Monday, April 27, 2015

Hey guys,

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 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 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,

Elder Birtcher

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 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 (√Čl 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

Hey guys!! 

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 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,