Friday, July 26, 2013

#3 July 25, 2013

Hey Fam!

Another week has been written down in the book of eternity! Well, the MTC hasn't really calmed down any, but we are definitely getting the hang of it better. I was writing in my journal the other day and saw that I was writing a date 20 days after the day got into the MTC...that weirded me out! Albania is getting closer by the second and I can't slow down!

We have been working with our progressing investigators this week which is a really good learning experience. Yesterday though, we were teaching Sidi and we asked him if he prayed to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God -- and he said no! That was so extremely devastating!!! When was the last time you have read Preach My Gospel Chapter 1, because the Jeffrey R. Holland quote on page 8 is totally accurate! I mean, the investigator really is my teacher and everything, but if Sidi doesn't pray about it, how can he ever gain a witness of the Savior and become converted unto the Gospel of Jesus Christ?! I mean, I love this whole agency thing, but sometimes I just kinda want to show people the right way to live! We have also been starting to do TRC where a bunch of people who speak Albanian really well (there is one native and the rest are RMs) come in and we teach them. That is a nerve-wracking and terrible but wonderful experience! It is a good way to freak us out totally about our calling and make us excited to get better, so if that is the goal then the General Authorities who put it together hit that nail right on the head.

One of the things that we have to break up our days is gym. This is also an inspired program. I mean, we are late teens, early 20s Elders and Sisters and have been through enough years of school to know how to buckle down and study for fairly lengthy periods of time...but at the same time, we are late teens, early 20s Elders and Sisters! Having that opportunity to sweat it out once a day for 60 minutes is phenomenal and keeps my mind a bit more calm. That and the fact that we play 4-square (or katër katror) and that game gets pretty intense!

Happy Pioneer Day yesterday! We actually did not have any special devotional or anything for it, but one thing that was really cool was something that Motra Atkin, one of our teachers, told us. She told us that there was no better way for her to be spending Pioneer Day than to be teaching us in preparation for us going to the Adriatic South. Everyone there is either a first or second generation member and only some little kids are in that second-generation category. They are pioneers. We are going to help serve and build up the ranks of these wonderful pioneers as they work to build up the kingdom in their part of the world. The primary song says it pretty well, they really don't have to push a handcart, leave their family dear, or walk a thousand mile or more to be a pioneer. I am pretty stoked to get out there and help them complete their missions!

But the language is më mirë (better) but with miles and miles to go! We are getting enough sleep to keep going and tons more than I got at college -- but don't tell that to Mom! My companion's great and helps me to learn about myself and the Gospel everyday!

The Church is true everybody, it is our time to tell everyone! I love you all and am hitting my knees to pray for you everyday!

Elder Ostergaard

P.S. Sorry that I forgot to label the pictures last week! One of them was my district (6 of the 14 going to Albania) and the other was of my and Elder Acheson (the one right next to me) with our Zone Leaders who are leaving for Hungary on Monday.

These pictures are 1. A whiteboard of Shqip grammar rules that Elder Gunther wrote up. 2. Brigham and Me! It was great to be able to see him in the MTC before I head out to Albania!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

#2 July 18, 2013

Dear Family,

How is it going over yonder in Michigan?! It is pretty hot out here but it is dry -- humid heat sounds pretty crazy! I am glad Philmont was so good, I have heard a ton about it being just awesome! I hope Drum Major Camp is going just great (or top fare -- an Albanian phrase that essentially means ballin') for Brigham, that was an awesome week -- and his shoulders should probably be hurting quite a bit.

Well, another week has gone by and I just keep learning more and more here! My Albanian is definitely getting better and especially in our last two "investigator lessons" we really have improved our comprehension and communication abilities. I also love how the more I testify, the more I am willing and wanting to testify. I mean hey, the Church is true, we need to tell everyone! But yeah, in the moment it is difficult to see progression, but looking back at the end of a couple of days or a week it is definitely evident that we have improved in our speaking, teaching, and learning abilities. I guess the Gift of Tongues was never supposed to come easy, but that is for the best. I know that I definitely am more grateful and attuned to the language's difficulties and the happiness I will have during progression because it does indeed take a lot of studying, a lot of practice, and a whole lot of prayers.

One thing that I definitely learned today was something that I have been told for a long time. Healthy and strong relationships require communication. I have definitely found that the times when I feel closest to my companion are when we have done a companionship inventory and we are just able to tell each other what we have noticed about what is good about the other and to ask for how we can be better. I am not very good at being blunt or speaking my mind about stuff like that, but I think that I am getting better and that will be a really good thing to improve during my mission.

My companion and I have been able to go and sing in the choir for the last two devotionals which has been a great experience. Not only is it really great to sing in a choir with a couple hundred Elderat and Motrat set apart by the Lord to share His Gospel, but the devotionals are great! Elder Richard G. Hinckley spoke at this last one and I walked away with a firmer resolution that I am going to be able to say "I am glad I did" at the end of the mission rather than "I wish I had."

My companion, Elder Acheson, is a good guy and I hope I am not too quirky for him (though I have found that I have been a fair bit quieter here at the MTC than back at home). We are usually at the classroom either studying Shqip, Preach My Gospel (Predikoni Ungjillin Tim), or the scriptures (shkrimet e shenjta). The hard part is deciding what, in that moment, is the most important thing to be studying in order to be a better servant of the Lord in Albania. One great thing about having investigators here is that is focuses your studying on what they need and gives some direction to how and what to learn.

Well family, I wish I had more to say, but as much as I am learnin a lot and growing a lot here at the MTC, the days aren't really a whole lot different from each other and status updates really aren't too exciting yet!

I love ya lots and am trying my darndest to make you proud!

Elder Ostergaard

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

#1 July 11, 2013

Dear Family,

Hello from Provo West MTC! It is a pretty crazy atmosphere here -- days just blend together, and every day feels like a Sunday (until you get to Sunday and it is like "oh right, that is what Sunday is like!") Everything and everyone are just so focused on learning the language and learning about the Gospel!

Thursday (July 4) was pretty amazing! I started to learn how to pray in Shqip (Albanian) that day and it certainly makes a difference to be able to communicate with God in the tongue of the people you will be serving. We had a fireside that night too and I was just floored with the Spirit and my feelings of love for the Savior. At the end of the fireside and before the fireworks from the Stadium of Fire concert, we got to watch the movie 17 Miracles. If you haven't seen that one it is way good (I guess if you have seen it then it is also way good!) is just one of those movies that makes you want to be a better person and a more diligent follower of Christ. I am looking at my journal for that night and it is basically just a testimony with a date at the top. But, I guess the Adversary doesn't like those types of days. The next morning was really hard for me. I was just really terrified that I was not going to learn the language and that because of that I was not going to be able to communicate with God's children in Albania. As I look back on that I realize that I was in the MTC for less than 48 hours at that point and that to be worried about that when I am doing all that I can to follow the Lord's counsel, guidance, and rules is really not trusting in the Lord's timing. If I give all that I can give and try with all of my heart and mind to learn and become what He wants me to be, then in His timing that is what will happen. As easy as that is to say though, I have moments like that probably every day. I guess I would rather be worried about becoming what I need to be rather than not care at all though!

So on Wednesday at 12:30 we got into the MTC, and on Friday at 8:00 a.m. we taught our first investigator in Albanian....yikes! That was terrifying -- but at the same time it gave me renewed hope that this is something we can do and something we have been called and set apart to do. That is always a happy thought, that we have been called and set apart to do the work of the Lord and the Lord will help those that He calls.

My companion's name is Elder Acheson and he is from, as he would put it, "five minutes that way." He is the district leader and is a way good Elder (I am working really hard not to use the words dude, man, bro, or guy...that is pretty tough!) He knows everyone! I guess that is what comes from living in Provo and not Michigan though. He likes to sleep way cold which has been interesting for the rest of us in the dorm (Elder Richards, Elder Gunther, and I) but we were able to compromise on that. We have two Albanian districts in our zone with 12 Elders and 2 Motra (Sisters). We are pretty tight as mission, haha, sometimes it seems a little too tight! I try to work really hard, but Elder Gunther is definitely showing us up in the Shqip, but I guess that is why it isn't a competition and I am definitely receiving a humbling experience! Our zone is all of the Albanians, Fins, Hungarians, and Estonians in the MTC and our Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders are way cool.

On Sunday we got to watch this address that Elder Bednar gave in the MTC a few years ago entitled "Coming Unto Christ" which was incredible! In it he suggested a way of receiving answers to questions or studying a different way. He said that instead of just going to the search engine on, to get a paperback Book of Mormon and read it highlighting and underlining according to that question. I was able to go and buy one today and am really excited about doing just that in my personal study time.

Well, I love you all and hope you are doing just splendidly out yonder wherever you are in the United States right now! Keep the faith, the church is true, and missionary work is the Lord's work, we just aren't as good at it as Him!

Të dua dhe mirupafshim!

Elder Ostergaard

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Contacting the Missionary

Alright, so anybody who is wanting to contact Elder Ostergaard on the mission:

Previously it was stated that one way to do this was to email the mother at This is still a valid option; however, if you prefer a more direct way, is a free site that allows you to email a letter which can either be emailed to me, or even printed and paper mailed to me. Either way works great, and I appreciate any communication. If you paper mail it, I may have more of a chance to read and respond, as I do have a limited time to work on the computers each week.

Here's the drill for

1. Go to
2. Select "write a letter" from the top menu
3. From the box "letter selection", select "Provo West MTC" (this will be valid until September 4, 2013, at which time my Mom will update the procedure)
4. Fill in the virtual envelope with your personal information in the top left corner, and then with my information in the lower/middle right space: the unit number is 808, the mission code is Adriatic South, and the estimated MTC departure date is Sept 4.
5. Then just follow the rest of the instructions and write me a nice, newsy letter! I'll be so happy!