July 21, 2016

Week Two:

Week two has been very interesting.  I have been able to feel the Lord by my side throughout the entire week. God has answered my prayers in so many ways.  I truly am grateful to see how he listens and answers.

Thank you all so much for sending emails. It means so much to me.

Friday. During breakfast the fire alarm went off. Everyone in the cafeteria had to evacuate the building. This was such a pain in the butt because everyone was either just starting their breakfast or they were still in line. We also got the flight plans for departure. There are 20 missionaries heading to Alaska at the same time. We leave the MTC at 2:30am on Tuesday morning. We will leave SLC at 6am, have a layover in Oregon, then arrive to Alaska at noon Alaska time. It is very possible that I could get there and then be on another plane to a small town or island but very unlikely. I am so excited to leave and get in the mission field.  I don't feel quite ready, but I just want to get up there and start serving so bad.

Saturday. It was pretty much a normal day but we finished teaching Reed and Masha.  I was so happy with the way the lessons went with both investigators.  I know that it's really the Holy Ghost speaking to them and teaching them, but it's remarkable to see how the Lord works through you to help others. Reed turned out just alright. We weren't able to teach him all the stuff but he has been turned over to some new missionaries.  Elder Jones, Semadeni, and I were really sad to hand Masha off to new missionaries. We felt that right at the end we began to relate to her and she was understanding the lessons well.  I guess that's what it's like in the mission field though.

Sunday. This was the happiest day and the saddest day.  Luckily I didn't get called on to speak in sacrament meeting.  I was a bit scared because the branch president kept staring at me.  But what made the day so good was that David A. Bednar came and spoke in the Sunday evening devotional. This was a complete shocker because we finished watching his talk "The Character Of Christ" and as we started to sing the closing hymn he walked in. We all stopped singing and then were able to hear from him, his wife, and his son.  Elder Bednar said so many inspirational things but what really stood out to me was one thing.  He said, "Charity is not something we do, it is what we become." During this time Elder Mortenson began feeling anxiety about the mission. When Elder Bednar finished his talk we, the District, rushed to the dorms to help Elder Mortenson.  By the time we got there he was already packed and had made arrangements for his father to pick him up.  About 30 minutes later we all said our goodbyes and the Elders walked with him to the front office.  We got to say one last prayer with him which was humbling.  I felt so sorry for Elder Mortenson but at the same time I realized that he knew what needed to be done.  Later that night we simply got back to the rooms and went to sleep without saying any words or very few.  I know he was a great missionary and brought joy to everyone in the District.  I hope he gets everything taken care of and is able to finish his calling as a missionary.

Monday. Elder Semadeni became companions with elder Dayley so the dynamic trio is no longer a thing.  It's been really fun though because Elder Jones likes to wander off a bit while we go somewhere. When he does this all I have to do is yell his name as if he were a dog and he looks around then rushes back to me like I am his owner.  It's really funny because he's the senior companion now and he still asks me about everything.  I still lead in the lessons too.  I also have been hiding around corners when Elder Jones isn't paying attention.  It's so funny seeing him freak out and start searching for me.  Everyone here is so strict on the companionship rules so that's why he's always running around finding me.  Elder Stoddard and I drew stars all over the board and the teachers flipped out. We literally spent and hour and a half drawing little stars all over the board. It was pretty fun. We went through two markers.

Tuesday. All the older Elders left so we looked through their trash.  In total we found 15 packs of gum, 20 cookies, plenty of chips, a couple cup of noodles, and 50 glow sticks. We also screwed off the metal plates on the walls and looked in the air vents.  People hide stuff in the rooms all over the place. We found all the food in the air vents. When I screwed off a metal plate I found a Christmas tie with an Elder's name on it.  It was so hard to screw off though because you have to use your fingernails. There is no grip for screw drivers or flatheads.  I also slammed my room door on my finger.  No joke close to half my fingernail is black and indented. The doors here are so heavy! We also had Tuesday evening devotional.  Don R. Clark spoke, I learned so much from his talk.  I probably learned more from his talk than I did from Elder Bednar.  Elder Clark shared some amazing stories.  One of them was about an Elder who served in Europe.  At the time the average baptism was 1 or 2. This Elder decided to forget about the statistics and work hard trusting in the Lord.  He would say a prayer before going down main streets and listen to what houses he felt prompted to teach. This Elder baptized 100 investigators. Wow. One of the main things that this Elder did that Elder Clark encouraged us to do is read and live by CH.8 in PMG.  Another thing that he said that hit me hard was "Diligence is more important than Intelligence".

Wednesday. It was pretty normal but we had to say goodbye to our teacher, Brother Holmes.  I showed Wing to him and he flipped out! He thought it was the funniest thing ever.  He told me he's going to show it to all his friends and girlfriend. That was pretty neat.

I love and miss all of you. I can't wait to tell you more.

Elder Ogden

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