Monday, February 27, 2012

I feel like I'm walking on clouds

Why Hello Everybody!!  I have no time bytheway, and I am sweating so bad.  It is so hot in this ciber"!" dripping would be a good word, and I’m in my missionary gear and all!
To tell you the truth, February was a hard month.  I did not enjoy myself, even living just about 100 percent obedient.  While I did fun things, I did not have fun.
I have been thinking so much lately, what in the world is wrong!!! Things will be a lot better!  Mom you know that quote you spent me about obedience a long time ago.  About obedience is soo important, until you start thinking or worrying about it.  It was more flowery than that.  But that is what happened.   There was no love or friendship, in general, in our companionship.  I am so thankful he talked to me about it.  The mission is my catalyst.
SO MUCH GOING ON. I will give you as many experiences as I can.
Walking near the pench one morning i felt to knock a door.  2 nice old ladies let us in.  We sang and did how to begin teaching and invited them to church.  Then thought nothing of it.  Sunday comes around and one of them shows up and stays all 3 hours and loves it! Brought her bible and all, and the ward was super warm and loving with her.  Miracle.
R** R** - the Grandma of some kids in the ward, one on a mission.  We have taught her 3 times, committed her to baptism, and she came to church too!!  
The other 2 we had last week didn't come this week . . .
O** - during one hot and lonely siesta I clapped his house, and he let us in.  18 years old, very in the world but super humble and willing to learn.  I have hope for him.  We have had 2 lessons.  A great kid.
We found a family!!! la familia!  They were a ref from member.  Their littlest son has a tumor and the everyone wants to rely and put their faith in God.  They are so ready for the Gospel!! We gave the son L** (5) a blessing and the spirit was so strong.  They committed to baptism, but just 2 days ago we found out that the family doesn't live in that house, they don't  live in our area.  Darn.  
I opened the mouth with a mostly deaf guy.  Old grandpa, lots of struggle and unhappiness in his life, no medical workds, and he can’t hear.  We went by a second time with a joven, 19 years old.  He assisted me in giving his first blessing ever.  We laid our hands on his head and blessed him that he would be healed.  I love him so much and Hope so much he hears and comes to church. We have had 2 lessons with him.
S** (a ref from an awesome member family received during lunch).  The best lesson ever we had with her!!  Me and my comp taught so well, and this woman is READY!  We applied the restoration to her life and taught every principle, alternating giving brief portions of the lesson.  Super powerful.  
2 p days ago we did divisiones with 2 brothers.  We had a powerful night, preaching and testifying of Christ.  After one lesson with a husband who is not a member, but he wife is a RC, L** says to me, I feel like I’m walking on clouds.  
Working with las Hermanas, Hna Thatcher (tall) and Call.  We had 4 lessons with them this week.  We made the effort to work with them, and it was excellent!  We taught the COOLEST Couple.  I wish I could tell you the hole story, but o my gosh.  We had a lesson with us 4 missionaries (they live 2 blocks outside our area, in the hermanas area) and it was powerful.  In english.  We always have to teach about baptism in each lesson and at the end no one had said anything about it.  So it was my time and BOOM I got bold and it was wonderful.  She asked, can you get baptized at 30?  So super cool.
Mom I went to a professional mens volley ball game.  INCREDIBLE!!! One of the guys was black and 6’ 11”.  Imagine that. We were super lucky to go.
We went back to pocito, but this time to do an interview. It was for a lady I had taught there. I interviewed her for baptism and had a sacred experience.  We got on our knees and she asked God if the Book of Mormon was true and if Joseph Smith was a a prophet.  For 10 minutes she was on her knees, on her hard cement floor.  At last she spoke and bore testimony, just as Lamoni did, that indeed a fire burned with in her chest and she knew the Book of Mormon was true and Joseph was a profet.
She has been on and off with the missionaries for 4 years.  She now has a seed of a testimony.

Sign me up for BYU classes, New Testament, Spanish, yeah, those 2.  And business something sweet.
The San Juan Sky is incredible.
Being a zone leader is stretching me in helping other missionaries.
Mom I talk to people almost every time I get on a bus (which is often) daily.  I think of you EVERY TIME.  Last night, I talked to every person on that bus, and the driver.  There were like 7.  A super cool experience.  I was scared and doubting at first.  But I thought of the quote.  When you do the thing you fear, the death of fear is certain.  It’s true.  I love proclaiming the restoration and the name of Christ.
 Divisions with Elder Dyer

 A SUPER good lunch on intercambios with Elder Marin
And that other pic is a SWEET service project we did with some ward families.  I’m with the bishop.  We mixed 30 bags of cement and bucketed it up to put on the roof above the 2nd floor.  5 hours.  So much fun. O, so much real work!  I was on the first floor receiving the buckets and handing them to the guy on the roof.  My shoulders died.

I’m done being discouraged.  February was tough.  And on top of that we didn't baptize.  But things will be so much better now that my comp and I are friends.  After all those cool experiences, I was still discouraged..  crazy!
Right now I’m in Mendoza.  We had p day here with all the 25 zone leaders.  I played the best soccer I’ve ever played in my life. Absolutely incredible.   Now I go work with Elder Huntington!!!  And sleep in his pench with Elder Arrua. We have consejo de lideres tomorrow.  Psyched.

Elder Ostler

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I choose to teach the Gospel

Hello Family!
There are somanythingsicouldsayin this email.  Most important things first.
This week the Lord gave us 4 prepared people, super cool experiences with all of them.  The work of God is moving forward in our area.  Last night we had 2 lessons with our 2 progressing investigators (the 2 that came to church on Sunday!) and an esposo gave us permision to baptize his wife.  So good things are happening.
I am printing all your mails out and reading them on the bus to district meeting.  Some interesting things happened yesterday, (like p day almost went long, and so at 6 I still hadn’t done ciber) making me choose between teaching 2 progressing investigators (different families) or writing you.  I choose to teach the Gospel.
Over 3 weeks ago I sent a letter home.  Actually there were like 5 letters in one envelope. Updates on that?
How is Harrison's leg doing? I thought about that like 3 times this week. O it’s probably answered in the email you sent.
Last week was amazing, but definitely with its tough points.  I will give you a letter of experiences next week.
DANG, I just read about the $$ thing.  Those are some intense options.  It would obviously be best through the Elder Moon opt, so hopefully he will call me soon.  Thanks for doing all of that mother.

In the last 5 weeks I have preached in 6 different Argentine cities.
Well, I love you, all of you.  Have a wonderful week, and expect a good email next week.  CHAU!
Elder Ostler

Monday, February 13, 2012

This has officially changed my life

Hello and Buen Dia Familia!!!
Beginning with some fotos!!! It’s been a while I know.

Taken just after arriving to the pench for the first time

 Intercambios esta semana con Elder Ashby in Pocito
Uspallata, eating kinda Mexican food with Elder Cisneros

Uspallata, knocking doors

With the Elderes Caro y Myers in Malargue
First I’m doing great, and even better after reading the goodness you sent me, Bensons first talk, and my favorite part were these 3 words, Wilson Sings Soprano.  That killed me dad!! Good on ya Wilson!  
Also, good noticias from Sayd the Layd.  
Hey boys, I bet I can still beat you at ping pong when I come home! Also good to hear about the missionaries living at home.  And sweet about Hermano Garland.  I’m psyched.  
Zone Leader **  Its a lot of responsibility, but it is good for me. Always with many things to do, and many small problems to solve and sort through.
This week Elder Lounsberry asked us for our retention report.  It was a probably a 4 hour process in total.  When you have 273 names to verify, it’s a lot of work.
We also did intercambios this week with the Elders in Pocito.  It’s 40 minutes away on a bus, and I went out there with Elder Ashby.  As secretary, I received him as a new missionary - it was a cool 48 hour exchange, good was done, and progress was made.  The branch in pocito is really small.   Without the missionaries the church would die. There is just very little priesthood.  While there we did a noche de hogar with a family, and with Elder Ashby we made them tacos!  It was a real fun and special experience.  I used taco seasoning you sent, thanks!  It is a beautiful area, and was a great time to talk about life and exchange ideas on many subjects with Elder Ashby, more of a quite reserved guy.
Something that has been weighing on my mind a lot lately is having a fruitful area.  I have been going to sleep pretty fast at night because we are working hard, and doing many things write.  But even after a full week of work, we don’t have many good investigators/families.  I want so bad to have success in my area, and right now I am exercising the virtue of patience, as I diligently work for that.  I am still finding my place in the ward, and still finding friends.  It is a very different missionary experience.
I am not the backbone of the church/ward, like I am used to being.  So that is a change.  It is a good barrio, the bishop has very high expectations of us.  OO family I don’t know how to express all of these things to you in so short of time.  There is one member who is an RM hace 2 anos atras, who is just incredible.  We met with him last night, and what an incredible example of living up to your priesthood potential.  He is on top of it, and magnifies his calling.  
We are focusing a lot on working with Recent Converts to reactivate them AND to use them as the source for finding quality people to baptize.

We have excellent plans for this week, things will change.
Elder Frost got the cell fone stollen from (left it at a ciber) so that was a fun opportunity to exersize patience and just smile.  At expense of other elders not even in our zone, we have a fone.  I think it was made in the 70s, seriously.  You would laugh.
With Elder Frost it is good, we are learning to work well with each other.  I push him a little bit, but he has good desires and works good. He is also a BYU alum and is a great singer.  More barbershop style tenor, I love it.  Last night as we tired to sleep we sang songs and talked about BYU, super fun.
We live in a small apartment complex and we have  a new neighbor. She is 28, and is a bilingual secretary for a mining company.  She is super energetic and loves talking to us.  The thing is usually at 9:30 after a long hard day we don’t want to say more than whats up, especially knowing that we need to verify with our 3 districts, pray, plan, put something edible down, and write in journal (which I’m sill doing good at DAD!).  But one night we taught her the Restoration, just standing outside, it was sweet.
Spanish tip:  Asistir does not mean to assist and atender does not mean to attend.  And this week, after over a year and a half in ARG I realized that the word face and expensive is the exact same word in spanish!  que locura. 
I had the BEST morning today.  Cleaning a lot, studying, and doing language study, it was GREAT:  but right now I’m just not feeling it.
I love a script in D&C 58:27
Explore the Gospel, it is so amplio!  We can all do simple things to enhance our lives, like listen to general conference talks when our ears are not occupied (Elder Frost and I have been doing that and it is great!)
Also, I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness, finding joy everyday. There is a wonderful analogy by Uchtodorf in a conference session just for girls about Willy Wonka - the Golden Ticket.  Sometimes we are so focused on finding the Golden Ticket that we forget why we bought the candy in the first place, because the chocolate is so delicious.   Love it.
I look for happiness.  In this transitional state, like I said, I’m still trying to find my place (especially in the ward).  Sometimes I am down or sad but I learned this morning that long suffering is a manifestation of the spirit (gal 5 22) so cool.
So I keep my head up, and keep walking forward.  Keep my focus, and not think overly about home.  Just keep being constant, I know I am learning SO MUCH.  This has officially changed my life.  Now, I just need to finish.  The constant diligent effort of working, even when I’m tired.

I do this for the Atonement of Christ.  I do this for these people, and for that family, for those who are waiting for the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. those who have not the truth, only because they know not where to find it.  

Family, we have the Truth.  While teaching our neighbor the restoration,  . . .  I was surely convinced . . OOO there is just no way this is false.  It is so true.  It all makes sense.  And more importantly, the spirit makes me know every single day that this is the only true and living church, La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días.  
I love representing it
I love representing HIM.
Love Always, Elder Ostler

Harp the boys on piano.  Have dad play it too, he’s so good at it, I admire that man SO MUCH.  Not many days go by out here that I don’t think about him.  Such a capo.  I listen to firm handed talks form GC Priesthood sesh and think of him.  You married a pretty sweet dude mom.  I love you dad! 
Remember to always Abrir tu Boca!  and share this wonderful message of families and joy with others.  I mean why not?  I’m going to keep dong it when I get home.  It’s the only logical thing to do.  See ya

Monday, February 6, 2012

I am the oldest one in the zone!

well well well
I just chatted with Amanda!!! How cool is that. 

It was a great email you sent me by the way.  It was one of those where my face kept getting closer to the screen.  That hasn’t happened in a long time!  But I’ve really been looking forward to this, its been awhile.
The next best 2 paragraphs were about Harrison, and then about Dad and Zeezrom.  So Cool!  And so sweet that Harrison is an awesome kid, and that the ladies love him.  That always makes life fun!
So going to my note card . .
The Packers (senior couple) when home, I got really close to them in the offices, and it was my last time in the airport.  But at the start of the year our mission received a new couple, the Ence.  So awesome.  I was with them for 3 weeks.  Except I was in Mal and Usp.  The last week in the offices was hard.  I was just like a floater.  I didn’t travel til after consejo de liderazgo which was on Jueves.
Speaking of Consejo, it was INCREDIBLE.  President Avila is changing the mission SO MUCH!  I haven’t really told you about them . . .  but I’m sure I will.  Mostly it’s 555, recent converts, getting manso referencias from those 2 groups, and then BAPTIZING.
Also, we don't do language study in the siesta.  We follow the manual misional and PME, and right after lunch at 2:30, we hit the streets!  And District meetings are no longer on Monday evening.
So where am I?  Hmm where could I be.  Where is Elder Ostler? 

Well, I’ll tell you this much, I am a zone leader.  I am in SAN JUAN!  Que tal eh? 
There are 2 zonas in San Juan.  Chimbas and San Juan.  Next door neighbors we are. 
My area is called Libertador and my companions name is Elder Frost, from Texas.  He has 2 less than me, and only 6 weeks in the area.
You know what I just realized, I’m the oldest one in the zone.  That’s nuts.  We have 9 compañerisoms, 8 of Elders and a pair of Hermanas.  It’s my fist time being leadership over Sisters. I’m excited to treat them right, just like I would my own Sister Ostler.  They are the only sisters in San Juan, and one of them is the best missionary in the mission.
San Juan is HOT:  it’s playing in and around the 100 mark.  I have never dranken more water in my life.  On Saturday during the siesta I just looked for sings of life in the houses to ask for water.  I think in an hour I got water from 3 different houses.
We live in a 2 man pench with Elder Frost, and its pretty nice.  We cleaned it up good, it still lacks a little bit.  I organized the dishes this morning.
When Amanda just emailed me back she send me priceless words, words of advice of being a zone leader.
I’ve never been a real zone leader before.  My comp is also a zone leader, which is super nice.  One day I spent all day worrying about the #s and the monthly baptismal goal and all the problems in the zone and problems with the Elders la la la la la la and it was just no good.  And on top of that, the stake is reorganizing many of the ward boundaries, which affects our missionaries . . .  and right now there are 2 floating missionaries with out an area, get it?  But I need not worry about that!  It will get me no where!  Ahh, what Amanda said was so valious I’m going to show you it.
“Being with Sister Fossett is awesome!  I love it!  And advice for you as a zl.. DON'T FOCUS ON NUMBERS!  FOCUS ON YOUR MISSIONARIES AND THEIR NEEDS.  Even if they are doing bad, focus on what they're doing good, and help them improve in a loving way.  We've had some problems here with that.  That's one of the things that had me stressing and worrying.  Have a great week!  Love you!”

She is such a cappa.  I’m going to do just that.  And I don’t even need worry about the numbers, because yesterday San Juan zone had 4 confirmations.
I’m more focused on success in my area.  Nobody was baptized last transfer, and most of the people baptized in the last 2 years are inactive.
I know there are people though. This is my last area, and I’m going to continue doing things right.  However, I need to intensify my prayers and intensify the search and work.  No stone unturned, right mom?  I know my area is a gold mine.  At least a gold mine of spiritual experiences.  I want to look back on this area Libertador and think those 2 words, Spiritual experiences.  And one more word.  FUN:  Tell Amanda I love her letters, I read just a smidge about them sitting in the car to descansar and how she was focused on enjoying her time, having fun.
I am going to pray, look, and work for miracles.  Spiritual experiences. 
We have one good person:  N**.  She is a mother they have been teaching quite a bit.  On Saturday we passed by and she accepted a fecha for the 18th.  She is so cool!  She is so excited about the Gospel and loves it!  So thats awesome!
Since I got to the area on Thursday night (2 hour bus ride from la capital) I have only had 3 days to work in the area.  And half of one was spent unpacking and cleaning.  But in those 3 days I have started some manso trust gaining with the members.  Its just great.  With my personality, it usually goes quite well.  (O this one time during lunch I asked if the baby was the mothers grandkid!  I don’t think she like that, but I saved my self later and at the end stood up and started washing the dishes before the wife took the sponge out of my hand.  Then at the end of the visit, the mom made some fun comment about how we were going to be friends etc.)
The ward is awesome!  With asistencia por medio of 100, I mean come on!  It’s great!  I have met 2 hermans in the presidencia de la sociedad de socorro and they are excellent!  I’m excited to coordinar nuestors labores con los suyos and work together!
I just want to tell you about all the cool people I’ve met here.  We’ve already went out with a kid about to go on a missino.  He is so awesome.
On Sunday we had an asado with a family who always feeds the missionaries and the mother taught me a wonderful lesson, about having fun experiences, and not worry so much about the 100 percent obedience if you aren’t having any fun.  I really needed that.  Then with that fresh in mind, as we were walking out of church, we met a senior couple with placs on!  They are from San Juan and are family history missionaries.  We meet in the stake center, and that is where the family history center is.  Anyway, it was an amazing experience we had.  We sat down and talked for almost 20 minutes.  By the end the woman was crying and the spirit was so strong.  It was nothing spectacular, just a cool spiritual experience that makes it easier to find joy in the journey.  They are the familia Tejeda.  He is an x stake president.  They told me about their mission.
Mine is to preach and teach to living people, but Elder Tejeda said that theirs is to take the Gospel to the dead.  And how equally important both missions are.  The lesson really hit me.  I told them about Saydi, and her past calling of family history coordinator.  en fin, it was a super cool experience.  I have ganas to do family history work after the mission.

Elder Tejada you could tell knew a ton.  Just a super smart man.  He said the phrase the spirit of Elija like 5 times and I loved it.  Together I presented an idea of how we can help get the members more interesting and doing their family history - so the center is not so deserted like it has been.
Well, we better be off!  We played soccer this morning, it was super hot, super sweaty, and I did amazing.  Tell this to Ben.  I had no technical skill or ball handling, but I got in there and got the job done.  My ability to trap the ball coming in off a lob or high kick was incredible.  Our team owned.
I love you family and am thankful for all you do and every prayer you utter. 
I will succeed in these last 4 months of my mission.  And I owe it all to 2 people called Merlin and Delene.  I love you parents!
Love your son, Elder Ostler