Monday, December 2, 2013

#21 Happy Monday Once Again!

Well hello once again! It is crazy to be here on the computer yet one more time, but yes, here I am still alive in the beautiful country of Albania! Happy late Thanksgiving and -- as Thanksgiving also happened to land on Albania's holiday Festa e Flamurit -- Gezuar Festen e Flamurit! It is kind of a big deal. I say kind of because I am not really sure how big of a deal it actually was. Some people that we talked to did absolutely nothing for this day of independence from Germany and others were celebrating stuff after we were inside our pallat (nothing good ever happens after 9 -- or 9:30 depending on if you have a lesson or not -- so all those people partying were probably actually just reading their scriptures and planning for the next day anyway).

So for Thanksgiving we were able to celebrate at Mission Conference with all the missionaries in the Adriatic South Mission (mostly from Albania, but also in Kosovo and Macedonia). It started out with a training session from President Ford which was awesome as it always is and then on to some other training segments on different aspects of missionary work. Then we ate. That was a good part. Frankly I could have eaten a significant amount more than I did, and I think that I will blame that upon the fact that Alex, Carley, Brigham, and Grant weren't there to try and out-eat. After that there was a talent show where our district did this midget-dancing routine where one in each companionship was the feet and one was the torso and we danced to a version of "I Hope They Call Me On a Mission". (Haha, that just reminded me of that video that we made in our old house of the head, legs, and torso coming together for a family reunion... that was a good video.) Then we ate desserts; I made an apple cake that was delicious. After that the Mission Conference ended with a testimony of all the missionaries that will be leaving at the close of the year. It was way good.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving I just decided that I was going to talk about some things that I am grateful for at this time in my life:

-I grew up with the Gospel with parents who loved me, loved each other, and cared enough about me and my siblings to help us learn of and receive the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then to live it.
-I have not been sick since getting set apart. That is awesome. I am kind of planning on that to be the case for the next forever, so here goes.
-I can do hard things. I have been taught this my entire life and it makes a massive difference here! It is pretty dang hard sometimes and it is good to know that I can do it
-Experiences that humble me and help me realize that what I just said isn't true. When times get tough I have learned that with the Lord's help all things can be done.
-The half hour we have to work out in the morning. It is great. Maybe I'll get buff, that would be fresh to death.
-Fasting. It is great. Yesterday I was able to fast for 4 of our investigators in particular that are at a point were we just really want them to make another step, become a little more converted, and come closer to Christ.
-Quiet moments. They area sometimes few and far between, but they are so great and help me to better understand the Spirit and be grateful for everything that is happening and has happened.
-The Spirit. I have thought about this a lot. What could possibly overcome someone in such a way as to have them give us their telephone number after talking to a couple Americans for 45 seconds on the street. I cannot think of any good reason except for maybe feeling the Spirit for that small moment. Without the Spirit this would be a very boring two years because we wouldn't have any people to teach.
-All of the experiences that I have had to prepare me for my mission. They made a difference and someone up there definitely knows what they're doing.
-Warm showers. What a blessing!
-The opportunity to wear a tie every day. Ties are great.
-The Atonement. It is real, it works, it helps me everyday, and it can sure bless your life if you let it!

Well, those are just some of them, but they are things I am really grateful for, so there is my contribution to the table discussion that was had on Thanksgiving.

I love you so much and hope that your week is even better this week than it was last week!

Elder Ostergaard

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