Monday, July 28, 2014

Why would the Lord have me sit and wait for a bus that wasn't coming?

Sorry the email is late, Hermana Young and I hiked a mountain this morning, and when we got back down all the internet places in santa maria were closed (there are only two).  So we had to wait three hours until they opened, but we have just been chilling at the house, laughing, and talking.  Definitely one of my best pdays ever.

First, we had to ride up to la higuera.  A thirty minute bike ride up hill, then we got to the base of the hill, locked our bikes and started hiking.  It was a short steep hike, and it only took about 30 minutes.  We actually had to go off road to get to the very top.  When we got there we could see the whole santa maria valley . . SO BEAUTIFUL!!  And the day was perfect for hiking!!  Then, we ate a salad lunch that I made, took some awesome pictures and started hiking back down.  The bike ride all down hill was legit!!  We rode down with no hands . . . yes we are awesome!  All in all a sweet day.  Now, we are finishing up the pday with internet time, and there is a screaming baby in this room . .. but hey thats life.

This week was one of the harder ones in my mission as far as the work goes.  We just have not been finding anyone to teach, and our investigators haven't been progressing.  I have done everything I know how, but with no results.  I sometimes would catch myself thinking "Only three more weeks."  But I don’t want to finish my mission with that attitude. I prayed every night that the Lord would give me the strength to finish strong, and to truly enjoy the work.

On Saturday, our numbers for the week were low, and all our plans had fallen through, again.  By four in the afternoon, I wondered what we could do to fill in the remaining hours. I got the clear feeling three times that we should go to santa filomena.  So, we put the bikes back at the house and went to wait for the micro.  We waited for an hour and nothing came. I began to become frustrated.  We were losing work time waiting for a bus.  I wondered why the Lord would send us to santa filomena and forget to send the bus.

As we were waiting, a member, Hermana Pino, came and sat by us.  We talked to her casually for a moment, then she asked where we were going.  I said santa filomena, and she said that the buses might not be passing today.  I looked at my watch and said that if the next bus wasn't going to santa filomena then we were going to do something else.  The next bus came, and the driver said that it was going to la higuera.  My heart dropped.  Why? Why would the Lord have me sit and wait for a bus that wasn't coming?  We told Hermana Pino that the bus was going to la higuera, and she looked at me and said "Well, why don’t you go to la higuera then?"  Good question.  In a split second, I made the decision.  I tapped on the window, and the bus driver opened the door right before the light turned green.  We were on our way to la higuera.

As I sat on the bus, I became very discouraged as I thought about the difficulties of the sector, and what I could do.  The situation felt hopeless, and I was so low that I was close to tears.  Well, the bus got to la higuera and we got off.  I had no plans, but we started walking, and I felt we should visit a member who recently moved into the branch.  Her husband is a recent convert.  When we got to her house we discovered that her husband wasn’t home, which means that if we taught her a lesson it wouldn’t count for anything cause she is an active member.  But I felt we should share a message with her.

We started talking, and found out that she had been to the hospital that day, and had been feeling pretty low.  As we continued to talk she told us that she had at one time in her life . . . . .   She said that in her suffering she couldn't see past the situation.  We shared a message with her about rising to the Lord's calling.  I told her these words "You may not be the best mother in the world, but you are the best mother for you kids.  No other woman could give them what you can, and what you give them is just what they need.  You have the family God intended you to have."  That lesson for me was very special.  I felt the spirit so strongly.  I realized, that like this sister, I was in a difficult situation and I wasn’t allowing myself to see past it.  Yeah, I had a difficult week, but that doesn’t mean it is time to throw in the towel.  That just means it is time to redouble my efforts (DyC 127:4 . . look it up, its the scripture I share with the sister).

After that lesson I changed my outlook, and was able to move forward diligently in the work of the Lord.  We actually did a couple of really good contacts that day, and taught another lesson.  I realize that the Lord told me to go to santa filomena, cause I would have never listened to the call to go to la higuera (we were already planning on going there the next day), but there was someone in la higuera who needed us that day, and there was a lesson that I needed to learn.

We also had leadership counsel this week, which means I had to go into Santiago. Presidente videla is changing a few things, like the schedule!!  We will now be waking up at 6:30, and going to bed at 10:30, plus our lunch hour is changed to 1pm, and we have study time after lunch for an hour, then and hour dinner time at 6pm . . . thats cutting out some work hours for us, and a lot of the missionaries weren’t happy, including me.  The schedule was fine.  People in Chile sleep in later and stay up later, but 6-7 is like our best hour to work!  But, later in the week I was reading in nephi about how laman and lamuel were complaining about having to leave Jerusalem . . like always.  And there is a scripture that says they murmured because they did not understand the ways of the Lord.  I thought about that.  Laman and Lemual were also obedient.  Were they not?  Did they not leave Jerusalem like Nephi?  The difference was there attitude.  So, we as missionaries can either be obedient like Laman and Lemuel, or like Nephi.

We also now only have an hour of internet time, which means I’ve got to go now.  Sorry I would love to give you more details about my week, or maybe say something to make mom cry again, but I'll save that for next week in my last letter!  Ahh, que loco!!  Just know that I love you all and that I am giving my best out here.
Con amor, 

Hna Ostler

Monday, July 21, 2014

I hope your hearts have changed

Okay, so I don’t have a ton of time to write today cause I had to type up my good bye letter today.  Basically when you are leaving the mission you usually send out a good bye card to everyone you love.  So I typed that up today.  Maybe I'll send you a copy, even though it’s in spanish so you might not understand it. Its actually not that good.  As far as spanish goes, I am really good at talking and reading, but I would say that writing is my weakness.  I can do it, but I am so much better at expressing myself in english when I write.

21 days? really? I know its close, but there are moments when I realized how close it really is.  Honestly, I don’t feel the end.  I just feel like I will keep being a missionary forever. Elder Uchtdorf said in a recent talk "There seems to be something inside of us that resist endings." Yep, that is happening.  Actually I think my body is trying to reject the fact that I am finishing, and so I am like hungry ALL THE TIME! Its not like I just have a desire to be eating, no I am legit hungry. I was trying to lose weight, but I think in these past two weeks I gained it all back.  Its really weird, but its also happening to a few other missionaries who are leaving this next change.

I don’t have much to say about the week.  Ï mean we taught lessons, we did street contacts, we ate lunch with members that is usually drenched in oil, we rode our bikes, we had exchanges, we laughed, I even cried this week, we had hard moments, and good moments, we felt the spirit, and we preached the word.  Yep, that about sums up my week\ mission.

Some specifics: I learned how to ride my bike with no hands!  My companion ate gluten by mistake and then after she realized it and knew that she was going to get sick, she bought an empanada to make it worth it . . and yes, she did almost die. Hna Johnson and Hna Crump had a baptism this week.  A menos active that we have been working with told us that he wants to serve a mission, learn english, then go to BYU . . . yep, I was in awe and thanked my Heavenly Father for changing hearts.

There was a moment this week, when we were out in a poblacion called, Santa Filomena, and we were just knocking doors right at sun set.  The weather was perfect, their was a slight breeze, spanish echoed around me, children were playing in the streets, and I was just standing in the middle of a dirt road, looking down on the valley, and I realized "wow, I love this."  That was one of my "This is my life moments."  I’ve have them ever once in a while.  Its were you realize that you are right where you need to be, and that you love it. My companion had one this week.  We were just walking down the street and she looked over at me and said "hermana Ostler, I am a missionary." and I said "Yes, you are.  Now enjoy it, cause before you know it . . ." I never finished the sentence.  Sometimes it hurts too much to think about, and other times I am really excited.

Okay, I honestly have nothing else to say.  I love you all so much, and I am so excited to see you soon.  This Sunday, Hermana Young looked at her watch and said "Its two o'clock in Missouri, my family is just finishing up church."  And then I said "Its 12 in Washington, my family is finishing sacrament meeting."  (Well, that is if you still go to church at 11, that might have changed.) But in that moment, I remembered that you guys still exist, and that your lives still go on.  I guess that I have felt that when I left, everything back at home just froze, and when I come back it will all be just how I left it.  But life moves on . . . for everyone.  Just as God has changed the lives and hearts of the people I have met in Chile, He has also been changing you guys, and not just your lives . . but who you are.

Yeah, when I get home, I will have a sobrina (I will always call Lilly my sobrina, cause that is what I have called her here, and niece just sounds weird to me.  She is my one and only sobrina) I will have a cunada (And Katie will always be my cunada . . not sister in law) Benson might be a foot taller, moms hair might be grayer, Jefferson might have more muscles, Wilson might not have that gap between his teeth, and dad might be a little rounder, but more than the physical, I hope that I find you all different in your souls.  I hope your hearts have changed.  I hope that you have read your scriptures more, prayed more sincerely, laughed harder, and lived like the Savior lived.  I hope you have remembered your baptismal covenants, and that when I look into your eyes I will see Christ reflected there.  It's a life long process, but I hope to find all of you a little further along in the journey than when I left.  This life is for progression and for change.  I also pray and hope that you will say the same about me, that I have changed.  I think I have less hair than when I left, my skin is a little rougher, and I too might be a little heavier, but I hope that when you look into my eyes you will see the change.  You will see that the hardships and challenges have made me better, and have made me stronger.  So let us continue forward, my family, cause my eternal happiness will never be complete without you.
Con todo el amor en mi corazon,

Hna Ostler 

Monday, July 14, 2014

I felt an incredible peace

Great email.  It’s crazy to think that you all hang out by the pool . ..cause I don’t!!  This week was good.  Just another week in the life of Hermana Ostler.  RC got confirmed!! And yes, I really think that he will serve a mission.  We were talking about it last night, and he is definitely planning on it. After he got confirmed I felt that "What's next" feeling. We have just been working with him so much.  He has been our focus, and now he is a member!!

After church yesterday, we went home to drop our books off, and hit the roads again. When I opened the door, I ran inside and shouted: "RC got confirmed!!" (Except in spanish), and as I said it I felt an incredible peace come over me.  The last interview I had with president Essig, he finished the interview with a prayer, and in his prayer he said: "Bless Hermana Ostler that she can find all those that she was sent to find here in Chile." When he said that, I knew that there was still someone out there.  For my whole mission I have worried that I wouldn’t find all those who are waiting specifically for me, but yesterday when I felt that peace, I knew that I had finally found everyone.  I know that I still have a month left, and if you ask mom she can probably give you down to how many hours I have left, but I feel like this next month is all about preparing the sector for the next missionary to take over, and preparing Hermana Young for the challenges that she will face in her mission.  I feel at peace and content with the work I have done.  You can bet that I am still going to work my booty off this next month, cause thats what I've always done . . so why stop now?

This week we had interviews with the new president.  It was very different than with president Essig . .. and I missed him so much and and Sister Essig too!  But hey, everything happens for a reason.

Hermana Young and I spent a lot of time in the streets this week . . wait . . we are always in the streets!  JAJA.  No, but we just talked a lot and laughed more.  I think that some of my favorite mission memories are talking with my companions in the streets. Our conversations range from spiritual experiences and deep doctrinal analysis, to planning family vacations together with our future families.  The people in santa maria must think that we are crazy.  One time, we went out in the middle of the street and just started pretending like we were skateboarding. . why?  I can’t even remember.  It was like 9 at night, and our sector was just dead, so we brought some life back . . . jajaja.

I was feeling better this week, but my companion somehow ate gluten, she is siliac, and a meal we had from a member must have had gluten somewhere in it. You know that most processed meats have gluten!) and so in Thursday after our interviews she was dying! She couldn't even walk.  We we had to stay home.

Oh, here are some food items you can bring: Graham crackers, cheesitz, BQ sauce, licorice, Reese's PB cups, Moon cakes, pop tarts, hot pockets, pretzels, smiley fruit snacks, Hostess, Lucky charms, and of course, peanut butter.  No, they don’t sell any of that stuff here.  Hermana Young helped me come up with that list, cause I don’t remember any of that stuff.

Yep, that’s all I got to say.  I love you all so much, and I am getting excited to see you! Have an amazing week, and remember to pray for miracles every day!

Con amor,

Hna Ostler

Monday, July 7, 2014

We got to wear jeans!

Dear Familia,
Thanks for the email. It never matters what you tell me, I just love hearing from ustedes.  I hate that there is not one word for ustedes in english.  I just feel awkward using 'you all.' But hey, thats life.

This week, I learned two very important truths, or maybe just relearned them. First, Worrying about something is ALWAYS twice as hard as doing it. Second, the Lord is more powerful than Satan  . . . EVERY TIME!!

Yes, RC got baptized!!!  The little twerp made me cry!  It was his goal.  He says that he always makes everyone cry, and I said that he never made me cry, so he made it his goal and then he asked me to speak at his baptism!  I told him that that is basically cheating. All week I have been thinking about what I could say to him at his baptism, but nothing was coming out right.  So I decided to just get up there and say whatever the spirit told me to say.  So, I get up there and look down at him, dressed in oversized white clothes, then I said two words and just started crying.  He was pretty happy about that, but I am going to get him back.

The baptismal service was super simple.  We don’t have a font in our "chapel" so we had to come into san felipe, and we had to have it at 2pm so that his mom could be there, which means that a lot of other members didn’t come cause that is right at the hour of lunch.  But in the end it was perfect for RC.  Simple, short, and powerful.  They actually didn’t have hot water, so the trooper got baptized in cold water in the middle of the winter! Man I just love him. He will probably be my last baptism in Chile, but it couldn’t have been more perfect.

Of course, getting it all to turn out was a NIGHTMARE!!!  I kept my stress under control for most of the week, but on Saturday night, when RC said that he wasn’t going to be able to come to church cause he had to do something for a friend . . . I ALMOST DIED!!  It has surprised me how hard satan was working on him, I have never had another investigator that had so much opposition.  But, as said before, RC is a trooper, and he really wanted this.  His older sister, who is a member, was so so happy for him, and also his mom. His mom still isn’t a member, but I am pretty sure that it is RC's goal to change that.  I think that of all the people that have gotten baptized during my mission, Luis changed the most, but a lot of the change I didn’t actually see.  RC changed, and I saw the whole process.  I can’t even think about it without getting emotional.  RC is my little brother that was accidentally born in Argentina, but God sent him to Chile so that I could find him and help him get back home.  He is super sad that I am leaving in 5 weeks, but I told him not to worry, because I will still be annoying him through facebook to read his scriptures every day!!

For the forth of july we wore red white and blue, but everyone thought it was for Chile . . . jajaja.  We had our normal branch activity, which was super fun!  We had a quick lesson by me and my comp, then we just played games until we were dead tired.  I have loved all my sectors, but there is something very special about Santa Maria for me. Probably one of the hardest sectors in my mission, but I love it!

My comp and I were sick sick sick this week!  On Thursday, we literally could not stand up without feeling sick.  No, we didn’t eat anything weird.  Plus, I have a cold that has made it difficult for me to breath, which makes sleeping hard.  I am so dead tired every day, but I keep working because I don’t have much time left to work.

What Elder D says is true. I am usually not trunky . . . when we are doing something. But there are some times like at night or when we aren’t teaching or actively looking for people to teach that I start thinking about home.

We had an awesome pday today.  A member took us to a bunch of cool tourist places here in los andes, and we got to wear jeans!!  It feels SO WEIRD!

We met our new mission president. He is super funny, and really falls well with me.  I still miss President Essig, cause he is my mission president.

I wish I could think of more cool stuff to tell you guys, but my head hurts, and I am even more exhausted from todays activities. Here's something to think about . . . you'll only get 4 more letters from me after this!  Crazy!!

I love you all, and if I think of something else bakan to say, I'll just send another email.
con amor,

Hna Ostler