Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Moving to Parral Chile, Extra-Ordinary Day Tracting

November 17, 2014

Dear Family,
The cambios (transfers) are......drum roll please.........The sector is being closed.  It was unexpected and rather shocking.  Santa Sabina B is being closed, there will now be 4 missionaries in the ward, rather than 6.  My companion will be going to Talcahuano, a nearby city, and I will be going to the countryside, the town of Parral.  It is a branch with 6 missionaries, has hot weather, and it is a bike sector.  So that should be fun.  I estimate it is about 4ish hours north of the mission office.  For 10 and a half months I have been here in the city of Concepcion, so it will be neat to go out and see what is out there.  If you can google maps Concepci√≥n, you can probably find out where Parral is, it is between Concepcion and Rancagua.

I apologize for the short letter.  And will write with a million more details next week.  I love you all a million times over.  The sector is being closed because only 7 sisters are coming this transfer, and 7 sisters and 7 elders are leaving, so they had to cut somewhere.  We have been obedient, I promise.

I love you all so much, more than the number of snowflakes it takes to fall on the streets of Boise to cause a snow day.

-Elder Withers

Dear Family,

Congrats on your new assignment Chad!  You will also love serving in the boonies.  I have spent the majority of my mission serving far away from everything, and it’s a good experience!  I hope you love your new area and companion.

This week was another good one for me!  There isn’t actually anything crazy or unusual that happened, so I am struggling to think of what to write.......but something will come to mind!  Transfer news is that........neither one of us is going anywhere.  Sweet! 

What actually is happening in Galvez, are lots and lots of miracles.  What Galvez has really needed is a great faithful family or somebody, or anybody, to move here.  Someone who understands the doctrine and how the church should function, and our prayers were  answered.  The other day we were outside contacting (in that beautiful but ever-intense Argentine heat!) and a nice man stopped us in the street and asked us where the chapel is.  We quickly told him, but we were also curious as to who he was....so we asked him.  And he told us that he is a member from Santa Fe, but has been sent to Galvez for a year-long work contract.  He is about 30 years old, he doesn’t have a wife or kids....but he is a returned missionary from Bahia Blanca.  And, he said.....whenever you need a member to go visit someone, I am free every afternoon, after 5pm.  We couldn’t believe it!  It was truly a miracle.  Our prayers were answered, and another source of divine help has been sent here to Galvez, such a blessing. 

The other day I saw a family of gypsies for the first time. They were sitting on the side of the road eating a picnic lunch and drinking mate.  They all had really long skirts on, with their fingers and wrists full of jewelry, and in super high pitched voices asked us if we wanted to buy something from them.  We told them no thank you, but it was interesting to finally see one for the first time.  I don’t really know their culture or what it is they do or live like, but I do know that here in Argentina they like to have picnics under the shade of a tree and drink mate.

Good news, is that here in Galvez....otter pops are 1 peso each.  Ha...they aren’t actually otter pops, but they are a popsicle type thing and you eat it like an otter pop and it comes in all the flavors. 1 peso is like the equivalent of 10 cents.  It really is dreadfully hot outside, and when you throw in humidity.....it makes life even more interesting.  We are drinking what feels like gallons and gallons of water, and eating tons of fruit. 

On Tuesday there was a terrific thunder and lightning storm, it’s been a long time since I have seen so much lightning......and it was incredible.  It was kind of a scary walking home, because it was super dark outside and like every 10 seconds a huge ray of lightning would flash what felt like right in front of our eyes.  It was crazy, but we made it home for the night right before it started raining which was a tender mercy. 

I have been trying to take lots and lots and lots of pictures (actually my comp is the professional...she takes pictures of everything, and I am so grateful, I forget!) and I am saving them all on my thumb drive.  Trying to make the most of each day, look for the blessings, work hard, stay focused and obedient, and keep on keeping on.  Sometimes life feels like a long distance marathon, but I am happy.  A sweet stressful happy :)

The other day we spent part of the afternoon contacting, and it was incredible.  We felt like we were on fire........because every single person who answered the door, every single one...100%......we were able to convince them to come outside, accept a pamphlet, and we committed them to read it, and made a follow up appointment. We felt like professional saleswomen.... because we did everything to get them to be interested, to want them to read...to peak their interest, and commit them to read and pray.  Most days aren’t like that, you do your best to introduce yourself to everyone, or offer to give them a free pamphlet or card with Jesus on it, and there is always at least some irritated person, or insanely devout Catholic....or somebody who rejects us.  But this day no.  It was an incredible feeling, I really felt like the plaque that I had on my shirt had an extra-ordinary power that day.  We ended the day with 9 return appointments to brand new people, from only 1 hour of contacting......absolute miracle! 

This last Sunday, we had branch conference, and it was so good.  We had the highest assistance (attendance) we have ever had......20!  And it was great to have several of the stake leaders (there were 7), so in reality the assistence from Galvez was only 13....but it felt great to have the chapel more full!  We had to clean the chapel (we always clean it every Saturday because we are still working on getting some member to have that assignment) but while we are all there is, we do it.   The Sunday services were excellent. The stake leaders really made quite a sacrifice to make the 2 hour drive to be there, and afterwards we had a potluck lunch.  We learned lots and it was good for the members to hear from the Stake leaders. 

Everything really is going well here in Galvez, and things get better and better each day.  I love being a missionary, and I love all of you! All that cold snow looks beautiful.  I love you more than the number of Christmas trees that are up for sale, being cut down, or getting put together in preparation for Christmas all around the world!

Hermana Withers 

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