Monday, December 27, 2010

He put us in her path.

Hi, just me sitting here.  Another pday.  Another normal Argentine day.

The phone call was good.  But very weird.  Dad was right when he said it was so normal, like I was in the house next door.  There was no rush or fireworks or anything.  It wasn't a big deal at all.  (Very opposite of what I expected.)  It was good having us all on the phone.  Go Family Ostler.

Wow, the boys are probably just getting up to go skiing.  LUCKY. That's awesome and I am happy for you.  The remainder of my day includes writing some letters and Futbol with the zone.  I'm excited. Pretty much everyday you can expect that I will be playing with the pelota.  That's how it is said here.  Quiere jugar con la pelota?¿ 

Merry Christmas family.  It really did not feel like Christmas at all here in Mendoza.  Thank you again for the package.  WHAT?? ¿THERE IS A TAPE RECORDER IN THERE?  I have not really in depth searched it yet.  All the ritz are gone (as well as the chocolate and Reese's and kitkat from the Crawdads.  Thanks!)  I'm so excited to go home and discover a great discovery.  Yeah.  I love late Christmas gifts.  Thanks for the legitimate mini pmg.  Everyone is jealous of them.  I'll probably wait until I train and give the other one to my son.  And the english ensign.  WOW! Amazing.  And real syrup! And the calendar and picture.  I loved all of it so much :) smiley face!

The mission makes you forget things.  Movies (not that I have that problem.  I don't like movies) but music, places, names, just normal things from home.  A great song that reminds me of Jonny Vance just came on and I can't remember what it is.  It's frustrating sometimes.  Especially stuff that when you were home you knew so well.  And now, the mind just goes blank.  It's kinda sweet.

And may I ask?  Can you send me a sd picture card?  I'm kinda running out of room.  Thanks.  I know you probably already sent it.  Thank you.

The 49 letters were great, most of them.  People told me of the most crazy random experiences.  I was laughing alot during them.  And I didn't open any before Christmas; however, the other Elders in the pench did open one, just because I told them that the author of a certain letter was pretty and they suspected there were pictures sent.  It was pretty funny.

A week ago I tried to take out money from an ATM.  It was Sunday night and I surely learned my lesson.  I forgot my pin number and so after the fourth try, the big bad Argentine machine ate my card!  My mission card with all my money on it.  I was so angry, it was disappointing.  I learned my lesson about trying to take money out on a Sunday.  Even though it was night and pday was only hours away.  The Lord moves in mysterious ways.  This morning we went to the bank and waited in a line and I was about to retrieve my card.  So life's good.

I also got an amazing letter from Mr. Jeffrey Young.  I love so much reading letters sent home from Braden and Casey.  They inspire me.  Mom, you said my English is going down.  I'm trying to improve it.

Encontramos tres personas fantasticos esta semana! Pusimos fechas con dos de ellos. uno con Gimena (hable un ratito a cerca de ella por telephone con ustedes) y el otro encontramos ayer, despues de la iglesea. Nosotros fuimos a una casa de un meimbro y uno de los chicos estaba jugando con un amigo. despues un tiempito, apredimos que la abuela de el amigo se fallecio hace tres dias atras. por casi una hora nosotros ensenamos el plan de salvacion. La leccion fue Incredible! Me gusto mucho y el miembro y el y animado. los dos chicos nos preguntaron muchas preguntas sobre leccion dos. ambos, el miembro y el amigo, estan tan interestado sobre la vida que viene y el reino celstial. uno de los preguntas was tan funny. something like, and these kids both 15 were sincere.  Carlito asked, if someone sells their soul to the devil, can they change and still be saved by Christ?  la pregunta era algo como asi. es dificil para mi para escirbir en castallano. pero me gusta. bueno.

Last night we were walking down this street after a lesson with Rosa Sosa. She is so amazing and we are working on having the Spirit convert her kids.  We were walking and we heard some sweet gospel music so we turned down the street and hung outside the church for a minute to listen.  fue tan cool.  Then we turned down another street as to arrive at our desired destination.  We were in the process of opening the mouth.  My companion walked by this middle aged lady sitting outside on her porch thing.  Her brick wall.  I was a step or so behind my companion and I struck up a conversation with her.  She was hesitant at first, and what started off as a 'merry Christmas, un pocito tardeesta in la busquedad. She is so sincere and has a hard time forgiving herself.  She has many problems and just wants respuestas y paz.  Obviously I testified to her and taught her right there.  Also we wrote down all her information and phone number (that's key).  We discovered that she lives in San Luis.  It was an amazing experience.  I'm happy our curiosity of the music turned us down that street!  The Lord knows everything.   He put us in her path.  Patricia se llama.

I hope you're having fun with the Spanish I'm putting in here mom . . . . Harrison can figure it out.  After the open the mouth, my companion said, that sucks!  She lives in San Luis.  Sure, it would be awesome to teach Patricia, etc. but I really didn't care where she lived.  I was truly happy just because we found her.  And I know the Gospel of Jesus Christ will bless the crap out of her life. I'm excited to pass this amazing reference along to our fellow missionaries in San Luis.  (She might even be in Elder Huntington's area).

The Christmas party we had on Wednesday was great.  Not over the top super, but still good.  I love Elder Quebemann so much, he's the one in the santa hat.  After the party, everyone was preparing to leave.  I was just standing in a crowd of maybe 20 missionaries when President walks by.  He looked at me.  I was starring up into the deep blue Argentine sky.  I knew he was looking at me, but I kept my gaze upwards.  At last (we're talking maybe 4 seconds) I looked at him.  I was transparent.  I knew he was looking into my soul.  We held eye contact for a second and in the sincerest way he said "I love you."  It was so special and I really felt amazing.

I received an amazing Ben Ostler dearelder.  Tell him to send you the robbery crime fighting story.  And have him submit that!  To something, some organization or the new era or something!  It was fascinating, his writing.  I read it outloud to the pench and they were amazed.  Elder Owens kept saying, "jesh, Stephen King. I guess he's a good writer or something."¿  But yeah, do something with that story.  I love you Ben Ostler.  I'm going to go own some latinos in futbol this afternoon for you.

It's hot!!  The worst is waking up in the middle of the night all sweaty.  Everyday I am a very sweaty missionary.

I played piano in church!!!!!!!  I played for Priesthood, Testimony. And for sacrament meeting I played Away in a Manger, There is a Green Hill Far Away, and then to close, number 50 mas cerca Dios a ti.  It was amazing!  On each song I was able to play at least half of it with both hands.  Sure, each song had a nice blunder (I'm trying to say mess up) but all in all, I was way happy and it went really well.  Thanks for pushing me to play piano in church mom, and I will do it every week.

Mom, you are making new friends.  Like with Elder Owens mom and Elder Crowthers mom and many many more.  Are you friends with Elder Reynolds on facebook?  It's fun talking with other missionaries about our crazyslashamazing moms.  another smiley face :)

Dad, I loved Christmas morning because I had a jam packed hour of Mosiah 3.  I read it through once and was falling asleep!  I thought, this cannot be.  So I got down on my knees a second time and prayed.  When I sat back down I slowly picked about Mosiah 3 and some extra references.  IT WAS AMAZING.  Thanks for the suggestion.  I always love things like that.

I hope your calling is going good.  I love being on a mission.  Just to recap, we ate an asado Christmas Eve.  They had everything, including blood sausage and intestine.  Yum Yum Yum.  I can just see little Miss Saydi biting into a nice fully fatty intestine in the future.  I'll bring some back for you girl.  The intestines are the white things, I think.

Sorry, I could send alot of pictures but I just barley started loading them and it's taking forever.  So I will just send one.  If it ever loads.

I miss the temple, I wish I could go.  I am glad that while at BYU, I took advantage of all those temples and went so often, both before and after being endowed.  When we received our endowments, Elder Chavez and I just rocked it, going to a different temple every week for awhile!  So many good memories with that man.

Well, times up but it's only half way loaded, uhhhh.  Bytheway, have you sent some pictures to that missionary, Elder Chavez    Could you do that, thank you.

Wow, you are all just skiing right now.  That's sweet, but I'm excited this afternoon to go whoop some hinojosa, playing with the pelota.  The picture is done.  I love you family.  I love you Miss Amanda!!

nos vemos en una semana. quiza la semana que viene escribire todo en castallano.

Later, Elder Ostler

Monday, December 20, 2010

Greetings from the snowy wonderland of Rivadavia

Hi Family!

Alrighty.  Wow, I loved that picture!!!!!!!   That is awesome.  I zoomed in on all those little cute faces.  I just wanted to pinch all your little cheeks!  Even the big bad Harrison.  Wow you are dating.  Sweet sweet.  That's awesome!

(This is the picture Jackson is talking about, I sent it to him in his email.)

Yay, the phone call.  Shout hooray.  I am excited.  I am really not sure what is going to happen. . . I can talk for 1 hour.  I might call Christmas Eve, late, like 12 Argentina time (we have permission to be out that late) so just be home at that time.  But the organization and relay of information in this mission is not good.  So we have no idea what we are doing Christmas day.  We will see!  And I am excited.  If you don't hear from me before Saturday, call me at 3pm my time.  You can talk to Amanda alone for awhile if you all want, (that's my Elder Owens Texan accent coming out) but yeah, just call whenever.  I got an hour!

A nice picture of a great lunch I made myself one day.  Just full of flavor!!

I do have a package for 77 pesos waiting for me.  I will get it Wednesday!  We are having a mission Christmas party, split into 2 parts.  And I am going Wednesday and both Elder Allen and Huntington are going the other day.  NO!!!!!!!  That makes me a bit sad. But it's OK.

That snowman was fantastic bytheway!!!!!  I loved that picture so much.  I'm excited to receive a cd with Jonny Vance!!!!  Thank you for all you do for me and all the prayers and everything.

The toe picture is for mom. Just so you can worry about me some more.  In truth, I didn't feel anything, it was just some dead skin that I had to take off at the end of a good day.  Working Hard!

Ok, I'll tell of my week and some experiences I've had.  But first, Saydi's home.  Fantastic. I'm excited for the family to finally be reunited at 3pm this Saturday.  It just brings tears to my eyes.  I hope you don't feel bad because I just made fun of you mom :)

The phone call with the Fernandez family was incredible.  It helped pull me out of a really crappy Thursday morning I was having.  It was just a low moment of the week.  But the 15 minute phone call was the highlight of the week.  And the baptism.  It was such a sweet sweet taste of home (sweeter than the watery syrup Elder Hyer made and shared this morning).  It was so cool to talk with the Grandma of all the Fernandez kids, in Spanish.  It is. . . . . like I can't describe it.  I was just so happy talking to all of them.  I talked to the man who speaks English, the Mother of Emmanuel Fernandez and some other lady, his sister maybe.  Way cool.

Baptismo!! Elvis, he is a child of Rosa, decided to get baptized this week.
This morning we were all sick of the disgusting pench, so we deep cleaned some parts of it.  I was the water boiler, dish washer.  I don't know why I still boil water because we have hot water now.  Anyway, the pench is doing way better.  The rest of the pday plan is to head to San Martin and do a futbol pday with the zone, get some food, and then have the district meeting.

The kitchen, freshly cleaned with all the dishes drying.

Elder Hyre is good.  I like him and he is a good elder.  Elder Owens is doing good!  He, the way he talks and words he uses, reminds me 100% of the Eppich twins!  It's not like he is girly or anything, I think it is so funny.  He is so much better than me as a newbie!  We, for some reason, have a special little bond.  He is a music guy, kinda has the same style as Jeffrey and is so fun.  We went running this morning.  Then there is my companion.  We are doing good, don't have any major problems at all.  Yesterday, he greatly enjoyed the tale of the Huntington, Ostler, Allen airport escapade.

The rama we are in rocks!  I could go on and on about the branch presidency and the newly called mission leader RM awesome guy Lucas.

A sweet experience.  We were walking down this street opening the mouth for a little bit before the dinner with Rosa.  This lady, cleaning outside with her kid, looked up and exclaimed, ELDER!  They invited us in, told us of how they were baptized 3 years ago by sisters but had since fallen away.  They were fantastic.  They told us their 25-year-old son was not a member.  They called him in and we had an awesome baptism lesson with him.  After I opened the little lesson with a testimony (in Spanish of course) he stopped me and said, "Find me a scripture of no more than 3 lines that will acercar we with Dios. Basically, you got to find me a short scripture that will help me believe in God.  Wow!  I took 10 seconds and opened to 2 Nephi 31: 10, 11, I think.  About baptism.  It was so so cool.  He read the 10 lines, then kept reading.  It was neat.  His name is Emilliano.  I have hopes for that kid.

At another lesson with Rosa, she pulled out her LDM and opened up to 2 Nephi and started asking us Isaiah questions, ones I probably couldn't answer in English!  But Friday we did have a great cena

One day eating lunch in the pench, a swarm of fly's came in the pench.  It was incredible how many flys came in the pench.  I'm sure you will get the picture and video, but we went to some pretty drastic measures to combat the flys.  The missionaries won!!!

I feel like this is not to great of an email . . . . . how do I feel like now.  I feel hungry, excited for the phone call, and I don't know, just like I don't have much to say.  And looking at my watch, it's been an hour and three minutes, so have a great day, in all that cold.  Because weather here is perfect.  Bytheway, I washed all of my clothes in our sweet washing machine this morning.  It was a chore!

The washing machine

The dryer

The Christmas tree!!
Later, till Saturday,
Elder Ostler


Monday, December 13, 2010

There is a keyboard in the pench!

Well, I'm in Rivadavia.  I really like it here, just a small place, a little bit it reminds me of my first area.  But this place is so rich.  Just rico. Money money money and clean.  So CLEAN.  Obviously there are less rich parts etc, but for the most part wow.  And the first house Elder Mcclain and I got into Thursday there was a carpet rug and we sat on couches!  Just insane.

I am literally cutting the cheese. That, maybe 10 lbs or more of cheese, was gifted to us by an extremely rich member. Just a gorgeous house with all the little details. I have never seen anything here like it.
The Largayoil family. They fed us an awesome lunch of noquis.
I do love noquis but too many noquis me hace mal! It is just painful.
Saying goodbye on Tuesday.  It was sad to leave Sarmiento, Elder George, Elder Crossa and Elder Gonzalez.  That pench was amazing. Kind of indescribable, we were so close and tight.  That day we packed (Elder Gonzalez, got transferred to San Rafael, to be with an Elder that only had 6 weeks in the mission, just 2 young kids, younger than my companion and me!!)  it was also a picture day, we passed by four members, they all wrote in my little book and it was good.  It was a really good Tuesday.

We went by Hermana Carmen, the bishop, the family Ulloa (they washed our clothes and fed us all the time), Hermano Vargus (wait til you get the card and see the video I took in that backyard) then of course the family Avila.  They are strong and doing good.

With Hermana Carmen. She is probably my favorite Argentine.
She cried when I said goodbye.
She is so so so solid, read the Book of Mormon in 3 months and is halfway through it again.

There I am with the Avilias. They gave us a ton of fruit and stuff that night.
We are next to the train tracks with some sweet mountains in the back.
Then Wednesday we woke up and Elder George and I just sat on those couch things in the pench for an hour and talked.  We took a taxi to the terminal, and there I met Elder Mcclain (from Ocean City NJ) and said goodbye to Elder George.  I miss that elder.  I realize that he was SO MUCH FUN.  What a personality he has, and I miss that.  We were only in the terminal for 30 minutes, then we caught a 10 peso bus to Rivadavia.  It´s always interesting the first couple days with a new companion.

In the terminal.  Me and my trainer and his trainer, my grandpa, Elder Medina.
A 3 generation picture there. And the mission has lost alot of momentum.
Elder Reynolds went home!!!! NO!!! That awesome tie I'm wearing, he gave that to me.
It's his father son tie. He adopted me.
How do we cool down?  At my last pench, during the siesta I would hop in the shower or fill a bucket with water and dunk my head in it. The bucket head thing is really fun, but really, it's not that hot.  Just kinda.  And we have 2 fans in the pench.  Yes, the hockey jersey was given to the Bishops son.  Wow, skiing!!!!  I'll just be here in Argentina.  The phone call, not much more info.  Hopefully I'll have some for you next week ;) winky face.

We baptized this week!!!  Rosa is really amazing, kinda timid but knows it's true.

Baptism!!!! That is Rosa and under the stewardship of Elder Mcclain and I, she was baptized and confirmed a member of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this week.  So sweet.

This next one is awesome.  The kids and I are running around outside the church after the baptism. This picture is priceless, taken at the precise moment that the tiny guy, Facundo, tripped and went down. I love it.
There's another one once they caught me!
So here's the situation.  There is a Rivadavia branch and there used to be a Junin branch.  The Junin branch no longer exists as of 8ish months ago.  Something bad happened, so the few faithful Junin members just commute every Sunday.  My companion was trained in Junin.  A small city with alot of surrounding campo.  Last week at interviews, President Lindahl called all four Elders into his office and told them the plan.  The goal is to make Rivadavia a ward.  So the President is focusing all efforts in Rivadavia now, leaving Junin vacant.  It is building the church from the inside out.  It is just so hard for people way in the heck out in Junin to come to church.

So Rivadavia was split in half.  The dividing line is San Isidro.  We have one half and the other Elders in the pench have the other half.  It is great.  But yesterday we asked and received a copy of the ward list and our vision now is to make Rivadavia a STAKE.  We received 27 pages of members!!  Branch attendance is 60, and it is the strongest ward (it's actually a branch) I've been in yet.  Seven days ago, the branch presidency changed.  All 3 positions.  And WOW.  This branch is being lit on fire.  I'll probably tell you more about them but let's just say, the bishop is an RM 3 years ago.  A Preach My Gospel Missionary.  He Rocks!!!  Just an awesome man.  He knows how to be a good missionary and he expects alot of us.  He is pushing retention which is something I love!  So that's awesome.

The Rivadavia branch, this year, has baptized. . . are you ready . . . 48 people.  Eight are still active.  Just some stud missionaries have come through here.  Elder Meldurm . . . and Elder REYNOLDS.  I love looking through the former investigators and seeing his name signed on the registro.  Just a cappo him.

So Rosa was baptized.  Before I got here (because of the division of area) Elder Mcclain had only taught her once.  And together we taught her twice.  The baptism was really cool.  The branch presidency showed up and the previous bishops wife hooked us up with alot of free pan from her panederia.  And we bought coke and cookies.  I practiced practiced, was nervous nervous and played the piano for the baptism.  How did I practice you ask??  THERE IS A KEYBOARD IN THE PENCH!  Wow, now I have to balance my siesta time between practicing (there is no one in the ward that plays the piano, we sing acapella) and Spanish study.

Elder Mcclain baptized her and all was good.  There was 2 hours of intense worry on Saturday when we came up empty handed with baptismal clothes for Rosa.  Eventually we found that tunica (2 towels sewed together, that's Argentina for ya!) and all was well.  The piano playing went pretty well.

Going to church
The pench is awesome!!  It is huge, and has a loft, and 2 toilets!!  It has alot of open space and just awesome.  Then we have this roof part, just great.  Every pench is such an experience, so different.  I think I will be in this pench for 6 months.

The older Elder in the pench, Elder Hyre, has 8 months in Argentina and is training!  So there's a pichon in the pench.  It's good, Elder Mcclain and I are helping him.  Elder Mcclain had a rough first 2 transfers.  Elder Mcclain is a surfer.  I'm learning alot about surfing. He went to BYUH for a year.  I guess he's a pretty intense surfer.  He loves it.  And we know that same person!  A girl named Elise Mcnaughton, they were in the same stake in NJ and she was in my ward at BYU.  We went to a couple hockey games together.  So that is just wild!

He is a very organized Elder.  Very organized.  He didn't like the sarten when he got here, so he just bought his own!  He also bought his own tupperware to mix things and to use as a bowl.  He's great. Very excited about the work.  And it's cool because I get to teach him things.  Like companion study and planning at night.  I guess his trainer wasn't a committed missionary, the first time Elder Mcclain did companion study was Thursday.  Same with a nightly planning session. But he just got by and planned on his own, etc.  I looked in the thin book (because our area is relatively new, the Elders before didn't really work in it) and it is all updated in his handwriting and color coordinated.  Pretty cool.

School's out for summer is playing.  It makes me think of Dad.  So it's good with him.  We have a really young pench.  I love the new Elder, Elder Owens.  His head is just spinning.  It's been fun watching him this first week.  Reminded me of me.  It's fun to translate for him at church etc.  His trainer, Elder Hyre, is sweet . . . mostly an interesting Elder.  Don't know how to describe him.  School's out forever.

I guess I'm excited about the phone call.  I haven´t really thought about it.  It will be unreal.  Like a dream.  We will probably be talking for an hour, maybe an hour and a half.  We may baptize that day, that could get tricky.   We will figure it out, I'm not worried.

I forgot to say, technically Junin is still in our area, so basically our area is HUGE!!!!  We will only work in Junin off of references, which we already have 3.  One really solid one.

Sunday we took a bus out there with a member to teach this lady, but she wasn't there.  Bummer.  The members here are AWESOME.  I love them.  So kind and giving.  We have had lunch every day this week minus Sunday.  It is pretty cool.  But it's hard because we have to share lunch with the other elders.

By the way, just to tempt you mom.  I think mine and Elder Mcclains phone number is 262??????? that is 262???????.  I don´t really know what else to say.  I'm excited to baptize.  Christmas is coming.  Not much Christmas music here .  . .

I guess one more picture.  That's me in front of a sweet wall in Sarmientos.  That marijuana eye is graffitied everywhere.  I love the train.

I feel like this will suffice as a good email.  It seems like Saydi had a good week.  She´s so excited to come home I think.

We have zone meeting in San Martin this week, so we get to take a bus there tonight.  And we still have to go shopping and I need to wash some clothes!!  But it has been a very relaxing p day.  Except I smell really bad right now.

Love Elder Ostler
Boys, remember, practice your piano, so you don´t have to do it on your mission!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That's a lot of explanation marks, because I mean it!  Later and I love you all.

Hello.  Dad - please send pictures from your missino.  I want to see you as a little missionary!!!!!  Bye for real.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm getting transferred

Dear Family:

Freak, I'm not going to be home for Christmas. I'm just sitting here, smiling. I don´t live for cyber anymore, but I still love it. I always think about home during this hour, obviamente. It just breaks my heart about missionaries not getting mail. So so sad. Spend the money you would spend on me on them, please. Thanks for the $100.  That's a ton here. 400 pescitos. I am honestly the most blessed kid in this big mundo. Just I have no idea.

The mission is good. Even though every day is not fantastic all the time. It still just rocks. The only 2 years of my life I can wear Christs name over my heart and represent Him. Even with all the rejection and business down here, it is still awesome. Elder George helped my realize a portion of that yesterday. I loved hearing about the Duke Butler stuff. It´s weird that the world is still spinning and we as missionaries almost hear nothing about it.

Sorry about sounding so ungrateful about the mail last email. Wow. Sorry about sounding mad about getting so much mail.

I got the sheets, I love them!!!!!! and I will have to try out those handkerchiefs. And I did receive a present, the twisty tripod thing. I love it!! And the cliff bars are also a hit! Elder Gonzalez and I love them. Thank you mother, for everything that you do, for your life, for everything that you have become. Thank you so much my mother for all of your support, prayers, and help. Thank you mom, I love you. I just got so excited to talk to you soon. It's going to be so much fun. I forwarded you some confusing email that I didn´t understand.

And Dad, thank you dad for your email. I love reading your words every week. It is just so you. I want to be a dad just like you some day. I think about you in Japan sometimes. And those discouraging journal entries you would write occasionally (alot). You are just a tank. And speaking of which, I really want to show Elder Gonzalez that picture of you, just ripped, in the spandex holding the newspaper. Anyway, thank you dad for showing me the ropes as a youngster. Thank you for everything you have taught me. I love you Dad.

The rootbeer was great, and was sent to Elder Gonzalez in a package. Just 6 regular bottles of A&W rootbeer. I'm going to finish mine today and give some more to Elder Crossa because he just dies for it!  I'm good on peanut butter, still have maybe 6 jars. I love peanutbutter. But they have dulce de leche here which is incredible too. Because I am close to the offices, I received mail again this week. 3letters ish and 11 colored envelopes. Haven´t opened them yet. And I love the tree, Harrison you are freakin huge. When I get home (I'm not burning yet) I want a 10x10 ring on the green carpet. With a rope around the perimeter, and pillows. Then Jefferson will be the ref and we will go at it. Wrestling, just like the old days.

I hope you boys practice your piano every day. Every day. You will be happy later, I promise. I double double promise!

Yeah, I can't watch Jonny's deal.  Bummer. And yes, I lived with him for 8 months. Amazing, I understand. Wow, I would love to hear it though. Hopefully its not playing in the background during the Christmas call. Don´t have Boston playing either. Or Rush.

And I figured our how they made spirit of radio dad, you beatbox into a fan. Just a side note.

And um, my fourth transfer starts today - and I'm getting transferred.  But I'll get to that later.

The mission schedule has changed. The alarm clock now rings at 7:00am and we go to bed at 11. It was sweet the day they changed it because we got 30 min of extra sleep. They always do this in the summer time.

So this last week of the transfer was good. Elder Gonzalez and I went running five out of the six mornings. It was awesome. I have become such good friends with Elder Gonzalez. He is such an awesome guy. Actually our whole pench is so tight. We all love each other and mostly get along all the time really well. We have so much fun, Elder George being the main source of the laughter and I'm happy to hear that Harrison still laughs his usual way, like a girl.

On Tuesday Elder George and I rocked it. We taught a record of 5 lessons that day!! It was awesome. One lesson we taught was standing up with Maria in her vegetable stand. It was so sweet! It was our second lesson with her. So Tuesday was just full of teaching and testifying.

We have a really good Bishop here in Sarmiento. He is really a gem. Elder George says he's the best Bishop he's ever had. He's like an Argentine Robertson, and he has white hair. I love that man, Bishop Marino. His wife is a gem too. I'm sad to be leaving him.

One of our investigador we found in the area book is so awesome. Or was so awesome. We had our 3rd lesson with her this week and found out she is MEMBER.. Wow. She fooled the missionaries before us too, and some how as we were reading her teaching record in the area book we missed the part that said she was actually a member. So that was pretty funny. But she doesn´t want to come back to church really. Sonia is her name. She just has the best laugh though. I loved the lessons we had with her. She always gave us agua frescito.

We did ehhh, not so hot with receiving references this week. We were about to receive one and contact 2. But the 2 we contacted I think cold really blossom.

6 months. Just crazy. One fourth done already. that night we were thinking how to celebrate, usually you burn a tie . . . but as we were walking home we saw these guys playing basketball right in this ¨court¨next to our pench. Elder George didn´t have the gumption to ask them. So I did, and they were thrilled with the idea. So we put our fundas on the ground and started playing. Shirt and tie and everything. We didn´t even unbutton the top button or anything, but after about 20 minutes we were so sweaty and our shirts were all untucked. But it was FANTASTIC!  Elder George is a baller.  Their main guy playing was about Brennen's size and not even as good as him, but this 15 year old (huge for his age) kid held his own and was so good, he was really good at driving. The other kids playing were just a bunch of little guys. The best play was Elder George was driving in and the good Argentina kid, David, planted his feet to block Elder George. Elder George saw his legs spread wide open and bounced the ball (and actual basketball) right through them to me and I was able to easily lay it in. It's so fun! And afterwards, we were so sweaty! Then we went home and had some sprite and factuas to celebrate. Yay 6 months.

The investigator situation in Sarmiento is alright. No one came to church, but that's ok I guess because we had nobody committed. Everyone told us before that they had another obligation. But Sara, Antonio and Lina are still hangin on. We had an intense lesson with Lina about the plan of salvation. She doesn't believe in a resurrection or eternal life or anything. It was an awesome, intense lesson. We rocked it, Elder George and I, testifying and teaching, "President Monson . .. if a man dies will he live again . .. I say that he will live again!!!"

And Antonio still has a baptisma fecha, reads the book of mormon every time and understand it so well. And Sara, she´s doing alright.

But yeah, no one in church. We actually had stake conference. It was pretty good. The best part was a legit Argentine choir. They were all color coordinated and actually sounded good! Real good and I haven't  heard music in a long time. 6 weeks. (Elder George has some Cd's, but really ehhh)

And at church talking with one of the awesome office elders, Elder Miller, was a lady that looked oddly familiar. I finally figured out who it was and went up to both of them and started talking to them. It was a lady that Elder Hinojosa and I opened the mouth with months ago in between sessions of General Conference. She actually came up to us crying and saying how much help she needed. We taught, talked, and testified to her for a good while, then handed her address over to the office elders. Well, she is now investigating the church. It was really cool to see her at church.

Saturday was a really cool day. We went exploring to a part of the area that I have never been to before. Its mas o menos campo. Not city. It was so so so cool. Felt like we were in Brazil or some type of wild jungle. And then we found this one lady and had a lesson with her. She said she had been wondering if there really was a God recently and 100% recognized us an answer to her prayer. Such a cool experience. The lesson was under a big tree, outside her less than humble house, on a bench. It was really cool how God used us to answer a cry for help from one of His daughters. A sweet experience that I wish I could spend more time on but what came next I need some time on . . .

Interviews with President were FANTASTIC! Just a holy man of God, President Lindahl is. I know that he loves and cares about me so much.  He asked me if I was ready to be senior companion.  I'm ready for whatever. He told me that, no promises, but that he wanted me in San Juan, (where your skin just boils) with a young Latin. I was so excited. And I still should not know my transfers yet, but because Elder George got a phone call last night that he is training!!! President also told him where I am going.

I am being transferred to San Martin and am going to be Senior Companion!!!!!!!! Wow! Senior comp! My companion is Elder McClain, from NJ. He has 1 transfer less than me in the mission. He is starting his 3rd transfer today, he has not had a Latin yet. O my gosh I am Nervous!

So I am the big dog now. I'm senior comp. I know more Spanish than my companion. Wow, I am ready to learn and grow. It will be so much fun. Rivadavia is where I am going. There are 4 elders in that ward and all of us are greengo. I am really going to have to step up my game. I know that I can do this. My language study has improved this week and I met my goal of reading out loud 50 pages from the book of mormon.

O, President Lindahl also told me that if Amanda gets permission, I can call her!!!!!!

Anyway, I'm comp mayor, just a little scared pichon sitting here, but I'm ready.

I'm excited, because Elder Hinojosa is going to be my new ZL!

Well it is about that time.

Love, Elder Ostler

Monday, November 29, 2010

It is great to wear the black nametag

Hey, what's up big dog?  I'm sitting here, just smiling.  Life is good.  But wow, I can't believe the sacred pday is almost over!!  Back to work!!!  Dad, about sleeping.  I think a time or 2 with Elder Hinojosa I slept for 45 minutes during the siesta, just feeling really tired those days.  But for the most part no, no sleeping during the siestas.  That's only for uncommitted ponchos!  During the siesta is lunch and language time, but I have still so been slacking with putting all of my effort to learn this language.  I'm feeling a false sense of security with the language so I haven't been studying.  And it takes work and commitment to study during the siesta, usually we have just been talking during the siesta.  But this week that has changed, my good ole' dad.  I have set some goals and have decided to be Committed!  AND now I am studying spanish during the siestas (o my gosh, the guy next to me is watching college football highlights on YouTube, and I looked for a second. . . so cool!!!!!!)  I love reading aloud from el libro de mormon.  He's not watching college football highlights anymore bytheway.  The guy next to me that is.

Please send my line of Priesthood Authority.  The Priesthood is so important and I love it.  I love teaching about it and I love having it.  And I especially love it when dad always talks to me about it.  And about the phone call, the big phone call, the big big big phone call.  No worries.  I just pay 10 pesos for this card to call the US and then a few days before Christmas I call home for 10 minutes and we "set up a time when you will call me on Christmas."  I don't know why it will take 10 minutes, but it probably will.  Then on Christmas, at the appointed time, you call me on the cell phone we have in the pench (each companionship has a phone) and then we go for it.  Oh yeah.  And I think I have an interview with President Lindahl this week, and I will ask him about calling Amanda.  That's the deal.
This was taken today, right after Elder George opened his package from his parents.
I got so much mail this week, it is ridiculous.  Four glorified mail packages, with bed sheets, a watch in rice krispi treats, sugar in little packets??, and a bunch of stuff.  I laughed when you said you were being a bad missionary mom.  1 green envelope has arrived and I opened it.  NOT.  Good joke huh?

I would rather have you send me words than little candies.  Please don't take this the wrong way.  And when you do send candies, maybe send some blueberry muffin mix too.  I know that is hypocritical, saying don't send as much and then asking for something, but just when you send something in the future. . . . ok, you get it.

I loved the letters forwarded from the missionary friends.  I loved Casey's descriptions of Argentina.  I have all that stuff that he described, alfahors, the different sidewalks, which Elder George and I trip on every single day, all the time, it is so funny!  And facturas, I love facturas!!!!!!

And Casey Garland wrote me an awesome letter!! I loved it.  Tell him that within a week or 2 I am sending him a nice little letter.

And Braden's letters are compelling, I love them so much.  Bind them in a book and sell them.  He makes me feel like a slacker, just like at BYU sometimes!!!  I love that missionary!  What a stud.

The highlight of this week was THANKSGIVING!!!!  We decided to do something nice, so we organized and put on a nice thanksgiving dinner.  Candle lit and everything.
We had Kenny G Christmas playing, all the lights in the pench off and we ate choripan.  Those little sausage things are so fantastic!  It was such a fun night.  We said the thanksgiving dinner prayer and held hands and everything.  Just a fun fantastic night always to be remembered.

The other best part of the week was that we had 2 in church.  2 investigators came to church!!!!  Lina couldn't because her brother died and she was at a funeral, (hummmm I think we might teach the plan of salvation when we pass by this week).  But Antonio, a 24 year old kid we found through a member (Oscar his dad, who is diabetic and is blind and has no legs) came to church.  And Sara came to church too!  Her mother died last week and she is so so sad, but we are really helping her out.  I know someday soon she will get baptized.  Sunday morning we went to both of their houses to look for them and bring them to church.  We all took a bus, Oscar came too, in a wheelchair.  It was great.  They only stayed for sacrament meeting, thankfully because it was a rather odd day in the Sarmiento ward.  There was contention in both Sunday School and Priesthood.  It was weird and I didn't like it at all.  Just some members started fighting a little, just stupid little stuff.  Every day is such an adventure.  But 2 in church!!!!!!!

And Belen, o Belen, we dropped her, even though she finally started reading the Book of Mormon.  But her heart is not in this.  She lives in a horrible environment too.  And this week, in one of the lessons, we found out that besides the cigs (and the not praying, minimal reading and not going to church) she has this work.  She didn't tell us what it was, but it's bad.  At first we thought it was drugs, then we got some hints in the next lesson and we're sure it's drugs.  I think she is selling drugs.  And she didn't come to church for the 4th time in a row, even though all 4 times she committed to coming.  So she, Hermana Carmen, a recent convert is going to talk to her and we might have one more lesson with her this week.  So that is sad.  She is just not doing her part, and not progressing.  I really wanted to confirm what this "work" she is doing is.  Carmen (who is so so so amazing), Elder Hinojosa baptized her, knows what she, Belen is doing, but won't tell us.  I may never know, but I'm pretty sure we are teaching a drug dealer.

Last night, Sunday night, was so amazing!  After an interesting day at church, yes 2 people came, but the spirit in the 2 classes really was hard to detect, and after a good lunch with members we took a siesta (oh which I forgot to say dad, everyone was in the study room and I was in the kitchen area reading the spanish book of mormon out loud, and the next thing I know is I wake up and the book of mormon is on the floor, I had slept for 45 minutes!!  I felt like a fool, but it really refreshed me) we put some goals, I offered a heartfelt prayer that we would be about to really fulfill the goals we set and we headed out.  To summarize, we did fulfill the goals, we found 2 news!!!!

And one of them, Walter, was just gold.  We said a prayer and asked some questions and then we started teaching.  I love teaching so much.  I want to teach every second of every day.  I love declaring repentance to these people just like Alma and Amulek did.  That's where I am in the book of mormon right now.  I love personal study.  We started teaching the restoration.  And we spiced it up with some baptism.  At the right time, after Walter understood the Joseph Smith story and everything, I asked the question.  "Walter, will you follow the example of jesucristo and be baptized by someone who holds the authority of God?"  He said "si."  "We are having a baptismal service on december __, will you prepare yourself to be baptized that day?"  Again he said yes.  It was amazing.  O, I just loved it.  So as of now we have 2 fechas, Antonia and Walter.  And Sara is going to have one soon.

Well, my hour of yaking at you is over.  It is great to wear the black nametag.  I love testifying of the truth.  Elder Gonzalez got a package today too and we each got an A&W Rootbeer!!!!!!!  Just great great stuff.  Wow, what a thrill.  And poptarts!!  It was sweet.  Well, as I said, the hour is over.  Goodbye

I almost have 6 months in the missino!!!
Love, Elder Ostler

Monday, November 22, 2010

Everything depends on The Book of Mormon

The Miracle on Monday
After district meeting on Monday, Elder George and I were walking to vea, to open the mouth in the parking lot, which we hate doing. But on the way there was this lady coming down on a side street and I opened the mouth with here. She lived right there on the corner and immediately invited us in!! That, in all my life, has never happened before and it turns out that she was a former investigator that we had talked on the phone with just 2 days previous! So we started to talk. We talked about baptism, as we do in almost every single lesson, and why she stopped investigating the church. The only problem is her marido, her husband.  He's one of those catholic dudes. But anyway we just really hit the Book of Mormon hard. When we went back on Thursday, she had read what we left her. We talked about church and sure enough, on Sunday . . . .SHE CAME!!!!!

It was a miracle that we found here, that she invited us in, and that she came to church. All she is missing is a fecha to be a progressing investigator. And we need to figure out the whole husband problem. Always a problem with getting someone baptized. Her name is Lina. She's great and LOVED church, as did everyone that was in that room, and she said that next week she was going to prepare the food early so she could stay all 3 hours. Just great!

Terrible Tuesday
Worst day I have had in a long time. I woke up with those acidic burps I get right before I throw up. But all day I couldn´t throw up. I tried everything but I never could get the awful feeling out of my stomach. I got up on time, but them went right back to bed. But at about 11am I suited up, we went out for an hour. That was all I could handle. It was a terrible hour and on the way back home, after teaching nobody, we saw some workers making part of a road using some tar. They were heating it up and laying it and we both thought of Joseph Smith. How he had mobsters and filthy people pour that tar on this flesh. I thought about all he went though. All the stories I know and I'm sure there are countless that we don´t know about. But he still held on to his claim. He held on to his testimony and to the church. He sealed his testimony with his blood. Why?  Why would a man go through that. Maybe because the story is actually true. He did see God and Jesus Christ. And through him the Church of Jesus Christ, the same Church that Christ established when he came to the earth, was Restored. How Fantastic!!! Let us, as members of this great church, share this story and Happiness with EVERYONE!!!!!

So, after we got home I just went to bed, and stayed there all day. I ate nothing, just let my body try to fight what ever was wrong with it. I think I had a fever, because I think I woke up when it broke.  I"m glad that day is over.

The walk on Wednesday
Wednesday, I was still really weak, but had a good day and mostly was recovered. For lunch we went to the hermanas house that always feeds us and washes our clothes. And they fed us.......SO MUCH. It was noquis again, and just painful. Those things hit the stomach and just work death. They expand I swear. So leaving that house we were just both hobbling and just struggling for every breath. Every step required effort. I do not think I have ever been that full in my life. Anyway it was 20 minutes of just no good. And right as we were crossing in front of vea we saw the beginning of a fight! We kind of hung around across the street and a little bit away. Not entirely sure what happened, but this drunk oldish guy, you know like around 48ish, maybe 49, was just asking for it from these guys who just got off work. And he started swinging. They just blocked it and didn´t do anything. After another 60 seconds of the old guy not leaving them alone, one of the kids had it, threw his backpack off and just wailed on this guy. A couple punches later and the old drunk guy was on the ground. It was kinda sad, but kinda sweet too.
Elder George and Elder Ostler

Friday Morning was LOCO
Just crazy. In total we taught 4 lessons, which is just fantastic for a morning. At this one inactive guys house, (all this is in huarpus) he couldn´t move very well, so before we started he asked me to move a turtle to the outside. It was under his chair and it looked disgusting. Luckily he told me to use my foot.  I was relieved and kicked the turtle out of the house (Saydi, I did it softly, don´t worry). Then we went to this other inactives house. He does not have legs and is blind. It is really sad, but we shared a lesson with him and then asked him to invite his nonmember son (23) to join us. The son did join us and we had the best lesson ever.  We taught about Jesus Christ and Baptism. It was a good lesson, but then we taught him how to pray and at the end of the lesson he offered such a heartfelt prayer, it was fantastic. When he was done the spirit was noticeably in the room. We used that as a teaching moment and it was just wonderful! Being a missionary, I get the beautiful experience of teaching people how to pray to their Heavenly Father and then witnessing them pray for the first time.

O I forgot. So right before we went to knock on this door we went to Belen's house, it´s pronounced like Belin, but she couldn´t do a lesson right then. There was this guy sitting in a daze on her ¨porch¨and he was drunk drunk drunk. As we walked past him he said, "Come here . . come back. .... come over here." I felt bad for him so I turned around and gave him a pamphlet (I really shouldn´t have done that). We keep walking and about 30 steps later we turn around and look back just in time to see the show!!!! This guy gets on his feet, barley, and starts walking. Just staggering. He throws the pamphlet in an aceca and then attempts to walk towards us. What happens next I just can't explain. After about 10 completely drunken steps, the guys pants fall down around his ankles. And at this point he is struggling to stay on his feet. Just struggling so hard. Elder George and I both know that within the next 10 seconds he is going to be on the ground. And after the pants came down he went down too, just hits the cement sidewalk!! It was amazing. Incredibly funny, but also really sad. It certainly was logged in the memory bank never to be forgotten. (and another priceless part was he was wearing whitey tighties) After this happened we were both shocked and went quickly to the no legs guys house only about 5 houses away from where our drunken friend was laying. We quickly knocked, got in and shut and locked the door.

On Sunday
We both gave discursos. I absolutely rocked it (said in all humility, because I really give the credit to the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord and the Gift of Tongues took over after I said about my second word) It was just powerful. The spirit really was cranking and it set the tone for the rest of the meeting. It was truly a different sacrament meeting. It was so great for Lina. I went up there and just pushed the book of Mormon. Just hounded that amazing work of God. I shared some quotes form President Benson and Hinckley. How the Book of Mormon is EVERYTHING. Everything depends on the Book of Mormon. The truthfulness of this church hangs on the Book of Mormon. I bore fervent testimony. Then I related a testimony of the Book of Mormon to Missionary work and just was very bold, read a D&C scripture and told those members how it is a Commandment to share the Gospel. And how we needed their help. And really, if you have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith, why would you not want to share it!!!???!¿!?!¿!?.

And this week we saw success with working with the members!! We found this gold mine inactive and she has given us 4 references!! And yesterday we went over and taught here husband. It was a fantastic lesson. At one point I shared 2 Nephi 31 10-11, i think. And oh, I was just great. I love how in a lesson when we teach truth, and we are doing it in a good way, the spirit will always be there to bear testimony. Always. That is the spirits mission. That is what the spirit loves to do.

And also this week we have lunch 5/6 days!!! Now, for those of you, hmmmm, Saydi, who are wondering why Argentina only has 6 days in the week, it's because we don´t eat with members on pday. I don´t want you to be confused there missy.

But the members are feeding us now, and I have eaten some great stuff recently.

Saturday night we went to the church for about 30 minutes and played basketball with some members. So fun. We are so much taller and just owned, it was way fun.

One more week. I am so tired right now. my legs are jelly because . . . . we had a turkey bowl today!  It was so sweet, just fantastic. Tell Ben Ostler I thought about him a lot this morning. There were just some balls I could not catch, some plays I could not make, and just skill I was lacking. Now I'm serious, tell Ben that many times when I messed up and fell just short, I thought, Ben could have done that. Nonetheless, I was definitely one of the threats. It was 3 zones. Maipu, Godoy Cruz, and Mendoza. There were so many missionaries. We split up in teams and just went for it. 2 hand touch of course... still way fun. I went all out and am just tired right now.

After that playing at a huge park, San Martin, we went to get some food. Now we are doing cyber, obviously. And Elder Cabranes is a zl of maipu so got to reunite with him today! It was way sweet, he is just great. Also his companion, the other zl Elder Harvey grew up in Syracuse, that's where Jase Ward spent his childhood years. So he knows Jase"!" Elder Ward. And he was looking for me because apparently good ol Brother Ward talked to his mom and told her that we were both in the same mission. He was actually the quarterback on my team today, and fed me some pretty sweet balls. American football.

It would be alright if you just sent all the boys mail in one envelope. Thanks for spending some time writing me letters. . .. yes we got mail this week because the zls went to the offices. It´s nice living close to the offices. No I haven´t seen the nurse, I did it myself with Elder Gonzalez´s coaching. I went at it with some weapons last night and came out victorious.

Elder George and Elder Ostler.  I love the look on my face.

A favor mother, or father. Please type my emails I send home with spelling changes, so it´s readable, so that when I'm done I can just print them all out, all things spelled correctly and can put them as part of my journal. If that's too much, don´t worry about it. I cant remember if I described the toe surgery, but yes, I cut it out and it is just really tender right now.  Yeah I already told you that.  Well, I think that will bring this one to a close. It has just been great, but this cyber is just on fire, it is so hot.

Love Elder Ostler

Amanda emailed me and I emailed her! It was great. Just sharing some tips on the Work of the Lord

Monday, November 15, 2010

Homemade spaghetti by a clueless missionary!

The weather is just perfect. Like you said dad, its comfortable hot. Not bad at all. O but just I wait! Someone´s slowly turning up the oven in Mendoza! It's going to get HOT.

The emails are perfect. And no the boys don´t have to send their letters electronically. YES, send the MTC agenda, the daily planner, please. The toe is just the same. I have not tried to cut the side of the nail. I was just going to have the nurse look at it tomorrow, during our interviews but. . . . anyway we are not having interviews tomorrow. So the toe will be ok. It doesn´t really cause me pain.

The coolest experience (aside from the lesson with Belen) was doing service. The Elders living with us, from Carodilla area, invited us to help them do service for their ward mission leader. He was building his house.  So we went one siesta to help them out. It was great. So the makeshift house the family of 5 is living in right now is made out of tarps. No shower or bathroom. It is a humble house. There is a picture of us eating chicken and rice in the house. Yup, dirt floor. But the family is HAPPY.

Money is not important for real happiness. The Gospel is. They live the Gospel and they are happy. What we did was shovel dirt and the concrete stuff that comes in those bags in a wheel barrow and transport it. (I feel so silly trying to describe things like this!) And also we transported a huge pile of huge rocks closer to the house. We used shovels and wheelbarrows. It was great! And I loved it. The barrio they are living in . . wow. Those people have next to nothing.

Picture break. I took one in front of a part of the barrio, there was grass!! And just green green grass. I love seeing and smelling the grass. I'm kind of attached to it.

Then today we went to centro. and we all put on Elder George Nike Portland shirts. Gotta love it tucked in! And yes, it is still tucked in. And that blue car, I think that is right in front of our door to our pench. That is the street we live on.

Belen -- she didn´t come to church, again. But she is still progressing in the Gospel. Everything was set for us to go pick her up for church. Until we called Saturday night to verify. She said she wouldn´t be at her house in the morning. But she said that she would come. We were worried, and our worries turned into a reality when she didn´t come to church. We tried and tried to call her, but no answer. She is about 35, 2 kids, and her husband is in jail. We don´t know much about that. Anyway, she is so sincere, and wants to change her life and stop smoking. And with the cigs, she is improving!! When we found here she was smoking 40 a day. And this week she dropped to 15, and is rapidly improving! She reads the Book of Mormon and prays. Belen is my pride and my joy. She is why I came. This is the first time I am watching, from start to finish, someone come unto Christ through repentance and baptism by water (soon). We ran the fecha to the 27th, and I know she will achieve that day. I remember, over a month ago, when we found here, Elder Hinojosa and I. She has changed so much! There is light in her eyes! She is happier! Hope has come into her life. She loves the Gospel. This week we did have a worry, that she wasn´t married. So we brought out the law of chastity bomb, but it didn´t explode. She´s legally married!! It was my first time teaching this commandment, and I was a touch, just a touch nervous. And it was actually me in the lesson who explained what the law of chastity means. It went great and she accepted the commitment. And that was just a fantastic lesson, when she said she still want´s to get baptized, that she smoked 15 cigs the day before and that day (it was 4pm) she had only smoked 5!!!!  It was just a fantastic feeling, just incredible, to watch someone happily say that they were improving. I love watching her come unto Christ.

Sara -- I opened the mouth with her a couple weeks ago. She talked to me forever and told me about her nephew who served a mission in the states and how she has a book of Mormon. So we stopped by the house one day. Long story short, she accepted us and is accepting the Gospel. She doesn´t think the cathloic church has the truth (ummmm, yeah it doesn´t) and is a true follower of Christ. She is looking for the truth . . . and she has found it. We have had 3 lessons with her. A lady in her 50's who lives with a grandma, real old, and has to take care of her. For this, she has not been able to come to church the last 2 weeks, but wants to to see what it's like.

There are so many obstacles with getting people to church and more, to the waters of baptism! I am getting better at solving such problems though. Although people will always have their agency. It´s part of the plan. So Sara is reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. But she says that she is not receiving an answer. That is the big holdup. But the answer will come. We need to make sure she is following what it says in the promise of the Book of Mormon and that she is praying in the right form. And the answer will come. She will, one day, know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that baptism in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is what God wants for her. She just wants an answer. We will continue to teach her the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and teach her how to recognize an answer. But I know that church attendance will help her, a ton. The 3 things people can do to know the truth of these things is to read the Book of Mormon, pray, and attend church. The Big Three. Anyone who wants a testimony of this Gospel must do these 3 things.

Some happenings of the week. Our lighter broke. So for the past couple days when we wanted the stove lit, one person had to go outside and hold a stick under the pilot light of the water heater and then, once on fire, hand the stick through the window where the inside guy took the stick and lit the stove or the oven. But we bought matches today, so that problem is solved. Our shower water pressure is slowly deteriorating. All this week it was just, I don´t know how to describe it. I feel like Brian Regan trying to descirbe what is wrong with his car to the mechanics. Our water is just like a drip, but a steady stream of drips. Hmmmmm. Like when you turn on the sink, and it is just a stream of water like that, but much less water than our sink, like your sink, the one at home, puts out. I dont´even know why I'm trying to describe this to you! And I am not complaining, I'm just tying to give you some details about life in the log cabin.

And how is Amanda? She just needs to hang in there and put a smile on.

This week was a fast week, kinda mas o menos. We are still learning how to work with members. Preach My Gospel says work EFFECTIVELY, and the way to do that is to work with the members. We had a great dinner . . .. what, I mean lunch, we don´t eat dinner here, with familia Videla. It was so fun and fantastic. He was in the Buenos Aries Mission about 15 years ago, an AP. We asked him how we worked with the members. He gave us some fantastic ideas, things he did in his mission. So once again, we start the week excited, fresh and ready to tackle the Lords work in Sarmiento. And actually last week in working with the members we visited one, and the mother said, hey do you have lunch tomorrow, we said no. And she told us to come on over! Great. This week we had los noquis 3 times. My first time having them. They are fantastic!

Also the 2 days I didn´t have lunch with members, I made spaghetti. Kinda drucho homemade. I cut up 3 tomatoes and 1 small onion and put it in a frying pan and cooked it. Then I browned carne molida. When it was brown I added a little tomato sauce and mixed it all together with some salt. And topped it off with some noodles. It was . .. Argentine homemade spaghetti made by a clueless missionary. I liked it though.
Elder George and I walking down a railroad in the middle of Argentina

Bytheway, I really liked what Seth Edvalson said, also Brother Henry and Ben Cueves. I am so glad you wrote that because Elder George talks a lot about home and this week there were some really hard hours where I just thought and thought and thought about home. And the comforts of life at home. It was hard, and I allowed myself to become homesick. But seeing Belen progress this week reminded me of why I am here. But I am snapping out of my homesickness daze. I am here to roll up my sleeves and go to work! A quote form Elder Christofferson. And I can´t wait until I get my hands on a conference ensign, in English!

As you can probably imagine, in opening the mouth with 10 people every day, one is bound to meet some "crazies!" And this week one of our news was just nuts. She said that the sun talks to her. It was a very interesting lesson.

I am collecting corks.

Elder George and I are in charge of Sacrament meeting next week. We are both giving talks . .. and the tema is La Obra Misional. O Yeah!

And we had a makeshift meeting with our obispo this week and he gave some great words on what a missionary is. And then we talked about the ward, how we can help. He trusts us so much! As we talked about famisiles to visit, he just gave us information on everyone we can help.... kinda like 'here is his story so you can help him out.' It is not like he was just giving us peoples dirt, but O my he trusts us so much. We are going to help this ward out. 2.5 years ago the ward only had 14 active members! Yesterday there were almost 70 people in church!!!(kids and childs included)

I forgot to tell you all but some weeks ago there was a national Argentina census. The censo. We had to stay in the pench until the person came to count us and ask us a bunch of questions. Our person came at 2. But the rest of the day we weren´t allowed to knock doors or anything.

And the Ellensburg lady, Chao. The husband called us - whats the word where you have more than one wife? Ummmm. . . can´t remember, O polygamist. Yeah, he didn´t want us to come over anymore.

So here I sit. That´s about all I got to say. I feel like I really typed a lot. Hope you enjoy. And I did get my new mission credit card. Thank you for everything family. I love love you. Happy late birthday Jefferson. And happy early birthday Harrison.

Until next week, this is Elder Ostler signing off.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The power of a righteous fast

What is going on my family!!
Hey, things are good with Elder George here, we are doing good. This is a picture of him today, he chose to dress for the summer today . . . and today is cold.  He is just suffering there as we waited for the bus today.

Not really a week of enjoyment, but still a good week.  We learned and received a huge answer to our fast.

So Monday we started the week off, disappointed.  We hustled up to a cita after district meetings.  It was with Hugo and Jessica, Jessica was the woman we taught as we sat on the dirt floor.  So we went there and they let us in.  We talked a little and then put The Restoration movie in.  The spirit was there, in the room, and it was really sweet.  Then the movie ended and things went downhill from there.  In short, Hugo, the "husband" (not married) felt the spirit but denied it.  And brought up the stupidest thing.  We showed the First Vision picture and he argued for 10 minutes about how no one could draw God.  But we did our part.  We bore testimony as we could, he just kept cutting us off, and tried to help him see the real question, whether Joseph Smith was a prophet of God or not.  He could not accept it.  It was so sad.  But we didn't argue, we did our part, so we started the week off disappointed.

Wilson!  How are you doing??  Something tells me you need to be obedient!!  Young man, be obedient so that you can be a missionary someday.  Elder Wilson Ostler, you have hereby been called to serve . . . in China!  O yeah.  When you want to disobey, think of Jesus.  Have a picture of Jesus with you, in your room or pocket and look at it.  What would Jesus do?  Enjoy America, I kinda miss it.  But Argentina is just rockin.  I love it.

At the beginning of the week we did divisions with the San Ignacio Elders because Elder George had to do a baptism interview.  So that put me in Sarmiento with a newbie, Elder Austin from WA (he knows Elder Duncan.  Elder Duncan died in his ward in WA.  So we enjoyed talking about Elder Duncan.  That was sweet.)  So again, I was the one doing all the talking.  I loved it!!  That morning we had a lesson scheduled with Belen, and we were doing it at the house of a recent convert, hermana Carmen, who recently was baptized and quit smoking.  And Belen has a smoking problem, a big one.  That was the situation.  And the next hour was beautiful.  We started and the Spirit took over.  We talked about the word of wisdom and her cigs.  She wants to stop but obviously it is hard.  Hermana Carmen helped so much with her experience and testimony.  It was a fantastic lesson.  And since then we have only had one lesson with Belen, and she is doing better, still struggling.  But we put a fecha with her!  She is getting baptized the 20th of November!!!!!  I am so excited!

Another real cool experience, we were walking and this guy who we always see motioned for us to come over to him.  We started talking and he said he is struggling.  No work.  And keeping food on the table is really a worry for him.  He asked what the church could do.  It was humbling.  It was sad.  But at the same time I was happy.  I know that in his situation it might be easier to accept the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We committed him to church and said we would talk with the Bishop about what kind of help we could get him.  But he didn't show up.  Neither did Belen.  I was so sad during church.  Just sadness filled my body.  I bore my testimony and was just sad and beaten.  Why?  Why are the people not coming, what am I doing wrong?  We had 4 committed, solid commitments.  And we called Belen before church and she said she was coming with her sons.  And the chico David didn't come either.  So I was sad.

Then we were having a plan jam session during principios del evangelico class because we had no one to teach.  And then for no reason, one of the obispado members walked in - Boom, sat down and answered our quesitions.  It was such a blession.  We talked, we talked about the work and about baptizing people.  He was a RM from Uruguay.  He said, Elders it's not your fault that you're not having success.  It's our fault.  It's the members.  If you want to see success you have to work with the members.

Elder George and I have been doing our part, but  we have not been seeing so much success here in Sarmiento.  And we know that we have to work with the members.  We have been saying that for the last 2 weeks.  But we really haven't been doing it.  But that man, hermano sanchez, was the answer to our prayers and questions.  We talked specifically about how we could work with the members.  And how he did work with the members in his mission.  How 70% of his baptisms were references from the members.  We are happy now.  Ready for the week.  PMG says over and over again - work effectively.  Effectively.  Work effectively.  And we have really not been doing that.  Knocking doors is NOT effective.  And it is draining, the rejection gets to you after weeks of doing it and seeing no fruit.  So we are done knocking doors.  Done.  Finished.  We are working with the members.  We will visit them daily and make sure they are obeying the commandments, reading and praying daily and having FHE.  Because when they are doing these things they will have the spirit and be able to help us out.  We will get references.  I love the quote about working with members in PMG by President Hinckley.

And when I say we are done knocking doors, obviously when we see an open door in the way, we will clap it, or when someone is in the yard, we will talk with them.  But just hour after hour of knocking.  Yeah, those days are over.  So now we have a goal and a PLAN.  And here we go.  We think we have figured out the way to work Sarmiento.  It's a hard area.  The people are hard.  But we are finding the way to do it.  Goodbye discouragement.  That fast we did and all of our prayers have been answered.  The power of a righteous fast.

So then Sunday night, or in other words last night, we applied what we learned.  We went and visited members.  We had some great experiences.  This one house we went to and asked for Irma, some inactive.  Well the girl at the window left, and out of the house a minute later walked an abuela.  And that is rare because usually people just don't even open the window and tell us they are busy from there.  But Ilda, her name is Ilda, the daughter must have thought we were saying that, so that's cool right there, I'm making no sense.  But the names are close and this lady says she's not a member but recently moved to the house.  She had a great spirit about her.  We talked with her about the gospel and left her a Book of Mormon which she graciously accepted and said she's read the chapter we left her.  So the Sarmiento game plan is working.  And I know I say this about all the news we have, or just good albs we have, but I really believe she could get baptized.  I am so ready to fill that font.

Also, last night I met my first anti-american.  He just exploded on us, told us to go back home to fix our own country.  I told him I was in Argentina to help his country.  He called me a liar.  I stopped walking and he did too.  I bore testimony to him, but he just stomped on it.  Then he just started swearing and Elder George told him to watch his mouth and we walked away.  It was cool.  I don't know, last night both Elder George and I were happy and nothing could get us down.  We are excited.

Also, we had a Sonda, which is hot wind, yesterday.  It was nuts.  So windy!!  There were trees down, roads blocked, power outages, just nuts.  Kinda sweet.  But so dusty!

Another thing, we made brownies for the ladies that feed us weekly and wash our clothes.  They turned out great!  And I forgot to say we had lunch with the members every day last week!  It was great.  But this week we only got 2.  Ohhh. . . but that's ok.  I'm making spaghetti!

Our pench is finally all in order and clean now.  It's real nice.

Spanish is coming good.  I am feeling comfortable.  It's a good feeling.

I read Jase's letter, man has that kid changed.  That is not the Jase I would go fishing with.  The mission has the power to change a person.  Jase is just going to do awesome, just going to rock it. I'm excited for him.  And wow, when he said he's half way done with the Book of Mormon in Spanish, wow, that got me thinking.  I sooo need to be more diligent.  But that helped me and this week I did way better reading el libro de mormon out loud in spanish.

And I finally got to use my futbol shoes.  We played at the church with the boys of the family avila.  It was great.  I love them!

I don't know when I get my new card, hopefully soon.  And my toe is mas o menos.  But it's all good.  And we get mail during zone conference or when we have interviews.  And we have them in 2 weeks.  I don't know when zone conference is but today we played basketball!  It was awesome and I rocked it.  I drained 3 threes, just rocked it.  Then we went to McDonalds and these snakes sitting next to us just made fools out of themselves.  Trying to talk english and just trying to get our attentino.  We didn't even give them a look.  It was way funny though.

This picture is Elder George and I after we finally got both bunk beds functioning.

A huge bee.  Just a reminder that I am in South America.
The water in our pench is almost clean.  This is a bottle full of water and those black things in the bottom . . . I'm not sure what they are, but no problem, my body is used to it!
It's been good, love Elder Ostler