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.

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