Monday, January 5, 2015

#77

Happy Monday!

It is good to be able to say hello and think a little bit about what has happened in the last couple of days (it has not been long since the last installment).

Church here was awesome! We had seventeen people come which was awesome (6 missionaries, 3 Shkoder members, 1 visiting member, and 6 non-members), That is the most that have come to church in quite a long time and it was a fantastic way to start off this transfer. Church here lasts about 1.5 hours. The Sacrament Meeting is about 60 minutes and then Sunday school runs about as long as it takes to read through the lesson in Gospel Principles (we'll see what we can do to improve that).

One really big blessing that has happened in the last couple days came in the form of a recent convert from Tirana 1st ward named Franc. Franc is Shkodran (meaning a guy from Shkoder) and he came up for the weekend. While he was here he brought a friend to Church, brought another to be taught, introduced us to another guy, and gave us the phone number to a fourth guy and told us to call him and say we were Franc's friend. I don't know if I have ever seen as much member-missionary work fire in somebody before. It definitely made me want to be a better missionary in every aspect. I was recently reading a talk that Elder Bednar gave in the MTC in 2011 called Becoming a Preach My Gospel Missionary (you can actually find it on lds.org) and one of the parts that I really liked had to do with our eternal calling as missionaries. He said that when our release date comes and our tag taken off that we aren't released as missionaries, we just change our role from full-time missionaries to lifelong missionaries. Franc obviously knows that it was something good that he found and his natural reaction is to share it. I want to be the same.

Another cool thing that has happened started while we were searching for the house of a previous investigator. We asked a couple people and finally a lady in this coffee bar (if I haven't sad this there are a crazy huge amounts of coffee bars here) if they knew the person. She said no, but we asked if she would like to learn about the message that we were sharing because we had some cool missionary friends that were girls that would love to come over and talk to here. So, on Sunday night we took the Sisters over there to meet this lady. Her house is actually connected to the bar and she was there with her husband and 2 kids. We were gong to just leave the Sisters to have a lesson, but they were pretty sketched out by the surrounding area (it was pretty dark) and so we stayed and were able to be in the lesson with them. It was a good lesson and it was just a wonderful testimony builder on inviting everyone to learn.

Family, I love being a missionary. I am not very good at it, but I see the Lord throw me bones know and then when I need it. One thing that I have been trying really hard to implement into the work more in the recent past is testifying. I love the word testify. In Albanian the word is d√ęshmoj. It expresses just about exactly what I want it to. I think about a lot of the stuff that we teach, and in many instances I don't know if I could say that I totally know that it is true, but I have faith that it is, it makes a lot of sense that it is, and my conviction of it grows everyday. So maybe I can't always say that I know. But I can say that I testify because I have truly been a witness of the life-changing blessings that the gospel brings to those that embrace it. I testify that Jesus Christ is the Savior. He is the Son of a living and loving God that cares for us and knows what is best for us. The Gospel and fullness of Plan of Salvation have been revealed to chosen children of God and is taught to us in the Bible, Book of Mormon, and through the mouth of modern-day and living prophets. Through the Gospel of Jesus Christ we can be perfected bit by bit and become like that loving Father and His perfected Son. I testify of those things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Love,
Elder Ostergaard

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