Monday, February 16, 2015


This was a really hard group to let go home!  They were incredible and dedicated missionaries!  We miss you!

2015-02-16 President's Message

49 The Hope of a New Morning
Dear Sisters and Elders,

The Gospel of Luke records the heart wrenching scene of the Savior of the World being cruelly tortured and crucified. As I read and pondered these events my focus turned this time to his mother and the other faithful women who "bewailed and lamented him." In spite of his personal anguish, He had compassion on them, saying: "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep; not for me, but weep; for yourselves, and for your children." He foresaw the terrible destruction of Jerusalem that was to come within a few years.

I imagined how they sorrowed and wept as He finally cried out: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit!" and then died. The women followed the men to see as they carried his body to the "sepulchre (grave), and how his body was laid."

All of their hopes and dreams were laid in the sepulchre. He had spoken of rising again and other future events, but they did not understand. No one had ever risen from the dead and all they knew, and felt, was deep, deep sadness.

Out of love and respect, still deeply grieving, they arose on the "first day of the week, very early in the morning, [and] came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared." This is when things did not go as they had planned. They found that the large stone, which had been rolled over the entry to the sepulchre, had been rolled away. "And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus." Imagine their surprise and confusion. Imagine their disappointment and anger that someone had stolen the body of their Lord.

Then, all of a sudden, "two men stood by them in shining garments; And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee?"

Imagine the joy that began to enter their minds. Imagine the hope that began to fill their hearts! Could it be true? Could it be that He, whose terrible death they had witnessed with their own eyes, was alive again?

(This morning as I watched the sun rise early in the morning I could feel some of the hope they must have felt. The hope of a new day. The hope of life and health and peace and strength through the sacrifice and resurrection of our Lord.)

The women at the sepulchre quickly ran and told the disciples what had happened. They didn't believe them at first, but Peter ran to the sepulchre and saw for himself that it was empty. Later, Christ appeared to all of them. His first words were: "Peace be unto you." These are the first words He would say to each of us: "Peace be unto you."

Like the disciples, we do not always open our hearts to his love and peace; at least not immediately. They were "terrified and affrighted, and supposed they had seen a spirit." But he showed them His hands and feet, letting them touch Him. Only then did their feelings begin to change, but still "they yet believed not for joy, and wondered..."

When will we allow ourselves to receive the joy and peace that comes from Him? When will we let the joy of the Gospel of Peace settle into our souls?

Finally, after spending time with them, teaching them and blessing them, the disciples received the peace and joy He offered. "And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy: And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God."

Elders and Sisters, many of the people we teach are downtrodden and depressed by the difficulty of their lives. Others are consumed with worldly things and are distracted. Others have hope in their hearts but don't know where to turn. Ours is the great opportunity to show them the joy of the empty tomb and the risen Lord. We testify that there is truly a Jesus Christ who paid for our sins, who suffered for our sufferings and who opened the gates of death so that we can be resurrected and live with our Father again.

As you teach and testify this week, may your hearts be filled with great joy. May your testimonies ring with the happiness that comes from the great Plan of Happiness.

With love and hope,

President Ostler

2015-02-09 President's Message

                                       I Know He Lives

Dear Elders and Sisters,

I want you to know that I know God is there. I know that He lives. I know that He loves us and cares about us. I have felt His love many times.

I have felt His happiness as I have shared the gospel with His children.

I have felt His power and strength as He has used me to give priesthood blessings.

I have seen miracles: healing physical disease, the birth of babies, healing broken hearts, healing deep sins, healing abuse and neglect.

I have felt His love through the scriptures...that peaceful reassurance that the scriptures are designed to bring me back home to Him.

I have felt the blessings of the Atonement of His Son in my life.

I felt His power and strength as Elder Hales set me apart for this calling.

I felt His power and strength as Elder Bowen set apart Sister Ostler.

I have felt so clearly His great love for each of you.

I have felt His sadness and disappointment when we fall short, but at the same time, His endless mercy and hope for us.

I know He lives. I know it, not because of one or two huge spiritual experiences. I know it because of a thousand thousand "little miracles."

I thank Him for the opportunity to serve Him here in this beautiful Land of Promise. I thank Him extra for the great blessing of serving with you.

May He bless you with the faith, the strength and the humility to serve Him with all your heart.

Mahal ko po kayo,

President Ostler


Last week, our sisters had the opportunity to meet a group of "sisters".  What a wonderful experience it was for faithful sisters to meet with faithful sisters. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

2015-02-14 Aerial View of Manila Mission

This is an aerial view of Makati which is where the mission home and mission office are.  The mission home is in the housing at the bottom of the picture in a lovely neighborhood.  The mission office and Makati church building are near the middle of all the tall buildings. The areas around it comprise the rest of the mission.  Our mission is a very densely populated area.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

2015-02-10 and 11

The past two days have been pretty emotional.  There is nothing like getting to know incredible, wonderful missionaries and watching them grow and become even better......then having to say goodbye.     It really tears at the heart strings.   The only things that helps is when I know they are going home to loving family.

Thank you, families, for sharing your son or your daughter with us.  Our live are forever better because of their faithfulness.  You can receive them home with great honor.

What a treat it was to meet Elder Washburn's parents!

Sisters going home.
          Wonderful Elders.....

  Why is that each time a group leaves, we feel like we are losing some of our best missionaries?

 Elder and Sister Northrup and the missionaries they love and serve.

After a session at the Manila temple, visiting the American Cemetery and talking about what they had sacrificed for during their missions and what they are willing to sacrifice for so they can have eternal life, we had a delicious dinner made by Angel. 

Then President Ostler counseled with our beloved missionaries, one more time.  That was followed by a tearful testimony meeting.

President Ostler taught them using Howard Lyon's painting about choosing faith over fear, about "going to the front of the boat" or going to the Savior with our challenges instead of trying to do it all ourselves without his enabling power.

Then, it was off to spend the night at a hotel till they were picked up early the next morning by an area van to be taken to the airport.
Farewell to a wonderful, faithful group of Heavenly Father's children!

Early the next morning.......we picked up a group of four lovely sister missionaries from Tonga, Australia and the Philippines.

                  New Missionaries and Their Trainers

                    New Missionary Orientation
Nervous trainers get ready to train nervous new missionaries.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

2014-January & Beginning of February

 January's Mission Leadership Council came quickly after the Christmas and New Year's celebrations.The Elders and Sisters from Palawan unexpectedly got to spend the night at the missionhome. It's always good to see the Elders' hearts are in the right place.

 It was so fun to have a bigger family for our evening gospel study!

Then, came interviews with the President.  While waiting for interviews, the missionaries attended classes on Exercising More Faith Through Prayer (taught by the Sister Training Leaders), Ideas for Making Language Study Fun (taught by the Assistants to the President) and How to Write a Talk (taught by Sister Ostler).  We hope the things they learned will be a great blessing to them throughout their lives.
 Here, they are trying to "build a house" without any pattern or instructions, just using a bunch of random pieces of paper.
           Some missionaries got pretty creative.  This one was 3D.

 The short activity helped us realize how hard it is to build something that you don't have a pattern or directions for, especially if you don't know what it's supposed to look like.  We then learned a "blueprint" for "building" a talk.

 The Assistants had a great time teaching the missionaries some fun games they can play during language study and while walking that will increase and stretch their abilities to think and speak in their non-native language.

 These lovely sisters came and helped make cinnamon rolls on their preparation day for another zone's activity later that day.

      This Zone made great strides in reaching their OYM goals.  It is always so much fun to have the missionaries over.  They are so cheerful, helpful and cooperative.  It seems to provide a much needed break for them.

Then, it was time for Mission Leadership Council again!
         Two of our Sister Training Leaders taught us and directed fun activities to help us learn how to teach all the missionaries to budget their money.

They did a wonderful job, and all the Elders and Sisters shared great ideas.  They are an exceptional group of Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders.  Eight of them will be going home the second week of February!