Wednesday, April 9, 2014

General Conference was Great!

Dear Family,
Conference was great!  I haven’t ever listened as closely as I did this last conference.  The talks were awesome, and I was able to watch all 4 sessions and Priesthood session in English.  The stake center here is big, with 2 floors.  The English speaking missionaries had an upstairs room all to themselves, and we shared treats and candy.  The zone leaders brought a big bag of potato chips flavored like a Chilean salad (tomato and onion).  It was strange but good.  I really liked Elder Ballard´s talk about following up.  There are plenty of talks to study and review.  

The earthquake was pretty scary, because all along the coast there was fear of a tsunami.  Our leaders called us Tuesday night to tell us not to leave Wednesday morning until the President decides all is well.  We got a call later in the morning saying we could leave, but still it was crazy.  That is great that you are having a baptism in Minnesota.  Tell her I wish her congratulations for making the decision to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Yesterday, I did a ´´bus hold-up´´, where a missionary asks the bus driver, for permission to make an announcement, and the driver always say yes, and then the missionary shares a principle and invites them all to do something.  I invited everyone to General Conference, and I felt a strong impression that the mother with her young son was ready to receive the gospel.  I gave them a card that says families can be together forever, and has a picture of a temple.  She readily gave me her contact information (she lives in a different area).  I really think she will be an awesome investigator 

This church is true, and it is led and directed by Jesus Christ through his chosen prophet, Thomas S. Monson.  I know that God lives, and that he answers prayers.

I love you all so very much, more than the number of fish in Minnesota.
Sincerely, Elder Withers
Dear Family,
This week was awesome, and I feel like my spiritual battery has been recharged, conference was awesome.  We watched it in the chapel.  On Saturday we watched both sessions, and on Sunday at about 12:45 the heavens let out an impressive downpour of rain.  The conference sessions are at 1pm and 5pm here, and so the timing of the rainstorm was a tragic inconvenience.  We had to walk to the chapel, and it was raining so hard that by the time we got there we were soaked.  Our umbrellas didn’t do anything to protect us because it was raining so hard in the horizontal direction and our shoes and feet were drenched because the puddles were so deep the street drains couldn’t keep up.  

When we got to the chapel, all of the faithful La Paz saints were huddled under the awning in front of the chapel talking and watching the rain.  I asked why no one was inside watching, and they all said......there isn’t a signal!  Shooooot.  We have some techy members here thank goodness, and after lots of fiddling with wires and prayers, we were able to get the broadcast.  But the Sunday Morning session we could only get in pieces because the signal was so sketchy......the rainstorm really made a mess of things.  We could see and listen to the speaker for about 15 minutes, and then it would go out again....take about 5 minutes to get it back, and then in another 15 minutes we were without signal again.  It was a continuous cycle.  So that’s how my Sunday morning session went.  I’m sad I didn’t get to hear Pres. Monson or Pres. Uchtdorf....and I think I missed Elder Bednar too.....but I will just wait for the Liahona!  Out of the talks I did get to listen to, I think Elder Holland’s was my favorite.  Such force and strength in his voice, and I love the message for the youth.  I haven’t had food thrown in my face but I can relate to having my beliefs put under pressure.  Often times when we make decisions to defend the faith like stick up for our values at school or work, serve a mission, when our beliefs are put to an aggressive test.  But it makes for excellent opportunities to grow!

The rain storm kept going all day long, but for the afternoon session someone had the idea of attaching the projector to one of the computers and watching the conference by internet instead of by satellite.  It was brilliant, and we got all of the afternoon session.  In between the sessions on Sunday the members whipped out their yerba and mate cups and sat around sharing mate and eating tortas fritas.  It was a fun little party the members made for themselves.  We peaced out to go pick up an investigator for the afternoon session.

Kind of crazy this week, an Elder that was serving here in my district here in La Paz had to go home for a huge family emergency.  I have no idea what happened, and he was gone before I even knew something happened.  His companion said he found out what happened on Tuesday night, and Wednesday morning he was in the terminal buying a colectivo ticket to get to Rosario.  And that night I think he caught a flight home.  So so so sad.  I don’t know what the emergency is, but I’m so grateful you guys are okay.  It’s expected that he will come back in a few months.  It would be so weird, and hard honestly to leave the mental mindset of being a missionary to go home, and then have to come back again.  

Alejandro and Florencia went to the civil register to schedule their wedding.....and folks that is huge.  They finally did it!  They are getting married April 18, and we will be having a baptismal service for Florencia April 19.  Whoohooo!  Also, Alfredo the cool veteran who loves the Book of Mormon is doing well.  If you ask him the story of the first vision he will recite it back to you, and if you ask him if the Book of Mormon is true he will give you a resounding yes.  It’s awesome! He was going to go to the Sunday evening session of conference, but the rain and mud scared him away.  Shoot.....we will do better next week!

Today for P-Day we are going to watch Frozen and I am so all said it was so good!  If it’s an Hermanas birthday (only for the Hermanas, the Elders no) or if there was a baptism in the district we can watch a movie.  Sweet!  Plus we have zone meeting this evening, and I am really excited.  I don’t know what kind of mail is waiting for me for the end of the meeting, but I hope something!  Sometimes I really feel cut off from the world....mostly when it comes to mail.  I don’t know who spit in the bean curd of Argentine Customs, but they really hate Yankees.  My best advice for sending make it look non American as possible. When Hermana Sainsbury was here her mom sent her a box that said Correo Chile (Chile Postal) all over it and I have no idea where she got it but the package got here in 2 weeks. It wasn’t this hard before to get packages, and it will probably cool off again.....but for now don’t worry.  I will hope and pray the packages you have sent make it

I hope you have a wonderful week and know that I love you more than all of the leaves that are changing colors and falling here in Argentina!

Hermana Withers

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