Monday, November 11, 2013

I just love being a missionary

Ostler Lawn & Garden in Brasil!!!!
I found this sitting in the church and just couldn't resist.

Holy Questions!  but I love questions because I like telling you guys about the things that you want to know.  This week was good.  It definitely had its ups and downs but it wasn´t overall terrible.  During the morning and day it is still hard at times and I miss you guys like crazy!  But at night I feel great!  When we get home I just love being a missionary and I tell myself that I can do this.  It is still hard but I´m just getting used to the hardness of it.  What really get´s me homesick is when I think about the weather there... It is like you guys are in a totally different world.  I don’t know why.  It might just be because this is the holiday season and I´m used to the holiday season being cold. People have Christmas trees up here and it is just so weird to see them in the middle of the day when it is so hot.  That probably made no sense but it´s how I´m feeling.

No one from my MTC district has made it here yet.  It is only me, the elder that I traveled with and the other elder who left for the Brazil MTC on the first week in the Provo MTC.  There  are couples from the states.... I think.  But we never see them. They don´t work in the office. I think that they actually proselyte just like regular missionaries.   They have elders in the office.  4 secretaries and 2 AP´s.  But  right now we have 6 APs!!!!!  3 companionships!  Elder O told me that at one time they have 8!  You know why?  Well you said it in your email.... MISSÃO BRASIL MANAUS È ENORME!!!!!  It is so big!  But most of the missionaries are in the city of Manaus. There are 9 stakes with like 8 wards in each. The mission covers 4 states. Amazonas, Roidona, Roraima, e Acre.  I´m not sure what the farthest area is but it is far.  Some of the areas require a 2 day boat ride to get there!  Most of the interiors don´t have the church established yet.    Anyway, back to the APs.  President Klein can call as many as he wants.  When I got here there were only 2 but now he has 6. They travel alot  to do trainings and stuff like that.

NO SCHOOL!  Last night when we were planning I was looking at the date and thinking ``Novembro 11, Novembro 11, that is something.  Something happens on that date.... veterans date!!``  I hope all of you have so much fun today in that cold weather of yours.  I love that picture!  That is so sweet!  Aubrey and Alex are one of a kind (in a good way:)  That is  crazy awesome and yes that means birthday.  It also means anniversary.  I just can´t get over how sweet that is.  So cool.  I hope your birthday was sooo much fun Jefferson!  I was thinking about you!  It was Elder O´s sister´s birthday too!  I was going to make the peanut butter cookies that you sent to celebrate our irmãos birthdays but I didn´t have time.  I might make them today.  And yes I got the dear elders from James and Mitch.  It was awesome to hear from them.

So Ca*....   we didn´t see her this week.  Every time we went past her house she was gone!  Even when her aunt said she would be back she was gone.  And her phone was broken this week so we couldn´t call her but it is working now.  She didn’t come to church.  But she is our focus this week!

So just some random stuff.  
Dad, about the age thing again.  When people want to know how old I am I tell them to guess.  The youngest I´ve ever gotten is 20!!  I´ve gotten as high as 27!  It is crazy!  when I tell them I´m 18 they just look at me in disbelief!  It is pretty funny. Also one of our investigators told me I look like Rocky Baboa!  kkkkkkkkk 

Also I had liver this week!  We got money for lunch one day this week so we just went to one of the self-service places.  I think I already mentioned this.  It is usually like R$10 and you get to load your plate with as much rice, noodles, beans and meat as you can.  So I was just taking what I though was steak.  When I bit into it, it did not taste like steak.  It didn´t have the same fibers.  I looked at the shape and realized that it was liver!  My comp confirmed my thought.  I ate 3 of them because they were already on my plate.  They weren´t terrible but they weren´t good either. A weird meat that is for sure. 

Elder Greenwood, one of the secretaries, told me that I get more mail than any other of the missionaries!  He does the mail everyday and he says that I get a lot. And I do!  I love it!  I got a letter this week form Saydi.  Wow she is amazing.  I was thinking about what you sent me last week about the letter that Ben got from Saydi and how it spoke right to his heart and I was thinking that maybe her letter to me would do the same for me.  The Sunday before I got the letter I was fasting that I would be able to become the missionary that the Lord wants me to become. Like I said, I´ve been thinking alot about becoming a great missionary and how I´m going to do it.  This is a quote from her letter. ``You will be the missionary you want to be if you just keep going and don´t quite.``  When I read that I just couldn´t believe it. She might not have known that I needed that but I did.  It is such a simple sentence but it was so powerful at the time.  I just read it over and over again in disbelief that she had written that.  She is truly an amazing missionary.  She is saying that I need to apply to my life what we tell our investigators to apply to their lives... Preservar até o fim - Endure to the End.  Just keep going and don´t quite. She is amazing.

So about my comp now.  He is an amazing missionary.  He loves to baptize.  One of his strengths is finding people to teach.  He is seriously sooooo goooood at this. When ever we talk to anyone, member or nonmember, he ALWAYS asks about their families and if they are all members.   If they aren´t, then we make plans to visit them.  It is hard to explain how he does it... he just does.  Like we are trying to teach this one family but they never have time to hear the lessons.  One day we went by to see if we could teach but we couldn´t.  He saw a teenage girl walk past and asked who it was.  They said it was their niece.  He asked where she lived.  She lived next door. We went and knocked on the door of her house and marked an appointment to come back and teach.  Just stuff like that.  His eyes are always open for people to teach.  It is great.

One thing that he still needs to work on is getting up on time!!  Every morning I get up and go do exercises and make so much noise.  I come into the room and tell him to get up but he never does.  And no there has really been nothing said about this rule in any meeting.  That is funny what the missionary who used to be here said about actually keeping the rules.  Last night the ZLs called us at 12:30 just to say good night!  That 6:30 rule is so important.  If you don´t wake up at 6:30, you are scrambling to be ready at 8 to study.

And Dad about his English. He knows a little and he wants to learn more.  He plans on going to BYU after the mission.  He knows most of the common verbs but not much.  He can read English and translate like 60% of it into Portuguese.  But he can't speak it very well. I teach him a little during language study.   He reads the missionary handbook in English too.  His accent is so funny!!!  All Brazilians have funny accents when they speak English.  They have a hard time with `th`  and words that start with `w` and words that end in `t`or ´d´. It is so funny sometimes.  But I'm sure that the people here laugh at me too for having a funny accent.

One thing that I thought was funny is that he had a hard time telling the difference between `hour`and álways` when I say them, he says that they just sound the same.  And when he says them... they almost do sound the same.  In Portuguese (and spanish) they have one word for the verbs `to do` and `to make.` Last night I was trying to explain to him when to use to do and when to use to make.

So like a mentioned, we went to a different area on Saturday to do interviews.  The area borders our area but I felt like I was in a totally different country!  There was a subway and a McDonalds!  The main street we were walking down was clean and it was lined with super nice clothes stores!  It felt like I was in America for a second. Seeing that subway was sweet!!

So about the heat on Sunday.  I don´t really know if it was really hot because we were inside most of the day.   But I think it was hot.  It is always hot.  Even when it is raining it is hot.  And I was going to ask you what your phone says the weather is down here.  The raining season is starting so it rains EVERYDAY.   There are 2 times of the day that it usually rains.  In the morning at about 10 and in the evening at about 4-6.  Everyday.  But the weather is always changing.  It can be sunny and hot and 5 minutes later it is pouring!  So on you phone does it just say that it rains everyday?  Because I´m pretty sure it is always raining somewhere in Manaus.  At night, if it is not raining and thundering right above you, you can usually look around and find a storm somewhere on the horizon.  The thunder here is cool.  It is just a super low rumble sound that last forever... unless it is right above you.  Then it sounds like glass shattering and it just shakes you!

Here is our Família Eleita.  The mom is right next to Elder O.  She is the only one in the picture that didn´t get baptized.  The boy in front isn´t in a jumpsuit because we didn´t have enough. So after Junior (the other little one) was baptized, he put that one on.  It was such a joyeous moment when they were baptized!!

Sunday was a great day!  We had 5 baptisms!  We found them on Tuesday and we baptized them yesterday!!  The Lord is truly preparing these people.  So it is kind of a complicated story.  It is a family but we didn´t baptize all of them.  The parents aren't married so we only baptized the kids this week.  The family lives behind their grandma´s house in a alley type thing.  We taught them on Wednesday.  It was the mom, the 5 kids (one is 7 so we didn´t baptize her), and the grandma who is the dad´s mom.  She is a piece of work.  She always say stuff like `gloria a Dues`and stuff like that.  She loves us and gives us a big hug and kisses our chest every time we come and leave.  We didn´t baptize her this week but we are planning to baptize her this coming week.

The dad had just got back from work so he was back behind the house doing something.  As we where teaching, the dad´s sister walked into the room.  Her name is J* and she is 23.  My comp invited her to listen to our message.  After we taught the lesson (Doctrine of Christ) we invited them to be baptized. They all accepted.  We explained to the mom that she couldn´t be baptized till her and her husband were married.  She got up and went out to the back were her husband was. She came back a couple of minutes later and told us that she had just talked to her husband and she said that they were going to be married so they can be baptized too!!! She is absolutely amazing.  She can´t read or write but she has so much faith. She also loves her kids and always jokes around with them. They are such an amazing family.

On Thursday when we taught the first lesson and after we explained the Book of Mormon and gave them some and invited them to read, Elder O started to fill out the baptismal forms with all the info of the person on them.  J*, the aunt of the kids, opened the Book of Mormon and started reading.  In the mission, they are what we call Eleitos, just an amazing family.  The only challenge might be converting the dad. When we first met them, the mom told us that he doesn´t like the Mormon church because he thinks that we are like other churches that have a band shout and hoot and yell and talk in tongues.  But he is slowly warming up to us.

I´m so excited to get them married but I don´t know if I will still be here to see the marriage and baptism.  Transfers are in 3 weeks.  That is just about the time it takes to get all the paper work done and I´m questioning whether I will stay here.  My comp tells me that president rarely leaves you in an area for more than 2 transfers. But there is hope because Elder M was here for 4 transfers.

The baptism was great.  We do the baptisms right after church but they hadn´t been interviewed yet.  Elder O told me that he had permission from the ZLs to interview them.  So an hour and a half after church ended we had the baptism.  Elder O let me baptize them.  It was great!  But the water was pretty dirty because the drain in the font isn´t working.  But I guess it wasn´t really that dirty because in some of the areas here they baptize in the river!

After the baptism we had lunch at the house of................. the CAMARGOS!!!!!!  Do you remember them?  They are the ones that live in the super nice apartment and that speak English.  We had nachos!  They had just flew in from America the day before so Irmã Camargo had brought some goods.  It was funny because my comp had never seen salsa or tortilla chips before.  Then for dessert we had 3 leites cake with ice cream with raspberry sauce!  I ATE SO MUCH FOOD!!!  I was in pain by the end of the meal because I ate so much.  I think the only time that I have ever been fuller is when Bishop Robertson made the Priests Hamburgers! :)  So it was a great Sunday!

Wow it is just so weird that you guys have to put on a jacket when you go outside.  I hope you all have fun today picking your nose.... I mean apples and doing other fun things.  I love you all.

I´m doing great.  Yes it is still hard and I miss you guys like crazy but I´m starting to love Brazil and the culture and the food and the PEOPLE!  Last night when we got home we decided to up our goal for baptisms for the transfer.  Last night I was just in a baptizing mood.  We went over the people that we are going to focus on to baptize this week and I was just so excited to do it!  I know that this is THE Church of Jesus Christ and that He is at the head leading us.  I know that the Book of Mormon has the power to convert people through the Holy Ghost.  I know that baptism is the first step that people must take to return to live with our Heavenly Father and that is my purpose here in Brazil.....MILHARES PARA BATIZAR!!!

Tudo Bem 
Elder Ostler

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