Monday, August 30, 2010

BANG! Members are the key!

Dear family!
Harrison and Jefferson, I loved the words from the both of you!! Dang Harrison. This is a great time of your life!! High School for me rocked!!! Driving, dating all that! I got one piece of advice. . . . LIVE IT UP. Have as much fun as you can. You are amazing. I love ya buddy:)

Jefferson, son you are loaded! That is so so cool. I didn´t even grimmice when I read about you spending your hard earned cash. I'm glad you are loving the river this summer. Have a great first day of 8th grade!! You are a big dog now.

Dad, daang that was a long and somewhat painful story about my precious duck. I cannot see you doing that! Wow. I was a little sad, but I am already over it, no worries. And I did get to assist in a blessing this week, I'll tell that in a second. Mom, thanks for that. I only cried a little when I read yours.

Ok here we go, I'm going to try to fly and give you all I can right now.

First, I want you to know that I am smiling right now. I am doing good. This week has honestly been a lot better than the last two. I am happy!! So I made a list of things to say. Made it this morning, so this might be kinda random.

The Bishops wife does our laundry. We are pretty lucky because in most places you either have to pay to have it washed or do it yourself, you know, by hand. The Bishops family is angelic. They feed us alot and just rock. Both are RM's.  I love that family.

We are getting a new pench!!!!!!! The one we are in now is decently bad, not quite pretty bad, but bad. No heater so in the cold of the winter Elder Cabranes said it was horrible. Most have heaters I guess, and the dueno just cuts the power and water occasionally and won´t repair anything. And if you could only see pictures of the bano. It's pretty small and Just kinda nasty. But we are moving! We were commissioned from Mendoza to move. We have been looking, but really nothing. The goal was to find something close to the area. And finally we did! It was Tuesday, I think. It´s a little more expensive, 1200 month instead of the 700 we are paying now. But it is 11 blocks from the area instead of 30! That's a lot of more work and less walking for us to do! So we are all psyched. and the new pench is heavenly. It is brand new! Barley built. And the bathroom is so nice. And there is a budeah, don´t know how to spell that.  We have blocked out Wednesday to move. All day. We have to move everything; stove, fridge, 2 bunkbeds, table, you get it. Everything. And right now we are on the second floor, and our new place is 2nd floor too. So Wednesday will be fun. I think we pay some kind of truck to take it all over, none the less, I'm excited! And then Thursday we already have a great day planned! I'll get to that later.

At lunch at the Bishops house Friday, he asked if we (the 4 of us) would sing in church. Why not? And Elder Figs is awful at singing. He just wasn't given that gift . . . . at all. We totally forgot until right before sacrament meeting because the Bishop reminded us. So after the first speaker, us 4 went up and sang, "Called To Serve." It sounded awful. I carried it. Elder Orozco was just a bit quiet, Elder Cabranes was slaughtering the bass, Elder figearo was singing badly, as loud as he could.  He wasn't trying to sound bad, he just sounded bad. And then I was just trying to keep our sinking ship together. All in all it was fun and a good memorable experience singing for the Argentine people.

Yeah, last Monday was real terrible. I just felt bad all day. During district meeting Monday night, I was trying so hard not to cry, I was just so sad. Elder Cabranes gave me a blessing, in spanish. Then because of his ankle he asked me to seal the anointing. I was so shot that I did it in english. During the blessing I lost it. I felt like I was giving the blessing to myself.  Afterwards we got ourselves hooked up to some pepto like stuff for 37 pesos. I drank all 240ml of it, it´s on video. I went to bed at 10pm and didn´t get out of bed till 11am Tuesday morning! Ok, yeah the pench thing didn´t happen Tuesday. Yeah I turned off my alarm at 6:30 and just slept. I so needed it. It was great. Tuesday I was feeling a lot better. But it wasn't until Wednesday that I felt 100%. I still am in perfectly good health and just feel like a champ! Like I said, this week was so much better.

Some traveling AP's came this week, taught us about the 8 enfoque and did splits with the zone. Oh yeah, one of the zls dad's a tailor in buenos aries so he made us the robes, not sure how our names showed up on them. It was 100 pèsos. So one day I went on splits with elder Wajchman, an AP from buenos aries who mostly was fluent in english. It was the best day ever. Here´s what I wrote in my journal on August 27th, 10:23pm.  AMAZING DAY!!! I feel so incredible. O my gosh, I could write a bestseller about today if you give me a month. Sadly I only have 7 minutes. Such a good day!!! . . . .. .. i am just brimming with the spirit. i love this:)

I saw miracles that day. The first thing he taught me was to work with the members. Elder Cabranes and I haven't done that yet. So we went and sat down with this lady for 1 hour.  I thought it was wasting time after about 30 minutes, but it was all part of the miracle. She gave us names to visit of her friends.  One of them wasn´t home, but across the street there was a lady watering her ¨lawn¨. So we talked to her. Pocha is her name. She let us into her house. We sat down and the conversation moved into prayer. She was very catholic, but the nicest lady ever! Next, I don't even know how to descibe what happened. She said she didn´t want to change religions. Baptism came up. I never carry around those phamplets, but for some reason just 3 hours earlier, I put 2 in my funda, scripture case deal.  I pulled it out and showed the picture of the Saviours baptism. I talked about her commitment to follow Jesus Christ and about baptism.  The spirit was SO AMAZING!! It was incredible. Within the 30 minute lesson, (and Elder Wajchman is so so awesome bytheway, he truly teaches with LOVE) she committed herself to church, we committed her to baptism, she even wrote the date on the back of the folleta. She was amazing! It was one of my best experiences yet!  So I learned about working with the members; boom, 1 hour later it worked. Members are the key.

Then Saturday for compstudy we talked and read about working with the members. Then we put it into practice.  We went to visit members in the morning.  The Canales family.  The father had traveled to san luis for a Priesthood stake conference, so we talked to the wife on the porch. After about 15 minutes we had a service project lined up with them and then at church the husband agreed to give us asado!!!  That's the meat and meat and meat stuff. And the service project we are doing is going to their 2 little kids school on Thursday and helping mix cement and build a porch. Do you know how many moms and dads of kids might be there that we can talk to. And we got food out of it.  They are giving us the asado on Thursday. So boom. Members are the key.

Then Saturday night we were running around trying ,,,, we had a ton to do. For some reason I felt like we should go make sure this old woman, hna. zalvalsa, was good to go on the gospel principle lesson the next day. She wan´t home, but her nicotine hooked husband was. For some reason my comp sat down to talk to him for a second, even though we had soo much to do and we were already late for something. We already knew him and knew of his hardness to the church, nonetheless we talked to him again. Within 5 minutes hna zalvasa showed up and said Elders! You need to give a blessing to this woman (next door apartments). We did. It was amazing. We were about to teach about the Priesthood, a little restoration. We gave the blessing and I annointed, in spanish! It was great. We discovered that her and her mother had book of mormons already! They brought them out and they had dust all over them. After we asked them some stuff they both said they already knew that the church was true. They just never went to church, so they weren't baptized. Dang! A miracle because of hna zalvasa, because we visited her and had previously gained her trust. Way cool! Then the next morning we went to her house and sure enough, Caronlia, the 28 year older, came to sacrament meeting.

But I was totally bummed during church because we had 7 solid investigators committed to church. Solid! But only she came! Such a bummer. We are going to whip some but tomorrow. "Why in the heck did you not come to church!"

Those were the 2 evident miracles I was a part of this week. And actually another one is that I´m not super sad anymore. It humbles me when I read of all you, my family, are doing for me. I can literally feel it. I love it. Thank you. I feel that is not sufficient, what else can i do? Thank you.

They do have peanut butter here!!! My comp found a place where they sell it, like real peanut butter! I'm, going there this week and going to get some. And before I get transfered, I´m going there and am going to load up!!

One night we were walking in a real ghetto part of our area (the entire area is ghetto, but this was way ghetto) we try not to go to this place at night, just because of the punks, it´s not well lit ect. But we had a lesson, which fell through, so we were walking there. It was almost completely dark. I just looked up into the southern sky . . . so cool. I just thought how crazy this all is. So far from home. Everything is backwards! The c on the faucets actually means hot for example! It was just a real cool moment.

For p-day today Elder Cabranes and I went to the cemetary. Let me tell you, they are way different here! Like O MY Gosh! It was sweet!

How's my boys in the mtc doing? I know Braden is Killing it! And dying to get to mexico. I know that, but how's Jacob? Casey? Jeffrey?

And o my gosh Amanda. So cool! I love that my sister is about to become a sister missionary! She is going to:
A)  freeze, and
B)  just love it.

I´m so excited for you girl! You got this. Fear not faith. That is key.

Well, I am definitely happy with this email. I feel so happy right now. Yes, I love monday´s, yeah, his ankle is better. I do like Elder Figoroah.  He makes a lot of this fun. Grabbed my camera and took the video of me drinking the pepto which was sweet.
My understanding of spanish is improving, although, sometimes I have absolutely no clue! what people are saying to me. The 2 priests in the ward like to make fun of me, so that´s fun. And I'm excited because we have some younger men investigators and we are going to set up a soccer game activity with the ym. I am going to own those 2 priests! One of our investigators is amazing. He is 16, tall like me, and looks like Raymond, remember him Saydi? He is awesome.  I love him. One of my favorite things is kneeling down with my investigators and hearing them pray. I love it! And his younger brother is EXACTLY like Benson. Everything. I love it. One day while Elder Cabranes was talking with the mother, I went and just talked with the, I think, 11 year older, it was the best! So cool. I could kinda understand him as he explained to me about himself and showed me his toys. I love that little boy too. his name is elias, and the 16 year older is gaspar. And one of our Wet investigators, who Will get baptized is a dad.  His wife, they are actually married! is so cold to us and doesn´t like him going to church. That is why he hasn´t come with. So we need to get to the bottom of that. Oh, his name is Gaston.  I think of you Amanda and Saydi everytime.  I think "Beauty and the Beast, right.?'

I have had a couple scary incidents with dogs, this and last week. Usually they don´t give us a second look because they see people walking around them all the time, but sometimes they just don´t like us! And they gowl and sometimes aproch us. So we put our fundas in an outstretched hand and let the Word protect us. It gets my adrenalin going sometimes! Especially this one time at night, that night walking through the ghetto, we didn´t see this dog, but we got close and it let us know not to get any closer. Whew, my next 8 or so steps were pretty quick as my heart jumped to my throat.

Oh life is good. I´m just rambling and feel like dad. OH!! One time on the bus I was just sitting there. This guy got on and my heart skipped a beat. I could only see the back of his head and his shoulders, but he looked exactly like you dad!! I instantly knew that there was no way it was, but for a couple seconds I let my mind grow that thought, that I was actually looking at my father, who, for some reason was paying 2 pesos to get on a bus in downtown villa mercedes. Skin color, height, thinning hair, it was you!

Well, I think we are about done. Elder Cabranes´ brother just got a mission call to the Salta mission.

This is an exciting week. My first asado, new pench,  and I get to show off my cement mixing skills! I'm so excited. Plus all the miracles that await me this week too! Especially as I continue to learn better to wholly rely on the Spirit. Out here, the spirit is my best friend.  And I love the scripture, I think the end of Matthew 11, Come unto me, all ye that are heavy laden and I will give you rest . . . . I love those verses.

I love you all! thank you for your fasting and prayers

I feel it in a very real way! I have never felt closer to you even though we are 5000 miles away!

love your missionary

Elder Ostler
August 30, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Zone Conference was the best ever!!!!!


so I was just was in another cyber for 30' minutes typing and the internet connection went out and so I lost everything I had written.  So sorry, so sorry, right now I feel like crap and this probably won't be very long.  Here's what the other one said.

I am sick.  Yesterday morning I threw up like 5 times.  No fun.  Right now I still don't feel good at all.  So yesterday I just stayed in bed all day.  But I have basically just been in the pench all week because last Monday Elder Cabranes hurt his ankle playing futbol.  But he was fine for that day, then Tuesday and Wednesday we worked so hard and walked ourselves into the ground!  So the day of zone conference,  Thursday, he said it hurt really bad.  So then Friday we stayed in all morning, I went on splits that night.  Then Saturday we stayed in all day as his ankle slowly got better.  Then yesterday I was sick, so basically we have just been in the pench all week!

But those 2 days we worked so hard!  We took no breaks.  Tuesday, I can make an accurate guess of at least 12 miles walking and Wednesday was even more.

This week I definitely haven't been as homesick.  So that's good.
Yesterday we didn't go to church and we found out that our 2 investigators with fechas didn't come to church so now we have to move their fechas back a week, to the 11th.  That is a touch disappointing.

Here's something to smile at. . . zone conference was the best ever!!!!!  It was so nice to see like the 60 other elders there, not my mtc comps though) and it was just so good.  A spiritual rebirth, it was energizing.  So good.  And it was fun because we had to get on a bus at 2:50AM to make it in time.  Then on the way back our bus left at 6:45PM and we didn´t get home till 1:30AM, a 5 hourish drive, because our bus broke down, then we hopped on another one and that broke down too.  But we eventually made it and it was a mini adventure.

Spanish is still way hard.  My understanding is improving though.  But still hard and I feel like a mute sometimes.

I should just stop writing because I am just thinking about all the bad going on right now.  Hopefully my comps ankle can get better and I can get totally healed so that tomorrow we can hit it hard.  Because I've realized that staying in the pench is really not fun at all.  There is no satisfaction.

You'll laugh at this.  Some things I have eaten.  We eat with members alot . . one time we showed up at this house and it was still cooking; noodles and alfredo sauce.  The lady pulled out 2 cans of tuna and asked me and my comp to open them.  And to my horror, she dumped then in the alfredo sauce.  So that was fun, and yes I ate all of it!

Another one was a lady brought out the appetizer which was potates that had been cut in cubes and boiled.  They looked so good.  But then she drenched them in mayonnaise!!!  It was awful to watch.  They were just soaked in mayonnaise.  It was ehhh yeah, I don't like mayonnaise.
Wow I have been looking forwad to this email time all week.  I live for this.  But I just don´t know what to say.

I feel the influence of your prayers.  Thank you for being an awesome family.  Thank you so much.  At zone conference, President talked to me for a bit and talked about tasting the bitter and tasting the sweet.  He said that a South America Mission was the best way to grow up.  So right now I am definitely tasting a little bit of bitter.  But I find comfort in the scriptures.  All things will work together for my good.  It will be okay.  I can get through this.  Thank you again for everything.

Just know that I am ok.  I am living my dream right now.  I am in argentina!  I just didn´t know my dream would be so hard.  Yeah, people say that a missino is the best 2 years and the hardest 2 years.  I never really thought hard about that.

I love you mom, thank you.

I love you too dad.

The best parents ever.

Monday, August 16, 2010

I'm in a different land

. . . . . . . . Okay, some of my adventures this week in no particular order.  I was informed by the other elders, all 4 of us in the pench are over the same ward and they told me that we had to plan and carry out an activity that happened last friday.  Thursday came and it was sketchily planned and I was worried.  But through the genius of Elder Cabranes and myself we were able to pull it off.  It was pretty fun.  The activity was supposed to start at 6, but because this is latin culture, we didn't sing the opening hymn till 6:50!  How crazy is that.  It's just a different world here.  And the turnout was not too good, I thought.  But my comps said it was real good.  I think there was like 20ish.  But the last game was the best, we did an egg toss.  Yeah, it was kinda messy, but it was fun.  And because it is freezing we did it all indoor.  So the activity ended and we still had to do our 10 alb. open the mouth.  So we told the bishop, who we have a super relationship with, that we would clean it tomorrow, saturday, after we had our lunch appointment with him.  So the next day we came to clean it.

Our church is nice.  It's pretty small, but it is really sweet, especially compared to the super bad housing surrounding it.  There is a huge fence/brick wall surrounding the whole church too.  And bars on all the windows of course.  But while we were spending a little time cleaning it, I looked into the back little lot of the church which is also fenced and in there was a huge horse!  It was nuts.  We didn't do anything about it then, but the next day at church we went and walked around the church and there was no horse, no sign of it entering or anything.  Just a bunch of horse poop.  So that's a pretty sweet argentina mystery.

Also, about church.  I taught the gospel principles class!  It was about charity.  I spent a little under 2 hours preparing using my language study time etc.  It was a lesson about charity.  It was descent but there were some times I certainly struggled.  The only people that were in there were the 3 elders and 3 recently baptized members.  So that's exciting.  Much more of that to come I'm sure.

Yeah, people love the pictures of the family and I carry a few around with me always.  And they see the picture of you two, mom and dad and the people always say that you are very linda, mom.  That means beautiful.  That comment is always made.  So that is sweet.  And I also always tell everyone about Amanda's llama miento missional.  And they love the one of Wilson playing futbol.  Oh, last week playing futbol was SO AMAZING!  I did very well, but we did just play against the zone.  There is only 10 of us.

My health is very good.  No feet problems at all.  Doing very good.  I drink the water straight out of the tap.  No problems so far . . . . I am sure I will get sick. . . there is just no avoiding it.  But right now I am golden.

Yesterday was a bit discouraging because we had nobody at church!  We committed some people to come but nobody showed up!  But I learned that it is not me they are rejecting, it is Christ.  1 Nephi 22:5, which is even sadder!  Saturday night we went back to follow up on a guy, Miguel, and found to our delight that he had read all the intro to the Book of Mormon and the first 2 chapters.  It was so awesome!  We talked about it and then talked about him coming to church the following day.  We even had him bring his alarm clock out and helped him set it so he would be up for 9:30 church.  Elder Cabranes is amazing like that.  But alas, he didn't show to church.  And right now we have some really good people but no one has a fecha, a baptismal date.  But we are going to hit it hard and hopefully next week as I type to you I can say, Yes, we have someone on date to be baptized!!  We can do it.

One thing I really love is 1 hour of personal study.  I have almost stopped falling asleep in it everyday.  So that is great.  I am almost adjusted to this life.  Yeah, but I learn something every day from personal study.  It is really really great.  And yes, it is still way cold here.  I can't wait for spring and for everything to turn beautiful.

We have a zone conference this week on thursday which happens every 3 months.  So we bus to mendoza at 2 AM, have zone conference and then return.  It is 4 zones, I think.  So that will be different.  And last night we mixed it up a bit and bussed our whole zone to just tract, like 30 minutes away to help Elder Reynolds and his comp who work that area, with a white storm.  We showed up and Elder Reynolds and his comp had it all planned out.  We were each assigned a different comp and we were given maps, names and addresses and the plan was to contact all the inactives and first see if they still lived there and then to try to just talk with them for a bit and try to remind them of their feelings at their baptism.  So that was sweet.  And what was even sweeter was that Reynolds paired himself with me!!  It was the best.  My 3 favorites in the missino are Reynolds up top, then a close second is the ap Elder Weist, and then Elder Cabranes.

Ok, so another thing.  Yesterday we showed up at a house with a less active mom and a recently baptized little girl.  The plan was to read the Book of Mormon with them.  There is power in that.  But we got there and Elder Cabranes forgot this himself, but also completely spaced telling me we were doing service.  So we went out to the front of this house and started cutting down branches off of some trees.  I wish I would have had my camera.  Just me in my missionary outfit in a tree with a saw.  It was pretty sweet.  But there was this one branch way out there and I had to balance very carefully and reach super far to get it.  I wish you could have seen that.  Pretty much really hard.

Well, I'm about out of time.  I wish you could see it here.  It's so nuts!  Well I have really enjoyed the last hour.  Thank you so much for the amazing emails mom and dad.

I love you Mom.  And I love you Dad.  And all the rest, Amanda, Saydi, Harrison, Jefferson, Benson and of course Wilson!!  I love all of you too.

Thank you for your prayers.  They definitely help.

This is your missionary, Elder Ostler
I love you.
August 16, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Greetings from Villa Mercedes!

That is my area.  I am 1 hour outside San Luis.  Elder Cabranes my trainer is so amazing!!!  He is a latingo, latin plus gringo.  Yes, he speaks english fluently, but obviously his native tongue is spanish.  He was born in Ecuador, his father is Argentine, he lived in Peru for awhile and went to BYU for a semester in 09.  He is such a great missionary and teaches me lots of things and just rocks!  So life is good.  I have 1 hour to email home so I will start from the first class flight.

The first class flight was amazing!!  This keyboard is different so it's hard to type.  Yeah, hot towels, steak and potatoes, orange juice in glasses, french toast, sausage, ice cream, more hot towels..... yes, first class is everything it is cracked up to be!  I loved it.  I probably logged 4 uninterrupted hours of sleep.  The seats laid out almost completely flat.  So awesome!

We got off the plane and it was COLD!  You weren't kidding at all mother, it is so cold here!  When we got off the plane I was definitely nervous because, you know, spanish.  Customs was easy though because the people spoke english!  So we all handed over those white envelopes with secrets inside and we were set.  No problems entering the country.  But there was a slight problem with baggage claim.  Thankfully all of our bags were there!  But on my big bag, it got toasted and the handle doesn't come out.  Darn.  So the next two days of hauling my bags around were no fun.  We met alberto and he was so nice, but didn't speak a lick of english.  So that was exciting.  He drove us around Buenos Aries which was nuts!!!! because there are no rules here for driving.  Yeah, a bit scary.  But no accidents and he dropped us off at the other argentina airport where we waited all day until we took a flight to mendoza.  He would try to talk with us and tell us things, but he just resorted to writing down the time he was going to return and then leave.  So we would just sit on these metal chairs forever and wait, so excited.  It was our time to fly and we went through security.  We waited a bit because our plane was delayed, what do you know, another hold up getting to Mendoza.  But eventually it was our time to fly.

I am so happy I made friends with this guy waiting for the plane because apparently our plane switched gates and we obviously had no idea because the spanish coming out of the loudspeaker is yeah, impossible for us to understand.  So he looked at us and said, in spanish obviously, that our plane had switched gates.  Thank goodness for him or we would probably still be in Buenos Aries.

So we go to the gate and there is no plane!  We had to take a bus a couple hundred yards to where our plane actually was.  Pretty funky.  We landed, got our bags and President and Sister Lindahl were waiting for us and 2 awesome aps.  They were so nice and it was awesome.

We got in their car and went to downtown mendoza where we went to their house.  We ate dinner at their house with the aps and our trainers.  Wow!  Dinner was heaven!  Lasagna, fruit, just so so so good.  Then we were interviewed by President Lindahl and then driven to the office elders pench.  It was a nice pench where there are 12 beds upstairs for all the newbies to sleep in.  Um, it was really cold.  And we didn't have coats or nothing that first night.  But I slept really good.

Then we woke. . . o we slept upstairs with our 3 trainers and talked and had some fun.  There were Elders George, Wetzel and Cabranes.  I was so hoping for Cabranes.  I really wanted as close to a native as I could get.  The others were way awesome too.  The next day we ate at the office where the office elders work and then the aps took us for some fun.

We went to this famous place in mendoza and hiked to the top where there is this statue thing that is on one of their monies.  Cerro de la gloria, I think.  It was way cool.  There, the aps helped us contact 1 person each.  It was kinda scary, but basically we started talking to a person, then when the person talked back, the aps would take over.  I talked to an old guy who was way awesome.  They sat us down for a bit and told us about the mission and just had a good talk with us.  The aps are so awesome, Elder Wies and Gonzolez, I think.  Elder Gonzolez is a native and trying to learn english, so that was fun.  We went back to the office where President and Sister Lindahl met us.

It was probably noon by now and it was time for President to unveil the assignments.  I was so nervous and excited.  He took the six of us into the office and talked to us a bit.  He said, "Elder George . . . . with Elder Huntington.  Elder Cabranes with me!"  My heart jumped for joy.  I was so excited.  And so Elder Wetzel is with Elder Allen.

We went to McDonalds for lunch then were dropped off at the bus station.  Elder Cabranes and I waited an hour for our bus.  He is so awesome.  We talked mostly in Spanish for awhile.  We took a double decker bus and we were on the top, to villa mercedes.  I slept a little, but mostly just looked out the window and marveled that I was actually in argentina.  After 6 hours! on the bus, we arrived.  It was late, maybe 9:30 PM, and I got my bags and we walked through empty streets for maybe a couple blocks before arriving at the pench.  It was crazy walking through the streets that night just thinking, wow, I am actually here!  It was amazing.

So, the pench.  Yeah, you can't really send stuff directly to the pench.  There are 3 rooms to it. One main room and 2 bedrooms and a bathroom.  The bathroom is way small and there is no separate space for the shower.  Just a shower head right next to the pot.  Our pench is super dirty, so we're cleaning it today!  Just a side note there.  Oh, there is not a door with hinges to the bano so when you use it you just put this door like piece of wood to block the entrance.

I took a shower that first night and the elders said there was no hot water.  No way!  Wow this is really nuts.  So I got in and figured it didn't matter what handle I turn so I took a FREEZING COOOOOLD ducha.  Wow.  Like so so so cold.  I got out and they laughed at me because there is actually hot water!  And I turned the right handle, but the hot one is the left one!  But it was a good experience.

So the showers I've taken since then have been good.  But it certainly isn't America!!  The other elders in my pench are interesting.  Elders Figaroa from Canada and Elder Orozco from Boston.  Both natively speak english but both could pass as natives.  I am the only white kid in my pench.  Them 3 are all brown.  So that's fun.  This is Elder Figorao's last transfer and he just has a really strong personality.  He likes to mess around, but when it is time to work, he works.  Elder Orozco is kinda the same.  Both are so so funny.  They are both pretty nice to me, but you know, I'm new so they like to gimme a little crap.  But it is all good.  Elder Cabranes is great and keeps me on the straight and narrow.  He was an office elder for 3ish transfers and so was Elder Figaroa.  So they know each other very well.  Wow I have heard so many crazy office stories and working in the office isn't a shooze like I always pictured it being!

So that first night I kinda unpacked and pulled out my sleeping bag and had a good night sleep.  It was great.  But when I crawled out of my sleeping bag it was SO COLD!  Wow, what an adventure. We got ready to go, studied, and then went!  O yeah, I guess our case isn't rare in this mission, but we live a 30 minute walk away from our area!!!!  So that is nuts.  That first day, Saturday, was so hard.  My body and brain were both DONE at the end of that day.  We walked so much.  So much.  And I'm not used to that at all so I was so tired.  For lunch we went to an inactives house and ate meat and noodles and bread.  Pretty good.  It's like italy down here.  We had the exact same thing yesterday after church with the Bishop and his wife.  It was so good, but yesterday they fed us so much!!  So Saturday we each got our 10 alb. abrir la boca, and basically just walked over the whole topography of Argentina!

We (Elder Cabranes) taught the best lesson about baptism to this lady.  The spirit was overflowing.  But in the end she said she didn't want to change.  Because I didn't really know what was happening I wasn't to disappointed at the end, but after this lesson Elder Cabranes was pretty uhh, let down.  It was an awesome lesson and I even said some comprehendable sentences.  But she at the end said she didn't want to change.  So we left disappointed.  Then we went to a newly baptized 9 year old and her newly activated mother and taught them a little lesson.  Just a nice visit and I shared a scripture at the end.

This other time we were knocking this door and this drunk guy came up and was asking money from Elder Cabranes.  He showed him he didn't have nothing but keys.  He left and went a bit away with his buddy, pointing at us and talking with us.  A few seconds later he made his way towards us again with his buddy, so we got out!  Elder Cabranes said that was a close one and they might have robbed us and Elder Cabranes knows about getting robbed!  It's happened to him and that same time they took all his stuff he got pistol whipped which means cranked in the head with the butt of a pistol!  So he knows whats up and is very safe.  He is teaching me so many awesome things.  Usually we speak in English when we are in the pench, etc, but when we are walking around outside, we use spanish.  And especially when we are in the ghetto parts we always speak spanish.

Saturday my head was spinning with spanish!!!  Oh my gosh.  I can understand next to nothing here.  I can talk, but the problem is I don't know what to say because I don't really understand what they are saying to me.  But it is ok.  I am improving.  And everyone says that my spanish rocks for how new I am.  These members said that I have better spanish right now than elders they have seen out 1 month.  That makes me feel good.  But it is still so hard.

We had a zone meeting last night for 90 minutes which was good.  I met the zone, they were excited to see me and many of them were smelling me and my clothes because I am fresh from the states.  They promised me that I will never get this smell back. And right now we are in this internet cafe place all together and about to go play futbol!!  I am about to play futbol in south america.  Yeah, that is pretty much awesome!!

Those first 2 days were hard.  Missionary work is really work!  I am tired already!  And that first day I was just thinking really, 2 years of this. O man!  This is tough.  But it will get better, especially when I can understand people.  That will rock.

Yesterday evening we went to the bus station, not in our area, and did some alb.  My companion was talking with this lady and I really felt like I should talk with this other guy about my age, just on another bench.  So I did.  I was nervous because I didn't have my comp to bail me out and when I had no idea what they said to me, but I did it!!!!  It was so so so awesome!  I said, hey I'm new and want to practice my spanish.  He said sure.  We talked about some easy stuff, he has 7 kids in his family too!  And then the gospel came up.  Way awesome!  That just made me so happy.  He was way nice but I couldn't get his direction before he hopped on a bus.  And saturday I had a great contact where we got the address and yesterday committed her and her brother to read the Book of Mormon and they said that if they knew it was true they would be baptized.  So life is good.

Went to a panadería this morning and that was sweet.

Nope, no baptisms yet.  Hows that, a pretty long email.  Pretty good huh.  So in the mornings I try to stay awake and do my studies around this heater and it feels so so good.  But during the day I am fine and have plenty of warm clothes.  And I probably shouldn't say stuff like this, but yesterday I almost got bit!  My comp saved me because he swung his funda at the dog.  Yes, there are tons of dogs here, but this was the only one that took notice of us.  He almost had his teeth around my leg but my comp, like I said, saved me.  So life is good!

I'm in argentina!  I'm excited for this.

Well, I'm about to go play some real futbol!  Later.

I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Elder Ostler
August 9, 2010

Well, I got an extra second here.  We had 2 investigators come to church!  And I fell asleep in church which was no good.  During church I bore my testimony.  But it was just impossible to understand what people were saying to me.  The Bishop is like 28 and speaks english!  So that was way awesome.  He learned by reading the Book of Mormon twice in english and that is it.

We have zone conference in 2 weeks, so I will get to hop on a bus and ride back to Mendoza.  The Elders in my zone are way nice to me.  I really like them all.  I think there are 3 who don't speak english.  But the older white elders are SO Awesome.

Sometimes we walk to the area, but because it is so far away we take the bus sometimes.  It is 2 pesos.  Well got to go.  Till next week . . . .

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pictures from the MTC

The day before the DR Elders left with Hermano Estevez in the yellow tie.  He's amazing!  I'm squatting down a bit and look real small.

That's me stuck.  I reached down to grab something from under my desk and Elder Huntington owned me.  So Elder Allen grabbed my camera.  I was probably stuck for 30 seconds.  Elder Huntington just held me there.

Elder Huntington, Elder Allen and me, Elder Ostler

A record dearelder day for me!

Practicing Spanish in the classroom.

My creativity is incredible, I know!

Here I am with Elder Millard, Mom.

The district after Hosting.


BYU Buddies Photo Shoot.

Elder Calaway and his host - ME.

Everything is strong here!  Definitely the Spirit but even the ironing boards!

A button came off my suit. . . mostly everything is black on my suit.  Thanks for the white thread Mother!

August 2nd.  Well, it's 4 PM Monday.   It's just us Mendoza boys, I mean Elders left.  Tonight we'll sing Para siempre Dios este con vos.  I plan to give my camera to a trusty Pirate and have him bootleg me a video!  (Sam Swenson)  Should be awesome.  I've probably done this singing thing 15 times.  And tonight it is finally my turn!  We are so nervously excited.  WOW!  MENDOZA!  Really?  . . . . OH YES!

So today we did a little bit of laundry . . . . and gym was way good today.  And I scored the last goal of the game.  The last goal of my MTC experience.  It was a sweet one too.  A perfect pass across the goal, maybe 10 ft. in front of the goalie.  I knew I would have to do something heroic if I was going to put the ball in the net.  So I slid and in mid slide, poked the ball right to the bottom left corner.  GOOOOAAAAALLLLLL!  That's what I'm talkin' bout (Kip accent).

Monday night.   Well, that's it.  Bags packed, just sang and I got a plane to catch tomorrow!

August 3rd.  8:30 AM.  I forgot.  I saw President Uchtdorf yesterday!  He was here and I saw him driving away.  I was probably 15 feet away and he had his sunglasses on and his arm out of the window waving to us.  So cool!  Basically he was here, word spread around campus in like 5 seconds and I with my comps went running.  You know something decently important is going through your mind when you forget to write about seeing an Apostle of God!  Well, this is it.  I love you.

Elder Ostler

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Elder Ostler arrived saftely in Atlanta, Georgia, but with only 40 minutes to get to his next flight.  He and his 2 companions made it to the gate but discovered the flight was oversold and they didn't have seat assignments.  So when the flight took off, they were still in the terminal.  They spoke with the Delta Agent to figure out how to get to Argentina.  They will be on the same flight tomorrow, so they have 24 hours to spend in Atlanta, Georgia.  Delta gave them meal vouchers, a hotel and $800 each.  That is not a typo.

They realized they had to notify Salt Lake so since Jackson was the seasoned traveler, he was nominated by his companions to make the call.  He dialed the number and got a recording which said, "If this is an emergency, press 0."  He thought to himself, "Sweet, this is definitely an emergency" so he pressed 0.

We (his family) were all home, sitting around the computer watching the real time flight data of flight 101 to Buenos Aries; like we got nothin' else to do.  The flight had taken off and had been airborne for about 25 mintes and we were talking about how excited we were for him to be flying to Argentina.  The phone rang and the Caller ID displayed "PAY PHONE."  We knew instantly that it was Jackson calling from Atlanta and that he was not on the airplane that we were tracking on the computer.  Our hearts sunk and we felt so sad.  We put him on speaker phone and he related the story to us.  Amazingly, he was in good spirits in spite of missing his long awaited flight to Argentina.  He is experiencing culture shock seeing people walk around with headphones on and talking on cell phones.

The good news?  He just might use all 500 minutes on his calling card before he leaves the country because he will be calling us again tomorrow around lunch time.

En Route to Argentina

Elder Ostler has left the airport!  We just spoke with Jackson on the phone.  He was in the SLC Airport.  We spoke with him for almost 2 hours.  That was the fastest 2 hours we've ever experienced.  He is so excited to be on his way.  He is traveling with Elder Allen and Elder Huntington - Jackson says "they're solid Elders."  He bore his testimony to us in Spanish which was so amazing that he could be so fluent in Spanish after only 9 weeks.  It brought tears to our eyes.