Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Finished Reading the Book of Mormon, Planning a Baptism in Argentina

Dec. 1, 2014

Dear Family,
Well, Happy Thanksgiving!  It seems that you guys had a great week.  It was good to hear that the relatives are doing well, and that you had a good visit.  

The branch of Parral is growing, and it is exciting to be here, where so many members are all about missionary work.  Now that summer break has started we have lots of young men to accompany us to appointments.  Juan Pablo, the young man I mentioned last week was baptized.  My companion baptized him on Saturday, and I conferred the Holy Ghost on him on Sunday.  He is a good young man and hopefully he will be able to go on the young men’s temple trip at the end of December.  There is a man here named Patricio, who was battling alcoholism, and had been doing really well, but the week before his baptism date, he gave into temptation and drank a lot.  The missionaries weren’t able to find him for almost a month because he works nonstop every day, but last Tuesday we found him again, and he had shivers because of battling alcoholism.  I asked my companion if he had ever received a priesthood blessing to stop drinking, and he hadn’t, so we gave him a blessing.  He is doing better, and hasn’t drank since.  We set a new baptism date, for this Saturday, the 6th of December, and he accepted it.  He is a very good man who has honest desires to stop drinking and be baptized.  We will be passing by every day this week, starting tomorrow to finish teaching him, in the mornings at 6 AM, because he has to leave early for work.  I hope he can be baptized, and if he gets baptized this Saturday, the branch will have 5 baptisms this weekend, because the other elders are going to baptize a grandma and three grandchildren.  If you could pray for Patricio that he will be strong against the temptation to drink it will be a big help.

I must make note that I have acquired by trade, a pocket size Book of Mormon in English.  There is a really good Dockers belt that I brought with me to the mission, and I never wear it because I have another belt.  My comp likes the belt a lot, and so I traded it for his mini scriptures, I got out of the deal a pocket size Book of Mormon, and a pocket size New Testament, they are both red.  I will figure out something to trade to get his pocket size Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price double combination.    Interesting to note, Elder Barrios family is moving, permanently to Utah on the 8th of January.  He will study at BYU after the mission.  

About Valerie´s Mongolia economics project, I remember the economic summit in High School, and my country was Chile, and then I got the mission call to Chile.  Just saying....

Today while out fishing, I finished reading the Book of Mormon, for the second time in my life.  I was using my new red book, and yes it fits in a shirt pocket.  It has been a great experience to study the Book of Mormon, and feel of its power.  It is a convincing testament that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, that Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration of the Gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the Lord´s kingdom here on the earth.  I know it is a true book.  I have felt the Holy Ghost confirm of its truthfulness to me, and I felt the spirit as I read it this morning by the river.

I love you all more than the number of snowflakes it would take to have a snow day in every major city in the U.S.

Elder Withers

Dear Family,
I love you lots!  I am so glad that you had a great week with Thanksgiving.  Keep the traditions going.......they are awesome. I can’t believe we are already in December, time flies by fast, and if you don’t take advantage of opportunities they slip away.  

This week.......was pretty good.  Sometimes the days are long because it’s hot outside, but there is always a miracle, and we always meet someone awesome.  The miracle from this week, was putting a man named Eduardo on date for baptism.  He is the husband of our newly called relief society president, and he has been a missionary "project" for over 30 years.  He has always said no to the church, no to listening to the missionaries, no to going to church, and lots and lots of missionaries have worked with him.

Our very first Sunday here we didn’t know anybody, and he showed up.  We thought he was one of the other members, but we quickly learned that it was his first time going in years.  His wife was happier than a kid on Christmas, and she has loved teaching him how to read and sing the hymns (even though during every hymn I feel like I am singing a solo because no one sings very loud and everyone follows my voice, if I accidentally start too high or too low.....it’s a terribly funny disaster :), how to study the scriptures, and help teach him in the lessons and so on.  He has attended church several times since then, and is learning slowly but surely.  What has been hard is that he is truck driver and he has crazy whacky work hours, but the harvest of whatever he was hauling has finally ended and he is home much more often.  We are working with him to stop smoking, and we are excited for him to get baptized.  In reality, everyone is excited for him to get baptized.  It’s truly a miracle.  He is evidence of work from tons of other people, and Heavenly Father touched his heart right as we showed up.....but I know that none of the credit belongs to us.  We are only helping him through the steps to get to baptism, and it’s been fun to watch him change.   

I am grateful for the Christmas season, and I am sure you have all seen it by now, but the church has made an incredible video and has blasted it all over YouTube,mormon.org, Facebook, twitter, and so on........and it is super well made.  It’s a month long plan, and as a missionary it is super cool to be a part of.  Each day we have 10 special Christmas pass along cards (and only we have them, not the members) to give out to people, inviting them to watch the video and visit the church website to learn more....and it’s been cool to see people soften their hearts towards the idea of Christ and religion, because of the holiday season.  I love how the Christmas spirit does that to people :)  And each week the church asks for our numbers in regard to this new plan, regarding how many people listened, accepted a second visit, referrals from members and so on so that they can keep track of the missionary impact from this video.........it’s estimated that 220 million people are going to see the video, and I am 100% sure that several of those people will be baptized.  How awesome.  Whatever monetary cost the church had to pay to produce and make it all possible, will be more than worth it.  

I am grateful for all you do and for your letters each week.  I really do love you lots and lots and lots.  I feel great and energized and as ready as ever.  Invite the missionaries over for dinner or something, and ask them about the video ¨He is the Gift¨  it’s worth it, and it will be a cool experience for you all, I promise :)  I hope you know that I love you all more than the number of little Christmas lights that will dot the earth and be used to decorate trees and homes this month in celebration of Christmas!  I love everybody and you are all my favorite!  

Hermana Withers

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