Monday, November 12, 2012

Thank You All

Dear Friends and Family,
      My heart hurts quite a bit as I write this email to all of you.  A few days ago, after I talked to my mission president, I found out that I will be coming home from Poland on a medical release.  Once I found out, I had 2 hours to pack everything and be on a train to Warsaw.  I had a great evening with my mission president and his wife in their home, and the next morning I was on a plane to Salt Lake City.  I got in late Saturday evening, where my wonderful parents greeted me at the airport with balloons and tear-filled eyes.  I was sure excited to see them.  Then at my house, my sister, her family and my grandparents were there.  It was nice to see everyone and hug my little nieces and nephews, who I have missed SO much.  The next morning I was released by my stake president, who told me that the soonest I could return to the mission field would probably be 6 months due to the lack of medical care in Poland.  My heart dropped when I heard that and I immediately prayed hard for the comfort and faith that I need in order to face this obstacle.  I left his office with my parents feeling hopeful and ready to do what I need to do.  I attended church, saw more of my family members and spent time at home with those that I love. 

      Now I am on my computer, at home, in my room.  I woke up to a cushioned toilet seat, soft carpet beneath my feet, drinkable tap water, a clean hot shower, and two of my best friends in the world just down the hall from me (aka- my parents).  I feel so blessed, I don't really know what to say.  I am still kind of in shock and my heart hurts a little bit.  I keep thinking about our wonderful members and investigators in Gdansk and I worry about them.  I worry about my companion and about how well filled-in I left our area book.  Silly things.  Overall, when I think about it and when I kneel down to pray, I know that it will all work out.  For months I have been encouraging investigators to take that leap of faith and step into the unknown by putting all their trust in the Lord, now I guess it's my turn.

      I don't know what will happen and I guess that's just part of the test.  But for what I have been able to experience thus far, I am eternally grateful.  I am also grateful for all of the support and love that I have recieved and seen and felt for the past 7 months.  Thank you all for your prayers, for your letters, and for your love.  I know that the Lord knows us and our circumstances so well.  I know that He really does want us to experience joy and happiness.  I testify that the work of the Lord is the greatest work in the world and it is here for us everyday- as missionaries, as families, as members, as children of God- it's here for us to do and He'll provide a way for us to succeed.  I love the people of Poland, I love the Book of Mormon and I know it's true. I love our Prophet today and testify that He is the mouthpiece for the Lord.  I know that the greatest thing that sets us apart from the world is that the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and the power of God is on the earth today- blessing and changing lives every moment.  What a neat thing!! Above everything, I testify that Christ lives.  He lives and He loves us and He knows our potential and our ability to become like Him.  I testify that He will always support us and strengthen us up in order to face the trials of this life.  I testify that real joy is one of the greatest rewards and blessings of living the gospel.  I love you all very much.  I hope I will be writing you again in 6 months :) Trzymajcie sie i wszystkiego najlepszego! (Take care of yourselves and everything the best).  

With Love, Sister Shelby Ostler

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bring on November's cold!

Hey Friends and Family :) 
How are you all doing? I hope you are all doing great.  This week was a great week.  Many miracles and exciting events.  Couple random things first.  We met a lady from Norway who wanted to see old town, so we walked with her and talked for 20 minutes or so and she was really interested in the gospel.  We gave her some information and she left seeming really excited about it all.  Then right after that, we met another lady who was super interested and she asked where she could buy a book of mormon and of course we said we have one to give her.  We swapped numbers and set up to meet soon.  Two interested people back to back is pretty rare around here, so we felt so blessed and excited! 
      So in the middle of this week Sister Peterson and I both received a Priesthood blessing, one because we've been sick, and two because we both really needed it.  It was a neat experience for both of us and I personally felt a lot of comfort and hope after that.  The priesthood is amazing.  So then on November 1st, they have a holiday here called All Saints Day.  I sent some pics, so hopefully you can picture it a little bit.  But it is amazing.  Hundreds of thousands of candles to support and remember ancestors and loved ones.  We were there with members and investigators and it was a really spiritual experience.  I sat there on one of the benches in the cemetery and just thought about all of the people in my life who have impacted me in one way or another.  I feel really grateful for all of you. For all of the examples in my life, for all of the friendships, the memories, the experiences and the lessons I learned from all of you throughout my life.  The Polish people really have a lot of love and I am very blessed to be around them and witness their deep conviction for freedom and for life.  The gospel just adds such depth to our lives and it's amazing to see it change the lives of people all around me.  That was a wonderful night to witness. 
       Well, I am out of time :( But one last thing I want to share.  Earlier this week I had one of those Do or Die moments, ya know? The "To Be or not to be" moments.  You know what I mean, the mornings when you wake up, feel kind of sick, it's raining outside, you're cold, and you have a choice to go back to bed and give in, or to get up, get going and make a turn for the better.  Well, It was one of those mornings and it became a neat blessing to get up and decide to be happy and work hard.  The Lord knows how we feel and He knows our circumstances.  I testify that when we make the little decisions that determine even bigger consequences, the Lord strengthens us and blesses us more than we could imagine.  I love you all.  That's my challenge for you.  Make the little wise decisions that will affect the greater ones.  Take care, have a great week! :) Love you!!!

Love, Sister Ostler :)

Ola! One of her great friends from English class

 Shelby and Sister Peterson being crazy on the tram alone.  That's very unusual for Poland to have the trains be empty.

Day of the Dead!
Poland's version of Halloween.
It's actually a very spiritual time of year, and it means a lot to the residents of Poland.

Homemade Banana bread! YUM! She says it doesn't taste like Mom's but we're sure it's scrumptious!  She's a great cook!

Missionaries serving in Gdansk, Poland!

Shelby found the photo editing tools on her camera! They had a little extra time.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hey Everybody :) 

      Happy Halloween! Or Happy All Saints Day! How are the holidays in America? It's getting crazy around her.  There will be hundreds of thousands of candles her on the 1st of November.  I'm excited :) So guess what.  It snowed here! Snow! It is officially FREEZING here.  My companion, Sister Peterson, and I went walking through old town Gdansk and it started snowing on us! It was beautiful but brrrrrrrrrrrrr! It was cold.  But we should be grateful because it's not February yet.  Supposedly it get's -40 or something.  Crazy! 
      Well, first of all, my new companion is wonderful.  She is one of the sweetest, most humble, tender-hearted people I know.  I wasn't feeling to good and couldn't get warm, so she SEWED me a rice bag to warm up in the microwave and use to keep me warm! How cool is that!? She is so great.  She has an amazing voice and, well, let's just say our voice recordings of us singing aren't getting any better because of me.  She is cool and I'm excited to work and serve with her.  :) 
       So on Thursday or something we had a great little service opportunity.  We stopped by 2 investigators who work together at a flower shop and it turned out that they needed a bunch of help putting all of their flowers and stuff away, so we got to help them for 30 or 45 minutes and that was great! They gave us some roses and invited us back for tea another time.  We've been trying to meet with them for a while, so that was a neat little miracle.  
     Something I've noticed about missionary work- you must be on the phone if you want to be busy.  Mom, I love you! Thank you for teaching me this! It's true.  Being on the phone and keeping in touch with people is pretty important. Also, daylight savings already?! It's dark at like 5. So weird.  
      So one last thing I wanted to share.  Everything we go through each day, good, bad, tough, easy, long, short, shallow, deep, desired, not desired, everything- requires patience.  In Preach My Gospel it talks about patience and our need for it in all that we do.  It says that having patience is the ability to hold up under pressure and face adversity calmly and hopefully- and may I add - with faith that all with work out.  This is my goal for the week.  Patience is one of the toughest because it is one of the most important.  This is also my challenge for all of you.  Hopefully taking one challenge at a time will help us all develop Christ-like attributes throughout our lives.  I love you all.  Thank you for all of your prayers and support.  Have a great week :) 

     Love Sister Ostler



Well you all should know that President Nielson is truly an amazing person. He is so inspired. Sister Ostler and I were talking and we are so grateful that he is willing to do everything to be in tune with the Spirit. I have complete trust in him as my mission president that Poznan is the area the Lord wants me to be and Sister Allen is the companion He wants me with. SIS ALLEN IS WHOM SARA WORKED WITH WHEN SHE WENT ON AN EXCHANGE TO POZNAN WHILE SIS FOLSOM CAME UP TO GDANSK TO BE WITH SIS OSTLER FOR A DAY AND A HALF ABOUT A MONTH AGO.
Sister Ostler is so humble. This week was a crazy one for our companionship. But I'll get to that later. I love her so much and it's been so cool to really BE with each other not just live/work together this week. Spending time together in hospitals, at home, and me not being distracted by lesssons or investigators or calls was really a blessing for me. So we both felt pretty sick Monday, then I got better and she's still feeling terrible. Well Agnieszka, Star that she is, threw a SURPRISE BIRTHDAY PARTY for me on Tuesday! 
(Btw, thank you so much for all your bday wishes, I feel so so lucky and happy!!) Anyway so we were at Agnieszka's because she was so sneaky. She told us she had a friend who was interested to meet us and we totally fell for it. So we went over at 7pm and she was standing there with cake and lit candles and Ania was there too and it was so much fun. I loved it. AGNIESZKA HAS BEEN A GREAT AND ETERNAL FRIEND!

Well we just chatted for awhile and she was looking at Sister Ostler and she knew it was getting bad/worse. We had been at the gastro-whatever-doctor that morning but to be honest her diagnosis didn't really help. So Agnieszka worked some magic and the next day it was crazy. About 12 different people were calling us, all giving their opinions on what we should do and how so I really tried to do my best. The result was I called an ambulance, they came and took her to the hospital by University Medicyczny. So then the Elders came, got me, and we went "Sister Oslter hunting."
We searched the hosptial where she was supposed to be but the lady came and said "nie ma jej" czyli she's not here.Oops.Well luckily the next place we went they had her name so we go to the room (with 5 other patients) and the nurse goes "oh yeah, she's right here..." but then she wasn't. Then ANOTHER guy is like oh yeah! she's in here...nope. Long story short she came down with another doctor and it was good. We spent a few hours in that hospital, the elders were studs and they always make me laugh so that was nice. THEN crazily enough, later that night we went to another hospital and....yeah. 

Basically the point IS, that I saw the Lord's hand this week when: doctor after doctor, medicine after medicine, so many opportunities opened up for Sister Ostler. She finally got a pill that helps her hold down food and she's having a gastroscope tonight so please pray for her. It was a miracle we even got it because Sister Nielson has been in the hospital and she worked her magic and there was a cancellation for this Monday. So Sister O has already gone on the train down to Warsaw to get that done. Also Agnieszka and President Kempa were OUTSTANDING in this whole process. They seriously helped so much and I am in their debt. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hey there, 

       Sister Ostler here.  How are you all? Is fall beautiful over there in America? It is absolutely outstanding here.  The forests are so full of bright yellow and hot read leaves.  I love it.  I had a 6 hour train ride here to Warsaw for some paper work and health stuff and it was a beautiful ride.  This week has been ...... interesting, crazy, challenging, threatening, adventurous, and all around just, weird.  I won't go into too much detail because time and energy is in short supply right now.  But all I know is that the Lord's hand is in our lives.  He is so aware of what we need.  He knows our hearts, our desires, our fears and our hopes.  I am so grateful He understands and knows.  I am also so grateful for our health.  I definitely took it for granted.  

      This week I witnessed many miracles.  One day when I was in a hospital, I was next to a really neat lady.  She is actually kind of crazy ( and I really mean it) BUT she was so sweet! She tried to sneak out of the hospital and every time she did, the nurse came slowly walking back with her.  We had a great discussion about the gospel (half in polish, german and a little english. It was interesting!) She was just so accepting of everything and she inroduced me to her husband and we all became good friends.  Then the nurse there recognized me from a tram waj and asked some questions about what we teach and do, etc. and it was a great opportunity.  The Lord really places people in our lives so that we can love them and learn from them and in turn, learn about our Savior and our purpose here on earth.  There are opportunities everywhere. 
      So one more thing before I have to go.  We were on a tram waj and we were really happy and smiling and this older lady (who looked great!) just smiled and expressed how happy she is.  She said she is 87 years old and is feeling great! We asked her what her secret is and she said, "joy".  She told us to keep being happy and we'll live long and happily like she has.  Neat experience.  She is cool.  Well, I will be returning to Gdansk with a new companion tomorrow.  I will sure miss Sister Bezdjian.  I have learned so much from her.  She saved me countless times this past week.  I owe so much to her.  This will be a new adventure with Sister Peterson.  She is wonderful, and I can't wait to serve with her.  The gospel's true.  I love all of you.  Keep the faith :) 
Love Sister Ostler

Yes, a hospital visit in Poland, but all is well

One last train ride with sister B.  Shelby is sure going to miss this girl.  It's a good thing they live in the same state.

I think they locked themselves out of there apartment.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Calling all prayers!

Hey Friends and Family, 

This week has been good; a little longer than most, but still good! I am seeing that the Lord is answering my prayers in mysterious ways.  I have been praying for more desire (to talk to everyone, to run to meetings when we're late, to work until the last minute, etc.) and for a vision of things as they really are.  Well, I am here to tell you that being sick in bed  has sure given me the desire to go outside and talk with EVERYONE! I want so badly to be out working.  I want to run and skip and jump and just move around. If there's anyone willing to pray for my health, now would be a GREAT TIME!! I feel them so much and am so grateful for your care.
 I am also realizing how precious every moment is.  I am down to the last 2 weeks of this transfer and whether I'll be with Sister Bezdjian again or not, I'm not ready for it to end! It's just great how the Lord really knows our needs and gives us just what we ask for (if it's righteous).  So, Sister Bezdjian has been taking care of me, and it has actually strengthened our relationship a lot.  So, even though I may have no energy right now, I know that my prayers are heard, and, from this experience, they are certainly answered as well.  We had about 30 lessons planned this week, but...... we were only able to make it to 4 of them.  BUT they were so neat! We had a couple of great miracles.  I'll tell you about one or two.  So one day we went to Gdynia to meet with a less active member there who can't come to church because of work. 
As we got off the train, a man was handing out flyers and, as we usually do with them, we asked if we could exchange flyers. So I handed him a Book of Mormon flyer and right away he started asking questions about the church and asked where he could buy a book of mormon.  We jumped at that and happily gave one to him.  He asked if we could maybe talk about it sometime and we said of course! Well, we actually invited him to come with us to that member's house while we had our lesson and so he came.  We had a really neat lesson (part english, part polish and part thai!) and he told us all about his harsh past and his desire to change and become like Christ.  He prayed at the end, and said he'll read the book of Mormon and pray about it.  He is about 22 or so and really neat.  What a miracle! Then a couple days later we met with a girl who pretty much referred herself.  From our book of mormon reading class at the mall, she asked if she could join.  Well, something happened there, so we have to meet with them personally.  So we went to her house, asked her what her expectations were and she said she wants to learn english, learn about our culture, and more about the book of mormon. Our jaws were probably hitting the ground.  She was so open, she is so prepared and she has a strong testimony of Christ already.  Her name is Magdalena and she's 24, can't wait to keep teaching her. 
      So I can't remember what else I was going to share with you...... Oh yeah! The Aquarium in Gdynia was really neat.  They had 2 huge Anakondas and a bunch of exotic fish and paranas and stuff :) That was cool. We're hoping to go to a concentration camp for our culture night in a week or so.  That should be awesome.  The history here is unbelievable.  I hope I can learn more about it while I'm here. 
      Well, I love this work.  I know the Lord answers our prayers.  I am thankful for my companion who has taken care of me and helped me learn to be patient in times of tribulation. I'm thankful for our health.  Someone ALWAYS has it worse, so I'm just so grateful that we have bodies and that we have agency.  I hope you are all doing great.  I love you all.  Keep finding ways to share the gospel and deepen your conversion; it's a life-long adventure :) Love ya! 

 She Finally got a coat!  It's hitting the winter weather already! That humidity just cuts right through the wimpy coats. She went for the good stuff!

Love, Sister Ostler

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

An awesome week!!!

Hey There :) 
       What a great week.  Crazy, busy, cold, funny, random, weird, miraculous, and just all around Cool :) We met some really cool people.  One day we went to a house for our meeting and they weren't home.  Bummer cuz we waited about 2 months to meet with them.  But as we were walking away, we met a man named Zigmont.  He looked like he needed something.  We testified of the truthfulness of our message and that it can really bless his life.  He became very interested and talked about how he has been searching truth for a while.  We offered him a Book of Mormon and he got teary eyed and thank us very sincerely.  We set up to meet with him and his wife this week and he made sure we new where he lives and that we know his number.  That was neat.  Then on the tram, Sister Bezdjian was sitting holding a big box of apples that an investigator just picked for us, when all of a sudden this man says "Hey are you two on your missions?" In english! and I was like, woa, what? cool! His name is Doug and he is from California.  He and his wife are here for school.  We talked and exchanged numbers and we are hoping to meet with them soon.  So cool :) 
Advertising for Conference!!
      So this week one of the neatest miracles was one morning while we were waiting in the park for our investigator to show up for our meeting.  Suddenly she called and said she can't make it.  We were a little bummed and then all of a sudden, Ola, our great friend from our Book of Mormon reading class, comes walking down the pathway. I jumped up and gave her a big hug and said "It's sure great to see you!" She said the same thing as we talked for a minute and asked her about her day and everything.  She was just so happy.  At the end of a ten minute conversation or so, she said, "You know, I asked to meet someone today on my way to work. I was feeling a little down." We heard that and just smiled.  We know the spirit has been working in her and it is amazing to witness.  We really love her and want her to be happy.  So one more thing I learned this week.  Heleman 4:26 If transgression is what made them so weak, then obedience and righteousness must make us strong and give us power.  Simple, yet struck me differently this week.  I love the Book of Mormon. 
A cute YUMMY crepe shop they found!
       So one evening, we were in a car with an investigator whose boss was driving us to her house.  For just a minute there was a song that I knew before the mission, something from like Nickleback or someone and all of a sudden I was (in my head) back at home, in my car and driving around.  I started to think about the influence music has on us and the role it plays in our lives.  I felt ..... weird.  For just a second.  I came back to reality and made a little connection to what just happened.  As a missionary, I have experienced a lot of wonderful blessings of the spirit.  Things I had never before experienced.  I realized that while I've been here, I have been in tune with myself a lot more.  Not just with the spirit, but with myself.  Sometimes at home I'd go for a drive or I'd watch a movie and I'd tune, not only the spirit out, but myself out.  It's almost as if I avoided confrontation with myself.  Interesting, right? Because here, I can't hide from myself. That may sound kind of funny, but it's true. I see it all. The good, the bad, the real and the fake the strengths and the weaknesses of myself.  There's nothing to cloud the view. From that experience I learned that it's so good to let the spirit into our lives.  We need it and we can learn a lot about ourselves.  So, that is my challenge for anyone and everyone reading.  Let the spirit in, and find out what He is trying to teach you about yourself.  It's really neat.  
       Well, there are so many more things I want to share! Ahhhh, nie mam czasu! (I don't have time!) We are going to the Aquarium in Gdynia now, I'm so excited.  I hope you all have a great week.  One last thing I learned, can't remember who it's from I think President Hinckley: Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person the be loved.  There are always things to worry about, to get done and to take care of.  But in the long run, those things work each other out and the most remembered thing is the love that we show(ed) for those around us.  Still learning this, and hope I can become better.  I love you all.  I am so thankful for the influence you have all had on my life.  Have a great week :) Hope you loved conference! :) Can't wait to read it in a month. Take care!!! Dowidzenia!

 She made her own Jam!!! Using Cornstarch, water, sugar and Berries!  Genius!

Love, Sister Ostler