How is everyone doing? the ccm here is amazing!! i am having so much Fun!!! But i miss you guys too! So much has happened this last week so i hope i get everything i want to say in this email! well today is my p-day and so will every thursday be here in the ccm and the rules are pretty open here in the ccm! i can actually write my friends directly in an email if they email me! so get the word out to write elder birtcher because mail is gold here!!!! well where to start....
Well as you know we arrived saftely here in lima last thursday and got settled in and had an orientation of the ccm. We got tags and rooms and our scheuldes. it is amazing that our lives for the next 6 weeks are planned out to every hour and min.! But we are having a great time! Everyday we have language and gospel classes and the spanish is actually coming along really well! we can pray and testify in spanish and conversations with the latinos is coming along really well! it is actually pretty amazing to know that as lost as i feel here sometimes...i have never felt more at home and comfortable with everything. i go to bed so happy every day! My teachers here are amazing. Hermano porras and hermano huiatta- absoultely by far the best teachers i have ever had! they speak very little english, along with every other teacher in this place so it kinda forces us to learn a lot faster! We get a lot of personal study time which is the best time in the world! i cant believe how fast an hour goes by in personal study! i love it so much! Elder ellsworth and i study outside a lot and it is so beautiful to look out on the mountains and all the ghetto buildings around here with the peruvian flags on top and not think you are in heaven!! Elder ellsworth and i are getting along so well too. we both want to be the hardest working elders in the ccm and are studying like crazy! we have awesome roommates and have meet some great hermanas and elders here. it truely is an honor to be serving the lord with these righteous 18 and 19 year olds!! well on friday we had classes and played a little futbol with the peruvians- yeah they were really good! haha but hey i scored a goal! not bad for a gringo! hahaha we studied how to teach investigators and how to do most of it in spanish! on saturday we had a lot of personal study time and got to play some ultimate frisbee- yeah the most american sport in the world, right here in peru baby!- and the latinos were trying to learn how to throw the frisbee! hahah it was a great time! I got to be interviewed by President cardon and talk with him a little bit! such an inspired man for the job! i also got to meet sister cardon and get to know her a little bit better! she plays the violin and we are scheduled to play a duet together in 2 weeks! i havent been able to play my violin at all since ive been here because we have been so busy but im excited to play with her! we had a devotional that night in which we got to meet the branch president and his counselor of this area and he spoke with us for a while. Really amazing! the spirit was so strong! on sunday- the most spiritual day ever- we got up and got ready and had personal study right off the bat. and then had sacrament meeting/fast and testimony meeting and i was able to get up and share my testimony with everyone. it was a really cool meeting because partially everything is in spanish and i love the spirit that resides here! We had priesthood and a temple prep class afterwards. the lima temple is actually closed for this week but we will be able to go through next week!! i am so excited!! it is such a beautiful temple! anyways we had lunch and following lunch we were able to watch joesph smith the prophet of the restoration. i have never felt the spirit so strong- everything in that video that was of importance the spirit bore witness to me that it did happen and all of it was true! i love the prophet joesph smith and know that he brought about the restored gospel of jesus christ! i know it with all my heart! after watching that video we were able to watch a mtc devotional held in provo a couple months back where elder m. russel ballard spoke to the missionaries! he is an amazing servant of the lord! i wish i could of been with him in provo when he was giving that talk because the spirit was sure felt thousands of miles away in peru! We went and ate dinner afterwards and then went to another devotional that night. great talks were giving by presidente cardon and the branch presidency and then some elders got up and sang "consider the lillies of the field"- i cried so hard because the spirit was so strong! i kept thinking about how well and how beautiful that was at my farewell faith and jake! i wish you could be here right now and play that for me because i loved it so much! on monday we got to read the book of mormon together as a district in spanish and talk about it and elder ellsworth and i were given our first investigator! the first lesson went over alright....rough edges and in very strong spanglish. but our second lesson yesterday we did it all in espanol!!! and he is progessing just fine! hahaha we actually are getting paired up with a latino elder and get to go tracking in the poor parts of town on saturday!! a little nervous but excited! all i want to do is share what i know with this people. I just dont know the language yet! i sort of wish i was going to an english speaking mission so that i could get out of this ccm and just share the precious truths of this gospel with everyone!! all in good time elder birtcher. oh the food here is actually pretty good. rice with every meal and everything is peruvianized. it is actually pretty good but everything they say is american is not. hahahaha but i have enjoyed it! a lot of elders have actually gotten sick here but i have been healthy and in good spirits! i love being the lords missionary! and the weather here has been crazy! i think this week a total number of times we have seen the sun has been maybe 4- for about 10 mins a piece! expect for yesterday which was awesome to finally see the sun! it is really overcast and it is like someone always has a mister on! and it is winter here which make it even colder! hahah i have had to bust out the sweaters and jackets! hahah better than that arizona weather i guess! But today has been the best day ever so far! we were allowed to go shopping and get out of the ccm for a couple of hours! we had about 20 missionaries in our group and we flagged down a little tiny bus which was already full of people and we crammed 20 missionaries into it! haahh we were dropped off right in front of hte temple and were able to hit some of the stores up! yes i did buy a sweet peruvian soccer jersey and a sweet llama tie- a total of maybe 10 bucks! haha yeah everything here is so cheap and the driving here is so crazy! there are like no rules! we bought a empanada with chicken in it and it was probably the best thing i have ever tasted here so far! so good! i had a little peruvian kid shine my shoes too! haah i love this place! getting to go out of the ccm is like going right into the field! i am so glad i am here instead of provo! no offense to those who have attended or are attending provo as we speak! We are only allowed to take pictures on p day here so we have been taking a lot of them today which has been way fun! I wish you guys could be here! it is so beautiful and amazing! we are surrounded here in the ccm by the andes mountains and it is gorgeous! Yesterday we got to meet an area 70 member and he spoke to all of us about remembering the things that we always need to remember. 1. remember whose work this is. 2. remember our covenants to god and fulfill them. 3. remember our purpose. 4. remember that we need the spirit always!! and 5. remember the saviors atonement! his talk was so powerful!! the spirit was so strong. i know that i am supposed to be here in peru! as i read the scriputres everyday it seems to me that every scripture stands out and says "elder birtcher i have called you to this choice land with a choice people! go forth and serve! it is amazing!
know that i love you all very much! know that i know this gospel is true without a shadow of a doubt! i know that joesph smith restored the fulness of the gospel of jesus christ here upon the earth! i know that our heavenly father loves each and everyone of his children. i know that the gift of tounges is real...for i have already seen its impact in my life here in just the first week of the mission. i know that my savior lives and that jesus is the Christ. the very son of god who loves us and wants us to return to him. i have never been more tired but never have been more happy! and i know that the blessings will continue to come! i love you all so much- i miss you! but i am the lords servant and have been called to do his work! shall i not go on in so great a cause!
Love and miss you all!
Love your hard working, gringo,peruvian missionary