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

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween - One in church!

Hey family.  I got mail today!!!!!!!!  So much mail that all of my companions in the pench just look the other way!  Can you say jealous?  Celoso.

Let me answer the questions, except the one about the talk, don't worry about it.  The general conference Ensign is coming!  And that will satisfy.  I don't know why I got the letter you sent on dearelder from Braden and not Amanda's.  But today I got the Amanda dearelders.  Those are sweet to read.  I've only read parts, but I loved some of the quotes.  The 'go to hell' part sounds familiar, although generally people aren't too mean here.  Most recognize us as servants of God, but many think they are already set with Him and they don't need us.  That is why we plead on their doorsteps, please we will be out in 5 minutes.  Just listen for 5 minutes.

As my love for God, His gospel and the people of Argentina grows, I don't want to come back to the pench early anymore to relax.  I don't want to do mínimo ALB, I don't want to waste time, but rather I want to work, and I want to teach and testify so bad.  And Amanda is right, the best way to open the mouth is to testify.  I also loved her quote about the spirit being a study buddy.  That is awesome.  I have had some of my favorite hours in the mission from 8-9 AM.  I love personal study.  I find and the Lord gives me so much strength as I study His word.  And PMG just comes alive, I love that book.  And I used to not do personal study on Pday.  I knew one was supposed to, but I just did what my comps did.  But now I realize how foolish that is.  If I were to continue that bad habit, I lose one seventh of my gospel study time in my mission.  How foolish.  But my thinking earlier was, I want more time on pday.  That is selfish and prideful.  Thanks for your words on pride, Dad.  Preach every week, I love it.  So this morning we all did 1 hour of personal study.  It was really really good.  And honestly, the Lord gave us more time today.  It seems like it should be much later.  The Lord blesses us when?  Immediately when we keep the commandments.  There's a scripture reference on that but I don't have The Word with me right now.  Maybe in King Benjamin's discourse.

I don't email Amanda.  I did a couple times but I never got anything back.  Maybe I will keep doing it.  And yes, I am emailing Saydi.  That's just fun, she's great.  Yes, I am sure Argentina goes through the packages you send.  There is a hole in it.  And no, it costs me nothing.  I was really hoping to get bedsheets today, but I must wait a bit longer.

I lost my mission card so I am living off my personal card for the next week.  That's ok and things are taken care of.  I have no idea where that thing went.  But the church didn't lose any money because there was only 15 pesos on it.  So maybe they lost 15 pesos.  My toe is alright, it's not pretty, but I take care of it.  It really doesn't give me pain unless I kick a large rock with that foot, or I'm cleaning it.  I used to soak it daily, now I just rinse it before I go to bed.  But it is ok.  And I will show it to the nurse when I go to the office next time.

This week was a roller coaster.  I classify it under the good week section of my mission though.  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday had the potential to be awful, we just couldn't get in a house, everyone told us no, besides 2 people.  But it was just no good.  But Elder George and I kept smiling and laughing.  It was hard times.  This one guy invited us in and the minute we sat down we knew we were in trouble.  He started from Adam and just went off.  Just raising his voice and saying cualquier cosa.  Just a nuts guy.  He did not let us say one word.  We should have walked out after the first 5 minutes but for some reason we waited till like 15 minutes.  Won't do that again.

Those 3 days we only found 2 people.  One guy I opened the mouth with after a trying morning.  He listened.  I actually opened the mouth with him because he was smoking.  He himself threw his cig and told us he needed help.  He listened to a quick lesson.  He wanted help.  He was selling mattresses and said he was a miserable smoker and alcoholic.  Just an awful life.  I loved helping him, what little I could.  He told us he was always under the bridge of sarmianto just before the siesta for a couple hours.  We passed by the next day and he wasn't there.  I hope we can find him again.  But just a test those first 3 days.  We were wondering so much why we're having next to nothing for success, or at least success we could see.  We were obedient and diligent and had faith but we just didn't see anything and wondered why the Lord wasn't blessing us in the way we thought he should.  But we went out Friday smiling and hopeful, hopeful that people would listen to us, and they did!!  It was fantastic.  We found 5 news!  And some of them were really really good.  We also had some other great lessons.  Just a good, really spiritual day.

Then Saturday was another awesome day!  Four news!  One of them is, just, o just wonderful.  She is so ready.  She is what the BofM and D&C calls ELECT.  I love finding the elect.  I love teaching and finding those people who I know God has prepared for us to teach.  And I pray every day that, and ask Him to keep preparing people for us to find, teach and baptize.  I'm so excited to fill the font soon!!

We had one in church!!!!!!! highlighted bolded italicized!!!!!!!  I was super super happy.  Happy Halloween, one in church.  And unlike all the other assistincies I have had, family Avilia and others in Villa Mercedes, for this one, she came because I did something.  Not just showing up in an area and having people to teach and baptize, but I was there when we first taught her.  And o my, it was a miracle she came!  We called and called and called and she didn't pick up.  But after a prayer and quick trip to the church Sunday before meetings started (because we returned a cd player we borrowed from the church) we booked it to her house and she was there, within 5 minutes she came out and because we would have been so late walking, especially at a normal Argentine pace, we took a bus.  It was startling to watch her light up a cigarette waiting for the bus.  But we didn't throw it because we really wanted her to come to church.  We've only had one lesson with her, her name is Belen, and she doesn't know smoking isn't allowed.  So I was really excited.  And in church I was the one who sat next to her and explained every little thing to her.  It was so cool!  She loved church and was excited to find that she could bring her 2 kids, ages around 8ish.  This week I really hope to tear it up.  We already have alot of appointments scheduled and phone numbers from the 11 news we got this week.  And the mission standard is 10 news a week, so we reached that goal!

But Halloween was not so happy and Elder George said it was the hardest afternoon of his mission.  But I was just in the sky all day because Belen, because of great effort on our part, came to church.  Hope that's not pride you read in that sentence.  I am just thrilled she came!!!!  Yipeee, heel clicker!!!  But yesterday we just got REJECTED so hard core.  Thursday we had these 2 Angel ladies we taught.  They accepted the restoration and everything.  It was the most tender lesson ever.  The spirit was as strong as I have ever felt it.  There was so much truth in that house.  At one point Elder George was sitting by one lady on the couch (they had a couch that we taught from!) and I was next to the other. We took 5 minutes and had a one on one conversation as we explained a little bit more about the BofM and the chapter we left them to read, Alma 7.  The spirit was cranking.  So after the amazing lesson we agreed that we would come back Sunday night.  Well we did.  And this punk dude greeted us outside and said they were busy.  We see them and they just kinda looked hurt and through the window, told us no.  We were shocked and asked the man a question.  He went in the house and turned off the light, which because it was already dark outside, made it so we could see nothing in the house.  It hurt.  It was really like someone took 2 big rocks and dropped them on our heads.  We have no idea what happened.  But we now have an enemy, that mean man.  He probably told them we were the bad guys.  But either way, we still have hope in them, Dina and Ruth.  We're going to find out what was going on.  So just a bad night.

But after sacrament meeting (I was already super happy) the blessings just came.  This lady came up and said, hey do you want to do a family home evening with the family Avilia?  I'll help you out.  Then the family who was feeding us that day said, Elders you're coming over for lunch, right?  Of course, and we did.  Then this YW came up and gave us a reference and said, I gave this woman a BofM and she really liked it.  You should go visit her, I'm praying for you.  It was such a great like 5 minutes.  But then, that afternoon we had a test because we were rejected by everyone.  Even the reference we visited rejected us.  And we walked way far away to visit them.  Sometimes the mission is just like Uggggggg. . . . . and other times it is amazing amazing.

So this week was good and this next one is going to be even better.

We are remodeling our pench. We are doing some major work in it, making bunk beds, which required some engineering genius because we were missing screws and anyway just a big mess, but being the cappos we are, we almost have it figured out.  We are simply missing one screw.  But everything is great.  We are making pizza in about 20 minutes.  The bread is in the pench rising right now.  Some members showed the other Elders Gonzalez and Crossa (who really wants me to tell Amanda about him).  So Amanda, he has plans of you coming to Uruguay.  He has the sweetest spanish.  I love it.

So we're getting really hungry because end of the month and there is no money so we make tortitas for 3 pesos.  Just basically rolls, that's how you all call them.  They were amazing.  So now, as Elder Corossa says it, we know how to make the miracle of the bread.  So we are making pizza tonight.  I am excited, and so hungry right now.

I loved the picture of Harrison, que cappo!  He's just a gem in the family isn't he.  Are you all practicing your piano?  I really do hope you are.

I always marvel that I am in Argentina.  Just wow.  I am a missionary wearing the black name tag.  And I am in Argentina, Mendoza.  I love it here.  I love all the little things that happen.  Just the insignificant things.

Elder George and I don't like all the apostasy here.  There is so much!!!!  It is awful.  People are confused, there is just so much apostasy.  I can even open their bible and show them the first commandment, no other gods before me.  Gosh, I don't get it.  We sometimes think of the great apostasy as an event, and yes it was, but there is still so much apostasy in this world.  And so much here in Sarmianto.  And I am out to preach the truth.  I love how Grandpa Skinner always used to ask me before the mission, "How's my preacher doing?"  Tell him I am doing good.

Our pench is really close.  Us 4 get along and have a lot of fun.  que vayan bien.  The spanish is doing good.  Obviously the rate of learning and frustration has slowed down, but I am still learning.  I loved the part about Sister Chen learning english and how she read the entire BofM.  I am reading the spanish BofM and that was just a little kick in the pants to turn up the heat.  To redouble my efforts for righteousness.  To keep fighting.

Well, my time has come.  I must go.  I love the quote from Babe Ruth "you just can't beat the person who never gives up."  I love you family.

Love, Elder Ostler