Monday, June 9, 2014

Beginnings are hard and endings are sad, it's the middle that counts

Dear Familia,

First of all . . WOW A NEW CAR!  It suits you well.  Second of all, I had a better week . . well, actually there was some down points, cause we have been struggling to find people to teach, but you get through and just keep going.  As one Elder once told me, "There are more doors to knock in Chile."

Actually, it was raining all week!  Which made the work hard, cause there is no one in the streets, and no one opens the door.  One day, at like 6 in the afternoon it just started pouring, and we were not prepared for the rain.  Soaked, Soaked SOAKED! But, a less active member saved us from the worst of it, and we passed about an hour in his house with his wife talking about the book of mormon while the rain passed.

Another day we went out the la higuera, one of the poblaciones that we are working in.  We hiked up a few hills in the mud until it was too dark to see, looking for less active members that are on our list.  But, since the roads don’t have names and the houses don’t have numbers, it was a little difficult.  In the end we found refuge in the house of a recent convert.  We had to take off our shoes cause they were caked in mud.

On Wednesday was my last zone conference in the mission.  Thats crazy.  It was also the last zone conference of President Essig, and it was so amazing!  I am going to miss President and Sister Essig so so much!  I’ll only have about 6 weeks without them, but the mission just won’t be the same.  The good thing is, is that the mission has taught me that change is good, and often needed.  I have learned so so much from President Essig and his wife. It will not surprise me when we see him speaking in General Conference sometime in the future.  Hna Johnson and I are both sure that he will someday be a general authority. In the three years that he has been a mission president, he has not only turned this mission around (I have seen graphs and numbers) but more than 15 general authorities have visited and spoken to the missionaries, including 3 apostles.  Wow, thats incredible.  Elder Robins is going to speak to us on Wednesday, that this will be the 4th general authority that I have heard in my mission.  Wow. What a blessing.

We are visiting a youth named RC.  I am counting him as my 6th brother.  I love him with all my heart.  When I met him 3 weeks ago, I had a hard time with him.  He was just immature, and I had little faith that he would progress.  The first time I met him, he said that he didn’t believe in God.  Since then, he has accepted a baptismal date, come to church, read the book of mormon, prayed to know if its true, and completely transformed into a different person.  It never ceases to amaze me what the gospel can do . . better stated, what God can do.

Last night we had an amazing noche de hogar with three of the less active members we are teaching, all young men age 18.  All three of them came to church.  RC also came to the noche de hogar, and he gave the closing prayer!  There were like 15 people there and he said the closing prayer!!!!  I think that was the best part of my week.  He still has doubts about being baptized, but they are more social than doctrinal.  He is worried about losing his friends and changing is life. But yesterday, those three less active young men invited RC to hang out with them after the noche de hogar.  YES!  SCORE!  I can just see every single one of those boys with a black name tag.

On Friday night, we had another noche de hogar, well, its the noche de hogar that we do every Friday night.  RC came, and one other recent convert.  It was a small group, but we had so much fun!  We played ninga for like 45 minutes!  BEST EVER! Then we ate potato chips and cookies  . not so good for the eating healthy plan.  So, my companion and I left our backpacks with the other sister missionaries and ran home.  RC came with us . . super fun.  I creamed them both!

On Saturday we found a Lamanite.  A man named Luis who is native mapuche.  We taught him about the book of mormon and how it was written by his ancestors and was written for him!  At the end of the lesson he offered the prayed in his native language, and both Hna Alsono and I felt the spirit so strongly. Thats Lamanite language! SWEET!

This morning we played basketball again.  My team lost by 2 points!  Lame.  But it was super fun.

Okay, to answer your questions.  Only a few friends from the mission email me every once and a while.  Grammie writes me, and Amy. . . thank so much for all your support! US food that I miss . .depends on the day, but i miss stuff like gold fish, peanut butter, and home made mom food.  The food I will miss from Chile. .  wow, the list is too long.  But a few things will be, Bon o Bon, galleta Toddy, and galleta Frac, the bread, pastel de choclo, empanadas de queso, sopapillas, and the ice cream! The best thing I ate last week . . . Sopapillas pasadas!  YUM!! And Boys . . listen to me . . PRACTICE YOUR PIANO!!

Okay, here are my closing thoughts, sorry for the disorder.  Hna Essig, in her closing testimony in zone conference said a lot of very deep things, but what most called my attention was when she said "Sometimes you have to look back to see how far you've come." I did that this week.  I took out my first mission journal and read through my first days in the mission.  Wow, I took a trip to the past and it surprised me.  I am not nearly done with journey, but I have come far.  The goal is to be perfect, even as Christ is perfect, and I feel like the mission has given me a push start, like the swimmers who push off the wall to get a boost.  That push, for me, was and is the mission.  The course still must be swam, but that boost gives directions and speed.  The mission boost started my progression. I don’t feel like the same person.  My goals have changed.  My outlook on life has changed. And my vision of the future and of myself have changed.

In zone conference all those who just arrived and its their first zone conference have to present themselves in the beginning, and at the end of the conference all those who are finishing the mission give their testimony.  I remember listening to the testimonies of all those who came before me, but I never thought that it would actually be my turn someday. But it was.  As I was giving y testimony, tears gathered in my eyes as I realized that the mission isn’t going to last forever.  Beginnings are hard, and endings are sad, its the middle that counts.  I am going to make these last few weeks count.

I love you so much, family.  Thanks for all the support and all the letters.  You really are the best!
Con AMor,

Hna Ostler

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