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 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