Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Travel Day! (week 6)

We were able to talk with Elder Hobson while he was at the airport.  It was great to talk with him and hear more details of his MTC experience.  I think his experience (and the effect it had on him) is summed up in the last thing I asked him - "How will we know you have arrive safely in Portugal?"  -
"Dad, I hope to be able to email you when I arrive.  If not, just know that I am in The Lord's hands."

What a blessing and lesson for me...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Last week in the MTC

Week 5 MTC - Travel Plans!

I now have my travel information and will be leaving for Portugal next Tuesday at 8:30.  So we are all super excited for that.  Everyone in the zone that is supposed to go to Portugal that day got their  visas except for one Sister that screwed up on her FBI clearance.  So thank you Mom for getting me all set up right so I can get to where I need to be. Even though the MTC is awesome and I like it here I am super excited to get out and start working with the people in Portugal.  But I am also super nervous because I really wish that I knew more then I do both com o Evangelho and the language but it is fine I have learned a lot here.

This week we did get to hear from Elder Scott and he did a great job. I am pretty sure Amanda heard about the same talk from him a couple days before.  Also we got to participate in the Temple re-dedication for the Ogden Temple. We watched the first session with Elder Bednar, President Eyring, and President Monson.  It was way cool.  The whole time from the moment we walked into the Auditorium there was a much different feel then there usually is for the Devotionals.  It was much more peaceful and even with thousands of new missionaries it was pretty quiet.  Very different then the typical chaos that is leads up to devotionals.  They had a video  playing showing temples around the world and there were several pictures from the Twin Falls temple including the Terrestrial room.  It was good to see because I miss that temple.  I like it a lot more then the one here becuase it is just a lot nicer looking inside and you get to move.  Plus it is more special because that is where I went though.  Today will be my last time going through the temple until I am home unless the Lisboa temple gets finished on time.  So that is sad but at least we have gotten to do a lot with temples here before we left.

The best part by far was at the end after the Hosanna Shout where the crowd joins in on singing The Spirit of God. When we all joined in singing together it was a really amazing feeling.  My whole body got the chills and I felt my heart and chest swell up with the Spirit.  I received a witness of the importance of temple work as we were standing there singing.  The spirit filled the room so strongly that is was almost overwhelming.  A lot of people were saying that it felt like there were angels filling the room singing with us.  I don't doubt it either.  It was really awesome and a unique experience to get to have at the MTC.  I know that the lyrics of that song are true " the veil over the earth is beginning to burst" and you could feel the heavens rejoicing as the work is pushed forward.

Even after we left the auditorium the spirit lingered with us for quite some time so it made it a pretty awesome day, especially because I got a much needed nap in the afternoon.

We had our first opportunity to do TRC Skype this week which is where you are supposed to get to skype someone that lives in the country that you are serving in and they are supposed to be a member.  We got to talk to a guy named Gustovo  who lives in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  He served a mission but we found out in our discussion that he has fallen away from the church since then.  So all of the sudden it got really real really fast and we needed to make sure that we gave him the message he needed not just some rambling broken Portuguese.  We were doing amazingly and we were really feeling it and understanding what he was saying even though he was speaking Brazilian Portuguese.  But then we lost our connection and we had to wait for like 10 minutes before we got him back.  At that point we were out of time but we finished anyways because it was important.  Anyways I think we helped him to remember what he had felt on his mission and we kind of had him teaching us at the end which I think is what he needed to have at that time.  So I think that we were really able to help him.  Our teachers and the supervisors were all very impressed with our discussion.  We will keep our fingers crossed that we get to talk to him again this week so we can follow up.

We had another District depart Monday morning.  Since they were all supposed to go to Brazil and not all of them had their Visas we being zone leaders had to drop missionaries off going different places at 2:30, 3:30, and 6:00.  It was a long night.  and it made for an even more difficult Monday.  I am glad I got to see them all off though because they are all really awesome missionaries.

Last night in class with Irmao Staples we were talking and reading about Christ's atonement and we read how right before he went into the garden he asked the apostles to pray that they would enter not into temptation.  I though that was really amazing that right before he was about to suffer for the sins of all the world having never felt the pains of sin before he did not ask them to pray for him, instead he asked them to pray to help themselves.  That just goes to show the character that Christ had always and even when times were tough he turned outwards and was concerned for those around him instead of himself.  How amazing would the world be if everyone had just a fraction of the selflessness that he did.  I know we will be happier if we try to be more like him everyday.

So this week is the week to pack up my stuff and become completely fluent in Portuguese.  Unfortunately that probably won't happen but I will give it my best shot as always.  Thank you for all the love and prayers that you all have been sending my way.  I recognize the help and influence that they have been having on my life.  I hope you all have an amazing week. Até logo.

Elder Hobson

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

MTC email room and "The Map"

MTC Week 4

So this morning we woke up to a surprise we had a new Elder that had gotten in at 2 in the morning that was in our room.  He is Elder Hernandez and he is from the Cayman Islands.  He is Spanish speaking going to Arizona so he will go over to the west campus tomorrow but until then we will be with him.  He has not yet been endowed so Elder Beeton and I get to be his escorts today as we take him through the temple.  He is pretty cool and has an interesting story.  We asked him how his parents met because his mom is from Honduras and his dad is from the Cayman islands and apparently his Grandpa used to run the cartel from Honduras to New York and so his Dad spent a lot of time in Honduras.  He has a Bob Marley shirt that he asked me if it was OK for the MTC.  I told him that he should probably hold off on that haha.  Anyways that was a fun surprise and makes our day a little more exciting.

There is a lot of hype here because we are expecting to have a member of the 12 or presidency here tonight for the devotional because it is getting broadcasted to all the other MTCs.  So I hope that comes through because we haven't gotten to hear from one of them yet.  All the other speakers have been good and we have had some cool speakers like Joseph Sitati last week.  But still it is always the hope that it will be one of the brothern.  Especially because that could be the last time that I get to hear from them in English and their actual voices for a couple years. 

We have been really trying as a district to cut back on our communication in English.  We did a little English fast for a day and a half, the goal was 2 and a half but we didn't make it.  It is fun but really tough.  When I spend all day trying to think in Portuguese i usually end up with a pretty killer headache.  But I wouldn't expect anything else.  Our lessons are progressively getting better and we are understanding more and more. And we will be continuing to cut back on English.  I think my next step is to spend more time in the Portuguese scriptures which as of right now is really tough because it is really tough to read something when only about 1 out of every 5 to 10 words means anything to you.

Hosting last week was a blast,  I liked getting to hear all of the stories of the missionaries that I had they were very interesting.  They also were all on the top floors on all the buildings so I did a lot of stairs with luggage.  The best part of the hosting was definitely  being outside moving for a couple hours.  That was really nice and I have missed having that I felt free again.  It was also fun to direct the curbside with the families.  I loved giving the mothers a big smile and telling them that I would take good care of their sons.  They all seemed to like that and it looked like it helped them a little bit.  I hosted a big Samoan guy that is way cool and a really good guy to be friends with.  We will be hosting again tomorrow so that will be exciting again.  Hopefully I will get to see some more really emotional drop offs because those are super entertaining when you are on this side of the deal.  We as a zone compete to see who can host the most missionaries.

Being a zone leader has been fun.  We got to really do a lot with the newbies and they all seem to be doing well. It was interesting because there really isn't that much as formal training but just because you have been assigned as the zone leader all the Elders and Sisters that have been here just as long or longer then us in the zone are asking some off the wall questions that we are apparently supposed to know the answers too.  So we have been making it up as we go and it has been fine so far.  We have one of our districts leaving next week so we will have  some stuff to do to help them out of here.  That will be fun but reminds us that we are about done here and really need to be able to speak portuguese.  I am sure it will be good but it has come really fast.  

This week I had the opportunity to bless the sacrament for the first time in Portuguese.  It was way cool even though a couple of the words are pretty tough to pronounce I got it done.  I have not had to give a talk in sacrament meeting yet which is fine even though I would have wanted to get it out of the way while I was still allowed to give it in english.  It makes writing a talk take a lot longer when you write it and then have to translate it and it messes up all the order of the words.  But it is good grammar practice so it is all good.

The focus of my spiritual growth this week has been around keeping my focus on the basics and the fundamentals of the gospel so that I can be more familiar with that which I will be teaching and that which investigators will need to know.  I was reading in D&C 88:67 and Matthew 6:22-23 about the eyes and the importance of keeping your eyes or focus on the path, and I really liked that.  Even if the things that might be distracting you may be good things we as missionaries especially need to stay focused on the basics that we need to be able to teach.  Deeper doctrine is not really all that important right now even though it may be interesting and good it is not worth the distractions.  We have been working on being able to recognize the promptings of the spirit more effectively and how to tell and how to act when the investigator is feeling the spirit.  That is pretty tough because my knowledge of the scriptures is not good enough to be able to just know which one I want to share and then find it and have the investigator read it when I can't read what it says.   And also I am getting better at rearranging my sentences so that I can a lot of things with very few words.  It is awesome to get to learn from the teachers here that are amazing and from the other missionaries as well.  It is cool to learn how it is effective for them to teach something and then attempt to apply it to my teaching.

I am grateful for all the mail that I get from all of you it is awesome to hear from you all the time.  I am constantly reminded of the people that I love and appreciate all that you have done for me to get me here and prepare me for this challenge.  I keep you all in my prayers and am very grateful for the prayers that you are sending my way.  I hope that you all have amazing weeks.  Until then.

Elder Hobson

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Week 3 pics

MTC Week 3

So for the update for the week, it has been raining like crazy here, which is helpful for me for the majority of the day because it makes me more ok with being inside so that has helped.  But it has meant that we have been playing basketball instead of soccer,  It is fun but I do love getting out in the sun for soccer.  Elder Beeton and I have been unstoppable which is always fun.  We are yet to lose a game after 4 days of playing short 3 on 3 games.  We even  beat a team that plays everyday and has this big 6'4" black guy that is super thick and athletic.  I had to guard him and he worked me but I did hit a game ending 3 with his hand in my face so it was all good in the end.  I thought I would mention that to Jesse just so he knows that he is not the only basketball player that I beat on the court.  It isn't fair here either for the Elders that play against us, so you better be practicing hard all of the time if you want to be beating me when I get home.  I wish that Elder Beeton could have the kind of communication and execution that we have on the court together in the teaching room in Portuguese.

Another note on Elder Beeton, he is a BYU fan and a Cowboys fan.  So we both enjoyed the football updates that we have been receiving from both of our families. 

In other news, We have been made the new zone leaders.   We have been helping the old zone leaders as they have been leaving the last two days.  We had to be up at 2:30 this morning to see off Elder Littlefield and 5:30 yesterday for Elder Knight.  We have been super tired because of this, but we have had some perks, they passed down some goodies and laundry detergent which was nice.  We are super excited for tomorrow because we have 3 new missionaries coming into our zone for the first time since we got here  and being zone leaders we get to do all the orientation things for them and give them the tour and what not.  That will be way fun.  Our district also has been asked to be hosts which is where you are the missionary that receives the newbies on the curb and takes some pictures for their family.  I look forward to talking to those shell shocked missionaries and watching the drama of the cry fest.  So tomorrow will be an awesome day.

As far as our new fake investigators we are having pretty good success with one of them and with the other we have been really struggling.  They are supposed to get progressively more difficult as we are here so I guess it is expected.  It is annoying that we know that they are fake because they are our teachers because sometimes we feel like we have done  really well and had the spirit there teaching them and then they give us a response that is not very promising.  Because they are our teachers sometimes we get the feeling that they are going to shut us down and be stubborn on their questions just to push us and challenge us.  It is super annoying when we start to think that.

I thought that Christina and Amanda would be interested to know that both of the sisters in my district are into ballet and dance.  Sister McChesney danced with the BYU ballroom dance team.  The highest one that travels and stuff.  I am pretty sure that she has came and danced at CSI before when you have gone and watched them. She is the one with brown hair by the way.

Dad, I have really enjoyed the singing we do in the devotionals as well.  The first time that we had a devotional it was really exciting for me and fun, but this last one Sunday night we sang a song that I am not really familiar with and it is driving me crazy that I cannot remember it, but the lyrics were amazingly powerful and they hit me really strongly.  I will have to try to find them so I can show you the words in one of my next letters, but it is going to be difficult to find an English hymn book in our area.  I have a branch President named Jackson.  He is a tall lengthy guy that was a track star for BYU back in the day and is an orthopedic surgeon.  He is a pretty good president but his eyes bore deep into your soul as he looks at you.

We had our first mission conference this week because it was fast Sunday.  That was the best meeting that I have been to this far here.  I was feeling the spirit was super strong the entire time and all the messages are amazing and taught me a lot. They spent quite a bit of time on Prophets in the modern day which my testimony of that and the need for that has really been growing over this week.  I had just read the end of the 1st official declaration to the church the night before where they talk about what they would have done had it not been for receiving revelation from God to do what they did. I don't know why my testimony of the prophets today is being strengthened right now, but I am grateful for it.

Being Fast Sunday and since Jared and family reminded me that was how Grandma Hobson kept track of the time for her missionaries I spent some extra time thinking of her on Sunday. I had one Elder bare his testimony on the fact that he knew we had family on the other side of the veil that will help us throughout our lives and especially on the mission.  I know that as it says in D&C 84:88  that she is there in the angels that are all around me.  I think that Grandpa Harold is there as well supporting me.  When Elder Holland gave a speech once at Stanford he opened it up with saying to the students that we believe in angels and if they don't then they might have a hard time understanding his speech.  I defiantly believe in angels and think about the ones that I love most every week when we go to the temple.  

So I have a quick little spiritual thought that I would like to share with you all since 9/11 is in a few days.  It is in Doctrine and Covenants Chapter 64 it is verses 9-11.  Notice the page number, verses, and the date that Joseph Smith received the revelation.  I don't know if you are familiar with that insight but it is a witness to me that the church is true and prophets receive modern revelation.  Joseph Smith was a prophet and seer no doubt in my mind.

We also watched most of Elder Holland's talk yesterday where he talked about Jesus asking Peter if he loved him three times.  That was really powerful and made me think about how much I love all of you and that I know that I need to love the savior even more then that.  I hope that I will have my love for my Lord and savior strengthened as I am on my mission so that I can truely love him more then anything else.  I think that may be one of the reasons that they have young men  serve missions where the contact with the people they love here on earth is minimal so that we can come closer to Christ and rely on him in every thought and action.  I know the more he is in our lives the happier and better off we will be.  So even though I miss you all, I am grateful that your absence will be filled with our Lord and savior.  Which I hope and pray that will be the same for all of you.  Until next week.

Elder Hobson

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Elder Hobson, Elder Beeton (orig companion), Elder Berquist (temporary comp in trio)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Week 2 Sept 2, 2014

Oi Family
It has been an good second week in the MTC but it has flown by.  The past week felt about as long as the first 2 days.  I am learning a lot, it is hard but it is happening.  I recognize that I am incapable of learning a language at this point so I know that without the help from the Lord Deus and o Espirtio Santo it isn't going to happen.  So I am very glad that we get their help in getting that done and remembering what we have already learned. We have a new teacher now his name is Irmao Staples and he seems to be a good teacher even though we have only been with him once.  We are having to deal with progressively more difficult teacher investigators and more of them so that will be a challenge but it is awesome when they ask you a question that you can kind of answer in a broken sentence.  It makes you feel really good because it is not that common for me at least.  

Sunday I spotted Elder Schenk twice.  I saw him walking once in the morning and was able to pay him back the 5 dollars that I owed him and have been carrying around all week.  I then spotted him standing up looking around for me before the Sunday night devotional and was able to go talk to him for a little bit and say goodbye as he leaves to day at 4 to enter the field.  I was glad that I got to do that.  He seemed humble and ready to go so I am sure that he will do great out there. 

It is not easy trying to stay in shape and healthy.  But from my district and zone there are several guys that after we are done playing soccer minus all the stupid rules that make it more civilized and less like real football we come back and do abs and push ups and pull ups which helps but those are getting old really fast and there is never enough time to get the exercise that I want and need.  Also spending just about all my day shaded from the sun, I no longer look like a river guide I am not very tan, I got a haircut today which was fun.  The barbershop was nice had a great view out over the trees at 8 so with the morning light on the mountains it was very pleasant.  Plus their was classical music playing and the barber I found out has been there since 92 so he knew what he was doing and was nice to talk to.  Plus I was the only one in there so it was just great.  But all of my blonde hair is gone and it looked weird to see myself with dark not curly hair for the first time in months.  I do miss the sun.  Especially since even when you are walking in between buildings the paths are covered so you still don't get the sun that you need.  I think that might have been part of the reason that I along with most everyone in our district has been a little sick.  I am over it now so that is good. because it is really difficult to try to catch up on sleep here without feeling guilty for missing study time.

As I mentioned to Mom earlier we shipped our 3rd member of the trio off the the MTC in Sao Paulo this morning at 6 am and so it is back down to Elder Beeton and I.  We are the more mellow of the three of us so that should mean we get more time that we are focused which is one of the biggest challenges here since you just want to talk to everyone and get to know as many people as possible.  We will miss Elder Burgquist though because he is a character. 

So one night this week my District leader Elder Wilkes had a bunch of Elders in our residence write letters to his girlfriend that he thinks he is going to marry when he gets home.  (she is 16 and going into her Junior year of high school so I think it is retarded, there is a lot more of that then I was expecting around here.  Them Utards all want to get married.)  So i went with the approach of trying to make sure she realizes that how important it is she doesn't mess up eternity on a goofball like Elder Wilkes. There were some really funny letters from the other Elders.

This week I have read a lot in the scriptures and have been able to do it while staying awake for the most part which is awesome.  When I get to just read the Good old English Book of Mormon is usually one of my favorite parts of the day because it is relaxing you don't have to fight past the language to get the spiritual stuff, it is just sitting there for you.  But I have also started reading the Bible in Portuguese with Elder Sutton from my district where we go through and try to figure out what every word means before looking at it in English.  Which seemed to be very educational and helpful.  Also the Bible that we have is the King James version minus the footnotes and JSTs because the Church doesn't have that for the Portuguese Bible which I found surprising.  It took us over an hour to get though the first 2 chapters in Genesis so it is pretty slow going.

On Sunday we watched a talk by Elder Bednar that he gave at the MTC a couple years ago called the Characteristics of Christ.  It was quite possibly the best talk that I have ever listened to and I definitely suggest that you all take the time to watch it.

I better go take a nap now so I don't fall asleep at the temple.  I hope you all have a great week.  I will continue to work hard and strive to not waste any of the time that I have dedicated to the Lord.  You will all be in my prayers. I love all of you and that love grows more and more each day. Until next week.


Elder Hobson

First Letter from MTC August 26, 2014

Well family they asked us to send a letter home on our first night but I did not have any idea what the address of the rental or the new house in Kuna or even the address to Amanda's apartment was so I didn't get to send you anything.  Well first of all I will just get all of the Business side of everything out of the way.  I want to tell you all about Eldermail.com.  It is a website that you can use to basically write an Email and it emails directly to the MTC and they print it off the same or next day and then deliver it to the missionary.  So if you want to communicate with me more then once a week that is probably the best way to do it.  Also I forgot to have you look up the Balance in my Checking account so if you could do that it would be awesome.  If you are considering sending me a package I am just going to tell you now don't worry about sending food until I am out of the MTC.  There is a stupid amount of food and junk around here for us to eat.  And these Utah missionaries all around me have junk food coming out of their ears that is going to waste.  The only thing that I could use is some mints because gum is against MTC rules and I am really tired of having disgusting breath.  Also some cheapo ball point pens wouldn't hurt at some point because I only have one that is good for writing in my scriptures.  That is about all for the business end I needed to get out of the way.
So now to tell you what is going on.  I think you would be interested to know that the first day I walked in and the first person that I saw in the hallway was Aubrey Allen.  And then I ran into here again within about 10 minutes so I thought that was pretty funny.  She gave me a warm welcome which was nice.  the whole situation put a smile on my face and the whole situation cheered me up. It really made me much more comfortable here right away.  I also had about 2 hours of class where about 100 missionaries that had just arrived were trying to teach an investigator together with absolutely no planning or lesson whatsoever which was very interesting with several different investigators where Matt was in the same group as I was so that was fun.  I never sat by him or had a real conversation but we are pretty decent at this point with long distance communication.  I learned a lot on my first day and I am starting to feel like a missionary now that I have the sweet badge and because of the fact that everyone calls me Elder.  Portuguese is not easy.  I am really having a hard time.  I am working hard to try to learn it and remember how to pronounce the words but most of my district has lots of foreign language backgrounds so they are better than me at this point.   It is getting better but we have already taught our investigator 3 times and those have been pretty rough.  But on the last one we asked here to commit to baptism anyways which she was open to but didn't understand why she needed to be baptized again since she was baptized as a catholic.  And we had no idea how to answer that in Portuguese so it wasn't perfectly smooth and we had been going for almost an hour so she asked us to come back another day.  Sometimes I really miss good old English.  My companion is named Elder Beeton.  He is from Orem Utah and is a pretty chill dude that likes to exercise so we have been getting along pretty well.  After a couple days we became a trio with Elder Burquist because his companion went home.  He is from Las Vegas and I like him quite a bit.  He likes to wakeboard and snowboard if that tells you anything about what he is like.  He and Elder Beeton are quite a pair though they are really rowdy and struggle to focus when they are together.  So that is something that we have been having to work on lately.  We could be losing him soon though because an Elder from the other portuguese district in our zone that came in last week got his visa to Brazil and left this morning so we will see what is going to happen.  The food here is pretty good.  There is certainly plenty of it.  I have been enjoying endless amounts of BYU chocolate milk.  It beats river food but it is not like mama's home cookin that is for sure.  I have been struggling to find some vegetables that I actually think will be healthy apart from salad with a little vinaigrette on it.  But my fruit intake is awesome.  Class is about where we live and we study a lot.  Our teacher's name is Irmao Nielson. Irmao being brother.  He is awesome and we are actually going to be his last district since he is quitting after having been here for over a year. So he knows what he is doing and is very good.

here is two other Elders in my district.  Elder Sutton and Elder Wilkes.  Wilkes is our district leader he is Utah kid along with Sutton.  Wilkes has a girl that is 16 years old that he thinks he is going to marry when he gets home.  Hahahahaha I thought that was pretty funny.  Elder Sutton My first impression made me think that I wouldn't like him but I was wrong he is pretty cool.  He showed us his drivers licence and he used to have a chin beard and a buzz cut that made him look like a convict.  He has a babyface though now.  There are two sisters in our district. They both were dancers and one was on the ballroom team at BYU I thought Amanda might be interested in that.  There names are Sister Mcchesney (excuse the spelling)  and Sister Anderson.  They are the overachieving type that are always showing up the Elders. Sister McChesney is 22 and Anderson is 20 so they have some years on us.  

So I have been hitting the Journal pretty hardcore every night and have already filled 18 pages in it.  And I would love to tell you all about almost all of it.  But in the MTC we are limited to an hour of email time and so there is no way that I will be able to type it all out since I am already a really slow typer and so much happens every day here.  I want to try to send you pictures of all the pages but I am having a hard time trying to figure out how to do that.  So I guess I will just have to tell you some stuff real quick that is most important.  I have been learning to pray in portuguese since day one.  I have been struggling a lot with that but i have the basics down now due to how often we pray and hours of additional study on that.  It is really enjoyable to be here. I have lots of fun.  sometimes to much probably but I am learning alot.  It is like preparing for an AP test or finals constantly but with the spirit so it is not that bad.  Also  so much more comes to your memory when you really need it to for the investigators sake then when you are just learning for yourself.  Portuguese as much as we possibly can always trying to speak our language.  We have memorized our purpose as missionaries and are working on the first vision.  I am doing my best to work hard and stay focused which is not easy in these long days.  But we will have to keep on trekking. I love you all and miss you a appropriate non distracting amount.  I have been keeping you all in my prayers.  I hope you are all adjusting well to Kuna.  

Elder Hobson