Sunday, September 28, 2014


Dear Sisters and Elders,
It has been a great privilege being with most of you during zone conference this past week. We will be in Palawan next week and look forward to having a marvelous, spiritual time together.
You are wonderful representatives of the Lord. You are so wonderful that sometimes I feel silly suggesting that you improve at all! But of course there is still much room to grow.
I have been reflecting on the lessons we learned from Elder and Sister Ardern as they conducted the mission tour a few weeks ago, he asked the Mission Leadership Council: "Are you a 'Preach My Gospel Mission?'" Everyone answered: "Yes!" His reply was simple and direct, but given in a kind voice: "No, you are not. According to the missionary survey only 70% of your missionaries study Preach My Gospel every day."
His point was clear: The Lord has given us an exceptionally inspired resource, one that was not available at all during the first 174 years of missionary work...and we aren't using it as we should.
**I invite each and every one of us to read from the pages of Preach My Gospel every single day, araw araw. Learn from it every day. Apply it every day.**
Today in my studies I was impressed by two statements:
p. 20: "The lessons in this chapter contain the essential doctrines, principles, and commandments that you are to study, believe, love, live and teach."
p. 178: "The quality and power of your teaching will help others understand and feel the importance the restored gospel has for them. Their understanding will be influenced by your personal worthiness."
I learned again how important it is for us to have INTEGRITY when we teach. Integrity means that we actually BELIEVE, LOVE and LIVE the things we teach. I learned that when we do, those I teach will understand it better. I also learned that my own worthiness affects the ability of people to understand what I am teaching. How is my worthiness connected with people being able to understand my message? It is because, when I am worthy, I have the spirit with me much stronger. When I am worthy I can feel the promptings. When I am worthy I teach with more spiritual power. This was a great reminder for me. "Preach My Gospel" has thousands of profound insights and learnings waiting for us.
Let us read it and learn from it every single day. As we do, we will receive the guidance and blessings of the Lord.
I love you. I know the Lord lives. I know He has sent His angels to be with you.
Remember, as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said:
"There is help and happiness ahead...Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, THEY COME."
With love,
President Ostler


Dear Elders and Sisters,

Sister Ostler and I are really looking forward to being with you this week and next for zone conference. Our hearts are filled with love and respect for you. This will be our first zone conference as mission president and wife. We and the assistants have been praying, preparing and seeking the Lord's guidance. D&C 43:8-10 gives the direction for our meetings, as well as a promise:

"And now, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that when ye are assembled together ye shall INSTRUCT and EDIFY each other, that ye may know how to ACT and direct my church, how to ACT upon the points of my law and commandments...and be sanctified by that which ye have received, and ye shall bind yourselves to ACT in all holiness before me. That inasmuch as ye do this, glory shall be added to the kingdom..."

Please notice how often the Lord says the word "ACT." As you come to the conference, be prepared to act on the things you hear. The promise at the end is significant: "That inasmuch as ye do this, GLORY shall be added to the kingdom..." What is the glory of the kingdom? "For behold, this is my work and my glory, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39). In other words, if we will meet together and are edified, and then act on the things we receive...more souls will be brought to eternal life. God's glory is bringing His children to eternal life. We, as full time missionaries, have the privilege of working full time to bring about His glory. We must be men and women of action.


"Talk is cheap."

"Knowledge without action is like clouds with no rain."

"Actions speak louder than words." "Knowledge without action is all smoke but no fire."

"When all is said and done, there is a whole lot more said than done."

"Not every one that saith unto je, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of God." (Mt. 7:21)

"We show our faith by what we do."

We must be men and women of action.

There are some scriptures we would like you to read and study and "unpack" before you come. Some of those who were confined to their apartments on Luzon during the storm this week had the chance to start on these scriptures. We would like everyone to take the time to study these verses and discuss them in companionship study or in your house:

Malachi 4:1-6

Joseph Smith History 1:39

D&C 110:13-16

Moses 1:39

1 Nephi 8:2-38

D&C 128:8-24

D&C 138:27-54

May the Lord bless you and strengthen you. May He bless you to be a man or woman of action. May He guide your steps and answer your prayers. May he bless your families because of your faithful service.

With love,

President Ostler


The past few weeks have gone past like a blur!  We had a wonderful meeting with the missionaries working in our Single Adult ward.  They are full of enthusiasm and ideas for making it a more successful place for sharing the gospel. They are amazing!

 We also had MLC (Mission Leader Conference) with all the zone leaders and Sister Training Leaders.  We have breakfast and a big lunch together with meetings till 3pm when we send them back out with a bagged dinner
 We wish you could come to these meetings!  The caliber of these young men and women is incredible.  They are so desirous of being faithful.

 These elders always seem to glow wherever they are...but especially in the sun light!  :)

 Then, this week, we had three days of zone conferences!  Talk about Heaven!  It felt like somewhere between Heaven and a family reunion!

The first day of Zone conference, I was setting up my room for the next class so I didn't get many pictures taken.  SORRY!

 The other two days, I was able to get pictures of everyone, I think.

    Can you just see their goodness?

            They are as "the army of Helaman".......

  Elder Paine and Sister and Elder Theler...our senior couples who we love!!!

 Today, we were blessed to go to a baptism of a 21 year old young man who had been introduced to the church by a girl he knew in his high school.  He is the only member in his family, and even though they were opposed to him joining, they all came to his baptism.  That is a real display of love.

                            Sister Andrews, Ronneil, Sister Talanoa

We drove straight from the noon baptism to a fireside with the Makati East zone. What a wonderful group of members and missionaries.  It was a chance for the members to get to know the mission president and family.  President and I both spoke, and Caleb sang, "Savior, Redeemer of My Soul" by Rob Gardner.  The spirit really blessed him.

We drove from that afternoon fireside to another one in Mandaluyong.  This was more of a formal program with their ward choir singing, talks by future missionaries who had received their calls, the bishop and his returned missionary wife, and us.  The choir was so powerful!  The members are full of enthusiasm, and they have great hopes of reactivating many of the members who have not been enjoying all the blessings of the gospel.

 We got to have our pictures taken with almost everyone.  I have never seen so many ipads, cameras and iphones taking pictures!  When we finished the meeting, they served a dinner to everyone.  The bishop and his wife are young, but full of the spirit and enthusiastic.  They are the couple on the left.  The rest are mostly singles and a few married adults.

It is such a blessing to be here!  How can we express what joy it brings us to watch these wonderful missionaries go out day after day, giving their hearts to the people here.  Every single parent would be so pleased.  I wish they could see their sons and daughters.  It is like they are a bud that blossoms quickly on their missions.  They are so selfless and willing to do whatever it takes to bring the gospel into people's lives.  Today was magnificent!

Friday, September 19, 2014

2014-9-15 President's Letter to Missionaries

Dear Elders and Sisters,
What a remarkable opportunity we have been given to serve together in the Magnificent Manila Mission! When the Lord says, in Doctrine & Covenants 4:1 "Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men" he was certainly talking about the Philippines! We are seeing it with our own eyes. The revelation in D&C 4 was given to the Prophet Joseph in 1829. If it were given today, it might say "Now behold, a marvelous work IS coming forth..."
I would like to share two impressions with you...
Yesterday I attended two baptismal services where a total of 11 people were baptized. I was thrilled to see the light of the spirit in the eyes of both missionaries and converts. I felt the joy and the sacredness of these services. As I pondered on these sacred scenes I felt that bringing someone into the Lord's church is not just an act of service for your mission. It is a sacred covenant between you and your convert. It is a covenant that says: "I taught you the gospel and testified with all of the power of my soul that it is true. I promise now that I will stay true to what I have taught for the rest of my life. For I know that you will be watching to see if I am a person who is true to his/her word. You will be watching to see if I truly believe it. You will gain strength from my steadfastness and I promise you can lean on me."
Elders and Sisters, you have a sacred duty to those you bring to the Lord. It is the duty of holding firmly to the Iron Rod for the rest of your life. You owe it to them. You owe it to the Lord.
The second impression came tonight. I met with the Pasay Stake President (President Tongco) and zone leaders and then went to Manila and met with stake president Andrade. (Most of the meeting was in the dark using a flashlight because of a brownout.)  I then joined the MYSA district for the end of their ward correlation meeting. As we knelt together on the hard tile floor, I poured out my heart to the Lord and prayed for his blessings to be on them and on their work. I prayed that He would protect and lift them and open the hearts of the people to them. Tonight I could see in my mind the other 245 missionaries in this wonderful mission, out in the rain or in a hundred humble homes, teaching and testifying of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am so grateful for you. I am humbled by your goodness and diligence. I am humbled by your sacrifices.
I promise it is worth it. I promise it is true. I promise that great joy will be yours as you look back on what you are doing now. You are doing a truly "marvelous work."
May the Lord bless you my friends.
With love,
President Ostler

2014-9-19 Storm Update

Dear Parents and Family,

Today a large tropical storm passed through the Manila area, dumping 12-30 centimeters (5-12 inches) of rain in a 24 hour period. The storm caused widespread flooding throughout our mission area. As is our usual practice, all missionaries in flood-stricken areas were asked to remain in their apartments until the flooding was past. There was no loss of communication during this time and all missionaries are safe and accounted for.

Our missionaries are experienced with the kinds of weather we have here and are quite obedient in following instructions and taking safety precautions.

Let me take this opportunity to thank you for supporting your fine sons and daughters as they serve the Lord here in the Manila Mission. They are faithful and hardworking. They love the people with all their hearts. They are dignified and respected representatives of Jesus Christ. We are so very proud of them.

Warmest regards,

President and Sister Ostler

Philippines Manila Mission


This week we had the missionaries that serve in the Young Single Adult ward over to our home to discuss ideas for improving our efforts there.  What an incredible group of missionaries they are!  Such fire and enthusiasm!  They are going to make things happen there like they never have before.  Their goodness is humbling!

We also got to have all the zone leaders and sister training leaders over for our Mission Leadership Council.  It is one of the best times of the month!

These are some of the brightest spirits in the world....right here in our midst.
We had such an enjoyable time teaching them and learning from them.

                    These elders are so full of light....they glow!  :)

Monday, September 8, 2014


Mission Tour Message

Dear Sisters and Elders,

Sister Ostler and I really enjoyed our time with you this past week. It was such a spiritual feast, being with the missionaries we love and being instructed by Elder and Sister Ardern!
Elder and Sister Ardern taught many different things over the four days we were together. I thought it might be helpful to share a few of the things from my notes:
You cannot put a crust (small piece of bread) on the altar of the Lord without receiving a loaf in return.
Learn the Lessons From the Lord:
You are here to learn the lessons the Lord wants to teach you.
Every day, write down the lesson the Lord taught you that day. If we don't do that, we will go home "empty-minded." We won't notice the lessons and we won't remember the lessons. At the end of your mission you should have hundreds of lessons the Lord has taught you.
Scripture Study:
Study some of the Book of Mormon every day. When reading the Book of Mormon, he never turns the page without learning the lesson from that page. He writes down the lesson he learns.
Ponder what you read. This is very important. The fruit of pondering is understanding.
The Lord packs more into a verse of scripture than we usually unpack.
Ask yourself the question: "What is Satan's place of entrance into my life?"
Mediocrity is the tool of the Devil. You will be overtaken by temptation if you are just "getting by."
You have 18 or 24 months to serve this mission...and the rest of your life to think about how you served. Make the most of it!
Be kind to yourself. Don't pound on yourself. As you evaluate what you have done think: "What can I do better NEXT time?" not "What should I have done better LAST time?" If we constantly think about our past mistakes and what we should have done, we don't put our energy into the future. (Make sure you fully repent of any past sins, but don't dwell on them after you have.)
Don't say: "I testify that what my companion said is true." Constantly using that phrase, or using the word "testify" so often, is distracting to the investigator. Bear testimony to what your companion says in a more meaningful way. For example, if your companion talked about the atonement, you could say something like: "The atonement of Jesus Christ means so much to me because he took my sins away. It is wonderful to feel clean." This is much more meaningful than saying "I know that what my companion taught is true."
Humility is the prerequisite for fulfilling any calling.
From President Monson: "Search the scriptures diligently. Your confidence will be directly related to your knowledge of God's will."
We are not yet a Preach My Gospel Mission. In a Preach My Gospel Mission, every missionary studies Preach My Gospel every day. We need to do this.
Become a master gospel teacher. Teach the doctrine. ("Short, powerful lessons" are fine, but we cannot leave out the doctrine.)
Sister Ardern: "To be a representative of Jesus Christ is the greatest honor a person could ever have."
Match the message: in behavior, in dress, in grooming, in spirit.
Every missionary in the Manila Mission needs to care just as much about the converts and reactivated members of other missionaries as he does about his own.
ALWAYS act on the impressions of the Spirit.
These are just a few of the notes from the ten pages of notes I wrote down. But the most important notes were the ones that were private items that the spirit shared with me--things I need to change--things I need to do to become a better disciple of Christ--people I need to reach out to.
We learned just as much by HOW Elder and Sister Ardern taught as we did by WHAT they taught. They were kind, direct, loving and encouraging. They expressed love and pointed out things to change. Above all, they told us again and again "We are just ordinary people...called to do extraordinary things."
At the end of the week the Arderns met with us and gave us feedback and suggestions. They then assigned me to pray about what the Lord taught me this week, to counsel with Elders Limocon and Obray, and then to follow the promptings of the Lord on what to do in our mission. I have been fasting and praying to get the Lord's direction and am very grateful for His guidance in my life. There will be more to come!
I invite you do do what Elder Ardern asked several of the zones to do: Write down the five things that you need to change in your life. Then meet as companions and make a list of the seven things you will change as a companionship. And then ACT on your promptings.
My the Lord bless you my dear friends and fellow servants of Heavenly Father. You are in my prayers and thoughts. The Lord is aware of you and is grateful for every small act of service or sacrifice you do.

Mahal ko po kayo,

President Ostler


Letter From President Ostler to Missionaries

Dear Elders and Sisters,
I have been receiving many requests for visits with family members who come to Manila. I can see that it would be helpful for me to clarify Church policy with regard to visits with family members. I know that you love your family and that they would like to see you when they are in town. But your mission is not the time for this.
On page 37 of the white Missionary Handbook it says:
"Visits from family members, friends and acquaintances are against Church policy. The impact of such visits may extend far beyond the visit itself, both before and after the visit and among other missionaries. It can often take some time for missionaries to refocus on their callings and their work. While expressing your love and your desire to share your experiences with them after you have been released, help those who may want to visit you to understand the importance of maintaining singleness of heart and mind on the work of the Lord."
The only time it is permissible to see a family member during your mission is if you are being sealed to your family in the temple or if a sibling or parent is receiving a live ordinance. This is not categorized as a "visit" for the purpose of the handbook.
Please do not request permission to spend time with family members or friends who are in Manila. Please do not request time to see family members or friends who are at the MTC or going through Manila for any other reason. Let them know that are devoting your time to the Lord.
At the end of your mission, after you have had your final interview with me, a parent or sibling(s) may come to the mission office to pick you up. They can also come to the final dinner and testimony meeting. If they are endowed, they can attend the temple with the other departing missionaries.
I hope that this clarifies church and mission policy regarding these things. Please let me know if you have any questions.

With love,

President Ostler

Saturday, September 6, 2014

2014-9-3,4,5 The Mission Tour

First Mission Tour with Elder and Sister Ardern!

We wish you could have flown with us to Palawan and been in the chapel as your missionaries were instructed by Elder and Sister Ardern.  What a treat it was for all of us!  I think we were all sitting there wondering if it was really us having that incredible experience!

I'm sure you will hear about it from your missionary!  Elder and Sister Ardern are so warm and friendly.  Even though they carry a heavy load, they lose themselves in the work and truly give their hearts.  We have been so blessed to have them in our mission.  Ask your missionary if they read scriptures differently now that they have been taught about "unpacking" the scriptures.

We know you are most interested in pictures of your missionaries, though, here you are!

 This is what it looks like by our front entry each time we have Mission Leadership Conference.  Our Assistants started the first row neatly and everyone else followed their example.  Thank you Elder Obray and Limoncon!

 This is all the MLC waiting reverently for Elder Ardern to arrive on Tuesday.  They were all there 45 minutes early!  Amazing missionaries!  Parents...they are incredible!  Thank you for preparing them so well to serve.

These are bags of mail for each zone.  Thanks for sending letters & emails!

Angel, our helper, and the sister missionaries put together lunches for each of the missionaries to take with them after the meeting was over.

 Angel is everyone's favorite!  She cooks and bakes Filipino, American or whatever food you prefer.  She cooks for the missionaries whenever we have large gatherings, or special guests.  (The Arderns teased us about living the law of consecration and sharing her with them.  :))

Our first conference of the mission tour was Wednesday on Palawan, in Puerto Princessa.  It was wonderful to see the missionaries again.  We were especially excited to see the new elders and sisters and find out how happy they are.  President and Sister Hiatt had arranged everything so nicely.  It went very smoothly.  We are so grateful for their service on the island!

          Elder and Sister Ardern really enjoyed meeting the sisters and elders.

         Elder and Sister Wirthlin are treasures!  They so faithfully and humbly serve the members and people in their area.  The children in their neighborhood throng them when they come home.  They make such a difference here!

Zone conferences happen only four times a year, and mission tours are once a year.  Each of those occasions are opportunities for us to make sure they have a good meal!

These are all the missionaries currently serving on Palawan.They are the Narra Zone and Puerto Princessa Zone.  President and Sister Hiatt are sitting to our right as you look at the picture.  President Hiatt is one counselor in the Mission Presidency.  The other counselor is President Angoy who is seated on the second row, third from the left.   President Ostler couldn't ask for better counselors.  They take care of so many issues on the island of Palawan. They are such consecrated couples. They are such a blessing to us!

Thursday, we met with half of the zones in Manila.  We met in the Makati chapel.  We had a wonderful session.  President and Sister Ardern shared their conversion stories.  Sister Ardern's parents were both converts.  Her mom joined the church in New Zeland but was inactive because there were no branches to attend anywhere nearby.  In her adult years, missionaries found her name and contacted her.  She readily became active again.  Her husband, Sister Arden's father, had been playing basketball for years with the missionaries, but none had asked him if he would be interested in hearing about the church until a new missionary finally asked him.  He soon took the lessons and joined the church. Their family reveres those elders.

Elder Ardern was taught the gospel as a young man.  The missionary who baptized him was soon transferred, so Elder Ardern credits a lot of his staying active to the missionary who continued to friendship him after his baptism.  He took personal interest in Elder Ardern as a young man, and even gave him his bike when he returned home from his mission.  Elder Ardern honors that missionary.  They shared their stories to help the elders and sisters realize what a difference they make in the lives of the investigators.  Sometime it's hard to see the long term affect.

Here is a line of elders patiently waiting for lunch after they allowed all the sisters to go first.  They are such gentlemen!

We have discovered the truth that, for a Filipino, a meal is not a meal unless rice is served with it.

                  Elder and Sister Duford (who arrived a month ago) serve on a remote island next to Palawan, called Coron.  They are working with a branch that was really struggling, and now there are more people attending than are even members in the area!  They have so much enthusiasm for the work!  If every couple in the church could just see what they are able to do for the community they are in, they would come on a mission as soon as possible!  It's just amazing to watch.

Elder and Sister Paine work in the office and basically do everything possible to support us...from taking us to get driver's licenses to pizza for the missionaries and getting plane tickets to playing the organ and teaching gospel essentials.  We are soooooooo blessed with couples!!!

Elder and Sister Northrup take care of all of our housing needs.  The past transfer, they had to find and set up seven new apartments!  That is a horrendous task in a place like Manila!  They visit each apartment of elders or sisters, do apartment checks and give them a spiritual message and a house keeping message.  They are so faithful and quietly serve.  This mission has been soooooo blessed by their presence in many ways.

Elder and Sister Theler work in the office.  Elder Theler takes care of all of the finances.  He is very meticulous and feels a genuine need to care for the Lord's money wisely.  He does it with such compassion and kindness that all who know him love him.  Sister Theler is the office receptionist, the mission nurse, the language study coordinator, the office secretary, the organizer, and basically whatever we need or could dream of.

                                     Amazing Manila Missionaries

Friday was our last day of the mission tour.  What an incredible group of missionaries and what an amazing day we had being taught by the Arderns.  It truly was a blessing to our mission to have them come.  We have been encouraged and inspired to become better tools in the Lord's hands.

Sister & Elder Jensen are self-reliance missionaries assigned to our mission.

What a feast it has been!  Even better than the physical feast was the spiritual feast!  We have each been given much food for thought.  We have been encouraged to ponder what we have learned and each choose five specific goals to work on personally and five to work on as a companionship.

                            The rest of the Marvelous Manila Missionaries!

                                           Our "Super-Kind Trainers"