Friday, October 28, 2016

The Work is Moving!

Ciao carri!!!

The mission is great, it makes me happy, sadly it all moves by too fast. I try my best to make each day the best I can make it. I also try to never let myself forget how lucky I am to be serving where I am. I never knew a city as awesome as Bologna existed!

William is getting baptized next week!
This week was definitely one I will remember. We did a Family Tree display in downtown Bologna on Sunday and it was a huge success once again. I got super artsy and drew a big tree with lots of little people in it. We talked to so many people!
An awesome thing that happened this week was setting a baptismal date for Max and William for next month. William is a dentist and Max is a school teacher here in Bologna. We have also continued to work with Salvatore who has a goal to be baptized next weekend on the 5th of November. We have been working so hard with these three awesome people. Each of them have completely different life circumstances but have all accepted to be baptized which is a testimony to me that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone. 
My experience working with Max has been a huge testimony builder for me. For a long time, Max has been facing a pretty big trial in his life. There was a point a few weeks ago where he felt like this trial was too much for him to continue to meet with us. Never have I felt the spirit so strong, telling me to not give up on someone. I was as persistent as I have ever been with someone as I kept telling him that he could do it. To make a long story short, he has a date to be baptized. He thanked me for not giving up on him, all I could tell him was that Heavenly Father was the one that wasn't giving up, I was just following the sprit. 

The "Tree of Life"

Anziano Young in the back of the bishop's truck
The mission is great. I've learned so much but I know that there is still so much to learn. One thing I better learned this week is that life will always have its ups and downs but we can never give up, especially on other people. 
I love and miss you all!!
-Anziano Hogan

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Plan of Salvation

Hey guys,
Its scary how fast the time moves by. I have never liked a city as much as Bologna!! 
All is well in the apartment of four. The first week was pretty hard trying to split the work between us four but now it seems like everything is back to normal. Its honestly a totally different experience but we are all like best friends so its awesome. We all got anklets on Pday so you could say we all get along.
We have had tons of rain and thunder in the last week. Its starting to get cold!!
This week was super sweet. We had some really solid lessons and just overall good work. 

Anziano Minnoch and me
 On Saturday we helped our Bishop move into his sweet house, which looks a lot like a museum. He put us in contact with one of his friends who is interested in the Book of Mormon. I love seeing the members doing the best they can in helping us with the work.
I was finally able to organize a Plan of Salvation display in downtown Bologna last Sunday afternoon. It blew our minds how successful it was. I drew everything out with chalk and it was so cool to see how interested people were. We talked to so many people. It is definitely something we want to do every Sunday if we can.  
The Plan of Salvation display
On Tuesday we had a zone training at the Mestre chapel where we learned lots of things and carved some pumpkins! I haven't carved a pumpkin in a while so that was super fun.
The Venice Zone
San Luca Basilica
At the beginning of the world's longest covered walkway to the San Luca church
Something we talked about a ton in zone training was the idea of consecration. What it means, and how we can apply it. Being consecrated is giving your ALL towards a certain purpose or goal. A mission is the best for you and the people the more consecrated you are. I try my best, I am really happy here, things are crazy busy and I love it.
I love all of you!
 Ciao cari 
-Anziano Hogan 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Craziness and miracles

Hey fam and friends! 
This was the most busy and insane week ever! The weather here literally switched from super hot to cold within just a day so that was something interesting. 
 On Thursday the new Elders got here in Bologna and we helped them move into our apartment. We spent a good while building new beds and dressers and in the end everyone was situated. The new elders here are Anziano Jensen and Anziano Young from Utah. They are super great and fun to live with.   We have had to split the work between us four and it has pushed us all to hit the streets with more of a desire to find more people to teach and its been working! Some really sweet things have happened to us in the last week. 
The new district.  The guy in back making a weird face is Anziano Jensen whom I live with...

Church on Sunday was crazy as always because now there are 6 missionaries in one small ward so I think the members are loving it. 
Saying goodbye to Sister Taylor

We have done lots of finding and door knocking which has brought us a couple new people to teach. While Anziano Minnoch and I were doing door knocking in an 8 story building we finally got let in by a super nice Nigerian family. We are seeing them again this week so that was all a miracle. 
We had such an amazing lesson the other day with Salvatore. His desire to be baptized is so strong but unfortunately he is held back by his addiction to cigarettes. This member we brought with us used to smoke 3 packets each day but quit completely in one day after having fasted and prayed and received a testimony of the church. Salvatore is on the same path and we will also fast and pray that he is able to quit. I believe that everything will work out. 
Salvatore and me

There is lots more to talk about but unfortunately there's not much time. I want to share something I've thought about a lot recently. We all have our own cross to bear or rather trail to face. The best thing we can do while facing these very difficult moments is accept it and try our best to choose to be happy. We shouldn't continually ask the "why" but rather the "how" can I take this trail and move on. 
Beautiful Bologna

I love my savior and I love teaching others about Him. This church is true everybody! 
Love all of you

Very Busy!!

Ciao a tutti!!!

It is Crazy that I'm emailing again. Sometimes I wish things could slow down because it's all going by too fast. The weather is cooling down and Bologna is still it's awesome self. We got transfer news and 2 elders are moving into our apartment. It's been a crazy crazy few days getting ready for the 2 elders coming because we don't have enough beds, dressers etc. I'm excited for the craziness though.

Busy, Busy Bologna

Some really cool things happened this week. After English class last Thursday, a guy named William walked in and asked to learn more about us. We taught him the restoration of the Gospel and about the Book of Mormon. Things like this rarely happen to us!
Eating FuFu

African Food

Another awesome miracle was running into a guy I had met on the bus a few weeks ago. When we had met a few weeks ago he was giving me his phone number but had to get off the bus for his stop. Well last week we felt like we should go to this one bus stop and got on the first bus that came and he was on it. We talked and got his number and we should meet this week. 
The windows were green! The piazza is so beautiful!

We were able to watch 3 sessions of conference and I loved it all so much. One of my favorites was the talk by Elder Cook of the 12 apostles. He talked about the stumbling blocks that confuse us and keep us from being valiant. The 5 main stumbling blocks he mentioned were:
1. The philosophies of men (People believing more in Man than in the Savior and His teachings)
2. Choosing to have no religion
3. Giving up before holding out to the end
4. Refusing to acknowledge sin in its true light
5. Looking beyond the mark (Taking gospel teachings to the extreme and not seeing the big picture)
One of the last things he said was "stumbling blocks can be made into stepping stones" We can either let a stumbling block knock us down or we can rise above it and become even better.
The world is changing every minute and we need to always remember who we are and what we stand for. I love being here and I love what I am teaching other people. I know it is true!
 Love you all!!