July 17, 2017

Slacklining for Exercise


This week was really great. I was able to spend some time up in North Pole for exchanges. I've started slacklining for my morning exercise. Elder Havenar and I have been working a lot with the less actives and potential investigators here in Delta Junction. We got to see some more cute pooches.

Exchanges up in North Pole were awesome. I loved every second being able to serve up there and with Elder Fawson. He's a stud. While I was in North Pole/Fairbanks I was able to purchase a slackline. It certainly left a hole in my wallet but I'm hoping I'll get my money's worth out of it for morning exercise and on P-Days.

Elder Havenar and I have been doing a lot of work with contacting people in our area book. It's a bit of a struggle trying to find new investigators here due to the fact that not a lot of people live here and every house is super spread apart. We're hoping we're going to find a lot of success working with the people who already know the missionaries or have talked to the missionaries in the past.

The work is going great in delta.  I'm loving my time out here.

July 10, 2017

Protecting the Crops:

Hello from Fairbanks Alaska. Today, tomorrow, and the following day I will be spending my time in Fairbanks and the North Pole. This past week was super cool. Elder Havenar and I have been doing a lot of missionary work here in Delta J.

Like I said before, I'm currently in Fairbanks enjoying the Pday with other missionaries. I will be able to spend a couple more days in North Pole for exchanges. I'm excited to be able to see North Pole. My first companion, Elder Agad served there and has told me a lot of awesome stories.

This past week was super solid with receiving blessings and referrals. Elder Havenar and I made the extra effort to try a little harder with our obedience. Well that same day we received a self referral from a young woman who recently returned from a 14 month trip in Uganda. She met with a senior couple there and absolutely loved their sweet spirit. While she was on her trip she read the entire Book of Mormon and loved it. It's been awesome working with her. It's been a bit of a struggle due to some Word of Wisdom issues but we're working on that.

We also received another self referral. This time it was a man. He doesn't like sharing too much personal information so we've had all our conversations and lessons over the phone. He said he might be interested in meeting up at a library or something once he realizes we have similar beliefs. He too has read the entire Book of Mormon. He also has done a lot of research on lds.org. He is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to religion. He received a PHD and bachelor's degree in religious doctrine. The phone calls are very lengthy. One of which was over two hours long and he seems to do all the talking.

Both investigators are wonderful people. I'm excited to continue working with them.

Something funny happened a couple nights ago. We were at out dinner appointment and half way through the dinner the father received a text from a friend warning about a golf ball sized hail storm coming their way. He and his wife both turned to each other and said "The Crops!" In sheer panic he and his wife ran outside and the children soon followed. Being left at the dinner table me and my companion decided to hurry after to see what was going on. We soon realized they were setting up a tarp over their crops to save the plants. We ran after the family to help. In all of a matter of seconds the weather went from lightly sprinkling to full out buckets of water falling from the sky. As soon as we got the tarp over the crops the hail started to come. Running back inside we realized just how wet we were. All of us were just completely soaked from head to toe. Standing in one spot seemed to make a puddle on the floor. We all watched in our drenched clothes as the hail did not turn into golf ball sized clumps but we were able to have a good laugh at the whole situation. We of course finished dinner shortly after that.

I hope everyone has a good week.

July 3, 2017

Go Hug some Huskies!

Hello! This past week was the best week on the mission so far. This week was one for the books. It all started last Monday with a visit to Whittier. I then had the day long travel to my new area in Delta Junction. Since arriving here I've loved meeting the wonderful people and seeing all the breathe taking views here.

One of my last days in Anchorage was spent taking a drive out to this place called Whittier. Whittier is a small fishing community built during World War II. The original reason for building Whittier was to hold prisoners in an inescapable valley covered by ginormous mountains. The only way to get in and out of the valley is to either come in via boat on the water or to drive through a mountain.

Yes. That's right. Drive through a mountain. The tunnel is about two miles long and it has about five safe houses inside in case something were to happen and you couldn't get out. As you can imagine the tunnel is very dark and wet but when you get to the other side the view is to die for. We happened to go when it was raining but it was still incredible.

On Wednesday some missionaries and I took a nice flight to Fairbanks for transfers. It's so cool seeing how all my areas have been so geographical spread apart and how they all differ incredibly. After we landed in Fairbanks I was blessed to see some old friends. Then Elder Havenar and I drove the couple hours to Delta Junction. The drive was beautiful.

Delta Junction is so beautiful and has been quite the treat to me. I have loved every second here. The people are amazing. The ward is a bit small but I love how easy it is to love every single one of them. Everyone comes from such different backgrounds and they welcome you even if you don't believe in the gospel. Just an outstanding ward.

The missionary work here is a bit slow due to it being a very small community. It seems like a lot of the days are going to be spent walking around small taking to people.

The landscape is beautiful! Delta Junction itself is fairly flat with some hills but it's surrounded by mountains. There is a lot of farm land here. I'm not a farmer but I just absolutely love seeing all the farm land off the dirt roads while the sun is setting. Oh wait! It never gets dark here. How crazy is that?! The sun sets around 12 but it stays bright outside 24/7. Believe me I know because I was woken up my first night by our neighbor who mowed his lawn around midnight. Haha.

A few days ago we helped some members on their farm land. We helped them move 27 of their 49 huskies from the front yard to the back. Yes! They own 49 huskies! So cool! I was in heaven. The best part is that all the dogs just love you with kisses and hugs. I was in heaven. I attached pictures. I fetching love Delta.

I hope everyone has a solid July Fourth. Go hug some huskies. I recommend it.

Elder Ogden

June 26, 2017

Flying to Delta Junction:

This past week was super sweet. The district has been doing a lot of service recently. We received transfer calls. It looks like I'll be getting back on the plane for a beautiful flight.

The district has been doing service with multiple organizations in Anchorage. Something neat we did this past week was plant lettuce for the Kids Lunchbox organization. We spent quite some time planting lettuce. Kids Lunchbox had some pretty legit stuff. All new soil, fancy dirt water, and a few different types of lettuce.

Saturday morning President Robinson called and told us our transfer calls. It was definitely the most surprising transfer call I've gotten yet. It was even more shocking then getting called to the Samoan ward. It turns out Elder Vaioa will be staying for seven and a half months. I will be leaving after only three months in Dimond to serve in Delta Junction! How cool is that?! I will fly to Fairbanks with the other missionaries on Wednesday. I will then get picked up by my companion and drive the couple hours to our area. Serving in Delta Junction is going to be so so fun. I'm so pumped! It's gonna be sad being far away from missionaries and everyone but I got used to that in Petersburg.

A little info on Delta J. My mission president told me it's a really small farming community in the middle of nowhere. Everyone is either in the Army or a farmer. He was super pumped for me to serve there. He said I'm going to love it to death. I also will get to drive a couple hours southeast to a town named Tok (That's pronounced as Toke). We visit Tok once a month. We also take the long drive to fbx for zone conference and I believe one Pday a transfer. I'm hoping to visit fbx more often than that.

I'm so excited! Wish me luck with the travels. I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Ogden

June 19, 2017

Father's Day & Rugby:

Talofa! This week was really fun. The ward held a party a few nights ago to celebrate father's day. Elder Vaioa and I have been hitting tracting hard recently. We also went OYMing (opening your mouth) at a rugby tournament.

In appreciation for the fathers, the ward held a father's day party. As you can imagine there was a lot of food. I certainly didn't walk away hungry. The women and youth programs all preformed some dances they had prepared. It is always a joy to come to these parties. I'm glad to be serving in the Dimond ward. I hope everyone else had a great father's day.

Elder Vaioa and I have been going door to door a lot recently. The work has seemed to die down a bit. Our bishop has warned us about this. In the summertime the work in the Samoan ward dies due to everyone taking breaks from all the work and celebrating that occured within the past couple months. Hopefully we see some more success in finding those nonmember Samoans.

Continuing our attempt of finding new Samoans we went to a rugby tournament this past Saturday. It was quite the experience trying to find where it was. We first thought it was going to be held downtown because that seemed the most logical. Well... It turned out it wasn't there. We asked some other missionaries and they sent us the address. We started driving toward this address but it didn't seem to be correct. The road slowly had us driving into the mountains away from everything. The pavement eventually turned into dirt; less and less we began to see human civilization. I was really questioning if we were on the right road until all of the sudden at the bottom of a hill we saw a dirt parking lot full of cars. We parked the car and as soon as I came over the hill my breathe was taken away. Not only was there a rugby tournament going on but there was one of the biggest houses I had ever seen. This place was crazy. The view was spectacular. I could not imagine how much it would have cost to build everything all together.

It turns out the man who owns the place is a huge fan of rugby so he holds tournaments every so often. He likes to play himself so they have an age 40+ game. That was interesting to watch. We were able to see the Samoan team play which was awesome. They did a great job.

Have a great week.

June 12, 2017

Reunited with Susan:

Talofa! This week was super sweet. A lot of stuff happened. At the start of the week I ran into Susan on exchanges. My hammock has now become my best friend. The district has started doing service at beans cafe every week. I got to meet president Nelson, Elder Gong, Elder Murray, and their wives. Alaska celebrated the Independence Day of Samoa.

At the beginning of the week I went on exchanges to the Westchester Ward. It was super cool being able to go finding for English people again. At the same time the exchange made me grateful for the work we have in Dimond because the Westchester Elders do finding 24/7. While on exchanges, one of their eternal investigators called and invited us over for lunch. We gladly accepted. Once we got their and I met the investigator, I could tell something was a bit odd. It felt like I had seen this lady before maybe out on the streets or something. I couldn't figure it out for the longest time until my trainers name got brought up. She started talking about Elder Agad and I made the comment of how we served together. Susan, who's the lady, mentioned how she took Elder Agad and his companion to lunch about eight months ago when he was in Palmer. Right when she said that I immediately remembered her driving up to have lunch with us. It was so fun talking to her about Agad and the lunch. Crazy thing is she had a picture of me on her phone from that lunch. It was super cool seeing her. I never thought I would run into her after that lunch in Palmer but it turns out it's a small world after all.

I've got my hammock set up in the apartment. It's been nice coming in at night and chilling. I slept in the hammock last night and it felt amazing. I may have to sleep in it on a weekly basis now.

The district has started doing service at this food distributor for the homeless. The place is called Beans Cafe. It's super cool seeing how everyone there either volunteers their time and talent or gives mass quantities of food. It's such a joy to actually see the sick and needy being taken care of. 

President Nelson of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, Elder Gong of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Murray who's the Area Seventy, and their wives visited the missionaries in the AAM in addition to many of the saints up here in Alaska. All the missionaries in the "bowl" and some from the Soldotna zone were able to meet all of them. They all shared amazing testimonies. It was so amazing being able to be spiritually fed from these amazing saints. They all had fantastic messages. Elder Nelson focused his message on Christ's name in the scriptures. He also left the mission with a blessing. We took a mission picture with them all, hopefully I'll be able to send that next week or whenever I receive it.

Sorry for the long email but one last thing is that Elder Vaioa and I visited this Poly celebration downtown anchorage on Saturday. It was really neat seeing all the Poly's gather together and enjoy each other's traditions, cooking, dances, etc.

Have a great week!

June 5, 2017

Farewell Pres. & Sis. Robinson:

This week was really enjoyable. Thanks to the sun being out and the beautiful weather Elder Vaioa and I were able to go tracting for Samoans. We've also been on the hunt for a park where a lot of Samoans hang out. We've been working a lot with the recent converts in the ward. I had my last interview with President and Sister Robinson.

The weather has been so amazing this past week. We've had multiple days of sunshine with little to no clouds in the sky. I definitely consider it a blessing. since the weather has been so good. Elder Vaioa and I have been visiting parks trying to find a place where Somoans have parties, BBQ and or play games. It's been a bit more difficult than we've expected. Majority of the people we try talking to only speak English.

Continuing the efforts of finding Samoans, we've been tracting. We still see the same problem of talking English 99% of the time. We've been trying to decide which finding method works best. It's been a toss up between the two.

Thanks to the recent baptisms in the ward we've been teaching a lot of new member lessons. It's been awesome to see what the members remember as well as being able to talk more in depth about some of the subjects.

President and Sister Robinson will be going home in about three weeks. It's crazy to think the AAM will be receiving a new mission president soon. The last interview with the two of them was awesome. I really enjoyed it. It has been such a blessing being able to serve under their leadership and guidance here in Alaska.

This coming week President Nelson will be visiting Alaska for a few days. He has been so kind to come a day early and meet with the missionaries. It's going to be so cool to have the opportunity to learn from him and meet him face to face.

Wish the AAM luck!