Monday, February 24, 2014

Still working hard, Progress seems slow

Dear Family,
This week was awesome.  It started off slow, but we decided to just be happy, have faith, and work as hard as we can.  We are doing something called “hablar con todos” (talk with everyone) and it really works.  The idea is that we contact as many people as possible as we go between appointments.  Last night there was an older guy who was going to buy some bread with his grandson.  We were kind of on the fence about wanting to talk to him, but we decided we would.  He was amazingly nice, and we are going to go visit him this week.  Also, we are teaching a guy named Ivan, and he has one of the most impressive beards I have ever seen.  It is big and evenly parted, and he has a huge handlebar mustache to go with it.  The week didn’t have any crazy stories, but it was still a great week.  It was awesome to see one of the recent converts come to church, after not coming for 3 months or so.  The members did a good job of welcoming him back.  I am happy, and I think Chile  is a pretty cool place.  I know that this church is true, and that God loves us. 

I love you all, more than the number of snowflakes that made the winter Olympics possible.
With love,
Elder Withers

Dear Family,
Truthfully this week was long.  There were also lots of bright spots in the week though too.  Best of all was that we had district conference.  So the branches of La Paz, Las Termas, Santa Elena, and Feliciano all came here to meet.  President and Hermana Giuliani came for the meeting, and it was soo good to see and hear from them!  We hardly ever get to see them and it was so fun to have them here.  (That is how I was able to get mail in the middle of the month because they brought it up with them in the back of their car).  

Most disappointing of all is that Marisa came back from Neuquen.......unmarried.  She went all the way down there, a 30 hour drive one way, and wasn’t able to get married.  We had a lesson with her on Wednesday.  (Actually we were on exchanges with the Hermanas from Parana so I felt a lot of pressure for this lesson since it was the first time since we had seen her and Hermana Sainsbury wasn’t there) and we also brought Hermana Obertello with us to be there as moral member support.  It was an interesting lesson to say the least.  We walked in and she is normally always so happy and inviting, but this time she wasn’t so I could tell something was up.  We get to talking to her and find out that when they went to Neuquen.....her "husband" didn’t even have to get divorced.  This whole time they had been telling us that "they need to go to Neuquen so he can get divorced and then they can get married."  He has been divorced this whole time, and just needs to go to some government office in Neuquen to pick up the paperwork.  And he didn’t do it.  Marisa told us that he got very bitter all of the sudden about her decision to get baptized and is now saying that if she only wants to get married so that she can get baptized....then he doesn’t want to get married.  Its soooo sad.....and she is so hurt.  She wants to get married and she is offended that he won’t marry her, even just to support her in her decision to be baptized.  I wish I could just go down to the office and pick up the paperwork myself.  The thing is though; even though we are on the southern end of the equator....we aren’t at the edge of the planet.  We are living in the 21st century where fax machines exist.  We are going to try and see what we can do.  We have to come up with a plan fast though, because she has been waiting so long to be baptized and she needs to be living the law of chastity.  She has family who live down there who can mail things.....but I don’t know.  We are going to visit her again this week and help her come up with a plan.  It’s just sad that all the waiting to be baptized hasn’t even paid off yet.....because she is still waiting.  The other thing that is frustrating is that Marisa has learned about plural marriage and how it used to exist, and it has been quite the testimony shaker for her.  We are working it through it with her....but man she has been a difficult investigator to help get to baptism.  

And all of our other investigators aren’t really progressing either.  We are dropping a lot of them lately and looking and contacting ALL THE TIME.  We are trying to find the Lord´s prepared people.....and help those who are ready to progress.  The thing is that people´s agency to choose the natural man over their spiritual desires is hindering their ability to progress.  This transfer has been kind of hard in that that way.....in that we are working hard and we have good numbers to prove to the Lord we are working, but we are seeing so little success.  We follow the spirit, are obedient, and trying to be grateful for the blessings we have......but the Lord is really putting us through a refiners fire right now.  The prepared people are just very well hidden right now......but we will find them!  It’s just going painstakingly slow right now.  

Other than slow progression here.....all else is well!  We were able to organize and help the branch president here hold his first ward council meeting...so that’s progress.  And a less active that hasn’t come in 2 years showed up to church.  

It’s starting to cool off and I have never been more excited for the autumn and winter seasons.  It’s going to be sweet!  
I love you all lots and I have a testimony of this work!  I know the church is true!

I love you more than all the ping pong games we plan on P Day!
Hermana Withers



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