Sunday, December 30, 2012

Blog Post #38: How Old?

Dear People,

First; my little sister's birthday was earlier this month, which I forgot to mention. Sorry! I love you, Hermanita! Happy 19th!


Two days ago I turned 20. That's 1/6 of my Earth Life gone! I've come a long way, though; I can tie my own shoes, brush my own teeth, button my own jacket, and I can even flip an egg without throwing it on the ground... most of the time. I'm working on that.

I've also gone from 5 1/2 pounds to 200 pounds, and 21 inches tall to 70 inches, not a small feat for someone that spent a good 1/2 of that time asleep. I've also become a mostly-independant person, with the occasional exception of not knowing how to order food in Chinese, but I'm working on that, too.

I've had a great week celebrating the birth of my Savior, my self, and soon that of 2013! I'm going biking with some of my friends here, which will probably produce some great pictures. Hopefully I will remember the cord that lets my camera upload to the computer next week.

I've gotta run, but I love you all, and hope you all have a great time ringing out 2012!

Elder O'Gara

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Blog Post #37: Three Days Late...

But not three dollars short!

This week has been CRAZY! 

We had a fantastic activity at my old building in TST on Christmas Eve! The whole Mission was there, and we ate 2 pigs, tons of rolls, a bit of Jello, a ton of cookies, and some blueberry cheesecake. I was in the Mission Choir, and we sang "The First Noel", "Oh, Holy Night", "Born to Wear a Crown", and "Silent Night". It was such fun, I love singing! We also had a gift exchange that was supposed to be a $50 gift exchange. It turned out to be that "Evil Elf" game where people run around stealing all the good presents. I ended up with a $15 dollar broom and $35 of chocolates (which I traded with a Sister who got Ramen), and President Hawks got an empty pop bottle ("Instant Water Storage, Just Add Water!"). There were good gifts (for the record; I love my broom!); like a $50 bill, some fluffy slippers and fluffy ducky towels (I almost stole one of those for my niece), and various amounts of Ferrer Rochers, which are worth their weight in gold here!

THEN, on Christmas Day itself, we road a bus for an hour and a half (I got SUPER carsick!), and then I sang the same four songs at the Hon Seui Kiu Chapel Open House! It's a massive building, but not quite what I'd consider "Standard/Full Size". They had really good apple cider there, which I liked. Right after that we rode the MTR train home (they don't make me carsick), and hung out for a little bit before our Ward Christmas Activity! There was a really fun Scripture Trivia game about Christmas, and a lot of good food. The thing I love most about the Church is that Mormons, no matter what continent we live on, love to eat together. I talked to an older gentleman who's not super interested in the Church, but helped him understand why he should consider it... I hope.

I love Christmas! It's an easy way to talk openly with others about the Savior, why we need Him, and why we celebrate His life, love, and Atonement. I love Christ, and I love spreading His Gospel! It's not fun every day, but it's worth every second. I know that I'm here in Hong Kong to give these people a chance to experience true, unending happiness, and I hope that I can be the best Missionary I can so that they will make the most of this opportunity. I know that all of us can find ways to spread the Gospel, so I invite all of you who've experienced the Savior's love to share it with someone around you!

Elder O'Gara

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Blog Post #36: You Know it's Fun When...

... "Fun" is in the name!

On Thursday I moved to Fanling (pronounced FUN-Ling)! I live with my "little brother" (we have the same trainer/dad) and my companion is my "uncle" (he and my trainer had the same trainer). I'm the only Non-Utah Born in our house, which is kind of a cool thing for me! Go Washington!

That means Cougars, not Huskies.

Anyways, the new area is great! It's TINY (maybe around 1/8 of TST?), but the ward members are golden. They gave us a few pounds of fried noodles, a gallon of fried rice, and a couple Asian-Style microwave dinners. Do they have Eat East in America? It's pretty good, for microwave food.

My companion, Elder Casey Roper, is from Camas, a little town in Utah where all they had to do was watch movies and play Risk or Settlers. We may or may not play Risk as a house tonight (my little brother's never seen it before!), but we only have Settlers of Zarahemla, which is apparently a Mormon ripoff. It still looks fun to me, but Risk is more favorite.

Like grape, rather than cherry.

I'm excited to be serving here in Fanling. I can feel great things getting ready to happen, and I'm glad the Lord has called me to labor in this corner of the vineyard. I hope that I can live up to His expectations, fulfill this calling, and send Elder Roper home a happy and successful Missionary in 3 months (yeah, I'll probably "kill" him).

I love you all, I love this work, and I am SO happy to be here serving!

Elder O'Gara

Monday, December 10, 2012

Blog Post #35: Tomorrow!

Dear People Who Read This,

You need better things to do! 

Tomorrow is the day I find out what the next phase of my Mission is going to be! I am super excited, but not as excited as my friend, Sister L, going to Indonesia on her Mission. She is a member of one of our branches here in Hong Kong that is English-Speaking, and she is going back to her hometown for 18 months to spread the Gospel!

Some of the other sisters, my companion, and I, made about 6 gallons of soup yesterday. It's delicious, and Filipino.

That's been my week,
Elder O'Gara

Monday, December 3, 2012

Blog Post #34: A Sense of Impending...


Any of you who have been counting and know the ways Missions usually work know that I'm looking fairly definitely at a move in the next week. After 4 moves in my "Baby Area" I'm about ready to get transferred to a new place, maybe where I've never even been!

The good news is; no such place exists! Because the China Hong Kong Mission is so small, I've been to almost every zone (Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, New Territories, Tolo Harbor, but not Macau). I haven't been to every area, not by a long shot, but I've seen a sample of everything these 400 square miles (counting a LOT of water) have to offer. I'm excited, but I'm also really hoping the unlikely will happen and that I'll stay for 5 moves here. That's only happened to 1 other Cantonese Elder in as long as anyone can remember, so hopefully I'll be #2.

The work here is continuing, as it does all across the world. The service we give is a lot of fun, and at times can be challenging, but it's always worth it. It's a bit strange to think that my next post will be my 1/3 mark, but the way that time flies is the only thing I dislike about being a Missionary. The days really do seem like weeks, and the weeks really do seem like days, sometimes like hours. 

Anyways, I am having fun here in Southern China! I took my first picture of Autumn leaves for the year, which is something that usually happens on September 3rd, not December 3rd. It's all good, though, I am enjoying the prolonged cool-ish weather, even though it's perplexing how cold 70 feels.

In other news, I finished the Book of Mormon for my first time start-to-finish as a Missionary yesterday, and I finished Jesus the Christ for the first time ever this morning. Both are really good, and Elder Talmage's work really helped me understand the Savior better. I recommend both books to be studied at the same time if a reader wants an in-depth and awesome look at who our Redeemer is.

I love you all, I am SO happy to be doing this work, and I know that I am going to go wherever the Lord needs me, and I'm going to love it!

Elder O'Gara