Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The Grandmaster

Another good week! We started it off last Wednesday with a zone pday! We met up at a chapel, played some "around the world" ping pong/table tennis, food, then heading over to a bowling alley where we played 3 games of 10-pin bowling!

Missionary work related news, we had quite a variety of things happening. First off, got to teach some English to members from Columbia. Then they tried to convince me that I need to learn Spanish too... not sure if I have the time for that at the moment. We also got to help another member set up a make-shift shed near his house. That took a while, there was a lot of putting screws through metal, hitting dents out, and trying to bend the walls into place... turned out good in the end though. The highlight of the week though was probably being able to set a baptismal date for the 24th of march with a part member family that we've been working with! They're a younger couple, and the wife isn't a member, and they're really awesome and we've had the opportunity to get to know them very well.

I think I mentioned a bit ago that there was a world champion chess player on the mission (he won the under 14s for chess at 12, and became a grandmaster at... 16?). Anyways, we had a stake event this past Saturday for him, where they invited a chess club to come compete against him. He played 20 people at once, twice. The first time was a bit of a warm up, and he played 20 kids, moving from board to board to play his move. He only lost to two of them. Then the second time around he played another 20, this time with the adults, and there were no chances - he beat all of them. One of the only ones close to beating him was another elder! It was cool being able to witness his chess skills, and also hear him talk about his mission and how he's not currently pursuing chess because of his mission, which surprised some of the people in attendance.

Also, this past Monday, Elder Martin got transferred out, and I got two new companions! One has been out on his mission just about as long as me, Elder Waqa from Fiji. The other has just started, Elder Karina from Kiribati! We've already been able to see some cool miracles with them, such as being able to teach a lot of people while door knocking! One miracle that we saw was with an investigator from Brazil - we just had a brief visit with her, and at first she started talking about how she tried to read the Book of Mormon, but that it's very different from her Bible, so we explained that it wasn't another version of the Bible but it's own book, taking place in a different area of the world. That's when she lit up and said that she believes that's true, and that she's always thought it was unfair that God would only talk to one group of people in the world!

Anyways, thanks everyone for your love and support!
Elder Ho

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


​Another good week in Australia! We started it off last pday by going to lunch at a place called... Burrito Bar? I think that's what it was. Anyways it was a special Wednesday deal where you can a drink then any amount of chicken wings that you want for just 25 cents per wing... so we got over a 100 wings for the six of us. It was great!

We also got to participate in a funeral for a nonmember, which was different. Our ward mission leader was asked to conduct a funeral for a friends family member, and the entire family consisted of nonmembers. My companion and I had the opportunity to do the opening and closing prayer, and it was different experience, probably because many of them saw death as "the end". Our ward mission leader pretty much shared the plan of salvation with all of them, which was pretty awesome. We got to talk to all of the family after, and they were really nice!

One of the highlights for my week was one of our dinner appointments, it was with a family called the Appleby's. They're a young couple and had a cute son who was just under a year old. They took us out to one of their favourite Thai restuarants. What was awesome though was that this was one of the very first families that I met on my mission, and brother Appleby was my first ward mission leader! It was really awesome being able to talk about my first ward, Capalaba, and reminisce about our times there. 

Other interesting experiences for the week... while on tradeoffs I got to teach a lady who was coming back to church, and it was a good but interesting experience. The whole time though, I had to play fetch with this super hyper dog by tossing a sock across the room, and by the end of it the sock was quite wet. To make the situation more interesting, every 15 minutes the dog farted, leaving a really weird and awkward smell in the room. Silent but very deadly. She also had a kitten, which thought it was fun to pounce on the dog from around corners as it tried to play fetch. It also didn't understand that claws hurt, and proceeded to use my leg and arms as an escape from the dog, using it's sharp young claws as grip to climb around me as the dog tried to chase it. Just another great missionary visit!
And why the title of Aloha? I had the opportunity to go to a ward Hawaiian night for a bit, and got to see a bit of Hula, eat some food, and hear some music that I haven't heard in over a year, so that was fun! It was definitely interesting and cool though, being able to see their perspective and appreciation for the Hawaiian culture! Later on in the week, we had dinner with a family who had lived in Hawaii, and they talked about their favourite songs and even gave me a bit of the "local snacks" they had brought back with them!
Anyways, for my little spiritual thought for the day, just wanted to say to make the most of time! This life is a time for us to change, prepare to meet God, and become the best we can be, so make the most of it!

Thanks everyone for your love and support,
Elder Ho

Chicken Wings

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

In the Rain

So for the highlights of this past week...

We had zone conference, and learned a lot about obedience there. We had a good lunch after!

It's also been raining quite a bit recently, which means that it's not as hot, but door knocking is a lot more wet now. We did a bit of door knocking in the rain, which is always fun, because people think your crazy and weird, which I guess we kinda are if you look at it from their perspective. Unfortunately, nobody felt like letting us in to get out of the rain, except for a member that we ran into. 

Also, every Saturday morning we play touch rugby, with some members and other missionaries, maybe around 20 of us on average? Anyways, because of the rain, the field we were on was quite wet. And I guess the caretaker of the field wasn't to happy because he drove to the field, got out of his car, and started yelling at us to get off, because it was tearing up his grass. So yeah, getting yelled at is always a fun experience, and now we're just working on finding a different field.

We also got a call saying that someone and contacted the church, wanting their house blessed because an electrician had passed away in it. We went over and ended up having a great experience, getting to know the guy that wanted the blessing, and talking to him about who God is and the role he plays in our lives. We also found out that he was actually baptized as a member when he was ten.

We also helped some people move back into their home in a caravan park, which was kinda cool. It was really hot though, and we spent a while trying to fit this couch in over their porch and into their front door - so much fun.

Lastly, while visiting people with our ward mission leader, we were getting back into our car at night to head home, when we met some random guy and started talking to him. We ended up talking to him for about 20 minutes. He may have been high on something. Well, he most likely was. But it was kinda fun. He talked about his beliefs about being one with the universe, or something like that, and finding his own path in life. We shared about God and his purpose and plan for us, and what we do as missionaries, and we kinda exchanged our ideas and beliefs.

Anyways, I think that's it for this email. Not much else to talk about, and a lot of other things I have to do, so I'll end it here! Thanks everyone for your love and support!
Elder Ho

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Australian Dangerous Wildlife Tamer

While door knocking during in the heat of Australia, my companion and I saw a young magpie, stuck to the screen door of a house. It was losing energy and in panic. I heroically used the bird skills that I knew to free it from the door, and then walked to the end of the road to free it back into the wild, placing it on a tree. Then further down the street, as we proceeded to knock doors, we saw a bird cage outside, and it was empty. It finally clicked as to why the bird seemed a lot more people friendly than usual. So unfortunately, I did not tame a wild magpie, and now I could have possibly gotten it into more danger than it was in earlier. So we rushed back to the tree, retrieved the bird, and returned it to its proper house. So no, I'm not quite a tamer of the dangerous Australian Wildlife - yet.

This past week wasn't too exciting, so I don't have as much to email about. More stories from door knocking though. My companion and I finally found someone who was willing to talk to us. Unfortunately, the only thing he wanted to talk about was how the world was flat. It's an interesting topic to talk about though - are scientists trying to lie to us? Is Jesus Christ really just one of many sun gods? Is the moon a lot close than we think? Find out next time we talk to more flat-world enthusiasts.

I also got to witness someone get a "missionary pedicure". Some missionaries, due to the constant wearing of shoes and walking, get ingrown toenails. One of them needed me to take him to his appointment to get them fixed, since he wouldn't be able to drive home afterwards. So I got to witness, and take some pictures/videos, of tonails getting chopped and pulled, and other gruesome things. I wont go into detail, but it was pretty intense.

I myself got jealous of his pedicure, so I decided to have my own. When we went to a families house and joined their family home evening, their massive dog decided that my feet tasted good. So he started to chew my socks. Eventually he started biting a bit too hard, and my foot was getting slobbered on a bit too much, so I started grabbing the giant dog by the neck and trying to force it away. Eventually I had to sit on my feet for the rest of the meeting, because the moment it saw one of my feet free, it would come start chewing on it. Weird dog. It was a fun family home evening though!

I also played a bit of tag (with varying rules) with some of our recent converts, to teach a bit of a gospel lesson. They're aboriginal, and so they're very athletic and quick. After a while, my companion and I were sweating and slipping and tripping all over the grass in our proselyting shoes that have no grip whatsoever. The lesson that comes from the game is simple, but it will be our spiritual thought for the day. Our goal in life is to get to the safezone, where we can live with Heavenly Father forever. And sometimes we make mistakes, or slip, and get "caught". Fortunately, unlike the game, if we repent, it's like getting another chance to try again and race for that safezone. So keep getting up and trying again!

Thanks everyone for your love and support,
Elder Ho

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Storms

This past week was another good one! We started it off last pday with a visit to the temple, and a dinner and a zone family home evening with President McSwain! We played some games and talked about President Nelson's life.

And amongst all our dinners this past week, one of my favourites was with the Wilder couple. They're an elderly couple, the husband is around 91 and the wife is around 73 years old. The husband was born and raised in Fiji I think, and was a ship mechanic, so he spent a large chunk of his life travelling around the world! His first wife passed away, and so he met his current wife in Nicaragua! So between the two of them, they can speak many languages! It was awesome being able to hear their stories and their experiences with the gospel.

Also, door knocking miracles! In this mission, it's quite rare to be let into someone's house that you door knock into. If anything, they'll reschedule and let you in the next time you come around. So it took us by surprise when this man offered to let us into his home right after we introduced ourselves! He told us later that he could tell it doesn't happen often, because we were kinda hesitant and caught off guard. We talked with him about the gospel though and got to share a message with him. We figured from his accent that he wasn't an "Aussie" or a "Kiwi", so after asking where he was from we found out that he was born and raised in South Africa! Even though his English is really good, he wasn't able to read an English Book of Mormon well, so we ended up ordering an Afrikaans one, and now I wish I could speak his language because it sounds really cool. That's not the end though! We also met a cook islander who also let us in! We also got to share a message about the restoration with him, and he's even told us he's going to try to make it to church! Rarely do we get let into homes, and now we got let into two within a week! Definitely a miracle.

We've seen more miracles through other means too! Sometimes we forget that our plans are supposed to be inspired and that the Spirit was involved with those plans, but once we witness miracles that result because of those plans, that is when we're reminded that the Spirit really was a part of our planning. One of those plans was to go to another area's baptism, then following the baptism go to a member's house that we hadn't seen in a while, then go eat dinner somewhere at 8 since we didn't have a dinner appointment. At the baptism, we met some Elders from the office that had also come to support the baptism, and they told us that later on that evening they wanted to go out and have dinner with us. So after that we told them we'd meet up later, then we stopped by the members house that we planned for. Just 5 minutes earlier they were trying to figure out our phone number, so they could ask us to come give a blessing to their grandmother who was feeling quite ill! Coincidence, I think not! ('The Incredibles' movie reference). After that, we went over to end the night with a dinner with the office Elders. We were "inspired" by our stomachs to go to a Chinese takeaway restaurant nearby. The food was great! Making it our second miracle. Then we had a random Fijian man working security at a shop nearby walk over just to have a chat with us. We thought he was a member, but it turns out, he wasn't! An it was awesome because one of the office elders was Indian-Fijian, so they communicated in their Native tongue! We set up a time to go see him later on in the week! And final miracle - a member walks by, says he'll see us at church at 11 tomorrow, and we were able to notify him that church was at 10 because of a stake broadcast! (Fast forward a few more days, we meet up with the Fijian man and set him on date to be baptised after he felt that the message we shared was true!)

And lastly, it has been the hottest week of the year so far. Leaving houses or flats is like walking into a wall of heat and humidity. Even the shade can't protect us from the heat... it was crazy. And because of the heat, we witnessed a massive thunder/lightning storm last night! It was really cool, the lightning was shooting across the sky almost constantly!

And now I'll close this super long email with an invitation that we got, and one that I extend to all of you, if you want to try it out. We're reading the Book of Mormon and highlighting references to obedience and blessings that come from it, and underlining references to the Holy Ghost!

Thanks everyone for your love and support!
Elder Ho

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

McDonalds Miracle

Another good week! So last pday we played some mini-golf, and went to a trampoline park! Great way to spend our last p-day with our missionary who's off to Japan!

So this week, we got to mow another person's lawn and trim their hedges. Later that day we also helped someone clean their house since they were moving out. I got stuck vacuuming grass and roaches out of their carpet, then pulling giant weeds in their yard, but at least I wasn't stuck cleaning the bathroom and toilet like my companion, that looked pretty nasty.

And for the weather report, it seems to be cooling down here, and there's been quite a bit of rain too. My companion and I thought we might be able to get into more doors in the rain, but it ended up being the opposite. At least it wasn't hot though. A few days later though, we were blessed with a few finding miracles, like being allowed into someone's house after we accidentally woke him up. He's from the Cook Islands, and allowed us to share a message about the restoration with him! 

More blessings! Last week, we invited an investigator to read 3 Nephi 11, and this week we followed up, and she received an answer that it was true and that God really does exist. It was just another testimony building experience to witness someone else's faith strengthened! 

And final miracle - we went to a petrol station / gas station to use the bathroom, and upon walking out of the bathroom, we ran into some members from Sydney that were following us. They said they saw us come inside, so they came inside and decided to buy us some McDonalds, which was right next to the bathroom!

Anyways, thanks for all your love and support!
Elder Ho