Wednesday, March 2, 2011

There's no Place like this Place near this Place so this must be the Place

Dear Family,
Since you are so worried about my health I will tell you EVERYTHING that is wrong with me.

My eyes are irritating me.

I'M CURED!  I don't have sinus pains anymore.  I knew that He could cure me.  I've only taken medicine in the past week for regular headaches (like when I don't wear my Damon Splint).  But I'll keep all that medicine just in case it comes back in the future!  But yeah, I feel fine!
And that's all with my health.  I'm not really that tired a lot.  Except when we're driving a lot, which we do.  Some of the towns in our area are 30 minutes away...oh wait, like all of them are.  We have Wheatfield, which has quite a few members in it, and potential investigators; Lake Village, which has an awesome investigator in it; Remmington, which has one very promising investigator in it, and an awesome recent convert, Miguel.  All of which are 30 minutes away.  Yeah, we went 100 miles yesterday because we had to go to Lake Village, we crossed over to Wheatfieldish, back to Rensselaer, then that night we went down to Remmington.  We get 1700 miles per month.  But oh boy howdy do they fly by!  Except in February!  We went to Naperville and back for transfers and we still had like 200ish miles left!  Not to mention all our trips to Valpraiso for district meeting and pdays!  That's 100 miles total!  Dumb!  But hey, I can't complain, because I'm in the best area ever!!!!!  Nothing beats Rensselaer!
Yes, we have a lot of inactives.  But there is hope.
This week we got a phone call from a less active member saying his girlfriend had some questions about the Mormon faith.  So we went over there, answered her questions about polygamy and then introduced Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.  Amanda, the girlfriend (it's not that weird to call her that actually.  I don't think of myself as Amanda anymore.  I'm Sister Ostler), said she had been raised Baptist, but been kind of forced into the religion.  She wanted to find out for herself what was truth, or something like that.  We see a lot of potential with her and Michael.  We will hopefully be able to see the reactivation of a priesthood holder, and the baptism of his girlfriend!
Another less active recently got married, so we went over there to give them a wedding present--the Book of Mormon!  We shared our testimonies of how the BOM has strengthened our family and committed them to reading it as a family.  The less active's wife, Ashely, said that she would be willing to take the missionary lessons!  So we have another chance to reactivate and baptize!
But yeah, there are a ton of less actives.  And when one shows up to church everyone goes to greet them.  And yes, Rensselaer is the only branch we cover.  I was thinking about this last night, how blessed Candy Mountain Ward is.  You don't have to travel 30 minutes to get to church.  You have to travel 10 at the most.  Not even that sometimes.  And to go on splits with the missionaries you don't have to travel 30 minutes either.  You guys are so blessed!

You and Amy are the only people who write me regularly.  I used to get letters for the first 2ish months.  Cali writes me occasionally, and so does Devey.  But that's it...oh and Grammie too.  I love getting letters from her.  Her handwriting is so pretty.
I think that what a lot of people don't realize is that I don't care what they write in their letters.  It might seem boring to them because they do the same thing everyday...but it's awesome for me!  Even just what they did on the weekend, or what they learned in church, or something random that a teacher said, or something new they learned in class.  Or what's going on in the world. LIke Egypt.  I only hear mention of Egypt and something bad is going on.  But that's it.  So yeah, I love letters.  And they don't have to be long either.
Oh and tell Amy that we LOVE those Larabars she sent us.  I personally love the Apple one.  But they were all pretty good.  And she's right, we can pronounce all the ingredients in it!  And they keep you kinda full for about 2 hours, which is awesome!  I'm so determined to lose 10 lbs by April 27th!  I ran a mile today, and it felt good!  And I'm trying to cut back on eating.  I love eating, and I really need to not over eat.  That's my problem...over eating.  But sometimes it's hard as a missionary.  Because you never know who's going to feed you when and what they're going to feed you.  Like we might go over to a members house to visit and just so happens they want to feed you when you just had lunch.  And it's rude to say no.  They are showing you that they love you and support you, and want to take care of you, so they want you to eat.  So yeah, it's hard sometimes.  Then other days you're starving!  A lady in the Naper 6 ward who served a mission too, Sister Hammer, said, "As a missionary you're always way too full, or starving."  And that's soooo true!  And there's really nothing you can do about it.  Right now I'm hungry.  I've only eaten a Larabar today.  But that's because Stacy is feeding us Pancakes!  She makes the best pancakes!  The Heborn elders, Elder Vicars and Miller, came down today.  So we're having a party at Stacy's!  I'm so beating all of them in nertz!
Oh the other night we were playing and Stacy's mom (who's got it going on) came over.  She's a member.  She joined us.  So now there were 4 people.  And I dominated!  I got nertz every time except when Sister Clark got it once.  And I won by like 8ish points to Sister Clark.  So today I'm going to dominate!

And Mom, you shouldn’t miss me.  I'm doing fine.  Yes, something about Rensselaer makes me miss home.  I think about it a lot.  But I'm trying not to.  I'm trying to focus on TODAY instead of tomorrow.  The end will come whether I like it or not, but what's important is what I do between now and then.  That's what President Doll told Sister Clark, so those aren't my prophetic words.  So I really am trying to live each day to it's fullest, and just enjoying every minute of it.  Even when we're doing something that I don't want to do.  Since Sister Clark is leaving she has to organize everything and pack, so we've been spending some time in the apartment.  I don't like it either.  But I know that it has to be done.  I'd rather be out working...even tracting.  But I'm just trying to put my needs and wants aside for Sister Clark.
Sister Clark is awesome.  She has taught me so much about looking at EVERYONE as my brother and sister, and then teaching them that way.  She also told me something cool.  She said, "The Lord didn't call a robot to come out on a mission, he called YOU to come out.  So it's okay to be yourself."  And that's so true.  Yes, I'm a missionary, I do missionary stuff, but at the same time I need to be myself.  I need to not always focus on, "Okay what do I need to teach next?"  Instead sometimes focus on "you're my friend, so I want to help you."  Because that's who I am...or who I want to become.  She's also taught me not to stress out either...just by her example.  And I'm trying so hard to have a Devey attitude!  Life gave me Lemonade!!!!!  It really works if I just really enjoy every moment of my mission.  I'm so much happier.
Okay some investigator stories!
First TODD!!!!  We've been teaching him for 2 months and we just barely gave him a Book of Mormon.  Two months ago he said he couldn't read, so we just figured we'd teach him the lessons.  We did, and recently it seemed that he wasn't progressing like before.  Well we found out that he could read.  He had an 8th grade education (like Joseph Smith!)  Well then we decided that we wanted to give him a BOM.  We gave it to him, but he said the print was too small.  We then found out that his close cousin died, and we just really felt that we needed to give him a BOM.  So we did and gave him Alma 40 to read.  He thought that he was supposed to read one paragraph, so when we came back he said, "I read a little further."  We were so happy!  We taught him about the BOM--the lesson we usually do on the first, second, or third visit to people.  It was so amazing!  He wanted to find out for himself if it was true or not, and we told him that's exactly what we wanted him to do to.  When we asked if we could leave another chapter with him he promptly handed over the book without hesitation.  He wants to read.  When Sister Clark and I left we were so giddy.  We were talking about the way he smiled more, and he chuckled twice!  That is not normal for him.  This gospel is changing him inside and out.  He wants to lose weight.  I love him!  He's doing better with smoking.  Still hasn't completely given it up.  But I just know that now he has the BOM, that if he reads it, it will somehow give him strength to quit for good!   He still wants to be baptized too.
Then there's KIM MORRISON!  Kim is 70 years old and he's just awesome!  We tracted into him a couple weeks ago, and it seems all he wanted to do was kinda challenge us and our knowledge.  At the time I didn't understand why Sister Clark made a return appointment with him.  She says she did because his neighbor, Barbie, was our investigator, and we would have to come visit her too.  (They live in Lake Village, so it's not like we can just GO there).  Well Barbie didn't turn up for her 2nd appointment last week, so we went straight to Kim’s.  He let us in, and we started talking about the Restoration.  We were afraid that it would turn into an argument, but it didn't.  It took us FOREVER to get to the actual Joseph Smith part of the lesson.  But we eventually got there.  We actually ended up sitting on his living room floor talking to him.  We mentioned native Americans, and he took us in his living room which is dedicated to Native Americans.  It was really cool.  So we sat on his floor and read to him the introduction of the BOM, which can be very argumentative.  There are some very bold statements in there.  But he asked questions about some, and then let us continue.  He said he'd read and pray about it.
So we went back and he said he'd read and prayed.  And the answer he got was, "Keep reading."  Oh man I love Heavenly Father!!!  So we read with him Moroni 7, and he was like, "This is what Paul wrote!"  We explained that if it's the same God, wouldn't he tell the same thing to the same people?  Yep!  But Kim is awesome.  He lays on the floor across from us, and when he has a "problem" we explain it, he thinks about it for about 30 seconds, then says, "I can agree with that.  What's next?"  It's just awesome...HE'S just awesome!  He said that we stimulate his heart, mind, thoughts, and faith.  How stinking awesome is that?  I'll send a picture of him next week.  He's a great old man who has no upper teeth!  Just awesome!
And we do have a big teaching pool!  Hardly anytime to tract.  But it's just great!  We love our investigators!  They're going to build a temple here someday!

Well Adui my family whom I love so much!  Time to go shop and eat pancakes at Stacy's and beat the elders in nertz!  That'll put Elder Vicars in his place!
Sister Ostler

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