Monday, April 28, 2014

My mission has truly prepared me for the rest of my life

Dear Familia,
Sweet pic!  This week was okay.  Actually, it was a little difficult. Trios are not my thing. We are three very different people with three very different styles of doing missionary work. So last night we had a companionship inventory and were open and honest. I won’t go into details about all our problems, but one is our different senses oh humor. They like to joke, but their jokes aren’t "knock knock, who’s there?"  If a joke is not a joke on both sides, but is hurting someones feelings, it ceases to be a joke.  I like to laugh . . I love to laugh, but only when everyone is laughing. Last night and this morning, I told my companions that we need to change.  We need to be more careful with our joking, and give the proper respect to the nametag we wear.  I reminded them that we are not ourselves, but representatives of Jesus, and we must emulate Him in every way.  Can you imagine Jesus walking down the streets with his apostles sarcastically joking, laughing too loudly?  I can’t. So we will see what happens. They might be mad at me cause I called them out.  She says that she is just having fun, but at whose expense?

I have always wanted to give the best of me, but as I look back on my mission, I wonder if I could have given more.  But, one cannot go back, only look ahead.  It might have taken me awhile, but I have learned what the Lord expects of me as a missionary, and in these last few months I have, I want to give Him all I have.  I don’t regret the beginning of my mission, cause it was all the mistakes I made that brought me to this understanding I now have.  Besides, even though I might not have been able to apply the knowledge I have now back in the beginning of my mission, I have the rest of my life to apply it.  My mission has truly prepared me for the rest of my life.

Sometimes I wonder why the Lord called me to serve a mission.  I feel like I have done so little good, but maybe the little good I have done has made a difference.  I don’t think the Lord sent me to Chile to change the world, but rather to change me.  I honestly can’t imagine my life without the mission.

The other day when I was in the temple, I felt such peace.  I felt protected.  I couldn’t remember my problems, or my worries.  It was wonderful.  But when I left the temple, I was back in the real world. It was shocking leaving the peace of the temple, and I wonder if leaving the mission is something similar.

This is Llay Llay
This week, guess what . . I lost my agenda . . . again!  This time it fell out when I was in a taxi, and I had no hope of finding it again.  I didn’t have another freak out session.  Though I was sad, I realized that there was nothing I could do but make another agenda to finish the change.  This happened on Friday.  I did pray that by some miracle I could find my agenda. Then, on Sunday, the other sister missionaries in our ward told me that they had my agenda in their house.  I asked how that was possible.  They said that a man who they contacted one day found the agenda in the street, and when he saw the sisters passing his store on Saturday he called them over and gave them the agenda.  WHAT?  The Lord really effects miracles, and the small things that are important to us, are important to him.

Right now we are working with about three families super bakanes!  One of them is married and they have fecha!  They are so amazing!  Another one we are planning their wedding . . . jajaja . . we'll see if they actually get married.  So, despite our hard week, the Lord has blessed us, and I know that as we work on bettering ourselves, and repent everyday, the Lord will continue to bless us.

This week I didn't do any exchanges since the last time we talked, but I will be doing two this week.  I did call all the sisters this week, and always see them in church.  Over half of our sister group are in our branch.  There are 9 sisters missionaries in the branch.  We are over half of the relief society. Fun stuff.  One sister in my group, Hna V, from utah, is new in the mission.  This is her second change, and we fall really well together.  She reminds me so much of me in the beginning of my mission, and she has said that she is sad that I am finishing the mission in 2 changes cause she wants to be my companion.  I told her that I will see what I can do.  She is a very special sister.  Also, another one of the sisters, sister T, asked me to talk to president so that I can be her companion.  JAJAJa.

I really love this calling.  Sometimes I have no idea how to help these sisters, but I love them so much.  More than the investigators, this change, for me, has been about the sisters. Every Saturday we send a report to president about the state of the sister in our group. Basically how they are doing, emotionally, physically, and with missionary work.  When I travel, the companionship that we are doing exchanges with comes to our apartment in the morning, one of the sisters stays with my companions, and I go with the other.  Then the next day I wake up early with the sister that I am doing exchanges with, and we go back to my apartment.

I love horses!
Okay, now for an important item of business.  Mothers day is in like 2 weeks . . what?  I honestly feel like Christmas was yesterday.  But, as of right now, we are planning to skype on Sunday the 11th at 4pm our time.  We just had a time change.  The hour was set back one hour. So I will leave you to do the math.

But, thats all I have to say for today.  I love you all.  Have a great week!
Con amor, 

Hna Ostler

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"This is my life"

Dear Familia:

Wow, I wish I had time to just tell you all everything!  But, alas, I might need a full day to type.  Since the last time we talked, I have done 5 exchanges . . . I LOVE IT!  Honestly, I am learning so much from the sisters in my group.  But, I feel exactly how dad described. Like when they ask me what they should do to improve, I honestly have no idea what to tell them, and sometimes I feel so inadequate to help these sisters, because I’m just me. I’m just Saydi.  I don’t have any grand nuggets of wisdom to share.

I have to travel a lot to the other sectors.  I usually use that travel time to get to know the sisters.  I ask them about their families, why they are serving the mission, and what they hope to accomplish.  Usually in that time they will count to me if they are having struggles or issues.  One sister told me she was having troubles with her companion.  She is training, and feels inadequate.  While she was describing some things that were going on, it reminded me of my time with a companion.  So I was able to give her a few ideas.

Another sister who is new in the mission is having some difficulties adjusting to mission life. This sister reminds me a lot of how I was in the beginning of my mission, so I was also able to share some experiences with her.  But really, I think that I am learning so much more from these sisters than they are from me.  I love working with them, and I am surprised for the genuine love that I feel for each one of them.  Every night that I pray, I plead for each one by name.  I pray for their investigators, and for their sectors.  I pray they can overcome their challenges, and find joy in the mission, because I know that I really can do nothing for them, but the Lord can do what I can’t.  So it has been a very special experience serving as a leader.

But this week was absolutely crazy!  Between all of the exchanges, I still have my sector and my companions to worry about.  Hna C came back, and it is a little difficult to work in three.  I prefer two, but hey, what can you do?  But right now our sector isn’t doing so great. Hna Arroyo has been here for a long time.  I’m trying to adjust to the way that she works and learn all I can from her.

Actually, something crazy happened this week. One of our investigators died.  Yep.  We had been working with him to help him stop smoking, but on Sunday he didn’t come to church.  A member who lives close to him went to see if he was okay, and found him.  The member called us and told us that they had found him on his floor passed out, but we didn’t know he was dead until we got there and the ambulance was out in front of his house with a crowd of people.  We broke through the crowd and entered the house.  Hna Arroyo broke down crying.

It was a tough experience.  I don’t know him as well as hna Arroyo, but I do know that he had changed since meeting the missionaries, and just that day he had been planning on coming to church. We all went to the house of the member, and while we were there, we had a short testimony meeting about how the gospel has helped us change our lives.  I cried as well, but there was a very special spirit there.  One member told us that there would be missionaries that would find him in the spirit world, and that we could do his work for him in the temple.  I looked at hna Arroyo and said "Lucky missionaries who find him, cause he already has all the discussions."  That helped lighten the mood, and we all chuckled.

Later that night we went to E's house and had a noche do hoger with the other sister missionaries in our branch (actually there is 9 of us, but only 2 came).  Basically it was us, about four recent converts, a member, a less active and an investigators, in a tiny room in the house of E.  As I sat there and looked around the room I had a "This is my life" moment. Thats where you find yourself in a situation that you never imagined yourself coming to.  I took over the lesson cause Hna Arroyo was still pretty sad, and I read the part in 3 nefi 11 when the people come and touch the hands of Christ one by one, and I talked about how Christ heals us personally, and had everyone share an experience when Christ healed them, helped them, or let them know that He was there.  It was a super special experience.

But, the best part of the whole week was the temple.  Actually, that is why I am emailing so late.  We just got back.  I cannot describe the joy that filled my heart as I sat in the session. It has been a year since I had entered in the house of the Lord, and SO much as changed in that year.  First of all, I understood EVERY WORD of the session.  Second of all . . . well .. . I don’t think that I can detail all the changes, but I just felt different. I couldn't stop smiling.

While I was in the celestial room, I tried to receive inspiration, but nothing was coming to me, then I realized that I wasn’t asking a question.  So I tried to think of a question I could ask God. . . . nothing came to my mind.  I was just content.  I know who I am.  I know why I am hear.  I understand my calling and I am trying my hardest to fulfill it even though at times I fall short.  I realized that I am doing okay, which might have been the grand difference from the last time I was in the temple.  Also, while I was sitting their thinking, I thought of the time that I was in the celestial room with mom and dad before entering the MTC.  Actually, I think about that moment a lot.  It was very special to me.  Not many people get to sit in the celestial room with their parents and feel the peace that I felt that day. As I pondered on that experience, I began to miss you guys, especially mom and dad, but then I realized that this separation is only temporary, and we will soon sit together in the celestial room, but this time the bitter pain of separation will be replaced with the joyful gladness of reunion.  I love you guys.

I haven’t heard about this "Because of Him," video.  That sounds way sweet!  Also, way to go Wilson on passing the sacrament.  And Benson, I hope you are mowing lots of lawns to save up for the mission.  You have a grand blessing to work and pay for you mission BEFORE you graduate from college.  There are very few who have that blessing.

Bueno, I can’t remember much else from my week.  They eat a lot of asado here in llay llay . . so good!  We got invited to an asado for Sunday!  I’m so excited!  I love you all . . thanks for the love!
Con Amor,

Hna Ostler
Service in skirts

Monday, April 14, 2014

Best day of my mission

Dear Familia.
Being a sister training leader is fun cause I get to do intercambios and meet lots of sisters.  This week I did an intercambio with Hermana Pereira from Brasil.  Her sector is Llay Llay 2, so I just went next door . . jajaja.  But is was so great to get to know her, and work in the other part of Llay Llay.  She reminds me so much of Hna Lima, and on top of that we taught a man who reminds me so much of Hno Luis!  I could have closed my eyes and been in Lampa.  Oh how I miss Lampa.

But Llay Llay is amazing!  It is the garden of Eden in the mission santiago norte.  A little pueblito hidden at the base of the Andes mountain range.  I love it!  Our sector is right on the side of the hill, and when we go up to the top we can see all of Llay Llay.  It never ceases to take my breath away.

We always find the weirdest signs.
This one says "Not a dog toilet"  As if dogs can read. 
About my companions.  Hna Arroyo is the other sister training leader, and Hna Carhuas is the third companion.  But she is not with us right now cause she had to go be the companion of a sister in a different sector while this sister waits for her real companion to get back from the island.  So it is just Hna Arroyo and I for a few more days.  But, I love them both.  They are both very different, and I know that we will have to work on having unity as we work in a trio.

Hna Arroyo's first name is Glenda . . . but when she says it, it sounds like she is saying Glinda . . like Glinda the Good from wicked.  Just imagine for three seconds that Glinda the Good is Peruvian . . . you have just imagined Hna Arroyo.  Now, to keep with the theme, imagine Elphaba as a Peruvian . . . you have just imagined Hna Carhuas.  So who does that make me?  Think about it . .. yep . . FIERO!!  Honestly, there is not a better comparison in the world that exists, cause these two girls fight over me like two jealous witches.  But, hey . .. I’m just dancing through life . . jaja.  No, but really, I love them both.

So Llay Llay is going to be a difficult sector to learn, cause the streets don’t have names and the houses don’t have numbers.  When we ask someone for their address, they usually say, over there on the next street, behind the store, the wooden house with a fence and a dog . .. yep . . . you just described about 38 different houses on that street, over their, behind the store.  So that's been fun.  But the people here are super amiable. Like when we do contacts on the streets, the people will actually stop and talk to you.  I only got yelled at one time this week, and only one door was slammed in my face!  Wow. RECORD!

On Wednesday night there was a branch activity that the missionaries organized.  What happened was that there was a missionary in this sector the last transfer who just finished her mission.  Her parents came to Chile to pick her up, but before she left, she organized this family home evening with the branch to say goodbye.  I was working as a translator for part of the night cause her mom doesn't speak english, and she was busy talking to all her friends.  But it was fun.  It was really cool to see all these people get together in honor of a missionary who had an impact in their lives, and it got me to thinking about all the people that I have met in my mission.  Its incredible.  We come on the mission to change lives, but in the process, our life is changed the most.  Also, seeing sister cottle with her parents got me so excited for when you two come down here and meet all my friends!  Woot woot!  It’s going to be a party.

Yesterday was like the best day of my mission.  We had two recent converts "Escort" us all day!  Ex* and Da* who were both baptized last month are already preparing for their missions, and yesterday they accompanied us all day!  It was so fun!  We couldn’t do divisions cause they are both boys, but we had a good time.  Ex* kept saying "don’t worry hermanas, we are here for back."  We taught a man named Enrique.  He came to church today. Both his kids are members, and his son is on a mission, but he has never been taught by missionaries.  But yesterday his daughter brought him to church, and then we visited him in the afternoon.  The best part of the lesson was when Da* explained the book of mormon and then bore his testimony about it.  It was so simple, but yet so powerful.  Da* is a sweet kid.  He changes his life for the gospel, and if he could, he would go on a mission tomorrow.  He wants to go so bad.  So, we are going to take him out with us every Sunday so that he doesn’t lose that missionary fire.

Ex* is a crack up!  Have you ever read Harry Potter?  Yeah, think about Ron Wesley. Now imagine Ron Wesley as a Chileno . . . you have just imagined Ex*.  Well, not exactly, cause he is more funny than Ron . . but its close.  Also Ex* wants to learn Japonese, when I told him that my dad speak Japonese, he freaked out!  So dad, you have got to brush up on your japonese so you can teach some to him.

So this sector is super different from vivaceta, but I love it!  I don’t know how long I will be here, but I would love love love to finish my mission here.  Wow, that’s so weird.  Finish my mission.  The only down side of the sector is that our pench isn’t so great.  I have spider bits all over my right foot, but I found and killed the spider.  Also this morning I killed another giant spider that was definitely thinking about eating us.  But hey, we are rarely in the pench, so I think I will be fine.

So there is the highlight of my week, cause if I tried to write you all the details, I would be here all day . . truth! I love you all!  Have a great day.
Con amor,
Hna Ostler

Ps.  English is really hard to speak.  No joke.  I am dying right now, I just can’t remember how to say stuff.

Monday, April 7, 2014

God had a different calling in store for me

Dear family,
Well, mom, you were right . . well a little . . Hermana Peralta did leave, but so did I. We both got transferred . . crazy stuff.  And guess who is coming to replace me in Vivaceta? Hermana Lima!  What?  There are not better hands that I could leave my sector in.

But I am sure you are dying to know where I am at?  I'll give you one guess and the first one doesn't count.    Yep . . . LOS ANDES!  Third times a charm.  I am going to a sector called llay llay, which means wind wind. Right now I am waiting for my companions to arrive, and I am in san felipe.  Yep, you read the s right on the word companion.  I am going to be in a trio, and president has called me to be a sister training leader.  This was honestly the last thing that I expected.  I will be traveling a lot this change and doing a lot of intercambios with the sisters in my group. It should be fun.

My awesome district in Vivaceta
Good Times
But, dad, you nailed it. It tore my heart out to leave Vivaceta.  We found out about the changes between the conferences on Sunday, and when we told the family Gonzalez (Basically they are my Chilean family) The oldest daughter started to cry, and the two younger daughters both grabbed ahold of me and wouldn’t let go.  My tears joined theirs, and I honestly felt like I was saying goodbye to my family all over again.

This is my Chilean family.
I am going to miss them so much.
After conference, we went around our sector to say goodbye to members, and investigators.  I held it together well until we went to Al* and M*'s house.  I think I might have cried harder than I did when I left Lampa. Changes are so hard. But, at the same time that my heart was breaking, I felt peace.  I’ve knocked every door in Vivaceta at least 2 times, it was time for me to leave.  I know you may think that Lampa was hard for me, but in the end, Vivaceta was harder.  Every sector I go to seems to be laced with even more challenges than the last one.  But, I will be like nefi and go and do.

I will be in a district with basically all sisters.  There are a lot of new sisters coming in this change, and I thought that I would be training again, but I guess God had a different calling in store for me.

I am super excited to be back out here in the country, its going to be fun.  I will be with two Peruvians.  Me and the Hermana Aroyas will be the sister leaders, and our third companion will be learning from us.  Basically I will be doing about 3 intercambios a week, and Hermana Aroyas will stay in the sector with our other companion. That's how it works.  I’m excited to be doing something a little different, but I will also miss having my sector.  So that is the news about changes.

GC was amazing!  My favorite sessions were the general woman's session (which was rebroadcasted her Saturday morning) and Sunday morning session.  Honestly, conference is the best thing for a missionary.  We watched it in Spanish, and the familia cruz came!  It was great!  I would pick a favorite talk, but I can’t, cause they were all so good! I was almost brought to tears like 5 times.  Wow can you even believe that there is a prophet on the earth and that he just talked to us?  Its still blowing my mind!

About the earth quake, we were teaching a lesson when it happened, and our investigators turned on the news.  Everyone was a little nervous about what would happen in Santiago, but in the end nothing happened.  I did check my emergency bag, to make sure it had food and stuff.  We have been having a few earth shakes these past few days as an after effect.  One of them lasted like 30 seconds, and it was pretty strong. I thought we were gonna die cause it just kept shaking besides that we live on the 20th floor.  But, we are all fine here. No one called us, cause in the end nothing happened.

The last package I received was the one with the hymn book.  And I got a letter from Jefferson this week . .  thanks!

Okay, so I really don’t know what else to say.  I don’t remember much of the week.  We found some great people, and I am sad that I won’t get to see them progress, but I know that Hermana Lima is going to take good care of my sector.  We went to sleep at 3am last night, cause we both had to pack, and clean, and leave all the information that Hermana Lima would need to replace us.  So, I am tired.  But, I think that this will be a good change.  I think that I am going to learn lots from working with the other sisters.

Sorry for the short email, I really don’t know what to say.  I am very overwhelmed with the changes and stuff.  I love you all, and I pray for you often.
con amor, Hermana Ostler

Ps. while in the office I saw Hermana Morley.  She is in Lampa right now and she showed me a picture of their recent baptism. Guess who baptized her investigator?  Yep, Hermano Lu*! When I saw the photo I cried.  I was so overcome with joy.