Monday, April 21, 2014

3 Chances

FELIZ ANIVERSÁRIO MÃE!!!!   What a special day for you..... the big FIVE-OH!   50! happy birthday. I hope this day is full of happiness and joy!!!   If I have time today I will write you a letter (I might have like 30 mins) but I already wrote you a letter back in February that I still need to send.  I haven´t had the chance to pass by a post office since then.  I hope that when it gets to you in august it will still have some relevance:)  and I know your birthday is some time this week dad, but to be honest I forgot the exact day, 26? 27? 28?29?

What a week.  Full of everything you can ever think of, good and bad.. Machetes, tears, homesickness, açaí, baptism dates, false accusations, spiritual promptings, fish heads, and muslims..... that´s all I can think of:)  but let me explain.... but where to even start....

So at district meeting my DL Elder Gonçalvez did an interview with me.  It was definitely weird.  He mainly did it to talk to me about the 3 times at sacrament meeting. He said it is not important.  He also said that when a person gets baptized they don´t have to be keeping the commandments, they just have to have a will to keep them.  I asked him if you can baptize someone who is addicted, he said as long as they want to quite you can.... I don´t know about you but that doesn´t sound right to me.  Page 79 of PME says that in order to be baptized, the person must abandon all addictions dealing with the WOW.  So that was an interesting interview.

Then on Wed night I got a call from our zone leader. I had no idea what he was talking about. He mentioned my letter that I wrote to President, he asked us if we felt one with the mission and I said no because I see baptism different than other missionaries.  It was weird.  He told me that I needed to work more and baptize more people.  I said I was working hard.  He said I wasn´t.

He then went on for 20 mins about all sorts of just stuff.  He said baptizing every week was a rule... that blew me for a loop.  It is a standard of excellence but not a rule.  It was just a very confusing discussion.  Afterwards me and Elder Walbrecht were talking about it and it just didn´t make sense.

I was thinking afterwards about it and I thought about lacrosse and how this happened with K.  He falsely accused me and the jefferbeast (that is not an insult, I'm just saying that you are a BEAST!) and gave us special punishments.  But instead of cowering down and crying (like I did with K) I stood up to my ZL.  GOD PREPARED ME FOR MY MISSION!  That is what I learned this week.  I had that trial to prepare me for my mission.  Some of the missionaries here are falsely accusing me and wanting me to baptize more. But God already prepared me for this and I´m so grateful for that trial that GOD GAVE ME because it truly prepared for this.  Now I´m ready to stand up and tell the missionaries here what is right.

So after this three instances it really left me wondering about God´s will for me.  I ONLY WANT TO DO WHAT HE WANTS ME TO DO!  I just want to please him. I´ve been praying about this all week.  In Presidents email to me this week he said that anyone who finds someone and baptizes them the same week is incorrect and needs to repent...  I just ask for your prays that I can know the will of God for me.  I just want to do what He wants me to do. 

On Wednesday I will be doing a division with elder G and he said he wants to interview someone for baptism.  When I asked Elder Walbrecht who, he said no one because no one is ready.  It is true.  Our investigators still need some more time.  So that will be interesting on Wednesday:)

The rest of this week wast pretty good, for the most part.  After the call from ZL I was really down.  I was super homesick and just wanted to be serving in another mission where there isn´t this problem.  I just wanted it all to go away.  After that call I felt like I could trust no one but my comp Elder W, Elder Pothier and the Lord.  I felt like everyone was against me. I see now that I was wrong, that truly people want my good.

I´m just kind of at a hard point right now that is all. I need to work through.  One thing I need to improve is this.  Whenever anything bad happens I immediately think of you guys.  I need to stop.  I need to fix my own problems, it is just kind of hard you know.  But I studied alot about the Atonement this week, the aspect of receiving strength from it.  That helped alot.  The Atonement is so complex and I still don´t get all of it.  It is just amazing.

So I´ll talk about some of the cool and weird stuff that happened this week.  I will tell about the sweetest one first. Yesterday as we were walking down the street we passed a young man sitting on the side walk, I look down at him and saw that he was reading a little paper that the other churches here give out (just like a paper with a scripture about accepting Jesus or something).  I had the thought to talk to him.  I didn´t, stupid.  But God is merciful and he gave me another chance.,..... 2 to be exact.  We walked by him 2 more times that day and on the 3rd time I told Elder W that we would talk to him and Elder W said he felt we needed to to.  We walk up and started talking to him.  We asked him why he was sitting there.  He said he was just thinking about life and how he can accept Jesus.  We talked more and found out that he has almost no family.  His dad died and his mom wants nothing to do with him. He wants to get out of the world, well away from the worldly things.  He wants Jesus. We sat down and taught him the plan that God has for us, the plan of salvation.  And I just so happened to have my christmas present with me:) thanks Boys!  That helped so much in laying it out and showing it to him.  He thought it was really sweet and kept saying how nobody had ever told him about this before.  We said it was because we were the only church who had it because we had the restored church of Christ.  This morning we took him to the church to play futebol with the Quorum, he is 20 and called G*.  He is amazing and I´m so grateful that God put him in our path and gave us 3 CHANCES to talk to him.  Next time I´ll do it on the first:)

We also met a muslim this week:)  We were just walking to an appt and this dark skinny man said hi to us in english. Alot of brasilian do that so we thought nothing of it and just said hi.  But then he started speaking english!  We talked to him and found out he was from Guienne (you know like the pig).  He kept saying "I´m an english man."  He is a muslim too.  we talked to him about Jesus a little.  He said that there is only one God and that God doesn´t have a Son who is a God too.  But he was very nice.  It was nice to know a little bit of the muslim religion thanks to ahmed (don´t read that part mom).  He wants a BOM in english.  We are going back to talk to him. He already has one in portuguese.  He is funny.

This week me and Elder W did a service project and got to use machetes to cut down 6ft grass.  It was fun:)  The picture is of us being little kids afterwards with our machetes. And this week I ate a fish head!  I didn´t eat it like grandpa skinner who just bites it right off, I opened up the head and sucked everything out..... lets just say that brains are salty:)

We have to dates marked for the 3 of maio, M & O.  We met M my second p day here.  The first thing he asked us is when we have church because he wants to go. He went for the first time on Sunday!!!!  He is awesome.  O is going to marry our neighbors daughter in a month.  We are teaching O in his house.  This Sunday he and his family all went to church with O!! It was great! reactivation! 

So that was my week:)  I´m doing good but it is still hard.  I just want to know God's will for me:)  I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH and I´m glad to hear everything is going well.  And no I haven´t seen that video yet but that is so sweet!  Easter here isn´t really big on the resurrection side of it.  Though on Friday the catholics were in streets reenacting the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.  That was a little weird, but hey, I'm in Brasil.....I love you all so much! Pray for me that I will be able to stand up to them.  Have a sweet week in New Orleans Wilson:)  It is gonna be great!  Happy birthday mom and dad!  Love you all!!

Elder Ostler

Monday, April 14, 2014

It is so hot, you have no idea

Let´s see, where to start for this week.  First of all I can´t believe Jeffero is only doing 3 days of mowing!!  That is so crazy!  But I guess too because it is because he doesn´t have to be at LAX at 5:30, which is nice.  That pic of Wilson is hilarious. What a man.  And you are playing attack!  What a boss!  You are goin to be the star of the varsity team. So they are playing for 3RLAX and not Richland shmichalnd.. what a joke.  But I´m in brasil and have MUCH BIGGER AND BETTER things to worry about:)  Wow what I wouldn´t give to throw the rock around with you boys,,,, but I would still own.  Anyways, to my week.

So this week we had a huge conference with all the missionaries in manaus about a pilot program in our mission... well in the city of manaus.  The area president asked that we do it.  It is dealing with recent converts.  IT IS SWEET!  Mainly it is dealing with reactivating inactive recent converts and getting them in the temple to do baptisms for their parents and avos.  It is so sweet.  It involves teaching all 5 lessons after baptism too, which I have to admit, I have never done.  But we are doing it now with all of the recent converts of the past 6 months (most of them haven’t even been visited by the missionaries after the baptism...)  So that is pretty sweet.

Well over half of my email just got erased.... today has just not been our day.... well I guess it was all good except that and that the internet was down so we had to wait for ever.  The biggest bummer is that we will have zero time after this is over to relax.  But o well.  So I will say again what I already typed; grrrrr

So you know how we found those 5 golden investigators last week because of our fast and marked dates for them... well all of the dates fell because THEY DIDN´T COME TO CHURCH!  R´s mom won´t let him baptize, the 10 year old went shopping with the fan, O is sick, and A & J just didn´t come...  I was so excited for A & J to come to church because that is what they really need.  They can´t really progress any further until they come to church. It is truly the one thing they are falting right now.

We had a sweet lesson with them on Saturday night with the branch pres and his wife.  We taught the WOW as part of it and A said there is no way she is giving up coffee.  It was funny because everytime we asked her about it she just laughed and shook her head like "there is no way that is happening," but we will see about that kakakak.  God is more powerful than coffee:)  So they were the most depressing.

We had their neighbors go by (who are members) to pick them up but it didn´t give. But I still love teaching them because they have doubts and questions that we get to resolve and answer:) and some of their questions are hard.  Like this, "the baptismal prayer" says to be baptized in the name of the father and of the son and of the HG. Then why does it also say to be baptized in the name of Jesus in the BOM and the bible?"  So they are fun to teach and the next time we go J promised us Açaí :)

So the reason I said that about baptism is because it is still confusing to me. Especially with that Zone leader I told you about last week, and our DL for that matter.  They always ask us if we have anybody for them to interview and we say no.  Then they ask who has been to church already because they just want to baptize that person.  That is the only requirement they look at is the church attendance, and they are still following the old rule of one church attendance so it just chaps my hide.

On the hour bus ride back from that conference, that ZL and DL were talking to Elder W about baptizing.  They said if you feel like the person is ready after one church meeting then just baptize them.  They said that the missionary who takes the investigator to church 3 times just to fulfill the requirement doesn´t have love for the investigator.  They said if you love the investigator then you will just baptize them. They say just to have faith after you take them to church once that they will stay firm. OR YOU COULD TAKE THEM TO CHURCH A FEW TIMES SO THAT YOU ARE MORE CERTAIN THAT THEY WILL STAY FIRM!

But I will not come down.  So the rules might have changed but the missionaries haven´t.  They just think that baptism is good so if you baptize someone it is good, it doesn´t matter if they have no idea what they are doing.

Things with me and the comp are great.  We get along really well and stuff. He is a great comp and I´m happy to be staying with him for another transfer:)

Speaking of comps, I got to see Elder Pothier at the conference and boy was that good!!!  He is doing great.  He is a DL over a district of sisters! kakak   I asked him how that was. . .  kakak!  He is so awesome and I look up to him so much.

Thanks for telling me more about the brothers.  That is great to hear they are doing good. I love to hear how they are doing. 

Brasilian People: here is one funny thing they do, touching.  They are just always touching touching touching.  Like when they want your attention they will touch your leg (if sitting) or arm or shoulder.  Or they will just touch you when they are talking to you.  Sometimes when we leave with our elders quorum president, he will just pat kids on the back and head in the street.  In our elders quorum this week the teacher was walking all over the whole time he is hilarious.  When ever anyone spoke (like gave a comment in the lesson)  he would walk over and touch them, put his arm around them, touch their shoulder, anything!  That is my Brasilian minute for the week;)

Well I would say that besides my muscles, the biggest thing that is growing for me is my testimony do Livro de Mórmon.  I read alma 32 today and was amazed at the depth of that chapter.  Everone just thinks it talks about how faith is believing in something that you can´t see that is true.  It talks about that but it talks about so much more.  The seed part is so good. The Book of Mormon is just so amazing! I love it and know that it is the word of God.  All the prophets from Néfi a Morôni were inspired to write what they wrote.

So my week was good and I hope this week is even better.  I love you all so much. When I saw that picture of Cosmo it just hit me that I´m an uncle.  That is so crazy. I can´t believe that Saydi is a sister trainer!  That is so sweet!  I love you all and have a great week.  
Elder Ostler

PS  it is so hot, you have no idea

Monday, April 7, 2014

I will hold my tongue no more

Wow what a week!  I bet spring break was fun:)  Well mom, you are wrong (I´m not at home so I can say that, kakakakakak!)  Me and Elder W stayed here in cidade do leste and we are so happy! I´ll tell you why:)  So on Tuesday at our District meeting our DL Elder Gonçalves proposed that we fast.  Our new investigators numbers have been really low this transfer so he proposed that we fast to find people to baptize. So that is what our district did after lunch that day... we fasted to find new people to baptize.  Most of the investigators we have are not progressing, mostly just not coming to church or not showing a desire to continue... we are contemplating dropping a bunch of them but we still haven´t.  We call those lessons do or die lessons... they aren´t that fun... but back to the fast.

On Tuesday, the day of the fast, we found 4 news!!!  R*, um Ra* that was an old investigator that we wrote down to go see that day... a little 10 year old boy that a member introduced us to.... and my favorites A & J, a couple that we talked to a tiny bit last week.  Then on Wednesday, our neighbor who is a less active member told us we needed to baptize his soon to be son in law. His daughter is getting married and he thought that it would be best if he was baptized before the marriage. He is a funny guy:)

So we found 5 solid investigators and this is the best part..... WE MARKED BAPTISM DATES WITH ALL OF THEM!!!!  The power of fasting is real.  I am still amazed that just after a simple fast we were able to find 5 new solid investigators.  God is truly amazing.  He is in charge of this work.  He was just waiting till we were humble enough and asked for Him to show us where the people are that are waiting for us, then he showed us.

R already has a big desire to get baptized.  He was taught by Elder Pothier but then for some reason they stopped teaching.  The 10 year old was a miracle all in himself. On Tuesday, the secretary of our branch called us up and said that he had someone for us to teach.  We went over to his house that night and met him.  This 10 year old kid has so much faith in Christ and knows so much about his life.  The only problem might be is that his grandma might not let him get baptized....   A & J are amazing. J is really interested and wants to know if this is true.  With them we have been showing them how the bible and the LdM work together.  We read john 10 16 with them and 3 nefi11 também.  But the biggest problem we have is getting our investigators to church!!!  NONE OF THEM went to GC yesterday like they said they would.  That is the most frustrating part for me and Elder W, our people not coming to church!  In weekly planning we spend like 30 minutes on that part but we still are getting like maybe 4 people there every week. And if they don’t come to church, they can’t get baptized.  So that is frustrating.  But I am still amazing at the hand of the Lord we saw this week in our work.  This week we did a lot of the same things we did last week such as go back to our jungle lunch!!!! And the temple!!!! Both of which were amazing but I just want to talk a little bit about the temple.

I love the celestial room.  There is no other place on earth that even compares to it (that I know of).  I love to just sit there and focus on feeling the spirit.  After just sitting there for a little bit I looked around and saw a good handful of the missionaries reading scriptures.  I´ve never read the scriptures in the celestial room.  Don´t know why, I just haven’t.  For some reason I just had a desire too... just to read, not even looking for anything or an answer to a question.  So I just let the scriptures fall open and it opened to Alma 38 where Alma is giving counsel to his son shiblon...I don´t know how to explain it.  The spirit that I felt during that experience was indescribable.  I knew that God is proud of my work that I´m doing, but He also told me that I´m not done... but that I have to keep going and not stop.  The Book of Mormon is true.  It is an inspired book and it can answer ANY question you have, even if you don´t know you have the question.

So yeah, GC was awesome and yes we got to watch it in english which was a major blessing!! We watched the first session in Portuguese and I understood it for the most part, the thing that is really missing is the emotion in the voices.  Priesthood was by far my favorite session.  I put a star by all my favorite talks and all of the talks in conference are stared.  I’m really happy that you guys chose to skip lax to go watch conference.  It was worth it.

Elder Audikatis is Brazilian yes.  But he sounds like he is from Russia.  I´ve never met a Brazilian that talks like that... then again I think I´ve only met like 3 Brazilians that speak fluently in english.  But they did not sound like that.  But here is a fun fact of the day!   He is President Klein´s cousin!  Isn´t that crazy!  I think it is pretty sweet.   It would have been even sweeter if he would have gotten up there and just given his whole talk in Português:)

So a lot of the talks were directed to the youth... Jefferson, Benson and Wilson.  Go back and watch those talks again, their words will bless your life.  While I was listening to those talks I just felt such a longing for my youthhood.  I just wanted it all back and to be a youth again.  Heed what the apostles said to you guys.  Do it!  It will bless your lifes!

So right now, we have one of those ZLs.  He is all about the numbers.  He called me up last night and said that this week our zone baptized 13 people. The highest baptizing zone for the week in Manaus.... he went on and on about how we need to keep out numbers high, at the top.  He came to our district meeting this last week and said a lot of things that were kind of  ifie.  He was complaining about how low the baptism numbers are in the mission and how we need to baptize more.  I made a vow with myself that I will hold my tongue no more.  Whenever anyone says anything that is contradictory with the right way missionary work is to be done, the way that is inspired of the Lord, I will speak up.  It may be hard at times but like Thomas Monson said, having courage is not always choosing the easy way..... or something like that.  I will have courage.

So that was my week and the end of the transfer.  It was a good week with MANY MANY miracles, whether they happened in the celestial room or on the streets of Manaus.  The Lord is truly working with us here in our área,  I´m very excited for our 5 baptismal dates marked and I pray they do not fall.

I love you all so much and hope you have a sweet week (full of missionary opportunities because  you were challenged to invite 4 people per year to hear the missionaries from M. Russell Ballard.)  Boys, have fun in your youthhood and live the gospel.  I wish I could have those years back so much.  But I´m so grateful to be serving a mission for the Lord and to know that He is satisfied with my work.  I love you all sooo much!!!

Elder Ostler