Monday, April 20, 2015

Mawege, Mawege is whah bwings us togeda today....


First of all... there was no foto.... But I can just see Jackson all suited up with ..... I have no idea.. that guy is too random for me…… Didn´t you guys just get back from Hawaii, and now it is off to Mexico? Is the whole clan going? Jefferson Benson and Wilson?

Happy Birthday Mom!!! Well tomorrow that is!  Dad, I know your Birthday is coming up to. I know that is is April 25-29 but I don´t remember exactly what day..... sorry.  But Happy Birthday to you anyway! You guys are old..... awesome!!

Well this week we got to work in our area!!! First time in about 3 weeks!  We have a few pesquisadores mas não são muitos. We found 7 families though. That is pretty good for 4 days of work.... the standard of excellence is 15 families found a week... like I´ve mentioned the focus of the missino has been switched to families.

We were also able too do division this week with a dupla of zls. I went to their area with Elder Brock. He goes home this transfer. He is from North Carolina and is a Duke fan!!! He told me that Duke won the NCAA championship...... but he wasn´t sure... who did win?  The division was great... I felt like I learned more with him than I taught him.  It was really great.  He is an exercise freak! He has elastic bands, a dumbell, 2 mats.  We did chest and back.....this was on Saturday morning and let me tell you... I´m still sore! I´m a little on the week side.  I need to get back in my puch up routine.. all of the traveling threw me off.  

Last night we had a marriage!!!!!!!!! When the sisters were still in this area they found a couple and sent in their papers to get married.  They came back in January when Elder Thompson became my comp.  The man drinks a coffee and doesn´t want to stop.  He also doesn´t believe that the Church is the only true church.  We were also putting the marriage off because they weren´t ready for baptism and because we were traveling and just didn´t have time... Well we found out the certificate for marriage expires on the 22 so we had to do it quick... they didn´t want anything big so we just asked an Irmã da ala para fazer um bolo.  It just so happened that all of the Leaders from outside of Manaus came into MaNAUS last night (mission counsel is tomorrow).  They had practice a musical number to sing tomorrow so they all sang at the wedding! The song was A Famílias é Dom de Deus... It was so great!! The 2 witnesses were non members.  The spirit was there and there is no way they didn´t feel it. It was a great wedding.  Now we just got to work with them a little more so they can be baptized.

We have a goal to do a division with every dupla of LZ in Manaus (9 duplas) we already did one and we only have 4 weeks till the end of the transfer..... so we have to do two a week.... it will be difficult with planning and everything but I think it will be worth it! I´m excited!

This morning we played basketball with the ZLs from outside of Manaus.... it was pretty fun, I´ll attach some pictures.

I got a little burned out there in the sun . . .  It was hot

Well that was my week. Also I have to finish my training for the counsel tomorrow.  The whole thing is going to be on Faith!  President Castro says that that is what the mission falts... and he is right.. Faith to plan, faith to work, faith to baptize and faith to obey.  We had all of the missionaries study about fé this week in preparation for the meeting... I´m nervous but more prepared than I was last time :)

Love you al!l!  Have Fun in Mexico!

Elder Ostler
The prettiest skies I've seen in my life have ALL been
in Brasil without exception!
We passed by the stadium… that is the grass of the field

Monday, April 13, 2015

Traveling around the Amazon

April 9, 2015

WHAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I could demonstrate my excitement through a screen and a keyboard!!! El salvador!!!! Belize!! You are goin to rock it..... But I won´t see you ;(  mas tudo bem!

This is the first time this week I´ve had time to email.. crazyness... I´ll catch you up on pday.  Love you all.... especially Jefferson!  PARABÉNS!!!! Tu é o Cara!! I love you so much and am sooooooooooo happy for ya!!! get practicing your spanish... you are leaving in less than 3 months!! The Lord needs you... and a lot.... he needs good strong elders that he can trust with anything... be one of those Elders:)  

Falou! Abraço!

Elder Ostler

April 13, 2015
So as you mentioned it has been a good 2 weeks with out me talking to you guys...... Jefferson I cannot believe that you got your mission call already. Well this email might be more like a travel log than anything....... But that is really what I´ve been doing the last week.......... so let´s go back to last week... like 2 weeks ago.  
Travel log March 30 - April 6

1969 Miles
12 Hours by car
5 Cities
4 Flights
3 Conferências de Zona
2 Elders
1 Purpose

Me and Elder Thompson on the plane with President Castro
On Tuesday night we left for Rio branco.  We had soooo many bags because of all of the materials that we were taking for the other zones.   We got there not to late thanks to the hour change.  We got there at 1200 midnight.   We were able to sleep a little before we were off to the zone conference the next day.  It was for two zones and pretty good.

On the runway at midnight
We went back with the elders to their house until 3am where pres picked us up to go to the airport.  He was a little late so we had to book it to the airport but seeing that the airport was about a 4th the size of pasco airport.... we were fine.  Then we flew to porto velho for another conference the next day.... the same day actually... we got there at 6:30 am and the conference stared at 8am... talk about no sleep.  That conference was different because instead of having a regular lunch of rice and beans the ZLs ordered Pizza.... It was fun.

Then right after the conference we left for Ji paraná at 4pm.  But this time by car............... 6 hours in the crammed back seat of a pick up with Elder Thompson and Sister  Castro.  It made for a great time!

Car ride returning to porto velho with Elder Thompson and Sister Castro.  tá com sono?
Once again.... we did the conference the next day..... It was Friday if you've already lost track.  After conference we did divisions with the Zone Leaders.  I went with Elder Pothier!  It was great.  We got some super good açaí that night as well.

With Elder Pothier in ji parana
And the next day was what!!!?/?!?!?!?!?

Only General Conference! We went into the secrataries office at the church and pulled it up on the internet in english... for the first session our sound was pretty bad so it was almost impossible to hear Pres Packer speak.  Conference was awesome..... By about the 9th talk on the importance of family and marriage we stared to role our eyes... kakaka not really it was just funny.  I don´t know if you have watch the Saturday session but it is all about marriage and family.... Encouraging Young Persons to get married.... It was funny.

The priesthood session was great so well... I love Ballards talk where he had a personal interview with young men everywhere.  Such a powerful talk!!! Once again... the importance of marriage.  And I don´t remember his name but one of the released members of the YM presidency spoke on fatherhood.  Dad, I couldn´t help but think of you.  You are an amazing dad and I couldn´t have asked for a better one!  You raised us kids right.  You always have showed us your example of hard work.  Elder Brown (who goes home tomorrow) told me yesterday that you are a role model for him.  You started out with almost nothing ($) and worked your way up to be the best orthodontist in the Tricities!  You are truly amazing Dad. I love you!

The next day we left from Ji-Paraná and went back up to porto velho to watch the Sunday sessions.  We didn´t make it all the way to Porto Velho so we stopped in Ariquemes to watch the first session.  It is a little town in the middle of Rondônia.  We got there right as it was starting and then as soon as amen was said we split to make it to portovelho to watch the last session... then we had to catch our flight at 11 that night.  Elder Hammer was there in Porto velho.  Him and Elder Brown are going home tomorrow.  Right now they are having the dinner at presidents house.  We cought the plane that night and flew back to Manaus....... we got here at about 2 and just went straight to Pres house to sleep.  An elder called me and told me his comp was planning something stupid for the next day. They were going to the institute building and then to the center...... We have a rule that you are not allowed to have zone p days here and that was looking like what they were going to do.... I've had a pretty good hunch that stuff like this has been going on for a while now.

So the next day we had a plan.  We went to the institute building to break it up.  We got there and Pres Castro acting with so much kindness.  He didn´t yell at them or anything.  There were about 12 missionaries there from varias Zones in Manaus. I don´t remember exactly what he said but he said.  He had them recite the purpose and asked if what they were doing fell into the purpose.........................

We went and ate lunch at presidents house then afterwards I talked with Sister Castro a little.  She told me that I needed to find a moça fiel to marry....a faithful young women.  Then she told me not to worry because there are plenty of them:) it was funny.   Then she made me and Elder Thompson go take naps..... it was funny... we hadn´t got that much sleep that week... after we woke up we went with Pres Castro to the mall to buy shoes for Elder Thompson.  He is like me.... very indecisive so it took a long time.  By the time we got home it was pretty late and by the time we were able to make it back to the mission office to write you guys and to find out where jefferson would serve his mission, the internet was down!!!!!!!!  

This weeks we were just getting ready for the missionaries going home and coming.  President interviewed all of the missionaries and on top of that on Tuesday and Wednesday we stayed up till 2am doing to transfer. (we slept at pres´s house)   There are about 23 missionaries leaving tomorrow and some of them are rebellious. With the Interviews and the training on Friday they really didn´t want to work so they were trying to make plans just to fubecar together.  To goof off and stuff.  There was one point where I was just sick of it and just sent the elder back to his area.  He was here in the office for his interview and ....... he just looked at me in disgust.....  It was hard to stand up to him I´m not going to lie...... But I knew that I had to do it……..

After all the interviews pres told us that in some there was no light in their eyes... just nothing. He told me that some would surly fall away from the Church... that was the sad part. After a 2 year mission they will still fall away.  It is obvious just by looking at them...... But then there were also some baller elders like Elder Brown and Elder Hammer!  Man I love those guys.  They are going to stay with us tonight because their flight doesn´t leave till tomorrow! booya!

On Saturday night I was super stressed out!  .. weight of the mission on me.. every problem on the mission just comes back to us....  If something is wrong it is usually our fault.  I just said a prayed that night and just..... It was in between pouring out my soul and complaining to God.  I just told him all of my problems and wanted solutions... then I had an idea... inspired obviously.  I would right down all of the problems and if there was a solution I would right that down as well.  Then I would forget about IT ALL!!!! All of it! AND deal with it tomorrow.  As I was about to start, Elder Thompson came in and just started talking to me.  He told me how much I had helped him out over these past months.  That was just an answer to my pray. After that I felt way better!!! It was great!

Today was the transfer and it was just normal... nothing too big happened... Me and Thompson will stay together for this transfer.  I´m happy because now I can use everything that I´ve learned thus far but it is also very stressful.... But I´m happy with it:)

That was the week.... 2 weeks really. Lots of traveling, Lots of Stress, But a lot More Jesus.  It is amazing what I´m able to do because of Him.  I´m sooo weak.  But with Him I´m strong.

Love you guys... have fun in Mexico!  Love you Amanda!!

Elder Ostler

Making a torta with Elder Hammer at President's house. President loves to cook!

Monday, March 30, 2015

President and Sister Castro are spiritual giants

Wow what a week! not for me but for you guys!!! That picture right there is sooo cool!!!!  "Jefferson Taylor Ostler"  Come on!!!  you just better hope you aren´t supposed to report in 2 weeks:)kkakkkkkk There are brasilians here that have about a month from the time they open their call to their report date.   But just have Cheri open IT.... right now because I want to know sooooo bad!!!! Soooooo baaaaaaaaaaad!!!!    And that is funny that you find Jefferson to be a rare name because I think I´ve already met like 7 Jefferson´s and 5 Jackson's on the mission.... Also a couple of Washingtons..... They got some weird names here.

Wilson... WOW.. I feel for ya.  I bet that is not fun being in Hawaii with a broken arm.... But look on the bright side!  IT is waterproof!  You are the first person that I know that has ever gotten a waterproof cast!  And you are learning how to scuba dive!! That is pretty crazy! Not even I know how to do that!  And Benson, I got the package this week that the teachers quorum sent!! I opened it up here in the mission office and within about 10 mins 90% of the candy was gone!!! It was great though... The video was awesome too.

This week was pretty great... The greatness started on Monday night.  We had a lesson with a family. A priest in the ward invited his friend to seminary and then church.  We met his dad after church last sunday and marked to go back Monday night.  The dad wasn´t there because he was working but the rest of the family was.  It was an amazing lesson!  Before me and elder Thompson were talking about teaching.  Sometimes as missionaries when we teach the restoration we fall into the habit of teaching it in a pattern.  Always teaching the same things about prophets, Jesus, the apostasy, Joseph Smith.  So this lesson we really went in trying to feel the spirit and let it guide us as to which parts of each section we should teach. The lesson was amazing!!  I don´t know why.  I just felt like we were able to teach it so clearly!  

The spirit was there soo strong.  Not like where it grabs your chest, just a lightness in the air.  We were able to think soo well.  When it came time to mark a part in the book of mormon I was thinking Mosiah 2... I´ve maybe marked that part like once on the mission. Elder Thompson grabbed it and marked what.... Mosiah 2!  Since we were gone all week in Itacoatiara we didn´t have a chance to go back and teach them.  There is the mom, the dad, the oldest daughter and 2 boys.  They also have a 18 year old daughter who is already married and doesn´t live with them. I´m really excited to keep teaching them. I think we might go by tonight....

Like I mentioned we went to Itacoatiara this week.  It is a little town that sits 4 hours east of Manaus. Well 3 if Pres. Castro is driving:)  It was so cool to drive right through the amazon rain forest!!  So amazing!  There were parts in the road where we would be a little elevated and be able to see for miles across the Rain Forest!  It was beautiful!!

Sunset as we drove through the forest
Stopping for gas
The down side is that the roads were horrible!  So horrible!  Pot holes like I´ve never seen them before!  And with Pres Castro driving it was an adventure!  He drives almost like Brother Crawford... really fast.  Our top speed on the way to Itacoatiara was 100mph and on the way back was 105mph!  It was awesome!!!!!!!!  We were passing cars and dodging pot holes the whole way!  Super bumpy and super jerky but great!

In Itacoatiara we stayed with the ZLs.  An African and a Peruvian.  It was great!  We did divisions and I was with Elder Bautista (the Peruvian)  How can you not be a good missionary with a name like that!!  We did the zone conference on Friday. It was pretty good. My favorite part was at the end. We watched Meet the Mormons.   It was so great! I don´t know if you guys have seen that but if you haven´t you need too!  It is Amazing!  You can really feel the spirit when you watch it.  At the end pres Castro got up and said a few words.  The film just shows how happy mormons are and he said that now is our time to share this happiness with everyone we meet!  It was soo great!

The Elders that we did divisions with
That night The ZLs had a marriage and a baptism. The boy was already member and the girl wasn´t.  The marriage was really simple.  That is one thing that I still haven’t done on the mission, a marriage.  We have one going right now.  It is with a member man and non member woman.  They are just super mole and with us traveling alot it is hard to arrange the wedding to get it to happen. But we will see what we can do:)

I keep sending it on accident but I mean it is not like any of you are going to read this right now... you are out on a beach right now or swimming with Dolphins.....  The ride home was super great!  It was just fun!  President Castro is a very very animated person.  He has like this giddy voice of joy he uses sometimes. Like at one point we were going about 80mph and there was a massive pot hole.  I´m talking as wide as the car.  There was no way to doge and so pres Castro just went right over it! AND we were going so stinking fast that we barely felt it!   Pres Castro then said   "Did you see that?! We were going soo fast that we didn´t even feel that hole!  we flew right over it!"  I just can´t even explain him to you.  He is just awesome!

We had some great conversations too. Pres Castro was a director of an institute before the mission.  Elder Thompson said that he was thinking about being an institute teacher as well. Then Sister Castro started telling him everything that he would need (attributes) as a institute teacher. It was just funny.  Sister Castro is also a funny person.

Upon return to Manaus (THIS WAS yesterday after the district conf in Itacoatiara) we went to the mission home to make up some grub.  We had carreteiro... just that it was not carreteiro.  Carreteiro is a southern dish of rice and beef cooked together. Instead of beef we used Pirarucu, It is a Massive fish native to the Amazon river.   Me and Pres Castro made it.  He Loves to cook!  A lot!  As we were cooking I just started asking him about his life after the mission and how he decided to be a institute teacher.  It was a great conversation.  The better conversations though was as we were eating.  He started talking about the peace that we can get from prayer, the reason for the Atonement and Personal revelation.  Pres And Sister Castro are amazing.  They are spiritual Giants.  I just don´t know how to explain it.  They have had so many amazing experiences.  We talked about how Close He can actually get to us and how close we can get to Him while we are still on this earth.  I realized that I still have so much to learn. Before the mission I thought that I knew everything! Not everything but quite a bit.  After being with Pres Castro I´m slowly realizing that I really don´t know that much.

Well that was the week. I know that it is a pretty short wimpy email.  Happy Birthday Wilson!  And happy late Birthday Jackson!  Amanda I love you!  Keep you Chin up!  Have Fun in Hawaii!  Till next week!!

Elder Ostler

Monday, March 23, 2015

When we landed in Manaus I felt like I was coming home

E aí Familía!!! Tudo Bem!

Nossa semana foi bom demais!  Eu e Elder Thompson fizemos um jejum de inglês... mas ou menos.  no Pday passado nos não falamos inglês, e então na terça-feira tampouco.  depois continuamos até... sexta-feira eu acho.  Foi bom.  mas porque eu amo vocês e quero que me entendam, vou escrever em inglês...................

So on Tuesday night we left for boa vista... a city at the very top of the mission........ it is on the other side of the equator.... and it is hot there!!! Really hot!  Here in Manaus it is humid and hot.. (and rains a ton like right now......) but there it is dry and dusty and HOT! It is the sun that burns there.

So we got there at the crack of dawn on Wednesday and on Wednesday we did divisions with the ZLs from there.  I left with Elder Gomes.. It was pretty good.  That place reminds me a lot of Hawaii... There was a lot of space! That was the thing that most impressed me. Here in Manaus there is no space for anything. I don´t really know why it reminded me of Hawaii, the weather mostly.

Thursday was the zone conference. It was pretty good.  It was just me and Elder Thompson and pres Castro.  Sister Castro couldn´t come.  After the conferencia we did a division with another dupla.  I went with Elder Lopes (african) and PRES Castro came with us too! It was pretty cool.   The first compromissio the investigator wan´t there so we taught her mom.  Her mom is of another church who thinks that anyone who talks of God is good.  Pres Castro bared a strong Testimony to her of the BoM.  He taught the first lesson to her citing tons of scriptures from the bible like Ephesians 4 and John 10:16.  Then when he got to the part of the Book of Mormon he held it up and said, "This is a book of YOUR people. Your ancestors wrote it.   They testify of Christ!  They saw him.  Through reading this book you can....."  It was really cool... but the lady wasn´t even there for it.  She was just like "oh yeah. that is true.. I believe...."   Pres Castro was aware of that. He had so much love for her and just wanted her to understand the importance of the Book of Mormon.  

At another appt the guy didn´t want to hear about the Book of Mormon.  Pres Castro presented it to him but he said that we only need the bible and that the book of mormon is "extra scripture" like is says to be aware of in the book of revelation.  He said that we cannot add on to the bible because it says so in the bible.  Then pres castro said
"Well it also says in Deuteronomy 4 the same thing so does that mean that the rest of the bible is false?"
The guy didn´t have anything to say, Pres continued "Do you believe in Christ?
"Do you believe in the bible?"
Pres Castro held up the book and he cited john 10:16 again and another scripture in Isaiah...... It was great.   After he was done.. the Guy still denied it..... So pres Castro opened up to 2 Néfi 29 and started to read........................... Dad, will you please explain to the family what the chapter talks about... it is one of the best chapters, Right? kkkkkkkkkkkkkk

A bible, a bible, but we already got a Bible! Johnny! go get the bible! kkkkkkk (THAT IS for Saydi)

So he started reading from the chapter a little bit.  It was so awesome! Verse 8 is my favorite!  They complain for gaining more of Christs Words? how does that make sense?

In the End we set up a return visit.. hopefully he will listen this time:)  Pres Castro then had to go to a meeting so it was just me and Elder Lopes... he has 9 months on the mission.  The next appt was a lady about 35 years and her cunhado. Elder Lopes told me that they had been teaching them for quite a while but they still hadn´t gone to church.  As we started talking to them, I realized very quickly that these people didn´t know much about the gospel.  I asked about the restoration? Joseph Smith? The book of mormon?  They didn’t really know any of it.  So we started teaching the restoration.  It was a great lesson.  I made sure to explain the part about Joseph Smith really well.   Afterwards we taught a little about baptism and the holy ghost.  We committed them both to baptism.. just that the lady still has to marry her husband. She also worked on Sunday.  Elder Lopes extended an invite for her too talk to her boss about it.  It was a super good invite, just the way he worded it.  After the lesson as we were walking down the street I told him that he gave a great invite to her.  Then he told me that he had learned alot with me.  He said that I taught really well and clearly for the person to entender.  When he said that I felt sooooo Goooood!  Like I´ve said in past emails, I get down on myself sometimes and think about everything that I do wrong and what my teaching falts.  It was so great to hear from another missionary that I teach good:)  not to toot my own horn or anything. It was just great. On our way home we got some açaí which just topped off the day:)   

The next day after lunch we caught a plane back to Manaus..... It was one of the most beautiful things that I´ve seen!  Flying into Manaus over Rio negro was incredible!!! I will attach some photos I took but they don´t do it justice....... WOW!!! I could have gotten better pictures but it was cloudy so half the time I couldn´t see anything. But what I did see was amazing!! The flight was about an hour long..... I took advantage of the time and wrote in my journal.. you would be surprised with how little time you have to write in the journal..

So like I said with all of these conferences and traveling it is super hard to keep our area running. But we were still able to work a little in our area this week.  I don´t know if I already talked about Tay?  He was supposed to be baptize last week on Saturday.  He is 18 and a rockstar.  He is so sensitive to the spirit and wants to be baptized really bad!  He is the one that when he read the Book of Mormon he felt the spirit immediately, like a peace.  Anyways his baptism was supposed to be last Saturday. We had to cancel it:(  We were able to teach him this week until Saturday night.  We went there and..... well I can´t tell you.. but he said that he would do it as soon as we left........and he did!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW HE IS AMAZING!!!! We marked his baptism for this Wednesday (because on Thursday we will travel again for Itacoatiara).  He accepted!!! We were soo happy!!

The next morning sunday we went back to pick him up for church... he was still asleep.  We woke him and then waited as he got ready... as we were walking to church we noticed that something just wasn´t quite right with him. So I asked what he had done the night before........... Our hearts sunk! :(  Oh it was so sad... he was sooooo close!!!!  But we are not going to give up on him.....we are going to see him in 20 minssss.  Speaking of which I need to wrap this up....

Elder S (one of the secrataries) just came up behind me and asked "Qual vai ser o nme desse livro?"  He was talked about this email I´m writing.... he asked me what the title would be of this book:)  I right a ton compared to these guys.   

I could write about so much more but I got to go. This week I really focused no improving my prayers.  Think about this.... when we pray we are literally communicating with the most powerful being in the universe!!!!!!!!  What a privilege we have.  And the thing is is that he actually cares and listens as we pray..... That just amazes me.   My Love for Pres Castro also grew alot this week.  He is a Man of God.  Just amazing.

I also realized how much I love Manaus while I was in Boa Vista.  When we landed here on Friday after our trip to boa vista I literally felt like I was coming home:) it was great... man I love Brasil.....

Well have a great week!  Love you all.......I might write another little something something tonight if I got time........ like that will happen...... 


Elder Ostler

Mom: Here's your bracket. You're in 11th place after week one. I'm in 15th. Grrrrrrrr!

The other is my countdown app. Welcome to double digits. And don't even think about getting trunky! You better put your shoulder to the wheel and work hard!

Elder Ostler: Wow............ I cannot even believe that you have that on your phone........ and no way with the trunkyness! Sai fora!  

Here is me and elder thompson about 30 mins ago.... it was pouring and we figured it wasn´t going to quite for a while so we just booked it......... most drenched ive ever been in my life while fully dressed...... I might have well just jumped in a pool!  The pants I´m wearing are usually light tan... not black  :) I Love Manaus

Mom: Holy Hana! You're drenched. And you look awesome.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Jesus wants us to succeed


What a crazy week it has been.  I´m not going to lie. I had no idea what was going on when I was reading that email.... does anybody sign their name these days?! kakaka Jefferson!!! Your paps and in.... and you know where my guess is...... BRASIL!!!! vamos falar português.   Os irmãos que falam espanhol acham que podem falar português mas de verdade eles não podem!   Brasil!  Eu adivinho brasil!!  Claro, ná?! Estou aqui agora....!  But I´m really excited to see where you get called.  And that sounds pretty awesome with the tramp ball gopro fun.. Man I remember when I was a senior and graduating... those were some good times.. soak it up Jefferson. It only happens once.  Amanda I love you and I pray for you every night and morning.  You can do it!!!  Ok hold up.. I just looked and BYU is in a play - in game against ole miss... what is the world coming tooo!?  But on with the week....

This week I learned a lot about trust in the Lord.   And about Hope.  Monday night was super crazy.   We went and got pizza after I emailed, but I was able to finish my training and everything and then we went home.  Our house was packed with missionaries that came from outside of Manaus for the leadership council. I got a call at about 11 from Elder M saying that there was a missionary missing... He left in the morning with Elder M´s comp and hadn´t come back. Elder M was with the missing missionary´s comp.  The missing missionary was Elder F.  Elder M said that he was probably at the secretaries house.  So we called some of the missionaries that were there. They said that he wasn´t there..  We kept asking them if they knew where he was.  I felt that they knew were he was they just weren´t telling.  They are all in the same "friend group" here on the mission.  They accused us of not trusting them.  It was Bad.  Elder ** chewed me out too.  I just wanted to cease to exist in that moment………... Eventually we found out that "he was at the hospital"....... After it was all over I remember that I just fell to my knees and started praying. Praying for real.  I wanted to feel God with me. I wanted to feel the comfort that His Holy Spirit brings.

The leadership council was tranquilo.  I think I did pretty good on the training. Everything went pretty smoothly. I talked about how to mark baptism dates and then keep those dates firm.  Then on Wed- Fri we had zone conference.  3 zones every day with a total of 10 zones.  (on Wednesday there were 4 zones.) 

Elder Thompson was not feeling good so we just went to the mission home so he could sleep and we could plan.  So we did. We got there and there were two sisters there, one was and one of the sisters and Presidente Castro made Galinhada e sopa.  I will have to make that when I get home!  It is amazing!!!!!!! It is just chicken and rice but with so much flavor....! after we made and ate dinner we planned out the transfer. Elder Thompson was sleeping this whole time... he was not doing so great.   We were able to get done before midnight.  Then I took a shower...... but not any shower.......I took a shower with a fire hose of a shower head with water from old faithful... all of this while BAREFOOT!!!! It was amazing!  We got up the next morning early and went to the next conference.  The other two conferences were tranquilo... nothing crazy happened at them. 

That was pretty much the whole week, just conferences.  Me and Elder Thompson gave our trainings on Courage... we started off with that clip from the Joseph Smith Film where they are tied up and the bad guys are talking bad about how they kill mormons and then Joseph stands up and rebuked them all.... It was pretty sweet:)

So every Sunday night we get the numbers from the Zone leaders.... well only a few numbers.  Usually it takes for ever because there are 16 Zones in the mission.  We are usually up till at least 11:30 or 12 doing it.  But last night we got done at 10:40! and we were in bed at 10:50!! That is a world record I swear!! It was great. 

On Saturday night we went with the secrataries to get pizza.  They invited me and Elder Thompson.  So that is us at MR. Pizzo.  That is a fried banana cinnamon pizza!! That is what I call variety.

One other big thing happening in Brasil.  So Like in most of the world right now the government is corrupt.  There was a big manifestation yesterday.  Over 1 million people  particiapted in são paulo alone.  In Manaus it was 30 thousand.  They were just protesting the government.  They want to impeach the presidente.  Her and her party have been robbing money since 2002 but for some reason they keep voting her back in........  so it was just a big manifestation but I didn´t see anything.  It was just in the center.

I´m trying to strengthen my Testimony of the Savior and of the Spirit.  I´m not a fancy righter nor do I know how to spell "writer" but I know one thing: I know that my Savior lives.  I know that because of Him, because of His death and resurrection we can have a hope for a better future.  Anything that is unfair will be made right through the Expiação de Jesus Cristo.  Jesus wants us to succeed.  He wants to help us. We have to show that we want His help by obeying his commandments.

I have learned very quickly with Presidente Castro that Jesus Cristo is leading this church, and especially a Missão Brasil Manaus.  Presidente Castro Always tell us why he does the things he does... it is because the spirit tells him to do those things.  He has told Elder Thompson and I some pretty sacred things that have happened in his life. He has taught me the importance of Prayed... not just pray but praying with fervor.  One thing that I´m striving for is to have the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost with me to tell me what to do just like Presidente Castro.  I love me mission and I can´t even believe that I´m over 3/4 of the way done.  This is the most important work that we can be doing right now.  I love you guys a ton!  You are my eternal family!  Now lets go out and help some other families be eternal families too!

Elder Ostler

Monday, March 9, 2015

A ton of work

Oh tramp ball. Those were the days....

Well this week was... very different.  I honestly don´t feel like writing at all.  But I will because I know you will appreciate it.  We got to work almost none in our area this week.  But we did have about 4 planning meetings with Presidente Castro. 2 of which were at his house!! We had dinner there last night and lunch there today. We were planning all of the meetings that we are having these days.   Tomorrow we have mission consel with all of the ZL and STL.  And this transfer we will be traveling the mission for the conferences! It is going to be great but a ton of work.  So this is what my week is looking like:

Tue; Conselho da missão 
Wed-Fri: 3 Zone conferences in Manaus...
and you have to remember that we still have an area to work in... that is the most stressful part.  We have to do all of the trainings and planning and stuff... but we also have to work in our area and make a model area for the other elders.... This week our numbers were horrible.... Horrible due to all of our planning meetings.  

During our first planning meeting I was super stressed out.  I just felt like I was the worst AP in the world.  It was the worst feeling.  I was just thinking about all of the stuff that I wasn´t doing.  But I´m alot better now and I´ve been praying really hard for the spirit these days.  On Friday and Saturday I felt super good!  Just like walking around on the streets to appts I was feeling really good:)

Another big thing that happened this week was the new missionaries that came!!! There were 11!  And Elder Walbrecht is training!!!!

I trained Elder Walbrecht, well I finished his training so I have a grandson! He is from haiti. His name is Elder Dametas.  He is Amazing!!! He joined the church a year ago in Columbia.  He is great!  So spiritually stong.  And he is Black!! My Grandson is Black!  That is right!  I bet he can dunk to so I´m covered.

Right now I´m super antsy because I´m preparing my training for tomorrow.  We also have to prepare for all of the conferences this week.  Super stressful!  I just want to go out and run or play basketball or tramp ball!

Jefferson I was praying super hard for you to win..... Sorry about the loss... maybe if you would have had my grandson on your team you would have won... just saying... But it was great to hear abut the surprise party that mom organized for you..... isn´t she just the best!  I love MOM!  

Sorry this email is so tiny.. I got a ton of stuff to do and I´m not really even thinking straight right now.   Once I get through this week I think I´ll be fine...not that I´m not fine now... I´m with all of my friends.........:)

Love you guys so much

Elder Ostler

ps I read a life changing talk this week by Uchtdorf. It is called "Receiving a testimony of truth and light"  He gave it in this last conference.  I had been thinking about it for a few days so I decided to re-read it and I loved it!!!! He gives 4 simple but tough steps to obtaining a testimony... I encourage you guys to read it... it is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 2, 2015

It was just so amazing to have an Apóstolo there with us


My week was pretty corrido to say the LEAST! Crazy busy all week.  On Monday everybody got here.  We had 200 missioinaries in the city of Manaus... It was pretty crazy. Tuesday was the big day.....Me and my comp, we got to the chapel real early to got everything ready.  There were soo many missionaries. This is the first time in something like 8 years since the whole mission has been together.

It was difficult to get everybody to settle down.  I tried and Thompson tried but we are just not experienced enough.  So I asked the 2nd counselor in the mission presidency to tell them to be quiet and sit down and it worked and it was a good thing because Elder Cook walked in about 5 mins later.......!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   The conference with him was AMAZING!!! I felt as if a cloud had settled on the chapel. That is what the spirit felt like... just a cloud in our midst.  It was so cool.  He started off by stressing two points.

"You are more than just missionaries, you are ward and branch builders."    As missionaries our job is to build up the wards that we are in... our purpose is to bring other unto Christ but that doesn´t just include non members.  That also includes members as well.  Pres Castro always talks about our lunch appt. and how we need to use this precious time to build up the members and help them feel the spirit.  Elder Cook said the same thing.

"In a very real sense, you are the message."    We need to live what we are teaching... our conversion will show in our countenance to others around us.   He told us that we needed to be better missionaries.  Which is exactly what I was telling you guys last week.  "Be better now," he said.

He then went on to take questions... one was pretty good... "What do you wish you would have known as a missionary that you know now as an apostle."  First Elder Aidukaitis answered and said that we need to KNOW the book of mormon is true.... with out a doubt... we need to be able to look anybody in the eye and say "this is a true book" with no doubt in our voice..... Elder Cook said that he wishes that he would have know how important the spirit is in our teaching, especially when we teach the first vision.

He took more question. It was just so amazing to have an Apóstolo there with us... I never want to forget it.  I noticed that he didn´t really have the whole thing planned out.... he went by the spirit.  I´m not saying he wasn´t organized just that his agenda wasn´t set in stone.  After he took questions he asked if his wife would speak on Christlike attributes.  I don´t know how to explain it... but you could tell that he was just following the spirit in his directing in the meeting.  I studied that in PMG the other day, listening to the spirit when directing meetings.  I didn´t get it but now I do.  His wife LOVES music and singing. She taught us a great version of "Povos da Terra." I don´t even remember what it is in English   "heark all ye nations" that is it.    

He taught us about the 4 types of love we need to have.
Love your companion
Love the people (and country)
Love the Mission Pres and his wife
Love the Lord

He also told us the story of when he got called to be in the twelve by Hinkley.   And then testified of Christ, being a special witness of Him.  "Jesus Christ lives.  I know His voice.  He guides his church."  The conference was amazing.  After he left we snapped a picture of the whole mission.......... that was a lot of missionaries. The guy that took it still hasn´t sent it.... still waiting on that one.

Then we did the transfer.. .. that was crazy stressful.  My main thing was getting the short term missionaries.   I was calling them and organizing it... it is hard to explain mainly because I don´t remember it all to well there was so much going on.   Just a ton of missionaries.  We tried to mandar todos os missionários de manaus embora.  That took a little bit.   All the missionaries catching a flight left most all at night.

We got a picture of our MTC district.... well that is who is left of us.  It is the first time we´ve been together in 1.5 years.  Pretty crazy.

Wednesday was still dealing with getting people to their areas because some of them left on Wednesday as well.  Elder Robinson and Elder Thomas stayed with me and Elder Thompson for the week because they are leaving today. That was pretty fun. 

So about the baptisms... we only had 2 of the 5 but it was still amazing!!!!!  They are named DF & DP.  DF is married to a member.  He is 30. well they actually got married 2 months ago with the sisters when they were here.  The wife always wanted to get married so they did.  But he didn´t want to get baptized.  He was waiting for a massive spiritual conformation like we hear storied of sometimes... very rare stories. He wanted that.  He liked the church and all and was pretty sure it was true but he wanted more. The problem was he wasn´t reading the BOM nor praying.  Me and Elder Maia taught him logo depois his marriage and told him that he needed to read and pray everyday if he wanted an answer.... then we just kinda put him on the back burner because he wasn´t progressing.  Not coming to church much and sometimes not wanted to talk to us when we passed.

But then............................  Like I said on Sunday he told the bishop that he wanted to be baptized so on Wednesday we went over to his house.  IT WAS AMAZING!!!!  He said that he was reading the Book of Mormon and was already in 3 Néfi and loving it.   He told us all about the lamanities and nephites and how God blesses them when they do what is right and curse them when they don´t keep the commandments.  He understands it so well!!!  We asked him why he wanted to get baptize and he said that it is because he feels good when he feels the BOM and just feels like he needs to be baptized!!!!!!!!  That is the POWER OF THE BOOK OF MORMON!  Sitting in that lesson I felt so undeserving of such a humble, prepared, elite investigator.  I felt like I didn´t deserve it.  It was a weird feeling.   It gave me a sense of my nothingness before God.  I did very little in helping this man get baptized... it was all God through the Book of Mormon.    I was ready to give up on him but God wasn´t.  God is so good to me.    So good. Moses 1:39  He is here to bring about our eternal life.    DF and his Wife already have a goal to go to the temple in a year... and what a blessing it is to have one right here in Manaus!!!!

DP is a fun story.  He is colombiano but speaks very well português.  He lives with his friend Julian    THE KING!!! kakakakak. Julian was baptized 2 years ago but only returning to activity about 3 months ago. He is colombian o too and absolutely hilarious!!!!!!!!! Just his mannerisms.. just a funny guy.  He got the Sacerdócio de Melquisedec last week at stake conference.  About a month ago he brought DP to church so we started teaching him.  They live in a massive house that the catholic church gives to immigrating people... mostly from Haiti.... a bunch of Black guys.

DP absorbed everything we told him.  When we told him he had to stop drinking coffee he said "Ok, I´ll stop."  It was that easy for him..... he was just ready to be baptized. He is 26.  The cool part is is that Julian baptized him!!!! IN SPANISH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    It was soo cool.  It was Julians first baptism so he was kinda clueless. I wrote down the words for him to study.  He got in the water to do it and instead of putting his arm at a ninety degree angle he just put it straight up in the air!!!!! He messed up on the words. He for got to said the ands in between the names so he had to do it again... then he forgot to put his hand in the air.... then he for got to say diego´s name....finally he got it right and it was perfect!  So cool to see him baptizing his friend......  at the baptism I gave the message and I mentioned how we were baptizing these two men because of MEMBERS!!!!!!!!!!  Then our ward mission leader reemphasized it. I hope it stuck in their minds that it is their responsibly to baptize their friends... not just ours.. the baptism was great!! We played Ping Pong after and I creamed.... well almost... I´ve lost a ton of what I had..... which wasn´t much to begin with if you ask Jackson kakakakakak

Funny story.... Yesterday while President Castro was interviewing the missionaries leaving I ripped the seam of my pants going down the side of my leg, it was a good six inches. We were here at the mission office with a bunch of missionaries.... my garments were totally showing....... so I found a needle and some thread and went in the bathroom, took off my pants, sewed up the seam and I was as good as new... I was pretty proud of my self:)

One thing that I´ve noticed that I´ve been doing is this:  Instead of focusing on the missionary I want to be... sometimes I focus on the RM I want to be... I don´t know if that makes sense or not.  I think of who I want to be after the mission than who I want to be on the mission.  I know it is just a little thing but I know it will make a big difference if I focus more on changing me as a missionary.

Well that was our Crazy week full of Transfers, Elder Cook and Miracle Batismos!!!!!!  Hope you all have a wonderful week!!

Elder Ostler