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!