Thursday, December 15, 2016

Welcome to Windaroo

So it's been nearly two weeks in this new area, Windaroo, and it's been a change from my last area, Capalaba. This new area is more wealthy (I think my last area was kind of the ghetto of Brisbane, which I didn't really know at the time), it's much larger, and the ward is a bit different. We worked a lot with the Capalaba ward to gain their trust, and now I kind of feel like we have to start again for this ward. The members are all really nice though, and it's been fun getting to know all of them. We actually got to go to the ward Christmas party for a bit, and they had an awesome water slide thing going down this hill that everyone was sliding down, except for us missionaries of course.

Anyways, we've been doing a lot of door knocking, as usual, and trying to visit less active members. Everyone is really busy though at this time of year, with Christmas coming around, so we've been trying to keep our visits short and to the point.

I'm a bit short on time though for today, so I'll have to end the email here, but Thank you everyone for the love and support! Have a Merry Christmas!
Elder Ho

Sunday, December 4, 2016

New Area!

So this is the start of my fourth transfer, and I'm out of Capalaba area! I'm now in the Coomera Zone, in the Windaroo area. I think my trainer served in this area too. I don't know too much about it, besides the fact that our apartment's pretty small and has one small fan just for the bedroom. And I hear that the climate is only going to get more hot. Anyways, I'm excited to meet new people and try new things in this area!

My new companion is Elder Tiaihau, and he's from Tahiti. I think I've only been out three weeks longer than he has, so we're both still learning. So far that's really all I know about him. 

Anyways, this past week was good. We have been visiting many members, sharing about the #LIGHTtheWORLD initiative, and also talking about how they can do member missionary work. We've really been getting to know the youth in the ward too, and have been helping out in young men's classes. We also got a mini missionary, Brother Hilliar, from another stake. He stayed with us from thursday night to sunday night, and it was a lot of fun having him around. We talked a lot about Australia, and the Australian accent, and movies, and missionary work of course. He's a calm and quiet guy but he has an awesome testimony!

Anyways, I've got a lot to do today, and I'm still trying to figure out these new library computers, so I'll end the email with a quick quote (heard it from my first district leader, not who it's really from): "There's no comfort in the growth zone, and no growth in the comfort zone". If we really want to grow and progress in any aspect of life, we've got to get out of the comfort zone. I'm still working on that though.

Thanks for all your love and support!
Elder Ho

Oh, and since I'm in a new area, I can finally use computers that can send pictures. So here's some pics from the last three transfers:

This is part of the Mangakahia family and my companion, Elder Westbrook:

Same family, but with my trainer, Elder Dunlop.

I'd send more, but they take a while to upload, so I'll send more next Pday.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Happy (Late) Thanksgiving!

Yeah, so they don't really celebrate thanksgiving in Australia like they do in the US, since it's an American Holiday. My companion and I weren't planning on doing anything for it either (I had actually forgotten about it). We went to the church that evening to use the library's copying machine, and while we were there the relief society President asked if we could help a bit to set up for their thanksgiving dinner activity thing. She also told us that some refugees would be coming, and one of them was male and would be the only male at this relief society activity, so she asked if we could sit with him and talk to him. So yeah, we got free dinner, a free show, and we got to know this refugee, who was pretty cool. He's from Afghanistan and Iran, and had been in Australia for 3 years. His english was really good, even though he just started studying when he got here. He (and the other refugees there) are all studying together now. He told us that when he was in Iran, he wasn't aloud to go to schooling because his parents were Afghan. He also told us that his dad (who's career was making sculptures) was told not to do so anymore. They said that unless he could give life to his sculptures, he shouldn't be doing it since only God was supposed to make sculptures, or something like that. They threatened to cut his father's hands off, so they left, and ended up coming to Australia. All three of the refugees had unique stories, and it helped us to have a greater appreciation for what we have.
Anyways, other investigator, Tamara, is still on date for the 10th of December, and is progressing really well. She has very supportive friends who are members, so that helps a lot. We also have been getting to know the young men more this week, and we got to make fires at one of their activities, which was pretty fun. Pretty much every young man had his own fire, and within 15 minutes there were around 10 different fires all in one area, which looked pretty cool. Unfortunately, I can't send pictures on this computer, sorry.
Anyways, thanks for all your emails and your love and support!
Elder Ho

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Broken Car and Baptismal Date

So Monday and Tuesday were car appreciation days. We had tradeoffs moday night with the zone leaders, and after trying to visit a less active family, the car wouldn't start. We used our door knocking skills (it was late in the evening and kind of dark and awkward to be door knocking at this time), and we found someone who had jumper cables. Unfortunately, we couldn't even jump start the car. We had to catch a ride with a member in a two seat truck to our dinner appointment, which we were an hour late to. The next day, we had to ride our bikes to all of our appointments in the humid weather and hot sun, all over the hills of Brisbane. My legs were dead that night, but I do have a greater appreciation for the car, and more respect for all you biking missionaries out there! Hopefully the weather treats all you bike riders nicely!
Also, our recent convert, Tammy, invited us over to teach her best friend, Tamara, who's been coming to church for a while now. We taught the restoration of the gospel, and after the lesson was done, we were planning on inviting her to be baptized. Before we could say anything though, she said, "I'm actually wanting to get baptized", and then just like that, we set a date for the 10th of December!
Anyways, time is short, but thank you all for your love and support,
Elder Ho

Zone Photos:

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Storms & Sweat

This week is even hotter than the last week! We sweat all the time, even during our studies in our flats! It's getting really hot and really humid, and apparently it's only the beginning of the heat. There have been some storms though. They come and go pretty fast, but the past few ones have had pretty heavy rains and wind, and a lot of lightning. Every few seconds there would be lightning or thunder sometimes. Luckily, we were in doors for these storms.
Other than that, not too much has happened. Things are still pretty much the same here, so this email will probably be pretty short. We did have Stake Conference though, and we got to hear from Elder Fata from the area 70. He talked about the importance of tithing and fast offerings, and magnifying your callings.
Anyways, Thank you everyone for all your love and support!
Elder Ho

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Atheists & Enos

So not too much has happened since the last time I emailed. I guess the first thing I'll talk about is the interesting experience I had while door knocking. After many "not interested" doors, we knocked on one and this slightly larger, older man, without a shirt, walks down the hall, stops, and says, "MOOORMOONS", then invites us in. Turns out he was an atheist, and thought it was crazy to believe the things that we believe, and has been "studying religion for his entire life". He asked us many questions in his Scottish accent, like why do we wear "magic underwear" and a lot of other random things. Sometimes, because of the way he looked and talked, I felt like I was talking to an atheist Santa Claus and had to try not to laugh. We were finally relieved to get out of that house, and even though my companion left his hat in there, we don't plan on going back there.
We also got to hang out in the Priests class this past Sunday, and we learned about Enos. It wasn't just about prayer, but it went really in depth about who he was. The topic of the lesson was about the difference between "belief" and "conversion", and Enos' conversion process. From the first few verses, it seems like Enos is an obedient son, who was taught by his father, but maybe doesn't have his own testimony yet. He talks about the "wrestle" he had before God, and how he prayed all the day long. First he prayed for himself, then, after his prayer was answered, he began to pray for others. After receiving answers to his prayers, he proceeded to teach and prophesy to others. That's when he was truly converted. My companion gave an analogy that kind of goes along with that. It's about a famous tightrope walker, who has done many tightrope stunts and has many fans. His next tightrope stunt is the hardest, and he's going to be taking a wheelbarrow across the tightrope between a canyon. All his fans are cheering him on, and he asks, "do you believe that I can do this?" and they all cry out "yes!". Then he says, "who wants to get in the wheelbarrow", and then it's silent.
I guess to tie everything together, are we converted or working on our conversion to the gospel? Are we like Enos, who's willing to pray all day to gain an answer, and then act upon the answer and preach to others? If we are converted, we are willing to act upon our belief. Or do we just have beliefs, yet are too afraid to hop in the wheelbarrow. It really made me think about if I was truly converted and willing to act. It also made me think about how much time and effort I'm willing to put into the simple things, such as prayer. I guess if we are truly converted, nothing can shake those beliefs we have, that faith we have, even weird atheists like Richard, and his questions about magic underwear.
Anyways, thanks for all your love and support!
Elder Ho

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Summer is Coming

I know it's getting cold for most of you, even if it's only by a few degrees, but over here in Australia, it's getting pretty hot and humid! Coming from Hawaii, I thought I would be used to it, but it made no difference and I'm starting to sweat all day every day! Even in our flat it gets hot, and we only have fans and no air conditioning. And everyone is telling us it only gets hotter. It's going to be really weird having Christmas in this hot climate.
Also, Happy Halloween! Apparently, Australia didn't really start celebrating Halloween until around 5 years ago, and it's still not really that big. We've actually talked to a few people about it, and some people actually want nothing to do with it for some reason, and "try to avoid it at all costs". My companion and I were tempted to go door knocking that night, but unfortunately we had an appointment. And I don't think many Australians would have thought it was as funny as we thought it was if we did that.
Also, to the Pearl City ward back home, thanks for the package! I got it about a week ago, and it was good to hear from you all, and thanks for all the cool trinkets (like the plan of salvation cutouts and the tootbrushes, etc). Also, thank you for the food!
Anyways, things are still rolling along in the Capalaba area. We're still door knocking, and my new companion and I are getting along really well. We've been learning a lot from each other too! So Elder Westbrook, my new companion is from Orem Utah, and he's half Chinese and speaks Mandarin fluently. He just came from the Chinese speaking area's of the mission, so we try to find any Chinese people we can. It's always awesome when they hear someone with an American accent all of a sudden start speaking their language fluently, and the surprised looks on their faces is priceless. So yeah, things are still going good in Capalaba.
I guess I'll leave you all with a spiritual thought, this one comes from Alma 17:3. This is when Alma the Younger meets his fellow brethren (after they had all changed their lives and were serving the Lord), and it reads, "But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer and fasting; therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and the spirit of revelation, and when they taught, they taught with the power and authority of God". This scripture is pretty widely used in missionary work, and when I read it, it reminds me that if I want to teach with power from God, and receive revelation, I have to show Heavenly Father how hard I'm willing to work for it. The sons of Mosiah didn't automatically have amazing testimonies and teaching skills, they prayed and fasted a lot, and showed Heavenly Father their diligence.
Thanks everyone for all your examples, your love, and your support!
Elder Ho

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Message from Australia

On October 27, I received a message via social media from a person that I didn't recognize... but as soon as I saw this picture, I was so excited!  It was a sweet message.... and finally, a picture!  Thank you Bro. Holzworth!

Hello Kathy , we have the joy of spending time with your missionary brother, Elder Ho with us in Brisbane Australia. He is such a lovely person, kind and has a great love of the gospel. It has been lovely to have him in our home where he has practiced teaching lessons and we are so impressed with his gentle and loving teaching style. Here is a nice photo of him!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

New Transfer, New Companion!

So today is the start of my third transfer in Australia, and I've got a new companion! His name is Elder Westbrook and he's from Utah, but I don't know him too well yet since I've only been with him for about 2 hours. My Trainer, Elder Dunlop, is now a District leader in another zone. Elder Westbrook has been out for eight months I think and was in the Chinese speaking area, so I think it's kind of weird that they put him with me in an English speaking area. I'm pretty excited to get to know him though, and I'm looking forward to this upcoming week.
Well, this past week was alright. It was a busy week, we had meetings, another deep clean for our flat, and a missionary fireside on Sunday. We've been doing a lot of driving and door knocking this past week, but many people weren't home so the days seemed to kind of drag on. The missionary fireside was pretty awesome though. We heard from Elder Nielson (of the Pacific area presidency?), and he talked about the Book of Mormon and how powerful it is to share you favorite Book of Mormon scripture with people. He had a few missionaries, his wife, and the Mission President and His wife share their favorite Book of Mormon scriptures and why it was their favorite. Just sharing their favorite scripture really taught us a lot about each person, and invited the spirit into the room. It was a pretty powerful meeting.
One scripture I heard recently which I like goes something like "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind; be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord". I don't think that's the scripture word for word, and sorry, I can't remember where it's found, but I like that scripture a lot. It reminds us that the Lord is here for us and has given us a powerful spirit, and so we shouldn't be afraid to stand up for what we believe in and for His teachings. That is something that I'm slowly learning to apply more each and every day while out here on the mission.
Thanks everyone for all your love and support!
Elder Ho

Sunday, October 16, 2016

End of Transfer Two!

So I'm nearing the end of my second transfer! That also means that I'll be done with the "twelve week training" program we have to do as missionaries. It's crazy to think that at the end of this week, I'll have been in Australia for two transfers. Anyways, this past week was pretty good, with it's fair share of ups and downs. What my companion and I have noticed is that the Lord has been blessing us, especially when we continue to be diligent when things start to go south. Our small teaching pool is starting to grow, which is awesome, and this week we've had four new investigators! We found them all through door knocking, and they seem pretty interested, so hopefully we can start teaching them more and get to know them a little better. Another one of our investigators is a young boy, and his parents invited us over for dinner, which was a surprise! They're from New Zealand and cooked us some really good food, like "fried bread", or something like that, which tasted pretty amazing. They also asked us a lot of questions about what we do as missionaries. Anyways, I don't really have any cool stories to share or any crazy experiences that happened this past week, but I'll end it with a spiritual thought.
In Doctrine and Covenants section 6, verse 33, it says "Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward". I think sometimes in life we get a little anxious of scared to do certain things, like missionary work or standing up for our beliefs. I know that before I came on the mission, I never really invited any of my friends to church or church activities, being worried about what they would say or think if I did. Even if the people we associate with never get baptized, or even accept our invitation, we're considered successful if we just put forth an effort to help them and invite them to come unto Christ. Heavenly Father see's that effort, whether we are successful or not, and will bless us. There are "good rewards" for the good that we do.
Thanks everyone for all your love and support,
Elder Ho

Sunday, October 9, 2016

General Conference!

So after a week of waiting, we were finally able to watch General Conference! It was really awesome, and to be honest, it's the longest I've ever stayed awake during General Conference. I guess the talk that I liked that I'll share with you all, although you've all heard it already, is the one given by Dallin H. Oaks. He talked about three things that any member can do anywhere around the world. He was talking quite fast, so I wasn't able to get it word for word, and it's probably a little different from what he said, but this is what I took from it: 1) Pray for the desire to help with the missionary work, 2) Keep the commandments and be an example to those around you. It kind of reminds me of the story of Alma's son, Coriantumr was his name I think, who didn't follow the right path like his brothers did on their missions. Contrary to their great efforts and righteousness, Coriantumr didn't exactly do everything he was told or keep all the commandments, and Alma told him that it was hard to teach these people now because of Coriantumr's bad example. Today we need to be examples and be the best members we can, so that others can see us and be willing to hear what we have to say. And finally, 3) Pray for what you can do in your specific situation or circumstance to do missionary work, and pray with real intent, meaning you are committed to acting on the promptings and inspiration you will receive. Anyways, that's what I liked about his talk.
So other than that, this past week was pretty busy. There were a lot of meetings and traveling to do, but we were still able to fit in some door knocking, like usual. One interesting situation was when we knocked on a door and the man opened his door, saw us, and said "not interested" and began to close it before we could say much. So we just said, "have a good weekend", and began to walk, but for some reason I didn't hear the door slam. As I glanced back, I saw that it was still cracked open, like he was contemplating coming out and saying something. I thought he was going to yell at us or something, but he opened the door and said with a much kinder voice, "hey, uh, do you guys want some drinks?" then he got us some sodas. I think a the simple words of "have a good weekend" helped him to realize that we weren't just going around looking for people to convert, but that we actually cared about the people who we talked to, and that may have helped change his heart. I really don't know what he was thinking, but I guess the lesson learned from this experience is that a few simple kind words, even to people who may not be so kind to you, can go a long way.
Once again, thank you for all the love and support, and all your prayers for us missionaries out in the field!
Elder Ho

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Aloha Everyone!

So it was another good week in Australia. Nothing too exciting has happened, just more door knocking and stuff like that. Slowly but surely our ward is starting to warm up more to us, so hopefully we can start getting more referrals, because those usually end up really well. Also, it's starting to get pretty hot. I'm not sure what the exact temperature is, since they measure it in Celsius here, but it's getting kind of hot, even when it rains. We didn't get to listen to general conference yet, because of the time difference they postpone it till the next week, but I'm really looking forward to that.
I'll keep this email shorter, since I'm running out of time, but one thing I learned this week was from our mission president. He taught us about something called the Gestalt Theory I think? He told us about how an experiment was done on these horses, I think they were called Clydesdale horses. One their own, one horse can pull 9,000 pounds, so they estimated that together, they could pull 18,000 pounds. When they yoked the two horses together, the horses ended up pulling a weight of 36,000 pounds. That relates to other aspects of life too, including missionary work. Ward members can do missionary work on there own, and missionaries can do missionary work on their own, and they'll probably be able to teach and baptize many people. But when you have everyone working together in perfect harmony, everyone pushes each other to work harder and do more, and missionary and church work becomes way more effective! So I guess what I'm trying to say is to work together, not just in missionary work but in our lives in general. Working together in unity, no matter what we're doing, is always better than trying to pull two separate loads, if that makes sense. Anyways, thanks again for all your support!
Elder Ho

Sunday, September 25, 2016

More Blessings!

Hey everyone! So this past week was a pretty good week! It didn't start off to well though. We had a pretty rough day where we met some pretty rude people while door knocking, even after we switched streets. After that, we had plans to visit many people, all of which fell through. We went through all the people we had for backup, and even more backup plans, yet everything just didn't seem to be working out. Fortunately, we set up a dinner with an awesome family who loves feeding us, and they helped cheer us up. That day was humbling, and I think it was a test to see if we'd just give up and relax for the remainder of the day, or if we'd keep working and trying to do the Lord's work. Fortunately, I think we passed the test, because I feel as if we were very blessed for the remainder of the week.
The first blessing was being able to perform service for one of our new investigators. We mowed her lawn, and then talked to her about church. She said she was really interested, and once she recovered from being sick she'd love to have us over to talk more and even to come to church to see what it's like! I'm pretty excited to meet with her again and teach her more. She even said that she's been reading a bit of the Book of Mormon we gave her, although it's been hard to do while she's sick, yet she believes everything that she's read so far! I guest the second blessing is that while we were mowing, her neighbor came up and asked how much it costed for us to mow lawns, and I told her it was free, and who we were and what we do. We mowed her lawn after too, and hope to come back and talk to her a bit more.
The third blessing was when we went over to the Stake President's house for dinner! He's the home teacher of our recent convert, and so he's helping us teach her the follow-up lessons. The lesson went very well, and the dinner was great, but the best part was that we got a referral from them! It was the first referral I've ever got in the mission so far, and I'm pretty excited to visit the family that they told us about! The fourth blessing was when we got home that night. We recieved a call from some sister missionaries who told us about a family who wants us to come teach them and visit them (they met the family at a fireside I think). That's two referrals in one day! Hopefully they are the first of many, and I feel like recieving these referrals was a huge bessing for us.
We've been receiving many other blessings too, like door knocking on streets that had an unusual amount of really nice people, getting food from members, and much more. I guess the "spiritual message" that I'll leave you all with today is about having "mountains to climb". That's actually the name of a song that my companion and I like to listen to, and the singer talks about how she wants Heavenly Father to give her mountains to climb, knowing that it will her stronger. I think that can apply to all of us; we'll all have "mountains to climb" and "rivers to cross", but we should do our best to learn from them and see them as oppurtunities to become better and stronger than we ever would be if we didn't have those obstacles.
Thanks again for all the love and support!
Elder Ho

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hi Everyone!

So not too much happened this week, just the usual stuff. One cool thing that Happened are dinner policy changes. Originally, we could only have 1 hour dinners on Monday through Wednesday, unless a family brought a nonmember to the dinner, then we could have it any day of the week. No we can have dinners any day of the week, and we have an hour to eat and half an hour to teach a lesson in order to practice our teaching skills. I'm pretty excited for that, now our meal roster is starting to fill up a bit more. That mean's that we get more practice teaching! And of course, more food too, that's always good.
We also had a small miracle happen this week. We went to this compound of units to see if we could find a less active and see how they were doing, and we were having trouble finding the unit this person lived in. We asked this lady who was walking by where the unit was and she said "oh that's my unit", but she told us that the less-active had moved out. Then, out of nowhere she asked us for a bible, but we didn't have a spare bible so we gave her a Book of Mormon. She seemed very interested, and she is also letting us come to her place next Friday to cut her grass for her! Yeah, it seems kind of small, but after doing tons of door knocking with not much results it was cool to find someone like her.
It's also been starting to rain quite a bit more, and it's always quite nice door knocking in the rain. Everything just seems a lot more peaceful and quieter. Also, people tend to have a bit more sympathy for us, and one man even invited us into his house to have some water and just talk a bit, so that was nice.
I guess the spiritual thought for today is a scripture that an RM shared with my companion and I just the other day. It's 1 Nephi 7:12, which reads, "Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him". I think that can apply to all of us. Sometimes we forget that we can rely on the Lord, and we try to rely on our own strength and wisdom. It's important to remember that the Lord can do anything according to His will, we just need to have faith and rely on him. That's something that I've been learning about a lot on the mission. If you try to rely on your own human talent and strength, you probably aren't going to affect very many people's lives out here. But if you rely on the spirit and on the Lord, He'll strengthen you and guide you, and you'll be much more successful in whatever you do. Anyways, I hope that made sense. Thank you all again for your emails, your love, and your support!
Elder Ho

Sunday, September 11, 2016

1st Transfer Finished

So I have completed my first transfer here in Australia, and it went by pretty fast! I still have the same companion and I'm in the same area though, so not too many huge changes. Anyways, nothing super exciting has happened this week. We were able to go on splits with some of the members this week, which was kind of cool. The member I was with was awesome and shared a pretty strong testimony at the house of one of the people we were visiting. We did some service this week though, which was really awesome! And not just because I got to take a little break from door knocking... but really, it was a good experience. We were able to do some gardening for a member family, and it was nice to be able to just pull weeds and talk. We were also able to help one of our investigator's family move, and we got to know them a bit better. I think they really like having us over to teach their son, but unfortunately they are going on a trip to New Zealand for a month, so we wont be seeing them for a while.
Another thing we did was, you guessed it, more door knocking! I meet more and more interesting people every day. In just one day I met a guy who opened the door, said he didn't want our 'religious nonsense' (with a few different words), closed the door, and as we were walking away, he put in the effort to open it again and tell us to not come back again. On that very same street we met a lady who sat us down outside, gave us water, and talked to us about what we believed in and asked us to share a message with her. We were even able to offer a prayer for her before we left. It was awesome because we were able to have a really nice, spiritual experience just from door knocking, and it was out of the blue and something we didn't see coming.
I guess the only other thing that was exciting for us was deep cleaning. We had the 'privilege' of taking four hours out of our day to spend our time cleaning the flat. It was really satisfying though to see how clean it was after. I guess we can relate that to missionary work. We didn't really see the flat as dirty or messy. We kept it fairly organized and clean. That's kind of like the life of an average person. It has its ups and downs, and your comfortable with it. When we do a deep clean, we convert that house, we change it, we make it a little better. That's kind of like someone recieving the gospel in their life. Although they were probably comfortable with life before, they realize how much for satisfying and joyful life can be after that 'deep clean'. And that's why we do misisonary work, because although most people could live a perfectly normal life without the gospel, they won't see how much more beautiful life can be with the gospel unless we help them see that. Hopefully that makes sense.
Elder Ho

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Can't think of a title...

Sorry, I couldn't think of a title for the email. Anyways, so I just had my second fast-Sunday here on the mission, which means that I've been in Australia for nearly a month! It's crazy to think that there is only one more week in my first transfer. I heard that there are 24 new missionaries coming in next transfer, which is going to be crazy! The days here are kind of long, but the weeks are really short, and the months seem just as short!
Anyways, it's been another good week. We've been doing a LOT of door knocking, or in Australian lingo, "heaps" of door knocking. That's one of the words they use a lot here. Also, fun fact, they call slippers "thongs", which threw me off when they first said it. But yeah, back to door knocking, we've done a lot of it this week, and we've met a lot of people. Unfortunately, I didn't get any crazy experiences from it to share, like being attacked by a dog or yelled at by someone. I think I'm improving on talking to random strangers now which was really difficult at the beginning of my mission. Who would have known that talking to strangers was a good thing (don't teach your kids that)! I've continued to meet many great people, and also interesting people.
I guess the last thing I'll talk about in this email is how small things can have a big ripple effect. I've been reading through the Book of Mormon from the beginning while I've been out here, and I recently read about Ammon (what a cool name) and how he started by converting King Lamoni. Converting him basically lead to the conversion of his father, which lead to multiple kingdoms that the father ruled being converted to the gospel. They became the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's, then the people of Ammon, and they laid down their weapons of war and their testimonies were greater than even most of the Nephites'! I think that's how the story goes. Anyways, we may not be able to convert thousands, but it's important to realize that our small and simple acts can have huge affects on those around us, and we can determine whether that is a positive or negative affect. Anyways, I'll talk to you all next Monday,
Elder Ho

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Another Week in Australia!

Hi everyone! Another week has passed in Australia, and it really felt like a fast one. The days seem really long, but when I look back I felt like I just emailed yesterday! So we had the baptism for our investigator, and her husband baptized her and the bishop confirmed her the following sunday! It was awesome and a lot of her family was there, who are nonmembers. Her father even spoke, and he is a pastor in another church I think. He talked on baptism, and it was a really good talk! The whole program went really well, although we may have flooded the font a bit lol.
Anyways, things are pretty average again this past week. Still door knocking, visiting people, and trying to increase the amount of investigators we have. We've met some crazy, and some really nice people while door knocking. It's funny to see how sometimes the most intimidating people are the nicest and are willing to just talk with you for a bit.
One thing that I've learned this week is about relying on the Holy Ghost and our Heavenly Father. Sometimes we aren't always confident in something, for me it's sometimes teaching people, yet we can rely on the Lord to guide us and help us. Also, when we are very successful in what we do, it's important to remember how the Lord and the Holy Ghost played a part in that. When the people of Alma had been under bondage from the Lamanites, and couldn't pray openly, they prayed in their hearts unto the Lord, and He lifted their burdens and provided a way for them to escape later on. This shows us how they relied on him in all their doings, and how the Lord was quick to answer their prayers. Even after they escaped, they immediately prayed to the Lord, praising and thanking him, which shows that not only was the Lord quick to answer their prayers, but they were quick to show their thanks. I think that's something that everyone, no matter who we are, can do more, whether it is relying more on Him for guidance or remembering to thank Him for what He has done for us.
Thank you all for your support!
-Elder Ho

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Aloha, Everyone!

So this week was another good week! We did a lot of door knocking, but still not getting too many investigators from that. We're trying to work more with the members and build a stronger trust in hopes that we can get them more excited about missionary work. I also had Golden Orientation training this past week, which was awesome. Golden is supposed to be the replacement word for "greenie", or the new missionaries. It was awesome though, we learned a lot from our Mission President and other missionaries, and we practiced teaching and stuff. We also got to stay at a small hotel for the night, and the breakfast the next day was awesome!
Anyways, I've got to keep this short because I don't have much time left, so sorry about that. But this Saturday is our first baptism, and everyone's pretty excited about it. I don't think the ward has had a baptism in a while. The person getting baptized is pretty much a golden investigator, she read through her husband's preach my gospel book, has passed out copies of the Book of Mormon to her friends, and has a really strong testimony already!
Anyways, to keep it quick, the other stuff that happened is we had a dog let loose on us while knocking on doors (we're fine), we possibly found a new investigator randomly while door knocking, who seems very interested in what we have to say, and we had another great Sunday with more great talks and lessons!
Thanks for all your support!
-Elder Ho

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Hi Everyone!

So this is my first normal P-Day. It's only been about three or four days since my last email, so there isn't a whole lot to cover. I guess I'll start with who I've been teaching and stuff like that. One of our investigators is an 8 year old boy, Tua, and his mom will sit in on the lessons. We have to really simplify and take the lessons slowly since he's a kid, and it's way different from teaching adults, but it's a good experience. His mom seems to be supportive of what he's learning so far. Another one of our investigators is Delane and Stephanie (not sure if that's how you spell their names), who are planning on getting baptized right after they're married, which is in a few months. The main thing that we have to talk to them about is the importance of the Sabbath day, since their kid is in rugby and it's a huge thing here, so when Sunday games happen that takes #1 priority. I haven't actually gotten to teach them yet though, so far we've just talked a bit at the door and tried to set up a time to meet. Another one of our investigators is Tammy, who's husband is a member. He's taught her a lot and she's basically read all of his preach my gospel book, so we are really just reviewing lessons with her and trying to finish everything that we need to finish for her baptism, which is on the 27th. She's really excited to get baptized, and she's already sharing the gospel with her family and friends. Other than that, the ward is good. Everyone's been nice and friendly to us, and the members that I've met so far are really good. It's kind of a small ward though, and we don't get too many referrals from them.
I think one of the lessons that I've learned on the mission so far is to appreciate certain things more. One of those things is church. Church used to be a really long three hours for me that would sometimes seem to drag on, but now I really enjoy those three hours and it's kind of like a time to rest and focus on church and nothing else but church. And we get to sit down for the majority of it, which is nice since we spend hours each day walking from door to door and knocking on them. I've also learned to appreciate the birds back home, which have really nice and simple chirping sounds. It sounds kind of crazy, but after spending some time here, you really get irritated by the birds. There are certain ones who are really defensive of their kids, and will make super loud obnoxious noises if you get to close, kind of like an alarm. There are also kookaburras here, which sound like crazy monkeys. And the crows make weird sounds too. Every bird here makes weird, loud, abnormal sounds. I also appreciate some of the American snacks we have. The ritz crackers here taste weird, and there are many snacks that I miss and haven't seen in the stores here. Well, talk to you all again later, thank you for all your support! Sorry for the short email too, hopefully I'll have more to cover next Monday.
Elder Ho

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Hi everyone! 

So I made it to Australia, and I'm serving in the Capalaba ward. My trainer is Elder Dunlop, and he's from New Zealand. He's been out for 15 months I think, and he's taught me a lot already in just the first 7 or 8 days. The ward seems pretty good too, I've only had one Sunday with them so far though. I'm looking forward to getting to know all the members, and the ones that I've met so far are awesome!
Anyways, Australia is great. The climate and environment is really similar to Hawaii where I am. I think the humidity is the same, the weather is the same, and even the plants are the same. I also got to see my first snake the other day, and also saw a bunch of wallabies, which literally look like baby kangaroos. Also the spiders here look a lot bigger and more deadly. The birds here are crazy, they make weird noises, and some like to attack if we get to close to their kids. I'd say the biggest difference between Australia and Hawaii is the people. The general attitude is very different here, and so is the language. I'm still trying to adjust to the different words they use here and the different accent. Apparently they don't use the word "napkin", and it's simple stuff like that which throws me off. Also, I have to drive on the left side of the road now, which is kinda crazy. My first few days were a bit hectic when I was driving, but I think I'm getting the hang of it now.
Also, sorry for the lack of emails lately, I missed my first P-Day because I was traveling to Australia, then my next one got pushed to Thursday since we were going to the temple on that P-Day. I think we have temple P-Day's once per transfer. Going to the temple was a good experience. The one I went to is quite small, but just as beautiful as the others. The spirit was the same too, and it was nice to head to the temple after a long and busy week. Sorry, there wont be any pictures for a while though, the computers at the library wont let us upload any apparently.
I guess I'll just finish up this email with what I've been learning. One thing I learned is to cherish your time that you have to sleep, because that's all you get. I've learned that there is pretty much never a day you get to sleep in on the mission. I've also really learned to love studying the doctrine, whether it be the Book of Mormon or the Preach My Gospel book. Yes dad, I've been reading it. There is so much to learn from it all, and I feel like two years is not even close to enough time to get to know all the doctrine that I'd need for the mission. My trainer also likes to emphasize a quote which goes something like, "obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings miracles". Through being obedient, my companion and I are blessed. That's all for this email,
Elder Ho.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Dear Ho Family,
We are delighted to report that your son, Elder Ho, arrived safely at the mission home in Brisbane, Australia!  Your son is an impressive man filled with the missionary spirit; we are thrilled that he will be serving with us in this great mission.  Elder Ho has an excellent trainer, Elder Dunlop, and they will learn much serving together in the Cleveland Zone.  
You should be receiving an email each week from your missionary, and he should be receiving one from you as well.  Though they are immersed in the work, they do miss home, and a loving letter from family is comforting and reassuring. We are grateful for your support of us and as an expression of our gratitude and appreciation, we have created a webpage for you to follow:  We will post pictures of our missionaries and will do our best to capture all that is happening in our mission; especially the missionaries' joys and successes as they labor in the Lord’s vineyard. As they email us pictures of their baptisms, we will post those as well.
We are so happy and humbled to be able to serve the Lord along with your son, Elder Ho.  Great blessings are in store for not only your missionary, but family at home as well.  We know that you will experience marvelous blessings as you support your son while he serves the Lord honorably and obediently on his mission.  We pray for the Lord's blessings upon you, your missionary and his other loved ones.
President & Sister McSwain: Australia Brisbane Mission

Thursday, July 28, 2016


So, this is my last week in the MTC! If everything works out, I should be leaving next week Monday! There has been a lot to take in and learn. One cool thing I was able to experience was being able to sing in the MTC choir for this band called the Nashville Tribute Band (I think). I think they're all members of the church, and they came and performed at a devotional, singing songs (mostly country songs) about the church, Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, going on missions, and more, and the MTC choir was able to provide a bit of background singing for some of the songs, which was pretty cool.

I've also been getting along with my district pretty well still, and we're all going to miss each other once we all leave, but we're pretty excited to get out into the field. We've had some awesome teachers too, who have taught us so much more about how to teach and about the gospel, it's really mind blowing and an eye opening experience when we realized how much we didn't know. 

There isn't much else left to share I guess, I don't have any in-the-field stories like the other missionaries, but I guess I'll just share a little bit about the Devotional we had on Tuesday. We got to hear Elder and Sister Conde speak (not sure if that's how you spell their name). One thing sister Conde said was that the most powerful teaching tool is our testimony so use it often. A real testimony borne of the spirit can change lives, and our testimonies can influence our every choice.

Hopefully I'm out somewhere in the field the next time I email you all
-Elder Ho

Here is a picture of our district:

Thursday, July 21, 2016

​From left to right - Me, my companion (Elder Richins), Elder Pickett, Elder Hymas
Hi everyone! Sorry, I don't have much pictures at the moment, so I wont be sending any yet. Anyways, I've made it through the first week.

To start off, the language is tough. It's a real struggle, and I can't even teach the first lesson in Australian yet. It's rough.

Also, my district and zone is pretty awesome. In my district there 4 sisters and 8 elders, and we all get along really well. We've shared many great times and spiritual experiences already, like giving the sisters blessings or listening to amazing testimonies/experiences from our teachers. My companion is Elder Richins, from Utah, and my two other roommates/district members are Elder Picket and Elder Hymus, and they're all awesome. We all help each other be obedient, work hard, and focus when we need to. 

A cool experience I got to have was at our Sunday devotional, where we got to watch Elder Bednar speak in a video titled "The Character of Christ", or something like that. It was a super helpful and inspiring video, and fun fact: it can't be watched anywhere else but in the MTC I think, because he is addressing specifically the Missionaries. At least, that's what they told us. After the video ended, everyone stood up, and right in front of us was Elder Bednar and his wife, and some of his other family. I could have walked 20 feet and shook his hand (which probably wouldn't be appropriate in the middle of a devotional). Don't worry, I didn't, but I wanted to. He allowed us to ask him questions, and he and his wife and son would answer them, which was super awesome. Don't get too jealous lol.

Anyways, the MTC is good. I'm learning a lot, and the spirit here is awesome, and so are the people, but I feel like I'm in a box and just want to get out into the real mission world, but that's still in less than two weeks. It must be crazy for the Elders that have to stay here for nine weeks. The food is ok, another fun fact: don't drink the orange juice. I never have and I never will, we don't even know where that stuff comes from or what's wrong with it. Just don't drink it. Also, believe it or not, I'm in the MTC choir. That's not the end though; we're singing country songs. Who would have thought I'd do that. Not me, but whatever. It's a cool experience, and although most of us probably can't sing, it's still pretty fun. 

Also, I was able to visit the temple today and do a Session, which was pretty cool. It's a little different from the Hawaii temple, but it's really nice. It makes me miss waking up early to work in the Laie temple, but it's fine, I've got other things the Lord wants me to do. Hopefully I've covered everything, if not, I'll send it in another email or next thursday (my next P-day).

-Elder Ho

BTW, here's the mailing address I think

Provo Missionary Training Center
2005 N 900 E
Provo, UT 84602
United States

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Few Parting Shots

Thank you, Aunt Lynda for picking up Ammon!  He met 2 of his cousins that were also reporting to the MTC on the same day!!!  After  a delicious meal, they headed to the MTC...

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Farewell Talk
(Since not everyone could be there to hear Ammon speak, I'm posting his talk :)

Aloha Brothers and Sisters. On Tuesday night I’ll be leaving for the Provo MTC to begin my mission in Brisbane Australia. This is why my talk today is about how I got to this point in my life. Before I begin though, to answer some very frequently asked questions, yes I’m excited, I’m not too nervous for the mission, only for this talk, and yes there are many dangerous creatures in Australia. Anyways, I’ll start off by talking about the decision to choose a mission, and the various influences in that decision. 
When someone is making the decision to choose a mission, peers are very important. Some of the most influential peers we have in our lives are our families. Families are so important within the gospel that the First Presidency made what many of us know as “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”. At one point it states that, and I quote “Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live”, end quote. A person’s childhood can have a huge impact on the future of their lives, and it can be either a positive or negative impact. Neurological research has shown that the early years can play a key role in a child’s brain development, and has a direct effect on their adult life. I believe that if a family teaches a child at a young age about the gospel and the importance of serving a mission, when the time comes for that person to decide on whether or not to serve a mission, they will base that decision the many things they learned about in their childhood. From childhood, my parents have often talked about the importance of serving a mission. I also learned about the missions my grandparents served, and the mission that my dad had also served. During family home evenings, we would sometimes practice missionary work with each other by doing things such as role playing a situation with a friend that we want to invite to church, or setting goals to give a book of Mormon to one of our fellow peers. In the end, my family left the choice of serving a mission up to me. I knew it was a commandment of the Lord, and because I had been taught about it from a young age, I made the choice to serve a mission at a young age.
I think that the earlier you make the decision of whether or not to serve a mission, the better it is for you. Of course, you can always change your mind, but by making that choice early, you give yourself more time to prepare for your future and focus the rest of your life on that decision. Not only is the family a big influence in making the decision to serve a mission, but so are other peers, including teachers and church leaders. I still remember learning about missionary work in primary classes from my primary teachers, including primary songs about the mission. One song that I can recall is “I hope they call me a mission”. I remember sitting in those small wooden chairs that they still have in primary, as the teacher wrote the lyrics of the song on the chalkboard, erasing a few words after each time we rehearsed it so that we could have it memorized for the next primary musical number in sacrament meeting. The lyrics of the first verse say this: “I hope they call me on a mission, when I have grown a foot or two. I hope by then I will be ready, to teach and preach and work as missionaries do”. The second sentence, “I hope by then I will be ready, to teach and preach and work as missionaries do”, implies that, as a child, a lot will have to take place before someone can go on a mission, including baptism, preparation, and possibly years of building a testimony. The second verse says, “I hope that I can share the gospel, with those who want to know the truth. I want to be a missionary, and serve and help the Lord while I am in my youth”. This simple primary song gives a simple yet great explanation of what serving a mission is all about, and summarizes what is taught in primary about missionary work. Prepare for a mission, and then share the gospel with those who desire to know more about it, performing service not only for others but also for the Lord. What is taught in primary can also have an effect on someone’s decision to serve a mission, as it did for me.
Youth leaders and the youth program is also very impactful when it comes to making the decision to serve a mission. There are many service activities and chances to share the gospel in order to prepare someone for a mission. A small book titled, “For the Strength of Youth” summarizes the many lessons that someone may learn in the youth program. On one page, it teaches the reader about service, saying that “service to others is an important characteristic of a disciple of Jesus Christ”. It goes on to say, “You can serve by sharing the gospel with others now and as a full-time missionary in the future”, and finishes that section by describing the blessings of servers. The youth program in the church really helps to prepare youth for missionary work and making the decision to serve a mission. I’ve had many youth teachers and leaders that have guided me to this point now, but I’ll just mention a few of them. One of them was Brother Alisa, who taught me when I was a deacon I think. I remember him and his wife often telling us about their missionary experience, and how it had changed their lives and who they were. Another youth leader who has impacted my decision to serve a mission is Brother Tom, who would teach our class the importance of missionary work, and would ask us if we planned on serving missions. The youth program also provides many opportunities for service and for working with the missionaries. I have been tracting with missionaries twice and experienced a small portion of what the mission is like. The youth program can have a big effect when it comes to making the decision to go on a mission, whether it’s from the classes and leaders or the service and opportunities it provides.
People your age, whether they are friends or classmates, can also have a powerful influence on your choice to go on a mission. Another topic in the “For the Strength of the Youth” pamphlet talks about friends. It says that “they will influence how you think and act, and even help determine the person you will become”. In a psychology class that I took at BYU, they discussed the importance of those around you, and how the social environment you’re in really does affect who you become. First Timothy chapter 4, verse 12 states “be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in purity”. Not only are we an example to our friends, but our friends are examples for us, and whether we know it or not, we take on some of their traits, whether good or bad. Finding peers who can be a good example for you can help with your decision to go on a mission. To be honest, in high school, the closer I got to the missionary age, the more I started to think of it as more of an obligation that was being forced onto me, and something that I was beginning to dread. Two years is a very long time. I began to think about how, out of the roughly 730 days there are, you can only call or facetime your family four times, and you can only email them about 104 times. You can’t swim for two years, you can’t watch movies or listen to non-church music for two years, you’re not even supposed to hug other people for two years. I would miss a lot of family things too. I wouldn’t be here for birthdays, reunions, and who would want to miss their own sibling’s marriage? I also tend to stress out in social situations, and I normally try not to stick out, so walking around in a white shirt and tie all day talking to strangers in an attempt to teach them about the gospel wasn’t exactly something that sounded fun to me. Instead of leaving for the mission right out of high school, I decided to go to two semesters of college and put more thought into what I was going to be doing. Being at BYU, where everything always has a spiritual side to it, and people are getting mission calls left and right, really started to change my attitude towards serving a mission. I also saw some of my friends enter the MTC, and they had a positive attitude towards the mission. One person who really helped me change the attitude I had towards the mission was my friend and roommate, Teancum, or TK. I’m not sure what normal roommates talk about at night, but sometimes we would just share our feelings about serving a mission, and at first they were similar. It wasn’t exactly something we were looking forward to doing. Then, throughout the semesters, I saw his attitude change. He started to have a more positive outlook on the mission. He started to see the good that came out of it, and the blessing that it could bring not only him, but those he could possibly meet in the mission field. Because of his example, I began to change my attitude also. We both submitted our papers at around the same time, and we both received our mission calls and opened them at around the same time also, not with dread, but with joy and excitement. We would often joke around about how we would compete to see who could have more baptisms by the end of the mission, or how we would prank our companions. If he on this island today, I would thank him for the example he set for me, but he is already in the MTC and preparing to serve in California. Another example that has changed my attitude towards serving a mission is my sister, Kamalei. Even though only young men are commanded to serve a mission, my sister decided to serve one too. She has shared many of her experiences and blessings from serving a mission, and I was able to see first-hand how it has affected her life.
Family, friends, and church leaders have guided me towards the decision to serve a mission. However, there is more to serving a mission than just submitting papers. You have to prepare yourself in many different ways, including spiritually. One of the simplest ways to spiritually prepare for a mission is through being involved in church. By being involved in church, we surround ourselves with others who have the same beliefs as us and we are able to maintain our focus on the gospel. In the Preach my Gospel book, it says, “While learning from a good teacher is very important, it is more important for you to have meaningful learning experiences on your own. Getting good results from your study depends on having a strong desire to learn, studying with ‘real intent’ (Moroni 10:4), ‘hunger[ing] and thirst[ing] after righteousness’ (Matthew 5:6), and searching for answers to questions and concerns.”. This chunk of text from Preach my Gospel is telling us that not only do we need to attend our church classes, but we need to be active learners. We have to desire to learn and grow.
One great way for youth to spiritually prepare is through seminary. Through all four years of high school, you are given the opportunity to study the scriptures through seminary. In these seminary classes, you are able to thoroughly study the scriptures, chapter by chapter, and learn how to apply those scriptures in your life. Henry B Eyring says, and I quote, “There are three powerful things seminary can do. First, it puts young people together who share the same values. Youth like to be with others who share their faith and who love the scriptures. Second, it puts youth together with a teacher who has a testimony, and they can feel the fire of it when it is borne. Third, seminary gets young people into the scriptures”, End quote. The first thing he mentions, which is putting people together who share the same values, can help everyone focus on studying the scriptures. The secondly, President Eyring mentions a teacher and their testimony. One of my seminary teachers was sister Camacho. She was very knowledgeable and all of the students could tell that her testimony was strong. Her lessons seemed to come from her heart, and not just from a manual. When she bore her testimony, the spirit seemed to fill the room. The third thing President Eyring mentioned was that seminary gets young people into the scriptures. With the right mindset, seminary can really change someone’s attitude towards the scriptures. For many youth, at first the scriptures may just seem like a religious textbook filled with confusing messages. Through attending seminary, the religious textbook can turn into something much more, with your seminary teacher translating each chapter into some sort of message. Sister Camacho was very good at getting the class into the scriptures. She had us do many activities, got all of the students involved, and finished many of her classes with ways to apply what we learned in our lives. Although it wasn’t always fun to wake up at about five in the morning, seminary really helped prepare me for my mission. Although I wasn’t too great at memorizing the various scriptures, or winning the scripture chase competitions, seminary taught me the importance of the scriptures. Although they are records of the past, they have messages that apply to everyone, even today. 
I was also given the chance to study the scriptures at BYU Provo, which helped prepare me for my mission and bring me to where I am now. I took two Book of Mormon classes, one for the first half and the other for the second half of the Book of Mormon. One thing that these classes taught me is that I need to study my scriptures outside of class. I needed to improve my personal scripture study. Instead attending an early morning seminary class to study my scriptures, I was taking 30 minutes out of my own day, nearly every day, to read a few chapters. Through these classes and personal scripture study, I was able to observe the teachings of the Book of Mormon and see how they aligned with teachings from our Church Leaders, teachings from the Bible, and how they addressed issues we even have today. It is surprising how ancient scriptures can be relevant even today, whether it is addressing family values, war, corruption, or even health. These classes taught me how to use the ancient teachings from the scriptures in my modern day life. For one of my Book of Mormon classes, we had to complete something called an application paper, where we take a teaching from one of our Latter Day Prophets which goes hand in hand with a Book of Mormon scripture, and apply that in our lives for a week. We would then write down the results after. I had learned how to apply scriptures in my life, and observe the results from that, whether it is doing more service or being more forgiving towards others. This is something that I think I can apply on my mission and for the rest of my life, and something simple that we all can do. All you really have to do is find a lesson from the scriptures, do your best to apply it in your life for a week, and observe the changes that happen.
One more someone can do to prepare for a mission is to provide service. President Thomas S. Monson said, and I quote, “I believe the savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves will eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in the service to others grow and flourish – and in effect save their lives”, End quote. This goes hand in hand with a simple quote from Gandhi, who I think is a great example of someone who serves. He says, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”. Both President Monson and Gandhi mention losing ourselves in the service of others. When we put forth our full effort with a willing heart in the service of others, not only are we helping them, but we are also finding ourselves and helping ourselves grow. There are many opportunities for us to serve, ranging from simple acts of kindness to eagle projects or Mormon Helping Hands projects. In the Book of Mormon, king Benjamin stated that “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God”. So it makes since to prepare for a mission where your focus is serving the Lord by providing service for others. At BYU, my sister and I joined a group called vineyard which performed various services such as translating hymns or doing family indexing. There were times where I felt the spirit while doing family indexing, as I read the names and information of many people who had passed on, whether they were people registering for the military or obituaries of from various towns.
One last thing that I’d like to mention, which prepared me for my mission and brought me to where I am now is my opportunity to work in the temple over the summer. Every Tuesday and Thursday I was able to work in the temple from 6 to 10 AM. I learned so much over a short period of time about the sacred ordinances that take place there, and I know that there is still so much more to learn. I saw many people visit the temple and work there with such a strong spirit in them, and they loved what they were able to do there. My dad has told me that the goal of the mission is ultimately to bring families to the temple, and that everything else they do is a stepping stone towards that goal. By working in the Temple, I was able to witness and experience the blessings that I would be trying to provide others on the mission, by hopefully bringing them to the temple in the end.

These are just a few things that have prepared me for my mission. There is a lot more that has brought me to this point exact point in my life, giving a talk only two days before I leave for my mission, but at the time that I was writing this talk, it was getting kind of late. So, I’d like to bare my testimony …