Monday, October 28, 2013

I understood nothing, but what I felt was indescribable.

Wow what a week!   First off, thanks for the email, I love hearing from you guys. I think that is my favorite part of p-day, just reading what you have to say.  And HOCHBOL!  I was thinking about the party happening as I was laying in bed at 10:30.  So awesome!  I´m so glad it all went well. And that picture is awesome of Jefferson and the luckiest girl at RHS.  I love the backdrop and balloons.

We had a pizza party after the baptism of Ke*.
That pizza was so good.  So this is what I was doing during HOCHBOL....
Partying with Elder O!! 

Ok so about the new companion and All.  He is great!  He loves to work and talk to people! He is never afraid to open his mouth or anything, and when he does that it gives me courage to do the same!  The first night was a little hectic.  We started planning and since I knew the area and all of our investigators I was pretty much in charge of planning the next day.  It was definitely stressful.  The stressfullest part is trying to explain things to him, like what situation our investigators are in.  I can understand just about 90% of what he says and the other 10 I usually can pick up from context.  There are some times where I just ask him to repeat what he just said.  He is from são paulo so he is 100% easier to understand than the people here.  So the language is going good.  I already see how I´m getting better.

The hardest part is conjugating the verb.  This is what goes through my head when I talk to him
  1. what verb do I use
  2. what tense does it need to be in
  3. is it eu, você/ele eles. or nos.

Then I say it and I get it right about 50% of the time.  So I can pretty much communicate any thing I want to him, whether it is grammatically correct.... that is another story.  But I really am loving him. I think my favorite part is that he likes to have fun!  He is a very happy guy and he makes missionary work fun!  During the day when we are out teaching I´m never homesick because we always have something to be doing! It is great.

We had Zone interviews on Wednesday.  In my interview with President he told me it is my job to help him study.  And it is true.  He likes to sleep in till like 7:30 and when you sleep that long there is no way you are ready to study at 8.  So I need to help him.  I just got to be blunt sometimes.  So yeah, that is what his deal is.  But he is a super good missionary when it comes to teaching!  The words just come to him.  He is a very good speaker I think.  Whenever we have a quick contact with someone he always keeps his lesson super short and just talks about the doctrine of Christ super fast.  It is great.  I´m really learning a lot about how to teach lessons.  Another thing I like about him is that he plans WITH me.  Every night we have a super good planning session and plan super good for the next day, it is great.  So overall it is going well with the new comp and the language is great to.  It is just when I haven´t talked to him in a while that I have a hard time.  Like right after I email will be hard because right now I´m in full English mode!  I still have to think in English to speak Portuguese though.  Can´t wait till I can just throw English out the window.

So, on Thursday we got to go to the temple!  What an experience.  So to get to the temple form our area you have to take 2 buses.  One to get to the terminal (T1) and one to get to the temple.  So we went to the bus stop.  If the buses go to the terminals they say on the front windshield so we just got on a bus that said T1.  We left at 6:30 and we needed to be at the temple at 7:30 because the session started at 8.  Well..... when we were still on the bus at 7:20 I was starting to get a bit nervous.  We got on a bus that took forever to get to the terminal.  We still had to get to the terminal and get on another bus to the temple.  There was no way we were going to make it.

Somehow my companion recognized the area and said the temple was close.  He asked someone and they said it was behind us.  So we got off and started walking.  During the walk I was just beating myself up because I had gotten us on the wrong bus (a slow bus).  It was 8:10 by the time we got to the temple.  We walked for about 35 minutes.  I was just beating myself up the whole time because we were going to miss the session because of me.  I just wanted to be home and not in Brazil anymore. I wanted to be at home.  I was super down and mad.

When we got to the temple we found that the session didn´t start till 9!  Happy day!  It was great.  I understood a lot more than 6 weeks ago.  In the celestial room I just said a prayer.  I really prayed. I told God that I couldn’t do this anymore.  I told Him that I needed help. I stared to cry a little but I needed to.  I´ve held back tears to many times, they just needed to come. After I prayed I was still hurting but I felt a peace.  It wasn´t like a fullness of joy peace but it was a peace.  So the temple was good.  It felt good just to be in the temple. Oh and it fits 40 people per session and the celestial room is almost the same as ours.

So I think this was Wednesday night but we had ward counsel. It was great!  Our bishop is all about baptizing baptizing baptizing!  There were more people than usually there.  Since I knew the area and the investigators everyone was directing their questions to me!  It was crazy! So much Portuguese! My head was spinning!  So intense but is was good.  Our ward is great.

On Friday night we had a noite integracão (integration night).  It is like a little ward party.  We invited all our investigators and it is just a time to let them meet all the members.  We watched a little clip on Wilford Woodruff and had some food. It was good.  But the whole time I just had this really weird feeling.  It was like this anxious nervous feeling.  It just felt like I was responsible for everything in the area.  I can´t really explain it.

So I forgot to mention this about the language.  I can communicate with him just sometimes it is hard to explain some things.  Like we were at the store on Saturday and there were two sizes of butter.  I went to grab the big one (because it was cheaper per gram).  He told me to get the little one because it is cheaper.  I tried so hard to explain to him that the bigger one was cheaper because it was cheaper per gram.  It took like 2 minutes of me just saying ``mais brato.``  Eventually I got the point across.  So just stuff like that.

We are teaching a man right now named Le*, I think I might have mentioned him.  He is Haitian.  We teach him at a bar because he works there and he is so busy for us to teach him at home.  Last ..... Wednesday I think, we took a member there to teach him.  He had a baptism date set for this Sunday (yesterday), he is so awesome!  He really wants to change his life.  He wants to get baptized but he doesn´t feel like he is ready.  We are trying to help him see that he is.  Our lesson was on the importance of the Book of Mormon.  At the end I just looked at him and said,  Le*, I know you might not think you are ready for baptism but I know you are.  I know you have faith and now is the time to show your faith by being baptized.

He offered the closing pray.  He offered it in the language of criol (kind of like french)  because that is what they speak in Haiti.  I didn´t understand a word of it and I could barley hear his words because he was talking so quietly but that was the most powerful pray I have every felt.  I understood nothing, but what I felt was indescribable.  It was about a five minute prayer.... that's long for an investigator.  The spirit was there so strong and I knew that he was just pouring his heart out to God and asking if he should really be baptized.  It was awesome!

On Saturday night we baptized Ke*.  He is 12 years old and his baptism was awesome!  So fun!  He was so excited.  He showed up about 45 minutes early and to be early to anything here is rare.  He was smiling the whole time.  So great.  Elder O baptized him and I confirmed him the next day..... That was an experience......  Brazilian names are super hard and there was no way I was going to be able to say his.  I had Elder O whisper it in my ear as I was saying it.  The blessing was short just because I don’t know how to say much.  But it was good.

So this is Ke* and no that is not the natural color of his hair:)  Everyone here is dark.  A funny thing about his baptism. So it happened Saturday night so there were other jovens playing futbol outside in the parking lot.  Some members, some not.  We went out there to tell them to come watch the baptism but they didn´t want to, they wouldn´t come. Then a counselor in the bishopric came out and told them that they had to come in and watch the baptism.  If they didn´t he would turn the parking lot lights off:)  So there were like 20 people at the baptism.  It was great.

I forgot to mention on Saturday night Le* texted us and said that he wasn´t ready to get baptized on Sunday.  It was such a heart breaker.  He is such an amazing man and he needs to be baptized.  But on Sunday we baptized G*.  She is Peruvian.  (haha I got my first Peruvian baptism before Elder Burrup:)  It was a good baptism.  Elder O did that one too.  So we had two baptisms.  Afterwards Elder O want to have two more baptisms THAT NIGHT!  He wanted to baptize a 13 year old girl that we met on Friday......  2 DAYS EARLIER!!  That is just what it is like here.  You find some one during the week, they go to church and you baptize them after church.  We went to her house to talk to her mom but her mom said that she needed more time to think about it. So we had 2 baptisms this week.

Something I just want to say.... missionary work here is a lot different than in the states. If you are teaching someone and they aren´t baptized in a couple of weeks somethings wrong.  In the states the missionaries mark the date for like 2-4 weeks out.  Here, you mark it for that week!  Just all about baptizing!  But that is our purpose as missionaries.

So last night we were planning for p-day (today) and my comp said that we didn´t need to study because it was pday. . . . .  That is something that I´ve noticed about the missionaries in this mission.  They don´t think that the bed time and arise time are very important.  When I went on splits a couple of weeks ago and we were up till 12!!  Just crazy, but I always try to be kneeling by my bed at 10:30 praying.

So that was my week in a nut shell. I love all of your letters!!  Jefferson.... You can dunk.... did I read that right!   You can DUNK!!!!!!!!! That is so cool.  It was great to here about all the fun you are having in HS.  Just love it.  Wilson I love your little line thingies.  I will have to try that and Benson it sounds like you jump on the tramp a lot!

I´m doing well down here in Brazil.  IT IS HOT!!!!  I start sweating just while I´m ironing my shirt at night.  Oh, when we were eating at the Camargos house last Sunday (remember, the super nice one) he looked up the weather of Richland WA and it was 34 degrees!!!! Is that serious.  Is it really already that cold!  So crazy.

We are always busy down here and I love it because when I´m busy I don´t have time to miss you guys.  I love you all and Pray for you all the time.
Tudo Bem
Elder Ostler

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oh my America

What a boss email. That was a really good one.  So where do I even start holy smokes.  Well first off I´m so happy HAPPY FELIZ that they are keeping the name! HOCHBOL!!  HuntOlsenCrawfordHorneBurrupOstlerLarsen!!  Long Live The Bros!  TMNT!!  I hope the dance goes wonderfully.  And I hope no one goes to the Richland dance.  kakaka

Thanks for that conversation from you and the RMs, that will help.

But first...  so today is transfer day but Elder M is staying with me because he is still training.... or is he.....  So in this mission the Aps call everyone on Sunday night and tell if you are being transferred the next day.  So at church on Sunday President Klein was there.  First time.  He is usually somewhere else but this week he was in our ward.  After sacrament he came up and talked to us and he told Elder M that he was getting transferred!!!! WHAT!!!  what!!! yeah.   Transferred.  It came as a shock for both of us.  In that moment I knew I would be getting a Brazilian but that wasn´t the scary part.  The scary part is that I am now the missionary who knows the area... or is supposed to.  I know around our house pretty well and where most of the members live so that will be fun.

So we found this out at church on Sunday. So after we ate lunch at a members house (which is a story all in itself) we went home and he packed.  It came such as a shock.  We both thought we were staying.  I asked him if this happens a lot and he said that president Klein likes to send missionaries on their last transfer out to some little village sometimes for their last transfer.  He is going to Itacurtia (I don´t know how to spell it).  He has been there before.  It isn´t like super remote.  It is on e rio amazonas.  He is happy.

So this morning we got a ride to the stake center at 6:30 and he left at about 8 to catch a 4hr bus ride.  Right now I´m with 7 other elders at a lan house next to the estaca.  All Brazilians no English! But I´m doing fine.  My companion should get here in about 2 hours.  His name is Elder L.O.  He is Brazilian but I know nothing else.  I´m excited but nervous.  I´m also hungry, and I think I stink too.  So that is the big news!  Crazy!

Once I found out Elder M was leaving I realized how much I actually love him. I did not want him to go.  But I´m also excited for the change:) I hope this Elder knows how to work. I´m ready.

So now it is time for some M MOMENTS!!!!  That is what I call them.  He actually calls them that too.  I have 2 good ones.  Number one.  So last Monday night I was digging out my ingrown toenail.  I boiled some water and soaked my foot.  It didn´t hurt that bad.  Just a little piece and I got it out pretty quick.  I had Elder M hold the flashlight for me so I could see but he did not want to because he hates stuff like that.  I can understand getting grossed out by a surgery, but cutting a toenail!  Come on.  So after I did it I was just sitting there looking at the piece I pulled out.  He came over with some hand sanitizer and faked to put it on my toe I just operated on.  He does this stuff all the time, like he will pretend to throw an egg at me.  It is just Elder M.  He was like ``would you like some alcohol on that.``  I just kinda laughed cause I knew he wouldn´t do it.  I said ``yeah, that would hurt a ton seeing that I just cut an ingrown toenail out.´´ He said, “no it wouldn´t, there is no open skin, see.”  He then poured some hand sanitizer onto my toe!  Seriously!  I could not believe it!!  It didn´t hurt at first but once it seeped down a little bit it started to hurt.  That is just Elder M.

Number two.  So this is Tuesday. We had just eaten dinner at our house and I was sitting in front of our fan because I was sweating a ton and trying to cool off.  He got his hand a little wet and went behind the fan and sprayed some water through. It felt good.  I just sat there and smiled.  Then he leaves into the kitchen and comes back with a cup a water and throws it through the back of the Fan!!!  It soaked me!!!  I just looked at him like ``Seriously? did you just do that?``  So those were the M moments this week.  But we look back at those and laugh.  But the sad part is I don´t get to have anymore of those.

So homesickness.  Yes.  Definitely got it but it is really only in the mornings.  Friday morning was the worst.  I was studying Jacob 5.... in Portuguese... yeah, tell me about it.  I was just feeling so alone.  I wanted to be home surrounded by all you.  That was my only desire.  Then I read in D&C 121 and 122 about Joseph in jail.  When I read those verses I don´t know why but I just lost it.  I started to cry.  All of the days start out this way.

But don´t feel all bad because I have other times that are awesome.  Like when we are working.  I spent a little time with Elder Machardo one of the ZLs and he showed me how to do missionary work.  In about 30 minutes we taught 3 lessons.  He just talked to everyone.  No fear.  It was awesome!  I pray for courage every night and I really feel it.  I´m not as scared to open my mouth and just talk.  It is great.  Like during street contacts and stuff and lessons.

So I am doing good.  But Friday was bad and so was Sunday.  I was just homesick during church and also we were going to baptize a girl named Gisela but she didn´t show up so that was pretty sad too.  After church we found out about the transfer and stuff.  We didn´t have a lunch marked for Sunday so in Relief Society they asked if any one could feed us.  Sister Cam said she would.  I have never met the Cam's before. He is the president of a university here in Manaus so he is always traveling.  I forget the name but it is like a worldwide school. It is based out of Phoenix so he has a house there too.  This is the first or second time they have been in our ward since I´ve been here.  They travel to Phoenix and são paulo a lot.  He was a mission president and used to be an area 70 here in Brazil.

So after church we got in their CAR!!!  We got in a car!! Not just any car, a Ford Edge 2012!!! So nice.  Leather seats and air-conditioning.  We drove to their house.  They live in an appt complex, 12th floor.  When I walked in their appt I felt like I just walked through a portal into America.  It was awesome!!! So nice.  They had a carpet rug and a massive table and nice couches.  It was big.  From their balcony you can see the Amazon river so that was pretty cool.  It was amazing.  Sister Cam whipped some rice beans and roast up.  It was so good!!  The best part was the wheat bread with raspberry jam. Oh my America.  So nice.  They were also fluent in English so we talked in English for a good portion of the time!  So nice.  God knew I was hurting and homesick.  I am always saying little prayers just pleading for help.  And he answered.  He gave me a little piece of America.  I also asked her how she made rice.  It is not how we do it.  She frys onions and garlic first in the pot.  Then frys the rice and then adds the water.  It was so good!  It was so nice.  I´m doing way better now.

Also this morning while I was waiting at the estaca a mom and brother of one of the missionaries came in, they came to pick him up.  I talked with the older brother. He served in Argentina Buenos Aries.  It was good to talk to him just about the mission and stuff.  He also said that couldn´t understand Portuguese because the accent here is just so strong.  That helped alot just talking to him.  It was great!  I´m doing really good right now.  One of the Elders here with me is Elder Machardo The ZL.  He is so great and full of fun and happiness and he loves the gospel and preaching it and he has no Fear!  He is really cool.  His goal for his mission is to have 800 baptisms.  He has 3 transfers left and has like 190 baptisms.  But he is so serious about his goal. He is going to get it.  He is great but he is getting transferred away not sure where though.

In conclusion I´m doing way better now but I sure have my down moments.  But like the irmãos said, you gotta have the bad so you can know the good:)  I´m doing great now.  I also got some of your letters, they were awesome.  Thanks so much for writing.  I just got two more today that I haven´t read yet.  Love them.

So to answer some of your questions.  Dad, about the smells.  Yes there are so many!!  The best in the world is like walking down the street at like 11:30.  Everyone is cooking lunch and it just smells heavenly!  Just that steak and fish being grilled and the smell of the beans.  It is the best.  I also love walking past bakeries.  They don´t load this bread here with fat like they do in Chile and Argentina, I don´t think at least.  But they make sweet bread!  So good.  They put like a little squirt of passion fruit jam stuff on the top.  So good.  It smells so good.

But there are also the bad smells.  Some of the drains from the houses empty right out onto the street. They just flow down the gutter and into a drain.  Then all the drains lead to little canal things.  SMELLS HORRIBLE!  All of the houses sewers empty out into those.  There are walkways right next to them so we walk by them. I´ll get a picture of it.  So that always stinks.  Then when ever it is cooler out side like right after it rains or something, you are walking down the road and you pass a drain, you can feel the heat coming up from it.  It is a gross heat.  It smells and feels horrible.  It is like walking through a wall of CRAP.

And yes dad, we eat out all the time.  Whenever a member can´t feed us, they just give us money for food.  We go to like a little lunch place that has rice beans noodles and then meat.  Most of them are self service for like 10 reais so I always load my plate.  It is so good.  Love it.  We probably eat out once or twice a week.  But it isn´t our money.  It is a members so we are still living frugally:)

About the youth and stuff.  I´m not really sure.  Our youth in our ward are strong.  The YM are rock solid.  Like rock solid in the gospel.  We have like 10 YW and like 15 YM most of the young men are deacons though.  They play futbol every night at the chapel so we know them pretty well.  As far as the rest of Manaus goes.... Elder M was telling me about this.  He told me that Manaus has really low ``standards`` just like Rio de Janero.  I haven´t really noticed it but I’m never really looking for it.  Sure girls dress very immodestly here.  Also on Saturday and Sunday night every body is out on the streets.  Not everyone but alot and we always pass some kind of party on the weekend.  So it´s not horrible but it´s not Utah either.

As far as the temple, I´m not sure.  They had a YM temple trip 3 weeks ago.  That's all I really know. Dad, I love hearing bout your mission in the emails too.  I´m really going to need to step up my Portuguese learning now with this new comp, but I´m excited.  I love all of you! Have fun this week!

Tudo Bem 
Elder Ostler

Monday, October 14, 2013

I will be praying for them

I really needed that last paragraph mom, a lot.  Today was a homesick day.  I just wanted to be home so bad.  Elder M slept in and I got up, did some push ups laid in bed for a little, made some oatmeal then cleaned the house. I was just thinking about you guys the  whole time, I just want to be with you.  At times I just feel like I am missing out on everything you are doing and I will be missing out on it for 2 YEARS.  That is a long time.  I just got here and I still have like 22 months to go.  Sorry, I know I shouldn´t be such a baby, it is just hard.  I need to put everything I have into the work.

So I´ll just respond to your questions first.  Thanks so much for all the recipes!! That will help a ton. It is just funny some of the words you used like, cupboard, 400 degrees, chicken breast because those things don´t exist in Brazil kakakakak.  Well cupboards do but we don´t have anything.  All of our food that ants will eat goes in the fridge and everything else goes on top of the fridge, also all of the stoves here are just propane so you turn it on and throw a match in.  You can adjust the heat but there is no temp gage.  And the chicken breast, here, you can buy chicken legs...... or a whole chicken.  So I just found that funny.  I´m not complaining that we don´t have those things, I just thought it was funny. I showed my comp and he laughed to.

And yes I can print emails.  So the questions...  the rules for getting baptized.  They only have to go to church once.  So like for Mar*, he went to church for the first time and we baptized him right after the sacrament meeting (church here is backwards, it goes priesthood, Sunday school, sacrament).  That happens a lot.  No I haven't gotten mail, neither has my companion.  We only will really get anything at zone conference which is once every 2 transfers. But we might get it more often, I just haven´t gotten any yet.

So I would say the mission is probably just under half Americans.  There are 3 Americans and 5 Brazilians in my district (all elders and we have the AP´s in our district but they are NEVER at district meeting just because they are usually in the middle of the jungle forming a branch or something With President Klein)  So that is our district and then the other district in our zone is the secretaries and 2 companionship's of sisters,  2 Americans 2 Brazilians.

There isn´t anywhere we can´t go... at least in this area.  It is pretty safe for the most part. We are over one ward...... tiny...tiny....tiny.  We have no YM president (or leaders), no elders quormn president and no high priest group leader.  There are a bunch of inactive members though.  One of mine and Elder M's goals is to reactivate a bunch of them.  A bunch of them all live really close together in a barrio called são francisco.

Manaus is made up of barrios.... just like NY, you know there is the bronks, Manhattan.......  it is just hear there are a ton!!!  Our ward covers Adrianópolis, Aleixo, e São Francisco.  And our ward council...... doesn´t really exist.  Elder M says that we meet about once a month.  We met my first week here but it was just the bishop his counselors, the YM president (we had one then, he just got called to the bishopric and the 2 counselors got called to the high Council) us and the ward secretary.  I didn´t really know what was going on so I couldn´t tell you what they were talking about. Oh yeah, the ward secretary is an 18 year old young man. He is working on his mission papers. That is how much we are lacking in men here.  And yes, I know that it is our job to bring more men and baptize and make this ward stronger.  I´m not complaining, just telling.   

So about serving the companion.  Here is the thing, I´m not really serving Elder M, I´m more like taking care of him.  I do all the dishes, all the time except when I ask him to like once a week.  I clean up after all our meals, I clean the kitchen every week (but he does do the bathroom after I nag him a little) so yes, I am serving him, I just need to change my attitude. Sometimes I do expect him to say thank you or something (he never does) but I shouldn´t, just like you said.  Do it with not thought of reward.  So I will do better at that.

That BYU game sounds like so much fun! I´m sure you all had so much fun!  (especially Jefferson ;) I remember football.  What a sport.   Wow talk about some testosterone.  I can only imagine the scene at that park, playing all those sports. That is definitely something I miss, playing sports.  We aren´t allowed to play soccer because it is considered a contact sport so yeah, but there are soccer fields, concrete fields at all the churches.  I definitely miss that.  Basketball, tramp, exercise.  We do go running almost every morning but we can only go about 1 mile because. . . . . . . 

Oh my, when I read that about Ben´s companion I just froze. That is horrible.  Just horrible. I will be careful.  2 weeks ago a bus drove past me and brushed past my shoulder.  But I always use the sidewalks now (when existent).   I cannot even believe that.  I will be praying for them.

But I think I have something that might cheer Ben up:)  So I first met my district at the temple my first day here.  There was a Sister Riding there that came up to talk to me.  When she saw my name she asked if I was related to Ben Ostler.  I said yes and she just about died of.... I don´t know what, either embarrassment or disbelief.

So right before Ben left on his mission he was doing baptisms for the dead.  He baptized this sister and then later called her up and asked her on a date!!!  There is a Sister in my mission that went on a date with THE BEN OSTLER!  Make sure you tell him that sometime.  Also tell Julie, she will remember because I think it was her that got Ben to do it.  Funny story.

So I guess I will just tell you about a crazy experience this week.  We were study on Tuesday morning.  Someone clapped outside so we went to see.  It was the man that lives above us telling us someone was at the door for us.  We went up and it was a lady that needed our help.  That is right.  In America the missionaries go knocking on other people´s doors but here in Brazil, the people come knocking on our door :)  She said she needed help with calling someone who lived out of the country.  I have no idea why she asked us... probably cause we are Americans.  We went with her to her house and there was another lady there.  They took us to a computer and on the screen was a flight itinerary.  They needed to know when this guy was landing in Manaus so they could pick him up at the airport.  We scrolled to the bottom and it said right there DOMINGO outubro 13  23:45. Americans to the Rescue! Then they showed us the number he gave to call him.  It had like 14 digits and we had no idea. She said it didn´t work when they tried to call him but we couldn´t help her with that. After we got all that worked out we start talking about the church, naturally that's what we do as missionaries.  They said we should come over for lunch some time.  Elder M said ``Well we don´t have lunch tomorrow so can we come over tomorrow?`` They said yes, SCORE!!!  So the next day we went over and only M* was there with her niece and nephew I think. Lunch was good.  Then we tried to teach her the first lesson. She is a talker though.  We were there for 3 hours!!  Way to long but we did teach her the first vision.  Well actually I taught it all by  myself because she wanted to hear me speak Portuguese. It was good.

Also! I have an ingrown toenail!!  I´m so excited to dig it out.  It will be fun.
Love you all so much, I pray for you every night and thank the Lord for blessing me with the BEST FAMILY EVER!!!!

Tudo Bem
Elder Ostler

Monday, October 7, 2013

I wanted him to enjoy the blessings that I enjoy


So just a little fun something.  this afternoon at like 1 our power went out.... then it came on, then it went out.... and stayed out for like 3 hours.  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to email but then it came on like 2 hours ago.  Yeah!!  No storm this time. It just went out.

So I will tell you some stuff from two weeks ago.  On Saturday night we went to visit one of our investigators.  The missionaries have been teaching him since May I think which is strange for Brazil.  Some people are baptized the same week they get taught the restoration.  Crazy. I haven´t done that yet.  So this guy is named Ri*.  He knows it is all true.  He just doesn´t want to set a baptism date.  We don´t know why .  We call him everyday to see if we can go over at night because he works all day.

On Saturday night he was home so we went over.  He said we could.  We got there and he was having a party.  It was his mom´s birthday so it was all his cousins and stuff.  When we got there, there were just like 10 people there and he was grilling up some food.  Steak and all different kinds of sausage.  It smelt heavenly!!  They told us to sit down.  He is such a cool guy. So nice.

They brought us some rice and some farofa.  Then they brought on the meat.  Ri* just kept bringing it.  Steak, sausage, steak, sausage.... soooooo goooood!  He was grilling it on a little wood grill and Elder M said all they use to season their meat is salt.  Man it was good.

More and more of his relatives kept showing up.  Two of his like 16 year old nieces or something came and sat right across from us.  Let´s just say there are a lot of Brazilian girls that like American boys.  They weren´t being inappropriate or anything.  They were just texting each other about us, looking up at us all the time.  Most of the time I was talking to Ri*'s cousin.  I could understand him very well and was able to have a conversation.

At the end when we needed to go, Ri*´s mom asked Elder M to give them a message.  He read the last 2 verses in Romans 8.  Love those verses.  There were like 30 people there.  So awesome!!

We had a baptism last Sunday.   Remember the man I baptized my first week here?  Well we baptized his brother, Mar*.  He is a little bit different, kinda crazy.  He laughs at the most random times when there's nothing to laugh at.  But he loves to read.  Right now he is reading the bible, Book of Mormon, and a temple book we gave him.  I think my biggest goal is to get both of them to receive the priesthood   One is 23 the other 25.

So we baptized Mar* Sunday morning after church. We went and had lunch after church with a member then we went home to drop off Elder Ms wet clothes.  We studied a little and by this time is was about 4. I asked him what we were going to do.  He said we should just stay in for the night because it is hard to teach people on Sunday....... IT WAS 4PM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There was no way I was just going to sit at home for 6 hours that night.  I told him that we needed to go.  After some coaxing he finally came out.  We went to see one of our investigators named Mc*.  He has an interesting story.

Like Ri*, he has been taught every thing. The week before this we went to see him. We invited him to be baptized but he said he was already baptized as a baby.  We read some of Moroni 8 with him.  Then I don´t remember how it happened but he told us he wasn´t keeping one of the commandants.  Elder M got super intense and told him that he needed to repent.  At the time I had no idea what was going on.  Elder M would not leave until he told us that he would repent.  It was intense.  So we hadn´t left him on the best note.

So back to Sunday.  We stopped by and he let us in.  Right when we sat down he told us that we could keep coming over whenever but that he wasn't going to get baptized or keep reading the BOM.  When he said that, I just felt this love for him.  I want him to have the gospel in his life (he is like 23), I wanted him to enjoy the blessings that I enjoy.  Elder M was trying to tell him that we have prophets and that this is the true church.  When he said that, I got the idea, from the spirit, to invite him to conference.  I did.  After I explained what it was he just lit up!!!  It was awesome.  He was so excited to go!!!  We talked with him about it for like 20 mins.  He said he would go to 3 of the sessions.  I was so happy!!

To answer some of your questions.  Email time is 2 hours but President Klein is not strict about it. Since it takes so long for anything to get here he doesn´t really care how long we are on but we go usually no more than two hours.  President Klein is awesome.  Elder M says that at the start of his mission, this mission was not as good as it is now.  Some of the areas had shower with buckets and some of the houses were really bad.  Now all the houses are awesome!! (for Brazilian standards) every single one of them has an AC unit and most have an electric shower head but not ours but it is all right, I love cold showers at night:)

Yes we got to watch conference in English which was so nice!! Amazing. All the 5 English missionaries in our zone did. There is something different about being a missionary and watching conference.  Getting on the bus Saturday morning I was just so excited.  Like Disneyland excited.  I loved all of the talks.  Specific ones..... I loved Edward Dube.
Uchtdorf - ``you can do it now.`` Others too I just can´t remember.  But there were a ton on missionary work!  Exclamation Point!  Like a ton! Exclamation point!  And on how the members need to step up! Exclamation Point!  Exclamation Point! Exclamation point!

This was at conference. In between the sessions at the stake center they serve food. It is great. This was after the priesthood session. They served soup. One thing you have to know about food here is that they never take the bones out of the meat, that is the knee of a my soup. You gotta suck all of the fat and meat off it. Yum:) It doesn't look very big because of the way I'm holding it but it was big.

Oh one other thing that I loved about conference was the choir.  The Mormon Tabernacle one.  I know that one of the boys pointed this guy out.  He was like dead center.  Right on the line with the men and women.  Dead center.  When he sang he got his eyes really wide and raised his eyebrows soooo high!  You know who I´m talking about!!!  Super funny looking guy when he sang.  And the guy he was standing next to looked like he had one foot in the grave.  So funny.  Loved it. I wish I could have laughed with you guys about that one.  I know one of you pointed him out.

I did read your whole email last week.  It only takes like 5 mins.  I´m a slow reader I know but not that slow :)  So dad, about Manaus.  Just some fun stuff.  It is super dirty, trash everywhere and dogs and cats too.  This morning we went shopping at just one of the little markets.  You know the little fridge thingies they use at gas stations and stuff where they keep the ice cream, they look like a treasure chest.  That is what they use at the little markets and there was a cat sitting on top of one.  So funny.  Gotta keep cold somehow.

My area is super populated.  Lots of people and buildings everywhere.  There are a couple places where there are some rainforest looking trees but not a ton.  But I can´t wait till mango season because there are so many mango trees!! ´´juicey mango!  pick a mango!``  The other day when we were sitting in the park studying, one landed like 5 feet away from us.  I don´t remember any more of your questions dad or if I even answered them so just ask again next week.

So just a little bit of Elder M stuff.  I´m really growing to love him.  I really am.  I laugh at his jokes now and just treat them as such.  When ever we go to someones house he always tells me to clap or bang on the door.  The other day we were walking past a couple holding hands.  A couple of days before, I had asked him how to do a street contact with a family.  I looked at him and said, "Elder M, will you talk to them and show me how to do a street contact with a family?"  He looked at me and said, "go right ahead."  I said, I don´t know how!  Will you please just do it?  Then he just kind of stared at me with the guilty smile like he knew he should be talking to them.  He let them walk right past.  Every time something like this happens, which is everyday just when he doesn´t want to talk to people, I look at him and say something like ``Elder, after two years of being a missionary how are you still scared to talk to people.``

Sunday night after conference was great though.  We were waiting for our ride and talking about our investigators.  We have one named Le*.  We have taught him the 1st lesson.  We had talked about bringing Junior, a RM member from the ward, to help us teach and fellowship him.  As we were talking I saw Junior over there talking to some people. I looked at Elder M and said ``there is Junior, lets go see if he will help us.``
He said we would just call him later.
``But he is right there`` I said ``lets just go ask him if he would be willing to help us, it will be easy.``
He still said no.  I asked him to give me one reason why he didn´t want to.  He couldn´t come up with one.  I said ok lets go.  I stood up and walked over to Junior and asked him.  As I was walking over I looked back and he was surprised that I was actually doing it.  He eventually followed.  Yes dad, I´m going to wear him out.  I plan on it.

So there are two things that most people say to me  1. Why is your face red?  2. When they find out I´ve been here for a month they always tell me how good my Portuguese is.  It really isn´t though.  My hardest time comes with understanding people.  Some people  like Ri*´s cousin, I can understand perfectly and there are only a few words I don´t understand. But there are other people like Mar*, the one we just baptized, who could be speaking Russian for all I know. It is crazy!  Like when he talks I cannot understand one word. I can usually pick out a couple of words of what people are saying but with him I get nothing.  I just kind of smile and nod my head.

So about the storm.  It happened at like 10 AM.  All of a sudden we just heard it raining outside.  We were inside.  I was cleaning and he was napping.  I went to look outside and it was pouring!! Like I´ve never seen rain like this.  Then, the lightning and THUNDER started.....  the lightning was right above us but we couldn´t see it, but we could hear it. The first one literally scared me.  It was so loud!!!!!!  THUNDER!!  Shook my insides. I just don´t know how to describe it.  The power went out at about this time and didn´t come on again till 10 at night.  Pretty crazy.  The storm was over by 12 and it was dry by about 3.

This is one of the trees that was down from the storm.  There were guys with their chainsaws cutting off the partially broken off branches.  I think you can see him up in the tree on the left.  We had to walk through all of that.  It goes on like that in the street for about 30 yards.  This was the worst one we saw.  I love the little boy trying to hide his face :)

Well that is all for this week.  I love you all and pray for you every night! 
Tudo Bem 
Elder Ostler

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I'm Alive


Don´t worry, i`m alive....  Hurricane Sandy riped through here on Monday morning and knocked out the power all day.  OK it wasn´t a hurricane but it sure felt like it.  it knocked down three trees that we saw.  we went to three different Lan houses but all didn´t have power.  i didn´t email yesterday because we had divisions.  I don´t have anymore time to email because it´s not p-day.  we mainly came here to email president k.  the mission definitely has it´s ups and downs.  sometimes i just want to be with you guys so much but other times i´m loving it down here.  i love you all!!  and dad that is awesome about your calling!!  Candy mt ward is the luckiest ward every.  so awesome.  i freaked when i saw that.  Love You

Tudo Bem 
Elder Ostler