Monday, February 9, 2015

#82 Blessings out the wazzoo continue

Hello Dearest Family,

I hope that you have been having a terribly wonderful week wherever in the world you may be. This week like every other week the hand of the Lord was definitely present (you'd think that He would forget now and then, but He never does). I am so grateful to be a missionary.

We have had the wonderful opportunity to work with a good amount of investigators that are progressing well towards making a covenant with Heavenly Father in the waters of baptism. A lot of them are thanks to Franc. I have mentioned Franc before, but he is still being a stud member missionary and has wonderful ideas of how to accelerate the work of salvation here in Shkoder. A lot of them aren't possible at least from the side of young full-time missionaries, but they are still great ideas and really make me take a step back and think about what sort of member missionary I want to be.

This week we had 21 people in church which is great! A really beautiful tender mercy that happened was watching our investigators come in. We can't do a whole lot to get investigators to church within the first 20 minutes of the meeting (when we are often going out and calling or fetching investigators somewhere) because I have to be on the piano and we have to help with the Sacrament. However, as I sat there on the piano bench we saw exactly as many investigators as we had set a goal for the previous week walk through the door. The principle of setting goals has been something that I have not understood at all most of my mission and still probably don't get that well, but one thing that i do understand is that when we set a goal and work to achieve it we show the Lord what we think we can do with His help and that faith is then turned into results through his miraculous power.

One cool lesson experience that happened this week was with these two boys from English Course named Adriatiku and Mariglen. They are about 20 years old and are in Shkoder for school. In the city where they live the nearest church is 40 km away and so they were not raised with a whole lot more than a very basic Christian belief. However, they are good boys and we have been teaching them for the last couple weeks, they have been to church the last two weeks, and have accepted to work towards a baptismal date. In a lesson that we had recently we were going over the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it just felt rigid and rough (I am sure that anyone who has ever taught anything knows what I mean). So in the middle of the lesson we just changed gears. The shift in conversation allowed for Mariglen to testify of the change that he has seen in his life since the first time he prayed in our first lesson. What a beautiful sound to the ears of a missionary! So often it feels like we are beating against a brick wall, but when we see that the Lord has softened the heart of a soul it is just like "oh, thank goodness!"

Well, That is about all that I have got for you now! I hope that today you are able to look back and see the enabling power of the Atonement in the events that were experienced. If you are not sure what that means, I encourage you to look it up. It'll be worth your time.

Elder Ostergaard

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