Monday, November 25, 2013

I might not be moving mountains, but step by step, I am climbing them

First of all, Jefferson, you are a Rock!  We should change your name to Peter or something cause you are just solid!  The Lord is preparing and UNSTOPABLE, and you are a part of it! If I could be at your basketball games this year, I would be calling you Peter for sure!

Second of all, I feel Harrison's pain.  Emotional abuse in the mission is the WORST! Especially so young in the field.  But, I know he will get through this and he will be stronger for it.  It still brings me great pain to think about my time with you know who. I have seen her a few times since, and it literally makes my stomach hurt.  But, I wouldn't change or trade my suffering, because I am a better person.  So mom, don’t try to fix this, because you can’t.  The only person that can fix this for Harrison is Jesus Christ.  You know why?  Jesus died and suffered for Harrison.  He knows this pain, and this frustration like no one else does.  Yes, it is completely wrong what the companion of Harrison is doing, but it was also completely wrong what the Romans did to Jesus.  Who is Harrison, or me not to suffer?  The Lord will make it all right someday, and Harrison is learning something that he won’t be able to learn at any other time in his life.  So pray for him, and let the Lord take care of him.

Third of all, I don’t know if you remember when I told you about Iy* but she taught us how to crochet.  Tell Wilson he is lucky he gets his classes in english!  JAJA.  Our grand success this week was when she and her inactive husband came to church!  It was branch conference, and the theme of every class was Temples.  It was so great for them.  The teacher in Principles of the gospel was talking about how one has to be baptized to enter into the temple to be sealed, and the husband leaned over to her and said "So when are you going to be baptized!"  So we will see what will happen with this family.  She is really amazing, but she is slower to understand, and she doesn’t complete with her commitments. So we will see.

Crochet Class
Also, Ca* came to church, like always, and after learning about baptisms for the dead she wants to baptize her whole family!  She was just on fire with the spirit of Elisha.  She gave us a list of family members that needed to be baptized into the true church! BUT SHE STILL DOESNT WANT TO BE BAPTIZED HERSELF!  What is up with that?  So we are going to teach her about family history on Tuesday and tell her that she can do those baptism for her family if she gets baptized first.  Maybe this will be the push she needs to get into the baptismal font.  We'll see.

But, other then that, we had a pretty hard week.  The people seem more hard hearted every day. The first contact I did this week yelled at me.  I just hate that.  I hate when the people yell at me.  Harrison will probably never suffer that in Brasil. Hna Lima says the people are just so kind there.  But, hey, I got called to the land of the amalakites, I’m just happy they aren’t trying to kill me . . . yet . . . jajaja.

I hit a couple low points this week.  Honestly, I had no desire to continue, and I started wondering if I had the faith to get me through to the end.  I remembered that quote that mom sent me a few weeks ago from Gordon B Hinkley, and I read over it in personal study. He says that faith "Enables us to do what we said we will do."  It is the power we can draw from to "press forward when we are tired, or hurt, or afraid."  Right now I am tired in mind, body, and spirit.  I have never felt this kind of exhaustion before.  My knees hurt every time I kneel down to pray, and my throat is so dry from yelling 'allo' at every door.  I am afraid, afraid that we won’t find anyone to teach, that we won’t complete with our contacts, and that I won’t become the missionary that God needs me to be.

Now, I ask myself one question: Do I have faith?  Am I willing to finish something that I said I would do?  Will I "keep going when the challenge seems overwhelming and the course unceratian"?

Do I have faith?
I don’t know how to answer that question.  Yes, I know that Jesus is the son of God and I accept Him as my Savior.  But faith goes so much further than knowledge.

Faith is that small spark that lights a fire within you, then it is the fuel to keep that fire burning.  Faith is what pushes you beyond what you can do.  Faith is the first principle of the gospels.  Without it, your testimony falls.

Faith is not measured by what you achieved in this life/mission, but rather by the diligence in which you worked.  Was Ammon more faithful than Abinadi because he baptized thousands when Abinadi died before seeing the fruits of his labor?  Faith can’t be measured in numbers, but rather by what is inside of you.

Faith is your conviction to follow Christ even when the reward is undefined.  Faith is taking the one step beyond where you thought you could.  Faith is closing you eyes, hearing the masters call, and following Him even when the path is uncertain.

"Faith is something greater than ourselves."

So I ask again, Do I have faith? 
The answer is yes.  You know how I know?  Because I am still out here, struggling down this road, and it doesn't matter if I baptize one person or thousands as long as I keep going, cause that is faith.

I might not be moving mountains, but step by step, I am climbing them.

So, even though it was a tough week, I’m going to go back out there and do it all over again, because that is all that the Lord asks.  Just keep Climbing.

I didn’t take a pic with Jose Leiva, but I hope that I see him again so that I can.  Also, YES I WANT TO GO TO MAUI!  About college . . . can you look up to see if there exists a BYU Chile, cause that would be my first pick . . . jajaja.

Okay, I love you all, and I hope you are all doing fantastic!
Con Amor, 
Hna Ostler

My first, and proably last thanksgiving eating watermelon!  Better then turkey!

Monday, November 18, 2013

He preached the back wall out of that place

Dear Familia, 
Thanks for the letter.  I’m glad that my letter got to Harrison and that it helped.  Wow, that is crazy about the Philippines, just crazy!  But the Lord protects His servants.

So, it has been a long long week.  I can’t believe that Elder Holland came this week, because it feels like year ago.  But it was amazing!!  Just amazing!

We had a 6 girl sleepover in our house for two ....  jajaja that was fun!  Not!  Two of the sisters arrived close to midnight, so we didn’t get much sleep cause we had to wake up at 4! But only our district was in the bus . . well, it was actually two minivans.

We got to the chapel at about 7:30, and it was already packed!  We decided to sit up on the stage in the back, back, back.  We could have sat closer, but then we wouldn’t have been able to see over all the tall elders heads.  So we sat front row on the stage.

This is where we were.  Back in nose bleed . . but it was stil amazing!
I swear that they could hear Elder Holland in Switzerland.
Elder Holland showed up at 9:30 and we started right when he got there.  Obviously we all stood up when he came in, and he shook a few hands of the people on the stage, then goes over to the mic and says "no more, k, sit."  It was so funny.  An area seventy and his wife talked, then Sister Holland talked, then finally Elder Holland talked.  He spoke English with a translator.  But sometimes he would get so excited, or just so full of the spirit that he would cut the translator off. .  jajaja.  It was so funny.  I was glad I speak English though, cause a lot of it got lost in the translation.  Basically he preached the back wall out of that place .. .  it was amazing!  A few key points I will share with you.

He said that this moment in the work ranks with the first vision, the restoration of the priesthood, and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon!  Wow .. . thats pretty incredible. He said that the mission is demanding more of us than missionaries of the past, and that we needed to step up.  Oh I forgot, the first thing he said when he took the mic was "I am so pumped up.  I should be popping off the wall and taking down the curtains.  I am just so pumped."  Bahahaha . . . never thought I’d hear an apostle say that.  So funny.

Another key point he talked about was that we will always be missionaries.  He said we have to do this forever.  Maybe not knock doors, but we are committed to this work for life. This isn’t a 2 year 18 month thing we do until we can return to real life.  THIS IS REAL LIFE!

He also talked about how we are all Gods investigators.  Then how we need to be powerful teachers.  You don’t get a second chance to teach a first lesson.  But the best thing he said was "Go asombro someone."  So funny!  He mixed Spanish and English all the time - loved it! He also talked about how the Book of Mormon is our best missionary tool, because before there was PMG there was only the BOM.  SO USE IT! He ended with saying that we should stop wondering why our missions aren’t easy, because it was never easy for Jesus. The Road to salvation goes through Gethsemane and we will all spend time there. Basically, it was just amazing!

I found Hermana Peralta at the confrence with Elder Holland!  So WONDERFUL!
So, also this week, was my hump day, and I got the package on Nov 13th!  Wow, good timing.  We had intravistas that day with president and he told me that I have progressed so much and that he can tell I am giving this my all.

I have been doing a reflection on the first half of my mission and thinking about the significance of "Hump" day.  Hump day means that you have reached the top of a hump, or a hill.  That you have gone halfway, and the struggle, the hard part is behind you, cause now you can just coast down for the next 9 months.  WRONG!  THERE IS NO COASTING IN THE MISSION.  I realized that the whole mission is up hill.  Heck, your whole life will be up hill.  When you choose to follow Christ, you leave the coasting to the followers of the devil.  You take up your cross and you follow Him UP to gothal.  If you ever find yourself coasting in the mission, or even in life, then you are doing something wrong.  Like Elder Holland said "Salvation is not a cheap experience."  Its a fight, its a struggle.  So yeah, I might be half way done with the mission, but I am no where near done with the constant up hill struggle.

Also, I have been thinking about when president told me when he said that he can tell I have given my all.  As I have read back over the first few entries in my journal, and read over some of the most difficult time in my mission, I realized that I really have tired to give the Lord all, but it has never been enough, and it never will be enough.  I only have 5 small fishes and two loafs of bread . . .  thats not enough to feed a family of 9, let alone thousands.  But the incredible thing that I have seen throughout the course of my mission is that when I gave the Lord all, He multiplied it and made it enough.  I have nine more months, and I will have to dig down deep to find more within me that I can give to the Lord, so He can multiply it can get me to the end.

We didn’t knock doors all week, but it wasn’t the greatest week we’ve had.  Ca* is still great.  K*, our neighbor we saw one time this week, and was asking about baptism!  What? We won’t get to see her until next week cause we passed by yesterday and she said that this week she has a million things to do and she won’t be home much.  So we are just going to pray our hearts out for her.

E*, the investigator that gave us the reference of K* took a leap toward progression.  She has always been a mas o menos investigator, but this week we went by and taught in depth the apostasy.  She was very thoughtful through the whole thing, and at the end when we invited her to pray to ask if Jose Smith really was a prophet she was quite for a moment, then she said "Jesus said we need to beware of false prophets. . . . (Pause .. . in a quite voice) But I really want him to be a prophet.  I want this book (the Book of Mormon) to be true.  I want it to fill me."  I then promised her that it would.  She had to be diligent and patient, but that his gospel was exactly what she was looking for.  She then offered a very powerful prayer, pleading with God to guide her, and to let her know if Jose was a prophet. It was just amazing.  The spirit was so strong.

We found a few people who have potential to be investigators.  We took out appointments with them for this week, so we will see how that goes.

Yes, Hermana Lima and I were matching this day.
We didnt' realize it until after we left the house.
We had a good laugh.
These are kittnes of one of the recent convert in our area.
They look like rats . . but in a cute way.
I could tell you a million other stories from this week, cause like I said, it was long, but the one I will tell is of Jose Leiva.

Jose Leiva lives alone.  His wife dies of Alzheimer about 9 months ago.  Hermana Lima said that they had shared with him one day, but then he left Lampa for about 5 months and they could never find him again.  We see him in the streets all the time, but whenever we pass by to visit, he is never home.  Finally on Friday we took out a cita with him for Saturday. When we passed by on Saturday he was home!  We spent about 50 minutes with him, honestly just talking.  We had planned to teach the first lesson, but we ended up just talking about life. He has lived a lot of life, and it really an amazing man.

One thing he said that really called my attention was "The world is the way it is because the men do not take care of their wives anymore.  So the women have to leave the home to work, to support their families, and the kids are left alone.  Then the kids get into drugs and all sorts of bad stuff cause their mothers are not home to raise them.  So the world raises them, and in this way the family is destroyed and the world has come to what it has come to and Men are to blame.  If men would only take care of their wives, the world would be a better place."  Wow, what wisdom.  He talked a lot about his wife, and got a little teary eyed a few times.  Then before we left, we sang him a hymn, lead kindly light, and he read us the lyrics to a song he sang to his wife on their wedding day and just lost it.  (He married his wife when she was 15 and he 19)  He then asked me to pray.  Pray that he could find his way in this world, and that the Lord would lead him to the correct path.  It was a very special experience for me, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it all through the night. Talking to Jose Leiva that day will probably be one of my most memorable experiences of my mission and I have no idea why.

Well, I hope you are all well.  I don’t want anything for Christmas, so whatever you send will be great.  Thanks for the package, and all the support.  Jefferson, it is so great that you are so excited to serve a mission cause it is the best.  You know what the best part is?  It’s when you remeet someone that you already knew, and you spend 50 minutes just talking to them about life.  I love this so much.  Even when it is hard.
Con Amor, 
Hna Oslter

Monday, November 11, 2013

I wanted to make the Lord cookies

Honestly, today I realized that I forgot how to play the piano

Dear Familia,
First of all, LOVE THE PICTURE!  Now, that is awesome.  Second of all, I don’t think I am all the way solid.  I still have a few cracks, and chips around the edges, but I’m working on it.  With the Lord, I am mixing up some cement to fill in the cracks, but it is a work in progress, and maybe someday I will be solid, pero, alli vamos.

Second of all, thank you for all your prays, your support, and your fasting.  At the end of last week, I really didn’t want to go back out there and knock more doors, and get them slammed in my face all over again.  Hermana Lima and I didn’t know what else to do, so we fasted.  Probably one of the most difficult fasts I have ever done, cause it was so hot, and we were so so so thirsty, and almost had no energy to keep going.  But we did it, 24 hours of no food and no water.

We fasted for our sector, and I was just hoping to have the energy and the ganas to keep going, but the Lord had different plans.  I have never had a solid testimony of fasting before.  I have fasted in the past, cause I usually feel closer to God, and feel peace, and because it is a commandment, but . . . wow, I LOVE FASTING!  Basically this last week we were so busy!  We had so many people to teach.  Well, not like in my other sectors, but . . . well basically we got to the end of Wednesday and had only knocked 4 doors!  WHAT? The blessings just came pouring down.  I really don’t have time to talk about all of them, but I will tell you about my favorite.

So, on Wednesday, we were visiting an investigator we hadn’t seen in like 2 weeks, and we were starting to think that she was done with us. But, that is another story.  Basically she was honestly just really busy.  We had a good lesson with her.  She loves the bible, but has really accepted the Book of Mormon.  We had a lesson where we compared the bible and the Book of Mormon and she loved it!  Then, at the end of the lesson she said "Hey, I really want you two to pass by for my friend." FREE REFERRAL!  We said, of course, where does she live.  She said "She is your neighbor.  She lives in front of your house.  I saw her today in the ferria and told her that you two would be coming by today, and she asked me to send you her way."

We finished the lesson, then went to see if she was home, repenting that we had knocked almost every door in our sector minus our own street!!!  Well, Ka* was home and she invited us right in!  Wow, she is amazing.  She wants to understand the bible, she wants to come closer to Christ, and she wants to find a church!  WHAT?  Where did this woman come from?  Oh, right . . SHE LIVES ACROSS THE STREET FROM US!  It was a great lesson.  We gave her a Book of Mormon, and she said she would read it and pray and everything!  She also wants us to meet her husband.  We were going to meet him on Friday night, but justo, their primo came over so they couldn't attend us.  The devil is fighting hard . . . but hey, so are we! We are going back by to see them today, so I will let you know how everything unfold next week.  But, after the lesson we were just  . . .  wow I can’t explain it. It was more than happy.  The Lord really is leading us.  He is with us.  I know it.  All this time we have been looking for someone who is prepared, and all the time she lived across the street from us.  But, the Lord has a time for everything.

At the end of the day on Wednesday I was just so happy, and of course, grateful for all the blessings we had received in the past three days.  Honestly, we had found 4 new investigators in 3 days, the last week we found 1.  We were riding our bikes home, and I was praying in my heart, just thanking the Lord.  I was so full of gratitude I didn’t know what to do.  Honestly, I wanted to make the Lord cookies or something to express my gratitude.  But, all I can do is work, work WORK!  And this week we worked so hard!  We never had a moment to rest.  It seemed like there was always something to do!  I LOVED IT!

Ca* came back form Argentina. Man, we missed her a lot.  We invited her to be baptized, again.  And again, she said that she doesn't feel ready.  But, she said "I will get baptized before you leave Chile!"  Although, it fills me with Joy, that she will be baptized someday, I am a selfish human being, because I want to be here for it!  I want to see her get baptized. Hermana Lima pointed out that we got to see Hermano Lu* get baptized even though someone else found him.  Which is true, but this is totally different, cause Hermano Lu* was so far from being baptized, that obviously those who found him weren’t going to see it, and also he went about 8 months without contact with the missionaries until about 2 weeks before I got here, and that's when he started to change.  But Hermana Ca* is ready!  She doesn’t need 2 years . . . heck, she could get baptized tomorrow if she wanted.  So, on Saturday to Sunday, I am going to fast for her if you want to join me.

Also, we finished the week with a baptism.  A nina named Sa*.  We have been teaching her for about 4 months and helping reactivate her mom.  Her mom is a member but hasn’t gone to church in about 4 years.  She has now been assisting regularly for about 2 months!  So Sa* got baptized and it was great!  Hermano Lu* gave a talk at the baptism, too.  Also, Sa*'s abuela is a member, and she bore her testimony and started crying.  It was really a beautiful experience to help bring this family back to the church.
The baptism.
Check out my feet!
Sorry, I don’t really have any good metaphors this week, and my email is all over the place. I didn’t really have time to plan it.  But, next week it will be better.

About Elder Holland, there will be 4 missions there.  I don’t even know if I will be in the same room as him cause it will be packed.  We have a bus coming to get us at 6:30 in the morning.  It starts at two.  4 sisters from another sector are coming to stay in our house tonight, cause we live closest to the chapel.  I’m excited, but . . . well, Hermano Lu*'s baptism and blessing the sacrament will probably be more memorable for me.

Okay, well, I love you all.  Thanks for the email, and all your support.  Also, no matter what anyone says, Ben, Brennen, or President Monson, I know I have a long way to go before I am the missionary that God is trying to make of me.

Con Amor, 
Hna Oslter 

Monday, November 4, 2013

I wondered if God knew . . . . .

Dear Familia, 
Okay so I haven't finished reading your email, it was kinda long, and I have a lot to say.  But I loved it all the same and if I don’t have time to finish reading it I will print it.

The sky on Halloween!
I have never in my life seen anything like this.
It was literally a wave of gold.
So this week was probably the hardest week I have had in Lampa.  Hermana Lima and I were very low spiritually and emotionally and physically just done!  It is so hot I can’t describe it.  I know where Harrison is it is hotter, but he at least has the humidity.  Here it is just dry.  Drier than Richland.  This is the kind of heat that burns.  So yes, good quality American sunblock for the face would be much appreciated.

So, Bens words have been on my mind all week.  They humbled me greatly because I don’t feel like the missionary he painted me to be.  I looked for ways to improve and better myself.  I realized that in the beginning of my mission I used to worry about getting ahead.  I wanted to be the best.  I wanted to teach more than everyone, baptize more than everyone, be a trainer, or a sister leader. This world wants you to get one step ahead of your brother, but I realized, over time and many humbling experiences, that God doesn’t want you to get ahead.  He wants you to get behind to lift up the hands that droop.  To find someone who is struggling on the path, or who is about to give up, and to get behind them and push them forward.  God would rather have you cross the finish line hand in hand with your brother instead of two steps ahead of him.

This week we knocked a lot of doors.  We have almost knocked every door in our sector.  No joke. And this week seemed to be the battle of the Jehovah Witnesses.  We ran into them everywhere! I hate contacting testigoes, and in our companionship study we have been practicing what to say to them.  They are just so disrespectful, and tear you apart.  But something that I realized this week is that testigoes fight with the bible, but we fight with the truth.

On Saturday we contacted a testigo who was just ripping up jose smith and the libro de mormon. He was saying that we should really be careful of what we preach, and just other really disrespectful stuff.  I wanted to say so many things to him, but in the end, I don’t have all the bible knowledge he has to fight in that way.  So, when I finally had the chance to speak, I gave a short spill of lesson one, and then testified with all my heart that I knew that jose smith was and is a prophet.  And that God doesn't change, and so we will always have prophets.  I said I know the book of mormon is true, and that the church of Christ was on the earth.  He was quiet for a moment, then went on about saul changing his name to saul.  Honestly I don’t know what his point was, but what I did notice, was that he could not testify that what he was saying was true.

The testigoes were not the only ones fighting with us this week.  I am pretty sure that satan had it in for us.  I almost cried three times on Friday. The first was when a very rude lady yelled at me while I was trying to contact her.  Honestly, it surprises me that there is such a lack of respect in the world.  It wasn't the first time I have been yelled at, but this time it hurt more, and I don’t know why.  But, I tired to joke to keep the tears from falling.  But it hurt a lot.  Then, later that day I crashed on my bike.  Like bad.  I’m fine, but I remember while everyone was asking me if I was okay, I put my head down, cause I just wanted to be alone so I could cry.

Then, as we were riding bikes again, I just wondered if God knew I had crashed my bike and that now my arm was all scraped up.  After that, I almost cried again when another door contact yelled at Hermana Lima.  This time it was worse.  We walked away, and I could tell Hermana Lima wanted to cry too, so she called Hermano Lu* to make her feel better . . . jajaja.  But I just felt so bad.  I wondered again if God knew that I was suffering.  If he knew that I had been hurt, and that I really didn’t want to contact another person that day.

But, on Sunday, I did cry, and I was able to answer those questions.  On Sunday I have the grand privilege to see Hermano Lu* break the sacrament bread, and when he blessed the water, tears of joy and gratitude slipped from my eyes.  I was filled with such love, and I knew it was God telling me: "Yes, my daughter, I know that you crashed your bike on friday, and I know that now your hip is bruised.  I also know that your spirits were low, and that you’re feeling were hurt.  I know that you wondered if I was watching.  But I was.  I was always with you.  And now look.  Look at this blessing right in front of you.  Your dear friend, and my prodigal son, is blessing the sacrament.  He is now worthy to hold my priesthood.  My dear daughter, I love you.  Look at your blessings and know that I love you."

I did not hear those words, but I felt them.

I realize that this past week Satan was out to get me.  But, I would like to inform him that he has engaged in a very dangerous battle if he wants to fight with me.  The harder he tries, the stronger I will get.  The more he tempts me to come down from my high place, the higher I will move up, and the more he tries to pull me away from Christ, the stronger I will cling to Him.

So yeah, I had a tough week, but Satan didn’t win, and he won’t win.  Honestly, he is wasting his time if he thinks he as a chance with me.  These are the last days, he is going to do everything he can to pull as many souls as he can down to hell with him, but he won’t have mine, he won’t have Hermano Luis's, or Hermana Carmen's . . . because we are with the Lord, and the power of the Lord is greater than that of the devil.  
Stay strong, and stay true.  
Con Amor, 
Hermana Ostler

Hermana Ostler and I were online at the same time today and got to 'chat.' The following is part of our conversation.

Hermana Ostler:  Okay, I sent my email, but I don't think I answered your questions, so if you want to know anything, just ask, i will be here for a few. Elder Holland is coming to our mission on the 12th.  So excited!!!!

Mom:  I'm here. What an email! How bad is your arm?

Hermana Ostler:  Just a few scraps.  Its a flesh wound on mas.  But, my hip hurts . . it's not bruised but it hurts

Mom:  I'm feeling so sad for you. Are you feeling okay? And tell me the truth. When people are mean it can affect you for a long time.

Hermana Ostler:  Oh, i am fine.  The mission is hard, but I am fine.  Satan is going to have to try a little harder if he wants to keep me down for too long.  Jajaja.  Hermana Lima and I have whole heartily laughed about all three situations.

Mom: In your email you said Hermano Lu* was not worth to hold the priesthood. Did you mean he was NOW worthy to hold the priesthood?

Hermana Ostler: Yes, I meant now . . jajaja. That moment for me can not be put into words.  I kept my head down after the prayer cause I was just crying so so hard.  Hermano Lu* is . . . he is a miracle that people can and do change, and God exists and loves us, that no one is too far gone to be saved.

Okay, I have to go, but I love you!  Tell dad thanks for the mission stories, they always remind me that it could be worse . . . jajaja . . . love you all!