled up the bucket from the bumba outside, and showered with one bucket of water, in the dark.'s just one of those moments you think you would never have to worry about, but suddenly it becomes your reality. So i just laughed while i showered. Dipped my hair in the bucket, and cleaned myself with half dirty/half soapy water. I don't think i even got cleaned, but it was all i had! And despite the fact that we had no fans that night (my first night without a fan), I wasn't too hot! So it was an adventure for sure :) There's a day without light in the Philippines.
For our zone activity we went down south about an hour away, to this GORGEOUS place. We walked out on this corral reef to this island, which was about a 40 minute walk. It was the coolest thing ever, I'll try to send pictures :) I love the adventures we have here, you can't do them anywhere else :)
So that was my week. And that's about it. Tell the family i love them. I never fail to pray for you guys. One night this week, or last, (I can't remember), I started praying at 10pm, and woke up at 10:33. I don't even think I got all the way through addressing Heavenly Father before I passed out. My knees were DEAD! Haha but I shook it off, apologized and thanked him for my day, and asked him to bless all of you, and a few special friends too :) and then i fell asleep. So even when I fall asleep during my prayers, I never fail to pray for you all. And now I have an another person to pray for, baby Kobe!! And it's official. Tell him that his aunt katie loves him SO much!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't even know how to express my love for him. He is SO cute. I am so blessed, and kelsey and ty are blessed too i guess :) I'm so grateful i've been blessed to have a safe and healthy family while i'm away. It makes being here SO much easier.
Be safe, give my love to everyone, especially those who read this email.
Have a good week!
With love from the Philippines,
Sister Hogge

It's part of growing know 6/23/13

Katie has definitely turned the corner and has forgotten herself in the joy of loving and serving others...  What a beautiful thing the gospel is as it refines and tones us and molds us into what Heavenly Father intends for us to be!

Maupay nga Aga!

I'm emailing in the morning today! Kind of exciting huh? Except that everyone's going to be disappointed that they missed me. It's okay, ayaw kabalaka. Sigi? Maupay ak!

Waray Waray is going good! I'm still horrible at speaking it, but it's amazing how much easier things are when you apply them. Every since I started applying the language in my lessons, I've gotten a lot better. I still have a lot to learn, but it's so cool and rewarding when they understand you. Every time I ask them a question, and get most of it out in the language, I get that much more confident. And then they answer me and I realize I have no idea what they just said. But that's okay! Thats definitely where faith comes into play, every single hour of every single day. Sometimes I just talk and hope with everything in me that it's what the Lord wants me to say. 

But sorry for the times I do use the language. You can't google translate it because it's just a village language. So I guess we'll both be using the gift of tongues!

Sigi, so this week we had a Sisters Meeting! Yes we traveled to Tacloban again. That's about 6 times in the last 8 weeks haha, it takes 2 full days out of our week. So I'm hoping next cycle it won't be this bad. We are getting 17 Sisters next week! Crazy huh? So we'll have 63 Sister Missionaries in our mission, and 37 of them will be American. When the batch before me got here, there were only 2 American sisters. It's so exciting to see all these sisters serving! And I love them all :) they've become a temporary replacement for my sisters and best friends, so it's really fun serving with them. I am so blessed to be serving at such a time as this!

So mom, you asked about the family who lost their daughter (this is the family that Katie and her companion were teaching and found out the daughter had leukemia and was dying - the family called the sisters back shortly after they left and when Katie and her companion got there the father was still holding this precious daughter who had just passed on)? They're are doing SO much better! They aren't the best at coming to church, but they came this week! And....THEY'RE GETTING MARRIED!! Sister T and I are SO excited. Sister D's baptimal date is July 16th, and their wedding should be the first week in July. So they are doing awesome. 

We also have a new investigator, Brother CJ. He's 12 years old, just like our last one who got baptized, and his date for baptism is July 6th. It's so hard for me to teach him. He does not understand ANY English, only pure Waray Waray. So I feel really dumb whenever I teach him, and I just feel bad. Because mixed Waray and English is harder for people to understand than just English, especially from an American. So i'm working on my accent! If I can talk like a filipina, I can be understood by the filipinos.

There was a worldwide training on Member missionary work?? That is SO cool! Why did we not hear about that?? I'm going to ask the ZL's today if we can watch it :) It sounded amazing! And I'm sure that everything they said in it was extremely helpful. Just know, that missionaries REALLY need help from the members. Our work is pointless, unless there is fellowshipping, as said by Gordon B. Hinkley, I think. We can baptize hundreds of people, but if the members don't welcome them in, they'll stop coming to church. Di'ba? I feel so guilty for asking for members help but not helping before my mission. I know it's hard, but it can also be really easy. Ask the missionaries what you can do to help. Taking a half hour out of your week to visit a Less Active could depend upon them coming to church, or not. So ask them how you can help :) They'll tell you EXACTLY what you need to do.

So it's rainy season here in the Philippines. I can't decide if that first week was so hot for me because I just wasn't used to it or if it was because I was in culture shock. Because I haven't been that miserable since. There have been plenty of moments of relief, and we live and work pretty close to the beach so there's almost always a breeze. Not as bad as Taiwan Uncle Scott. I'm counting my blessings, day by day. And oh my goodness, I'm getting so fat. Sorry for the lack of pictures lately. I'm still documenting, just not sending. You're better off, I PROMISE! As our branch president's wife would say, "It's part of growing up, you know?" Haha pero bisan ano, marasa ora ora pakaon didi. Or in Cebuano, pakaon dinhi, yummy kaayo! The food here is DELICIOUS! And I might get called to a bukid area next transfer where I'll probably starve. So bisan ano!

Sigi, waray oras na. I love you all! Have an amazing week! And perami magsimba, ngan magbasa adlaw adlaw, ngan magampo adlaw adlaw gihapon. (always go to church, read every day and pray every day)

Love from the Philippines, 
Sister Hogge (or Sister Hodge as the second counselor still calls me)

Patience is a Virtue 6/17/13

So, all of you who know me know that this is one of my most used phrases, "Patience is a Virtue." Isn't it funny how you can say something your whole life and not really even understand it or know how to apply it. Yeah, funny huh?
This past week has been funny, because I've gotten to the point where I just laugh at things; when I'm happy, sad, stressed, depressed, etc. We had a training in Tacloban on Thursday, meaning that we had to leave Borongan on Wednesday since our travel is so far. So that's a 5 day (Technically 4, with P-day) work week. And things have been going good! Missionary work is hard, so we definitely have our days where we're so tired and so unsuccessful that giving up sounds like a really good option. But overall, I'm adjusting just fine, (Especially to the food. I think I'm gaining weight). So when we got to Tacloban, we got to meet all the new missionaries. There are 7 new American sisters, and we'll be getting 17 next cycle!! That's crazy!! The Sisters are opening so many areas here, it's insane. Pretty soon there will be sisters and elders in EVERY single area. Is that what's happening back home too? Do we have sisters in our ward yet? This is just so crazy, I'm loving it! (Yes, we had mcdonalds again this trip)
Anyways! Our training was so good, there's a lot I learned that I wanted to try to work on. One thing President focused on were the Christ-like attributes. He said that once we mastered the Christ-like attributes, we'd be amazing missionaries. Easy! I studied 4 of them already, so I felt ahead of the game: Faith, Patience, Humility and Diligence. So we get back to our area late Thursday night, and you'll never believe what happened the next day. Let's just say, and Sister Tumala will agree when she reads this next year after her mission, last Friday was the worst day since I've been here. We were so impatient with each other, we weren't very diligent, neither of us, but especially me, were very humble, and our faith was lacking probably the whole day, and we only had one lesson. And we let it last into the next day too, I could feel Satan working so hard on me! It was the worst feeling! I remember feeling that the first week in the MTC, when I just missed home so much that I was considering just leaving. Satan takes our biggest strengths sometimes and turns them into weaknesses. My family is my biggest strength. Here in the field, companionships are your biggest strengths. You can't teach or have the Spirit if you're doing the work alone, so what is Satan going to attack first? Our families, or for me, my companionship. Well the only advice I have is don't let him!!!!!! Be patient with your loved ones, they're all you've got, no one can afford to lose them.

Patience is something I'm working on. I WILL master that by the time I get home. It's SO hard here, especially because Filipino's are so laid back and relaxed all the time, and American's are so stressed and fast paced. It's a huge road block here. But we are only promised relief from our trials if we "bear them with patience", right? We are such a demanding people now a days. We want everything right now. I want to be good at it all right now. Having patience and faith, being diligent and humble, teaching, speaking the language, etc. But those are all talents, and we have to work at them if we want to be better. And it feels hopeless for me, but that's because I'm trying so hard to do it on my own to fulfill my needs.'s not about me. It's never about us. Moroni 7, the end of the chapter, it talks about charity. Before we can gain anything, we have to first be charitable. Haha I feel like I'm all over the place in this email, with all these different traits that I have to work on. But it all comes down to serving. Once we focus on someone other than ourselves, is the very moment the Lord steps in and helps us with our needs. IT'S HARD! But life is hard, and that is part of growing up :) So why waste time? We've just got to do it. So, if you need help with something, then SERVE someone today.
So there it is :) I'm still smiling, still happy. The Philippines are awesome. It's hot, and rainy, and the food here is just amazing and I'm just soaking it all in, the best that I can. You know whats funny? Even when I'm hot and sweaty, when I get in front of a fan for too long, I get the chills. Isn't that weird? It's the weirdest feeling ever haha.
I love you all :) we have another training this week in Tacloban, so if I have the same exact week, I'll just "copy, paste" this email. Haha but I'm sure it'll be great :)
- Sister Hogge
P.S. Found out last week I'll probably be training next cycle, right when I finish my training, due to the overload of sisters. My first thought was, "Okay, I better learn this language." If I get put with an American, that will be a VERY funny transfer. Look forward to those emails.