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