What a classy start to this one. Mom, your spanish is pretty bad. And guess what ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! I got a new comp!!!! Elder Hinojosa was transferred and on Friday I went to the terminal to pick up my new DL comp. ELDER GEORGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Yes, here I sit with Elder George, the one who you told me about in the airport from Oregon. Life is really rocking with him. The best part about having him is ENGLISH!! I realize how awesome it is to speak with someone in english. I haven’t had that for 5 ½ weeks. Oh, it is a beautiful thing. (btw, Elder George’s mom has a picture of me on a roof! Of the pench or perderiel, where I did divisions with a newbie. We went there Friday to do a pench check and getting on the roof seemed like the thing to do.)
I love being with Elder George. He makes me laugh. And it is also way fun to talk about life with Elder Huntington who he trained. He asks me questions like this daily:
“Elder Ostler, did they really change the 5¢ piece to a 15¢ piece?”
“No Elder George, they didn’t.”
“Dang it, Elder Huntington got me!!!”
That happens daily, well at least for the last 3 days we’ve been together. They just played “Bleeding Love,” yup, I’m at subway and both of those pictures were taken today. One, just 10 minutes ago. I pretty much exhausted my funds with those shoes… zapatillas de futbol!!!!!!!!! They are amazing. It’s like a glove for my foot.
|Elder Ostler & Elder George|
Elder George and I have had some pretty sweet experiences. Last night we saw this man standing outside his house. We went up to talk to him and he let us in the house! After about 60 seconds of literally shouting at him, we realized that he was almost deaf! It was comical to watch Elder George cup his hands over his mouth and shout 2 feet across the table at this old man. So being the quick thinkers we are, we got a note pad and started writing our thoughts and questions to him. Then he was able to talk to us and respond to what he read. It was a way cool lesson. We each had a notepad and a pen and we went at it, teaching this old Argentine man by writing to him. I kept the pieces of paper I used and that is going to be a great memory. We introduced the LDM and answered some questions he had. We talked about death, obviously being old he has had some loved ones die. We left Alma 40 with him. Then we tried to teach him how to pray. Elder George wrote out the steps of prayer and I explained what prayer was. At least what real prayer is. At the end of our ‘discussion’ I told him that we were going to pray. He immediately got out the steps of prayer and got ready to say the prayer himself! Elder George and I were both amazed. Obviously he didn’t understand the 3 dots after steps 2 and 3 because this was his prayer. “nuesto padre celestial, te doy gracias por, te pido por, en el nombre de Jesucristo amen.” It was truly a beautiful prayer. Really, I loved it.
Also, the other day, Elder George saw a pretty mudbrick humble home, and he wanted to try it. To our glee and amazement the woman at the door, Jessica, let us right in. As I sat crisscross applesauce on the dirt floor and Elder George and her on this little mudbrick wall, we taught her about marriage. We left her with a Law of Chastity pamphlet. I’ve never done that before, but it was way good. I talked about how my parents, that’s you guys, and how a marriage can be the foundation for a wholesome and happy life. Now obviously I didn’t use the word wholesome because I don’t know that word, but you get the point! We left on a real good note. She told us that she was uncomfortable praying. I had a try at helping her to say a prayer to end the charla. She was too embarrassed. Then Elder George had a try, still no. After a third plea from us, using testimony and explaining the simpleness and easiness of it, she agreed! She said a wonderful prayer! We went back Sunday night and she said the pamphlet had a lot of truth in it. She didn’t have time, but Tuesday we are going back. I’m excited. I feel like she is prepared for baptism and making covenants with God. Which, as missionaries, that’s our job. We find and prepare people to make the sacred covenant or promise of baptism with God. Being a missionary is just great. Isn’t it Amanda?
So walking down the street with Elder Hinojosa, I saw this guy sitting on the sidewalk with his feet dangling down in an empty acacia, so I opened the mouth with him. Turns out he was a chatterbox, so for 45 minutes we sat there. Elder Hinojosa didn’t say a word, and I was able to teach him about Jesus Christ and baptism. But I didn’t talk a whole lot because he sure had a lot to say, just a crazy old man! He talked about everything. But every time it was my turn, I was able to bring it back to the Gospel. I am amazed that God really does fill my mouth with words. Sometimes I have no idea what to say to a doubt or a concern, but God does. And he uses me as an instrument in His hands to touch one of his children. I get a front row seat as I watch God change lives and touch hearts. Learned that in the MTC, but out here I actually can see that that is true.
Anyway, we went back to see how our old man friend was doing, I’m with Elder George now, and the man’s wife comes out. She says he’s tired and needs rest because he just went for a walk around the block. She doesn’t want anything to do with us. But we obviously said the right things and she kept talking. We learned she was a teacher of English! So we started talking in English with her. Almost perfect English. She talked with a british accent and said her American English wasn’t proper. That was a funny part. We talked about her trip to America many years ago. She said that she visited Washington! I told her that’s where I am from. So she lived in Ellensburg and knows the tricities! How crazy, some old Argentine awesome lady knows where I’m from. Also, she has visited Portland, where Elder George was from. We were beside ourselves with excitement and smiles. It was a really neat experience. She said that she really liked practicing English with us. We are going by this week to ‘practice’ some more and may or may not talk about the Gospel. But she says she only wants to talk to us in English. Not sure how it’s going to work teaching her husband that way. I’m excited.
Elder George gets so excited as we are doing the Lord’s work. One time we talked to this lady. We were talking about her family and how her family could be together forever. She told us she didn’t know if there was a life after death. Elder George got so excited, looked at me with the biggest enthusiastic grin on his face and we went from there. We have a return appointment for this week. We also met this lady who’s been baptized hace 8 anos but never received the Holy Ghost. We are excited to teach and truly convert her to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Also, we saw this man sitting on the step outside his house Saturday. He invited us right into his house. He was amazing, Ricardo, and was really excited to read the pamphlet and come to church. We told him we would come pick him up at 8:30. So Saturday night we had 4 committed to church. We contacted 3 of them by phone and they all gave us a solid yes. I was excited. One of them, we were going to wake up with a phone call (David the boy) and 2 we were going to pick up in huarpus, then walk with them to church. Well, Bummer. No one came and I was disappointed. AND David’s dad stomped his foot and said no to him getting baptized last Saturday because he got bad grades and some truencies. NO!!! Elder Hinojosa and I were so bummed. But that is OK. The Lord is trying my faith, Ether 12:6. I will stay strong and show my faith. I choose to be happy and still optimistic. I really hope that we will have people at church this Sunday. I will believe that I can baptize every week until the last Sunday of my mission. Elder George and I are Hungry for people to teach and baptize. I love D&C 31 and 33. There are amazing promises in those 2 sections!!!! It’s going to happen.
Throwing Cigs—A zone leader in Chimbas taught this to Elder George who has in turn taught this to me. I am so excited about this revelation! So we see someone smoking (hopefully it’s a cigarette, because yesterday we walked up to some guy smoking a joint, so we just asked him for directions and said bye, he was so high), you start a conversation with the smoker and then always ask “quiere dejar de fumar ?¿?¿.” The old people always say yes, but they can’t and the kids always say no, they like smoking. Then you offer a trade. You ask to trade their cigarillo for a folleto. Most people melt when they see the picture of Jesus Christ on the front of the pamphlet. They give us the cigarette and we ask if we can throw it. Mostly they say yes. Then you chuck it. It is an amazing feeling to take a burning cancer stick from someone and the receive permission to throw it. First, I watched Elder George in action, then yesterday he told me I was ready. I threw 2 cigarettes yesterday!! It was so fun. I love doing it! It is a bit strange holding one in your hand though. Usually throwing a cigarette turns into an address. Most of these people really want help. The cigarette is a symbol to us, Elder George and I, that they are hurting. Whenever Elder George sees someone smoking he gets so excited and always makes some funny comment. Yesterday was, “O YEAH! We got one coming in hot!” He is a fantastic missionary and we are going to baptize in Sarmiento.
With Elder Hinojosa, we did a FHE with the familia Avila. It was great. I did the lesson, I talked about families and The Family, A Proclamation to the World. The sentence where it says that a happy family will be achieved upon principles of faith, love, prayer… compassion. . . I made a hanging mobile for the family Avila, and little papers with a topic and some scriptures relating to the topic. We each got a slip of paper and read them all, then chose one to share with the ‘family.’ It was a great activity. I will never forget as we sang the closing song, families can be together forever. It was a precious moment. So off key, so out of tune, but yet, it was still so beautiful. I know God and the angels in heaven were smiling as we sang.
Elder Hinojosa is zone leader in San Martin, he loved my ipod so much when we were together and always talked about how I was going to gift it to him. Well, I wanted to do something nice, so while he was packing, I hid it in his suitcase with the speakers. He gave me an enthusiastic call from San Martin Saturday morning. Also, I found my watch!! Yeah. Please send flash cards and American coins so I can trade. Like not a ton, but enough.
This week we have lunch with the members 4 days!! We so scored there. I am way excited.
Spanish is really good. I don’t have fear as I try to talk with people. I have accepted that I won’t be able to understand everything. But my Spanish is getting better. It is so cool to be able to communicate! I love reading those quotes you put in the email mother, I don’t really miss home. I am starting to love Argentina.
I got a dearelder from you mom, with Braden’s letter in it. It was amazing to read. Still nothing from Amanda!! I’m dying to read one of those. I may or may not have sent something in the mail this week to the house.
And this just in. It takes me 4 months and 23 days to empty a tube of toothpaste. I just finished the one that I started in the MTC.
Yeah, we got a bunch of new elders, one of them is in the zone. Elder Austin. Life is good. I’m happy.
Well, we are now going to attempt to return to the pench. I’m not quite sure where to take the bus from here or what bus to take ever. Just another day in Argentina. Just another adventure.
Love, Elder Ostler