Monday, September 5, 2011

Can You Look At The Andes And Deny There Is A God?

What’s up!
Hey all, I’m doing so good.  This probably be a choppy email too, in between the haircut Sister Packer, the mission nurse, will be giving me and also because at 3 some Elders named Hyer and Esplin are coming to play futbol!!
Right now I am on such a runners high! This morning I did about 3.5K. Then the p day didn’t go as planned, and I found myself in a pench with Elder Boisados, and 4 assistants all of whom. . . 
(5 minutes later.  President walked in and we had to make some arrangements.  And I told him about Elder Cisneros!  He liked that) (op just came in again)
were jazzed to do a 5K.  Hmm something tells me that you can’t just stay in the pench solo...  so off we went.  I ran a lot to day, and I feel really good.  My 5K time was 23:32.  It was absolutely gorgeous, this one point I got the sweetest view of the Andes, and then just trying to be seen was a snow capped peak just behind.  Add that to the grass and tree feeled view, and it was wonderful.  And futbol is about to go down, with the best ballers in the mission.  I’m not included in that.
So wow, Elders in the home.  I’m really excited for you.  Don´t spoil them too much, make them work.  And hold them to high standards. Mostly I speak of cleanliness.  Send the love from Argentina.  Tell them to baptize!
If only it were that easy.
So about Elder Cisneros, I almost told you last week about him, but it slipped my mind.  His name is actually written on the white board in front of me.  2 weeks ago I received a change of assignment email for him and others.  I looked and saw he was going to misión Mexico este.  And I jumped.  I immediately thought of my boy Braden and knew, that as an AP, he would be receiving him.  But how about that. They were together for awhile!  I’m going to ask him all about that crazy Mexican Elder Nelson when he gets here.  Actually that’s one of the things President just asked me.  I need to call a Rep in Buenos Aries, because they are not responding to my email about the 2 Mexicanos we are receiving tomorrow.  Elder Cisneros being one of them.  But we kinda need to know when to pick them up!
This week was a great week.  Let’s get some ALB stories.  I hope all these letters don’t bore you.
Grandpa ALB.  Last Sunday I was in a bus, and now all the time I talk with people on the bus and etc.  So I sit down to this lady on the bus. And she tells me that she used to be a member.  When people tell you that, that just means, yeah I got baptized, but now I don’t want anything to do with the Church.  Well it turned into a nice conversation.
She actually doesn’t believe in God.  She told me that when I have 50 years, I also won’t believe in God.  I pulled out my funda of fotos and showed her the one of me and Grandpa Skinner.  I told her about him. A farmer.  And a solid Grandpa. It was a perfect example, because this woman was a little older, and well, Grandpa is a littler older. Maybe even a little older than 50.  I told her that there are not many men with tanto fe en Dios.  I tried to teach her about using our trials and learning from them, rather than having them drive us away from Dios.  It was great to use Grandpa as an example.
99 años.  Yesterday, coming home form church, I stood up and started up a conversation with an older man.  On the misiòn one meets many a crazy people, and this guy was one of them.  He told me that he was 99!  And that he was born in 1937.  Not really sure how that works.  I had some fun and told him that couldn’t be true.  So he settled on being 94.  I didn´t have a calculator at the time, but I’m pretty sure he’s not 94 either.
Idolatry.  Yesterday, waiting for the bus I approached a woman and talked with her.  As I introduced myself as a missionary of Jesucristo, she said AMEN, automatically telling me she’s evangelical.  There are many of them.  After a minute I pulled out a card with a picture of Jesus and the ninos, and the articulos de fe on the back.  And she was appalled, calling me an idolater for having an image of Jesus. uhhhhhh
2 pesos ALB.  This one made me remember Elder Wetzel.  In Estanzuela we were waiting a bus solo. Then this man walks across the street and starts waiting for the bus with us.  In the 10 steps it took me to get to him, I looked down and saw an old worn out 2 peso bill on the ground!  The guy didn´t want to know anything, but it was a sweet ALB.
Alright those were fun.  Elder Ivie came in, and we had a good laugh about Elder Cisneros.
So my last week in Rivadavia, we had a really cool experience.  My comp wanted to stay in the pench.  But we went out, and found the father of Sister Avila!!! It was the most legit thing ever.  You can imagine that this man has already been very involved in the church. Your daughter marries a sesenta.  Your grandson is on a misión.  But he never baptized.  It was legit.  I left him with a furete compromiso, then I got transferred.
I have a fun relationship with Sister Avila.  One of my first days here we were doing some tramites with Elder Ivie, and needed some Argentine testigos.  So we asked her.  She was hesitant, but she handed over her DNI, of all of her documents, as we stayed up till midnight readying everything.  The next day when I see her, I decided to get a laugh.  So I tell her, you know what, Hermana Avila, someone broke in the offices last night and stole your DNI.  And she believed me!  OHH when she found out I was kidding, she about had my head.
So now we have a very fun and joke filled relationship.  But I have gained her trust too.  For example, when a hermana sister missionary called her the other day with some health problems, a latina, Hermana Avila sent me in with the nurse and this latina to translate.  It is really cool being with the Avilas.  Great people.  This Latina is named Hermana Zepeda.  A Honduran.  She did reposo here in the offices a couple days because of an injury, and stayed with Hermana Packer. And I tell you this because when it was time to leave the offices and move camp to Sister Packers house (100 meters down the street) I had the bright idea to put Hermana Zepeda in an office chair and wheel her home, because her ankle was killing her.  And she got an xray.  I don’t know if that really makes sense, but I did it twice and it was really fun.  I make race car sounds as we went.
This week was consejo for all the leaders and trainers, so there were just a ton of Elders here this week.  I got free lunch twice.  And once was pastel de papa con canela y azucar!  So good.  And it was a treat eating lunch yet again sitting next to Elder Allen and Huntington.  Such great fellows.
I wondered during that lunch, looking off into the 70 plus missionaries, why me?  Why out of all of theses missionaries, God chose me?  What are the chances?  But I am grateful for my position in the misión and the work I do, learning a lot of cool things.  And DRIVING!
I drove to the farmacy and other places with President in the passenger seat.  And 3 missionaries in the back.  I was nervous!  But I passed, and now I’m an addition to the team of illegal drivers this misión has, until we can get our licenses.  I think they are in the processing stage right now.
This one time, when I was taking some other knee hurting elders to the doctor, a roundabout and 2 different streets all fed into one street. And it was in downtown Mendoza.  I don’t know how I survived. There are no laws here.
And Argentines can’t drive.   
I cleaned the iron this week.
So Estefania came to church!  It was a miracle.  She only stayed for an hour, and set next to a YM.  I made her an Alma 36 homework sheet.  I hope she is doing it!  Then after we got Estefania to church, we went on another adventure and I pushed Rosa in a wheelchair to church.  It was sweet!  She’s inactive, and obviously has many health problems.  As we were leaving, none of her family, all inactives, were accepting our invites to come to church, until at last we broke the 20 year old, and he came!  France.  I sat with my arm around him during the sacrament meeting.
And we wheeled just in the nick of time for me to, in stride, walk up to the piano and miraculously play the sacrament hymn.  I could hear the heavens singing during the sacrament portion of our meeting.  
The barrio is definitely feeling the animo.  A member asked us to participate with them in a noche de hogar they are planning with a RC.  Sweet!  And the priesthood lesson was just exactly what Elder Boisados and I have been preaching to the members.  Do your visits. Love you brother!
Dad, I had a really wonderful opportunity this week to use my priesthood.  We were walking out of a house of a less active, when she called us back and asked for a blessing.  I was not in the best mood, and knew this would be the perfect opportunity to change it.  As my compo annointed, I pleaded for the inspiration necessary and the Spirit.  And it was a Wonderful blessing.  I thought about you Dad.
I loved reading Casey’s and Braden’s emails.  They are wonderful, and inspire me.  What gems of friends I have.  And what a family I have. You are all wonderful.  Thank you for always being there for me.  For your love.  And letters.  And marshmallows.
I got to call some Elders parents this week in the states.  That was fun.
Well, I’m not sure if I’ll get to continue later.  But I love you all.
Go Butler.  Yeah, I edited that letter and sent it to you.  Fun yeah.
The perks.
Elder Ostler
Go Amanda, you train em!
1:13PM:  Just had a great partido...  the Elder Hyer, Elder Esplin combo killed us.  But Elder Lounsberry, the new Historiador, is AMAZING.  Easily the best ever.
So ya there??
Mom:  Yes we are.  Dad is too.
Elder Ostler:  Well let’s do this.  Don’t know how long I’ll have.  What do you want to know?  I want to know how Saydi is.  I’m pretty tired.  Had a pretty action filled day.
Mom:  Dad is sitting here saying, ummmmm.  Saydi is leaving on Friday, she says she is super excited.
You talked about a DNI, you took it from Sister Avila.  What the heck is a DNI?
Elder Ostler:  It’s like a little book that serves as a license.  It’s green.  And super important.  It’s got everything in it.  It’s like taking your license, and a little more.
Hey Elder Olbaldia from PANAMA says saludo.  And every time I see him I always go into the Van Halen chorus
Mom & Dad:  Elder Lounsberry sounds like a great guy.  And what about your actual companion.  Do you guys get along great?  Are you together during the day in the office or just in the evening for tracting?
Elder Ostler:  We see each other often.  His office is a hop and a skip away from mine.  But some times we don’t see each other much in the morning.  But we start the day off running and studying together, and we work in the tarde.  Elder Boisados is great.  He’s a convert, at 22 years old.  His dad’s not a member.  But he’s got a good style.  And I love the maturity he brings to the lessons.  We get along wonderfully. It’s great to have a comp who helps me out.  Even sometimes when I don’t really want it!!  ha.
I really love reading Casey’s and Braden’s letters.  They are wonderful.
Mom & Dad:  So who is going to get the elder from Braden’s mission?  Does President decide that or the AP’s?
Elder Ostler:  President decides.  And it’s perfect because tomorrow we have an elder going home.  And then there is another in a trio.  So these 2 will even us out.
Is everybody doing good back in school.  And honestly, tell me.  Are they practicing piano?
Mom & Dad:  Not practicing as much as they should.  Now that school has started it will be better.  Dad is practicing with Wilson.  I'll lay down the law!!!  They'll be shakin' in their shoes.  And I'm super happy that you're playing in your ward.
Your letters never bore us.  I could read your emails all day long. What is on your schedule for the rest of the day?  The missionaries here just dropped off a bunch of stuff. They're moving in tonight and are soooo excited.  Elder Larkin gets a greenie on Wednesday.  We're trying to think of something to do to him.
Elder Ostler:  We just got word that our 2 Mexicanos are coming Tuesday.
Mom & Dad:  That would be Braden’s comp.  That is going to be so cool.  Make sure you get a picture of you and him together.  What do you want to know?  Anything?
Elder Ostler:  We leave to start working.  And right now I’m here in the office with Elder Ivie, and we are cleaning it!!!  So just shoot questions as you want.  I’m here.
Mom & Dad:  Dad wants to know how many office elders there are and if you have a typical daily routine or is it totally different every day?
Elder Ostler:  Ummm there is NOTHING set in the offices.  Different stuff every day.
I couldn’t even give it a job description.
And there is a pensionista, Boisados
Secretary, me
Finance guy, Kammerman
And historidor, who does stuff for the conferences and a lot with bap registries.  And his gunna be busy because this month we have a goal of 125 baptism.  Yesterday the mission had 195 in church and 95 of them with a fecha.  
And then Elder Ivie and Elder Hoggard are training Me and Elder Lounsberry.  Then at transfer they leave.  And president brings 2 new elders for Elder Kammerman and Elder Boisados to train.  And then on top of us there are 4 Assistants.  
Mom & Dad:  So I take it that it's legal for you to 'chat' with us like this.  Do the other office elders chat with their families too?
Elder Ostler:  I don’t know if they do.  And it’s totally fine.  I just gotta go soon so we can go work!!    Ooo I’m so tired right now and my throat is all throaty.  I played so hard.  I am so dirty right now.  Just gross.  But it feels good.  Dad does your rib hurt?  When are you buying tickets to come here!!!!??¡???¡!
Mom & Dad:  Dad says his rib is getting better.  It hurts when he lifts stuff and does strenuous stuff.  I was thinking about the tickets to come to Argentina but didn't want to mention it to you so I'm glad you did.  How do we plan that out?  And don't feel like you have to hang around for us, leave when you need to. Just tell us you're leaving!
And are you sure you're okay with us coming in June?
Elder Ostler:  O por favor.  Come.  It’s going to be wonderful.  You have to come.  How else are you going to see Justo.  We just talk about it.  I get released supposedly on the 5th of June.  That is going to be that Tuesday morning that I would fly out of Mendoza for Buenos Aries.  I don’t know, I guess we just talk about it.  
Good about the rib.  That’s so crazy how big our house is.  Yesterday Elder Boisados and I taught a lesson sitting on a bed.  This family is really poor, and it was the coolest thing because right as we were there, the bishop came by and dropped off sacks and sacks of food.  So sweet!  And then it broke my heart because they shared it with us!!!  Wow an amazing man.  Hermano Leon.  He came to church and we had a Book of Mormon lesson with the wife.  She’s inactive.  Everything is in one room.  Beds, kitchen and everything they own.
Mom & Dad:  WOW -  very cool story.  And you're not going to get much cleaning done with us asking you questions.  Do you ever hear how Rita and Jorge are doing?
Elder Ostler:  Well I’m ready to go and Elder Boisados is getting ready, so I’m guessing we are leaving soon.  I hope we are leaving soon!  Sometimes it’s hard to leave the offices, because it’s easier to stay here, but it’s so worth it to get out.  The other day some people told us to go help this man.  And I put my arm around his shoulders and we walked him a couple blocks to his dad’s house.  He was blind. And drunk.  And broke.  I tried to teach him.  Jorge and Rita are there. Doing almost.  They are not lost.  But not strong yet either.  I keep writing them.  And the elder in the area, Elder Allred is a Stud.  Just a great elder who is cuidaring them.  Taking care of them.  He gives me updates.  2 weeks ago they passed by and Jorge committed to coming, but didn’t show.  
Mom & Dad:  They'll be back, they know it's true.  They just need a friend and some responsibility.  They need Bishop Robertson!  I keep jumping back and forth between computes here.  I'm helping Jefferson type his homework and I'm 'talking' to you.  They boys are getting ready to head to the rope swing in Benton City.
Oh, I get to talk in sacrament in 2 weeks on prophets.  Any advice?
Did you miss my last question?  I want to know how I go about planning our trip to Argentina?  Do you get your flight from the mission and then we get the same flight, or can we just get your flight?  How long do you want us there?  We're hoping for at least a couple days to tour around your mission, dad said he wants a whole week!  It's pretty much whatever you want.  It's your mission and we don't want to detract from it.  So however you want to end it works for us.  I mostly just need to know how to get the same flight as you.
We'll probably come a week before we see you so we can go do fun, non missionary stuff without you!!!!  Like go to the Andes, all the touristy places!
When they have the consejo for the trainers and leaders do you get to sit in and listen to that?
Elder Ostler:  Here’s what I’m thinking.  I’m not leaving a day early.  So when Elder Allen and Elder Huntington fly home Tuesday morning, that’s when the fun starts.  I will be in my area till Sunday.  Then Monday is interviews, and the final dinner.  Then Tuesday is wake up and see you!!!  I would think it’s best to see you on Tuesday morning. Then we take a week sure that’s great or whatever.  And hey!  I want to go to the Andes too and machu picchu.  I remember you said that before the mission too.  I’m down for whatever.  But I don’t want to see you before June 5.  And I’ll probably have to buy my own ticket home.  I don’t know if the church will do it later, like if we leave the country June 12 instead of 5.  I don´t know.  But I should, because I’m the travel agent of the missino!!! misión.  Sorry.  Gosh.
Mom & Dad:  So June 5 is your release date?  We didn't know and I didn't want to count that out on a calendar because I keep my brain away from such thoughts!!  That sounds great.  We could do whatever you want, but you're still going to be a missionary!!  And I'll ask one more time. Are you sure you're okay with us coming, cause Amanda doesn't want us to and we're okay with that.  It's your mission.  If you want to fly home with Huntington and Allen, just tell us.
Elder Ostler:  I want to fly home with 2 people named Scott and Delene.  I think I’ll still be a missionary and my dream will come true.  That I will finally be full time comps with my dad.  I’ll show you how to open the mouth.
Mom & Dad:  They didn't teach that in Japan.  So let me know when you know, how I make these arrangements.  Cause I can just book your flight with ours, unless they have to do it.  We would totally buy your ticket home.  That's not a problem.  We should do it anyway, that way they can spend that money on someone elses mission.

Elder Ostler:  This is absolutely amazing talking to you.  Wow. Thanks for being the best missionary parents ever.
I’m receiving a lot of mail de Grammie and Grandpa.  They sound GREAT.  How is Grandmi?  She LOVED the date you took her on mom.  And Amy just sings praises to you.  She loves you to.  
Mom & Dad:  We went to Grammie's this week and made salsa and she and Saydi made cinnamon rolls.  It was a great day.  So today is September 5.  Exactly 9 months.  But don't even think about it.  I don't - it makes me crazy.  It doesn't make your dad crazy though.
Elder Ostler:  It doesn’t make me crazy at all.  But wow.   In some ways that is just SO CLOSE:  I CAN’T EVEN Believe it.  Wow.
Dang.  Stop.  Dang.  Dang.  O my gosh.  I’ve got so much left in me. I always try to preform my best, so I can look back and be proud.
And I think all this non baptizing stuff has helped me feel some of the grief that the Savior did.  I poured out my soul to God.  And I know my relationship is strengthened with Him.  I love Him.  He is my God. And he Knows me.  That’s an even crazier thought than the one before. There is a God.  In the Grandpa ALB it was perfect because the Andes came into view and I pointed to them and said,  “Look.  Can you look at the Andes and deny there is a God.”
I can’t believe this will all end some day.
About that last thought.  There is something that I always think about that Amanda said.  How in the mission sometimes the only person we have to talk to is Him.  There is no mom.  No dad.  No best friend.  No fone call.  No facebook.  No outlet if you will.  But you can get on your knees.  And that is what missionaries are forced to do.  Sometimes I am forced to my knees.  Like I don’t want to pray, but I am forced to my knees, because I know that if I don’t, all Hell will break lose.   I absolutely love that about what Amanda said.
Ok I’m going to check on Boisados.
Mom & Dad:  Mom read that last one and looked at me and said, 'wow, what a kid, you type back to that one.’  So we are so proud of you and can't believe you are actually our boy.  Those are very deep thoughts and commitments you have toward God.  Ammon, Alma like. We feel bad you are bummed out about the slow baptism rate.  But as I always say it’s not about the numbers but about the effort and faith. God will take care of the numbers.  You just have to plant the seed.
Elder Ostler:  I am finally realizing that it doesn’t matter what other missionaries think about me.  If I’m the most capo, best spanish, next ap, if I teach good, if I can get a good alb going, it doesn’t matter what they think of me.  Nor the members.  My numbers don’t matter.  What is really important is the relationship I have with my Father in Heaven. It really only matters what He thinks of me.  And I Love Him.  And am here in Mendoza to SERVE HIM.
Ya, yesterday I just saw the hand of God in church.  Everything was so perfect.  Just how everything worked out.  When we rolled Rosa in, I went up to a member and had her come sit by her.  They are neighbors and it worked good.
With the hims, I just kinda go in blind, and have done well.  Alright, I’ll tell you the truth, I’ve got pretty lucky with the ward choosing hims I know.  I try to get them to give me a heads up, but well, we’re in Argentina.  Things don’t always work like that.
Mom & Dad:  Loved the testimony.  Do you ever remember me saying that to you kids?  It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about you. It only matters what Heavenly Father thinks.
Elder Ostler:  We have celestial cereal.  It is a big bag of grains and raisins and just so much good healthy grains that we eat for breakfast. A big bag is really expensive.  30 pesos.  And Sister Packer buys it from a costco type store and then we all buy it from her.  It’s so good.  But I’ve really been into fruit smoothies lately, seeing as we have a blender.
Mom & Dad:  Is it possible for you to upload photos to the costco or snapfish website?  And why did you have to call parents in the states?
Elder Ostler:  Ahh office clean.
Lots of love, Elder Ostler
We are leaving.
I love you°!!  Send it to the boys too.