Monday, May 19, 2014

We come, we work, we love, laugh and cry, then we leave and do it all over again

Dear Familia,
Wow, what a week.  First of all . . Harrison! Sweet, way to open the doors to the celestial kingdom for six of your brothers and sisters.  If someone baptized six people at a time here in Santiago, they might go down in history. It is also sweet that you are with a spanish speaker. I remember when they put me with Hermana Lima, from Brasil, and I was so scared cause I didn’t know if she could speak spanish, but she ended up being one of my favorite companions.  Tell your comp to make you milonesas! So GOOD!

Okay, now for the cambios.  Yes, I left llay llay.  Sad face.  I really really loved Llay llay, and as always, I shed a good amount of tears.  But, such is the mission.  We come, we work, we love, laugh and cry, then we leave and do it all over again.

My last week in Llay llay was so great!  We saw so many miracles.  M & J got in a rocket and took off in their progression.  They couldn't come to church this week cause one of their daughters was sick.  But we went by to visit them in the night, and we talked about the importance of pray, scripture study, and attending church . . or OLA as we call it, orar, leer, y asistir la iglesia.  I felt prompted to share with them a personal story. 

I told them how about 6 years ago when dad put the goal to read the scriptures as a family for one year without missing a day. I explained how reading the scriptures and praying together as a family changed the atmosphere in my home, and how we came to love and respect each other more, and the contention that used to fill the house left, and was replaced by the spirit of the Lord.  I testified how by small and simple things, great things are truly brought to pass.

After I shared that story, they looked at each other, with that knowing look, then M explained to us that 5 weeks ago, before we arrived at their house, they were on the verge of separating.  They always argued, and sometime couldn't even stand to be around each other. The spirit of contention filled their home. Then she said "But, when you two showed up, everything change." I have been a first hand witness to that change. When we first arrived they barely looked at each other, and now they laugh together, and they anxiously await our next visit.  I prayed my whole mission to find a family like J & M, and now I got changed. But I know that I did what I had to do. After the lesson, I told them that I was leaving, and they were super sad.  But God has a reason for everything, and instead of being upset or angry that I won’t be there to see them progress or to see them get baptized, I am only grateful that God allowed me to cross paths with them, and that through me, He was able to touch their lives and begin to heal their wounds.

This week we also went to the hospital a few times. We found out that one of our recent converts is in the hospital. I don’t think that I have ever told you all about Nora.  She is just the funniest old woman you will ever meet.  She was baptized about 2 months ago, and only has missed church once.  But, her health is not looking so good, so we spent some time visiting her. And yesterday, when I had to leave her there in that hospital bed, not knowing if I will ever see her again in this life, broke my heart.  I cried and she cried as I told her the news of the changes. But, if it is God's will, she will hold on for a few more months so that I can visit her one last time when you guys come down to chile.

Its hard leaving a sector.  Its hard saying goodbye. But this time as I packed up my suitcases, I felt a calmness.  I felt true peace, and I knew that all the work I had done in llay llay was accepted by the Lord, and that all the people that we have found and taught will be well taken care of.

But, I am sure you are all dying to know where I got sent.  The good news is that I didn't leave los andes!  Woot!  I am training again in Santa Maria.  I will be finishing the training of Hermana Alonso, she is one of the sisters that was in my group of sisters.  I have done and intercambio with her, and she was one of the sisters that wanted to be my companion. Actually just the other day I called her to talk and just see how she was doing and how she was adjusting to the mission, and I said "just wait and see, one day we will be companions." We both laughed cause the probability was slight. And today, when she came to pick me up, the first thing she said was "How did you know?" It was super funny.  But I am so happy to be here working with her, and though it is hard to leave a sector, learning a new sector is always fun.  There are always more people to meet, more people to help, and more people to love.

Here in Santa Maria (or Holy Mary . .  jajaja) if there is not real progression the stake president is going to close the branch.  So the focus of this sector is a little different.  We are putting 50% of our efforts in finding new people and baptizing, and the other 50% of our effort goes in to reactivation.  Basically hunting down the inactive members and bringing them back to church.  It is going to be different.  For example, the standard of street contacts for the whole mission is 140 a week for companionship, for us it is 70 a week.  This is going to take some adjusting, but in the end its what this branch needs.  It does no good to baptize a bunch of people if they are just going to walk in the front door, and out the back.

Santa Maria is so so so beautiful. Its in the middle of grape land. It boarders right with vina del mar, and sometimes you can’t see the end of these grape vineyards. We are going to get bikes, cause our sector is super big, and we have to travel out to the mini hick towns to visit a lot of the less active members.  So its just going to be a fun party.

Hermana Alonso is great.  She is 25, a convert of 3 years, and from MEXICO! Orale! She started medical school when she was 17, and just finished about a year ago.  Then she put her career on hold and came on a mission. Wow, incredible. Her conversion story is just amazing!  This cambio is only 4 weeks, and I know that it is just going to fly by.

My last week with only Hermana Arroyo was so great.  We put the batteries in and just worked worked worked! We had 5 people in church.  It was amazing. Llay llay is going to be a ward any day now.

Okay, now one short story before I sign off.  On Tuesday, Hermana Arroyo and I went to the center to do street contacts. While there, I passed an old man, and the spirit said "Talk to him."  Did I listen?  Nope.  Idiot.  Then I passed him again, and this time he was looking at me as if he wanted to talk. And the spirit said "Hey, are you listening? I said . .  " before the spirit could finish his sentence I had already started a conversation with the old man.  I asked him how he was doing and he said not so good.  I talked to him for about 20 minutes, and he told me about how his life is basically falling apart. His name is Edwardo, and I just listened to him as he talked, and at the end I testified that despite how things may appear, God really does love him, and only sends difficulties so that we can be made stronger. I tried to set an appointment with him, but he said that he isn’t from llay llay.  He is from san felipe.  He said that about an hour ago he couldn’t stand being alone in his house anymore, so he got on a bus and ended up in llay llay.  I tried to give him a book of mormon, but he wouldn’t accept.  I tried to give him a passalong card, but he said he already had one.  So I asked, what can I give you.  He took my hand and said "you have listened to me, and you have been my friend.  That is enough.  Thank you."  Then he walked away.  I know, without a doubt that God led Edwardo to llay llay that day just so that he could talk to me, so that he could share is load, and walk away a little bit lighter.

Man I love being a missionary.

Thanks for all the support and love.  You guys are really the greatest.  Now go and visit some old people. First of all they are usually a hoot, and second of all they are usually alone.  
Con amor,

Hna Ostler 

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