Monday, July 28, 2014

This is no American hospital

Sounds like the weeks just get better and better there.  Lots of stuff happening. Wilson I hope you are feeling better... a lot better.  That hike sounded great but I can't believe you only got one fish.... a little disappointing. I thought I taught you guys better.

Yeah so I´ll have a year in 2 days....... that is COMPLETELY UNREAL!!!  I cannot believe that it has already been a year.  When I think back to when I was home it seems like 3 months ago but when I think back to getting trained, it seems like an eternity ago.  But it mainly just feels like it went super super super super fast.  I don't have the package but that is alright, no big deal.

So what is with this investigator eating dinner at the house?!?! If somebody did that here I think I would grow wings and fly away while playing a harp.  You guys are taking your duty to share the gospel by the horns.  Parabéns!!  And Jefferson left 3 times with the missionaries this week! That is pretty cool.  Keep it up.  I wish I would have done that more. Dad, you rock. That is so great that you just stripped down and gave away all of your stuff for the comfort of others.  That is a great Christ like example........I remember what it was like to be cold..... those were the days......hey Benson, give a big wet kiss to Chris for me when they arrive. He´ll love it.  

So where do we even begin on the week....  let´s start at the beginning.  So this week was awesome!!!!!!  Best week I´ve had in a while.  Nothing extra ordinary happened, just your average week as a missionary.  It was a compilation of a lot of things. One thing happened on Tuesday, me and Elder Volk decided to go tracting up in a richer bairoo called Núcleo 9.  I hate doing contacts, street or door.  I´m just not good at it and never know what to say.  So on Monday night and Tuesday morning I was just praying for the courage to be able to do contacts.  Well the contacts came around and I loved it!  We were going for almost 1.5 hours!  We didn´t get in to teach anybody but we found two promising families!  Usually I dread it but that time it was fun.  It is because we had a plan.  If they wanted to hear us but didn´t have time then we were going to give them 2 choices of when we could come back. Then we would get their number and tell them we would call and confirm.

Another little thing is the ward.  I stinking love ala Êxodo!!!!  I love the leadership and the youth and everybody!  And I´m to the point where I´m comfortable with the members so now I can brincar com eles.  Especially Y*.  At the church on Tuesday and Friday they play futebol and dominos (I don´t want to play any of your grannie games alright!)  So we go there when we don´t have comprimissos and get references.  This Saturday they had the festa julinha which is a tradition festival here. It is like a cowboy/hillbilly party.  They dance and there is always a ton of food and everybody dresses up like hillbillies.  So they danced the quardilha which is the brasilian form of square dancing.  So during this week they had rehearsals at the church.  Just being with the members makes me happy.

Another thing that made the week great was my attitude.  Instead of wishing to be somewhere else, I was content in being where I am, even happy to be here.  I remember one night as we were getting a ride home from the church I just couldn´t stop smiling.  I am a missionary, is there anything more happy than that!  It was just a great feeling.  (this isn´t that organized because I forgot my paper where I wrote what happened during the week)  So I was just really happy this week! All week!! Except for one tiny little problem that I will address hereafter....... dun dun dun...

So like I said we had a massive party at the church on Saturday night.  The youth did a country dance and the primary also did a dance.  Then the whole ward did the quardilha... square dance but brasilian style.  It was so much fun and there were a ton of less actives there.  We also met a lot of non members... só que they don´t live in our area :(  but we will pass the reference.  

I forgot the best part of the night.  Right before the party we had a baptism.  She is the 12 year old daughter of Ka*.

The baptism was good.  Our YM presidency was there and they did a musical number. I´ve seen 2 on the mission.  It was a great baptismo and she is already friends with all the youth and she danced at the party!

Last night we had a little fireside with an ex mission president. He used to be the stake president here. His topic was preparing for a mission.  It was like a question and answer thing so anybody could ask a question and he would answer.  One of the questions was obviously "what is the best way to prepáre for a mission?"  He shared a quote from Elder Bednar that says the best way to prepare to go on a mission is to become a missionary.  To read what a missionary reads, to think like a missionary thinks and to pray like a missionary prays.  After this he called me and Elder Volk up. He didn´t give us a heads up about this.  He said that in order for members to think and pray like missionaries they need to know what missionaries pray and think about.  So he had Elder Volk tell what he thinks about all day and then had me give an experience on prayer.

It was on the spot and my heart was beating so fast.  I shared about the fast that me and my district did in cidade do leste to find new investigators and how we found like 7 people that week, how all got baptized.  I told them it is good to pray for yourself because we have to help other people but that it is also import to pray for others.  I thought it was pretty good.  My heart was racing but it was awesome!

So ... now for the thing that has been bugging me..... so as you know I have been suffering from ingrown toe nails, so I have had a super bad one for about 3 weeks, we are talking (the squeamish should skip this part) gushing out puss and blood.  And it kills when you touch it.  There was no way that I was ever going to be able to get that thing out of there so this morning.... we went to the hospital to get it taken out. We had a member take us.  We sat there and had to wait about an hour.  Then they took me back to another little waiting room. There I was able to talk to leticia, a 22 year old girl that I gave a Book of Mormon too.  I just explained to her a little about it then she said that I gave her curiosity to read it so I just gave her the Book of Mormon that I had with me.  I told her to start with the intro because it explains better about the book of mormon.

Then I went in with the doc.  It was a little tiny room. A little bigger than our pantry if you took all the shelfs out.  They had a gurney there ("I´m on a gurney") and had me lay on it.  It was just a nurse and a doc.  I had my foot hanging off the end of it over a garbage can.... this is no American hospital.  Then they just did it.  He numbed up my toe which did not feel the greatest.  Then he grabbed the ingrown toenail and said "do you feel that?"  I felt nothing.  Then he took some scissor type things and dug in and chopped off the ingrown part.  No pain.  It was great!  Then he prescribed some drugs (because it is infected) and off I went! 5 mins top.  He spoke a little english too.  The worst part is this... I have to stay in the house for a week.

It can´t be!  If this would have happened to me at the beginning of the mission and I could have stayed in home for a week I would have been perfectly fine with that.  But now when I´m almost at my prime..... ahhhh, it just is a bummer.  Honestly there is a little part of me saying "yes I get a break!" But most of me is just suffering.  I love this work and I want to work everyday.  After the experience of tracting on Tuesday my fear of talking to people has really gone down. What is the worst they are going to say.. no? (people here don´t slam doors on us or yell at us, they just say they are catholics and say bye, in a semi nice way) so it is kinda a bummer but I´m glad that the pain is gone.  I´m still numb from the operation.  We are at the lan house right next to our house. I´m using a cain to walk around.

So that was like the week in a nut shell.  I´ll have a lot of down time this week so I'll probably wright some letters of the stuff that I forgot. Have a great week and know that I love you guys so much!

Elder Ostler

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's okay to keep the rules

Sounds like you all had a great week.  Scout camp and girls camp.  But what about Jefferson.... haven´t heard from that kid for a while.  Is it still just the same ole mowing, kicking butt and taking name.kakaka.  What about the dates?  "Do you have a girlfriend?"  "yeah"   "is she hot?"

No I haven´t gotten the package yet and I probably won´t get it till the transfer which is the 4th.   And I don´t really know if I can ask for it because we live quite a ways away from the mission office.  But if I don´t get it till the transfer... tudo bem:)

So today is Elder Neyra´s birthday.  He is in our district and he speaks spanish with me.  To day we bought açaí to celebrate.  It was good.  That is what the picture is of.

So Elder Volk said something very interesting to me in our comp inventory. This is what he said to me "you are teaching me that it is ok to keep the rules."  I loved that.  I´m glad I am showing him that:)  We go running every morning.... it is great! We have a round about by our house so we go out there at 6:30, well more like 6:50 by the time we get out there and we run for 20 mins then do abs afterwards... it is great!

So do you remember Ká?  She got baptized 2 weeks ago.  Well she is a single mother with 3 kids.  She got divorced about 6 months ago.  Her kids are LC, SF and Tat.  We have been teaching the two daughters most of the time but they didn´t want to baptize.  Well, SF was supposed to get baptized last Saturday (2 days ago) but it didn´t work out.  They live in an apartment building (don´t think of an Appt. building in the states.....) and the people that live below them are traficantes or in english, drug dealers.  So I guess that the story is that LC ratted them out and told the coppers so the druggies were threatening them... scary stuff.  So they left immediately to live with their dad in another bairro.  SF was going to get baptized 2 days ago and the other two would have gotten baptized this Saturday but now it is just Tat.  I´m really sad that they moved because I really loved them. I love talking with them and teaching them.. LC has so much faith!  We are going to get the address of their pai and send the missionaries there so tudo bem:)

They are playing music in this lan house (american music) and I don´t recognize half of the songs!  I´ve been away for some time now.....

On Thursday we went to the temple and this time we took a different bus that took us out to ponta negra (right by the temple) so we descended there and took pictures by the river.... Rio negro..... which makes the Amazon river.  It just like hit me.... this is the Amazon river and I´m here.... what the heck!  It felt like a mix of being at home and in Hawaii.  It felt like home because it was a river and we have a river but it felt like Hawaii because it was stinking hot and tropical.  None the less it was awesome.

On Saturday we did service in the morning.  We carried dirt, a lot of dirt.  This irmão had a massive pile of dirt out in front of his house so we had to use a pick ax to break up the big chunks and then haul it back behind his house in wheel barrows.  It took all morning and then an hour after lunch.  We were agsausted!!!  My back and abs hurt so much.  But it was awesome. I loved it. It is always do something different;  also the irmão was listening to the radio... american music.... and once again I didn´t know half of the songs.

So last night after our meetings at the church (which were awesome!! I love being apart of the leadership meetings and planning stuff)  Y* gave us a ride home.  I was hanging halfway out the window because the car was loaded with people.  I was just looking around me and it hit me.... "I´m on a mission.... and I almost have a year on the mission..... this is unreal."  It was the first time that I really thought about it. Just looking around at brasil, it just hit me.  

Know that I´m fine and doing well.  I love you all and hope you have an amazing semana!!!
Elder Ostler

And mom I haven´t heard of anybody going home because of the heat but I have heard of people going home because of the "heat" to baptize.  Crazy stuff.   

Amo vocês!

Chat with Elder Ostler

Elder Ostler: You there? Is dad there? I have a teeth problem.. nothing serious.  

Mom: Text me the question. I'll text it to dad. He's waiting - they're boating today. But I told him you had a question

Elder OstlerBoating with who? The boys? tell them to do something legit in my name kakaka.  
So I have the wires on the back of my front teeth that hold them in place.  The wire is glued to my teeth.  A section of the wire came off but the end of it is still glued to the tooth. I could just leave it, cut it off (the broken dangling section)?  Or yank it out (with tweezers)?  Or fly dad down here to take it out? kakaka

Mom: He said he's flying down!!!!  Just either clip it or if that leaves a jagged edge yank it off. Do you have the clear retainer you can still wear at night?

Elder Ostler: Yeah I do.  Here is a tip for when Jefferson leaves.... get him a brand new retainer the week he leaves....
Is it the boys that are out boating?

Mom: Jefferson's & 2 friends, Hunt and Olsen, and Benson and 2 friends, Cooper and Merkley and dad are boating. I told them to do something legit in your name. Your email was awesome. I've been catching your blog up today, I was 3 weeks behind. So I've read the last 3 weeks. I just hope that you know how much we love you, that you can feel it during your down times. Turn to the Lord, ask for comfort and you'll get it. It's promised to you. You're worthy of the Holy Ghost, you can have comfort any time of the day or night. I love you so much and am so proud of the missionary that you are. That you're setting a good example, that you're being a good leader.

Elder Ostler: Well I´m out of here.  It doesn´t look like anything is getting through but I love you soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The mission is hard

Wow looking at that picture just makes me miss Washington, wow that is a great state:)  So for starters... the world cup.  When alemanha just kept scoring and scoring it was just quiet.  So weird. After the 3rd goal I knew it was over.  After that I just thought they were showing a replay...kakakak  I watched it with our elders quorum Pres.  He is a super funny guy.  You can never tell his emotions because he always looks like he wants to hurt you, but usually he is just tranquilo.  It was kind of sad but I didn´t let it bother me.

After that we went around and talked to our people. In the streets everybody was outside and just normal but nobody talked about the game, normal.  But the week was a hard one.  It was just weird, I don’t know how to explain it.  The people weren't like noticeable sad but they were just different.  No I didn´t watch the game, we could have gone and watched it but Elder Volk was tired and I was fine with not watching it because I probably would have felt guilty watching it anyways, so we went home and studied.

Last p day we did a churrasco with the 4 other elders in our district and it was really fun. Elder Volk has phase 10 so we played that.  We did a division on Tuesday and I stayed in my area with a greenie from Peru.  I had him teach me some spanish.. or rather, reteach me :)

Mom, you said something last week that I never responded to.  You talked about how you thought that I was confused about this whole baptism thing, like I´m torn.  Well you are totally right.  I want to be that type of missionary and love to take my investigators to church for a while and teach them everything and convert them on an American missionary standard... but here it is just not like that.  We just baptize really fast..  Don´t worry, we still teach, it is just different.  But I´m getting more and more used to it.  So you were right about me being in a torn state.  And I remembered something that Pres Castro said to us 2 weeks ago, he asked a question like this "do you guys think that we are qualifying our baptism and baptizing like the prophets would have us baptize?"  So my guess is that he will start to change things, I hope.

But like I said, this week was just a little weird, it was a hard week for me starting on Wednesday.  I don´t know why but on Wednesday and Thursday I was just REALLY DOWN.  Like sad.  There were a lot of factors, I didn´t feel like I was doing enough.  I don´t remember why I was down, I think I just didn´t feel like a good missionary.  It was super hard, I didn´t feel like I had the spirit with me.  I was studying the story of Ammon and in Alma 17 I noticed something...verse 5 talks about all of the suffering that they went through.  When I think of them, Ammon and his brothers) I think of great missionaries full of the spirit but in that verse we learn how much they suffered.  It talks about suffering mentally, physically and spiritually, that is the part that surprised me.  They were great men of God BUT STILL suffered in the spirit. Dad, you should share this verse with your priests, the mission isn´t easy, it even says in the BOM that it isn´t.  The next verses talk about their preparation through, they prayed and fasted that they might have the spirit poured out upon them that they might teach with power and authority and that is the key, the preparation.  The mission is hard, at times, unbearably hard, but if you prepared yourself, it is totally possible,,,, and even fulfilling.

On Thursday night (after a baptism, which I will talk about later) I asked Elder Volk for a blessing and after that I felt way better.  He said that I was teaching by the spirit and that the people could see the resemblance of Jesus when they looked at me.  That helped me a lot.  Then on Friday I did what I call an Ammon fast,  I fasted just like they fasted in verse 9 of chapter 17 of Alma.  I fasted that I could have the spirit to teach the people and also that I would be able to be more animando e tirar o desanimo.  Well it worked, Friday was a much better day. I was able to be happy and enjoy the accompaniment of the spirit. I remember we were in a lesson with a new investigator.  At the end I beared my testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and of Joseph Smith.   I could feel the spirit testifying to him through me.  It was a great feeling.  I don´t really now how much else I can explain it other than it was great!   The power of fasting is real.  It is always during the fast that I´m able to see the most blessings which I find rather amazing.

So right now we have an investigator called BJ and his wife. I do believe that I already talked a smigit about them.  We already took him to the marriage place and sorted out his problem. He can get married, só que he doesn´t want to.  He always has some sort of excuse to not get married and baptized.  And when he runs out of excuses he just starts again with the first, no joke.  But the man loves me!  He tells me how I´m going to baptize him and he always gives me a big hug!  I love it. I just wish that he would do something.  He wants to baptize, just not marry.

So I´ve heard this phrase a bit when we teach people, like the 3rd or 4th visit "oh I believe everything you say, I believe that all of it happened (talking about the first vision and such) but I already have my church and I don´t want to be in 2 churches, but you can still visit me when ever you want"  What the what?!?!  That makes no sense, if you really believed that then you would know that THIS is the ONLY church. I think it is just because the people don´t understand.  We have an investigator who is the owner of a bakery and she told us this.  We don´t think she will progress any further but it is always nice to go teach her because she gives us free food after wards:) kaiak

So we are working really well with the leaders here.  I love our 1st counselor in the bishopric, he is far right in the picture, Y* is right next to him (where we watched the game, the crazy one).  The 1st counselor just has his head on right and has good ideas and understands.  He always offers to leave with us.  And he has a car which is a plus and he is a math teacher so that is pretty cool too:)  In the wheelchair is our ward mission leader.  My first one since I was in adrianopolis, he is great and has a great excited spirit. The only problem is is that he is in a wheelchair so we can´t even leave with him to go teach, our area has too many hills and stairs for that. (Manaus is NOT flat) but he is still good.

The baptism was good.  R* know quite a bit of the members in the ward. He has being playing futebol here for 6 years and was taught by the missionaries two years ago só que ele nunca batizou por causa da namorada dele.  She was of a different church but now she is gone so he got baptized!  I had to baptize him 3 times.  The first two times his foot came up so the 3rd time I put my foot on his foot.  I dunked him down then as I was bringing him back up I noticed that his hand never went under so I pushed him back down... when I looked up at Elder Volk (the witness) he had a look of horror in his face, he said afterwards that it looked like I was trying to drown him because I had him under, I was bringing him up and then I pushed him back down again. kaka

Dad, so being a zone leader doesn´t take much time away from our work, just at night when we have to call the DLs and get numbers and stuff so sometimes we are up late but other than that it is fine.  We will be giving zone training tomorrow so that will be fun:)  My first training as a ZL!

So Jefferson and Benson are on the efy high huh... efy,,, good times.  And that is awesome that you are going to ape caves, I love that place:).

And Jefferson the mowing feeling always sucks, I know it, where you just want to be done.  Remember how you always had to come and wake me up because I was sleeping... it is because I didn´t want to go... and because I wanted to sleep.  What I did to help it was just enjoy your days off more.  Have fun.. GO ON DATES!!!!!!! They are fun!  By the way, who was mowing while you where gone?  That is what I'm trying to figure out.

Playing cards of 3 with Elder Nielsen and Elder Neyra today.
Sorry Wilson but I never won:(
Well my week was pretty hard but God was able to help me turn it around.  I hope that scout camp doesn´t smell to bad and that you guys don´t get too hot at home this week (like that´ll ever happen kakakkak)  Love you all and don´t forget to read the Book of Mormon!

Elder Ostler

Monday, July 7, 2014

Studying daily is key

Dear família!
Happy 4th of July!  People here were celebrating with fireworks too...just they weren't celebrating our independence day,.... they were celebrating brasil´s win. :)

So on Tuesday we met Presidente Castro.  He has the standard works memorized! He was just popping off scriptures like nobodies business!!  He is very spiritual too. He is really cool.  From his training I picked up a few things about him.  1.  he loves the scriptures. 2.  he will enforce the rules because obedience is important to him.  3. Studying daily is key.  4.  He is not all about baptizing just to baptize.  Yes, he wants to baptize a lot but he is not the guy that is going to be ok with missionaries just throwing people in the water. I think that he will enforce the qualifications for baptism. When one of the elders who is a big baptizer asked him what he thought about our goal of 12000 baptism for the year and spreading the work he told a story about when he served a mission and him and his comp went to an interior and taught a whole town of 5000 people.  They called president and told him they were going to baptize the whole town.  President said no way because there was no way those 5000 people were going to stay firm in the church because there was no church there.  He was transferred immediately.  So he didn´t answer the question directly but we got the point:)  He isn´t just going to be sending missionaries out to start the church in rural cities here.  I got that he wants us to baptize the right way.

We did a division this week with one of the DL in out zone.  I went to their area with the junior comp.  I helped him see that obedience is important and to stop listening to music.  In that house there are 4 elders so the next morning I went on a run with another elder.  He is a beast!  He was Elder Pothier´s comp in the states when they served there. After we finish here at the lan house we are going to go over there and have a churrasco!!  Gonna be super fun.

This week we had 2 baptisms, on Saturday Ká got baptized. I don´t remember if I talked about her last week. We met here 2 months ago and didn´t want anything to do with us when we met her.  Now she has totally changed and desired to baptize.

Yesterday after church, E* was baptized.  He is the brother of one of the members in the ward.  He was taught by missionaries 6 months ago but never got baptized because he traveled.  So he was baptized yesterday.  I only taught him 2 times before he was baptized.  It is because Elder Volk went there when we were on divisions.  So really we taught him 5 times but I was only there for 2 so to me it was kind of weird at the baptism because it felt like I really hadn´t done anything. Elder Volk told me that in one of the lessons they read the BOM and he had really good questions. I have no doubt that he will stay firm in the church. His brother in law baptized him.  He is the skinnyer one in the picture.

After church we had a ward council meeting.  It was soo good!!!! Our first councilor in the bishopric is the best.  He conducted the meeting and the meeting was pretty much us going over the mission plan of the ward.  He assigned each organization to bring to the bishopric their plan to find people for the missionaries to teach (it is part of the plan) then we designated a time for the baptisms to take place every week.  It was a great meeting.  I love this ward and I do not want to leave! I forgot to tell that to pres castro to day in my email. I´ll tell him next week.

So I have a few question for ya. What is the Dealio with cousin Tyler?  He go back yet?  And I want to put more songs on my ipod.  Can I just hook it up to the comp and download music from or will that totally mess up the iPod

Well that was our week. It was a good week:)  We have a date marked with Ro for this Thursday.  He has known the church for over 2 years but could never baptize because his girlfriend wouldn´t let him. Now she is out of the picture so he is all for it!  He is 18.  I´m pretty excited for his baptism:)

I also played piano again and did so so .  The sacrament hymn was I Stand all Amazed.  The first time I played it was right then. I just played the top hand.  The chorus was bad... but it was singable:)  PRACTICE YOUR PIANO! 

Have a great week.  Oh and my brothers are BEASTS!!!!!  Slalom skiing ,,, I never did try that out.  Benson, Christian would be very proud of you:)  Have a great week.

Elder Ostler
Vamos Brasil!!