Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Pics


Merry Christmas

Olà, Tudo Bem?

This week we had a Christmas conference with the whole mission. I was able to see the MTC group again. We all got to share experiences from our first couple of weeks. It was good finding out that I wasn't the only one that felt a little lost. Everyone in the Portugal Lisbon Mission was there. We got to hear President and Sister Tavares speak. I could understand a lot of what they were saying. I could feel their love for all of us. We had a gift exchange which was interesting. I got pancake mix and syrup which was really good. Every zone got to present something to the whole mission. It was funny seeing the creativity of others. Our presentation was a play about how Santa got baptized. We created a dance that everybody loved. (I have shared the video, explanation of video, closing act after Santa is baptized, we whip, 2 baptism, 2 confirmations, nae nae, 4 dabs)

This Christmas was a lot different than any other Christmas I have experienced in my life. Usually Christmas is spent with family and there are gifts. This year I received no material gifts but I feel like I have learned the most out of all the Christmas's I have experienced. Christmas Eve it was like a ghost town here. Everyone was having dinner with their families so we decided that we would go caroling to our investigators and members. It was so fun sharing the light of Christ with others through song. Christmas morning we had french toast and syrup which was so good. After we went to church, we had lunch with a member family. In the evening we were able to talk with our families. It was interesting seeing how missionaries are a lot like their families. We are influenced so much by them. I love my family and I am grateful families are central to Heavenly Father's plan. 

Have a New Year. 
Elder Fogg

Monday, December 19, 2016

Elder Thompson

Stuck in an elevator

Ola! Tudo bem?
Feliz Natal a tudo mundo. 
This week was interesting. I am still getting adjusted to the culture and the language. I don't understand exactly what people are saying but it's all cool because I understand the general message, so that's exciting. Also since I don't speak English that much, I am starting to forget how to say some stuff. So I speak really bad Portuguese and really bad English.
This week is the week before Christmas, therefore people have put up Christmas decorations. Not as many lights here as there are back home. The ward here had a Christmas party on Saturday. The missionaries were assigned to do a skit in the middle of it. I am a missionary and therefore I participated in this skit. I did not say anything because people do not understand the «Elder Fogg Portuguese». Our Mission is also having a Christmas conference. Each zone had to perform a presentation for this conference so my companion, who is one of the Zone leaders, thought it would be a good idea to do a Christmas Musical Extravaganza, so they wrote a play about how Santa Claus was baptized. Elder Harker and I are supposed to be dancing fishes (I think I didn't really understand any of the words they used).

On Friday most of our appointments cancelled on us, so we thought it would be a good idea to visit our friend Nathan. He buzzed us into his apartment and we got on the elevator. The elevator stopped and we were stuck. We just sat there for a few minutes because my trainer didn't know what to do (which means that this probably doesn't happen often in Portugal which is a good thing). After fifteen minutes of being in the elevator, I pressed the button again and it started moving. We visited with Nathan and thought it best to use the stairs on the way down. 
My companion showed me this verse and I really liked it: Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life.  I have been called by a prophet of God to preach His message of happiness to the world.
I know this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called by God to restore His church on the earth by his authority. I know that Jesus Christ was born onto this earth so that we can become cleansed from our sins. Christ is the greatest gift. Merry Christmas.
Elder Fogg

Monday, December 12, 2016

Finally in Portugal

Olá! Tudo Bem?
This week was a little interesting. This week was the longest week of my life. I´m not in Utah anymore which is fun (I´m in Portugal). We left the MTC at 3 am on Monday. We flew from Salt Lake City to Portland to Amsterdam to Lisbon. We didn´t get to Lisbon until 3 pm on Tuesday. It was weird to get on the plane in Salt Lake City where it was around freezing and getting of the plane in Portugal where it was 60 and sunny. Looks like we´re not going to have a white Christmas here. 
The language we were taught in the MTC is not the same as the language here. We were in the airport and I was trying to sleep and I woke up for a second. I heard people speaking what I thought was some sort of gibberish until I heard one Portuguese word I knew. When we talk to people here or other missionaries, I have no idea what other people are saying. Also missionaries are not allowed to speak any language besides Portuguese so I am not really saying anything these days.
We were picked up by President and Sister Tavares and a couple other missionaries at the airport. We had a dinner with the mission president and spent the night at the mission home. The next day they took us to the mission office where we met our companions. I am companions with Elder Thompson.  He´s from Indiana and he is tall. We are working in Odivelas. There is another companionship in our apartment. Elder Harker and Elder Welch are working with us in our area. Elder Thomspon and I are White Washing our area. (White Washing is when neither missionary has experience working prior to the transfer). We talk to a lot of people on the street, knock a lot of doors and don´t teach a lot of lessons. We have very little ground work done for us so we have to find people on our own.
Missionaries who have returned from this mission previously have compared the Portuguese people to eggs. They have a hard shell but when you break through the shell they are really good people. They are really hard eggs. 
Last night the two Lisbon soccer teams (Benfica and Sporting) played each other so there was nobody on the street to talk to. It was a ghost town (people like soccer here). But one of our investigators came to church, he´s super fiche. He´s from Brazil. I had to bare my testimony in church this week (keep in mind I know no Portuguese). The only things I could say were the only things that got me through the week. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God. I know that Jesus is the savoir and redeemer of the world. The work I´m doing is the work that he would be doing. 
Elder Fogg

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Off to Portugal ...

Olà, tudo bem?

Thanks to all who have sent e-mails or packages.  

So funny story, you know how I said that we were leaving on Tuesday. Turns out the people of Portugal just can't wait for us any longer; we leave for Portugal on Monday. We leave the MTC at 3:50 AM. We are suppose to arrive in Portugal on Tuesday at 2 PM (woot woot). This was kind of unexpected but I am so excited to go to Portugal. Since we are leaving on Monday, our P-day got switched to Saturday. We got to say goodbye to Irma Young and Irmão Regehr on Friday. They were great teachers and I will miss them.
It is now the Christmas season.  For choir we started to sing Christmas songs. The branch presidents had a dinner on Friday night. Some of the missionaries that were in choir went to sing some Christmas Carols. We sang the First Noel and Hark Ye Harold Angels Sing. It was super fun. 
We do not have refrigerators in our rooms. Some other Elder's in my residence hall thought it was a good idea to keep their drinks cool by putting them in the vents. Good idea right? Wrong. The thing is one of their roommates doesn't enjoy having his room so cold so he turned up the heat. Unfortunately one of the drinks in the vent was milk. Milk and heat do not mix well. When they came back to their room they discovered that they had invented a new smell ("the smell of death" according to one missionary). Elder Angulo used the emergency phone to call for help. He said "Mayday mayday smells like milk out of date mayday mayday. Send help." The milk had exploded out of the vent into the room. The milk had gone so bad that  the milk that exploded onto the wall pealed the paint. The clean up crew was not happy. It was so bad that one of them asked "who puked in the vent" as they pulled chunks out of it. I guess it's good we're missionaries not scientist.

I have been studying faith a lot this week. Our investigators were struggling a lot with faith this week. We taught a lot concerning faith and invited them to do a lot to help strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ. By doing so I strengthened my own testimony in him as well. God does not show us miracles until we have faith in him. He shows us miracles through our faith. I was not able to speak Portuguese at all before I came into the MTC but through faith in Jesus Christ I have been able to learn so much and I know that some day I will be able to speak it.
Tchaw tchaw for now peccadors,
Elder Fogg
This is a warning that in Portugal there are some areas without Internet. I may not be able to send emails if I am in those areas.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 5 - Thanksgiving re-cap

This week was crazy, so put down that left over pumpkin pie that that you're eating and listen up. Wednesday started like any other day. We got up at 6:30 and did the normal routine. We went to class for our normal 3 hour blocks of learning and studying but after we finished exercise things started getting crazy. I was just sitting there minding my own business, eating some MTC food that wasn't spectacular when out of no where my district leader handed me a piece of paper. My heart jumped into my throat. It was our travel plans. Our district and all the other non-brazilian portuguese speaking districts are leaving for our missions by next Tuesday. We are the last to leave. We leave on Tuesday. Everyone was so excited that we couldn't concentrate when we got back to the classroom. It was chaos.

If I were you I would stay seated. On Thursday we didn't get to watch football games, instead we had three devotionals. The first was by Neil L Anderson. He talked about being thankful, how appropriate. I sang in the choir, we sang Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. There were enough other missionaries that it sounded beautiful even though I sounded like a dying cow. The second devotional we had was about service. We had a service project afterward where we made meals for children in Utah. Our third devotional of the day was more of a talent show. It was really cool seeing other missionaries bear their testimonies through their talents and music. Thanksgiving lunch was not as delicious as back home. And they only had pumpkin and apple pie. The MTC store black Friday sale did not live up to the hype. Everything was still full price.


This week really picked up when started to debate the nature of sandwhiches. We had a lot of debates about whether hot dogs are sandwiches. Which they are, some people feel very strongly that they are not, even though they clearly are. That's just my unbiased opinion. 

It snowed this morning and it looks like it is going to stick this time. There isn't going to be that much snow in Portugal so it's good that we're getting it now. 

Ether 12:6 is a great scripture I came across this week. It is after the trial of our faith that we find things are true. This has been a very trying time for me, but this has also been the greatest growth of my testimony in my life.
Until Next Week

Monday, November 21, 2016

Pics - Week 4

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanks to everyone who wrote letters, they were much appreciated.

It was really cold this week.  It also snowed this week. It happened over night and was gone by the next day, but it happened. I took it as a sign that exercise should be inside from now on. Speaking of exercise I ran, to get some more ice cream in the cafeteria. They have BYU creamery Ice cream on Sundays and on Wednesdays, a true blessing from the lord.

All of our zone leaders who were here when we arrived are leaving tomorrow. None of them got their visas to Brazil so they are going stateside speaking Spanish. It's sad to see them go, they have been such great examples to us. They leave tomorrow morning.

Brother Regehr is still recovering from his ACL surgery so we had a substitute teacher Sister Tilton. She went to Lisbon Portugal on her mission. She got back from her mission in June. She talks with a Portuguese accent instead of a Brazilian one. She loves the Portuguese people so much, I can see it in her eyes when she talks about Portugal.

One time this week elder Angulo and I were teaching one of our investigators Teresa (in Portuguese). We were wrapping up the lesson so we asked if she say the closing prayer. When she was praying I heard Elder Angulo doing something. I opened my eyes to check and I saw that he was laughing. I couldn't contain myself so I started to laugh as well. There we were, two missionaries, laughing at our investigator trying to pray for the first time. We are horrible. Sister Tilton was not happy with us after wards. It would be horrible if it happened only once but it happened again with our investigator Bianca. It was really bad.

My Portuguese is getting better. I can actually understand what the teacher or the investigators are saying now. Responding is trickier but I can get my point across. It’s fun teaching people not lessons. Looking back at how far we have come since the first day is amazing. Now when I ask questions I’m not just staring blanking and freaking out on the inside because I don’t understand, I’m listening and learning.
I have been thinking about something that I heard this past week. Somebody said that you are called to speak in the language that you can communicate best in. That blows my mind not only mostly because I can’t communicate at all in Portuguese. It makes me less stressed about the language and also probably explains why I never did well in English.

We have been learning about the Book of Mormon a lot this week. I have set a goal to finish the Book of Mormon before I leave the MTC. I just finished Alma yesterday. “The Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book”. The Book of Mormon is true.
Tchau tchau for now,
Elder Fogg

Monday, November 14, 2016


Week 3 already

I can't believe it's week 3 already. The days here are so long and I feel so tired but the time flies. A day feels like a week and a week feels like a day. I am almost halfway done with the MTC. Brother Regehr ( our second teacher that was our 1st investigator) tore his ACL on Monday playing flag football. On Tuesday he was teaching class and he got a call from the hospital. He had an emergency surgery that he didn't know about so he had to leave class early. Since Tuesday we have had about every teacher that teaches Portuguese at the MTC. It's great having different teachers because it brings so many different perspectives but its also kind of sporadic.

We don't get any news here (so if someone could hit me up with some news regularly that would be great). The only things I know have happened since I left is the Cubs won the World Series in the 10th inning and that Trump won. That's about it. I am also a boss at four square. 

My companion has an identical twin that is also speaking Portuguese. It's hard to tell them apart sometimes. There are also a lot of Portuguese speakers here. There are going to be over 100 Portuguese speakers in our zone next week (there are usually 20-30). There are a lot of missionaries going to Brazil that still haven't gotten their visas. 

Elder Martel was heading to Lisbon the transfer before we arrived but had emergency surgery before he left so he had to stay an extra two weeks in the MTC. It was a blessing having him around because he actually knew how to speak Portuguese. The rest of us would always go to him for help. I can't wait to see him again in Portugal.

We have been studying teaching by the spirit this week. The spirit is such a blessing; it is gift from Heavenly Father. Without it I don't know how to teach because what I'm saying is not Portuguese. We teach people not lessons, and the way we do that is by the spirit.
Elder Fogg

Congrats to the LBXC girls on back to back states. Congrats to the Guys on runner-up.

Also people should send me emails (

Monday, October 31, 2016

Pics from the MTC

Wow what a week ...

Wow what a week. 

Someone once told me that the first week at the MTC is a marathon at 100m pace.  Boy are they right. From the get go, you sprint from place to place in a mass of confusion. After I got my name tag and my ID card, they told us to go pick up our language learning material. They say that the study material weighs 8 pounds -- I'm pretty sure that their scale was off because that thing weighed at least 5000 pounds. It was painful.

Once you get to the classroom, they only speak Portuguese at you so you don't understand what they’re saying. It's great. They had us trying to say basic greetings like "Hello" which proved too difficult for some. When anyone would speak at me in Portuguese, I would respond instinctively in French. My teacher laughed at me when I did. I do have one thing going for me, the pronunciations of continental Portuguese are more like French than Spanish.

We've also taught our first investigator twice in “Portuguese". My companion Elder Angulo is originally from Mexico so he speaks Spanish. When we try to teach, he does most of the talking. I don't know if it's in Portuguese or Spanish but our investigator knows we like Jesus, hopefully. I write out what I will say beforehand and read it. Often I'm just making random noises with my mouth. (*all the time).  

I have "learned" how to pray. I think I'm saying the words correctly, who knows. Everyone else sounds similar. The Elders that speak Spanish before they came to the MTC have an advantage because it's so similar. Sometimes they have trouble with the pronunciations of words because they’re sometimes more like French then Spanish. But I usually butcher words so I have a very little advantage.  

My zone is entirely made up of Portuguese speaking missionaries. We have sacrament meeting in Portuguese. All the talks, hymns, everything. Every missionary must prepare a talk for sacrament meeting and they choose who speaks randomly. Thankfully I didn't have to give a talk. Our zone sings hymns together often. I don't know what they mean but it's nice to feel the spirit.

Earlier our branch president gave a talk about how we should leave childish things behind because we are now missionaries. So naturally the older missionaries pulled a prank on the younger missionaries. They told us that one of the older missionaries was a native Portuguese speaker. He wasn't - he was from Utah. Way to leave childish things behind. Also, most of my branch is from Utah, Idaho or Arizona. 

I haven't had much time to study the scriptures. I wish I had but I'm usually studying the language I did go to a workshop where we talked about the Gospel. Any problem can be solved with faith in Jesus Christ. His Atonement covers not just our sins but also overcomes our weaknesses. Through the Atonement we can change and become more like what our Heavenly Father wants us to be. 

Until Next time,

Elder Fogg

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Day One at the MTC

I am alive. This is the most fun I have had in the past 7 hours. I have no idea what anyone is saying or how to speak Portuguese but no one else does either so its lit. 

Tudo Bem. ( I think that's Portuguese?)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sending letters to Elder Fogg at Provo - MTC

Send letters to Elder Fogg (for free) while he is at the MTC in Provo using
1) Select "Provo - MTC" (very top of the list) as the mission code
2) Unit #180
3) Estimated Departure Date - Dec 7

Drop-off at the MTC