Monday, January 6, 2014

Going fishing! Running from the rain!

Dear Family,
I would like to start by saying I was floored by the pictures of all the snow.  I can’t believe the amount of snow over there.  You would think that people just wouldn’t build towns in places like that.  Chillan never gets snow.  I have asked a lot of different people about the weather here, and it only snowed once in the last 20 years or so.  And it was just a little that melted the same day.  

There is an awesome family here, the mother has been to the temple, but the father isn’t a member.  His name is Adolfo, he works as a Sergeant in the Chilean Army, and he is a really cool guy.  Anyway, he has been going to church on and off for several years.  He is just starting to really read the Book of Mormon, and he started in 3 Ne 11.  What a great place to start!  Anyway, he loves to fish, especially for trout.  He offered to take us fishing next Monday, in an area just loaded with trout in the 12-16 inch region.  He says they aren’t big, but there are tons of them.  It is close to a tiny little town called Pinto.  We have permission to go and it should be a lot of fun.  I will take pictures.  Hopefully we can hook him on the Gospel and at the same time hook some fish.

Miracle of the week:  We were having trouble finding new people to teach this week.  As we were walking down a street we almost never walk down, because it is about 5 min out of the way, there was a member who started to leave the house of a friend.  We crossed the street (it is called Marchant Street), house number 530, or close to that.  He was in a joking mood as he walked out of the house and got into his car, but he said, “Elderes!  Aqui! Enseñar ella.”  (Elders!  Here!  Teach her.)  He was laughing as he said it, and so was his friend, because she really wanted nothing to do with the church.  Anyway, we went and talked to her at her doorstep, and she said that nothing about the church interested her, that she had heard the missionaries several times before.  We then asked her about what was most important to her, and she said her family, especially her son.  We then said that “your family can be together forever” and her entire demeanor completely changed.  She changed the look on her face, and really wanted to listen.  We then taught her and her son about the Plan of Salvation, and asked them to be baptized.  They readily accepted baptism after we explained priesthood authority.  She is a devout Catholic, who goes to mass, and has the whole mass program memorized word for word.  We are excited for her and her son.  She told us that her husband is also Catholic, and she doesn’t think he will listen to us, but we want to meet with him anyway. The spirit was amazingly strong in the lesson, especially as we testified that Jesus Christ is our redeemer. She told us that she doesn’t get any spiritual satisfaction out of going to mass, but that she felt the spirit as we taught her.

Maria, one of our converts here has an uncle.  His name is Pablo, (or Paul).  He has been to church well over a dozen times, and actually doesn’t live in Chillan.  He lives in the Rancagua mission in Chile, but comes to visits his niece every month or so, and stays for a week or 2.  We have taught him a few times, and he is very receptive.  The thing is, he told us yesterday in church that he has cancer.  He said he wants to be baptized as soon as possible, because in this church they teach the same good things that he learned during his childhood, but one of the differences is that we teach families are forever.  We are anxious to hear the results of the medical tests, because they don’t yet know if it is terminal.  If it is terminal, we plan to teach him everything in a week and baptize him on the weekend.

I love you all,
Elder Withers

Dear Family,
So....we are officially into 2014!  How crazy!  We celebrated the new years by going out for ice cream and attempting (I say attempt because we didn’t have a recipe and they turned out strange) to make M&M cookies.  

We had cooler temperatures for a few days too!  The heat and humidity built up for about 2 weeks, and then the heavens just let down a huge down pour of rain.  It was beautiful.  On Thursday we were visiting a member, sitting on lawn chairs out in her yard under a tree.  It sounds kind of picturesque doesn’t it?  While we were out there, we could see huge, big, black clouds start to roll in.  At the beginning of the visit they were way out in the distance and it looked like the storm would be here by that night....but after half an hour, the clouds were right above us and the rain and wind was about to break loose any second.  We finished the lesson, and started to run.  We were too far from our apartment to make it, so we headed in the direction of a faithful member who lived close by.  In retrospect, I don’t know why we didn’t just stay at the first member’s house.....but oh well.  It was pretty windy while we were running, but it hadn’t started to rain we decided to go a little bit further to our next appointment with an investigator, and we made it just in time!  It was a blessing indeed....because the rain was nuts!  It all cleared out within an hour or so, but it cooled everything off for a couple days....which was such a blessing.  

Yesterday at church we didn’t have a single less active at church.  Not a single one.  And we only had Marissa, our investigator who is more faithful than most members at church....not any other investigators.  It was kind of a sad Sunday in that respect.  We feel like we work so hard, trying to new things to get people excited and interested in returning to church.....but yesterday there wasn’t anybody.  And the regular members are watching.  Sometimes it feels like finals week every Sunday.....because all the fruit from your work for the week is usually seen at church on Sunday.  But...that’s okay.  We will just try again this week.  

On Friday Chad and I hit our 6 month mark on the mission.  How crazy!!!  The time is flying.  There really isn’t much to write home about because I just barely emailed on Wednesday, so I think I will just start to send pictures that I have been meaning to send but have never had time.  

I love you all more than the number of Argentine kids who are given American names (Austin, Ashley Kevin, David, Jessica, and so on.... just pronounced with an Argentine accent so they sound a little different),

Hermana Withers    

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