Monday, February 10, 2014

#30 February 3, 2014

Dear Mother,

Happy Monday and welcome to another week! This wasn't the massive breath of the air from a fresh week as it was last week, but it always great to be able to start again and start at it with some fresh eyes (On a similar note, I changed my toothbrush again yesterday or the day before, that is another great beginning. If you haven't changed your toothbrush in a while, try it out, it's great.).

This last week the most exciting big event was definitely at church. We have really been having a difficult time getting people into church (we invite a crazy ton of people, but then I guess they find other things that take priority) and have only been able to get one investigator to come to each of the sacrament meetings we have had here in 3rd branch. However, perhaps it was this Fast Sunday, perhaps we are just finding a couple of people who are really becoming more open to the message we have, and perhaps it simply was not raining (though most likely and combination of the three), we were able to have more success with it this week! We were out waiting for a guy named Spirro to show up at a near-by landmark and he came with his wife which was really exciting! Then we walked over to the church (which had already started, I don't think that I have been on-time to church for about 5 weeks. Investigators, you can't go to church on time with 'em, and that is a lot better than going without 'em) and as we walked into the Chapel we saw Godona (more about her in a second) and a girl next to her that we didn't recognize (it was, in Godona's words, her "spirit daughter". We will figure out what that means next time we meet.). So we were super excited about that. Then as we went to go sit down Elder Jorgensen saw Julian who we had invited in a lesson the day before to come and went and sat by him. And then about 3 minutes later, Gjyska walked into the Chapel (we had met her about a week and a half before but had not been able to actually meet with her again since). We were so excited. As President Ford says in his British accent "investigators in church is the key key indicator" and it was so great to be able to have so many people there as the power of God was exercised through the blessing and passing of the Sacrament.

So onto Godona. We met Godona on Thursday while we were contacting and she seemed great. She is a 63-year-old nëna and she is spunky. When we met with her on Saturday she came in wearing some really exciting clothing and told us that she was a rrobaqepse, a seamstress, that she was born to be a rrobaqepse, and that she made all of her own clothes. Coolest nëna ever. We had a great lesson with her and she was super accepting of the Book of Mormon and the message that we gave to her. When we gave her a couple chapters to read that night before we saw her at church the next day, we asked her if she would read them. "Of course I will read them!" she said and I realized that perhaps it was a bit of a silly question. So we said we would see her at 10 the next morning for church. We weren't able to sit next to her or her "spirit daughter", but they were in the same row as me and they seemed to be doing just great. After the Sacrament began the testimony meeting, and after a couple of people gave theirs, Godona put her head out and looked down the row at me. "Can I go up there?" she whispered. I saw the Book of Mormon in her hand and thought that she probably wouldn't be preaching any false doctrine if that was the base of her words, and was like, "yeah, yeah you can go up there." She went up and said a bit about how she had just met the red-headed boy and the other boy the other day and had read from the Book of Mormon last night. She then started to read from the Book of Mormon. By verse 3, I could tell that she was reading from Moroni 10 and I thought, well, it is the last chapter of the last book in the Book of Mormon, she can only go so far! She read through Moroni's promise and kept going. I pulled out my book and started following along thinking that maybe my smile was so big it might fall off my face. At about verse 28 President Çuçi stood up and kindly told her that we needed to let other people get up and talk as well. She was very cordial and finished up and sat down unabashed. She's great. After Sacrament meeting she told me that she was going to go home and prepare what she was going to say next week. I tried to explain that we would actually be having a slightly different meeting the next week, but it was a bit tough to explain with all the people moving around, so I just told her that we would talk about it during the week.

We did have some sad things happen this week. Xhemal who we were really pushing for a baptism in the next week or so told us that he didn't have the opportunity to meet with us any more. We were super down about that and called him and tried to talk about it, but he just said that right now wasn't the time. We are really hoping that he will take what we have taught him and sometime down the road be ready to make that step and accept all the teachings and make those covenants! The same sort of thing happened with Dori. We really want to help those out that don't have the blessing of the Gospel in their lives, but I guess it isn't on our time as missionaries when that is going to happen.

I have recently been reading in Our Heritage which is a short history of the Latter-day church and it is really good. It is pretty incredible to see from the timeline of the Church how much everything was put in order by the Lord in order to allow His church to start and grow. The right people were always there when they were needed and so many people were ready to hear the message of the Restoration that these missionaries had to preach. People are there, the Lord is preparing those souls, we just have to do our part. We out here in Albania are part of a missionary force of 80,000 in the world. We are spreading the same message about the same book, the same Prophet of the Restoration, and most in importantly, the same Lord who is the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It is pretty cool.

Well, I hope that you have a wonderful week and do a lot of great and productive things! And I sure am praying for your health Mom, that doesn't sound fun at all.

Elder Ostergaard

P.S. I wouldn't mind more MoTab music. You just sent the Christmas card that had the picture we took after Grandma's funeral ( which I think is the most recent all-family photo that we have).

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