Monday, March 4, 2013

I truly am a representative of Christ


Hey, guess what?  I´m in Chile! and this keyboard is really weird!!  Okay, so I am going to organize my letter by categories.

First, Companion:
Her name is Abigail Chamberlain from Indiana.  She´s awesome!  She speaks Spanish so well, and I don´t know how she learned it.  She kinda reminds me of Amanda.  I´m not really sure why.  She had a very different teaching style than me. She knows how to talk about the gospel.  This will be her last area.  I´m killing her!  But she´s only here for two more months, so she won´t complete my training and we don´t really know what is going to happen.  It´s all because worldwide they shortened this transfer to 4 weeks instead of 6 because of the new departure dates at the MTC.  So we´ll see.

There are a lot of things about Hermana Chamberlain that I like.  She´s very focused and a rule follower.  She dosen´t get annoyed with all my questions! But right now she is a little disorganized because we are opening a new area for sisters.  There were elders here before, then they put us in.  So not only am I lost, but she´s lost too.  It can be frustrating sometimes.  But we work well together.  She just is go go go!  Yesterday we rode our bikes by this beautiful vineyard and she didn't even glance at it.  I had to slow down because the sight just took my breath away.  But she wants to finish her mission strong, and she thinks she doesn't have time to appreciate the beauty of this county. Maybe I can help her chillax.

Second, Culture:
So basically the ward is awesome!  All the brothers in the ward are like Brother Cuevas, so warm and welcoming.  Everyone just loves us!  Apparently there were 3 elders here before us, and so everyone always asks if there is just two of us.  One hermano that we ate lunch with said, two sisters are better than three elders!  Haha, it was great!   But we eat lunch with the members instead of dinner, cause that is the main meal here, and they eat a lot of carbs here.  One meal we had was potatoes stuffed with nasty Kraft cheese and rice . . . no meat!  And their food is really flavorless so they use a lot of condiments.  Like there is always ketchup and mayonnaise on the table.  Also, they eat the main meal first, then when the plate is clear they eat the side dishes, which is always salad, and by salad I mean tomatoes with salt and oil on them.  There is a lot of pan here.  They eat pan like Mexicans eat tortillas,  It is so so so good!  I think I might get fat!  But we bike everywhere, so that´s good.  I don´t like biking, and I think we could get more done if we just walked, cause then we wouldn´t get lost so much and we could talk to people as we go.  Oh, they also eat a lot of ice cream!  I love it!!

Third, Experiences:
So we are opening this area for sisters, and we kinda started from scratch (PS, I´m in Los Andes the area is called Primer Crucero).  The Elders left a really good area book for us, but a really dirty apartment.  Our first night, when we arrived, we couldn´t find the apartment, then some sisters who happened to be doing their visiting teaching found us, and helped us find it.  It was nothing short of a miracle.  My first day as a missionary was so long!  I have never been that tired in my life!!  I wasn´t like physically exhausted, I just couldn't keep my eyes open.  It was rough.  

Wow, there's just so much to say, there´s no way I can say it all.  I want to tell you guys about J.  After visiting a super awesome investigator, we asked her for references and she told us to go visit her neighbor.  So we went to her neighbors house, but no one was home, so we started walking back down the street.  We passed this woman, and we greeted her.  She paused and stared at us like she knew us.  We asked her if everything was okay, she said no, and then just started crying.  She told us to come to her house. Guess what house was hers?  Yes, the neighbor of out investigator!

We sat down with her and she started sobbing!  She told us there was so much pain in her life and she begged us to help her.  She said she has been trying to quit drinking for so long, but can´t.  She wants God to help her, but doesn't think he will.  We just comforted her, prayed with her, and sang a song for her.  There was a point when she stopped crying and looked at me.  She took my hand and just stared at me.  In that moment I knew Jesus loved her and that if He could be with her he would, but he couldn´t so he sent me instead.  I realized that I truly am a representative of Christ, sent here to Chile to do what he would do.  We set a return appointment with her where we want to teach her about the word of wisdom.

We also met this other guy on the streets who just chewed us out.  He told us that our religion only wanted money and that we were brainwashed.  My companion kept trying to testify, but he wasn´t having it.  Sometimes she´s a little timid.  If I had the vocab I would have said something along the lines of, you can believe what you want, here's what I believe, please respect that, like I respect what you think.  It was nice to meet you, goodbye.  But she wouldn´t walk away.  He is bitter at the church cause his daughter is a member and he couldn´t go to her wedding.

Fourth, Random:
So my feet are good. My shoes are already so dirty!  Oh, I got bit by some bug and my foot was swollen for like 4 days.  The women in relief society were really worried about me.  But I just took Advil and elevated it during personal study.  It´s getting better now.  The hardest part for me is still Spanish.  They speak so fast here!  And they are so lazy in their language.  They cut off the endings of words, and use the weirdest slang. Also they mumble so so so much!  I´m having the hardest time.  I've definitely had my hard times.

On Friday, as we were walking to go contact a reference I just felt so so so alone.  It has only been four days, and I saw the endless road stretch out in front of me.  I just didn´t think I could do it.  My companion looked over and asked if everything was okay.  I said "yeah, this is just harder than I thought it would be."  She said we should go sit down.  So we found a bench, and when she asked me what was wrong, I started talking about how frustrating it is that I can´t understand or speak this language because it is so different from the Spanish I am used to.  Then I just started crying.  I thought how much easier it would be to be in a different mission.  A mission where they speak my language.  I would be such a better missionary if I could just speak English!  Everyone keeps telling me that I will learn it, but I just don´t see how.

When I cleared the tears from my eyes, I saw the glow of the sun behind the mountains.  It was beautiful.  I smelt the grass and roses in the air.  It was beautiful.  I saw children laughing in the streets.  It was beautiful.  By the thorns in His crown, to the sunset colored sky, He finds a way to say I love you.  Yes, this is hard, but I am not alone.  I think people who serve foreign missions suffer something that those who serve in the states don´t suffer.  We are humbled so so so fast by our lack of language skills. All the Elders I have met from the states are so humble.  Here, we realize quickly that we cannot make it on our own.  Yes, the road ahead of me is long, but I don´t have to walk it alone.

President, his wife, daughter, and her husband came to our ward (yes, I got the bag . . . thanks!)  and it was testimony meeting.  Near the end of the meeting the husband of presidents daughter got up.  He said three words into the mic "no hablo espanol" then he sang I Stand All Amazed.  Tears trickled down my cheeks as he sang that song. Though he cannot speak the language, he brought the spirit into that room stronger than any words that had yet been spoken.  The Lord will give to what I need to invite the spirit.

So that´s life in Chile.  It´s all really overwhelming.  I wish I could send you some pictures, but this computer doesn't have a card reader and I don't have a usb cord for my camera.  Pday is going by so fast!  But we are going to get Competos after this!  I´m so excited to try them.

Harrison!  A su mision!  Estoy my emocionada por usted!  Que bacon! Also, don´t be disappointed if you don´t get called to a foreign mission.  It´s harder than you think. I've lived in a foreign country, but being a missionary is so so so different!  But wherever you go you will love it!

There are only 3 gringos in my zone, me, my companion, and our district leader.  Hna Chamberlain says that I will probably be getting a Latin companion next and then I will probably train until the end of my mission.  Next transfer there are 18 plus sisters coming to the mission, and no one to train them.  I hope president gives me a chance to learn the language before he makes me train.  I just feel like I have so much to learn and I don´t know where to focus!! 

They don´t have cheerios here:( and I´m getting super tan!  Its awesome!  Yeah, it´s way way way way hot!!

Okay, got to go!  Oh my gosh that Portuguese song that I like is playing!! hahah.  Love you all!!

Love always, 
Hermana Ostler

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