Thursday, October 24, 2013

Leaping Leopards, Batman! It's an Email from Äldste Ogaard!

*Cue Theme Music*
Hello Everybody! How are my favorite people in the entire world doing today? Welcome again to our weekly broadcast of Whose Mission is it, Anyways? This week I must say, the news will be short, but I give you my 100% guarantee that it will be of the same wonderful quality as usual, and will keep you on your toes!
So, to start off our little report, I am now officially in my new area, Linköping (that's here ----->  for all of you who don't know Swedish geography) I must say, it is a lot bigger than what I am used to; after spending the last 5-6 months in places like Darlarna and Skellefteå, I am totally not used to being in a city again. I keep looking around, expecting to see trees everywhere, but instead all I can see are buildings and people! Talk about shell shock. But yes, I finally have settled down.
Let me tell you though, it was an interesting journey to get to "settled down", however. It started with Monday: I had my last English group meeting, and it was very sad. I didn't tell anyone in the group that I was leaving; it was just too much. (by the way, Agnes, if you are reading this, I guess that WAS my blog that you found. My sister started one for me. Keep reading, and let everyone else know I miss them!) We had a really fun activity (spoons), and then began all the preparation for me heading out.
So, for those of you who haven't been a Mormon missionary, let me break down how this goes: usually, I have 3 days to pack up, write a report of what I've been working on for the new guy, and say all of my goodbyes to the people I have come to love so very much. Now, notice how the word "usually" is underlined? That's because this transfer, things were a tad different. This time, I had the equivalent of 2 days to get everything prepared, because we also had zone training to go to last week! Needless to say, I was a tiny bit stressed out. However, I persevered through, had an AWESOME time at zone conference (I'll talk more about it next week), and managed to survive the flight from Skellefteå (even though I had to wake up at 4:30 to catch it).
Let me tell you though, the hardest part was saying goodbye to Hanna. She took it like a trooper, but it was really hard for me to say goodbye. I only take comfort in the fact that I know Hanna is awesome and that she's in good hands in the Skellefteå branch, and that I have decided that i will be going back to Skellefteå before the end of my mission; it's not a matter of if, it's only a matter of when. =)
Anyways, other than moving, there isn't really so much to report. My new companion, Äldste Martinsson, is a pretty cool guy. I think that we'll get along just fine.
So that's it for this week, guys. Thanks for tuning in, and be sure to join again next week for another exciting episode of Whose Mission is it, Anyways? (or whatever I decide to rename it)
Äldste Kody Christopher Ogaard

As the Sun Sets on Skellefteå...

Hello Family and Friends!
So let me just start off this email by saying this one is probably going to be a little less funny than usual. In fact, a lot less funny than usual. I guess I'm just not in a very funny mood today, mostly because yesterday we got a transfer call. Yes, it's true: I am leaving Skellefteå to head to Linköping on Thursday. I'm glad to go where the Lord wants me to go, but I'm not gonna lie, this move is going to be a very hard one. Perhaps as hard for me as when I moved from Arizona to Idaho.
Why am I so attached to Skellefteå, you may ask? well, to be honest, there are many reasons. First off, I love this town: the people are generally very open and nice, the weather right now is absolutely beautiful (if a little chilly) the sights of Autumn are everywhere; basically, this little city off the coast of the Baltic Sea has become a home to me.
But it's not just the city I'm going to miss. What I really am going to have a hard time leaving is the people. Firstly there are the members. They all have been so loving, so diligent, and so ready to do the work and help us wherever they can. Even though there are only 6 active members in the branch, they are saints in Zion, and I think you'd be hard pressed to find a more welcoming and humble people anywhere else.
And then there's the English group. While the Lord has perfect timing, I must say that it did not coincide with my idea of the right time to transfer. We are getting ready today to ask some of these people if they would be willing to meet with us in a teaching capacity, and I now won't be here to see that. I find consolation only in the fact that I can trust Äldste Knutsson to help these people the best he can to accept Christ and learn more about God's plan for them. It's certainly a humbling experience to give up a pet project when it starts to show fruits.
Finally (and perhaps biggest of them all), I am really going to miss Hanna. I tell you, seeing her learn and grow and become the member she is today has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. I can't even begin to describe the joy I have felt seeing the light of Christ in her eyes, and in listening to her bear witness that she knows that this is God's church on the Earth today. I knew I would have to leave eventually, but it does not make it easier. I really care a lot about her, and am going to sakna (miss) the strength I have received in working with her.
But, as they say, the only things constant in life are Death, Change, and Taxes. Of those three I guess I'm pretty glad I'm experiencing Change right now, and not the other two. And I know that the Lord has a work for me to do in Linköping. I can tell you this: I am not quite sure what the Lord has in store for me, but I know it will be amazing. If Skellefteå was any indicator, I'd say I have a lot to look forward to.
This move to Linköping (which is southern-ish Sweden) will also be a big change when it comes to responsibilities, as I have been called to serve as a District Leader there. It's kind of weird that I'll be the district leader (considering my new companion, Äldste Martinsson, has been out a lot longer than me), but I look to this as a chance to be a better example and work harder to serve the Lord.
Anyways, I think I'm going to end this here. Remember that I love you all, and that I care about you a LOT.
Äldste Kody Christopher Ogaard
P.S Would someone tell Sis. Eagley thank you for all the letters, and that I'll be sending her one soon? I feel real bad that I haven't responded to her letters yet... 


Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Greetings, fellow earthlings!
Welcome one and all to this week's episode of Behind Swedish Lines. This is your host, Äldste Ogaard, and let me tell you, what a show we have in store for all of you today! Absolutely jam-packed with adventure, intrigue, and heroics. But, rather than talk about how awesome it will be, why don't we just jump on in, shall we?
OK, so to start off with, this week I think I set a personal record for number of lessons taught. I tell you, it's crazy. Are you guys ready for this? This week, I taught...
                                                                         a whopping grand total of two lessons.
Yeah, when it comes to teaching, this was an incredibly slow week. We worked really hard to get lessons set up with people, but for one reason or another, they all fell through. Except for Hanna. Our lessons with Hanna never fall through. =) While this may sound absolutely terrible, we are not discouraged. For reasons we shall talk about soon, our hopes are bright, our footsteps are sure, and our bags are very, very heavy with copies of the Book of Mormon to give out to folks.
So why are we still so encouraged after such a astronomically unsuccessful week? The answer lies first with General Conference. Holy cow, my mind was BLOWN away at how awesome General Conference was! The talks were absolutely amazing, and it was  even more fun cause we were chilling in Luleå for almost 2 whole days to watch it! it was like a missionary party up there! Our whole district (6 elders) in one apartment! It was crazy! We met the new guy in our district, Äldste Jonsson from Stockholm. He's a short term missionary (serving for 3 weeks), and he's super awesome. He's a guitarist for a band called Like Torches, and apparently they're actually pretty big. As in "they toured with Yellowcard" big. When he said he knew the members of Yellowcard personally, I totally flipped; I mean, we're talking about one of my favorite bands, and he's hung out with them, and knows them personally! OK, sorry about that. Rant mode disengaged. It was just really cool to learn that there are such amazing people all around us.
Anyways, back to Conference. So I really liked the talk given by Elder Uchtdorf for those who have left the church or are struggling with their testimonies. It was a really touching talk, and it helped remind me that as members of this church, we do not expect that we will all be perfect. The Church is not for perfect people, it is for people working to become perfect through Christ's atonement. Sometimes it can be hard to remember that, but it is absolutely true. A truth is not best measured by its believers (although it should be expected that they do their best to emulate that truth); it is best measured by simply whether it is true or not. It's like I always say when teaching people: we don't base our faith on the example of the members, or the action of a mortal man. Our faith is build upon Christ, as revealed and confirmed by the Holy Ghost. If one wants to know if this work is true, don't look at supporters and critics, or look for the flaws of imperfect human men who God called (remember, Moses wasn't perfect either); no, if you want to know if this is true, the way to do it is to sincerely ask God in the name Christ if these things are true. It seems simple, and it's definitely a bold claim to make, but I and 15 million members like me make it nonetheless.
So yeah, basically, conference was awesome, this week is going to be even more awesome (we hope to teach some of the people from our English group soon!), and I am more confident than ever that I am out doing the Lord's work: declaring His words and preparing the world for the day of His glorious return.

I hope you guys forgive me for the brevity of this week's episode, but I've got a work to do, and it's a pretty awesome one. I love you all, and look forward to hearing from you all next week!
Äldste Kody Christopher Ogaard

Wait, what do you mean by "it's October tomorrow"?!

Hello Everyone!
So let me just start off this email by saying that today I am officially freaking out. I don't know if I stepped into a wormhole, or if the Doctor pulled me onto the TARDIS while I was sleeping, but time has gone way too fast! Let me clarify a little: First off, my little sister, Aubree, turns 18 tomorrow. Freak man, I don't want to believe it. I can not accept that my little sister will be an adult tomorrow. I know half of you reading this will laugh at me, but I feel old now. Which leads me to thing number 2: I turn 20 in 55 days. 55 days, people. Can anyone say "crazy"? It's really funny: I've been working with these Swedish high school students, and you know, I'm thinking, ok, it's nice to be with so many of my peers. Then I take a step back and actually realize how old these guys are. These kids are like 4 years younger than me! My mind was blown away. Truly, life goes fast.

Oh, and if that wasn't enough, I just marked my 8th month on my mission last week. It feels like it just started, and now I'm 1/3 of the way through. Time, I command you to stop moving so fast. Seriously, I mean it.
Anyways, I thought I would take a second to more properly recognize my sister's birthday. Aubree, I love you so flipping much, and I want you to know that you are amazing. I know that you are doing an awesome job being an example to all those around you, and I hope that you know that. So, Happy 18th, Sis!
Ok, so about the missionary work. Well, to be honest, not a ton has happened. Skellefteå is still Skellefteå. English group rolls forward. Pancake night, by the way, was a wonderful success, even though my pancakes turned into these weird half American/ half Swedish hybrid pancakes. this week we're doing an activity called "What'd You Say?"; I can't quite explain it, but it'll be awesome.
One thing worth mentioning: we got a new investigator! His name is A_____, and he's a wonderful man from the Congo. He is really excited to read the Book of Mormon (in French), and he just has this wonderful positive spirit. Let me tell you, though, it was really interesting teaching him. We come to his apartment, and he opens the door, and the first thing I see is 4 chairs sitting in the hallway, waiting for us. I guess his apartment is kinda small for his family (I counted 5 people in an apartment that would comfortably fit 2), so we were pretty cool with talking in the hallway. It was actually a nice change of scenery for once; usually, the only time I see someone's hallway is right before they say they're not interested and shut the door in our faces. =P Nah, I'm kidding. They very politely shut the door in our faces. =)
Anyways, that's life right now. Just soldiering on. It will be harder now: our wonderful Zone Leader, Äldste Dalton, was whisked away to the other side of the country (Malmö). I must say, I will miss him and his Irish tin whistle, but I have no inclination of joining him down there. They speak skonish (the bad birth child of Swedish and Danish) down there, and it's hard enough understanding one skonish guy (Äldste Knutsson), let alone being surrounded by it. No, I'm glad that I am standing safe in Norrland.
So yeah, I love you all, and I hope you have an awesome week!
Until Next Time,
Äldste Kody Christopher Ogaard