Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Weston is home and is doing great!!  His homecoming is July 19, 2015 at 11:00am  at the 22nd street and Brown building.  Thank you for your support these past 2 years. 

My dearest Family,

I guess in your last letter home as a missionary, the pressure gets put on you to make it a good letter...hahaha but i really cant think of much to say. I could bear you my testimony and bore you all out for a while....but i do feel that i need to share some things with you. 
This last week has been one that has FLOWN by. It has been one of reflection and one to always remember. The work continued on like normal, just at an usually fast pace. We were able to end the week off with some baptisms. And i got to baptize my last 3 converts here in the mission. That has been a goal since the very beginning to always baptize on your last saturday in the mission. It was a very special evening for me especially. We returned back to our room and i got to thinking about my last 2 changes that i have been able to work here in mollendo....and it really just hit me how merciful the lord has been with me and my companion. We have worked hard. I gave it all i had, and i have no regrets about my work here nor in any other place. The lord has made it manifest to me that he is proud of us here. I can remember leaving the office with a goal in mind to end my mission with 8 baptisms and rescue 5 less actives....and last saturday we ended the 2 changes with 9 baptisms and 5 rescues. The lord has heard my pleas and my cries.
I think personally my testimony hasnt changed much regarding the word choice. I still know and have always known that Jesus is the Christ, i know that Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of God and i know the Book of Mormon is true....but the conviction of those words has intesified and has been welded into my very soul. This is the true church of the living God. He is in control of every aspect of this work. There is nothing that we cant do, feel, or experience that he doesnt already know about. He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. And he knows me. I think one of the most valuable lessons i have learned being here for the last 2 years has been the very nature of God. Who he is, how he speaks to us, how he loves us, what he desires of me. He is not a distant being that we throw words at. He is my Father, he is my dad. He has heard me and has talked with me more times that i can tell any of you. 
He is the one that has guided me, and told me what to do, and who was the one to help me progress and attain heights that not even i thought were possible. He is the one who i have turned to in the good times and in those tear jerking moments. He is the one who has ALWAYS lead me....i was just too blind to see him. Now i see. Now i know. Now i can say that i know who my god is. This past 2 years i havent been teaching new things necessarily to the people of Peru....i have been here trying to remind them of everything they at one point knew and agreed to in the premortal existence, but have forgotten. I think of all the things that God desires the most important to him is that we can remember him. We are his children who have traveled a ways away for a time, forgetting everything about our home in heaven...i can only imagine the feelings of my father in heaven, just longing for some of children to remember him, to have a glimpse of who we were and who we can become, and to remember the feelings of love that we shared there together. THAT is what i have been doing in my mission. I have learned lots, and i continue to seek for more. 
But just know that i love my God. I love my Saviour. He is real. He is there. Look for him. With every fiber of my soul i testify that they live. They love you and me and if we just follow with faith in every footstep, we shall live with them once more. May god bless this wonderful country and her people. I LOVE Peru. I dont want to leave. God knew i was supposed to come here. And i thank him for the call to serve here. 
I have fought the good fight. I will continue to fight it. 

I am so excited to see you all on Saturday. 
Till then,

With all the love i have for you all.

ELDER Weston Birtcher  

Monday, June 29, 2015

Hola Familia,

We´ve sure had a week. I dont have much time to write today...so let me sum it up really quickly.

Weve been busy with a bunch of the baptismal interviews and getting the zone all ready for the white night that we had this last saturday. My comp and i are really trying hard to find some new investigators and weve planned a bunch of activities to do so for this week. We are having GREAT success here in this area!
The highlight of the week was obviously the noche blanca which we had this last saturday in which 4 people were baptized, 2 of them were ours. Their names are Teodora and Alcides and they being baptized completed the whole family in becoming members of the church! they are wonderful and i love them so much. their family is so strong and is so faithful in all that they do! 
So 2 more down and this saturday, my last saturday here in the mission, we will have 3 more baptisms! The lord has blessed Elder Heywood and I so much here. We were also able to rescue 3 less actives here in teh area which is so awesome! And one of them will be baptizing his little sister this saturday!! 
i love the people here. i love the work and the mission. know that i love my savior and i love being a missionary. we are working hard. stay safe, be happy and fight the good fight. 

Elder Weston Birtcher 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Hello Todos,

Where to start today....
The weeks just seem to be all meshing together and i cant keep good track of all the events. its a good thing we write in journals no? But i think some of the highlights for this past week were some great lessons that we had with our investigators, the wonderful trujillo temple dedication that took place yesterday, and our adventures during the week. :)
Like i said, we had some wonderful lessons this last week with the investigators that are going to be getting baptized this saturday and the following saturday. They had their baptismal interviews and are all set to go. This saturday we have planned another noche blanca (white night), in which we should have 2-4 baptisms again this saturday. They are really coming along in their progress and are developing their testimonies on a daily basis. I love the people we teach. We were able to go to one of their houses this week and help build a science project for one of their daughters. We built a cell project and it really turned out great! We also had the idea to take our recient converts and their families and some less actives and hike up to the highest peak here in Mollendo on Saturday morning. Its not an easy hike and a bunch of them didnt want to continue on, but eventually ALL made it to the summit. We had fun eating lunch up their and chatting and then we had a spiritual lesson about how life isnt easy, and sometimes we will want to give up as well. But we must press on and endure to the end. There will be hands to lift us up, and their will be encouragement from our loved ones...but even when times get tough, and when all seems to be going against us, and we are about to fail, Christ is always there to lift us up and lighten our burdens. I saw a ton of acts of service from the group of 18 that went with us....i saw brother and sister walk hand in hand, helping each other to the end. I saw others lighten the loads in the backpack of one to help another continue on...and i even saw an older brother carry his little cousin to the top and the end. It was a very spiritual experience for the 18 of us and we taught a lesson that i hope none of us will ever forget. We got super sun burnt but it was so worth it. 
I love the people here, i love my investigators and my converts. I feel that they are my family and i dont want to be leaving them. i have a huge chunk of my heart here. 
One of the biggest highlights of the week was the temple dedication of the trujillo temple. What a priveldge and blessing to participate in 2 of those sessions. Elder Bednar and President Uchtdorf spoke in those sessions and what a spirit bringer. I love the church, the general authorities and all the teachings and spirit that we recieve and feel inside gods holy edifices. HOW I MISS THE TEMPLE. I want to go so bad... The feelings that overwhelmed me in those sessions is indescribable... And i just want to return. It was the closest that i have gotten to the temple in about 2 years. Make sure we ALWAYS go to the house of the lord. ALWAYS. 
Other great things happened as well here in Mollendo with the people and the lessons that we have had. I am just concerned about finding some new people. So we have been focusing on that for a while now....the lord will bless us though, he always does. 
Its gotten really cold down here in mollendo which made me lose my voice for about 3 days. boy, was that an adventure. Elder Heywood did a good job though with his spanish...im sure it was a great practice for him. But the whole time i had Elder Holland´s talk in my head, about how satan tries to shut our mouths so that we dont speak the truth to anyone, just as he intended to do with the boy joseph smith. you sure need your voice as a missionary! But i am feeling much better and am talking normal now :)
But to end, Happy fathers day to you dad. I hope your day was an enjoyable one for you. Wish i could be there to give  you a hug and a present. you sure mean a lot to me dad. Thank you for your example and love that you give to all of us. My thoughts were turned to you this weekend and to all the wonderful times that we have had. My heart is full of gratitiude to you. But i was thinking about it and it was mentioned in the temple dedication yesterday. Yes, it was fathers day, and when i think of fathers day, i think of a BBQ or family time or my dad, etc. But many times we forget that it is our Heavenly Fathers day as well. In Hebrews 12:9 it says: "Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh wich corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the father of spirits, and live?" or from the spanish translation, "Furthermore we had our earthly parents (or fathers) who disciplined us and we had reverence for them, why do we not then obey more our father in Heaven, the father of the spirits and live forever?" 
Mom and dad, i love you more than you could know. I miss you. i thank you for the disciplin you have given me and know that you have my utmost respect for you. But shall we not all obey better our Father In Heaven and strive to do what he asks us to do. can we not show a little bit more respect for him and just do what he asks of us. 
May we all love and reverence god and give him our uptmost respect like i have for you mom and dad. i love my god. i love my saviour and i know they live. i am his witness and love being his representative. there is no greater calling, no greater task to be doing, no greater joy to be felt, nor time to be spent, than being a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 
Happy Fathers day to you dad. But Happy Fathers day to our Heavenly father every day of our lives. 

be safe this week. stay all healthy and we will see you soon. 

Your son and brother,


Monday, June 15, 2015

Mi Estimada Familia,

We certainly had a wonderful week here as well. It was sure busy with getting everything ready for our noche blanca (white night) that happened here last Saturday night. We were busy with the interviews and making sure all the clothes were ready and that people were assigned to direct and lead and speak. It was quite the project let me tell you. But it turned out great in the end. Our zone ended with 7 baptisms and we had over 100 in attendance at the service. They were so supportive and you shouldve seen the looks on their faces afterwards (those who were baptized). I was priveldged to baptize the 2 baptisms of the sisters (those who i interviewed) and also one of our 3 that were baptized. 
We were so blessed and we are being so blessed here in Mollendo. The branch is really coming together and being strengthened by all the excitement for baptisms, something which mollendo hasnt seen in years! Our little branch got filled again with 152 in attendance and we had 9 investigators present, along with our 3 newest converts who were baptized on saturday night. Their names are Deysi and her daughter Milenka, and Enger. Elder Heywood was able to baptize his 1st baptism in his mission which he was super excited about!! And i was just soaking in all the feellings of the evening. I was able to play special musical numbers with a great sister missionary here on the piano and it really brought the spirit into the service. 
Yesterday evening we were able to find 2 less actives that havent been to church in years, but who opened up and began to cry and explain their dificulties and trials they are facing. We were able to share our message and really foucs on what the spirit would have us teach, and you shouldve seen the change in their eyes, and faces and in attitude. What a fantastic experience it was last night. I love seeing people change. I love seeing them grow and know that they can be forgiven of the mistakes that they have made, the mistakes that are burdening them down and binding them literally. I can just get a little glimpse of what the lord sees and feel of the love he has for his children and for me. Ending the week off and thinking of all that had happened throughout the week, i turned to my companion and said, "Im sure going to miss this work."
I love this work. There is nothing better. There is no greater joy to bring families together, to prepare them to go to the temple this August to get sealed and to do the saving work for their dead, to see a soul be humble and recieve forgiveness, to see change. The lord loves change. I love change, and i love being one to bring about change. Oh how i love my mission and the people here in Mollendo. How my heart goes out to them. 
Know that i love you all. Cant even being to describe with words the love i have for you all. 
I wish you all a very good week and a very happy fathers day coming up dad! I wish i could be there to give you a hug...but in due time. 
We are really excited for this next week... tal vez we will have 2 baptisms on saturday...but also the temple dedication for the trujillo temple is on sunday!!! we are so excited to be able to participate in that! 
con todo mi amor,

Elder Birtcher

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Hi Family,

Its great to write you guys again too! Sounds like you all had a super busy week just like we did down here! This last week we have been no stop on the go to prepare for our noche blanca (white night) this saturday night! Elder Heywood and I are going to have 5 baptisms! Our 5 combined with another 4 from the rest of the zone will make it a special 9 people coming unto the lord this weekend! I was busy running around doing interviews for the rest of the zone and cordinating our 5 interviews out for our ZLs to come and do! Its been hecktic, but its so worth it. 
We also have been visiting some families which have also accepted baptism for the 27th of this month and they came to church yesterday! in total we had 13 investigators and 8 Less actives with whom we are working with, at church with us yesterday! And we packed the 120 person branch with 152 people! Huge things happening here in Alto Inclan! I couldnt be more happy.
This week we will be having a ton of family nights with our investigators. We feel that we need to incorporate the members more and to do that and help our investigators get to know more people, we are really focusing on family home evenings ALL WEEK LONG! They turn out great and its always an amazing experience to have the members bear testimony to the investigators. So look for some chance this next week to go out with the missionaries if you can! 
I am so glad all is well back there at home. Know that i love you all so much. We are working super hard here and trying to invite ALL to come unto Christ.
con mucho amor,

Elder Birtcher

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mis queridos,

We have had one busy week here in Mollendo. 
The lord is pouring out his blessings on us here in the area. We have a total of 11 baptismal dates and about 5 more in the process for the month of june. We have been so priveldged to find so many wonderful people to come to church and to listen to us. The members are SUPER excited to see that we are having such success and they are giving us so many references and new people to go and contact! (sure helps things out a lot) and the best part is that we are getting them all to come out with us and work alongside us in the work. 
I have gained such a strong testimony of the power of members in the work. We cannot physically do it alone...I think that is such a great lesson for me seeing is how my role in the work of salvation will be changing from the teacher to the finder. I hope that i can be able to help the missionaries out a ton at home. But my companion and i are excited as ever to work and find more and more people to help out. We must work with families....families are so key here in the work!

This last week we had the zone over for a fire on the roof to recieve the changes and happily...only 1 person is leaving from the zone! That is awesome because our zone is so great and they are working super good right now in everything. Especially my district....we are going to see some huge results here this month of june. We also had a huge service project in leveling some land for a less active here in the branch...haha the whole time i was sitting there shoveling i was thinking about our backyard project of digging....:) 

And we had a really great turn out of investigators and less actives in the sacrament meeting. 9 investigators and 11 less actives that we have been teaching!!! Such blessings!!! 

I am really happy right now. I love the misson and i love the work i am doing! :) Sometimes i can get overwhelmed with everything going on...but in the end...its just the best. 

We have a BUSY week lined up ahead for us...but we are ready. 

I am so glad you had such a great trek experience. You will always remember those times. I hope we can always remember our spiritual experiences and cherish them so that we can grow and learn from them. 
look to do miracles this week. look for ways to bless the lives of neighbors and friends.

Elder Birtcher