Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Triple Threat

February 20, 2017

Dear Family,
What a week. I know I always say that, but this week has been busy and long, but good! It started Monday night when Sister Nilsson and I drove to Farmington (2 and a half hours away) to spend the night and pick up our new sister in the morning. We were invited to stay with the Farmington YSA sisters, and we needed to be there no later than 8:50. So we plan out our day and we were going to be right on time, and around 8:10 the assistants to the president called us and asked if we were going to make it, and we said yeah we're right on time. Then they told us we were supposed to be at the training meeting for all the trainers, which started at 8:00. We were never told that information, and even our district leader who gave us our travel itinerary didn't know about it.... long story short, we missed the memo and didn't make it to the meeting. And then we had a hard time finding the YSA sisters where we'd spend the night. It was a rough and stressful night, and everything that happened is so typical for Sister Nilsson and I. But it's okay, they gave us a paper of what they went over. I just feel bad for our trainee, because this is our first time training, not to mention we're both pretty new to the mission. I just finished my training one transfer ago. I'm just hoping Heavenly Father knows what he's doing :)

We got a new companion! Her name is Sister Dowd, from Saratoga Springs UT. She's super sweet and nice. We're lucky to have her! And I'm learning a lot by training a new missionary! It's crazy to watch her learn and grow, because I remember having to learn the things she's learning, and struggled with the same things she is. I just get to relearn these lessons! Which is really helpful :)

This week, on Wednesday, Courtney officially quit chewing!! He has chewed since he was 13, and now he's decided to quit. He's 32 and has the cutest 2 kids in the world. His daughter is Raylee, the 11 year old who wants to be baptized. We're still not sure if her mom will allow it. She's been brainwashed by her boyfriend who has been excommunicated. You would not believe the drama that has happened over the past few years in Monticello. I feel like I'm watching a crazy TV show where there's overload of drama and everybody's connected to it somehow, only it's real life. I'm pretty sure the song "I'm My Own Grandpa" was written by inspiration of Monticello UT. Everybody's related!!!

Also, something very exciting happened on Sunday! Amalio got the priesthood!!! He was ordained a priest!!! And the bishop has asked him to be his first assistant. You'd think that the young men would help him along and bring him to class, but Amalio's the one who has to drag his friends along to class. He's such an amazing person :)

One of the things we teach on a daily basis is to do CPR. It's not like the medical CPR where you help somebody breathe, but it's a similar concept. Spiritually, there are 3 absolutely essential things we need to do to stay alive. Church, Pray, and Read the scriptures. If we do these 3 things, I know we'll stay alive spiritually and have the energy necessary to overcome our challenges. I hope all of you take the time to do your CPR so you are strong and have the spirit in your life.

I know this church is true and if we do all we can to show our faith and follow Jesus Christ, then Heavenly Father will make up the difference. You are all so amazing! I love being a missionary, and I'm so glad I get to stay in Monticello! I LOVE the people here. I hope to stay as long as possible :)

I love you all more than the number of things I've learned as a missionary.

Love,
Sister Withers

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

No Sleep and a New Companion

Dear Family,

This week concluded this transfer, which means this is a new transfer. And we got transfer news on Saturday, and.... (drumroll..........) we're going to train a new sister :) We'll be a trio. Sister Nilsson came out one transfer before me, so neither of us have trained before, so we'll see how this goes, but I have full faith that things will go well. We meet her and pick her up tomorrow morning :) It's funny because President Adams didn't think this would happen, but he called before the normal transfer news call to ask us to train. I guess Heavenly Father had something else in mind. We're both super excited!

This week was a good one for sure! We had a lesson with Amalio's cousin Alieghya, and she accepted the invitation to be baptized!! We're going to work towards March 25, but it depends on if she can get off work to come to church. She's so ready for the gospel!!

There's this less active guy named Alan who moved to Monticello from Blanding (the neighboring town) and hasn't come to church because nobody reached out to welcome him or anything. Turns out, his records aren't even moved here, so that's why nobody knew about him. But we apparently were the first people to reach out to him. We had a lesson with him, and invited him to come to church, he was a little non-committal. The worst words a missionary can hear after you invite them to do something, and they say "We'll see" or "I'll try". And I just want to say "that was a yes or no question." but patience is a virtue. Anywho, HE CAME! It's always exciting to see a guy his age reach out and sit by him and then bring him to class!!!! Members make all the difference! I hope you're all doing your part in this work!

On Sunday, we go to the church and were talking people, and the guy in the bishopric walks up to us 10 minutes before sacrament meeting and asks us to speak. We said we were more than happy, and I was surprised how not scared I was. It must be a blessing of being a missionary. It went well, and we took the meeting to 5 minutes after the hour perfectly :)

Saturday night was really funny. Sister Nilsson and I both couldn't sleep, but I must have fallen asleep by midnight or so. Anywho, on a regular morning, the alarm goes off, Sister Nilsson checks the phone, and goes to the bathroom while I say my morning prayer. So, at one point in the night, she gets up, checked the phone, and went to the bathroom, and I thought it must be morning. Then she comes back in, and I had finished my prayer and just couldn't believe how tired I was, and she shines the phone light on me and tells me it's 12:51. Then we really couldn't sleep because we were laughing so hard! I was glad to get another few hours to sleep :)

We got stuck again, but honestly, I don't know if it would be a week if we didn't get stuck. The mud was thick. All the snow is melting, and it's making the roads difficult to work with. But, thank goodness we have 4wd! And, we got a new truck last week because our old one's 4wd gave out. They fixed it, and it turns out the problem was that it had so much dirt on the battery or something that the electric charge to turn on 4wd didn't engage. So yeah, that should tell you how much our poor trucks go through. But now we have a 2015 instead of 2014 Nissan Frontier. Did you know missions keep vehicles until they get to 60,000 miles? Crazy, huh?

I love you all more than the number of electrons that are used for electricity to engage 4WD.

I hope you all  have a lovely week :)
Love,
Sister Withers

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Amalio Was Baptized!!

Dear Family,

This week was just crazy! This week, AMALIO WAS BAPTIZED!! And it was just amazing! Our ward mission leader baptized him. We've had all the lessons in their home. He only has half of his right arm, so it was kind of funny to watch. And then he was confirmed on Sunday, and the whole ward basically bore testimony about missionary work and welcomed Amalio into the ward. It was amazing! (PS Mom, this ward mission leader is the guy who texted you, and he read the text and thought it was so funny how you said I'm your favorite, knowing I have 4 other siblings :) it made me happy) There were tons of people at his baptism! Half the chapel was full, and the baptism room was packed. He has a lot of support from this community! ANDDDD, the most exciting part of all: his nonmember dad and uncle and cousin were there, and the branch president in Eastland was there translating the whole meeting for his dad Humberto (because he only speaks a little English) and at the end, he turned and said this is something he wants for himself, and would like to also be baptized! And, his cousin who was there was in tears and said she wants to be baptized too. Amalio is doing amazing things for his friends and family!

 Brother Burt went through the temple and got his endowment!! He's in his 50s, and his wife had been excommunicated and finally got her blessings restored a few weeks ago, and they're going to be sealed in the temple this Thursday!!!! It's so exciting :)

We had a lesson with a lady who is a new investigator named Whitney. She's super nice and we had the lesson in a member's home. It was the dream set up, and then we found out she lives in the elders' area. So they'll teach her, but it's sad we won't get to work with her anymore. She's super ready for the gospel though!

We have dinner appointments basically every night without fail. We're very blessed. But, the only problem is everybody must think that nobody feeds us well, because we get fed roast and potatoes every day!! It's a little overwhelming, and we always smile and say thank you, but having it 4 out of 6 meals in one week is hard. So, if and when you have missionaries over, have a light and fruity meal. With no dessert, because brownies are also getting old.

As for Raylee, the 11 year old who wants to be baptized, we aren't sure what we can do. Her parents are divorced, and the dad is all for it, and the mom is a little hesitant. And there's a lot (A LOT) of drama that went down with their divorce, and that's playing in with this whole deal. So we're going to take a step back and just hope that eventually (hopefully soon) things will get resolved and she can be baptized.

And apparently the Superbowl was on Sunday. We kept trying people, and they just said sorry can you come back when the Superbowl isn't on? It was annoying. I kind of forget there's a world out there.

PS I forgot to tell you, but a few weeks ago Dad spoke in sacrament meeting, and I spoke probs at the same time. And we had like no notice either, but it worked. We filled up the hour, somehow!

I hope you're all doing well! I love you all more than the number of prayers that are said in one day all over the world!

Keep up the good work :)

Love,
Sister Withers

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Poor Excuses and Singing with Seniors

January 30, 2017

Hello Everyone!
 This week was pretty good! We Had a massive storm last Monday! It wasn't even snowing that hard, but the wind made huge drifts, and it was a little scary going home. Thankfully we made it without any major delays and all was good! We did get stuck again at one point though, the snow just pulls you further into the drifts, it's crazy! But now it's nice outside and it's even melting!

This Thursday, Amalio will be baptized!! He's so ready! He brings his less active and non member friends to his lessons, and they ask questions, and he answers them with the Book of Mormon! It's incredible!

We're still on stand by for Raylee. We went out to her mom's again with the intent of asking if she'll give Raylee permission to be baptized, but neither of us felt like it was the right time to ask, and so we just shared a message and hopefully her heart will be softened!

The same couple (the Helquists) that gave us elk meat fed us again and this time it was deer meat. It was super good though! I'm a fan :) Definitely different than anything else though. And they invited us back again!! Normally, we don't have dinners with the same people every few weeks let alone on a regular basis, but this is really good contact for them in the church, so we'll set up a regular schedule with them for dinners. And..... they came to church on Sunday!!!! We're excited for them!

We did meet with several less actives though, and it's amazing what kind of excuses people come up with for why they don't come anymore. One guy said he doesn't come because he doesn't have a wife to poke him and keep him awake. That pushed the wrong button for Sister Nilsson and I, and we patiently told him that he needs to come to church no matter what. He didn't come, but we'll keep trying to help him. One thing I've learned is that you make time for what you care most about. And it shows!

Also, we unexpectedly went to a senior center and joined the older folks in singing songs I've never heard in my life. By unexpectedly, I mean 2 old ladies we met last week were on their way and saw us walking and told us to get over there, and we didn't have any scheduled appointments, so we followed them over there. It was fun, and they were really nice and gave us lunch. It was a good opportunity to get to know the people here and so we'll try and go regularly.

Also, the Burts are going to go through the temple this week! It's amazing! Heavenly Father knows exactly what people need in their life to help them come back into the church.

I hope you all have a good week! :) The church is true! I love you more than the number of times I tell people where I'm from and how long I've been out! It happens like 3-4 times/day!

Love you all so much!

Sister Withers

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Snow, Elk Meat and Success!

January 23, 2017

Hello!
This week was pretty good! We went to Cortez for exchanges which is always fun! Sister Nilsson was really happy because that was her last area, and she loved it there. She loves Monticello too, but that was her first area. She's only been out 6 weeks longer than me. And everybody here has some sort of connection to SLC, and it's funny to see how many people they know in common. Haha, Sister Codner (the member we stay with) is the grandmother to one of her high school classmates... It's super funny to see how small this world really is.

We had dinner with a less active couple, and they're so nice! The husband has been gone for a while, but he invited us over for dinner! Which is exciting, because most less actives don't want to bother with missionaries. (And having dinner is exciting too. We have a dinner appointment EVERY NIGHT here in Monticello. We're so blessed!) He's a big hunter, and I had elk meat for the first time. It was actually really good! It tasted a lot like beef. And then, he invited us to come back for dinner!!! So we'll see them again this weekend, and he said it will be deer meat this time. So many new foods for me :) Long story short, there's exciting stuff happening around these parts!

There's an investigator named Janee in Dove Creek who has had the lessons before, but for some reason, they didn't continue. But we've taught her a few lessons over the past 3 weeks, and she's really interested! Hopefully this continues to go in the right direction :)

Another investigator, Raylee, is wanting to be baptized. But since she's not 18 yet, we need both parent's permission. Her dad (Courtney) is a returning less active, and one of my most favorite people to teach, and is all for it. Her mom is Baptist, and is a little unsure. Please pray for her to be okay with Raylee being baptized! We finally found where she lives though! I think I'm becoming a local Monticello-ite because addresses mean nothing here. The way they give directions around here is always relative to where somebody else lives. I also have my north south east and west down!

There's a lady in our area who was at one point ex-communicated (a ton of people here have been ex-communicated!) and she was re-baptized a few years ago, and this past week, she got her temple blessings restored!!!! To get them restored, they don't go through the temple again. It's kind of like a priesthood blessing, but different. Anyway, it's super exciting and she's going to go through the Monticello temple with her husband (who hasn't been through the temple before!). But the temple is doing it's yearly cleaning, so they have to wait 2 weeks! What timing! But it's still exciting :)

There has been SO MUCH SNOW here!!! So much snow! Saturday morning, there was about 8 inches, and we didn't even make it out of our driveway for a good hour and a half. We got stuck at the end of the driveway where the county road snow plow piles is piled up right in front of our driveway, and there's no opening. We spent a lot of time digging out the truck and pushing and using wood for traction. We keep a few bags of salt and a shovel in the bed of the truck in case anything like that happens again. I'm just hoping and praying we'll make it in tonight, because right now, there's a major storm going on. And the wind is the worst. It woudn't be that bad if it was just snow, but since we live in Eastland, which is a few houses in the middle of farmland and fields, the snow just blows, and the drifts cover the road. And we have 5 miles off the highway of that beautiful stuff. By the end of the day, there's a good few feet of snow to go through.... Your prayers would be much appreciated :)

Amalio is going to be baptized on Feb 2!!! We're so excited for him!! His interview was yesterday, and everything is all set and ready to go! He's about as golden as gold gets. We're so happy for him!

I hope you're all having a fabulous week and that you keep up the good work! I hope you can travel safe on the roads and that you don't get stuck like we did :)

I love you more than the number of times snow plows it takes to plow all the snow in Boise and Southern Utah this winter!

Love,

Sister Withers

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mysterious Food and Puppies

January 16, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

I cannot believe how much snow you all got!! That's amazing! And 6 snow days?! That's unheard of! Are you sure you're in Boise and not MN? I hope you don't get stuck in it on the roads!

Thanks for all your emails, I look forward to them each week!

I hope all's going well up there! This week was super good! We're going to start having 2 lessons with Amalio each week so he can be ready for baptism on Feb 2nd. It's a Thursday because all his friends in school want to be there, but there's a big school event Saturday night, so we're going with Thursday :) anywho, he brought a non-member friend and a less-active friend to the lessons this week! He's already a missionary!! This kid is absolutely amazing. If there was ever anybody ready for the gospel, it's him. And we had another lesson with the Hickmans, their mom is less active and the rest of the family is non-members. We did a soft baptism invite (soft baptism = we invite them to be baptized but don't put them on date). The lesson was really powerful! Being a missionary is so special because you get to teach people about Jesus Christ and half the time, you don't know what you're going to say, but you can feel the spirit and you open your mouth, and somehow you're talking and you can tell the people needed to hear that. I love it!

We were in a lesson this week and at the very end, their dog got loose and came running through the house, and ran right past Sister Nilsson and I and peed on her feet!! But somehow missed me, and I was right next to her! I felt bad, but it was also really funny! The people were nice and gave her a clean set of socks to put on.

We had a lesson with a less active and her non member friend. It was an interesting experience. We sang Christmas songs and then they came out of the kitchen with spaghetti and bread with mysterious flavoring. It was one of those meals where you have to smile and say thank you, and eat it all. It was rough, I have no idea what was really on that bread, but it wasn't like anything I ever ate before... And then they gave us pictures they took of people at the Christmas party a month ago. We just smiled and said thanks. It's interesting being a missionary, you really learn to love anybody!

I hope you're all doing well and keeping up with all your busy schedules and such!

Love,
Sister Withers

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Blessings of 4 Wheel Drive

January 9, 2017
This week was pretty good! It was really different getting a new companion. My new comp is Sister Nilsson. She's from SLC, and she's super fun! I was really sad to see Sister Steadman leave. I really loved working with her and learning from her, but Sister Nilsson is just as good :) I hope you all are surviving your crazy storms in Boise! We had a minor snow storm here in Monticello on Thursday, but it started raining today. It was weird because it's winter and it's been super cold lately, but it still rained. I'm a little worried for tomorrow after everything freezes tonight, but fear not, our truck has 4wd. Speaking of which, I'm so glad we have a truck, and that it has 4wd!! We would not be able to go anywhere without it! We use it to get out of the driveway, and we had to use it again on the road. We have about 2 miles of dirt road, and it was sooo deep with mud!

Funny story- I felt a little dumb this week when we were about to go try somebody, and so we parked on the side of the road. Monticello is a small enough town that you can park on the left side and nobody cares. So, I parked on the left side, but for some reason this time I thought I better park on the right side. I flipped a u-turn and parked on the other side. The people we were trying to visit weren't there, so we got back in the truck, and I realized that even though I flipped around, we were still on the left side of the road.... Haha we laughed at that for a long time.

I decided to start this transfer with a purification process. Sister Steadman and I were going to do it together, but then she got transferred. But we're still doing it, just apart from each other. It's a 40 day fast, but it's not from food. It's a fast from behaviors or thoughts or anything like that. So I've been trying to do that, and it's hard but I can tell it's making a difference. You should try it sometime :)

This week we were able to have another lesson with Amalio. He decided he wants to be baptized, we're working towards Feb 4! We're so happy for him!! And he came to church yesterday all by himself!! His friends who are members who we've been having the lessons in their home were out of town, but he still came! It's amazing to see how the gospel can really bless people's lives and help them to have new desires to change and become better people. Hector is still doing great, and Raylee is too. But we have to get permission from her mom for her to be baptized, but we can't find where she lives. Time is running short in this situation, because she wants to be baptized on Feb 18, which is coming up!!

I really miss being able to go to the temple. Do you appreciate the temple? I hope you all take the time to go and feel the sweet spirit there. I have to wait til September before we missionaries in our mission can go again. I'm so glad I got to be a worker in the temple before I came, because I probably wouldn't remember anything.

I hope you all are doing well and that you're getting back into the groove of things with school starting. I'm glad you got an extra long break because of the snow. Snow days are always so exciting :) I love you all more than the number of times we would be stuck without 4wd!

Love,

Sister Withers

Ya'ah'te!!

January 2, 2017

Hello!
Ya'ah'te!!

How's life? I hope you're all doing well! Sounds like you're enjoying this break to the maximum! Games, puzzles, movies, candy, and on and on. That's living the dream :) I'm glad you're all having fun, but I'm so glad I'm here on a mission! Yeah, I miss those things, but this is way more rewarding.

I'm so sorry, but I have like no time to write. So I'll say as much as I can in about 2 minutes. First of all, Sister Steadman is getting transferred :( she's going to Pagosa Springs, CO. And it's crazy because this is her last transfer. I'm pretty sad to see her go. But I know my new comp and she seems pretty fun and hard working too. We switch tomorrow morning. I don't know the Bartons, sorry. They're in the elder's area.

This week Amalio accepted the invitation for baptism! He's so golden! We're excited for him :) And we also had a lesson with the Hickmans, and the dad is super curious. Not sure if he wants to investigate the church, but he said we can come back on Tuesday and share another lesson. Hopefully he can have his heart open.

I love being a missionary, it's the best thing I ever did in my life! I'm excited to see what the next 6 weeks have in store for this area! I'm really nervous about taking over the area though. Hopefully all goes well. And I'll be the designated driver this transfer, and the roads are pretty bad, so wish me luck! We have to use 4wd just to get out of our driveway... Enjoy your break while it lasts :) Keep up the good work. I love you all more than the number of people who stayed up watching their clocks change from 11:59 2016 to 12:00 2017 :)

PS thanks for all the packages. Each one is like a whole new Christmas morning, you have no idea :)

Love,

Sister Withers

A Very Missionary Christmas

Dec. 26, 2016

Hello!
I hope you all had a fun Christmas! It was sooo good to see all of your faces and talk to you for a little bit! It was my favorite part of the day :) I hope you're having a nice break from school and work and just enjoying each other's company for the holidays!

We had quite a few highlights from the week. First, of all, Krista prayed! She's a less active who we meet with weekly, and after the lesson this week, we invited her to say the closing prayer, and she did!! That was kind of monumental! And then we had a lesson with Junior's nephew, Amalio. He's 18. It was our first lesson with him and he is so ready for the gospel! He had been reading the Book of Mormon, and he prays, and he's felt the spirit before. This kid is just so ready for the gospel! And we had it in the ward mission leader's home because Amalio happens to be good friends with his daughter. We have another lesson with him tonight, we're excited for it!

Christmas for us down here was great! The members down here are so generous and kind. We are up to our ears in food and candy. I don't know why, but everybody here must think the missionaries don't get enough food, so they all just give us candy. Haha it's funny. Christmas Eve for us was really fun! We spent the day running around delivering almond toffee (Sister Steadman has a super easy recipe that we made several batches of) and we sang carols to the patients in the hospital. Fun fact: to let you know how small Monticello is, there were 2 patients in the hospital!! There were more nurses than patients. I guess it's a good thing to not have a lot of people sick over the holidays, right? After caroling, we went to a family Christmas Eve party. The Lewis family invited us, and it was so fun! Their family reminds me of your family, Mom. They have a huge family, and there are lots of kids and the adults can joke around and everybody is having fun and the overall atmosphere is wild and fun. The only difference here is all the kids live next door to each other. They have a farm and live out of town, but they're all there together. So the gathering was in the shop. They had a nativity, and then a white elephant gift exchange, which was hilarious! One of the gifts was a $25 gift card, and there was a huge debate over it, and one of the little girls finally got it. Then she realized it was to a store up north in SLC, then she realized it was like 4 years expired. It was really funny :) That night we drove home and there was a blizzard. We drove all 20 miles on the highway at a solid 35 mph, but we finally made it in. The snow was blowing sideways, there is wind here like you wouldn't believe.

Christmas was also really great! They did a singing sacrament meeting in the branch. Brother Hunt came again and we sat by him again. He's doing so well!!! And then in 3rd ward they did a singing sacrament meeting too. We were recruited for the choir, which I'm glad about because it was so special to sing those songs on Christmas day! We also had a lesson later with Robert, our recent convert. He's so good! He has a strong testimony and he gave us 3 referrals! 3 REFERRALS! he introduced them to one of them right then! It's always exciting to get referrals, even if half (or all) of them are in the elder's area. Sometimes it feels like all of their success comes from referrals and investigators who we have to hand over because they live in their area. And it's actually true, but it's okay, we still have plenty of work in our area too :)

If there's one thing I've learned on my mission, it's the fact that the church is TRUE!!! Everything in the world testifies that Heavenly Father is real and he's aware of us. In every hardship, we can rely on the Jesus Christ, and he'll never let us down. The gospel is a blueprint for life. It won't stop trials from happening, but it will help us get through them. When we don't live the gospel, it's kind of like asking for more trouble because you'll be doing it on your own. The Book of Mormon is true! I love sharing the message of the restoration and the first vision, because the spirit always gets so strong and you just can't deny the witness that it's true! I hope you all take the time to read and pray on your own every day.

I love you all more than the number of fireworks that will go off to start the new year :) It's crazy to think how fast time flies!

Love,

Sister Withers

Busy With Christmas Miracles

Dec 12, 2016

Hello!
 This week was pretty good! Tuesday we did exchanges with Blanding and I got to have Sister Gillie here with me for the day, it was fun! But it was such a crazy day! We went from Eastland where we live, to Monticello, to Blanding, to Dove Creek, to Ucolo (combination of Utah and Colorado because it's a town/road right on the border... what creativity!), and then back to Eastland. And since Sister Steadman is a sister training leader, we do lots of exchanges, aka lots of driving. Aka our miles are spent on doing exchanges so we don't drive a lot for proselyting. And some days we work it out so we don't drive at all. And this was one of those days. We got a ride from each place from lots of different members. The members here are so nice, we are so blessed.

Thursday was another craaazy day! We did splits for 2 hours! Which is really good, it means that we're busy, but it was a little crazy figuring out how to get from one place to the next and who was going with who, and where to meet. But it all worked out, and everything went well! We taught a recent convert who was baptized a few months ago, he's only 9 years old, and he's so funny. We taught missionary work and invited him to give out a pass along card in school, and he asked for another one so he could give 2 away! He's going to go places in life!

We are also teaching a less active who is really progressing and is preparing to go to the temple in February. We started teaching his 11 year old daughter, Raylee a few weeks ago, and invited her to be baptized, and it would be so neat if he could baptize her. We're hoping for Dec 31, but we'll see what they say. They're lesson is Wed night. Hopefully they'll be able to make it by the 31!


It has been so cold here, we got lots of snow, and now it's freezing cold! We had a lesson outside yesterday too, which means we were standing outside for an hour and then we had to walk across town to our next appointment! It was cold.

We have been having mice in the house.. It's pretty gross. We only caught one, but we set a trap and the darn thing took the bait without dying. And it doesn't help that Sister Codner feeds the cats too much cat food and locks them in the sun room all night with the space heater on. Those cats are more pampered than any other pet I've ever met, and they were originally to be outside cats, strictly for catching mice. It's ok, we have traps, and Sister Steadman is a hero and sets them. I make the bait though, so I still help.

We pushed a car out of snow, I almost died from getting smashed by a ladder because the wind was so strong and it was dark, and freezing cold and raining. But I'm alive, and we didn't freeze. Now we have snow and ice to deal with.


I'm so happy it's Christmas! It's so fun to go around and share the message of the gospel around this time of year! People are way more receptive this time of year. And it's the perfect time to refelct and look at how the Savior has helped us in our lives. The church is so true! I hope you all make time to read the Book of Mormon individually and as family. It's so important! I love you more than the number of snowflakes that fall during the winter time :)

We had the ward Christmas parties this week for 1st and 3rd ward. We were part of the program. Before Sister Steadman came out, she would do this thing with her friend where they paint a picture to a song. It's like a live music video of somebody painting a picture, and the whole time you don't know what the picture for a while. Anyway, we painted a picture of Jesus Christ on butcher paper on the stage to the song "The Innkeeper" from the Forgotten Carols. Wednesday was 1st ward, and everything went so well. We were actually in charge of the whole program. We showed a nativity video, then shared our testimonies, then did the painting. Friday was a little different. It was 1st ward, and we were only doing the painting. But when we got to the church, somebody had thrown away the paint, and the iPod with the song on it was almost dead. It had like 1% battery. So we panicked and found some clumpy paint in one of the cupboards in the church, then we prayed really hard that everything would be okay. It was a miracle! The song played the whole way through (and it's a long song) and we had enough paint. And the painting turned out right. We were so relieved! Prayer works!!

I love being a missionary! I know the church is true! I love sharing the gospel and sharing my testimony with others. I know it because I have read the scriptures and prayed about it, and have felt the holy ghost in my life many times. I hope you all take the time to read and pray. It's so important in this life!! I love you all more than the number of Christmas trees that are all over the world this time of year :)

Love,

Sister Withers

Christmas and Napoleon Dynamite


Dec 5, 2016

Hello!

I hope you all had a lovely week! I hope you had a chance to watch the Christmas devotional last night, it was amazing! We are so blessed to have prophets who can receive revelation for the whole world, and we can always learn from the things they teach, no matter how many times we have heard the message, the spirit is the real teacher and can teach us what we need right then.

This week was pretty grand. We have been getting so many referrals from showing the #lighttheworld Christmas video to active members! The Christmas spirit is so much stronger when you try and look for ways that you can serve others as Christ would. I hope you've been getting the chance to do the Light the World countdown, it's a great way to look for ways to share the happiness of this time of year.

I was on exchanges in Cortez, Colorado this week. Twice actually. They're white-washing their area, which in mission lingo means they are switching out the missionaries for a brand new pair of missionaries, which is really hard for the incoming missionaries because they know absolutely nothing about where anything is or who anyone is. So, we went to this lady's house, and she smokes like there's no tomorrow. We literally walked in planning on showing the Light the World video clip, but we didn't even get to say 10 words before we were sitting on her couch listening to her life story as she smoked 3 cigarettes in 1 hour!! I'm not even kidding, that was the longest hour of my life. She would not stop talking! I kept checking the clock thinking it had been 20 minutes, but it had only been 2. Somehow we stopped her and got her to watch the little video and then talk about it. When we finally got out of there (it was only an hour and a half, but felt like 3 hours) we both could barely breathe, or talk or anything from all the smoke. But we're alive!

Also, we went to church and Curtis Hunt came again!!! He's a less active, and he's doing so good! He has such a testimony and a good understanding of the doctrine and scriptures! He just needed to take the big step of coming to church, and he' s been twice now!! We're so happy for him :) And the Waddoups came too! They're an older couple who have only been coming for the past month or so, and it's been probably 30 years since they'd been before that! Heavenly Father knows who's ready and is involved in everybody's life. Everybody, active members, less actives, investigators, etc. is on some point of the journey to coming closer to Christ, whether they know it or not.

Fun Fact: Napoleon Dynamite is an accurate movie! 2 of the missionaries I was on exchanges this week are from Preston Idaho and they told me how it's similar to the movie. One of them worked at the restaurant where Kip and Rico are having slurpees or something, and the other worked at the chicken farm. I asked, and they pay more than a dollar an hour :)

I hope you're all doing well and that you're having fun getting ready for Christmas! You should do the #lighttheworld 25 in 25 countdown to Christmas on mormon.org! It's so fun to help others and do it all the way up til Christmas! I love you more than the number of cups of hot chocolate that people will drink this winter!

Love

Sister Withers

Our Turkey Said "Moo"

Nov 28, 2016

Hello everyone!

I love getting pictures in the emails! Keep 'em coming! I'm glad you had a nice Thanksgiving and that you got to spend it together. I bet it was nice to get a break from work and school and life and just relax! I had a nice Thanksgiving too, we went to the Boyle's for dinner. They were so nice! They have a missionary in California right now, so they said it was the closest they could get to having her home, I thought that was nice of them to share the holiday dinner with us. We ate waay too much, but it was worth it :) We really only get to do that once a year, so go big or go home!

Explanation of the title: one of our bishops had beef instead of turkey for Thanksgiving, and he said that to us, and we thought that was pretty funny :)

This week was great for me! We went to Bluff Fort last P-day, that's why we got back with just enough time to email and get groceries before our first lesson. We went out to Egnar, they named the town Egnar because at first they wanted to name it Range, but there was already a town called Range, Colorado, so they just put it backwards and called it good.... People do whatever they want in Colorado, it's kinda funny. Egnar is way out of town, we had to drive 10 miles on a dirt road from Dove Creek, which is already a tiny town! Anyway, our dinner appointment was out there, so we decided to head out early and see some other people while we're there. So, we went to a non-member's. She lives in really poor living conditions. She has a little trailer house, and that's about it. No running water, no electricity, no heat. Nothing! We helped her stack wood for her stove, and moved a few things inside so they don't get wet when it rains. Her home is full of junk, and her yard is too, and she has lots of animals. It's crazy, and she lives alone. But it was good to be able to help her for a little bit. Unfortunately, she's very Catholic and not very interested in the church.

One of the less actives we teach, Courtney, has decided he's on his last can of chew! We're so happy for him! He has 2 little kids, and he's really trying to turn his life around. He's been coming to church for the last few weeks too!

Krista has been doing well too! She's another less active. She's very shy and knows hardly anything about the church, but she likes having the missionaries over and teaching her. This past week we taught family history, and she's super interested! I love watching how the spirit of Elijah can really open people's hearts.

I love being a missionary! Sometimes in a lesson, I'll say something, and when I finish, I realize that none of that was me. I didn't have anything to say, and yet because I was willing and opened my mouth, I had something to say, and I was able to share the gospel. Missionaries get to see lots of tender mercies and miracles :) And the cool thing is, anybody can be a missionary! You can see these miracles in your life as you share the gospel!

I was reading a talk earlier this week in my studies about being a consecrated missionary. Consecrated means giving it your all, holding nothing back. In order to be a consecrated missionary, you have to put everything on the alter of sacrifice. And it goes for life too. We have to be willing to put everything on the sacrificial alter. We can't hold anything back. There's a quote from Parley P. Pratt I read, it was really good. He said: "If it is the will of God that I should spend my days in proclaiming this Gospel and bearing my testimony of these things, I shall think myself privileged and honored. And when the Spirit of God is upon me, I think it matters but very little what I suffer, what I sacrificed-whether I secure the honor or dishonor of men, or where I die, if it so be that I can keep the faith, fight the good fight, and finish my course with joy. I have all eternity before me, in which to enjoy myself." He was so selfless! He said that after he got home from one of his missions. He had been serving for 26 years at this point, and when he finally got home, Brigham Young asked him to serve another mission!! And this is what he said! He had a lot of faith! It makes me wonder how much am I willing to sacrifice, or how much am I holding back from the sacrificial alter?

I love you all so much, I hope you're doing well and that you keep up in life and all your crazy adventures :) I love you more than the number of bites that were taken at Thanksgiving dinner all over the world!

Sister Withers

Love Being a Missionary

Nov. 21, 2016

This week was absolutely crazy! We had so many wonderful things happen! Yesterday, we had a less active, Curtis Hunt, come to church who hadn't been since he was in his 30s, and now he's in his 80s!!! Can you believe that!? It was a miracle, and we were so happy! the Waddoups came again too, for the 3rd time. They're the older couple who haven't been in forever either, and this time they stayed for all 3 hours :) I love being a missionary and being able to watch these changes happen in people's lives! It's a miracle in every way.

We went to Dove Creek and did some tracting there. The people there are sooo redneck I just love it! There's this one guy who was chomping on a wad of double bubble, wearing his overalls and jacket, his huge glasses and ball cap, reading the scriptrues with us on his back porch, and when it's his turn to read the verse, he sometimes stops midverse and yells "Shut up Homer!!" and then continues as if nothing happens and it's so hard to not laugh! Last time I checked, it didn't say that in his verse :) He's really nice though!

Today we went to Bluff Fort and saw the historical site there. It was established by Mormons in the 1800s. That's why I have hardly any time to write.
I love you more than the number people who'll be travelling this week!


Sister Withers

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Lord is in Control

Hello!
I hope everybody's doing well! This week has been really good! I only had one exchange this week, I went to Cortez. It was really great, they have a recent convert who is basically a missionary. He has lots of tattoos and used to drink and had a crazy family life, but was baptized in April and is doing really really good. If I didn't know he was a member for only 6 months, I would have thought he's been a member for life. It's crazy how that works, but sometimes the best members are those who find the gospel later on in life, and their testimony is so different because they know what it's like without one. It makes you think if you were a convert, would you have this strong of a testimony? Some people live the gospel because it's always been a part of their life but they don't really have a testimony, and they don't realize the power behind it.

While I was in Cortez, this lady who we helped paint her fence tried to convince us that we were prophets. We explained how there is one man on the earth who is called to be the prophet. Jesus Christ leads his church through him. Nobody else has that authority. We can follow him, and be a disciple and a servant, but we don't have that kind of calling. All we could do was testify to her of what we knew.

We serve in Colorado in a town called Dove Creek, and I swear it is the redneck capital of the world! People are so out there! It's kinda funny. In church, all the men wear cowboy boots with slacks. But it's okay, the church is true no matter where you are, or who you are.

I love you more than all the times we've heard people tell us how the election went! I'm sure the Lord is in control.

Love,
Sister Withers