Sunday, February 24, 2013

Blog Post #46: Safe!

Dear People,
Well, I didn't get a call saying I'm training, so I have some time to keep improving myself before I get to go back to an extra hour of studies every day. Hopefully I'll get someone amazing in here to whip me into shape so that I can learn how to be better! I'm not a speculator, so I have no idea who it could be, but I'm sure it's gonna rock once I get my new companion! I really only have one more day to wait! I'm so excited!

To celebrate my 3rd favorite February Holiday (the first is my brother's birthday, the second is my "Party Day", the third is Mardi Gras, the fourth is St. Valentine's Day) I made a HUGE pot of Gumbo, a peach crisp, and an apple crisp. The Gumbo was chicken instead of shrimp, was nice and spicy, and everything in it was chopped into perfect bite size chunks. The crisps were more like cobblers, and had pecans on top, but nobody complained about them.

Anyways, beside wishing I could have been with Elder Roper for another 6 weeks, I've had a blast! Being in a Tripanionship is a little awkward in teaching and street contacting situations, but it's not impossible, and if you're stuck with two companions it might as well best be your two favorite people in the Mission! I was in the MTC with Elder Allen, and Elder Lee lived with me for the first part of my time in TST,  and then he was my District Leader for awhile.

Beyond working hard and having a great time, my life has been the usual, but amazing, Missionary work I'm used to. Every time I read the Old Testament I see another way that God shows mercy and love to His children, and it gives me a desire to spread the Restored Truth to this people! So many of them are perishing in unbelief, and it's my calling to help them know that there's more to life than working, smoking, and getting old and frail.

I love God's Plan of Happiness! It's so obvious to me that it's true! Why do we look to our parents and older siblings for help and guidance? Why are we upset when those around us aren't perfect? It's because, in the life before this one, we lived with perfect Heavenly Parents and had a perfect older brother, Jesus Christ, who could help us with any question or problem! We want to rely on our families because our spirits still remember the time when we lived with our Eternal family.

I know that there is a life after this one because of our instinct to remember those who have passed on. Here in Hong Kong there are many people who say that they don't believe in anything after death, yet they worship their ancestors and pay great respect to them. This is because their souls remember when we were taught that this life is not the end, and that even though we may be temporarily separated from our loved ones, we will be united with them again.

I know that God, the Eternal Father lives, and that His Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior, Lord, and Redeemer lives. I know that they appeared to Joseph Smith, and that through him they restored the complete truth of the Plan of Happiness in this time when we can make the most of it; when we have the greatest resources to assist in spreading this Gospel to all the world!

I am proud to be a part of this work, so be a set-apart representative of Jesus Christ, to wear His name on my badge every day, and to be here in the China Hong Kong Mission. I know that so many of these people have been prepared for this message, and I wish I had more time to spread it! I love what I'm doing out here, and I love these people! I look forward to the next 14 months as a time to go all-out in the service of my God.

I know that what I have written is true, and I write it in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Blog Post #45: Well . . .

This is awkward.

Elder Wu, Zone Leader in the International Zone, went home today. Not early, just at a funky time due to new Missionaries coming in.

My Companion, Elder Roper, took his spot. He's going to "die" in everyone's favorite part of the Mission. He just about did a backflip when we got the call when we were out street contacting after Church. I'm so happy for him, he's going to have the best time of his life.

But wait, what about Elder O'Gara? Missionaries can't be alone!

Don't worry, I'm not. I'm in a "Tripanionship", a three-some, with the other Elders who also serve the Tai Po Area until next Wednesday.

Why next Wednesday? Because that's when two new Elders get here, of course! I am still pretty young to train, and there are plenty of good Misisonaries who are older than me and still childless, so hopefully I'll have a few more moves before the Lord entrusts me with a new Elder.
Pray for me, pray hard. Even if I don't get a baby there's a pretty good chance that whoever gets him will give me his Junior Companion, and most of the Juniors who aren't in Leadership positions are younger than me.

The ideal circumstance is that I'll get an older Missionary in here for the next 6 weeks before he goes home, he'll be the District Leader, and after he leaves (and I get as much knowledge from him as possible) I'll have responsibilities come me way. Regardless of what happens, I'll be happy and willing to serve wherever the Lord wants me!

But still, pray for me.

Elder O'Gara

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Blog Post #44: Ring It In!

Dear People,

We rang in the Year of the Dragon with an 8 1/2 hour game of Risk.

I kid you not.

It was the most epic game ever, even though I lost an hour in, and spent the next 7 1/2 using what was left of my troops to disrupt everyone else's plans. None of them were smart enough to kill me and take my cards, so I ended up being the 2nd one to die. Not too shabby for a 4 man game.

Today we went to Big Buddha, but because the travel was an hour longer each way than we anticipated, I don't have time to write more or put up the pictures of me next to the largest free-standing bronze Buddha in the world. I even managed to not get carsick in the 2 hours of driving!

I love you all, and I hope I have more time to write on Monday!

Elder O'Gara

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Blog Post #43:the Dying Dragon

Dear People,

This may be my last Blog Post for a while. The Year of the Dragon is on it's way out, and with the Year of the Snake slithering towards us the northbound trains are filling up, shops are advertising whether they'll be closed for one week or for two, and the library in Fanling where we do email won't be open Monday and Tuesday, and Wednesday isn't looking super promising either.

Chinese New Year is like Christmas X 1 1/2. We are, after all, in China, the country in which some stuff shuts down for the first full Lunar Month. Here in the south things are a bit more "realistic", we're a money-minded people, the gluttony of our wallets cannot justify no business transactions for even 7 days, much less 28. All the big stores will reopen on Tuesday, and the Golden Arches are always open, even though Chinese New Year isn't their biggest day for business.

Missionary work, however, never stops! We went street contacting for 2 hours yesterday, and even though most the people we talked to are busy for the next 2 weeks, we've got some potentials lined up to keep us busy once everyone gets back from their ancestral home villages.
The best thing about this time of year is the weather. It is a balmy 20 degrees Celsius, which should be something like mid to high sixties on the American scale. There are occasional little rain storms, but nothing that scares the Chinese off the sidewalks for more than a few minutes.

Here's a culture note for you: Chinese people are terrified of the rain. They say that is makes your clothes stink, which is true. Anything that falls from skies as polluted as these has got to be bad for your personal hygiene. If that's not enough; the added dampness to an already humid environment breeds mold and mildew at record rates.

Another thing about this time of year is that tests are coming up. All the students are cramming for 6 hours every evening for the next month or so to prepare for the ACT status tests that are coming up. Education is a lot more competitive here, so how you do on your test really does determine the rest of your life. Tests naturally bring projects, and one of these projects has come to my attention.

IVY, a Voc.-Tech. School of sorts, had a group of students that decided to make a mini documentary about the LDS Church in Hong Kong. I only watched like 10 seconds of it, but I'll let you all decide for yourselves if it's good or not.


The work of God is going forth nobly, boldly and independently. People may have ridiculous misconceptions of us, prominent members of our Church may not be the best examples, and we may be attacked by those who hate everything that we stand for, but this work will never cease.

We are sharing our glad message to everyone in every clime on every continent. The countries that are locked against our Missionaries have faithful members inside that are planting the seeds of acceptance and tolerance towards our faith. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints not only exists in Mainland China, but it is growing! We have people there who are sharing it with their family, and many of them are serving Missions.

These Missionaries from places where the Church is small will be the stepping stones to greatness. The efforts of my many friends I have met who are Missionaries from China will bless that country immensely. They will share the blessings of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ once they go home, and hundreds of millions will be blessed for it.

Pray for the Missionaries. We are far from home, but we have hope. We know that this work is true, we know that the Lord will bless us for our work, and we know that He will bless those we preach this glad message to. Join hands with the Missionaries in your area to advance this work; it has been appointed to us in this time because we are not only capable of doing it, we are capable of doing it according to God's will.

I know this is true, and that's why I am here. I'm serving in Hong Kong so that the people here can come to know God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and accept the blessings of this Gospel into their lives, homes, and families.

I write these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Elder Jonathan Enoch O'Gara