Monday, March 26, 2012

Thank you for all you've done for me for the past 1 1/2 years

Dear Family:
Yay!  The R**s got baptized!  We had some trouble with the copy machine that morning for the programs, but Sister Fossett, as always, saved the day.  L** was so excited to get baptized, and she had to do it twice because the old as of last week, raised his left rather than his right.  haha!  She didn't mind though.  The ward turn out was sooooooo amazing!  The RS room was PACKED!  And L** brought two of her other daughters too.  And the G**'s came.  Brother Howard is really working with them and we all think they're ready to be challenged to be baptized.  So that's really exciting.
The ward is thrilled that a family was baptized and another family may be baptized within the next couple of months.  The YW president is so awesome with these girls too.  She is taking them under her wing and really nurturing them and helping them gain that solid testimony.  One of them really needs that.  And B**, oh yeah, she's serving a mission!  I also told L** that when she receives her endowment that I'd come up.  She was excited about that.
They were three minutes late for sacrament meeting and that was a big deal.  I was only slightly stressed out.  But they all got confirmed.  The new bishopric did the confirming.  K** loved it.  I only got to talk to her after church cuz Sister Ziegler (the YW pres) came over and started to talk with them about the temple trip this Thursday which they are ALL GOING TO!  THEY ARE GOING TO THE TEMPLE!  How awesome is that?  And they are all so excited!
L** got welcomed into the RS by Sister Walters, and the Walters are taking them out to the movies tonight then B** is spending the night at their house!  Which will be so good for her.  She needs good friend  and they just click!  It's so awesome.  I can't wait for ya'll to meet them next week.  L** is so excited that I'm coming back.
Oh and funny thing.  Elder McKay had to come up to do their interviews, and after he left Lea was like, "Did you see that dark haired one?  Oh my gosh his eyes!  You girls (to her daughters) should marry him!  You should all marry a Mormon boy!"  L** is sooooooo funny!  Oh, and she finished the BOM BEFORE her baptism.
I sadly packed my thingy that allows me to put pictures in emails.  So you'll have to wait 'til I get home for pictures.  I took a lot this week with families and investigators.
This week has been a blur.  It's been really hard, and sorry mom and dad, but your emails didn't help.  I don't like talking about that kind of stuff.  Yesterday was soooooooo hard.  6 hours of church and on everyside people hugging you and saying how much you've made a difference in their lives.  And they weren't just saying it, they were for real.  As a missionary you wonder if you did make a difference in anyones life.  You try so hard to be and do your best, but you still wonder if anyone will notice.  So when you leave and there are tears shed, real tears, not those fake ones, you know that you at least touched some people.

Sister Pitts had me bear my testimony in DeKalb RS and yeah, I cried.  I was holding it in all day, but I just couldn't anymore.  Then last night after attempting to pack (I'm so horrible at it, and I'm sending home ANOTHER 10 lb box today.  I just have WAY too much stuff!  Sister Fossett is helping me pack.  She's really good at it).  I went out on the deck and just cried.  Sister Fossett found me out there.
But then that night when Elder McKay called for numbers he started to talk about the end of the mission and the next chapter of life and I couldn't take it, I handed the phone to Sister Fossett and just cried.  She kindly told him to change the subject and talk about something light and fluffy.  So he talked about how he saw a bunny that day and wanted to catch and pet it, but he didn't because it ran away.  It was actually quite funny.

I'm sad that I won't see him or Elder Graham again.  They won't be getting transferred :(  But Elder Runner is become a ZL in Joliet.  Sister Wallace is going to trainer break Sister Howell's daughter up in Beloit.  Sister Howell, get this, Sister Howell is going to RENSSELAER!  We'll get to see her when we go there!  yay!  She has two weeks to learn the area, then Sister Casperson goes back to Nauvoo and Sister Howell get's a mini.  Sister Mondelli is training again!  She’s kinda bummed that she'll be in the city still.  She loves it, but she's been there since September.  Yeah, WAY too long.  If I wasn't going home right now I'd want a transfer.  Sister Fossett is training!  I'm so happy for her.  I'm excited for her.  
Today we were going to Rockford, but nope, we haven't gotten anything.  So we'll be going shopping for Sister Fossett and then packing.  Oh joy!  But then tomorrow I get to see everyone!  Well not everyone.  There are some missionaries that won't be there :(  And I'm sad.  But I do get to see my two daughters, and I'm so happy for that.  
We had a mini-missionary this weekend, Brittni.  She was so awesome!  She was so unashamed to bear testimony and even to talk to a JW!  That's intimidating, but she did it with no fear.  She also bore powerful testimony to J**.  J** is slowly changing, and she's afraid that this is right.  But she'll come around once I leave.  My leaving will be exactly what she needs.  But being with Brittni was so much fun!  We had fun talking and filling her in on fun missionary stories, and we talked about missionaries that served in her area, and had fun tracting old houses that looked so cute!  And of course there was the baptism.
Oh, and as for my favorite meal. I actually don't like cheesy/milky stuff anymore.  They feed us way too much of that out here.  So something that Mom makes I'll be fine with.  Fruits, cooked veggies, french dip is always good, shepherds pie, NOT pasta, but I do like mashed potatoes.  Nothing heavy though.  I'm tired of heavy foods.  But honestly I don't really care, as long as it's not a lot of cheese.
I think one other Hermann will be on the plan from Chicago to Seattle.  I don't know her though.  I just wonder if we can contact in the airport or on the plane.  I hope so.  
Well I don't really know what to say.  I love you all though!  Thank you for all you've done for me for the past 1.5 years.  I couldn't have done it without you.  
Sister Ostler

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Lord Knows Where To Place Us

Dearest Family,
So we had some awesome experiences this week.
Saturday morning we had planned to tract S 3rd st.  Well that time slot got filled with appts so we couldn't.  So after those appts we were starving, and decided to eat in a park since it was a nice day.  There were a couple people there with their kids.  As I was walking past one guy he stopped me and asked what church we were from.  I told him and we started to talk mostly about what we as missionaries do.  Turns out that a couple years ago he had been meeting with some elders in another part of the mission. He stopped meeting with them because he got so busy in school.  He remembered who Joseph Smith was and a little bit about the Book of Mormon.  I asked if he would like to continue to learn.  And he said yes!  Guess where he lives?  That's right, S 3rd St, the street we were going to tract that morning but couldn't!  The Lord really does know where to place us in order to meet the people that He needs us to meet.
Tuesday I was sick.  Had a fever of 100 all day, couldn't walk in a straight line without getting dizzy, splitting headache, and I couldn't take anything for it.  I felt a lot better in the morning, and Elder Runner and McKay gave me a blessing that morning after district meeting.  I so needed that blessing.  It was proof yet again that His power is on this earth and He's given it to man.  1) I got better very quickly after that (I was still kinda dizzy and nauseous that morning when I would make sudden movements) 2) Elder Runner said things that only God would have told me.  He said EXACTLY what I needed to hear.  

The R**'s are doing well.  She is so excited for her baptism.  We tried to push it back so that we could easily teach everything, but oh no, she would NOT hear of it!  She's getting baptized on the 24th!  So are her daughters!  We got permission from President Doll to go see K**'s play.  It was soooooo cute!  It's called "The Boy Friend"  and it's very clean.  It's set in the 20s in France, and has all these little romance stories going on it.  K** was in the chorus, did so well.
J** is doing well.  She doesn't exactly want to be doing this, but she knows that this is what God wants her to do, so she is doing it.  She's reading much slower, and her questions are less of a "prove this."  But "I'm curious,"  and "I don't understand this."   Also it was so cool, because last sunday in Church Brother Duffin had me share Alma 7 with the gospel principles class about what Christ suffered.  That's one of my favorite scriptures about the Atonement.
Well when we were over at J**'s  this Saturday we taught the POS, and I brought that scripture up forgetting that I had previously used it.  She reminded me and said that that had stuck with her, and that she had been thinking a lot about that.  She was sick at the time (she didn't come to church because of it :(  )  and she said, "Christ even knows what this little cold feels like!"  Wow!  Hardly anyone understands what those verses in the Book of Mormon really mean!  So it was really cool to see she understand that.

So we get a mini-missionary this weekend for about 24 hrs.  That's exciting!  She'll get to go to the baptism.  Don't know where she'll sleep though.  On the couch maybe?  She'll also get to go to J**'s with us and the G**'s.  
Okay, I'll tell you this real quick, cuz I know you really want to know what I'm feeling about going home.  I'm really excited to come home.  I'm getting tired of some aspects of missionary work.  But at the same time I’m going to miss this work.  I'm going to miss being a missionary and doing missionary things, like playing with the Elders, having awesome lessons and miracles, and being an instrument in His work.  But I'm excited to get back on a regular eating schedule, not being with someone 24/7, when I'm ready to go I leave and not having to wait for someone else, hugging boys, and of course seeing my awesome family!  Oh, and drier weather!  Although I'm prolly going to shrivel up like a prune when I get home ;)  Oh, and going to the temple whenever I want!  I haven't been in 13 months!  
But even though I'm excited and sad, I keep working, and I love the work, most of the time.  Sister Fossett and I are really effective teachers and especially finders.  We find pretty easily when we get out there and do it.

So yes, I'm excited to come home, but at the same time sad to leave, but I'm still putting my shoulder to the wheel.  I'm not working any less. Okay, I think that's all.
Oh wait, except that I would really like a date my first weekend back!  And I heard there's a self-proclaimed chick-magnet that lives in the Candy Mountain Ward whom I would love to go on a date with!  Also I'm making Wilson's bday cake.  So have him pick what kind of cake he wants!  

Okay, Love you all!  
Sister Ostler

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Week of Miracles

Dear Family,
First of all Dad, I am staying focused. I'm really excited to come home, but I'm not trunky.  There's this other elder in my district who is oozing trunkyness.  He goes home with me.  Then a sister who I came out with has been sooooooooo trunky for 6 months, 6 MONTHS!  Can you believe that!  There are some aspects of missionary work that are getting to me, like always being with someone, and not being free to go where I want when I want because I have someone else with me who also has an agenda.  Sister Fossett and I work really well together in lessons and finding.  We both feel the same things about people, most of the time.

Sister Fossett really wanted to teach C** the WOW.  I thought not.  But she felt strongly about it, so we did.  And it went so well.  After C** read what we do and don't do she said, "Yeah, why wouldn't you do that?  It's stupid to put those things in our body's that control our mind and are addictive."  It was a really good lesson.  Then our member, who was awesome, invited her to church on fast Sunday.  She works on Sunday's, but she said she could try to get it off, and it seemed like she really wanted to come.  The member said that she wasn't planning on saying that, it just came out, and it was directed by the Spirit.  I love members who are so in tune with the Spirit!  

Then some more miracles from this week. 
The R**'s are doing really good.  We had the WOW lesson with them this week, and she said that she would stop drinking coffee :)  She really wants to get baptized, and when we suggested that we postpone the baptism so her girls could have a little more time to prepare, she was very adamant about being baptized on the 24th.  Also since we were at the church for her lesson we suggested that she receive a priesthood blessing.  It was Wednesday evening, so a ton of people were there for activities.  President Evans was able to give her a blessing with another brother.  It was so amazing, and she really felt the Spirit.
She was gone this weekend so was unable to come to church, but two of her girls came.  The ward helped us out in finding rides for them, and after sacrament meeting they booked it to Sunday school with their friends.  Regular teenagers!  We love them. 
This week we also had an amazing finding experience.  Last week we found this lady.  She was interested to hear more about the Book of Mormon, but wanted her son to be there with her.  So we set up a time that we could come back.  We later realized that we had doubled booked our schedule, and that at the time we had planned to meet with her was the same time that we had to be clear across our area.  So we called her, and I thought I left a message on her phone, but wasn't sure if it recorded.
A few days later our original appt told us that they couldn't meet with us, so we were once again able to meet with S**.  We however, didn't call to confirm that appt, because we thought our message didn't record.  We showed up to S**'s, and she had thought we weren't coming, but welcomed us in anyways.  Since when does that ever happen?  You accidentally cancel an appt but it goes through anyways?  Then she said, "After you left I looked up some stuff on line," (and by the sounds of it, it wasn't good stuff.  uh-ho) "but you know how it can I thought I'd let you girls come and tell me some stuff about what you believe."  We were kinda surprised.  She had read anti, but still wanted to meet with us and was sooooooooo receptive to what we said, and was so excited to read the Book of Mormon! We're super excited for her.  Oh, and what's more, is that she's never been baptized.  Most of her family is baptist, but she said, "I never felt a strong desire to be baptized in that, or any other church."  So we gave her a soft baptismal commitment, and she accepted! :)   
Then our other miracle was soooooooo amazing!  Something I never even expected.  Back in Oct/Nov Sister Wallace and I were teaching a girl named J**.  Remember her?  She was a self referral and VERY Catholic.  She knew everything about the Catholic church and LOVED it.  But she felt that she need to read the Book of Mormon and check out our church.  Well in the end she ended up with some anti stuff and it turned her off.  Sister Wallace and I were crushed, because we saw so much potential in her.  Well on Friday morning Sister Fossett came up to me and said, "We just got a text, and it's going to flip your lid."  The text said, "Hi I don't know if this is still the right number, but my name is J**.  I was meeting with two sisters back in the fall.  I stopped meeting with them but I can't shake thinking about the mormon church and was maybe interested in being taught again?"  
We quickly checked our schedule and by some miracle, Saturday night was open.  I was gonna schedule someone in for our last appt the previous day, but felt that I shouldn't.  I then realized that that spot was for J**.  So we went over the next night and she had changed.  She said that she couldn't get the Church off her mind, and that maybe she went about things the first time in her way, and not in God's way.  She said she was willing to do things the way God wanted her to, and how we suggested she do them.  She was so humble and submissive.  (And how amazing is she?  She is so in tune with the whisperings of the Spirit.)  I asked her what she would do if she found out that the Book of Mormon was true and if this was God's church.  She said that she would 100% do everything the authority of the church said to do.  So pretty much become a member.  Sweet!  So we told her simply to read and pray.  And Sister Fossett in all her awesomeness pulled out Alma 32 and challenged her to test this.  She also said, "Don't go into this looking to prove things wrong, but hoping that it can be right."  J** really liked that.  She also came to church the next day and stayed for all three hours.  We pray and hope that this time she'll be humble enough to accept the message and truth. 

She ended up coming to Dekalb ward instead of Sycamore because she still wanted to go to mass.  Whatever.  But it ended up that Dekalb ward was EXACTLY where she needed to be.  The talk in Sacrament meeting was FOR HER.  One thing she said Saturday night was that another reason she was willing to try this again was because she saw how well the members of this church lived what they believed.   And the sacrament talk was on scripture study, and the person giving it was a good, strong member, but admitted that when nothing was pushing her she was kinda lazy in reading the scriptures and needed to repent.  And scripture study is exactly what we've been telling J** to do.

Then in RS we talked about the Priesthood.  We had already gotten this lesson in Sycamore, and it was kinda aggressive, so we were afraid that it would offend J**.  But Sister Gillespie gave it, and she was a convert in her young adult life.  She knew J** was investigating, was very aware of that.  In the Catholic church only Priests have the Priesthood.  Where as here 12 yr old boys have it.  We shared examples of the Priesthood working in ours or others lives and how that's helped boys and men.
I shared the story of how when a Sisters husband died my brothers (who love money for mission and college) mowed her lawn FOR FREE and I never heard them complain about it.  They did it because not only did she need help, but they were her HT.  Sister Fossett shared how the Priesthood had helped her brother respect and honor women and become so polite.  These examples and others touched J**.  She appreciated how it helped us become better members.  Though I don't think she appreciated how we said that we alone had the Priesthood.  But as Sister Fossett said afterwards to me, "You can't mince words.  This is our message, and you either accept it, or you don't."
And J** contacted US.  If she doesn't want to learn, then she doesn't have to. So please keep her in your prayers that her heart will be softened enough to accept this.
Oh, and no need to send the email.  I read it all.  Sister Fossett takes a long time to email.  I really have nothing else to say.  Other than I'm soaking wet.  It poured outside, and we dashed in here.  And in less than 30 seconds we got SOAKED.  It was crazy.  The elders are coming here today.  Some are already here.  But we still have to get back home, get changed and then go meet them.  Oh the picture is of last district mtg.  We had stuffed animal day!  It was so fun!

Sister Fossett climbed in one of our investigators crawl spaces to fix some pipes.  She's a fix-it woman.  Yeah, she got dirty.  I laughed, took pictures, then held up a board at the end so she could screw it back on.  We're helping Sister R paint her daughters room and we were sanding plaster down.  That's how I looked afterwards!

Thanks for all your prayers.  Love you all.
Love Sister Ostler

Monday, March 5, 2012

Miracles and Bed Making

Well this week was good.  The R** family continues to be awesome!  We were able to have two lessons with them this week.  The first one was at the church before the girls went to New Beginnings.  We taught L3 with For The Strength of Youth, and it went wonderful!  Then on Friday we had another appointment with them.  This turned out to be an awesome appt.  It started with a cancellation of an appointment from another family we have, the G**'s.  But they still came to church yesterday and stayed for all three hours!  Woot!
Well, we were supposed to meet with the G**s directly after the R**s.  We were pretty bummed when they canceled until we found out that the R**s girls had just gotten new beds and had no idea how to put them together.  Well we had some extra time, and it was snowing and cold, and we didn't want to go out tracting.  So help them we did! Good thing we have Sister Fossett who is our handy-woman, and her jeans were in the car!  Miracle!   So since we had some extra time we put together one of their beds right after we taught them.  It was a great chance for us to bond with them.  We weren't just the sister missionaries.  We were their friends.  Role models they could look up to, so if they did have a problem or question about the gospel or what we were teaching they could feel comfortable asking us.  They are so stinking awesome!  Now we just need to get them baptized before I leave!  But if not, then it's okay.  They'll still be my baptism in my heart, even if it's not on paper.  The ward is pretty darn happy that they’re getting baptized too.  The YW are making sure they're including the girls in things as well.
Last district meeting we had glasses day, so this is us in glasses!
About a year ago our district leader, the famous Elder Dearinger, challenged us to see what we could change about ourselves to become better missionaries, and essentially more Christ-like.  Sister Clark, only having a month left, asked if she could really change in a month.  Elder Vicars and Dearinger told her that she could.  That has been at the back of my mind lately.
I have decided to study Charity and try to be more charitable.  So every Monday (since we don't have a lot of lessons on that day anyways) I study one talk on Charity, then based on that talk make a goal for myself of how I can become more charitable.  I know that this will definitely carry on into the months after my mission.  But it's a start!

Pday in Freeport
Don't worry, we're safe from the tornados.  And I'm a pretty good snow driver too, if I do say so myself.
As for my experience with the storms.  Well we went over to a less actives house who had just lost her sister and brother-in-law in a horrible situation.  So while she was telling us how sad she was, Sister Fossett and I sneaked peaks at the TV, which was on the weather channel and it was showing the tornados and stuff.  It was on mute, so we only saw pictures.  But still, yeah, it was horrible!  And no one told us about the snow storm until it hit.  "Oh, by the way, we're supposed to have 2-3 inches of snow today!"  as we're driving up north to Kingston.  Gee thanks!  But like I said I'm an excellent driver!  And our new 2012 Subaru Legacy has all wheel drive.  Oh yeah!  Yeah, we got a new car sometime last at the beginning of the month.  It's red, and so amazing to drive!
Oh yeah, we decided that last Monday our time was better spent in Freeport, which was a long ways away, so we're going to Clair’s today.  And I'm also mailing some boxes home today too!
And I did get a letter from Emilee.  Tell her thank you.  I'll try to write her, but no guarantees.  This week is my last letter-writing week!  Thanks to all who have been writing me, it has meant so much!
Oh, and the lady who gave you the recipe a couple weeks ago from Cafe Rio, said that the boys have like a paper chain for when I come home.  Haha!  I love it!  Can you leave my shrine up for me too?  I want to see it.  And tell the elders that I’m a good Preach-My-Gospel member present!  I'll find a boy to come with us if they need a member present.  And I won't take over the lesson.  I'll be good!
Go Laurel!  I'll so write you!  You'll love your mission!  You will be so awesome too!  And hey, I went to Chicago, but really, I've spent 13 months in the sticks.  And I loved it!  Viva LV!

Thank you so much mom for that helping missionary advice.  I've really been trying to.  Sister Fossett loves helping others too, especially those in our district.  We've had it our goal to help the elders in our district.  On a mission the other missionaries are all we have.  We're all going through similar experiences, so we lean on each other for support. I leaned on Elder Anjeweirden for a month, and so I hope to do the same with someone else.  Sister Fossett is really good at discerning the needs of others then going to them and helping them.  She'll go out of her way to help an elder, or sister.  So yeah, thanks mom for that.  I needed that.

your favoritist daughter on a mission,
Sister Ostler