Monday, December 15, 2014


Salutations dearest people,

I sure hope that you have an incredible day today and have had a incredible week!

This past week has had a few rough points as we have been really trying to help a few people be ready to enter in at the gate of baptism before the end of the year, and all of them fell off. So that has been a bit difficult, but, we are going to cut it to shreds this week and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with everybody! It is interesting how the Lord places in front of you different tests just at points where you think you are getting the hang of certain things and you realize that you don't really know how to do everything. It definitely helps you recognize your need for growth and continual help.

Gerti, the 19-year-old kid with the mohawk that was baptized earlier this transfer, finally got the Priesthood yesterday. He also just left this morning for Germany and will be living there for several months it sounds like. Crazy. I have worked with Gerti for a longer time than any investigator/previous investigator on my mission as I found him the very first day that we got into 2nd ward with Elder Lee. After 5 and a half months he finally holds the Priesthood of God. Cool stuff.

I am so sorry for the shortness of this note, but I am not exactly sure what all to saw about this week. Stuff happened I think, but it is all kind of jumbled. I love you so much and am excited to talk to you in a bit!

Love you so much family and I know that the Lord does too!

Elder Ostergaard

Today's P-day activity, went to Lezhi. This is Skenderbeu's grave the national hero of Albania. You all probably haven't heard of him because he is Albania's national hero, but here he's a big deal.

This is from when we drove up to Kosovo, we are probably a little dangerous at the wheel while taking pictures, but it looks good.

This is at this big round about called Zogu i Zi (The black bird) in Tirana. It is a really busy place in Tirana and the mission rented out a time segment on the jumbotron there. Every 3 minutes a 20 second ad for He is the GIft is shown with a picture of missionaries on the side (Elders Davis and LInderman, they are the Assistants to the President). It is super cool!

Monday, December 8, 2014

#73 Vermont must be lovely this time of year, all that snow.

Dear Family,

I am having a hard time deciding how to write this letter to you. There is a strange mix of emotions, a key component of which is stres (that is Albanian for stress) and just working to have the necessary faith for the will of the Lord to be fulfilled.

I actually do have my package! In fact it came in on Thanksgiving. It was crazy fast, and so it is sitting in our apartment right now waiting until Christmas.

So Dad, you need to make sure that you are keeping me updated on how Brigham and Grant are doing in swim. Brigham, you can totally destroy 23 seconds this year, like, no problem. Grant, you need to get into breaststroke and get into body-builder condition (it really helped me in my breaststroke to have the muscle definition of an Arabian stallion, so work on that).

During MLC we were asked by President Weidmann to limit our family talking time to 40 minutes, so just a heads-up on that. I am excited to talk to you guys! That week we will be having Preparation Day on Thursday as well as the week after, so don't expect a letter on the 22nd or the 29th.

So in our work right now we are still working with this fire under us that lets us know that goals were set with the Lord and the final hours of those goals are drawing near. We are trying to do everything we can in order to help our zone be the best that they can so that more and more people are helped by the message, especially in this exciting Christmas season. Sometimes it feels like we are spinning our wheels and especially those who do not have the vision that we do are very difficult to nudge forward. However, something that has been incredible to see are those missionaries that just let that fire kindle inside them and have seen miracles happen in their work because of it. If we let the Lord guide our lives and our work we will see that miracles happen.

We were able to fast with this 15-year-old boy named Ermal who is the son of a member in the ward to help him decide if he should be baptized and we had a lesson with him yesterday to see what he was thinking. He ended up deciding to start it a day late and so he is probably just finishing up his fast right around now. He has his own questions and actually just expressed to us yesterday for the first time that he is not sure about his faith in Christ. So we are praying that he will listen closely to the Spirit and what the Lord is trying to tell him right now.

It always feels like there are things falling through the cracks, but I can say that we are certainly trying to do the Lord's will and so I hope and have faith that He will make up the rest.

Hey, I love you everybody and hope that you are doing just great! I am grateful for this wonderful period that I have to be a missionary. Last night I had this very real-life dream where I was back home after my mission and Marshall had a mustache (I should have probably taken that to be a sign that it was a dream and not reality). I am so grateful to be here and to try and serve my Savior with all my heart, might, mind, and strength.

Elder Ostergaard

Monday, December 1, 2014

#72 "He Is the Gift"

Have you guys seen the new video yet that the Church came out with? We had a training about it and the program that is going along with it this past week. He is the Gift is an incredible missionary movement that the Church has set up to go through the end of the year. It is a beautiful video and can be found online in 20 languages. None of those 20 are Albanian, but a good amount of people here have learned either Italian or English and we have actually gotten permission to translate it into Albanian and have that around with us. It is really cool. Apparently they are expecting 220 million people to see this video or the 30 second short version of it. So, you should go check it out, it is totally worth 2 minutes and 43 seconds of your day. Then you should share it, way worth that time as well!

As we have used this as our main source for finding people we have seen some wonderful things. I was talking to these two girls about it and especially about the love of God for all of his children. While doing that I had the thought to pull out the picture of my family that I carry around everywhere. I was able to testify of the love that I knew that He had for my sister and how if He loved her that much that He must love them too, and how that love was shown through His son Jesus Christ. I don't know if they felt anything, but that experience definitely strengthened my faith in my Savior.

This past week we have been able to think a lot about our zone. About the missionaries here and the work that is going on. As we were praying about some goals that we had set for our zone to round off the year and to work to have the faith to fulfill goals that we have as a mission we were really looking for a confirmation on those things that we had set. As we sought for that we had the impression that we, as well as each companionship in the zone, really needed to focus on their areas. It kind of seems like a "duh" moment, but truly, when President Uchtdorf counseled us to lift where we stand, it truly is an important and necessary thing. It we take full responsibility for those things that are in our power and trust those that are not to do the same thing in their sphere, how much better would everything work?

So Mom, my clothes are doing mostly really well. That Goodwill suit is wearing down quite a bit. I have actually had it patched up before, but it is having a hard time against the test of time I guess. My socks are definitely not quite the same color that they used to be (black socks, they never get dirty, the longer you wear 'em the stronger they get...that's actually not quite true, I have had to retire some of mine) but those missionary mall ones are way good. The Nike basketball ones are good too, but the missionary mall ones are better. Haha, and those shoes that I got patched up during my second transfer are now worse than they have ever been before. Whaddya do? One thing that President really focused on with us in a training last week was dress and grooming and I felt the call to repentance to take better care of my shoes so that they are pretty and black more often (I am really bad at maintaining it though, if there is any kind of water on the ground they are just destroyed).

Oh, I almost forgot, we celebrated Thanksgiving this pastThursday as a mission and it was great. There was a big feast, a training from President Weidmann, and a talent show. We have some funny missionaries here in the Adriatic South Mission!

Well, I love you all and hope that you have a wonderful day and week. Do faith-filled things and share the gift of the Savior!

Elder Ostergaard

Thanksgiving Specialized Training meeting with District: