Tuesday, September 2, 2014

#60 Labor Day (US) 2014

Hey everybody,

It has been another week, and there have definitely been some really good things that have happened this week and a couple of things that I guess could turn into learning experiences down the road.

I have been learning a couple of wonderful lessons here on my mission (kind of silly huh, I thought that I was supposed to be teaching them). One lesson that I have learned this past week is the importance of hope. We have had the pleasure of teaching a few investigators that were great...until we couldn't meet with them anymore. However, after continuous invitation and hoping for them to find the time to feel the Spirit with us, they came to church! That is such an awesome thing to see when continued hope turns into small glimmers of success. There are still many things that I can learn about being a hopeful disciple of Christ (I love how President Eyring put it in what I think was a regional conference. He said that we must be wise optimists. That's got a good ring to it.)

I also have been able to learn a lot of lessons that sort of all come together with a less-active named Morena -- one of those 2 girls that I ran into on an exchange about a month ago. She hasn't been going to church in forever and has, well a couple rough edges. However, we love her. The process to initially meet her and now to get her to continually do good things has been a bit of a journey, but she finally came to church on Sunday. She walked in a bit late with potentially some non-word of wisdom smell on her breath and was wearing clothing that perhaps wouldn't have ever been allowed for Carley to wear by Mom and Dad. But that didn't matter to me. She came! That is a step forward, and that was all that mattered for us. Looking at others through the lens of progression improvement rather than of perfection is such a much better way to live. Even though some heads turned and a few people were maybe questioning who this girl was, I was so proud to sit next to her in church as she came that much closer to her Savior.

We are working with an investigator named Suleman as well, and we he is a bright young lad. He has a lot of questions and we have been working hard to answer him well with the Spirit and have also been inviting very solid and bright members of the Church to come in and help us out. By talking to him, my testimony has been strengthened. Elder Lee and I discussed after our most recent lesson how the Gospel isn't just a nice, feel-good side dish in our life. It answers everything. It is stinkin' incredible actually, but he asks questions, and the doctrines of this thing called the Gospel just work and bring everything together in wonderful ways. We don't know everything, if we did there would be no need for this thing called faith that people always talk about. But we know enough. And the more that I learn, the smoother everything works together and the more those simple things make sense (as well as making those things I don't know seem much larger). Cool stuff.

I love Tirana. I have served a large majority of my mission up to this point in this city and could stay here for the rest of it.

Have you ever just had a longing for the Sacrament? I have noticed that longing more-so on my mission than ever before. Sometimes it will be Sunday night and I will just be wondering how long it will be until I will be allowed to take it again. I have thought before why it is told us to only take it once a week, and I think that it is because that period of time between the feeling of need and partaking of the bread and water make us much more grateful for new beginnings and help us want to try that much harder.

Well, I love you so much and I hope that you have a wonderful last couple of hours of summer vacation.

Elder Ostergaard

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