Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Very Short Letter...

March 30, 2015

Dear Family,

I am glad to see you all had a good weekend and lots of fun.  Spring break is great!  I am short on time, so this will be short.

Teresa and Pia were baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday.  It was great, their family came.  Also, I heard that Patricio Aguayo, the tall man who sells Mercedes Benz, from Santa Sabina, finally got married and baptized and confirmed this last week.  I have stayed in contact with him; he has such a good family.  

We played soccer this morning, but we got there by taking the train.  It was lots of fun, and actually cheaper and faster than the bus.  We will be using the train more often now.

Things are going well with Elder Incil.  It is the 4th time we’ve been in the same zone at the same time, so it is like a big mini-cambio.  It is fun.  We had a ward talent show on Friday.  The ward did some pretty funny skits.  Well I am happy and healthy.

I love you all more than the number of wires it takes to send this message from Chile to the U.S.A.

-Elder Withers

Monday, March 23, 2015

Transfer Changes, and Absolute Truth

Dear Family,
This week was a pretty calm week.  Nothing too crazy has happened.  We are just hunting for people to teach, and we have been greatly blessed lately with new people to teach.  Yesterday was going really slow, but at the end of the day we visited a lady who a week ago said come back some day.  She is really good, and said that she will be baptized if God answers her prayer about the Book of Mormon.  We are excited for her.  Teresa and Pia are progressing well to their baptism this Saturday.  Teresa hasn’t smoked and is doing great about it.  Christian is also progressing along.  I am excited for the upcoming weeks, and hope the Lord will allow us to find some new folks to teach, hopefully families.  

There have been transfers, actually, a lot of transfers.  About half of the zone is being changed.  The president has said that there will be a large focus on giving more missionaries chances to serve as leaders, so a lot of missionaries will be ending the mission as senior comps or trainers instead of district or zone leaders.  My companion is going to be with an Elder that has lots of problems.  All 3 of the district leaders in this zone are leaving, and incoming are 3 brand new district leaders.  My companion will be a new zone leader.  The challenge that God has given me, and opportunity to grow by giving service this cambio will be to help the new leaders of the zone in their assignments.  My companion is Elder Incil, I have been with him a lot, this is the 4th time we are in the same zone.  He was in my district once and I really like his work ethic and teaching ability.  He is from Lima Peru.  Also, great news, one of the new district leaders is Elder Copling, whose training I finished in Lorenzo Arenas.  I am excited for the opportunities and challenges of this upcoming transfer.  

Well time has flown and I need to be off and away, but just know that the following things are absolute truths.  Jesus Christ is our Savior.  Joseph Smith was called by God to be the prophet to restore the gospel.  The Book of Mormon is true, and together with the Spirit establishes convincing evidence of the former 2 truths.  I love to be a missionary.

I love you all, more than the number of beams and rays of sunlight the sun has shot off so far this morning. 
Elder Withers

Monday, March 16, 2015

Reading the Book of Mormon Strengthens Investigators

Dear Family,

This week was quite great.  We have been seeing miracles with the people we are teaching.  One of them, Christian, who we found a few weeks ago is happily preparing for his baptism.  He is about 45 years old, and recently moved here.  His baptismal date is the 4th of April.  He accepted tithing yesterday.  When we taught him the Word of Wisdom 2 weeks ago, we found that he occasionally drinks, frequently smokes, likes tea, and drinks coffee every morning, but ever since he accepted to live the Word of Wisdom 2 weeks back he hasn’t had a problem.  He reads the Book of Mormon and that helps him.  He is an interesting character and gets very easily distracted and goes off on random tangents, but we did practices in our studies of how to control the lessons and it has helped a lot. 

Teresa and Pia are also doing good.   Teresa hasn’t smoked, and her daughter Pia has been a good reminder for her.  When we leave them something to read in the Book of Mormon they read it together and talk about it before the next lesson.  Their baptismal date was changed to the 28th of March, and they are progressing well.  Tomorrow we will teach them tithing.  If you could keep in your prayers Christian, Teresa, and Pia, it would be great.  

I am so excited for today, the first P day in a while where we aren’t busy doing lots of stuff.  Last week for example the zone activity was make and eat pizza for brunch and play basketball, it was fun but tiring.  Today will be a great day. 

The Book of Mormon is the word of God.  I know it is true.  When we read from it God blesses us with the Spirit.  I am so glad to have the Book of Mormon as a teaching tool.  Today from the office we picked up a box of 36 copies of the Book of Mormon from the zone.  Such a power tool!

I love you all more than the number of times in the Book of Mormon that we are given reminders to have faith in Jesus Christ.

-Elder Withers

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mother Feeling Grateful for a Guardian Angel Serving in Chile

March 9, 2015

Dear Family,
Well this week was a pretty good week, we have been greatly blessed lately. 

I usually don’t write you all about scary experiences that happen here in the mission, because I don’t want you worrying about me.  However, on Friday at about 3:30 and something minutes, God preserved my life in such a way that I feel compelled to write about it today.  We live on a big street, with about 5 or so lanes of traffic that travels at almost freeway speed.  We were heading out to work, after our post lunch study session.  We went to the crosswalk to get to the other side of Colón.  On the big street of Colón, on the corner with Juan Guillermos Sosa, there is a crosswalk, with cross and don’t cross lights, and all that stuff.  Half way across the street, there is another little island, or crosswalk waiting place.  I got to the middle, and was waiting for the cross signal.  It seemed that the cars weren’t going to go, so I foolishly decided to jog to the other side of the street, thinking I could make it in time.  I had to make it across three lanes.  I got about one and a half or two lanes down and then the cars got a green light.  I started running, and this would have been a much more delightful experience, had it not been for a car that was in the third lane, closest to the other side of the street, that was coming fast, because it never had to stop because the light turned green before it got there.  I didn’t see it coming because the 2 lines of stopped cars had kept it blocked from my view.  What happened next was all in God´s hands.  Somehow, the driver was able to see me just in time, and slow down just enough, to give me just enough time to make it to the other side of the street.  The missionary who was with me, (I was on splits) less of a stupid risk taker than I was that day saw it all play out, and couldn’t believe it.  He thought I was going to be knocked flat and killed.  It was a miracle.  Once I saw the car I sort of lost thinking ability and it was just an instinctive mad sprint, but I know that angels quickened my step, and the Holy Ghost must have helped the driver realize the foolish pedestrian and slow down just in time.  Mom and Dad, I promise to more closely obey the laws of traffic.  It was a close call.  I wanted to share this with you all just so that you realize that God is aware of each and every one of us and protects us from harm.  I will do my very best to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.

Teresa and Pia from last week´s letter are staying strong.  Teresa hasn’t smoked since we taught her the Word of Wisdom.  If you could keep her in your prayers, that she quits smoking it would be great.  

I love you all so very much, and am so very grateful to God for all the miracles big and small, noticed and unnoticed that have helped me here in Chile.  I hope you all have a great week.  I love you all more than the number of miracles that God works on this earth every single day.

May you have Heaven´s blessings in all that you do this upcoming week.

-Elder Withers

Joy in Teaching, Witnessing Miracles

March 2, 2015

Hello Family,  
It fills me with delight, to know that you are all happy and healthy.  It is so cool that you all had a good week. 
Well, a couple of weeks ago, we gave a priesthood blessing to the mother in law of an investigator.  She was 80 something years old, suffering complications from after her surgery, and was having some sort of severe bleeding problem.  The investigator herself, Rosa, had a cold.  We gave her a blessing and Rosa, strongly felt the spirit and her cold went away that very moment.  The internal bleeding problems of the older lady stopped that very Saturday night (which is no small miracle, that woman has had many surgeries and many complications) and the next day we took the older lady to church in a wheelchair we borrowed from someone else.  I know that the Priesthood is a real power that, when exercised in faith, works miracles.

This past couple of weeks, the Lord has been putting in our path some people who are more than willing to accept the Gospel.  We contacted in the street an older lady, Gabriela, who said she was baptized 34 years ago, but has since gone inactive.  We walked with her to the home of her daughter, and started teaching.  We invited her daughter, Teresa, who is 51 years old and she accepted to be baptized the 21 of March.  Her 18 year old daughter, Pia, also accepted to be baptized on the 21st. Pia has a twin brother that is very receptive as well, but plays for a traveling soccer team, so he is often not home.  The father, Carlos, a retired navy man, is not too interested, but he is not opposed to his family meeting with us.  Teresa and Gabriela were able to go to the baptism of Macarena and Hilda and felt the spirit, strongly, and yesterday in church the family felt great.  We learned in the second lesson, that 2 days before we contacted Gabriela in the street, Teresa found 2 white tunics while cleaning the house, and was puzzled by what they were.  When she went to the baptism service she made the connection that the 2 white tunics are for baptisms .  That was definitely one of many miracles we have seen lately.  We are excited to teach Teresa and her family.

Thank you all so much for being awesome, I LOVE YOU ALL so very much, more than the number of leaves that fall from the trees when it is fall time in Vermont.

Have a stellar week,

Elder Withers