Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Missionary Work Is Hard Because Salvation Isn't Cheap

Dear family:
Thanks Dad for the help on the food stuff.  I usually take raisins and nuts with me or a gram cracker to eat when I feel my blood sugar drop.  But it's hard to take time out of the day to eat...especially when we're in an appointment or tracting.  "I know that Joseph Smith was called to be a prophet...excuse me while I eat an apple."
And the running for 30+ minutes!  Yeah right!  I’d love to do it.  But try living the mission rules of being with someone 24/7 and doing what they want to do.  Sister Mondelli will go running, but we also have to take time to do our studying and get ready.  And there's no way that we can get up earlier.  It's hard enough to get up at 6:30.
There's just not enough time to do everything that I need to do to keep my body really healthy like that.  I hardly have time to write in my journal.  In fact I started a new one on my bday and I've only written in it once since.  And I STILL want to work harder.  Although half the time I don't know if I have the energy to go one more minute.
But for my b-day David sent me this talk by Elder Holland that he gave to missionaries at the MTC some time ago, and he said that missionary work isn't easy because salvation isn't cheap.  I’ve heard that before, and it's so true.  It is soooooooo hard and takes all the energy we have to help someone help someone even realize Alma 7:11-13.  There have only been a few people that I've taught that have really understood those verses.
It used to be that I was sometimes hesitant to tell people the commandments of God, like the WOW. "Coffee is not bad for you, I won't believe that."  "I don't have to go to church on Sunday."  But now I don't mind just telling them the commandments.  After all, they aren't my commandments, or President Cameron’s, or even President Monson's, but Gods.  Romans 1:16.
But today....hopefully we'll get to go to Valpo to play frisbee with the elders.  It will be my first time using my new frisbee!  Yeah, we really haven't played frisbee since Dad gave me that awesomely cool one!  That's how much the elders love me.  "We're playing bball this week!"  So we're stuck in Rensselaer cuz there's no way I'm playing basketball with a bunch of elders who are WAY to competitive.  I mean I can't even dribble!  I did play football with them.  That was kinda funny.  As I was explaining the game to Sister Mondelli (I know I explained football to someone!   Thanks to Dan Adamson, and David for explaining that game to me about 500000 times!) and after two downs were played she said, "Is this supposed to be fun?"  I agree with her.  No, it's not really supposed to be fun.  It's just something boys do.
The pictures....

Trevor our Toad!  Todd hadn't seen a toad in a long time.  So he asked us to catch one for him so he could see it.  Well Monday night Stacy was driving us home (we had a member leave us in town so we could just made sense) and she almost hit one.  So we went to get it, put it in our bathtub with some rocks and grass and named him Trevor (Neville’s toad off of HP).  The next morning we put it in a tupperware container in our living room.  Well about 1 hour later I went to check on him and he was GONE!!!!  We spent 10 minutes looking for that thing.  We eventually said a prayer and we found him.

We took him to our lesson with Todd that day and poor Trevor!  I was afraid Todd was going to squish him.  But he didn't.  Trevor was awesome.  He hated being caught, and he was scared of everything.  We loved him though.  And we sang to him when we let him go last night.  What a cute little toad!

Also Stacey made us pancakes!  They're the best pancakes EVER!!!
So since I last wrote things have been okay...I mean not amazing.  We'll have to move Todd's baptism cuz . . . .  I feel like Christ when he said in Jacob 5 "What more could I have done for my vineyard."  Tommy is never home to meet with us, and he won't come to church, and Lisa dropped us.
But we have James.  He's the one we met a few weeks ago that had a zillion questions that could all be answered by lessons 1-3.  And some of the WOW.  It was awesome!  We met with him on Thursday and taught him the Restoration.  He said he'd read 3 Nephi 11, and it was awesome, he wanted to meet President Monson!  "Can I go to where he is, or can he come here?"  It was so sweet.  Then yesterday Sister Fernandez came with us and we taught him, his younger brother Curtis (he had to leave while teaching Alma 34) and his, James's, fiance Abby.  She had to leave at the end too, before we talked about eternal families.  But when we got there James said, "I started reading the Bible from the beginning (we had given him one cuz he didn't have one) and I couldn't remember how far you wanted me to read, so I read 'til chapter 13."  Yeah, we were excited!!!
We taught the Plan of Salvation..everything... he loved it all, and he kept saying, "You sisters are here for a reason.  God sent you here." I'm just happy that we're able to teach him and give him this opportunity to repent and be baptized and experience joy beyond anything he or Abby has experienced.

So we're also teaching Emily.  We taught her about a week ago and at one point during the Restoration lesson Emily asked, "So someone at church told me about a lizard with magical glasses that's associated with your church."  Sister Mondelli and I both laughed.
We have a really good relationship with the RS president, Sister Kelly.  She lives really close to us.  It takes us 2 minutes to get to her apartment, walking.  And she's a good cook.  Sister Clark...Kendra had a good relationship with Sister Valois (the former RSP) and now we do!  I think it's essential for sister missionaries to have a good relationship with them.  Then we can better help the less active sisters come back.
Kim is doing good.  We're trying to help him understand the priesthood so he can feel comfortable in receiving it.  He wants to KNOW everything before he does something.  He's changed, that's for sure!
Not much I can think of to say other than I love you all so much!  Thank you so much for your prayers and support, and your letters!  Go out and help those missionaries baptize people!  Really do it!  We can't do it alone!  I prolly won't be so tired if we got more referrals and stuff, but that's just life!
Again, I love you all, and I better get this sent before this boots me off.  Enjoy the pictures!  And I love Elder Ostler's email!s!  Keep sending them.
Sister Ostler

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Best Birthday Ever!

Hola Familia!~
Elder Larkin was in my MTC Zone....pretty sure at least.  Ask him if he remembers me, and send me a picture of him to see if I recognize him.  There were quite a few elders in the district right under us that went to Kennewick.
So lately I've been feeling kinda down...don't know why...Stacey says it's stress, and she's prolly right.  I just don't know how to be less stressed when there are soles to save and you're trying so stinking hard to figure out what you can say that will help them realize that this is it and there is no other way save by Jesus Christ, and we're the only one's with the authority to baptize and perform other saving ordinances in His name.

Also I've just been thinking about how I'm not perfect, but it seems like all the really good missionaries there ever were, were perfect and they made no mistakes.  I know that's not true, but sometimes it seems like that.  I know that I can turn to Christ, that's what I've been doing... alot...and it does help.  I just hope that He'll be there for a long time yet!  I read Elder Hollands talk "And None Were With Him" from GC April 2009 this morning, and wow!  So good!  I remember I didn't really like it when he gave it, but since then it has brought so much more meaning now that I’m really learning about the Atonement.
I have realized recently that God really is in charge of this work.  There have been a few times when I'm about ready to give up on someone, or not go see them, then something happens and I end up with a renewed fire to teach them and baptize them.   This happens with less active members too.  I don't really see a need to go see them, but we do because all of our appointments have fallen through and it's not a good tracting time, and while at their home I see how much it would help their family to go visit them every other week or so.  I've really learned to follow God in all ways, His ways are the only ways.
Okay, my crazy week will be told by pictures.  So enjoy!  and read them from when I send them...
Thursday was Zone conference.  It was good, I got to see a lot of people who I haven't seen in awhile, Sister Daley and Sorenson, Elder Vicars, Shippen, Jankawiz...something like that .  It was cool.  Sister Doll told us that she's going to come down to Renssy to spend a day with us going to appointments and what not!  That'll be fun!
After Zone conference Elder Anderson went to go fill up our new Fusion with gas.  In the meantime, I called Kim, cuz he had called during zone conference.  So I called him and he said the words that I dreaded.  He wasn't going to be baptized.

I of course started crying.  I did't care that anyone saw me when they passed.  I talked to him for A LONG TIME about everything.  About how as missionaries we focus on the law because that's how we know they are ready for baptism, if they show their faith by living the law.  I shared with him the scripture in 2 Nephi 25:23, and told him that Satan was working on him.  I told him that when we are at war we want to know everything about our enemy, what their weaknesses are, what their goal is, what their plan is, so that we can be ready when they attack.  And are we not in a spiritual warfare?  Shouldn't we know everything about how Satan will attack us?  That was the Spirit speaking, because he didn't argue with me.  I know when the Spirit speaks because the people don't argue back or anything, it either makes sense or they got no ammo.  It's great!  My problem is that I want to speak by the power of the Holy Ghost ALL THE TIME.
In the end Kim said he would be baptized.  I was so spiritually exhausted!  Meetings from 9-3, now this phone I got up at 5 that morning so we could make it to Joliet on time...and I was driving in rain and traffic the whole way...Chicago traffic...sorry, I should count my blessings instead of naming off all the bad things...still I was EXHAUSTED!
We were the last missionaries there, and I asked President Doll to give me a blessing.  He talked with me a long time about these kind of experiences and gave me reassurance.  I still didn't feel it, and didn't until the next morning.  I was so worried that I hadn’t done the right thing in persuading Kim to be baptized.  What if he wasn't ready?  So Friday morning I prayed and prayed (we were supposed to meet with him that night).  I was so worried, but after awhile a calm came over me and I didn't want to get off my knees.  But I did, and the chapter I read in the BOM that morning was perfect for me at that time.
That night Elder Dearinger taught him more and interviewed Kim.  I think that really changed him and when we left he seemed ready for his baptism, and I didn't second guess myself.
The night ended fun with the elders stealing Sister Mondelli's shoe and "hiding" it on top of our car...dumb!  But whatever!
Then the next day Kim was baptized!  I gave the talk on baptism.  Don't really remember what I said...something about keeping our covenants.  People said it was good...but I'm not sure it was. 

After he was confirmed, oh man he was a different person!  He LOOKED different!  And he got a whole bunch of tithing slips!  It was awesome!  I was so excited for him!  It was the best birthday present ever!  Just the change in the way his eyes looked.  The Holy Ghost does wonders!  I saw a difference in Jose, and now Kim!
I really can't describe the joy I felt in watching Kim being confirmed, in talking with him afterwards and in watching him conversing with the members!  I loved it!

My 22nd birthday was the best!
A new car that runs so nice and smells so good!
The packages I received.  Saydi sent me the cutest elephant socks!  And the cake Sister Cameron made was amazing!  It had the cutest elephants on it!  Sister missionary elephants!  I'm the fat one sitting down :)  They made me wear a hat too...funny.  I have more pics don't worry.

That's Emma with me.  Just the feeling of that day was so good!  I couldn't have been happier!  I think Kim really made that day though.
You mentioned about the storms.  Mom, we have so many storms I don't remember them.  We went running in one on Monday...well when we left it was just sprinkling...we hardly got wet.  .6 miles down the road it started raining.  We turned around and 30 seconds later we were soaked, by the time we were 100ft from the apartment the wind started to pick up, and then the lightening and thunder.  A car by our apartment caught on was neat.
Sister Stacey made us pancakes that morning!  I LOVE her pancakes!  So yeah, good birthday! 
I love you all and thanks for helping to make my birthday wonderful! 
Good things are happening here!  3 on date!  :)
Sister Oslter

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Forward and not Backward

To whom it my concern:
This week was a ROLLER COASTER!!!
I don't know what's wrong with me, but one minute I'll be fine, the next stressed out, then annoyed, then completely in love with life.  I think it might be the can't make up it's mind.  (And just so all of you know there's this lady sitting by me with REALLY bad BO.  So thank you for teaching me how to shower, Mom).
So Kim.  As far as I know the baptism is still on.  But the Cameron's won't be there cuz Sister Cameron is taking President Cameron to this thing in IL that day for fathers day.  She and the kids have had it planned for 3 months now, and family is priority.  So Brother Portwood is going to do the ordinance!  But I just worry about Kim everyday.  He NEEDs to be baptized so very bad.  But it's also stressful too cuz he always comes to ME with his questions.  When we begin every lesson he looks at me, for every question he usually looks at me, and then on Sunday before he left he handed me a piece of paper with a question on it.  But Elder Dearinger will be there and he's really good at explaining that kind of thing.  And we're having a cookout!  Hot dogs and s’mores!  Do you know how long it's been since I've had fire roasted hotdogs and s'mores!   I'm soooooooo excited!!!  Thank you so much for praying for him!  He needs all the prayers he can get!
So Elder Anderson just called me...he's in charge of all the vehicles.  And guess what?  TOMORROW WE GET A NEW CAR!!  It's a Ford Fusion, and I’m excited!!!!  Our Corolla has like 50000+ miles on it, no joke.  It makes weird noises sometimes.  I'm soooooo excited!  Except we have to drive all the way to Joliet for it...we were going to car pool, but now we can't.  But the reward will be AWESOME!!!  Sister Mondelli picked silver.  Oh and this is BRAND SPANKIN' NEW CAR!  So excited!
For Sunday we had 5 solid people said they were coming.  2 came.  Lisa was sick, Tommy didn't wake up...again....and he lives up in Wheatfield so it's not like we can go up there and bang on his door...Cindy wasn't feeling comfortable with only Todd and Kim came.  But Kim loved it.  It was branch conference, and Drew Jackson spoke, Alfredo Rodriguez, President Cameron and Beeler (stake president).
Drew (15) spoke on missionary work.  He's going to be a killer missionary!  Alfredo bore his testimony on how the church and this people have helped him and how he's still tempted but he's making it through and staying strong!

Kim LOVED President Cameron's talk on courage.  And he LOVED our musical number.  Who wouldn't?  President Cameron wanted to bring a little bit of the Rome temple groundbreaking into the Branch.   President Monson said that there was a choir there that sang "Spirit of God"  in Italian.  So I learned how to play that song in like 6ish days, and Sister Mondelli sang.  And oh boy can she sing!  The keyboard was one of those new ones where you have to turn it on and stuff and has all the songs already in it, and you can also transpose it and stuff.  So Sister Mondelli had me transpose part of it (ask Dad what that means, I'm not explaining it) and she had me do hard things!  But I'm grateful for it cuz it's helping me grow!  And it was powerful!
The SD card you sent doesn't work.  So you're going to have to send another one, and wait another 6 weeks before I send this one home.  But I'll send pics home via e-mail.  This one is me celebrating my 9 month mark with Busy Bee's soft serve!  Yum!!!!

So district meeting cuz of zone conference tomorrow.  So we had all flippen day!!!  Great!  We only had 2 appts later that night.  So in the morning we decided to tract.  Tracting at 11 am never works.  But I had the feeling to do so, instead of doing stop bys.  Sunday night while planning an area came to mind, so we went there and there was a house that said "No Trespassing" on it.  And so we couldn't go there, and I didn't the first time I went a couple months ago.  But this time there was a guy, James in his last 20s sitting outside.  He came up to talk to us and after 5 minutes just spilled out all these questions, "What am I supposed to do right now? I just want to come back here after the 'rapture' and raise my daughter.  How can I feel that I'm forgiven?  How can we know what is true in a world with so many different religions?"  and so on.  We had an answer for every question but we only answered a few and said we'd come back to teach him on Saturday.  By the time we left, he was so filled with the Spirit and he had changed so much.  He WANTS to change, he wants to do good, but he doesn't know where to start, he doesn't know how.  He's awesome.  And his fiance wants to learn to!  But we were sent there only for him, cuz he's the only person we contacted that day before lunch.  Amazing!
Then that night we went to the Outzens and taught their neighbor, it was really cool, and after teaching him the Plan Of Salvation he wanted to read the Book Of Mormon.  It was really cool!
And yesterday we met Kurtis who had questions about he Plan Of Salvation, so we taught him and if we had been there 3 minutes earlier or 3 minutes later we would have missed him.  God placed him there for us!  It was so cool!  But he lives out of the mission.  Good thing too cuz he’s 22 and might do things for us and not for him or God.  We'll turn him to some elders in Montecellio.  They'll love us!
Okay, I gotta go!  Sorry it's shorter!!  I love you all!  And thanks for the happy birthday wishes!  And I don't care if the packages are late!  I get an awesome birthday present!  Kim and the Cameron's for bday dinner!  Oh she's an awesome cook!  I can't wait!
Love you!
Love, Me
ps. Did you replace the jumping-out-of-the-boat pic?  And I saw a little of my shrine!  I love it!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

'What they are saying is true.'

Dear family:
Thanks Dad for those awesome words on faith.  I realized that last night.  More on that later.
That's kinda funny Mom, that you worked with alzheimer ladies.  We do that every Tuesday morning.  We volunteer at the nursing home.  Some of them remember us, but others don't.  It's fun to play with them though.  I do have my favorites!  They are all so sweet!  And Duane said that some of the towns in my area were once in his.  Can you PLEASE ask him which ones, and if he remembers anyone that he taught or saw there?  The Lord works in mysterious ways...the towns that are the southest in my area are Remington, Goodland and Kentland.
Also way awesome that Mercedes is going on a mission!  She'll be AWESOME!!!  Hmmmm...I guess France and...Palmyra, NY.  She won't come to Chicago.  No way.  If she did I want to train her!  That would be awesome!!!!  We would have too much fun together.  But like that'll ever happen.
And thank you so much for fasting for Kim.  I think I almost cried when I read that.  He has been on my mind constantly.  I think that was the best fast I'd ever had though.  It really was...thinking about why I was fasting every second of the day almost.  And then praying all day, and everyday since.
And the tornados...I'm surprised you mentioned nothing about the storm we had on Saturday.  That was a VERY interesting day.  It was soooooooooo hot!  I just sweat out here, even when I'm walking.  It's crazy.  Well after lunch we went out and had some good plans of people to stop by and a place to tract.  EVERY SINGLE APPT. FELL THROUGH.  Even our tracting appointment.  Please, all you RMS out there, when does a tracting activity fall through?  NEVER!  But the street we wanted to tract had appointments on it that were security locked.
I was not in a good mood AT ALL.  After the last stop by fell through, Sister Mondelli in her positive way, suggested we could go home and do the progress record then stop by these people in the evening and tract then when people are actually home.  I agreed, even though I didn't want to do that.  It was a 3-5 minute car ride home.  When we left our investigators house it was 98 degrees outside.  When we got home it was 94.  That's a big change in just 3 minutes.  And I could see a storm...prolly rain storm, coming in from the north.
Well, we got home, I texted our evening appointment and they said they were in Lafayette and couldn't make it tonight.  Yep, that made me pretty upset.  Well 10 minutes later Stacey came over for some reason and I went outside to talk to her.  That's when we noticed the huge brown cloud of dirt coming in.  The wind picked up, and of course I got out my camera and started taking pictures.  Within 2 minutes it was 70 degreesish and the wind was blowing really hard.  It started to pour down rain and thunder and lightning.  Our power went out 3 times for 30 seconds each.  It was a super bad storm.
In Demontt two trees fell on the Fernandez house, but they were okay.  Power was out in Wheatfield and Demontt, and flooding had occurred in Brook.  But places like Michigan City and LaPorte didn't get touched.  It was just from Crown Point to Brook I think, and the surrounding areas.  Crazy huh?  Not much damage in Renssy, but still the Lord placed us in our apartment where we knew we would be safe.  I was mad at first when everything fell through, but then I saw how knowledgeable the Lord was.
The same thing happened yesterday.  We were supposed to go see Lisa.  We met her last week, had an appointment with her last Wednesday, it went well, she felt the Spirit, she came to church with her 8 year old boy, and he really liked it.  She did too.  We were planning on seeing her last night with Sister Kelly.  Well she called and canceled, and my emotions were already at the top.  So after 15 minutes of pointless tracting that afternoon, we went home, I took a nap (felt soooooooo good!) and then we went to Sister Kelly's for dinner.  Instead of going to Lisa's like we planned on doing we went to Cindy's house.  She can talk forever too, about her life, about her daughter, about anything and everything.  I told Sister Mondelli that she was in charge of the lesson.  We taught the Restoration (and yes mom, that was the right order, very good!)  Cindy was so confused even though I'm pretty sure we were teaching clearly.  We were testifying and using scriptures, but she was distracted, and man oh man it was tough and I was gonna go home and eat a whole bunch of PB and ice cream!  (That's sooooooooo good!)
We put in The Restoration, which is a 20 minute movie about Joseph Smith.  The Spirit was soooooooo strong.  I just prayed that she felt it too.  She didn't understand why they buried the tablets in New York and not in Jerusalem, and why we’re saying the Book Of Mormon was written at the same time as the bible and yet Joseph Smith was dressed like he was from the 1800s.  Sister Mondelli explained it soooooo clearly to her, and she STILL didn't understand.
We talked about the Book Of Mormon, more about Joseph Smith, and our modern day prophet and how she can know. I was getting so frustrated because it wasn't clicking with her, and so I just bore my testimony and invited her to read the Book Of Mormon and pray to know if it was true.
"I don't think I need to."  she said
Great!  Just great!  We lost ANOTHER investigator!  What next?  First Tina, then Patt (false alarm, she's happy with her religion, go figures) prolly Lisa, now Cindy.
"Why don't you think you need to read it?"  I asked.
"Because, guys have been coming over for like, what three times now?  And explained all this stuff, and remember earlier tonight when you said that you might have a good, peaceful feeling?" she said to me.  "Well while we were talking tonight I had this swelling feeling in my chest, and it was warm too."
I was shocked.  Cindy feeling the Holy Ghost when she's doubted everything we've told her?  We explained that that was the Holy Ghost testifying...yadayada.  Then she said, "And then...this is really weird.  But I heard a man’s voice in my head say, 'What they are saying is true.'"
I was FLOORED!!!  NOTHING like that had EVER happened to me, especially with someone who I didn't think wanted to know if it was true.  Well we committed her to church, to read and to pray.  I'm still not sure if this will go anywhere.  It's just that stuff like this, really cool spiritual experiences, have happened for the past 8 months and then a lot of times nothing.  We find a golden investigator and then nothing.  But I guess I just have to have faith, right?  And pray a lot and have a good attitude.

Also is Nate Adams in the General Conference Ensign?  pg 67?  I can't tell if that's him or not.  Want to ask him please?
Yeah, these past couple days...I've been soooooo tired!  Like wanting to sleep during personal study, which NEVER happens.  That's why I took the nap yesterday.  And my emotions...I've just wanted to cry.  And in fact mom, when I got your letter on Monday I read it that night and cried.  That part where you said you didn't know what to say to me, and then you knew that all you needed to say was that you loved me...that made me bawl.  So thank you so much, I so needed that.
But today has gone slightly better...hopefully it will be all the way better.  Today is transfers and two of the elders comps are getting switched (well Perkins is going home) so we're just staying here.  I'm cooking Sister Mondelli some american college stuff...she would rather have that than hamburger goolosh...whatever.  And we're writing letters.  I hope to get my card to you next pday...and when I told you that I didn't have a lot of shirts, I didn't mean for you to buy me some more...but I won't complain :)  Just make sure they're stuff I’ll stay cool in.
And Saydi made jam?  That's not fair!!!  I want to learn!  I’m so jealous that she gets to cook!  I wish I could cook all day without worrying about wasting time, or that there's something better I can do.  And I'll start taking more videos.  But it CLEARLY states in the white handbook that we are not to take video or pictures while proselyting.  So I won't be taking any while contacting.
And thanks for the camel!  I loved it!  I'm giving it to my daughter on her hump day.  Hopefully she'll give it to hers.  Okay, well my time is about up!  I love you all!  And thank you so much for your prayers!  And don't worry about me on my bday.  I'll work hard, and then go to the Camerons for dinner!  Love them!
Love, Sister Ostler

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Where did spring go?

Dear Family:

Oh, I love that picture!  That was so cool!!!  I wish I could have been there!  That must have been such a fun weekend!
Yeah, the weather here has been HORRIBLE!  First tornados, then weather that I can't breathe in!  I'm NEVER living in the mid-west!  I love serving here, but living here permanently?  Nope.  I've decided that I like the west!  Nice and dry!!!
Yeah, Monday we tracted for a lot of the day, got new bug bites and a nice sunburn on my neck.  It doesn't hurt though.  I got some sunblock today.  Doesn't help that I only have about 4 shirts I can wear in this type of weather.  I'm more prepared for the winter just cuz I'm staying two winters here.  But our AC is down, so that's been soooooo fun!  We have a big fan, but that doesn't quite cut it sometimes.  And then we're tracting and sweating, and we just look like a mess!  Well I do, Sister Mondelli looks good no matter what she does.
But Kim.  He didn't come to church, don't know why, we're meeting with him tomorrow.  But last week we met with him Wednesday night.  Wow!  That was quite a lesson!   I was at a loss.  I had no idea how to help him.  He wanted . . .   He'd prayed, he'd relied on Christ and the Atonement but it wasn't working.  Thank goodness President Cameron was there cuz he was able to help Kim by what he said.
Kim has a lot of respect for President Cameron, and he took that answer.  Then I think when Brother Portwood was bearing his testimony and talking with Kim, a light bulb clicked for Kim.  We pray for him all the time.  But then after that lesson we had to drive home in the dark, 30 minutes, in a tornado watch area. Talk about stressful!  Lightning everywhere, a chance of tornados, and you can't even see where they are going to hit!  I had Sister Mondelli sing to me in her beautiful soprano voice, and I felt sooo much better!  The picture is of us earlier that day after we went shopping.  It was raining hard.  We were only outside for 1.5 minutes and we got SOAKED!  It was crazy!

Here's some other news from Rensselaer:
Todd:  I think this time he really wants to quit.  He bought his own pack Sunday before he came to church (oh the irony!) and he saw how much they were.  His wife had been buying for him before.  But when he saw how much they were that was a real eye opener and now every time he lights one up he prays that God will help him quit, to not have the desire to smoke.  That's the first time that he has, on his own, actually asked God to help him quit smoking.  He's putting his faith to the test!  We told him that if he kept doing it then he'd be so blessed for it.  We're excited to see him progress and hopefully be baptized in July!
Patt:  We found one investigator a couple months ago and just barely got in contact with her again.  We taught her the Restoration, and while Sister Mondelli was quoting the first vision Pat was smiling.  We weren't sure why.  Was she making fun of us, did she really understand what we were saying?  But afterwards she explained that that experience was beautiful, that God had called and anointed Joseph Smith.  We introduced the Book of Mormon and we felt impressed to read the introduction with her, and after she was done she said, "Amen!"  in a reverent way.  We explained what she had just read and before we could commit her to read it she said, "Can I keep this book?  I'd like to read it."  My heart swelled with joy!  We both love Pat!
Dorothy:  We tracted into her and she immediately let us in.  She's a foreign exchange student from Germany and she had never heard of the Book Of Mormon before.  She gained her testimony of Christ when she got here to America and her American dad was a preacher at a local church, Community of Hope.  She wanted to read the BOM, when we told her it was about Christ and what happened in the Americas.  She was excited about it.  Unfortunately she's back in Germany by now, but she said she'd read it and go onto the website.  We explained how to get in contact with missionaries.  So hopefully she'll be able to!
Tina dropped us :(  We went over and she said that she had heard we were a cult and not to come back.  My heart broke.  Oh man, I went to the car and I cried.  When she told us not to come back Sister Mondelli and I both had a feeling that we REALLY needed to an uncomfortable feeling almost...I don't know why either.  When I was walking away I turned around and waved at Chanasy.  She smiled and waved back.  There's something special about her, and I just HOPE that she'll come to a knowledge of the Book Of Mormon someday and accept it.  But it's all in the Lord's hands and in his timing.
Last week the ZLs got 400 contacts, 15 news and 37ish other lessons!  They worked through lunch, dinner and pdaybday present ever if it doesn't fall through!!!!  I really feel that I came to Rensselaer to meet Kim and to help him progress and enter into the Kingdom of God.  He is the first one that said to me, after I bore my testimony, "That's your testimony," and I can tell that the spirit touched him, “I want to be able to say that someday.”  And now he can.  Now he has.
I've had several people say that there's a light around me, or something.  That's so weird, because it's only just recently, and recently I've felt so drained and so exhausted, but at the same time so ready to go and baptize people.
A mission truly does change you.  And it makes you better.  Oh man it really does!  Tell Kray to go on a mission.  Because there's no way on earth that someone can grow this much and NOT go on a mission....well maybe they can, but the mission is the perfect opportunity for this type of growth.  And I'm serious, tell him that!
Kudos for the cousins to encourage him!
And Brennen is getting baptized this week!  AWESOME!!!!!  I thought he was still 2 or something... honestly I did.  How old is Keylea’ Shay?  I think she's still 6 or something, but I guess not.
And Wood is graduating!  Awesome!!!!!  And he got his Eagle!  And he graduated from Seminary!  A mission is next huh?  ;)
Oh and as for Saydi picking my future husband?  Right, we'll see about that.  As long as I can pick hers.  Although she won't complain about that, I pick ?????
Today we're prolly going up to the Dunes in Michigan City, if we can leave on time...but I don't know.  Pdays are so stressful for me sometimes.  Yeah, Sister Mondelli has taught me patience even more.  And it's stuff too that I don't have any control over.  Like yesterday we went to subway (thanks mom for providing that meal) and she had NO IDEA what to do.  So I had to walk her through it, and even then she was still confused, but she got through it!  And she enjoyed her sub.  So it's just culture stuff like that that I really have to be patient on.  I have to think of this, "If I was in Italy and I had to order, and I didn't know what the heck anything was, I would prolly be in tears by now."
Sometimes it's fun explaining things, but other times it's soooooo much work!  Like try to explain the word, "bleak."  And when you can use it.  She heard it on The Testaments the other night, and now she wants to know how and when she can use it.  I told her that we hardly use that word, so don't worry about it, but still, yesterday she asked if you can say a person is bleak.  I have no idea!!!!  It's just fun sometimes, it really is.
Sometimes it's crazy how much studying we have to do.  Two hours of comp study, and then sometime during the day .5 hours of language study.  I feel like sometimes we're wasting time, but I know that we're not, President Doll wants us to do it this way, and he'll understand if our numbers aren't outstanding.
Jackson training!  That's awesome!  He sent me a pic, but I'd like a hard copy.  He'll be awesome!  Yeah, showing your kid obedience is the MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO AS A PARENT!  Although sometimes I live the spirit of the law, depending on the situation, and Sister Mondelli, she is so a letter of the law liver!  But at the same time she's also living the spirit of the law.  She's way more righteous than I am!  And her ex-bf is soooooo good-looking!  The only reason they broke up was cuz she came here.  They still write each other.  And she stays sooooo focused!  She's amazing.  And they'll get married cuz she deserves someone like him.  He's one cute Italian boy!
K, gotta go!  Love you all!
Sister Ostler
ps. I really don’t need anything