Monday, March 24, 2014

#37 March 24, 2014 (pictures, too!)

Dear Family,

Welcome to another installment of the mission of Elder Ostergaard – or more appropriately the mission of the Lord through the hands of Elder Ostergaard. The last week was another learning experience. It was good and we were able to see the Gospel make some preliminary steps in some people’s lives. Hoping to watch that continue!

There was one day this week where a ton of lessons fell through on us even though we had planned to meet in the homes and everything. To add insult to injury we were on exchanges that day which made me feel totally responsible for the very unladen-with-work day. Well what do ya do? However, we had a couple other days that we were able to get some really good work done and so, as is the custom here, the week was a roller coaster of emotion.

I think that the success of the week is this girl that was just found on Friday. Her name is Enxhi (I think that that is the most common name of investigator that I have had on my mission to this point) and we met here as she was going on her way home for the weekend to Fier. (Because Tirana is the biggest city by a long shot in Albania, a lot of kids come here to go to school and then go back fairly frequently on weekends to their home towns. ) However, she was super open to the message and we were able to even commit her to get baptized right there. One cool part of that first contact was when I asked her if she had always been a believer. She said no, that when her grandmother had died a few years ago that she didn't believe in God for a while. I was super happy that I was able to testify of the comfort that is inside of the Gospel that I felt under a year ago in that same position. Our mission has a pretty short supply of Book of Mormons, so I gave her a Joseph Smith pamphlet and asked her to read and pray about it. She got back Sunday afternoon from Fier and we had a really good lesson where we covered the Restoration with her and we are going to go to the YSA Family Home Evening with her tonight. Pray for this girl, she can really feel the hand of God in her life.

There were also two other good successes of the week with Vjollca and Brikena. Vjollca came to the lesson with her 6-year-old granddaughter and we taught the first part of the Plan of Salvation. It was a good lesson and we had Elder Homer there who is just a great guy and did an awesome job in the lesson. At the end of the lesson we gave her a reading assignment from the Book of Mormon on a pass-along card. She turned the pass-along card over and started crying. The card said “Til death do you part, but after that?” and she told us that her daughter (the mother of the granddaughter she had with her) was going through an incredibly difficult time of marriage. Elder Homer took over and did an incredible job listening to her problems and testifying of the Gospel’s healing and helping power with such things. I think it was definitely a watershed lesson for her and we are excited to see where it goes. Brikena is a really cool girl that was finally able to meet with us after a few unsuccessful tries and she was also just really open to the Gospel. One of those who just really loves Jesus, but doesn't know much about Him. We are pretty good about helping out with that second part.

So for how I have been feeling, I have been doing pretty good except for just being tense every few days or so about the work. Both Elder Jorgensen and I have been pretty solid health wise this transfer.

So far the 3rd ward and Tirana, Albania Stake are looking great! Bishop Zela and President Mema both understand their responsibilities and are really pressing forward. It is a great thing to watch.

Well, I hope that you all have a great day today and that this week is just great! Love you a lot and next week you will be able to hear what goes on during transfers (we get the call Sunday night).

Elder Ostergaard

1. Vëllai (Brother) Gusmari -- a stud in our branch, we helped him paint a bit on Saturday

2. Me while helping paint Vëllai Gusmari's house

3. The train a coming. We went to Elbasan today and stood in a train tunnel while the train passed by us, it was exciting!

4. Bugaçe -- basically a roll stuffed with greasy phyllo dough, it was great!

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