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