Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy Holidays!

First off, pday's are now changed to Wednesday, so I will be emailing on Wednesday. Anyways, Happy Holidays everyone! The past two weeks have been great. We got to skype home on Christmas, well, for us it was "boxing day" (the day after Christmas). Still not sure why they call it boxing day. And on Christmas day itself, we got to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with members! We had a great time at everyone's houses, and had lots of good food.

We also have been able to see a cool miracle! While on tradeoffs with our leaders, we were door knocking and ran into this Christian guy who we got to have a chat with. Somehow he started talking about how the earth was flat, and all these different evidences to prove it. It was really interesting... but during that conversation we heard a text come in on our 200 year old nokia phones. After talking to this flat-world guy, we checked the phone, and realised it was a text from someone who apparently used to be investigating the church, and now wants her children to be baptised! I guess sometimes the missionaries aren't the only ones that set baptismal dates. We've been teaching the family a bit now, and they're really humble and nice, and seem to understand the importance of the gospel in their lives. 

Another miracle was when the sister missionaries gave us a call, asking if we could come give a blessing to someone they were teaching. We came over, and met this family who were all nonmembers except for the dad, who hasn't been to church in ages. We explained was blessings were and gave one to one of their sons, not really knowing what was wrong but just being told that he isn't very well at all. It was a good experience, but we left the house and around a week passed and we both didn't think much of it. Then the sisters called us one day as we were door knocking, telling us that the person we blessed was healed, and that now the family wants to come to church and the mom has expressed a desire to get baptised!

And now, awkward experience of the week. Out of the many awkward experiences that we have as missionaries, I've selected one to send out today. We went to a more wealthy neighbourhood in our area for a dinner appointment, and after knocking on the door that we thought was the member's we see a car pull in to the driveway. We smile and wave, excited for dinner, only to realise that the person getting out of the car is nobody we know. Maybe it's a relative? After trying to talk to them, we realise he doesn't speak very much English, and in a thick accent tells us, "what are you doing here", and we eventually realise that he isn't planning on feeding us dinner, and that we have the wrong house. We did eventually make it to dinner, and got to have some pizza. 

I also just want to express my appreciation for those random members that take care of us! After walking through a park, and stepping on some dog poo, a family of islanders started calling out to us as I was awkwardly trying to wipe my shoe in the grass. We had no idea who they were, but they told us they were from another ward, and then gave us heaps of fruits and drinks and chips. I love my area.

Oh, and we got to have an exciting New Years Eve! Actually, not really, we just came back to the flat at 5:30, and we were told that we weren't allowed to leave, even to visit members. So for the rest of the night we cooked, ate, and even watched a 9:00 firework show from our balcony. Then we got woken up at 4 in the morning as some neighbours, who we assume were drunk, were loudly talking and walking up the staircase to their apartment. Happy New Year!

Anyways, just wanted to say thank Pearl City ward and my family for sending me gifts and food! Thanks everyone for your love and support,
Elder Ho

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Going Home...

Worry not, I'm not the one going home! But, unfortunately, my companion is. Elder Banks completed his two years, and so this past week was full of preparations for him to go home! So we got to go to the temple on Wednesday, well, he did. In the meantime, Elder Pierce, who's companion is also going home, came with me and we went door knocking a bit in an area near the temple. We ended up running into a woman who used to be a Jehovah's Witness, and apparently her position was the biggest you could be as a woman, yet for some reason she left them. We were kinda worried she wanted to argue with us, but she ended up being very open to our message and we got to share the message of the restoration with her!

On thursday the mission got together for a Christmas Conference! We sang Christmas hymns in the beginning, and for the second half we got to have a lunch and listen to each zone sing a Christmas themed song that represented different cultures. There was African, Australian, Islanders, and more, and we were New Zealand. It was awesome being able to see old companions and friends and spend time just celebrating Christmas.

And on friday, I drove to the mission home and dropped off Elder Banks after saying our goodbyes. It was an awesome transfer, and he was a great companion, so it was a bit sad to see him go. Then Elder Pierce and I went back to my area, and went back to normal missionary work until today...

And now Elder Pierce and I have our official new companions! So I'm with Elder Martin, who's from Utah and is a really cool guy, so we're looking forward to working together! We'll have a lot of fun trying to figure out what we're doing and getting to know the area, since I've only been here for about a month. But yeah, that's about it for our week!

I just want to wish you all a Merry Christmas, and I wont be emailing next week, since I'll be skyping my family!

Thanks for all your love and support!
Elder Ho

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Best 'Chips'

So this past Monday we got free haircuts from a member named Shane, who works at a barber shop. After that he took us to this kebab shop right next door, and we ate kebabs and chips (fries). It is there where I tasted the best fries/chips that I've ever had, and yes, they beat McDonald's fries.

Later on in the week we also got to do a quick service for a family that needed our help moving a playgroud/clubhouse thing to their backyard. The problem was that it was already permanently put together when they got it, and there was a fence that it had to go over to make it to the back, so we had to lift it over the fence. We were able to do it, but in the process of doing so my companion and I ended up stepping in some dog poo. After asking the members if they had a dog, we found out they didn't... and that one of their kids had an accident. So we spent a good amount of time cleaning our shoes...

And then even later during the week, I got to go on tradeoffs with Elder Huang from Taiwan! Tradeoffs were interesting, and I think my favorite part was that Elder Huang is a pretty good cook! So he cooked lunch and dinner, which included noodles, fried rice, battered and fried mushrooms and eggplant, and chips/fries. I was blessed!

Another interesting thing that happened this week... so usually I always admire Australia, or at least the part that I'm in, for being pretty safe when it comes to crime. After driving by a street that we had door knocked recently to get to a member's house, we saw one part that had heaps of police officers there, and the property was all taped off. When we got to the member's house, we were informed that someone got shot in the face only around an hour ago! Apparently they're still alive, and apparently the gunman is still on the loose. That's a first for my experiences in Australia so far!

And this Friday was a blessing filled day! In the evening, after many preparations, we were able to baptize 5 aboriginal kids we've been teaching! It was awesome to see how much they changed over our time of teaching them. All the rides we organized for church (they don't have a car), all the object lessons and magic tricks, and all the prayers that were said payed off! So just a little background, they all live with sister Barnes, who had been less active for a while but is a convert herself. Of the children that were baptized, only one of them was her biological daughter. The rest of them were cousins/relatives that she took in because their living situations weren't very good. Their ages ranged from 9 to 16, and she even had older children that were already baptized. It was awesome getting to know the kids and seeing how quick they were to learn, and even more awesome to see them enter the waters of baptism! We confirmed them on Sunday, but unfortunately, only 4 of the 5 made it in time! We were a bit worried, but later the 5th child made it and got confirmed in bishop's office.

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

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Got Nothing

Just as the title says, I pretty much have nothing to email about, since it's only been a few days since our last pday... so I think I'll just send some random pictures!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Light the World

We had our p-day moved to Wednesday this week, hence the reason for me taking so long to get an email out. Anyways, this past week was a busy one! We've been doing a lot of door knocking too, and we actually found a pretty weird looking place to go door knocking at. One of the YSA showed us some pictures of a place called "the heights" in an area called pimpama, which is a circular neighborhood where all the houses are exactly the same, and look like something out of a futuristic movie. We did go door knocking there though, but had little success. We also met this guy who races super-bikes and he talked to us for a bit, and showed off his bike that he was working on. We met another lady who was excited to see us! We thought she was a member at first, but she explained to us that she used to be athiest, but met with us missionaries many years ago. Then she ended up joining the baptist church, thanks to the LDS missionaries helping her find her faith in God... we'll be having dinner with them this Sunday though so that should be fun! 

I also got to go on tradeoffs with Elder Cadiang, an Elder who is serving in my old area, Windaroo! Unfortunately, they didn't have a car during the time of our tradeoffs, so we ended up biking for an hour to get to where we were going to start working! It was a bit crazy; there were a lot of hills, and we were biking on a road while large semi-trucks were zooming past us. Some of them were close enough that the bikes swayed and shook a bit when they drove past. We got to have some awesome lessons in that area though, and I even got to meet a few of the members that I knew when I was in Windaroo ward, so it was really weird being in that area again, but fun! That night my legs were in a bit of pain from the biking though, it reminded me that I was a bit out of shape and helped me to have a greater respect for all the biking missionaries out there.

Among the other interesting things we did this week were getting free meat-pies from a restaurant owned by members called "Kai Kitchen", meeting a man who has a computer screen that's bigger than most flat-screen tv's I've seen, door knocking and talking to people in an old caravan park, and singing happy birthday in Samoan for part of district meeting.

Lastly, on a more spiritual note, I just want to invite everyone to 'Light the World' this December - once again the church is doing the #LightTheWorld Initiative where we serve people for the 25 days leading up to Christmas. As missionaries we've been sharing this as much as we can with everyone we meet, whether it's after dinners or while door knocking, and it's just cool to see the effect that the Light of Christ has on people, even nonmembers, especially during this time of year.

Thanks everyone for your love and support!
Elder Ho

Sunday, November 19, 2017

the 70

First off, sorry! Normally I write down what I want to email about before I go into the library, but I didn't have time for that this time, so I have no idea what to email about... so this will probably be a short one!

One thing that was cool is that we got to have a mission wide conference this week, because Elder Uceda, Elder Haleck, and Elder Walker came to visit us! They all had an opportunity to speak to us, but Elder Uceda was the main speaker, and he was pretty awesome! He talked a lot too about how we're not here to baptise people, but to baptise converts, which I thought was pretty powerful. We need to be making sure that the people we teach are converted before they get baptised. He also talked a lot about how we're here to help establish the church, and how we can go about doing that.

Other than that, Elder Banks and I have been teaching, door knocking, and trying to get to know all the members, so we've been kept busy! Well, once again, sorry for slacking off a bit, but yeah my mind is blank at the moment, so I'll end my email here!

-Elder HoThe

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Ziggy

I think the hardest thing to do on the mission is to think of a creative title for emails, so I decided to title this one after the name of a dog that we met. While visiting a family in one of our wards, we heard a dog hitting the door downstairs, wanting to get in. So the family showed us a picture of this cute puppy, and said that it's name was Ziggy, and that he is about 1 now. Then they let him in and bounding up the stairs came this MASSIVE dog, I'm pretty sure it weighed more than me. It then proceeded to lick us to death, and chew on our arms and hands. It tried to sit on our laps too (It doesn't realise that it's no longer a pup). And now I have a new best friend. They were told that it wouldn't grow to be very big, but then realised that it wasn't the breed they thought it was. So, that's how I got that creative title name...

Well this week was busy! Lot's of driving around! And we cover two areas (and we're kinda white-washing one of them) so it's been a bit overwhelming trying to learn everything and remember everyone, but it's been fun! Trying to go to both wards on Sunday was a bit tough, with trying to balance ward two ward council meetings, and make it to each sacrament meeting since both wards overlap a bit. One awesome thing though is that I got to see a lot of members from an old ward I served in, Windaroo! The stake had some recent boundary changes, so part of that ward got moved to one of the wards we cover! And I already got to have dinner with a few of them!

The AP's that travel the mission also came by our area, and we got to go on tradeoffs with them, and so I was put with Elder Fukofuka and we went and tried to visit a bunch of families that neither of us knew! We ended up running into a lady who had some crazy hair (it looked like there was icecream on her head). We also did some door knocking and found some cool potential investigators, and also a less active who wants to come back to church! We also got yelled at for making too much noise in front of one guys house who was sleeping. Apparently he was a chef that works at night or something, but it was kinda hard to understand what he was saying. In the meantime my companion and the other Elder were able to see a family and set some of the kids on baptismal date! So we'll be working hard to make sure all of that works out, but we're really excited. So it was a good tradeoff day.

Also we've been able to meet some cool people while door knocking! After my companion and I followed an impression to go knocking in this one area that we haven't been to, we drove there and saw that many of the houses were still under construction and we were kinda hesitant to knock the area. We decided to do so, and we only knocked on 5 doors, because pretty much all five of them were willing to have a chat with us! One of them actually visited America and played baseball! He was really chill, and it was kind of random because nobody in Australia really plays baseball. At another door we found someone from Tennessee! We didn't even catch the American accent. And throughout the rest of the week, we also met two different people, who we're pretty sure that they were both high on marijuana. Although they weren't interested, we're glad that they were nice and happy. Unusually happy. Anyways, we've decided that we're going to start counting how many high people we meet. So far 2 this transfer.
Anyways, thanks everyone for your love and support!
Elder Ho