Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Dear Family,

Happy Monday and I sure hope that you are all having a wonderful week so far! This past week was not quite spent as planned with many days spent in Tirana waiting for Elder Crandall (my new companion) to get into the country and then for the trainers and trainees to all to be assigned together. He is great. He is the third of five children, played in band, loves to sing, did drama, about 6 feet tall, and has strawberry blonde hair. Kinda crazy huh? Elder Crandall is from Colorado and he actually just got back recently from a year-long exchange in Germany. He

It is really hard to think of what I was like when I first came into the country, what was weird and what was normal. I have been trying to think of how I felt those first moments, days, and weeks...and I am coming up blank. Well, I guess he is just going to have to figure it out himself. Just kidding-- kind of.

This week I have been doing a lot of thinking about the Savior. Isn't it great? I hope that every week of the year will find me thinking about the Savior a lot rather than needing to wait for Easter or Christmas. One of the things that really struck me was just the extreme loneliness that must have been experienced by the Savior during this the last week of His mortal existence. One thing that really caused me to notice that was in the Joseph Smith Translation of Mark 14:36 which states:

36 And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane,which was a garden; and the disciples began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy, and to complain in their hearts, wondering if this be the Messiah.

Even here, on the brink of the Atonement, the most important and eternal event ever, even those closest to the Savior did not recognize fully, or perhaps very much at all, the purpose and calling that the Christ had. I wonder if we understand any better than these men do the role of the Messiah in our lives. And if we do, I wonder if we apply that.

One thing that was reinforced to me this week was the knowledge that I love to bear my testimony. It is always just such a wonderful reassurance that I actually know what I know and love it. I am so grateful that the Spirit, as promised by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians, is a necessary part of dictating that Jesus is the Lord. When we proclaim these truths, the Spirit enters in and everything just sort of fits into perspective and works. I like it a lot.

We had a bit of a rough day at Church yesterday (we will be watching conference this upcoming weekend) with a good amount of rain holding many back from coming. I sure hope that we can help others to recognize the need for the continuous Atonement in our lives. I also hope that I am learning that lesson in my own life in a very eternal way. It is easy to see how a mission is sort of a crash course in eternal learning, future Church service, as well as simply living as a disciple of Christ.

I hope that this week is wonderful and that you can continue to keep that Easter spirit with you!

Elder Ostergaard

P.S. Yes Mom, fringo is the Albanian word for gringo. I have no idea where it came from, perhaps somebody simply mis-typed and 'f' instead of a 'g' while creating the Albanian slang dicitionary.

As for Mother's Day, that is way too soon, Christmas was yesterday. Ask me about it next week. Thanks!

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