Friday, October 4, 2013

Rebecca got her visa!!! Chad is not so sure about free haircuts

Just found out yesterday that Rebecca got her VISA!!!  Not sure when she will be leaving.  I will post travel plans as soon as we find out specifics.  For friends and neighbors following this blog, she has a first cousin, Elder Hill who is serving in the Argentina Rosario Mission and has been there since July.  We are hoping they see each other sometime and we look forward to hearing about an exciting reunion as they work with the wonderful people in Argentina. 

Sept 30, 2013

Dear Family,
The letter last week was quite a downer, I know.  That was how the week started, not how it finished.  This week was one of the most successful weeks I have had so far.  We found 12 new investigators.  Some of these 12 are more investigative than others, but one of them is really ready.  She has absolutely no family, an orphan without any uncles, siblings, grandparents or any family that she knows about.  It is hard to teach about how the gospel blesses families, and what an eternal family is when the person has no family.  We gave her a tour of the chapel, and then in the family history center taught the restoration, and she accepted the baptismal invitation.  She went to the baptismal service of the other ward to watch (she got there an hour early because she was so excited), and then went to the English class at the church.  She stayed the whole 3 hours in church on Sunday.  
Sunday was really good, and we met our goal of 3 investigators in church, which hadn’t happened for a while.  
Elder Vàsquez is pretty cool.  He already set up a Christmas tree in our study room, he says he loves Christmas and keeps his Christmas tree up year round.  He knows how to cut missionary hair and does it for free, so that is great.  Hmmm… interesting.  I wonder why it is free.
My Spanish is improving rapidly, and my leaders tell me that quite often.  It took a while for my ears to get accustomed to the fast and sloppy style of Chilean Spanish, but I can order a hamburger, tell a taxi driver where to take us, and talk to a member on the phone, and all in Spanish.  The longer the sentences that people speak, the harder it is because long sentences usually involve more grammar and I haven’t learned all the grammar yet.  I am able to say almost all of what I would like to say.
I love you all,
Elder Withers


Dear Family,
This week was great!  It was also a fairly unusual week.  We had so many meetings, and had to travel quite a bit.

We also went on exchanges, and I was the one who left little old Leesburg and experienced a driving mission for a day.  It was so different!  The sister training leaders are the ones who go on exchanges with us, and their area is huge, covering cities like Vienna, Arlington, Bea Vista and a few others.  They have to spend a lot of time driving (in traffic that is beyond insane) so they don't get to meet as many people.  But at the same time they are covering huge cities so they have more Hispanics overall to work with, even if they are far apart.  It was just a different experience, and I think I like walking better.  So with gallivanting in a new area, and going to Centerville twice this week, I spent a ton of time traveling!

There are two sister missionaries who were called to Rosario but then reassigned to the Washington DC South mission.... and when I got here they had been here for 8 months!!  Well, about 2ish weeks ago (whenever the Rosario mission has their transfer) they got to go because their visas finally came!  I was so excited and reassured to know that visas are still coming for people.

Thanks for the skirt and Cadbury eggs.  You have no idea how perfect that skirt is.  It matches tons of things I brought, has a cute pattern, and is some nice variety.  THANK YOU SO MUCH.  I love it.  And thanks for sending that book to me, I am so excited to use it.  Verb conjugations are my biggest problem.  I almost always use the right verbs and nouns with the right order, but for the life of me I can't put things in the right tenses....so I look like an idiot and then people get confused.  Just kidding, it’s not that bad (: My Spanish has improved so much this transfer.  I am not anywhere near fluent, but I can speak much better.  It has also really helped that my companion is a champ at Spanish.  She is 1/2 Thai, so she didn't learn it at home, but she went on a study abroad with BYU to Spain, so she is really great with helping me.  

The names Woodbury and Withers are quite a struggle for the Hispanics out here.  They say Hermana "Wudboory" and Hermana "Wheat Hairs."  Sometimes they want us to try and teach them to say it like we say it, and if they ask we try......but their tongues and mouths literally can't do it.  It's kind of fun to help people learn English...but I also feel grateful everyday that I know it.

To Chad - I can't believe you gagged down a whole glass of vinegar.  How did you do it?  At this point, you are totally winning the award for most bizarre thing eaten.  

The other day we knocked on the door of a family who we are teaching, and they had just started dinner.  They invited us in, told us to sit down, and they put a truckload of food in front of us, a can of coke, and a bottle of water.  It was so much food and really good but also I have no idea what it was....some sandwich thing stuffed with chicken (fat and bones and all...Hermana Woodbury was picking stuff out of her teeth for a few minutes), with a sauce and then radishes, tomatoes, and lettuce.  They had friends over too, so it was quite the crowd.  The men ate first, and as guests they made us eat with the men.  Then the kids ate, and then the women.  It was a little bizarre to not be helping in the kitchen or something until the other women could eat....but I am trying really hard to embrace and love different cultures even though I don't understand a lot of the things they do.

The Elders in our district had a baptism this week for a young guy whose mom was baptized a few months ago.  It was awesome!  It really went off without a hitch and we were able to get one of our investigators and her kids there, which was awesome.  During the in between time when they were drying off and changing clothes, the Elders asked us to teach the Restoration to the people who had showed up and were just waiting.  My companion did it in English and I did it in Spanish, and it was great.  If there is anything I know in Spanish, it’s the Restoration, my testimony, and how to pray (:

The general Relief Society meeting was this last Saturday, and the stake put on a dinner before the broadcast started.  We rounded up a member to come with us and promised that there would be free food and translation in Spanish.  We get to the dinner, and in Spanish she is like "What is this... American food?"  Me, "Yeah....do you want some soup with bread?"  Rosa says, "Ya hermanita, ya....ya ya hermanita ya."  She said, "Ya hermanita" like 7000 times that night and now my companion and I think it is so funny we say it too.  So she goes to one table, picks up a bowl and points to a soup, picks up another bowl and points to a different soup, swipes a stack of bread like she is worried it won't be there if she comes back, and she marches us towards a table.  She then mixes the soups together and says, "It's much better this way, before the soups were gross."  Ha....I thought it was good!

I don't know why I sometimes forget this, but of course not everyone loves American food!  One lady we run into all the time always jokes that all Americans ever eat is cereal with milk and macaroni and cheese.  Even though these Hispanics are living in America, they hold pretty tight to their culture and food and language.  

To Sam....guess what?  There is an Elder in my mission (he is one of the Spanish AP's) and he is from Peru.  He is a little bit older (26) and learned English here in America.  He said that when he was younger, about 12 or 13...his soccer team played against Messi's soccer team!!!!!  How crazy?  I just had to tell you that.  He said Messi's team slaughtered theirs but they still had fun (:

Apparently El Salvador is really dangerous right now...is this true?  Why is there such a motivation to leave that country?  I wish you could see how many El Salvadorians actually live here.  It's so many.  Everyone from their home country recognizes the church though. Sometimes we will ask, "Did you use to see young guys with white shirts and ties?"  and 99% of the time they say yes.

When we are texting members or investigators, sometimes it turns into a game of mad gab.  They don't really know how to spell, so they just phonetically type out the words....and we end up getting messages with words like "ola" "por k" "si kieren" and we have gotten into the habit of one of us reading the message really fast to see if we can make any sense of it, and the other carefully listening to put the whole thing together.  It's pretty fun (: 

I love you all lots....and I know that you are sacrificing a lot for me to serve a mission.  
I love you more than all of the cars in traffic (which is a like a hundred bajillion!) 

Hermana Withers


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