Monday, June 23, 2014

#50 Transfers everybody! Places! (Think 5-year-olds' ballet teacher)

Mission Conference Picture, June 2014

Well hey everyone!

I sure hope that you are having a fantastic day! Last night we got our call from President Ford (the last one that will be from him) about what we will be doing for the next three months. Elder Simons will be staying here in Fier with another elder from his same group. I, out of all the cities in Albania and Kosovo, will be going....back to Tirana! I have been asked to serve as one of the Tirana Zone Leaders in Tirana 2nd ward with Elder Lee. He is a great guy and I am excited to be able to serve with him! I am becoming a Tirana Man (You can almost make it work for the Elton John song "Rocket Man") and it is going to be great. I think one of the biggest things that I am excited for is taking back to my home town a lot of great things that I have learned over the past 3 months. We are going to do work!

On the other side of things though, I am sad and slightly terrified to leave Fier. It is an incredible place where miracles are happening -- as well as other stuff (when President Ford called to give us our assignments his first thing that he asked was how church was and if we had any fights) and it needs a lot of help! I am nothing special as a missionary, but leaving this very unstable place feels like I am leaving an infant on the street and hoping everything goes alright. I guess it is a good thing that there are 6 great missionaries that are going to be serving here and helping this place become what it needs to become.

Alda was baptized and confirmed this week! She and her sister Jona are both so excited to be members of the church now! Even though the water was apparently rather chilly, she told me that when she was baptized it felt like something magical was going on. That's the Spirit, peeps! Elder Simons have been incredibly blessed this transfer to see people enter through at the gate towards Eternal Life. Kinda makes all the rough stuff disappear, huh? We were at a store today and saw their older sister Xheni working and were able to talk to her a bit about the Gospel. She is also great and I am so very excited to see their family embrace the goodness that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the organization that teaches it in its fullness -- if you are not catching my drift I am referring to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Other than that however, it was a pretty normal week. Just living the dream here in the paradise that is Albania.

Something from the Preach My Gospel that we focused on this past week in Mission Conference was the Book of Mormon. In the Preach My Gospel we learn in chapter 5 all about the power of the Book of Mormon and how it should be used in missionary work. We have been told that recent convert work is a high priority now from the 1st Presidency, and in order to make that work more productive, people must be more converted when they make that covenant with God through baptism. How do they become converted, we use the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon has maybe about a billion purposes, but 3 main ones are: a foundation of testimony, a witness of Christ, and a fullness of doctrine. This book, combined with the Spirit, is our most powerful teaching tool. I loved what Elder Davis said during Mission Conference, that the Book of Mormon is the key that brings investigators from an apostolic state of doctrinal in-completion to a fullness of truth that comes through the restored Gospel of Christ. It is true. I read it. I feel the spirit of it. To say that I never have any doubts would be ridiculous, but when I look at my doubts and look at what I know, I know in my mind and in my heart that what I am preaching is true. "I [know] it, and I [know] that God [knows] it, and I [cannot] deny it, neither [dare] I do it". (JSH 1:25)

Love you so much everybody!

Elder Ostergaard

P.S. I would like to throw in my love for Grandma Ostergaard. I don't remember if it was the 21 or 22 that she passed away last year, but I am so grateful for the life that she lived. She left a legacy of love and determination to serve the Lord. She truly does live beyond the veil and will once again gain a body that will be free of all the pains that held her down her mortal life. What a blessing that will be to see! God's plan for us is real!

The Fier baptismal font. Not one of the things I am going to miss in Tirana

Elder Simons holding a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavoured Beans that we ate on transfer night together.

Us with Jona and Alda right before Alda's baptism.

Me and Motra Gjika. She and her family are some of the oldest members in Fier and they are great. It is crazy and awesome to know people here who are longer baptized members than I am!

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