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