Monday, June 24, 2013

The Crossroads of Surprise St. and Change Ave.

Käre Familj och Vänner,
Boy oh boy has this been a crazy week! I'm going to be candid with you folks, I have been feeling a little apprehension in writing this email. I only have 2 hours to write all of you, some respond to emails, and write my weekly letter to President Newell. With all that I have to say in this email, I fear that responses to others may lag a tad this week. Hopefully the Lord will grant my fingers some speed so I can get this all out and so that you all can receive the personal responses you all deserve. =)
So I'm not even really all that sure where to start. So much news, so many chance occurrences, wonderful encounters, and touching moments, it's hard to prioritize...
Hmm... Ok, I guess I can start with my investigators. So this week has been a record low for most of my investigators: we've only managed to meet two of them. BUT... one of them is actually making some progress! His name is Mikael, and he is a 23 year old Catholic computer graphics designer/nursing student. He's INCREDIBLY nerdy, even more so than me. Perhaps this may be a bit hard for my siblings, Shannon, and Val to swallow, but yes, it is possible. =) Anyways, he came with us to midsommar and church on Sunday, and I think that the Spirit is really working on his heart a little. I'm not sure whether he is seeking the truth very heavily right now (he is quite devoted to his faith), but he is willing to see if there is something here, and that's a lot more that I can say I have seen in my mission thus far. We will be meeting with him tomorrow, so needless to say I am praying a lot that we can teach him what he needs to hear.
Ok, what next... Oh, I guess I did mention Midsommar, so why not talk about that? So Midsommar was absolutely brilliant (all my BBC fan friends, please reread that in David Tennant's voice, if you would), and I had a wonderful time.
We made a Maypole...Inline image 1

Played some awesome games (hilarity courteous of our long-haired friend Esa Jr.)...Inline image 3

had amazing food...
*lack of photo because I was too busy eating it
... and we had some super awesome visitors (Mikael and a member family from Arizona).
So yeah, pretty dang awesome. Also awesome was the fact that the Pikes (Arizona family) had a 17 year old daughter who is super into sci-fi literature. It was super nice to talk about my favorite books and actually have someone who knew what I was talking about!

Ok, how can I follow that up? What equals on level of significance? Well, I guess I could mention transfers...
Yes, it's true, we received the dreaded transfer call. Äldste Anderson has either been a really good missionary, or a really bad one, because he's getting shipped up north to Sundsvall! Yes, my warm, kind hearted companion is getting sent up to the sunny climes of Norrland, where he will probably reside till the place turns to a half frozen wasteland =) Seriously though, he's an awesome missionary, and I'll miss him.
So that's the wonderful life of Elder Ogaard for this week. I hope you all have a wonderful week, and be sure to tune in next Monday for another installment of adventure, danger, and missionary work!
Äldste Kody Christopher Ogaard

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Putting My Shoulder to the Wheel

Käre Familj och Vänner,
Hallå igen from Borlänge! It has been an interesting week with interesting weather to match. I tell you, if you ever want to see bipolar weather, you should definitely come to Sverige. I'll never get used to how it can start off completely sunny, turn rainy by midday, and then be clear skies by the evening! Also, sometimes it's pouring rain while totally bright and sunny out. Talk about confusing! =)
So I'd love to tell you about how this week has been absolutely amazing and everything has been sunshine and rainbows, but sadly, that is not quite the case just now. In fact, as far as investigators go, things took a little turn for the worse this week. One of our investigators, Robert, decided to drop us this week. It was hard; we had been helping him take steps to quit smoking, and had just started him on the Church's addiction recovery program, when he decided that it was just too hard and therefore there must not exist a God. It was hard to take that phone call, let me tell you. We would have tried contacting him again to see what happened, but past indicators show that contacting him when he's frustrated is a bad idea. So we wait, hoping that some day he will decide to turn his heart to God again.
As far as our other investigators, they either can't meet, are out of town for the summer, or refuse to progress. We are working our butts off trying to help people, but as far as that goes, nothing really came this week.
There were some bright spots in the week, however. We had some wonderful opportunities to do some good ol' physical labor to help some of the members, so that was nice. We mowed this massive lawn for Leif, an older gentleman who can't really take care of it by himself, and we spend pretty much every saturday over at the house of Syster Susan Edling, a younger widow in the ward whose husband was a major packrat. We are helping her dejunk and rearrange stuff in her garage so she can sell and get rid of things, and let me tell you, the amazing food she cooks afterwards doesn't hurt (got to love Filipinos and their cooking!). It was really nice to be able to do some work that relies entirely on my efforts, and not the agency of others. lol. Anyways, that was a nice break from knocking doors and hearing people say "inte intresserad" (three guesses what that means in Swedish).
We also had a funeral this week, which was a real eye opening experience. The funeral was for a member in the ward who passed away about a week and a half after I came to Borlänge, Gunnel Wiberg. She was the only member in her family, so it was a really heart breaking experience to see how her families felt at the funeral. I realize a lot more now how much it really means to know that we can be together with our families again after death. We didn't say much to them, but I hope that in the future we can offer some of them the comfort that we can have in an understanding of God's plan.
So that was my experience last week, and may I say I am looking forward to this week a lot more. We have several referrals we received on Sunday to stop by this and next week (including an investigator who was taking the lessons in Uppsala and just moved here), and we also are going to have the chance to celebrate Midsommar this week! For those of you less versed in swedish culture, midsommar is like one of the biggest holidays in Sweden, and it flipping rocks! Look it up on Wikipedia.
So, before I close, I would just like to recognize one thing. I was reminded yesterday that in the States Sunday was Father's Day, so I would like to take a moment to tell my father just how much I love him, and how his example has played an amazing role for me, especially out here on my mission. I am working hard to make you proud, Dad, and I miss you so much!
So until next time folks, farewell, remember I love you all, and I can't wait to hear from you! =)
Sincerely, Äldste Kody Christopher Ogaard

P.S. Here's your weekly photos as well! Note: The reason I don't have a nametag on here is because we were at Leif's house mowing his lawn, and I forgot my clip-on tag. Don't Judge =)


Monday, June 10, 2013

Borlänge Episode 2: The Return of the Missionaries

Käre Familj och Vänner,
     Hej och hallå from Borlänge once again! Man, let me tell you, last week was exhausting. Amazing, but still exhausting. So remember how I said that We would be packing like an entire week into like 4 days? Yeah, that went down, and it went down like a boss! We pumped out 17 super amazing lessons, only a few of which I am not completely satisfied with. It's hard sometimes to remember the Lord expects us to be working towards perfection, not there right now, but it's a lesson I have been trying to keep in mind.
     Another awesome thing that I thought might be worth mentioning is how absolutely awesome my grandparents are! Grandma and Grandpa, thank you so much for the package! I'm not going to lie, I haven't even opened the peanut butter yet; I know how sad I'm going to be when it's gone. =) Oh, and that music is absolutely brilliant. I don't know why, but I have been missing Amazing Grace so much, and now I have it! Anyways, thanks so much. It made my day.
     I'm glad to hear that all is doing well at home with everyone, and man can I say that my friends get around. I did a little thinking today, and came to the realization that excluding Australia and Antarctica (but come on, who counts Antarctica?), I have friends on every continent in the world. I would particularly like to give a shout out to Megan Blease, who -if my calculations are correct- is now down in Peru, serving the people there and spreading the love of Christ. Oddly enough, I have a friend here in Sweden who comes from Peru. I tell you, the world gets smaller and smaller every day.
     Ok, so I promised you all last week that I would tell you all about this wonderful conference that I was talking up so much. Let me tell you, it was perhaps the coolest thing I have had the chance to experience in a long time. We started on Saturday: I, Äldste Anderson, and the Davis' traveled down to Hägersten (southern Stockholm) for a meeting with ALL THE MISSIONARIES IN SWEDEN. Let me tell you, I was afraid that chapel was going to disintegrate with all the energy in there. It was so cool! I got to see new missionaries, old missionaries, friends who I hadn't seen in months, and of course, my best bud here on the mission, Äldste Asp (who, by the way, is getting transferred to Eskilstuna, which is out of my zone *tear*).
     So here we were, chatting away, when BAM! Elder Ballard walks into the room. Dead silence. I'll tell you this right now: I've met with an apostle once before, but you can never get used to the feeling of the sheer power and spirit of these special servants of the Lord. I imagine it must have been the same way for the disciples when Peter or Paul walked in the room.
     So we begin the meeting, and man, I was blown away. When I came, I had so many questions, so many concerns. Within the end of that meeting, I had received answers to my questions, and answers to questions I didn't even know I was really asking. I don't have the time to share everything I learned during that meeting, but suffice it to say that I have a lot of changes to make. I need to step up my game a little, and then see the miracles fly. lol.
     After the meeting, we had a quick lunch (AKA, talk for an hour with all your missionary friends then quickly wolf down a sandwich), then we headed out on companion exchanges. I worked with two elders: Äldste Keetch (one time companion of Asp and all around awesome guy), and Äldste Muirbrook (former Borlänge elder with a fiery spirit and an always open ear). Oh man, we tore up the area we worked in (Handen). We taught a foreign exchange student from Colorado on the train, got asked if we were Jehovah's Witness by someone who I think was high, and had an amazing dinner with a Filipino member named Mary. Afterwords we went to a conference for all the YSAs (Young Single Adults) in all of Europe led by -guess who- Elder Ballard! It was so packed in that building, and so warm that we were all melting -Swedes don't use AC- but let me tell you, the Spirit was just so powerful in there. The general authorities really talked a lot about missionary work, and I was so amazed and proud of how boldly they challenged those in attendance. Elder Ballard gave a challenge to all the YSAs in Europe to help one person come back to or find the Gospel of Jesus Christ by the end of the year. We really hope they took that to heart, because this is truly the Lord hastening His work, and I so want for everyone to experience the joy that comes from participating in helping others come unto Christ.
     After our YSA conference, we headed to the Handen elders' apartment, where we stayed the night, and then headed off to the Stockholm Waterfront Congress Center, where the Regional Conference was held. It blew. my. mind. Imagine, just imagine this: middle of downtown Stockholm, 3000 LDS members and their friends, gathered together to listen to an Apostle of the Lord. Man, I saw so many people it was crazy! I saw people from all over, including my dearly beloved Västerås! The twins were there, Alejandra was there, her friend Mordjane was there... Basically, it was like a family reunion for me.
     And then, the conference. Man, all of the speakers laid down the law! It was a missionary's dream meeting! Everyone was totally called to put their shoulder to the wheel, to have the courage to help others, to shout the Gospel and glad tidings of Christ's restored church on the mountain tops! I see fantastic things coming from this.
Anyways, I just looked over this email and saw it was like a billion pages long and discombobulated as all get out, so I think I'll end it here by saying yeah, it was an amazing week.
I love you all, and hope to hear from you soon.
Äldste Kody Christopher Ogaard

Monday, June 3, 2013

Stockholm Twice in One Month?!

Dear Familj och Vänner,
     So I hope you all understand if today's email is a little short. We have had a pretty hectic last couple of days, and this week is even more crazy. You'd think that on my P-day (preparation day for all my non-mission-slang-friendly friends) we'd have a little more time to get ourselves straightened out and whatnot, but nope, we are running like mad. So why is this, you may ask? Well, the answer lies in that fact that we have to condense a whole weeks worth of missionary work into 4.2 days this week, because come Saturday morning, I'll be in Stockholm! Yep, that's right!We were just over there last week for a conference with one of the Area Authorities (Elder Richards of the Seventy), and now we'll be headed up there again this week for a Scandinavian area conference featuring none other than the Prophet! But wait, there's more! We(the missionaries of Sverige) also get the opportunity to meet with and be taught by one of the apostles, Elder Ballard! So yeah, lots of craziness this week.
     What that means for us here in Borlänge is that all those appointments and lessons we usually schedule over the course of a week have been compressed a little bit, thus spilling over into our P-day. But that's OK, I just keep trooping on!
     So yeah, that's my week right now. Preaching the good word of the Lord, meeting with the absolutely amazing members of His church, and somehow fitting in eating and sleeping in between it all. Anyways, I should probably cut this here, but I want you all to know how much I love you, miss you, and pray for you!
Until Next Week,
Äldste Kody Christopher Ogaard
P.S. To make up for the short email, I'm attaching extra photos! =)


Hey Everyone!
So this is Aubree not Kody speaking! I'm just going to give you a quick run down of whats going to happen! So I'm starting this blog four months into Kody's mission and am not going to put up his past letters. Instead am just going to start with the current letter. If you haven't read his past letters then you can go look on his facebook page where I have all of them posted. Also I will no longer be posting his letters on facebook, just on the blog! k well thats all from me. Thanks and enjoy!
Aubree Ogaard