Monday, June 30, 2014

#51 June 30, 2014

Hey everybody!

Hope everyone is doing just fantastic today! Nothing too crazy has happened...and from the way church went down I don't know if it will this transfer. 2nd Ward is much more developed than Fier is and I doubt seriously whether any fists or chairs will be thrown in my duration here. Bittersweet. Haha, it is funny to see how weirdly attached I could get to the things that drove me nuts for three months. 2nd Ward is the bomb though! We have some really good members and it is awesome to see that contrast that comes from a deeper conversion to the Gospel as a whole.

I came up to the area on Tuesday...and just like almost every other time we came into basically ground zero on the work scale. The previous companionship had had a bit of a rough time getting investigators and getting their work to where they wanted to get it. One of the reasons for that is the build of 2nd Ward. It is the south-western corner of Tirana and includes three main areas called Kombinat, Tirana e Re (New Tirana), and Kashar. These areas, especially Kombinat, have lots of great members and work...but they are a significant amount of time away by bus. (Tirana has several bus systems that run through it. They all cost 30 leke, about 30 cents, to ride.) If you don't plan out your day well you can spend a lot of time traveling around which kills a lot of opportunity to have as many lessons as would otherwise be desired. However, Elder Lee and I have decided we are going to kill this thing and just work 2nd Ward into the ground. We are starting up an English course tomorrow and will be doing a lot of finding.

So Elder Lee is from Minnesota. We both went to BYU before we came out on the mission and if I had stayed in my Wyview apartment instead of moving to Heritage we would have been in the same ward. He has been out three months longer than I and does really well at the language. He loves music and sings really well. His family is all LDS except for his father and he has an older brother and two younger sisters one of which was adopted from China. We both have two kneecaps and twenty phalanges.

Coming in to this transfer Elder Lee and I have a vision. This is my third of four Tirana wards and now Elder Lee has served in all four of them. We are Tirona Men. This city gets a pretty bad rap from missionaries sometimes as a place where the work is just kind of stale. That's dumb (excuse my language) and we are ready to make Tirana the place to be! Last transfer I was able to be in the middle of miracles happening with the work and now I know more than ever what the power of conversion can do. That power is not reserved to certain places for certain people, but rather if we thrust in our sickle with our might, we will reap for the Master a great harvest of souls.

So far, and I don't expect it to change much, being a zone leader means that missionaries call us if they want to go out of their area and on Sunday nights we get calls from all of the district leaders in Tirana and Shkoder to report on the week's work and then transfer that info to the Assistants. I don't want to diminish the worth of a calling, but I am also not about to exercise unrighteous dominion over those in our zone. I guess it kind of comes down to how I have always preferred to look at leadership. The biggest way to make an impact is by example. I have become a better missionary over the last year and now it is all about helping others to reach their potential as I try to find mine.

One thing that has been said recently that really touches on something that I have thought about a lot as a missionary is that being a missionary really gets me excited to be a member. Some of the best missionaries, and the most effective ones, don't have a badge on their chest. Crazy stuff, but true stuff.

Our new mission president, President Weidmann, comes in today. President Ford has been great, and it is a bit sad to see him leave, however, no matter however the next president decides to direct the work, it is the same work and the people and eternal needs have not changed.

You guys are great! Love you so much!

Elder Ostergaard

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