Monday, April 29, 2013

The Lord is building me into a mansion


I am doing a lot better! Thanks for all the prayers.  Last week I did send a letter to president about what happened, but it wasn't as detailed as the letter I sent to you guys.  I just really didn't want to make a big deal out of it, all the things . . . . well most of them were true.  I had been having a bad attitude, but it just hurt because the way they presented it was that I was the problem in the companionship and they didn't see the part they played.  But we had zone conference on Tuesday and President asked me if I was okay and if we needed to talk.  I told him I was fine, cause I just really didn't want anymore drama with my companions.

On Tuesday night, I called her out when she started ripping into me. What happened is it was my turn for the phone and all day I had been calling people when they asked me to with a smile on my face, even though calling people is so hard.  Then at the end of the day I had forgotten to call one person, so I asked her what I needed to say to this person.  Because one thing they had said to me was ask more questions when I'm confused, and I was confused.  She got super mad and asked if I had been paying attention in the planning session, and why I had waited to call them until the night and all this stuff.  But I wasn't going to take it again.  I told her, in a lot softer words than she would have used, that she needed to change too, and that I wouldn't sit there and let her tell me that I had done something wrong when I had only done what she asked.  I told her that I had been doing everything she asked.  I had improved my attitude, I had been asking more questions when I was confused, and now I'm getting in trouble for it.

She realized that what I was saying was true.  Basically that she had been seeing the mote in my eye and didn't realize she had a beam in hers.  So after that, and another companionship inventory on Thursday when she said that our other companion and I were planning the wrong way, and asked us if we had learned anything in the past 9 weeks or if we read PMG, I straight up told her she couldn't accuse us of that. Her words were harsh and she made the other hermana cry. Sometimes she just makes me feel like a terrible missionary, but I didn't let her hurt me that time because I knew that I had done my part to change and now it was her turn. So things are a lot better in that respect.

Also, I got so much mail! A package with a skirt and food, basketball bracket. Also, shout out to Amy, Melissa, Jenny and Tom, Mary and Grammie! You guys are so awesome! Your words and encouragement really helped me get through a hard time.

So I forgot my agenda today which had everything I was going to email. I still have no details about mothers day because we don't know what will happen with changes, but I can probably get special permission to send an email with details.

We had a baptism this week for E**! She is such a special girl and getting her baptized was so hard. The ward was just really difficult to work with. They were resisting the baptism the whole way. But the neighbor of E** who is basically the reason E** got baptized, set them straight. Mom, you two would be best friends. She doesn't mince words and when somethings wrong, she will call you out! She basically saved the baptism and it was so great!

E**'s Baptism!
She saved the baptism

Blah, I just forgot everything I was going to write.  We did see miracles this week.  We taught with more unity and with more power. One of our investigators told us she knew the church was true and accepted a baptism date!  MT**, I don't know if I've ever talked about her before, but I don't have time to give all the details. But her and her husband are golden! They just had a problem with Jose Smith . . . but now MT** is a believer! We just got to get her husband.

We also found a solid family last night. P* and J*. P* told us that just that morning she had been asking how she could know if there was a true church on the earth!!  What? It was great! We have a lot of hope for them. But changes are next week, and I can't lie when I say I am counting down the days. We don't know what's going to happen.  A part of me wants to stay here and see the progression of our investigators, and a part of me wants to just start over new and leave this place behind. But we'll see.

The mission is hard, that's not a lie. But the Lord knows what we need to strengthen us. The Lord had to show me my weaknesses so I could change. This week I read the parable of the wise man and the foolish man, and something I remembered that Cheri Crawford said a few years ago is that the storm came to both men. The Lord doesn't hold back trials from the righteous. Everyone will pass through storms, but if you are built on His rock, He promises that you will not fall.

What happens is that during the storm the weak parts of your house break and fall away. Then when the storm is over you can start to build back the broken parts stronger than before. The storm always comes, but built on His foundation, the damage will never be unfixable or unhealable. The Lord is building me into a mansion, when I only thought I could be a town house. But it's hard. The storms break down walls and shatter windows, but He is always right next to me during the storm and afterwards to help me build back, with blueprints that were better than before.

So I'm doing better. Right now I am still rebuilding and hopefully I will be more prepared for WHEN the next storm hits.

Oh, President called me last night to ask for permission to put something I had written in one of my past emails in the President's email this week.  He always has a spiritual thought, and it usually is taken from what missionaries say in their emails. When he was talking to me he said that I always had really good emails, and I had very profound thoughts! Basically I'm amazing!! So that was awesome to hear that from President!

Oh, I got the baptism pics . . . thanks! Also, if you could find a way to send me Mary's emails I would love that! And you can always dear elder her my emails!

Well, I love you all.  Thanks for all the support! Not everyone in the mission field has that!

Love siempre, Hermana Ostler

Monday, April 22, 2013

She's counting down the days to her baptism

Dear familia:

First of all, wow mom! you look amazing!!  Second of all . . . mommy powers never fail! Yep, it was a hard week, especially the last couple days. . . . Honestly, I had never felt so down in my life. . . .

Well, I really wasn't planning on telling you any of that, but your mommy powers are just to good.  On to better things. I haven't played in zone conference yet, that's next week, and we didn't get mail last week so no other package has been received by me. But, as for requests.  There is this picture of Christ that I want. It is when he came to the Americas and all the people are surrounding him and there are angels coming out of the heavens in the background and a pyramid. It's in the Chile temple and I have a small version on my planner.

Also, I don't know if this is possible, but my name plaque has a magnet on it, then there is a back piece with three small magnets and you just snap it onto your clothes and it's great! But one of the magnets on the back piece fell off and now it is not as secure.  If there is any way that Jackson could get another back piece from the MTC that would be great! Oh, and if you are ever lacking things to send me, you can always send stickers, colored paper and stuff like that.

This was at fase dos. These are my buds from the MTC. We're awesome!
As for Mothers Day. We have 40 minutes to talk, and we can use Skype. As of right now I don't know what's going to happen cause changes are the week before Mothers Day, and I will probably be changed cause my training will be over . . . finally!  So we Skype in members houses and right now we don't have any plans or a time for you, and I don't know if I ever will because of the changes.  So just stay by the computer all day!! Ha ha ha, no, I'll figure it out.

Wow, I can't believe Bishop is being released.  Okay, I can, but it's sad still.  Let me know who's the new bishop.  My vote is for Comfort. Also, I'm so happy that the boys know that song, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger! Yep, that's my theme song for the mission.  I might possibly sing it in my head when I feel like I can't keep going.

There isn't much to report on the missionary work end.  We have problems working with the ward. Yesterday was ward council with all of us 12 missionaries and the ward leaders. They expect a lot of things from us. They told us they don't want to baptize E** cause she's so young, and we need to teach her mom. E** is so special, literally counting down the days to her baptism and her neighbor is a member and she goes to church with her every week.  It's frustrating.

Oh, you bought me a lighter weight coat this week.  It's so cute! Thanks so much! Yeah, it has been cold but not cold enough for my big coat.  I just needed something lighter so I bought an autumn coat and two sweaters.  But that's really all I got for you this week. Sorry, it wasn't anything to fun.  But I will send pictures to make up for it. And I would love Mary's address.  Also, I sent her an email last week but I don't think she got it, so I will forward it to you and if you could send it to her I would love that!

Also dad, I loved your email. I forgot to say that. But your emails always make me smile!

Well, I love you all so so so so much!

Love siempre, Hermana Ostler

ps - Yeah, you got my letters! I'm happy they finally came, sorry they probably weren't interesting, but I just wanted you all to know that I am always thinking about you!

Yes, that's a tarantula!
Best Peruvian food ever.
Our zone at the temple.
This is Santiago! And it's beautiful!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I had to be the leader!

First of all that was the best email ever!  Basically exactly what I needed to hear. So we didn't email yesterday because we went to the temple so today is our pday.  Doing the veil in Spanish was so hard!  Oh but the temple was amazing.  I think being a missionary makes you forget what peace feels like.

you're not going to get a long email cause I wrote a long letter to president and I printed out the recipes and your email cause I just loved it!  Oh and it was a long email but it was exactly what I needed.  Literally I was sitting here sobbing.

Basically it was a rough week.  I got sick again on Monday night and on Tuesday I had no energy.  Like I have never been that weak in my life.  Then on Wednesday I lost hearing in my left ear, now my right.  Its that same thing that happened to me at the beginning of last semester.  My ears are just clogged up and it sucks!  Cause now I really don't know whats going on.  

This week I started having some trouble.  I'm not going to tell you everything, cause I am trying to be positive and venting never helps.  But basically it's just a little trouble with a companion.  Its just hard to follow her sometimes. But I have prayed continually for love and charity.  If Mormon could love his wicked soldiers, I can do this.  I am here to be the type of missionary God wants me to be.  Right now he is teaching me humility and patience.  Basically the hardest Christlike attributes to learn . . for me!

We lost O**, so that was a bummer.  But I felt him slipping away, and I guess this just isn't his time.  But I know, someday, probably in the next life, he will accept this gospel.  Then in the next world he will find me, shake my hand with both of his like he always does, and he will smell like old people and soap, and he will thank me for trying.

So that's how the first half the of week went.  I was pretty down, but it was a different type of down than from the beginning of my mission.  I wasn't frustrated with myself for feeling down, or upset, I realized that those feelings are part of the mission, and that I would be stronger in the end.

On Friday we found this amazing family.  M* T*, C* and their four kids.  They are really open to the gospel and they are already married!  They came to church with us on Sunday, which was an act of faith! All their kids are under 9! Three boys and a 5 month old baby girl!  Oh, it hurts me not to be able to hold that baby!!  But, church was basically like daycare entertaining those boys.  I haven't played the piano in church yet, cause another sister plays too and I've only attended 2 sacrament meetings in this transfer.  But I am playing for the primary and the AP called me and asked if I would play in zone conference next week.  The two songs he picked aren't in English so I don't know them, but we got special permission to barrow the extra keyboard the church has.  So now I practice at night and I just love it!

On Saturday we had a stake activity.  All the youth in the stake and all the missionaries in the stake got together, and each youth was assigned a missionary.  I got assigned two young woman, 12 and 13.  Then they gave us a map of a small area and a list of antigo investigators to go visit.  We had two hours to work on the streets with them, and basically I was on my own . . no trainer!  I had to be the leader!  It was scary and I didn't know if I was a good enough missionary to teach these girls how to be missionaries, but I really wanted them to have a good experience.  I was just praying for help.

In the beginning they were super nervous, and didn't want to talk to anyone.  I explained to them how to contact someone, and they just didn't want to.  So I went first, showing by example, what to do, and what to say.  Then they still didn't want to.  So we did a practice.  I pretended to be a random person and they practiced contacting me.  Then it was the real thing!

The first time I had to save them cause they just didn't know what to do, but they got better.  I would point to a person, and give them a card and stand by them as they told the person we were member of the Church of Jesus Christ and we had a message for them.  After the two hours were up they were knocking doors themselves, and asking me for a pamphlet to hand out, or a card.  They even placed a Book of Mormon!  Oh I was so proud of them! They saved me a couple times when my Spanish failed.

I really loved that activity.  It made me realize that I can do this.  You're right mom, I am so blessed!  Those two girls are actually in our ward and so I get to talk to them all them time, and I think I am their favorite:)

That Catholic lady I committed to baptism . . yeah, we haven't revisited her again.  That goes back to some other frustrations I have.  So I'm not sure if she will progress.  Blah, its just so frustrating cause there is nothing I can do about it.  But we have been teaching Estrella, and I have really connected with her.  She is only 8 but she understands everything and she really wants to be baptized!  I listen to her, and teach her like a person instead of a number. Yesterday her mom gave her permission to be baptized and I was just so happy!

So the mission is still good . .. hard but good.  What doesn't kill you makes you stronger right?  Yep, that's what I tell myself everyday.  I was pretty homesick this week, but your email just helped so much!  I love you all!!!

Love always, Hermana Ostler

Monday, April 8, 2013

My eyes were filled with tears of joy

Love this pictures, and the stories, and basically I'm the best april fooler ever!! Thanks Amanda for helping me pull that off!  Yep, I've been planning that for about 3 weeks . . . hehehe.  Okay, to start off, yes I got mail!  But we´ll get to that a little later.  Yes we had investigators in conference, and we are required to watch it in Spanish, so I didn't get too much out of it.  But more on that later.  Yes, my wards name is Simon Bolivar, and my mind is too full with trying to learn Spanish that I couldn't tell you land marks if I try. Sorry!  Dad, we have no time to sight see!  But I have been to the center of Santiago . . more on that later.  Exercise is basically just stretching, but we walk so much that we burn enough calories.  I'm not sure about the email thing, I haven't heard anything.  No the emails aren't too long!  I love them.

Okay, so it is starting to get cold cold cold!  Yep, I'm going to die this winter. Like it was 5 degrees one morning and I just wrapped myself up in all my sweaters and stuff.  I need to by more sweaters.  Also boots!  But basically its cold in the mornings and at night.  But during the day it is still hot hot hot!  So it sucks, cause you want to bundle yourself up in the morning, but you know you will be dying of heat by the afternoon.

So last pday, we went to Santiago center. Like I am talking the center of the biggest city in Chile.  I felt like Elphaba in Oz!  It was so big, and just packed with people.  But I just loved it!  Pdays we usually just rest, because we are so exhausted from the week.  But its good.
So Tuesday was probably the worst day of my mission so far.  I felt like I had been trying to make myself happy for too long, and my moments of joy were far too few, and often forced.  I was frustrated with the language, and my head was killing me!  I had no ganas to do anything.  I felt like my companions thought I knew nothing about the gospel because my vast gospel knowledge doesn't show through in Spanish.  It was a hard day, I hadn't felt so down in a long time.

That night, I was making cookies for district class and talking to Hermana Leyva in English. It was just a relief to just use my own language. I was telling her about my frustrations.  She said that they knew I was a good missionary, and that I had come prepared, and she understood my frustration with the language.  Then, after Hermana Hernandez finished showering, we all had a heart to heart.  Hermana Hernandez said that she wanted me to feel comfortable in the companionship and like I could open up to them when I am feeling down, upset, frustrated, sick . . . anything.  So I just opened up and told them that I hadn't been feeling myself lately because my personality doesn't come across in Spanish, nor my scripture and gospel knowledge.  They assured me that the little I contributed to each lesson always brought the spirit, and often changed the mood of the lesson.

Hermana Leyva said that even though she can say a lot, she never feels like she is speaking through the spirit, but that every time I talk, I am always speaking through the spirit, and the courage it takes to open my mouth and even speak is admirable.  She then shared some experiences she had while learning English, and how she left like giving up so many times. Then she said: it took me three years to learn English, look how far you have come in 1 month!   They said some more stuff, and of course I was just crying through the whole thing, but afterwards I felt so much better, and had a desire to try again.

I guess having faith doesn't mean you will never fall, it just means that you know the Savior will be there to catch you every time you do fall, and oh how I fell.  But Jesus reached out his hand to pull me out of the water, just like Paul.

The next day, Wednesday, I received a bucket load of letters and a package from home!  Oh it was just what I needed.  I didn't have time to read everything!  And I could barely read cause my eyes were just filled with tears of joy!  So thank you, thank you thank you thank you!  You have no idea what letters from home does for a missionary!  Also shout out to Aubrey Sintay.  Thanks for the amazing letter.  Your words encouraged me to keep trying, because you never know who is looking up to you!  And of course, MARY!  Thanks for the letter!  Oh, I read each of your letters about 3 times!  You always remind me that I can do hard things.  Also, I need you mission and MTC address!

Everyone always told me that at about 6 weeks in the mission I would wake up and realize that I love it.  Well, those letters woke me up.  I realized that so many people believe in me, and I just need to believe in myself.  Someone flipped a switch in my mind, and now I love this!  Like everyday I wake up and I cant wait to teach another lesson, I can't wait to learn more Spanish, I can't wait to study the scriptures and find answers to the questions of our investigators.  The only way I can describe it is a mighty change of heart.  I no longer care about myself, my focus is on the people, the work.  I don't long for home anymore, I just want to stay here forever!  So I'm doing great great great!

So those cookies I made were nasty!  The oven here suck, and I'm going to have to learn to bake all over again.  But the elders ate them.  Oh, if you could send me some recipes that would be great!  Just email them and I will print them off.  Here's what I want: Banana bread, my banana cake, brownies, chocolate cake recipe on the back to the hersheys coco container, scones, and if you could find a pretzel recipe that would be great!  Also, the Hermana that feeds us lunch everyday, asked if you could send dryer sheets.  They don't sell them here cause no one has a dryer, but she does, so if you could send some for her that would be great!  Shes literally like my mom out here.

Yes, conference was great!  I only watched 3 sessions.  Heres what happened.  We watched the first sessions . . great!  I could understand the topic of most talks, and definitely felt the spirit.  Then we had lunch at the chapel, a sister from the ward brought it.  But this heavy cream that was in the fruit salad did not fall well with me.  My companions said it is loaded with grease, and that gringos usually have a hard time with it.  Half way through the second session I was feeling really bad, and didn't know if I could make it through three hours of teaching.  I told my companions I was feeling sick, but we just had to visit O**.  While we were teaching him it got worse and worse.  When we left his house, I could barley walk, and I threw up in the streets.  Yeah, it was gross.  O** let me use his bathroom to clean up, but I did not feel better, and we ended up going home two hours early.

My companions kept trying to get me to drink Sprite, and I tried to tell them I just couldn't handle it, but they made me, and I threw it up.  I didn't sleep at all Saturday night, and I think I threw up nine times.  Yeah, it was bad.  I just wanted to go home so my mom could take care of me.

The next day I was feeling better, but I was just so weak.  I couldn't even lift a spoon.  So I spent the day at Hermana Sari´s house.  She took care of me.  And I got to watch the third session with English subtitles.  But I slept through the 4th session cause my head was just pounding.  I was able to hold down some chicken soup, and later some bread and crackers. Hermana Saris husband gave me a blessing, and though it was in Spanish I could understand it.  He blessed me that I would pass the night well, and have strength in my body tomorrow.  Last night was probably the best sleep I ever got and now I am back up and ready to go!  My stomach is still a little weak, but I think I'll be fine.  So yeah, that's how the conference weekend went.

Luckily my companions were able to attend with our investigators, we had three that came on Sunday.  But the terrible news is I think we are losing O**.  Sunday morning they went by to pick him up for conference and he said he doesn't want to continue!  When they told me that my heart broke!  We don't know what happened, but we are praying so hard for him!  We think he is being influenced by his ex-wife.  She doesn't like us too much.  But we know he had a testimony.  He is just so so so good!  We don't want to lose him.  So pray for him.  He´s like my Chilean grandpa.

So that was my week.  My Spanish is improving, and since Tuesday I now have a lot more confidence, and I am trying to just be myself.  Also, I committed someone to baptism this week. At first she denied, and said she had her church, Catholic . . of course, and I could tell my companions were going to give up . .  but then I jumped in and asked: do you want to know if the Catholic church is true? She was taken aback by that, but responded that she did want to know.  Then I told her she could pray to know if the Catholic church was true, or if the Church of Jesus Christ was true, and I promised her that she would receive an answer. Then we asked again if she would be baptised when she found out the church was true. She said yes!  We went back to visit her a few days later, and I know she received an answer to her prayers, I can tell she knows the Book of Mormon is true, she just doesn't want to change her life.  She is comfortable.  Wo is he that says all is well in Zion!

Well, I was going to finish this email with a happy story, but I don't have time. Basically we taught this lesson to this man and when we asked him if he prayed to know if the church was true he said he had and that he believed it was true!  It was amazing!  The spirit was guiding us through that lesson and when he told us he knew the church was true the spirit just filled the room, it was going to burst!  When we left that lesson we were literally skipping all the way to coordination!  It was amazing!

Okay, well I love you all, and hopefully I can send some pictures next week!  Thanks so so so much for the letters and the package.  The peanut butter and dove chocolate were perfect!  Oh it was like tasting home!  LOVe LOVE loVe you ALL!

Love siempre, 
Hermana Ostler

Monday, April 1, 2013


So I have been typing for like an hour, and the internet glitched so I lost everything! Ah I am so so so so frustrated!  So I don't have time to say everything. We are leaving in like two minutes.  Just know I'm doing better, and hopefully I will have time to write a letter to you today to make up for the missing email.  Sorry!!!!  Hopefully I have time to upload a picture or two.  You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  So here is a couple thousand words for you.

I love you all.  Still haven't gotten mail but hopefully tomorrow!  I don't need the shoes anymore so don't  worry about the address.

Lots of love from Chile! 
Hermana Ostler

(Note from Delene, Hermana Ostler's Mom).  The above is the email we received Monday morning, April 1st.  I was so sad.  Our family was on vacation at the Eppich's cabin and Janet had just received an email from her missionary in Africa.  He told her he'd had a horrible week and was sick.  Then he typed "April Fools."  It never crossed my mind that Saydi would "April Fool's" us.  But she did. The following is the email that was forwarded to us by my oldest daughter, Amanda late Monday night.  We didn't actually read it until Wednesday.  Way to go Saydi - you got us good!!!!

Dear familia!

APRIL FOOLS!!  Haha, sorry, I couldn't help myself.  I thought of this a few weeks ago and couldn't resist.  So you can ground me when I get home.

Okay, to answer your two important questions.  My favorite scripture is in 1 Nephi 21: 15-16.  I think it's chapter 21.  It might be 19 or 20.  Basically its the scripture that says "but I will not forget thee O house of Israel.  I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands."

My ward is called Simon Bolivar, but it's not in Simon Bolivar.  The street is called Santo Domingo.  But don't worry about the shoes.  I am actually fine!  I started wearing my other shoes and they are perfect!  My feet just needed to adjust to walking all the time.  We get mail on Wednesdays now.  That's when I have district class, and the office brings it.  It's usually some of the couple missionaries.  I don't know what  my address is.

There are only three of us in the apartment now because the other sisters moved out.  It was so crowded.  The reason we didn't do three companionship's is because Hermana Leyva and I are still being trained.  We have on transfer of training left.  And two of the sisters in the other companionship just arrived and they are both being trained by the one sister. It's good they are gone because we only had one bathroom for 6 missionaries which would not have worked!  So they left on Wednesday to another apartment that the Elders moved out of.

Hermana's Hernandez, Leyva & Ostler
We all have our own sectors to work in, so there are not 12 missionaries working one area.  We are all in the same ward boundaries, but we have our own sectors.  Yeah, that's all I remember from your bucket load of questions.  Ha ha

So Monday was super hard.  I just didn't want to be here.  I felt out of place.  Tuesday morning I was still feeling so so so low!  I didn't want to work, I didn't want to study. Nothing.  Then we hit the streets and everything changed.  I don't know what it was, but after we taught a quick five minute lesson to some lady in a store my whole outlook changed.  It really doesn't matter where I am, and it's not about what I want.  The Lord needs me in Simon Bolivar, so I will give it everything I have and learn all I can.

Hermana Hernandez trains so differently than Hermana Chamberlain.  We are walking down the street, Hermana Hernandez catches my eyes, then points with her lips to some woman about to walk past and that's my cue to open my mouth and talk! She will stop during lessons, look at me and wait for me to say something.  It's so different. . . . and I love it!

It is still a little hard adjusting to teaching with 3 missionaries, especially since Hermana Leyva and Hermana Hernandez already had a system.  But they have welcomed me and we all get along so so so well!

We speak Spanish all the time.  I catch myself thinking in Spanish and not  being able to remember English words at the end of the day.  It's exhausting on my mind to always be speaking Spanish, and at times its frustrating, but it is so so so helpful. Hermana Leyva helps me a lot with my Spanish.  She quietly corrects my little mistakes, and always lends a word during a lesson when I can't remember one or forget.  It's still hard, but I have more faith now that it will come.

We still have progressing investigators that we teach 20 to thirty minute lessons to, but we also turn our street contacts into lessons.  If a contact is going over 2 minutes, we will ask the person if we can say a prayer for them.  They always agree, then we give them a pamphlet and either talk about Jose Smith, Plan of Salvation or the Gospel of Christ. We say another prayer, get their address and chao!  I love the short simple lessons.

Teaching a lot makes the time fly by!  In Los Andes I looked at my watch every 30 minutes.  Here, 2 hours will go by and it feels like 5 minutes.  I'm learning a lot, but it kinda feels like I'm starting my mission all over again.

We eat lunch every day with the same sister.  Hermana Sari from Peru.  She is the Relief Society President.  She is one of the only members from the ward that lives in our sector.  The other missionaries in the ward eat with different members every day.  They have a calendar for feeding and a calendar for washing clothes.  This ward is so so so organized.  But no one plays the piano, so looks like I'll have to swallow my fear and just do it!

My new zone isn't as amazingly awesome as my last zone.  But they are great.  We have fun, but the lessons and teaching . . . . . .   I don't know if these elders are as focused as the elders in my other zone. But there is an elder in my zone from Brazil!  He's awesome.  I was talking to him about Harrison, and if Portuguese was hard to learn. He said for gringos it's easier because all the sounds are from the back of the throat, like English.  Whereas in Spanish, all the sound does from the front of the mouth, and movement of the tongue against the teeth instead of the roof of the mouth in English. So you can do it Harrison!  But wow, it's so awesome how the work is just exploding! There's not room in our mission for more missionaries!!!

This week was the Santa Semana . . . Easter.  So there was no one in the streets for the weekend.  Everyone left for the beach!  Also, Thursday was la dia de joven en combata, or something.  Apparently it's dangerous.  So Wednesday and Thursday we had to go home early.  Basically we decorated our planners, cleaned the house, and talked about music, movies and boys!  These sisters are so so so fun!  When it's time to work, we work!  But we also take our 20 minute break everyday, to rest our feet and minds, and at night we laugh, tease and joke.  It's so fun!

Right now we are teaching a man named O**.  He is 84 years old and doesn't hear so well.  He is a sweet old man, and I always enjoy visiting him, but in the beginning of the week I thought our visits and lessons were close to pointless.  I didn't think that he understood, but really, it was me who didn't understand.  On Thursday we taught him the ley de castidad, and going into the lesson I had already made up my mind that he wouldn't understand.  After we taught the basics of the law, and read from the pamphlet, I asked him what he understood about the law and how it applied to him.  I was expecting him to shrug his shoulders and say:  no se.  But he didn't.  His answer proved that he had understood everything we had taught, and more importantly that he was willing to live the commandment.  I realized then, that I had been grossly underestimating O**'s ability to not only understand, but his willingness to follow Christ.

As he said the closing prayer a few minutes later, he thanked Heavenly Father for us, and for the teachings of the gospel.  As he finished the simple prayer, I was filled with such love for him and I realized that it was only a fraction of the love his Heavenly Father feels for him.  O** helped remind me why I am serving a mission.  It's not about me and who I want to teach.  It's about the Lord and who he wants me to teach.  O** has proved to me that you never know who is ready for the gospel.

On Friday, we taught him the Word of Wisdom and after the lesson he gave us a bag of tea had.  He is just so willing to live the gospel.  It was so funny!  He went through all the tea he had and asked if they were okay because some of them were herbal teas.  Oh, he is just great great great!  Whenever I am having a hard time or I am tired, Hermana Hernandez says . . . 'think of Oscar! That's why you are here.'  It always makes me feel so much better!

We did a service project this week and helped a member paint her house.  I think that is the picture I sent yesterday.  Also, on Easter, we forgot to buy chocolate to celebrate, but some ward members came over and gave us a little basket of chocolate eggs.  It was so sweet.  But they came over at like 10:30PM and when the door rang we were so scared.  We couldn't see anyone outside the door, and no one answered when we asked who was there.  Then they knocked on the door, and we saw a man through the peep hole.  He said he was from the church, but we didn't recognize him.  So we had Hermana Leyva answer the door while Hermana Hernandez and I stood around the corner with the broom to use as a weapon.  It was so so so funny!  Because it was just a cute couple with their little girl and a basket of chocolate eggs.

So I love you all!  And I'm going to try to send some more pictures that Amanda will send to you tomorrow!  Hehehe, I hope you don't hate me too much for my little joke.

Love always,
Hermana Ostler

This is what I did every night in Los Andes!
Ah, I miss my bike!
Me - in Chile!