Tuesday, August 26, 2014

No transfers, but moving apartments in Chile and Argentina

August 25, 2014

Dear Family,
Well transfers have come, and luckily, I don’t have to go anywhere.  I will be staying as district leader in Zona Andalién. Elder Bence is going to a branch in Linares, at the northern limit of the mission, about 5 hours away by bus.  I am going to really miss him, we got along great.  My new companion is Elder Zevallos, from Rosario, Argentina.  Hello, Rosario!  

This week we have been working hard, but just not seeing any real results.  The same people keep not going to church, and this week we are going to drop anyone and everyone who doesn’t want to progress, so that we can find the people to accept and live the gospel.

We did have some cool experiences this week, one of which was when we were contacting in the street, on the way back to the house.  I was with a Columbian Elder, Elder Garrido, who is relatively new in the mission and is very timid.  He was trying to get someone to stop for a moment, and a lady didn’t want to, and tried to assertively use her extended umbrella to get her away from the gospel preaching situation.  It was raining, and I also had an extended umbrella, and I wasn’t going to make it easy on her.  I placed myself in her path, and she kept going, so I walked slowly backwards, cutting off every one of her escape attempts.  After about 10 steps, we came to a car and there she was pinned.  The entire time (less than 15 seconds of deceleration), Elder Garrido was talking to her, and she kept saying conversation ending phrases like oh that is nice, see you some other time.  She wasn’t aggressive enough, and I was so happy to have helped Elder Garrido reach his goal for contacts that day.  We later met up with the other Elders and they saw the entire thing and thought it was great, and we all had a good laugh.  
We are changing houses, and will be moving in the first of Sept, at the latest.  The new house is significantly bigger (the current one is very small) but I am not so sure we will still have a washer and dryer.   

I love you all so very much, more than the number of Lincoln logs it would take to make a Lincoln log office building 90 stories tall with 120 offices on each floor, and 2 bathrooms every other floor.  The lobby would be spacious.  I love you all more than that many Lincoln logs, and that is a lot of Lincoln logs! 

I really mean it,
Elder Withers

Dear Family,
Oh this week was awesome!  First of all transfer news...........I’m not going anywhere, and neither is my companion.  We are both staying here, and we are both pretty excited about it.  At the end of this transfer I will have 6 months in Beltran, just like La Paz.  

This week last week was SUPER HOT, with crazy humidity......just like summer.  The crazy thing, is that we are still in winter down here.....and it should still be very cold.  But nature went back to normal, and on Sunday we had to put our big winter coats back on. And these last 2 days we have had a very harsh wind.  It’s cold, and with humidity it’s bone penetrating.  But we are doing well.......and we are heading into the last of winter.  

On Saturday we had an activity with the Relief Society, there were 2 workshops and a clothes donation, it went well and was really fun!  We also had interviews with President Zanni this week, and he is so awesome.  I absolutely love him.  He is a good president, who demands a lot with very high expectations (like all presidents should) and he has been a very good change.  Everyone only has like 10 minutes in their interview with president, but I always learn new things and walk away with new things to think about.  I love it.  

On Sunday, Mauro went to church!!!  We finished teaching the lessons this last week, and yesterday he had his baptismal interview......and all is good to go!  He is getting baptized this Saturday at 3pm!!!!  He is awesome, and is a future priesthood holder and leader in the church.  A miracle really.  I am so excited for him.  

This last week we also moved back to our apartment, and it is so beautiful to be in our own space again.  The only problem, is that we still don’t completely understand how to work the new water heater. It makes the water BOILING hot....but we have gotten better at using it and have learned a few tricks.  If you leave the kitchen faucet on while showering, turning the hot water knob a tiny little bit and cold water all the way.....it’s all good.  We are in the process of figuring out who can help us turn the temperature thing down all together so that it heats the water to a normal temperature...but it’s all a process.  I have gotten good at surviving :)

The most eventful thing of the week.............we got locked out of our apartment.  But not just locked out of our apartment after a day of work, that would have been much too simple.  We got locked out when we were in the process of moving back.  We had the guy with his moving truck and all our stuff.......and no way to get into the house.  Ha....I should have been more cheerful about the situation, and I smiled through it all....but inside I wanted to smash something. Our spare key we had left with our landlord who had been coming and going with repairmen all week working on the apartment (she is almost always home, but in this moment she was of course gone for some reason)......and our keys had disappeared.  We were fairly sure that we had locked them in the house (it’s a complicated situation...that time doesn’t allow me to completely explain....but its sufficient to know that we had no way to get in and a truck full of stuff to put into our apartment).  The guy didn’t have time to wait for a locksmith, or for the landlord to come back from where ever she was.....so the whole situation looked hopeless.  The guy unloaded our stuff for us, and put it all on our front door/porch thing.  This was a day that was burning hot outside with horrible humidity  (at least it wasn’t really cold)....and we honestly had no way to get in, a porch full of stuff (luggage, mattresses, pillows, bedding), and district meeting in 2 hours.  Ha......we hopelessly just scooted our stuff together, sat on our luggage with gloomy faces.....and tried to think of a break in plan.  The windows are covered with metal bars, so that was out, but we realized that if we had a long enough stick we could poke it through the window, opening the little window on our door, and from the window on the door be able to grab the keys.  It was brilliant.  We found several large sticks, taped them all together (good thing we had tape) we put the plan to work....ha and the stick broke and fell on the other side of the window inside the house. Shoot.  We tried it again.  More sticks, more tape, and same story.....it didn’t hold up.  At this point we really gave up.  A nice old man who lives across the street came over and tried to help (trying all of his keys in case one of them worked, he was so very kind) but nothing.  And after all of that.......we honestly gave up.  There was no way to get in, except wait for the landlord to come back and let us in.  We ended up waiting outside in the heat for 1 hour, hungry and impatient.....but our landlord FINALLY came back, we were able to eat and make it to district meeting on time.  It was quite the experience, and we carried on with the rest of the day as usual. The only thing that really suffered was our pride.  Tons of cars drove by, and we were scared that someone was going to rob us again (we were very vulnerable out on our front porch with all our stuff) but nothing happened and it all ended okay.  Sorry there are no pictures.  I was too scared to take any.  

I hope you have a great week and know that I love you more than all the unique keys there are in the world!

Hermana Withers

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