Thursday, July 26, 2012

Blog Post #15: Brought to You by the Letter T and the Number 8

Dear People,

On Tuesday we had a typhoon signal eight. What does that mean?

According to Hong Kong Observatory:

"Gale or storm force wind is expected or blowing generally in Hong Kong near sea level, with a sustained wind speed of 63-117 km/h from the quarter indicated ( 8NE, 8NW, 8SE or 8SW)  and gusts which may exceed 180 km/h, and the wind condition is expected to persist.

Action – Complete all precautions now before gales commence. Lock all windows and doors. Fit bars into positions and insert reinforced shutters and gates if available. Adhesive tape fixed to large window panes in exposed positions will reduce damage by broken glass.

Do not stand near windows on the exposed side of your home. Move all furniture and valuables away from these areas. Make sure you have a safe place to shelter, should windows be broken. Now is the time to decide which rooms you will use to shelter if the windows on the exposed side of your home become broken.

Owners of neon signs should arrange for the electricity supply to their signs to be switched off.

Park your car where it is least likely to be damaged.

Avoid staying in the street. Return home as soon as possible if conditions so permit."

So yeah, we had a little hurricane come through! Exciting! It was fun, we got to stay in and clean the OK and make calls... and that was it. I didn't get my letters out, so my mother will probably kill me...

Today I wanted to go on a $1000 dollar shopping spree, but I don't know how... I bought 3 pairs of gangsta shorts for $100, 2 polos (purple and orange) for $100, a tie/ pocketsquare/cufflinks set for $75, and BANG! in Chinese for $25. I also bought 2 pairs of $160 dollar pants, so that adds us to... $600. Yeah, I fell short of my goal. That's HK$, divide everything by 8 and you'll get an idea of the prices here. If you want to aid me in putting clothing on my body (I don't plan on any more games), you can send a check to my mother or father. For the amount of shipping a package here you can feed me for a week! Rachael Ray thinks she's hot stuff with her $30/Day, but I can make you home cooked meals (having meat multiple times a day) for a WEEK with that much American cash! My desire for real deodorant still stands, just the plain original is best. Axe is called Lynx here because Axe is a brand of lemon-ginger dishsoap.

I want to take a moment to recognize two of my most favorite people! Valorie (formerly Gatewood) Lafaele got married recently, way to Choose The Right! Not only getting married in the temple, but marrying what various reports call "a good lookin' guy"! I also want to give a thumbs up to my friend Madi Hurtt for standing up for what she believes in! It's not easy to stand out in middle school, but I hear she did an amazing job of being an example of the believers!

That's about all I have time for, I hope everyone is doing great! I promise to send a postcard to everyone that sends me a letter (that means check your mailbox in 7-12 days, Davin)! Family gets letters back 'cuz they might hurt me if I only send a card! Anyways, I love y'all, I love spreading the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ to the wonderful people of Hong Kong, and I know that, if you truly desire to know, our Heavenly Father will give you the knowledge that what I am doing is His will, that He loves you, that He lives, and that this is His Gospel. I don't want anyone, anytime, anywhere to ever believe me when I say that, I want you to study, not just to read but study the Book of Mormon, ask God if it's true, and act on the knowledge He gives you.

I know that it's true. I've prayed for myself to have this knowledge. Giving up my job, my friends, my house, my dog, my family, my car, the ability to wear my kilt, watching "Everyday Italian", going swimming in the Pacific, and everything else that I choose not to do right now isn't really even a sacrifice on my part. We have a Prophet to give us the general direction we need, to go on a Mission, etc. We have Personal revelation for the more specific direction, how to serve said Mission, and everything associated with that. We have the Holy Bible, The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price to give us examples of people who have chosen to follow God, and examples of those who turned their backs on Him. I choose to be in the first group, of those who not only see His power, but embrace it and pray for the strength to righteously use a portion of it.

Just be humble and have a chat with the Missionaries! All they want to do is give you the chance to accept or reject the message, that's really all we want; to give every man, woman, and child that chance. PLEASE accept their invitations to look into this Church, that's all I'm asking. I love y'all, have a great week!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Blog Post #14 Twins!

There were two AmAzInG things that happened this week!

First; our investigator Jarvin (Wu Tiu Hei) got baptized on Sunday! I'm so happy for Him because I know that he is going to be so happy in the Church! He is such a good guy, and after he finishes jung haahk (kinda high school, but not exactly) he wants to serve a Mission! That would take him about a year, so if he gets called to HK it's possible that I could train him! that would DEFINITELY make me the happiest Missionary in the universe! He is so good!

Second; The Mandarins ( who are also our Zone Leaders [in charge of the 16 Elders and 4 Sisters that serve in the Kowloon Zone]) that I live with are going to get 2 Summer Missionaries! Twins! Not only is it rare to get a Mandarin-Speaking Summer Missionary, it's even less likely to get 2! The shortest person in the Apartment (either a Summer Missionary or Elder Li from Singapore) will get the couch, and someone else will get a bed. Six men in one apartment! Lemme tell you; that bathroom is going to need a VERY deep clean after the Summer Missionaries leave in 2 weeks! They get here on the 20th, tomorrow.

In other news; it's still hot, it's still humid, and there's still too much good food for me to lose the weight I want to! It really is SO good! I drink 3-5 litres of water a day, so I'm in no danger of dehydration, and there's half a dozen food stores and Asian markets in our area, so I am in no danger of starving either! I have noodles for breakfast every day, with lots of ginger and red Thai peppers, it's so good!

Today for P-Day we hiked 10,000 Buddhas, [Click HERE to see photos                
(Editor's note: Elder O'Gara requested a photo showing the steepness of the trail be inserted here. I  recommend pictures 62, 97, and 123  ~ Elder O'Gara's Mom) ]
 which is about a mile up a trail lined with statues to a Monastery. There is so much to see! Every Buddha is a little different, and I absolutely loved the hike! I also got a picture with the Monkey statue, which is my Zodiac animal! You'll be getting that after this move is over. It was a really quiet and peaceful place, and there was an amazing view that overlooked Sha Tin, which is the area of town nearest to where it is.

Other than that it's just been standard (which is to say; AMAZING) Missionary work! We went out street contacting the other day, and got some numbers, which is so good! It's so nice how many people there are here willing to talk to us! We've also been teaching some great people, all of whom are so good! It's amazing how you can find one scripture that covers the needs of so many people! It's so good to be a Missionary! I can feel the guidance of Heavenly Father every day, and I know that when I find a scripture that is super powerful, or understand how to explain a principle with greater clarity that it's Him guiding me. Let's be honest; I'm a pretty smart guy, but not even I can explain in Chinese how one paragraph about a king can help you make good choices in your life. I'm good, but not that good.

I love that I can feel close to Heavenly Father all the time! I'm able to recognize His hand in my life more, from helping me know what to do, to helping me sleep better, to helping me learn Characters so I can read with my friends, to even just helping me see something that makes me happy when I'm having a (rare) bad day! If you are not sure you want to go on a mission; do it! Nothing else can help you out as much as the things you learn out in the field! Sure I miss my friends back home, I miss going to school, I miss sleeping in, but I have new friends to focus on, new things to learn, and so many responsibilities that I have to carefully budget my time. I am not only learning good Spiritual principles, I'm learning the discipline to keep a schedule, the determination to follow up when I'd rather sleep, and I'm also gaining a better sense of who I am, who I want to become, and how I can do that.

For all of you who are preparing to become Missionaries, whether you are a young man or young woman, here's all I can say to you; Go and Do!

I love y'all, and I hope that everyone is happy and good! If you want to send me stuff they don't really have stick deodorant here, and I don't like the spray kind, so a tiny Flat Rate box with a stick of Old Spice Classic: Original Scent would be great! It HAS to be the one in the all red tube with the white hexagon, everything else is junk! I love y'all have a great week!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blog Post #13

So, I never really had Jet-lag, or "airplane lag" as the kid with cool hair called it. I stayed up all night before I left, only slept like an hour on the plane, and pretty (much) died the first night here. It was a pretty good deal! So, how did I tell today that I've pretty much officially adjusted to China Weather?

Well, we attended the Temple today, which was amazing! Everything was in English, so I really got to enjoy it! However; Temple attendance means suit jackets, and Temple attendance in South Central Asia means suit jackets, humidity, and around 100 degrees Fahrenheit! Needless to say; I was happy to get back to the OK (the Chinese word for home sounds like "O-Kay") and get rid of my coat! I sat there on the couch thinking how nice it was to be back home. I went to my office and got my shopping money, and was very confused. My clock-with-the-thermometer read "32 Degrees"! You're thinking "Ngok Jeunglouh, you know I don't speak Celsius", so let me translate. 90 degrees, Fahrenheit! I, Mister "I prefer 50 degrees for t-shirt weather" found 90 degrees comfortable! I am not going to enjoy my first week back home in Western WA with 40 degrees and cold rain!

Anyways, back to Missionary stuff!

Our friend Jarvin is getting baptized on Sunday! We're bringing back his first Missionary Elder (now Brother) Yeuhn, who lives a little north of us, to baptize him. It's so exciting! We have a TON of baptisms coming up, 2 more besides Jarvin this month and 4 next month! I definitely followed some very effective missionaries, I'm excited to have these big shoes to learn how to fill!

Speaking of big shoes to fill... I got assigned to be apartment leader! That means that it's my job to buy soap and rice, and then pray that the other elders in my OK give me 1/5 of the cost back. We have 5 men sleeping in one room right now, which is a lot of fun! We all like music and we all get along, Mong Kok is the best place to be right now!

It's go time, but if you want to check out my neighborhood check out the Homantin Chapel (Tsim Sha Tsui Ward, Hong Kong China Kowloon Stake is in Homantin, on google maps! I love you all, talk to ya next week!

note from Elder O'Gara's mom - I had no luck on google maps until I found the address thru, link pasted in above, and if I did it wrong it will cut and paste ;-}  old people!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Blog Post #13?(12): M is for...

Man Purse! Yup, you betcha I did! In Hong Kong everyone has a shoulder bag of some kind. I got mine from White Lee who just died (went home). His name is "White Lee" cuz he is white... and his family is Lee... It's kind of a rare deal to have a White Lee, and I even got to meet him and his parents! The night before left they gave us jelly bears, almond butter packets (like ketchup!) and... Best of all... Cheese Sticks! I hadn't seen a cheese stick in 4 months since I was at my sister's house in Vegas! I had forgotten how good cheese is!

But back to the Man Purse.

My bag is a lot like what my Number 5 wore back in High School; A dark gray affair, roughly the size of 2 DVD cases, and totally awesome! Mine says

There Is No Fashion Trend
Diesel Born
Planet Ocean Studio
-Original- No 126",

on the front, I'll send someone 10 bucks if they can send me a letter with info about it. The first one I receive wins! (FYI: 10 HKD is 1.288 USD). But it's super useful, and I plan on bringing it home with me if it survives the next 20 months.

Wow! 1/6 of my Mission is over! That is Crazy! I really hope that I can fulfill my purpose here, there's probably a good 1,000,000 people in the Tsim Sha Tsui area that I'm currently assigned to, and I am not sure how to contact all of them yet! Street approaches aren't super effective, but park contacting is! People go to parks to relax and socialize, and they are all eager to practice english with two white Americans! After I ask them basic questions I switch to Cantonese, I promise! 

We've scheduled 3-5 lessons every day this week, which works pretty well because at least one person needs to reschedule every day, usually more. We have so many new friends who want to hear the Gospel, it's great! We also have some really strong recent converts that love to share the Good News! This is an exciting time in HK; people are starting to want to know more and more every day, and within a generation or two missonaries will be flooding the streets! Who knows; we may even need to build a Missionary Training Center in Hong Kong! We will definitely need to when Mainland opens up; that is for sure!

In other news it's raining a lot! It's not my cool, refreshing Washington rains, it's warm which is strange! There is so much to say and so little time to say it in! This place is amazing! I am going to have to lead a tour in 2 years so all of you can see it! Anyways, keep on having fun in America! Be sure to send me wedding invitations (Valorie)! I hope y'all are doing great, talk to ya next week!