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.

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