Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Exciting week: Easter, a car accident and coming home for surgery

Ciao Tutti!

I hope everyone had a Buona Pasqua!! (Happy Easter)
An Italian Easter dish.  It was good!!

 We were able to meet with a lot of people this week to get everyone excited and ready for Easter! If any of you are wondering they do celebrate Easter here in Italy haha Actually the Italians go all out on Easter, I love it. We were able to show a bunch of people the church's Easter initiative video which everyone seemed to love.
The Nicotras and their friends.  Probably the best Italian family out there
Awesome Nigerians that we teach.  The one on the far right served a mission.

This Sunday was Easter! Church here in Merate was super great as always. After church we had an amazing Easter Lunch with the Nicotra's. Unfortunately, after lunch my companion I and were in a pretty scary car accident. As we drove into an intersection to turn left, a car coming from our left side hit us head on.

Anziano Richardson got hit on his side and he hit his head pretty hard from the impact so he got a concussion. After the crash, I made sure all my arms and legs were still attached and I ran to see if the others were okay and thankfully they were. We had to pry my companions door open because it got jammed in from the impact. He had to be taken by the ambulance to the hospital so we got an ambulance ride and he was later released from the hospital that night. He has been recovering so we have been stuck in the apartment for the last couple of days. Luckily he is feeling better and everyone is alive. Things could have been way worse so we thank Heavenly Father and any guardian angels who were watching over us.

The car after the crash
He is alive!  My comp waiting in the ER.  He got a minor concussion
Ambulance ride in Italy

 As many of you may already know, for the last 3 months I have been struggling with a health issue that needs surgery and I will temporarily come home and get the care that I need. It really has not been easy knowing I will be leaving these amazing people and this beautiful country, but after much prayer and fasting I know that it is what I need to do. If all goes well I will be able to return to the Italy Milan mission in about 4 weeks or maybe even less which really makes me feel better about everything. This whole situation has constantly brought me to my knees asking God for help and even if there is any other way I get this all fixed. The answer I received to come home wasn't really the one I wanted but it was the one I needed.

 Our Heavenly Father is the only one who truly knows what's best and that's why we must pray and put our trust in Him. Sometimes life throws you some pretty big obstacles but thankfully we have the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that we can leap over them. I am looking forward to feeling better so that I can return to the mission that I love so much and continue to teach the people Heavenly Father has prepared for me in Italy. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend watching General Conference. I know I'm so excited!


 -Anziano Hogan
Cat high five
All you can eat sushi.  I got the boat.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Happy Spring and Easter!!

Ciao Tutti!! 
And Happy Spring and Easter!!

This is me shaking Elder D. Todd Christofferson's hand!  Best day ever!!

Me and Anziano Thomson
Me and some of my MTC district

 I seriously love Holidays that focus on Jesus Christ because it gives us missionaries more opportunities to share more about Him. This week was one of the most eventful weeks of my mission yet. On Thursday I was blessed with the opportunity to personally meet one of the 12 apostles, Elder D. Todd Christofferson. All week I had prayed so that I could receive a strong witness of him and of the words that he spoke. The moment I saw him and met with him I knew with everything in me that he was an apostle called of God. The words he spoke and the council he gave brought me so much comfort and help with my mission.

 It was an experience I'll never forget. Later that day we went to the Hospital in Merate to give a member a blessing who had fallen off of His bike and was seriously hurt, Thankfully he is recovering and feeling better now.

 Anzaino Richardson(my companion) and I were able to go to our ward activity last Friday which was country themed. We dressed up like Cowboys and seriously had a blast. I love the ward and the people here so much!!
Country activity
The best member in the world.  His name is Kahlidi
Dinner at the Perez/s house.  They come from the Dominican Republic, Equador, and Peru.  It was so yummy!
This was the Dominican Republic food and it was super good
Saturday we taught 2 people in the morning, were fed lunch by the Prigottis who fed us again on Tuesday, taught 2 more people after that and then had a dinner with a family who made a massive Santo Domingan (Dominican Republic) meal. It was such a great and crazy day. I was able to meet most of the members at church the next day and was constantly amazed at how incredible they are. Some members from Boise Idaho gave us Peanut Butter from the US and that was like the coolest thing ever!!

 My companion and I were given permission by our mission President to see a very famous opera called "I Due Foscari" by Giuseppe Verdi at the Scala Theater in Milano on Tuesday night! It was honestly the coolest thing in the world being in one of the most popular theaters in Europe and hearing the Orchestra and Opera put together with a really interesting story line. I'm pretty sure we are only able to see one opera for the whole mission so I was very lucky to be a able to see such a good one.


 I just want to share a little bit of what Elder Christofferson some about last Thursday. It was really awesome because after he spoke, he gave us an hour to ask him questions. One missionary asked why people pray to receive a testimony and yet they still don't feel/receive anything. Elder Christofferson said that there are a many things that could stand in the way of a response. He said that we must first have a heart and the desire to completely follow any answer we receive. We don't receive answers if our sole purpose of praying is to satisfy our curiosity. If we show God we have real intent and a sincere heart, He will give us the answers we seek I hope everyone has a great Easter this weekend. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ. I know He lives and I know we can become like Him if we follow Him and if we love Him.

Watch the new Easter video!

I miss and love you all!
-Anziano Hogan


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Never forget to thank Heavenly Father for all that we receive

Mamma Mia!!
Me and my new companion Anziano Richardson

What an eventful week in my new area of Merate. This city is just about 45 minutes from the Centro of Milano and it is really amazing. It is very flat with bright green spacious fields and farms everywhere.

Merate  - farm beauty
This blog wouldn't be complete without a cat picture!

 It really is a totally different and unique part of Italy. It is very different and also kind of similar to Trento in that there are no mountains towering over the city but it still feels like out in the middle of nowhere. Here we have a car which is very efficient for missionary work because we can get to like 5 people In a day with not much of a problem. In just 6 days my companion and I were able to teach 21 good quality lessons so as you can imagine I am pretty happy with the work we have.


One of the best parts of this city is the members and people we meet with. There is a huge ward here with lots of strong and outgoing members. As far as baptisms go, this transfer should be great with about 4 scheduled baptisms so far. Last Monday when we we driving, we had some extra time so I looked in my planner and said we should go and see this less active member named Victor. I guess the missionaries haven't met with him in a really long time but we were able to see him and it was seriously so amazing. He is a little humble man from Equador who lives in just a small room with his scriptures besides his bed. He told us he was so grateful that we thought of visiting him and for lifting up his spirit.

So a really nice miracle happened this past week. One of our investigators is getting married on March 26th and her baptism will be on April 9th! She is so excited and so are we.

 Some fun/funny things that happened this week was I decided to cut my own hair which was kind of scary at first but I was able to fix things up. There are huge grocery stores here, a lot like wallmart, so I was able to find things to make Mexican food!!!! I made fajita burritos and I was seriously crying with joy because I've missed my Mexican food. Our washing machine has been broken since I arrived here but a guy is coming on Friday thank goodness.
I made Mexican food!

 This weekend we had stake conference in Milano and Elder Johnson from the seventy spoke about gaining a testimony and it was really great. It was so awesome seeing so many members of the church in one place here, I loved it.

I've just been thinking lately about some of the blessings received from a mission and I've decided that I am most grateful for is being able to expand and learn certain lessons which one may not have been able to learn anywhere else. There are things about this world and about myself I have come to realize thanks to the experiences and people I have met here and for that I am so grateful. One of my favorite scriptures of all time is Alma 7:23-25 which reads "And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive. And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works. And may the Lord bless you..." As long as we strive to be the best that we can be and ask God for those things in which we lack, he can teach us the things necessary for us to reach our full potential. And we must never forget to thank him for all that we receive. I strive ever day to have these characteristics.

 I know I am so far from perfect but one of our main goals in this life is to learn and try to become better than we were the day before.

 Here is my new address!
Love you all! Ciao!

New Address:

Via Vicenzo Monti 3
23870 Cernusco Lombardone

-Anziano Hogan

A river near our city

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Willy has been called to Merate

Ciao Everyone!!
Sorella Benedetti's cat!  He is a chubby cat!

 So much happened this week with transfer calls and saying goodbyes. I have been called to go to the city of Merate. It is pretty close to Milano and the cities of Como and and Lecco. The cool thing is that I will have a car in my new city because everything is all very spread out. It is one of very few cities in Italy that has a car. Another thing is that Merate will be my first city with a ward and not a
branch so that will be great for more work. It is honestly so weird leaving Trento after being here for almost 6 months. So much has happened here in Trento in these last months and it almost feels like
a really crazy amazing dream. The members became like my family along with all of the investigators and friends I have made. I never thought it would be so hard to leave this beautiful place! I will miss it so much! Although I'm sad I'm also very excited for a new adventure and a new city.

Saying goodbye to my Trento family.  Sorella Pavan on the left (helps us with everything), and Claudio, my ward mission leader in the back.
My ward mission leader Claudio

 Well this week really was great. It was mostly filled with seeing members and new converts which was really nice to do. I did an exchange with Anziano Jaques from Bolzano and we went to Merano for a part of the day to do service for a family. It ended up snowing really hard so we weren't able to get home till late because of the weather but it was a super cool experience to see it snow so hard. That was the day I received the news of being transferred so it was exciting.

The dinner Anziano Jaques made me on our exchange.  Buono!
It SNOWED so hard this weekend.  This is in Merano from my exchange this weekend.
Pizza Dante in Trento covered in snow.
Winter wonderland in Merano
This was after we did service for someone in Merano.  That's why I'm wearing jeans and running shoes.

 The next day, Sunday, was really nice because I was able to bear my testimony and just share with everyone how grateful I was for being able to work with such strong members of the church. After church we met with an investigator and then had a great meal with an English class member who invited over some friends who were very interested in us and our church. 
Last district meeting in Trento with Lott, Jaques and Olsen.
Saying goodbye to my new convert Gerard,  He is so awesome!  He is preparing to go to the temple and serve a mission!
This was the last night when we had dinner at a members house.  His house is a tiny room so we squished in and it was fun.  haha!
This is Stanley, one of our branch missionaries.  I'll miss him!

 It's crazy to look back at my first day here in Italy and just see how much I've learned in such a short amount of time. So much joy can be found through service for others and following Jesus Christ. I know this because I have been trying my best to follow Christ and serve other people and it sure has brought me more happiness than anything else. I'm looking forward to meeting new people and continuing the Lords work in Merate. This will be an exciting week to come!

Anziano Hogan