Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Triple Threat

February 20, 2017

Dear Family,
What a week. I know I always say that, but this week has been busy and long, but good! It started Monday night when Sister Nilsson and I drove to Farmington (2 and a half hours away) to spend the night and pick up our new sister in the morning. We were invited to stay with the Farmington YSA sisters, and we needed to be there no later than 8:50. So we plan out our day and we were going to be right on time, and around 8:10 the assistants to the president called us and asked if we were going to make it, and we said yeah we're right on time. Then they told us we were supposed to be at the training meeting for all the trainers, which started at 8:00. We were never told that information, and even our district leader who gave us our travel itinerary didn't know about it.... long story short, we missed the memo and didn't make it to the meeting. And then we had a hard time finding the YSA sisters where we'd spend the night. It was a rough and stressful night, and everything that happened is so typical for Sister Nilsson and I. But it's okay, they gave us a paper of what they went over. I just feel bad for our trainee, because this is our first time training, not to mention we're both pretty new to the mission. I just finished my training one transfer ago. I'm just hoping Heavenly Father knows what he's doing :)

We got a new companion! Her name is Sister Dowd, from Saratoga Springs UT. She's super sweet and nice. We're lucky to have her! And I'm learning a lot by training a new missionary! It's crazy to watch her learn and grow, because I remember having to learn the things she's learning, and struggled with the same things she is. I just get to relearn these lessons! Which is really helpful :)

This week, on Wednesday, Courtney officially quit chewing!! He has chewed since he was 13, and now he's decided to quit. He's 32 and has the cutest 2 kids in the world. His daughter is Raylee, the 11 year old who wants to be baptized. We're still not sure if her mom will allow it. She's been brainwashed by her boyfriend who has been excommunicated. You would not believe the drama that has happened over the past few years in Monticello. I feel like I'm watching a crazy TV show where there's overload of drama and everybody's connected to it somehow, only it's real life. I'm pretty sure the song "I'm My Own Grandpa" was written by inspiration of Monticello UT. Everybody's related!!!

Also, something very exciting happened on Sunday! Amalio got the priesthood!!! He was ordained a priest!!! And the bishop has asked him to be his first assistant. You'd think that the young men would help him along and bring him to class, but Amalio's the one who has to drag his friends along to class. He's such an amazing person :)

One of the things we teach on a daily basis is to do CPR. It's not like the medical CPR where you help somebody breathe, but it's a similar concept. Spiritually, there are 3 absolutely essential things we need to do to stay alive. Church, Pray, and Read the scriptures. If we do these 3 things, I know we'll stay alive spiritually and have the energy necessary to overcome our challenges. I hope all of you take the time to do your CPR so you are strong and have the spirit in your life.

I know this church is true and if we do all we can to show our faith and follow Jesus Christ, then Heavenly Father will make up the difference. You are all so amazing! I love being a missionary, and I'm so glad I get to stay in Monticello! I LOVE the people here. I hope to stay as long as possible :)

I love you all more than the number of things I've learned as a missionary.

Sister Withers

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

No Sleep and a New Companion

Dear Family,

This week concluded this transfer, which means this is a new transfer. And we got transfer news on Saturday, and.... (drumroll..........) we're going to train a new sister :) We'll be a trio. Sister Nilsson came out one transfer before me, so neither of us have trained before, so we'll see how this goes, but I have full faith that things will go well. We meet her and pick her up tomorrow morning :) It's funny because President Adams didn't think this would happen, but he called before the normal transfer news call to ask us to train. I guess Heavenly Father had something else in mind. We're both super excited!

This week was a good one for sure! We had a lesson with Amalio's cousin Alieghya, and she accepted the invitation to be baptized!! We're going to work towards March 25, but it depends on if she can get off work to come to church. She's so ready for the gospel!!

There's this less active guy named Alan who moved to Monticello from Blanding (the neighboring town) and hasn't come to church because nobody reached out to welcome him or anything. Turns out, his records aren't even moved here, so that's why nobody knew about him. But we apparently were the first people to reach out to him. We had a lesson with him, and invited him to come to church, he was a little non-committal. The worst words a missionary can hear after you invite them to do something, and they say "We'll see" or "I'll try". And I just want to say "that was a yes or no question." but patience is a virtue. Anywho, HE CAME! It's always exciting to see a guy his age reach out and sit by him and then bring him to class!!!! Members make all the difference! I hope you're all doing your part in this work!

On Sunday, we go to the church and were talking people, and the guy in the bishopric walks up to us 10 minutes before sacrament meeting and asks us to speak. We said we were more than happy, and I was surprised how not scared I was. It must be a blessing of being a missionary. It went well, and we took the meeting to 5 minutes after the hour perfectly :)

Saturday night was really funny. Sister Nilsson and I both couldn't sleep, but I must have fallen asleep by midnight or so. Anywho, on a regular morning, the alarm goes off, Sister Nilsson checks the phone, and goes to the bathroom while I say my morning prayer. So, at one point in the night, she gets up, checked the phone, and went to the bathroom, and I thought it must be morning. Then she comes back in, and I had finished my prayer and just couldn't believe how tired I was, and she shines the phone light on me and tells me it's 12:51. Then we really couldn't sleep because we were laughing so hard! I was glad to get another few hours to sleep :)

We got stuck again, but honestly, I don't know if it would be a week if we didn't get stuck. The mud was thick. All the snow is melting, and it's making the roads difficult to work with. But, thank goodness we have 4wd! And, we got a new truck last week because our old one's 4wd gave out. They fixed it, and it turns out the problem was that it had so much dirt on the battery or something that the electric charge to turn on 4wd didn't engage. So yeah, that should tell you how much our poor trucks go through. But now we have a 2015 instead of 2014 Nissan Frontier. Did you know missions keep vehicles until they get to 60,000 miles? Crazy, huh?

I love you all more than the number of electrons that are used for electricity to engage 4WD.

I hope you all  have a lovely week :)
Sister Withers

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Amalio Was Baptized!!

Dear Family,

This week was just crazy! This week, AMALIO WAS BAPTIZED!! And it was just amazing! Our ward mission leader baptized him. We've had all the lessons in their home. He only has half of his right arm, so it was kind of funny to watch. And then he was confirmed on Sunday, and the whole ward basically bore testimony about missionary work and welcomed Amalio into the ward. It was amazing! (PS Mom, this ward mission leader is the guy who texted you, and he read the text and thought it was so funny how you said I'm your favorite, knowing I have 4 other siblings :) it made me happy) There were tons of people at his baptism! Half the chapel was full, and the baptism room was packed. He has a lot of support from this community! ANDDDD, the most exciting part of all: his nonmember dad and uncle and cousin were there, and the branch president in Eastland was there translating the whole meeting for his dad Humberto (because he only speaks a little English) and at the end, he turned and said this is something he wants for himself, and would like to also be baptized! And, his cousin who was there was in tears and said she wants to be baptized too. Amalio is doing amazing things for his friends and family!

 Brother Burt went through the temple and got his endowment!! He's in his 50s, and his wife had been excommunicated and finally got her blessings restored a few weeks ago, and they're going to be sealed in the temple this Thursday!!!! It's so exciting :)

We had a lesson with a lady who is a new investigator named Whitney. She's super nice and we had the lesson in a member's home. It was the dream set up, and then we found out she lives in the elders' area. So they'll teach her, but it's sad we won't get to work with her anymore. She's super ready for the gospel though!

We have dinner appointments basically every night without fail. We're very blessed. But, the only problem is everybody must think that nobody feeds us well, because we get fed roast and potatoes every day!! It's a little overwhelming, and we always smile and say thank you, but having it 4 out of 6 meals in one week is hard. So, if and when you have missionaries over, have a light and fruity meal. With no dessert, because brownies are also getting old.

As for Raylee, the 11 year old who wants to be baptized, we aren't sure what we can do. Her parents are divorced, and the dad is all for it, and the mom is a little hesitant. And there's a lot (A LOT) of drama that went down with their divorce, and that's playing in with this whole deal. So we're going to take a step back and just hope that eventually (hopefully soon) things will get resolved and she can be baptized.

And apparently the Superbowl was on Sunday. We kept trying people, and they just said sorry can you come back when the Superbowl isn't on? It was annoying. I kind of forget there's a world out there.

PS I forgot to tell you, but a few weeks ago Dad spoke in sacrament meeting, and I spoke probs at the same time. And we had like no notice either, but it worked. We filled up the hour, somehow!

I hope you're all doing well! I love you all more than the number of prayers that are said in one day all over the world!

Keep up the good work :)

Sister Withers

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Poor Excuses and Singing with Seniors

January 30, 2017

Hello Everyone!
 This week was pretty good! We Had a massive storm last Monday! It wasn't even snowing that hard, but the wind made huge drifts, and it was a little scary going home. Thankfully we made it without any major delays and all was good! We did get stuck again at one point though, the snow just pulls you further into the drifts, it's crazy! But now it's nice outside and it's even melting!

This Thursday, Amalio will be baptized!! He's so ready! He brings his less active and non member friends to his lessons, and they ask questions, and he answers them with the Book of Mormon! It's incredible!

We're still on stand by for Raylee. We went out to her mom's again with the intent of asking if she'll give Raylee permission to be baptized, but neither of us felt like it was the right time to ask, and so we just shared a message and hopefully her heart will be softened!

The same couple (the Helquists) that gave us elk meat fed us again and this time it was deer meat. It was super good though! I'm a fan :) Definitely different than anything else though. And they invited us back again!! Normally, we don't have dinners with the same people every few weeks let alone on a regular basis, but this is really good contact for them in the church, so we'll set up a regular schedule with them for dinners. And..... they came to church on Sunday!!!! We're excited for them!

We did meet with several less actives though, and it's amazing what kind of excuses people come up with for why they don't come anymore. One guy said he doesn't come because he doesn't have a wife to poke him and keep him awake. That pushed the wrong button for Sister Nilsson and I, and we patiently told him that he needs to come to church no matter what. He didn't come, but we'll keep trying to help him. One thing I've learned is that you make time for what you care most about. And it shows!

Also, we unexpectedly went to a senior center and joined the older folks in singing songs I've never heard in my life. By unexpectedly, I mean 2 old ladies we met last week were on their way and saw us walking and told us to get over there, and we didn't have any scheduled appointments, so we followed them over there. It was fun, and they were really nice and gave us lunch. It was a good opportunity to get to know the people here and so we'll try and go regularly.

Also, the Burts are going to go through the temple this week! It's amazing! Heavenly Father knows exactly what people need in their life to help them come back into the church.

I hope you all have a good week! :) The church is true! I love you more than the number of times I tell people where I'm from and how long I've been out! It happens like 3-4 times/day!

Love you all so much!

Sister Withers

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Snow, Elk Meat and Success!

January 23, 2017

This week was pretty good! We went to Cortez for exchanges which is always fun! Sister Nilsson was really happy because that was her last area, and she loved it there. She loves Monticello too, but that was her first area. She's only been out 6 weeks longer than me. And everybody here has some sort of connection to SLC, and it's funny to see how many people they know in common. Haha, Sister Codner (the member we stay with) is the grandmother to one of her high school classmates... It's super funny to see how small this world really is.

We had dinner with a less active couple, and they're so nice! The husband has been gone for a while, but he invited us over for dinner! Which is exciting, because most less actives don't want to bother with missionaries. (And having dinner is exciting too. We have a dinner appointment EVERY NIGHT here in Monticello. We're so blessed!) He's a big hunter, and I had elk meat for the first time. It was actually really good! It tasted a lot like beef. And then, he invited us to come back for dinner!!! So we'll see them again this weekend, and he said it will be deer meat this time. So many new foods for me :) Long story short, there's exciting stuff happening around these parts!

There's an investigator named Janee in Dove Creek who has had the lessons before, but for some reason, they didn't continue. But we've taught her a few lessons over the past 3 weeks, and she's really interested! Hopefully this continues to go in the right direction :)

Another investigator, Raylee, is wanting to be baptized. But since she's not 18 yet, we need both parent's permission. Her dad (Courtney) is a returning less active, and one of my most favorite people to teach, and is all for it. Her mom is Baptist, and is a little unsure. Please pray for her to be okay with Raylee being baptized! We finally found where she lives though! I think I'm becoming a local Monticello-ite because addresses mean nothing here. The way they give directions around here is always relative to where somebody else lives. I also have my north south east and west down!

There's a lady in our area who was at one point ex-communicated (a ton of people here have been ex-communicated!) and she was re-baptized a few years ago, and this past week, she got her temple blessings restored!!!! To get them restored, they don't go through the temple again. It's kind of like a priesthood blessing, but different. Anyway, it's super exciting and she's going to go through the Monticello temple with her husband (who hasn't been through the temple before!). But the temple is doing it's yearly cleaning, so they have to wait 2 weeks! What timing! But it's still exciting :)

There has been SO MUCH SNOW here!!! So much snow! Saturday morning, there was about 8 inches, and we didn't even make it out of our driveway for a good hour and a half. We got stuck at the end of the driveway where the county road snow plow piles is piled up right in front of our driveway, and there's no opening. We spent a lot of time digging out the truck and pushing and using wood for traction. We keep a few bags of salt and a shovel in the bed of the truck in case anything like that happens again. I'm just hoping and praying we'll make it in tonight, because right now, there's a major storm going on. And the wind is the worst. It woudn't be that bad if it was just snow, but since we live in Eastland, which is a few houses in the middle of farmland and fields, the snow just blows, and the drifts cover the road. And we have 5 miles off the highway of that beautiful stuff. By the end of the day, there's a good few feet of snow to go through.... Your prayers would be much appreciated :)

Amalio is going to be baptized on Feb 2!!! We're so excited for him!! His interview was yesterday, and everything is all set and ready to go! He's about as golden as gold gets. We're so happy for him!

I hope you're all having a fabulous week and that you keep up the good work! I hope you can travel safe on the roads and that you don't get stuck like we did :)

I love you more than the number of times snow plows it takes to plow all the snow in Boise and Southern Utah this winter!


Sister Withers

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mysterious Food and Puppies

January 16, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

I cannot believe how much snow you all got!! That's amazing! And 6 snow days?! That's unheard of! Are you sure you're in Boise and not MN? I hope you don't get stuck in it on the roads!

Thanks for all your emails, I look forward to them each week!

I hope all's going well up there! This week was super good! We're going to start having 2 lessons with Amalio each week so he can be ready for baptism on Feb 2nd. It's a Thursday because all his friends in school want to be there, but there's a big school event Saturday night, so we're going with Thursday :) anywho, he brought a non-member friend and a less-active friend to the lessons this week! He's already a missionary!! This kid is absolutely amazing. If there was ever anybody ready for the gospel, it's him. And we had another lesson with the Hickmans, their mom is less active and the rest of the family is non-members. We did a soft baptism invite (soft baptism = we invite them to be baptized but don't put them on date). The lesson was really powerful! Being a missionary is so special because you get to teach people about Jesus Christ and half the time, you don't know what you're going to say, but you can feel the spirit and you open your mouth, and somehow you're talking and you can tell the people needed to hear that. I love it!

We were in a lesson this week and at the very end, their dog got loose and came running through the house, and ran right past Sister Nilsson and I and peed on her feet!! But somehow missed me, and I was right next to her! I felt bad, but it was also really funny! The people were nice and gave her a clean set of socks to put on.

We had a lesson with a less active and her non member friend. It was an interesting experience. We sang Christmas songs and then they came out of the kitchen with spaghetti and bread with mysterious flavoring. It was one of those meals where you have to smile and say thank you, and eat it all. It was rough, I have no idea what was really on that bread, but it wasn't like anything I ever ate before... And then they gave us pictures they took of people at the Christmas party a month ago. We just smiled and said thanks. It's interesting being a missionary, you really learn to love anybody!

I hope you're all doing well and keeping up with all your busy schedules and such!

Sister Withers

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Blessings of 4 Wheel Drive

January 9, 2017
This week was pretty good! It was really different getting a new companion. My new comp is Sister Nilsson. She's from SLC, and she's super fun! I was really sad to see Sister Steadman leave. I really loved working with her and learning from her, but Sister Nilsson is just as good :) I hope you all are surviving your crazy storms in Boise! We had a minor snow storm here in Monticello on Thursday, but it started raining today. It was weird because it's winter and it's been super cold lately, but it still rained. I'm a little worried for tomorrow after everything freezes tonight, but fear not, our truck has 4wd. Speaking of which, I'm so glad we have a truck, and that it has 4wd!! We would not be able to go anywhere without it! We use it to get out of the driveway, and we had to use it again on the road. We have about 2 miles of dirt road, and it was sooo deep with mud!

Funny story- I felt a little dumb this week when we were about to go try somebody, and so we parked on the side of the road. Monticello is a small enough town that you can park on the left side and nobody cares. So, I parked on the left side, but for some reason this time I thought I better park on the right side. I flipped a u-turn and parked on the other side. The people we were trying to visit weren't there, so we got back in the truck, and I realized that even though I flipped around, we were still on the left side of the road.... Haha we laughed at that for a long time.

I decided to start this transfer with a purification process. Sister Steadman and I were going to do it together, but then she got transferred. But we're still doing it, just apart from each other. It's a 40 day fast, but it's not from food. It's a fast from behaviors or thoughts or anything like that. So I've been trying to do that, and it's hard but I can tell it's making a difference. You should try it sometime :)

This week we were able to have another lesson with Amalio. He decided he wants to be baptized, we're working towards Feb 4! We're so happy for him!! And he came to church yesterday all by himself!! His friends who are members who we've been having the lessons in their home were out of town, but he still came! It's amazing to see how the gospel can really bless people's lives and help them to have new desires to change and become better people. Hector is still doing great, and Raylee is too. But we have to get permission from her mom for her to be baptized, but we can't find where she lives. Time is running short in this situation, because she wants to be baptized on Feb 18, which is coming up!!

I really miss being able to go to the temple. Do you appreciate the temple? I hope you all take the time to go and feel the sweet spirit there. I have to wait til September before we missionaries in our mission can go again. I'm so glad I got to be a worker in the temple before I came, because I probably wouldn't remember anything.

I hope you all are doing well and that you're getting back into the groove of things with school starting. I'm glad you got an extra long break because of the snow. Snow days are always so exciting :) I love you all more than the number of times we would be stuck without 4wd!


Sister Withers