Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sharing the gospel on Facebook in Chile, and a baptismal date in Argentina

Dear Family,
This week didn’t have anything too wild happen, just a lot of rain.  Last night, when we went to visit a family, we were completely soaked.  Sister Castro, whose son is serving in Peru, treats us like royalty, because she figures that her son will be blessed if she helps us.  She insisted that we go to the bathroom and change our pants, and put on her husband’s sweat pants.  During the visit, our pants were in the dryer, along with our coats, socks, and our shoes were drying by the fireplace.  She handed us blankets and insisted that we warm up. She gave us a couple of completos, hot chocolate, and then we got to the good part.  We shared a Mormon message called “Because of Him”, it is a short 3 min clip from the church.  Then we talked about the video with her and her husband, about the blessings they’ve seen as members of the gospel.  They are both amazing people (he converted at 17 years and then went on a mission).  Then after the message and reading a few verses, we did something we have never done before, but will probably do quite often from now on.  We had them post the video on their Facebook account.  She wrote a simple thing something like “the missionaries shared this video with me and I really liked it”.  We helped them understand the importance of not just living the gospel, but also of sharing it.  We hope to be able to do this same activity with many other members, and then visit the homes of the people who comment on seeing the video.  

We have a lot of new ideas of how to help members share the gospel and ask references, but I would really like it if you all could share ideas, of things you did or are doing on your missions, or things the Minnesota missionaries did.  

About a week and half or so ago, Elder Bence had to go to the doctor for something about his hip because he fell down the stairs pretty bad about 4 months ago.  The doctor we went to is a member of the ward here, and had been passing through some hard times, and had distanced himself from the church.  The last several weeks were especially trying for him, with a relative of his being killed in a rafting accident during vacations in Peru.  We went to his office in the morning, and thought nothing of it.  We had no idea of what he was going through or why he had distanced himself from the church.  We didn’t share any gospel message with the doctor.  This last Sunday, the lost sheep came to church, stayed for all the classes, and also participated in the classes.  My question is, why did he come to church?  In the Elders Quorum meeting he shared why he came back.  The simple fact that we passed into his office, to him was an answer from God, an answer to his difficulties, and an answer to the prayers of many.  He stated in the class, which was about gratitude, that us passing by made him remember the more important things in life.  The mission nurse sent us, and one other companionship of missionaries to that doctor`s office, and I can now see why.  God really does know everything, he is all powerful, and works his great and mighty works, through weak and simple men and women.  By small and simple means, many lost sheep are brought to remember their Shepherd, and come back to the fold, one at a time.

I love you all so very much, more than the number of crickets in all the bait stores in all the world.
Elder Withers

Dear Family

It is sooooo good to hear from you!  It’s Christmas every Monday for me to read your letters.  And you have no idea what happened today.  We went to the place where we always go to write, and it was packed with kids wasting their lives on video games.  Bueno, so we went to the chapel as our back up plan.  And........the internet was so impossibly slow we couldn’t open a page, so we bagged it and asked for permission to use the computer of the member who lives next to us and its 8:30, half an hour before the day ended...so that is what we are doing.  I really don’t have much time to write this week, but I just want to tell you that I love all of you and that I love my area. 

This week we were able to have a lesson with the boyfriend a member we have here in the branch, and he is awesome.  He accepted a baptismal date, the 23rd of August.  We are excited and are praying that he makes the goal.  We have been working continually with the members and less actives as well (and thank you Chad, your Mormon message ideas are awesome...I have started using them here and everyone loves them, and they bring such an incredible spirit.)  

Today we had a special P-Day, which was so fun.  We played ultimate Frisbee, ate hot dogs, and watched Rio 2 and really just relaxed.  Everything went well today until we couldn’t figure out a way to write home!  Argh.  

I am glad all is well… Thanks for all of your messages of support and all you do for me!  I love you lots.  I really have run out of time, I will write much more next week.  

I love you more than all the layers of clothes I have been using this week because it is so cold!  

Hermana Withers

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Serving in a big ward, God can not lie

July 21

Dear Family,
This past week has been one of the most enjoyable weeks of the mission.  My companion and I get along really really well.  He is from Los Angeles, California.  Before the mission he was at BYU-Idaho for 1 year studying political science.  He really knows how to work hard and play hard.  He has a healthy sense of humor.  He loves shooting, and his first rifle was a 1903 German made Turkish mauser (not sure if I spelled that right), and he said he shot a black target a couple feet tall 20 for 20 at 300 yards using open sights.  Needless to say, there are a few nerf guns and little shoot outs in our house.  His Spanish isn’t quite as sharp as his aim, but, I will try to help him with that. 

The ward actually is huge.  I would guess there were about 150 people in church on Sunday, and that was with a lot of active members staying home sick.  There are a lot of returned missionaries living in the ward, a lot of young couples, and also a lot of very well off professionals, such as doctors.  It is confirmed, there is a recently called 70 from this ward, Elder Ulloa (not sure if that is how you spell his name).  I haven’t met him yet, but I heard that for Mother´s Day, the elders went to his company to do Skype because he has computers with fast internet there.  Our bishop is a great guy, a really humble person, born in Argentina and raised in Chile.  

I am still district leader here, it is a big district with 4 sisters, 2 other elders, and Elder Bence and I.  Last transfer I had only 2 companionships of elders in my district, and that was it.  I greatly appreciate your prayers in my behalf, that I will be able to fulfill this assignment.  Our sector in Santa Sabina is really quite big, with a great majority of the houses similar to the houses in Lonco.  There are a lot of business executives, lawyers, doctors, and other such professionals who live in the area.  We are next to the Concepcion airport, and next to the gigantic mall of Talcahuano.

This past week we worked hard trying to find new investigators, and only found 1.  Although we are really excited about that 1, because she is the daughter of a recent convert who got baptized about 3 weeks ago.  

I love you all, more than the number of mosquitoes in Minnesota.
-Elder WIthers

Dear Family,
I am so glad you are all doing so well!  You have no idea how much good it does me to read your letters each week.  Just to read that you are all the same, that the week went well, that summer is going well, and that you are all keeping on with life as usual.  I love it.  You are all a great source of strength for me.  

This week was super.  A really great, terrific week :)  

Crazy thing is that we have been without cold water for almost a week.  It went out last Monday....and we are still without it.  For some reason we have hot water (who knows why), so we can shower and wash the dishes just fine… who knows what the problem is.  We aren’t the only ones either,  I think everyone is without water......but it’s just sort of an unusual thing.  Members have told us it’s because there is a main water pipe that is broken.  Hopefully it comes back soon. 

This last Sunday we had 3 investigators, 2 recent converts, and  2 less actives at church.  Woooooohooooo!  The gospel principles class is growing little by little :)  The branch in general is growing, little by little and it’s been amazing to watch.  I really love serving here in Beltran, an area with so many needs but there is so much fun and love for Christ amongst the members.  We have really been working hard to find new investigators and retain the recent converts.

This week the Relief Society had a baby shower activity which was so funny.  There are two ladies in the branch who are expecting babies, so they threw a little party for them.  We took 2 less actives with us and we all had a great time.  I haven’t been to an activity like that in ages!  

The other day we were contacting on a street, and we knocked the door of an older man.  He answered the door, and came to his gate, and asked what we wanted…(ha, typical Argentine :)  We told him who we are and what our purpose was in being there......and he flatly and firmly stated he was Atheist.  He made several remarks as to why God can’t exist, and so on.......and for a minute my testimony felt very attacked.  It was the weirdest sensation ever.  I have contacted hundreds of people, with all types of people answering the door....from your most devout Catholic, to your most stubborn Atheist....and most people feel a need to share their two cents (not all, but several) and their remarks aren’t usually uplifting or empowering.  But I never leave feeling beaten down.  As a missionary, I have often felt protected and spiritually blessed by the Spirit......still ready and energized to keep going.  But with this man......the concept came into my mind that maybe he was right, that maybe everything I was doing was a lie......and it was the most disgusting and revolting feeling ever.

The second the idea that all of it was a lie came into my mind, I remembered the scripture Enos 1:6  “And I Enos knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away.”  I felt sooooo much better.  God can’t lie.  All of the spiritual confirmations and my testimony of the gospel aren’t a lie, and I could never deny my testimony or the Book of Mormon.  I felt so reassured, and so blessed to remember that it is all true.  That all of the efforts, sacrifices, and commitments it takes to share the gospel...are all worth it, and the only person who wants us to think it’s a waste is Satan, but we can’t let him.  He has already lost the battle, and he wants us all to think that our work is a waste....but it’s not.  All we have to do is stick to the Lord´s side, and we will win every time.  Ha....I don’t know if any of this makes sense, but I hope so.  

I absolutely love being a missionary.  We have been very careful too.  Beltran is a little bit more dangerous than La Paz....in the sense that it’s a bigger city, but we have fully recovered from getting robbed and we try our hardest each day to be obedient to have the protection from the Spirit.  The work moves forward, and it’s so awesome to be a part of!

I love you more than all the prayers that are said around the world each day!  
Hermana Withers

Monday, July 21, 2014

Going to Andalien, and the World Cup has ended!!!

July 14

Dear Family,
We have transfers tomorrow.  I will be going to a nearby city stake called Andalien, and will be in the Santa Sabina ward.  Cambios are always a little bit stressful because all of the packing and running around to tell people goodbye.  I have heard that the ward has one of the highest Sunday assistances (attendances) in the mission, about 200 people weekly, but I will let you know on that one.  I will still be really close to the mission office, so that is convenient.  Speaking of the office, the package came.  Thanks a million!  I can’t wait to open it.  My companion will be Elder Bence, from California, I talked with him briefly about 6 months ago, and he seems to be pretty cool.  The ward has 4 elders and 2 sister missionaries.  I am excited to see how a big ward works.  I have heard that there is a seventy who was called from that ward within the last several months, so that will be cool.  I am really excited to get to know this ward.

Rebecca, sorry Argentina lost.  There is an Elder who is an Argentine soccer fanatic in our house, and it really was hard for them to lose.  I hope that it calms down soon, and that it is safe to work.  I hope you have an amazing week this week.

It sounds like you guys are having a pretty good summer.  Keep me updated with all your awesome activities.  I like to hear about everything that is going on with Idaho, Minnesota, travel adventures, girls camp and scout camp, having fun with cousins, and just everything.   

This past week has been a pretty calm week.  I made pancakes this morning, and I was taught how to flip them really cool using the pan.  It is easier than it looks.  We have been teaching lately the bishop´s niece.  Her father is less active, but wants her to be baptized.  He is often out of town on Sundays because he is a truck driver, but he sometimes comes to church.  The girl`s name is Constanza, and she stays with her grandma on the weekend, who is very active.  By the way, yesterday her grandma gave us a can of homemade manjar, which is called dulce de leche in Argentina, and is similar to caramel.  We put it on the pancakes.

In this mission it is prohibited to teach kids under the age of 14 unless their parents are progressing in the gospel with them.  The father recently had an interview with his brother in law, the bishop, and so we have permission to baptize her.  The service will be this Sunday right after church.  I will ask Elder Sellers to email me some pictures.  Yesterday in Church I saw Amadeo for what will probably be the last time.  He is such a fun person.  He is in his eighties, but more lively and happy then most people half his age.  We gave him a flashdrive with a copy of over a hundred ´´Mormon Messages´´ in Spanish.  I hope he stays active as he gets older.  

This morning we went with a couple other Elders in our district to a neighborhood in their ward called Lonco. We went because it is said to have the biggest and fanciest houses in the mission.  Many of the houses there would be serious mansions in the U.S.  I saw 3 and 4 story homes, large brick palaces, modernistic styled homes, and lots of just plain big houses.  There was a 3 story brick home with a Mercedes-Benz parked in below ground garage.  It was really cool, and I got some good pictures. 

I wish you all the very very best in all that you do.  I love you all more than you think.  Remember to work hard in whatever it is that you are doing, and to not forget to have fun as you work.  That applies especially to scout camp.  I thank you all so much for all the many prayers on my behalf.  I love you more than the number of cheerios it would take to make a mountain of cheerios necessary to fill the entire treasure valley with breakfast cereal up until the height of Bogus Basin.  Have a Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat week!

Elder Withers 

Dear Family,
We received transfer updates, and I am staying in Beltran with my companion....woooohoooo!!!!!!  I love this place and I love my companion.  Its going to be another great 6 weeks :)

This week we had a meeting to meet President Zanni, and it was awesome.  President Zanni is INCREDIBLE. Absolutely incredible.  We got to meet him, his wife, and 6 of their 7 children (one is on a mission in Taiwan....the first to go to Taiwan from South America...pretty cool!) and they are so great.  You can tell that getting used to the mission has been a little bit tough for them, because it’s all so new and there are so many missionaries...but they are doing well.  Their kids are still pretty little (youngest is 5) and all the kids say that one of their favorite things is the new house (it really is a huge mansion, like the one Chad was describing...a brick palace with a fancy car for Pres.) :)  

And this week, the word cup finally ended.  President gave us permission to watch the game, because it was impossible to work during the match....he said we might as well enjoy it since Argentina has made it so far (ha...isn’t he so awesome?:) so after church on Sunday, we ate lunch and went to a members house to watch the game.  They had seats saved for us in their front room, and gave us some cake and lemonade to enjoy.  We felt like royalty for a minute :) and then the game started, and I have never seen such passion.  They asked us if our families were watching it too, and I said we never watched the world cups....but that since Argentina is in the finals, and that I am in Argentina....there was a good chance that you were all watching....and you were!  How fun :)  They were all joking, and laughing, blowing little horn things, cooking in the kitchen, and so forth like a super bowl party or something.... until Germany scored.  After the goal, my goodness the dynamics of the room changed dramatically.  All joking was over, and it got serious.   They were really nervous, and the mom had to start knitting to distract herself.  When it ended.....shnikees it was sad. I even felt sad and I don’t even really care about soccer.  I think seeing how sad they were made me feel a little bit sad.  Their nephew Santiago, who is 11, really started to cry.  Big, throbbing tears.  The daughter and her husband who are expecting their first little baby, were so sad they started crying too, the mom who was knitting put her little project down and started to go around trying to comfort everyone saying it’s okay "we made it this far", "we are the second best in the whole world" or "we played the best we could, it was a hard match" and so on.  No one believed her, but at least she tried...she was just trying to be a good mom.  Ha....it was a good experience for me.  You can accurately describe the passion people have for soccer down here, because it’s so intense.  I don’t think I really understood how important it is to everyone until I watched the game with them....then I learned my lesson.  All of Argentina was sad, with even the toughest of men brought to tears.  I’m sure you saw that on TV.  I thought everyone would go nuts, and they did for a little bit but not really.  If we are talking for long term effects, it was better that we lost.  If we had won the party wouldn’t have ever ended.  And I realized with when I was watching the game that the last time Argentina went to the finals, was when you were in Argentina mom!  And that game was against Germany with a score of 1-0.  Talk about dejavu!!!   I think we are the unlucky ones, because Argentina lost both times.  :)

As far as the work here in Beltran, its going well!  We have lots of great people we are working with, and the training is going well.  One crazy thing that happend.....(please don’t freak out) is that we got robbed in the street.  They swiped everything, my bag, copies of the Book of Mormon, pamphlets, and little cards of Jesus.  I hope they enjoy their goodies.   But I had to buy a new bag, I hope that is okay.  Hermana Gonzalez lost her scriptures (her nice ones to study with) and all of her pictures with her camera.  I had my camera too, to take pictures with the members after lunch in case I got transferred, but I have all my pictures backed up.  I hardly ever take my camera, but these last few days I have been taking it to take  a quick picture in their house before leaving, and it has been swiped.  I had to buy a new one today.  The robbers scared the living daylights out of us, and it was better to hand over everything instead of getting hurt.  For now, I don’t take anything valuable outside.....just pictures of Jesus.  Memories of Beltran will have to be in my memory and in my journal, my camera will take pictures only inside the apartment, until I gain the confidence to take it with me to take pictures in other people’s houses.  We are really really careful (Argentina has changed me a little bit in that sense, I look at everything suspiciously and everything has the potential to be dangerous) and it keeps me on my toes.  We really are okay.  The Elders came over to give us a blessing, and that helped a lot. There are angels protecting us, they really really are.  

I really really love all of you guys and hope you know that I look forward to your letters every week!
I love you more than all the Argentine hearts that were broken after the world cup!  
Hermana Withers

Paintball game on P-day, New Mission President in Argentina

July 7

Dear Family,
Reading your letters and emails really is the best part of every p-day.  I wish you all the very best in being in Argentina during the world soccer cup, working at the mill, going to girls camp, and trek, and Sam flying solo in a passenger jet to the Great Salt Lake Valley.

This week has really been quite eventful, with ordering custom made leather scripture cases, contacting people from a car, preaching the restored gospel from the fronts of buses, playing paintball today, completing exactly one year in the field on Wednesday, visiting the announced construction site of the next temple in Chile and lots of other exciting things.  

There is a branch president in the Concepción South mission who does really nice scripture cases, and I decided to venture. para la biblia y el triple, (Bible and Triple Combination) they will be ready to pick up in the office before next p-day, and are going to look pretty cool.  You can call him on the phone and tell him what pictures from the Gospel Art Book (the book with a painting for main scripture stories, and he will make it.  I will send you pictures of the scripture cases.  

There is a man in our ward named Brother Mella.  He is such an awesome guy to work with.  He is about 55 years old, and converted when he was 19.  He and his wife both served missions.  His wife served in Chile when the entire country (the tallest in the world) was all one mission.  Anyway, he and his wife go to the temple in Santiago at least once a month, and this time I had them bring me back a certain few church movies (the restoration, finding faith in Christ, together forever, Creemos (a movie commemorating 50 years since the first missionaries came to Chile), and a movie about the history of the church in Chile, starting in the 1800s when Parley P. Pratt came to Chile for a number of months to preach the gospel.  The movies will be good for family home evenings and p days.  

With Hermano Mella, we went to a couple of visits yesterday, and he is great.  He likes to pull over, roll the windows down, and tell sidewalk travelers to come over.  He asks them if they have met with missionaries before.  Regardless of what they say, he introduces us and tries to schedule an appointment.  It is pretty cool that he has the courage to talk to anybody about the gospel, whether he knows them or not.  When we invited a young family to be baptized last night, he played a real important part, asking some really good questions.  The family did accept the idea of being baptized, but not a baptismal date.  I really hope they actually come to church.  That same day, we went with him to give a priesthood blessing to a sister who has a really bad case of cancer that came back.  Hermano Mella said he would be willing to contact a bus with us, saying he likes the idea of it.  Our whole district is now contacting buses, and it is cool to watch the barrier of fear be leveled to the ground by the power of faith in Jesus Christ.  

When I went to the ward of Pedro de Valdivia to interview Thomas, I was able to get a picture of the announced temple site.  It is a nice area by the river.  It was kind of dark, but it was still really exciting to see.  Thomas, of 10 years, was baptized and confirmed this weekend, so that was really exciting, especially considering his mother is now active again.

We played paintball today.  I really had a good time.  It was in a small, thickly wooded area.  During the last game, I had about 3 paintballs left, so I decided to just forget about hiding and cautiously sneaking between covered areas.  I stood up, gave an Indian war cry, and started running down the hill.  My facemask was all fogged up, and I couldn’t see very well.  I tripped (don’t worry, no blood) and then quickly stood up again.  I started the charge again, firing off the last few paintballs I had, and in less than a second I was shot probably 5 times, in the pants, chest, and head.  I put my hands up and started to leave the field, and oddly, certain missionaries decided to keep shooting the now dead screaming banshee.  When I made it back, I realized that I had paint all over (luckily the company loans camo clothing to go over whatever clothes we came in, so my clothes were very well protected).  I had several head shots that painted my ear pretty well.  The protective equipment did its job, and I don’t have any welts or soreness.  I was pretty well marked, and a lot of the missionaries had their pictures taken with me. It was a memorable p day.  Even though it really stung to be shot repeatedly as I walked out with my hands on my head, I was glad to have played like a screaming banshee rather than hide behind a barrel.

This week I shared my testimony in sacrament meeting, and I would now like to share it again.  I know that God loves us.  He is our loving Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ is his son, is the savior of the universe.  His life, his teachings, his sufferings, and his death were all for us, that we might live again.  I love you all, so very much,
Elder Withers

Dear Family,
This week President Zanni arrived........and he is incredible.  He is young and energetic, and reminds me a lot of President Riggs from Washington DC South.  He has changed a few things, like missionaries can baptize investigators (before only members in the corresponding ward or branch could baptize) a few other things, and we are able to write for an hour and a half instead of just an hour!!!!!!  I am so thrilled.  That extra half an hour will really help in actually enjoying the letters and not writing so rushed.  The changes have been good.  I love both Presidents, and the amazing things they have done......but I also recognize that changes are good.

This week we had zone meeting, and it was very very good.  I learned lots of great things, and afterwards had a beautiful stack of letters.  I have read them all and I am so grateful for all the people who write.  Letters are awesome.  

Argentina is still in the world cup, and the intensity keeps building up.  Every time its game day, you can feel a weird sort of sensation in the air, like an exhilarating energy......and every time Argentina wins the energy just builds up more and more.  It’s like a pressure cooker, and the more Argentina plays the more dangerous it has been getting at the end of each game.  It doesn’t really matter if they win or lose....people go nuts anyway.  And this is the last week!  It’s all ending on Sunday, thank goodness.  

This was a good week for finding new investigators.  We have been able to find lots of new young couples; each one with a few kids....or in other words.....families!  And it’s awesome.  This last Sunday was sort of miraculous too.  Fast and testimony meeting was very spiritual (it’s not always.........you know how they can go sometimes) but this time the Spirit was very powerful.  My companion and I also shared our testimonies, and at the end of the meeting we had members coming towards us to ask when they could go out with us.  That hardly EVER happens.  Basically never, at least here in Beltran....and we couldn’t believe it.  We are always the ones that have to go around asking and bugging everyone when they have a few minutes during the week to do a few visits with us.  Because if we don’t ask, they never offer, as if they think they can escape us.  Well, that’s how it was before.  Now there is this terrifically fun energy for missionary work here in Beltran, and they are anxious to help us.  I’m not sure what the missionaries have been like in Beltran before, but we are doing our best to gain the trust and confidence of each one.......doing all we can to show that we are here to help and that we have been set apart with the authority to teach.  We set up several appointments and family home evenings, arranging to have lessons with members and investigators together.  Operation gaining the trust of the members has been going well in that sense, and the Lord is richly blessing this area.  

A member made pizzas for lunch for us on Tuesday......and used blue cheese.  Ha, shoot.  Do you see where this is going?  At least they told us the differences in the pizzas, "This one is with blue cheese, this one with ham, and this one with olives, choose whichever you want"  Ha......close call.  I have never seen or heard of blue cheese during my time here in Argentina, but now that I now it exists I am going to be a little more conscious.  I didn’t say anything, but I also didn’t try the blue cheese one.

Really all is going well.  I am so grateful for this area.  My companion and I have really been seeing lots of miracles, and progress little by little.  I love this work, and I love all of you!  

Don’t forget to be awesome.  I love you more than all the bomb noise sounds, and crazy maniacs in the streets after every Argentina soccer game!
Hermana Withers

Missionary activity, Angels protecting missionaries from mean dogs

June 30

Dear Family,
It sounds like a pretty busy week, with selling the milk cows, mountain biking adventures, sending a package to a missionary on the flip side of the equator.  My shoes are holding up (there is a family that manufactures shoes and they re-stitched my shoes and wouldn’t accept any payment).  My coat is holding up great.  It does well in the cold and the rain.

I thought it was pretty funny the description of getting ready and packing for reunion. I laughed, and I could picture it perfectly of loading and unloading, going to Costco, and eating gobs of candy while looking at all the pretty scenery.  What fun memories.  

Have fun with the trek music acts.  In our trek group, a girl sang a Justin Bieber song from the hand cart, and I was part of the Bieber security crew who pulled the cart. 

These next few weeks, we hope to be able to do a ward activity on missionary work.  We hope to be able to train and encourage the members to share the Gospel.   We want each family to come up with their own family plan of missionary work, that includes among other things, what they study, that they pray for missionary experiences, and that they set goals of introducing friends to the missionaries.  I got the idea from a letter from a family in the ward.  I have a goal for the second half of my mission of writing at least 1 letter to each family that has written me on the mission.  It is really hard to find time to write letters, often P-day is our busiest day.

Also, about this week, they cut our water.  The bill got wet, we put it to dry in the bathroom, and forgot about it. They cut our water, and for a couple of days we had to shower in the home of a member, but all is well now, and we have water.  

If this email gets to you while you are still at reunion then please tell everyone there that I think they are awesome, that I love them, and that the work of sharing the gospel brings blessings. 

I have a lot of pictures to send that were taken on my companions camera, but they are really high image quality, so they have to be sent 2 at a time.  I will try to get them sent out next week.  

I love you all, more than the number of drops of water in Lake Alturas.
-Elder Withers

Dear Family,
How are you doing?!?!??  You are all chillin at reunion eating otter pops sitting in lawn chairs and swatting mosquitos....how I would love to be there, but I send all my love from down south in Argentina :)  This has sort of been a whirlwind of a week....

Just for the record........the world cup is no picnic down here.  It’s full on war.  People get SO involved in the matches, and when Argentina is playing there is absolutely no way to get people’s attention.  You try to knock on someone’s door and they look at you like you are an idiot, as if you didn’t know that it’s the World Cup and that everyone should be quietly sitting in their house watching the game.  It’s a phenomenal sensation, and please believe me when I tell you that if Argentina plays.....everyone knows that it’s a day off from school, and employees are let out early to accommodate the game schedule.  It’s like Christmas, but bigger down here.  It’s been interesting to watch...but in all honesty I will be glad when it’s all over and everything can return to normal.    

We met a less active this week through an active member.  Apparently 20 or so years ago this less active (Carmen is her name) let her neighbor (also a member) borrow one of her favorite pans.  It was a pan she used to cook in and she also made things in it to sell.  When she went by the next day to pick up her pan, the lady who had borrowed it said she didn’t have it and that she didn’t remember asking to use it.  Carmen was so mad and since that day hasn’t walked in the chapel.  It is so sad, and if only she knew what she was missing, all for a silly pan that doesn’t even really matter any way.  We are working with her on the atonement, forgiveness, and keeping the Sabbath day holy.  

The other day we were peacefully walking down the street, with a map in our hands trying to find a reference a member had given us....when all of the sudden out of nowhere popped out a huge gigantic black dog, running and bouncing super fast, and headed straight for us.  It was barking and growling and I literally though it was going to eat me or my bag or my skirt.... or something.  I said a little prayer in my heart, grabbed my companion, and we ran.  We got to the edge of a driveway, looked back, and the dog was still coming for us.  Shoot.  But just as the dog was getting close to us, it stopped.  Like 2 feet in front of us, as if something was holding it back but there was nothing around except for us and this evil dog.  I would like to think that an angel was holding the dog back, but I really have no idea.  It was just a simple miracle.  You really would have had to be there to understand how awful the dog was, and how miraculous it was that it somehow randomly stopped and didn’t hurt us.  

This week we were out working one evening, in the freezing cold... (humidity is awful!) and we hit 7:00pm, and we had literally used up all of our plans.  There was absolutely nothing left, it was dark outside so we couldn’t contact.....and I really didn’t know what to do.  All the people we had planned to visit were busy or weren’t home and we weren’t close to anyone else’s house.  We decided to say a little prayer on the corner of a street, quietly without calling any attention.....we looked up, and decided to walk down the street directly in front of us. Straight ahead.  We did so, and the very first person I saw was a punk looking kid smoking a cigarette.  In my head......I thought, "Really....this is the person you want us to meet?"  And I really didn’t want to talk to him, it didn’t seem like a good idea, it was dark outside, and we needed to start heading back closer to the main part of our area.  But.....I couldn’t stand the thought of this being a person Heavenly Father needed us to meet and we didn’t talk to him.....so we quickly introduced ourselves and told him we would like to give him a picture of Jesus Christ.  He willingly accepted, and opened up a huge conversation with us.  His wife came out of the little store on the corner where he had been waiting for her, and we talked with her too.....about the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation, and we were there on the corner with them for about 30 minutes.  And they didn’t even complain about the cold or try to escape.  They opened up quick, and were really receptive.  It was soooo cool.  As I have been on my mission....I have learned that our little black plaque nametags are incredibly powerful.  People open up, and are so willing to accept our message or commit to change.  We set up an appointment, passed by again with a member....and they are golden.  They introduced us to their whole family, shared some of their cake, and listened attentively.  We are totally going to visit again....and agian.....and again.  They would be perfect to have in this little branch here in Beltran.  Plus.....it’s a family!  Oh the miracles that happen when you do the work the Lords way, he knew this man had a family and would be willing to open up.  I thought talking to him would have been a bad idea, but it turned out miraculously.  Good thing we do the work the Lord’s way instead of our way.  

President Giuliani will be going home today, it’s kind of sad but I will be excited to get to know the new president and his family.  It has been very very cold here lately and I have been so grateful for my sleeping bag.  Thanks for all your letters, support, stories, examples, jokes....and for being awesome.  Have fun at reunion.  I love everybody.  Don’t forget to be awesome.  

I love you more than all the dogs that have barked at me while I have been a missionary!
Hermana Withers

Friday, July 18, 2014

Missionary work is amazingly awesome, it's in the Lord's hands

June 23

Dear Family,
This will be a super express email because I am going to email the reunion letter, and try to send a few pictures.  

News of this week:  Amadeo was baptized and confirmed, and is super happy.  The guy really likes to laugh and smile.  We preached on a couple buses this week, and it is such a rewarding thing to do, to teach and testify and then invite the crowd to listen to our message.  It has happened several times that a member is on the bus, and we don’t always realize it, but the members comment that they think that is so awesome, and it helps us get their confidence, that we are doing all we can to find people to teach.  Also, on Saturday we had a ward activity called mate criollo, where it is a party of mate and sopapillas, which are basically scones.  It was a lot of fun, and we had a little bit of karaoke.  Right before we left, I karaoked “Someone Like You” by Adele, I had no idea how to sing it, but I sang it loud and really had a ball.  

Missionary Work is amazingly awesome.  I have seen firsthand so many cool things, and I wish I could convey in words all the amazing things I have seen in the last year.  These are the last days, this is the time to preach the gospel.  The Lord is hastening his work.  We now have to work together as members and missionaries, and harder than ever before.  
I would like to begin with a quote from President Spencer W. Kimball.  “Now is the moment in the timetable of the Lord to carry the gospel farther than it has ever been carried before…. Many a person in this world is crying, knowingly and unknowingly, “Come over… help us.”  He might be your neighbor.  She might be your friend.  He might be a relative.  She might be someone you met only yesterday.  But we have what they need.  Let us take new courage from our studies and pray, as did Peter, “And now, Lord, grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.”  Acts 4:29.  He H 

It is by sharing the gospel with those around us that many millions of of our fellow brothers and sisters will join the church.  As members, it is our duty to carry the joyous message of the gospel to all.  As Christians it is our sacred duty to light the darkened homes, and lives of our neighbors, friends at school, co workers, and people we meet throughout our day.  In order to do this, we first need to develop a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true.  I invite all of you to read the introduction to the Book of Mormon this week.  I challenge you to read the Book of Mormon before Christmas.  I can promise you that if you really read and pray about that book you will gain a testimony that it is true.

During my mission I have had some amazing testimony building experiences.  One that I would like to share is about a man named Adolfo Figueroa.  He is a leader in Chilean military training, a really tough guy.  His wife washed our laundry, and was inactive for a number of years.  His wife was brought back to the church by talented sister missionaries.  Adolfo had listened to missionaries many times, had read pamphlets, had gone to church many times, and had even prayed to see if what he read was true.  But there was something missing.  It was humility and real intent.  He didn’t believe in the Book of Mormon.  He didn’t want to accept anything besides the first four books in the New Testament.  We knew that he loved the savior, and that he had an idea of Christ, but without a testimony of the Book of Mormon, he wouldn’t be able to progress in the gospel.  Over a period of about 3 months, we gave service to his family, shared gospel messages when we went to pick up our laundry, even went fishing with him once.  We had family home evenings where the spirit was so strong that he cried.  As we read out of 3 Nephi 11 one afternoon, he started to believe.  After I left that area, he was baptized, and is now an active member of the church, and a priesthood holder in his home.  I know that there are Adolfos all around us.  Adolfo Figueroa is not alone, there are many like him.  They all need the light of the gospel.
I love being a missionary because of the many opportunities I have to share the gospel with all around me.  It is a full time job.

I love you all more than the number of pounds of sand it would take to make a sand castle bigger than the Eifel Tower.
Elder Withers

Dear Family,

This was a pretty great week, with nothing exceptionally exciting or eventful happening.  We have been working hard to find new investigators, keep teaching the ones we have, and to keep working with the less actives. There really is nothing new or worthwhile to report, so I am going to use the time to write my family reunion letter.  I hope that’s okay.

From Argentina to my favorite friends in Stanley, Idaho:
Oh there is so much that I want to write about missionary work and why I love it and how you can start doing it too, and all the miracles that one can experience when you open your mouth and share your testimony or experiences with others.  I only have one hour to write this letter, and I am sitting here anxious to type out an inspiring story or experience I have had on my mission....and in the immediate moment nothing specific or perfect to share comes to mind, because in reality I want to share everything.  My experiences over the course of my mission up until this point have been incredible, testimony building, and spiritually gratifying.  I have worked with the richest of the rich in the United States capital in Washington DC, to some of the poorest of the poor.......and its all the same.  Missionary work is all the same around the world.  Joseph Smith once said, “After all that has been said, the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel.”

Sharing the gospel really is the most important.  Not to say that other things like having a job, and raising kids, going to school, serving in your calling aren’t important, because they are......they are super important, it’s just that as we go about doing each of these things we should always be attentive and prepared for missionary opportunities.  As a full time missionary, I have had the blessing of setting aside all of my other concerns and only sharing the gospel.....and it’s been awesome.  Sometimes other missionaries will ask me a question that drives me nuts, "How many baptisms have you had?"  and I always say, "None of us, ever get to claim a baptism....it all belongs to the Lord."  And I believe it.  This work doesn’t belong to us, it is the Lords.  And if he wanted to do it all really quick to finish it up and do it right, He could.  But he won’t, because he needs us to grow and progress......and there isn’t any better way to help us grow and progress than through sharing a testimony.  We are imperfect, and sometimes we blow golden opportunities but there is always another one.

Don’t beat yourself up for making mistakes or for being afraid to be a missionary....it’s natural because we are humans.  But don’t let yourself stay in that position either.  Start another day, get ready to try a little harder, and do your best.  The Lord knows he has called us to a work we can’t do by ourselves, so we are naturally entitled to his help.  Take advantage of it and be a good missionary.  We are all missionaries and Heavenly Father needs all of us to work hard.  I guess my inspiring story.....is to say, “Keep going!”  The last time you were all sitting in this same camp, which was a year ago.....I started my journey as a missionary.  And I have been doing the same thing for the last year, every single day....not skipping a single one.  I have made mistakes, learned lots, experienced new things and it has all been worth it.  I also have not been in an area at the moment when the Lord blesses it with a baptism.  But that doesn’t mean that all my past work doesn’t value anything.  And if all our efforts don’t help someone reach baptism, don’t worry about it.  It’s in the Lords hands anyway.  All we need to do is be obedient, open our mouths, and the Lord will take care of the rest.  

Why I like being a missionary:

You can be an instrument in the Lords hands, helping in this ever important work.....while at the same time experience personal growth.  Its character building.  You get to know a new side of yourself, that you might not have never known before when you open your mouth and share your experiences. :)

I love you all lots, more than all the pine trees in Idaho!

Hermana Withers

Baptism in Chile, World Cup starting

June 16

Dear Family,
Well Hello!  Today there were 20 or so Dear Elder letters in the office so it will be fun to read through them this week.  I promise that I will get a letter for reunion in time.  I am thinking about writing about what an amazing experience it is to serve a mission

This week hasn’t had too many crazy happenings.  We are still here, happy and healthy in Concepciòn.  The training of Elder Sellers is coming along, he speaks good Spanish, has a testimony, knows the scriptures, and really likes to participate in lessons, so that is just awesome. 

Amadeo is set to be baptized this Saturday.  Please pray a lot for him, and that he will be able to be an active member and faithful tithe payer.  His interview will probably be this Thursday, baptism on Saturday at 4:30, and confirmation at 10 am Sunday morning in ward conference.  

I decided to write my MTC district for the first time, so I ran a little short on time.  Just know that I love you, I care about each and every one of you.

I love you all, more than the number of kernels of popcorn it would take to make a popcorn ball big enough to look like a fully grown apricot tree.  

With lots of love,
Elder Withers

Dear Family,
As for life here in Argentina......its amazing.  I LOVE my companion; it’s amazing what a difference it makes to be around people who make you happy instead of sad.  I feel like I am my old self again and it feels good. Ha...I think I wrote in my journal several times this week how awesome my companion is, but she really is so fun to have around.  The training is going well, and she is actually ahead of schedule.  She came into the mission already knowing lots of things, now we are just working on learning how to plan/use the agenda/teach lessons/contact...and so forth.  It’s been good, plus it’s been fun to watch her get to know Argentina.  The only thing that has been hard is that I have to explain things or remind her people’s names or where we are going like 12,000 times.  Her car accident has left her with difficulties in memorizing things.  But if I review things over and over and over again, she gets it.  So it’s working!  

This week has been really cold and rainy, and we had hot humidity for a few days.  I totally did not miss it, it felt like the beginnings of summer all over again and it made me so grateful that its winter and that I don’t have to endure another Argentine summer (like a month, but that’s it!).  

And in case you missed it, the world cup started.  Everyone here has been going crazy.  There is lots of Argentine pride in their soccer teams and everyone here is sure that they are going to win :)  I have also never seen so many Argentine flags in my life, all the houses and stores have one on display right now.  

The other day we were walking down a dusty dirt road (like every day!) and we saw a group of kids playing marbles in the street.  My whole life I thought it was a really old fashioned game that the pioneers played, but it still exists!  I’m not sure why, but here in this little town lots of kids like to play marbles.  And they are good too!  Little 4 or 5 year old kids have stellar aim and it’s fun to walk past them playing :)  

Last Saturday we combined together as a zone to work in one area to help out, and this time it was Elder Hill and his companion’s area!  Ha, it was fun to work in his area, but I am also grateful that it isn’t mine.  It is HUGE.  Seriously gigantic.  They took us to our assigned sector (ha, of course the part with all the rich people with fancy gates and buzzers with speakers) and it took us 45 minutes to walk back.  And we weren’t even as far as you could go, there was much more.  It went well though, we were able to find some great people who were willing to have them stop by again.  In all honesty though, I really am so grateful for my area.  We have a great little branch here and the members are awesome.  They are small in numbers down here, but the little that we have is really strong.  

This Friday we are going to have a big talent show activity, with skits and songs, jokes, music, balloons and treats.  It’s going to be awesome and we are excited! :)  We have also been having lots of family home evenings with the members to work on building up trust and confidence so that they give us references and are willing to do visits with us.  And so far it’s going well!  Roberto and Teresa are progressing and are going to be married in July.  We met a less active family this last week through an active member, and they haven’t had a visit from anybody in years.  It’s an older man and his 2 grown children, and they are all blind.  They have an incredible story and for a living they make/repair shoes in their little house.  Out of all the experiences I have had on my mission, getting to know people is by far my favorite and most worthwhile.  I really have no complaints about my life here, all is well (other than having to wash my clothes by hand.....now that it is winter its COLD)  but all is well :)

Thanks for all your emails and for keeping me updated and for being awesome.  I love you all lotsssss!  
Don’t forget to be awesome and know that I love you more than all the waffle blocks it would take to make a line from Argentina to Boise!

Hermana Withers

Days are long, weeks are short... Rebecca has a new companion!

June 9

Dear Family,
Well, hello everyone.  I am starting to notice that the days seem really long but the weeks really short.  I really like the view we have out of our big windows, and off the balcony.  It makes for a really nice view of the sunset out towards the ocean.  This past week there were a lot of things I learned.  There is a baptismal interview tomorrow at 5:30, so that has been on my mind.  The other day we were walking down the street, and my companion stepped on a construction man hole lid, that was only halfway on.  the lid wobbled, and he tripped and fell forward.  Luckily he didn’t fall in.  I said the City of Concepción gets an ´´F´´ rating for that safety hazard.  He got up and was fine, he only had small cuts on one hand.  We went to a nearby member’s house and got it washed out.  The whole way he was saying “Chilean utilities”.  It made me think, oh yeah, we are in SOUTH AMERICA.  It has been a good week, and I have been enjoying reading all the dear letters that piled up over a couple of months.  I still have more to read.  

The Plan of Salvation teaching tool you guys sent in a package really proved its worth this last week.  On Thursday, we went to go re-teach the Plan of Salvation to Amadeo.  He really just had a hard time getting it because he believed in re-incarnation.  We drew out the plan on a piece of paper, explained it to him, asking him questions to make sure he got it.  Then, we pulled out the puzzle, from its case.  We had him put it together, and then we had him teach us the plan.  He finally got it.  At the end of the lesson, I asked him if the teaching tool helped him understand it, and he said it helped a lot.  I will start using it more to teach the Plan of Salvation.  Amadeo came to church for the third time yesterday, the only things we haven’t taught him yet are tithing and keeping the Sabbath day holy.  Hopefully, he can keep progressing and be baptized on the 21st, and be confirmed in Ward Conference on the 22nd.  

Question-What things worked well in the International Falls MN branch for getting members to help the missionaries?  Things that worked in the mission field in San Bernadino, in Bahia Blanca, or Rosario.  Ideas to get more references?  

Thanks so much for all your prayers.  I love all of you.  You are all my favorite.  I love you all more than the number drops of water it would take to make a lake deep enough to fill the Grand Canyon.
-Elder Chad Carl Withers

Dear Family,
This last week has been a dream, an absolute dream.  On Tuesday, I took Hermana Ospinal to the terminal with her luggage and things, and then got in a taxi with other missionaries who were also heading to the mission home to pick up their brand new baby companions.  

We got to the mission home and Hermana Giuliani had a whole spread of food for breakfast for all the trainers (and there were only 8 of us...ha) 5 elders, and 3 hermanas.  We had a few hours of training, and then finally met our companions.  I was nervous to see who she would be, and I am super duper blessed.  2 out of the 3 new sister missionaries were from the states, and the other is from Mexico.  I was sitting there thinking, oh please let me be with the one from Mexico....and she is my companion!  Her name is Hermana Gonzalez, and she is from Mexico City, Mexico.  She is from the intense part of the city where millions and millions of people live, and is the 9th out of 10 kids.  All her family are members and she is the 6th missionary from her family.  She is 23 years old, and the coolest companion I have ever had.  She is also in hard core culture shock.  Her first day she asked me like 7 times why everyone doesn’t just drink a glass of water or something.....why does everyone have to drink mate?  And she is missing her Mexican food like crazy.  But she is also in love with the alfajores.  Ha...it has been fun to see Argentina through new eyes again, get to know everything and see her thoughts and feelings about everything.   

She is a champ in all honesty, and doesn’t let fear stop her.  She wanted to go on a mission earlier, but a few years ago she was sitting in a chair out in the sidewalk in front of her house, and a truck lost control and hit her.  She was in a hospital for a month and getting the medical permission to leave was almost impossible because she broke so many bones in her hip and legs.  She made it though!  After lots of studies she finally got the medical release and is considered very healthy.  She is a bold missionary and loves to chat, and I love it.  I have missed having someone who likes to talk about everything.  She doesn’t even have a month into her mission, but she has a solid grip on the doctrine and is so fun to teach with. 

The work really is progressing and since the transfers we have found several people, and a cute family.  Miracles are happening and I am really making an effort to take the time to explain how to do things like contacts and planning and so on.....showing her an example and then letting her try for herself to see what she feels is best.  We are learning lots, and more than anything I am just so grateful to have a companion who I get along with.  We are also working hard in this branch to really help it grow.  What we need here more than anything are priesthood leaders......we have so few and they do so much because there aren’t very many people to help share the load.  But it’s all in process.

I love my mission, I love my area, and I love you all!  I love you more than all the hours it would take to drive in a car from Argentina to Boise! :)

Hermana Withers 

Chile is getting cold, Stake Conference in Argentina

June 2

Dear Family,
Greetings!  Concepción is getting sort of cold.  We got quite a bit of rain and wind recently, but I am in good health.  Last night the mission president called and asked me if I would be willing to serve as district leader here in the same zone.  I really don’t know exactly what I have to do, or how to do it, but I know both of my zone leaders well and they are going to show me what I need to do.  If you could include me in your prayers that would mean a lot to me.  I am staying in the same area, and so is my companion, so that is nice.  We are going to be getting an Elder Harrison from Nampa, Idaho in our apartment, so that will be fun.  

Today has been quite the party.  Our zone had lunch at a fancy American style restaurant called Mamut, and I ordered a buffalo burger.  It was really good, and the lemonade was amazing.  It was funny when I ordered the lemonade.  I made up my order really fast, and forgot to decide on what do drink.  I said ´´puedo tener una limonada de, um .....3 seconds.....limon?´´  They had a lot of different fruit options, and I realized I just wanted my lemonade to be from lemons.  It was good.  

This past week I got some amazing pictures of a sunset, but I forgot to bring the camera with me to the computer place, so I guess I will do that next week.  

We had the family home evening with Norma, the person who one day asked where church is and how to become a member.  She is really nice, and we hope she can progress well.  Amadeo came to church this Sunday.  We are thinking about moving his baptismal date a week forward, because he is understanding everything we teach him.  He was a soldier, then a FBI guy, and he is now retired.  We hope he can stay strong.  

I love my mission.  I know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and watches after us.  He sent his beloved son, Jesus Christ, to die, so that through faith and repentance on His name, all mankind may have the chance to be saved from their own sins.  I know that if we follow his example by being baptized by someone who is in the authority to do so, we can receive a remission, or forgiveness of our sins.  Then comes the baptism by fire, to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands.  We then can receive personal guidance and direction in our life, to help us return to our Father in Heaven.  I know that if we choose the right we will be blessed.  I humbly testify of these things in the sacred name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Amen.

Today, I received a large stack of nearly 20 dear elder letters that have been piling up over the last few months and were in the home of other missionaries.  I will have a blast reading them this week.  Thank you all for all of the awesome letters.  I love you all more than the number of cheerios it would take to fill the super bowl, more than all the cows it would take to have enough whole milk to pour into the super bowl, and more than the number of calories you would eat if you were to cover it all with sugar and eat the entire bowl for breakfast.

-Elder Withers

Dear Family,

This week was awesome.  First and foremost, with the transfers.....Heavenly Father loves me and is blessing me with a change.  I will be training a new missionary fresh from the MTC, and I’m really excited!  A new set of challenges and adventures awaits me.  I am going to Rosario tomorrow to pick her up :)

Like Chad said, I can’t believe we are almost at the year mark.  Today is 11 months!!!  Soooooo fassssttttt.   

Also........I don’t know how much I want to tell you this, but it’s sort of a miracle so I am going to.  But don’t freak out.  Yesterday...........we got robbed.  Ha.......I told you, don’t freak out.  This is what happened, yesterday was our day to deep clean the apartment.  We did our studies like always in the morning, and then went to the store to get a few cleaning products (because we had absolutely nothing).  We got back from the store, entered our apartment, and all was good.  I went to the back of the apartment to start cleaning the patio, organize the junk I have always wanted to organize but didn’t have the time...and throw most of it away.  Hermana Ospinal came to the back too, and we really made some progress.  Hermana Ospinal had been going back and forth from the front to the back, taking out bags of garbage, and for some reason left the door open between trips because it was faster and less of a hassle.  I didn’t know this (I would have told her to shut the door and lock it every time) but on another run with garbage, she only made it to the hallway, and came back white as a ghost.  She said, "Hermana.....someone was in our apartment" I asked did you see them or do you only recognize things out of place?  She said no, there was a tall skinny man with a hood on and his hands in his pocket, I didn’t see what he was doing, I only saw him leave.  I was surprisingly calm, and said "Well shoot......let’s see if he took anything."  And sure enough, he swiped her wallet and 300 of my pesos (like 60 bucks).  She felt awful....and went on and on about how scared she was, and how sorry she was for leaving the door open for a minute... but I honestly feel fine.  I am at peace with everything, just a little weirded out that someone else was in our apartment.  The miracle is that he didn’t take the phone/documents/cameras or try to hurt us.  He just entered and left.  And it’s totally our fault because the door was open (just to take the garbage out....you can’t trust anyone these days!)  but if anything it has taught me a good lesson to be on guard ALWAYS  always always always.....to always know what my companion is doing, and to be extra careful, locking and double locking everything.  I love that we have a member who lives next door and looks out for us, and this week we are going to be working closer to our apartment walking by frequently so it looks like we are always home.  We really are so blessed and I am so grateful for the safety and protection.  Please don’t freak yourselves out, I just wanted to share this story and miracle, I know that the Lord is always looking out for us, even if we make mistakes.  He always loves us.  Also know that I really do feel very safe in our apartment, it’s a good place.

I also wouldn’t mind if we could go a couple of weeks without a big adventure.  That would be sweet :)  This week a member gave us dinner, and served us something called Matambre.  It is probably the most Argentine meal I have ever eaten, it’s a pizza, with cheese and sauce, but instead of bread for a crust, the crust was steak.  It sounds weird, but it really was good.  

We also had Stake Conference this week, and it was incredible.  We had 2 general authorities, and a big theme in the sessions was missionary work.  It’s fun to be in a bigger area, where general authorities from the seventy come for conferences.  The conference was in Rosario, and Roberto and Teresa were able to go which was awesome.  They stayed for the whole thing and really liked it.  They have also been sharing pamphlets with their family about the church which is incredible.  We really love them and pray that their paperwork comes through every day, so that they can get married.  

We are ready to start another week with contacting and finding and teaching and serving!  Enjoy your vacation and adventures in the East (and in Chile!) and know that I love you all more than all the people meeting with the missionaries around the world!

Hermana Withers