Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The only thing that keeps me standing is getting on my knees

Hi Mom and Dad and Siblings!
So my weeks ups and downs.  We'll start with last Wednesday.
Wednesday April 20th
We planned to go to Michigan City for pday.  That's about 1.5 hours away.  We had the miles and time, so we decided to go.  We typed in the chapels address to the GPS (Sister Kendra) and it told me to go a different way than what I would normally go.  I decided what the heck?  I know where I'm going, why not?  So I went that way.  There's a Baptist church along the way and outside there was an older man digging by a sign.  I had this thought pop in my head that said, "You should stop to help him."  Um no.  It takes 1.5 hours to get to Michigan City!  And I want my blizzard!  (Elder Miller was going to buy me a blizzard cuz I guessed his name right.)  Well the thought was still there.  So I asked Sister Arce what she thought.  "I don't know" she said.

Well I thought of the letter Ben Wallace just sent me, and how he had told me of this cool spiritual experience he had where he listened to the Holy Ghost and it totally helped him and his friend.  He had ignored it initially then gave into it.  I asked sister Arce again.  "It wasn't my idea,"  she said, "Yeah, it wasn't mine either," I said.  Then as soon as I said that, I realized that it really wasn't my idea.

So I turned around and we asked this man if he wanted help.  He said yes, which surprised me.  He gave Sister Arce a spade and she started digging, and me a pick-ax and I started breaking up concrete!  He was going to run electricity out to the sign out in front of the church.  He had already cut the concrete, I just had to get it up from the ground.  Now I was in my nice brown shoes and my skirt, and here I was breaking up concrete with a pickax and sledge hammer!  It felt awesome!!!!  It was the first time Sister Arce had ever used a shovel before!  It was really fun!  She got some bad blisters!  She popped them that night.  Luckily Sister Stacey was over so she knew exactly what to do.  She's like our mom!
The Baptist preacher came by, and so I got to meet him!  I wanted to talk to him but he had to go to the hospital because someone from church was in there.  I'm glad we stopped to help the old man, Dick.  We made his job a lot easier.  Although the physical labor killed me!  I was so dead.  Except it didn't really hit til Monday I think.  So I think stress helped it along.  But what's funny is that the Baptists don't like us, and we helped them!  I love making baptismal covenants with the Lord!  We did get to go up to Michigan City and Elder Miller got me a strawberry cheesequake blizzard!  Soooooooo good!
Thursday April 21
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!  I prolly said that 10 times that day!  We also kinda taught this guy in his 20s, Tommy.  He had been to Iraq and he said that he couldn't join our church or else he would go to Hell for the things he had done in Iraq.  We assured him that he wouldn't, and read him the Title of Liberty.  We left him with that chapter, and didn’t make a return appointment cuz his mom didn't exactly like us.  Well 15 minutes later we were tracting by his house and he came up and made an appointment with us!  How cool is that?  Made my day.  He didn't keep it, but he made it!
Friday April 22
Zone Meeting. 
After Zone meeting we were planning on going to Lake Village before Kim's appointment (that's where he lives) and do some tracting.  Well after the zone meeting President Doll had an interview with Sister Arce, and I went up to talk to Sister Doll.  I just knew I had to talk to her for some reason.  I didn't know what that reason was.  So I went up and said, "Sister Doll I've been feeling really tired lately."
"And I can see why too!  Let's go out and talk."  We went to a different room.  And she said that she had had a conversation with Sister Arce while I was playing the piano and her eyes were opened. . . . .   “You must have done a lot of the teaching" she said.  She was amazed that I hadn't called her or President Doll.  But I just thought that if the Lord wanted me to do it then I could.  So yeah, it helped to talk to Sister Doll for a couple minutes and for someone else besides me to actually see how hard it was.  That talk is what I had been needing for a couple weeks, and it did help me....alot!
That night at Kim’s, he wouldn't set a date, but he still wanted to be baptized.  He didn't understand the Word of Wisdom, so Sister Cameron gave him the triple and marked the Word of Wisdom section in it.  Yeah, we usually don't give investigators the Doctrine & Covenants or Pearl of Great Price.  But I figured with Kim it was okay.  Cuz he had finished the Book of Mormon and he wanted more.  He was thirsty for knowledge.  He was dehydrated.  That was a good visit.  A really good visit.
Saturday April 23
We made friends with Chuck, the guy that owns Pizza King in Remington.  We met him a week ago, gave him a card, and he let Sister Arcecuz he's Baptist!
Sunday April 24
The best Easter of my life!  We went to the Cameron's for lunch and the Rodriguez's came too!  The food was AMAZING!  REAL POTATOES!!!  I loved it!  And homemade rolls!  And corn, and yummy stuff!  Oh it was amazing!  I loved everything!  And then me, Sister Arce and Sister Cameron's mom were the Easter bunnies and went out to hide the eggs for the kids!  It was fun letting them go and find them!  I loved the spirit at that house.  It's always such a friendly spirit!
We also visited Sister Miller in the nursing home.  It was a good visit.  I love Sister Miller!
Monday April 25
Yeah, not a day worth mentioning.  Boring.
Tuesday April 26
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! I said that about 10 times that day too!  And yes, Kim decided to call you on his own!  He wanted all of us to sing happy birthday, but I told him that was pushing it!  And I could hear your voice.  I didn't understand what you were saying, but I heard the tone of your voice.  It almost made me cry.  And I could tell that Kim understood how much you meant to me, just by the expression on my face.  It was cool that he could see the love I had for my family.  Also he committed into coming to church!!!!  And we encouraged him to read the Pearl of Great Price!  He loves old Testament stuff.  I'm excited for Sunday!
That morning we had pancakes at Stacey's since it was Sister Arce's last real day.  Elder Miller called me at 8ish and asked who my new companion was.  I told him I'd like to know.  While we were talking Elder Dearinger txed.  So after I was off the phone with Elder Miller I looked at the text.  He said, "Congrats your training!  I told you you would be!"  I cried.  I really did.  I didn't know how I could train.  And it seemed that everyone else knew who their companion was, but me.  Which meant that President Doll must be calling me, which meant I was training.  So I ate a lot of pancakes and asked Stacey what I was supposed to do.
President Doll called an hour later and said I would be training.  I just hoped and prayed all day that I could do this.  That the Lord would strengthen me and that this new sister could love Rensselaer and know how to teach.
Wednesday April 27
I said goodbye to Sister Arce and Elder Miller (he's going home).  And I went into the training meeting.  There were two other missionaries that came out with me that are training too, Elder Wagner and Hermana Miller.  My grandma, Sister Russon, was training too, and a whole bunch of other young missionaries.  There were only two that had been out for a year or longer.  And there were 17 new missionaries.  President Doll told us some stuff, then we went into meet our companions.  Mine is Sister Mondelli from Italy!  She speaks really good English.
Sister Mondelli, Sister Ostler President & Sister Doll
I have a lot of hope for her.  She loves Rensselaer, and she can sing, and she likes to do stuff.  And I have alot of hope.
Tell Jackson to fear God more than man, and to flippin rely on the Lord.  Malachi 3:3, also the time Joseph Smith was in Liberty Jail.
Okay, we have an appointment.  I love you all!  Thanks for your prayers! 
Sister Ostler

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wonder of Wonder, Miracle of Miracles

Hey Family,
So Mom, to answer your questions.  I don't know how exactly Sister Arce got this calling.  But somehow President Doll found out that she wanted to serve a mission, so her bishop asked her to come out.  She's under the same rules as me.  And yes, I know that was a frog in my hand.  It was really cool.  I think I want a frog when I get home.  They're cool.  And yeah, we've had crazy weather all stinking month long.  Sister Kelly, at dinner yesterday said that in the last days we won't know one season from the next, and that's true.  This month has been spring, summer, fall, and winter.  We got home just before the storm hit.  And I had no idea there were tornado warnings.  Pretty cool.  And I didn't see any hail. I did receive the face stuff.  And I'm excited for next week.  Although as Dad said it'll only get harder.
So it's just hard, but Heavenly Father is really helping me.  He carries me through every day.  He really does.  I just want a friend right now, that's all I want, a friend.  Sister Arce thinks my world is full of daisies and roses and good happy thoughts all the time.  I tried to tell her yesterday that it wasn't, but I don't think she got it.  I have grown so much these past couple weeks.  It's like a growth spurt.  You know how it hurts your body when you grow a lot?  Yeah, that's what it's been like.  It hurts, but in the end I'll be really tall.  :)

But I only have 10 more minutes happy stuff!
A miracle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We haven't been able to meet with Kim for 2 weeks because he's been super busy.  On Sunday, the Fritz's and President Cameron was like, "You get to call Kim today, huh?"  Well we called him, but his wife said he was busy and he would call me tonight or tomorrow.

Monday morning was hard.  While getting ready I cried.  I told God that this was too hard.  We had gotten 6 new investigators the past week, but it was just so hard!  I couldn't keep doing this.  Well, that morning during companion study he called.  I was so excited to hear from him.  He said, "You wanted to know if you could come visit me one more time?"  That 'one more time' caught me off guard.  Did that mean that he had decided that the church wasn't for him?  I was so scared!  I was so ready for disappointment that whole phone call.  Plus I had complained to God, he was gonna show me that I needed to do things on His time.

Well, Kim said he had watched the first 3 speakers on Sunday morning General Conference and he LOVED President Uchtdorf.  Who wouldn't?  President Cameron was really happy that he had watched that when I told him.  And then he said, "And I have finished the Book of Mormon, and there is nothing in there that contradicts the Bible.  I have made my decision though."  Oh man here it comes, that disappointment, that heart ache.  What was I to tell Sister Clark?  "And I've decided to get baptized in the Mormon church."  He said some other stuff about how he believed that if God had another people that He could appear to them, and that was the point of the BOM, and how he didn't understand how Joseph Smith fit into everything, because the BOM ends in 421 AD, etc...but all I could do was be in shock.  I was in shock.

I cried, I really did.  I was so happy.  My joy was full.  I can't even describe to you what I felt.  I really can't!   It was amazing!  Words can't describe it.  Imagine holding me in your arms for the first time.  Okay, it was 10X more exciting than that.  Because here was a soul I was helping to save.  How long had Sister Clark and I tracted that day?  3 miles and 3 hours?  I didn't even want to go back to visit Kim!  He was going to argue with us!  I was afraid that he would think that this religion was no different than any other religion.  He didn't understand the apostasy, and it seemed his heart wasn't soft enough to understand it.  But it seems that God told him to go forward, even if he didn't understand everything, he needed to do it, and we would be there to explain everything to him.

We're meeting with him on Friday night.  I'm so, so, soooooooo excited!  We're gonna set a date end of May prolly and dunk him!  He still needs to come to church, and pretty much have all the lessons, cuz we've just answered his questions.  And he still doesn't understand repentance.  But this is the highlight of my missino.  I'm going to fit this into my homecoming talk.  I will.  This is amazing.  I'm still on cloud 9.  Yes, this has been a VERY hard transfer, but God rewards us!  He does.  Nothing can bring me down from this.  I just pray every day that Satan doesn't get a hold of him.
Okay, Bowmans here to take us shopping!  Love you all!  Thanks for your prayers and support!

Sister Ostler

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I use that scripture all the stinking time!

Hey family,
I'm kind of out of it.  Spiritually, physically and slightly emotionally exhausted.

But other than that it's been a better week.   I don't really remember it, other than we contacted our rear ends off, and we had more than half of our appointments fall through, and a couple reschedule.  We have had some success.  But I've gained a testimony of member present lessons.  We went to Frieda's yesterday and we had just taught her lesson one a couple weeks ago, so we were following up with how her prayer and reading went (she's in her 50s maybe).  We brought Sister Royce with us, she's a seminary teacher.  Well we were gonna teach her about the Holy Ghost.  And so we had it planned out who was going to say what.  That personally helped me when Sister Chen and I started teaching together.  I didn't know what to say half the time, and I didn't know if anything I was saying was getting across to Frieda.  Well thank goodness Sister Royce has such a powerful, sweet testimony of the Holy Ghost, and how real He is.  She carried that lesson through, and we didn't lose Frieda!
Then at Todd’s, we just had a really hopeful lesson fall through, Corey’s.  He's 19 and a really good kid, but didn't show up for his lesson.  So we went to Todd's instead.  We were gonna teach him about the enabling power of the Atonement, which we did. (I remember the first time Dad showed me Alma 7:11-12 and how you explained to me that Christ suffered for much than just our sins.  I use that scripture all the stinking time!  So thanks for teaching me about that scripture Dad!)  Well the Fernandez pretty much called him to repentance about smoking.  He had already been 24 hours without a smoke, and he really wanted to quit.  They told him that if he felt tempted he needed to call them or the sister missionaries, and I told him that if we were both busy than to call God, cuz He never hit's "Send to answer machine," or "ignore," or say to His wife, "Oh man, it's Todd, I don't want to talk to him, Hun, can you tell him I'm not home?"  He needed to call God too.  At the end of the lesson Todd prayed a really simple prayer for the people in Japan, then he pointed to an open drawer, and said, "Those are yours."  In the drawer was an almost full pack of cigarettes!  He said, "I want to quit, I'm done smoking."  We took them and they're now sitting in our garbage at home!!!!  I was so excited!!!
That just shows the power of the member present lessons.  Cuz I really didn't know what else to say to Todd at some points.  I ended up bearing my testimony and then just let everyone else call him to repentance.  I feel sometimes that my spiritual bucket is running low.  I'm running out of things to say.

But this week, man, I can't believe how much the Lord is helping me push through.  There's a quote from a GA that says in our times of trial and distress is the time that we're closer to the Lord than we ever even realize.  And I find that that is so true.  Out here there's really no one I can turn to.  I can't call you Mom, like that time when there was drama in my apt, and I can't run to my friends cuz they're all getting married, I can't burden President Doll with all my little worries, and believe me, telling the elders is the LAST thing I want to do.  So I turn to the Lord.  And I pray, and pray, and pray.  And He helps me.  I honestly don't know how I got through these past couple weeks.  I really don't.  It's been so spiritually draining.  But He has carried me through it.  And Mom, you weren't too preachy in that letter you were all worried about.  It was exactly what I needed.
Grandpa Skinner sent me a letter, and it was so awesome!  He told me that when I look back on my mission this will be the time that I love the most because it's the time I’ll grow the most...and I'm so seeing that happening.  I just hope that next transfer is slightly easier.  And I really hope that it will be.
But District meeting on Monday was so bad!  We did role play.  First Sister Arce and I had to street contact someone and lead them into the first lesson.  They only gave us 5 minutes.  Stupid.  Plus I was the one talking the whole time.  It was soooooooooooo hard!  Then the elders contacted each other and they like took 15 minutes.  And plus they were switching off and everything.  And I knew they were doing it to show me how it's "really done."  I felt like they were telling me, "You're doing missionary work wrong, so we're going to show you how to do it."  But guess what?  EVERYONE DOES MISSIONARY WORK DIFFERENTLY!  Yeah, I just got frustrated with them.  I wasn't having a good day to begin with.  But then it slowly got better.  And I think it was mom and dad's letters that made it better.  They gave me the strength I needed to carry on through the rest of the day, even though no one was home that night.  I really do like the leaders though.  They can just be stupid sometimes.
And a part member family want's us to come over and teach their unbaptized 9 year old son.  Haven't gotten ahold of them yet, but we'll keep trying.  We really miss Kim...I miss Kim.  We hopefully get to see him next week.  Man this week we had several people tell us that things didn't line up in the Book of Mormon and the Bible, they contradicted each other.  I wish that Kim was right there by our side to lay it flat to them.  He's allowed to since he's not a missionary.  It's hard proselyting in a small town.  Cuz if you say something that offends someone then the whole town knows about it.  So you just have to bear your testimony even if they disregard it.  It's kind of weird to me to bear my testimony to someone and then they say, "Thank you so much for your wonderful testimony" or they don't completely bash it.  I'm used to, "Well I'm glad you believe that, but I don't.  And I’m busy right now, go away."  Or they tell me that I can't know the BOM is true, I can only believe it.  It doesn't hurt me at all.  No one can take my testimony away from me except myself.  That's what Elder Scott said 6 months ago.
And yeah, conference was amazing!  We watched it at the Camerons and the Valoises house.  I loved it and can't wait til you send me my very own copy of the ensign.  Thanks so much!  Nylons wouldn't be bad either.  Bikes don't treat nylons too well.  Yeah, we ride bikes to save miles and to get some extra exercise.  We only ride when we're in Rensselaer and it's a nice day.  Sister Arce doesn't like to ride, but I do.  Especially when it's all warm.

Oh the picture is of me and Hogwarts, the Toad!  I loved it!  I really did!  It was outside of Stacey's door.  We found it when we went over to walk Peanut, cuz Stacey had surgery.  But now she's better.
Thanks for all your support and love and prayers.  And sorry if this email was an emotional roller coster...maybe you've gotten some insight into how I'm feeling right now.  Sometimes good, sometimes bad.
Love you all!
Love, Sister Ostler

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I'm weary and battle worn.

Hola familia!
Wow how I miss you all!  This past week has been so tough!  Your letter humbled me a lot Mom.  Like a lot a lot.  So I revamped and rethought stuff. But don't worry, I'm not down in the dumps during the day.  I'm happy and try to look at the good in life.  I think of our awesome three spanish converts who are so strong in the gospel.  I think of my mom back at home who loves me, and my dad, and my four little bedlumites, and sister ,and Elder Ostler who's prolly having a harder time than I am.  I do have so much good in my life, and I'm ever thankful for the Atonement and for Christ to help me through the rough patches in the road.

But let me tell you, this week I have felt the refiners fire purge me.  And He purged me real good, and is going to continue to purge me.  I won't be surprised if President Doll asks Sister Arce to stay for another transfer.  I would learn a ton.  Patience especially.  I do love her and want the best for her.
So onto the other events of the week...
We had a lesson with Ashley's less active husband last night, Robert.  Ashley is an investigator.  We talked about our covenants we made at baptism, and enduring to the end, and how when we get off that straight and narrow path we have to repent and turn around.  It may not be easy, but it is possible.  It was a powerful lesson, because we had gone in planning on teaching Ashley L3, but when she was sleeping we had to change the lesson to meet Robert's needs.  I could feel the Spirit guiding my words.  It was really awesome, and I could see the Spirit working on him, I could see in his face that he knew he needed to change.  It was amazing!  Near the end of the lesson President Cameron (our branch president) committed him to meeting with him on Sunday to prepare him to receive the Melchizedek priesthood.  He went from saying, "I'll try to make it," to "I'll really try to make it," to "I will be there on Sunday."  So there is still hope here in Rensselaer!  I hope that with Robert starting to come back to church that Ashley will see a difference in him and want the same thing.

Sharron...So on Monday evening we went about 4 miles out of town to tract this little street called Arnot.  The other day when we passed it I wanted to tract it.  It was a random street in the middle of now where, and I like tracting those kind of streets.  So at 7:15ish we went out to tract it.  We found one potential investigator, Amber.  She didn't want us to teach her that night because her husband and some kids wouldn't be there to hear this awesome message on the family!  We assured her that it was fine, and we WANTED to teach her entire family.  So we kept on moseying around trying to get people talkin'.
At around 7:50ish we knocked on house number 410.  I saw oxygen tanks in there so I thought it was gonna be some soaps.  But this lady of about 50 or 60 opens the door, and she wasn't connected to anything.  We said we had a message about Christ and the Plan of Salvation.  She assured us that Christ was in that home and she worshiped Him.  I don't know how we got started, but she eventually told us about when she had open heart surgery and how her heart was out of her body and she was above her body looking down and angles were surrounding her with their wings touching.  (do angles have wings?)  She started crying and I felt that she was a special daughter of God.  We taught her L2 (Plan Of Salvation) on her door step, about how we lived before we came here, how we are sent here to be tested, how Christ knows everything she was feeling.  I never say this, but I said, "Sharron, he has even felt the same guilt you have felt."  She broke down again and said, "You don't know the guilt I have felt, you don't know!..." (she didn't mean it in an accusing way, simply saying that she had a lot of guilt ) then she proceeded to tell us why she felt so much guilt.  I assured her that I did't know what she felt, but the Savior did, and He only knew because of His love for us to suffer for us.  I told her that I was simply a 21 year old girl who knew Christ lived and wanted to share His message.  She then stretched out her arms and proceeded to give me a hug, "You're so young to be out here and teaching the word with so much knowledge!" she sobbed.  Yes, she cried onto my shoulder, and I didn't know whether to laugh or cry!  But that was the time when I taught the lesson so powerfully.  I knew without a doubt that the Spirit was leading me because I didn't stumble over one word, or hesitate.  I was so stinking bold, and I didn't regret it.  It was powerful.  We have a return appointment on Monday with her :)
As for Kim, we can't meet with him for a couple weeks cuz he's busy.  But he still loves us! 
Okay I gotta go!   I love you all and am thankful for your prayers!
Love Sister Ostler