Monday, January 31, 2011

Argentina is beautiful

So happy that you all went to Hawaii to be with Saydi to receive the blessing patriarchal.  Her email to me was full of happiness and excitement.  She’s psyched you went.
My companion is Awesome.  Did you get all those pictures I sent?  At lunch on Wednesday he showed his skill as an electrician and installed a ventilador de techo.  It was really cool watching him mount and give the ceiling fan power.
Then Wednesday night on the way home, he bought melons and we went home and feasted.  They were so good and he gave me the best part.  His middle name is Service.  He has charity.  I think it was honeydew.  I’ve never liked it, but here, honeydew is great.  It’s green.  Every time I eat it and say honeydew I think of Rush!
Elder Arrua is a fast walker, I like that.  Man, this little guy just hauls.  And it’s fun being with a Lamanite.  He is a descendant of the Charrua tribe from Uruguay.  Yesterday we were walking, we passed a guy sitting in a silla de ruedas, wheelchair, and without thinking my comp said happily, ‘Como anda amigo?’  Literally, how do you walk friend, but it means how are you doing?  After we passed him, he realized what he said and it was So Funny.  How do you walk, to a guy with no legs.  He felt super bad.  I thought it was super funny.
And Elder Arrua is a great studier and teacher.  And he’s probably the only one to ever use the white handbook during a lesson.  Our first solid spiritual lesson was on Tuesday.  It was powerful as we taught two of Rosa’s daughters, a lesson guided by the spirit and amazing.  One of the daughters came to the baptism and the other one came to church.
Castallano fun fact.  The word for wife is esposa.  The word for handcuffs is esposas.  It fits the culture because marriage is viewed in that light, sadly.  Jorge and Rita, the young couple I opened the mouth with two weeks ago, would be in the water making The Covenant with God, but they’re not married.  Sad face.  They both came to church though!!  Slowly but surely.
One of my favorite pictures EVER!

Argentina is a funny place.  When doing construction, like digging a hole in the middle of the road, instead of putting gradual flashing orange cones in the road, the Argentines just find 2 cans, fill them oil and light ‘em on fire.  It seems to warn bikers, drivers, and missionaries that there is a big hole in the road.
The theme song of this transfer is Soul Sister.  Elder Owens is so talented and sings so well.  He is also darn good at making stuff up on the piano.  He plays and sings that song all the time.  My comp, who really is not to great at all at singing, about everyday subconsciously starts singing that song.  And then at the after the baptism party at the house of family Flores, we heard that song!!!  Wow.
The baptism Saturday morning at 11AM was Amazing!!!  Everything was set.  He passed the interview wonderfully, has received an answer to both Joseph Smith and Thomas Monson being prophets.  And also prayed about the Book of Mormon and received an answer testifying of the truthfulness of the book.  He told us his whole family was coming, including his 3 nonmember teenage siblings.  Silvios, 15 bytheway, but he seems like an 18 year old or something.  So here we are, Saturday Morning.  11 o’clock comes around and Silvio and his family shows up.  Then a few members show up.  The other Elders come.  After that, 2 of our other investigators, Celina and Nina arrive.  Things are looking fantastic.  At about 5 minutes after 11 the fun really started.  Silvios extended family, cousins, aunts and uncles just started pouring in the chapel!!!  And by about 11:30 everyone that had been invited was there.  There were about 20 nonmembers!!!!  Fifteen of them being from Silvio’s family!!!  People came from San Martin and wow, it was an amazing sight.

That is Silvio and family at his baptism!

Tito, Elder Arrua, Silvio, me
Silvio is probably the only member of the church ever, to arrive at his baptism with a white shirt And white pants.  We started the baptism service and had to set up many more chairs.  I manned the piano.  The service was powerful. . . Elder Owens sang a solo, mas cerca dios a ti and I accompanied.  WOW.  The talks were also great.  We moved over to the font, and I had a great time witnessing that every hair of his head submerged under the water.  I originally was going to baptize him, but we were thinking of what member could do it, and Tito was chosen.  He is the dad of good friends of Silvio.  So it was way cool.
Afterwards, we ate facturas and tortitas and drank the classic coke.  It was an amazing and spiritual servicio bautismal.  The best I have ever been at.  Afterwards we were invited to Silvios house to almorzar with all the family.  A crazy party and it was great.  We ate cow tongue.  Yum.  Then the next day at church, he was confirmed.  Elder Arrua and I stood in the circle as he received the Holy Ghost.
I don’t know who I’m kidding.  I tell you it is not too hot.  But this week I realized, dang, that is a lie.  IT IS SO HOT!  I drip sweat with every activity I do.  I sweat, sweat, and sweat some more.  At church yesterday it was even hotter.  As I took the santa cenasweated, and when I opened my eyes I realized I had created a nice little puddle on some white notes on the piano.  To make up for all this sweat, and more sweat, I drink a lot of water.  And people always give us juice.
We had five investigators in church!!!  Two of Silvios siblings, Jorge and Rita, and Lucila, a 13 year old daughter of Rosa.  It was great.  None of them have fecha though.  And our two really promising ones didn’t come, Dario and Celina.  That made me sad.  But I’m making a splash in Rivadavia.  Two inactive couples came to church for the first time in years.  Both of Silvios parents, and then a family Maure.  An endowed couple, that’s kinda rare here, inactive for 10 years.  But after an amazing lesson we had with the wife, Laure, both of them came!  And were embraced by many friends from so long ago.  After church we participated in blessings of health for both of them.  Really cool.
Zone conference was on last Tuesday.  It changed me.  President Lindahl is a man of POWER!  I love him so so much, he is a force for good in this world and I can’t explain it but it’s just amazing.  We sang “Families Can Be Together” in ingles and I thought of you ALL and missed you.  Mom, Dad, Amanda, Saydi, Harrison, Jefferson, Benson, Wilson.  I miss you!!
Last pday I ate 3/4 kilo of icecream!!  I’m training for the kilo challenge.
I received A LOT of mail this week.  Like demasiado mail.  And all the letters from my missionary friends.  One thing I like is Jonny’s embarrassing moments.  Two come to mind, one last transfer and one this week.  We were with members, the family Ponce, and I was trying to say a word that is very similar to a bad word, and I said the bad word.  I felt pretty foolish.  Elder McClain and the 15 year old son tried not to laugh.
This weeks embarrassing moment was a little more .. .. .. embarrassing.  We went to San Martin last week dressed in pday clothes to jugar a la pelota.  And we put our proselyting clothes in our bags to change into before the meeting, or at least I thought I put all my missionary clothes in my bag.  Well, as I was getting dressed, I realized a key item of clothing was missing.  My shoes!  So I had to use my zapatillas de futbol.  My lime green Nike's!!  It was great, full missionary attire and lime green cleats, riding the bus home, and then opening the mouth for half hour in Rivadavia.
Before I forget, there is something I want.  I want you, Mom, to send Amanda’s email each week to me.  Like in a separate email so I can easily print it out for pennies and enjoy each week with her, up to date and all.  Thank you.
Argentina is beautiful, the Huge sky, the mountains, the vineyards, the clouds, the Smells!  This place is such a mezcla of smells!
I think that is about all I got.  Wow, just going skiing huh?  That sounds fun boys.  I forget that you guys have to go to school though.  Harrison, how’s the off season of mowing??  Get ready, lawn mowing is about to get started!!  Are you ready for this?  Dun dun dun (Spacejam).
This week we have four solid lunch appointments, that’s awesome.  The other Elders should be baptizing this week too.  We should be baptizing the week after.  Well folks, that’s all for now!!
Elder Ostler
Dad, time is going fast.  I have 8 months on Wednesday.  I really want to improve my Spanish.  And I am in the perfect situation to do it!

Monday, January 24, 2011

I saw the beautifulist sights I have ever seen!

Hey family How are you doing!?  I am doing good. Some picture descriptions to start out.  I haven’t sent pictures in a while .  .   .

The dog with many names.  It has stopped following us.
Thank the heavens.
We play futbol with the chicos every Wednesday
in the canchita behind the church. Classic action shot.
Me (obviously) and a braille Book of Mormon.
Its part one of 7 others.
That’s us walking away from the pench Saturday. Notice all the gawkers, just thinking how cool we are.
And that is him.  Picture taken 39 minutes ago.
Yes, Elder McClain is out of here.  And my new companion is called Elder Arrua.  You really gotta roll that rr because he’s from Uruguay.  His ingles is real limited, so it’s all castallano baby!!!!  I give the Lord thanks because He blessed me with another wonderful Latin.
Elder Arrua is 22, and he is a good missionary.  We have absolutely no problems.  He serves me, for example:  we come home form work one night.  After planning, I see him moving around in the kitchen.  I’m to tired to ask whats up.  About 45 minutes later, he just pulls a cake out of the oven!!!!  2 eggs, water, sugar, and flour. It tasted just like 2 eggs, water, sugar, and flour.  It was wonderful.  No frosting needed.  Elder Mario Arrua is great.  He’s from paso de los toros.  It’s a drink too, I think.  I love speaking castallano with him.  He’s got a huge accent.  In any word, if there is a y or ll he says SH.  For example, in the word castallano. Those in Mendoza kinda have the same thing, but way way less.  And when I talk, I have almost all the way eliminated it.  But with him . . . it’s fun speaking like him.  He’s really good at teaching too.  He will complete one year in the mission in March. 

The week started slow.  Thursday was the real first day of work and it was so weird teaching that day! It had been three days since I last taught.  And wow . . .  it was hard.  Tuesday was Elder McClain’s day.  You know, he actually got transferred to Villa Mercedes, he’s in my old ward!  My old pench! But not my old area.  Then transfer day, I went to the terminal in Mendoza and was there for almost 2 hours waiting for Elder Arrua to come. In that time I just hung out with the huge group of missionaorus also waiting.  And  . . . . . . I say Elder ALLEN!!!  What a great reunion!  What a stud.  It was unreal seeing him.
This week I learned 2 slang forms of the word marijuana.  These same kids always talk to us about it, ages 10 & 16. I just cannot see Benson stealing and doing drugs.  Well, with Elder Arrua the other day we stopped and talked to about 8 of them.  It was really good.  Hopefully they come to the partido de futbol.
You know daffy duck?  Well the other day I about died laughing when I leaned that daffy ducks name here is pato Lucas.  Lucas duck!  I’m sure that’s not very funny to you, but man, when I saw the poster and then asked my companion, I thought, and still think that is hilarious.  Bugs is still called bugs, but daffy, nope.  Lets change his name to Lucas.
The other elders, who are still together, brought home a big bag they got from a part member family the other day.  And O My Gosh!  The white peaches were like heaven in my mouth.
This week was pretty cool, especially yesterday.  We had 8 people committed to church . . . . 2 of them came, and 2 others.  So 4 in church!  Dario and Silvio came. And Rosa’s daughter and then a 22 year old largayoli girl.  Natacha brought her friend to church!  Mainly because Natacha is president of the primary and  .   .   . yesterday was the primary program!!!  It was untouchable, listening to, watching, and feeling the spirit of those children.  13 participated in it.  I love it.
And yesterday, as the branch pianist, I played again.  I love playing for church.  Practice boys so you can have this same experience.
Bytheway, Silvio, after an incredible lesson Saturday with him and his mother, is set to get baptized this Saturday.  Wow, way exciting.  He's ready.  This lesson, the sprit was about to lift the roof off the house.
After church on Sunday, we hopped in the back of Titos truck to ¨help¨ the other elders take 4 little girls back to Andrade, an outlying campamento.  We were all in the back of his little truck, and what happened next I will never forget.  I dare to say that I saw the beautifulist sights I have ever seen!!  The day was clear, the mountains were visible, and the vineyards were incredible.  The sky was so blue.  I can´t describe it, all the colors, the smells.  All I can say is wow.  It was incredible.  Once in a lifetime, me with my plaque, a missionary, having the time of my life.
Then last night we had some more amazing experiences.  We found and taught 6 people in one lesson.  There was cigarettes and beer and wine.  A party drunk crowd, but within 45 minutes we kept it together and shared a really spiritual restoration.  It was super cool, during parts of the lesson.  Elder Arrua to 4 of them, and me to the other 2.  This one guy knew of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  Well, during the lesson I committed him to be baptized and he said yes.  He wasn’t drunk, if you were wondering.  But he believes Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.  It was a really cool lesson.
Then we found these 2 people with their 2 kids outside their house.  Turns out, she's and RM from Chile, 15 years ago and he's not a member.  He was talking Nextel to his sister in New Jersey.  We were passing the walkie talkie around and all talking to her.  I tried to talk English to her, but she didn't want to.  Then her little kid, who is a boy, Julian, takes the phone and says he wants to talk to me.  So for 15 minutes we talk back and forth.  I tell him to call you, and he does!!  It was so cool.  I’m pretty sure he’s a boy.
Last night because of teaching we did not get to the pench until 11 pm.  That’s 30 minutes late.  And WOW.  Rivadavia comes Alive at night!!!!!!  It was a party on San Isidro and in the Plaza!!!
Emiliano is a stud, and he’s got his own miracle story, but no time for that now.  I sweat whether I’m working or not.  It’s hot, but I expect it to be hotter.

A rather cold day -  Wink!
Junin, on a bike. One of my favorite pictures of all time.

Well, later
Elder Ostler

Monday, January 17, 2011

Helping Argentines bottle tomatoes

Hello Ostler Family
It has been a very good week.  And fast!  This transfer has been the fastest 6 weeks of my life!!!!!  I can remember clearly what happened exactly 6 weeks ago, just so nervous to be senior companion and wow, it's over.  My first transfer as senior companion.  It was a speedy one!
I sit here happy.  I received 2 amazing emails from my 2 amazing sisters!!!  The letters to Amanda have changed in tone.  It’s no longer ‘keep your head above water so you don´t drown,’ but now more things like, ‘here’s a super cool experience we had this week, here’s our numbers, here’s our goals.‘  I love emailing Amanda, my sister, Sister Missionary.  Probably dia por medio I tell someone about her, how I have a great sister on a mission.  Yeah for Amanda!  My favorite part about Chicago is ‘You’re the meaning in my life, you’re the inspiration.' Elder Owens sings it for me sometimes.  His voice is amazing.  Last night we both sat down at the little little keyboard, that we balanced on a chair, and he taught me some simple chord progressions for some popular songs.  It was awesomke!  Without the k.
I played piano again this week.  I learned pg.120 in Spanish for the sacrament hymn, easy. And also played yo teseguire to end.  The last 2 weeks as I have been playing prelude music, 2 different members, on separate occasions came up and asked me to play Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.  I couldn´t.  This week I had the drive to learn it, AND DID!  It was just great.  And for the opening song yesterday, I rocked it!  And now, we have the start of a new week, so I get to learn or perfect 4 new ones (one for priesthood).  Playing the piano is good for me.  I love it.  I am so so happy and blessed there is a piano in the pench!!
So Wilson (and possibly other boys) you don´t like practicing??  That’s understandable, but come on!  Dad, here’s what we do in the missino and it works.  Here’s the system to have the boys achieve Standards of Excellence on the piano. It’s easy.
  • Set Goals
  • Reach Goals
  • Celebrate Goals
Try it, it works.  You can do it Wilson, you can.  This is one Argentine rooting you on!!!!!!!!!!
Are you familiar with all those scriptures that teach how a person will be given words to speak in the very moment  they need them?  I see that promise fulfilled almost Every Day. I actually have the thought and recognize, wow, my mouth was just filled.  It is Amazing.  Walking up to a person to do a simple open the mouth, a thought, word, or principle will come to my head, and more often than not, after the alb, I realize that was exactly what the person needed.  And during lessons, I know that the Lord directs my tongue and fills my mouth.
A word of caution.  Reading in my English conference addition, which I love!  I read a great thing on page 99 and thought I’d share.  Hmmm, can´t remember what talk it was or who.  Anyway, it says Satan will do whatever he can to keep young men from serving missions and to prevent temple marriages.  Watch out family, and especially brothers!  Satan wants us!!  He will do whatever to keep you off your future mission.  Be so careful and stay worthy.
Some cool, super cool, experiences this week.
Tomato Jose.  We had recently left the pench and had about 1 hour to look for news.  I chose a street to turn down by the pench.  Within about 3 houses we found 3 old people doing something fun.  They were using a ¨juicer¨ to bottle tomato juice.  It was hand pump, unlike dads. By pump, I mean crank.  We struck up a conversation and watched them do their work for a minute before I jumped in and offered to help.  Jose, this great old guy who talked and talked and talked, showed me how to put the lids on the bottles.  No, it wasn´t a screw on top.  Get real.  They were old bottles, had lids like an oldschool root beer.  He walked me through how to use this device to lid the bottles.  After about 5, I was getting pretty good, but then I did something that shattered my confidence.  As I was removing a just lidded bottle from the device, I hit it on the metal device and it shattered!  The freshly cranked tomato goodness all spilled out.  I felt like an idiot!  These people were totally nice and assured me it was alright. This experience was so cool.  Helping some Argentines bottle tomatoes.  We were with them about an hour and a half and at the end, after turning down an offer of wine, which Jose was in the act of pouring, he gave us juice and we taught him.  He was a hard one to teach because every time there was silence for longer than 2 seconds, he jumped in and told us some random story.  O Jose!
Lesson at the nursing home.
This made the week.  Friday we were really disanimated and I was so tired.  We had an address we were looking for.  On the way, I saw an open window, so we knocked the door.  The lady let us in, then upon my asking if there was anyone else home we could teach, she asked if we wanted to pass to where all the grandmas were.  What??  After about 2 steps into the next room, we realized we had just walked into an Argentine nursing home!   It was unreal.  There were 5 women ¨with it¨ and 2 ¨not with it¨.  One of them was drooling, forehead on table.  I knew that we needed to teach the plan of salvation.  The ladies were super Catholic, some of them.  I asked one of them to pray to start.  She didn´t miss a beat and said the most flowery Catholic prayer to God and the Virgin.  It was awesome, so much energy in that memorized prayer.  They are burning incense in this cyber and it is making me sick!
Anyway, we taught them some of the plan of salvation.  There were some really tender moments as some of them related to us experiences of there loved ones dying and them being left alone.  I bore my heart out to them that Jesus can comfort them and that the next life is going to be So Much Better.  After the lesson, interrupted by a second prayer by that same women, I don´t know, she just randomly started praying, we learned all their names.  Shaking all their hands might have been my favorite part.  We left them with 3 folletos.  I think we might make it a weekly thing to pass by for an hour and just talk with these lonely women.  And the younger woman who let us in the door, who was working there, was really nice and helpful, and translated for us when we had no idea what they were saying sometimes.  No, she didn’t speak English.
Rosa, an awesome recent convert, invited us over for dinner recently and she made the Best chicken and potatoes, roast style!!   Best food I’ve had all transfer!!!
Walking with Elder McClain, these kids who always give us a good time were telling us to come smoke with them.  After we waved them off and continued walking, they sent one of the little guys, maybe 12 years old, on his bike to personally ask us to come back and smoke marijuana with them.  Argentina huh!!?
Last night we found 2 news.  We were in this tiny little house.  We saw the young couple walkin’ home with there 2 little kids.  I opened the mouth with them and invited myself to walk home with them and teach them.  They were more than willing.  We went into their house, smaller than you can imagine, and taught the restoration with an emphasis on baptism and the family.  The spirt during the lesson was wonderful.  In about 15 minutes we committed both of them to read and pray, come to church next week, and be baptized on the 5th of February.  People here are so wonderful, most of them.
Emiliano came to church!!!!  It was a miracle, he loved it.  He was the only assistance we had, even though we had 6 solidly committed to church!!!  What is up!
Luis, who saw God, his wife is a, (I’m going to use a mean word) jerk and won’t let us come over.  Uhggh.  He is So Ready for the Restoration and Joseph Smith seeing God.  I know he would accept it.  Freaking wife.
We had another cool lesson with Cuqui.  Elder McClain and I taught super well.  Cuqui loves us.  But nope, he didn´t show at church.
We found a great guy named Pedro.  He’s trying to leave alcohol behind and start over.  He is a professor and owns a major ice cream store.  Grido!  It is so good.  But this Pedro is amazing.  He reads and everything.  But our Saturday lesson with him fell through and nope, he didn’t come to church.
Wow, this incense really needs to leave.  And a great lesson with one of our next door neighbors, Gladys.  She’s ready to accept the Restoration.  But nope, didn´t come to church.
I opened the mouth with a guy who lives in my Villa Mercedes area.  It was fun talkin’ with him a quick minute.
The fist day of my 5th transfer is today.  Yeah.  No one knows whats going to happen.  I’ll stay, everyone thinks Elder McClain is out of here.  He's been here 3 transfers.  Four transfers in the same area happens, but is not real common.
My Wish: I want another Latin companion!!!!  Please o please.
Well that’s the week in a nutshell.  I’m super hungry right now.
I love you family.  How bout that, my letter from December just barley arrived!  Huh.
Well, good bye.
FREAK, I forgot to begin downloading pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Sorry, I got to go, no pictures this week.
With love from the bottom of my Argentine heart,
Elder Ostler
The Cappo

Monday, January 10, 2011

I am smelling the roses . . . and they smell Good!

Week 5 in Rivadavia was great.

Answer key:  All I do with the pictures you send is look at them, make them big and just look for a minute or two.
We get mail about every 3 weeks here.
That is so so sweet about Jase, what you said dad.
I sometimes print the letters.  I’ve done it twice total.
I do email Amanda every week, this is the only week this transfer she hasn’t sent me something.  I hope she got someone in the water Saturday!!
You mentioned carpet.  That is a foreign thought.  We swept the pench this morning and. . . wow.  So much dirt here.  It’s amazing how the carpetless floor collects so much dirt.
We found so many new people this week.  28.  Last night when we reported our numbers, Elder Hinojosa told us that we beat the old record of 26.  So 28 new investigators.  I am becoming really good at finding news.  A new is just someone you pray with, teach one or more principles, leave a commitment, and accepts a specific return appointment.  We had 28 of those this week.
Some highlights
Tuesday morning we went by a reference we had from the chicos in the ward.  The original kid we were looking for was Silvio.  We found out that his parents are members as of 20 years ago, they had a meta to go to the temple, but the husband, I guess just kinda stopped.... in the lesson with them we taught all 4 teenager kids.  Silvio is 15, the oldest is 19.  It was really cool.  We shared the first vision and the libro de mormon with them.  24 hours later we returned to the house.  As the lesson got started I asked (after finding out they all read the intro and prayed) do you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet?  All four of them responded, si.  It was the most incredible feeling ever.  We put soft fechas with the sisters and other brother, but Silvio was solid.  And they all said they would come to church.
From an ALB address, we found 2 more news.  The wife was great, evangelical, and the husband was . . . truly agnostic.  He really has thought about God, and thus far has no evidence that there is a God, and none that there isn’t a God.  He is a sweet old man.  As I shared one of the most spiritual first visions I have ever done, I know the spirit touched his heart.  His name is Kuki, like cookie.  We gave him a Book of Mormon.  As he thumbed through it, I saw a fire in his eyes.  I was so excited to help this old man believe in God and in his Only True Church.  And the wife was sneaking us little thumbs up the whole lesson, she was shocked he was listening to us.  As we left, I offered twice to clean up the floor that we had made messy because of the mud on our shoes, but they were too nice and wouldn’t let us.
What happens a lot is that we have a great first lesson with someone.  We teach the Restoration, Baptism, Tithing, what have you, and all goes great.  Then upon returning, the person is closed and wants absolutely nothing.  Very sad, happens all the time.  But wow, I really really hope Kuki prayed, we are passing by his house tomorrow.
And just so you know, if I had the time I could describe all the 28 news we had.  Every lesson is so different.  Everyone has a different story.  But time unfortunately does not permit that.  Just know that this email maybe covers 5% of the week.  So many of the people, sights, smells, (Mendoza is a mix of smells, it’s incredible) lessons, and experiences, I just cannot relate to you all, my family, through this computer.  A missino is something you have to live.
One night this week as Elder Owens was in the San Martin pench with 3 Latins, Elder Scoville from California was in our pench.  He is so sweet.  He and I stayed up talking until 2AM.  All we talked about for 3 hours was Argentina and the Mission.  It was so fun.  The culture here is becoming part of me.  For example, I love bagged milk.
Last night we had the sweetest experience.  We met a man who had an out of body experience.  On his porch, he told us a little about this experience he had.  After, Elder McClain asked if he believed in God?  He let us in, Luis se lamma, and we asked for the whole story.  He got in a bad moto accidente.  He was unconscious in the hospital for 4 days.  In those 4 days he remembers this.  He first fell through this dark devilish abyss.  Then he came to a beautiful field of flowers.  He saw God on a throne.  He had a body, white hair, a white beard.  He described to us what God was like, at least 4 different times.  The exact same description every time.  The white robe, clear light skin.  As he told this experience about seeing God, asking him for peace, and then seeing Jesus (he also described what He looked like in detail) it was very cool.  During parts, I really felt the spirit strong.  He says a lot of people don’t believe him, but I do.  Whether his spirit actually left his body. . . I don’t know.
After his story and our questions about the story, he wanted to know what it meant.  We used his experiences to teach him.  For example:  how God has a glorified body of flesh and bones.  Then Elder McClain shared an experience with Luis about a young jovencito who also saw God, in the flesh.  This man was prepared for the restoration because of the experience he had.   He believed it.  It was cool, I know I’ve said that like 3 times, I just can’t relate to you, and it makes me . . . uhhhh, I don’t know.  Just know it was so sweet.
We also had a third lesson this week with a kid, 25, named Emilliano.  He surfs in the canals here.  A way cool dude.  After eating lunch with his inactive parents and him, we had a 2 hour lesson with him.  WOW.  He cried for a good half hour.  We taught the law of chastity, and he loved it.  He was baffled by it, living a pure life, finding a pure woman, and marrying her forever.  He wants it.  I’m not sure if Emilliano has ever before cried . . .  just another crazy lesson.  He is about to change his life, I so hope.
One day this week, Friday, I did divisions with Elder Owens in his area.  Yeah, about Silvia.  Elder Hyre called her but her husband had returned so we can’t do anything.  With Elder Owens, they really needed news, so I found them news.  We found and taught 10 that day.  Now, a side note.  Not all of these are super great people ready for baptism.  Some are uninterested, barley listen to us, don’t understand, things like that.  But at the same time, some are really good.  We had a cool lesson where we taught a smoker dad and 2 of his kids.  It was a fantastic lesson.  At one point, he asked me a question I had never thought about before.  It was something about the baptism we perform.  At first I did not know what to say.  So even though I understood exactly what he said to me, I pulled the gringo card and said, “What?” to buy me some more time to form an answer.  As he repeated the question, a scripture in the bible came to mind in Acts 2: 37.  The ones about pricked in their hearts and baptism.  I knew what the scripture was about, kind of, but I really wasn’t sure how I was going to use it to field the question.  But I followed the spirit and that prompting I received.  I opened my bible, had the daughter read the scripture, and then was able, with the help of Elder Owens, teach them a great principle about repentance.  It was super sweet.
Divisions with Owens was great, except for the part about the Dog.  The dog who our next door old awesome catholic lady neighbor, Ana, calls seƱorita.  The dog had been getting really bad.  Fighting with other dogs all the time, becoming a distraction in lessons.  And with Elder Owens, this day it was especially bad.  We were in one barrio and it was bad.  I mean bad bad.  So many dogs were fighting with it, and just barking at it from the top of their little dog lungs.  It was awful because everywhere we went all the people would come out of their house to try to see why there dog was going crazy.  Then they would see us.  With dogs barking around you ALL DAY.  It’s not conducive for the spirit of the Lord and just really gets ones animo down.  But we finally figured out the trick.  As it is sleeping outside the pench, we throw open the front door and dump water on it.  Then it leaves.
So Friday night with Elder Owens, we were SICK of the dog, and were on our way to Titos house.  He has an auto and we were going to ask him to put the dog in the back of his truck and with us, drive out to the campo, somewhere way out there, and drop the stupid dog off.  Just before we hit his house, Elder Owens wanted to stop by this one awesome investigator they have, one last time.  Well, this guy, Bruno, was home.  And wow, one of the best lessons of my life we had.  I taught him the full plan of salvation, minus adam and eve.  We never teach that.  We read Alma 40 together, or rather Bruno, 22ish, read the whole thing out loud.  To teach the plan of salvation, there were these perfect circular disks on the table and I used those to represent the world and the celestial kingdom etc.  I laid out the plan of salvation before him.  He listens with his heart and has a pure understanding.  Then, after some time, he asked us, “How can I be a missionary like you guys?”  WOW, he is 100% serious about being a missionary.  It was such a cool lesson.
Then Elder Hyre and Elder Owens went there last night.  They talked about being a missionary pretty much the whole lesson.  Bruno wants to change his life and is SO READY for the Gospel.  On his own, about a year ago, he stopped smoking marijuana and the bad life.  He has repented and all he needs is to receive the Holy Ghost to become clean.  During the lesson last night, Elder Hyre asked him what he learned when I was there with Elder Owens.  He remembered my name, then grabbed all the circular things on the table and started to explain the plan of salvation the way I did.  It was amazing hearing that story last night from the Elders.
I didn’t sweat as I slept this week.  It rained 3 different days and was actually pretty chilly one day.  Yesterday, the most vibrant rainbow appeared in the sky, right above Elder McClain and I.  What is a rainbow?  We couldn’t figure out that question of the soul.
Argentina is such a beautiful place.  I love it.  So many cool experiences with the beauty of Argentina.  I appreciate this experience so much.
We had 2 in church, one Silvio, and he has a fecha which makes him a progressing investigator!  And the other one we found because Saturday night we saw an inactive family moving tile from a truck to the house and we helped them out, trying not to get super dirty.  Then we taught them and invited them all to church.  Well, 2 of the sisters came!  And one of them brought their nonmember novio!  Sweet.
Playing piano in church was great.  I learned the Sacrament hymn Sunday morning.  I did pretty good.  So I was playing prelude.  Then all of the sudden the chapel went dead silent for about 90 seconds.  I was up there playing prelude, no one made a sound.  Eventually, after just pure peace, the Branch President got up to start the meeting.
In one ALB we took 8 cigarettes from a guy!
Elder McClain and I are doing so great.  We are rocking it and getting along and working hard.  He has changed so much this transfer.  It’s been awesome to see.
Saturday night we hitchhiked home again, a nice couple picked us up in a nice car.  No worries mom.
Last night was a big festival/beauty pageant.  A big parade was about to start at 10:30.  It was about 10 as we walked home, through the middle of the main street in Rivadavia (all cars were cut off).  There was music going, lights going, and just a party atmosphere.  And Everyone was looking at us.  We had the biggest grins on our faces.  It was a sweet experience.  Elder Ostler and Elder McClain walking down the middle of the street in Rivadavia, billboards for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The ex-marine makes suits and for 20 minutes we watched him measure and cut out a suit.  Way cool.
Life is way good.  Dad, I am smelling the roses, and they smell Good!
Hey, see you all in . . . . . . . a while.
Elder Ostler

The four wisemen

Monday, January 3, 2011

We got 16 news!!

Family how are you!!!!??  I am so happy, mom and dad, your letters were amazing.  The earthquake was not felt by my little legs. And no, we don't hear things like that, so thanks.

Mister Blake Campbell.  What a stud!!!  That's great news.  Send him besitos.

In the stockings:  2 fruits, socks, candy (a dove chocolate!) a highlighter.  That's all I remember.

Dating ehhh?  Alright.  Let's see.  Argentina inspires me to say a fry date.  Obviously done on Friday.  You cut up potatoes and fry them into french fries.  You fry pancakes, starbursts, recesses, everything and anything.  A date based around frying and oil.  Have fun.  That's all I got.  I could sit here longer and think, but I must tell you about the awesome week I have had!

This week I learned a great deal about numbers.  Setting goals, working my bootie off and reaching goals and celebrating goals.  The zone leaders had a meeting about numbers and we did a competition focused on news (new people) and progressing investigators.  The new goal was 15, as usual, but they really stressed it, especially in this season of holidays.  So Monday night Elder Mcclain and I changed our new goal for the week to 15.  Then we went out this week and worked really good and hard, leaving the pench on time and doing all we could to teach. And we did it.  We got 16 news!!!  It was incredible.  That's the most I've ever got in a week.  I had some amazing experiences this week with the help of the spirit, taught some amazing lessons.

We taught these two ladies while sitting criss cross applesauce on the sidewalk just after a siesta one day.  It was so cool.  We tag team taught way well.  The restoration of course.  On several of the lessons, we see people sitting outside their house and strike up a conversation. Eventually we ask them to buscar sillas, and sometimes they actually go inside the house, bring out chairs and we are able to create a little lesson about the restoration and baptism with them.

That is exactly what happened last night with jorge.  He was an ALB address we had written down.  We passed by the house yesterday and what do you know, he buscared sillas for us.  We immediately talked about baptism and he said, "puedo bautizarme nuevamente¿?"  Of course dude, your baptism 60 years ago was without priesthood authority.  In God's eyes, it was just some old cuckoo sprinkling water on your head.  Of course I didn't say that. . . . we taught him about the promise of baptism.  We don't use the word covenant here, people probably wouldn't understand that too well.  We try to keep our gospel vocabulary as simple as possible.  Like for example, I try not to say priesthood or gospel.  Anyway, he accepted a baptism fecha, we taught him about el dia de reposo y el accepto todo.  Va a venir a la iglesia y todo.  Ensenamos tambien la restauracion y acerca de el profeta jose smith.  It was way sweet.

Another lesson to remember was with Sergio.  I opened the mouth with him in the plaza on the street cabral.  We sat down next to him and immediately knew he was drunk.  He went through 3 solid cigarettes while we sat with him and taught him.  He wouldn't give me any of his cigarettes, sad I know. It was quite the lesson.  He lives on the streets. His wife and family dropped him because he's an alcoholic.  Name, Sergio.

Also, we found this sweet ex-marine who has a Book of Mormon and already believes Joseph Smith is a prophet.  We sat down in front of his house with him and started talking with him about the Book of Mormon.  He said he had read a little and really liked it.  We talked to this guy, Raul, about 2 weeks ago and said we were going to pass by again to teach him.  We told him to read the Book of Mormon that he already had.  He thumbed through the book trying to find the part he read.  He was trying to remember a certain name in the book.  For a whole minute, Elder Mcclain sat there with him and tried to guess it. We were throwing out all the Book of Mormon names we knew.  But nothing, he recognized none of them.  Then just por lo menos after we had almost given up, yo dije el nombre famoso Jose Smith, and he got so excited.  He said "That's the one.  That's it!"  It was so cool.  We taught a little about the restoration after asking him if he believes Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.  He said, "creo que so."  So that was great!  Then after that, he took us in his sweet suit rental shop and showed us around, so that kinda ended the lesson.

Out of our 16 news, 2 came to church.  But those 2, a brother and sister, just don't understand the need for a restoration.  That's everyones problem here!  But it was sweet they came, showed up early and stayed all 3 hours.  Champions.  This week total, we taught 16 lessons.  But from the looks of Amanda's email. . . Gosh.  She is rocking it!  She said they taught 27 lessons 2 weeks ago and 19 last week!  Wow, that is amazing.  I love love love teaching.

La manana de juevas ensenamos a ful 7 supimos que ibamos llegar en la cita de almuerzo que tuvimos muy tarde.  So after a great lesson with Gimena and her brother Emanuel, Elder Mcclain

Friday I went on splits with Elder Hyre and it was amazing.  We found 5 news in their area and had some sweet lessons.  One, I just opened my mouth with this couple working outside their house and they let us in and we taught the restoration.  Of course.

Another, we got a ride from Tito.  I was in the bed of his little truck and he took us into the campo mas o menos and we contacted a reference and taught a family who previously had come to church.  It was amazing and the spirit was so so strong!  The only noise that could be heard were bugs and clouds, but clouds don't really make noise.  So tranquilo and peaceful, and with Tito, we shared the restoration.  I recited the first vision.  I don't know, just incredible.  With measly words I can't explain it.  It was so spiritual and sweet.  Then at one point, Elder Hyre was teaching and I was just looking up into the brilliant blue open sky.  And all of the sudden a bunch of cows and one horse ran by.  It was so awesome!  Not 30 feet from us, they just went hauling by us.  It didn't phase the family, they own the cows.  But for a city boy like myself, wow.  It didn't disrupt the spirit at all, maybe even added to it.

Then right before we were supposed to meet back at the pench for new years eve, Elder Hyre and I walked into a Living Hell.

This lesson I really can't describe.  Only Elder Hyre and I will ever know.  Her name is S....., her husband goes to Brazil once a year for 2 weeks.  These 2 weeks are the only 2 weeks S..... and her daughter have to live.  She was walking around the plaza one day recently and that's how we were about to open the mouth with her.  Basically, her husband is hellish.  I can't think of a better word.  He doesn't let her leave the house, talk to her friends, nothing.  She is locked in her house and scared of her husband.  He hits her and her daughter.  This woman is 60 years old and has to ask her husband for money.  I really can't explain it.

So the first part of the lesson was amazing.  After we shared the restoration and talked about tithing, we stopped and asked how she felt. Among other words of praise for the feeling in the room she said, "I feel a terrible peace."  She knows the restored gospel is true, it was when we went to put a fecha that we found out all of these things.  She is trapped with nowhere to go.  They are rich, but I have never met a person so miserable.  Of course, her husband won't let her be baptized or go to church or have the lessons.  So we have about a week, or the other Elders do because she's in their area, to teach her and figure something out.  It was an incredible lesson, one I will never forget.

This lady married lucifer himself, and she said that her father was even worse than her husband.  I feel so so bad for this woman.  She needs so much help and yay, she has finally found it.  She says we can't tell anyone though, so I didn't tell you any of that stuff.

The dog.

There is a dog that follows us everywhere, starting Tuesday, and I mean everywhere.  It comes inside houses with us, sits under our chairs as we teach outside.  She sleeps outside our pench.  And she really raises hell wherever we go.  For some reason, every single dog in Rivadiva hates her and they let her know.  Tuesday, I also hated her, because every step I took there were dogs and dogs and dogs and more dogs barking at her and she was always right by my side.  She got herself into 3 or four fights, and one time the opponent drew blood.

Tuesday was great, but at the same time, that evening I have never hated an animal more in my life.  Now, I love her.  So much!  She has followed me every step of my ministry this week.  And when I got in the bed of a truck to go to the cow lesson, she tried to get in with me.  When she couldn't, I had the amazing opportunity of watching her run.  Run her little heart out as we went to the campo.  She made it, both ways.  It was such a beautiful sight watching that dog run 30, 35 miles an hour behind the truck.  I can't describe it.

I'm out of time almost.  New years was amazing.   We went to San Martina and slept there.  We watched fireworks on the roof, of course. We cooked an asado, it was good.
Cooking the last of the asadito new years eve.
The picture before the feast!

But that night as I tried to sleep, I couldn't.  The door was earlier left open and there were so many mosquitoes!!!  It was the worst way to start a new year, ever.  Tossing and turning, scratching and itching. Not being able to put the blanket over top of me because of the sweat that would come and not being able to sleep without the blanket because of the bugs!  Looking back, I laugh.  I think I slept for 4 hours that night.  And we woke up new years and played soccer with us 10 elders.  So fun.  Two solid hours of futbol, it was amazing, but I just killed myself!

I love the restoration.  I loved the restoration this week.

It's hard to see Elder Owens struggle through his first transfer.

I played piano for sacrament meeting and practiced all week, almost every day, to be able to do it.  We started church off with a rousing chorus of The Morning Breaks.  It was sweet.

I got an amazing letter from Elder Young with an amazing picture!! And Elder Chavez sent me the best letter ever too.

Yes, I eventually found the tape recorder.

It is hot, I sweat all all all the time.

Okay, times up, bye and I love you all.  Saydi, rock it in Hawaii. Harrison have fun on your date.  I love you family.  And I love being a missionary.

Elder Ostler

I am in Mendoza and Mendoza is king of grapes!