Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I write unto you yet again that ye may know that I am yet alive. Moroni 9:1

Dear Family:

After all those uneasy feelings about me mother, would it make you happy if I told you I’m walking on sunshine.  
Walking on sunshine.  And it makes me feel good!
Seriously, I’m doing wonderful and had a wonderful week!  A week full of wonders and great adventures and adventures that were great.
Rivadavia has made me a better thinker.  I just think things better now.  And Dad, with respect to your question, yes it’s been a year.  My Spanish is good.  I have come a long way.  LONG WAY.  It’s been a great journey too.  I just can´t even wait for the year to come!  It will be so much better for sure.  I think I’ll take you through my week chronologically.  estamos?¿
We started out Tuesday saliendo with our líder misional, and we found a great family!  Maria and Roberto, an old couple, and their daughter is inactive.  It was a wonderful spirit filled first lesson.  Franciso helped out so much.  Then a few days later, when we went back, we discovered that they kept their commitments and read!  And Maria prayed!  It was a spirit guided lesson, as we followed what we were taught in our district meeting and read the ldm (Amy that means Book of Mormon) juntos con ellos.  The assigned reading we gave them was Mosiah 2, and since they read the folleto, we thought we’d read the book together.  The commitment that I wanted to leave them was to assist on Sunday.  And WOW, as we read Mosiah chapter 2 it was so so so wonderful and tailored to our lesson.  Especially those first 10 verses.  It was amazing watching that lesson unfold.  We were very loving and direct with them, and they mostly committed to come to church.  Argentines are the worst committers, no matter how good you try to follow chapter 10 or 11, shame on me I can’t remember, in pmg.
Then that afternoon we went out with the jovenes del teaches q to visit some of their less actives, and ended up in an amazing teaching situation with an inactive 25 yr old woman and her non member mother who seeming knows the bible well, but really knows nothing at all. After the opening prayer, I didn´t know what to do.  When the spirit told me to have each member present, a recent RM and 3 teachers and us, share their testimony about Christ and obedience.  It was so cool! I’ve never had a lesson with members from 5 different families!! But this old woman, well lets just not talk about her, denying the need for baptism and all.   And the lesson painfully dragged on and on and I needed OUT, because my bus for Mendoza was leaving.
Finally I got us out, hopped on a bus to the pench, hurried and hurried and got on another bus for the terminal.  The bad was that it was Rush hour.  Rush should be capitalized.  And the bus moved so slow.  My Mendoza bus left at 7 and I painfully watched my reloj....
During those minutes I had some funny thoughts goin’ through my head.
Just how God knew were I was and that I NEEdEd on that bus, that He knew I had done all in my power to be on time and that it was a prueba de la paciencia.  So I sat content.  Just nervous and excited for the adventure that lay ahead.
At 7:03 I took my comp and empty suitcase and RAN in the terminal. After dodging an old man swearing at me and telling me he was sick of the Mormons in the terminal all the time, I saw me bus.  It was rolling. The bus driver had put it in drive.  I flailed the arms and - IT STOPPED!!!!  And the chofer opened the door and said,
That’s how important I was, he knew my name!
It’s cause me travel buddy, Elder Ealsy was on the bus waiting for me.  But I’m just so glad I made it.  God provided.
And it was cama, which means we paid extra for a seat that lays out FLAT into a bed.  Too bad it’s made for a 6’0 Argentine and I'm an over six foot gringo.
Being in Mendoza was amazing!  I was with so many great elders, Hyer, Huntington etc.  We did the documents and ate some fiambre, and then I had a great desire to visit the Familia Avila in Sarmeinto.  And I’m good friends with all the office elders, who are now over that area.  So I asked permiso del neuestro presidente.  And he put his arm around me and we talked a minute, and he gave me permiso!  So Elder Hoggard and I jumped on a bus and flew to their house.
Family, it was incredible, the visit that we had.  I could actually talk to them!  And Hermano Avila was amazed at my Spanish.  I taught them from 1 Nephi 8 and reminded them of everything that had happened almost a year ago with Elder Hinojosa and I.  Elder Hoggard was amazing too, just such a fun guy.  The whole fam was there, except 18 year old Franco, who still goes to institute.  But other than that they are inactive, but do have desires to return.  Especially the boys.  All in all, AMAZING.
With that empty suit case I had, I filled it with libros de mormon, and foletos and it was SO HEAVY on the way back.  But I rode cama again,  (so dad pay your tithing, because that bolleto was 30 pesos mas caro) AND - get this.  Usually they play movies on the buses or whatever, but this bus they had music videos form the 70s!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  While I tried not to watch, I could do noting but let that sweet music sing in my ears.  I heard ‘the flame’ by cheap trick and ‘I cant fight this feeling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’  Wow, a dream come true.  And they served me chicken and noodles and pepsi.  And I’m sure some of that music was moving me into the 60s, just so so so old school.
I also bought 60 pesos of things from the offices like triples and laminas and now our pench is decorated so nicely!
O, I forgot to say in Mendoza, the other offices elders picked up Hoggard and I to take me to the terminal, and we got a flat tire!  So we got all dirty fixing it and everything, fun.  I love Elder Ivey and Hoggard and Duran, so much laughs.
Then I did divisiónes with Elder Cornejo and we saw a bunny on divisiónes.  Bunny is conejo in Spanish.  I didn´t leave him alone about that.  What are the chances!  We had an amazing time together. Entering an at first hostile casa at my request for water, even thought it was freezing.  Basically walking into the house to return the vaso, then talking to them about what they were cooking and chau.  The spirit taught an amazing restoration, and one of the daughters, 20 yr old is already investigating.  And she told us after the lesson she had already read and by the power of the Holy Ghost, received a respuesta that the libor de mormon is true!!  So so cool!
That day I was in 6 lessons with members, 4 in my area and 2 in his. That’s a lot of lessons with member!!  And just an amazing cold day. A joven in my ward left my big coat in a house in a barrio peligroso, la bebida.  And so that day with Cornejo, I looked through their pench for whatever was going to keep me warm and put on some world cup sweatshirts etc, but topped it off with the drunk mans sweater.  It was fun.  Then both us and Elder Stout and Molen got vianda fideos with tuco.  O sea, the members both gave us spaghetti in tupperware, so we just happened to get home at the same time and had a great great lunch juntos, so fun.
Thanks for writing me Kevin, I loved it.  Yes, these experiences are priceless and here are some fotos, speaking of memories.

Elder Arrua and Elder Ostler
Probably should not give to much detail on this next part. . .  recent convert family, inactive, but what an experience to help this family. To TRY to get the ward to help us, but wow.  Ugh, I just couldn´t not do it so I bought them some food too, which totally goes against pmg ch9, but what are you going to do.  Also probably against the rules was letting a porteñio drug addict into the pench.  But we’ll talk about that later.
What was a MIRACLE was that the father of this family came to church!!!! for the 2nd time after his baptism, wow.  But it was so sad to see the members not really reach out to him.
We were with Hermano Q.  This guy is just a loaded cannon.  I love him so much.  A 30 year old nut who loves la obra del Señor.  We talk about so much stuff you have no idea.  I really want to help this ward out.
Sundays are kind of hard.  You go and it looks great for 3 hours.  But then for the next 7 days, nothing happens.  Ok, things happen, and a lot of good people and good things, but if the head doesn’t work, the body don´t have a great chance.  So I hope to inspire and animar these member and leaders and get us HUMMIN!
When I got here I thought it was wonderful, but now I have seen a little deeper and realized that all is NOT well.  I know I can make a difference.
I hope I have not said to much or spoken bad of others.  But I will call a spade a spade.
I love you family and love working here in Argentina.
Then with Hermano Q. he took us to 2 other inactive members and we had 2 wonderful teaching opportunities, and the next day was Sunday, and we had 3, 9 year old miracles show up to church.  Ignacio, Benjamin and Juan Nunez.  All want to be baptized.  I sat next to Juan and he showed me the articles of faith he is memorizing.  They are all such sweet spirits, and all have a parent that is active and strong.  I know that the Lord has blessed me with them, and I thank Him.
Then after church I helped with the choir, and it was fun, both playing piano and singing.  Great youth.  I love them and they love me.  And they discovered I TAP and that it’s cool, so they are constantly nagging me and pleading with me to tap.  So if you could overnight some tap shoes here, that’d be fun.  But no, I’m not here to tap, I’m here to preach.
I think every day I dar cueanta nuevamenta who I am and what I am doing here.  It is truly amazing.
A missionary.
A servant of God.
Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
So cool and it amazes me EVERY DAY!
That Sunday night, a great joven requested to salir con nosotros.  I didn´t really know where to go, felt good about a barrio and went.  And this 16 yr old capo was with us, German.  After rejection at almost 40 doors, I counted, one let us in.  And for some reason after getting nowhere with lesson 3, I pulled out a palabra de sabidrua folleto and what happened was marvelous!  We taught the word or wisdom, which is just what the 25 year old daughter needed.  And then German so wonderfully tied that in with the restoration and taught them that.  Then I introduced the libro de mormon and wow, just a wonderful miracle God gave us.  The daughters name is Antonella and she has potential.  Before going to that barrio, I hoped for and expected a miracle, and it happened.  I love learning and experiencing faith.
But what was really amazing was la conferencia de zona que tuvimos ayer.  That’s why you are getting this on a martes, because we had zone conference for 10 hours yesterday!  But it was so good.  My 6 week mail drought ended and I received from Elder Moon, my hijo, my ipod cord transformer.  So my month music drought has also ended.  But they didn´t give us a sink, so we still wash dishes in the shower. Really no fun.
But zone conference was amazing, inspiring.  I gave a short talk on obedience and afterwards, a sweet elder came up to me and told me I should be a motivational speaker.  That made me feel way good. Presidente Avila was amazing.  An inspired man called of God.  And Hermana Packer, a matrimonio couple in the mission gave a great talk on the word of wisdom, and how us as missionaries really aren´t living the word of wisdom.  We just focus on the don’ts, cause that’s all we teach.  It was great, and I have the goal to improve.
The animo I received form the conference was amazing.  I was just contagious with animo yesterday.  Also, seeing friends was incredible! I realize I have so many friends in the mission.  And I got an amazing carta from Lea Maures.  Words can’t explain.
And all your letters!!  2 packages.  One with shorts and a hoodie thing, and the other with smores.  Thanks so much mom and helpers!!!!!  And a fastbreak, O yeah.  Haven't eaten a thing yet.  But I read some savory letters.  Grammie, thank you.  You write me so much.  I know you love me and I love you too.  And the closest temple right now is in Chile.  It’s an 8ish hour trip for the members by bus, and almost no one has cars.  Ok, some do..  but the Buenas Aries temple is closed. But there might be a temple soon in Mendoza.. cool.  I hope your knee gets better.
And Amy.  Loved the pics of your house.  It looks amazing!  You picked a good one.  I’m talking about Cody.  He’s just a worker!  Hi Chase!
And Grandpa, I loved what you said about that stake conference and visiting less actives.  And also about the family Gross.  Dang!
I realized that my baptismal comments the last couple weeks have been immature.  But I’ve matured.  My comps doing ehhh, por ahi, alright.  He’s just struggling with something and not talking about it.  It’s just that second transfer struggle.  And recently we have not been on the same page and it’s been hard.  I try to help him, serve him, and be his friend, but sometimes it doesn´t work, and occasionally we just end up mad at each other.  Ughh.  But we are working through it, and I am seeing much improvement.  Today started out very good.  He’s struggling and I don´t think he really knows what he’s struggling with. He just is getting fat and eating facturas all the time.  The panaderia abajo does kill me sometimes, but I’m controlling myself.
And before I forget, wow Paola.  Way to go.  Marrying a gringo.  Well you’re pretty much a gringa, so that’s awesome.  I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!!!!!!!!!!  You are so wonderful.  And Chelsea getting married to Fernandez!  I remember I took her on a date once.
O, so still wondering about that drug addict.  Well last night we met this totally normal looking guy outside the pench.  I opened the mouth with him, he’s a haircutter, and my comp needed a hair cut.  So after the open the mouth he gave my comp a hair cut.  I don´t think there is a rule, hmmm maybe there is about other people in the pench.  Ok, there probably is.  But I was not going to fight this one with my companion, but all in all it turned out into a crazy experience, because this guy, Vicor was totally high and smelled like marijuana and other crappy San Juan drugs and had tattoos and the whole deal.  But a totally chill dude.  After 2 minutes I started teaching him the gospel.  I taught him the word of wisdom, the restoration, and about baptism. He was so funny, and it was so cool.  I gave him a Book of Mormon as he left, and put a fecha with him.  Hey! if someone comes in my pench on a lunes por la noche, I’m going to teach and put a fecha!  It was totally cool.  He’s the type that calls God the chabon arriba.  I’m going to call him in a few and see if he’s read.

My comp getting a haircut from the drug addict
Well, it’s been a good week and a long email.  There is no written time limit in the white hand book and neither for this mission.  A lot of people say it’s an hour.  But that’s just what they say and yesterday with President Avila, he talked about emailing and didn´t say a word about a time limit.  I love emailing you all and am so glad I can sit here for an hour and a half and tell you all what is going on and include many detail.
I hope you know there are many teaching experiences and such that I have no time to record.  I try to write some of them in my journal.
Have a great week.  Cool you’re in the mountains.
O yeah, it snowed!!!  We had a white Sunday, but I’m staying warm don´t worry.
Love, Elder Ostler