Monday, July 25, 2011

Find Joy In The Journey

Hello everyone.  Just finishing up a wonderful pday of making pizzas in the church, and an amazing hour of futbol.  I was totally me.  Just going crazy on the court, yelling and just having the time of my life here down in Argentina.  What an email.  Wow.  I had to read that again.  Braden is assistant.  That’s big.  I love Braden.  And Eli Bar.  That really is sad.  Dang.  I can just imagine him en el mundo de los espiritus.  So feliz.  And Jon Burrup MARRIED!!! WWWOOOOOWWWW.  That took me off my seat.

And Brennen.  I was telling everyone about him today, because this new elder was visa delayed and spent 3 weeks in Brennen’s mission.  He said for workouts every morning, they drove to the church and played ball. That’s heaven for Mr. Brennen.  Do good Bren.  You are a servant.  I wish I would have lightened up in the MTC, and been more creative.  And I did love the picture of Harrison and Jefferson.  Stover.  O the good ole days.  I actually haven't thought about BYU for a long time.  But when I do think about it, wow.  I just shake my head in wonder.  Wonder.  And Elder Crawford - dying - 3 weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!  O my gosh.  I remember we always used to play tramp basketball together.  What a great kid.
Thanks for the recipe.  I printed that out along with Amanda’s email.  Now I request a recipe for chocolate chip cookies.  Thanks for all you do for me mom!!!  And I will probably be even more thankful and amazed in a day because I’m going to Mendoza!!  To tell you the truth, right now, I’m illegal.  My visa expired.  So I’m going to renew it.  And while I’m in Mendoza doing that, starting Tuesday por la noche, I’m going to pick up all my mail, it’s been awhile, and 2 cajas de libro de mormones.  My comp is Elder Cajas by the way.  Started in February, and served a few months in Guatemala waiting.
And Mendoza will also be way nice, because I will get an agenda!!  I’ve been 3 weeks working out of a little BYU notebook, but it’s just not the same.  Having a missionary agenda will make life so much easier and effective!!!!!!!!!

Also, I will pedir many small pictures of Jesus.  The one in the robe, red and white.  And pictures of me with people I helped baptize.  Thanks, I know you do so much Mom!  O weight watchers.  I kinda chuckled.

No credit and no sink.  We have little cell phones here that stay in the pench.  And every month, each phone receives a certain amount of credit, or minutes.  And when you run out of credit, you can’t call anyone.  Well, about 10 days ago, we ran out of credit.  Fun fun fun.  I think it was because the elder that died in the pench before me was constantly gastando the credit chatting with the members.  So this week was hard.  I couldn´t call a soul.  Sometimes we went to the public pay phones.
And on top of that, we have no sink.  The dueno came and saco the sink in the kitchen.  So, while it’s good there’s no water leak, it’s just - I strained noodles in the shower for the first time in my life, and we have to do all our dishes in the shower too.  Fun yeah?  And we have no idea when they’re putting a new sink in.
And my companion was sick, all week.  O boy.  Not too many cool teaching stories this week because we weren´t out teaching!  I think by Friday we had a total of 11 proselyting hours.  But on Saturday and Sunday we did full days.  It was a miracle I didn't get sick.  And I am so thankful for that.  But I don´t know, somedays I had an incredible desire to get out in the streets and get some blood pumping through my veins.  But instead, I studied.  And studied, and baked no bake cookies and gave some to our neighbors.  And studied; my record was a 3 hour personal study.  It was great!  And cleaned.  And wrote poetry.  And took a nap one day.
Wait -  how do you bake no bake cookies?
And thought.  And thought.  And thought.  So much thinking this week.  One time, after the siesta at four, I was so desirous to go to our citas and visit our investigators, that I tightened my tie and put on my sweater, the one the drunk man gave me in Justo, and got on my knees.  I knew that if my comp really wanted to, he could have come out to work.  But he didn´t.  And I couldn´t even call our people and teach them on the phone, because we had no credit!
But at church this week we miraculously had 2 people!  Both are chicos de 9 años.  One has been a million times, and wants to serve a mission.  His mother was baptized 2 years ago and already went to the temple!  But she’s separated, and the husband won’t allow the nino ignacio to be baptized!  So hopefully we can meet this guy and win his heart, just like Ammon did!
And remember I told you about Hermano Nunez coming back to church .  . . well he came again, with the vest and all, and brought his youngest 9 year old son.  None of his 4 kids are members.  We have a citalos estados unidos bytheway.
This week was ward conference.  Yes, we are a ward, and Mom there are hundreds of inactives, hundreds and hundreds.  How many of them are there in Candy Mountain?  And the coro sang . . . !!!! WOOOOOW!  It was so amazing.  I sat in wonder.  And I think I felt Joy.  They sang number ocho.  The pianista was a concert pianist from another ward.  And there was a violin and it was just wonderful.  Argentines can´t really sing, but still, it was wonderful!
And the stake president came and obviously spoke.  And he gave a message on the first chapter of Moroni.  You’re probably thinking what’s in that?  He dwelled on a scripture that says ‘But I Moroni will not deny the Christ.’  And then he talked about how us in our every day lives deny the Christ.  And he dropped some manso cane!  He spoke so directly to some specific sins so casually.  He shared different ways of how they deny the Christ here, through disobedience and dishonesty.  Like neighbors buying Direct TV and sharing the wire.  So both of them get it for the price of one.  Or the same thing with cable, except for one payment, 20 houses get it.  Our buying a stolen cell phone off the street for a fraction of the price. O, I can´t describe it, it was just so wonderful.  Those are the kind of talks this place needs.  I don´t really know how many of the members do those things, but I know it is a problem here.
And then afterwards, get this, we had desert and hot chocolate.  It was all wonderfully prepared by the socidad de socoshro.  Then after church, we had a good meal with some great members.  Then had a meeting with our ward mission leader.  He served in Uruguay and got back 7 weeks ago.  Just so fresh!  I’m not sure how to quite describe this reunió we had.  Let’s just say that on Wednesday he put to girlfriend with a conversa recién.  They are both super active and super awesome.  But let’s just say that his mind was in the clouds.  And walking out of that meeting my companion says to me, “I promise you Francisco forgot everything we just talked about.”  We did good for the first 20 minutes of the reunió, but then about once every 2 minutes, the girlfriend came up.  And it was justified by saying, “Hey! she’s a recent convert.”  Get it . . we were talking about retentino, but it was way fun.  It made me think a little about life after the mission.  He is so   . .  how do you say it - in love, twitterpated.  But he also told us how much he misses the mission.  Francisco said that when he heard rm’s say that before, he always thought, you mentiroso.  But now he understands.  Twice during the reunió he almost cried, as he said, “I would give anything for one day in the misión.”
Last night as we tried to find the house of yet another inactive that came back to church!!  Yes!  She’s Carla, 18, mother not a member.  Well we were looking for her house and this guy opens up the door and says ‘hello.’  I took my que and started talking with him in inglés.  It was the first time I have ever got IN a house talking english.  And he’s a geologist!  I thought of you, Randy.  Well, we shared a great restoration, asking questions and all, but in the end Juan told us no, that we should leave the 99 and go look for the one.  Got to love that answer!  Hello Juan.  You are the one!!  You’re lost.  Clueless.  I tried to tell him that, using different words, but he wouldn’t take it.  A direct result of pride.  I really came to realize why D&C 20 teaches us that the first requirement for baptism is HUMILITY.  I came to realize that my last month in Justo Daract.
I thought about problems today, and how they will always exist.   Always.  We live in a fallen world and nothing will ever be perfect here.  But we just got to find joy in the journey, and learn to have fun even in problems.
I also thought of progress because sometimes I look back at how I was or how I did things in my first areas, and I get mad and angry at myself, at who I was.  But our growth is just like a plant.  Let’s say that when I started my mission I was just barley poking through the ground.  Then I got some leaves and kept growing, and maybe now I finally am starting to be a flower.  Well, a lot of times I look back and when I was just bare, or maybe had one leaf, and think why was I like that.  Or why wasn´t I doing this, or that?  This prolly seems real silly, but we can´t look back and be mad or unhappy.  We acted how we acted because that’s who we were.  We must be ok with that and just move on, always improving.  Because sometimes I look back and am mad at who I was, or how unsocial and fun I was with the members, etc etc.  But no.  That’s who I was.  Ok, really, Justo didn’t make me too insane.  But I just can’t communicate that thought very well right now.
This next one is for Ben.  So we were playing soccer just barley.  A little fenced in court, 20 feet wide by 70 feet long.  Tiny.  3 on 3.  Well, I was goalie, and came up to mid court when all of the sudden one of them got a breakaway.  I sprinted back and as he shot from an angle, slid and saved it!  And ended up sliding right into the goal post.  Ok, my writing is not to intense today, but it was amazing!!  I thought of you right afterwards, Ben.
Smoking kills.  Saturday night we missed the bus, so found a bench and sat down.  As we were waiting, 2 young 20ish year old girls came up and waited for the bus maybe 10 feet away.  And seeing as we were in the middle of an english study, we just kept going.  Both girls were smoking and we were by a main road, so we were talking kinda loud to each other.  I need a laugh, so I said something like Smoking is bad!  My companion understood and chuckled.  I didn´t even thought they were paying attention to us, so I kept going.  Cigarettes are gross!  You shouldn´t smoke!  Don´t you care about the commandments of God!?
This continued, and I was having fun and my comp was having fun.  Until at the end I said, “SMOKING KILLS!!”  And when I said that, one of the girls looked over at me and said, “la verdad que si.”  O boy!!  She understood!   She said basically yeah, it really does.  I felt kinda foolish, then just started to laugh.  I stood up went over to them, and found out they had been smoking since they were 13!  Imaginense!  I gave both of them word of wisdom folletos and then they got on the bus.
Well, I’m psyched right now!  I loved your commitment to obedience Mom.  You’re a great family and I love you all.  Harrison and Jefferson, stay close to the Lord and please o please, be strong in momentos de tentacion!!  And Benson, HI.  Go Wilson.  Don´t forget to practice the piano, o please, don’t be bagos, practice the piano!!  No, unfortunately  I don’t get the chance to play the piano here.  But that’s ok.
That’s great Amanda got transferred.  And Saydi, what are you doing with your life??
Have a great week everyone.  I will go look for those who are waiting and prepared to hear my message.
Elder Ostler. 

I, Elder Ostler's Mom, was online today when he sent his email home. We were able to 'chat' through several emails.  The following is part of our conversation.

Elder Ostler:  Hi Mom:  What you doing!  I just finished my email, and got a minute!!!!  I love you Mom.  You’re amazing!!
Mom:  Oh my gosh, I love you too.  You sound happy.  How is that companion doing?  I haven't finished reading your email yet.
Elder Ostler:  O, he’s doing good.  Still got a cough, but we are ready to work good.  We mostly get along.  I know we get on each others nerves sometimes, but we are working on that.  His girlfriend is a sister missionary, just got to El Salvador!  How’s the family?  Let me know if you get this amazing talk which I devoured this week.  Don´t be afraid to send it to everyone, because I can´t.  Please print it out and send it to Amanda.  (He emailed a talk titled “Fourth Missionary” that he received from a missionary.)
Mom:  Yes, the talk came through.  Sorry you had such a non productive week.  Get that guy moving.  Motivate him.  And we'll pray for him so he'll have no choice then - because we expect miracles to happen in this household!
Elder Ostler:  He really was sick most of those days.  What can you do?  O, I forgot to say, I got my suit 40 peso dry cleaned this week!  It was legit in church, perfectly pressed lines with no spills on it.  And I had to pay the lights, 100 pesos.  The elders didn´t do it last month.  No worries, the mission reembolses me.  It’s fun coming into an area and cleaning up the last elders messes.  Like we had 10 Tupperwares in the pench!! from vianda lunches!  So we had to take those back to the church, so the sisters could get them.
Mom:  That's awesome.  Always leave an area better than it was when you came, and I'm not just talking about the pench!  I checked your blog yesterday.  You really do touch a lot of peoples lives.
The family is excellent.  The boys returning from EFY has been super because they're both on spiritual highs and so there is so much less quarreling.  The kids mow 3 days a week, the little guys play alot. Like right now everyone is playing that traffic game on the plasma cars and scooters.  So it's loud in here.  We haven't missed scriptures, ever. And we really enjoy reading pmg as our scriptures, cause we read all the scriptures in pmg, not just the book.  So how are you?  Like tired, happy, do you want to go back and live in Argentina next year?  We love your emails soooo much.  Just so much.
Elder Ostler:  I didn´t send a great one today.  Not much happened.  But the smoking thing was so so funny.  O the traffic game!!  Great times.  I can see them in my head doing that right now.
No, I’m happy.  Sometimes I really got down and down on myself.  And living in a 2 man pench doesn’t help with that.  I get bummed about how it’s been over 4 months since a baptism.  It’s been so long since I’ve helped some one through the conversion process.  I wrote letters to most of my converts this week though!
Mom:  You don't know how many seeds you planted, you just don't know.  And I'm certain that some of the people you met and taught will be baptized.

Elder Ostler:  Just for fun (He sent us a form that was all in Spanish, I had no idea what it was).
Mom:  What the snap is this?  I guess we'll figure it out.  Me and all the kids pulled weeds for 1.5 hours today.  Some of them really need to learn to work.  I kept telling them that you and Amanda work harder than that every day, all day.  What's next on your agenda today? We're supposed to go to Creer's and swim, but it's thunder and lightening right now so probably not going to happen.
Elder Ostler:  O, tough life, swimming!!!  O it’s been a while.  Right now I get to go give a district meeting!  I’ve prepared a good one, with lots of alfajores.  It’s about chapter 5 pmg.  I like this second chance to be DL.  I’m doing a much better job, and really do like it.
Mom:  President Lindahl loved you so much.  He said "I don't just send anybody to Justo.  He'll be a great leader."  It was so awesome meeting them, even if it was only for a couple of seconds.  And Reynolds is so cool.  He had excellent things to say about you.  How is the new mission president, I know you've only met with him once. Has he emailed you or anything?  What about mission policy? Anything change?  Like mailing pkgs?
Elder Ostler:  (about the form he sent) Each of the 12 zones is listed and those numbers are averages of each zone per companionship.  We get this email from the aps and office elders every week.  I usually just look at if for 1 minute.  Can you believe Braden’s ap!?

Elder Ostler:  Listo, later.  Love you mother
Mom:  Love you too.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I'm trying to get all the rats out of the basement

Hello Family:
Whats going on!!??!  Great to hear about going to the Lindahl’s homecoming. They are so Wonderful.
Some pictures of us in the pench.  The water problem, though not fixed, is a lot better.  We figured out putting the soap bottle on the water spout in the sink is a good cure so only about once a day we have to clean a little bit of water. 

President Avila’s son is serving in the Spokane Misión.
I have been focusing so much lately on personal progress.  Trying to become more like Christ.  I look at all the experiences God gives me as a chance to grow and improve.  Really to overcome the natural man, if you will.  Because in the moment, sometimes we just go crazy and freak out.  I remember a cita from CS Lewis that is,  “In the basement there are rats, and the instant you turn on the Light, you see the rats.”  Not to poetic, but it’s something like that.  So I’m trying to get all the rats out of the basement, so when someone turns on the Light, they will see a True representative of Christ, who has forgot himself, and has gone to work.  But sometimes it is SO HARD:  so that’s what I’m working on.
Yes Mom, I am in 100 percent Castellano mode.  But today when my companion and another elder went to centro to buy some things, I hung out with Elder Vaca, a new Latin, Peru.  And we were learning English and the funniest thing happened when he said the word hamburger.  Just like he says it on pink panther.  I sat there and laughed so hard.  And then I was quizzing him on everything we had learned and I said diga quiero una hamburgesa and he hesitated a second, and said, “I Am A Hamburgar.”  I DIED LAUGHING!!!!  But yeah, Castelleno is my new lengua.  I hope to improve.
Sometimes, various times throughout the day, my companion and I just don´t understand each other.  His accent is pretty thick centro America, and sometimes, for the life of me I just don´t understand him, and he has to repeat it sometimes 3 times.  And the same happens with my drucho greengo Argentine accent.  Funny at times, frustrating at others.  And after about every single sentence he ever says and ever will say, he tacks on the word verdad?  verdad?  It would be like saying, right? after every sentence.  O Elder Cajas.  He’s great, and we work hard together and have the same goals.
If you could, please send a decently easy peanut butter cookie recipe in the next email.  The Walmart peanut butter is only good with oreos, and Elder Esplin says its great to cook with.  Thanks.
La obra Misional.
All in all it was a good week.  My desire to share the Gospel has increased.  Is increasing.  I no longer desire to stay in the pench another ten minutes, or do this or that other thing. . .  no.  I want to share the Gospel and Preach to Every Creature.  Everybody must be baptized, either here, or vicariously in the temple, . . so why not do it now??  I’m not amazing though,  because sometimes I do feel the urgent desire to just put my feet up and watch a hockey game.  I need to purify myself even more.  But the mission is great.  I’m doing good things, and becoming.
Ugghh, I don´t like email with no spunk and animo . .
Ok, we had some amazing lessons this week.  Let’s get excited!!  The lady who came to church last week, Sandra, we had a great lesson with her.  Her only problem is her other evangelical church.  We preached to her good, and the spirit taught her.  But she didn´t come to church. :(
We had also a great lesson with Jose Luis, the arquero.  The goalie.  And he’s reading and praying!!!  We just had such a wonderful sweet lesson with him, and he halfway committed to come to church.  But didn’t.  I do think he will progress though.  Just slowly.
Saturday night I felt good about going to a barrio we had never been to before, close to the church.  And we were warmly received in the first door we knocked.  I was Shocked as the couple dropped what they were doing, pulled out the Book of Mormon, and principios del evangelio, and sat, ready to charlar!!  It was over an hour long lesson, and they are so prepared.  Emilio y Claudia.  Rather rich folk.  She’s asisted general conference before, and read King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon, as she told us.  I instantly thought of you dad.  You taught me to love those first golden chapters of Mosiah.  And she’s read portions of Alma and many chapters of principios del evangelio.  They are  R R R ready.  You can just imagine me in that lesson; my mouth was loosened, I ate it up.  They remind me a lot of how Amanda described Kim.  They even gave us a ride home.
And on Friday night, we had a throw down lesson with Argentino Domingo, a 65-year-old man, a reference from a member and this was our second lesson with them.  It was a throw down lesson in the fact that every thing changed.  I was so bold with them.  It was so Wonderful.  And apparently was effective . . because DOMINGO CAME TO CHURCH!  I was in wonder as I saw him walk into the capilla just after the first our of priesthood ended.  And he Loved it.  The building, the people, everything.  I have hope.
Hermano Nunez, none of his kids are members, and he wore the sweetest vest to church.  So that's potential ful.  And the other one is a great story.  After finishing the lesson with Domingo, we were smiling and walking down the street to the bus stop, when a man signals us in his house.  He was Crazy, just a nuts guy, but introduced himself as a member, very inactive.  And we were there a little while with him, he would have been fine with us staying hours and hours.  He promised to come to church.  And on Sunday, he kept his promise, and even brought his wife.  So the inactive members are prepared to come back!  And it was great to watch the members welcome them back.
This week we have a lot of potential in Rivadavia.  We’ve been working good, and I can honestly say that last week we worked hard.  But this week we are going to work smart.  We are going to work with los miembros.  We have already started, and received 4 references from a member family yesterday during our lunch appointment in a bodega.  Best meat ever.  Knocking doors is good and all, but if you look in that great manual, Predicad Mi Evangelio, in chapter 9, President Hinckley has the best cita.  'There is a better way, esa manera es pormedio de los miembros de la iglesia.’  This week I want to work hand in hand with los miembros, and find new people to teach.
I actually was given the opportunity to speak in church yesterday.  My comp was assigned the talk, it was a whole sacrament, meeting themed on la obra misinoal.  But my comp woke up sick on Sunday, and so the talk was mine.  I have only been super nervous a few times in my mission.  Nervousness and butterflies is something rarely felt on the mission.  The most nervous I have ever been was before my piano delio in the evangelical church.  And right before I gave this talk too, I was just shaking.  I have no idea why.  But I prayed for God to calm me, and he did.  And it was so cool when I started to speak because in 3 seconds I captured the attention of all the little ones.  I taught the restoration in 3 minutes, and then pleaded for the members to help us do the Lords work in Rivadavia.  It was wonderful.  And I had to ignore satan’s taunting’s afterwards telling me what I could have said better or what I did wrong.
C’mon, family,  let’s share this gospel!  One of the rm’s, in the talk said this.  “Really the missionaries in the barrio are only part time because in 2 years, they’re done.  It is us, as members of the church, who are the full time missionaries.”  So look for opportunities, and don't be scared.  The price is courage, and the reward is someones eternal salvation.
I also mentioned Casey Garland, el famoso, in my discurso.  Send him my saludos, and tell him that He’s Great.  Tell him the campo is blanco too.
There are occasionally street performers here, like clowns that go out on red lights and juggle.  And then pedir plata, kinda fun.
This week, Elder Cajas and I were able to do something cool; however, I was almost sure that when I called the zls and asked permiso to do it, it would get exed.  But nope, they told me they’d call the aps, and let me know.  Ten minutes later they call back and said that we had received permiso.
Remember that Friday night lesson with Jose Luis. . . well he invited us to his partido the next day!  And the mission gave us permiso to go!!  It was out of our area and all, so we went with a member, Cristian Funes, a recent convert, great kid.
So I went to an Argentine soccer game!!  It cost 15 pesos to get in, and had the makings of a great Argentine match.  Goals, blood, marijuana, and just about every swear word on the planet!  This one time 2 guys went up for a header, and one got nailed by the other, and was Instantly covered in blood.  Jose Luis, the goalie, did great.  I got some good pictures, but yeah, lots of swearing.

I’m not sure what I expected going to an Argentine futbol game, but I certainly didn´t expect that!  I’m just used to the BYU football games, super tranquilo.  But wow, there was lots of swearing.  I have not been in an environment like that in forever.
The empanada ladrón.  This one time our lunch fell through, so on the way back I saw a man selling empanada on the street.  They looked good so I bought ten for us.  But when we got home there were only 8!  He tricked me.
Last night, I really don´t know why, but sorrow overcame me as I tried to sleep.  I was sad that only 1 of our 7 committed investigators came to church.  I think I felt a little of what Abinadi felt.  I thought about Abinadi a lot.
But all is well.  I must keep the animo and keep the Hope.  That McDonalds pic was taken today, bytheway.
San Juan is a Beautiful place.  The mountains awe me every day.  This week it was actually decently warm.  Preaching in short sleeves and all.  But now it’s cold again.  There’s something that happens here that's called sonda, or viento caleinte.  Hot wind.  And one day it came and at one point we were on a bus and for 5 seconds the visibility went down to 5 feet.  I kid you not.  It was nuts.  And the bus driver didn’t even think of touching the break!  So much wind and dust.
Well that's all folks.
I love you.  Practice your piano boys!  And share the Gospel with your friends.  Thanks mom and dad for raising me.
Elder Ostler

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm the first gringo in 8 months!

Hey family, whats going on!!  My Mexican friends!  Make sure to saludar Braden and Jase for me!
Right now, I’m sitting in a sweet ciber in San Juan Centro.  I feel lost, without a little notecard helper.  So I don't even know what to say.
No, I did not get any mail.  The fb request was just because when Elder Hyer and I were on divisions, one of his investigators families looked us up on Facebook, and I told the little 8 year old girl to send you a message.  Just for fun.  Yes, the preacher was sad when I left, but it was cool how we despedired him.
I called him Tuesday and told him I wanted to say goodbye.  He said that he would be working all day in the hospital, but that I could stop in there and saludar him.  And it was really cool, because when we walked in with Elder Moon a nurse instantly came up to me and mentioned that Doctor Gomez was expecting me, meaning he yet again let the crew know we were coming!  Then we went into an Argentine hospital, in a patients room (vacant duh) and sat on the patients bed as he wrote in my book and we tomamos una foto.  It was yet another awesome experience in Justo Daract.
What surprised me was how bare the hospital was.  Not the states!!  That hospital would get sued so fast in the states.  And that was not me only experience with hospitals this week . .  . ok now you're worried.
So we were opening the mouth outside the giant hospital in our area when a man motioned for us to come over.  He was a member and told us that his dad was just diagnosed with cancer and was in the hospital.  He nos pidio assistance in giving a blessing the following day.  Cool enough.
So the next day we called him, and he told us he had already given the blessing.  We went to the hospital anyway to see who we could help, and who we could find.  We walked around the hospital a bit, and it was different.  In this room, there was blood all over the floor . . .  stuff like that.  And there is 3 people per room.  We found this members dad and even though the member was not there, some other family members were and we taught them.  Sweet! yeah!
The mission has So Much To Offer!  And I’m trying to accept all its got for me.  I’m trying to learn and grow and become like my Savior Jesus Christ.  I am His representative, and must be like Him.  I love the mission.  In all the everyday experiences we find the opportunities to grow and change, to mold our heart to be like Christ.  It’s not what’s on the outside, but on the inside that matters.
Packing was fun, until the toilet started overflowing.  There’s 2 toilets in the church in JD.  And the one way on the other side of town was going for it and we did not dar cuenta hasta Elder Moon left the room and went to the kitchen.  No se si me explico.  But basically, by the time we discovered the overflowing toilet, we might as well just have called the investigators and baptized ‘em then and there, because there was So Much Water!  In the church, in the hallway, in the kitchen.  O that was fun, and it was only a shadow of what was to come.
Because here in Chimbas, we have a nice pench.  But a leaky one!!  4 times a day we bust out the squeegees and go to work.  It is rather bothersome, but we try to whistle while we work and keep the smiley.  Joy in the journey baby.  It’s a pipe under the sink, and its toasted.  And so is the whole sink and shelf structure, ruined by tanto agua.  We are in good contact with the dueño and the mission and hopefully, will be fixed soon.  We live with the, I don´t know how it is in english, but the llaves cerrados.  The water pipe is always closed, until we need it, then we quickly turn it on, and then off.  You can imagine after taking showers we have to use lifejackets when we go in the kitchen.  Fun fun fun!
So lets talk about Rivadavia Number 2.   Some adjectives.  Shica, shica, shica!!  Rich rich rich, said with a San Juanino accento.  Like when they say clothes, ropa, the say shopa.  The r´s become sh´s!  So fun, me peshito.  I also love the word arreglar, to fix - asheglar.  It is rich here, and la majoria de las personas in nuestro area, tienen plata.  $$
Get this, we live above a panaderia!  It kills me.  Evey morning and night, the smell of Fresh Fresh shica Argentine pan.   It’s great.  Our pench is way modern, and way small too.  It's just the 2 of us, Elder Cajitas and I.  The bashio (thats ward, barrio) is great.  There were 90 at church!!!  Including niños.  It absolutely blew my mind.  And o my gosh, everyone was trying to talk to me in english.  The youth are great and we are already friends.  The ward had an activity Saturday and there were skits and 2 priests stole our plaques and went up front and totally made fun of us.  One was trying to be gringo and butcher the spanish and all.  I got a good laugh.
We have lunch every day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And members wash the shopa.  It is very American.  The ward has goals to grow.  I’m the first gringo in 8 months.  And in the last 6 months there have been 12ish bautismos.  I expect to do great things here.
At church we had 1 investigator!!!  The elders before started teaching a conyada de un converso and this week we had one lesson with her.  And on Sunday, She Came!!  The brother-in-law brought her, her name is Sandra, she’s about 20.  Now we just got to get her married to her marido, Ignacio, the 18-year-old brother of the converso, pero el no quiere saber nada!  We had a great lesson with him though.  I was very bold with him.
We also have another person who is so ready for baptism, Marcela. We taught her lección 1 with her friend, Viviana.  As I was talking one time she kinda said under her breath that I have the look of an angel.  And that is really what we are to these people.  Angels.  I just hope people will have the courage to accept and act on the message we share.
Also in the ward, there are 4 ex missionaries who have less than a year en la casa, and lots of enthused jovenes.  Great yeah!  Here in Rivadavia it is just like a little mezcla of my life.  Everyone reminds me of someone; people from BYU, other areas in the missino, other members, other misionaries, friends.  It’s so weird.  About every day I have the thought, I’ve met this person before.  Sometimes, things are so familiar.
I also might mention, that our area is HUGE!  It is so great, there is much tierra virgen, untouched land.  And a lot of it is sitting right around the pench.  Last night we went knocking with faith, 2 cuadras de la pension, and after 20 minutes of rejection, we had a Milagro.  This man, Jose Luis, who was having a bad day, let us in.  He played goalie for a very noteworthy futbol team in San Juan.  A married man with money, but just not happy.  He was super humble though, and is looking for the truth.  Well, HE FOUND IT!  We had an amazing lesson with him, lección 1, and then we talked about his doubt about not having enough faith to receive an answer.  I told him that he does have faith, and a lot.  And that the first step to having faith is the desire, and his desires son grandes.  I believe we will baptize him.  Such a super cool experience, love Sunday night miracles.
For p day today, we found out we would be meeting President Avila.  SWEET!!  No one knows what to expect.  It was cool being with a lot of elders again, like 35 of us.
We were taught from on high, D&C 43.  His 3 kids he brought all shared their testimonies, and his wife spoke.  And then as President Avila spoke, 1 hour, I sat on that banco, amazed.  The spirit was what really taught me.  He has the qualities of a Grand Leader because he inspired me and thats what I want to do with my district, because I’m district leader.  I want to inspire them.
I left that meeting filled.  President Avila is an inspired man of God and I am so happy he is my new missino presidente.  I love him already, he has won my trust.  And to close the meeting, I gave the prayer, and then afterwards he gave me a big hug, and it was awesome.  I love what he is doing with the missino.  He has ripped down the high towers of numbers.  And is focused on Christ.  I wish I could go on.
Fine, I will.  He is straight out of PME.  He opened the scriptures unto us and taught us.  I leaned a great many treasures.  We learned from hechos 2 y D&C 50.  He focused So Much on the investigators it was crazy.  Also, a big enfasis on obedience and the spirit.  I love what he is doing to the mission.  He’s my kind of missino presidente.  I can’t wait to sit in personal counsel with him.
I feel like I’m typing really slow today, by the way.
I love San Juan.  We have had a heat wave this week.  And the mountains are So Beautiful!  Biking is huge here, there are a lot of street bikers, and mountain bikers.  I mean A LOT.  AND it is weird to be surrounded by so many people again, and like, not the same people.  We take a lot of busses in our area, and the bus price has just aumentared to 2 pesos!!  Everything is rising.  In the last 6 months, the price of pan has increased 120%!!  That’s so not good.  It’s now 7 pesos a kilo.
Also, President Avila talked al lot about how when a person is baptized, it’s not over.  We can’t just count that number and forget about him or her.  I loved that.  And I plan on helping all the recent converts here in Rivadavia, and on baptizing Jose Luis, el arcero.  And he has The Sweetest mullet!
Elder Cajitas is doing great.  He’s from Guatemala.  He’s 22 and has already gone to school for 3 years.  Something funny is his novia just started the missino too, she’s in El Salvador.  We already have a lot of fun together.  He always makes fun of me for all the gas I tirar.  I need to put the extra effort and teach him english.  He knows a little, he lived in the states for 5 months, in Utah and California.  And he is definitely teaching me castallano.  Yesterday I tried to lean the palabra to slip.  But I can’t seem to remember it now.  And to sneeze.
My letters home just seem so random and in the clouds.  I hope you enjoy them.
OOOO, I got to tell you.  We went to Mcdonalds today after President Avila!  I saw the recently risen prices and about fell on the ground.  40 pesos for a meal!!  In situations like that you just got to know what to do.  I guess there’s some kind of hidden menu and an old elder in the missino told me what to do.  Ask for 2 triple mac´s.  12 pesos a piece.  Meta.  It was so so good!  Just American Bliss, like Elder Hare says.
That’s cool you’re all in Mexico.  I’ve thought about you a lot this week.  Not homesick at all, just wonder what you’re all up too!  That’s sweet you went to church, and didn't understand anything.  I remember those days.  Lindo.
Harrison, answer me one thing.  When you get home, will you double your efforts and work with the missionaries!!???  Do it.  And I hope we as a family, can start to share the Gospel.  There is this one bashio aqui in chimbas that is growing like crazy and baptized 9 last month.  Every single one was a reference from a member, and those kind of people stay active in the church, because they have a friend.  So Open Your Mouth.  And Fear Not.  Mom, sacar that fear you have and introduce your friends to the missinoaries.  You will never ever jamás regret sharing the gospel.  It is my life.  President Avila also talked a lot about losing you life in the service.  It was amazing!  I can't even communicate a portion of it with you all.  I am sorry.
I feel like this is such a lame email.  I know that is just devil trying to get me down, so won’t listen.  I hope to just have the best week of my mission this week.  Rivadavia has SO MANY PEOPLE.  And I am amazed because so many people have never even exchanged words with the missionaries.  It amazes me how many people don´t have the truth.  I know that the Lord is preparing people for me to baptize here.  Last night was a testimony of that to me!  I feel I am growing so much and that I just understand las cosas mejor.  I’m not just living on the surface anymore, like a water skeeter (I remember dad always used to point those out).  Instead, I have diven underneath and there is a whole new world down there.  I like to think deep, and try to understand things now.
I don´t know what to say.  Ok I got something.  I’m not the branch piano player anymore.  Kinda a relief, but I miss it.  But I do play for priesthood.  And the ward doesn't have a pianist, per se, sino that a joven plays with the simplified hims.  But that is great!  It’s just weird not having 8 members.  And the capilla is huge!  It’s weird also to see how the members watch us.
Have a good week.  And I’m serious, share the gospel with someone.  And then tell me about it.

I love you family!  And you too Amy, because I know you read this!
Love, Elder Ostler