Sunday, November 24, 2013

Southern Celebrations, Birthday Congratulations

Hello and Howdy to all y'all out there. welcome to the 20th Anniversary episode of The Ogaard Files! This here is your host, Äldste Ogaard, coming to you from the bottom of Sweden on a lovely rainy day! And may I say, what a wonderful day it has been! Perhaps by the lateness of this email you can guess it has been a little hectic, and I'm sorry to say that this week's broadcast will be relatively short. I want to recognize all the wonderful people who sent me birthday wishes already, and I promise that I will better talk about all that next week. For now I'll fill you in on what went on this week: First off, I have gotten very little sleep this last week. Thanks to a week almost filled to the bursting point with travel (delayed trains during transfers on Wednesday, travel to Göteborg on Thursday for a zone training on Friday, travel back to Karlskrona on Friday, etc), we've been meeting our beds at times a tad later than we would have liked. However, that is totally cool, because through the magic of sheer perseverance and total awesomeness, we made it through.

Oh, speaking of we, I'm sure that you are all interested in knowing a little bit about my new companion. His name is Elder Ward, and no, he is not related to the Wards in MH. He's from Detroit, and is just coming out of his greeny area (he's been in-country 3 months). I really like the guy: he's got a real fire for missionary work, and he likes to make jokes. He also apparently likes to overreact a little when he loses one of his name tags: when he lost his magnetic name tag, he went and ordered 5 new ones. On purpose. Don't believe me? I have photographic proof:
(he doesn't have a face in this picture because I thought it made him more mysterious and interesting) 

But yeah, that's how the week has gone for me. Sorry to cut things so short, but I promise I will get to all of you guys next week (Shannon, Val, you two especially. I loved the gifts!) Anyways, remember that I love you, keep calm and carry on, and most importantly, stay on your toes, because you never know what will happen in the next episode of The Ogaard Files!

Lesson Learned: Don't Bother Unpacking

Good Morning, Everybody! Or, should I say, good morning, afternoon, and evening! I must say, it is really fun having an international audience. Welcome again, one and all, to this week's broadcast of Äldste and the Swede with your wonderful host, me! This week's episode is going to be absolutely packed with interestingness, because it's a transfer episode! Now, I know that some of you are thinking "weren't you just transferred to Linköping three weeks ago?" Yeah, that's what I said. I'll be honest right now, if it weren't for the fact that my boss is the all knowing, all powerful God of everything, I would be a little upset right now. I've been here just long enough to get on my feet, grow attached to the people that I was working with, and begin making big plans for the future of this area. But I know that the Lord knows best, and I'm sure that the new missionary he sends here will do an amazing job and take care of the people I care about.

So before I tell you where I am going, I think I'll talk a little about how this week went. To set an overall rating, I would say it went fairly well, if not a little slowly. We did see some really cool stuff this week: one of our investigators began to do släktforskning (the much more fun way to say Family History work) and is super excited about it, and we have another who plans on coming to our family home evening tonight, which is pretty awesome considering she hasn't wanted to come into the chapel for weeks, if not months! Yay for Family Home Evening!

Oh, there is also a really cool experience I thought I would share with you guys! So I was standing around at the bus station last week, and was looking for a chance to talk to someone about the Gospel (trying to break out of my shyness with contacting). I look to my left, and see this really sketchy looking dude with this gnarly looking beard. My first inclination was to be like "nope, keep moving," but I felt impressed that I should speak to him. So I did! And you know what? He was totally awesome! I won't say any names (the fact this email goes on a blog makes me leery to put up other people's information), but I can say this much: he is studying to become a preacher, and was super interested in -guess what?- family history work! Seriously, I am feeling the love with the whole "find your ancestors" vibe. It really helps people connect to the Gospel on a personal level, AND it helps them feel comfortable coming to the chapel, because they have already been there to do family history work! I'm taking it as a sign: God wants us to teach people through släktforskning. Oh, and on that note, I am super exited because I helped clean up some of my family tree this week! Man, I love that we are required to use an hour a week to work on our own family history. Life rocks.

But yeah, that was really the week. So where am I going, you may ask? The answer: Karlskrona. Yep, I'm headed even farther south. Literally, I am going to the bottom border of Sweden. (for those of you who have no idea where Karlskrona is, it's right here: )

So am I excited? Honestly, I have mixed feelings. While I am excited to apply myself in a new place, I am NOT looking forward to the dialect I am headed to. From what I have been told, in Karlskrona, they speak Blekingska, which is a bad combination of Skånish (mix Danish and Swedish) and Smålandska (also supposedly hard on the ears). I'm sure the people will be absolutely wonderful; I just hope I'll be able to understand them! In all seriousness, though, I am sure that it will be a wonderful place, and that I will love it as much as I loved all my other areas. I guess time will tell.

Anyways, I think that's about it for today. I hope that you all have a wonderful day, and that you remember how much I love all of you! Especially those of you who write me. ;)

Signing out till next week,
Äldste Kody Christopher Ogaard

P.S. Picture of the week: Some super awesome clouds that totally made me think about the Second Coming. Yeah, that's right, I'm going all missionary on you.

Scouting out the Area

Hello everybody! Welcome to this year's missionary Halloween Spooktacular! This is your friendly ghost host, Äldste Ogaard, and may I say, I hope that you are all having a frightfully good week, and that you are all ready for a properly spiritual experience! (OK, I know I know, enough with the Halloween puns)
Seriously, though, this last week has been a crazy whirlwind of a week, and I'm not even sure where to begin! I guess I should probably start from the beginning.
So this week has basically been a let's-catch-Äldste-Ogaard-up-to-what's-been-going-on week. we have gone around everywhere, trying to meet with all the members so I can know the lay of the land, so to speak. I  tell you, there are so many different things to think about, it spins my head around. First off, we're starting to work with family history a lot more, so I am really working hard to learn as much as I can about Family Search and doing family History. Honestly, there are way more things to learn than time in the day. It's super cool though, because family history is HUGE in Sweden. And when I mean huge, I mean 3rd most popular hobby in the country huge. So yeah, it's a pretty big deal. Plus, we now are required to spend at least an hour a week working on our own family history so we can be more adept at helping other people with it. I was messing around the other day, and I found that I have a line that goes all the way back to 400 B.C.! That's right, I can almost trace my roots back to the time of Nephi and Lehi. Jealous much?
We're also really trying to step up our game with contacting people as well. I'll be honest with you folks, I'm a little rusty when it comes to talking to random strangers. I always get super tongue tied and nervous, and usually end up just staring out the bus window instead. BUT I know that the Lord puts certain people in my path for a reason, so I'm really working hard on being a little more brave and taking some steps to talk to people.
Hmm... What else happened this week? Well, we met with a super cool member by the name of Joseph, and man is he a fireball! I mean, you can feel the spiritual energy and willingness to work almost literally radiating off of him. He and his wife are so super nice, and I am super excited to work with him. Him and his wife are just starting with Släktforskning (family history), and they are super pumped to do the work for their ancestors. It will be so cool to help them with all the new knowledge we are gaining here, and I am super excited to see what we can find!
Anyways, other than that, not a ton to report on. Just looking forward to November (we have an American family in the ward, and I think we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving with them), and hoping to see some amazing things happen in the near future.
Remember I love you all, and that I hope you have an amazing week! Oh, and I want pictures of all the Halloween costumes. I mean it!
Äldste Kody Christopher Ogaard

P.S. I'm going to be dressing up like a missionary this year. Aren't I original?