Tuesday, August 25, 2015

!Buenos Dias¡

So today my district had the opportunity to go and visit the Mexico City Temple! We left at 8am and it took us about an hour to drive to it through all of the crazy Mexico City traffic! I really don't see how people drive buses in all of this unorganized traffic! They are truly skilled drivers! We got to the temple and it looked amazing. The temple grounds are so pretty and it is such a beautiful place to go. We took an amazing tour through the visitor center and then we moved onto the temple. We started in the baptismal font room, and the font was decorated in an awesome ancient looking pattern! We moved onto the ceiling room, which was so peaceful and uplifting. After that we went into the Celestial room, which is by far the best and most beautiful room out of them all. The spirit is so strong there, and all I could think about is walking into the celestial room with my whole family one day and having all of them experience the same joy that i felt so strongly. It is the best feeling, to be in that room with the people you love and care about. The Temple is an amazing place! I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go to this temple here in Mexico. Each temple has its own unique personality and beauty!  
At The Temple In Mexico-Elder Hales and Elder Odland
I also ran into on of my good buddies from when I lived in Utah! It was awesome to see him again, and his district went to the temple with us. It was great to be able to share that experience with a great friend! Thanks Ty....Elder Munro.
             You Never Know Who Might Be At The MTC With You-Elder Munro and Elder Odland

Tomorrow Elder Christopherson is coming to speak to all of the Missionaries here at the CCM. That will be an awesome experience and I am so excited to see what he will be inspired to say:D

Tomorrow also marks my halfway point here at the CCM. Next thing I know I'll be hopping on a plane headed back to the states! I can't wait!:) Until Next Time! 


-Elder Odland
The City Of Mexico

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Week Two!

Hey Everyone!
Week 2 at the Mexico MTC (CCM) was awesome! I'm getting used to the schedule and every day goes by so fast because I am either studying or in a class all day long. I am learning so much and the people here amaze me every day. The locals that work around the CCM are the nicest people and they are such hard workers. 

The Spanish I am learning is getting more complicated and I am learning so much. Heavenly father is always there when I need help. 

I think this Friday we will be able to go to the open house of the Mexico City Temple, which will be an awesome experience!! I am so excited for it! And then on the 26th Elder Christopherson will be coming to the CCM! That will be amazing! 

I am so happy to be here at the CCM. It may be one of the most difficult things I have ever done, but I have already grown so much, mentally and spiritually. And I have met some of the nicest people that work as hard as they can to prepare all of the missionaries here. I am truly thankful for all of my teachers and leaders that I can look up to and get help from. 
I am so glad that I decided to go on a mission. I cant wait to share the gospel with the people in Missouri! I want to share the happiness I have felt with as many people as I can!

Thank you for all the support and am thankful for everyone that will join me on this journey! 

Me gustaria compartir mi testimonio. Yo se que la iglasia es verdadero y Jose smith fue un profeta de dios. Yo se que nuestro Padre Celestial nos quiere a todas y el Libro de Mormon es la palabra de Dios. Yo se que Jesus vive y nos escucha y Dios contesta nuestras oraciones. Yo se que si oramos, estudiamos, y cumplimos con los mandamientos, sabremos la verdad. Testifico de estas cosas en el nobre de Jesucristo. Amen.

(I'd like to share my testimony. I know that the church is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. I know that Heavenly Father loves all of us and the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know that Jesus lives and listens to us and God answers prayers. I know that if we pray, study, and obey the commandments we will know the truth. I testify of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen)
I found some really good scriptures this week that I would love if everyone took the time to read them.
The first is, DC  82:14  
The second is: DC 43:15,16 it is a good scripture about missionary work.
The third is: Corinthians 2:1-5  This one is awesome, it talks about how we may not speak the language amazingly but our heart is in the right spot and the spirit will be with us. The spirit converts, how good our speech is doesn't convert. It can help, but it is not the main part, our faith has to be in the power of God. 
The last one is Alma 7:23-24 This scripture explains how we should act and how we should live our lives. 

With much Love! -Elder Odland 
P-Day Clothes-Elder Hales and Elder Odland

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

First Email and First Week In Mexico

Here is Elder Odlands first email he sent. Sounds like he has a busy schedule but is very much enjoying his time in the Mexico MTC. 
Well the CCM has been awesome! I have only been here for 6ish days and I have done so much! 
The first day we had a tour of the CCM and I met my first companion. His name is Elder Hales. He has been a great companion and a fun person to be around. He will be my companion for the next 6 weeks. He is going to Missouri too! We got to meet our district, we have 8 people in our district and 6 of them are going to independence with me! So I thought that was awesome! We will probably end up being companions again once we have been in the field for a while. After we met our district we went to our Casa (house). It’s like a small house with 5 rooms. Each room has a bathroom attached and you share the room with 3 other elders. The two other elders in our room are Elder Jake and Elder Smith. They are also awesome and Elder Jake is hilarious. The beds here already have sheets on them and it is pretty muggy and hot so I don’t really need a big blanket. They do provide a small blanket and that has been perfectly fine for me. The beds aren’t as big and comfortable as my bed at home haha. And I didn’t sleep very well the first couple nights because of the heat and the constant noise from outside of the CCM wall. Mexico City is so dense and busy! Constant car honking... But I slept pretty good last night and apparently I was snoring haha. So I guess Mexico makes me snore haha. So that was pretty much the first day. The second day was when the hard stuff started. We begin studying at 7am and we are constantly studying Spanish, the scriptures, or going to meeting until 930 at night. It is definitely the most my brain has had to work haha. But its good for me. I am used to the schedule now and I am starting to sleep better. So on the third day we were told that we have to teach an investigator in spanish and we just had the morning to prepare... the investigator is just like a teacher that is acting, but they are very convincing!! The first lesson with him, his name is Adan, went well. I could barely understand what he was saying and there were many awk silences where elder Hales and I had no idea what he said haha. And he doesn’t speak any English... The second day actually went worse than the first day, our lesson went by super fast, it is supposed to be a 30 min lesson, and we only took 10 min. Adan just wasn’t talking very much. But yesterday we taught him and it went awesome. I tried a different lesson prep strategy and I didn’t write down as much, Before we went In I said a prayer and just let the spirit guide me in what i said in Spanish. It went awesome. We taught him about baptism and some other stuff about his family and we got him to commit to be baptized on sept. first! I know he isn’t real, but I thought it was a great experience. And they are like trained actors or something haha, because they get really into the lesson and it feels like I am teaching someone that is discovering the gospel for the first time. After that lesson I felt so good and Thanked Heavenly father for the success we had! Today is my P day so I don’t teach him today, our next appt with him is tomorrow. I am definitely enjoying the CCM experience so far! there are so many spiritual people here! Its amazing! 

When Sunday came I was so happy! we don’t have as much studying that day and there are just devotionals with our district and all the missionaries. Sacrament meeting was all in Spanish so that was pretty awesome! And All of the other meetings were really good as well. I have never felt the spirit so strong than on that day. We listened to a talk by Jeffery R Holland and it really spoke to me. It answered so many questions that I had and made me know, without a doubt, that I am supposed to be here at the CCM. Sunday´s are definitely the best days here at the CCM. They are so spiritual! 

The food here is awesome! it is all you can eat authentic Mexican food! It is so good. I go for seconds every meal and Im pretty sure I probably put on a pound or two of weight haha. Each day we get 45 minutes of gym time; we always go and play basketball which is always fun and relaxing! So far I am really enjoying it here! I have learned so much and my testimony is definitely growing! I can’t wait to tell you guys about everything that happens! I will be able to email every P day, I only have an hour to email so if grammar and punctuation isn’t perfect that’s why haha.

I hope everyone is doing well! And I am doing Awesome here at the CCM! 

-Elder Odland
Mexico Sign-Elder Odland and Elder Hales                         Elder Odland and the Many Missionaries
-Elder Odland and the Missionaries

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

He Has Arrived!

We just got news from the MTC in Mexico; Elder Odland arrived safely and sends his love to all his friends and family. He is very anxious to start learning Spanish and preparing to teach the gospel to the people of Independence, Missouri. While Elder Odland is gone these next 2 years I, Laura Odland, his sister, will be updating and taking care of his blog. Please email or write John while he is on this journey. Updated mailing and email addresses will always be posted on the right column of the blog. Also, feel free to leave comments on the blog posts, I will relay them to John as well. 
In Mexico MTC-John Odland

He's Off!

Today Dinah and Kjetil dropped off their handsome Elder Odland Missionary at the Bangor airport. John is very excited and looks extremely sharp if you ask me. Here are some fun pictures of his departure and a few scriptures that John wanted me to post.
Packing the ties-John Odland
The Doctrine and Covenants-Section 80: 3-5
3. Wherefore, go ye and preach my gospel, whether to the north or to the south, to the east or to the west, it mattereth not, for ye cannot go amiss.
4. Therefore, declare the things which ye have heard, and verily believe, and know to be true.
5. Behold, this is the will of him who hath called you, your Redeemer, even Jesus Christ. Amen.
Saying goodbye-Dinah, John and Kjetil
All packed and ready to go-John Odland
Checking In-John Odland
And He Is OFF!!-John Odland
We are all needed in this life.....to help one another.
We all have something to contribute.
Like the pioneers - If we work together, we will all successfully reach our journeys end.

Doctrine & Covenants 46: 11-33

11 For all have not every gift given unto them: for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
12 To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
13 To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world. 
14 To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.
15 And again, to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the differences of administration, as it will be pleasing unto the same Lord, according as the Lord will, suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men.
16 And again, it is given by the Holy Ghost to some to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit withal.
17 And again, verily I say unto you, to some is given, by the Spirit of God, the word of wisdom.
18 To another is given the word of knowledge, that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge.
19 And again, to some it is given to have faith to be healed;
20 And to others it is given to have faith to heal.
21 And again, to some is given the working of miracles;
22 And to others it is given to prophesy;
23 And to others the discerning of spirits.
24 And again, it is given to some to speak with tongues;
25 And to another is given the interpretation of tongues.
26 And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.
27 And unto the bishop of the church, and unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God.
28 And it shall come to pass that he that asketh in Spiritshall receive in Spirit;
29 That unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head, in order that every member may be profited thereby.
30 He that asketh in the Spirit asketh according to the willof God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh.
31 And again, I say unto you, all things must be done in the name of Christ, whatsoever you do in the Spirit;
32 And ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with.
33 And ye must practice virtue and holiness before me continually. Even so. Amen.

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Nauvoo Temple
      Today, I had my farewell. Saying goodbye to all of my family and all of my great friends can be hard, but it is for the right reason. And I know Heavenly Father will guide me through these next two years. 
     Today was fast Sunday, so I actually gave my farewell talk last Sunday. Which I have written down and would like to share with you.         

    Good Morning brothers and sisters, My name is John Odland and I have been called to serve in the Independence Missouri, Spanish speaking, Mission. And I will be leaving for the Mexico MTC in ten days. And I would like to share with you a paragraph from a letter that my mission president sent me:

    There are so many great Historical Church moments that have happened and will happen in Missouri. And I am truly grateful to be able to serve in Zion and I am really excited embark on this journey.

    I am so grateful for my families support during this time in my life, and I love each and everyone of them so much. This past month my parents and I took a trip to Utah to visit the rest of the family. We started driving a couple days after I opened my mission call, and that is why many of you haven't seen me since I got my call. We were on a pretty tight schedule and I wanted to spend as much time with my family as possible. Along the way to Utah, a tire on our boat trailer blew, and we were forced to change it on the side of the interstate where there was barely a shoulder. While my mom was making traffic aware of the situation, and I was manning the jack, my Dad was like a one man pit crew. Unscrewing each lug-nut like he had a race to win. As soon as we got the spare tire on, a state trooper showed up and apologized for not getting to us sooner to assist in the directing of traffic. But he was very nice and helped us find a tire shop that was open. We got a new tire on the boat and put the spare back where it belonged. And then we were on our way.

Just having fun at Lake Powell
    To our joy and excitement, the next day our suburban, which was pulling a 7,000 pound load, decided to literally die on us. Leaving us in the middle of Nebraska with no way to haul our boat. We were able to find a small family mechanic that generously offered to buy our dead vehicle and let us rent a UHaul truck. From there, The three of us jumped in the Truck, packed like sardines, and drove the last 600 miles to Utah. We made it to my sister’s house late that night with numb legs and aching bodies. But it was all worth it, because I was finally able to see my sisters. They were very happy to see me but we still had one small problem. We have this big boat just sitting in front of my sisters condo and nothing to tow it around with. And everyone had got work off so we could all go down to Lake Powell and spend the 4th of July on the lake. We had one day to find a decent truck that would replace our suburban. I was able to find one on KSL that was exactly what we were looking for, and ended up being a perfect vehicle for us. Our family continued with our plan and had a great 4th of July celebration. During the rest of my time in Utah, I was able to get a few of my inactive family members to attend church with me for the two Sundays I was there for. And I would just like to say how grateful I am for the Ellsworth branch. Ever since I have been coming here, I have yet to find another branch or ward that has a better spirit, a better group of loving individuals, and a better sense of involvement, that beats the Ellsworth Branch. I am so thankful for each and every member. You have made my life and church experience so much better. I love all you guys!

    But going back to when I was in Utah, The ward we went to seemed like a newly developing ward with most of the men daydreaming about football or the beautiful mountains. But the speakers were good and they shared a message worth listening to. It felt good to get some of my inactive family members back into their ward again.

    The Friday before we began our trip back to Maine, I went through the bountiful temple. You may ask, Why the bountiful temple when I have like 6 other choices within an hours drive. Well I've always loved the Bountiful temple and I think it looks stunning. And the inside looks even more beautiful. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go to a Temple that I chose, and avoided that lovely drive to the Boston temple. Now that I think about it, I just drove 4 days to go to the temple. Thats probably a record or something.

    Soon after that my parents and I started driving back to Maine. But this time instead of loosing our car and being stranded, we took the lords route and went to Nauvoo. Were we saw some amazing performances that were done by missionaries and volunteer families. Each one we saw had such a great message and the spirit was so strong, as hundreds of saints gathered to watch our history be expressed through song and dance. Seeing those missionaries throughly enjoy performing and also speaking to the crowd afterwards, made me even more excited to go on my mission. Even though I wont be singing and dancing in front of hundreds of people (which is definitely for the better) I am excited to be able to share the gospel with people that are in need of Heavenly Father’s love. And I will serve Him to the best of my ability. After we saw a few shows we went to the Carthage jail, and stood in the very room where our prophet, Joseph Smith, was shot. It is truly humbling to see what Joseph Smith sacrificed for the restoration of this wonderful true church. I did not get the chance to go into the Nauvoo temple, but after my mission it is definitely on my to do list. After a day and a half at Nauvoo, we hit the road again and continued on home.

    And now I stand before you today. Giving, most likely, my last talk in the Ellsworth branch. As I will be moving back to Utah and attending Utah State University after my mission.

    As I prepare for my mission, I am so excited to have this opportunity to serve our heavenly father and help others feel his love. Heavenly father has asked us in D&C Section 42 Verses 5,6 and 8, to serve a mission. And it reads:

5 And I give unto them a Commandment that they shall go forth for a little season and it shall be given by the power of the spirit when they shall return.

6 And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto angels of God.

8 And from this place ye shall go forth into the regions westward; and inasmuch as ye shall find them that will receive you ye shall build up my church in every region—

    As we see right in the Doctrine and covenants we are asked by heavenly father to serve a mission and build up his church. There are so many families out there that are searching for truth but have yet to find it. And it is our job to introduce them to the gospel and plant that gospel seed inside of them. Without missionary work, many people wouldn't give the Book of Mormon a chance.

    Ever since I was a kid I always thought that the missionaries where the “cool guys” that everyone wanted to hang out with. Missionaries carry such a great spirit with them and they conduct themselves in a manner of great reverence. I look up to the missionaries and I have always wanted to be just like them. As I have been preparing for my mission, I have come across some great scriptures that tell us what missionaries should do. But a lot of these scriptures can be applied to everyone. They are great standards to live by and I would like to share some of them with you today.

The first one is Helaman Chapter 3 Verse 35:

Nevertheless they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.

    As our faith grows stronger our souls are filled with comfort and joy, and our hearts will become holy. This all comes from putting our faith in God.

The second scripture is Ephesians Chapter 4 Verses 29 and 31:

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.

    I think this is a big reason why my experience with missionaries is always so pleasant. They only speak kind things and I have never seen any of them get upset at someone. In my opinion, we should all take this scripture to heart and act kindly to everyone. Negativity only causes harm. We should follow the great example of the missionaries.

The third scripture is D&C Section 11 Verse 21:

21 Seek not to declare my word, but to first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men.

    It’s hard to teach something you don’t truly know. That is why reading and studying the scriptures is a big part of missionary work. As we obtain more knowledge of his word, his spirit within us grows stronger. Giving us the power to teach more thoroughly and truthfully.

The 4th scripture is in D&C Section 84 Verse 85:

85 Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life. And it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man.

    Missionaries teach by the spirit and they do not have a planned script that they read. I think I’m going to have to work on this one. but during a lesson the spirit will guide the missionaries to meet the investigator’s needs.

The next Scripture I’d like to share is D&C Section 4 Verse 2:

2 Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye may stand blameless before God at the last day.

    Being a full time Missionary is all about complete devotion. They aren’t there for personal gain, they are there because God has asked them to be. Serving the lord is their main purpose. And serving the lord seems like a pretty good purpose for all of us! And I hope all of you strive to follow the missionaries example and serve the lord with all your heart, might, mind and strength.

Scripture number 6 is Mosiah Chapter 2 Verse 17:

17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.

    By serving others, we are serving our Heavenly Father. I have always loved how service is such a big deal within the LDS church. Ranging from Boy Scouts doing service projects, to the whole stake getting together to clean up trash near the Penobscot. Missionaries give two years of their life to the lord, and I respect each and every one of them out there.

The last scripture I want to share with you is D&C Section 88 Verse 119:

119 Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.

    Each and every one of us should make our homes a house of God, always make it inviting for the spirit. Two years ago the youth theme for the year was “Stand ye in holy places and be not moved.” The spirit should resonate within you, and bring Christ’s love wherever you go. People will notice, and they will want to know. How can I feel that joy?
     I hope each person that reads that talk gets something beneficial from it. It was pleasure researching the scriptures and presenting them. This will be the last time I will be writing on this blog. From here on, my sister will be taking over and posting the updates that I email her. I hope I can inspire and create a few smiles through this blog. If you are interested in taking an adventure to Zion with me, follow this blog! For the next two years I will be doing Heavenly Father's work, and introducing his love to those who have yet to feel it in its fullest form.
     I am so excited to begin this journey! Heavenly Father has something planned for me in Missouri, lets go find out what it is!