Tuesday, April 29, 2014

#42 Monday, April 28, 2014

Happy Monday Everybody!

I hope that everyone is doing well on their post-(and soon to be pre-)wedding craze! Urime and Trashgofshi to Carley and Sam whatever your last name is now! Also congratulations to Carley who has a piece of paper telling her that she is smart! That is always a plus. (Sometimes I write up little sticky notes that say I am smart and put them places, it's a real moral booster. Someone tells you that you are a skilled metal worker and it really helps you through the day.)

This past week had some really good stuff going down. A big one was for Saimir. He has been investigating for about 8 months now and last week I believe that I mentioned we put him on a baptismal date. President Ford was going to be down in Fier for an interview on Sunday and so we asked Saimir if he would be interviewed then. He looked at us and said "I guess now is the time to take a leap." When we first set him for a date we said the 17th of May. Then on Monday the Botts (the senior couple here) asked if we could move it to the 10th because they will be ending their mission on the 15th. However when Saimir was in the interview with President Ford they decided that he would get baptized on the 3rd, so it is happening this week! He has it tough, but he thinks that this could be the change he needs in his life right now. Me too. Florjan might also be getting baptized this week, but we might push that back a week because he is not quite ready. We will see what goes down.

Enxhi also got baptized this week! I was talking to Elder Jorgensen about it and he said that right after he actually baptized her they were just kind of standing there in the water and everybody started clapping. I guess his trainee started clapping too and he was like, "no Elder, you can't do that!" Oh, funny people!

We started up English course about a week and a half ago and it started rough! There are a lot of recent convert priest-age young men in Fier and they really enjoy making noise. However this past week, though it wasn't perfect, was much better. We have some really promising investigators coming out of it right now and I will write more about that as they develop more.

On about Tuesday or Wednesday last week we street-contacted this blind lady named Ina and her friend. She told us we could come over and on Friday we took over Lavdosh (a 39-year-old recent convert) and met them. Ina believes in God a lot and was super positive during our lesson. We began to go through the Message of the Restoration and it was going well. Lavdosh was talking about Joseph Smith and just kind of took the reigns from there somehow finishing off that lesson as well as laying out the steps of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and discussing the Plan of Salvation in probably about 7 minutes. It was impressive. They both (Ina and her friend) expressed desire to be baptized, so we are hoping to help them down that path.

Elder Simons and I are doing well. He sometimes gets a bit frustrated about his language because he can't always express what he wants to, but he is doing well. We have to travel up to Lushnje sometimes to do baptismal interviews (about 30 minutes away) which can be a bit of a bother, but it's all good because people are getting baptized!

This past week in my scriptures I was re-looking at two scripture stories that parallel each other. One of them is the story of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 4&6). The other is the story of Lehonti (Alma 47:1-18). These two stories are so similar until one point. Nehemiah and his men were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and when the adversaries come to bid him stop he, "sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work so that I cannot come down." Lehonti sat upon the top of the mountain with his men "being fixed in the minds with a determined resolution that they would not [come down]." A messenger times unto Nehemiah asking him to come down from his labors and with each time he became more resolute, his workers having one hand wrought in the work and the other ready to defend. Lehonti was called three times by Amalikiah to come down the mountain and talk. He refuses. Amalikiah then goes up to the camp and says that he just needed to come out a little bit and could even bring his guards, he consents. Nehemiah victoriously helps his people rebuild the walls of his city and succeed in their fight. Lehonti leaves his safety, and eventually is poisoned by degrees and dies. Check those chapters out, there is a lot more story than I shared. However, these, for me, are an incredible example of the importance of enduring and never taking our sights from our course. How often do we allow ourselves to come down just a little bit thinking that we have our guards and all will be safe. We must stay on top of the wall and, like Nehemiah, ask, "why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?" We are doing a great work and cannot come down.

Well, I love you family and hope that you are doing great! Have a wonderful week and good luck on your conics test Brigham (that is some good stuff, but I hope it is in polar because the Cartesian conics are rough).

Elder Ostergaard

P.S. Start thinking about this (because I just thought about it on Sunday), but Mother's Day is on the 11th, I believe one day after Alex and Rachel's wedding, so it would be good to get some feedback on timing.

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