Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cultivate a perfect brightness of hope

Dear family,
So I was going to copy and paste my letter to president here, but I was dumb and forgot.  But this week was good.  We have some awesome investigators.  First the Rodriguez family.  Alfredo and Ester are both from Mexico and don't speak English very well.  They have four kids, Ulysses (14), Gabby (12), Jorge (10), Lupita (7).  Then there's Alex.  He's Ester's from a previous marriage and he's like 18, but is handicapped, so isn't accountable.  But he's cool.  Well we have been teaching them since novemberish.  Alfredo was an alcoholic but he's quit on his own.  Going to church and meeting with us have helped him quit.  He hasn't even had the Word Of Wisdom lesson.  He told Sister Clark and her companion that he didn't want them to smell the liquor on his breath when they came over.  So isn't that cool?  They all believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, and Ulysses even takes the LDM (Book of Mormon) to school to read during break or something.  He loves reading it.
On Sunday they went over to the Fernandez for dinner, we went too, and we committed Alfredo and Ulysses to baptism on the 12th!  The Saturday before Sister Clark leaves.  Ester says that she'll really know this is right if this really changes Alfredo and he completely stops drinking.  But he will.  We all have faith in him.  They really want to go to Nauvoo to see the temple there.  Brother Fernandez showed them a picture of it and gave it to them along with a replica of a sunstone.  They loved it and really wanted to go.  They said they wanted to go for Spring Break.  How cool is that?  Yeah, that family is awesome!
We also are teaching another Spanish family, Jorge and Ginna.  Ginna has a lot of doubts about the church, but Jorge doesn't really question a lot of what we teach them.  He's more accepting, just like Alfredo.  We actually found them because they were at Ulysses birthday and Jorge was looking through the LDM that they had.  So we offered to teach them.  We think Jorge will be baptized before Ginna.  This just shows that the Lord is ready to build up the Priesthood in this little branch.
Both of our RC (recent converts), Miguel and Alejandro, are still very active.  And of course they're both Spanish.  But at least they speak good enough English that we don't always have to have a translator!  Brother Fernandez does that for us with the Rodriguez, and Jorge and Ginna.  But all the Rodriguez kids speak perfect English.  They're awesome.
And we're getting a lot of Spanish food.  That's mostly what Sister Clark can eat.  And I feel bad when members who don't know her diet problem feed us pasta and dairy stuff.  She eats it anyways.  But some members didn't get the news that she's gluten and lactose intolerant.  And she's too nice to tell them.  She's got less than a month before she goes home, then she can really start her diet.  Oh, and speaking of eating.  Yeah, we're good an the girl scout cookies.  We're both trying to lose weight.  We've both gained weight, and we don't like it.  So we're trying to go running every morning for a mile (today was the first day and it felt great!)  We would have gone yesterday and the day before, but yesterday was icy and the day before Sister Clark woke up with a bad headache.  So yeah, we're good on the food!

Oh, so Todd.
He's awesome.  He gave up smoking on Saturday.  Except yesterday while driving to his appointment with Brother and Sister Fritz, Brother Fritz told us that on Sunday, Todd told him that he had had a few cigarettes.  So right then Sister Clark and I knew that we were supposed to teach him about faith bringing to pass miracles.  We did that and we helped him realize that he has to rely on God to help him quit.  He can't do it alone.
Well, for a few days, that scene from Saturday's Warriors where the two missionaries who are teaching Todd (ironically that's his name) dumb out his cigarettes and crush them.  Well I suggested that Todd take his remaining cigarettes and break them up.  Sister Clark helped him do that.  He had 2 1/2 left.  He said he felt crappy when he did it, but hey, he did it!  We're going over there right after this to pray with him and share 1 Nephi 3:7 with him.  We have complete faith that he can quit.  He comes to church every week just like Alfredo.  He's an awesome investigator.  If he stops smoking then he'll be baptized on the 12th too.  How awesome would that be?!
So mom, you asked if I was feeling fine.  Well I wasn't.  I called Sister Doll and told her my sinus infection was back.  I guess sinus infections can take about 5 weeks to be gone.  So I was stuck taking sudafed, and I hated it.  I knew it wouldn't go away.
My other option was to get a blessing.  It took about an hour to humble me, but once I realized that that was the last option and I really couldn't do it without Him anyways Sister Clark called up Elder Vicars and we met them at the Heborn chapel.  (There was a girl from our branch getting baptized that day, and the elders are from Heborn).  Elder Vicars gave me one of the most powerful blessings I'd every received.  He'd only said stuff pertaining to things I had only told Sister Clark, or that I hadn't told anyone.  One thing he said was to cultivate a perfect brightness of hope.  Just be happy.  And so that's what I'm really trying to do.

I mostly feel not so good most of the time (clogged up nose, dry cough, some sinus pressure) but I try to endure well.  I try to have patience.  I know that if I do then the Lord can heal me.  I think He's putting me through a trial.  A while ago I prayed for patience.  And when you pray for patience then the Lord puts you through something that you have to exercise patience in.  I didn't have to exercise it with Sister Clark, but I think I have a problem with doing things on the Lord's time.  And so if I just endure this well, He will heal me.  Although I am talking to Sister Doll this Friday at Zone meeting.  Because I also know that I need to use the recourses around me to be healed too.  That's what Brigham Young said.   So physically I'm okay, but emotionally I'm great...most of the time.  But that's the life of a missionary.
So about that earthquake.  We went to the nursing home yesterday, and we went to one of the members there.  Well she was sleeping, and when we called her name she didn't wake up.  As we turned to leave our attention was caught by the TV.  It looked as if a building were falling.  Then Sister Clark said, "The . . . . .  Church is falling!"  But what we saw was a catholic cathedral falling in New Zealand.  About a day before I had commented on that prophesy, what it would be like when the church would fall.  We discussed that it was happening already, figuratively, with them changing polices and all the not so good things priests were doing and what not.  But to actually see a Catholic building literally fall was....yeah, interesting I'll say.  So tell me more about the earth quake.
And this is the last days.  Things like this will continue to happen.  I don't care what the stupid geologist say, "Oh, the earthquakes are happing where there is a large population of people.  But there have been this many earthquakes in the past."  Dumb.  Okay, well they might be happening where people are for a reason!!!!  Like to destroy the wicked!  Hello!  Read the scriptures, listen to the missionaries!  But we know that if we are prepared we shall not fear.
Oh and I'm driving because Sister Clark can't.  I don't know why.  But I don't really mind driving in the country.  It's way less stressful than driving the suburbs.  Imagine Gway at the start of rush hour.  That's how the suburbs are EVERYWHERE!  It's crazy!  And I can drive in that too!   And we have a Toyota Corolla, or something like that.   We call it Puppy.  And I sometimes send Jackson pictures.  Maybe once or twice.  And what is this I hear about his companion marrying me?  Why am I the last to hear about this?
Oh, and those pictures I sent you last week.  Yeah, I hope you saved them because they disappeared from my camera.  I'm not too happy about that.
And I'm planning on using my Christmas money today.  We're going to Fashion Bug, and they have a cute blazer there that I'm a gonna get.  I already spent like $15 of it in Wheaton when I got a Blackhawks t-shirt.  I needed something hockeyish.  And I repaired one of my boots in Wheaton.  The zipper came off on Tuesday morning, the day of the big snow storm.  They were able to fix it by that afternoon, but by that time the snow storm had hit and so we couldn't go out.  So I was wearing my tennis shoes the whole time we were shoveling snow and what not.  It wasn't too fun.  But I got the boot back the morning of transfers.  Yeah, not the funnest days for my feet.  And that day when we went tracting Sister Russon (Sister Chen's mom/trainer) had left a pair of "boots" in the apartment.  So I wore those.  I was outside for 3 seconds when my feet started to feel the snow.  They weren't waterproof.  And it was a miserable day tracting.  But it's what we had to do!
Here, we only tract maybe one hour a day.  Although one day we did it for 3!  That was fun!  We got 1 new investigator that day, and 3 potentials!  Oh, and we do have quite a big teaching pool.  We have the Rodriguez family, Jorge y Ginna, Todd, Sonja, Diana and Rosa, Caressa, and those are our solid ones.  The ones that aren't so solid are Barbie, Dori and Kusco (Korey).  He stood us up last Thursday.  Typical 20 year old boy!   And I can't remember what else was on your letter mom.  I kinda forgot it at home.  sorry. :(

Oh, and in Relief Societ, Sister Clark and I are the pianists.  We mostly just plunk out the right hand because we only know the songs when we get to the meeting.  But we had 9 to church that day!  We had like 70 people in sacrament meeting!  It was so cool!  I don't really know what else to say.  I'm just waiting for Sister Clark.
Zone meeting is this Friday.  We have to drive an hour to get there, then our interviews are 2 hours after zone meeting ends, then we have to drive an hour home.  So we'll leave at 8:30 and won't get back til 4ish that afternoon. Crazy huh?
Oh, how's Leda doing?  I haven't heard from her in a while..  Also, the other missionaries from our ward?
And I'm getting good at Nertz.  I win every time, except last time.  Sister Clark beat me.  But I didn't care because I was half asleep anyways.
Oh, and some recipes of anything would be good..if you have time.  Preferably gluten and dairy free...good luck with that!  And some with those things too.  Sister Clark is leaving in a couple weeks.  Both Sister Clark and Elder Vicars think I'm gonna train.  I sure hope not.  Rensselaer would be in ruins.  And Rensselaer is not ugly!  I love it here!  It's a perfect little hick town!  And you haven't even see the sky here!  It's amazing!  I'll send some pictures next week!  If I could, I'd look at the sky all day long.  It's beautiful!  Except today is grey.  But if you look at it long enough it looks kinda cool.
Oh, so last night Stacy came over and I have this really cook trick I do with Silly Putty and I showed it to Stacy and she just looked at me like I was nuts.  The same kind of look that you would give me mom.  It was kinda funny!
We had an appointment last night with Leslie and David, and they dropped us.  They thought our church was too different.  Dumb!  But that's how it goes sometimes!
Okay, well that's all folks!  Thanks for your prayers!
I love you all!
Love Sister Ostler

Note from Amanda's Mom - we received a photo card of Amanda's last transfer.  Here are a couple of pictures that were taken while she was in Wheaton.  The first one is of her making a snow angel the night that the big snowstorm started.  The second is the view from their kitchen window, the morning after that same snowstorm.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I felt like I was taken out of the world

Dearest family:
The internet isn’t working properly so I’m typing this in word.  I might even have to print it and send it to you. We even have to hand write our letter to President.  Great!  Well I’m not too happy right now, but oh well!

My time here is limited, and I have no idea what ya’ll wrote me in the email.  I did get the boys letters, which was fun.  It’s funny because they mostly tell me the same thing.  So I get the same stories, just from four different points of view.  It’s great!  And when you mentioned that you were short at the office, Dad, I told Sister Clark that she should come to work for you.  She’s a dental hygienist and loves working in ortho offices.  But I’m pretty sure she’s gonna stay in Utah and go back to school for foreign languages.
And that’s cool that you went to Hawaii to be with Saydi, Mom.  I bet that was so fun.  And I want a picture of 1) her car 2) David Oregon...her David Oregon.  That’s so funny that she has one!
So the work here is kinda slow.  Some of our investigators are kinda dropping us.  They won’t answer texts and what not.  One though, well her boyfriend is stopping her from seeing us...we think.  So whenever we’re in her area we drive by to see if his car is in the driveway.  Yeah, it’s a way sad situation.
Oh man, I really wish I could have seen what you had written!
Oh so there’s this one investigator, Todd Siebring.  He’s a big guy.  I think I already mentioned him.  But you can’t help but love him.  He’s just awesome!  When I came 2 weeks ago he was progressing, but slowly.  He still didn’t know much of what to think of us, and wasn’t praying a lot.  Well, now he’s praying almost everyday.  And we’ve taught him the Word of Wisdom.  He still won’t give us his cigarettes but he knows and wants the blessings from keeping the Word of Wisdom.
Last night we talked with him for about 10 minutes about giving us those cigarettes, but he wouldn’t do it.  Sister Clark even quoted the blessings from D&C.  He wants those blessings bad, just not bad enough to hand over that white and red box.

So remember the llama farm we went to?  Well last Thursday we went back and met Korey.  He’s gotta strong faith in Christ.  He feels like Job, he told us.  Well we were gonna teach faith in Christ, but then we realized, “Oh wait, he’s already got faith!”  So Sister Clark started with the Restoration, and so I followed.  It was a powerful lesson and we knew that he had felt the spirit when Sister Clark quoted the 1st vision.  You could see it in his eyes and in his body language.  But he wouldn’t take the Book of Mormon.  He was too scared.  So Sister Clark comes to the rescue again.  She pulls out the General Conference Ensign and we tell him to read President Monson’s talk on “The R’s of choice.”  He said he would, and Sister Clark noticed him kinda looking through the ensign when his grandma came to talk to us.  When we got in the car, Sister Clark was like, “That Ensign was for him.  I found it in my bag a couple days ago and was like, ‘I don’t remember putting this here.  Oh well!’  Then when I saw it in my bag while in the house, I had this feeling to give it to him.  I though ‘that’s really dumb.’  so I didn’t.  Then I did.”  Yeah, isn’t that cool?
And when we left, Sharon, the grandma, was like, “since we don’t know your first names you’re Britney, pointing to Sister Clark, and you’re Sara, pointing to me.”  We told them our names (Sharon thought it was cut that our names were “secret”) but when we got in the car Sister Clark was like, “you know that she only wanted to know our names so she could ask Korey, ‘Which one’s cuter, Britney or Sara?’”  (And you say it in a country accent).  So that’s our inside joke now.  And we even call each other that sometimes, especially when referring to the llama farm. . . then we just end up laughing.  It’s great fun!
Okay, gotta get to typing letter to President!  Have an awesome week!
Love, Sister Ostler
Dear Family. . . again.
We’re on our way to the temple so I thought I’d add a little more before I get too sick.

Sister Ostler & Sister Clark at Chicago Temple

Yeah, don’t really know what else to say.  Oh, Sister Cameron had us over one day and we frosted valentine day cookies for our investigators.  It was the kind of icing that’s smooth and shiny.  It was a lot of fun.  They have a 10 year old girl whose, well, 10.  She would take some of my simple cookies and add more frosting to them.  Yeah, a 10 year old girl.
Sister Clark is teaching me a lot about patience just by her example.  She doesn’t let a lot of things bother her.  And when they do bother her, they don’t bother me.  So we’re pretty perfect for each other.  She says I’m patient . . . well, I just try to not complain.  Like yesterday, Sister Clark woke up sick.  I just let her rest and studied while she slept.  She said I was awesome.  I was just thinking that if I were in her spot I would want her to do the same thing to me.  And I know that she would.
We have an investigator, Ulysses, he’s 14, who reminds me of Ben & Jefferson.  He’s awesome.  Oh, I said my first prayer in Spanish yesterday.  It wasn’t that good.  But I’m starting to participate more in Spanish lessons, which is good.  I learned a new word yesterday - pecados.  It means sins.  So I can kinda explain the Atonement in Spanish.
The other day we stopped by Rosa’s house and they offered us some soup.  We said to give us a little because we had a dinner appointment in 1 hour.  Well, they gave us a huge bowl of it and what was more, there was half a fish in it!  Tail and all!  We had to pick the meat off the bones.  It was gross to do, but good to taste - except it was super spicy!  And I had pork rinds.  Those were gross!  No me gusto che quilla.
Well, it’s Thursday morning!  Temple was great, but haven’t been feeling well physically.  I think I need to stop overeating.

We went to a middle school wrestling match this week.  Ulysses, one of our investigators.  Well, his family is investigating.  He's the perfect mix between Ben and Jefferson.  Well he wrestles and is in 8th grade.  He's been wanting us to come to one of his matches.  Well President Cameron's kid wrestles too, and just so happens that on Monday their schools were going against each other.  So we went to it to support both of them.  Although Sister Clark and I were voting for Rensselaer Central middle school, except when Ethan Cameron was wrestling.  And he pinned the guy on the last match!  But Sister Clark and I had never been to a wrestling match before.  The rules were easy enough to follow, and it was fun.  We both got into it.  But oh my gosh!  The parents were horrible!  They were yelling at the ref and just not being very good sportsmen, when we thought the ref did a great job!  And they were just yelling and mad because, oh Sister Clark and I still get angry over this.  There was this one kid from the opposing team (the president’s school) who was a whimp.  He went up against this really good kid who was really serious about the was kinda funny.  But the whimp would make his way outside of the circle every time the other kid would get him on the ground, just so he could start over.  How stupid is that?  Well at the last match the other kid finally pinned the whimp, and we were happy.  Sister Clark really wanted to yell out, "Kill him!"  But since she's a missionary she didn't.  We had to leave before we could watch Ulysses.  We were sad we didn't get to see him.  But we might go again when the other kid from our ward...his school competes agains Rensselaer Central.  But we found out that Ulysses tied with his opponent.  "At least I didn’t lose" he said.  Good, good kid.  Always looking at the bright side.

Yesterday we went to the temple.  That's what the pictures are of.  One of Sister Clarks less actives from her first area was going through.  And it was really cool.  Brother and Sister Boweman took us, and the Heborn elders, Elder Vicars and Miller (he's 7ft 2") tagged along with us.  And we met Elder Anderson and Miller (a different one) there too.  They are also in our zone. Elder Vicars and Sister Clark are like brother and sister.

For the car ride we made homemade trail mix since it's something Sister Clark can have, and since the stores don't have good ones here.  The car ride up I got sick, and I hadn't been feeling well anyways.  The temple was really good.  And the Celestial room was amazing too.  I sat down and I felt like I was taken out of the world.  That little room (and it is little, littler than the Columbia River Celestial room) was in heaven.  I didn't have to worry about the worldly crap out there, and felt that that was how the millennium was going to feel like...peaceful, and the spirit always there.  I really didn't want to leave.  But leave we had to.

Love you all!
Love, Sister Ostler

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A little piece of heaven

Wait, you're in Hawaii?  Why?  I thought you were just there?  What happened?  Don't leave me hanging!  I hate it when you do this! 
And yeah, we haven't received any mail all week.  But we're cool with that.  We blame Stacey, our nertz playing neighbor, for it.  She's awesome though.  Really funny.  She has a dry sense of humor. 
So yeah, Rensselaer...I LOVE IT HERE!!!!  You know I would cuz it's the country.  But yeah, I have to learn Spanish, and it's hard!  I mostly understand it when people aren't speaking too fast, but yeah, it's hard.  I don't know how to speak it, which is hard.  I've been trying to learn how to pray in Spanish...that's my first step.  Then it's actually speaking.  We're teaching this Spanish family right now.  The aunt is Rose, and her niece is Diana, and then there are two little boys (actually there are kids everywhere) but there's two little boys that are so cute!  We go over there and sing "Soy Un Hijo De Dios" and they're getting pretty good at it.  We mostly teach Diana because she can speak English.  But Rose has been sitting in on a few lessons.  They like it when we come over.  One time the little boys said, "Las Hermanas!  Otra Vez??!"  It was so funny!  I love those little Spanish talking boys!
Sister Clark is pretty good at Spanish.  She did a lot of praying and fasting for that gift!  She learned it out here.  And when I say she's older, I just mean older mission wise.  Like I'm 5 months old.  She's 18 months old (she's staying another month cuz President Doll asked her to.)  So yeah, that's what I mean.  She leaves in March, which is way sad.  We get along so well.  We both like to have fun, and that's what we've been doing.  Like yesterday after lunch we made red velvet cake cookies for Gabby's b-day.  And for district meeting yesterday.  And this morning she made heart pancakes for breakfast!  It was fun!  And we stay up and talk, and we talk everywhere.  She's so awesome and is such a good missionary.  She doesn't attack people, which is what I do sometimes, because I get impatient with them.

Everything is so different than Wheaton.  And yeah, Rensselaer is pretty small.  But our area is huge.  There's a lots of driving!  It's crazy!  We drove 1 hour to get to district meeting yesterday, and it took 1/2 hour to get out of our area.  It was crazy!  And there's no traffic either.  But the sky is so big and beautiful all the time!  And people here are pretty humble.  We get a lot of good gospel conversations in.  And Sister Clark is just teaching me a lot.  I don't think she realizes it.  She really reminds me of Danica though.  She'll say the same things as her, and sometimes her voice sounds the same too.  And she has the sweetness of Devey.  She always compliments me, and is always serving others without even thinking of it.  She's just so friendly.  And instead of talking to them about the gospel right away, she'll sometimes get to know them.  Like my second day here we tracted into a lady, Mary, and she let us in right away, then found out we were Mormons, and didn't want to talk about religion.  So we talked about life in general, and eventually talked about religion.  Not really about the Restoration, but about Christ and how he helps us get through trials.  We did mention living prophets and scriptures, but not a lot.  So it was really cool to do that.
Then yesterday, oh man!  It was so great!!!!  So we went to find some formal investigators in Wheatfield.  We went to one house, but they had obviously moved.  We tracted around their house and one of the first doors was a returned soldier from the war.  He didn't really believe in God, but asked us questions.  We pretty much taught him a condensed version of lesson 1 and 2.  Sean really liked what he heard, and we got him to invite us back.  We left him with Enos 1.  It was great because as we were deciding what chapter to leave him with, Sister Clark just said, "Do you have any questions in life?"  I would have never done that before.  And from his answer we knew what chapter to leave him with.
Then we went to find another formal investigator, but the road didn't exist.  We passed a farm house with the sign, "llama's for sale,"  and Sister Clark was like, "Llamas!!!!!  I want to go see a llama!"  So we actually turned around, drove up to the house, and a lady come out and asked what we wanted.  She was an older lady.  Not too old though.  She was maybe 50-60.  Well Sharon, after finding that we were there to see llamas was like, "What are you looking for?"  Sister Clark was just like, "llamas!"  So she showed us her llamas, and told us all about them.  I guess a couple of them were nationally famous.  Like Rocky Ramone.  Look him up.  Cuz I saw him!!  They like sniffing our hair too.  They were sooo cool!  Sharon started talking about her 20 year old grandson who was living with them.  He has escaped from a bad situation down in Florida and turned his life around.  Except he was still doing some not so good things...Just stupid things that would only get him emotionally hurt.  Sharon let us in her home where we met her husband, Jim.  Sharon and Jim Boltz.  Well Sharon kept suggesting that we come back and meet him.  We could tell that she saw something in us that she wanted her grandson to have.  His name is Corey by the way.  But Sister Clark was so good.  Every time she suggested we come back and talk with him/meet him, she said, "Yeah, we'll come talk to him about Jesus! We have a great movie that we want to show him."  So we're actually going back tomorrow to show him finding faith in Christ and talk to him about something.
Later that night we compared ourselves to Ammon and how the king offered him his daughters and how he declined, but instead taught them the gospel and they were baptized.  But yeah, Sharon was like, "Corey's going to be disappointed when he finds out that he missed two pretty girls!"
But what's kinda cool is that they are active members in their Lutheran church, and their preacher has been working with Corey and whatnot, but she still wants us to come over.  It's that glow that we have ;)
But yeah, life here is awesome!  We're the only sisters in our zone, which is really weird.  I’m used to having two other sets of sisters in the zone, with one of them being in our district.  But I’ll get used to it.  Sister Clark likes hanging out with the Elders, which is good, cuz I do to.  So I think we’re going to go to Hebron or something and play volleyball with them.  I hope it's not basketball, or elimination.  They play that sometimes, and I can't throw to save my life! 
So about Miguel and his baptism.  So I guess Sister Ika actually started teaching  him about a year ago, and was going to drop him, but then Sister Clark came and saw the potential in him.  They actually dropped him at one point.  But then later he started to progress.  He's a single dad.  He has the cutest girls!  Gabby, who just turned 8, Emma, Billy and Juana.  They are some firecrackers, but so cute too!  And he wanted to get baptized so bad too!  The water in the font was freezing.  Alejandro, who was baptized just 4 months ago, and is Miguel’s friend, baptized him.  He was like, "The water’s cold!"  And Brother Fernandez, the mission leader, was like, "Oh just get in!"  Later Miguel told us, "The water was so cold, but afterwards it didn't really matter."   And he also said, "I feel like a new person.  I feel like I'm going to start a new life."  Isn't that so cool?
We're hopefully going to have some other baptisms before Sister Clark leaves.  There's this one guy, Todd Siebring.  He's an old big guy with diabetes, and I don't know when the last time he took a shower was.  He also smokes, but he has such a good, gentle heart.  I love him.  He wants to get baptized, and he's really starting to understand what we're teaching him.  I love teaching him.  We taught him the Word of Wisdom, and he said by Sunday he'd be smoke free.  It took a long time to get him to say that though.  But he says he likes the smell of smoke.  Weird, but whatever.  We think he'll get baptized.
Then there's Caressa.  We love her!  She's a single mom of two cute kids.  She's looking for more peace in her life.  Monday was the first time I had REALLY met with her.  I had briefly met with her before.  And Sister Clark had really only had one or two lessons with her.  That day we were going to teach her about how coming to church draws us closer to Christ and how we can find strength and answers from coming to church.  Well, we got there and Caressa said, "You know, I drove past your church on Sunday and there were cars in front of it.  I was about to stop and go in, but I got too scared."  We were amazed.  We hadn't even talked to her about coming to church.  So committing her to church that day was easy.  And we set up a return appointment for Friday, and she was like, "Good, then you can remind me to come to church!"  How cool is that!  Usually it's us that says, "We'll call and remind you to come to church."  But instead it's our investigator that reminded us!  We loved it!  We think she'll be baptized.  Hopefully before I leave.
Oh man, I hope I stay here.  I really do love it here!  But I don't want Sister Clark to leave in March!  She's been here for 9 months in March and knows the area and ward so well.  The ward trusts her and she's like a part of it.  She's not just a missionary.  I want to become like that.  I just have to get out of my shell.  We're going over to the branch president’s house on Friday so Sister Cameron can teach us how to make cookies...sugar cookies with that shiny frosting on top.  See, we just do fun stuff like that.  I think that that helps me personally to work better when we actually go out and work.  Like yesterday we went to district meeting, went out to eat with the elders, then went to work, and we got a lot done yesterday!  We got 6 potential investigators.  I can't even tell you how happy I am to be with Sister Clark right now!  She's had some difficulties in her life, but she's over come them and now is an awesome missionary who loves everyone she comes in contact with.

Okay, well, I gotta e-mail a pic to Elder Ostler.
Oh, so there was this member in the branch who's last name is Frome.  He's no longer in the branch anymore.  I just thought that was funny.
Sister Ostler

Friday, February 4, 2011

Cambios y grande storm!!!! Mucho nieve (snow)

Dear familia,
Lots of cool that's been happening, and will yet happen.  First item on the list:
Don't worry, President Doll had us in by 4PM, but we went in at 2:30 because that's when the snow started coming down.  It was so cool though!  The snow just kept coming.  I tried taking pics, but it didn't do it justice.  At about 7 that night I got tired of being inside and organizing all my letters so I said, “Sister Chen, we have to go outside and run around!”  So that's what we did!  We had a snowball fight and everything.  And I got some fun pictures!  The next morning, oh my goodness!  Cars were buried, not completely, but pretty bad.  Drifts were as high as right below my hips.  It was the coolest thing I'd ever seen.  We went out and shoveled from the door to the parking lot, then we swam to the cars and shoveled around them so when the big plow came up people wouldn't have to shovel around their cars as much.  Hey, we had nothing else to do.  The roads were cleared pretty quickly.  But I have NEVER seen that much snow!  It was so crazy!   I guess the DLs car was in a 5 ft drift.  The whole thing was an adventure.  And we had plenty of food too.  I did get tired of being inside all day.  But hey, I'll never experience a storm like that again!  It was so cool!  I can't even describe it.  Just the snow coming down and the wind, and the drifts, and the atmosphere of everyone slowing down so we could get the snow out of the way.  It was kinda cool.  I've never seen Chicagoans move, think, whatever so slowly.Second item on the list:
Me fighting the storm
The day after. I'm standing on the sidewalk.
Check out that snow!
Second item on the list:
I started getting a feeling on Monday that something was going to happen.  And it didn't have anything to do with the storm.  And I felt that I was getting transferred.  At 10:30 pm on Monday the ZLs text us and tell us to stay up for another 30 minutes with phone on cuz APs will call about transfers.  11 rolls around, no call--no one's getting transferred.  So we go to bed.  At 12 the phone rings, Sister Chen gets it, and I can tell it's President Doll.  I hear Sister Chen say, "Okay, thank you for this opportunity for me to serve.  How do you spell it? H-O-W-E-L-L?.  So I'll be staying here?  Okay, thank you President.   Sister Ostler, he want's to talk to you."
“Hi Sister Ostler.”
"Hi President Doll."
"We're going to be taking you away from Sister Chen."
"I figured as much."
"We are going to have Sister Chen train the new missionary, Sister Howell, and we are putting you with Sister Clark in Rensselaer, Indiana."
"Okay, that's awesome.  I heard that's a great place.”
"It is.  There's a branch down there that meets in an office building.  Sister Doll and I spoke in it a few weeks ago and there is such a strong spirit there."
"I'm really excited."  (and I was!)
"So Sister Clark will be leaving in March to go home.  So we're planning on either you training someone in 6 weeks, or being the senior companion."
"Oh, okay."
And I don't remember what else was said.
But that was the conversation.
So yeah, I packed during the storm, rolled my luggage through packed snow (not fun), met Sister Clark and now I'm in Rensselaer!!!!
She is awesome!  She's an old missionary, but still likes to work hard.  She's lactose and gluten intolerant, so today we had squash spaghetti, beans and rice.  It was actually pretty good.  The members feed us rice and veggies, so I'm a gonna get healthy!  Yaya!!!  She speaks a little Spanish, and she's from Utah.  She loves smiling and loves life, and likes deep doctrine questions.  She's served in this area for 9 months.
Item #4
Oh my wow!  Completely opposite from Wheaton!  It's country!  It's the best mission in the mission, according to Sister Clark.  It's pretty far from any one else.  There's a tiny branch here, but it's growing.  Our investigators know each other, and we have a baptism this Saturday (tomorrow!)  Crazy, huh?  The driving is so chill.  I'm not stressed out when I drive.  (Yes, I"m still driving.  Sister Ika prophesied I'll be driving my whole mission, and she was right).  Speaking of Sister Ika, she served here a year ago.  Back then the area was dead, but now it's really golden.  I'm scared to take it over because I don't want to kill it.  I look up to Sister Ika so much and she loved this area, she left her heart here, and I don't want to mess it up.  I want to make her proud.  But God wants me here.  He obviously knows that I"ll do a good job.  I'll just be relying on the Spirit and not my own brains.  He's smart, I'm not.  Sister Clark is my GPS, but I know how to get to two investigators' houses, the library, and I think the church.  So that's cool.
This little branch is really growing too.  I have a feeling I'll be here for awhile, that this will be my area.  We're the only sisters in the Valparaiso Zone.  Every elder in the zone loves us.  I'll definitely miss my old zone, but I'm looking forward to meeting new missionaries.  There's not as much snow here, but there's still a lot.
We have a next door neighbor, Stacy, and her family are members.  She's been a long time investigator, and she just stopped smoking cold turkey, so she gets nervous.  So guess what we go over to do to help her?  We play nertz with her and listen to 80’s music.  How cool is that?  Sister Clark says they try to change the music to religion pop, or something like that.  But yeah, I get to play nertz!  And I guess Sister Clark is really good.  But I'm really excited.  And I don't know, this is such a small town and big area (we cover a lot of small towns) and I just love it!  It's so quiet, and there's corn fields everywhere.  They're covered in snow, but Sister Clark has been pointing them out to me.  Our apartment is nicer than the Wheaton one.  The bathroom is clean!

Oh, one more thing.  I have to learn SPANISH!!!!!  Can you believe that?  Half our investigators speak broken english.  Sister Clark learned it in 9 weeks, but she had a Spanish companion.  So my goal is to learn how to pray in Spanish, read the Book of Mormon in Spanish, and learn 2 words a day, one regular word, one gospel word.
My address:
1634 McCade
Rensselaer, IN 47976
Note: Sister Clark can't have gluten or milk!  And we have a food storage.
Okay, I better go.  I have about two minutes left, and I want to make sure this thing sends.  I love you all!  And thanks so much for your letters and pictures!  I'm gonna need a bigger photo album.  And I'm not sending my card home until next week!
Love you again!
Sister Ostler
The new country girl ;)