Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Some of my happiest moments...

Hellloooo Mia Famiglia e miei Amici! 

Yes..I found a cat who kept wanting to come into church!

Pday pizza in Venice!  I'm the second to last one ha ha!
I felt like I was writing you just yesterday! I don't even know where time goes, I have 1 year left from tomorrow...so weird. I hope everyone is enjoying their summer because I sure am! I have been lucky enough to find myself in Venice once again for Pday! I really am so blessed to be in this mission.


This week wasn't easy but we did the best we could to keep the ball rolling in this beautiful city. Bologna is beautiful in a million ways except for the fact that it doesn't have the beach and that's where everyone goes for the summer! Lots of members and most of our investigators have been out of town so we have resorted to lots of finding and creative work to find new people to share our message with. The great news is that our hard work has brought us success with a new investigator named Salvatore. We will be meeting with him this Friday so i'm really looking forward to that.

This weekend our ward had a big Barbecue and it was really tasty and fun. The members here are like family to me and they are seriously the best.

This is Timoteo: the coolest member in the world!

Ward BBQ

I had a really cool experience this week while we were at a members house. This member and his family lives with another family who is from Nigeria. I started talking to the father of the other family about the church and I found out that he is a member of the church but hasn't been for 16 years. He has some pretty bad problems with alcohol but told us he wants to quit and change everything. I shared with him that we have a Savior who made it possible for us to have the strength to overcome addiction and become clean again. He came to church the next day for the first time in 16 years!! He is now on the path to turn everything around to be a better person and and Father for his Family.

Last Monday we had a mission wide fast so that we could find more people to teach the gospel to. In district meeting we talked about how important it is to show people that we truly love and care about them.

When people feel the love you have for them, they will become more open to hear what you have to say. Someone shared a cool quote that I really liked, "People don't care about how much you know until they know how much you care." It is so true! I really do care about each person here. 

The mission is the best. I feel like some of the happiest moments in life are experienced in the mission because here we also experience some of the most challenging moments. 

It's just the best. I love and miss you all.

-Anziano Hogan


Friday, July 15, 2016

"The way is prepared, .."

Ciao a tutti!
How is everyone's summer!

The famous umbrella street in Ferrara

Bologna couldn't be better. Well maybe if the weather was a bit cooler it could but other than that, it's the best haha. It got to 100 degrees!! Yes I've eaten tons of gelato, but maybe too much.

My good friend and companion Anziano Vasquez has reached the end of his mission and will be leaving on Thursday so I will be staying in Bologna and getting Anziano McPherson. We will be together for this next 5 week transfer and then he will also be finishing his mission.
Last district meeting with the peeps
"Dying" missionaries

This was another great week. We went and did an exchange up in Ferrara which was pretty cool. It's a really small city by Bologna that has always been pretty tough work wise. Me and Anziano George (Who is from San Clemente) taught a few lessons to some really nice people in a park.
San Luca, Bologna

 Last week we had to split up our Pday for a conference, so last Saturday, a member named fratello Mantovani took us to see the Headquarters/Factory of Lamborghini which was so cool. He also took us out to eat at some of the nicest restaurants of Bologna, which is in my opinion some of the best food in the entire world.
Black Pizza!!  It was the best pizza I've had yet

Not sure if this is safe.  ha ha
Anziano Vasquez and me
Lamborghini headquarters

I think I mentioned how last week we got a self referral from a man named Alessandro. Well, we met with him a second time and things couldn't have gone better. He told us how he wants to get baptized, so we will be working towards that goal with him! This Sunday was amazing! This Peruvian family from Milano came to visit the ward here and they brought a friend who lives here in Bologna and he told us he wants to join the church. He is going back to Peru for a month but wants to be taught by us when he returns. Also, some non member friends of mine from Trento came to church here in Bologna to surprise me. They went to all 3 hours of church and it really meant a lot to know that  they traveled so far just visit me. The mom has been reading the Book of Mormon and I hope she continues to read and go to church in Trento.

Friends from Trento who came to visit me.

The mission bring so many blessings! I can honestly say it's the most fulfilling thing I have ever done in my life. It's really helped me realize that we all have so much to live for and we all can do our part to make a difference in this world. I love this scripture in Alma 37:46 "do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way...
"The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever." The gospel is given to everyone, if we just look and follow it we be blessed.

I love Italy, I love gelato, and I absolutely love teaching people about Jesus Christ.


Eating Napoli food
They showed the Eurocup finals in the main square of the city!  So many people!!! We couldn't watch it obviously but we were able to get this picture of it.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Miracles, and President Allen

Ciao Everyone!

Me and the amazing Anziano Vasquez

I had another great week here in Bologna. Some really amazing things happened as we just continued to work hard and try our best.

It was 4th of July last Monday. There weren't any beachside fireworks or parties like at home, just nice classic missionary work to celebrate. We did get lunch at a place called "American Graffiti" with our district where we obviously got burgers and fries to be as American as possible.

4th of July lunch

President and Sister Allen arrived in the mission last week and they are definitely what this mission needs. I was able to meet them on Monday and they are seriously the most loving, energetic, and spiritual people ever! Today(Wednesday) we traveled up to Mestre to meet them again at a zone conference. He talked a lot about how this mission has so much potential for success and the Lord will move it forward.

New president and his wife!  They are awesome!

Sadly, this was Anziano Vasquez's second to last week, so we made it a goal to teach 21 lessons. After much hard work, prayer, and planning, we were able to reach our goal. This last week we were able to find 2 new investigators, and set a baptismal date with Temime for the 20th of August. One of the new investigators is a man named Alessandro who is a pizza chef/ holistic healer/ and professional musician, who actually came to us asking for a Book of Mormon. Everything went really well when we met with him yesterday and hopefully we will see him at church this Sunday.

A new family of 5 just from Sri Lanka just moved into the Bologna ward! They came to our family home evening we had on Friday night and they are the coolest family. It's great to see the work moving forward here in this city. This Saturday we will receive new transfer news so that will be exciting.

Part of my MTC district/zone

Family Home Evening

The clear lesson that I've learned in the mission is that working your hardest and doing your best will always bring you something. I heard of something called the "miracle fence". Where you work and work and work and boom, you are given a miracle. Climbing the fence signifies all of your hard work, and at the top there is a miracle.

The mission is seriously the best. It's not always easy but you learn a ton, you change people's lives, and very importantly, it will change your life. The mission will only change you as much as you let it change you. It's really such a huge blessing. I'm so grateful to be able to continue my mission where I was called! 

Love you all!


Italian countryside

Rocchetta Matei

Visiting Rocchetta Matei with some members

Rocchetta Mattei a fortress castle 45 km from Bologna

Inside a Rocchetta Mattei (from the 80s)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Hot summer, Gelato and Happiness

Buon estate tutti!! (Happy Summer Everyone)
Exchange I did with Anziano Horne!  We are eating at seriously one of the best gelaterias ever!  Called Bologna ride.

 Crazy good week here in Bologna! It is super hot and humid but like always, that just means more excuses to get gelato. This is the best city ever, I seriously hope to never leave. I'm not sure if anyone at home is keeping track of the Euro Cup of soccer, but Italy just advanced into the semi finals, so of course we found that out when the whole city was celebrating.

While we were waiting for a lesson, we saw this crowd of people watching the soccer game.  They all went crazy after Italy won!

 The work has been awesome and we are enjoying every minute of it. Anziano Vasquez and I thought we were pretty invincible until we found that someone liked our bikes enough to take them haha... The good news is that we found a university bike auction and got ourselves some more used ones for super good prices. As I mentioned last week, we found ourselves some new people to teach! One of them is a college student named Alberto who is super interested to learn more especially about the Book of Mormon. The university here is the oldest university in the entire world so it is such a cool experience to teach students there. On Monday night after a lesson fell through, we did some finding and taught a super humble man named Temime who we met with again the next day. There is an investigator who has been seeing the missionaries for literally years, and just this last week we were able to really get him progressing again which is great. In the last couple days we have received some high potential referrals, so we really look forward to meeting with them.

This is one of the parks where we do our  "finding".  Bello!

 This last Saturday night, I was asked to give a talk for sacrament meeting the next morning. And after praying about what to share, it was clear I needed to talk about how God has a plan and purpose for everyone. I'll be honest, while at home, my plan/purpose at times seemed a bit unclear to me. Thankfully I was able to see firsthand that God never leaves us alone and he will comfort us to know that things will work out. I'll never forget how much of a miracle it was/is for me to come back and start where I left off here in Italy. I'm so happy to be out here doing this work. Heavenly Father will always provide a way for us to do His work!

Selfie with the towers.
 Have fun at the beach and don't forget to get some waves for me.

-Anziano Hogan