Monday, March 11, 2013

I feel your prayers


So, I´m still in Chile . . . just in case you were wondering.  This week went so so so much faster than last week.  Like I can´t believe it´s already Monday.  I just love reading your email!  Wow, I don´t even know what to tell you.  This week went so fast everything just blurred into one.

The work here is really slow.  No one is open to the gospel, well, we just haven't found the people who are.  You see, our sector is divided into 5 smaller sectors, and president likes us to pick a sector to focus on.  Last week, as we were getting oriented with the area we were jumping around to all the different sectors.  Yes, we were working hard, but we weren't working effectively.  The Elders before us left us a note that said sectors 3, 4, and 1 had already been worked by the missionaries. They suggested that we work sector 5 (which is like a 15 minute bike ride away, but it´s out in the country and its so so so beautiful!) or sector two.  They said there are a lot of new young families in sector two.  So we started out every day in sector three, cause that´s where our current investigators are, then we jumped form sector 5 to 2 trying o work.  But no one was open to the gospel.

On Wednesday night, after being turned away by another reference, we were just sitting on our bikes in sector two pretty discouraged wondering what we should do.  Hermana Chamberlain looked at me and said ¨I don´t know if this is where we are supposed to be.¨  I agreed.  I think that we were expecting to ride into a sector and then just have angels start singing, telling us we were in the right place.  But that's not how the Lord works.  As we started thinking and talking about it, we realized ALL our current investigators live in sector 3 as well as most of the members.  Plus, not 5 minutes before, a woman stopped us and started asking us about our church, we set an appointment to meet with her, and guess where she lives? Sector 3.  The Lord had been nudging us toward sector three all along, we just weren´t listening.

So this week our focus has been on sector three.  We haven´t had any more success, but at the end of the day we are not disappointed with ourselves like we were before.  We are doing all we can do, and we don´t know why the Lord wants us in sector 3, but we will be diligent and faithful.  We will lift up our heads and rejoice.  Every missionary has hard times.  Look at Alma and the people of Ammonihah (Alma chpt 8).  They wanted to kill him!  But when the Lord told him to return, he speedily obeyed.

This week at district class we met our other district leader.  His companion was sick last week so he wasn´t there.  His name is Elder Villagran, and he is an amazing missionary, leader, and teacher.  I want to be the kind of missionary he is.  I can´t really describe it, but he just oozes with charity, love, patience, brotherly kindness, humility, and goodness. All the missionaries in our zone are just great!  They are all such good examples to me of what it looks like to be a good missionary.

Spanish is still hard for me.  But I´m trying to use it as much as I can.  But, a lot of times with Hermana Chamberlain its just easy to fall back on English, and when we´re out teaching I just can´t understand anyone!  It´s just frustrating cause I have so many things that I want to say, so many different ways to explain the gospel, but I can only say what I know how to say, not what I want to say.

We have a few solid investigators right now.  On Monday we found N**.  She is seventeen and her aunt is a member.  We were teaching her the first lesson, and I could tell she wan´t that into it.  She was nice, and answered all our questions, but I wanted her to see that this wasn´t just a cool story, but that it applied to her.  As Hermana Chamberlain was telling her that she could pray to know if this was true, I interrupted her and asked ¨N**, do you want to know if there is a true church?¨ She paused and said yes. Then I asked ¨Do you believe that if you pray God will talk with you¿¨ She paused then said yes.  Then I testified that if she prayed sincerely that God would hear her and answer her prayer.  She then expressed a true desire to know if there was a true church on the earth.  My companion took over from there and told her that she should talk to her aunt about what she believes.  So I´m excited to see in N** progress.  We haven't been able to meet with her since, because she's in school and then she was out of town this weekend.  But hopefully she is there today and we can teach her about the BOM.

We are also teaching this other family, O** and H** and their two kids.  O** loves the Gospel and she wants to be baptized so bad!  But her and H** aren´t married, and H** doesn't see and need for God in his life.  He also doesn't see a rush to get married. So their wedding is planned for next year!!  We are trying to work with him, cause O** always says, I would get married today so I could be baptized tomorrow.  I love her, she just has so much Animo for the gospel, and her two kids remind me of me and Jackson when we were kids.  The son will just push the daughters buttons all the time, and she always gives him a reaction.  Then he walks away with a smug little smile.  It always makes me laugh.  I just want to tell that little girl that I know exactly how she feels.

There's another one of our investigators, E**, who really wants to get baptized, but he can´t cause he´s living with someone and they can´t get married because he´s married to someone else and its really hard to get a divorce in Chile, plus his ex wife lives all the way in the north and she doesn't want a divorce because she's from Peru and she gets certain benefits from being married to a Chilano.  So it´s complicated.  Every night we pray that he can get a divorce . . . yeah I´ve never prayed for a divorce before.

Here, we get just as excited when investigators get married and when they get baptized.  In district class we all rejoiced just as much when someone told us that their investigator got married as when someone told us that there was a baptism on Saturday.  But that´s Chile.  No one wants to get married because it's so hard to get divorced, and relationships to them are so selfish.  They just want to be in a relationship when it´s easy.

We visited J** again this week, and she told us she hasn´t drank since our last visit!  We were so so so happy.  She really wants to change her life, and we just are praying that the Lord will soften her heart.

So now some random stuff.  There was a little earthquake I think Thursday night.  We were just doing our weekly planing and all the sudden the earth shook . . . it was so bacon!  Also, the mail usually takes 2-3 weeks to get here from the US, and they only deliver it on Tuesdays during district class.  It is so great when that truck pulls up along the street and all the missionaries swarm it.  Seriously, they are more excited than kids on Christmas day.  I don´t even care if I don´t get anything, I just love watching how happy the other missionaries are.

Oh, on Saturday, we had lunch with the greatest family ever!  Literally, they are the equivalent of us, but Chilean style.  I laughed through the whole meal even though I usually didn't know what was going on.  For that hour and a half I felt at home, and it was beautiful. But I have never been so full in my life!  First we ate an avocado filled with ham and topped with homemade mayo.  Sounds weird but it was so good.  I thought that was the meal.  But then they took our plates away and came back with a man size bowl of Casuela . . . a traditional Chilean food.  Oh it was so good!  But I felt like I was going to explode.  Then for dessert we had about an eighth of a watermelon each!  I have never been that full, not even on thanksgiving!

Almost every family that we have eaten with has asked us if we play the piano cause no one in the ward plays. And they actually have a real piano in the chapel!  So boys . . . . PRACTICE!

On Friday we had fase uno, which is where all the newbe  missionaries go the the office in Santiago for training.  It was a long day.  We had to wake up at 5 to get there in time. But it was so great to see all the new missionaries and see that I´m not the only one struggling.  Hermana Ibarra from my MTC district was there and we are basically going through the same thing.  She is also opening a new area with her comp, but her area is way big, and they don't have a map.  Also the elders before them left not only a terrible apartment, but a disorganized and incomplete area book.  So we were blessed that the elders before us cared so much about their investigators that they wanted to make sure they were taken care of.

Sorry, I can´t send pictures.  This computer doesn't have a card reader either.  But today hopefully I can find a card reader that has a usb so I can hook it into the computer.

Things are getting better.  Everyday is like an emotional roller coaster.  I usually start out pretty down cause I don´t want to wake up and I don´t want to do our pathetic workout.  Then before personal study I always pray to have a better attitude.  Then we do four hours of study, at which time I always find something to help me keep going.  Before we leave the apartment I get down again, cause I just don´t think I can make it through the day.  During lunch I´m usually frustrated as I try to follow the conversation, and just sit there as my companion does all the talking and everyone thinks I´m just this little mute girl.  After lunch is the hardest because we are so so so full and it is so so so hot outside.  The only thing I want to do is go sleep off my food coma.  Then around 6 when it starts to cool down and people are getting home from work, and we actually start teaching instead of knocking on doors and doing street contacts, my roller coaster goes up up and up. It peeks when the sun sets behind the mountains, painting the sky with a breath taking glow of pinks, purples and oranges.  It´s always at that time that I know the Lord loves me, and that I´ve almost made it through one more day.

So, poco a poco I´m adjusting to this life.  Things aren´t perfect, but when have they ever been? There are sometimes when I am so so so so down, and I don´t even have the desire to care, actually I don´t even have the desire to desire to care, and I think about home and all the places I'd rather be, all the things I'd rather be doing, all the books I could be reading, the piano songs I could be practicing, or the songs I could be listening too, and that´s when I feel your prayers.  That´s when I know that my strength isn't enough, that it will never be enough.  That's when I look down at my watch and say 'One more hour, then you can give up,' and when that hour is up I say it again. One more hour and then you can buy a plane ticket and go home.  After that hour I say it again and again and again, until the day is finally over, and I realized that somehow I made it through.  Those are the times that I look back in the sand and only see one set of foot prints and realize that the Lord has been carrying me.  Someday I´ll be able to walk on my own, someday I might even be able to run, but right now I needed carried. So thanks for all the prayers.  I feel them and they help.

Oh yeah, the dogs.  Jackson said I would hate them, but I think I just love them more!  There are so many dogs that have the same coloring as copper and I always miss him so much!  And at night I love it when the dogs follow us because it makes us feel safe.  Yes, there are some mean dogs, and really dirty nasty dogs, and dogs that bark their heads off at us, but then there are really nice, sweet dogs that make sure we are safe, and that make me feel less alone.  So as of yet, I don´t hate the dogs.

And chubs!  That so great you went out with the missionaries.  I know how it feels to be out for three hours and not get in any houses.  No fun!  But that´s the mission!!

Well, I love you all!  Just keep being awesome . . . and write me lots of letters, cause that´s about the only literature I get out here:)

Love always, 
Hermana Ostler

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