Monday, September 29, 2014

Its been a very busy, busy, busy, (did i mention busy) week. This last monday were the changes for the zone and we recieved a bunch of new elders and hermanas here in moquegua. We sent off about 4 and recieved 6 more. we opened up a new area in the zone and have been spending most of the week trying to work in our area and get them all supplied with a room, and all the things that they need to survive over there on the outskirts of the city. so a lot of trips have been made out there to drop off beds and desks and boxes of supplies. its kinda been a pain but i guess it is whatever. 
we also have in the zone 5 newbies fresh from the ccm! 4 of them are from the states that know nothing of the spanish and one of our sisters is from the galapagos islands. them along with our other gringo elder in training makes 6 companionships out of our 10 in total of the zone: training. its a lot! but i am excited. i have been able to meet some great newbies as well that have come here into the missoin. i have the best mission in the world. thats one thing that i love about the mission. you can meet someone in like 5 mins and already be best buds with them and just talk like youve known each other for years. its awesome! but i am super super stoked becasue newbies bring such a big excitement for everyone even though they cant speak or understand the language at all. hope to start seeing some big results here in this next month. 
the stake presdiency has been giving us constant thanks for the special muscial program that we did last week. we along with presdient zobrist are planning on doing the same gig in ilo this next couple of weeks. and it has inspired other areas in the mission to start doing the zone. there will be programs here in teh near future in tacna and hopefully in arequipa. it has had huge effect in the mission and everyone is hearing aobut it. we are now planning as a stake to do service projects and talent show ideas. however, our schedule this next month of october is already full. this sunday...THERE IS NO CHURCH! haha seriously. we will all be inactives. the deal is, there are elections here in teh southern parts of peru and it is ILEGAL to have any meeting of any sort. i guess in the past there have been riots and break outs in fights and trying to persuade people and do horrible stuff in honor oft he elections so....everything has been put on the hold. im all for the fear god more than man deal and go through with the church meetings but....i guess the church doesnt want me writing you all from a prision cell next monday :) so that means we will not be watching general conference until the 11th and 12 of october. SO DONT TELL ME ANYTHING OR SPOIL ANTYHNING BEFORE I SEE IT!!! :) i am super excited for it. 
We also this past week had a conference de zonas with pres. zobrist and the astistents. which turned out wondrful. i was able to feel the spirit so strong and really learn a lot aobut what i need to do to be a better missionary. they specifically spoke a ton on the work of the temple for the dead. i guess i ahve never seen the importance of it before in that way. WE HAVE SUCH A HUGE REPSONSIBLILTY TO HELP THEM!!! go to the temple please!!!! do the work for those who are waiting and who have been waiting for centuries for someone to find their name and go and do their ordinacnes. they will look to us in gratitude or shame in the next life if we do or dont do their work. we are their family....we got to help them. so if you can, sorry, when you can....please set aside time to go to the temple and do the work for the dead. i have never felt more of a desire (the spirit of elias) to do the work for the dead. listen to this coming conference. i am sure the prophets and apostles will be talking a ton about it!! 
i love this work. i love the mission. though i am beat and i am tired. i am happy. i feel the spirit and i desire to what god wants me to do. and i have wonderful family and friends supporitng me. so THANK YOU! i lvoe you all so much. 
our pday today consists of going to a park and having a good ole american BBQ!! i will be grilling up hamburgers for the 20 people in our zone! and we will be playing hte candy bar game again along with soccer and card games! gonna be sweet!!! and next week i will be writing you from arequipa. we have lidership counsel with president. so till then!!
love you all. congrats to kc and gart for the pics. want to see some!! so send like all of them. tell sis. mason hello for me and tell jake mason hi as well. 
con mucho amor,
      Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

My Dearest Family and Friends:
We just had the best week ever. it was crazy it was so busy but what a wonderful time we had here down in the old moquegua. 
so lets start from monday:
Monday was the last pday of teh change so we obviously did something crazy! We  hiked as a zone to this waterfall which was gorgeous! i have never seen it so pretty. it was a great hike, a great time to spend time together and build zone unity. Afterwards we all came over to the house and had a zone fire with the hot dogs and smores. It was a farewell to 2 of our missionaries who ended their missions this last week. but it was really fun. 
For the middle days of the week: we were practicing for our big event yesterday night which i will in just a second talk about it. we were busy trying to contact new people and get some lessons in. 
on saturday....we were busy getting things together for the muscial programa. and elder chipman and i were asked to help the stake out with the young mens and womens activity that night as well. we got to play a specail musical number savior redeemer of my soul and it turned out really great. we got many comments on it and a ton of people are now asking for violin lessons. :)
other big news....WE ARE FAMOUS!!!
This last week...Elder Birtcher, Elder Chipman, Hna. Romney, and Hna. Aurich went live on the radio!! haha we went and talked on 4 radio stations about the muscial and invited all of moquegua to come and participate with us. I was asked to play the violin on the air and we even got a calll in aobut the event. we had a great time talking to the radio broadcasters and we had fun talking to moquegua!! some of the guys dig into us for answers....not aobut the activity but about the church in general and it was a good oportunity to have a little lesson on the air as well. i got to bear my testimony to everyone!!! :) haha i just hope everyone was listening when we were talking. but we did get a lot of calls from members afterwards thanking us and telling us we did a great job offically representing the church!! 
and for our Activity: Recital Muscial. Sunday 21 September at 5 pm.
Ended up having over 400  perople in the chapel. We filled it!! not a seat was empty and tehy had to open up the overflow in the very back! i got to play a solo piece on the violin and i got to accompany the chior on another. We sang in total 9 special muscial nubmers and what a spirit you could feel. We couldnt have done this activity any better nor in any other zone...seeings how presdient zobrist put 3 violinsts in the zone along with 2 great pianists and great singers!! we were a choir of 36 missionaries. the stake presdiency did a great job supporting us and it brought a ton of investigators in. i think over 30-40!! President Zobrist and his wife also came down from Arequipa to attend the programa and he couldnt stop hugging us nor giving us complements all night long. elder chipman and i were thanked publicly for all our hard work and it was just the best feeling ever!! on our last song we sang called to serve and we asked that all the rms stand with us and sing with the congregation the last verse.....WHAT A SPIRIT! people were crying, and smiling and it was so cool.  we took a ton of pictures afterwards and the members are so excited now to help us. President zobrist told me that we are going to do this if we can at least once a month somewhere in the mission and that i will go and play the violin! i couldnt be more happy!
What a  blessing it is to have music. it brings the spirit. i know that. 
things are going great here in moquegua. i hope to start seeing some great results with the zone. we do have many changes though and a lot of my best friends will be leaving....which i am very sad about. i think i might not see them again until i get back to the states. but we will be recievign many new gringos and newbies here in the zone. 6 companionships in total will be training and we will be opening up a new area which increases our missionary number here to 20 missionaries in the zone. i am happy. newbies bring such an excitement to the zone. and we will be having 6! 
as for other good news....president is taking us all out to lunch here in just a second and i found out that an 18 year old girl that i was working with in tacna way back when....will be getting baptized this weekend! :) no effort goes in vain!
i love you all. i love the mission. congrats to tiffany for getting engaged to my best friends brother, and to kacie as always....great things happening to us in both worlds. love you all. 
hope to hear from you all next week!
Elder Birtcher

      Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mis Queridos: 
Les amo muchisimo. 
Well i guess i dont have much good  stories as far as the work going. We were able this last week to find a lady named Modesta, we were just contacting in the street and this nice lady told us to come back and visit her. Ends up she lives with her little grandson. the little boy, his mom works outside of moquegua and doesnt come back but every month for like 3 days to see him and his dad abandoned him before he was born. Very sad but we got to play soccer with him and the abuelita modesta really enjoyed our company. she did come to church this last week for all 3 hours!!!! that never happens!!!! we were so excited and i spent most of the sacrament meeting trying to keep the little grandson calmed down and quiet. thanks to those mike n ikes you sent kept him pretty quiet :) and i spend the whole time drawing plants vs. zombies pictures. :) but we were excited and our prayers were answered. she is really interested in what we have to say and will be coming back to church with us. :)
as for the other investigators....we challenged everyone of them to come to church and all promised and we even visted them the day before and they still told us they would be coming....AND....none came. we are looking at losing a girl named Doris who is just one of those eternal investigators its looking to be and a kid named diego because his parents will not let him come to church with us. he has all of his asistencias that he needs but still....we need to make sure that we dont just baptize him and then he goes inactive because of lack of family support. our other buddy jose who knows its all true, just doesnt want to act and my good firend edward and his wife karina were working. soo.......we are in that. kinda frustrating but what can you do. we can force them to do anything. i just hope we start seeing the success soon. 
This last week we also were able to go to ilo again for a practice for our specail musical fireside coming up and it is really turning out well. we are excited for the numeros and how its all going to turn out. that will be this sunday at 5 pm. we hope we get a ton of references from all the members and we hope they bring their friends!! i will get you that story next monday. 
as for random story time.... 
So elder chipman and i were dead tired. we were running later than usual to go get dinner and then head back to our apartment so that we could eat really fast, plan and then get to bed at the normal time. so we walk up the stairs and i tried opening the door. and SNAP! there goes the key! i broke the key off in the lock in the door!!! so we had to break into the 2 story of the building by lifting up elder chipman so that he could climb up to the balcony and get in through that door to open up the main door. (dont worry we have done it many times before with elder priebe due to him always forgetting the keys inside! good thing we havent had the cops called on us!! but i think i might become a guy cheer leader. im getting good at throwing them up to the balcony :) ) so turns out we just could get the key out really easy. had to take the whole door lock apart (they are different here in peru, not the same as the states) and had to get the key out. then put the door back together. so our plans to eat, plan, and get to bed fast got canceled and we ended up getting to bed about 11:30 ish pm. 
Other random story....WE MADE TACOS!! our pention bought everything and we made legit tacos. the el pato sauce and the jalepeños sure came in handy and we all loved it! ate way too much!! :) 
And the last we are walking back to our room to grab some stuff before our meeting with the stake presidency as we always do  sunday afternoons...and we see this lady and this skinny kid struggling to lift these big bags of dirt onto this truck to be hauled away. so we run over and asked if we could help out. they were way grateful and we started loading them on. however, there was a BIG bag. so i squat down to not hurt my back and to lift it and i hear an awful ripping sound. HAHAHA I TOTALLY RIPPED MY PANTS IN THE BACK!!! like i mean all the way down! i dont know how the lady and kid didnt hear it but lets just say i was always facing them as i continued to lift bags of dirt onto the truck :) 
i hope you guys are smiling... :)
and that is the update from the hot city of moquegua. know that i love you all and i pray for you each and everyday. i love the mission, my comp is fantastic and we are happy. 
con mucho amor,

      Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission

September 8, 2014

Mi querida Familia,
Mom guess where im writing you this letter!?! from an internet cafe in Peru (So Fancy!!! :) ) technology...its so crazy behind!!! :)

But that picture is Gorgeous! i love it! that is zion for sure. send me more pics from that new smart phone! I want one when i get home. 

for the info on the wasnt a very pleasant week lets just say that. started out in arequipa for consejo de los lideres and it went well. it was great to see all the buds in the mission again. had to say goodbye to some of my best firends going home....but no worries, we will see them up at byu. 

and we had to give the zone a huge training meeting which i was stressing out for a while but the lord sure helped but in my mouth the words that they needed to hear. elder andersons visit here has sure taught us a bunch about the atonement and how we must teach it better and apply it better in our lives more. we talked about 1st we must understand it better to even be able to apply it in our lives. and 2nd we must live it! each and everyday. there is a sister here who always says, "how did you apply the atonement in your live today?" doesent necessarily mean just repenting....(an interesting question :)) and  3rd we must testify of it with power and conviction. but if dont even understand it nor live it....we will not be able to teach about it with power. so i have been trying to do better on all that. 

i was able to do divisions with a new elder here in teh mission which turned out pretty well. got a lot of doors slammed in our faces and some "nice words were said" :) haha welcome to the mission elder. but he did great and is improving on the spanish each and everyday. 

as for the area. not doing so hot. we have nobody progressing. we cant find anyone new. nobody came to church...again. i am very frustrated. i am very annoyed i guess you could say. but the lord has my trust. we will continue to contact everyone we see as we did this whole last week. i have the faith that the lord will allow us to touch someones heart this weeek and help us have success. we are sure learning a lot. our fast yesterday was dedicated to just that. helping us find the lords chosen and helping us teach the atonement better so that those who we are instructing will feel of the spirit and understand what exactly christ did for them so that they will change their lives. he will help us. i know it. so we press on. 

my companion and i are doing great. we ahd our sunday night fire yesterday night which we enjoyed and he says hi to you all. he really is a great guy. i thank the lord for a great comp. if i didnt have a good one and the area was as it is....i think id go crazy. so count your many blessings. 

we are still planning this musical fireside program. it is for the 21st of september. we will be doing about 10 musical numbers. a vary of the spirit of god, praise to the man, if you could high to kolob, efy medley, if the savior stood beside me, and a bunch of others. i will be playing the violin with my comp elder chipman for various ones. the stake presidency has really been helping us out doing all this and they got it to be broadcasted all over moquegua. elder chipman and i will be going down to the radio station to "go live" and invite all of moquegua to come. so that will be fun!!  the stake was also trying to get a huge banner that spans the street and i think they will be putting that up!! it will be sweet! and i think thats way cool that elder grow was talking about me and stuff. elder gedoy of the area 70 also knows about this event and was invited to who knows :) it will be a program of about an 1hour and a half. We are looking forward to it. 

other than that. i am in good health. i love the mission. i love the lord. 

and i love you of course!!!! 

hope you all have a wonderful week.

Elder Birtcher


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hi All,

It was a great last week. I think the highlight of it all was the visit and mission conference that we had with elder anderson of the 12. he was accompained by bishop davis and elder c. scott grow of the 70 along with their wives. i was again able to play the violin for them in a special muscial number that we performed with another violinist and chior. 
but let me start from the beginning of the crazy week. monday we had a combined zone pday with ilo again. and we had a huge soccer game, of the which we destroyed them. and then we got to practicing for our muscial program fireside thing coming up this 14th and 21st of september. i think i had mentioned this is just like what we did in arequipa about 3 months ago. so we have been busy praciticing all those new specail muscial numbers with the choir and others that my comp and i will be performing on the violin and piano. tuesday we had our district meeting as usual and afterwards we were summoned unto the land of arequipa to go and prepare for this special musical number for elder anderson. so we headed tuesday night and got into arequipa late. it was pretty cool because elder chipman and i were the only missionaires outside of arequipa to be asked to participate in this music number. so we stayed at the mission home and had fun times talking with president. haha he even asked to set up justin with his 27 year old daughter! :) thought id pass that info on. on wednesday we were busy practicing for the number and it was great to see a bunch of my good old buddies from all around the mission. in the afternoon i did have some time to go back and visit some old converts and my old pention and other members really quick. how special that was for me! i loved going back into my former area and seeing them and their reactions of surprise and they ran out and gave me hugs! i love them so much! had dinner with the office and with my old comp elder priebe who is now the asistente. and on thursday we got up early. president had cooked us up some french toast for the specail day and we headed down to the stake center where the meeting was to be held. after practicing a couple of times, we got all ready and the general authorities all walked in. it was a very special feeling and you couldnt feel a stronger spirit. the number went SO good. the chior sounded great and my solo parts went well and it was just really a cool feeling. haha good times reliving the elder nelson special muscial number! after we had played. anderson asked me to sit behind him on the stand for the whole meeting!!! it was so cool and his security guard gave me a piece of candy :) my comp and i sure felt really special as he once the meeting was done came up and shook our hands one last time  before leaving (my comp played the piano for the meeting so he was sitting up there by me as well). they talked a lot about hte atonement and how we need to able it more into our teaching and making sure that the people really understand what is the atonement and making them have many spiritual experiences with the atonement. they also talked a lot about honesty in all things and being patient with our testimonies. 
truely our savior lives and suffered for us. he is not just some distant person or picture we look at all the time. he is with us at all times and he loves us so much! 

friday and saturday were some work days. we were asked to go to one of our sisters baptisms to help protect the service because there were a ton of people against her being baptized and threatened to come and storm the chapel and stop the meeting. so we as the zone leaders were busy making sure everything was okay and safe for the whole deal. because we go forward. we do not fear man more than god. and she got baptized. and the lord answered our prayers and we in the end had no problems even though the head protestor came and left to go get all her people. but nothing happened and it was a spiritual baptism service. 
sunday we did a special muscial number with a guy in our ward and the ward just loved it and now we are being asked to do all sorts of special muscial numbers. so dont worry about that violin. it is getting plenty of use!!!! we have also been asked by the stake presidency to play special musical numbers for stake activities and we are trying to swing another one for our stake conference coming up in october. so craziness. but we love it and are happy! the zone is doing great and we are seeing results here in the pueblo of moquegua. 
right now i am again here in arequipa for today and tomorrow as we are here for leadership meetings with all the zone leadrs and with president. we have a huge soccer game planned that we need to get prepared for and then the meetings start later tongiht. 
but i love the mission. i love you guys. congrats to kc once again. so happy for all that is going on back home!
till next week.

      Elder Birtcher
Perú - Arequipa Mission