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

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