Weston is home and is doing great!! His homecoming is July 19, 2015 at 11:00am at the 22nd street and Brown building. Thank you for your support these past 2 years.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
My dearest Family,
I guess in your last letter home as a missionary, the pressure gets put on you to make it a good letter...hahaha but i really cant think of much to say. I could bear you my testimony and bore you all out for a while....but i do feel that i need to share some things with you.
This last week has been one that has FLOWN by. It has been one of reflection and one to always remember. The work continued on like normal, just at an usually fast pace. We were able to end the week off with some baptisms. And i got to baptize my last 3 converts here in the mission. That has been a goal since the very beginning to always baptize on your last saturday in the mission. It was a very special evening for me especially. We returned back to our room and i got to thinking about my last 2 changes that i have been able to work here in mollendo....and it really just hit me how merciful the lord has been with me and my companion. We have worked hard. I gave it all i had, and i have no regrets about my work here nor in any other place. The lord has made it manifest to me that he is proud of us here. I can remember leaving the office with a goal in mind to end my mission with 8 baptisms and rescue 5 less actives....and last saturday we ended the 2 changes with 9 baptisms and 5 rescues. The lord has heard my pleas and my cries.
I think personally my testimony hasnt changed much regarding the word choice. I still know and have always known that Jesus is the Christ, i know that Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of God and i know the Book of Mormon is true....but the conviction of those words has intesified and has been welded into my very soul. This is the true church of the living God. He is in control of every aspect of this work. There is nothing that we cant do, feel, or experience that he doesnt already know about. He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. And he knows me. I think one of the most valuable lessons i have learned being here for the last 2 years has been the very nature of God. Who he is, how he speaks to us, how he loves us, what he desires of me. He is not a distant being that we throw words at. He is my Father, he is my dad. He has heard me and has talked with me more times that i can tell any of you.
He is the one that has guided me, and told me what to do, and who was the one to help me progress and attain heights that not even i thought were possible. He is the one who i have turned to in the good times and in those tear jerking moments. He is the one who has ALWAYS lead me....i was just too blind to see him. Now i see. Now i know. Now i can say that i know who my god is. This past 2 years i havent been teaching new things necessarily to the people of Peru....i have been here trying to remind them of everything they at one point knew and agreed to in the premortal existence, but have forgotten. I think of all the things that God desires the most important to him is that we can remember him. We are his children who have traveled a ways away for a time, forgetting everything about our home in heaven...i can only imagine the feelings of my father in heaven, just longing for some of children to remember him, to have a glimpse of who we were and who we can become, and to remember the feelings of love that we shared there together. THAT is what i have been doing in my mission. I have learned lots, and i continue to seek for more.
But just know that i love my God. I love my Saviour. He is real. He is there. Look for him. With every fiber of my soul i testify that they live. They love you and me and if we just follow with faith in every footstep, we shall live with them once more. May god bless this wonderful country and her people. I LOVE Peru. I dont want to leave. God knew i was supposed to come here. And i thank him for the call to serve here.
I have fought the good fight. I will continue to fight it.
I am so excited to see you all on Saturday.
With all the love i have for you all.
Monday, June 29, 2015
We´ve sure had a week. I dont have much time to write today...so let me sum it up really quickly.
Weve been busy with a bunch of the baptismal interviews and getting the zone all ready for the white night that we had this last saturday. My comp and i are really trying hard to find some new investigators and weve planned a bunch of activities to do so for this week. We are having GREAT success here in this area!
The highlight of the week was obviously the noche blanca which we had this last saturday in which 4 people were baptized, 2 of them were ours. Their names are Teodora and Alcides and they being baptized completed the whole family in becoming members of the church! they are wonderful and i love them so much. their family is so strong and is so faithful in all that they do!
So 2 more down and this saturday, my last saturday here in the mission, we will have 3 more baptisms! The lord has blessed Elder Heywood and I so much here. We were also able to rescue 3 less actives here in teh area which is so awesome! And one of them will be baptizing his little sister this saturday!!
i love the people here. i love the work and the mission. know that i love my savior and i love being a missionary. we are working hard. stay safe, be happy and fight the good fight.
Elder Weston Birtcher
Monday, June 22, 2015
Where to start today....
The weeks just seem to be all meshing together and i cant keep good track of all the events. its a good thing we write in journals no? But i think some of the highlights for this past week were some great lessons that we had with our investigators, the wonderful trujillo temple dedication that took place yesterday, and our adventures during the week. :)
Like i said, we had some wonderful lessons this last week with the investigators that are going to be getting baptized this saturday and the following saturday. They had their baptismal interviews and are all set to go. This saturday we have planned another noche blanca (white night), in which we should have 2-4 baptisms again this saturday. They are really coming along in their progress and are developing their testimonies on a daily basis. I love the people we teach. We were able to go to one of their houses this week and help build a science project for one of their daughters. We built a cell project and it really turned out great! We also had the idea to take our recient converts and their families and some less actives and hike up to the highest peak here in Mollendo on Saturday morning. Its not an easy hike and a bunch of them didnt want to continue on, but eventually ALL made it to the summit. We had fun eating lunch up their and chatting and then we had a spiritual lesson about how life isnt easy, and sometimes we will want to give up as well. But we must press on and endure to the end. There will be hands to lift us up, and their will be encouragement from our loved ones...but even when times get tough, and when all seems to be going against us, and we are about to fail, Christ is always there to lift us up and lighten our burdens. I saw a ton of acts of service from the group of 18 that went with us....i saw brother and sister walk hand in hand, helping each other to the end. I saw others lighten the loads in the backpack of one to help another continue on...and i even saw an older brother carry his little cousin to the top and the end. It was a very spiritual experience for the 18 of us and we taught a lesson that i hope none of us will ever forget. We got super sun burnt but it was so worth it.
I love the people here, i love my investigators and my converts. I feel that they are my family and i dont want to be leaving them. i have a huge chunk of my heart here.
One of the biggest highlights of the week was the temple dedication of the trujillo temple. What a priveldge and blessing to participate in 2 of those sessions. Elder Bednar and President Uchtdorf spoke in those sessions and what a spirit bringer. I love the church, the general authorities and all the teachings and spirit that we recieve and feel inside gods holy edifices. HOW I MISS THE TEMPLE. I want to go so bad... The feelings that overwhelmed me in those sessions is indescribable... And i just want to return. It was the closest that i have gotten to the temple in about 2 years. Make sure we ALWAYS go to the house of the lord. ALWAYS.
Other great things happened as well here in Mollendo with the people and the lessons that we have had. I am just concerned about finding some new people. So we have been focusing on that for a while now....the lord will bless us though, he always does.
Its gotten really cold down here in mollendo which made me lose my voice for about 3 days. boy, was that an adventure. Elder Heywood did a good job though with his spanish...im sure it was a great practice for him. But the whole time i had Elder Holland´s talk in my head, about how satan tries to shut our mouths so that we dont speak the truth to anyone, just as he intended to do with the boy joseph smith. you sure need your voice as a missionary! But i am feeling much better and am talking normal now :)
But to end, Happy fathers day to you dad. I hope your day was an enjoyable one for you. Wish i could be there to give you a hug and a present. you sure mean a lot to me dad. Thank you for your example and love that you give to all of us. My thoughts were turned to you this weekend and to all the wonderful times that we have had. My heart is full of gratitiude to you. But i was thinking about it and it was mentioned in the temple dedication yesterday. Yes, it was fathers day, and when i think of fathers day, i think of a BBQ or family time or my dad, etc. But many times we forget that it is our Heavenly Fathers day as well. In Hebrews 12:9 it says: "Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh wich corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the father of spirits, and live?" or from the spanish translation, "Furthermore we had our earthly parents (or fathers) who disciplined us and we had reverence for them, why do we not then obey more our father in Heaven, the father of the spirits and live forever?"
Mom and dad, i love you more than you could know. I miss you. i thank you for the disciplin you have given me and know that you have my utmost respect for you. But shall we not all obey better our Father In Heaven and strive to do what he asks us to do. can we not show a little bit more respect for him and just do what he asks of us.
May we all love and reverence god and give him our uptmost respect like i have for you mom and dad. i love my god. i love my saviour and i know they live. i am his witness and love being his representative. there is no greater calling, no greater task to be doing, no greater joy to be felt, nor time to be spent, than being a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Happy Fathers day to you dad. But Happy Fathers day to our Heavenly father every day of our lives.
be safe this week. stay all healthy and we will see you soon.
Your son and brother,
Monday, June 15, 2015
Mi Estimada Familia,
We certainly had a wonderful week here as well. It was sure busy with getting everything ready for our noche blanca (white night) that happened here last Saturday night. We were busy with the interviews and making sure all the clothes were ready and that people were assigned to direct and lead and speak. It was quite the project let me tell you. But it turned out great in the end. Our zone ended with 7 baptisms and we had over 100 in attendance at the service. They were so supportive and you shouldve seen the looks on their faces afterwards (those who were baptized). I was priveldged to baptize the 2 baptisms of the sisters (those who i interviewed) and also one of our 3 that were baptized.
We were so blessed and we are being so blessed here in Mollendo. The branch is really coming together and being strengthened by all the excitement for baptisms, something which mollendo hasnt seen in years! Our little branch got filled again with 152 in attendance and we had 9 investigators present, along with our 3 newest converts who were baptized on saturday night. Their names are Deysi and her daughter Milenka, and Enger. Elder Heywood was able to baptize his 1st baptism in his mission which he was super excited about!! And i was just soaking in all the feellings of the evening. I was able to play special musical numbers with a great sister missionary here on the piano and it really brought the spirit into the service.
Yesterday evening we were able to find 2 less actives that havent been to church in years, but who opened up and began to cry and explain their dificulties and trials they are facing. We were able to share our message and really foucs on what the spirit would have us teach, and you shouldve seen the change in their eyes, and faces and in attitude. What a fantastic experience it was last night. I love seeing people change. I love seeing them grow and know that they can be forgiven of the mistakes that they have made, the mistakes that are burdening them down and binding them literally. I can just get a little glimpse of what the lord sees and feel of the love he has for his children and for me. Ending the week off and thinking of all that had happened throughout the week, i turned to my companion and said, "Im sure going to miss this work."
I love this work. There is nothing better. There is no greater joy to bring families together, to prepare them to go to the temple this August to get sealed and to do the saving work for their dead, to see a soul be humble and recieve forgiveness, to see change. The lord loves change. I love change, and i love being one to bring about change. Oh how i love my mission and the people here in Mollendo. How my heart goes out to them.
Know that i love you all. Cant even being to describe with words the love i have for you all.
I wish you all a very good week and a very happy fathers day coming up dad! I wish i could be there to give you a hug...but in due time.
We are really excited for this next week... tal vez we will have 2 baptisms on saturday...but also the temple dedication for the trujillo temple is on sunday!!! we are so excited to be able to participate in that!
con todo mi amor,
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Its great to write you guys again too! Sounds like you all had a super busy week just like we did down here! This last week we have been no stop on the go to prepare for our noche blanca (white night) this saturday night! Elder Heywood and I are going to have 5 baptisms! Our 5 combined with another 4 from the rest of the zone will make it a special 9 people coming unto the lord this weekend! I was busy running around doing interviews for the rest of the zone and cordinating our 5 interviews out for our ZLs to come and do! Its been hecktic, but its so worth it.
We also have been visiting some families which have also accepted baptism for the 27th of this month and they came to church yesterday! in total we had 13 investigators and 8 Less actives with whom we are working with, at church with us yesterday! And we packed the 120 person branch with 152 people! Huge things happening here in Alto Inclan! I couldnt be more happy.
This week we will be having a ton of family nights with our investigators. We feel that we need to incorporate the members more and to do that and help our investigators get to know more people, we are really focusing on family home evenings ALL WEEK LONG! They turn out great and its always an amazing experience to have the members bear testimony to the investigators. So look for some chance this next week to go out with the missionaries if you can!
I am so glad all is well back there at home. Know that i love you all so much. We are working super hard here and trying to invite ALL to come unto Christ.
con mucho amor,
Tuesday, June 2, 2015
We have had one busy week here in Mollendo.
The lord is pouring out his blessings on us here in the area. We have a total of 11 baptismal dates and about 5 more in the process for the month of june. We have been so priveldged to find so many wonderful people to come to church and to listen to us. The members are SUPER excited to see that we are having such success and they are giving us so many references and new people to go and contact! (sure helps things out a lot) and the best part is that we are getting them all to come out with us and work alongside us in the work.
I have gained such a strong testimony of the power of members in the work. We cannot physically do it alone...I think that is such a great lesson for me seeing is how my role in the work of salvation will be changing from the teacher to the finder. I hope that i can be able to help the missionaries out a ton at home. But my companion and i are excited as ever to work and find more and more people to help out. We must work with families....families are so key here in the work!
This last week we had the zone over for a fire on the roof to recieve the changes and happily...only 1 person is leaving from the zone! That is awesome because our zone is so great and they are working super good right now in everything. Especially my district....we are going to see some huge results here this month of june. We also had a huge service project in leveling some land for a less active here in the branch...haha the whole time i was sitting there shoveling i was thinking about our backyard project of digging....:)
And we had a really great turn out of investigators and less actives in the sacrament meeting. 9 investigators and 11 less actives that we have been teaching!!! Such blessings!!!
I am really happy right now. I love the misson and i love the work i am doing! :) Sometimes i can get overwhelmed with everything going on...but in the end...its just the best.
We have a BUSY week lined up ahead for us...but we are ready.
I am so glad you had such a great trek experience. You will always remember those times. I hope we can always remember our spiritual experiences and cherish them so that we can grow and learn from them.look to do miracles this week. look for ways to bless the lives of neighbors and friends.
This week turned out to be such a busy week: we did have a great turn out in our sacrament meeting again (filiing it to the brim), and we found tons of new investigators and also had a baptism! His name is paolo, 9 years old. Our inicital goal was to help the family by helping his mom return to the church after a very long time. So we rescued her and baptized her son!! So 2 out of 2! The lord sure helped us out in resucing that family and helping them become stronger in the gospel. Their dad is really starting to pick up to, he isnt a member......yet. And we really want to work with him, the only problem is he has work in Spain and he leaves this next week so that doesnt really help us out any. :(
But talk about hastening the work. We were on the go constantly with meetings and helping out other missionaries with service projects and finding more and more people to teach. The branch is really starting to help us out so much and we have some great lessons planned out for this next week.
i am super happy with all that is happening around here. love my comp and we are going to continue working hard hasta el final.
Elder Weston Birtcher
Monday, May 18, 2015
Profound question of the soul??? :
How many grains of rice do you think ive eaten this past week? :)
I am DONE with rice. just done with it.
But as for the Mollendo Weekly, all is well! Just as it always is. :) We have really been helped out by all the members from the branch in that they have given us all sorts of references. we were able to contact 8 new people and get lessons with all them for this next week. We were able to place 9 baptismal dates for this end of the month and for the next month!! Gonna be rolling! Our klan of kids has been able to let us into their homes to teach their families and parents who are actually very receptive and open to us! so we are excited to work with those wonderful families.
I love mollendo. I love the missionaires here and i love the zone where we are at. We had a fun pday this last monday in which we went to the beach and dug a hug pit to build a HUGE sandcastle. That was the plan: What actually ended up happening was i was down in the pit digging and the sides collapse and caved in on me filling all the way up to higher than my thighs trapping me! :) and then a HUGE wave comes rolling in and soaked me so bad! hahaha it was pretty funny and we had a great time! i couldnt ask for a better place to end my mission. the lord knew i was supposed to come here. i can see that in so many ways!
Hey dad!, my talk yesterday in church actually went VERY well! hahaha i had to laugh about that again! but yeah i did get to speak to the members in the sacrament meeting and all said it went really well. We we so crammed in our little chapel that holds max: 120-130 people and we had there 146! We also had a sister faint in the middle of the meeting which was interesting. but she is doing much better! :)
I will send you some pics. Today is my former comp, Elder Loor´s birthday! So yesterday i had all the 8 elders here in teh zone come over to our house and we went on the roof for a fire and smores night along with sleep out on the roof! I will send you some pictures! really fun! i think we are going back to the play on the beach today after we eat some pizza together as a zone for Loor´s b-day!
i love you all so much! you all know that.
have a wonderful week.
Elder Weston Birtcher
May 7, 2015
Buenos Dias Familia,
Well for news from Mollendo...Its been a full week. It was a great chance for Elder Heywood to get better at his spanish and contact more people in the streets and in their doors. We taught some really great lessons with some new investigators that we have found and have placed 7 baptismal dates on the people we are teaching. We had another great turnout in our little branch here-it actually becoming one of the strongest branches here in Mollendo! The chapel is super super small and barely fits anyone in there, but if we keep up the attendance number for a good 3 months...they will build a bigger chapel just across the street in the HUGE acre lot that the church has here. That is my goal!
Buenos Dias Familia,
My district is sure improving, which is really exciting the zone to get better and work harder. We are going to have a great month. I have sure learned once more the importance of family. Families are everything....I think in all my past months in the mission i have baptized many indiviuales (completing the family) but i have not yet baptized a FULL family yet. I think i came with that determination here to find whole Families and help them all come unto christ. And we have been so blessed to find about 5 new families since we have been here and they are progressing and excited to learn more. The spirit has helped us find more and teach them according to what they need to hear. I love these Mollendinos, they are a great people. And they must love us 2 gringos. :)
We are working with a family, 2 couples planning on getting married and baptized the 23rd of this month and in order to have some money to get all their papers done and sent in...we did a BBQ for them. So on Saturday we were busy cutting food, and cooking meat and everything (no its not like your BBQs there in the states...but it works) and we got to go and delivery food to other people in the ward. Had a great turnout and they are on their way to get their papers all in order to get baptized!
Not much else to say around here. I am doing well. I dont think i have been so tired in such a long time. I need to not get fat and i need to keep doing the lords work. I love being here in Mollendo, we just got to find some cool pday ideas to do around here...there really isnt much to do here. And since the major options we CANT do here (swimming, the movies, etc.) so we have to make our own fun. So i will be using my creativity more. I love my comp. We are working hard as always.
Love you all so much. The plan of salvation that god has for us is real. He has his plan and we have our purpose here. We are to have joy. We to have trials, but within the trails we are to remember god and come out conquering. The lord lives. I testify of that. He loves each one of us. May we love him as he loves us.
Monday, April 27, 2015
Well it was the first week back into the field! And its been a great week. Yeah, at first it kinda hits you with all that you need to do again. You sure didnt have that much time to work with the people in the office and now you have 24/7 to do it....so at first it kinda hit me...but we are both doing great right now.
To be honest, i have never come to an area so prepared. I am in an area called Alto Inclan and we share the area with 2 other elders here in the branch. Mollendo is a District, not a stake and we all are in branches and not wards. But the situation here in Mollendo wasnt doing so great when we were first coming and for 2 new elders to come into a new area not knowing anything, things at first can start out rough (they usually do). but for us, we got here and started off sprinting. we know a bunch of members and they have given us tons of references and shown us family members who arent baptized and where less actives live. And we have gained a ton of confidence and trust with all of them so fast. No joke, it seems like every door we enter and visit for a bit (whether it be members or non members)- people are just telling us to baptize them or their family members. This next month of May we are seriously planning on 7 baptisms. And those arent the maybes, they are pretty much confirmed baptisms. Of those are some kids (but we are going to rescue their parents at the same time) and the rest are 2 couples that have marriage and baptismal dates for the end of may as well as a great guy 30 years old. So we are super super excited here. And the lord has really opened the door for us so that we can excite the branch up and the missionaries here that have been kinda unexcited for a very long time.
As far as the zone goes...my district is great! We are just 3 companionships, but then again the zone is only 6 in total (pretty tiny compared to when i was a ZL with my 20 in total). But they have improved so much this last week and they have baptisms as well planned for this next month in May! Gonna tear it up!!! :)
As far as my new companion goes...
Elder Heywood is great! Us two Arizona boys are working hard and trying to be super obedient-and what do you know....we are seeing tons of blessings. His spanish is really good for 7 weeks here in Peru, and the people here love him. He is getting better and better with his teaching and contacting (even though he hates contacting in the streets... :) ).
So other than we have settled in here, the food here is different. We sure eat a ton of weird things. For example we have had liver, and stomach and octopus and other mysteries of the seas on our plates...but its okay. Not my favorite, but i will get used to it. Also took us 2 hours to wash our clothes today and get over here to internet. The weather here is gorgeous. Apparently it has been boiling here....but when we came we must have brought all the cool weather from arequipa because its wonderful here, and boiling there in Arequipa.
We are happy. We are having fun and are working SUPER HARD. The lord is blessing us and watching over us two Mesa boys. I love my Savior and his work and the people here!
Any questions you have just let me know. Send more pictures of home....i love getting those and want more! :) I am sorry to hear about Grandma Lee. I hope she makes it so that i can see her once more before she passes on. Give her of my love, give her a hug and kiss for me and tell her that i love her and wish i could be there to play the violin for her. Faith and Jacob will just ahve to keep up the great job with that.
Love you all so much. Have a great week and keep being the awesome family that you are!!!
Nos vemos aproxima semana!
Con mucho amor,
Monday, April 13, 2015
¿Como les han ido?
I hope you all had a great week. Sounds like things are a little bit calmed down from what you letter said...thats always nice to have (more time).
I guess before i tell all that went on here this last week....i just want you to know that i have seen the hands of the lord and have felt his guidance and his spirit. I know many times these letters are just full of details about the same stuff: trainings and more trainings and traveling....but through each training or conference meeting that we have, i come to know my savior even more and i feel closer to him as i feel him guide my words and touch the hearts of those i speak to. I would say that is one of the biggest blessings that i have recieved having this assignment at this time. I really have come to see how the lord helps his children and us, his representatives. I guess i have seen that all along, but more so now as this is my last week being an Assistant. I have loved the experience, i have loved being so close to president Zobrist and his wife and learning from them. i truely love my President and his Wife, they remind me so much of you mom and dad, that i feel at home when i am with them, and i feel as though i can speak about whatever when they are around. What a blessing it has been to be here.
This last week was a week of "lasts" i guess. We had my last leadership council meeting with the Zone Leaders and Hermana Leaders on Monday and Tuesday. We traveling to my beloved city of Tacna for the last time (where i started the mission) on Wednesday and Thursday for a Zone Conference with 5 zones down there. And i took my last flight as an Assistant (traveling the mission) as well as my last zone conference which took place on Friday. We had 10 zones together (about 200 missionaries) that we got to train. So a lot of lasts, but i have loved it and enjoyed it...but now its time to get back into the field and do the next things the lord would have me do. I havent finished. There are more people to find in my next area, i have more companions and more peoples hearts to touch....so its time to go and WORK!!! i am sure excited about that....especially if i have the chance to train for my last 2 changes. i hope so. :)
We also did another musical recital here with our zone and another zone here in Arequipa, in honor of Easter. We titled the recital "He Lives (Él Vive)" and you talk about a special spirit. I was able to play the violin again in many different pieces, accompanying and soloing. President came to support us and it turned out very nice. I am sure happy about that. I hear that more zones are already in the process of putting other recitales together and they have already asked me to play in those with them.....i guess it all depends on if i stay here in Arequipa for my last 2 changes or if i get transfered outside the city. I have a feeling i will be leaving outside....who knows.
This last week i have learned that we must have faith in 3 things: the lord, ourselves and our abilities, and in the people around us. I have also learned that we must love the people as Christ would, and to see them as how he would. We must take out our own eyes (figuratively speaking) and put in their place, the eyes of Christ. We must see everything how christ would. Our callings, our friends, our companions (here), the ward....through changing our perspective on these things will open our eyes more and really change who we are and how we act. That i know, because i have experienced it. It sure isnt easy, but its possible through daily scripture study and prayer.
i love the savior and i know he lives. he loves us and wants us to come home.
be a missionary today....and for always.
April 7, 2015
Yep, your letter is late, we didnt have any internet service here in the office for over a week! horrible. I still have to send in reports of the mission to the area 70s and just got internet to do so....hopefully they arent mad!! :) And plus it was conference and we were focused on that and getting all ready and planned out for the leadership conference/training with the ZLs and HLs that happened yesterday and today.
These non stop go go go weeks just dont quit do they? We last Monday flew down to Tacna and had some serious soccer action inbetween the 3 zones there :) and then we were busy that night till thursday with Meetings, divisions, more meetings, seeing old friends and making new ones. :) I did have a chance to get back to my old area for what i think will be the last time :( i got to see my pentionista and some of my favorite people there that i havent seen since i left over 18 months ago. One of them had had a baby and others, their families are growing so much! I did run into one of my converts (the one i was priveldged to baptize on Christmas Day! Remember my christmas miracle back in 2013?? ) I was super excited to see him and hear that he is still going to church and playing soccer with all the young men down there! the ward has sure done a great job with those who i was working with.
So we were in Tacna Monday through Thursday (quite a trip no?) and then flew back into Arequipa to have more meetings with Zones that night and Friday afternoon as well. The missionaries in the mission are improving and we had 29 more baptisms in the month that we had last month!!!! :) Going in the right direction.
Conference on Saturday and Sunday-SO GREAT NO? gotta love conference and all they teach us. dang opposers. But cant wait to see the next conference and BE THERE!!! thats my goal. to be there live. Anyone want to join me? :)
Other news: My former comp, Elder Priebe, (in Moquegua with him) is getting married in August. Going to propose to the girl this week! asked me to go and be a best man! :) haha we will see how that goes. i think he is getting married in Rexburg.
Also some of the people that i was working with in 15 de Agosto, are going to be getting married and baptized!!! They have asked me to come! :) should be the 20th of April i think. Super happy for them.
And my converts are going strong. They wrote me telling me how great conference was! #nogreaterfeelingintheheart!
As for the rest of the week. So apparently president and us are flying down tomorrow to Tacna once again to have some meetings with leaders the missionaries. We have 2 big zone conferences on Thursday and Friday-one there in tacna and the other one here in Arequipa on Friday. So that should be interesting. We have to get prepared for that one tonight and tomorrow.
As for me....i am happy to be able to get back into the real field here this next week. My change is not certain yet...so i wont say anything till it is official...but i am very excited about it. President is sure inspired on the changes and where he puts us. Our investigators have kinda fallen a little bit, due to lack of visits on our part....(i hate that about our traveling....cant be there with the investigators). We call them and check in...but its not the same. But we have had new people come to church and we have 2 young men who are ready to get baptized....Francisco and Leonardo....their parents are just very against them doing so. So we are praying for them and we certainly have the faith that their hearts (of the parents) can and will be changed. I have seen it before. I know the lord can do it. So we might have 2 baptisms before i leave the office!
I am happy. Excited to work, and never been more ready to serve. Love the work. Love the conference talks about the atonement and the need to study it more in depth.
Lets make that our goal!
love you all,
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Sunday, March 22, 2015
Trainings, Meetings, Traveling....that pretty much sums up the week. Alright, So we will see you guys next week! :)
Jk...Well, this week flew just like all the other ones. We were busy doing informes and other letters for the mission on monday and tuesday and visiting zones seeing how all them are doing. We are dedicating a lot of time now to visiting each zone and the leaders in that zone (ZL, DL, HL) and talking about each companionship and fixing problems and seeing how we can do things better. Then we would go out to lunch with them. We did 3 zones this last week on Wed, Thurs, and yesterday. The meetings have really turned out great and we are seeing how the leaders are doing with their zones and districts and the mission is improving. Thats always great to see.
We traveled out of Arequipa on thursday to the city of Mollendo on the beach and had a good meeting with them. And on wed, and friday, we stayed here in arequipa to do some of the meetings.
Other news thats happening around here is we are doing another recital muscial and have been preparing those songs with 2 zones here in arequipa. i have been asked to perform on the violin again...some of the old songs and some new ones too. i also have been asked to play in sacrament meeting with the relief society sisters next sunday and i have been teaching violin lessons to a family here in our ward for a couple of weeks now. And its been fun. So i am still using the violin...maybe even a little bit more than usual...but its a goal that i have. especially since i wont be getting to use it for a while as the weeks come up because we are going on a full traveling schedule of the whole mission once more this week and next and then president decided that we should do zone conferences one more time before i leave the office.
As for a forecast of the schedule for this next week: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday are Training meetings with the District Leaders and then Sister Leaders. Wednesday afternoon, Thursday and Friday will be traveling to Moquegua and Ilo for meetings and divisions with the leaderships in each zone. And friday we come back to teach violin lessons and really have a half day to visit all our investigators before its pday, then sunday and then we go traveling again on Monday.
Regarding my spiritual experience of the week, i would definately have to say that in my studies and in preparation for the trainings that we are going to have i have certainly felt the spirit guiding my thoughts and helping me know what i need to say to the specific people that i will be meeting with or training. Our investigators are doing great. We were sure having a problem with one and couldnt find him for a while, but we were praying and praying that he would be home and we went and found him and had a great lesson with him. He was almost in tears and is excited once again to continue on listening to us and learning. We have found another guy and the lessons with him this last week have been great. so we expect him at church along with hna. joanna who is progressing very fast with all the lessons and reading. So we visit those who we can during the time slots available.
love the work. always have. got to keep going strong and helping as many as i can. i love you all. grateful for you. proud of you. and i pray for you. always.
have a wonderful week. be safe.
Sunday, March 15, 2015
I certainly wont be forgetting this day ever because our investigator, Elena, was baptized! :) We a had a very special baptismal service. President Zobrist came along with his children and grandchildren who have come this last week on a visit to see grandpa and grandma! :)
It has been great to see his two grandchildren and one on the way. The family is great and we have certainly gotten to know them and president has just been so happy lately. i mean really happy! haha i was sitting here in the office the other day and i get this call and its president and he tells me, "Hey Elder Birtcher! Im down here in Ilo on the beach with my family (yeah, mission presidents dont have the same rules as us...) and i am so happy!" so i started laughing and we talked for a bit and he began to tell me about everything that he was doing and that they were going to go and find a nice restaurant to eat at....all in all...i finally asked him, so president, is there anything specifically that you need me to do right now (i thought he might have needed something due to calling me...) and he goes "nope! just wanted to talk to you, take care okay. bye!" it was hilarious. my best buddy, President zobrist, was calling me to tell me that he was super happy! :)
i love president and his family! like a lot! :)
So its been a heck of a time with presidents family coming into town and we were busy with trainings all this last week. Monday was the training of the trainers which turned out to be really uplifting and we are excited for this next group of trainers. We picked up their greenies on Tuesday and debriefed them as well. This new group is really excited and really fun to have and talk with! i sure enjoyed it. Wednesday and thursday we were training the Zone Leaders and Hermana Leaders from all over the mission, and friday we were busy doing some work here in the area!
I am super happy, even though i am super tired. Our now convert, Elena, is sure increible. She was so nervous and scared to get baptized even though she knew she needed to do it. But she prayed a ton! She told everyone today in her baptismal service that she was scared and stayed up till 3am last night praying for god to help her be calm and to allow her to have the courage to go through with it. And that is exactly what she recieved, courage. Because, apparently her boss, a very anti-mormon person said that she wasnt going to be getting time off today to come and get baptized, and that she would have to work all day long till 7-8 PM, and elena told everyone that she had already scheduled an appointment with God at 3:30PM in the church for her bapitsmal service, and she would not be missing it. She explained that directly after her baptism she would be returing to work, and come what may but i am happy. and i know i did the right thing. She is an amazing woman. it was a testimony builder to me to also put the things of the world in second place and always put god first, just like she did.
i am sure proud of her and of another investigator we are working with, her name is Joanna. She came to church this last sunday after she was invited to by a friend. Her friend didnt even show up that day for church, but she did and we got to sit by her and talk and explain just a little bit before the sacrament meeting started. She is 25 years old, and is just AWESOME! after her principles of the gospel class, she asked if we could teach her the discussions right then and there. We were happy to do that, so we taught her the 1st discussion about joseph smith and the restoration which she just loved. We visited with her yesterday morning and she excepted to read the book of mormon and go further in learning. We asked her "hermana, if these things are true, what do you think you should do?" and she responded that she would continue learning and do what we asked her to do. And so we said, "well, we would like to invited you to be baptized..." and she goes, "yeah, sure." she is golden and is loving what she is feeling and finding. I called her last night and said, hey i know you are super busy, but we have a bapitsmal service at 3:30 tomorrow if you want to come and she what its like....and she CAME!! sola. just walked right in and sat down and then stayed and talked with us afterwards. The members of the ward are doing a great job fellowshiping her and invited her to stay for a karaokee activity afterwards! so we are excited to see her in church tomorrow and continue on teaching her! pray for her!
As for our other guy, fabricio, we finally found him. we are praying for him and are going to give him some extra attention in teaching him
So that is what is happening around here...its been great! i am loving it!
As for a forecast of what this week holds for us: i really dont know actually. i had it all planned out, but then president change it all on me on the last second, so i will have to talk to him on monday and reajust some things.... but i know we will certainly be busy. as always!
love you guys, enjoy all that is going on back home. know you are loved and prayed for! nos vemos pronto,
Thursday, March 12, 2015
We have arrived yet again for changes. these last 6 weeks have flown by! This last week things have been crazy, and it wont stop being crazy until the middle of April. We were busy with getting the old missionaries all set to go home and we had their farwell meeting and shipped them out thursday and friday. We have been busy planning with President Zobrist all the changes taking place tomorrow and have been running around visiting zones and making sure everything is going smoothly here in the grand mission of Peru Arequipa! :)
But we get hecktic again in the schedule with trainings all this next week. Monday and Tuesday we get the newbies and their new trainers and train them both up. Wednesday and Thursday all the zone leaders and hermanas leaders are coming in to arequipa for leadership council. And then we have a baptism on Saturday!
Even though it has been busy, we have seen many miracles and have seen the lords hands in changing peoples hearts and helping us find some new ones to listen to us.
One such miracle has been with a sister named Luz. We have been working with her for a while. She is not a member, but her 2 kids are baptized. She wanted to when her kids got baptized but had some problems with living with this guy and couldnt do it then...but had the desires to listen to us again after a year since the elders had returned to her house. She has come to church a bunch and knows it true but has been struggling to commit to baptism. So we had a great little lesson with her about having faith in the lord and about repentance and that hte spirit will guide her afterwards and to not fear, but be prepared. So we ended the lesson by saying, but your fears on the table and just ask the lord what he wants and when he wants you to be baptized. She came to our stake conference that we had sunday and then our next lesson with her was awesome. I dont know how the subject came up, but she asked us when we were ending our missions, and since my companion and i are in the same group we said, "in july," and she gets this sad expression and says, "i dont want you guys to go, but i guess i better get baptized before july comes no?" so we laughing said, hermana, in talking about baptism, have you recieved an answer yet? she explained that she hadnt recieved a specific answer but that she was super excited to do it. So we started talking about a baptism goal for her...and we said, " hermana, we personally would love for it to be this next saturday, the 14th, but if you feel that you need more time, we can do it on the 21st. which one do you think is better?" and right away says, no i think the 14th we can do it!
She is ready, and she is excited to do it. We have been going back a bunch visting her and helping her out more. but we love her and are excited for her to get baptized this next saturday.
Fabricio our other guy, has disappeared. i have no idea where he has gone to. but our search for him has not ended :) haha we will be trying to communicate with him and try to invited him to the baptismal service this next saturday. hopefully that will excited him even more. :)
but good things happening here in arequipa. how is everything back home? getting ready for spring break?? what are your guys´ plans?
i love you all a whole bunch. i pray for you all constantly. have a wonderful week. and i will talk to you guys next week!
con mucho amor,
Monday, February 23, 2015
I know you probably already know whats been going on around here lately...more interviews. We just have one more week of those and we are DONE!!!!!!!!!!! :D yay!!!
We stayed here in arequipa tuesday and wednesday to do the interviews for some of the zones here in arequipa and thursday we left with president and his wife to siguas (a place about 2 hours outside of arequipa) and then on friday we were in Camana (about 3 hours outside of arequipa on the beach).
the interviews went well. We are having some lack of excitement issues in some of the areas out in the boonies, but we are trying to get them excited and get them focused on what they need to be doing for their branches out there. kinda of a different work on the outskirts of the mission limits. so it was good to get out there and visit them and help them out with what theey are struggling with.
Returning back to Wednesday...President and i have been talking for a long time now about the famous bull fights that they do here in arequipa. They are special, and only happening during special times of the years and this last week they were having one. it was rare to be in the middle of the week because they are always usually on sundays but we found out about it and president was like "LETS GO!" So on Wednesday afternoon, after our interviews in the morning, president took us and the whole office to the Arequipa Bull Fights! And it was probably one of the coolest things that i have done here in Peru. To be honest. We all bought cowboy hats and had a great time there yelling and watching the Toros go at each other. They were massive and it was fun to watch. i will send pictures. president has all the good ones on his camera and he hasnt given them to me yet, so once i get those, i will be passing those along as well. but talk about fun!
Thursday and Friday were good. The hotel in Camana turned out to be really nice and the driving didnt kill me as much..... being tired that is.
Bueno, like i said we are having our last week of interviews for this week and then we have to be sending the old elders and sisters home and then we get right off rolling with another change. gonna be a great week i hope and i am excited to get to working hard.
Our baptism that was supposed to be for today fell through. Fabricio left unexpectatley to Tacna to help out his grandpa and his health situations and then we left and we couldnt have any lessons with him. so we will be trying for that this next saturday. pray for us to find some more people to teach and pray for the mission that we can improve our numbers and foucs on what needs to be done here in Arequipa. I love the mission and the missionaries i get to serve. and i especially love the peruvians. they are awesome.
and of course i love you guys. more than you know.
have a wonderful week. be safe. look for more missionary opportunities and look to bless the lives of all around you. look for spiritual experiences and be true to the faith.
love you all,