Monday, July 28, 2014

#55 O Kalamajt!

Hey chillens,

It is the beginning of another week...kinda terrifying! It is a good thing that I still have forever left on my mission because sometimes I think about how fast the weeks go by and it freaks my out. It feels like I haven't done anything out here, so hopefully the Lord has been expanding my efforts from the beginning and hearts have been changed.

So this week we have been able to do some good work (it can always be better, but that is what tomorrow's for) and I have faith that at least one or two souls were brought a bit closer to Christ. We have been trying to meet with this family (the Ndoj family) for about 2 weeks and were able to go over and meet them on Thursday. They haven't been seen by missionaries in about 2 years, but have been taught quite a lot before. From what the records and they said, they just have a hard time leaving their Catholic roots behind. We went over and were able to start making friends with them and after the first lesson invited the 17 year-old (Eriola) to come to basketball that was being played the next day. She said that she would and brought her sister Kristi who is one year older as well. It is an interesting way of doing investigator work. They are great people, but right now are not super into the whole church thing. It feels almost like we are doing less-active work. They are great, so put out a good thought for them.

We got a call on Friday night asking for help in moving someone. We went out their, and in about 3 hours were able to get it all done with the help of a dum-dum ( a small truck that they use all the time here, I think I sent a picture a while back). It was some hard work though. I don't know if I have ever sweat more in my life actually...kinda gross. Neither the building that they moved into or out of had an elevator, so I was super grateful that they only lived on the 4th and 3rd floors respectively, because 7 or 8 floors would have been killer! It is good to be out there doing some good service though and showing our love for the members of 2nd ward.

There is a member in our ward named Ali Ylli. He is a stud. He has got a good testimony of te gospel and loves the Lord. He has his own problems as we all do, but besides all of that, he is great! However, we hadn't seen him in two weeks at church, so we called him up on Saturday...but once again he said that he would not be there at church which is really (excuse my strong language) dumb. After church we went out to go see what was going on with him. He let us in and we were able to sit down and talk. He didn't let us know exactly why he hadn't been coming and we didn't delve too much into it, but it must have had something to do with not feeling needed and that is rough. We shared a thought from Alma 36:27 and talked a bit about how it related to him. Then we just sat there for a bit and tried to let the Spirit do some talking. After a little bit, a thought came into my mind to ask him if he had been praying. It wasn't some overcoming sense of warmth and emotion, just a thought (1 Kings 19:11-12 check it out, it works). So I asked it, and he said "no". It was something that he knew he should have been doing and we were able to testify of its power. One of the questions Preach My Gospel asks is whether or not you are comfortable with silence as you teach. I am working hard to become better with this aspect and I know that it is indeed a true principle. We need to be quiet sometimes in order to let the Spirit be heard.

Our stud investigator, Gerti, is doing well. He told us that he was able to put away his iced tea, and came to church for the first time. We failed to talk about church attire with him, and it was pretty funny to see him walk in with his 4-inch mohawk, John Lennon sunglasses, and a tang-top. He's a hipster and we love him. He ended up leaving after first hour because he felt bad that he hadn't dressed nicer and said he would dress better next time. When it comes down to it, I am personally super happy to even see people in church in the beginning stages, but I am glad that he sees areas of improvement.

I think that my favorite story of the week though happened on Saturday. I was on an exchange with Elder Wright and we were traveling back from the 1st ward building because I had to do a baptismal interview there. Elder Wright got off the bus way early...but because I am terrible with directions, I figured that I must have made a mistake and followed him off instead of beckoning him back on. We looked around and realized that we were indeed a fair bit away from our desired location, but Elder Wright told me the reason that he got off was because he heard me say "go" which I definitely didn't say to him. I'll give you a hint, it was the Spirit. So we walk to where we are going and end up having about 15 minutes before our next appointment. We decided to do a bit of street contacting and end up talking to these two girls. They say they are from Fier (what a crazy random happenstance, I was just in Fier) and one of them says that she had been to our church...and in fact was baptized in our church about 5 years ago. I was able to double check locations and stuff to make sure that we were talking about the same church. She said that she went to Greece after that and then came to Tirana. Even though she lives super close to the church here, she hasn't come or anything because she is afraid that because she has a few tattoos and wears dresses that might be too short that we would be uncomfortable. We assured her that we wanted her to come to church and actually invited her to the baptism that was happening in an hour. She told us that she would love to come and bring her friend too and that she was going to go home and put on something a bit more modest for the service. The Spirit is pretty cool, and it looks like it will come and do our job for us sometimes if we need it!

I have recently been able to study prayer in PMG and work to try and improve my communication with Heavenly Father. I have been thinking a lot in the recent past about spirituality. I want to have a closer relationship with my Heavenly Father. I want to know that my will is in line with His will and that my will will be accompanied with enough courage in order to fulfill it. That is what I will be praying for this week especially, that I will be able to follow in the footsteps of the Lord closer than I have ever done before.

Hey, I love you so much family! Be good and do your best to be missionaries and even to help out the missionaries (dinners are nice and such, but even better is with lessons). Remember, you aren't there to help them fulfill their callings as missionaries, they are there to help you fulfill yours.

Elder Ostergaard

P.S. By the way, Elder Dericott shot me an email and told me how much he loves you guys.

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