Tuesday, January 28, 2014

January 27, 2014


Well what can i tell you about this week. It was busy. Very busy. Everyday was a battle trying to fit in all appointments and trying to work everything out and we were going up and down the whole area everyday. In pocos palabras....very eventful week, lesson wise. But it is still a little slow with the investigators progressing. The problem is...is that we have so many wonderful people who recieve the lessons, accept baptism and do great....but dont come to church, so we have to keep pushing their dates for baptism back. Everyone seems to keep going to the beach. I HATE THE BEACH. it is the devils work! :) haha. so glad we dont have that excuse in arizona. But i ask for your prayers on behalf of our investigators se llaman Sandra, Gloria, Gabriela, Maciel, and Joel. They all can be baptized if they just tell us!!! they have a couple of doubts and fears and we have been praying and praying to know how to help them and we do...they just need to take the initative and enter the waters of baptism. I know the lord will help us as he always does. I am just trying to be patient and not get frustrated. Its a great test of faith. just need to go read ether 12 so more.
But we did have some success here as a zone. We had another noche blanca in which 6 people were baptized. I felt really bumbed that we didnt have one but all in the lords time. I did however get the chance to speak and afterwards play a special musical number with Hermana Skelton again. We are the duo for the rest of the mission :) But we played ¨Savior Redeemer of my Soul¨and the spirit was so strong. I wish i could have that type of spirit constantly in my life, every minute of every day. We finished playing and looked up to find tear stained faces of the congregation. What a powerful tool music is in bringing the spirit. You were right mom and dad. you were always right. and well to all those who have told me that throughout my life. I see now, i didnt before but i am glad i see now. but overall, what a great baptism service. the only problem was the ice cold water. haha they froze. but we had peanut butter cookies afterwards that the zone leaders made up.....and holy cow do i miss peanut butter. i just want a thick pb and j sandwich. oh the things we took for granted in football....eating 4 a day. :)
And really thats about it. Sorry for such a bland letter but it was just work, work, and more work kind of week. and those are always good. But apparently there is a big fuss about chile and peru going to war over possession of land or ocean or what not but yeah.....i doubt it. nothing to worry about. we have god, who else do we need.

but know that i love you all. i really do. you all mean the world to me and i thank you for your love and support. i love reading your letters and hearing all that is happening back there. the mission rocks man. I love it so much. couldnt imagine life without these wonderful saints and peruvians.

have a wonderful week everyone,


Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014

Family and Friends:

A big peruvian shout out to all of you wonderful people up there, down there, over there and wherever you are in the world! It is amazing to think that i have so many wonderful friends and family serving the lord in all different parts of the world. What a great time to be serving!
Well thank you all for your letters and your words of support and love, its always a great feeling to know that i have such amazing friends and family supporting me. Love reading the letters each pday. Send more!!! :)
Well as for this last week. To be honest it has been a rough one. Seems to be harder and harder to find more people to teach and when we do, their next meetings just fall through or they dont want to hear from us anymore. Seems like everyday one of our investigators is calling us to tell us that they cant meet with us and its just getting a little frustrating. But Elder Leon and i are continuing to work diligently and relying on the spirit to guide us to those who are truely prepared and ready to recieve the gospel in their lives. The way i see it, we arent having success with our investigators now because there are others who are more prepared to recieve us, and if we are working and not progressing with the others...we will never find the chosen. So i am excited for this next week to watch the hand of god work miracles in our lives, in this area, and to have the spirit guide us to where we need to be. I know that the lord will put his children in our paths, because i have seen it happen time and time again. But even though this week has been a tough one, looking back on it...i have learned a lot. Thanks to the spirit, thanks to my companion and thanks to a lot of other people and situations, i have grown so much spiritually, mentally, and you could say physically with all the extra walking that we have done ;) But we are in good spirits. Elder Leòn and i are getting along just fine. we love this area, these people, and this work. There is nothing better than teaching about our savior to everyone every day, and all day. what a honor we have as members to be apart of the church of the living god. To help him hasten his work and to bring more souls unto repentance, baptism and to salvation. We are truely bringing the blessings of the eternities to the children of our heavenly father. Serve in anyway that you can. It may be small, but it is service and what does mosiah 2:17 say...we all know it. when you are in the service of your fellow being you are ONLY in the service of your god. Open your mouths at all times, and in all places that you might stand as a witness of jesus christ daily. It is one of our covenants with him. We need to honor that and remember that as often as we can. If we truley want to show our love for our God, serve him. Bring more of your brothers and sisters unto him. He is standing with outstretched arms waiting to recieve us, waiting to bless us, waiting to give us all that he has. but we must first do our part. The plan is simple but not easy to follow. it may be tough. it may be hard. but remember that salvation was never easy. Why should it be easy for us when it was never easy for our savior. This is the work of the almighty god, he will help us. He knows us personally and knows the desires of our hearts perfectly. I testify that Jesus is the Christ. He lives. I know he lives. I have seen his hands work mircales on a daily basis amongst this people, these wonderful brothers and sisters that we have down here. I wish you could all see them and just talk with them because they truley are sons and daughters of our heavenly father. they are precious souls and i love them so much. I want nothing but the best for them, and the best is through the gospel of jesus christ. There is no other way, there is no other name under heaven in which man can be saved, only through the lord Jesus christ. May we all be excited to share our experiences, our testimonies, and our talents with others. For the worth of every soul is great in the eyes of god. Justin, i loved your quote in the christmas card that you sent me and i have read it over and over again. ¨Let us be wise men and give of our time, means, and energies to seek out and serve the King of Kings.¨
Open your mouths, preach by the way, invite and love. do all that you can to help the work of the almighty god. I love this work. I know i say that in every letter, all the time and maybe it gets a little redundant. but its true. This is the place i need to be. I was called here for a reason and i couldnt imagine my life without these people in it. I love you all so much. YOu are the world to me. Words cannot even begin to descirbe the love that i have for you all. May the Lord bless you all and may be all do our part to hasten the work of salvation among the children of men. For this is the true church of Jesus Christ on the Earth. I know these things to be true. And i testify of it with all my heart and soul. Jesus is my Savior, he is my advocate with the father, my redeemer and my best friend. Strengthen your testimonies, share them and watch the lord work miracles through you,
In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Have a wonderful week. Know that I am praying for you all and that you have my love and support.

Till next week,
Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

My dearest Family and Friends:

You all sound so great and happy. I loved hearing from you all in your letters and thank you so much for all your love and support. I truley have the best family in the world and the best friends.
Well, wow what a week we had. We were so busy with lessons with our investigators and meetings with President and the zone and with Elder C. Scott Grow of the 70 who came to the mission to teach and train. But let me start out first from last monday.
Last Pday we as a zone headed up 2 hours from tacna to a place called tarata. It was so beautiful!!! Peru truely is amazing and so pretty. What was so cool is it was full of all ancient incan ruins and buildings from back then. As you looked over the landscape and the country side, it was so neat to think about all those book of mormon stories and to wonder where they took place. I honestly believe that many of them took place here in peru. yes i know mexico has a ton of ruins too but there are so many here tooo. As we talked to some of the poeple that lived there...they told us that there families ahve lived there for generations. these people are flippin Lamanites baby!!! just modernized with different clothes and different tools to do their farm work. Words really cant describe the views...just amazing. so gorgeous. i will defintaley send pics.
But this last week was such a spiritual one too and i have grown and learned so much. We had meetings as a stake for the ward counsels (i think thats right in english...its consejos de Barrios in spanish) and how to hasten the work here. the lord truley is hastening the work and is asking for all the members to come together with the missonaries and work together. This work is for all of us! We had a training meeting this last Friday with Elder C. Scott Grow of the 70 and he is in the Area Presidency for all of South America. He taught us such great things about the work of salvation and how we can better our work and our responisblilties. And yes, President Zobrist asked the trio, Elder Ellsworth, Hermana Skelton, and I to play again for him and his wife. So add him to the list of general authorities. i really cant even tell you how much of an honor it is to play. i love it so much!
yesterday we had our stake conference and holy cow was the spirit so strong! Truely this week was such a feast from the spirit and holy cow do i need ot improve on so many things. But that is why i am greatful that i have so much more time here in the misison, to improve daily and to become the man that my heavenly father wants me to be. There have been a lot of talks here on fulfilling the measure of your creation. And i need to improve on this. So pray for me to be the kind of misisonary and representative of christ that our heavenly father wants me to be.
Other news.....Oh! I didnt get Changed!!!!!! Elder Leon and i have another 6 weeks together! we are so stoked and happy that we get to serve some more together. He is such an amazing missionary and we are just learning so much from each other every day and improving our lessons and teachings. and the lord is blessing us so much. We have found so many more investigators to teach and the ones that we have are progress so well. We have actually had some of the strongest ones disappear on us for 2 weeks but we found them again this last week and they just want ot be baptized and do the things that the lord wants them to do.
I love this work and i love my savior. I love teaching about the restored gospel of jesus christ daily and serving my fellow brothers and sisters here. i love them. gosh i do. Peruvians are awesome.

I love you all so much. wish i could write more. Be safe and have a wonderful week.

Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

December 30th 2013 pictures

The Peru Weekly 1-6-2014

My Family and Friends:


Thank you for all the letters and support. Well i really dont have much time. Every last pday that the zone has in the change we do something crazy fun and today we are going up to tarata, about 2 hours away from tacna, and hiking to a bunch of waterfalls! we are stoked! i will hvae to send some pictures for sure.

Well for this last week...really not much to tell. New Years Eve was so fun! we got permission from president to have a missionary party in the church where we played a bunch of board games (risk and clue) till midnight and then got to view the fireworks! agian it is so insane at how many fireworks they shoot off here! i did make chocolate chip cookies for my family (the pention) and they loved them. first time trying chocolate chip cookies here in peru! turn out great! But this week has been pretty tough one. 1...because everyone was drunk. 2....there was no body in the streets and no one in there houses because everyone goes to the beach. so we basically just walked around trying to find people to teach. luckily we didnt find any of our investigators drunk...that would have been sad. but i find it interesting. i think drunks have the gift of tongues because all of them spoke ten times better in english when they tried speaking to me! hahaha

we did however have fun on new years eve.... we in our room had about 3 boxes of the word of wisdom phamplets that we never use, so i had the bright idea to pass out as many as we could in the streets for everyone to read! we passed out 518 phamplets!!!! hopefully when they are sober they will read those phamplets or hopefully they read those before drinking! for valentines day we will pass out the 3 boxes of chasity phamplets we have. :)

But we did have a baptism for the ward that we helped out with. the kid is insane though. he tried dunking himself in the water, trying to baptize himself. lets just say it was an interesting baptismal service.

But things are going great here in the good ole tacna. i love it so much! my companion and i are getting along so well and gosh i dont want to get changed from this area. there is rumors that birtcher is leaving tanca to go and train somewhere else. i wouldnt mind doing that. but i just dont want to leave yet. i love the people, my companion, and my family that i have here. but i will go and do what the lord wants me to do. we will find out sunday about changes. but pray that i can get one more change here! hahaha.

love you all so much,

Elder Birtcher


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

December 30, 2013

Hey Everyone!

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas in which you could enjoy the company of family and friends and the spirit of Christmas! From the pictures that i saw i could see that you guys had a wonderful time! This Christmas was so specail for me and it was amazing to get to hear your voices again and get to talk with you all. It just went by too fast! holy cow! i couldnt believe how fast the time flew. But let me tell you about my christmas this past week and all the miracles that we saw.
Well let me start from the 24th....we had a fun night. Here all the peruvians eat dinner right at midnight or just a little bit before and when it is midnight the sky literally errupts with fireworks. Everyone shoots them off and there are no rules here. It was insane! It was the coolest thing i have seen fireworks wise. Elder Leon and i put our matresses out up on the roof and slept out there and watched all the fireworks and ate cookies at like 2AM because there was no way we could go to sleep. it was so loud! Anyways, christmas morning we woke up a little bit earlier to go and climb the mountain right behind our area (its in our area but the final parts) that overlooks the whole city of tacna. It was such a great view and half of the city was covered in the smoke and haze that was left over from the fireworks. But we had fun and took some pictures. We then headed down to the church where our zone got together and we cooked breakfeast and made pancakes and eggs and sausage and then had a white elephant gift exchange. It was a good taste of back home and we all had a great time. We also set up for the our noche blanco for that night. This past month we as a zone wanted ot have a ¨white Christmas¨and have a combined baptismal service for all our investigators who are ready to be baptized. We have been helping and challenging people all month for the 25th. well let me give you all some background info first.

We have been teaching a family and have been working with a mom (sonia) and two kids (sandra, and bryan) for over about 2 months. We challenged them to the 25th and they all accepted. well has the weeks approached....sandra and sonia didnt want to be baptized but bryan did. but bryan needs permission from his parents to be baptized (he is only 15). well we have been asking for his parents to sign for weeks but they always come up with some little excuses. anyways we stopped by his house christmas eve and his mom said that she would not sign and that her husband would be the only one to do that. so the plan was....bryan was going to talk to his dad before the festivites started and then call us to tell us that he had the papers sign. well we didnt get a call. after our zone party christmas morning, elder leon and i headed to his house to see what had happened. he answered the door and just put his head down and said that his dad said no and that he would not sign the papers. He also told us that his dad wasnt home and that he wouldnt be coming home until 10 that night and that it was impossible for his mom to sign. We were sooooooooooooooooooooooooo bumbed. I asked if we could talk to his mom and he told us no, that she didnt want ot speak with us at all. Well early in the morning i had had an impressiion to bring our telephone (its huge) and put it in my backpack...i didnt know why but i did. and i am grateful i listened. i asked bryan if we could say a prayer and he offered the most sincere prayer asking and pleading for heavenly father to allow him to be baptized that night. we really didnt know what to do but i had the impression to pull out the phone and have bryan call his dad. he did. his dad answered and said absoulety not, you are chatholic and you are already baptized and hung up the phone on bryan. discouraged, i told bryan to call again. this time his dad asked to speak with his wife, in which he told her that she was not to let bryan be baptized and to not sign the papers. when bryan told us this, i was crushed. i have never prayed so hard and pleading with heavenly father to allow a way to appear for one of his children to be baptized, who sincerely had the desires to be baptized. we sat outside the house for another 10 mins or so, praying, thinking and not speaking ot one another. then this impression hit me saying ¨weston, you call him.¨ i picked up the phone and called. he answered and i got to speak with him. i explained the situation, that bryan wanted to follow in the footsteps of our savior jesus christ and that it was necessary to have permission from the parents. after i had talked with him for a good 5 mins about everything i asked if we could baptize bryan....This is my miracle....he was a completely different person. ¨Yeah absoultely elder, just talk to my wife and have her sign. if she signs, we are one in our decisions and you have my consent.¨i was literally shaking, about to cry because of what he had said. after speaking with him, i told bryan what had happened and to go and speak to his mom to get here ot sign. he entered the house and after a while came out, head down, and said that his mom would not sign. i asked bryan to get his mom outside so that we could talk. after hearing a bunch of yelling in the house, a very angry mother appeared in the doorway and started chewing us out. saying that we were forcing her son into baptism and that he doesnt want it and a whole bunch of ohter things. we explained that we were not there to fight, but to talk about the situtaion with her. as we explained...she gave us an exuse, we answered back with a gospel topic. she gave us another....defeat by another gospel subject. she said that her son didnt have clothes, i told her i would give him mine.....and a ton of other exuses. I have never seen satan trying so hard to prevent that woman from giving permission. her final exuses was that she loved her kids and that if bryan was baptized...the church would take her children away and send them to other countries to preach the gospel (just like us) and that she couldnt handle that and she doesnt want ot be far away from her kids. The spirit overcame me and my mind was full. i dont remember the exact words i said but i told her that i was glad she felt that way about her children. that i was grateful for the love she has for them and wants them to always be close to home and come home. i then explain that that is exactly how our heavenly father feels. he wants us to come home. he doesnt like being very far away from his children. but in order to return home, we have to complete and do his will and follow is doctrine. i told her that our loving father in heavenly and our heavnley mother want us to come hoome because we are far away, he wants bryan to come home...let him complete that which is necessary to go home. after i had finsihed....she asked bryan for the papers and signed them and put them in my hands....a different person. ¨what do we need to do elder? where do we need to be? what time?¨ i just about lost it and almost cried. I saw two miracles in the space of almost an hour. Heavenly father softened the hearts of two parents in the matter of minutes and they allowed there son to be baptized. I had the priveledge to baptize bryan that night. the baptism service was so amazing, powerful and so spirtiual. i got to play a special muscial number with a sister and we had such a great turn out.
That was my christmas. And yes, i had my christmas miracle. I will never forget those feelings and the experiecnes that i had. Bryans baptism was the best gift i could have ever recieved for christmas.

Miracle 2
Well really quick....we found a wonderful lady who had been recieving the lessons from other missionaries in a different area, had been attending church for weeks and now wanted to be baptized. elder leon had a distinct impression to knock on her door and upon doing so we found her. the problem was that she will be traveling to chile to live but wanted to get baptize here before the new year and before going to chile becausse she was afraid to not find the church in chile. she had been struggling with the decision of being baptized for weeks but told us that she had never felt more sure in her life. we asked if she would be willing to be bapitzed the next day (saturday) and she said i will be baptized right now if it is possible. so we set up an interview, got everything ready and she asked if i would baptize her. It was a very sweet baptismal service. she was our golden girl and i will never forget her. oh her name by the way is raquel.

but I just want to tell you that god lives and knows us. Miracles happen. I know they do becuasse i see them so much. I love being a missionary. words cannot describe the joy i feel. I wish you all a very Happy New Year and i hope you all will pray for miracles to happen in your own lives, and to help others come unto our savior. I love this work. This is the true church of Jesus Christ on the earth today. i have no doubt in my mind.

I love you all and pray for you daily.
May you feel of the love that our savior has for each and everyone of you and may we all serve him and stand as witnesses and examples for him always, is my prayer.
till next week

Elder Weston Birtcher