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.