Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Following the Spirit

Ciao cari amici e famiglia,

Venezia Zone

 I can't believe that August is over and everyone is starting school again! People here are coming back from long vacations and things are getting back to normal which will only benefit the work even more.

 Miracles never cease in this city and they do happen everywhere as long as we look for them and rely on the spirit to lead us into the right direction.

 It's been 2 weeks so far with Anziano Minnoch and it's great to see him progressing and learning as a new missionary. He's a great kid. I feel like I was in his spot just yesterday! I have been trying set a good example for him and teach him all the things that I've learned in the mission, especially that hard work will only bless him and bring him the highest levels of joy.

Me and Anziano Minnoch

 I feel that joy in the mission a lot, especially when I am able to see the fruits of the hard work that we put in.

 As for the great that happened this week, Awni, one of our investigators, came to church finally and he enjoyed it a lot! We found a Peruvian man named Pedro while we were on the bus Saturday night. He is very humble and wants to see us again.

 We did a district "power hour" competition on Monday night. For some reason we were just getting no success to the point where we hit the hour, we were exhausted and about ready to finish up. It was right at this point when I saw the nicest family walk by with 2 little kids. I truly felt the spirit tell me to go and talk to them so we did and they really loved us and our message. We taught them about how the gospel can bless their family and how they can live together forever!

 In the end we prayed and the whole family stood up from the bench and the spirit was so strong. We will call them and I pray that we can see them again. It was a really nice experience and a sweet tender mercy.

 Even when we are exhausted, tired, or about to give up, we can't forget the power of the spirit. We always need to be ready for it because it will lead us to do great things. I thank Heavenly Father each day for the opportunity to come back and continue this mission that has not only blessed me, but others as well. This church is true, and it is the  best gift we could ever give someone. I I love you all, good luck at school and everything!
Post power hour gelato


-Anziano Hogan

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Training, Greeny Fire

Ciao carri!

Crazy, fun, and exciting week here in Bologna. Just to let you all know we are totally fine and okay from the earthquake that hit last night.

I am lucky enough to train Anziano Minnoch from Seattle Washington!
The other day, I traveled to Milano to meet my new companion who is Anziano Minnoch from Seattle, Washington! Him and I have had an absolute blast together in these last 7 days and I am so excited for the next 12 weeks together here in Bologna!! Training brings a lot of responsibility but it also brings a load of fun and something we call "greeny Fire". He has it and we have been working really hard. It's really interesting being with someone who is brand new in the mission because it feels like I was in his spot just yesterday.
Anziano Thomson and me!!!!

 Like always, miracles have been happening here and I've seen that this work has been moving forward and it always will. While doing finding, we met a guy from the Philippines who is actually a member. He didn't know where the church was so we told him and invited him and he came! It was the first time in a very long time for him. We also found 2 new people who we will meet with again this Saturday. This week we got an online referral from a lady who wanted a Book of Mormon whose house was literally across the street from our church. It all seemed too good to be true but she exists and we taught her about the Book of Mormon and gave here a copy. The sisters will be teaching her next week. A lady that me and my last companion found just accepted a baptismal invite from the sisters!! Also, our investigator, Salvatore, came to church for the 2nd time last Sunday and he seemed to enjoy it!
In action!

 These next few weeks will be really nice because lots of people will be returning from vacation and we will have much more to do!  I also heard there is a less active member who has 9 cats... I think I know who we are visiting this coming week.

9 Cats!!

 I love this work so much. The time of the mission is so valuable and it goes by too quick. Lately I have been studying the importance of humility. It is not something that we can just acquire right away, rather it's something we need to grow. Humility is submitting ourselves to the Lord and trusting in him more than ourselves. Alma shows such a great example of this in Alma 26:12 "Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."
Barrel Chip
We found a Mexican food restaurant!!

 I love you all so much! Missionary work is the best!

 -Anziano Hogan
Gelato! (as usual)
The church flooded :( but we were inspired to go check it out and we saved it from bad water damage.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Training...and good things happening

Hey everybody!
(our district...and I'm smiling in this one)

 This was a great week. I received some pretty big news on Friday as I was making some pasta. President Allen called me and asked me to train a missionary here in Bologna! I really look forward to training someone here this city. That means I will be here in Bologna for 13 more weeks which will make a total of about 6 months here! I wouldn't want to spend 1/4 of my mission anywhere else.

We saw some really great things this week. Anziano McPherson and I tried out very best to reach our goal of 21 lessons and we almost made it! We taught 18 people this week after hours of finding and hard work. He told me that 18 is his mission record and that this last week was the most productive week of his entire mission! Pretty honored to play a role in that.

Anziano MacPherson and me!

Sunday was a really cool miracle day. Our investigator, Salvo, called us in the morning asking if he could come to church with us. We rode our bikes to his house and took the bus with him and he stayed for all 3 hours of church! Also, a girl who we found in the park this week actually came to church which was super sweet. Later that day we were on the bus and I felt inspired to talk to this Philippino family about the gospel. They were so nice to us and they gave us their phone number and we will hopefully meet with them this week! Following the spirit is one of the greatest things we can do and it will lead us to miracles.

It was really embarrassing on Monday when I accidentally hit a pole with my bike and broke the wheel. Everything got fixed the next day and I was back in business in no time. We had an amazing dinner at a members house on Tuesday night which was so great! They had a really nice piano and a super overweight cat which are 2 things I really like haha. I shared one of my favorite scriptures, Alma 7:23 which talks about always being humble, patient, diligent etc... It's really a scripture we should all try to live by!

 Guys the mission really is a great experience. I will never forget the people I have met and the experiences I have made. I always look forward to making more memories and helping more people. I've seen over and over again that we can become better and better each day if we set good goals, go out, and DO. It's the DO part that people miss.

Ward activity
All you can eat Bologna foods!!!

 Luckily we have the gospel and a loving Heavenly Father to help us along the way. I know that what I am doing and what I am teaching is 100% true, otherwise I would be out here. I've seen the lives of people change literally from sad and depressed to happy and grateful.

 It's a wonderful thing. I miss and love you all!

Our Piazza!!! Belissimo!  I'm so happy to stay here for 3 more mths!

 -Anziano Hogan

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Hard Work and Following the Spirit

 Buon Ferragosto a tutti!!

Me and Anziano Gorton!  A good friend from the mission.

 I'm really happy to be writing this letter but not so happy that it is Ferragosto!! It's a national holiday where everyone goes to the beach... It has been an absolute crazy, miracle filled week. I know I say I see miracles every week, but I really do and they happen everywhere.
I made cookies!

 We had zone conference on Thursday which really was the best. Our new mission president is like a spiritual giant and he is going to make amazing things happen here in this mission. The whole atmosphere and attitude of missionary work has already changed because of him. He also came to Bologna for a new missionary training on Monday and I got to eat lunch with him! President and Sister Allen are the best!
Zone Conference

 A huge miracle happened on Sunday as we were fasting. On our way to the church building we saw a couple knocking on the door trying to get in. They looked like they were new to the church so we got really excited and started running. It was funny because right as we started to run, a really pretty cat ran out into the street and I was tempted to pet it for a second. Obviously I knew these people were way more important but I felt like the cat was some kind of distracting temptation from the adversary haha. Well Silvia, who is the wife, is a member who hasn't been to church in years, and Marco the husband, is not a member and he told us that he is very interested in learning more! They stayed for all 3 hours of church and for me it was the happiest 3 hours of my week. I know that great things will happen with them. We will see them this week!

 This is the last week Anziano McPherson has in the mission (3rd in a row for me!) and we made it a goal to teach 21 people. He is a really good kid who has changed a lot because of the mission. He told me the other day that this is one of the hardest working transfers he's ever had and he's grateful it could be his last.

Gelato after a long day of hard work!

 Lately, because so many people have been out of town, we have been doing hours of street and park finding. Over and over again I've seen that prepared people have been put into our paths. Just in the last two days we have found 2 people who want to come to church and learn more. Lots of times lately I've found myself saying things like "If I hadn't been on that street, or in that park at that time, I wouldn't have found that person!"  A huge part of that has to do with following the promptings of the spirit. The Holy Ghost is such an important tool in this work and I strive to be worthy enough for it to guide me into the right direction. This work would not progress if it weren't for the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Ghost.

 I've really never been happier. This church is true and it is for everyone.

Me and Anziano Moss who went to BYU with a bunch of my friends back home.
My good friend from the MTC!  He had to spend the night at our apartment one night last week.
Anziano Castranovo and his companion.  We took this at 5:30am. haha!
Anziano Yuhasz, who is from Hungary!

Anziano Hogan

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Joy in work

Family and friends!!
Venice in the rain!

 I honestly still can't believe I am a missionary here in this city. There is nothing better than teaching the gospel to the people who live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world! I really feel extremely lucky and blessed to be doing this. Today was a great Pday despite having a homeless man almost pass out on me... We just biked around the city and went to some cool shops.

Me an Anziano Santoro doing some missionary work in Venice

On Thursday we did our exchange with the Elders of Mestre which was great. I was with Anziano Santoro who is from the south of Italy, and we did some door to door in Venice which isn't something you get to do everyday. We met some very nice people and had a great lesson at the end of the day in downtown Mestre.

Some missionaries took a picture of me and Anziano Santoro teaching someone during our exchange.

 Here in Bologna, the work is moving along well and I've noticed that miracles never seem to stop happening, as long as we work and try our best, of course.


 We were finally able to meet with our new investigator named Salvatore who we found in the park. We taught him the restoration and I couldn't believe I was talking to the same person who laughed at us and told us God doesn't exist(Which is what happened when we first contacted him).

Our friend Tood, who is from Australia.  He gives us free Gelato!

 It is absolutely crazy how the spirit can change people and give them the desire to learn more. At the end of the lesson he said he has thirst to read the Book of Mormon. We hope for the best and I'm excited to see how he does. We have been teaching this new guy named Pablo. He is sort of a hippie who plays the guitar on the streets but he really has the desire to learn more about Jesus Christ! The gospel is literally for everyone.

My buddy Desmond

On Saturday we did some service for the Alessandro family who lives in the hills of Tuscany which was super cool. It was really tiring but I was so happy to finally meet with this amazing member family. At the end they fed us a super good lunch and I shared with them D&C 18:16 which reads "If your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" I know I have shared this scripture in my emails before but its just too true not share it again. I challenged this family to share the gospel with as many people as they can because it will bring them so much happiness as it will strengthen them as a family. This work brings so much joy, more joy than I have felt at any other time in my life.
Bologna.   Everyone: we HAVE to visit here after my mission!

  Keep choosing the right! I really love and miss all of you. Ciao!

 -Anziano Hogan