Monday, June 17, 2013

One flower at a time

Dear family, 
I would like to start my email with a story, or I guess it is an experience.  The following account happened on Tuesday.

We left the house that day at 12 and started passing by our citas, and they all fell through!  So we went to our plan Bs . . . no ONE WAS HOME! Our last ditch effort was knocking doors, and contacting in the street, but no one wanted to listen.  We had completed 2 hours of plans in less than an hour.  We were sidanimoed, tired, and ready to give up.  We took our 20 minute break, hoping to gain animo by pleasing our physical bodies through food and a moment off our feet.  I sat on that bench in Alcerreca, watching the dogs pass by and thinking it would be so much easier to be one of them, without a real care in the world.

The ever faithful Hermana Leyva took out her scriptures and began reading.  After 20 minutes of silence passed, I turned to her and asked, "well, did you find the solution? How we should find people to teach?" She said, "Yes, we need to pray." Doubt crept into my heart as I thought a simple prayer was not going to solve our problems.  Here is the scripture she read:

"And it came to pass that they turned upon the lamanites and they cried with one voice unto the Lord their God, for their liberty, and their freedom from bondage.
"And they began to stand against the Lamanites with power; and in that selfsame hour that they cried unto the Lord for their freedom, the Lamanites began to flee before them; and they fled even to the waters of Sideon."

Hermana Leyva said that the very moment that the Nephites prayed, the Lamanites began to retreat.  She than asked me if I would offer a prayer.  I really didn't want to, and I was low on faith that the Lord would immediately bless us like He did the Nephites.  But as I prayed I was overcome with a feeling of love, and a true desire to do the work.  I knew that the Lord was perfectly aware of my situation, and I realized that He had just been waiting for me to humble myself and turn to Him for guidance.  I felt my faith grow.

Immediately following the prayer we contacted 3 people who were all old investigators who were all willing to listen.  That day we taught a total of 6 lessons.  I needed to say that prayer so that the Lord could remind me that He truly is there, and I just need to have a little more trust, a little more faith.  I think in life, we often have to relearn the same thing over and over again until it finally sticks, like Spanish.  I don't know how many times Hermana Leyva has told me how to say "I'm confused," and I can just never remember it.  The phrase is in my mind, sometimes its just hard to find.  But the Lord is ever patient, and ever willing to reteach, and reteach until we finally get it right.  Until it finally sticks.

This week was anything but easy.  But I learned so so so much.  I was thinking a lot about what it means to be happy.  I always hear all the apostles say, "forget not to be happy now," or "find joy in the journey," or "one of the peoples biggest regrets in life is that they didn't let themselves be happy."  I've thought about how I can be more happy, but I think I was pushing myself to be happy all the time, and when I failed to do so, I got frustrated.  I have realized that when the apostles tell us to be happy they do no mean that we should be happy every moment of everyday, but that we should find moments everyday to be happy.  As we do this we will learn how to be happy instead of pushing ourselves to be happy.

Sometimes you have to let yourself feel pain and sorrow so that when the joy comes into your life it will be sweeter.  But you cant let yourself stay in the pain and sorrow, because it is easy to do so.  There will always be bad days, hard weeks, and trails, but if you fail to smile, and to laugh, then you will forget how.  It is impossible to be happy all the time, but it is not impossible to find time to be happy.  I think that finding joy in the journey means that you pass through the hard times with a hope that you will be happy again.

I also learned a lot about humility this week, and that I really am NOTHING!  I figured out why I have been constantly in and out, up and down,  Why I could laugh in one moment, and the next be bubbling over with frustration.  Why my happy moments never seemed to pull me completely out of the gloom.  And here's the reason: I was trying to prove to the Lord, to you guys, and to myself that I could do this-  That I had all the answers in my bag of metaphors.  But what I failed to truly realize is that I AM NOTHING:  I thought that I was developing Christ like attributes, but really all I was doing was looking inside myself for answers that weren't there, and solutions that couldn't be found.  I was just an empty flower pot trying to grow a garden.  But without a gardener, a flower pot is just a pretty decoration with no purpose.  The Lord is the gardener, and He is the one who fills us.  He puts the dirt, than the seed.  He adds the nutrients, and He waters us with His word.  But all we are is the pot.  We just hold what he gives us .  Everything, absolutely everything we have comes form Him.  I can't develop patience or humility on my own, just as a flower pot can't grow a flower.  But once we realize our own nothingness and let the lord fill us, He can grow a garden in our flowerpot, one flower at a time.

So it was a week of learning.  All the concepts I knew before my mission.  But I guess humility was more like a necklace that I put on every morning.  It wasn't really a part of me.  But, now, I am learning how to make the Christ like attribute a part of me.  Like my fingers.  Something that is me. I was talking to Hermana Leyva about all the things I had learned, and how I finally felt like I understood that I really am nothing, she said she felt the same way.  That it took six weeks of painting picture of flowers on the outside of our flower pot to realize that we weren't growing anything, we were just pretending to.  En verdad, all we are is an empty flower pot, and we have to let the lord fill us, so he can grow the attributes, and talents He needs us to have.  We talked about how it was a bummer we finally learned all this stuff THE DAY BEFORE CAMBIOS!

So, I am sure you are dying to hear about the cambios, and if I'm going or staying.  Well, here's a hint, after this email we are going back to the apartment to pack . . . . . but, because we are changing apartments . . . NOT SECTORS!!!  YES, Hermana LEYVA and I are staying together here for 6 MORE WEEKS!!  When we heard the news we were just so so so so so so happy!! 
This is a sweet lady that we visit. She is 96!!!
Okay, now to respond to your email.  YEAH HARRISON!!  You are templed!!  Isn't it amazing!!  Go to the temple as much as you can before you leave, cause you will miss it so so so much!  Also, Happy Faths day . . . pops!!  Love you!!  I glad Wilson took good care of you on your special day.  Also, Harrison still needs to accept L* on facebook!!  This is urgent!!  And go ahead and accept all those people for me . . . thanks!!  The shoes fall on me a bit big . . . but so much better than the last ones. Also, I cant believe that Matthew is home!  HAha, there is an elder in our zone that is practically his twin!!

So, A few updates from Simon Bolivar.  
1. R* is great!!  Also she makes the best bread in the whole world!  Man, I love her!
2. P* still wants to get baptized, but she is working out some problems with her marriage . . . pray for her!!
3. J* finally ACCEPTED A BAUTISMAL FETCHA!  She knows the church is true, but she doesn't think baptism is essential.  Also, I think she is looking for an angel to come down and tell her she needs to be baptized.  She has a fear that if she gets baptized she might regret it one day, and so she doesn't want to.  But she accepted a tentative date.  She said "I'm not promising anything, but if I fell like getting baptised on the 30th, than I will"  Except she said it in Spanish.
4. Hermana M* has seen the blessings of tithing.  She told us that one day she bought food for four, to feed her family.  But they had four unexpected guests, and she said that she fed everyone until they were full!!  God multiplied the bread and the fishes for her!
5.  We passed by O's, and he was SO happy to see us!!  We are going to start teaching him again and we are so happy!  We also passed by two other investigators that we had dropped at the beginning of the transfer that now have a lot of potential to get baptized!!
Hermana Leyva and I have lots of goals for this transfer.  We are going to baptize!!  Because we finally get it . . . WE ARE NOTHING!  Just the flower pot.

Basically I love you all so so so so much!  And I hope you have an amazing week full of just good stuff!  Remember to let the Lord fill you with whatever he wants to grow, and stop painting pictures on the outside of your flower pot, cause it will never compare to the real thing.
Con Amor, 
Hermana Ostler
Ps.  Jackie Creer, I am so happy for you that Brennen is coming home!

This is Hermana A* that is inactive, but has come to church the past two weeks in a row!!
She now has the goal to go to the temple and be sealed with her husband who died.
The other sister is her daughter and the kids are her grandkids.

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