Monday, July 21, 2014

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



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