Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Stormin' Mormons

Dear Family,
I am alive, and I'm surprised you didn't want more info on the storms!  This week has been a week of storms, spiritual and literal.  Sunday was the biggest storm.  It started that morning when we were late getting to church, and in MCM...but we won't go there.  I've learned to change a lot while I'm out here, and I'm starting to realize that just because it's not my idea, or it's not what I'm used to doesn't mean it's a bad idea.
A week ago Brother Bowman told us that we would be speaking the last Sunday of the month and told us it was on Missionary Work, and that he would get us more details on it later.  So we didn't start preparing or thinking about it really at all.  Then I asked him this Sunday and he said, "Oh, ya know, it's on missionary work. It's broad, pray about it, and prepare somethin'."  Great!  Missionary Work!  Do you know how many ways I could go with that?  And I only have a week?  And here's the girl that likes 2 or 3 weeks to write an essay!  2-3 days to think about it, 2-3 days to play around with thesis and main points on the computer, of course there's the couple days of research, and then the actual writing of it, scratching it, writing it again, revising for a couple days, giving it to Cali or Whitney to edit, editing it myself for the last time, then printing it, only to realize I'm out of ink, then printing it again, then handing it in, still not sure that it's the best you can do, but when you get it back with a 94 on it you know you did good.  But what can ya do in this situation?  Pray a lot.  It's a church talk, not an essay!
So that was going on in my head, then after sacrament meeting I talked to Kim about his baptism and who would give talks and what not.  He wanted President Cameron to do everything, baptize him, confirm him, give both talks, and he wanted to sing a song that wasn't in the hymn book.  Stressful!  Oh, and he wanted Sister Clark to record a prayer and then we would play it at the baptism.  What the?  So I had to explain that #1 President Cameron couldn't do everything, and #2 It was kind of against church policy for a prayer to be recorded.  I said, with prayers a person is sometimes prompted to say something in that setting that they wouldn't have said if it was recorded...or something like that.  And then he wanted me to give the talk on baptism...great!  Another talk!  And this was Kim's baptism!  I couldn't write it that morning, I had to really prepare for this one!
I then rushed into Sunday School where Sister Mondelli was already teaching about the Holy Ghost.  Sonja and her bf came to church!  A true miracle, since we had lost contact with her since pretty much Sister Clark left.  But we went by Saturday evening and told her to come to church, and she did!  Well I went into Sunday School and pretty sure chased away the spirit with my confused mind and stumbling over thoughts and ideas as they came out.  Thank goodness for Brother Fernandez who brought the Spirit back!
Relief Society was good.  It was on Elder Bednar's talk from this last General Conference on Revelation.  It really helped me, and Sister Cameron is such a good teacher!!!  And then after church I was running around like a chicken with it's head cut off talking to these people, working things out with President Cameron, confirming these appointments etc.  Then we went home, ate, and then Sister Mondelli told me a concern she had. . . . . . . it was our responsibility as the Lord's servants to postpone the baptism.  But how was I supposed to do that to Kim and to the branch?  I've learned to fear God more than man though.
Well before we called Kim we went to Remmington.  We were supposed to meet with three people down there.  I wasn't sure I could do it though, I was winded.  Plus my Spirit was upset, and I wasn't quite sure why.  I thought it was because on Thursday we decided to go to Remmington on Sunday instead of on Saturday like we usually do.  I wasn't really sure though.
Well we got down there and talked with Marlene and Sheila.  They're neighbors in an apartment complex.  The first thing she said when we sat down was, "Do you know anything about DNA testing?"  I thought, "What have we got ourselves into?  There is nothing in the Book Of Mormon about that!"  She went on to explain that . . . . . ladadadadada.   So we started to explain about Heavenly Father's love for us, and how HE is our father.  Then she randomly left to go wash her car and we ended up calling Marlene to repentance.  That didn't work since she has no desire to change.  Such a nice, sweet, kind-hearted lady, but her life style is not Christ-like.  This gospel would help her get rid of the evil spirits lurking around her, but she won't even pray.  She'll let us pray, but she won't pray.  She doesn't feel right in doing it.  But we're going to go back every other Sunday or so.
Near the end of our lesson the weather changed.  It was really hot before, I wasn't wearing nylons even.  Then it turned cold.  We were all sitting outside:  us, Sheila, who came back, and Marlene, plus this other guy, Mike? who was sleeping in his wheelchair.  That's when we heard the sirens.  TORNADO SIRENS.  I later learned from momma Stacey that when those go off a tornado has been spotted in Jasper county, and for however long they are on that's how long the tornado is on the ground.  At that time I just thought that they meant a tornado could happen.  But the clouds were swirling, and my stomach was in knots.  Everyone around me, including Sister Mondelli were perfectly calm.
Well at this time I decided to call Kim.  I did.  Tears were in my eyes.  We started to discuss how he wasn't going to be baptized this Saturday.  I told him that yes the Holy Ghost can help us.  I got the impression that he felt he had done all he could do and he needed major help.  So I said that President Cameron would be coming with us on Wednesday (today) to visit him and he'd give him a blessing.  He said that was what he needed.  After hanging up, BOTH Sister Mondelli and I felt good.  We felt at peace, and we felt calm about it all.  Kim wasn't ready and that's okay.
After that, my phone went out of service cuz of the storm.  We drove over to Tim's house because we thought the storm was over...wrongo shmongo.  To make a long story short, it starting raining sideways the wind was so strong, a tornado hit in Remmington, and about 1.5 miles from our apartment in Rensselaer.  We called Sister Doll to ask what to do.  She said to go home cuz people were saying it was going to get worse.  So we did.  And we drove in a downpour for about 2 miles.  Then it started to let up, we saw blue sky in the distance, and by the time we got home the rain had pretty much stopped.  Shingles had blown off our roof, and the power in Rensselaer had gone out while we were away.  We also didn't get to go see Tina and Jessica (Arnie's family) cuz of the storm.  And they don't have a phone so we can’t contact them:(  But we'll go see them eventually.
Last night right before planning, Stacey knocked on our door and pointed to the West/South where a storm was coming in.  She said to keep our phone by us so she could get a hold of us if a tornado hit.  We were laughing that we were going to die and Sister Mondelli said she was going to eat all the Nutella tonight--her last night on earth.  (We're on a chocolate free diet this week.  She's already failed...and I got after her for it :)  I love her so much!  We have such fun!!!!
Well we didn't die last night, but this morning while we were doing our comp study we heard the sirens go off faintly, we called Stacey to see if she knew anything.  She was driving home from Remington and while talking to us drove past the collage and she saw a huge tree knocked down along with some smaller ones.  A TORNADO HIT IN RENSSELAER!!! Crazy huh?  Yeah, we decided we aren't going to Valpo today.  The boys are just going to play bball...what fun!

The picture is of this morning.  The storm that was over Renssy was going to Francisville.  And yes, I cut my hair.  I miss Shelly :(  I don't think I"ll get my hair cut by a anyone else BUT her!  And you can tell her that!

Oh and thanks for the frisbee!  Stacey got one too...the exact same one.  She got hers before you sent me mine.  I opened it and laughed.  I showed it to Stacey and we laughed.
Good luck on weight watchers.  I lost a pound this week!  I was excited!
And that's awesome that Jackson is training!  He'll grow so much!  Get on your knees buddy!  Well if he's like Sister Mondelli it'll be a piece of cake.  She is AWESOME!  We can even talk about deep doctrine stuff!
Oh, and what you said about Ashely Mom, I know that she didn't reject ME, and that's what makes it hard.  She rejected eternal life, greater happiness, blessings pouring from Heaven.  At the moment when you realize that these people aren't numbers but your brothers and sisters, your whole prospective changes.  You realize that no, they aren't rejecting you, they are only hurting themselves, but at the same time they're hurting us, cuz we know what lies in store for them if they come into the only fold of God, and it hurts so much when someone you love says no.

Sister Mondelli
The lasagna turned out fantastic, as you can see by the picture.  So very good!  And the garlic bread was really good to!  I loved it!  I'll make it for you when I get home!

A note for Devey:
"I want to be there so bad this weekend!  But sadly I can't.  The Lord needs me here, and you need to be in the Temple!!!!!  I'm sure you just LOVED getting your endowments out.  you were prolly way more prepared than I was!  If Bradly doesn't take you to the temple as often as you guys can go then tell him he'll have to answer to me.  I love you, and have so much fun this weekend!  I want pictures too!  And thank you for the wedding announcement!  I also need a mailing address for you two!  I love you so much!  You've been such an example to me these past couple years, and I tell all my comps about you and you're wonderfulness!"
All right, well, no baptism this week, but maybe in a few.  Thank you for your prayers! 
I love you all, and tell the family that's coming this weekend I said hi, and I love them all!  Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Laying the foundation

Dearest Family,
The picture is from last pday.  We had THE WHOLE ZONE in Rensselaer!  It was so cool!  16 missionaries!

We had some darn good hamburgers, threw around the frisbee, football, whatever.  Then went to play ultimate frisbee in about 90 degree humid weather.  Within 5 minutes we were all wiped, but we still played.  I LOVE frisbee!  And Stacey got a good, ultimate frisbee at Walmart for us!  Well it's hers, but we can use it.  Anything that's hers we can use.  Like her shampooer.  We are shampooing our carpet today!  We're making her lasagna on REAL Italian lasagna.  They put hard boiled egg in it, and something else that I can't a certain kind of cheese.  Yeah, I'm excited!   And we're having REAL Italian garlic bread!  I'm excited!!!
So work here is slow.  We tracted for hours and get like 8 contacts.  No one is home, or they don't want to listen to us.  So we're going to try to work with the branch to have them invite friends to activities and what not to see if we can get investigators that way.
Saturday, a day when people are usually home, we tracted Maple.  Three people were home.  One was Methodist, and at first said, "oh yeah, prophets, I could believe in one."  Then by the end of Lesson 1, he didn't want anything to do with us.  One guy just wasn't interested.  And in his haste to close the door he shut his kid in it.  Oh, then there was this other guy that wasn't interested either.  Wasn't a church going person, didn't see the need for it.  Then this lady, I think she was pentecostal.  Said that everyone who is a believer has the power and authority from God.  Sooo....we went back Monday night and retracted the street.  Skipping the houses that we already talked to people at.  No one would give us the time of day, well night, since it was night.  This one lady had her son die two weeks ago and she still wouldn't listen to us.  It was kinda discouraging.  Although the last man we talked to was outside checking on his strawberries.  We taught him, I forgot, prolly something to do with Prophets and the BOM.  We said a prayer with him, but didn't get a return appointment.  He was nice though.
So a couple weeks ago President Cameron calls us and tells us that this guy named Arnie called him from Remmington and wants a Book Of Mormon and to come to church.  We only had his phone number.  We tried calling but no answer.  Or he was away.  Well this weekend, Friday, I think, we got a referral from church headquarters from this guy named Arnie.  It was the same guy and it said he wanted a Book Of Mormon, and he had got a pass a long card and called the number on it.  I knew instantly who this guy was.  Sister Arce and I had tracted into him a month ago on a cold, rainy day.

So Sister Mondelli and I went to his house.  His mom and sister were there, Tina and Jessica.  Tina said that a couple years ago her friend had given her a Book Of Mormon, she even went to go get it.  We asked if we could teach her a little bit more about the BOM.  She said yes.  So we sat down outside and tried to teach her.  But the kids were running every where, and Tina was easily distracted.  But what was cool was when it was time to pray Tina said, "I don't think we can have one with these kids."  I called the two girls over, Chanasy and her cousin, and told them that we were going to pray.  These four year old girls folded their arms and closed their eyes and were silent the whole prayer, and even said Amen.  Tina and Jessica were slightly amazed.  We got a return appointment for Sunday.
We went over Sunday.  And we were pretty exhausted.  We just had a lesson with a woman who was telling us that these spirits were telling her what to do and say, and CRAZYNESS!!!  And then we had another man accept Joseph Smith as a prophet (except not really) because he couldn’t accept the Word Of Wisdom, but still wanted us to come over.  He contradicted himself while we were teaching him.  He said, "God is mad at me," then 10 minutes later, "God loves me so much, and he's not mad at me."   Weirdness!
Well, so when we walked into Tina's house she, Jessica, and Arnie all started to clean.  We asked if we could help and she immediately said yes.  NO ONE EVER DOES THAT!!!  So we cleaned her house.  Sister Mondelli swept and I picked up stuff.  And Chanasy!  Oh she's so cute!  And the first time I ever saw her I knew that I had met her somewhere before.  She just looked familiar.  Same with Tina and Jessica.  After we cleaned we sat down and talked about the Plan of Salvation.  It was a good lesson.  Tina can't read very well, and Jessica has a hard time reading too.  But they said that they would read the Book Of Mormon as a family.  We are going over this Sunday and showing the Restoration video.  We think they'll really like that.  And it's very powerful.  But we got to teach Tina the love of God, and how he loves everyone no matter what.  It was a really neat experience.
Kim is getting baptized next week!  He's still on schedule!  We taught him the plan of salvation again.  That's the first thing that Sister Clark and I taught him when we first met him.  But this time we taught him more in-depth and he accepted a lot of it, and we could use the whole standard works.  And once again I learned something from him!  Like how when we study the principle of faith, that's how we can get more of it.  "Faith comes by heading the word."  That's what the scrips says.  And if you think of it, how can you use faith if you don't know what it is? You can, but it's hard.  I've noticed that the more I've studied faith, the more faith I have because I actually know how to use it.  Like the more I understand the Atonement the more I use it, because I know HOW to use it.  And I love teaching people how to use the Atonement.
Yesterday we had a lesson with Ron.  We can't meet with him that often because he's busy.  But taught the Plan Of Salvation too.  We talked alot about the Atonement and how Christ suffered for EVERYTHING!!  He said that sometimes he didn’t call on God because his problems seemed not as big as the next guys.  We taught him that it doesn't matter how big or small our problems are, the Lord will help us.  We used the analogy of his children.  "Wouldn't you want to help your child with the broken leg as much as your child with the stubbed toe?"  He got it after that.  And he said that the Plan Of Salvation brought him a lot of comfort.  So that was really cool.  It was one of the best POS lessons I’ve ever taught.
There's so much to do and there's so much responsibility.  And there's so much on my mind.  Sister Mondelli is a hard worker and she’s 100% focused on the mission.  It's really cool, but I teach her that it's okay to take a brake.  But we have a lot of fun together.  One morning a wasp got into our apartment.  So she strapped a helmet to her face, got the vacuum and vacuumed it up!  It was sooooooooo funny!

She HATES flying insects.  She calls the crawling ones "monsters" and she never kills them.  She always scoops them up and puts them outside.  Same with spiders.  She LOVES spiders.  Which is good, cuz whenever there is one she takes care of it.  She also loves squirrels.  She gets so excited whenever we see one.  And whenever there's a pet in the house I better plan on teaching the lesson cuz she's loving that pet to death!  No, she's actually pretty good at leaving the pet alone once we start the lesson.  But yeah, she's great!
And thanks mom for the letter and talk.  That was exactly what I needed.  I just gotta trust in the Lord that everything will work out, but if not I will still trust in Him.  The scripture that says "Be not weary in well doing for ye are laying the foundation for a great work," keeps running through my head.  I think that a lot of time we don't know what seed we have planted or what life we have changed.  But I know that everything happens for a purpose.  And I really wish we had more miles so we could go more places.  It's hard going into a tiny town cuz everyone knows you're not from there.  We went to Brook yesterday and I could tell that people knew we weren't from around there.  We stood out bad....but maybe in a good way.
Yeah, I think I need a week vacation when I get home.  Like to Hawaii to visit Saydi.  That would be fun huh?  No, I really need to start focusing REALLY hard on this mission.  There's people out there that need this gospel.  The hard part, is finding the ones that are ready.  That's why we gotta talk to everyone.  It's just hard alot of times to be rejected.  Yesterday, was hard in the morning.  We were late for our appointment with Ashley.  We had a lot of hope for her.  We keep having to reschedule.  Well there was a note on the door that said she had a last minute appointment and that when we got there she would be getting ready so would call to reschedule.  The thing is is that we got there 40 minutes late, so she would have already been at her appointment.  We knew she was there because 1) her car was there 2) we could hear her kid crying inside.  I about cried myself.  Didn't they understand how important this was?  How this would help them in their lives?  We left a Plan Of Salvation pamphlet for them cuz they had lost their child right after birth about 4 years ago.
I've just met so many people that listen to us, believe us even, or maybe see something that they don't have then just toss us by the wayside thinking they have everything.  I just wonder what will happen to them.  I've grown to love them so much, like Ashley and Bill from Wheaton, but in the scrips is says that they will only get Terrestrial glory.  I don't want that to happen.  I'll prolly be visiting that kingdom a lot, (if I make it to the Celestial one) to try to teach my former investigators there and help them understand that there is sooooooooo much more.
The weather her is worse than Rexburg.  This week was 50-60 degrees and rainy.  Signs of the time, what?  And in your letter mom, you said you KNOW that Heavenly Father is watching over me.  It seems you've had some kind of experience to know that.  ....
We have zone meeting this friday.  I'm excited.  I think.  More for my interview with President Doll than anything else.  Okay, well, I better go, talk to you later!  Thanks for everything you've ever given me!  I love you so much, and miss you all so much too!  Go find people for the missionaries to teach!  They'll love you for eternity, the missionaries and your friends!  Don't be afraid to be bold!  This gospel is true right?  And it's a commandment to share the gospel with our friends, so why should we fear?  If it's a commandment then God will provide a way for us to do it!  1 Nephi 3:7
Sister Ostler

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I've left it in the Lord's hands.

Dear family,
To tell you the truth I'm pretty stressed, and these past two days haven't been amazing.  It was really awesome seeing you on Sunday.  I thought it would be hard for me to get my mind focused again, but it really wasn't hard.  I guess that's what 8 months out here does to you!  Especially with everything going on!  Kim came to church on Sunday, but he didn't like Sunday School.  He went to the regular class where they talked about the prodigal son.  The teacher talked about how we need to welcome those people back into our Branch, and Kim wanted her to talk about how we are the prodigal sons and daughters.  I mean the story has so many layers and stuff, and she just touched on the most basic one.  Kim wanted to go deeper into it too.  He loves deep doctrine stuff.  So I was worried that he didn't have a good, spiritual time at church.  But I know that if you go with the Spirit then you'll always learn something.
Monday was good. We had a really good lesson with Tommy.  He's been overseas and kinda not doing too well.  He's seen stuff that would blow your mind.  We taught him about the first half of the Plan Of Salvation and focus on the Atonement.  It was an awesome lesson.  And he even asked if he could come to church!  Talk about awesome!
We also had a good lesson with Todd that night.  The Fernandez came with us and I felt impressed to ask Brother Fernandez to tell Todd how he gained his testimony of the Book Of Mormon.  He did and it was perfect.  With that testimony we helped Todd realize that he had a small testimony himself.  We also talked to the Fernandez about getting a couple to go over there every week to read the Book Of Mormon with Todd while us missionaries aren't there.  Just to figure out who now!
Tuesday wasn't good.  It was 90 degrees, and humid, and we were riding bikes in nylons!  And I forgot a pony tail!  We had one lesson with Cindy.  We spent two hours over there because she was talking about anything and everything.  The lesson part went really well.  We bore powerful testimony, and she mentioned that she'd like to come to church sometime.  So that was really good.  Too bad this Sunday is stake conference and we have to go up to Hebron at 9am on Sunday.  Kim's going though.  But yeah, that lesson with Cindy was just...long!
Last night Sister Mondelli and I talked about how when we're over there again right after the amen we stand up and leave.  I hate saying, "We have somewhere else to be right now"  because that sounds like, "You're not important to us anymore now that we committed you to coming to church."  It's just hard sometimes to balance everything.  Time, politeness, teaching, getting to know, firmness, boldness, gentleness, etc, etc, etc....
Then we were late to see Ron and after that Kim.  So even though we got to talk to Ron we had to reschedule with him.  He's a really nice guy and has a lot of potential.  Then Kims....oh man I wish I had magical powers!!!!!!!
First I want to fly.
Then I want to have the power to bare testimony so powerfully that it pierces every investigator to the center of their heart.

There are times when you let the missionaries talk, there are times when you let the Spirit talk.  I can't tell you what happened at Kim’s house, because I don't really know myself.  All I know is that Kim needs time.  I know that I've left it in the Lord's hands, and if He's willing He'll help Kim.  And I just hope that Kim can receive a strong spiritual witness of whatever he needs.  I'm not giving you a lot of information on purpose.  That reason is that I don't have it.  This is pretty much how my brain has been since last night.  It's not very fun.

The whole zone is going to be here in an hour and we still have to go home, get some veggies cut, change clothes and then drive to the park.  We came to the library earlier, but all the computers were taken, so we went to go shopping. I hope the milk is okay in the car!  Stacey's going to come over and help us get ready and what not.  But I'm glad that we don't have to drive anywhere.  I'm really excited that they're coming here.
Oh, and I went to Walmart to look for a frisbee, and guess what?  THEY DON'T HAVE ONE!!!!  How dumb is that?  They have mostly everything else, but not a frisbee!
You know sometimes it feels as if I don't have time for myself, and I don't know how to make time for myself.  Our numbers are crappy even though we get really good lessons in and what not.  There are some things I can't control like members being late or not willing to come with us, or having to do 2 hours of companion study every day with my greenie.  (She actually doesn't even seem like a greenie).  Or that it feels like I'm in some tropical place except there's no beach to go cool down at and we have to work, work, work, all day long.  Sometimes I just wish that I could just relax, but it just doesn't seem that I can.  cuz I should be thinking about this work.  And for some odd reason I've been thinking about what it will be like when I go home.  And I don't like thinking about that cuz then it just makes me homesick.  And then I'm worried about being exactly obedient not only for the work, but for Sister Mondelli.  I mean I'm setting the stage for the rest of her mission.  I'm being myself, but sometimes I don't think that's enough.  Then I think the elders expect more out of me....well one of them does.  And it's just hard, it's just hard.  I wish I had an older sister missionary to talk to, someone like Sister Chen, or Sister Ika, or Sister Clark.

And I'm gonna go play frisbee and what not with the Elders and feel fine afterwards and then I'll regret telling you all this stuff cuz for a week you'll worry about me and what not.  Just pray for me and know that the Lord is there, always there to bare me up if I ask Him to.  Sometimes I just want a break from the fire...but He knows best.  But maybe I've brought a lot of this on myself.

But Sister Mondelli is awesome.  She really is.  She's so chill and relaxed, but hard working at the same time.  When the car stops she gets out ready to work.  She loves teaching and she teaches simply.  She loves the members and the area, and gets excited over small things like squirrels.  She cares about me and asks me how I'm doing if I haven't been feeling good.  She stayed up to talk with me last night about Cindy and Kim and how to get our contacts up.  We sleep the same way too--like a ballerina.  She'll cook potatoes for me, and I don't have to make all of the decisions.  She led part of Cindy's lesson yesterday.  She brings things to my attention that I hadn't noticed before.  She loves riding bikes and running (even when she's sleeping when she runs like yesterday :)

She tells me awesome stuff about her family and friends and Italy (which I'm visiting some day).  She loves this work, she really does.  Okay, I feel a lot better.  I just gotta look at the positive!  Look at what the Lord has given me and I'll be fine!  And don't stress out about being to the park on time, cuz oh well!  And if the Elders don't have fun today it's their fault!

Oh you know what?  Can you do me a favor?  Can you tell Nate, Devey, and any of my other friends that are getting married to flipen send me an invite?  I don't care if I can't go, I want an invite!  And will you please get Devey's address for me?  Also tell her I love her and miss her so much!  Along with Cali, Amber and the rest of those crazy girls from High school!  Oh those were the days!  I didnt' realize how good I had it!

Also tell Grandpa and Grammie that I love their letters.  They bring me so much strength.  I love hearing about Grammie and all that's going on with her.  She told me her conversion story in her last letter, and it was so awesome!  The miracle of one baptism!  And Grandpa!  Oh man his letters are tender mercies of the Lord.  Always arriving when I need them and he tells me what I need to hear.  Those two are so awesome!  I brag about Grandpa all the time to the other missionaries and how awesome HE was as a missionary, and how he never stopped.

Oh, and I was looking through one of Sister Cameron's wedding cake magazines (she's a professional cake maker) and I found the one I want for my wedding!  I'll just have to copy it so Grammie can make me it!  It's awesome!!!

And tell Ben way to go on that soccer game!  He scored the only, and the winning goal!  What a star!  I want to hear all about that game from him!  He has a talent for writing!  I hate it when his letters end.  He's just so awesome.  And he'll LOVE BYUI!!!  Where is he living?

Saydi...I love you.  You are awesome.  Keep your head up, and enjoy this summer with the fam.  They're all you got for eternity!  Harrison, don't kiss anyone!  But live it up this year!  Did you go to Prom?  Jefferson keep being cool, but be humble too!  Benson, I still owe you ice-cream.  If you come here I'll take you to Busy Bees, I hear their ice-cream is good!  Wilson be obedient!  And have fun in life kid!  All of you practice the piano!!!!!

You can send me the May Ensign!  If that's all I get I'll be happy as a pig in a barnyard!   I want that conference issue!!!!!  Very badly!  Any talks on sacrifice too.  From whenever. . . . preferably from an apostle or prophet.  I'm giving a talk at the end of the month.  So talks on sacrifice, and what the Lord expects of us.  None come to mind, but two talks would be good.

Oh yeah, tell David that I haven't heard from him since December I think.  And who wrote him for 18 solid months of his mission?  Oh yeah, me!  No, but seriously, how is that kid doing?  Also all the Calendar Girls besides Cali, how are they?  I heard from Emilee awhile back, but no one else.  Cali writes me often though.  She's awesome.  I love her!  And I love her letters!  So tell them to write me too...and I want a picture of Amber's baby girl!  She's what, 7 months old now?  That's awesome!!!! 
I love you all!
Sister Ostler

One of the greatest districts ever!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Walking On Sunlight

This is an ‘email chat’ between Sister Ostler and her mom.
Me:  Are you there?  I have info on the "phone call" if you're there, I'm here for the next hour.  It's 10:42 here.
Mom:  Yes
Me:  Okay, well....I hope you're sitting down.  WE GET TO USE SKYPE!!!!!  Sister Mondelli asked about that, and I said that you had told me missionaries throughout the world could use it.  We were with Sister Cameron at the time, and she said that if we could use it she would buy it.  So I called President Doll and asked if Sister Mondelli could use it.  He said yes since she was international and therefore no one would have to pay a phone bill.  I asked if I could use it, and he said "Yes, I guess so.  You get special privileges."  I got the impression that he trusted me to use it, and after his e-mail to me I think that he'll think it'll be good for me after last transfer and all.
So yeah...  Details on time:  we get out of church 12 our time.  We're going up to the Cameron’s after that and Sister Mondelli is going to use it first because of the time difference in Italy.  Then I'll use it.  So I prolly won't be able to use it 'til about 2ish my time.  Is that okay for you guys?

Mom:  Oh my gosh yes!!!!  I was sitting down, but when I read that I jumped up!!!  That time frame sounds fantastic.  She'll just need to add me and the way to do that is to add my email.  She shouldn't have to buy skype.  There is a free version.  We'll have skype on all day.
Me:  She knows how to get the free version, but she has to buy the camera.  Yeah, I also only have 40 minutes that day.
Mom:  40 minutes on skype will be priceless!  How is training?  I guess you'll probably tell us in your email.  And we won't have Jackson on at the same time.  Hope that's okay.  Anything we should tell him?
Me:  I don't know what to tell him.  Just to keep his head up and rely on the Lord.
My e-mail won't be long, sorry :(
Mom:  No problem - get typing - if you want to.  We mostly want to know about your comp and how K*** is doing
Me:  Okay so I haven't been feeling well.

Mom:  Fluid fluid fluid.  Drink water.  Airborne and vitamin C if you have it or OJ.  And rest, sleep, take care of yourself.  Being sick is not fun.  And we want you well and happy on Sunday!  This will be the best mothers day ever.
Love you love you love you love you, Mom
(End of email chat)

Walking on Sunlight
Okay,  So sweet, we got all that stuff about skype worked out.  To review.  We will be over at the Cameron's that day, and I will hopefully be calling at about 2ish my time...Rensselaer time.  If things change I'll let Sister Cameron know so she can contact you.  I can't wait to SEE you!  Oh, and I gained weight, so don't be expecting a skinny Sister Ostler.  I need to lose 9 lbs to get back to what I was before the mission.  That's really hard when members send you home with TONS of chocolate.  And you know me?  I love chocolate! But Sister Mondelli likes running!  So that's good!!!!
About Sister Mondelli.
SHES AWESOME!!!!!  She teaches and everything!  She's very timid though, and doesn't like interrupting people.  I don' t have a problem with that.  When they start telling me how I need to be saved I cut them off after 30 seconds and bare my testimony and leave.  She waits til they’re done then bares her testimony.  We'll work on that.  And there are other little things that she needs to work on.  But the cool thing is is that she's teachable!!!!  Like this morning we went over asking questions and she didn't say, "well that's not how I was taught," or "I don't want to do that."  But she was willing to learn and improve.  It's just awesome.  And she knows the gospel!  She's got an outstanding testimony, and it's so pure and simple.  And also when she says stuff it's never offensive to people.  Whereas I might say the same thing and it might offend people.
I learn from her too.  She uses the scriptures like no other missionary!  Our first appointment last Wednesday was with T***.  We went there and found out from this girl, T*** that he just went to jail.  Great!  I've never had that happen.  Well I decided to teach her to turn this into a teaching opportunity, so I contacted T*** and we had an awesome discussion about prophets and what not.  It was just me and her talking.  I wasn't expecting Sister Mondelli to say anything.  But then at the end she handed T*** the bible and asked her to read a verse about the Spirit and how she could know the truth.  I was walking on sunshine after that!  SHE KNOWS HER SCRIPTURES!  And she knows and uses scriptures that I don't.  I don't like to use scrips because I'm afraid I'm bible bashing, but she's teaching me that we NEED to use them.  It's just awesome!!!
We haven't been contacting a lot....I'm just sick of talking all the time.  But I think I've realized that we need to contact and that I can actually push Sister Mondelli.  I haven't been pushing her in contacting, but I have in lessons.  She's started several lessons with members.  Now I just need to have her start lessons with investigators.  My goal is to get her to be a good enough missionary so she can train in 12 weeks.  That's what President Doll said, not me.  I know she can do it!
And she's so funny too!  The other night we saw a toad hopping across the road and I was like, "Oh man we got to save it!  So we stopped, hopped out and I went over to it and picked it up (we were right by our house where there is no traffic, don't worry.)  Sister Mondelii was like, "Oh, it's so cute!  Well, actually it's not very cute."  Then I gave it to her so she could hold it, and as we walked to put it down in the grass she was like, "If I kiss you will you turn into a handsome prince?"
"Do it!"  I dared.
"No, after my mission.  I'm a missionary now.  But after."
And this was all done in her cute, sweet Italian accent.  It was so funny!  And then she'll use sounds and hand motions when she doesn't know a word for something.  Like she was trying to say "cramp" when she was explaining that she had a cramp in her foot one time, and I can't describe what she did, but it was hilarious!  And she's good with the Elders too!  Like yesterday we went out to eat and Elder Dearinger was like, "Sorry, I'm a slow eater."  and Sister Mondelli said, "That's because you talk to much."
Oh it was AWEOME!!
Oh, so Elder Dearingers comp is Elder Nielson from Benton City.  He knows the Eppichs.  We're currently fighting over who will marry Kade.  So yeah, that's cool huh?  And also Sister Mondelli's MTC teacher served in Samoa.  His name is Elder Brandon Owens. He got back last year.  Does Paul know him?
As for K***, well he asked a really hard question on Sunday.  But he came to church for the first time!!!!  He thinks that he has the priesthood because he's a believer.  He's gettimg that info from what he thought was a mormon site, but it wasn't.  It taught false doctrine.  I've been pondering and praying about what to teach him, and it keeps coming that he needs to stop asking hard questions and gain a testimony for himself.  He reads, he ponders, but he doesn't ask God, I think.  So it's sightly frustrating at times.  And it wears me out to answer his questions.  So we're going to teach him about what it means to know if the BOM is true, and about the authority to baptize (Mosiah 21:33-34) and also how after Joseph Smith got the Holy ghost, he and Oliver Cowdry were able to understand scripture better.  And how that can happen for K*** to once he get's the Holy Ghost.  We're meeting with him tonight, so I'll tell you about it on Sunday!
I'm so excited!
Here is what I told President and want to tell you too, about T*** and K***, and what not.  I'd personalize it, but I'm out of time!
“We have two investigators who want to be baptized.  One of them, T***, well we were having problems with him.  In fact I was tempted to drop him because it didn't seem like he was progressing even though he came to church.  The branch too thought that we should drop him.  Last night before we went to go see him we prayed that Heavenly Father would let us know whether we should drop him, or keep teaching with him.  I don't remember what we had prepared to teach him, but when we got there it was as if the lesson had left my mind, and instead we treated it as a first lesson.  We asked questions like, "Do you know what our purpose is?" "What do you expect every time we come over here?"  It made T*** start to think about what our purpose is and why exactly he kept inviting us back.

After a little while we said a prayer, and immediately afterwards I felt very strongly that T*** could and would be baptized someday.  That impression was so strong.  I told him what I felt and we started to teach him about how he needs to prepare for baptism, and how it's up to him now.  I don't remember all that we said because the Spirit really took over.  But I do remember that very strong impression and what we needed to teach him in the future.  On our way home Sister Mondelli commented on what I told T*** about him being baptized, "I had that same impression too." she said.
It is amazing how God answers our prayers.  I have been wondering what to do with T***, and we prayed for an answer and we received a very powerful one that night.  This is truly God's work!
K*** is the other person who want's to be baptized, although he's still hesitant to set a date.  We're meeting with him tonight, and I know that Sister Mondelli will be perfect for him.  She'll get him into the waters of baptism.:)
Our work with RC/LA kinda slowed down.  Although there is one family who doesn't come to church all the time, but loves having us over, who I want to work on.  They have awesome potential!  And the kids love Sister Mondelli because she can speak Italian!
Something really cool happened during personal study this morning.  I had been reading out of 2 Nephi, when a scripture that was mentioned in Zone Conference when I was in Naperville popped into my head to use for K*** that night.  I turned to it and read it over, and it was perfect.  It was exactly what we needed for his lesson tonight.  The funny thing is, is that what I was reading had nothing to do with that scripture.  But my mind has been on K*** continually since Sunday.  I have been pondering of what scriptures to use and how to help him understand the Priesthood, and what do you know?  God answered my prayers!”
I love you all!  And I'll see you on Sunday!!!!!
Love, Sister Ostler