Opening My Mission Call

Opening My Mission Call
August 16, 2010

Monday, September 24, 2012

What a Week!

I don't think that I have such a long, yet amazing week. A lot of things have happened over the past seven days and now the mission has completely changed for me. Well, let me explain:

I think every missionary always wonders, well at least I wonder, "Do I really have the Spirit with me? I feel happy and I feel like I sometimes receive revelation and I feel worthy, but just I never know..." Well, I had an amazing experience happen on last Monday night that really boosted my own confidence and confirmed that the Spirit really is with me. We were at a member's house right before going into our piso and just chatting with them and giving them a nice spiritual message. Well, the week prior my companion gave one of the family members a blessing of health since she had just been operated on and she said that very night she felt 100000 times better, and she was thrilled. Now this week their roommate was super worried about her current job situation and just wanted a blessing of comfort so she asked me to give her a blessing. For some reason I was just feeling super weird and so I was like, "Sure we'll give you one at the end of the lesson," but before the end of the lesson I excused myself to the bathroom so I could pray for some inspiration on how to help her. Well I came out and then I gave her a blessing, and I am not even sure what happened. I just looked up and my companion was staring at me like, "wow..." and then I look down and the lady is crying. My comp said that I was giving the blessing I stopped for a quick pause and then continued and then added a few little more things and then ended. The lady told me as we were leaving the piso that she now knew with a surety that God knew who she was and that her prayers are answered. She then told me that I recited to her parts, word for word, of her Patriarchal blessing. Umm.... I was pretty much speechless. I didn't even know what to say. I just sufficed with a, "Well, that's what blessings are for! To comfort you!" and then we left. It was quite the Monday. It only led to an even better Tuesday:

On Tuesday we had the opportunity to go to Murcia and meet with Elder Kent F. Richards of the Second Quorum of the Seventy (see picture). We left at 530am since we got a ride with one of our members who happened to be the cook for the whole event. For the days leading up to Tuesday we were all super nervous because he is not the most punctual guy and we had to make sure that the lunch was served at 2pm exactly. So we were all stressing so we got there as early as possible to prepare the food. Well we did that as well as we could before we had to leave the kitchen because the zone conference was starting. To be honest, I could write thousands of pages I feel like of notes of all the things I learned but I will just highlight one or two things. First we stood up and shook the hands of Elder Richards and Sister Richards. When I said I was from Medford, Oregon Sister Richards told me that she had actually been there before in 2003 when she was on the Young Woman board. Well then we started listening to Elder Richards. He gave us a lot of good advice. I would say that the theme of the whole conference was to allow yourself to be guided by the Spirit. Sister Richards also briefly talked to us. She put up a long acronym on the board and asked us is she knew what it was. HISTHOGROTTUOOCOOFT? Can you guess what this long acronym is? It is a statement by President Henry B. Eyring. Ever since she explained it I have tried to remember this phrase daily. It stands for, "Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children, or our family, today?" There are a lot of tricks people have to try and remember the blessings they have received daily from God and I think this one is a good one for me. I will try to use it daily. 

Elder Richards then came up again and started teaching us more and he would periodically call on a missionary randomly and ask them to do something in front of the rest. Talk about nerve wracking. I nearly passed out when I saw him look in my direction, squint at my name tag and say, "Elder Card!" Oh no... not me please, not me! "Stand up will ya?" I did so. "I want you to invite me to be baptized and when I tell you no, rephrase the question. Handle it well!" Oh my gosh.... I don't think I have ever been so nervous in my life. I almost passed out. Well, I tried my best, and later people said I did a fine job but I didn't really care. I just wanted it to be over haha. I think I make myself more nervous than the situation really calls for but it makes it super funny looking back. We then had a Question and Answer session and some people had some good questions so it made it interesting. 

At about two o´clock we were wrapping up so Elder Jordan and I sneak into the kitchen to see how our member is doing with the food. We asked him how it was going and he said, "Wow. You guys are done early!"
We looked at our watch again, "No.... it is 2:00...." 
With a super confused look he looks up at the clock in the kitchen and we all look at it together. You've got to be kidding me...... Someone had set the clock back for some reason so it was 40 minutes slow. He thought it was barely 1:30. Well, emergency time!!!! Throw together a salad!! STALL STALL!!! We literally threw a salad and tried to get the missionaries and President Deere and Elder and Sister Richards to sit down. I sat down and whispered to President Deere our "issue." He said he hoped it wouldn't be too big of a deal and so I sat down next to him and talked to him a bit more. Elder Jordan was in the kitchen helping out the member so I was sitting with some other missionaries when Elder Richards sits down right next to me to eat lunch. I wasn't as nervous this time and I just talked to him and got to know him a lot better. He is a surgeon, well was, and has a lot of cool stories. Told his how he got called by Elder Uchtdorf and how he was interviewed by Elder Nelson and Elder Cook. It was way cool to hear all about the "behind the scenes." He saod that Elder Nelson asked him, "If we were to start missionary work on the moon, would you be willing and ready to go and live there the rest of your life to start missionary work." He told me that he obviously said he was, because if he said no he wouldn't be in front of me haha. 

Eventually people stomach's were starting to churn but the food did come out and it was worth the wait. It was absolutely amazing and delicious. I was lucky (or unlucky depending how you look at it) to be sitting in front of Elder Richards when the food was being served. The AP was delivering the food to Elder Richards when..... he tripped! Yep. White sauce all over Elder Richards' suit. He took it really well though, and he made it a funny situation instead of a completely awkward one. 

After the lunch we were all cleaning up when President Deere came up to me and said, "Hey, Elder Card, could you stay for a few minutes to talk with Elder Richards? He wants to have an interview with you." Oh great... what did I do wrong? Was I not bold enough in the baptism invite? Was I laughing too much when the sauce got on his suit? As you know me I was just freaking out. But no, there was no need to fear. Apparently, he just wanted to get to know the mission so he picked two or three elders to interview and talk. Still, I was nervous going into it. Elder Jordan waited at the door, and what felt to me to be a 5 minute interview was actually a lot longer. I came out and Elder Jordan said, "Man, you were in there forever. What happened?"
"What are you talking about? I was in there for only like 5 minutes."
"No! Look at the time. You've been in there for like 35 minutes!"

Wow. He was right. I was just having the time of my life in there so it really just flew. He asked me about myself, and so when I told him I was a convert he asked me about that story. Well, I told him all of that stuff and he asked about my parents and how are they doing and then after a lot of chit chat he asked me if I had any questions for him. Well I then asked him a bunch of stuff. Just as an example of some of the things I asked, I asked him the process he used to receive personal revelation and any advice he had on how to be a good father, husband, etc. The interview was just a great experience. I told him that I am sure we will be in touch haha. 

That very night with all of the new things we learned and the Spiritual high that we were on we were able to set a baptismal date with our most hard-headed investigator. Talk about a miracle. I don't think I had ever come back to the piso more exhausted yet more happy. It was a great day. And that was just one day last week! 

To make this really short... what else happened? Well, we just had a blast. But, oh yeah. Of course one of the best week always has to throw you a curve ball. You want to get super "trunky" aka homesick? How about travel plans?!? Yeah buddy. Got those I have my official flight plans for going home. It is the following:

On December 6th, 2012:

Málaga to Paris, France
630am  ---> 925am (2:55 hours)

Paris to Seattle, Washington
1030am ----> 1240pm (11:10 hours)

Seattle, WA to Portland, OR
200pm -----> 250pm (50 minutes)

Portland, OR ----> Medford, Oregon!!!
525pm ----> 623pm (58 minutes)

Yeah, that made me really excited for December, I won't lie. Due to the time difference I leave on December 6th but also arrive in Medford on December 6th haha. Cool, eh? Anyways, you can pretty much count me on being exhausted for writing that email. I hope you all enjoyed it! Until next week!!!

Elder Card, out.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September 17, 2012

Monday September 17, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

It really is starting to heat up here in Paranguá and the humidity is ridiculous. It seems like taking a shower is useless because I´m dripping in sweat five minutes later. I love the elements and trials that I´m going through on my mission. If I wasn´t a man before, I will be when all is said and done.
This past week flew by once again and the weather is getting super hot and humid here in my area of Guarani. I am feeling the desire more and more everyday to help all those that I can. I know I can´t be Superman and do everything, but I know I can be a Supermissionary with the spirit of the Lord as I obey with exactness and  I can help all those that the Lord whould have me help. 
Tais and Andrea are looking like they will be baptized this next Sunday if all goes well and it is truly amazing to see the new light that is in their lives and eyes. The Book of Mormon and the Church and gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal happiness,


Elder Hokanson

Time Flies When You Work Hard

Monday, September 10, 2012

Dear Dad, Mom, Liz, Kirstie, Ashlynn, McKay, Family and Friends,

This past week flew by like a dream. I can´t believe it´s close to the
middle of Setembro. I learned this past week that as you lose yourself
serving others, thinking less about yourself, and more about helping
others overcome their personal problems, the problems and concerns in
your own life seem to disappear. I witnessed this as we worked like
crazy this past weekend to teach people, that we´d encountered in the
street, in their houses the message of the restoration of Christ´s
church on the earth today. Saturday evening we went to the house of
Ianderson, Fabiana and their family to teach them how their home can
have more peace and love. It was amazing to see how receptive they
were to our lesson and then to hear them say that they´d been looking
for a church and a religion where they could feel peace and happiness.
After teaching the restoration to them and having a spirit of peace
fill the room, I committed Ianderson and Fabiana to be baptized at the
end of this month. They responded that they will do everything in
their power to be prepared for baptism at the end of this month. As we
left their house that evening I could feel a warm feeling within me
and that is when I realized with more surety that this church is the
church of Jesus Christ and baptism is the only way to gain eternal
happiness. Look for people in your everyday life that lack peace,
happiness and unity in their families and their life and open your
mouthes and share the gospel.

Elder Hokanson

September 3, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dear Dad, Mom, Liz, Kirstie, Ashlynn, McKay, Family and Friends,

Spiritually miraculous....that is what this past week was. This past week my companion, Elder Funk, and I set a goal to obey with more exactness and live in a way that we can find and teach  people by listening more to the promptings of the Spirit. I learned that to be the best possible instrument in the hands of the Lord, I need to obey all the mission rules and commandments with exactness and not make exceptions to even the smallest of rules. What I learned this week was that miracles take place when we do all in our power to listen to the Holy Ghost. This past Wednesday night we met with Andrea and Jorge, the non-member parents of 3 young men who are members. One of their sons is serving a mission in João Pessoa in the north and so we talked to them about how they are feeling with their son being on a mission. For the past 3 months that I have been here in Paranaguá, Andrea and Jorge had little interest in keeping commitments and going to church, but as we talked with them, Andrea said that seeing pictures of her son on his mission helping others changre their lives has brought an indecribable joy, when she said that we testified that the joy he is experiencing and the joy she was feeling was because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We then committed them to read the Book of Mormon and pray specifically to know if it was true and if Joseph Smith was the prophet of God, that restored Christ´s church on the earth.They accepted the invitation and as the Spirit was strong, we committed Andrea to be baptized on the 16th of this month, and for the first time in three months she responded, ``I will prepare to be baptized on that day.`` Then the next miracle happened, Friday night as we were walking back toward our house I had the prompting to visit Andrea, even though we hadn´t planned to visit her. I knew that we should follow the prompting,so we went to Andrea´s house. When we arrived and clapped at their gate, she answered and we asked her if she had read the Book of Mormon and prayed to know if it was true. She then responded, to my amazement, ``I did and I felt a feeling of peace and happiness come over me.`` We then responded that the feeling she felt was the Spirit and that she had received an answer that it was true. She then asked us with a smile on her face, ``Can you pick me up and take me to church on Sunday?`` We happily responded of course and yesterday, Not only Andrea came to church, but her husband Jorge, as well. I know that if we obey the commandments with exactness, miracles will take place. I have seen this happen as I am understanding and speaking a lot more with the locals here and listening to the Spirit.

Thank You For Your Love and Support!
Elder Jonathan Hokanson

August 27, 2012

Monday August 27, 2012

Dear Dad, Mom, Liz, Kirstie, Ashlynn, McKay, Family and Friends,
This past week was a week full of a roller coaster of emotions, as it
was my trainer´s last week with me, as he went home today. It feels
now that a part of me is missing, I love Elder Evans like the older
brother I never had. He truly taught me how to be the best missionary
possible and fulfill my true potential. It is amazing how close you
can get to one person in just a matter of eight weeks. This mission is
truly amazing and the Lord is helping me endure and overcome the
obstacles and pains that have come upon me so far as a missionary here
in southern Brasil.
This past Friday I got my stiches taken out at a old little health
clinic in a neighborhood in the area I serve. You may be wondering why
I had stiches to be taken out of my head. That is where my Brasilain
soccer and hospital story comes in.
Two weeks ago today I was playing soccer, in the rain on an outdoor
court at the stake center, the main LDS church here in Paranaguá, with
the other elders in my zone. I was playing goalie and I was running to
get the ball in the corner of the court, where there was an extra
slick part, as a defender was coming at me. I don´t remember much
after that, but I slipped and smaked my head on the concrete as I was
running to pick up the ball. After squirming in pain and grabbing my
head, I saw that my hand was covered in blood, that is when I started
going in and out of conciousness and my arms and legs were tingling.
The next couple hours consisted of going to the hospital by ambulance,
getting x rayed and then after seeing that nothing was broken they
gave me 4 stitches and wrapped my head in gauze. I ended up walking
out of the hospítal looking like a soldier from the civil war, as the
wrap they put on my head looked pretty ridiculous. Attached should be
a photo of how I looked the night of the accident. The best part of my
brazialian soccer and hospital experience was that all the medical
care andf ambulance ride were free due to the brazilian health care
After about a week and a half of pretty bad neck pain and headaches, I
am feeling pretty normal for the most part, aside from the scar on the
back of my head and the occasional neck and back pain and headaches. I
know that the Lord blesses us as we keep his commandments and that as
a representative of Jesus Christ I was and am still being watched over
and protected from not being injured more seriously.
Thanks for your prayers and support.
Elder Jonathan Hokanson

Learning to Lead

August 6, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

This past week I got my first look at what it´s going to be like without my trainer and first companion Elder Evans, as he is finishing his mission here this week. On Friday, I showed the new missionary and zone leader, in the area next to us, our area and I for my first day ever was leading the conversations with the people we were meeting with and teaching the majority of the lessons. I realized how much I´ve relied on Elder Evans the past eight weeks and that this next week when he leaves, I´ll be relying on the Lord to help strengthen me and be an example to help my new companion, that I´ll get next week, adjust to the area. More importantly, I´m learning to put my faith in the Lord that he will help me completely understand all the people we talk to and I´m learning that the Spirit, if we live worthy of it, can be a great help in understanding, speaking and teaching. Yesterday I think I ate the best dessert I´m had here yet, it was a bowl of fresh tropical fruit, with sweet condensed milk and chocolate, coconut ice cream. That dessert we had for lunch, then we went to another members house and a recent converts house and they fed us more food. The members here and the people of Brazil love feeding us, so we are never hungry, which is great and I don´t have any problem with it since I love food.Trials are occuring here in my life and in my area, but I´m learning that if we rely on God we can do all things and help those that are in need.

I love you all and I hope you have a great week!


Elder Hokanson

Tuesday Aug 7, 2012
Urgent... Read Please ASAP


So my companion Elder Evans, from Wilsonville Oregon, is going home this next Monday and his parents are picking him up. Do you have any way possible to get my wobble chair and cervical traction up to Wilsonville and dropped off at his parent´s house before Saturday. They can bring it to the mission home for me, and I can pick it up. Maybe Nate and Kristin or Janae could bring it, I don´t know, but I could really use the wobble chair and cervical traction because my back and neck are hurting me pretty bad. If you can please send these things in a duffle bag ready to be checked with $50 or so for the baggage fee. If  you can do this give Elder Evans´ Mom, Kari, a call at 503-638-7115 or 503-490-4721 to arrange the drop off. Their address is 23544 SW Gage Rd Wilsonville, OR.

Thanks Mom

Elder Hokanson

PS-  If you are able to do it make sure everything is done by Saturday because they leave Sunday. Also, don´t include the spinal molding or weights if they don´t fet because I don´t want to have to carry around a ton of unecessary stuff during my mission.

August 13, 2012

(Letter to Jonathan after hearing from his companion's mom that he'd hurt his head the week before)
Jonathan Jared Hokanson,
(you can just imagine the tone of my voice! :))  You got hurt and didn't tell us!  Because we didn't know, We couldn't pray specifically for that!  We've been praying for you to learn the language.  Now McKay is praying that your head injury will heal.  Yes, I was very worried when I heard from your companion's mom (she knew before me!), but have to trust that Heavenly Father is aware and all our trials can work for our good.
So, I've gathered up everything but your weights.  I still need to look for them.  I am also sending some tylenol, 8 hour and a Nikken necklace.  WEAR it under your shirt.  I emailed your Presidente and requested that you get into a chiropractor asap.  And probably for several visits, just because of the extent of the trauma.  The closest one is in Curitiba.  Jory is checking on him to make sure he is good. His name is Dr. Jason Gilbert, he's from Austrailia.  There is over 500 dollars in your account.  Let me know how much the chiropractor visits cost.  Jory said it should be cheaper there.  I am sure you have had a blessing, but you can also have another if needed.  Janae and Joseph will drop them off in Wilsonville on Friday.  Do you home care daily!!! It makes a huge difference.  Just start with 5 minutes twice a day the first day and gradually work up.  Since it's been a while.  
I love you!  I am so sorry for your pain.  Now that I know, send ME the details.  
Love you to the ends of the earth,
Jonathan Hokanson
Aug 13
to me
Sorry Mom,

I was planning on telling you this week. I didn´t you all to worry
about me. I´m being watched over and protected here as a missionary
and your prayers have been super helpful as I´m understanding the
majority of what others are saying and I can express my feelings more
fully. My head and neck injury have improved dramatically since last
Tuesday. Thanks for the prayers. Love you and sorry I didn´t tell you