Monday, July 29, 2013

Our miracle baptism

7:57 AM

Okay, so I haven't read your email yet, I am going to print it out and read it while I am in the office waiting for my new companion! Yep, changes happened, and I got changed. I'm going back to Los Andes!!!  I'm so excited.  Still, it is going to be hard to leave Hermana Leyva, we were both crying last night.  She is staying here.  My new companion used to be in my district, I'm not sure how I feel about her.  She is from Argentina and has a super strong personality.  She has one cambio less than me in the mission but she will be my senior companion.  Don't know what to think.  I'm scared to be honest, and I know I am walking into another very humbling situation.

Hopefully I will have more time to email later, and tell you about our miracle baptism!  I love you all, and chao Harrison, you'll be awesome!  Love you!
Hermana Ostler

2:39 PM

Guess where I am?????  LOS ANDES!!!  Wow, I am so so so happy to be back here.  Really, when we left the bus station to go to our house we passed the chapel, the same chapel that I had district class in, and I looked down the road that Hermana Chamberlain and I always walked and I thought, "wow, I'm home."  

So, lets get the basics down.  My companion is Hermana Peralta from Argentina.  She has about 4 months in the mission, and she was just as surprised as me when they told her she would be my senior companion.  But honestly, I don't care.  Hermana Peralta was super nervous about the whole thing, and she talked to her old district leader in the office and he told her that sometimes president sends missionaries with more time to new sectors where there is a younger missionary, and the younger missionary is the senior companion because they know the sector.  Hermana Peralta told me that and then said that that means that really I am the senior companion . ..  jajaja.  But, so far, Hermana Peralta and I really get along.  I think this is going to be a great cambio.

We live in a cute little house, but we don't have an oven so I can't open my bakery . ..  pucha!!  But I am just so happy to be back here.  Saying goodbye to Hermana Leyva was super hard, I almost started crying in the office!!! But we will meet again, in BYU!!  Yeah.

So, this week was just full of milagros!  Like I said we had a baptism, JC a joven of 12 year who is super perperadad for the gospel.  But I have walked a rocky road coming to love this joven.  Let me start at the beginning.

So we met C* about a month ago.  He didn't live in our sector, he was visiting Hermana M* for the weekend.  He came to church that week.  Then, about 2 weeks later he had vacations from school for about a week and a half and stayed with the Hermana M* again.  We continued to teach him, but since he didn't live in our sector it didn't really count. But, C* is super distracted.  He has problems paying attention, and whenever we would teach him it just seemed like he wasn't interested at all, and I had little patience for him.  Teaching him was honestly a chore.

Then, about a week ago he told us that he and his mom where moving to our sector!  WHAT?  We met his mom and she is super awesome, but not ready to make the commitment of baptism.  They found a room to rent that is in our sector, but for now they are still living with Hermana M* until the end of the month.

We went to teach him one day and Hermana Leyva put him with fetcha for 28 de julio.  I was surprised because I didn't think he was interested, and I personally wanted to stop teaching him, and I thought Hermana Leyva just wanted another number.  But about two days later I was praying about him, wondering what we should do, and I prayed for patience while we taught him and that I could be able to love him.  That day when we went to teach him, the moment I saw him I was overfilled with an immense love for this boy.  I honestly cannot describe it.  I saw him differently, not as a teenage boy who cared less about our message, but as a young man who has had a hard life, has a rocky relationship with his mom, his dad doesn't live with him, and who has a learning disability.  Hermana Leyva must have been praying for patience too because from that day on our lessons were so much better.  We were patient and considerate of his disability, and saw his honest desire to change and learn and improve.

One week he came to church all by himself because Hermana M* and her family didn't come that week.  But we told him that he had to come, so he did!  Also, the day of his baptismal interview his mom and the family of Hermana M* left him at home alone . ..  well Hermano C*s was there but he didn't know about the interview.  So we were waiting at the church for him, and when he didn't show up we call the house and were devastated when he answered.  He told us that his mom wasn't there, only C*s.  We talked to C* and explained the situation.  He said he would explain to C* how to get to the church.  Then we talked to C* again and told him he had to come running to the church cause our district leader was already there waiting.

About 5 minutes later we went outside to wait, expecting him to arrive in like 10 minutes cause his house is about 15-20 minutes from the church.  Well, about 2 minutes later we see this skinny teenage boy booking it toward the chapel!! He literally came running!!!!  Oh it was amazing!  I want to hug him so so so bad but I couldn't.  He passed his interview with flying colors, after about 10 plus times teaching him what tithing, fasting, the word of wisdom and the restoration are.  But he diligently learned each one, and our district leader said that he was super prepared and super special.  That he was quick to feel the spirit.

This is C's baptism, if that wasn't obvious!
This has come to be known as the Hermana Ostler pose.  JAJA.
These are all 
the missionaries in our ward.
So on Sunday, I finished my time in Simon Bolivar with a baptism.  But, I can honestly say that I did NOTHING!!  It was all the Lord.  There are not words to express how much I love C*. I think I learned more from him than he did from me.  I'm going to miss him so so so much!

So that was the miracle of the week. Other stuff happened, but all I remember was when C* came out of the water.  I made him a cake for his baptism, and we went to Hermana M*'s house for lunch afterwards and had my favorite Peruvian food!  Then when I was saying goodbye I started to cry.  Man, I didn't realize how much I loved these people.

This is the cake I made for C* the mornign of his baptism.
It's not as pretty as the wedding cake, but he loved it!
Yesterday we visited E*, Hermana M*, and a few other people to say goodbye.  Its so crazy . .  life!  I've only known these people for 4 months, some less, and yet saying goodbye is super hard.  Each of them has taught me something beautiful, and I am not the same person coming back to Los Andes than I left.

This is E*
 Man, I'm going to miss her.
HARRISON!!! Hey, I love you tons!!  Here is my mission advice for you . . . PUT YOUR MAN PANTS ON!!  Dude, the mission is going to be super hard, I won't beat around the bush, but everything you need to succeed is inside you, and if it's not than it is beside you (aka, Jesus!).  I love you, y que le vaya muy bonito a su mision y que tenga experiencas lindas!

I really don't know what else to say.  Um . .. I guess I will send pictures!!  Well, I love you all.  Thanks for the letters, for the support, and the love!  
Con Amor, 
Hermana Ostler

Wedding Cake - Take 1

Wedding Cake - Take 2
This week we helped a sister make tamalies for a huge activity the ward had for the independence day of Peru!  It was an amazing activity.  We missed half of it cause of C's interview . . . but it was great!  And the tamales were amazing!!  Basically I am one third Chilean one third Peruvian and one third American!!


Monday, July 22, 2013

this moment is worth my whole mission

yeah, amanda told me about the whole aunt thing.  i kinda freaked out, and i still really can't believe it.  i love the pictures, and thanks for all the advice.  the mission is just super hard, and she has been in this sector for 5 months, o sea, her whole mission!  so that's been tough on her, and on me.  but we had zone conference this week, and after wards we talked to president, and told him about all the struggles we are having in our sector, he told us that for sure this change we would be separated.. hna leyva and i have talked about it, and on one side we are super sad, cause we are basically best friends, but on the other side we both realize that it is time for a change.  i have never been within sight and sound of someone for four moths doing the same exact thing every day. . .. ajaja.  we´ve had so much fun these three changes, and so many hard times.  a lot of tears. in fact, we might be able to fill a swimming pool with all the tears we have cried together, but together we have grown, and learned, and i wouldn't go back and change a thing.

on wednesday we had to go to providencia, where the temple is, but we didn't get to go inside . . bummer.  we call for permission, but president said only one time a year we are allowed to go. but, while we were there we found a subway and both bought foot longs in memory of the united states.  they were so so so good!

o, my emails these past couple weeks, haven't been so positive, sorry about that.  the mission is hard, and i just tell it like it is . . well, there is actually no way i can even tell you half of what happens in a week, but i try.  but, this week i had a few experiences that were worth my whole mission.  if i don't have another drop of measurable success for the rest of my mission it wont matter.  i will look back on my mission as a success because of these experiences.

the first happened on thursday after, but the story starts on wednesday.  on wednesday, hna leyva and i stopped by to visit the little girl that got baptized. we hadn't planned to teach her that day so we didn't have any plans, and we were just going to share a scripture.  as i was flipping through my scriptures, looking for something to share, the story of lehis dream came to my mind.  i didn't know why, but i turned to 1 nephi 8 and started explain the story to e*.  then we read together the words of lehi after he ate the fruit.  I explained that the fruit was the love of God, and that when someone tastes it then they have the desire to share it. then hna leyva asked her if she knew anyone that she could share the gospel with.  we had asked her this question before, but she didn't have anyone.  but this time she gave us 7 references!!! in missionary language that is a  miracle!  nothing short!!

well, we gave her, and her little sister some pass along card to share with their friends at school, and they were both so excited. then the next day, we passed by again to tell them that we were going to visit their friends, and they wanted to come with us.  so we all went together, with the neighbor cause we can't be alone with ninos, to visit the references.  we got to the first house and it was a house we had visited before, but the person who had answered the door wasn't interested at all.  hna leyva and i were about to tell them that we had already visited this place, but e* had already knocked the door.  a women who we had not met answered the door, she was the mom of the friend of e*, and hermana leyva did the normal contact routine.  We got a return appointment!  that was awesome and a milagor in itself, seeing that we have had little success lately, but that joy does not compare to what happened next.  right before we left, e* extended her hand through the doorway with the passalong card we had given her yesterday, and said "here, this is for you, you are invited to the church."  except she said it in spanish.  but i cannot even describe the joy that filled me as i saw her exercising her faith to share her testimony.  it was just a beautiful moment.  as we walked away i thought "that moment was worth my whole mission."

the next experience will take some background information.  So one of the many days we were knocking doors, we passed an old woman walking, and i felt like i should talk to her.  but i didn't!  stupid.  but about 30 minutes later, we passed by a house, and i saw her standing in the doorway.  again, i felt i should talk to her, and this time i didn't ignore it.  hna leyva must have had the same impression cause she turned and made her way to the woman.  we started talking to her and learned her name was E*.  when we asked if we could share a message with her, she immediately invited us in.  This was about 2 weeks ago.  we have been teaching her ever since.  not a ton, because she has a lot of health problems and is in the hospital a lot.  like every other day to do dialysis, cause she don't have kidneys.  she has also had breast cancer, and doesn't have one of her breasts, and she is diabetic.  but her spirit is just so pure.  she is 74, and just so special to me.  every time we teach her i can't stop smiling at all her little quarks, and just her sweet spirit.  i feel as if i have known her my whole life.  well, last sunday we invited her to church, and she couldn't come, but she accepted a baptism date, and told us that believes the church is true.  (we are not sure if she understands everything thought) well, this sunday we invited her to church, and she said she would come.  we told her we would pass by for her. so yesterday morning we arrived at her house at 9:40 and knocked on her door.  with all the lack of success we have had, and with all our difficulties we have had at getting people to church, i was expecting for her to answer the door and offer some excuse of why she couldn't go, or maybe she wouldn't even open the door at all.  
She opened the door wearing a beautiful coat and a pair of slacks.  she had even done her makeup, and looked as young as ever.  i cannot explain the joy i felt as we walked to the chapel with her. the chapel is upstairs, and it was a little hard for her to make it up, but when she sat down in the pew she leaned over to me and said "i didn't know if i would make it, but it was worth the sacrifice." i could not stop smiling the whole meeting.  then, at the end, one of the elders in our ward helped her walk back down the stairs, and as i walked behind her, listening to her chatter on and on to this elder, i was almost brought to tears by the beauty of the scene, and i thought once again, "this moment is worth my whole mission."  i don't know what will happen with her, and if she will get baptized, just cause she doesn't understand a lot, but i will never forget her for as long as i live.

We had three in church again!  it was a milagro!  one of them was a woman we started teaching this week.  she is the friend of hna m*, and is living in hna m*'s house. She is definitely prepared for the gospel, and our lessons with her are always really good, and just full of the spirit, but she is just scared to make the commitment of baptism.  and she is only home on the weekends, so it is hard to teach her.  so we don't know what will happen, cause changes are coming up, and we don't know if only one of us will change or if we both will change.

we don't have a lot of investigators, both the ones we do have are sincere, which is hard to find here in chile. . . . well, in this sector.

some other news, as i said, i am making a wedding cake and hermana leyva is decorating it.  so we ate lunch before email cause we know that we will be eating cake all after.  also, on thursday i make undercooked, burnt lasagna.  how is that possible? i don't know.  but i did it.  still we ate it, and the flavor was good.  but that was my week, and hermana leyva did get the shoes.  they fit!  and she says thanks.  also, for my b day package, i would love a little video from you all.  we have dvd players. and we can still use backpacks. .  . so that's awesome!  thanks for everything, sorry my typing is so bad, my fingers are about to freeze off!!  I love you all, have an amazing week!

con amor, hna Ostler

ps. this keyboard is super terrible, the shift doesn't work, and i don't know how to uncenter the format. .. sorry

Lemon Pie we made

Monday, July 15, 2013

She was asking questions that I hadn't yet found answers to

Super Bacan your family scripture study experience.  Wilson, you can do it!!!  I promise you that obedience is the key to happiness.  It is the knowledge that you are literally doing All you can to receive the blessings of the Lord.  And thanks mom for your words, they helped.  Walking by faith and not sight is definitely something I am learning on the mission, but it is a process that might take the rest of my life.

So, we had another hard week, and sometimes the only thing that gets me through is repeating this scripture over and over in my head: Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.  Nevertheless, whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the lasted day.  I honestly think that the Lord has decided to feed me humility with a spoon for my whole mission (as Hermana Chamberlain once told me).  But my comfort comes from the promise that if we will go to the Lord with our weaknesses, He will make weak things become strong.  I am putting ALL my faith in that promise.  The mission has made me realize that I lack so so so much in my journey to become like Christ, but . . . the good news is that I still have time to learn.

So this week, as I said, was hard.  Each day I woke up, it was harder and harder to see the light, and hard to hold on the the shred of hope that was connecting me to heaven.  But, as Elder Scott said: "When you feel that there is only a thin thread of hope, it is really not a thread but a massive connecting link, like a life preserver to strengthen and lift you.  It will provide comfort so you can cease to fear.  Strive to live worthily and place your trust int he Lord." I think that all along I have been closer to heaven than I knew.

So this week we had to dejar all our investigators, ummm . .. dejar in English is kinda like let go, or drop . . . but so say we had to let go of all our investigators sounds weird to me. You see, no one was progressing.  Like no one, and Hermana Leyva and I felt like we had literally done everything we could.  As mom says, we planted the seed, and I pray that they will let it take root so that the next time the missionaries knock on their door, they will accept them!!  So we are no longer teaching P*, J*, C*, JP, L*, C*, L* or, O*:(  It was super hard to dejar them, especially O*.  But, it was weird, because after we left his house, Hermana Leyva turned to me and said, "I think that someday we will see him again, maybe not in this life, but I think in the next life he will come find us and thank us for trying."  I told her that I felt the same way!  So you might not meet him when you come to Chile, but I will make sure to introduce  you to him someday.

So that was the beginning of our week.  Talk about FOME!  The second half of your week was literally knocking doors every day!  I have a wound on my knuckles!  The doors in Chile are super duro!  On Friday we didn't teach one lesson.  We just knocked doors, and we literally got door after door slammed in the face!  It was hard, and sometimes it is hard to find that happiness that you were talking about mom in these moments.  But Hermana Leyva and I found little things to make us laugh.  But we are passing through a lot of difficulties right now, not just with the work, but with other missionaries and the ward. I know I am not yet as Job, Jose Smith, of even Jose in Egypt, but sometimes it is hard not to look at the sky and ask why!

But it is in the hard times of our life that the Lord teaches us the most profound lessons, and it is in these times when we learn to look for the little blessings of everyday.  For example, yesterday during church, when I was feeling so so so down, one of the Elders in our ward came up to me and gave me a piece of candy.  Blessing.  We had three milagro investigators in church (they might not progress, or get baptized, but they came to church!!).  Blessing. Twice this week we only waited 5 minutes for the micro instead of 30 minutes.  Blessing. One day we left the house and had no planes to teach lessons with members, cause we have no investigators, but somehow we had two milago lessons with members that day.  Blessing. Yesterday in church, a recent convert came up to us and asked when he could come with us to teach a lesson, or knock doors, or whatever.  Blessing.  I have an amazing companion who strengthens me EVERYDAY!  Blessing. And I received a very thick envelope full of letters and pictures from my amazing Ostler family.  BLESSING!!  All of these are small things, almost insignificant when there are other missionaries baptizing every stinking week, but they are evidences that the Lord, en verdad, is with us, and that He loves us.

Oh this week we had an amazing lesson with a newish investigator, C*.  She is passing through a lot of difficulties familiares, and when went to her house to teach her daughter. But her daughter didn't want to listen.  She said that it was ridiculous to listen to us if she doesn't believe in what we believe.  Then she left the room.  Awkward! So we were just sitting there with her mom, not reallying knowing what to do.  Then Hermana Leyva just started in teaching about the Book of Mormon.  I knew she was going to pass the ball to me, and that I had to say something, but I really had no idea what to say.  Or what this woman needed to hear.  So I sat there and listened to Hermana Leyva, and prayed that the Lord would fill my mouth.  Then, Hermana Leyva stopped talking, and it was my turn.

It was silent for a moment, as I thought, then it came to me.  The story of Alma the Younger.  I opened my scriptures and started explaining the story of Alma the younger, and Hermana Leyva and I taught a beautiful lesson about prayer and Gods love, and that if she had faith her daughter could have a change of heart just like Alma did.  Well, it wasn't really us, it was the spirit.  Before we left, Hermana C* said that she had never felt this way before, and we told her it was the spirit testifying that what we were teaching was true.  It was a super bacan experience, but we haven't been able to find her in her house again.  Well, once, but we are not sure if she will progress.  But the seed is planted.  I did what the Lord called me to do.  I invited her to come unto Christ.  To pray.  To repent.  Now the rest is up to her.

This morning I had another cool experience.  Hermana Leyva woke up and I could tell she was not in a good mood, but she was trying really hard not to show it.  Then when it was time to do companionship study she said she didn't want to.  I sat there, thinking of what I could say to her to make her feel better.  But nothing came to mind.  45 minutes passed, and I continued reading my scriptures, hoping I could find something to say.  Nothing.  Well, she finally turned to me and said, "I'm not mad at you, I just don't want to do this anymore." I asked her if there was anything I could do to help.  She said no.  She said she didn't even want to go email today, cause then she would just tell her family that she wanted to go home.

I sat there in silence, remembering how I always had the perfect thing to say to people in moments like this.  But nothing.  I couldn't think of one thing to say to her.  Then I went away from my own knowledge and poured my heart out to the Lord.  I begged him that he would give me what to say.  That he would help me help my companion through this difficult time like she had helped me.  She continued to tell me about some emotional difficulties she was passing through, and how she just really didn't want to do this anymore, and she started crying.  I was barely holding the tears in myself because everything she was saying was exactly how I had been feeling, and I knew I couldn't help her because she was asking questions that I hadn't yet found answers to.  After she was done, we sat in silence for a time, as I continued to pray, and to beg with the Lord that he would pour a portion of his spirit out on me so that I could help Hermana Leyva.

Then, once again, something came to mind.  It was a general conference talk I had recently read by Elder Uchdorf.  I got up, went into our room and got my ensign and read to her the words of an apostle of God.  It was about how we are all children of God and have divine potential.  And then told her that I knew God loved her, and that she should never forget that, and being a good person does not mean that you will not pass through difficulties.  It does not mean you will never cry, or never fall, it just means that you will get up every time you do.  Then she said, but why get up if I know that I am just going to fall again?  And I said, as long as you don't fall in the same place than it means you are just a little bit stronger.  Then we cried together, and I felt the spirit with us.  I felt our heavenly father with us, telling us that he loves us, and that he is ever waiting to help us back up when we fall.

Man, the mission is a constant struggle, but as long as you keep moving forward, and falling forward then it will not be in vain.  Sometimes the Lord sees fit to chasten his people, and not because they are wicked, but because he needs to try their faith.  He needs to know how committed we are to live his commandment and do his will.

So, that's the week.  Oh, and Hermana Leyva made an itinerary of our vacation to Peru.  We are definitely going.  Here's what I was thinking. After our week in Chile, we hop over to Peru, but Hermana Leyva and I have talked, and we think it best if after the week in Chile, we return home, I get released, and have a month and a half of chill.  Then in the middle of August we take a family trip to Peru, have a personal tour guide (aka, Hermana Leyva) And when we come back Hermana Leyva and her two siblings come with us, then we all drive to Provo together to start the new semester!  Best plan ever!!  So start making preparations. Also, I have invited Hermana Leyva and her two sibling for thanksgiving in 2014.  Just so you know.

I love you all!  Thanks for the prayers, the letters, and just everything!  I love you all!
Con amor, 
Hermana Ostler 

Monday, July 8, 2013

It is the most humbling thing I have ever had to do

Dear Familia,

Como estan?  It sounds like your summer is still super busy, and you guys are on fire.  I love reading your emails, even if they are long and lamo . . . jajaja, hearing from home is never long and lamo!

Soooo . . . I usually plan out my email and so its all organized and beautiful, but this week . . . . wow, what a week!  I don't even know where to start.  First of all, let's start with answering your questions. Yes, I was much warmer with the sleeping bag and the back pack did come!  Thanks a ton!! Language advice . . . yep, I got nothing.  It's hard . . . it is the hardest thing he will ever do!

Hermana Leyva and I were talking about learning another language yesterday, and no matter how many people tell you that you speak well, you will never believe it, cause every time you open your mouth to say something it is ten times more simple than you would say it in your own language, and it just makes you feel dumb, and like no one really knows who you are.  It is the most humbling thing I have ever had to do, and Hermana Leyva told me that when she decided to go on a mission she knew that she would be going to somewhere where she could speak her own language cause she knew the Lord did not need to humble her again like he did at BYU.  She knew He would not make her suffer in that way again, but that He had other lessons to teach her.

So stay close to the Lord, Harrison, cause it's gonna be hard.  I won't tell  you that you won't suffer, that you won't cry, that you won't miss home . . .  cause you will.  You will come to a point in your mission where you literally cannot keep going.  Where you will ask yourself what is the purpose.  In this moment you will be missing home so bad, your body will be so so so exhausted from all the walking you have done, you might even be fasting and weaker than normal.  The sector you are working in will probably be hard.  You might not have any investigators, and no one will be assisting church.  You will look at the sky, the street, somewhere, and you will ask God if he is really there.  When this moment comes, I promise you that He will answer, because He is there, and he does love you, and He has a purpose for everything.

This moment for me came, and it wasn't pretty.  But, my answer came in the form of my companion. Yesterday, as we were in the streets, fasting, knocking doors to empty houses, I stopped walking cause there was something wrong.  I started talking to my companion, and asking her if she was okay, she said she was fine, and I could tell she really was.  I realized than that what was wrong was me.  I really don't have the words or the time to tell you the whole 2 hour conversation we had on the side of the road, next to an old white car, but it was the turning point for me in my mission.  I don't think I have ever in my life cried the way that I cried yesterday.  But don't worry about me, Hermana Leyva was there, but as she was talking to me through this incredibly difficult time, I know that it wasn't her talking, because Hermana Leyva is a better listener than talker, but I am so grateful that she was spiritually in the right place so that the Lord could use her to remind me why I came on this mission.  I told Hermana Leyva that I really didn't think I could keep going like this, and I knew that I needed to change, and I needed to truly put my heart and mind in the mission, and I wanted to, but I didn't know how, or if I could.  Hermana Leyva said that we needed to pray.  So right there in the middle of the sidewalk, with people passing, we kneeled, and Hermana Leyva offered a beautiful pray, and somehow I understood every word.  The moment my knees hit the ground, I felt it.  I felt the love of the Lord encircle me in a way I have never felt it before.  I literally felt His presence in a way I will never forget.  I will forever be gratefully to Hermana Leyva for being there for me in that moment of complete loss.  She told me that she recently passed through the same experience, and that just the week before, she had been asking a lot of the same questions I was: is this worth it?  Why am I here?  God, do you really love me, and if you do, why is this happening to me?  I think every missionary goes through it, and its different for everyone.  But because Hermana Leyva had already passed through it, she was able to help me.

Sorry for the lack of details, but I wasn't even going to account this story, it just came out. So the only advice I have for Harrison is stay close to the Lord and pray for a companion like Hermana Leyva . .. jajaja.  You will be humbled in ways you can't even imagine on your mission.  Well, only if you let yourself.

So a lot of this week has just been me struggling with these questions.  But we had a lot of fun this week too.  Like, the mission isn't all tears and heart brake.  Sometimes that's all I send home because  . . . well, because typing it out helps me sort it all out.

But this week there was a giant fire at a factory.  No one died or got hurt.  But the sky was black with smoke.  Hermana Leyva and I were just leaving a super awesome lesson and we saw the smoke. Soooo . . . we followed it of course!  I have never seen a fire like this.  After the mish I will show you the video I took.  There was also an accident at a construction sight, and two 18 your old boys died, and another is in the hospital in critical condition. Super sad.  Oh, and the father of a ward member died and the funeral was yesterday.  We were eating lunch in the house of the member who lives next door, so we met the whole funeral party.  A super weird week.

We had no one in church again, and we have decided to dejar all of our investigators and start looking for new ones.  Even JP & C*.  Super deficil.  We did intercambios this week again, and this time I left the sector.  It felt like a vacation cause I didn't have to worry about anything.  But both Hermana Leyva and I learned a lot.  We also started deep cleaning the apartment, cause . . . well, it's been awhile.  We didn't realize how dirty it was.  That's why I am emailing later, we didn't want to leave until it was all done.  Now all that is left is to reorganize all our stuff.

Oh, and so I've been thinking a lot about cleaning the apartment this week, and how every pday we clean it, but we never realized how dirty it really was until we started scrubbing it. All the while we had just been surface cleaning it, and then leaving it until it was dirty again. Then we would do another big surface clean, and leave it, but that is not the way to keep a clean house.  Though it may look clean, all you are doing is reorganizing the surface when it looks dirty.

I think sometimes we do this with ourselves.  When we feel pain, when we are passing through a problem, how many times do we just clean the surface. Do we just treat our symptoms instead of our problem and than leave ourselves the same until the sadness, the problem comes back.  But this is not the way we change.  This is the way we rationalize staying the same, when what we really need is a deep clean . . . we need an Angie clean!  It takes longer, but as you start looking inside yourself, you realize that there was a lot of bad habits, and change that needed to take place.  Sometimes it hurts to get down on your hands and knees to scrub the floor, but it is better than just sweeping away the dirt once a week. Then once you have the house clean, YOU CAN'T LEAVE IT UNTIL IT GETS DIRTY AGAIN.  Because it will.  Problems, and sadness will spill like milk in the fridge, and sometimes a little spilt milk in the fridge doesn't seem like much, but if you leave it then it will be joined by more filth until you are back where you started.

Keeping a clean house means that you have to constantly be cleaning.  It is the same with us.  We can't just think that we can change once and than we are good.  We have to constantly be cleaning out our inner self, and constantly be trying to improve.  Never think that God is done teaching you.

So there is my metaphor for the week, I hope it makes sense.  Hermana Leyva says I need to compile all my metaphors in a book, and I told her that my dad is already planning on making a profit off of my genius.

Also, sorry, the spelling is so bad today.  MY FINGERS ARE FREEZING!

Oh, and I still can't believe Brennen is home!  Wow!

And Mom, when I left BYU Hawaii, I think a part of me also knew that I wouldn't be going back.  It hurts a lot to think about it sometimes, but I really feel like I have learned everything I could on that little island, and now my path is turning a different way.

Sorry, for the unorganized email.  I'm not going to say that I am doing great, but it is getting better.  I love you all!  And the pictures are super bacan!

Con Amor, 
Hermana Ostler

Monday, July 1, 2013

We felt comfort in those hard times

Dear Family,

Thanks for the email and the pictures!  I loved it all!  Oh and I received Packages, Letters, and Pictures . . . oh my!  It was great!  Thank you everyone who writes me!  Oh and shout out to Hermana Chamberlain!  Thanks for the package!  My companion and I are still enjoying all the goodies from the USA!  Best MOM EVER!!  I love you and wish you were still in the mission!

Well, I had an okay week.  I learned at ton!  Like  . . . just a lot.  But I had my ups and downs like always.  I really don't think that the mission ever levels out.  And like Hermana Chamberlain, the Lord is constantly feeding me humility with a spoon!

This week, on Thursday I had to go take out my carnet.  That's like my Chilean ID, so I can be legally in the country.  Well, we had two sisters from Los Andes come stay with us because we had to be at the office at 7 in the morning.  One of the sisters was Hermana Ibarra.  We were in the MTC together and it was so so so great to see her.  Basically Thursday kinda sucked though cause we had to wake up at 5:00, and lost 2.5 hours of sleep that we will NEVER GET BACK!  When we got to the office they gave us a map and a list of places we needed to go and instructions of what do to at each place.  It was kinda fun though.  It was like going on a scavenger hunt through Santiago.  Hermana Leyva wasn't taking out her carnet so she stayed with another sister who needed a companion while her companion came with us to take out her carnet.  It was all pretty complicated, but I ended up spending the day with Hermana Ibarra.  Being with her, and talking about the MTC and all the people we met there just made me realize how much I have changed.  I don't feel like the same person at all!

Oh, and this week Hermana Leyva went on a crazy cooking spree!  Our fridge is FULL!  Of delicious Peruvian food!  Basically I love Peru and we have to go there after my mission! Well, I already promised Hermana Leyva that I would, so if we don't she might kill me . . . jajaja.  Not really.  But, honestly . .  we HAVE TO GO!

Hermana Leyva made vegatable soup, but our kitchen is super small and there was no room for it on the counter while she was cooking other things, so we put it in the hallway and forgot about it. When we came back form proselyting that day, we found it sitting there in the hall.  It was SO SO SO funny!!
So a few funny things that happened this week.  We enter the house of one of our investigators, and she invited us to sit down.  I pulled a chair out from against the wall and sat. But as I leaned back in the chair it started falling!!  It was broken which is why it was against the wall. The legs just collapsed right out from under it!  It was super funny as I was laying there on the ground, with the broken chair beneath me and I looked up to Hermana Leyva.  The look on her face made me crack up!!  She was trying to figure out how I got on the ground, and she just sat there and looked at me, as our investigator rushed to help me up.

Also, on Saturday night, Hermana Leyva was telling me that in her high school they had marching competitions with the other schools, and each school has a marching team.  A little weird, I know.  But she started teaching me how to march.  You keep your legs and arms straight as you walk, kinda like a tin man.  Well, after a few minutes as she was explaining and demonstrating and I was trying to follow I just started cracking up!  She stopped and asked what happened.  And I said 'We are marching through the empty streets of Chile at 9:30 at night!  How funny we must look with our skirts, book of Mormons in hand, and black name tags!'  She started laughing too, and we just couldn't stop.  You would have had to been there, but it was so so so funny!

Then, after we got back that night, we planned super fast for the next day, and put the DVD player in our room.  Then we curled up on our beds in our sleeping bags and watched the Joseph Smith movie. It was awesome!  We also ate popcorn, but I burnt it so it wasn't so good.

Also, I got a letter from Amy, that had Woods email in it!  Wow, that kid is so so so funny!! And he sounds so different!  The mission really changes people if you let it.  If you truly give your will over to the Lord, than he can change you.  But first you have to stop fighting. You have to stop fighting between what you want to do and what the Lord wants you to do.

Sometimes we think we know better than Him, and that we can do His will our way.  But that is impossible.  Sometimes when you are playing tug of war with your will and the Lord's, the only way to truly win, is to let go.  Because if you don't than you will be pulling forever and you will just get rope burn, because the Lord will not give up on you.  He is trying to pull you onto his side because he knows it is so much better than where you are at. So just give up!  When you let Him win, then you both win.  I was trying to do the Lord´s will, but I was trying to do it my way.  I was trying to pull until we came to even ground. Until I could incorporate His will into mine.  But the Lord does not want to meet you on even ground, we wants to pull you higher.  He wants you to stand opon His ground, because it is so much better than where you are at.

So that was my lesson that I learned this week, and it was anything but easy.  It was a long, painful process.  But I guess that is part of the mission.

This week, Hermana Leyva and I decided to be EXACTLY OBEDIENT to EVERY mission rule and every commandment.  Not that we were disobedient before, but there was room for improvement. None of our investigators were progressing and it was the last thing we could do.  Well, Sunday came around and we had so much faith and hope that we would see the fruits of our obedience and  . . . nothing!  Not one of the seven investigators that have fetcha or that we passed by Sunday morning came to church!  It was heart breaking, and after the last investigator that we looked for wasn't home, we walked away from that house, and Hermana Leyva just broke down and started sobbing!  I joined her.  We just don't know what else we can do to help these people understand how important the gospel is.  It's hard to see them just pass the opportunity of change by.  But, we realized that God can't control these people any more than we can.  He can't make them go to church as a blessing for our obedience.  He can send them His spirit as an answer that they need to go to church, but they still have their agency to chose.

On the other hand, we did see blessings for our obedience.  We felt comfort in those hard times.  A comfort that we had done our part, now it is up to them to do theirs.  Also, we started teaching JP!  He is the husband of C*.  She is one of the investigators that we started reteaching.  She has a testimony of the church and knows it is true, but she has never come to church, so she can't get baptized.  Well, this week, we went by to visit her, and her husband was there.  Hermana Leyva was inspired to invite him to the lesson, and we taught lesson one.  The spirit was there so strong!  And he was super interested, whereas before he never wanted to talk to us.  We invited them both to baptism and they accepted!

Hermana Leyva told me later, that when he opened the door, she felt that he was the reason that his wife wasn't progressing.  She needed the support of her husband.  Every time I think about them I just get this happiness inside my soul that I can't explain!  Now we just have to work on getting them to church!  The problem is that they go visit his mom every weekend!

As far as P* & J* go . . . we really don't know what more we can do for them.  They are losing ganas to go to church, and always giving us new excuses.  They used to receive us every time that we went over, but now they are falling out on our citas!  It's frustrating.  But we are going to attack them with members this week, and pray that they come to church!

Things change in the mission EVERY DAY!  You can never be sure of ANYTHING!  And you have absolutely NO CONTROL over your life!  Everything we do depends on other people.  We don't even decide what we eat.  It's been hard for me to give up that control.  But like I said, I just need to let go and let the Lord win, or I will come back from my mission with sore hands and rope burns.

So that's was my week . . . well, not really.  There is no way I could tell you EVERYTHING that happens in a week.  But I got to go email pres, if I have time I'll tell you more crazy stuff that happens.
Con Amor,
Hermana Ostler