Wednesday, April 30, 2014

APRIL 28,,2014

Querido Familia y Amigos:

I am sort of gald this last week was over....dont get me wrong it was a great productive week. but it was crazy.

last monday my companion had his operation on his ingrown toenails and took out part of the bone in both feet. That was a fun experience for him...haha not. he was in a lot of pain and hurting, but pills later along with a blessing...he was doing much better. i was in the hospital waiting for 5 hours!!! not because the operation was so long, but because the doctor was 3 hours late!! there is something here called hora peruano (peruvian time) which means...NOTHING ON THE FACE OF THIS EARTH WILL START ON TIME. i have been battling hora peruano for the whole mission with no success or improvement. ugh...but what happened is in the past. but yeah that night was a late one. we got back to the house around 11-11:30ish PM and i was helping him out and didnt get to bed till way late.

this whole week he has been resting. he cant walk...which means it was my job to find companions to accompany me all this week. and what a battle that was. all the adults were working, and all the kids were studying and in school or working as well. i did find some to accompany me almost everyday....but it was rough. so the area was mine for the week and will be for this next week as well. we have to go back to the doctors today to take out his stiches and will see what he says about what he can do. we are guessing that he wont be able to walk for another good 4 days just to be safe of infection (cause its dirty here) and they might not even take the stiches out....cause his feet are still bleeding a bit through the stiches. so we shall see. but....we still managed to get our numbers and improve in areas that we were lacking in (such a blessing from the lord!) but it can be rough sometimes. it is amazing at how much we need our companions!!! that i have realized.

but i have learned a lot this week. patience and dedication to the work. patience in the fact that during the mornings i was stuck in the house with the comp and friday i couldnt find anyone to come with me...and it really makes me feel bad when i dont serve the lord. espeically when i am perfectly capaable of doing so. can be frustrating but i have had and have been praying for more opportunities to serve my companion and it has really built my love and respect for him and the wrork. always serve. we must alwasys do that to find pure joy. and feel the love of christ. and dedication. many missionaries would give the excuse to not work in the area because their comp is mal and not doing so well. but dedicaiton to always try and work for the lord. that kind of mentality will bring forth the blessings of heaven as we saw this last week.


BECAUSE EDWIN WAS BAPTIZED!!! Edwin was struggling there for a bit but entered into the waters last saturday! it was a beautiful baptismal service. he born powerful but simple testimony. he kept hugging me and telling me how grateful he was for me and my patience with him and always trying to help him. that just puts the warmest feelings inside of you. i love that kid. he will be a powerful example to the younger jovenes in the ward and will be a great leader someday. he was even asking me about how to serve a misison the other day. :)

but....that is the life. we are working hard and will continue to do so. may we all give all that we have and serve the lord. do the basics...always. go to the temple and escape the evils of the world. we all need that. go as often as you can. i cant wait till arequipa has her temple!!!! it will be an amazing time for the wonderful people of this city.

know that i love you all very much. words really cant even begin to describe how much i love you all. thank you for your support. i can feel it and it is a blessing to me in my life. i wouldnt trade you all for anything in the world. and i am so grateful that we can live in the prescence of our heavenly father for the eternities if we so choose to do has he commands us.

strenghten your testimonies. love more. serve more. give of your time. and find those precious spirits who are not apart of the church...not becuase they rejected before....but becuase they know not where to look for their salvation.

have a wonderful, safe week.

till we talk again next week.



Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April 21, 2014

To All:

Well....that was fast...seems like yesterday i just wrote you guys. It has been a busy week but it has been a great week.
Lets see...where to start. We had a lot of meetings actually this last week, with the zone and with the district and with president and with interviews and my comp and i were running down to the hospital almost everyday. The problem was is that he was supposed to have his operation last monday, but the insurance in lima had a bunch of problems so they said tuesday evening. so we went down tuesday....but the papers still hadnt come wednesday, but the lady recieved the papers, but because she was working that day couldnt process them to have the operation done. soo....we had to wait. but here in peru they have semana santa (holy week) in memory of christ and easter and nobody works thursday through his appointment got moved to wednesday of this week but with some luck we had it moved to today at 6:30 and yes all the papers are in and insurance is good with everything so bueno. we actually just returned from there, and got some last mintue things done and confirmations done for the appointment. ugh....what a mess! but my comp is happy to be getting some relief. he has been hurting. he cant really walk all that well so this last week i was doing splits with the priests in the ward a bunch and will be doing that all this week as well. it was a great experience and will continue to be great for them and for me. i really enjoy working with them and helping them prepare for their missions. our ward here is full of missionaries!!! we should have 12 by the end of this year...i think 9 are out right now and we just sent another one today. he is going to brazil. is good. i have been pretty tired this last week but the work rolls forward and i have found in almost every circumstance to share the gospel. on buses, in taxis, in the streets...its been great. i really brings me so much joy and i just dont want to do anything else.
i have had some great spiritual experiences with the investigators as well. All are doing great and are progressing just fine. we had 7 of them in the sacrament meeting yesterday and 2 of my converts recieved the aaronic priesthood. there is nothing more greater than watching that. :) we should be having a baptism this saturday. his name is edwin....this last week we had a hard time finding him. he was busy with schooling and work. but on saturday we finally got a meeting with him and his girlfriend who is in the ward. i was with a priest and we got to talking about if he had recieved his answer that all this was true. he told me first my mind was kinda blank but it really opened up and the spirit took over the lesson. it is incredible to watch the scriptures being fulfilled through you as they your mouth and it will be filled. edwin, who is a shyer kind of guy was hugging me afterwards and didnt let go. he told me he had recieved his answer listenig to me. he told me how excited he was to be baptized this saturday and asked if i would baptize him. he gave one of the most powerful prayers i have heard and his doing great! love the guy and am so excited for him.
we have also been working with other couples....trying to get them married so they can be baptized! seems like that is the problem in all circumstances here. but each one lacks the funds to get married so this saturday we will be doing an activity for them with the ward to help raise the proper funds for them to get married. they are excited and should be baptized within the next 3 weeks.
and the others....doing great. no complaints with them :)
I am in good health, i am happy, and i just want to keep working. I love my savior and his work that we are all involved in. more than anything else in the world.
i hope you all have a wonderful, safe week....that you can all get what you need to done. remember the lord in all things, put him first and he will bless you always. for we are his.

i love you so much. thank you for being who you are.

con mucho amor,


Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission

April 14, 2014

Hey guys,

First off, thank you mom for the pictures. They brought such a feeling of peace and of joy and of pride and most importantly, of the spirit. I loved looking at you big jake in those fotos. i am so proud of you and that you have this great and wonderful opportunity to act as the savior did and to be an example to those around you. your testimony is growning and is strengthening mine. thank you. i cant think of anything more important than being spiritually strong and being able to endure to the end. actually this last week we did a lot of teaching from the words of the prophets from conference. one talk in particualar that i have reflected on again and again as well as my comp...was of the example of the 3 mins that the athlete will compete. how many hours, days, and years do they prepare for those 3 short mins. i love how he applied that into our day....that this life really is just that short in the scheme of comparision to the time of the eternities. i lvoe this analogy not just because im a sports fanatic...but really think about it......why do we practice football for hours? why did we have to do all that work before the season....many times we questioned why....maybe we thought we were right, but the coaches were telling us otherwise, to do it again, to be faster, to read the play quicker. to learn where to be if the guy in front of you reacts in this or that way. we be in the right place, at the right time, and to do the right thing when the play or person was attacking you. it is the same for us spritually. we read the scriputres, we go to church, we pray, we go to the temple. some may question why? its always the same. they may think they are right...but the prophets are saying....hasten the work of the need to work harder, you need to read with more intent and study more, you must partake of the sacrament every week to renew your convenants...we prepare so that when we are faced with temptation and the play of life is unfolding right before our eyes, we know where to be, we know what to do, and we know how to react. may we all prepare and do as the savior said and did. follow the promptings of the spirit, let him guide you as the example of the horses from elder L. tom perry said. have faith in the master. always. for this life is the time to prepare to meet god....and it is a short one. prepare yourselfs in all aspects for the second coming.
Anyways, as for my week. what a busy one. we were really busy with trying to find some more people to teach and to invite to church. we were also focused on the baptism that we had saturday evening. What a great experience as well. his name is freddy and he is a great guy with such a desire to come unto christ. i wish you could all just talk with him for a couple of mins. you, like i was and am, would be strengthened and edified in your testimonies. it was a very spiritual experience and i felt so much love and joy. the scritpures are so true when they say that how great shall be your joy for the one soul that repenteth.
we have planned this saturday another baptism for a 17 yr. old named edwin. he is struggling a bit with descisions and i ask that you all keep him in your prayers. he needs our help and the help of our heavenly father.
other good news...we have been working with this family. familia turpo....who was doing so great and going so strong...but then took a hard turn and really fell spritiually. their kids were the ones baptized last sunday but the parents no, because they lack the marriage. at first it was great. in antoher moment they wanted to separate. but we have been working with them for weeks now and seeing their children be baptized increased their desire and they are working to be married in 2 weeks. their baptism is the following day!! what a blessing of the lord!!!
we also had a record number in the sacrament meeting. our goal for the year is 200 people and we have been increasing steadily every week to about 170´s. but after working a ton with the members and consejo de barrio (ward counsel) we had 194!!! we were so excited as we were pulling out extra chairs and then had to leave to go and get more from the downstairs!!! all in all we are happy and so excited to work this week!
the only bad news i can think of is my comp....he has two ingrown toenails that are killing him. we went to the doctor and they are going to operate on him....but they are going to not only cut open his toe to remove it...they are going into the bone to remove the part where it inicially grows. that should be happening tomorrow. he is pretty nervous about it. and that will take him out of walking comission for a couple of illl be with a temporal for a bit. but all will be well.
other than i am healthy, happy, and loving the work here in peru...there isnt much to say.
i love you all so much. i am so grateful to have you all in my life and to be so very blessed with such great friends, and to be in this wonderful gospel. i couldnt imagine anywhere else that i could be right now. i never want to leave peru!! :)
cuidase mucho. les amo con todo mi corazón...para siempre.

con mucho amor,

Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission

Monday, April 7, 2014

April 7, 2014

My Dearest Family and Friends:

I just cant get this smile off my face....not like im trying to either :) But i am so happy. This last week has been one of the most spiritual that i have ever had here in the mission. we had a bunch of meetings and trainings with the zone leaders and other planning meetings as usual. Things got a little shaky down here with all the earthquakes in chile and peru. but we are all safe and sound. no worries there. it is amazing how i was never ever worried about the wheather in arizona...cause we dont have anything that happens there...just the heat. but its crazy when the ground just starts to shake and you hear that deep earth moan (thats the best i can describe it to you) i said...all is well and the lord is protecting us. just pray for those who have been hurt or have had there houses destroyed from the quakes. thanks. and we had conference. THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY WEEK!!!! no joke...i was anxious and a little gitty all week in watiting to hear the prophets voice. words can not describe well enough the feelings that i have for the apostles and prophets. i love them so much. i sustain them in their callings and will hearken unto their voice and counsel...why? becuase it is directly from our father in heaven!!! he is literally guiding us with his hand. and i testify that he loves us. this past week i have been so spiritually feed in my studies, in the lessons and in the conferences. listening to the conference...i could feel of your love and support and it made me feel that much closer to home. it is an amazing feeling...what this gospel can bring to us. the joy, the happiness, the peace and the confidence to continue on with life and do those things which we must to obtain eternal salvation. i love my savior. i know he lives. if there is one thing that i have is that. that he lives. that he sits on the right hand of the father and leads and guides this church! i was deeply impressed by elder L. tom perrys talk about the spirtiual bridle that we have....not just because i am a cowboy at heart and love horses....but how simply he put that lesson and what a spirit i felt from it. let us all let the master guide us. let us be willing to sumbit to his will and have total confidence in him. for he will always direct us for our good...and that directly back into his loving arms. how blessed we truely are to have the gospel in our lives.
yesterday, as we all know was the 6th of april. the day our savior was born. and the day the church of jesus christ of latter day saints was restored. we here, honored it by watching conference....and by haveing the most spiritual baptismal service i have ever participated in. we got to baptize 3 kids whose testimonies just touched your hearts. 2 kids...there parents who arent members...yet....were crying and hugging and the peace that we all felt and the joy that we all recieved...was indescribable. i love the misison. i love how we have the chance to change lives and bring such gald tidings into the lives of our heavenly fathers children.
like i said...i just cant stop smiliing.
And as a request from mom....let me tell you about my day to day life. :)
really it is a normal routine. we get out to get huge....yes the toro shorts are worn with great pride here.....( i think that is my only pride issue here :) ) we have study session in the morning. one hour personal (wish it were more), an hour for comp study...and an hour for language study. we then go and work for the morning and come in about 1ish to eat lunch and then go back to work till about 9 when we come in to plan and eat dinner. its a pretty simple schedule but with lots and lots of appointments.
as for me and the comp....yesterday was changes...and he nor i are going! my companion, elder loor is from ecuador (from quito actually david...) and we get along so great. he as a great personality and he works hard. we are always trying to improve and we work really well together. gosh having a great comp makes all the difference!! he has been here in the area for his whole mission!!! he will complete 8 months this next change!! he might as well look for a house, a wife, and a calling in this ward!! haha but we love it.
we love are pentionista who cooks for us and is mama jenny. if you want mom i can get her to send you a message on facebook and you two can talk all the time if you want...through google translater of course....but she is amazing....she cooks great but i am getting so sick of rice, chicken, and potates every meal for lunch and dinner. it is so annoying sometimes....but dont worry....i am cooking tacos and making hamburgers to help me and the comp out. :) we love staying with them and the family. mama jenny cooks and washes our laundry for us which is great...but hey that is the system here in peru! que bendicion!
our area is safe and we do find drunks on about every they just drink all the time...doesnt matter what time of day. we find them drinking at 6-7 in the morning when we run in the mornings!!!! and they are always passed out in the streets! but we havent had any problems with them.
As for the actually rained this past week and snow was covering the 3 volcanos that surround us here in arequipa. so beautiful!!!! loved it. as you probably know....we have been felling the earthquakes and stuff but thats not a big problem...but the volcano right behind the 3 here in arequipa is almost full with lava...and they say it is going to blow soon....but we dont know. for a couple of days though...we thought it was the end of the world. cause chile kept getting hammered, all of the coast here is preparing for tsunamis and the volcanos are getting prepared to blow.......but we are in the last days! just follow the words that we have heard this last weekend! and we will be fine....
well i hope i have given you some more insight on the mish. the investigators are doing great. need to find some pray for us on that. but we are planning for 2 baptisms this saturday! hope all goes well. continue to pray for me and the work. i thank you for all your love and support. i am so blessed.

Till next week from peru,

Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission


March 31, 2014

Well dont have much time today...
but this week has been a busy one for sure. we did have a baptism this last saturday and it went very well...very special for all of us. she is a wonderful person and will make a great member!! but this last week...i dont know....i have been filled with the desire to just study the scriputres and to strenghten my testimony, more than i have ever felt before in my life. i just want to read the scriputres and study the words of the prophets. i recently finished the ensign talks from october conference and i loved reading it!! every time was a privilegio a was so special. they truely are prophets and apostles of the lord jesus christ! i know it!!!!! and i love them. i cant wait to here from them this sat. and sun.
But this last week has cuased me to really reflect of counting the blessings that i have in my life. the scriputres say that we must give thanks for all the things that god gives to us. when we give thanks we are humble. when we are humble....we recieve the blessings of heaven and we are more receptive to the spirit. when we are more receptive to the spirit we can know what the lord wants of us to do and he will guide us in all our paths! there are so many other things that i can say about that...but being humble is crucial. count your many blessings. my heart is full of gratitude to god for all that he has given me. for my family, my mother and father who are the best in the whole world. words cannot describe the love that i have for them and my wonderful siblings. your examples and the ways that you live are blessings in my life. i am greatful for my friends, my cousins, my aunts, uncles, grandparents, leaders, other families that i know who have helped me along the way. this mission, the chance to change lives and bring others unto christ!! it is wonderful!! for my investigators, my comp, my ward there and here. there are so many things. i could just sit here and write all day!!!!!!!! but the thing is....we have so many blessings...and our heavenly father only wants to bless us more. he desires more than anything to give his children good gifts as the scriptures say....but we must do our part first. do the fundamentals and watch the blessings come pouring in. i know that this is true and i testify that it will occur as we are faithful and continue pressing steadfastly forward.
i love you alll so much. thank you for all your love and support on my behalf. words cannot not express my gratitude fo ryou all. i pray that we all can be humble and turn to the lord in all things. and be guided by the king of kings in all things. may we all give gratitude to the most high god and do as elder bednar has invited us say a prayer just of gratitude unto god. and you will be changed.
i invite us all to pay attention to the words of the living prophets this weekend and feast upon their words for they are the words directly from the heavens. it is our heavenly father speaking to us. may we ever be diligent in strenghtening our personal testimonies and helping others to do the same. be humble. be grateful. and teh lord will bless you in more ways than you can think...and eventually we will have eternal life. which is the greatest of all the gifts of god. and we can live together as a family forever. this is my uptmost prayer.
i love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission