Monday, November 24, 2014


Dear Family,

Well, I am not exactly sure what to tell you. It was a great week and everything, but I don't know exactly what would interest you. Whenever I am in this situation I ask myself "what would make my missionary blog go viral?" It has worked until this point and I actually was called by the mission home last week to take a call from Oprah on doing an interview. The price we pay for fame. However, I am still keeping myself unbridled by the things of the world as much as possible and will proudly proclaim that I am not and will not become a slave to fashion.

We began a new English course this past week and were able to find this cool guy named Erlin. He told us that he had actually been recently praying to be around happy people, and we try to make that happen! He was not able to come to Church on Sunday because of some other problems, but he seems way cool.

Throughout this week we were working (thank goodness, right?) and we looked at our goals for the week for investigators in Sacrament Meeting and we looked at who we were really working for to be in Sacrament Meeting that next day. We decided that if those that we hoped would be there weren't able to make it out that the Lord would provide a way. The next day in Sacrament meeting not all of the investigators that we had hoped to come came, but a recently returned missionary walked in with a boy that she knew from high school that she invited to come to church with her. Way cool huh? The Lord totally provides a way when He has a plan. We just need to have the faith to pick up the ball and run with it.

Each day we get to study and learn a little bit more about the message that we are here to proclaim to the population of Albania. It is cool how when we study with a purpose we receive spiritual help and guidance. Some days I will feel something hit me and I will think, 'this is the thing! This is the thing that we need to tell everybody!" sometimes when it is something kind of small and obscure but it just hits me in that moment. However, as I listen to the testimonies of the 12 and our Prophet, they testify on things such as the Love of God or His plan for us, the more basic portions of our doctrine. Everything in the Gospel has importance, but it is incredible how all of the smaller things really lead back to the basic foundational doctrines that God loves us, He has a plan for us, and through His Son Jesus Christ we can be saved. Our testimonies will be strong if they are built from the bottom up and we focus on the pure and simple doctrines that strengthen us.

Love you so much and hope that you have a beautiful week!

Elder Ostergaard

Monday, November 17, 2014


Hey People,

I hope you all are great! I am doing great. We just had the mini-transfer calls last night and I was thinking that I had pretty good chances of getting taken out of T2, but no call came and I am in the clear, so I will be here for another 6 weeks in Tirana! At the end of this transfer I will have spent 13 months in this beautiful city (mainly beautiful because of the wonderful people here, because this concrete jungle is not the most picturesque of Albanian cities...which would probably make me sad if I took more pictures than I do, sorry Mom).

This week started out and continued a bit rough on the work side. On Thursday and Friday we were able to have Elder Dyches of the Second Quorum of Seventy in our mission. On Thursday went down to the city of Durres that actually has a built from the ground up church building (it totally looks like America!) and had a mission conference. It was way good. The next day we had Mission Leader Conference. Almost all of the time was spent with a training by Elder Dyches about agency and accountability. Those moments in my mission where I have been able to really look at myself, my companionship, and the work that we are doing and analyze before the Lord that which we have done have led to the most lasting changes in what we do. When we truly feel accountable before the Lord for everything that we do, how can we use our time poorly. When we were baptized we covenanted to always remember our Savior and how much better off we would be if we would just do that. Yesterday morning we were reading in the White handbook during our companionship study and read a part where it said that by following the standards of the handbook we would magnify our calling. It is crazy how just by doing exactly what we were asked to do we could magnify our calling. So often we just land so far under what we should be shooting for that magnifying our calling seems like something you hear about in General Conference where really if we are doing what is asked of us with our full heart, we will be fulfilling and magnifying our calling.

This past week Elder Rawlings and I had an opportunity to try and help some elders in our zone try a little harder to be a little better. It was a bit difficult to sit down and talk to these missionaries that we love and tell them that there were some things that needed to be improved in, that they were things we knew that they knew they should be doing and could be doing. It was a great learning experience for us as well as for them.

Our week this week was a little rough on the work side comeSunday morning, but we had faith that the Lord would fill in the gaps we could not. Friday night we had called a lady in the ward that has several children that are not baptized to come to the baptism. She was not able to come, but brought them to church the next day for the first time in a long time. we sat down with them and told them that we wanted to help them take the steps necessary to be with their mom here and were able to plan to meet with them during this week. The night before I had the feeling that we needed to try hard to meet with this recent convert that just moved up from Fier and her parents. So we called them up and were able to go over to their house Sunday evening and help them catch the vision of joining with their daughter on her way to eternal life. Pretty cool. On the way home from that we stopped by the little stand of a less-active guy's family and talked with his non-member wife. While talking to her about her family she told us about her brother that lived right next to them that needed a lot of help and started crying about it. We were able to testify to her and will be going by again soon to see what we can do.

This is definitely the Lord's work and it goes forth at His pace, not ours.

Love you everybody!
Elder Ostergaard


So these are some photos that Sister Russell (she is like my in the mission mom) took of Elder Rawlings and I in our new suits. Some of them are kind of ridiculous, but I will send them anyway.


Monday, November 10, 2014


Hey everybody,

Well, once again their is not much time to talk! We were asked by the Assistants to take a car up to Kosovo and drop off some document for a car up their, so that occupied our whole day. It was cool to go step onto another country though! It was basically a more Russian-feeling Albania.

This past week we were able to see Mariana get baptized though. I mentioned her a few weeks ago. We started teaching her again (after she had been taught 3 years ago in another city) and then gave her to the Sisters with the new rules. This weekend she was finally baptized and it was wonderful! She is so ready and we have seen her change over the past month or so that we have been around her! She is so much happier and has so much more purpose in life and she knows it too. Pretty cool what the most important message in the world can do for you!

Elder Rawlings and I were able to go up and do that exchange in Shkoder as I mentioned we started last Monday. There is some good stuff going on up their, however, some of the missionaries are getting beat down a bit because of the difficulty of the work. It is pretty hard to work with all your heart, might, mind, and strength when you are sad and it is also very difficult to have full faith in the Savior's enabling power to help you in the work. We are hoping that they are a little bit better off than they were before.

To answer a couple questions:

We had 89 people in church this week.

The sacrament can almost always be administered by the priesthood of the ward without our help, but there is always mostly Melchizedek Priesthood doing it.

Oh, I was able to give a short talk in Sacrament Meeting this past week and that was pretty cool. I based it around a line in Chapter 1 of PMG that says that as our knowledge of the Atonement increases, our desire to share the Gospel will grow. It is so true. So you should do it.

Elder Ostergaard

This is my new suit in the pictures at Mariana's baptism.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Hey everybody,

I hope you are doing great! I can't say that I think about you all the time ( it would definitely be hard to stay focused if that were the case), but when I do think about you they are good thoughts and I miss you in healthy amounts.

I actually started this earlier in Tirana, but various things have taken up time and we are now up in Shkoder on an exchange and do not have much time to talk at all.

We did some service with a lady from our ward and her boyfriend and it was way good, I will shoot you some pictures of that.

We have not had a ton of investigators to teach in the recent past and we are hoping that as we continue on especially in working through members and such that we can get some solid work going on that are more than just lessons, but teaching opportunities that will lead to strong investigators of the Gospel.

There was a pretty cool thing that happened this week. We had been thinking about a lady in our ward quite a lot because we met some potential investigators that knew her and one day Elder Rawlings was passing by her house while on an exchange and slid a note under her door to say that the missionaries had passed by and we were sad to not see her and that we would see her sometime. She told us later that that note came at a very important time when she saw it later because she had been going through some really difficult things that I didn't even know about. It is pretty cool how the Lord works through us sometimes to keep His children alright.

Well, I love you everybody! Keep it real over there!

Elder Ostergaard