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 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, 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 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