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