Monday, November 25, 2013

Tools in the Master's Hands, and To Rosario and Back

November 25, 2013

Dear Family,
I had a lot of fun last Monday with a small can of sprite.  I bought it for about $.90 USD, as a mini soda (Minnesota).  Fun times!!

This week has been great.  Jorge was baptized.  Cristobal, a ward missionary baptized him on Saturday, and I confirmed him in church this Sunday.  It was a really neat experience to teach him, as well as his family.  Jorge is a good 14 year old, and will receive the Aaronic Priesthood shortly.  His mom is active now, and has an assignment in the Primary.   She is Cuban, but left the Island to marry Jorge`s father in Bolivia.  She found the church in Bolivia.  She later divorced, and is now living with a guy named Oscar.    He isn’t a member, but we have been working with him for a few weeks.  He is married to someone else, but doesn’t want to divorce, because his real wife will take a big chunk of his fortune.  Oscar is a wealthy man, has a diagnosis of severe depression, and has panic strikes.  He drinks like a sailor (he actually was a sailor for a lot of years), and smokes 2 packs a day.  We are helping him though by setting goals with him, and assigning him passages in the Book of Mormon.  A big help for him was Ether 12, he loved that chapter.  It will take a lot of work, but he can put his life back on track.  

I want you all to know that I am going to hand write letters (I will write legibly) to all of you.  I don’t know when I should send them, because you might be moving back to the land of your inheritance by the time the Chilean government is done sorting the mail.  

Do you remember a while back, when I said my companion was hard to work with?  I would like to say something.  I have learned so much these past 2 transfers with Elder V.  I have learned how to be happy no matter where I am.  I really struggled with him for more than a month, but we are good friends now.  We both have made a lot of improvements.  We have a lot of fun together and laugh every day.  I am glad that I have the chance to work with him.

We are working with an awesome family right now.  The parents have been married for 16 years, and have 3 great kids.  We are sure the mother and the oldest son are going to join the church.  The dad and the daughter might need more time.  We don’t want to baptize half of a family, so we are going to keep working with the father and the daughter, hoping that they are like how Bishop  Hidalgo was.  

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:  “In our callings we are tools in the hands of the Lord.  We are wrenches, screw drivers, hammers, drills, saws, and chisels.  We fulfill our purpose only when we allow the master mechanic to work through us.  He needs sharp saws, heavy hammers, and drills that drive clean through.  We must offer our best selves to the Lord.  Be a clean chisel.  Be a willing wrench.”  -Chad

I love you all more than the number of times it says in the scriptures ``ask and ye shall receive``.  
Elder Chad Withers

Dear Family,

This week was so fun!  On Monday we traveled to Parana and spent the night with the Hermanas there, and then Tuesday morning finished our journey to Rosario for the conference and training.  The conference was so fun!  There were all sorts of great talks and messages, musical numbers, and activities.  They gave us a feast for a lunch, and one of the activities was to make paper dresses out of periodicals and model them.  It really was so fun and I am so glad we could make it.  It’s a 6 hour ride by collective (bus) to Rosario for meetings like that are a big deal and take about 2 days in total with the traveling.  We didn’t end up going to the mission home so I wasn’t able to see if my packages or envelopes came....but the zone leaders are going to Rosario end of this week or next week, so I should get them soon if they are here.  I hope they are.....I have been praying every night that they can make it since I know you guys put so much time into it, and I am really excited to get mail of some sort from the States.  

I am doing very well and staying healthy.  We have lunch appointments every single day and we are fed an absolute mountain of food every time.  Everyone always gives us more food than they give themselves.  And by the end of each meal you start to feel so full that you are uncomfortable.  It’s all really good food.....but after a while it starts to become unpleasant just because it’s so much in one sitting.  Portion control doesn’t exist here.  But you can all be proud that I have eaten everything I have been served (people dish up our plates for us, they don’t let us do it ourselves) and I have eaten all of it.  Sometimes we walk away feeling eligible to participate in the next episode of Biggest Loser....but with all the walking and sweating in the heat it works out.  

Summer is just about here and you can feel it.  Most kids here get out of school this upcoming Friday, and the humidity from the Parana River is thick.  We are drinking so much water during the day, and chocolate milk for a treat at night.  We live good lives (:  And on P days we like to stop by the best ice cream joint around (Gridos) for a cone (served with a spoon!)

I am also sharpening my ping pong skills.  Every P day after all of our weekly errands we usually go to the chapel for an hour or two and play ping pong with the Elders.  It’s pretty fun!

We are still on operation strengthen the branch and sometimes we can see the fruits of our labors, and sometimes not.  Overall we think it’s growing but it is just really slow.  With time the church will be strong here, I have to remember that the church isn’t going to magically be strong here in just one transfer.  I just need to do my best and trust that the Lord is in charge of everything....we are just His instruments.

We had a member go out with us last night to introduce us to one of her friends.  Afterwards we did some contacting with her, and she took us to this random house where one of her other friends lived.  Turns out the lady had moved a while back and this huge shirtless man opened the door.  You’d have to know this lady to really appreciate this experience but she’s a super charismatic mother of 11 kids with absolutely no shame.  She started talking to him about random things about the gospel (we need to talk with her about how to contact when she comes with us...sometimes she’s too helpful) and she ended up saying.........It doesn’t matter that you are all dirty, we just have a quick message we need to share with you.   Haaaaaaaaa.....thanks lady.  She really is a great and faithful member, one of the few we have....but really.  Some of the things she says aren’t so wonderful.  I don’t think the man was offended, but my comp and I just looked at each other with wide eyes as she was talking, trying to make sure we were hearing her right.  All in all it was a funny experience.  Definitely going to work with her on that.  

I really do love this work.  It’s the most satisfying endeavor I have ever engaged in.  It is really hot (warmer than Rosario I think....we have the river right by us to make everything SUPER humid), and the culture is really different.....and despite all this, it’s still great.  The Book of Mormon is true, Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, the Church has been restored, and we have a latter day prophet.....and so with this terrific knowledge we work hard.....hoping that our efforts will help someone.  I’m really grateful I know it’s true.....I don’t think it would be worth it to me to do all of this if it weren’t.  But I know it’s true, so here I am in a little house in Argentina writing to you all about my week on a tiny little computer all in Spanish!  It’s all an adventure!

Have a fun week this week!  Thanksgiving is so fun.  It is so weird to think that the holiday season is coming up in the states…. the seasons really are opposite!  I love you all lots and lots and lots - More than all people who have big beautiful TVs in their little shacks!

Hermana Withers 

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