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

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


So a new transfer has started... and both my companion and I are staying! So why the title of the email? First off, we have an elder who is VISA waiting in our mission, and has been here for a while now, he's probably one of the most legendary elder's I've every met. In the 3 months he's been here, him and his companions have just "smashed" their area (in a good way). And after 3 months of him stressing and people losing the documents he needed, he's finally got everything he needs and his VISA in Japan should be here on Thursday! So we got to go into the heart of Brisbane City on Monday, and into the Japanese Embassy, to help him sort things out. It was pretty cool.

Since he's preparing to leave, last pday we went bowling, and went to a "sushi train" restaurant, where I felt like I was in heaven for a bit, feasting on fish and rice and many other asian foods... it was great. We also got to play a few games of bowling that day! This past district meeting he gave a powerful departing testimony, and now we're all kinda said that we're about to lose this elder and that we have to say our goodbyes before he flies to Japan.

And more goodbyes! A YSA in the stake used to work a lot with us (and also buy us KFC and McDonalds when we didn't have dinner), and now he's leaving on his mission (today) to New Zealand! So we went to say goodbye to him, and got to witness his family and friends perform a Haka for him, which was pretty powerful. Probably woke up the whole neighbourhood but it was definitely worth it, probably one of the coolest ways to send someone off on a mission.

And finally! I've been searching for ages for someone who's from Hawaii. We started teaching English classes to these Colombian people, and we found out that they lived in Hawaii for 11 years, and that some of them knew my Grandfather when he was a temple President! So, even though some might not consider them "Locals" of Hawaii, I'm considering my search complete.

Well, other than that, nothing crazy has happened this past week, just the usual missionary work stuff.

Anyways, spiritual thought for today? Obedience. Why does the Lord give us commandments, why should we follow them? There's lots of deep answers you can give, lots of complex ones, but I like Joseph Smith's quote - "When the Lord commands, do it". It's quite simple.

Thanks everyone for your love and support,
Elder Ho

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Lawn Mowing

It's been a while since I last cut some grass, so we took the opportunity to do so this week! We knocked on a lady's door who is of the Bahai faith (they believe all religions are true?), and she was surprised when we offered to help her with anything. She was just about to mow the lawn, so after convincing her we weren't kidding and that we were fully serious about providing service, we drove home, changed, came back, and mowed her lawn. We got some free sandwiches out of it. We also contacted a recent convert who we hadn't seen in a bit, and she needed some lawn mowing so we mowed hers too! That lawn was crazy though, we had to empty the catcher on the mower probably every minute... the grass was pretty thick and overgrown. It was nice seeing the finished result though.

I also got to go on tradeoffs with Elder Troff, or, Grandmaster Troff. He's an elder serving in Windaroo (my old area), and he's obtained the title of Chess World Champion for the under 14's age group or something, and his chess title is Grandmaster, which I think is pretty cool. It was a fun tradeoff though, got to see old friends and have dinner with a family that I used to know pretty well.

Investigator-wise, we're doing good. One of our investigators is going through a bit of a tough time though. He sees the good in the church and the blessings it's brought into the lives of those around him, but his wife is upset that he's meeting with us. It's kinda sad that he's got to somehow work through this predicament, but at the same time it's shown us that he really is interested. The fact that he's worried so much about his wife not wanting him to meet with us yet he still really wants to, and the fact that he's so torn between the two sides, shows us that this whole time he really has been very interested to learn more, and he sees something in the gospel that he really wants. Anyways, we also met another investigator for the first time, apparently she's a pro tennis player and travels a lot for it, which makes it kinda hard to have lessons consistently, but she's also pretty interested at the moment, which is cool. Realising that she's travelling the world for tennis, and that the other elder has travelled the world for chess, and their both younger than me, has made me realise that I need to become pro at something soon so I can start travelling the world too. Maybe I'll be a pro lawn-mower, I think I'm off to a great start.

Well, my spiritual thought for today will be on faith. I studied it a bit recently, and one thing that I found interesting is how Christ says that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains. How can faith so small move a mountain? It's not the quantity of faith that matters, but the quality of faith. When your faith is more like a demonstrative, public type of faith, it doesn't necessarily mean it's the greatest type of faith. Just because we're popular and well known for our beliefs, like some sort of preacher, or "ranked high" in some sort of church, it doesn't necessarily mean that we have this type of faith Christ is talking about. Quality faith may be small, but it's sincere, it's hopeful, it has true intent, and it's firm. That's the faith that brings miracles. Elder M Russel Ballard compared it to an anchor. There are anchors that are massive, bigger than us, with huge, solid chain links connecting it to the ship. But in comparison to the ship that uses it, it's small, almost nothing. Yet this anchor, that is miniature in comparison to the ship, manages to hold it in place in the worst of storms. And that is what this "quality" faith, even the size of a mustard seed, can do for us.

Thanks everyone for your love and support!
Elder Ho

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The ABM 500

So with the new year came a great miracle! Our mission goal for 2017 was to reach 500 baptisms, and for some of the months it seemed like we weren't going to make it. During December, we needed something like 50 baptisms, which is crazy, especially considering that December is usually a busy month and it results in a lower amount of baptisms than usual. On New Years Eve, Sunday, we were at 499 baptisms... but then a stake President, aware of our situation, went out and talked to a part member family and committed one of them to be baptised on that Sunday, making it the 500th baptism we needed to hit our goal! It just goes to show that miracles can happen!

Anyways this past week was a fun one! We started it off on our last Pday with a lunch with President McSwain, because our zone hit our goals! It was a fun lunch, and the burgers were very good! We also got to play a fun charades kind of game.

We also had a mission wide conference on friday, and Brad Wilcox came to speak to us! He's basically a big motivational speaker in the church (I suggest googling him if you don't know him, he's got some cool talks). It was a morning where we were just smashed with Revelation, I couldn't take notes fast enough. I'll kinda use his message at the end of my email for my little spiritual thought...

Missionary work wise, we've been going pretty good. We started teaching a wonderful couple! One of them is a member who's coming back to church, and the other is an investigator who's excited to be baptised! They're awesome and really humble, and we've been able to set some goals with them to help them progress in the gospel. We also found another investigator too! We ended up printing 77 pages of a ward list - yep it's a big ward. The printer was very low on ink, but miracles happen and we managed to spit out these 77 pages with no issues. Then we went through them and began to try to visit as many of the families we could. As we tried to follow up on one of them, we knocked on this door and a lady from PNG came out and began to talk to us. After a bit of confusion we found out she wasn't the person we were looking for, that person had moved, but she had met missionaries before in the city and gave them their number, but they never ended up calling her! Then here we were, at her door, and she happily allowed us to come back later and begin teaching her.

And door knocking! It's always fun, especially in the Brisbane heat. We have been blessed though, as usual, with interesting and great experiences. First off, we knocked into an illusionist/magician, who had us think of a card in our head then tell it to him, then he pulled out a deck of cards, went through it, found one that was flipped upside-down, then showed us the card we picked... the 3 of hearts! It was cool. Only difference between us and him is that our magic is real (yay for priesthood). We also ran into a lady who's a "Born Again Christian", and after talking to us for a bit she proceededt o tell us that we basically didn't know Jesus Christ and did have him in our lives because we didn't say the "prayer of salvation". We talked to her a bit more about how we were apparently not going to heaven and stuff. I ended up asking her about what happens to those who die without hearing about Jesus Christ. She responds, "that's what internet and missionaries are for", and told us EVERYONE will learn about Jesus Christ in this life. That's when I knew she was a bit off. We tried bearing testimony to her but she wouldn't listen, so that's when thanked her for her time and left. We did get another door knocking miracle though! A few days later we door knocked into a lady from Brazil, who has actually met with missionaries many times before, and is really nice! Even her children, as they grew up, enjoyed having the missionaries over. Sadly, of all the doors we knock on the mission, she happens to be one of the few that invites us in to share a message on the spot, and we can't go in because her husband was at work... but we'll be coming back later to share more!

Also, thanks to one of our members, I now know that there are such things as peanut butter trees, ice cream treas, and chocolate pudding trees, because he's growing all of them in his yard. After a dinner with this member, we took a walk through his yard and ate and looked at all kinds of fruits, from panama berry's to pineapples, bunya pine nuts to dragon fruit... it reminded me of Charly and the Chocolate factory, where everything in one of the rooms is edible. Unfortunately, I probably wont be around when the chocolate pudding tree and some of the others produce fruit.

And in closing, the spiritual message. So Brad Wilcox asked the question of why we, as members of the church, have to do things that nonmembers don't have to. Why we have to keep all these commandments, why we have to help others and preach the gospel, or even go on missions. He said that sometimes the primary answers of "we're children of God" don't cut it for some of us, because "we're all children of God, members or not". He then explained it's because we have the "birthright". He explained the 12 tribes of Israel, going all the way back to how they started and their purpose. It's all a bit deep, but awesome to learn about, and it would take ages for me to explain it through email, but if you ever feel like it go ahead and study the birthright and the tribes of Israel. In the end, basically as members we have the special responsibility to prepare the world for the second coming, to help and serve others, and to bring the gospel to them. Kinda put a whole new perspective on my role, not just as a missionary but as a member of this church. So, if you maybe feel like you're unlucky for being a member, just know that you're part of the birthright and you've been specially prepared for your role here in this life!

Thanks everyone for your love and support,
Elder Ho