Monday, October 28, 2013

I felt we should talk to her, but didn't! Stupid!

Dear Familia,
Well, yes, there were changes and I am no longer in Lampa, so I don't know what is going on with Hermana Car*.  I am so sad.  Even though Lampa was so hard, I miss it more than any sector.  I am in Ranca, and I don’t really love it yet.  I want to go back to Lampa!  But the Lord has called me here for a reason and . . . ..  JK I’m still in Lampa with Hermana Lima!  jajajaja . . . got you!

We were so happy when our district leader called us to tell us that we were staying together in Lampa.  I love my companion.  I know I don’t talk about her a lot, but that is because there are no problems EVER!  Well, there are always the little things, but I have never gotten along with someone so well.  I usually don’t write about her because I have so much other stuff to say.

Larapinta is the name of our sector
Yeah, Ben sent me an email and told me almost the same thing. I remember writing that letter.  I thought, hey, I’m going to write Ben.  I started writing the letter and I had really nothing to say to him.  But then I started talking about the atonement and Christ and the words just flowed from my pen and thoughts came to my head faster then I could think them.  That is a sign that it is from the holy ghost, so I knew that Ben needed to hear it.  I sent you guys something very similar to what I wrote to him.  I loved it so much cause it was straight up inspiration.  It was the email from about 2 weeks ago that had a lot of scriptural references.  I am honestly so surprised that it touched him so much, and that it got to him so fast.  

Wow, that kid is am amazing writer!  We need to write a book together!  

So we had an okay week.  These past few days were pretty rough.  We've been in the streets, knocking doors for about 4 days straight now with little luck.  But the Lord blesses us for our efforts.  On Thursday we were knocking a street that we knocked at the beginning of last transfer (cause we have almost knocked every door in our sector) and out of about 50 houses, 10 people came out, and every one of them slammed the door in our face.  But we tried to laugh about it and keep our heads up.  It was hard though.

Then we came to the last door, a door we had already knocked and talked to the person who lives there.  A young mother who never has time, but is very amiable.  I told Hermana Lima that we should go find another street to knock, cause this woman wouldn’t have time.  But Hermana Lima said, it doesn't hurt to try.  So we knocked the door, and she came out with her one year old son.  We conversed for about 7 minutes, and I could tell that she didn't have much time.  Hermana Lima asked if we could share a message with her.  She didn’t answer.  She kept talking about her son, and just random stuff.  I felt that we should ask again if we could share a message with her.  Then I thought, that is so dumb. She obviously doesn't want to share with us.  I felt about three times that I should ask again, until I finally realized that it was God talking to me.  So I asked "Podemos compartir un mensaje con usted ahora?"  She paused for a moment, then said "Espera me."  She went into the house for about 2 minutes then came back our with the keys and let us in!  As we talked with her we realized that she doesn’t have a very strong belief in God.  Before her son was born she didn't believe in God at all because of all the terrible things happening in the world.  But after her son was born, she knew that there had to be something.  So we taught her about who God is. It was a good lesson.

Also this week, we found Iy*.  God literally put her in our path.  We were walking down a street and passed a woman.  I felt we should talk to her, but didn't!  Stupid!  Then, after she entered her house she came back out and said "Hey, chicias!  Vengan!"  We went over to talk to her and she said that she is a Mormon, but inactive, and that she wants us to come visit her, her son and her daughter in law.  We took out an appointment with her for the next day, which is when we met Iy*, her daughter in law.  Iy* recently had a baby, and doesn't know anything about God.  She is from the south and very very humble.  All her family except her mom and grandma dies in the earthquake about 20 years ago.  The only thing that she knows about God is that he created the earth, which isn't even true cause Jesus created the earth.  So that was an interesting lesson.

We have an appointment to see her today, and this time he are prepared.  We have a lesson plan to teach her who God is.  We were looking for a picture of God, but all we could find was pictures of Jesus.  The only picture he have of God is of the first vision.  But that also has Joseph Smith.  We thought that going into Joseph Smith would just confuse her beyond confusion, so we decided that we needed to cover Joseph Smith.  We looked around for a minute, then I took a post it note and stuck it over Joseph.  Oh you would have had to been there but it was so so so so so funny!

But, those are our two stories of success for the week.  But, like I said, we tried to have fun. On Friday after we had spent all day knocking doors and doing contacts we decided to buy ice cream from a street vendor before our lesson with Hermano Lu*.  As we were eating the ice cream we were talking about D&C when God gave the commandment to use water instead of wine for the santa cena.  Then, Hermana Lima said the funniest thing I have ever heard in my life. She said "Some people think that God is perfect . . . well, God is perfect." Oh my gosh we laughed for 5 minutes straight and our ice cream melted!  Sometimes Hermana Lima says stuff that she doesn't quite think through.  It is the most entertaining thing ever!  I write them all down on post its and stick them in my agenda.

But, I am doing good.  Suffering from the heat and from the hard hearts of the people.  But good.  Sorry, I don't have any analogies for you all this time.  But I will come up with a good one for next week.  I am on the brink of developing a good one.
Love you all, and hope all is well!

Con Amor,
Hermana Ostler

ps.please send chap stick with SPF, I haven't seen any here and my lips are dying!
pps.  No mater what you say, or Ben, I still don't feel THAT amazing.  I’m just normal.  A normal missionary doing what every other missionary does.

Our District

Monday, October 21, 2013

I watched God soften a hard heart

Dear Familia,
Thanks for the update on life in Richland.  Thats so great that Harrison and his friends have started that legacy of the dance thing.  Well, actually it was Jackson who got it rolling.  I am always in awe at the amazing familia I have.  Here in Chile, in the obra del senor, I have seen so much.  Satan is doing EVERYTHING he can to destroy the familia and to destroy the youth.  If he can destroy the youth, he will destroy the future.  But Satan is fighting a battle that he cannot win.  "Never get involved with a Sicilian when death is on the line . . . hahahah . .. hahaha .  . (And he dies)."  That is Satan.  He thinks he's got it, but no, he doesn't.  He will lose.

Also, I agree that Ben is absolutely amazing!  Wish I could be half the missionary he is.

So, this week was. . .  are you ready for this .  . hard!  Oh it was so hard.  It was so hot and we knocked so many doors, and I just wanted to find a nice shady spot to sit and drink ice cold water. But no, we knocked doors on shadeless, treeless, dusty streets, and only had hot hot water to drink.  I fell into bed just dead every night, and then I woke up dead the next morning to do it all over again.  But, we saw miracles everyday.

I know with all my heart that this is the work of the Lord, and He has not left us alone to do it.  I felt the Savior with me every second.  He stood by me when the doors slammed in my face to comfort me and tell me to keep going, and he whispered into my heart the words I should say to whose who chose to listen.  So yes, it is still hard, but who am I not to suffer?

Miracles in this work range from one good contact, to a baptism.  Yep, yesterday Hermano Lu* made a covenant with the Lord to be willing to take His name upon him, always remember Him and keep His commandments.  Oh, it was an amazing day! Hermana Lima and I showed up early to church and had the grand privilege of seeing him walk into the chapel in a suit!  Two ward members had gifted him a white shirt and tie, and he borrowed suit pants and a suit jacket from his primo.  Wow!  When I saw him I was just filled with joy.

There were 7 people baptized yesterday in our ward.  Yep, 7.  The heavens where rejoicing for sure. Taking pictures took forever, but we were able to get a few good ones.  Hermano Lu* was baptized last, and when he came out of the water he hugged the branch president (who baptized him) for so so so long.  He just wouldn't let go.  Then, afterwards, when he gave his testimony, he made me cry!  The turd.  I don't remember everything that he said, but here is a little jist. "Everyone told me that after you are baptized you will feel amazing, but there are not words to describe what I am feeling.  I feel .. .  I feel clean.  I was born again. This is the true church of God on the earth.  The mormon church. And now I am a mormon.  I never ever in a million years thought I would be a mormon.  Two years ago I could never ever see myself here.  I’m a mormon.  I’m a mormon in my house, with my family, with my friends, at my work.  I will always be a mormon."

It was a different man standing up there yesterday then the one that I met 6 weeks ago.  I honestly don’t feel like I did anything for him.  And I am not saying that to be humble, because it is true.  I DID NOTHING!  I sat back and watched as God softened a hard heart. He took a stubborn 56 year old man, stuck in his ways, and changed him into a repented child.  It was a beautiful thing to see, and the joy that was in my heart was complete.  It started in my heart and then pumped out to my veins until it had seeped into every part of me.  That moment was worth my whole mission.  Every tear, every hard time, every moment I wanted to give up.  Seeing Hermano Lu* at that pulpit was worth it all!

This is our group.  Hermana Dominique is our third companion cause we cant enter the house of Hermano Lu* solo.  She played a big part in helping us prepare him for baptism.
Car* also came to church! She just loves church. She says she is preparing to be baptized, but she doesn't want a fetcha. I think that she is planning on getting baptized in two years . . just like Hermano Lu*!  Noo!!  She doesn’t understand that she could be baptized tomorrow if she wanted.  We had a FHE with all her family.  We met her husband for the first time, and he is very amiable, but has had bad experiences with churches, so he isn't so open to listening to us.  But her daughter is definitely ready. I believe with all my heart that Car* will be sealed with her family for time and all eternity.  I believe that one by one, each of them will accept the gospel.  I know it.  I can see them all dressing in white, in the celestial kingdom.  During one of our lessons with her this week, I honestly felt the presence of a forth member.  Someone who was there who we couldn't see.  Then I remembered her son who has passed away, and I knew he was there.  He is our third companion working on the other side for us.  I know it!

We also found a family to teach this week!  I’m not sure how it will go cause the women is practically a testigo de jehova.  There were very amiable.  The husband invited us right in, and they were interested to know what we believed.  Then, before we left, the wife asked when we were coming back!  So there is a possibility here.  She is from Colombia and her accent is like glass! Honestly, she talks so smooth, clear, and slow.  I was jealous for like three second of those who get to serve their missions in Colombia or other lugares where the accent is easy to understand.  Chilenos talk so so fast!  And well, it is my personal belief that if you can understand a chileno speak Spanish, you can understand anyone speak Spanish! Jaja.

But, I love Chile, and I would never want to serve anywhere else.  Also, being jealous means that you are not grateful for what you have.

Okay, other random stuff that happened, I got chased and bit by a dog!  He ripped my second favorite skirt. Also, we find out about changes today.  I really don't want to leave.  If I leave I will just die!  This sector is so hard.  But I love it!  The mission is hard no matter where you go.  Also, once a week we eat in the restaurant that a member works at.  And the people at the table next to us were listening to music on their ipod.  Guess what they were listening to? LES MISERABLES!!  I sang along with every song!  JAJAJA. My comp thought I was crazy . . . but thats okay. And I was speaking like an Argentine all day yesterday . . jajaja

Okay, I love you all, thanks for all the support and love.  Que Tenga una linda semana!
Con Amor,
Hermana Ostler

Ps. Hermana Leyva is going back to the mission, but not here. She is going to a mission in Lima Peru close to her doctors.      

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

That wasn't our Amalikite


Wow, I cannot believe that about Ben!  Breaks my heart!  I will definitely remember him and la familia Page in my prayers.

Me and my bike
I made friends with a goat!
This is in the more humble part of our sector that we explored this week and found a few people to teach and a goat!  Super fun day!

Well, we had a good week . . de hecho fue una semana incredible, lleno de milagros!  Well, it started out pretty rough, just on pday I was pretty low.  I didn't know what else we could do for our sector, or how we could find more people to teach.  The people here rarely let us get 5 words in, so finding people is hard.  Monday night I was praying so so so hard for the faith that I needed to be guided by the spirit to find the people who are prepared.

Then, on Tuesday, we had district class and our zone leader talked about having a positive attitude.  He gave the example of an atom, and how if an atom has more protons then it is positive, but if it has more electrons then it is negative.  He said that we needed to focus on having more positive thoughts in our heads then negative.  That really hit home with me.  I realized that the week before I had just been flat our enduring, and I hadn't been enforcing myself to have positive thoughts.  The negative thoughts were winning which made me miserable. I was thinking things like "These people are so hard hearted, no one will listen to us.  Oh there is another door slammed in face.  Its so hot. etc."  All of these things were and are true, but they are negative.

Our zone leader had us talk to our companion about ways we could be more positive.  We talked about having more faith, and about eliminating the word "dificil," from our vocab. Then I read to my comp a scripture in Alma, I don't remember the reference, but it talks about the mission of the sons of Mosiah and how they converted cualquire city of lamanites, then in one scripture it says something like "But none of the amalakites were convert, SAVE ONE ONLY."

I told Hermana Lima that we are in the sector of the amalikites.  All the other missionaries are teaching the lamanites and they might have cualquire lesson, or baptism, but we were called to preach to the amalikites.  I then said "I wonder how many doors ammon and aaron knocked until they found that one, or how many times they got doors slammed in their face until they found that one."  So our moto this week has been finding the one.  Every time we get a door slammed in face we laugh and say "That wasn't our amalikite.  Maybe he lives next door."

It was still a hard week, but we changed the way we reacted, and the thoughts we had.  I tired to laugh a lot, and look for the ridiculousness in some of our situations.  For example, one day it was so so so hot in the morning, and we were doing contacts on a treeless street, so there was no shade.  I was dying, so I put my helmet on to block some of the sun and knocked doors with my helmet on.  We had a good long laugh over that.

Another time, we were talking to a man who believes that God is an energy and that the libro de mormon can't be true because God doesn't talk to us anymore.  I told him that the bible says God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and so if he talked to men yesterday he will talk to men today because he doesn't change.  Well, as we were walking away I was talking about how frustrating the bible can be sometimes and how people can interpret it in whatever manner that they want.  Then Hermana Lima said, "Sometimes people just don't understand that God is a man . . . (pause and think about what she said) .  . But a perfect man with a lot of power."  Oh it was so so so funny!  I practically died laughing!

I've realized that the mind is powerful.  If you wake up and think it will be a crappy day then it will be a crappy day because you won't try to make it different.  But if you wake up and think it will be a good day then it will because you will be looking for a way to make it good.  We decided to have a good week and we did.

Car* is doing so so so great!  She came to church and she loved it!  She really wants her family to start listening to us too!  She is our one amalikite.  We had lunch with her this week, and it was so great!  At the end of one lesson we had with her, we asked her to say the pray.  It was a simple prayer, but said with such faith that if almost brought me to tears. I love her so much.  I can't think about her without smiling.  After conference she said that she was interested to learn more about the church, so she looked it up on line.  BAD IDEA! Well, she told us that she found some terrible stuff, and we were scared that she would believe it.  But not Car*.  She said "that stuff just can't be true.  Tell me its not true."  We told her it wasn't and she was so relieved.  Then she said "How can people say that stuff about OUR church .. .  um . .. or the church that we go to."  She is practically a member. When I invited her to live the word of wisdom she said "Well, of course, I already stared.!" Blah I just love her!

Also Hermano Lu* is amazing!  He is our other Amalikite!  His cousin is living with him, and when we went over to teach him he asked his cousin to say the prayer.  His cousin didn't want to and Lu* insisted.  His cousin continued to refuse and Lu* said "No, you need to say the prayer and talk to God.  We listen."  Then he bowed his head, and we followed suit.  It was quite for a moment, then his cousin finally said the prayer.  Hermano Lu* is a missionary!

Also, he gave his testimony in church!  It was so great and all the members loved it. He always says "I found my new family.  I found my new family here in the church."  One day we went to visit him and we asked him if he had read the libro de mormon.  He said "No, but its not my fault.  I was going to read yesterday night but I couldn't find my book.  My cousin had stolen it and was reading it in his room.  Hermanas, I think it is time you got him his own libro de mormon." I took out the libro de mormon that I had recently put in my backpack (I wasn't even going to bring one that day, cause I had little faith that we would find someone to give it to.  But I felt like I should bring one, so I did)  And I gave it to his cousin.  Hermano Lu* then shook his cousins hand and said "I congratulate you for starting this journey with me."  Oh, it was great!

Noche de hogar con Hermano Lu*
This is me losing the game we played - jajaja
We also found 7 new investigators this week!  That is incredible for this sector!  There are a few of them that are really good!  Also, we found an inactive older couple, and the way we found them was so so so funny.  We had talked to their daughter one day and she said to come back another day and talk to her dad cause he was a member.  So we went by on Wednesday and an old man answered the door.  We said, that we were missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ, and said, "Really, well, I'm a Mormon."  We said, great!  Then we started talking to him about the church, and if he still attends.  He said that he doesn't go anymore for his health.  We asked if we could share a message with him.  He said no thanks.  Then we said, can we come by another day.  And he said "No, I'm a mormon.  I like the mormon church."  And then we said "We are Mormons too."  He said "You're Mormons? Well, why didn't you say anything?"  jajaja!  It was so so so funny.  We were able to talk with him and his wife about the temple, and how they can be sealed forever.  Enrique and Gladis se llaman.  Enrique is 85 and Gladis is 83.  Enrique is losing his memory and doesn't understand a lot, but Gladis does.  She wants to be sealed in the temple.  She doesn't go to church cause she has a lot of health problems.  I don't know what we can do for this family, but I just loved visiting them!  Enrique said, "We have been married for 55 years and I still love her!"  CUTEST THING EVER!

We really did see the lord guiding us this week.  We had 5 people in church!  AMAZING! One of them was a street contact that we did who said she would come to church . . .and she showed up!  What? That never happens!  Well, actually it does . . cause it did!

Honestly the mission is really hard, but it is good.  I am learning more every day how to be like Christ, and how to follow him.  This week I am going to go back out there again and knock more doors until I find that one amalikite who is ready to listen.

Con amor, 
Hna Ostler

Ps. I also did a contact in English this week!  It was with a man who lived in NY for 4 years and England for another 4.  Yep, he passed my English test!  It was great!  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Riding up a hill in a skirt, in the middle of a wind storm

Dear Familia,

Thanks for the email.  Crazy about the storm in Brazil.  Ps: you guys paint me as a better missionary than I am.  But I just LOVED conference!  Basically all Saturday was about missionary work.  Car* came to both sessions on Saturday.  She was only going to come to one, but she loved it so much that she showed up at the second one with her daughter.  It was great!  Then, after the session, ALL the members came up to greet her.  Yep, they heard the message.  MISSIONARY WORK!!

But, honesty.  I am not that great of a missionary.  In fact, we had a really tough week.  All the new people we found to teach last week avoided us and put every excuse not to invite us in.  We knocked so many doors, and no one opened up.  The people are getting harder and harder of heart.  It was hard to keep going.

I remember one day the weather was just so bad!  Well, not that bad.  But it was a little chilly, and super windy.  We were riding our bikes up a hill and a huge gust of wind swept down from the mountains.  I had one hand on my skirt, holding it down and the other on the bars, trying to keep the bike up.  I was barely even moving.  My eyes were filled with dust, and I remember thinking "What the heck am I doing?  This is so so so hard!  I just want to go home!  I am not doing any good here."

That day, I was measuring my success by the number of contacts we had (which was pretty low).  But I have come to realize that success in the mission isn't baptizing everyone or having 20 plus lesson a week.  Success in the mission is when you have the worst day ever. When you knock door after door and get rejected time after time, and then you wake up at 7:30 the next day to do it all over again.

When doors slam in your face, when you get rejected time and time again, or when you get down or have a bad day, that is when you are closest to the Savior, and not because it is in these moments that you need him the most, but because you are living the life he lived. "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." The Savior suffered all, so who am I not to have trials, not to have moments of discouragement, or rejections? "The Son of man hath descended below . . . all.  Art thou greater than he?" He is "acquainted with grief," so why not me?  He invites us to "Take up [our] cross, and follow [Him]."  Two disciples once asked the Savior: "Where dwelest thou?" And He answered: "Come and see."  Christ invites us all to walk with Him, and not see WHERE He lives, but HOW He lives.

Sometimes when we are doing all we can to follow Him, we expect to be rained with blessings, but sometime the heavens stay closed and the ground dry.  We wonder why God has forgotten us.  Why He hasn't given us the water we need to grow.  But He has, just not in the way we wanted.   These are the times we have to dig down and grow our roots deep to find the water beneath.  A plant that is constantly drenched in water will never grow its roots deep, and when the storms come it will blow away with the wind.  But a plant that grows its roots deep to search for the water, will stand strong when the wind comes.

So when you think that God has forgotten you, He is really just making you stronger.  He is making you look inside yourself and pull out something, or someone, that you didn't know was there, just like the plant that finds the water beneath.

When we choose to follow Christ we chose to walk the path that he walked.  A path that was so bitter, He pleaded with the father to have it pass from Him.  He didn't want to walk the path.  But He did.  He finished it.  And now He has come back to help us along and show us the way.  And maybe at the end of it, I will hear my father in heaven say, "Behold, my beloved [daughter] in whom I am well pleased."

The difficulties will pass, and the rain will come again.  Suffering and rejections are a part of life.  They are a part of growing, changing and become like Christ, and "if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high." In those hard days of the mission, if I keep going, then I am successful.  Keep going and "never, ever give up.  You can never give up.  You just keep on going.  You don't quit, and you will make it."

So, I don't feel like an amazing missionary, and I am not striving to be the best, but I am striving to do my best, and to keep going, even when I am riding up a hill in a skirt in the middle of a wind storm.  That is success.

Oh, fun fact:  I SAW BRENNEN CREER IN THOSE NEW MISSIONARY MOVIES!  Like conference had finished and we were still in the chapel and the videos that they show after conference were playing.  We were talking to a menos activo who had come to conference, and just as I looked up and saw him!  It was crazy!

Also this week I learned how to unclog a toilet.  That was fun . .. NOT!  JAJAJa.  But the way I see it is after my mission I now have three options.  I can be a professional bike rider, a professional toilet plunger, or a professional metaphor writer.
So yeah, there really isn't much to say about the week.  Lu* is doing great!  He didn't come to conference because he was sick, but he is still on track to get baptized.

Also, in my district there are only three gringos who would be in the mom group thing.  I only know their last names.  Me, Hna Stum, and Elder Bracken.  That's all.  And Pres changed the internet time cause it says in the rules to only have one hour to communicate with family, but after we finish emailing we have 30 minutes to email pres and stuff.  So we really still have an hour and a half.

I agree, Ben is amazing!  D hecho, I just wrote him a letter.

Okay, I think that is all!
I love you all, and pray for you and hope you are doing well.
Con Amor, 
Hermana Ostler

Ps. favorite talk . . all of them!  no I really loved Monsons talk Sunday am.  Also, yes I watched conference in Spanish and I understood it and stuff.  But I missed their voices and their personalities.  Be grateful that we speak the same language as the prophet, cause its just no the same.