Wednesday, December 23, 2015

True miracles were happening left and right!

Buon Natale e aguri!!
We won the gingerbread contest!

 It is so hard to believe that Christmas is already here. Last week we had a Zone Training with the President and His wife which was very fun. They had a "ginger bread house" contest at the end which Anziano Beaulac and I won! We were given a pandoro cake to add to the tons of desserts we already have. We had our ward Christmas party on Saturday night which was a great turn out.

Anziano Beaulac made his secret doughnut recipe so we brought tons of doughnuts to the Christmas party and everyone was going crazy over them. Our next door neighbor's husband passed away last week so we thought it would be nice to put some doughnuts in a Christmasy box with a note on the "A Savior is Born" pass along card saying "the Savior is always there for you and so are we". She felt so loved and was so grateful that we did that.

The doughnuts we made for our activity and our next door neighbors

So I had one of the most amazing weeks of my mission yet. My city has apparently received 1/4 of the whole missions referrals from a "Savior is born" but there was something wrong with it all because none of the referrals were at all interested. But while we were attempting to contact all of our referrals true miracles were happening left and right.

Sunday was a true miracle day for me and Anziano Beaulac. It all started in the morning at church. Our new investigators Viacheslav from Romania and Gererd from the French speaking part of Africa both came to church! I remember in the middle of church I said a little prayer in my head asking for some help from Heavenly Father because I was feeling a bit down.

Well after church we were going to skype the missionaries from Romania so that we could have a solid lesson with Viacheslav but they never responded so we taught Viacheslav the best we could because he is still learning Italian. He said he has studied every single religion and has decided that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints is the true church on the earth.

Later in the day we taught Gerard (all in French) and in the end he said that he wants to be baptized and knows the church is true! After Gerard we headed to Meano( a small suburb outside of Trento) to stop by some of the referrals. On the bus ride there we met a man named Leandro who said he has a Book of Mormon and went to church a few times in the years past. He told us he wants to meet with us and talk about the Book of Mormon so we are meeting with him today(Wednesday) after English class!

The first referral we stopped by had no interest in us, but we knocked on the next door neighbors house and she answered and let us share "A Savior is Born with her" she told us to come back and teach her family!!! We then crossed the street and rang up a house and they let us inside!!(my first time being let inside from doing casa) It was a father and his son. We shared "A Savior is born", a brief restoration and we gave him a Book of Mormon and challenged him to read it and he said he would. He invited us to return after the Holidays so that we can teach more to him and his Family!!
On our bus ride back towards our next referral we met Leandro again with his mom! We talked more to him and his mom and he is very excited to meet with us(what are the chance of this.. .seriously)!!  On our way to the next referral we found a super cool nativity scene by this church. Two people came up to it and as we were walking away we felt inspired to talk to them. We showed the "A Savior is Born" right in front of this nativity scene! It doesn't get cooler than that.
Nativity Scene by a church

Well, the next referral was not interested either, but we decided to ring some apartments in the complex and sure enough a lady opened up the door and we walked up to her apartment. She said she didn't have a whole lot of time but she will share the "A Savior is born" video with her daughters. On the way home from this amazing day, we were at the bus stop and a man named Aldo started talking to us. He said he is totally interested in meeting with us and hearing our message and he offered us free haircuts when we want!

I am so grateful for Heavenly Father for placing us in the path of those whom he has prepared for us. As long as we do our part, Heavenly Father will make up the rest. Not only was my prayer answered but we were able to experience so much joy as missionaries. There is truly no other place i'd rather be or any other thing i'd rather be doing around this Christmas time than to see miracles wrought and to teach others about Jesus Christ.

I really do miss you all, but I know this is where I am needed and this work is so wonderful. I am so grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ! The greatest gift we could ever give Him is to try and be like Him and follow His footsteps.

Buon Natale!
A lake 45 minutes from our house

Another picture of the super cool lake near Trento
Small Mountain Village
 Anziano Hogan

Our Verona Zone



Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I really love this work so much!!

Ciao buongiorno!!

Such a crazy awesome week. We had transfers on Thursday and I got my new companion! Anziano Beaulac from Montreal Canada. He is in his last transfer with me so he's been here for a while. I got very lucky because he is a very hard working and experienced missionary.

My new companion from Montreal, Canada:  Elder Beaulac

Together, we work all the time. When we are on the bus or have 30 minutes in between lessons we work! I love working this hard because it is so fulfilling.

We bought a Christmas tree today and a bunch of ornaments which we will try and set up tonight! I am going to try and make cookies this week so we'll see how that all goes haha.

I am so grateful for this time of year. I've seen so many hearts open up to us. We have been able to share the "A savior is born" videos with so many people and we have gotten so many great responses from it. I really hope everyone can try and share these Christmas messages with other people.

So I learned a lot this week. I thought a lot about how important Faith is with missionary work and just life in general. For me, I learned that it is important to have the faith that Heavenly Father will bring prepared people into our paths. But we can't just sit and wait for it to happen, we have to put in our part and Heavenly Father will make up the rest. We have working very very hard lately and we have seen so much come out of it. We have set 3 baptismal dates and we also have 2 new investigators! I really love this work so much.

I am also finished with the Book of Mormon and it just gets better and better. I love 3 Nephi 13 and 17 so much. I hope everyone can read those chapters about the Savior Jesus Christ. I love where I am and I love you all!


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Transfers...But I'm staying in Trento.

Ciao my friends and family!

My new apron.  I'm the real deal now!
So we received our transfer news last week and I will be staying In Trento for another 8 weeks with Anziano Bullock who is from Montreal Canada!  I haven't met him yet because he comes up tomorrow; but I've heard he is a great hardworking guy. His last transfer In the mission is with me so I'm interested to see how it will all be haha. I'm sure we'll have a blast.
Our friend Riccardo.  He goes to the university her in Trento.  He bought us lunch today!

This last week we were able to have a few dinner appointments with people because Anziano Yee(my trainer) is transferring out of here on Thursday. Our English class took Anziano Yee and me out to a nice dinner which was awesome. The Italian culture is seriously so great. They love to eat and talk and laugh- all great things to do. 
Our English class took us out to eat at "The Green Tower".  It was soooo good!
We had a nice dinner with Brother and Sister Bolt, who are from Switzerland serving a service mission here in Trento. We talked a lot about trying to turn our small branch here in Trento into a ward! We were able to come up with some good ideas which we can hopefully implement into our work. 
We finally got our water turned back on last week but.... We have a leak in our bathroom so we have to get the plumber back into our house again haha...
Outside of the Trento Christmas Market!
I pulled some muscles in my ribs so that's not very fun. I'll be all good though! 
Everyone who lives here in Trento says that this is the city of Christmas and I really believe them.  This city is amazing around this time of year! They have lights everywhere and a big Christmas market with lots of handmade knickknacks which are super cool but kind of expensive. It's really awesome to be here in the city of Christmas!
This is our main Piazza!  They project this on the castle every night and it's absolutely amazing!!  All Trentini's say that Trento is the city of Christmas.

Marco, Christina, Anziano Yee, and me at the piazza!
So last week We taught about 10 people and they were all great! Like I've been saying so much recently, Christmas time is so great because it's an opportunity to share with people the TRUE meaning of Christmas!! My love for my savior has grown so much as I continue to read about Him and teach others more about Him. 
Last Saturday and also tonight we showed/ are showing Conici i mormoni (meet the mormoms) in Italian. It's a great opportunity for us to get some nonmembers into the church and also show them who mormons really are! We had a great turn out on Saturday and Hopefully we get a great turn out tonight! 
We are continuing to do everything we can with using this time of year to our advantage. I hope everyone can go onto Christmas.mormon.org and watch all the videos and share them with other friends and families!
I love you all! Till next week! 

-Anziano Hogan

Friday, December 4, 2015

Willy and the Italian cats

Ciao miei amici!
Eating at the best Gelateria in the whole world.  La Romana

 Another great week for me. Thanksgiving wasn't anything too crazy for me and Anziano Yee and me. Although, we did make a pretty delicious meal to celebrate. I was able to find some slices of Turkey which I breaded and fried and it came out really good! I love Thanksgiving because it's an opportunity for us to reflect on all the things we are thankful for. I am truly Thankful for so many things!
Thanksgiving Dinner

On Friday, I was able to do an exchange with the Zone leader in Verona which was so much fun! We had a couple super great lessons. One of them was with this super awesome Italian family who had like 5 cats! I was clearly in heaven. I am so happy that there are so many cats out here because I love cats.

 The next day, I went back to Trento and we found out that they had to shut our water off because there is a plumbing problem... So we have had no water for a few days haha oh well...

On Monday I did another exchange with Anziano Baraclough who is in my district. We had a great time and we had some powerful lessons with great people. One of the lessons was with the African/French family who has just started coming back to church! We played them the "Savior Is born" video and they asked us to keep replaying because they felt the spirit so strong and they loved it so much!

On Tuesday, we were able to take some much needed showers in Bolzano! While I was taking a shower, the Anziani thought it would be funny to pour freezing cold water on me. The first pot of water they poured slipped out of their hands and almost nailed me in the foot hahah. And then came another pour of freezing cold water. It was super funny. The Elders in my district are super fun people.

 Today we spent our Pday in Verona! We walked around the markets and got some Good old fashion pizzas. I will never get tired of pizza. Something that I am just so excited about is Christmas! We just received our new pass along cards for the "A savior is born" and "He is the gift" videos, which we have been sharing with so many people!

Verona at night

Huge Star in Verona (see it at far right)

 Sharing with other people about the true importance of Christmas has really made me grateful for Jesus Christ and how He really is THE gift. I hope that we can all take time to study more about him and learn more about how we can use the gift has given us. This is such a special time of year and I hope we can all remember the true importance of Christmas.

 I say this every time, but I am so happy to be a missionary! Time really goes by fast. The people who said time flies out here weren't kidding. I hope that I can make the most out of each day and that I am able to do everything I can.

 If you have the chance, visit: https://www.mormon.org/christmas and share the message with other people!

 Love you all! Ciao!

 -Anziano Hogan

Christmas tree in Bolzano

A mazza ball

Riva Del Garda

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving.

Anziano Simmons from our stake!

 Last week on Thursday we had Zone conference and we were surprised with a huge Thanksgiving feast! It was awesome. No we didn't eat tons of pasta and meatballs, we ate ham and mashed potatoes! It was really good.

 President Dibb spoke to us and trained us on a lot of things. We talked about some better ways we can use our iPads as a tool in our work. The iPads are seriously such amazing tools for teaching and proselyting.

 In Trento they have started to put up a bunch of Christmas trees and lights which run along the streets. They also have a humongous nativity scene in the park which is really cool.

Christmas is here in Trento

 Things here in Trento have started to pick up a little bit! With Christmas just around the corner, I can see that people are opening up a bit more. I seriously love this time of year. I feel like it's the best time of year to be a missionary because it's a chance for us to talk to people about the real importance of Jesus Christ and his divine purpose.

On Saturday there was a funeral for a lady in our branch who was 102 years old. Wow! So Anziano Yee and I helped out with that. On Sunday we did a pass by a less active member and we were surprised with dinner! On Monday I did another exchange with Anziano Sosa which was a blast. He speaks only Italian, Spanish, and some English so I got a good 24 hours of language practice with him haha. On Tuesday we were able to get Gilbert back on track with a new baptismal date! We also have another progressing investigator named Sammy who is a super solid guy. We had an amazing lesson with him and at the end of it, he told us he is willing to work towards a goal to be baptized!

 Today we traveled to Riva Del Garda again and it was even better than last week. I am in love with where I am! The people, culture, food, are all amazing. I face so many challenges each day out here, and although challenges aren't fun, I'm thankful for each and every one because they only make me stronger.

Riva Del Garda

Old war forts

Riva Del Garda

 Unfortunately we don't have anything crazy planned for Thanksgiving tomorrow but I found a piece of turkey and I hope I can figure out how to make it good hahah. I love this time of year! We get to celebrate what we're thankful for and also celebrate the birth of our Savior.

 Our mission is going full force with pass along cards and the "Because He Lives" videos. I am SO excited to go crazy with all of these amazing tools to bring people to the knowledge of the importance of Jesus Christ! I hope everyone can use this time of year as an opportunity to share with someone the message of Jesus Christ.

 I am so happy to be out here. It is incredible to see the hand of the Lord In this work. I know Heavenly Father loves us all and that he will direct our paths as long as we are willing to humble ourselves. I really am happier than I've ever been. I have a whole lot to be thankful for.

Till next week,
My brother, Jack always wants to see pictures of me holding cats.  So here's a cat that lives in Riva Del Garda.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Trying to Remember French from High School


An old family recipe called "Dad's Favorite" 

This last week was great. Trento is getting ready for Christmas! I love this city so much.

Things have been just a bit slow here. My companion and I have been working so hard each day trying to find new people. The work that we do each day is so satisfying and joyful.

On Saturday we did a pass by to this lady whose daughter is in our ward. She let us in and shared with us some super good cake! It is always fun to bed fed treats by the Italians.

Last Sunday night we went over the French/African's house and shared with them a message! We thought it would be really awkward and quiet because they only speak French and we only speak English and Some Italian. To be honest it was one of the most amazing experiences ever! We shared a video in French about living life with patience. I could tell they loved it so much. We felt inspired to show them this video because we knew that life was a little difficult for them. We shared with them the best we could that Heavenly Father loves them and knows what they are going through each day and as long as they hold onto this gospel, they will see so many blessings. In the end they all shared their testimonies which were all so strong. I've learned that the language of the spirit is universal. The spirit can still teach us things through the testimony of others even if the words they speak cannot be fully understood. Another amazing moment was when I was able to remember some of the French I learned in High School! I tried my best to bear a testimony in French which was super hard, but I was able to say what I wanted.

Today for Pday we went to Riva Del Garda, which is the biggest lake in Italy! It is also the wind surfing capital of Europe. It was so amazing. It was the first big body of water I have been to since I left home  haha.

Riva Del Garza
Riva Del Garza

I am so happy to be a tool in Heavenly Fathers work. As long as I push along and joyfully do this work, I will never have a bad day. I know that this is where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing. I will never forget the connection my mission call has with my family and Italian roots. I know My call was inspired by God! I am learning the language day by day and I have been getting so much more comfortable with not being afraid to talk to everyone! I love this work and I love this gospel.