Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Skype with Elder John Odland

Elder John Odland...Christmas 2015...Independence, Missouri Mission

The highlight of our Christmas was being able to Skype with our cute missionary.
We had a great time hearing of his great adventures and service
to the people of Missouri and Kansas.
He loves serving the Lord and teaching the people the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is THE Reason for the Season
and Jesus is THE Reason for EVERYTHING!

It was hard to say good-bye. No one wanted to hit the hang-up button!

We LOVE YOU Johnny!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone

"For God So Loved the World" is a piece of art by Simon Dewey. (Matt Crossley, Altus Fine Art)

Hello everyone!

I am so grateful for this opportunity I have to be a missionary and
spread this Gospel of Jesus Christ that I hold so dear to me. 
As I have been out on my mission for about 4 1/2 months now, 
my testimony of the Book of Mormon has grown so much! 
I wish I had read even more before my mission. 
There are so many great stories that teach true doctrine of Christ. 
I absolutely love when I have time to read it. I really value the time I have to study
the teachings our Heavenly Father has given us. 
It helps me find answers and it helps me help others find answers as well.  

I'm glad Elder Bagley and I are together for Christmas also! 
We went to the store to get each other a small gift. But we had to do it without the other knowing what we got... which is super hard as a missionary because you cannot go out of sight of your companion... But we managed and I still don't know what he got me!  haha. 
We were in the toy section of course ;p and I got him a little Spongebob Lego mini figure and a 3 pack Star Wars ship thing :D All together it was only 8 dollars :D  …we had a max of $10. 
It was fun to be able to shop for someone! I love getting things for people and I can’t wait until I have kids to shop for. There are so many sweet toys out there! haha! 
I can't wait to buy my son all of these sweet Lego sets! :D  haha
So yeah, Elder Bagley and I are excited for Christmas :)  We will open each others gifts on Christmas Eve and then our families gifts on Christmas Day morning  :) and then we will skype! Then we will be having dinner with a Spanish family I have not yet met. So that will be fun. 

I have truly enjoyed visiting with families during this time of the year 
sharing a message about Jesus Christ....because that is what Christmas is all about. 
What Christ did was for each and every one of us. No matter our age or situation in life, we are always able to accept Christ and use the atonement in our lives. 
I am so very grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ and all that he has done for me. 
I am so very grateful for my loving family also. 
Without them and their support I don't know where I'd be. 
Our families are so important. 
Heavenly Father has given us families in order for us to be happy. 
We experience so much joy through our families and I wouldn't trade mine for anything! 
During this Christmas season, remember our Savior and tell the ones you love how much you appreciate them. Always have a heart full of gratitude and you will rarely have a negative day! 
Endure well, Persevere, and love everyone you meet. 
Merry Christmas Everyone and I hope you have a fantastic time with your families.  :) 

¡les amo y Feliz Navidad!

With Love, Elder Odland

¡Hasta viernes!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

"A Savior Is Born"

Hello everyone!

We had transfers last week and I am staying in Kaw River with Elder Bagley! 

I am excited to stay for a 3rd transfer and celebrate Christmas with him and 
the good people of this area. 
It should be fun!

This week has been great. 

We visited with a lot of people and shared the video: 
"A Savior Is Born"
It is a great video where kids explain what Christmas is really all about. 
I invite all of you to watch this video if you haven't yet! 
You can find it on  or click the link below

This week we met this lady who has a daughter in Nevada.
The daughter had given us her mom's contact information
and we went to see her.
She speaks only Spanish and she told us that she is very sick and
unable to talk much at this time. We felt impressed to ask what was ailing her.
She told us she has cancer. She asked us to come back another
day when she is feeling a little better.
When we returned we brought a native Spanish speaking member
with us. We knocked on her door and she gladly invited us in.
We explained a little about the church and the priesthood authority we hold
and how we can give blessings to people who are ill.
She was excited about the idea and wanted a blessing of healing.
We anointed her with oil and then gave her a blessing.
She was so grateful and said she will finally be able to sleep peacefully tonight.
I am so very grateful for the priesthood and all that we can do through it.
It is truly powerful and it can bring so much peace to people's lives.
I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to help people by using the priesthood which I hold. What an honor it is to me to hold the priesthood office of Elder and to be able to exercise my priesthood to bless others.
We will be meeting with her again this week and I will update you on how
she is doing.

We had a big service project Monday.
This project was called the Red Bag Project. It is where organizations donate toys and we put them in big red bags and give them to kids
that are in foster homes.
It was such a great experience to see all of the cool stuff that
these kids will be getting for Christmas.
They will be so happy to receive them. And I am so glad and humbled
to be able to play a small part in the Christmas for those children.

We also had our ward Christmas party! 
I tried out for the part of Santa and I was so close to getting it, but we found someone that fit the part a little better.  haha  :D

I was just a little too skinny!!

We also made ginger bread houses for a Family Home Evening activity with the

Andrade Family!

That's my gumdrop snowman... kind of melted a bit...:p

I hope you all have a wonderful week and have a wonderful Christmas

season! Enjoy your families and enjoy what is possible because of our

Savior Jesus Christ!

¡Hasta próxima semana! 

Love, Elder Odland!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Have Hope. Have Faith. And live a Loving life.

So on Sunday we had dinner with some really nice members and we gave a dinner message about 

Hope is something that is so important in our lives. 
When we have hope we look forward and work towards better things. 
If we lose hope or in the beginning don't have hope, life can be very dreary. 
The gospel brings so much hope into our lives: having the hope that we will receive blessings that have been promised to us, having hope that we can become better people through Christ, and having hope that after this life everything that we have done will grant us eternal life with our families.
We that have hope in our lives should share the joy that we have with others.

I love this quote by Elder Neal A. Maxwell,
“Being blessed with hope, lets us, as disciples, reach out to all who, for whatever reason, have moved away from the hope of the gospel’ (Col. 1:23).
Let us reach to lift hands which hang hopelessly down.”
Share that hope we have with others that are encompassed with doubt. 
Through the hope of the gospel we can all get through the trails that our lives' bring. 
Have hope. 
Have faith. 
And live a loving life.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I will do the same.  :)

¡Hasta próxima semana!
¡Tenga un buen semana!

With Love, 
Elder Odland

Had to get out my Big coat and gloves!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Another amazing week in the Kaw River Area

In the Hollow of HIS hand May HE Keep You

This week was another great week in the Great Kaw River Area!

Wednesday I went on an exchange with Elder Jeffery. He is a super tall Elder and he is am awesome missionary! We did a lot of tracting and we found 3 potential investigators! We found this guy named Edwin. He met with missionaries about 20 years ago and I think we re-sparked that desire within him. He loved the message we shared with him and we will be returning to visit with him this week! I am super excited to see how he progresses and I have high hopes for him!
I really think he is ready to make this change in his life  :).

On Sunday Elder Bagley and I went into priesthood correlation meeting before church to discuss the Ward Mission Plan. But to our surprise our Bishop asked if we could both give talks in sacrament! They had forgotten to assign talks for the whole month so he asked elder Bagley, our mission president, and me to give talks in church!
I was actually pretty excited!
He asked me to speak on the Atonement and he asked Elder Bagley to speak on missionary work.
After ten minutes of pondering what I would say, I decided to share the account of the atonement in Matthew. It is in Matthew Chapter 26.
This chapter tells what happened on the night when Christ atoned for each and every one of us.

Jesus Christ, knowing God's plan for us, knew that he must complete the Atonement. Even though he experienced such anguish that he pleaded with our father if he could take this cup from him. After checking on his apostles and finding them asleep.....
    (Ch 42) "He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, "O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done."
He knew that it was the will of God, and therefore he did as his father had asked him to do. He then goes back to his disciples once more and sees them fast asleep.
He then says lovingly.... 
    (CH 45) "Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, "Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners."
Showing his pure love for his fellow brothers, he says "sleep on now."

That night there would be no sleep for the savior only pain and anguish awaited him, but he let his disciples sleep.
Christ was the most selfless man to ever walk the face of this earth. And his life will always be an example for us to follow.

Giving that talk really helped me spiritually. On Friday and Saturday I was feeling a bit down and was struggling a little bit. So Sunday morning I prayed for a good spiritual Sunday. And I was blessed when asked to give a talk about our Savior's atonement, a subject very spiritual and touching. I really felt the spirit strongly as I was talking. It definitely recharged me and set me up for the week. 
I love Sundays! 
And people said they really liked it! This one member said, "I love it when you two get up in church to talk because you look like apostles up there!" I thought that was super funny  :-D  and very kind.

After Church we had a lesson with Logan, he is progressing well! He told us that he knows what we are teaching is true:). And still the only thing holding him back from being baptized is his fear of water. So we are diligently praying that he will be able to overcome that fear.

Here is a letter from Logan's sister....

Dear Sister Odland,
Hi my name is Kelli Miguel, your son, Elder Odland is teaching my little brother Logan about the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I've been a member of the church since 2003, and my brother hasn't been baptized yet. Your son, Elder Odland and his companion, Elder Bagley are so patient and so kind to our family and especially to Logan. 
You have raised a wonderful son that has Godlike qualities.
Thank you so much.
Kelli Miguel

We also had zone training again this week and it was awesome. I was able to learn so much and found new ways to become a better missionary.
They also told us that we have a Christmas program coming up where we will have 5-7 minutes, as a zone (our group of missionaries), to do a musical presentation. We decided that we were going to sing a mashup of 3 different Christmas songs! It's going to be sweet! I'm not the best singer but I enjoy doing it.  haha.
So I'm excited for that program.

Well this week has been a good week.  :).
Serving people and teaching people, 24/7.
I am really enjoying it!
I will keep working hard and sharing experiences with you each week!

¡Hasta próxima semana!
- Elder Odland

Enjoy this video of a skill I didn't even know I had!

My Frodo CTR ring skill!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Halloween Fun in Kaw River

Hola Mi amigos! 
¿Como están? 
Aquí en Kaw River la obra fue muy bien. Aprendo más cada día y este es nuevo experiencias cada día también. La mejor parte de la semana fue cuando vamos a la visitor Center con nuestro investigador Logan. El fue muy feliz estar ahí. El es progresando bien, pero él es todavía asustado. Pero, trabajaremos en eso:).

Hey there everyone!
So Kaw River is going great! We had transfers last Thursday and..... I'm staying in Kaw River with this awesome companion! 

(Elder Bagley is a great companion, and look at this awesome tile wall we found!)

I am super happy that I will serve at least one more transfer(6 weeks) in Kaw River! 
The people here are great and so many interesting things happen here haha. 
I love it! 

A cool thing that we did this week was take our investigator Logan to the Visitor Center in Independence! We went on Sunday after church and it was a great day to go since our mission president was having a devotional there. Logan's family came with us as well, and they all enjoyed the devotional. I thought it was awesome! There were many recent converts that bore their sweet testimonies. It was so neat to hear their stories about how the church has helped them in their lives. 
I am so thankful for the gospel and how much it has blessed me and my family. I hope Logan was able to see how much the church makes a different in someone's life. After the devotional, Logan and I went and watched a few videos about Moroni and the gold plates and about the stripling warriors. He loves everything he learns but he is still afraid of water and is therefore hesitant about baptism. If you could keep him in your prayers so that he can overcome his fear that would be great. He is a super nice kid and it is awesome to see him progress! 

We have been teaching our recent convert, Araceli, the new member lessons and she is doing great! It's so awesome to see her keep making progress!

So as we all know this week was Halloween! We weren't able to tract after dark so we did weekly planning on Saturday instead of the normal Thursday. It began as a normal day but after we got home for the night.....We put on our Halloween glasses and colored these storm trooper helmets that helped get us in the spirit of Halloween... and Star Wars! :-D     It was a fun night.
Thank you to everyone who sent us Halloween Fun.

They didn't quite fit!!

 We work hard each day and let the Lord guide us and pray he will take us to people who are prepared to hear His word. 

This Sunday we had a stake wide fast for missionary opportunities. We handed out a Book of Mormon to every family at church and challenged them to give it to someone and share the gospel with them. I thought this was such a great idea!
I know that when we act in faith and tell someone about the gospel it can truly effect their life! There is this sweet "Mormon Message" on called "Sharing Your Beliefs".
I challenge all of you to watch it and find someway you can share the gospel this week!
I know it will bless you and the person you talk with. And... Missionary work is fun!
Don't be afraid to jump out of your comfort zone, because that is where all the good stuff is. :D

I hope you all have a great week!
¡Tenga un muy bien semana y no olvidan compartir el evangelio con su amigos!
Have a great week and don't forget to share the gospel with your friends.
Until next week!
            - Elder Odland

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Araceli's Baptism

¡Hola Amigos!
Este semana fue muy interesante! Las personas aquí están muy amable.
Tenemos muchos lecciones en la semana y nuestro investigadores están
progresando bien. También tenemos una servicio bautismal con nuestro
investigador Araceli Reyes. Es fue una muy bien experiencia. Ella fue
muy entusiasmado por su bautismal. Y ella fue confirmó en domingo.
Entonces yo siento muy bien para nuestro investigadores especialmente

There is a little Spanish for you all.  It may be a little rough 
but I'm learning.   :-)

Early in the week we went to a members house and to our surprise as we walked in we saw a parrot just sitting there on top of his cage! He was a very large bird and, with the owners permission, we tried to pet him. As long as we would just hold him, he was fine. But when we tried to pet him he reacted with a nip at our arms! It wasn't at all painful but still a bit intimidating. He was really an amazing bird!
Just a LITTLE exaggeration here!  :-)

Well I went on another exchange this week with Elder Katoa. I learned so much from him. He is such an awesome missionary and is fearless when it comes to talking to random people on the street. His example strengthened me and I strive to conquer my fears and shyness and be more like Elder Katoa.
On Saturday of this week we had an awesome day! Our investigator Araceli was baptized! 

It was such an amazing and heart warming experience. She was super excited all week and especially on Saturday. We had a nice meeting for her where Elder Bagley and Sister Rollins gave awesome talks about Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. 
The spirit was felt so strongly that day as Araceli made her first covenant with her Heavenly Father. She has been an awesome person to teach each week and it's been awesome to 
see her progress up to baptism. 
Our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us, and when we make these covenants (promises) with him, we show how much we love him.
Araceli's baptism

I know God is our loving Heavenly Father and that he wants us to make and keep covenants with him throughout our lives. His love is sufficient for all.
I was excited as Araceli was confirmed an member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. I am so happy for her to make this step in her life! We had a great time at church and were called in to teach Sunday School last minute. So Elder Bagley and I talked about missionary work. WOW being a Sunday School teacher is more difficult than giving a normal lesson as a missionary haha... Kids do not want to listen! It kind of made be feel bad for how I acted as a kid from time to time. So sorry to all those patient Brothers out their who have been my teachers in the past.

After church we went over to the Collins house to give their aunt a blessing, a request from the family since she was nearing the end of her life. As we arrived we walk in and sister Collins said "well your too late." Her aunt had already passed away. She had had some kind of disease and looked very dead.... a bit scary to me since I had never seen a dead person before. Then sister Collins said, "well you guys can still give her a blessing." Elder Bagley and I just looked at each other for a moment as we thought to ourselves....but she's dead! But we did as the family wished and give her a blessing. It was probably one of the strangest experiences I have ever had. Giving a dead person a blessing and touching this dead lady on the I said.... This was the first time I had ever seen a dead person, let alone touch one.  It was very apparent this lifeless body no longer housed the spirit it once had and that it was now just an empty vessel. The Aunt had departed her earthly body and was now on the other side of the veil, happy and at peace. Afterwards I felt bad that we hadn't gotten their soon enough and we were feeling a bit uneasy about the whole situation. Elder Bagley and I felt super sad on the drive home so we called our bishop to talk to him about what had happened. He said something that eased our minds, "Heavenly father is in control of time, and if he wanted you to give her a blessing before she passed he would have permitted it. But it wasn't meant to be that way. So you shouldn't stress about it. You did your duty and Heavenly Father will take care of the rest." After the counsel of our bishop we felt a piece of mind and we were able to go on with our day and teach an awesome lesson to our investigator Logan :). 
He is a super cool kid and we were able to teach him about the Plan of Salvation during that lesson. He was intrigued with hearing about the Celestial Kingdom and voiced his desire to attain the Celestial Kingdom of Heaven when he leaves this Earthly life. He wants to be baptized but has a terrible fear of water. With Heavenly Father's help, we will try our best to help him overcome his fear. He has also started praying at night and watching "Mormon Messages" on It's awesome to see him progress in the knowledge of Our Savior Jesus Christ and God's Plan of Happiness for all of God's children.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve as a representative of Jesus Christ and each day I look for different ways I can help someone. Sometimes people need service. Sometimes they need more doctrinal knowledge. And sometimes they just need to be loved.

We show our love for our Heavenly Father by loving others and taking care of them. Love one another and you will forever be blessed.

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God" (1 John 4:7).

Until next week mi amigos. ¡Adios!

- Elder Odland

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Birthday in the Mission Field

Happy 19th Birthday Elder Odland
25 Oct 2015
at The Kaw River Ward
Elder Odland with Brother and Sister Elliot

Elder Odland with Brother and Sister Zamora

Hola Mi amigos!

Este semana fue muy bien! La mejor parte de la semana fue cuando
encontramos un nuevo familia enseñar! Este familia es Navajo! Ellos
son muy interesado y ellos quieren aprender más sobre el evangelio.
Encontrado este familia fue un bendición para me. Estoy muy feliz
cuando encontramos un nuevo investigadores! Y también ayer fue mi
cumpleaños!! Mi primero cumpleaños en la misión! Lo fue muy divertido
y muchos miembros mi dan Cupcakes!:D Todo aquí son muy amable! Yo
siento mucho felicidad por me especial día!:)


Hello My Friends,
This week went very well! The best part of the week was when
we found a new family to teach! This family is Navajo! They
are very interested and want to learn more about the Gospel.
Finding this family was a blessing for me. I am very happy
when we find new investigators! And yesterday was my
birthday! My first birthday in the mission field! It was very fun
and some members in my ward gave me Cupcakes!: D
Everyone here are all very friendly!
I felt great happiness on my special day.

This week has been awesome!
We had many lessons and we work as hard as we can each day.
I really want to focus on telling you about two miracles that happened this week.

The first was while I was planning our day I was impressed that we should visit a former investigator named Hana. So we went over to her house and she invited us right in!
We got to talk with her nice family! She has 3 kids and her father is living with her for now. We were able to teach her three times this week, which usually never happens! People are usually so busy. But she is super interested in the gospel and the spirit was so strong in each of our lessons. At the end of the last lesson we had with her, she offered the closing prayer. In her prayer she asked God if the things we were talking about were true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet.
It was so awesome to see her pray for that right in front of everyone at the lesson.
I hope that she begins to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it also. I really feel that she is ready to receive the gospel in her life. We will keep teaching her and I will share those experiences as they happen:)..... But being able to find Hana was such a blessing and an answer to prayer since we really wanted to find some new solid investigators that are ready to hear our message, and the lord put Hana in our path! 
He works in mysterious ways and he is always watching over us:).

The second miracle may not sound like a miracle but it was for Elder Bagley and I:).
Yesterday we had a lesson with an investigator named Logan.
And usually it is really hard for him to focus and we try our best to talk about things he is interested in to help him stay focused.
When we went there this time, we began talking to them for a bit to see how their day
was and while we were talking to Logan's sister, Logan interrupted and said, 
"Could we read 1 Nephi Chapter 2?"

Elder Bagley and I were stoked to hear that!

Most of our investigators have had such a hard time with reading and finding that desire to read. So when Logan showed that desire to us, we were just so happy!

After we read 1 Nephi Chapter 2 we asked him to give a bit of a summery for us. He then, to our surprise, told us what happened in the scripture and didn't miss a single point! 
It was amazing! He retained so much!
He's basically better than me already! :p

We then shared the Mormon message: "A Secure Anchor".
It's a super good video that really shows the importance of having the Gospel in our lives to guide us as we go through difficult trials and challenges.

I'd like to ask all of you to look up this video and watch
it and focus on how the Savior is there to help us in our lives.

                                                "A Secure Anchor"

Something else that happened yesterday was ....My Birthday! :D
It was kind of a weird experience to have my birthday on my mission since it's
just a normal day... haha, the work doesn't stop. But some members were
very sweet and made me some cupcakes and a cake! And they also sang
Happy Birthday to me during priesthood meeting at church:). The people
here are so loving and I am so grateful to be in the Kaw River ward!

I am so thankful for all the birthday wishes I have received and I am so thankful for my loving family and friends! You are the best! :D

Until next week! ¡Tenga un buen semana!
- Elder Odland

Friday, October 16, 2015

A Letter Home.....I'm So Thankful I Chose to Serve a Mission

Here we are at zone training. While there we took some snazzy pictures:) can you spot me??;)

Hey Mom and Pops! :)                                                                                      12 Oct 2015
Elder Bagley and I are doing great! I can act pretty much myself around him, which is awesome :)
And now our apartment has that home feeling to it. Not home as in where my family is, but the comforting and familiar feeling of home which I am blessed to feel. It helps after a long day being able to go home and feel comfortable instead of feeling like I'm staying at someone else's house or a hotel or something.
It's also super nice to have an awesome companion. He helps me so much each day and I learn new things every second of the day haha. 
And my Spanish is progressing too. I am currently the one in charge of the cell phone so I call people, confirming dinners, appointments. etc...... which are mostly in Spanish. I say dumb stuff sometimes but that's why we practice:)  To make these mistakes only helps us learn from them :-D and the people here are very understanding since they know that I am still learning. It is still difficult for me to understand everything that they say,but I will just keep studying and praying for the gift of tongues. :-)
So this week was a bit hectic haha.
Earlier in the week we met with Logan Villegas but his dad wasn't home so we couldn't go inside, so we gave him a nice door step lesson for about 30 min. He had a lot of questions and we enjoyed helping him better understand. We also just had another lesson with him last night. We arrived for our 7pm appointment but found only his sister to be home.
Though disappointed Logan was not there, we talked with his sister for a bit just standing outside. I had a strong feeling we should wait just a little longer so we talked for about 25 more minutes and then Logan and his dad pulled into the driveway!
I was like "Sweeeeet"!! So we were able to teach him about the Plan of Salvation. He was a bit tired and had a hard time staying focused. He still asked some very good questions and we did our best to answer them.  We felt the need to focus on how much our Heavenly Father loves us. The spirit was SO strong during the lesson and his mom really realized the importance of the Gospel in our lives.
It was an awesome lesson and we are seeing him again tomorrow. Logan is excited to learn more.
We also met with Felix again, and this time we were able to teach him a lesson. Just as we began, his friend came over and joined in.... but he just kept telling us that we are wrong! But, while that guy was talking, Felix continued to listen to us and to read the pamphlet ....and he started tearing up. You could tell the Spirit was witnessing to him the truthfulness of what we were telling him. Felix had a lot of great questions and we enjoyed answering them and seeing his delight in the message and the calm assurance of the Spirit. I am so grateful that he didn't listen to what his friend was saying and instead listened to what Heavenly Father was telling him.
This lesson was in Spanish, by the way! ;p But despite my lack of proficiency in Spanish, Heavenly Father still witnessed to him through the spirit of the Holy Ghost and Felix was able to understand all that I had said to him. What a great feeling it was to feel the Spirit with us so strongly. I am truly thankful for our Father in Heaven and all he does to assist me in my missionary work. I love teaching these wonderful people. I want them to know of this true joy that I have in The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We are planning to see Felix again this week. He desires to know more about the gospel and I am excited for our next lesson.
I also had an "Exchange" this week. An Exchange is when our district leader swaps out with a missionary so you have a new companion for a day. We went down to Hickory Hills and I was with the district leader for the first day. They didn't have a car so we got to ride bikes! You know I always wanted to bike on my mission and it was actually super fun. We had great fun cruising down the big hills. :D We rode all over the place and visited people along our way and also some less active families. One of the people we spoke to told us all of these stories about his previous way of life. It was really interesting and it is awesome to see the faith people have and the desire they have to change. Many of these stories about how they have changed can be very inspiring!
By the time we began heading home it was about 8:45pm and so it was pretty dark. I only had this little dinky light on my bike and at some spots it was so hard to see! But elder Midgley (our district leader) knew his way and I swear he has night vision and he guided me wherever we went! :) I had an awesome time with him and learned much. We will be doing another Exchange on Wednesday so Elder Midgley can be with Elder Bagley for the day. (The district leader has to go on an Exchange with every missionary in his district every month.) I will be with Elder Katoah this Wednesday and I am really looking forward to another bike day!:D
The day after my Exchange we had an event that we called "Gathering the Lost Sheep". It was where all the missionaries from our zone came to the Kaw River Ward (my ward) and we paired up with a member and went knocking on inactive members doors. I was paired up with a super sweet older couple that are also serving here for their mission. They were so sweet! We had some success and talked with two inactive families and as a result of this big activity we now have a bunch of referrals and less actives to visit!  ...which is a blessing! The more work we have the better! Having nothing to do as a missionary is the worst!
That activity was on Saturday and then Sunday was a fantastic day for me personally. Church was just awesome and it felt so good to take the sacrament and feel the spirit. :) We had ward coordination meeting and we are getting ready for our baptism this coming Saturday. I won't be baptizing Araceli since she wants a friend of hers to perform her baptism. This is her choice and I am totally fine with it. This will be a very special experience for her.
Today we helped a family move all of there stuff out of their house, sadly they had been evicted. I enjoyed helping in the way I was able. Service is the best! :D
Well I'm doing awesome and I thoroughly enjoy everything I do here :)
Every day we find someone to help. I definitely needed this in my life and I am so glad I made this decision to go on a mission.
Mission life is totally not what I expected.... It's even better :D
Just always know that I am safe and Elder Bagleys always got my back :)
Thank you so much for your letters, and I am where I am because of you. :) You taught me and raised me right. :D I love you so much! :)
I'll talk to you next Monday!   :)
Tenga un buen día!

Love your, Elder Odland

Got some NEW shoes Mom. Ahhhh these feel better.  :)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

 I want to share some experiences I've had....
21 Sept 2015
So today was an awesome day! 
The morning was just how it always is, which is 4 hours of studying. I love studying the scriptures and learning more and more about Our Savior, Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness.
After our study we went off to the hospital to see a man named Mr. Shovar. He has been in the hospital for over a month. I don't know the specifics but we went and talked with him and found out that today was not only his birthday, but his son's birthday, and the day one of his other sons passed away. So it was a very rough day for him to just be stuck in the hospital and he was super grateful that we came out to see him. He said he feels very lonely there at the hospital and he doesn't get many visitors anymore. We felt very sorry for him and could feel his pain. We promised him that we will bring him the sacrament on Sunday and that we will visit him as often as possible and get in contact with his home ward. After we talked for a bit he asked if I could give him a blessing and I gladly said yes. The spirit helped me gave one of the best blessing I have ever given and I felt the spirit so strongly during it and Mr. Shovar was in tears afterwards. I think he was able to feel the love that his Heavenly Father has for him and that He is truly always watching over him. We shared a brief video about going through hardships with the help of Heavenly Father which Mr. Shovar enjoyed. He was so thankful for our visit and the message we shared with him. He is a great guy. I'm so glad we were able to meet him and spend time with this kind man.
After that we went over to another hospital and administered a blessing to another man that had been in an accident and was about to go into surgery. We could feel the sweet comfort of the Spirit as my companion, Elder Bagley gave that blessing.
After those visits we had dinner at a nice Spanish family's house where we ate some KFC while I struggled to understand what they were saying. haha. But it was very nice and I'm thankful for their sweet spirit and generosity :).
After dinner we had an appointment with the Villegas family. They are super nice people and an awesome family. The parents are inactive but their 20 year old daughter is very active and she has a 9 year old son whos name is Logan. During our time there, Logan was just playing his DS and not really listening or paying attention to what we were saying even though we tried to include him as much as we could. But then near the end of our time there, we shared the video: "He lives" and talked about what Christ has done for us. The spirit was very strong during that message and Logan came out and said that he wants to go to church this Sunday and go to scouts (Elder Bagley and I had talked about how fun and exciting scouts has been for us). It was awesome! His family was surprised and excited at Logan's reaction! How great it is when the Spirit touches the hearts of those around us. I am excited for Logan to experience all the joys of church and all the fun he will have at scouts.
So today was an awesome day!! :)
22 Sept 2015 .....Today we taught Logan lesson one, "The Restoration". And it was a super awesome lesson. Logan's father, sister and Logan were all in tears when Elder Bagley and I where bearing our testimonies and telling them how much their Heavenly Father loves them. It was such a GREAT experience. :D
These are just a few but I hope you enjoy these experiences I had. :)
There are so many it's hard to remember every detail and difficult to write them all down. But they play over and over in my mind and in my heart and I wish I could share all that I feel.
I love missionary work and I just love helping people all day, every day. I simply LOVE being a missionary.
With Love, Elder Odland

Monday, September 21, 2015

Elder Bagley and Elder Odland - New Companions

MOSIAH  Chapter 24  Verse 14

14.  And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders,
that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and
this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye
may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions.

I'm now back in the states. While the Mexico Missionary Training Center was absolutely is good to be home again.
My first area is in the Kaw River area in Kansas just a short distance from Missouri. It encompasses Kansas City and a big area outside of the "city" as well. This area of town is a bit rough and I was a little afraid of going tracting! But as I've been here a few days I've come to find that it isn't too bad and the people haven't given us any trouble:)
Our apartment is actually pretty big! We have a bedroom, an office, a living room, a dining area and a tiny kitchen. Oh yea and a bathroom :p
So it's super roomy and its a good home. :D    I enjoy it.
The outside halls have the smell of cigarettes but inside smells clean and fresh.  :)

My new companion is Elder Bagley! He's an awesome guy. He has been teaching me a lot since I've arrived and he has only been out in the field for 6 weeks! He was leaving the MTC right as I got there! But he is awesome and he knows what he is doing so I am in good hands.  :) 

So about my ward, it is a Spanglish ward.  :D  ....which I am so happy for haha! And my area is one of the most Spanish speaking areas in my mission, so it's a good place to start!
Everyone in my ward is awesome! Sacrament meeting is in English, which I am thankful for, so I can understand what everyone is saying. :D  Sunday one of the speakers didn't show up so they asked if I could share a little bit about myself and talk about why I came on a mission. So that was a cool experience.  I enjoyed it.  :)
Sunday School and Priesthood classes are all in Spanish. I didn't understand everything that was said but I got the gist of what they were teaching.  :) I met so many awesome people there!
After church we went to visit a lady in our apartment building that we had an appointment with, but she wouldn't open the door... It was supposed to be our first lesson with her but I guess she changed her mind. But that's okay, she has her agency.
I read in a talk this week that said, "It doesn't matter how many people turn you away, it just matters how many people accept your message." And that we should not be afraid to talk to everyone we possibly can. And we mustn't be afraid of being rejected, because if we are, then we will miss people that are ready to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   I really liked that talk and it helped me with my shyness in talking to strangers. :)  
After leaving the lady's place we went to dinner with the Giona family, and they were awesome! We had chili dogs :). It brought back great memories of the chili dogs we would have at home cooked over the BBQ pit on days after working hard in the yard or cutting firewood.
After dinner we tracked their area for a little while but didn't find anyone at home. So from there we went and visited two ladies that are in the hospital and I had my first opportunity to give a blessing! It was a little short but I did my best:)  I'm sure the Lord understood all that was in my heart.
We then talked with them for a little while and helped them with a few things they needed. It was then 9pm so we headed home:)

The missionary life is awesome, we live to help others:) It makes me feel good when I can help someone that is in need!:)  

Till next time.
Adios...Elder Odland

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My Flight to Independence, Missouri with my Guardian Angel

Elder Odland with his companion Elder Hales safely back at Dallas International Airport
after landing gear problems in the air.

Elder Odland has safely arrived at his mission home in Independence, Missouri. There were mechanical problems with his aircraft and after 30 min into the flight they had to circle back and land at Dallas. They then had to find a new plane they could finish their flight on. Much time passed and we all back at home didn't know why the in-flight websites weren't placing our boys flight where it should have been. He was traveling with a large group of missionaries all traveling from The Mexico MTC to Independence, Missouri so many missionary mom's had their eye on that flight!
But Heavenly Father placed a guardian angel on that flight....a sister from the Liberty 1st ward in the Independence area and she texted us mom's for many hours letting us know our boys were safe and happy. She was such a wonderful help to us and our boys. She sent us sweet messages from our boys and great pictures. When it was all over she shared a touching story with us....for just a few months before this, she had a lady do the very same thing with her son as he returned from Brazil and she prayed for an opportunity to pay it forward...and this was it! Thank you Jody and Thank you Heavenly Father for keeping all of our boys safe.

Safely landed in Missouri with Sister Vest the Mission President's wife.
Packing up all their luggage and headed to the Mission Home

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Last Day In CCM!

Hey Everyone!

Today (15 Sept 2015) is my last day at the CCM! The time here has gone by so fast! It is hard to believe that I have already been here for a month and a half! I have learned so much while I have been here and now I can give lessons about pretty much anything gospel related in Spanish! ...In its basic form haha, It's still difficult to discuss things in detail in Spanish but I will keep on learning when I am in Missouri! It will be such an awesome experience in Missouri!
I have loved my time here at the CCM! The teachers we had were amazing and they cared for us so much! They were more like part of our family because we spent so much time with them these past six weeks. They are doing amazing work here at the CCM and they work so hard, as well as all of the Missionaries here. I have met so many cool people during my time here!

Here are some of the missionaries in our zone. These guys were great to get to know and to learn with.

I have had so much fun here, and have learned how to work hard. Learning Spanish in six weeks isn't easy and it doesn't come quickly! ...but through prayer and hard work, each and everyone of us are now able to give awesome lessons that pertain directly to the investigators needs, in Spanish! I am so glad I had the opportunity to work with these awesome Elders! And I'd like to give a shout out to Hermano Soto! He was our teacher for 5 weeks and was the coolest guy I have ever met! He has taught me so much and he is definitely a role model for me! Even though we are working all day that doesn't mean we cant have some fun;)
-Elder Odland's District and Hermano Soto (teacher)
It was hard saying goodbye to all of my wonderful teachers and friends, but I am off on a new adventure! I cannot wait to help as many people as I can in Missouri! And I know the Lord will be right by my side assisting me with each and everything I do.
I am so thankful to be a missionary and I know this experience will help many people and develop me into a better man.
If any of you are wondering if you should go on a mission... I would say, it has been one of the best decisions I've made. I have learned so much and that feeling you get when you help others and serve your heavenly father is like no other :D. So I would say, have faith and GO:)

At this time tomorrow, I will be in Missouri! Its hard to believe, but its happening:) but I am ready to help some of God's wonderful children. Here I come Missouri!:D
¡Adios! For the last time in Mexico!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


This last email Elder Odland didn't have a whole lot of time to email, but he was able to send some awesome pictures! Check them out!

My one month point....I have learned so much and have really grown spiritually and emotionally.
It is truly a wonderful thing to be able to serve a mission. 

I love The Gospel of Jesus Christ and want to share this joy with everyone. 

It rains a lot here in Mexico and when it rains it rains HARD. The thunder is amazing too.
Raining Hard In Mexico-Elder Hales and Elder Odland
 Learning the language is coming along very well.
Spanish Class-Elder Allen and Elder Odland
He has been such a great role model for me.
-Elder Hafen and Elder Odland
Elder Rio has been so great to get to know and to learn with.
-Elder Rio and Elder Odland
Elder Christopherson visited us this week. What an honor it was to be in the presence of an apostle and to hear his inspired words. I wish I had time to tell you all about it. But I can quickly say the Spirit was so strong with him. He is truly a man of God.

The Armor of Nephi
With Much Love,  Elder Odland  :)