Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas 2014

Hello to all my Awesome Family and Friends!

In thinking about what to write, i could tell you all about this last week, the events, and what we did. but in pondering, i feel that i need to share my testimony and some thoughts that i have had these last few weeks with you all in honor of Christmas.

These past few weeks as i have been studying the scriptures i have noticed a repeating word, over and over and over again. Remember. In reality we see this word of the concept of this word used countless times in the scriptures. Perhaps i was just blind, but now i see (haha what song was that???). We see in the book of mormon that Our Heavenly Father wants us to remember his words, the words of the prophets. and the prophets in the book of mormon are always telling us to remember the word of god and to live it. In 1 Nefi 3:7 we are reminded that yes we have commandments and maybe at times they may be overbearing or impossible to accomplish but god has prepared a way for us to accomplish that which he has commanded us to do. Abinadi profesized and told wicked king noah that he and his people should remember the commandments of god and to repent. Alma told his people to rememeber the cautivity of their fathers and to remember the miracles that the lord had performed and done for them. We learn from Helaman to ¨remember that is is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is christ, the son of god, that ye must build your foundation.¨ And we are asked to remember that christ atoned for our sins and it is only through him that we can return to live with him and our loving heavenly father again. For he was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we eteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of god, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Why do we go to church? To partake of the sacrament and remember....remember the atoning sacrifice of the son of god, our savior, for us. We go to remember and to renew our coveants that we made at baptism with our god. To remember Jesus Christ at all times. To stand as a witness and an example for him in all times, in all places, and in all things. Reread the sacrament prayers if you have forgotten what our promises are and what gods promises to us are. (DyC 20:77-79)

But now, in this wonderful christmas season, we need to remember. We need to remember the real reasons for Christmas. That Jesus the Christ was born in Bethlehem of Mary. I testify with all my heart that those sacred events occured. That ¨there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. and, lo, the angel of the lord came upon them, and the glory of the lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. and the angel said unto them, fear not: for, behold i bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. for unto you is born this day in the city of david a saviour, which is christ the lord. and this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. and suddenly there was with the angel a mutitude of the heavenly host praising god, and saying... Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.¨ (luke 2:8-14)
Mary did bring forth her first born son, and did wrap him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

Jesus is the Chirst. He was born to atone for the sins of the world and to bring redemption to all mankind. He is my savior, he is my advocate with the father and he is my best friend. I love my Redeemer! I know he lives!

May we all remember this christmas the true meaning of this special season. In reality all events of December relate to this sacred evening. We give gifts because the wise men brought gifts. We have a star on the tree because of the new star that shone in the east, and we have lights because Jesus Christ is our light. He said, i am the light and the life of the world. He invites all to come unto him and repent and be saved. May we remember. Always remember.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, counsellor, the mighty god, the everlasting father, the prince of peace.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

I love you all. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May you be filled with the joy and the love that this season has to offer. Share it with your families and friends. You are all blessings in my life and i am grateful for each and everyone of you.

Merry Christmas from Peru.

Elder Weston Birtcher

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

BIRTHDAY 12-11-13

Hey guys!

first, thank you for all the birthday emails and pictures that everyone sent me! they were great and brought a big smile to this peruvian face!
This last week was a very very busy one and kind of a frustrating one. We had a bunch of appointments that all fell through and it was really tough to get help from the members. But we have been blessed and have found a ton of people who are very prepared for the message of the restored gospel of jesus christ. They seemed to be just coming out of the wood work and i testify that our heavenly father knows his children. he knows who is prepared and who is ready to hear his message and will put them in our paths. i love getting the feeling that just swells up in my heart to go and talk with someone and at first glance....not someone you would usually go up to in the street to talk to...and find that they have questions that need to be answered and that they are looking for the truth and want to change their lives. We found a lot of people that way this last week.

But as for my birthday....

It was a great one! One to definately remember. No i do not feel 19 or one day older but its kinda cool to tell people that im 19. Haha almost an adult! But on my birthday our momma here made me a great breakfeast...we had cereal and milk!!! Wow...it was amazing. we also had some sausages and great bread but the cereal and milk was just too much to ask for :) Later in the day some of the members here threw me a suprise birthday party! it was awesome. they had made me this huge cake that was so awesome and gave me a little peruvian nativity set. we ate a bunch of other food and had a great time laughing and talking. Yes my face was smashed into the cake ( i will have to send pictures next week!!) and it was just a great time. I really love the members here. they are my family and i love being with them and visiting them when we have the time to. Later that evening we found one of our investigators who we have been trying ot find for the past month again. and we had a wonderful lesson and her attitude has changed so much about the church and she just desires to find out more and read more and more. What an amazing birthday present. Oh, yes i still have the christmas spirit and helped decorate the house of our pention for christmas with the nativities and the christmas tree and the lights. It is very different here. there arent a lot of lights on the outsides of the houses (so sad) because they will get stolen but you can still feel the spirit of christmas in the air. i wish it was a little bit colder for christmas...it is so hot here. we are dying. But anyways, later that night we headed down to the gigantic christmas tree that is here in the city (luckly we have it in our area) to take some pictures as well. and they cooked me up a great big dinner with another huge cake. and yes, my face was smashed into that one as well. The tradiciones here are fun and i am enjoying it so much.
The zone also celebrated my birthday by buying me a huge cake as well. Gosh i am sick of cake....i feel so fat. no my face did not touch this cake but it was a great time as well.

As for other announcements and updates...my companion and i are doing so well. i truely enjoy working with him and the days just are flying by! it is so weird. Our lessons are going great as well and our investigators are progressing amazingly! i am really excited for them and i love watching them grow spiritually. This last sunday i got to watch my convert bless the sacrament again and he recieved a calling to be a ward missionary and he is so excited about it! I cant even describe my joy. it is just something else. I got to play the violin as ususal every week in sacrament meeting and the stake actually wants me ot play a specail musical number for the stake conference coming up but they havent told me anything yet. My comp and i got to also speak in church which went really well. I love testifying. i really do. i love teaching and preaching the precious truths of this gosepl. Nate and justin you were right. Nothing makes me more happier than teaching people about our savior jesus the christ.

Well thats all the time i have! I love you all. This is the true church upoon the earth. this is the gods work. Our Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ direct this work personally. May we all remember the true meaning of chirstmas this year and share our testimonies with those around us. I hope and pray that you all are enjoying this christmas season. I pray for you and all that you do. God bless you all.
Till next week my friends and family,

The now 19 year old elder,

Elder Birtcher

December 9, 2013

Dear my wonderful family and friends!

I have no time!!!! Well i will try and give you the details. This last week has been a busy one. We are working with many wonderful people who are progressing very well, but satan is at work as well and we are running into some problems. but we are not discouraged and we are continuing to work hard and trying to be pacient. Well this last monday we had changes and elder pulido left and i have a new companion. his name is elder samuel leon from equador and i really love this guy. it has only been a week and i love every minute!!!!! our lessons are good and are continuing to improve. This last week was a little test of our faith and pacience though becasue all our lessons and appointments kept falling through and others just didnt want to talk to us. but we continue to pray hard and have faith in every footstep. the lord is with us, i know it. i had a very amazing experience yesterday. I had the chance ot witness two of my converts, bryan and marco, bless the sacrament with the priesthood that they recieved last week. i will admitt i cried a little bit. i was filled with such joy and the most amazing feeling...words cannot describe. i love this work. and to close....
one thing that stuck out ot me from the fireside last night was from elder rasband...who stated that are we too busy foucsing on presents and shopping this christmas or are we foucusing on bringing a smile and joy into the lives of those who need it. i encourage all to look for these kind of opportunities this christmas. it is weird being away from home but this is where i need to be. I thank you all for the happy birthday wishes and letters! i love you all and miss you.

till next week,

Elder Birtcher


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Family and Friends!!! 12-2-13

Family and Friends!!!
I dont even know where to start. Just that i know this work is so true! we saw sooooo many miracles here in the past week but this week i just want to talk about Saturday nov. 30. It was my day of miracles. I am going to try and type it fast cause i dont have much time so if it doesnt make sense...sorry. Well saturday was the craziest day i have ever had in the mission and possibly my life. we got up and went running like we do sometimes. the mornings are great here...the afternoons are horrible but whatever...when we got back to our house i got a call from elder heward our zone leader and he asked me and elder pulido to cancel our appointments if we had any for the morning and come over to there house because there had been an accident and they needed help. So we headed over with our service clothes. a little background information first....in the house of our zone leaders they have a roof that was full of dirt and garbage and whatever other trash on the roof...well our zone leaders fixed it all up and put the dirt a big pile on the side of the roof and stacked bricks around it to keep it secure and in one place....well that dirt eventually collapsed because of the weight on the bricks that werent strong enough to hold all that dirt and took with it chucks of concrete and rock off the roof and felll onto a little hut down below. this little room is not big at all and completely destroyed it. it was a mess!!! we had to climb through the roof to get into the little room because we couldnt open the door because of all the things that were blocking it on the other side. Well the miracle is...there was a baby sleeping in that room when the accident occured. I cleaned up that room and i can honestly say i dont know how that baby could not have died had it not been for the hand of the lord in sparing and protecting his child. The baby was untouched as more than a ton of dirt and rock and conceret chuncks fell into that room. there was a wooden board that had fallen and was resting about a foot above the babys head but nothing touch the baby. My testimony was strengthen so much and i know that it was an absoulute miracle. i got to hold that babys hand and i just saw an important work for him to do as he grows up. But that was miracle number 1. we were cleaning up for a long time but elder puldio and i had appointments for 2 of our investigators who needed interviews with president for their baptisms that day too. the plan was that they were to have their interviews at 11 and their baptisms at 5 so we headed down to the church to find one of our investigators but no president. we waited and we waited. we had to leave him and run and find a telephone to call president but all was well...he was coming. well he showed up and had an interview with our one investigator named bryan. bryan before the interview told us that he was so scared and nervous and didnt know what to do. after the interview president came and grabbed me and said hey you are going to baptize and can we do it now?...We were like...president we dont even have water in the font....but president told us that he wants to be baptized now and he cant wait. so we moved his baptism to 4 that afternoon becasue we had to go and find clothes and fill the font and everything....miracle 2. well marco, our other investigator didnt show up to the interview like he told us he would. so we called him and talked with him for a bit and the next plan was at 4 during the baptism of bryan, he would have his interview with president and then he would be baptized a 5. Well we got everyhting ready and had a wonderful baptism for bryan in which i got to have my first baptism in teh mission. it was the most amazing experience i have ever seen. i got ot also play a specail musical number for him as well. it was amazing. well anyways, marco didnt show up again for the interview and president recieved a text that said....im sorry, i cant do this anymore, i need to straighten out the problems in my life, im sorry, have a great day....well president grabbed us and said we are going to go find him. so we drove to his house...and he wasnt there. we didnt know what to do. so we got in the car and we prayed. i got to offer the prayer and pleaded with heavenly father to help us know where to go and to help us find marco. well, with marco when he gets upset or scared or has fear....he drinks, he smokes, he goes to sleep, or he goes to the casinos in which he has an addiction to. Well the spirit works and speaks...i testify of that. and we all felt that we needed to go to the casinos and look for him. so we drove down to the strip in centro and we got out, took the plaques off (presidents request) and went into the casinos and went looking for marco. haha you should have seen the faces on everyone in those casinos...3 men in suits and ties going up and down every isle looking for someone. their faces were priceless!!hahaaha we felt like the FBI. yes we did get checked for guns and weapons and casino security was on their toes...sort of following us wondering what was going on. Anyways we went into 5 different casinos and no luck. One, never go to the casinos it is horrible. and two, im just glad our suits didnt smell of smoke afterwards..it was horrible. well we didnt find him and all so president told us to go back to the car and we would return to marcos house. as we got into the car and started it....there was marco walking on the sidewalk right past our car...we tore out of the car and booked it over to him. miracle 3 (no i cant even keep track anymore...there are so many more than that). i testify that we were lead by the spirit to find marco in the exact moment and exact time that we needed to, right as we were about to leave. we found him in the most crowded place in all of tacna in the precise moment. what a miracle. i am reminded of the scripture in 1 nephi 4:6 that says i was led by the spirit, not knowing beforehand the things that i should do. it was a miracle. anyways dont have much more time but marco had his interview and he was bapitzed yesterday morning at 8:30. this gosepl is true. i saw a man who was a drunk, a smoker, and a gambler give it all up and recieve a remission of his sins and recieve the holy ghost and the priesthood yesterday. i got to confirm him. bryan also was confirmed and recieved the preisthood to. you should see their faces. i have never seen anyone more happy. this gosepl changes people. I love this work. i love being a missionary. and i am grateful for the miracles that i was able to witness and be apart of. Jesus is the Christ and he lives. He lives!!!! i know it. my testimony is on fire and i am buring inside. Words cannot describe my feelings right now. i am filled with so much love for these people. what a blessing in my life.
I am so happy.

I love you all and i hope you all have a wonderful week. God bless you all and protect you.
Till next week,

Elder Weston Birtcher
Peru, Arequipa Mision

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hello from the peruvian! 11-18-2013

Hey everyone!
Wow did this week go by quick or what? i was praying that time would just slow down for a second so we could get everything done down here! But it was a great week with a lot of success. Hey i just have to tell you! so i was writing right now and my zone leader elder heward just hands me the phone and says it is President. so i answer and he asks me how my violin is going. i told him that i play a lot and that i play every week. well he says to me...elder birtcher i need a special musical number what do you have for me. i respond that i have a really pretty piece, come thou fount of every blessing, and he says okay and we talk about it and he assignes a pianist to accompany me and another elder to help accompany me, its actually elder ellsworth...my comp in the ccm! apparently, Elder Nelson of the 12 and Elder Rasband of the 70 are coming to Arequipa and I, Elder Ellsworth, and an hermana get to perform a special musical number for them!!! HOLY COW! I am so excited! and nervous at the same time. it is going to be so awesome! yeah that just happened too. wow! faith and jake keep playing so that you can play for members of the 12 some day! Anyways getting back to this last week, we play soccer and had a great family night with our investigators. The spirit has been so strong here in all of our lessons and we just love it! Oh this last week we had the chance to do a lot of service for people. Moving rocks, carrying rocks up to roof tops and things of that nature. Haha one funny story is we were talking with one of the members who is a menos activo and he asks if we could come and help him with a service project on wednesday. we said sure and when we showed up to his house, his service project for us, well actually just for me, was to teach his little girls how to play the violin!! haah they went and bought a violin after hearing me play in church these last few weeks and want their daughters to learn how to play! so i got to teach them for almost an hour while elder pulido taught a little lesson with the dad. it is actually kinda difficult to teach someone how to play in spanish but they did fine and are excited to continue playing. wow, i guess the theme of this last week could be centered on the violin now that i think of it. because i got to play in sacrament meeting again and the primary president asked if i would accompany and perform with the primary in their program next sunday. so i went in and played with them, i am a child of god. and to be honest i loved it so much. i felt the spirit so strong from those wonderful, and such pure children of our heavenly father. they just have a radiance about them that is amazing to behold and you can feel their spirits so strong. We are all children of our heavenly father and he loves us. Anyways we had a ward baptism this last saturday and i also got to play for that as well. the violin is becoming a huge hit around here and the members always ask for it in family home evenings and in the church. honestly when i dont bring it somewhere they ask where it is! haha what a tremendous blessing!
Well i dont have much more time but our investigators are progressing just fine and we were supposed to have 3 baptisms this last week but satan is really working hard against us. but we continue to fight the good fight every day and pray for our investigators. know that i love you all and i wish i could write more!
Till next week from the good ole city of tacna, peru...this is Elder W. H. Birtcher signing off.

Haha mucho amor por todos y gracias por su apoyo y amor,

Elder Weston Birtcher

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11, 2013

Hey All!
¿Como estas? ¿todo bien? Well from the letters that i have recieved sounds like all is well back home. Well we had another busy week! Our investigators are progressing and we are continuing to see the outpour of blessings from our heavenly father to his children here in peru. We were supposed to have a baptism this last week with a mother and daughter but we couldnt get permission from the husband so we couldnt baptize them! we are trying to obtain the permission but everytime we try and schedule an appointment with him he isnt available and when he is....he is drunk. So we are praying and praying for them! please pray for gloria and ariatna!!! But we have been working with Marco some more and he is progressing so much. his baptism is this saturday!! just need to continue to keep working with him and help him overcome his addictions. but what is cool about marco is he came to church with us yesterday and after sacrament meeting he needed to leave. so we said goodbye and then during sunday school he comes back and finds us....this time with his mom! his mom came into tacna yesterday from lima to visit and will be here for 15 days. she is such an awesome lady and just loves us for trying to change the life of her son. she is in total support of us and she wants to join the church too! so possibly we will have both of them baptized soon! such blessings. anyways some highlights of this last week....on monday played soccer with the zones and had a family night with 3 families! we all had a great time playing games after our spiritual lesson about eternal families. think about that for a second. how blessed we are to get to have our families be sealed for eternity. i wouldnt have it any other way. i am so grateful for you guys and that i will be with you forever! during one of our games we got to play ninja. haha the peruvians really like that game. we had a great time with all the little kids and the adults enjoyed it too. The wife of the bishop then brought out the treat for the night. in my honor we had hot dogs! haha yeah american food! what else...oh we were tracting an area this last week and we found a family moving all their things into their new house. which was halfway up a mountain with no trails....yeah i will never ever complain about moving people into their new houses ever again. at least there is cement and stairs in the states. but it was a great experience and oportunidad to serve them and we have return appointments with them this next week. One experience that i think stood out for me this week was our numbers were just so low every day and we couldnt complete goals like we have been in the past and we were praying and praying trying to find more people and complete goals and on friday our prayers were answered. we found 2 new families...one of them all 4 accpeted baptism and they came to church yesterday with us and we found 8 new investigators and they accepted our message and baptism and we were able to complete our goals. i know heavenly father hears our prayers. and yesterday we had another packed house in the chapel again!! everyone says its the violin but i think it is the lord working miracles and building the desires of the members and investigators in coming to church and living the gospel in their lives.

Overall, we are happy and excited for this next week of work. I dont have much time left but i do want to share my feelings about the overall lesson that i have learned this last week. I guess you could say there are certain lessons that i learn every week that summarizes the week. for example the answers to prayers one week. or repentance changes lives another week. well this week the lesson that i learned was how much love our heavenly father has for his children. this last week was amazing as we got to teach the people. i love them so much and i want what is best for them! i really do. i pray for them everyday and just want them to come unto their savior and recieve a remission of their sins. I know that our heavenly father loves his children and all he wants for us to do is return to his presence. because we are truley his children. he loves us so much that he gave his only begotten son to atone for our sins to be able to return to his presence. Now think of the love of our savior jesus christ for us. he suffered beyond comprehension for us in the garden. he didnt have to. he had his agency too, he asked the father if there was another way...but in final he said glory be to the father, thy will be done. i like to think of him saying, this is going to be so hard and painful, but i love my brothers and sisters. i love Weston. i will suffer and die for him. and he did. he suffered for my sins, he paid the price for my mistakes and my errors and he gave me the chance to return back into the loving arms of my father in heaven. I love my savior. i have read of his life in the book jesus the christ and my testimony of him has grown tremensly. he lives. he truley bore our griefs and carried our sorrows and with his stripes we are healed. I ask all to learn of their savior whose love for you is infinite and incomprehensable. The most precious blood that has ever lived was spilt for you. the best life that has ever been lived was freely given for you. learn of him who paid the price for eternal life. I testify that he lives and that this is his work. He desires all of his children to come into his loving outstretched arms.

This is my challenge to all who read this. Learn of your Master and Redeemer. for i stand all amazed at the love jesus has for me.

I love this work. I love being a missionary. I love this people. And I love all of you.

Till Next Week,

Elder Weston Birtcher


Monday, November 4, 2013

Hey Guys- 11-4-2013

Hey guys!
Wow another week gone. Crazy! Hahaha oh i dont even know where to start this one....just that i am so happy! i love being a missionary! we had a great week with many blessings from the lord that we saw. but i guess i want to say thanks for everything first. all the support and love that you all give to me is such a blessing to me in my life and i am so grateful to have you all in my life. so thank you. and to all those who have recieved mission calls!! Congradulations!!!!! this is the best work you could be doing. i love serving my savior and our heavenly father. i truely love this people and the chance to bear my testimony to them every day and watch this gosepl change their lives. it is such an honor to witness all these miracles on a daily basis.
well let me tell you about the week....
the first couple days were just work work work. we had some success but for the most part it was pretty tough with all our investigators and trying to find more to teach. we were praying so hard to find some more people and it seemed like everything was in a sense failing becasue we couldnt find investigators and what not but the lord answers our prayers after the trials of our faith. he builds us stronger after we are tried and after we show our faith and willingness to follow him no matter what happens or trials we face. because after a long week of trying and trying and trying we were blessed to teach all of the investigators that we needed to teach and they are progressing just fine! especially yesterday. sundays here are great but it is a real problem with people coming to church. members included and yesterday we had a record high of over 80 people in the sacrament meeting!!! we had a full chapel for the first time in weeks! we also had 5 investigators show up with 6 menos activos tambien. in our gospel doctrine class that we teach we had a lot of people show up and actually give us references for their families and friends. we were so excited and thrilled. the fast and testimony meeting was so spiritual too and all the testimonies that were given were exactly what our investigators needed to hear. it is the simple yet powerful testiomonies of the book of mormon and this gospel that touch their hearts. you dont need to be eloquent in your speaking or have an excellent vocabulary to touch the heart of an individual and allow this gospel to change their lives. Elder Pulido and I got to have that chance and we bore our testimonies and the spirit was so strong. gosh i love it. have i said that before??? oh i got to play the violin again not only in sacrament meeting but in many homes and family nights. everyone really enjoys it...especially me. i love playing the hymns and it invites the spirit which is the most important thing. one hermano in our ward told me that he hasnt seen that many people in sacrament meeting in years and that he says it is all because of my violin. it really made me feel good and hey if the violin is bringing people to church then yeah i will play every sunday. what a blessing it is to be able to play. faith and jake-dont you ever quit.
What else....oh we have been working with this wonderful lady and her daughter (Gloria and Adriadna) and she has refused and refused baptism because she has fears and doubts. and we have been praying for her and we planned a special noche de hogar (family night) with them in the house of one of our members. i got to play the violin. i played families can be together forever and she just broke into tears. we talked about families and all the blessings that this gosepl brings to the family. i share with her pictures of teh family and it was a really sweet and spiritual meeting. and she excepted baptism for this saturday. we are praying so hard for her and that she wont get scared off before saturday! what a blessing.
Oh it was fun this last week to watch all the little peruvian kids dress up for halloween and see them go around for their candy. oh a we had dia de los muertos this last week to. it is such a huge holiday here and we took advantage of the opportunity to teach the plan of salvation to a ton of people in the cementaries!! haha we passed out plan of salvation phamplets to everyone! it was a fun day...lots of drunks. hopefully when they are sober they read about the gospel and hopefully want to change. they always tell us they do. Oh and later that night some of the members took us out to this polleria (a chicken place restuarant) and we got to have a feast of chicken and french fries! It was amazing not to have rice!!! it was really good and we had a great time together. The people here are so amazing and so loving.

Well i got to run. i think we are getting all the zones together again for a soccer game. got to get pumped!!!! haha. but know that this is the church of God on the earth today. this work is the work of our savior jesus christ and our loving heavenly father. he loves us. he loves all of his children and wants them to return to his presence for every soul is of great worth and is precious in the eyes of god. My testimony has been strengthen so much in just these 3 months of my mission and i know the book of mormon is true. i know it without a doubt in my heart. i challenge all who read this letter to share this message with your friends and neighbors. open your mouth and just testify of what you know to be true. it may be scary and a little unnerving but i promise that if you will do this, the lord will bless you and will work miracles through you in changing the lives of our friends and families. this is the work of salvation among the children of men. fortify your testimonies, keep the faith and fight the good fight. everyone is called to fight this fight. read and reread DC 4. I testify that jesus is the christ and that he suffered for the sins of the world. He is mine and yours savior and he loves each and everyone of us. Share this glorious message with the world. for ¨The Standard of Trugh has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of god will go forth bodly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of god shall be accomplished, and the great jehovah shall say the work is done¨.

I love you all so much. Take care.

Elder Birtcher
Con mucho amor

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hey Family and Friends

Hey family and friends!
It is great to get to write you guys again! I guess i really dont know where to start. This last week has been a tough one but one full of miracles and help from the lord. I guess i want to start out and state to all who read this that the heavens are not sealed and that God still works miracles. We have seen plenty here. I guess my thoughts are going back to Wednesday. we were working hard, trying to contact a bunch of people and get to our appointments but all our appointments were falling through and our back up plans werent working either and overall it was really frustrating. We have been working with this family and they have been doing fine accepting everything but there problem has been not coming to church. we have been trying and trying to catch them and they for some reason this last week and a half have been avoiding us and leaving on purpose so that we cant talk with them and on Wednesday we finally found them. we tried to teach a lesson and the dad straight up told us that he didnt want to see us anymore and that he didnt want to be baptized and he told us to basically stay away from his family. Man, that was a hard one to swallow. i have a deep love for this family and his words really hurt. i will admitt, i almost cried right there because it felt as if i was losing my brothers and sisters. we tried to share scriptures and save the relationship that we have had over these last few weeks but... no good. as we walked away down the street my comp and i didnt say anything to each other we were just thinking of what we did wrong and the whole circumstance really. i thought about how our heavenly father must feel with all his children who reject his great plan of mercy and happiness and dont take those crucial steps of baptism and recieving the gift of the holy ghost and enter into the temple. i thought about how he must feel and the scripture in doctrinas and convenios 18:10 that the worth of every soul is great and precious in the eyes of god. anyways not even 5 minutes later a man comes up to us and says that he has been looking for missionaries for a long time, that he wants to be baptized and when can you two come visit me? This man, marco antonio, i guess has been in contact with the church for a while, working with the missionaries but when changes and transfers occured, he sort of got lost as time went by. after talking with him, i was as the story of alma the younger goes, my joy was as great or if not more as was my pain. We walked away from marco and rounded a corner and i asked my companion to stop and i poured out my thanks to Heavenly Father. As we walked to our next appointment the thoughts of the miracle i had just been apart of and i was filled with the most joyious feeling and i thought in my head about my testimony and that i know this church is true, i know that christ lives and i know that i am here to save souls and bring them to our heavenly father becasue they are his. we are his. he knows us better than we know ourselves and if only we will turn to him in every aspect of our lives we will be blessed. how blessed we are to have this knoweldge of the gospel, this joy in our lives and all of these blessings! later that night we recevied a call from one our investigators who cant be bapitzed until she and her husband get married and they have been debating whether or not to. and she called and told us that they want to get married and that they have been reading the book of mormon and feel something special every time they read it! i cant tell you how happy i was. and thats not it....we went to visit another investigator who has been having fears about bapitsm and we got to bear testimony to her that she was doing the right thing and the spirit was just so strong! we asked if she would like a blessing of comfort and strength to fight off the tempations and fears that satan is putting in her life and she agreed. as my companion was explaining a little bit about what a blessing was, something in my heart just overcame me and i had the desire to offer this blessing. i never do the blessings. one because i have a little fear to mess up a blessing from our heavenly father in a different language....but i got to give my first blessing in spanish to this wonderful lady. it was the most amazing experience. alll in all...wednesday was my day of miracles. i know they exisit and happen. anyways this week like i said has been a little tough in some aspects. some of our investigators are not progressing and others dont want to talk with us anymore and other cosas. i guess i didnt realize how difficult emotionally a mission can be. i truely love these people. i see them differently and i want the best for them. and it really hurts when they dont want us anymore. but gods will be done, not mine. What else has happened this week. got to play some soccer on monday with the zones again and found 3 new families. one family i need to tell you about really quick. so they are adventistas, a religion really promonite around here and it is a miracle that we got to even enter into there house for a lesson. that was the miracle. we first came in contact with this family when elder pulido and i found them working hauling bricks to and fro for their house. we stopped and helped them and then we left not thinking much of importance about this family but we had a return appt. anyways upon returning for our lesson they told us that 2-3 years earlier 2 young men in white shirts and ties with black plaques had stopped to help them haul bricks and do the same work we did. they recieved those missionaries only one time and then lost contact with the missionaries. they didnt think the church was important and were not interested in us anymore. until one day 2 other missionaries (me and my comp.) performed the same service that those two elders had done in the past. they decided that it was time to accept the missionaries again. we are working with them and i hope all goes well. just a neat little story for you guys.
Oh i have been able to play my violin a lot here. yesterday in sacrament meeting i played all the songs because one, i got tired of singing with no piano, and two, i wanted to play. i am now the desnginated musician for church now. i get to play every week! haha and later that evening (yesterday) we got to play a special muscial number for a stake relief socitey meeting. that went well and everyone enjoyed it. and after the meeting went to see an inactive member, sort of our grandma here and got to play for her. she was sick so we got to cheer her up. i testify of the power of music and the influence it can have in ones life. it is absoultely amazing. well anyways i got to run. Know that i love you all. i really do. i miss you and pray for your success. continue to study the scriptures and the gospel. i feel a protecttion every time i do. this is gods work. this is his church. and i am on his errand. i love it.

till next week. god bless you all. i love you.

Elder Weston Birtcher

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hey All, Que tal!
Wow sounds like life couldnt be better back home!! And what did you do to my backyard!!!!! haha. i love the pictures and all your letters. thank you so much for them and alll your love and support for me. i really appreciate it. hey i need to see some pictures of the boat chief!! and i absolutely love the costumes!! you guys are awesome! Well to answer quickly your questions mom, we eat rice, rice, and some more rice with different things. sometimes you dont know what you are eating but overall it is very very good. Here in peru, there are pentionistas. People who we pay to cook for us and to wash our laundry. it is actually really nice not to have to worry about what we need to cook and what not because it allows us to solomente focus on the work. Our little room is off of our pentions house and i love our pentionista and her husband and little 2 year old. he is so cute and the funny thing is is he learned how to say my name and now continues to shout and shout it whenever i am around. haha and he cant say my companions name. its fun and its always great to be with them. my family away from my family. i am actually loosing weight though. but thats alright. i was fat anyways and needed to loose some libres.
Anyways....about this week!
Haha it was a busy one. Work, work, work, oh and more work. But i love it. the more work the better. Again the lord is blessing us in this part of his vineyard with more amazing people to teach about this gospel. This last week was the last week of this change and on monday we actually got to together as a zone to have some fun activities for our last pday as a zone. we headed down to the church and got to play some fun games and then we headed over to our zone leaders house and went up on the roof. there was a fire pit and a bunch of American food! it was so fun. we played signes and that is very interesting playing in spanish for the first time and we had hot dogs and soda and some chips. one of the zone leaders recieved a package from home with nacho cheese and el pato!! yeah im not the only one here who knows what el pato is!! haha it tasted so good. we had a really neat spiritual meeting in which we all got to bear our testimonies and the spirit was so strong. nothing like sitting around a fire on a roof in the middle of peru. im going to miss the camping and hunting trips you guys are going to take. afterwards we taught all the latinos how to make smores and had those too. it was a great time and we all are sad that the zone is splitting up.
As the week continued we found some great families and people to teach. it is amazing at how the lord will put people literally in your way to teach. we found one family who is so ready and willing to hear and accept the message. i hope everything continues to go well as we work with them. what mas...oh like i said the zone was splitting up so we made a jersey for the zone and they are sweet! we had some fun taking pictures with those. sorry i will send those later. On friday we actually had a little suprise party for one of the elders that is going home in our zone too. dont worry we arent partying it up all the time down here. we still meet our goals and the work gets done! but it was fun we had some great empenadas which are absolutely fantastic down here along with some cookies and crackers....what other crazy things happened. oh a dog bit me! dont worry it didnt break the skin and no marks or anything so i dont have rabbis but it was a good bite on my ankle. haah there are so many dogs around here and some we have to mess with a little bit. some dogs are literally, dogs of the devil. but for the most part we dont have many problems with them. (everything is good, i hope you like the pics i sent...we decided to have some fun). Yesterday i got to give a talk in sacrament meeting and i spoke about the book of mormon and the importance of that book. Please, anyone who reads this letter, read the book of mormon. that book is oh such great importance and value, you have no idea. The words that it contains in its pages will change your life. I encourage all to read and then with sincerety of heart, pray to your heavenly father and ask if it is true. take moroni s promise. it is true and i testify you will receive and answer. i have recieved a witness that that book is the most correct book of all the books on the face of the earth. i know that it contains the fulness of the gospel of jesus christ. please, please, please, read. read and ponder its message. I know without a doubt that it was translated and brought about by a prophet of god. joseph smith truely did see in reality our heavenly father and our savior jesus christ. i know it. i know it. and you can know it to. Just pray, pray with all you have to our father in heavenly and ask. you shall recieve. and i promise you that it will change your life. it has changed mine.
Anyways i also got to teach the primary!!! i loved it. really enjoy the kids down here in peru!
Anyways got to run! but know that this is the true church upon the earth! i love you all and pray for your success!

love you, till next week!

Elder Weston Birtcher

Monday, October 14, 2013

Oct. 14, 2013
Hey Everyone!

How is everyone doing? From all your letters and notes to me it sounds has if there are no problems back there! which i am very grateful for. first i want to start as say thank you to all those who have written me! it is great it here from you and i want to say thank you to all for your love and support! it is amazing. i am truely blessed to have such an amazing family and friends. i am truely, truely blessed. and a huge congradulations to all those who have recieved their mission calls or to those who are awaiting for their calls. i am so proud and excited for you! this is truely the lords work and it is an honor to be serving my god in this part of the world. i urge you all to continue to strengthen your testimonies and stay firm and strong in this gospel. this is the only true church upon the face on the earth and the lord has many blessings awaiting those who will continue to stay strong in the gospel and for those who will take this step in their lives and come unto chirst. i love this work. it is the best work there is and was the highlight of conference. i have realized that missionary work is not just for the full time missionaires. it is for everyone. many apostles and prophets stated that the members and the missionaries must work together. we are all serving missions for the lord. i urge all to seek missionary opportunities in their lives and ask for those opportunities in your prayers. i know it can be difficult at times to talk about the church with those around us. have no fear, god is with you and if you will trust in him and open your mouth the lord will fill it. he will work miracles through you and you will experience a joy that you have never felt in your lives. the rms know what i am talking about. Again, have no fear. The lord is mindful of you and will help you. With god, nothing is impossible. Every soul is precious and great in the eyes of god. i invite all to read DyC 4 and ponder those words. You will be blessed.

Anyways, this past week has been a busy one. We have been working with many amazing people here. It is amazing to see the blessings just happen right before our eyes and to see the countance of people change as we talk to them about the everlasting gospel. Okay, lets see....we got to combine with the other zones again for a big soccer game which is always fun. we try not to be too competitive but you know....haha. it is really fun and its great to see that all the peruvians come out and line the fence to watch the gringos play. i bet we look horrible while playing! We also had a family night with a great family. that is what we are trying to do around here more often is to have little family nights with different members and their friends, either inactive members or investigators. it is a great chance for the spirit to touch them and it is the perfect atmosphere in which to teach. i bring my violin to every one and everytime i get to play they just love it. haha they always say ¨Do another one!¨ On tuesday we actually got to have exchanges with another missionary in my district. so i grab a pair of clothes and headed out to a new area for a day and a half. it was a great experience and i got to learn a lot on how others teach. but i guess i really didnt realize how much i loved my area once i was away from it. i missed those who we were teaching that night and i longed to go back to my home away from home. now dont think i was all sad or bumbed to be in a new area because i loved it and we found some amazing sons and daughters of our heavenly father to teach, but it was an interesting feeling for me. once i returned our investigators were like....where have you been!! we missed you! haha i love this place and the people. i think it helps me teach with more love which is what every missionary must do. you must have charity or you are nothing. anyways this last week we also had a huge training meeting with the asistents and the presdient which was very very good. i learned a lot of valuable information on how i must be in order to influence the lives of those who i will teach. one funny story is in the middle of the training president stopped and said, elder birtcher, where is your violin? haha he then continued to joke with me in front of everyone saying that he gave me the permission to bring it down and that i was scared to play...and a bunch of other stuff. all in good fun but i guess i am bringing my violin to all the combined zone meetings now. i also got to have an interview with president and i just want to say that he is the man. we talked for a good 15 20 mins and had a great time. a lot of great wisdom in his words to me.

other highlights from this last week have just been working everyday with great people. we have some investigators who have accepted baptism but the problem is they dont come to church!!! that is a huge problem around here. it is frustrating because that is all they have to do in order to be baptized and it is frustrating because we love them! But it is all in the lords hands and he knows when they are prepared and when they need to be baptized. ¨he knows the meadows where they feed¨-consider the lillies.

before i end i just want to share a passage that has truely inspired me and has changed my views on how i must be in this work. it is a passage from the talk-the 4th missionary. it is talking to missionaries on how they must act and feel in order to have success but it is aplicable to everyone. it states.

¨Just give it up. Surrender your will to him. unconditionally. withhold nothing. turn it all over to him. all of your desires, wishes, dreams and hopes. be true and faithful in your head and in your heart, not just in your behavior. trust in him. trust him who knows all htings. trust hom who has all pwer. trust him whose love for you is perfect. trust him, who alone suffered, paid and atoned for your sins, and for your weaknesses as well. trust him that he will make of you, immeasurably more, than what you will ever, ever, in all eternity, make of yourself. he will create of you a masterpiece. you will create of you only a smudge. you will create an ordinary man. he will create a god.

i testify that jesus the christ lives and that he is our savior and redeemer. he lives. read 3 nefi 11. i love this work. i pray for you all and for your success.

Till next week.

Con mucho amor,

Elder Weston Birtcher


Saturday, October 12, 2013

OCTOBER 7, 2013

Buenos Dias Todos!

Well what a fantastic week we have had. The lord has truely been apart of our lives down here as we continue to labor in his vineyard for the souls of his children. i have seen miracles time and time again and i know that my redeemer lives! i love being a missionary and putting on my plaque every morning. Alright well let me tell you about this week.

last monday elder pulido y yo got invited to a birthday party! it was really fun and we had so much food. the peruvians are so kind and they just keep giving you more and more and more food every time your hand is empty. haha and if you dont eat it....they think you dont like it! so we just kept eating and eating. new obsticale of the mission...dont get fat! we also got to have fun in the markets that are down here. you can find so many fun and cool stuff. we dont buy much but it is fun to be in that kind of atmosphere and try and barter in spanish. im sure you would have a ball down here dad. We also had a family night at one of the members houses which turned out really great and the spirit was very strong. on tuesday we had our district meeting as usual and the funny thing is i got assigned to teach a lesson in english for all the missionaries who dont speak ingles. Easy right....NOT....i was struggling to find english words and kept going back into spanish. my comp was all proud of me! On wednesday we had another family night type deal with another family. this time we invited some of our investigators to the event. we taught them about the plan of salvation and kacie yes i got to use your little packet that you made for me for the first time! i sort of struggled for some words as i got to teach the lesson and i thought it turned out really bad but everyone said i did great and it was understandable and everything. we watched a little movie too about the plan of happiness and the spirit was so strong and i know our investigators felt it. i did get the chance to bring my violin and play a speacial musical number for them. i want to bear testimony of the divinity of music. it truely brings the spirit and can touch the hearts of even the most stubborn of heart. the lord has truely blessed me in my life to be able to play and i look for every opportunity to play. as i played i felt a peace settle over me and i was able to play with power and with the spirit. i try to bear my testimony through my music and it works. the families that were there were crying and it really was a peaceful and wonderful experience for all present. haha i am actually thinking of having elder pulido and i set up a stand in the markets and i play the violin to attract people to come and see what we are adverstizing so to speak. if people try to give us money we will give it back with phamplets about the savior. idk...we are planning it all out and i will have to let you know if it works or not!
On thursday we were really busy teaching and tracting and one funny story was we were walking across the street and we see these two little girls running at full speed at us. we thought that they were playing tag or racing or what not and were going to run right past us. so i moved out of the way and they changed their direction and headed right for me. one little cute peruvian ran into me and gave me the biggest hug! haha my comp was laughing as she stood there hugging me in the middle of the street. i felt like i was breaking mission rules! and later that night as we got to teach my miracle family again a 20 year old comes into the room and i stick out my hand to say hello and she disregards the hand and plants a big kiss on me (the cheek dont worry)! haha...what can i say. the peruvians just cant keep their hands off. haha NOOOO just kidding! But like i was saying we got to teach my miracle family and now her mother is now very interested and told us that she wants to be baptized! i have never seen a more prepared family. i hope they can be baptized this month! later that night we were walking home and i saw this man standing there looking at us and i got this feeling to go and talk to him so i went up and said hello. he immediately said hey got a question for you. when are you coming to my house to teach me and my family? we were taken aback and answered...when are you free.....so we talked for a little bit and they have accepted baptism. Their whole family! it was such a blessing to us in that the lord knows his children and those who need this gospel and the savior in their lives. it was kind of weird to sort of be contacted like that but hey, whatever works right!
friday was a work day and we were on the move all day. it was really cold and i had to double layer the sweaters and use your gloves and scarf justin! it is still sort of winter down here and we are coming out into summer now. anyways that night we had a lesson with a family who had accepted baptism and they want to be baptized sooner, and it is possible so we are preparing them and hopefully this saturday we have a service for them.
Alright saturday and sunday....Wow! wasnt conference just absoleutly amazing! i loved it so much! it was the fastest conference that i have ever watched in my life. i miss it already! i loved listening to the apostles and prophets and their inspired messages. i went in with a lot of questions in mind and every single one of them was answered. they are truely men of god and the lords servants. i wish i could write more about it but i dont have much time. i encourage you all to read and reread their messages becasue every one of my questions, problems, doubts were answered, solved, or i know what i now need to do to be a better missionary for my savior and god. on sunday we had a fun experience as we left conference a couple of drunks stopped us and were like we want to change our lives!!! tell me what i should do. haha we laughed and i told the one hanging on me that if he wanted to change his life that he should have no more beer. so he said okay and down the full glass of beer in his hand and said okay no more! haha it was fun. we gave them phamplets and who knows maybe when they are sober they will come unto christ! and that is pretty much the highlights of this week.

i know that this is the lord work. i am supposed to be here in peru for my brothers and sisters in this area. jesus is the christ and he lives. the angels truely did say...he is not here for he is risen! i invite all to read the book of mormon and feast upon its words and if you dont have a testimony of the savior jesus christ or of this gosepl, get one now. i love this gospel so much. it has changed my life. everyone read 2 nefi 25 26 and that is the reason for why i am here. may god bless you all and may you all continue to stay strong in this gospel.

If you dont have a testimony, lean on mine until you gain one for yourself. for i know that this is gods work unto the salvation of the children of men. i know.

i love you all

Elder Birtcher


Monday, September 30, 2013

9-30-2013 Hello

A big shout out from Peru to all you back there in the USA and throughout the world!

Wow what a crazy week we have had down here in tacna. Okay....

last monday we also got to play soccer again with all the zones in the area which is always a blast. there are some amazing elders and hermanas here serving and i really enjoy spending time with them when we get the chance to. haha one elder kicked the ball over the fence and it broke a window, the lady was going crazy and called the cops on us. so the police showed up but everything was okay. We also go the opportunity to have family home evening with one of our progressing investigators who we are trying so hard to get her to accept baptism but she keeps coming up with excuses. We taught about the restoration and we sang...yeah i sang a specail musical number!...and i also got to play my violin for them. the spirit was so strong. i love playing hte violin. i just never have time! ugh. on tuesday we had a great day! i was praying so hard asking the lord to allow us to be effective missionaries and find more people to teach and allow us to complete our goals for the day and the week. i was gung ho about the work and we went tracting in a very poor area. you know....the less people have the more receptive they are. when we tract in the city parts which in itself is still very humble but have a little bit more than everyone else are very arrogant and dont listen much. but when we tract in the hills and mnt. people are so receptive and will listen to you. my miracle story from tuesday was we had been tracting for about 3 hrs. and it was time for lunch. my comp told me that we should head back to the house for lunch. i didnt want to go and tried to persuade him to stay out longer but he was starving. i told him...Elder there are miracles on this street.....all of a sudden a family rounded the corner and i told my comp...them....so we went and talked with them. They both accepted baptism and are so prepared for this gospel it is amazing! we have return appointments and they are b
oth married! Rare! they are my miracle family! that night we also went back to the house of the investigator who isnt accepting baptism and were actually accompanied by the zone leaders for this lesson. i have never felt the spirit so strong. it was amazing! i have never seen satan try so hard to distract her and keep her from this gospel!!! it was literally a battle with satan for over an hour! she is still confused and wont accept baptism yet. So pray for her and us to be able to teach her in a way that will help her come unto christ! we also have found another family who all accepted baptism! all we need to do is get the parents married and teach some more! we have found over 20 new people to teach and over 4 families!!! the lord truely is answering my prayers and as we continue to be obedient and do what the lord wants...he will bless us. the ward here is great too! we had the opportunity to go out with members and tract for over an hour! what a great experience! they were all pretty nervous about knocking on the doors and all but we actually got to teach them in church and do demonstrations for them. tonight we are having a family home evening with another family and i hope that goes well! sorry this weeks letter is shorter but i got to run!

i love you and miss you all so much! pero, this is the lords work. i am in the right place and love this work. Jesus is the Christ the very son of god. our savior and redeemer. i love you all and pray for you!

Elder Birtcher

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hello! September 23,2013

Hello Everyone!

¿Como estan? Well things have been great down here in Tacna. we have been truely blessed by the lord and have been spiritually edified from the holy ghost. well this last week went by very fast! wow! it has been a non stop go go go but i have loved it. Alright now to the details. umm...last pday we had the opportunity to get together with other zonas and play a big game of soccer which was so fun! hahaha i got to meet some great missionaries and again it is such a small world. i meet some other elders who know someone i do and it always brings a smile to my face! okay i dont know if i fully gave a good description about my comp last week or not so i guess i will really quick. my comp is elder pulido from guadalahara mexico who speaks just a little english. he has been out on his mission for 3 months and me just about 2 so we are both greenies together. but he is a great teacher and friend. we really work well together and the lord has truely blessed me with good comps so far. this last week we have been busy contacting and tracting. we had the chance to go up into the mountain part of our area and knock doors. it is a very poor area and they were so receptive! we have a bunch of return appointements and are very excited. we had a good time not getting attacked by dogs and trying not to get completely covered in dirt but it was great. we were so dirty afterwards. i really love this area and the people in it. one thing that amazes me is even though they might not agree with your message they will be kind and listen to what you have to say, which allows the spirit an opportunity to touch their hearts. in tracting this last week we have found 3 new familias and many people who are so ready for the fullness of the gospel of jesus christ in their lives. you should have seen us filling out the progressing investigator reports. it took us forever! justin dont get mad bro. i think about you and how hard it must have been for you in the mission with those russians. sorry bro. We almost had a baptism!!! we have been working with a lady and she needed an interview with president for baptism. the interview went great and when we talked with her afterwards her zeal for baptism was gone and told us that she wasnt ready for baptism! we were so bummed! but we are working with her and hopefully this saturday it will all work out. but i love this people. i think about all those scriptures about the gospel being preached unto the lamanites and i get a burning feeling because that is me right now. i love giving service to people and want to hug all the sweet old grandmas around here! the ward is so great too. such faithful members that are in this area and very kind. yesterday in church i got to give a talk as my welcome present into the ward which went well. elder pulido also got to speak and then afterwards elder pulido was asked to give the lesson in sunday school which went very well, and after that we were both asked to speak in relief society about missionary work! haha! it went well though. when elder pulido turned the time over to me, i was nervous but words just rolled out of my mouth faster than i could think about them! i was praying that they made sense! i testify that the gift of tongues is real. the spanish is coming along great and i try and bear my testimony to everyone we come in contact with. also yesterday we found out that a less active memebers husband had passed away and we went over along with other priesthood members and sang hymns and two of the brethern gave talks about the plan of savlvacion. i know it is very sad when someone passes on. but i couldnt imagine how sad it would be if someone where to pass on and not have the knoweldge that you were ever going to see them again or be with them! i am so grateful for the opportunity that i can be with my family for eternity! i love the quote... a missionary is someone who leaves their family for 2 years so that others can be with their families for eternity. i love teaching about the plan of salavation and we have gained a lot of investigators through that lesson. well what else is new.....oh our shower heater thing broke last tuesday so it is now cold showers till we can get that fixed whenever. haha mornings here are not fun! but i just want to share my testimony with you all that i know jesus is the christ. i have been reading jesus the christ and i feel the spirit so strong everytime i read it. i know he lives and is standing with beackoning arms to all his children to come unto him. what a marveouls priveledge i have to invite all to come unto their savior. i know joesph smith was a prophet of god and thorugh him we have the fulness of the goespel of jesus christ. we got to watch joseph smith the prophet of the restoration and even though it was all in spanish and i couldnt comprehend all of it. i felt the spirit so strong. i love teaching about the restoration.

Know that i love all of you and that the lord is always near you. with the lord, nothing is impossible.
i love this gospel. i know it is true. without a shadow of a doubt in my heart. i hope all is well at home and thank you to all who wrote me. i look forward to hearing from all of you again this next week. know that your savior loves you and you are all in my prayers.

Till next week from Tacna,

Elder Weston Birtcher

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 16, 2013 A Big Hola to everyone!

A big hola to everyone!

well i am here in tacna peru! it is the southern most part of peru right next to chile! alright a lot has happened this last week and i dont have much time so i will fly through this! we left the ccm on tuesday morning at 5 and headed to the airport. the night previous we all sang god be with you till we meet again and had a bunch of pictures. it was really sad to leave the ccm because i had so many friends and brothers tthere. we headed in a group of 20 down for arequipa. the plane ride was only like an 2 hr. flight or so and once we got off we got our bags and then went out of the little arequipa airport to find whoever from the mission office. yeah, umm....no body there to pick us up!!! so we all kinda just sat on the side of the curb and waited! i was made group leader by president cardon along with another elder and so we went to find a phone to call someone with some numbers that they had given us. umm...yeah none of the numbers worked at all. so there we were 20 missionaries sitting on the side of the street just smiling and happy to be in arequipa but lost. we eventually found president cardons number and he called the mission office in arequipa. so in the next 10 mins. here come the assistants and president and sister zobrist. president zobrist remember me as the one who was bringing the violin and we hit it off really well. he is a way cool guy and is the right man for the job down here in peru. they got a bus for us all and then kinda gave us a mini tour of arequipa where we got to take some pictures and see the locations and sites. they then took us back to the mission home and we had lunch and got debriefed on all the proccedures of the misison field and the mission expectations and rules and such. president then bought us pizza from a pizza hut down here! soooo good! havent tasted anything so good in a long time! and it wasnt with any rice! yeah baby! anyways that night they shipped all the elders out to some ghetto hotel to sleep because obviously the elders and hermanas cant be in the same house at nights. that was interesting...we were all so dead tired and we just crashed! we got up and did some excersies like we are supposed to but forgot that we didnt bring our filters that they had given us in the ccm for the field! and we arent allowed to drink any water without them so we worked out and then had no water until we were able to by some later in the day! haha the adventures that we have! we then went to the capilla and there we found out our areas and who our companions are. my new companion is elder pulido from mexico! he speaks a little english but not really! he is trying to learn english and me spanish! so it works out alright. we are assigned to a city called tacna peru. the southern most part of the mission and boarders chile almost. it is very ghetto to american standards but i love it! the people here are amazing and so humble! we live in humble circumstances as well and the ward here is amazing. anyways sorry i am jumping ahead of myself. so after finding out where we were going we got interviewed by president and then boarded a bus for a nice 7 hour drive to tacna! haha that was fun. it is just a desert out here! honestly, arizona has more plant life. man! i can never escape the desert can i? hahaha we rolled in a little after 9 and sort of unpacked and then crashed after we ate dinner. we have been tracting a lot and have been finding many people to teach! we have found 2 new familias and i think they are so ready for baptism but there are some problems in the way that we need to deal with but esta bien! the lord has really blessed us to find those prepared for this message. lets see....the spanish is coming along....i have been lost many a time and have no idea what is going on but it is coming. i know that the gift of tounges is real and that the lord will bless me. elder pulido has been a great help and encourages me when i get down. we actually had the opportunity to give a lady and her husband a blessing which was awesome. i butcherd the annointing in spnaish and felt so dumb but oh well! we had them and their family come to church on sunday. they are the ampuero family and hopefully they progress in this gospel. that is one of the problems here. getting people to come to church! which is obviously a necessary requirement for baptism! so we were happy to get them and another investigator to church with us! what else....oh yesterday night we went to see a member that has been recently baptized and just see how she was doing. we knocked on the door and she invited us in to her daughters birthday party! we ate so many cookies and popcorn and cake and drinks! the grandma there who i could just hug was so sweet (dont worry i didnt...mission rules) and kept giving us things! i was so full but you cant offend them here and you eat what you are given. i have been in good health and just a couple of times been feeling sick so all is good! the district and zone here is awesome and we are all working hard. actually one of the zone leaders is from mesa, az and then moved to utah but he knows a ton of people that i know so it is fun to exchange stories when we see each other. what else....oh i have been all the foods that i love...eggs galore and fish and stomach and a bunch of other stuff! haha i am enjoying the mission! i know my savior lives and that this is the place i am supposed to be. the lord has called me here for a specific purpose and i have been able to bear my testimony to investigators all the time. i love it. i cant believe before the mission i was so scared to share my testimony with people but now that i do it on a daily basis it brings such joy into my life. we go to bed so dang tired everyday which is a great sign that we have worked hard! nate you were right...i wish i could have my sunday nap!
well got to run! i love you all and am praying for you all daily! pray for me and my investigators

till next week from tacna!

Elder Weston Birtcher

Thursday, September 5, 2013

September 5, 2013 Hello Everyone!

Hello Everyone!

What a great week this has been down in good ole peru. where to start....well it has been pretty much the same schedule with the studies and teaching so i guess i will have to hit on the highlights these week. I did get to play the violin again on sunday with hermana cardon and an elder haacke! we were the trio violin group and it turned out really well. the spirit was felt and we got many compliements for our playing. im gonna say it again but i am so grateful for sticking with the violin. it truely brings the spirit and i really enjoy playing it. i just never have time for it! haha we have such a busy schedule here.

one thing that i want to share is my experience that i had on sunday. of course it was fast sunday and as i was thinking about what i would fast for i fasted for 1. how could i gain a stronger testimony of my savior jesus christ and 2. to help me have the gift of tongues and help me understand spanish quicker and 3. to have a spiritual day. so the day started out like normal and we had church and all our meetings and nothing that i had fasted for really had happened. i was content i guess thinking that it was up to me to learn spanish and gain a testimony and that the lord was holding off helping me until i had shown a little bit more work however...we got to watch a dvd of a talk given by elder david a bednar and he talked on exactly how someone should gain a stronger testimony of their savior and gave ways to do it!! i couldnt believe it. that talk is probably one of my most favorite talks i have ever heard. i really love listening to our prophets and apostles speak and i encourage you all to go and watch his talk! it was given dec. 25, 2011 by elder bednar in the provo mtc. such a powerful message and i really learned a lot from it. it also taught me how to be the kind of missionary the lord wants me to be. i felt the spirit so strong and i absoultely think that that talk was especially for me...even though the whole ccm probably thought it was for them too. anyways so numbers 1 answered. we went to dinnner following the dvd and afterwards had our fireside where i played the violin. all our firesides are in spnaish and they give the norte americanos headphones for translation but i felt that i shouldnt use it this time. i understood the whole meeting. i couldnt believe it. and they would ask questions and i would answer in spanish and it would be the right answers. the spirit was so strong in their too!! so number 2 answered! and then looking back on the day what a spiritual day...number 3 answered. the lord truely does answer our prayers and he knows our concerns and desires. i really felt the lords love for me and gained a testimony that the lord will help his missionaries and anyone who has a willing heart and wants to come unto their savior. i love my savior. he lives and wants us to come unto him through faith and repentence. i have been reading jesus the chirst and am half way through it! what a powerful book and i have learned more about my savior than i ever thought i would. i encourage all to read james e. talmages words for they testify of our savior. so that was my all time spiritual moment for the week!

We also had a fireside on tuesday which was excellent as well from the area president. Well we leave here on tuesday morning! holy cow this has gone by so fast! i have really enjoyed being here in the ccm and have made so many great friends and have learned so much. i will be really sad to leave here! i am really excited to get down to arequipa but very nervous as well because of the language. i can understand it most of the time but the peruvians speak very fast and very quiet which is somehting that i will have to get used to. but i trust in the lord and know that through him all things are possible. we actually get to go proselyting again on saturday which will be interesting because it is just elder ellsworth and i and no teacher this time! the two gringos get to go and try to preach the gospel. pray for us!

But today has been an excellent day! we got up and got our laundry done and had breakfeast and we had a little free time before our 10:30 temple session so yes, mom, i did finally get those nice new strings on! it sounds beautiful! i actually was just sitting on my top bunk playing for almost a half an hour today! the whole upstairs was poking their heads in, hahah even the janitors and complementing and all wish i would have done it more often. but i enjoyed it and it brought the spirit which put us all in the right mindset for the temple. we went to the temple and it was a great session. i love the lima temple down here. such great people work in it and it is so beautiful. so blessed to have been able to go and be in the house of the lord every pday. yes had some more crazy bus rides but we got to go shopping and pick up all the last minute things that we need before the field. and we have been taking lots of pics to remember everyone before we all go our seperate ways. its a good thing that almost all are going ot byu after the mission...so it wont be the last time we see each other! oh so i told you that we had an elder here from az who went to red mnt. and yeah we talk smack....but we got the new wave of elders and hermanas and one is from az, queen creek and she knows max nelson! she also knows basically all my friends so we have fun talking it up! and i also got to meet my seminary partner´s grandparents who are down here! haha such a small world!!

Till next week in Arequipa!


Elder Weston Birtcher

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Hello from Peru August 29, 2013

Hey Family!

Sounds like everything back home is going great!! As for your question about dear elder letters....i dont think you could send them now because the mail service down here even with the dear elder program doesnt get here for about 2-3 weeks. i got all the ones from faith, the smiths, you, and kc, and danilynn like 2 weeks late. i got a letter from marlee and that was 3 weeks late so i dont think dear elder would be good because i wont be in the ccm when they would get here! haha anyways...oh there are some things that i left in the closet that i wanted so...idk what you are going to do about that. anyways things are going great down here. i really love being a missionary and a representivte of our savior jesus christ. this last week has been sort of the usual schedule...work, work, work, study, study, and study. but i love it and all of us down here has felt the spirit so strong every day! especially on sunday. i went to bed so spiritually exhausted, i basically fell asleep kneeling down in companionship prayers! we had the opportunity to have elder cook of the quorum of the 12 come here with elder tad callister of the 70 and speak with us. we also had elder wadell of the 70 and elder grow of the 70 so basically a way important meeting and man was the spirit there. it was a question/answer type of a devotional but some of the questions that were asked and the answers that were given hit me so strong and either i learned something new about what i need to do as a missionary or answers to questions that i hadnt know before were answered and the spirit was sure there. we all got to shake his and elder callisters hands along with their wives as well. such an awesome experience. oh funny story about that actually...so on sunday we had icecream cones which is the best down here because we rarely get them and so i had this big icecream cone and i walk outside to go eat it cause the weather is beautiful down here and so im taking a big bite of my icecream cone and i look up and there is elder cook and elder callister along with pres. cardon and they all just gave me a big smile and waved...probably becasuse i had icecream on my face or somehthing....haha so i am probably ´elder icecream´ to elder cook now. oh well! well now here in the ccm we just sent off another batch of missionaires to their fields which makes us the advanced group here in the ccm! so weird! honestly i felt like i just got here. the spanish is coming along great. i am now at the point where i dont think much about what people are saying and just talk with them. all our lessons that we teach have been in spnaish and it is just coming along so great. what a blessing from the lord. on tuesday night we also had a live broadcast from provo in which elder anderson of the 12 spoke and it was so cool because as the camera was going around showing all the missionaires singing...i saw josh free and micheal armstrong! haah i was looking for some of my other buddies but didnt see any! it was way cool to see them and know that they are serving the lord right beside me. elder anderson talked about love and sacrifice which really hit home for me and he taught us how to love the people that we are going to serve. i am so excited and nervous at the same time to be going out into the field in 2 weeks! but i am getting more and more confident each day as we speak to the natives here and you can understand them more and more clearly each time. what is way cool about the spanish is during my prayers at night...the ones i speak in ingles...i find myself switching back into spanish without me even realizing it! its getting hard to pray in english now! but know that i pray for each one of you and hope that everything goes well for you back home! i especially pray for you faith and jacob asking heavenly father to allow you to have the desire right now to gain a strong testimony. so strong that as elder holland said that it is so ingrained in your soul that there is not anything in heaven or earth that can remove what you know to be true. i pray that you will always choose the right and make the right decisions. i pray that you will take seminary serious faith, so that you can gain that testimony early on and be so excited for your mission...if you choose to serve. The hermanas here are really inspiring. such faith and such great attitudes. we actually got a ton of hermanas today actually filling in the spots of those who just left...and 3 are from arizona and one knows my buddy max nelson! small world, ¿verdad? anyways i just hope and pray that you two young ones will do those things and come to know your savior jesus christ by reading the book of mormon. i just finished it all the way through again and i can say without a doubt that that book is the only correct of any book on the face of this earth. i testify along with the words of joesph smith that a man can get closer to god through reading this book than any other book that has ever been written. i testify of the truthfulness of the book of mormon. i cant wait to read it again. i actually started reading jesus the christ and that is a fabulouos book. i look forward to the times when i can just sit down and read the words of james e. talmage about our savior. i know he lives. i know he loves me and all of you. he is holding is arms outsretched to all his children and beckoning them to come unto him and recieve all that the father has to offer us. i love this gospel with everything that my heart possess.

Sorry...little testimony run there. anyways back to this last week. umm...on saturday we were supposed to go proselyting again but because of elder cooks visit it got canceled so they brought in a bunch of real investigators here and members for us to teach for 4 hours. elder ellsworth and i taught some great lessons and sure felt the spirit in what we were saying. it was really good spanish practice for us. oh kacie...i accidently left my scripture case with my picture book in it in a classroom and when i went to go get it a guy was looking at it and i really didnt mind but he pointed at you and said that is hermana birtcher! he served his mission in aregentina in buenos aires i think. im sorry i forgot his name but hey someone knows you down here! oh another funny story. so a new elder came in 2 weeks ago and he also plays the violin. well there are 3 violins here in the ccm and i knew that hermana cardon and him were talking about trying to set up a trio but that was all i heard. so im at lunch and sister cardon pulls me aside and says so i will see you tonight then? i was all confused saying well i dont think i going anywhere outside the walls...if thats what you mean. she laughed and told me that we were practicing our music that night for sundays fireside!! so we are playing this sunday! haha it was a good practice and we are making history in the first ever trio violin preformance in the ccm!! sister cardon and pres. cardon are so awesome! i got to sit with them at lunch and we have such a good time talking to each other. president cardon actually comes up at night and talks with me sometimes about whatever as he is checking the bedroom situations at nights some times. he was a quarterback and loves football so we got to talking and then really couldnt stop. such a great man and his wife is so awesome. we laugh and have a good time!

Well today we woke up and went to the temple and had a great session, really felt the spirit. man, peru is such a celestial place cause i feel the spirit all the time and learn so much! after the temple we got to go walk around the little shops that they have here and got to ride on the buses again which is just a roller coaster ride!! dad dont be worried about the transportation in mexico...you want to be concerned...come here because here is insane!!! last pday we got on a bus and it didnt start so we had to push start it in the middle of the street with all these cars backed up behind us honkning!! haah i bet that was a sight...8 gringo elders pushing a bus down the rode in peru. the people here like to call us the gringos! But pdays here are so fun just getting out and talking with people and just really being immersed in the spanish! But i think that sums it all up for the update from down here! the soccer skills are definatley improving and oh most of the ccm is sick from food poisioning but me and elder ellsworth have been perfectly fine and healthy. i did get my first haircut in peru and it looks like a totally military haircut...no big deal! but nothing to complain of down here!

just know that i love you all so much. like i have said before and will continue to say...this is the only true church upon the earth. Heavenly father is our loving father who is very mindful and aware of each of our needs and desires of our hearts. Jesus christ is the savior of the world who laid down his life for us. i know that. joesph smith did in reality see god the father and his son jesus christ in the grove of trees and through joesph smith brought about the restoration and fulness of this gospel. I love this gospel. i am so excited to share this message with the people of peru.

I love you all very much and hope everything continues to go well at home!

till next week!


Elder Birtcher