Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Importance of Members is Immeasurable

Dear Family,
This has been a solid week.  I hope you can all have a chance to share the gospel with someone, or show kindness by doing a quiet act of service.  I can’t believe how fast the time is flying.  I really can’t believe how fast the mission has been going by lately.  Every transfer is faster than the previous.  I am grateful for every day.  

A couple of months ago we made a street contact, and the lady says she is less active.  Yesterday for the first time we were able to find her again, and she has a 9 year old son who loves the church.  His name is Francesco, and he is really bright - and no joke a living encyclopedia with a solid grasp on the Bible.  And he wants to be baptized!  We want to re-activate his mom, Eliana (who by the way gave us amazing empanadas) and baptize her son.  Hopefully everything works out.  

I am still in the thick of the summer heat, but it should start to cool off a little bit once February starts.  

The importance of the members is immeasurable.  Every member a missionary is of huge importance.  If we truly act as disciples of Christ everywhere we go, and our words are in agreement with our righteous actions, the church will grow faster than it ever has.

I want you all to know that God loves us, that he is aware of who we are, of our strengths and our weaknesses.  He can help us in whatever circumstance we find ourselves, if we are simply humble, and allow him to help us.  Missionary work is really miraculous.  He helps us as we help his children receive the gospel.  That is cool!  I want you all to know that God is watching out for you, that he has angels to protect you, and that his son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior.  I love Him.  I love the mission.  I love being a part of the Lord`s missionary force.  I love being a member of the church that Christ established, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  I want you all to know that I really mean it.  I love to be a member of this church.  Remember who you all are, you are sons and daughters of the most high God.  All of us on this earth are brothers and sisters.  Let’s all work together to return home to the presence of our Father in Heaven.  He will help us. 

I hope you can all be well of health, and that you read the scriptures, say your prayers, and invite people to go to church with you.  I love you all more than the number of grains of oats it would take to make ten thousand big bowls of oat meal.  

Elder Withers

Monday, January 19, 2015

Surviving in the Hot and Rainless Dry Heat of Chile

January 19, 2014

Dear Withers Family,
I salute all relatives that came to Rebecca’s report.  I hope they enjoyed their brief stay in the home of my upbringing... ¡Well it was fun talking a bit like Shakespeare, but let´s get on with the letter!  

Out here in Parral, it is very very hot, and rainless.  It is a dry heat, and I am grateful for a bike.  I hope it is all right with you all if I make some necessary adjustments on my bike, there are no reflector lights, and as it was a used bike the tread was wore down, and the air is always slowly leaking.  I got it spruced up. 

Also small announcement, my companion doesn’t want to go home out of shape, so we are going to the gym 3 times a week. 

I have decided that mote con huesillo, and harina tostada are 2 of my favorite food items here in Chile.  Harina tostada is toasted flour and you can put it in water, in milk, or in any drink, and stir it, with sugar, and it is amazing, and a great source of protein and energy.  Here they even put it on watermelon, I really like it.  It is a very Chilean thing.  If you can find it, buy some and try it.  If not, shoot me an email and I will get you hooked up, as it is very cheap.

I love the mission.  There are days, even weeks, even months when it seems very difficult, but the Lord will get done that which he has set out to do, we just have to obey the master and everything will work out.  Every day you learn something, and it really is great.  I know the church is true, and that Joseph Smith was the prophet of the beginning of the Restoration. 

I love you all more than the number of toothpicks and brownish red varnish it would take to make a replica of a California Redwood.  Have a great week.

-Elder Withers

Another Great Week

January 12, 2015

Dear Family,
This has been another great week.  We are excited,  we are finding lots of new people lately, and trying to help them realize they need the gospel in their lives.

I am greatly enjoying this cambio.

This week I did not crash my bike or anything like that, so that was a plus.  I am really excited for this new week, because my comp and I have decided to just work crazy hard trying to find as many new people to teach as possible.  We want to enter about 5 houses a day, and in the street contacts be extra bold and to the point, testifying at every chance we get.  We will see how it goes.  Yesterday we found a mom and her only son that both are excited to be baptized and go to church.

I love the work.  I am happy and healthy and I know that this church is the only true one, the only one that has authority from God.  I love you all, more than the number of pedals it would take to drive a bike from Parral to Boise.

Have a great week,
Elder Withers

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Baptisms and Mission Changes

January 5, 2014

I am not home, but nonetheless, I send by email a big welcome home hug to Rebecca.  ¡Bienvenidos!

Well Hello Folks,
Today I have a full day P-day, because we got back from the meeting in Concepcion at about 5:45, so we have the rest of the day off.  That is why I am writing so late.  I must say one thing - the mission is a big collection of awesome adventures.  This week has been one of the more adventurous of the mission, not in the sense of flying over the handlebars of a bike or anything like that, but just big, positive changes in the mission.

First off, I would like to mention that my companion, Elder Durrant,from Murray Utah is very similar to Dallin (Chad’s cousin also currently serving a mission in Chile).  We laugh about a lot of stuff together.  He has 3 more months in the mission.  He wears a cowboy hat everywhere but church.  We get along great and it is a lot of fun.  

Also, today we learned of a number of big changes in the mission.  At the end of each week we report ´´key indicators´´, and in our mission there are about 16 or so of them, such as lessons to investigators with member present, without member present, number of lessons to converts and less actives with member present, new investigators, percentage of recent converts in church, with callings, and stuff like that.  Well today, we found out that we are going to be reporting just a handful things each week.  The number of baptisms, confirmations, sacrament meeting attendance, investigators with fecha bautismal (baptism date), street contacts, and baptisms this month.  It is going to be very different.  I am excited.  After discussing the changes we had Papa John’s pizza, I had a chicken barbecue pizza.  Yum!  There is a huge focus on strengthening the wards and branches by working with Ward leadership.  We can’t do our jobs without the Ward leadership.

Camila and Aaron got baptized.  They are a cool little couple.  Very rarely do you find a young married couple in Chile, most people their age just convivir (live together). 

I am happy and healthy, and ready for another great week.  I love the mission, and once again, WELCOME HOME REBECCA!!!!!

I love you all more than the number of times a day missionaries invite people to learn about the Restoration.   

-Elder Withers