December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

This week was a hoot and a holler. I got to go on exchanges for three days. Our investigator gave me an awesome present. We had Christmas. Got to FaceTime the family.

I got to go on exchanges with Elder Janes for three days while Elder Hoyer and Elder Taylor went to Valdez to check up on those missionaries. It was really crazy looking after two areas. Elder Janes and I stayed busy 24/7.

There's this awesome neighborhood all lit up with lights. The best part is that it's tuned into a radio station so the lights are set up to match certain notes on different songs. Everyone goes to it pretty much every week so we decided to stop by. I took a video. I'll attach it below.

We taught Dawn again. This time her family was there as well. They actually came to church on Christmas which is a huge step for them. Dawn has been hoping and working with them trying to get her kids involved which will then lead to her husband getting baptized. She's amazing. She hopes her husband gets baptized soon that way he can baptize his daughter. The family still has a ways to go so it won't be anytime soon but it's still incredible seeing the progress they are making. Dawn actually got me a gift since I've been here so long and have taught her everything. She gave me a silver token with my name and the Ten Commandments engraven on it. It's amazing. The reason why she put the Ten Commandments on there is bc when we taught her the Ten Commandments the spirit was so strong. The lesson went on for over two hours, and at the end we all just started crying. It was weird but awesome. By far one of the best experiences on my mission.

We went to our first counselor in the mission presidency's house for Christmas Eve. We went as a zone since he lives really close. It's was pretty fun. He's been holding on to our presents for the past two weeks so the best part was actually getting the presents we should have had earlier.

 Facetiming the family was fun.

 Happy New Years

Christmas gift from investigator Dawn

                               Facetiming with Bennett!                             

Every year our family gets matching PJ's
for all the cousins. So I sent matching 
jammies for Bennett and Elder Hoyer!

December 19, 2016

All he needs for Christmas is a Flowbee!

Not a whole lot has happened this weeek. The only exciting thing is that we had Zone Conference. Elder Hoyer and I have been struggling to find effective work recently. We have plenty of stuff to do but nothing really effective. That's been a bummer.

I tried cutting my hair again. It didn't work out too well. I started out by doing the sides and back with a number four (attachment on the hair cutter) and thought it looked good. I started to feel a bit more confident and decided I could do the top. I grabbed the biggest size I could see and just went straight down the middle up top. I looked in the mirror and said "oh fetch!" I guess the biggest size was a five and I had no clue as to how to clean it up and make it even so my hair has been looking a bit spotty these past few days.

We had the Valdez Elders come stay with us for Zone Conference. They spent two nights. It was super fun having them stay. It was Elder Stoddard and his companion. Elder Stoddard and I came out together and became pretty good friends. We pretty much stayed up all night talking. Zone Conference was pretty fun as well. I was dead tired after sitting in the same room all day.

Happy Holidays

Here's a photo of the Palmer Zone. Idk why my forehead is so shiny but whatever it is here it is.

December 12, 2016

Baby isn't cold outside...and inside!

Hey. This week has been solid. The heat in our apartment went out again. It's so cold my eyelashes keep freezing together. The Palmer Stake put on this nativity show for all of Palmer and Wasilla. Church was only 45 mins long. The way it's supposed to be.

This week our apartment's heat has been off. It was absolutely freezing. It was the worse feeling. We would come home after a long day in the cold and have no source of heat. We literally ran a little space heater in the bedroom 24/7. We did all our planning, exercises, studying, eating, etc in the bedroom. The only time we would leave the room was to shower and get ready for the day. Even then we didn't spend a whole lot of time in the actual apartment. It got to the point where I cold see my breathe in the apartment. To our joy our landlord responded and helped get the heat running again. We are now back into the swing of things as usual.

Its been getting really cold up here. As I always write about. But for some reason our mission president has really been pushing getting outside and talking to people on the streets. It's really funny because there's literally no one outside so it makes it really difficult to accomplish anything. It really only works for the missionaries down in Anchorage. Just the other day we were walking in the streets looking for people and my eyelashes would get stuck together. It got so cold they were freezing together as I blinked. It's crazy. The worse part is everyone says this is warm for this time of year. 

The Palmer stake has an annual nativity show. They get everyone from the community to bring nativities from all over the world, big and small, traditional and crazy. It was awesome. They also have live nativities with kids. It was unbeleiveable to see every room in the church building filled with hundreds of nativities. It was absolutely amazing. Everyone from Palmer and Wasilla as well as people from Anchorage come up to see it. It goes on Saturday and Sunday so our church services were shorter. We only had sacrament meeting for 45 minutes. That was neat.

Anyways hopefully it gets warmer or snows more. One of the two.

Elder Ogden

We have to dress all the up for the outside

December 6, 2016

Bennett's doing all the talking:

This week has been pretty neat. Elder Hoyer is officially my new companion. We attended a surprise party for this random old man. We had the Ward Christmas party. It's finally cold outside.

Elder Hoyer is really different from Elder Agad and Elder Bacon. That's for sure. Elder Hoyer isn't very social. He likes to stay quiet. It forces me to do all the talking, which is interesting. It's definitely going to be an interesting transfer serving with him. He's been telling me a lot of stories how he reports people to president. There's a good number of Elders in this mission who don't really like him for that reason so I'm kinda seeing this transfer as a test from president. Jk. But for real it probably is. 

On Saturday we got this text from Linda inviting us to her 89 year-old fathers surprise birthday party. Linda is a lady we accidentally visited. For some reason when we showed up at her door we were planning on meeting Alvin, a potential investigator who apparently doesn't live there. Linda is super Jewish. she goes to Jerusalem at least once a year and plans on moving there. The one time we met her she talked for hours. Anyways she invited us to this surprise party so we decided to go. When we showed up there was only five other people, a pastor and his wife, Linda, and three random old ladies. It was odd. The only gift we found that we could give was a physical copy of 17 Miracles. Hopefully the old man watches it. The pastor gave us a weird look when he saw what it was. Lol.

We had the ward Christmas party on Saturday. That was super fun seeing everyone at the church. It was amazing seeing our investigators being involved with the church. It's getting cold here. That's for sure. It dumped just the other day leaving a bunch of snow. I had to pull out the sorrels.

Happy holidays
Elder Ogden

November 28, 2016

Staying in Fishhook:

This week has been interesting to say the least. We went hiking at Hatchers Pass, we had Thanksgiving, we received transfer calls, and went to a Baptism.

On payday we went hiking at Hatchers Pass. It was pretty fun. Elder Bacon and I came up to a lake and decided to walk on it. It looked all the way frozen. We started walking out towards the center of the lake and all of the sudden we heard this deep crack. We immediately stood still. It sounded like the ice cracked on the entire lake. It was super freaky. We didn't go any further.

We spent Thanksgiving with the Deans family in the ward. They had a lot of friends over. It's a big thing in Alaska to spend the holidays with friends because nobody really has family near them.

We also had the opportunity of seeing an investigator get Baptized in the Matanuska ward. I was able to help teach her for multiple lessons simply because Elder Agad could speak Tagolag to her. She's the Philippino that fed us the nasty egg thing.

We also got transfer calls. We had to wait till Saturday morning. We were left freaking out all night because we had no clue as to what was going to happen. We'll to my surprise Elder Bacon is leaving and I'm staying. I'm going to be spending six months in Fishhook. Possibly seven and a half.  I honestly have no clue as to why I'm staying here for so long.

My next companion is going to be Elder Hoyer. Everyone who's served with him has told me I'm going to hate my life. One elder who I talked to broke his own hand out of anger because Elder Hoyer drove him crazy. I am so scared to serve with him. Sorry for the short email. I didn't have a lot of time this week.

Elder Ogden

Looking super cold in Alaska!

The District

November 22, 2016

Interesting Referrals:

This week has been great, as always in Fishhook. I got a jumpsuit, went on a three day exchange, have a new investigator who wants to be baptized, also had an interesting conversation with a Baptist Pastor.

Last Monday we went thrift store shopping. Again. This time I stumbled upon a bright orange jumpsuit. I immediately said to myself I have to have it. At the same time I realized it would be pointless to buy it because when would I ever wear it. But, I bought it anyway. I also found a hat that went with it so I had to grab that on the way out as well. It's probably one of the best things I've ever seen at a thrift store. The sisters in our district were giving me the dirtiest looks when they saw me. 

Elder Bacon took a trip out to Valdez for three days with one of our Zoneleaders so Elder Brown and I stayed back looking after both areas. It was very hectic. There was definitely a lot of work to be done. It was super fun serving with him for three days mainly because he's super chill and Elder Bacon's kinda the opposite.

We haven't been able to do any tracting this week. It's been getting freakin cold. On Saturday we went district tracting. Everyone wore heavy duty clothes trying to keep warm. Unfortunately we only lasted twenty minutes until we all agreed to head back to the cars. The worse part about it is that this is a really warm winter so far. There hasn't been an extreme amount of snow. Mild wind. The sun's kinda out. But for the most part it's just fetching freezing for no apparent reason.

We've been receiving a lot of referrals from other missionaries or members. We received one of a man named Phill. He seriously knows absolutely nothing about the gospel. He grew up in a JW (Jehovah Witness) family and at the age of 18 he decided to read a little more about other religions. Because of that decision his family disowned him, won't talk to him, won't acknowledge him or anything. It's super sad. But he's been feeling a lot of love from the members and finally knows what it means to feel the Holy Ghost so he's eager to come to church each Sunday. He's amazing. All of our investigators are amazing. I seriously cant believe how lucky I got with my first area. Our investigator Dawn Dominico has been setting up her appointments and bringing her own fellowshippers as well as reading all the material we ask of her. I wish I could stay here for another four months but, unfortunately transfer calls are coming up and I'll most likely be sent down to Anchorage. It's bound to happen sooner or later.

Another referral we received recently was a man named Bill. We knew nothing about him other than his address. So we stopped by Saturday, not thinking much about it. Maybe share a quick message. Bill turned out to be a Baptist Pastor. He has written six pages of reasons as to why the 13 Articles of Faith are wrong. He had actually met missionaries before and handed them these papers a while ago. Well . . . the missionaries gave us these papers in first transfer and they've been sitting under my books for months now. I never planned on meeting this man because the papers were full of contention. But this random referral we had just now received was this man. So we went through the Articles of Faith with him. It took over three hours. I never thought I would talk so much on such a simple thing. The worse part was the fact that he didn't agree with the third Article of Faith. He thought all you had to do was accept Christ and your saved. According to him you can say you've accepted Christ then go sin all you want as long as you confess Jesus Christ is your savior and redeemer. I can't describe how frustrated I was. It was unbelievable. But we did leave him with a Book of Mormon. So that's good.

 I also drove past the five time Iditarod champ while he was training again. This time I got a video. 

Elder Ogden
The Orange Suit                                            One of the roads we drove on

November 15, 2016

Don't mix Dinner with Politics:

Alaskan 40 mark: 20lbs down. 20lbs to go. I don't know if I was already at 20lbs but I weighed myself the other day and saw that.

This week was eventful in a way. Trump was elected president, we had interviews with President and went to the Temple.

We don't hear a lot of info being out in the mission field. The stuff that we do hear is all biased from people we talk to. Alaska is really into politics so they all try to bring it up in any conversation. The night Trump was elected we had dinner at a crazy members house. He is a HUGE Trump supporter. It was the weirdest thing. He started out by telling us about the election then somehow started talking about Muslims and other Middle-Eastern groups and how evil they all are. He started yelling about the Tribes of Israel and how the Muslims are horrible people. In all this his family was just laughing and cheering him on. He was cussing left and right. Elder Bacon and I had no clue what to do. We're not allowed to talk anything about politics. I seriously can't describe how weird it was because he's talking about a horrible thing yet he was using scriptures. Alaskans really get into their politics.

We also went to the temple. It's always amazing going there. I love the Anchorage temple so much. It's so cool how small it is yet it's still really functional. And it helps that the paintings on the walls are absolutely stunning. Interviews were chill. Nothing crazy happened. Except our zone have some Elders that are pretty bad. I asked them how it went. They both said President and his wife were crying because of the things these Elders have been doing. I don't know how it is in other missions, but there's a lot of missionaries that do apostate things here. 99% of the reason for that is because all the missionaries are so spread out. President is literally flying all over Alaska each month. We keep visiting Chickaloon. It's really pretty out there but the people are absolutely crazy. Every time we mention it members tell us to be extra safe out there. We've been good so far. Here's a fun scripture a member showed us in regards to the election.

Helaman 5:2-3 Helaman 7:4-5

Elder Ogden


        Zone Temple Trip                                               Bennett & Elder Bacon

                                                                Road Kill

November 7, 2016

No heat, no microwave, no fridge...
but he has Mormon Ads!

This week has been great. We had day-light savings two nights ago but it doesn't do very much up here. It seriously was so pointless. We still wake up and do studies in the dark and now it gets darker faster at night. It's hard staying out after dinner visiting people because it literally is pitch black when we get done with dinners.

The Iditarod is coming up so people have been getting out their dogs and training them. Near where I'm serving lives a five time Iditarod champion. Just the other night we saw him training. A lot of the roads in Alaska have dirt trails just along the side for atv's and what not. The other night we were driving home going about 50 mph. We looked to our right and saw this guy in a 4x4 getting pulled by sled team dogs. It was such a weird thing to see. The dogs all leave their mouths open when running so their tongues just hang loose. Apparently its really hard to raise those dogs because all they want to do all the time is run. It's the only thing they live for. Some members say they go up to Nome to watch the finish line. They say after the finish line the sled driver has to put on a break because the dogs continue sprinting. It's crazy to think about that because the dogs just got done running over 900 miles. Crazy.

We finally met the investigator in Chickaloon. He's a native. His family is Baptist but for some reason he believes he should start going to the LDS church. We taught the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ as well as the Book of Mormon. It was the coolest thing to see his face light up when we told him that Jesus came to the Americas and visited the natives. His eyes got so big as we said those words. A lot of the natives up here have a lot of stories of a white man visiting their ancestors. Elder Bacon told me that a lot of natives grow up hearing these stories then come to read the B of M and are amazed it tells of similar things. It's pretty awesome. Unfortunately not a lot of them get baptized because of the WOW (Word of Wisdom) and other standards. But still neat.

Elder Bacons and mine apartment is slowly falling apart. We have no clue as to what to do. First of all our heater doesn't really work so we have a little office heater on max 24/7. Our microwave broke. Half the power outlets went out. The worse of all is that our fridge broke last night. We seriously have no clue on what going on.

The other day I downloaded over 200 mormon ad photos onto my ipad. I had to do it one by one but they are so money. That was definitely one of my happiest moments this week. Seeing those ads. 

Elder Ogden

Driving on Icy Roads

One of Bennett's favorite Mormon Ad's

October 31, 2016

Tracting in Chickaloon:

This week has been awesome. Elder Bacon and I have been spending a lot of time in Sutton and Chickaloon. We've been receiving some referrals from out there so it's been quite the experience trying to find those people. We have this referral who lives in chickaloon. Chickaloon is a very sketchy place. It's pretty much what you would expect to see when you think about Alaska. The police have put "This is a crime watch community" signs on every corner. In all reality it's not a crime watch community. The people that live there are definitely Alaskans. They live about an hour away from everything (meaning out in the woods). Even then they all live super far apart from each other. When we told the ward council that we're going up there, they all gave us a surprised look. One guy told us how he was just hunting up there and a man walked up, pointed a gun at him and demanded him to leave. 

We tried contacting this referral but none of the houses have addresses so we spent three hours asking all sorts of people if they knew who this man was. Of course only a few did. It was pretty scary because everyone has these signs that say "Shot on site". We saw a bunch of really cool stuff though. A pile of about 30 cars, all sorts of broken down homes, a teepee, and a random bridge. 

Elder Bacon has been driving me a little bit insane. He is totally different from Elder Agad. Edler Bacon has to know about every little thing i'm doing. Anytime Im doing anything, and i mean anything, he's there. Every time i go to the bathroom he follows me. He goes through all my stuff. Its so annoying. Other than that he's pretty cool to work with.

Elder Ogden

Photo from a member that sums up Alaska

Tough tracting
Random Teepee

October 24, 2016

Goodbye Elder Agad:

I got a new companion. His name is Elder Bacon. He's really obedient which kinda sucks. It's a complete opposite of Elder Agad. It should be good serving with him.

On transfers I got to spend the night in anchorage with Elder Paulson. That was way fun. It's been snowing a lot here. It's definitely going to be a white Halloween.

Elder Bacon and I have been seeing a lot of blessings in the Fishhook area. Apparently the President has been talking a lot about it. I'm actually going to ask to stay here for at least another transfer. Our investigator read all of D & C in a week and is constantly finding more and more out about doctrine. She's already paying tithing and we haven't taught her it yet. It's just really amazing here.

Sorry I don't have a lot of time to write today but that's pretty much everything. I'll write more next week.

Elder Ogden

October 17, 2016

Balut Eggs:

This week has been good. It was really laid back since it's week six. We got our transfer calls on Friday. Elder Agad is going to go ZL in Soldotna. I'm staying of course and getting Elder Bacon as a greenie breaker. I'm really excited to get someone new but I here he's really strict which is a polar opposite of Elder Agad.

It's been absolutely freezing here. The actual temp isn't bad at all but the wind is a killer. It's been blowing like crazy and everyone keeps telling me this is nothing compared to what they've had before. Last night our power went out. We woke up to a bunch of roof pieces in the bed of our truck. There's also been a huge wildfire and the wind's been blowing it everywhere.

On Friday we had a lesson with a Filipino family. They had Balut (bird embryo) so we invited all the Elders in the zone. We all tried it. I was able to finish mine. It was so disgusting though. After my first bite I could see the ducks head. Hugh. Elder Agad said it was nothing for him because he usually eats it when the duck is more developed.

On the way home we got stopped at an intersection. The guy next to us was spinning his wheels making smoke clouds. Elder Agad and I looked at each other like who the heck is trying to race the missionaries. Well to our surprise it was the Stake President. The light went green and we just booked it.  I don't know how far or how fast we got but it was fetching hilarious.  Anyway not a lot happened other than that.

Elder Ogden

October 10, 2016

Tracting can be Dangerous:

This week has been interesting. There's definitely been ups and downs. On Monday we went up to Hatcher Pass again. We go there a lot. We went snowshoeing without the snowshoes. We were able to walk on this frozen lake. I actually fell in a little bit. Nothing too serious.

We've been meeting with a new investigator. Some missionaries met her at a grocery store and she said she wanted missionaries to come teach her. When we got there she started to pull out all these books I had never seen before and she was asking all these different questions. I was so confused. Well it turns out she thought we were Jehovah's Witnesses. We told her we were Mormons and taught the restoration and she accepted to be baptized so that's awesome. We pretty much stole the JW's investigator. Lol.

We had the last trainer/trainee meeting. It's so funny seeing the type of trainings we get here in Alaska. In the past couple weeks we've had two trainings on how to deal with and treat moose. It's a serious concern here. One lady got trampled to death outside her house near our area. Its really scary. 

This weeks tracting has been completely awful. Nothing positive came from it. We tried tracting in this pretty remote native village. The people there absolutely hated us. They seriously do not like white people at all. There were a lot of colorful words yelled at us. We also tracted into this really drunk guy a different day. The second he opened the door I knew we needed to leave but of course I'm an idiot and kept talking to the man. There was a lot of contention. All of the sudden he paused, stared at me in the eyes for a good thirty seconds then invited us in. In my heart I knew we shouldn't follow him but we took a few steps in. He then started yelling and cussing. He asked for a message so we showed a video and bore testimony. He then told us how angry and mad he was first of all that we knocked on his door on a Saturday and second of all that we kept trying to share a message about Jesus Christ. He then started screaming and cussing then punched a hole in his door and just stared at us. At that moment my heart sank. I just froze. He continued and told us how we were standing on the wrong side of his door (meaning we shouldn't have come inside). We immediately left. Of course right when we walked outside some teenagers drove by cussing at us. Right after that the drunk man got in his truck and chased us down saying all sorts of profanity. I honestly am surprised he didn't shoot us or hit us with his car.

In the end we got to go to church yesterday and that's all that matters.

Elder Ogden

October 3, 2016

Loving Conference:

Last P Day the district got together and went fishing at the Millers Lake. It wasn't anything crazy. We didn't catch anything. We've been trying to do stuff as a district because the sisters in our district have been complaining about our unity. They brought it up in district meeting. They thought we hated them and all the Elder looked at each other like what the fetch? Freakin Sisters.

Elder Janes and I went on exchanges for three days. It was great serving with him but he doesn't know how to have fun. He's so strict on every little thing. I hate it. He made us walk everywhere because he didn't want to go over on mileage. Of course I don't care about that stuff. Heck, last month Elder Agad and I went 600 miles over our privilege and we get 500 more than most missionaries. I went to the US mail service center to pick up a package and they handed me two so I took both of them. The first one was for me but the second wasn't so I gave it to the other Elders to see if it was theirs. They said no, so instead of giving it back to the center they decided to open it. Inside were two small boxes. We opened the first and saw a large Revolver. We all looked at each other in total shock. We saw that the other box also had a hand gun. We decided to ask a member to deal with it considering we're not allowed to hold any guns. Lol.

We've been doing a lot of service. We made a huge bonfire the other day. We also helped a member cut up a Moose he killed. The member gave us each a Black Bear Claw so that was sweet. The more I meet people the more stuffed bears I see in peoples houses. Just the other day this guy had a six foot Kodiak Brown Bear stuffed in his bedroom as well as 20 other animals. My favorite was this fat mountain goat next to his bed.

General Conference was amazing. It's sad to see President Monson's health as it is, but he is getting old. Hopefully his health gets better. His short yet powerful talks give me a reason to ponder its meanings. I really enjoyed M. Russel Ballards talk on spiritual growth and relating it to climbing a mountain. I could go on and on about conference but I'll just share this short quote. It's not from this conference but it's great. Robert D. Hales- "The greatest blessings of general conference come to us after the conference is over.  Remember the pattern recorded frequently in scripture: we gather to hear the words of the Lord, and we return to our homes to live them." Hearing from these great leaders is a blessing in and of itself but we can find and experience more. If we ponder the teachings and really apply its principles then Heavenly Father will be able to bless us in personal, miraculous, and awe inspiring ways tailored to our needs.

Elder Ogden

Just one picture from Bennett this week,
looks like he found a place to hang his hammock!

September 26, 2016

Let it Snow:

I went on exchanges with Elder Belmonte for a day. He's also Philippino. He's so freakin funny. He's one of those people that doesn't try to be funny but everything they do is hilarious. We had trainer/trainee meeting. It was so fun. They seriously are the best. I love seeing everyone I came out with and the other friends I've made. Elder Paulson arrived into the mission. So freakin fun catching up with him. I still can't believe we got called to the same mission.

It's been snowing up in the mountains. The Cottonwood Elders joined Elder Agad and I in a trip up to Hatchers Pass. It made me really homesick seeing snow. I want to go skiing so bad. The truck couldn't even make it all the way up. We had to so some hiking. I chose to run out in the snow off a trial. I got to a sweet point but no one was willing to follow me so I had to take a selfie. The Elders are pretty wimpy when it comes to playing in the snow. The craziest thing is that we saw a guy drive his motorcycle all the way to where we had made it. He was trying to look really cool and pass this car but totally slid out in the snow. We had to help him up and get back on his bike. We also found an abandoned truck that crashed into a ditch. That was neat.

Jessica got baptized the other day. She had a great turnout from her family even though she doesn't have any relatives that are LDS. It was amazing to hear her testimony. She started investigating the church a year ago. She said she started out by looking for any reason to say no or prove the missionaries wrong but ended up getting baptized. Her husband really isn't interested but we got him to come to the confirmation and attend the rest of church services. He wants to get baptized he just doesn't know it yet. I'm really confident he'll want to start taking the lessons.

Elder Ogden


September 20, 2016

Apparently Moose is high in Calories:

Alaskan 40 mark- 10lbs down 30lbs to go

Elder Agad and I have been eating a lot of Moose for dinner. It's the hunting season so everyone's been feeding us Moose. Yesterday the Bishop, the First Counselor, and a quarter of the ward was gone hunting. The members have also been giving us a lot of fish. We have about ten fillets in our fridge. So we eat salmon and rice everyday for lunch. Last P-day the Elders in the Zone hiked part of Lazy Mountain. We only made it about three miles. The Elders in this zone are really out of shape. I felt sorry for some of them.

We visited that crazy member again, the guy that thought I was his son. He said it would most likely be the last time we saw him because he was leaving for Washington. Apparently he's been in a lawsuit over his house with these crazy Mexicans so instead of going to court he decided to run away. He built a massive van and is having it shipped to Washington but he can't drive it. He's had his license revoked for the past six years. The only state he's able to drive in is Colorado so that's where he's heading. He doesn't know how he's getting there but he's going to do it. He gave us shirts and showed us this trick his dog does. She sits up like a penguin. The dog does it all the time just a casual position for resting.

I had my first Zone Conference with the Wasilla Zone and Chugach Zone. It was crazy long but fun seeing the other missionaries. The departing missionaries gave their testimonies. It was odd hearing some of the Elders testimonies. You could definitely tell a difference between those that actually served a mission and those that didn't try. Some of them needed to extend their mission for another six months. But the ones that were actual missionaries had amazing testimonies.

Two of our investigators are still progressing so that's all good. Its amazing to see them change. At first it was so hard to get this certain one to pray at the end of the lessons. We been having her pray a lot. It's amazing to see how she went from not knowing how to pray to saying some of the most sincere and heart felt prayers I've ever heard. You can tell that the gospel is truly changing their lives. There's this older couple in the ward that everyone knows. They are Brother and Sister Obergs but everyone calls them Grandma and Grandpa. They feed us so much. They are such amazing people. They are so old but they are always outside working and giving service to others. I have no clue how their age hasn't caught up with them. They grow all their food in a little garden. They are absolutely amazing. They actually are going to be leaving on a trip for the next month and a half so we took a photo with them.

 Love Elder Ogden


September 13, 2016

Go, Go, Go Joseph:

This week has been fun. Once again we visited an interesting less active member. She and her husband are both less active but they're super nice people. They have 60 chickens roaming around in their backyard. It's pretty much their second job they said. They gave us a dozen eggs, so that was really nice.

While visiting some members a little dog came running at me and Edler Agad. I jumped out of the way but Elder Agad didn't see it. The dog ran straight towards him and bit his right ankle. So that was funny. Elder Agad said if the owner wasn't watching he would have stabbed it. Lol

We ran into that guy that gave us those world peace stickers again. He is absolutely insane. It's not ok. He talked to us for an hour and a half about the fall of Adam and Eve. Also he told us a little more in depth about his life. He thought for a second that I was his son. Yeah crazy. He said after our first visit he was thinking about an affair he had with this lady in Anchorage. Apparently she was planning on naming their son a name like Obren. So he thought the Lord sent me to come find my dad.  I assured him I wasn't his son. He said every time I speak it's like I'm reading his mind. Lol.  He said he wanted to visit more often though and start coming back to church so that's all good. He also might give us a free world peace shirt.

We've been listening to Elder Agad's music a lot. He's gathered a bunch of stuff from past Elders. He was scrolling through a playlist and the soundtrack for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat came on. I was so freakin pumped. He has never seen the movie before but I've been making him listen to the soundtrack while I'm trying to describe what's going on. The soundtrack is so freakin sick. I forgot how good the songs were. I've been listening to it in the shower every day.

I had my first real baptism.  Meaning I taught them from the first lesson till the end.  The Millers finally got baptized. They also had a baby blessing for their daughter. It was incredibly spiritual. They had family come up from Utah to preform the ordnance and give the baby blessing. They both are such incredible people. I don't think I'll find more Christlike investigators.

Elder Ogden

September 6, 2016

Bennett's staying in Fishhook:

The state fair has been going on for the past two weeks now. We finally had the opportunity to go on Monday last week. Apparently there was going to be monkeys riding dogs but the monkeys didn't catch their flight. The State Fair up here was really weird. The sun finally came out for the first time. It literally had been all rain and clouds before that. I went on exchanges with Elder Brown. That was really fun. He's awesome just like Elder Pace. I got really lucky with both of those exchanges because those are the only two people that I wanted to go on exchanges with. We ate our breakfast at a McDonalds. I couldn't believe the prices. They don't have a dollar menu here. They don't even have a value menu. Something that cost a dollar in Utah would be three dollars here.

We got transfer calls. No surprise I'm staying in the same area with Elder Agad. Unfortunately Both Elder Pace and Elder Brown are leaving the Zone. I guess I'll actually have to start talking to people I don't really want to. Jk. I still have Elder Leland in my Zone. But he's my last hope.

We have a bunch of trees right next to our window. And there are these squirrels that live in them. Elder Agad named them George and Jane. Every morning when I'm eating breakfast they start fighting. They go absolutely crazy. They jump tree to tree running around. They seriously shake the entire tree when they start fighting. Sometimes their friend James joins in but he doesn't really go crazy.

I've been watching a Mormon message a day. This past week I found these two. I've been sharing these two with the members. I can't explain how strong the spirit was when I first saw these. They both are some of the best Mormon messages I've seen. The second talks about having faith even in the hardest times of life. The first is about how we don't understand the influence we have on others.

President Henry B. Eyring say are true. I testify of "That particle of faith most precious and which you should protect and use to whatever extent you can is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." I have earnestly been trying my hardest to follow these simple words. In doing so I have seen too many blessings in my life to count.  I am forever grateful and indebted to my Heavenly Father.  Not because of what he has given me so far but because of the things I know he knows I can accomplish. It is only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that I am able to become the man he wants me to be. It is only through "serving God and others persistently with full heart and soul that turns testimony of truth into unbreakable spiritual strength." And that is what he wants of me, you, and everyone. For when we have unbreakable spiritual strength we can accomplish anything the Lord asks of us. I testify the Lord works miracles in times of need. Often times he strengthens us by stretching us to our very limits. In doing so we realize the greatest gift of all. The Atonement of our Savior and our Redeemer. I leave with you these things in the name of my brother, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Elder Ogden

August 29, 2016

1 Month Down:

I'm really busy rn so this weeks letter is going to be short.

I got to spend Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with Elder Pace. He is
one of the Zone Leaders. He's one of the Elders I took a photo with in
front of the temple. He's such a funny guy. He's just awesome and
really cool. While on exchanges with him this really awkward Elder
told the Sisters that all the Elders in the Zone hated them. He did
this multiple times. It was the weirdest thing ever. He did it while

we were away so we didn't find out till later. Apparently it was dead
quite and so he thought it would be a good idea to make that stupid
comment. The next day while doing service we broke the back of a truck
window. Shiz just happens. It wasn't my fault though.

I gave myself a haircut. It turned out to be alright. I had to have
Elder Agad fix some things but it's the best I could do.

Elder Agad and I went up to Hatchers Pass with Elder Leland and Elder
Beazer. We saw some people up there hang gliding.

We visited this man named Tim. He's not LDS but loves having the
missionaries over. He's a huge fan of American history and guns. He
seriously knew everything about American history. He collects guns.
I'm not joking. Every foot in his house was covered with guns. I asked
him how many he had and he said "more than 10 and less than 300". No
joke I saw at least 200 guns. I'm really not exaggerating. It was
absolutely crazy. He spent 45 mins just showing us a few guns and
talking about its history. 

Elder Ogden

August 22, 2016


Monday. At a zone meeting we ate lunch at a members house. Really nice couple. They didn't have enough chairs so we mostly sat on buckets. They had a million bunnies, a parrot, big goldfish, and 20 picots. He also has an underground bunker. The thing is bigger than our apartment. We also went to a thrift store again. I got a helmet for my bike, sweet goggles, and a Jackie Chan poster. We also went to a horse ranch. They raise competitive horses. They had about 30 of the biggest and tallest horses I've ever seen.

Tuesday. We taught one of our progressing investigators with our ward mission leader. During the lesson the lady started crying. After the lesson he told me that's the easiest baptism I'll ever have on my mission. We have this other lady that just got baptized right before I came and whenever we teach her the new member lessons she's always drunk. One time she offered to say the closing prayer and stopped halfway through. Her somewhat sober husband came in and continued/closed the prayer. It was the weirdest thing. During the entire lesson he was quoting hymns. They were both wasted. It's sad to see it but the bishop said there's nothing else we can do.

Wednesday. We went to the temple. The temple here is crazy small but really awesome. You take off your shoes and coats at the entrance and there's heated tiles on the floor.

Thursday. Elder Agad and I gave a blessing to a less active member. He lives in a little house in the woods.

Friday. We helped a member move things around in his house. This man is really old but he's a legend. He seriously does and plays everything known to man. He lettered in three sports at BYU. He competes in the senior Olympics for skeet, pole vault, and shooting. He's got a million medals and trophies all over his house. We rode our bikes. It was pretty much just mountain biking because we stayed on a dirt trail the entire time. Later in the day we were visiting less active and one family had five puppies. These kids came out of nowhere and threw a dog on my lap. The dog pissed allover me. Seriously everywhere. I didn't even want to hold the stupid thing. And of course when we went to our next appointment their dog was shoving his face in between my legs. I was not happy.

Saturday. We taught the kid who just got baptized the beginning of the new member lessons. We showed the Because Of Him video. Half way through the video the kid started crying. And of course I got a bleary eyed because I couldn't believe that this kid was comprehending what the savior meant to him. When I was nine years old I barely new why Jesus was so important. I was so impressed with this kid because I could tell that he could tell that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love him. The best part is that once the video was over he looked over at us and said " I couldn't read the words". Once he said that I was just blown away. Just by watching the video and being able to read only a few words and still understand what the message was is just amazing. It was just really neat. He's an amazing kid with a really hard life.

Sunday. Once again we talked about cutting wood for a good chunk of time in our meetings.

Elder Ogden

August 16, 2016

First Baptism

Monday. Elder Agad and I went fishing at 4 in the morning at Jim
creek. It was so pretty. Across the creek we could see this massive
glacier field off in the distance. Unfortunately we didn't catch
anything but the people that took us did. They just packaged it and
will be giving us some soon. We also went to a bishops attic. I got
these really cool ties I'm going to make skinny. If I can find the

Tuesday. We taught this lady the first lesson and she also accepted to
be baptized. Elder Agad and I have been so blessed with many people to
teach and haven't had any time to go tracking in our area. We've only
spent two hours knocking on doors so far and it has been in the
sisters area because they keep asking us to help.

Wednesday. We went over to teach one of our investigators and after we
had gotten done talking about life he asked to say the closing prayer
but we hadn't even said the opening prayer. We pretty much assumed he
was a bit drunk. But everyone has their challenges and we haven't
gotten to the wow lesson yet. He actually is a really nice guy. His
life story is pretty sad. He is a forced retired veteran. He was a
sniper and on the way to a new area the car he was in exploded. Every
person in the vehicle died except him because he got thrown out of the
car. Because of this accident he has a learning disability but he
loves learning about the gospel. He has the nicest heart ever. He
spends so much time giving service. Nearly everyone here is a veteran
and it's crazy hearing all their stories.

Thursday. Elder Agad and I took a little field trip in the mountains.
I won't say how long we spent exploring because I know I shouldn't
have but its so hard not to. Our area is so big. It would take over
probably an hour and a half to drive to the other end of our area. We
have so many mountains and glacier fields in our area. I survived my
first interview with the president and his wife. Talking with sister
Robinson was more stressful than meeting with president Robinson. She
wrote down everything I said. I also can't get enough reading in for
the day so I spend and extra 30 mins each night reading. Right now
I've been reading the teachings of president David O. McKay a lot.

Friday. We got a new referral. They are a couple. They are Baptist and
apparently the wife wasn't very nice when talking to the missionaries.
The man gave them a 10 page paper on why he thought the 13 articles of
faith are false. I'm really scared to meet with them. I haven't even
bothered to read the paper. I just keep staring at it. Elder Agad on
the other hand has stayed up every night studying it. He's writing his
responses in on the side and plans on handing it back.

Saturday. Marcellus had his baptism. I did teach him some of the
lessons but not all. He's not one of the people I mentioned last week.
He's nine years old. He lives with his grandma, dad, and his little
sister in a small house. The dad isn't active at all. He smokes a lot
but it's good that he wants his son to grow up in the church.
Marcellus comes regularly with his grandma. We had the ward mission
leader baptize him because we wanted someone who would be an example
in his life and be there as he grew up. We also visited the less
active and once again we met a very interesting character. He lives in
the forest in a run down trailer house/shack. He went on for two hours
about conspiracy theories with the government and the Bible. To say
the least he was very interesting.the bishop keeps asking him to be
temple worthy but he said he won't give up his pot and coffee.
Seriously he had pot all over the table and a big flag with a
marijuana leaf on it. We helped a family a little in building their
house. They are so nice and gave us two bikes to ride around. They
have very little of everything. They live in a trailer right now with
two little kids. I can't believe how nice they were to give us these.
They don't even have enough money to buy church cloths. They come
every week in rugged pants and t shirts. I also put nair on my
armpits. Nair is this stuff that you rub on your legs and it burns
your hair off. Some of the elders have done it for fun so I thought I
would try my armpits. That was not smart at all. I thought it would be
funny but man it started to burn into my skin. Yesterday and today
have been so painful.

Sunday is always great. In ward council we talked about chopping down
trees and cutting wood for 20 mins. It's a serious thing here.

It's been pretty chilly in the apartment so I've started wearing my
snow caving boots around. It's pretty nice having that.

Elder Ogden