Thursday, May 28, 2015

Inspirational Quotes and a Testimony of the Book of Mormon

Dear Family,
 You guys are so awesome.  Thanks for praying for the people we are teaching.  It really makes a difference.

This week was a slower week than we had hoped for.  It isn’t always easy, but that is what makes fruitful moments all the better.  We had high hopes of finding some families, but a lot of plans fell through.  But those plans did not take our hope with them.  We will be at it again for this week, working harder and smarter than at any previous point in our missions.

This morning we had a zone activity of playing ultimate Frisbee.  It was a lot of fun, and luckily, no one lost the Frisbee.  

I enjoy trying to remember good quotes, and like anyone, I have heard hundreds of inspirational words of wisdom.  I have discovered that Elder Barnes also enjoys having a few good quotes, and in the house we often listen to recordings of inspirational speeches given at BYU.  Here are a few quotes I have grown to like:

“The grass is not greener on the other side.  It is greener where you water it.” 

“If you want to leave footprints in the sands of time, wear work boots.”

“Yesterday is ashes.  Tomorrow is wood.  Only today does the fire burn brightly.”

My comp had the great idea of getting together some good recipes from Chile.  There are a few members who have offered to write recipes.  I will bring home a small collection of what I deem to be the best foods this country has to offer.  Most of the ingredients are easy to find.  I won’t bring recipes for lentejas nor cazuela (lentils or casserole).

I will be sure to bring home a whole lot of Chilean candy.

Well just be sure that you know that I know that the Book of Mormon is true.  It is the most important book we can have in our lives.  I hope that all of us (myself included) can grow to more fully treasure it, study it, and openly feast upon it.  I have been thinking about the importance of the Book of Mormon lately.  The people who I have helped prepare for baptism and who had meaningful studies of this book are active, while those whose scripture studies were weak aren’t as strong in the Gospel.   

I know that this is the true church.  I know that my mission is a time to serve God by serving his children.  I am grateful for this time.  I sure wish I could have more time to serve, but the mission is only 2 years.  2 years spent teaching the gospel has been a great blessing and a time of growth for me.  I know there is still a lot to learn in life, but the mission has definitely prepared me for life’s challenges a whole lot better than anything else.  I am eternally grateful for the experiences I have had, and am continuing to have.

I love you all so very much.  More than the number of people who have felt the power of the Holy Ghost as they read the Book of Mormon.

Have the best week so far of 2015.
Elder Withers

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wonderful Visit on Mother's Day, Joy Seeing Best Friend and Cousin

Mother's Note:  
We had a wonderful talk with Elder Withers on Mother's Day.  He looks great, and is really enjoying the work.  He is an amazing missionary, but still the same Chad we know and love.  
Dallin (Elder Hill) that he mentions in this letter is his cousin.  They have always been close friends.  Elder Hill is from Woods Cross, Utah and is serving in the Concepcion South Mission.  Chad is in the Concepcion Mission, and the mission offices are in the same building.  They both happened to be passing through the office at the same time.  I can only imagine the excitement they must have felt to see each other.  
We have received travel plans for Elder Withers.  He will be home on June 17!!!

Dearest Family,
Me da gusto saber que estan bien.  (It makes me happy to know you are all well.)

Today, for the first time since the MTC, I saw Dallin!!!  We both happened to be in the office at the same time.  It was cool to see him.  I was going to take a picture, but my camera battery died right then, I will be sure to charge it today.  My companion took a picture of us.  It was fun to sit down and just talk with him for about 15 or 20 min.  I will get you that picture.  Dallin is such an awesome person.  I am glad to be his cousin.

This week my companion and I are planning to work crazy hard, and we’ve got the plans to do it.  We both want to finish our missions working hard.  We are trying to find people to teach and baptize.  We are working with an 18 year old named Sebastian, he went to church yesterday and is preparing to be baptized on June 6.  There is also Claudia who is 16, and is preparing for the 13th of June.  They are both friends of a ward missionary who invited them to take the lessons.  There is also Victor, 9 years old, whose grandfather is active, but mother is less active.  The whole family lives together, and they are excited for their youngest to be baptized on the 13th.  We however would really like to find some families.  Because people have to go to church 3 times before they can get baptized, people who we find this week I can see get baptized.  The favor I am asking for is that you pray for us to find families who accept the gospel and go to the temple in a year, as well as pray for Sebastian, Claudia, and Victor.  Elder Barnes and I are going to do all we can to find new investigators.  Your prayers are appreciated.

Today, we ate lunch with the Kauer family, a missionary couple from Rexburg.  They are really nice.  They invited us to eat with them, and it was a great lunch.  It was good to eat a chicken enchilada (something that no one cooks here in Chile).  

I am happy and healthy.  I am eating in the mornings and evenings nothing but fruit smoothies, and trying to eat less bread and soda at lunches.   

We are working at getting the area all figured out.  There are lots of member families, and we decided to make thank you notes for all of them.  We really want to take advantage of having so many members, so we are going to work at getting references, including helping Bishop build a covering/garage for his pickup truck.

I greatly appreciate the many emails and letters that you guys send.  You are more than awesome.  I love you all more than the number of pounds of ice it would take to make the ocean freeze over thick enough to drive some 10,000 semi trucks lined up in a train.

I love you all!

-Elder Withers

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Transfers... Staying in Talcahuano, new Companion from Idaho

May 4, 2015

Dear Familiy,
Well, transfers have come!  I am going to.... stay here in Talcahuano, but Elder Incil se va a Linares, at the north end of the mission, 4 hours from here.  My new companion will be Elder Barnes from Rigby, Idaho.  He is an excellent missionary, I once went on splits with him when I was his district leader, and I am looking forward to learn from him again.  It will be his first transfer as zone leader, and I am excited to show him the ropes.  Shocking but not too surprising, the other area of Cruz del Sur is being closed.  There were 4 elders in the ward, but now there will be only 2.  It was expected because the amount of missionaries entering the mission is significantly less than the number of missionaries finishing their missions.  I heard that each mission will have roughly 200 missionaries, so that means our mission will shrink slightly.  Pray for Elder Barnes and I, that we will be able to quickly learn the streets, members, and teaching groups of the other missionaries.  We lived in the same house but had the ward subdivided.  It is a lot of area to cover, but God wouldnt call us to fail, I know he will help us find, teach, and send people towards the temple.   

Christian was baptized on Saturday.  It was a very spiritual baptismal service, and I felt the spirit strongly.  It was edifying.  A member who accompanied us frequently in the teaching process baptized him, and Christian asked me to confirm him.  Finding, teaching, and baptizing this good man was a true testimony building experience.  He was a promising street contact; he gladly accepted the baptismal challenge in the first visit and has progressed steadily.  I am happy to know that there are millions of men and women all around the world like him who are ready to accept the gospel; they just need to have it preached to them.  Yesterday in fast and testimony meeting, he decided to share his testimony, and it was a great memory I will take from the mission. Seeing a recent convert, having just barely received the Holy Ghost, share a short and sincere testimony of how, by the spirit, he came to know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that this is the only true church on the face of the earth.  Many members shared testimonies after he spoke, all brief and heartfelt, and it was the most powerful and uplifting fast and testimony meeting I have witnessed.  

Well, time has slipped away.  I am happy and healthy, and the church is true.   

I love you all, more than the number of rocks and plants that have been displaced by all the volcanic eruptions over the last 1000 years.
-Elder Withers

Volcano in Chile! Missionary work in Talcahuano Progressing

April 27, 2015

Dear Family,
Greetings from the highly volcanic nation of Chile!

It is good to hear from you all.  The best thing about p-day isn’t going to get groceries, or picking up clean laundry from a members home, or even having a little break.  The best thing about my p-days is hearing that you guys are all right, doing well in the things you do, and just being awesome.

Here in Talcahuano things are going well.  The volcano hasn’t affected us, but a lot of people are talking about it.  It was a really big eruption.  It was quite a long ways from where I am, so don’t worry, the ash isn’t piling up here like it is farther south. 

Things here in Talcahuano have been going a little bit crazy.  We are teaching a guy named Roberto.  He has one leg; his other leg was amputated because of diabetes.  He has gone to church three times in a row.  He has a wheel chair, and there are different members with cars that go to pick him up.  He is about 65 and we found him talking to people in the streets.  He has to stop smoking and drinking coffee but he has come a long ways with the Word of Wisdom.  He said last week he stopped smoking and drinking coffee.  He has been slowing down gradually, but if he smokes again we will change his baptismal date from the 9th to the 16th of May. 

Christian, the guy who used to smoke, drink, and consume coffee and tea, has been doing well with the Word of Wisdom, but we have to keep postponing his baptism because of his work, he is often far away for up to 2 weeks at a time.  There is a possibility that we could baptize Christian this Saturday, but we aren’t sure if he will be in town.  Please pray for Roberto, that he will never smoke or drink coffee again, and for Christian, that he will be able to find a more stable job.  Your prayers of faith make a difference. 

You guys are awesome.  I love you all.  I hope you all have a great day today.  I love you all more than the number of square inches of Chile and Argentina that have been covered in volcanic ash.

With lots of love,
Elder Withers