Monday, June 27, 2016

Ola! Tudo Bem? 

I have a lot to write about today! I've been really good with journaling recently. Elder Jensen and I shook on having a daily journal entry, and I've been true to it, although I've had to play a bit of catch up at times. 

Tuesday is where I shall begin. Oh man this experience isn't my favorite... On the bus I talked to a lady from Portugal. After she got off the bus, I felt prompted to get up and move by a guy a couple rows ahead on the lefd side to talk with him. For whatever reason, I didn't follow the prompting, and I felt so bad that I didn't talk to him. The guilt was unreal. Honestly, I'm really good about going out of my way to talk with people and doing things out of my comfort zone. Lesson learned; always follow promptings.

I had a cool insight about the 3 Nephites vs. the 9 Nephites recently. The 9 Nephites righteously desired to return to God after they died. The 3 Nephites had an even greater desire; they wanted to bring souls to Christ "While the world shall stand" (3 Ne 28:9) Which missionary am I? (rhetorical question)

I put up decorations on Tuesday night for my b day. Courtesy of Mum.
On Wednesday, my b day, we woke up a bit earlier so we could play 2v2 basketball in a local park (I'm in a 4 man flat). Elder Aubin made Spinach smoothies, and some REALLY good pancakes. 

Elder Aubin
Birthday pancakes :)

Thanks for all the great presents :)

At District Meeting, Sister Mattos and Brown surprised me with a cake they made. i blew out the candles without making a wish. Hopefully I'm not cursed or anything. 

Happy Birthday, Alec!
Elder Parkin showed me a really good video that I'll send to you... It's an eye opener. It talks about how routine is the enemy of time; it makes it fly by. So many people say things like "my life went by so fast... I just blinked and I was 80". This guy has a really neat story/perspective. I'll just send it to you. His name is Jedidiah, if you were wondering.

We got a cool text from someone in the referral centre in the MTC about a woman that we met on the Underground. She had a really positive impression of us and said she planned to learn more about the Book of Mormon. I'll send the pictures of the text we received. It just shows that you never know what seeds you'll plant!

This past week we found this guy named Hanson. He's an absolute miracle. He's 17 and Columbian. We met him outside the Tottenham Hale station, where I spoke some Spanish to him. We taught him the Restoration with a member that was about his age. He accepted a conditional baptismal date for 31 July. 

We had a nice teaching appointment/lunch with Alex and Rhama. We watched a Mormon message in Portuguese and the Spirit was so strong. :) We brought Hot dogs to the lunch

On Saturday, Alex was baptized. Twice :) The second dunk was done properly and all was well. Alex was very willing to do it again because he "loves water". What a guy. 
After the Baptism, we had a lesson with Hanson where we watched the Restoration video with him in Spanish. After the video, we were discussing, and at one point I asked if he believes Joseph Smith was a prophet and if he believes the Book of Mormon is true. To both of these, he answered in the affirmative. He's amazing. He came to church on Sunday too!

Today was a great P-day! I got a new pair of shoes (much needed), a hair cut, and we walked through part of Hyde Park and walked on Kensington Palace gardens (super nice houses that are on lockdown; you can't even take pictures there).

I love you all and hope you have a great week!


Elder Withers

Elder Alec

England, London Mission

England, London Mission

Royal Albert Hall

Sunday, June 26, 2016

 Alec in London

Alec and Big Ben
[SENT 6-20-16]


After serving in the England London Mission for 1 year, I am finally serving in London. I absolutely love it here.
On Tuesday I said some goodbyes to members. We ate at the Greig's on Tuesday night. I love that family so much! I said the closing prayer before leaving the Greigs and Sister Greig got emotional... yikes. 

Alec, Elder Jensen and The Greigs Family
Goodbye Elder Jensen!

Elder Parkin is from SLC Utah (East Bench, specifically), Born in Passadina, CA. He's 19 and has been on his mission for 10 months, today. He has 3 brothers and 1 younger sister. His oldest brother is serving his mission in Chile and comes home in 1 month. He played american football and lacrosse in high school. And skiing is his passion. His family is strong in the church, and he's got mad flow. And he's always wanted to serve his mission in England. 

Alec and Elder Parkin

Mom and Dad; i opened a letter from each of you that you sent with me on my mission. The one from dad was about ancestors that were in England, and the one from mum was advice for a missionary (the one with all the suns around the border). Thanks padres :) Those were the first letters I've opened from the ones I took with me.

This is the hardest I've worked in my entire mission. I'm really grateful to be here. There are just so many people everywhere. We talk with everyone on the street, on buses, on the tube. There's always someone to talk with. Saturday was probably the hardest I've worked in a single day in my entire mission. We talked with so many people, and my legs were tired at the end of the day. I've also been able to work on my Spanish! There are lots of Spanish speakers here! Mucho Colulmbianos. 
We're teaching a man named Alex that'll get baptised this Saturday! He's a wonderful man and I'm so excited for him. I just love his family! His wife, Rhoma, will hopefully get baptised in the not to distant future. They have a cute little son named Benjamin, and they speak Portuguese.

We found a cute couple (both around my age) recently! We had our first lesson last night. We taught the Restoration to them, they both understood, and the Spirit was totally there! They both said a prayer at the end of the lesson and felt good. Miracles. We'll see Jonathan and Cindy on Wednesday.


- There's a recent convert that says "Elderly" instead of "Elder"

-There's a fruit stand near the chapel that Elder Parkin and I frequent. We've gotten peaches (multiple times), bananas, grapes, pomegranites, pears, and apricots. I love fruit.

- There wasn't a piano player for the hymns yesterday in sacrament meeting. We sang the first two hymns a capella, but it sounded awful. For the last two hymns, I got up and played/struggled through the hymns, but at least it sounded better than no piano at all.

Love you all!


Elder Withers

P.S. I had my first P-day in London today!
Trafalgar Square
Royal Guard
The Thames
With Elder Parkin and Big Ben

London on the Thames


Sunday, June 19, 2016

[SENT 6/14/16]
Alec with the ward mission leader


If you're wondering why I titled the subject of this email with such vivid imagery, I will tell you. If you're not wondering why, I'll tell you anyways. Well, I'll tell you about my week first, and then we'll get to the juicy bit.

I'll start my week with Friday, because my journalling slipped until then. Friday marked exactly one year from when I left the MTC... How strange is that! I've learned and changed a lot since then. I still remember being with Elder Cook in Hitchin, being in that flat, being with the members, emailing from the Hitchin computer. Now Elder Cook goes home tomorrow. I just can't believe how fast the time has gone. I've learned and changed a lot since that first transfer of my mission...

On Saturday we went to a baptism in Chelmsford! After that, we went the Greigs for lunch and service. We helped them clear out some weeds/stinging nettle in part of their garden. The Greig family is so great! We also taught their 7 year old son about the Plan of Salvation, using a diagram, in preparation for his baptism.

We later went to Nando's with Haydn Hewitt and his nonmember stepbrother Chris. Long story short, we've played football twice with Chris and had Nando's together on saturday. Haydn told us that after the first time Chris played football with us that he went home all excited, telling his parents how cool we were, in the which his rather anti parents shot him down pretty hard. Yesterday we got a text from Haydn that said that one of Chris's friends was super anti and was "slating" the church. He said Chris stood up for us and the church. "He might not be too interested in hearing the message but he's definitely thinking about it because before he would just laugh and play along with his mate." Pretty cool... A member told us on Sunday about a miracle from his mission where he taught a girl whose father was anti and opposed to the church. The girl didn't get baptised while this member (Brother Bueno) was serving. 15 years down the line, Brother Bueno returned to visit his old stomping grounds with his family, to find this girl along with her family had been baptised. We had dinner with the Bueno family on Sunday. I'll send a picture of us with their family

Due to speculation regarding transfers, Bishop had me bear my testimony in Sacrament meeting. One thing I talked about was the connection between Alma 7:11-12 and 3 Nephi 17, where Christ decides to tarry with the Nephites because he was filled with mercy. 

I really love Colchester ward. It's very strange how fast 3 transfers has gone here... Elder Jensen and I both wrote a happy birthday card for Sister Greig, who at one point said something like "If you leave I'm going to cry". Lol it's nice to be loved...

Yesterday we had zone finding at 2pm. In the beginning of it, we tried to stop 2 guys. They were working, so their time was too limited to talk. One of them was obviously not interested and walked off but the other guy wanted to exchange phone numbers. His name was Daniel and he wanted us to call him later that night. We called him later, and had a really nice conversation. He said that what makes him lean towards wanting faith is that he wants to change; he's been drinking too much recently. He also wants peace (as we all do) in our life. We will see him tonight at the chapel.
Tuesday, Elder Oaks came to our mission. Elder Jensen and I originally sat in the back right corner. As we were standing to make sure our zone was there, Sister Hylet told one of the AP's that two seats were available in the front. So Elder Jensen and I sat in the second row, right in the center of the HP chapel. How special it was to shake the hand of an Apostle of the Lord, along with Sister Oaks, President and Sister Kearon, and Elder Herbertson.
I came into the meeting fasting and praying for revelation on how to be more motivated to give my all as a missionary. Some specific things I got out of the meeting: Declare to the Lord I'll give my heart to him and my best effort in my morning prayer, Say to the Lord "I Will"; the Lord needs me to say "I will" more than he needs my investigators to, Become th eMessage, Seek a mighty change of heart (Alma 5:12-14).
On Thursday we had an exchange. We had a cool miracle in finding a woman named Kylie. She seemed super great, and we were supposed to see her yesterday. But in between the time we met her and the time we had the appointment scheduled, the adversary changed her mind. 
Here's the reason for the Juicy subject line: yesterday was moves calls! President Stevens called us to inform us that I will be going to London North Zone to serve with Elder Parkin, and Elder Jensen will stay in the Ipswich Zone and be joined by Elder Burgess. My area will be Lea Valley.

I'm really excited for transfers. I love Elder Jensen a lot. Literally he's my best friend. I've learned a lot from him, and I feel we've grown a lot together. But I'm excited for the change because changing areas and companions will give me a fresh satart. It's an opportunity to more easily be the missionary I want to be; exactly obedient, diligent, consecrated, loving, motivated, etc. This will hopefully be a springboard of growth for me.

We had dinner with Bishop Leydon and his family last night. I wrote them a thank you note and gave them one of your precious CD's, mom.

I love you familia! Have a juicy week ;)

Elder Withers

Alec, Elder Jensen and the Bueno Family

Alec and Elder Jensen :)

Alec, Elder Jensen and Marcel

Sunday, June 12, 2016

[SENT JUNE 6, 2016]

Alec, Elder Jensen and other Elders

I have had a great week! I'll tell you about it. 

On Tuesday, it was a dreary, rainy morning. We were getting ready for the day when Lauren Fagg called us and said they needed help because their house was flooding. I changed out of my proselyting clothes, and out on flip flops, Chiefs, a shirt, a windbreaker, and my name badge (of course). We drive to the Fagg family, to see them forcing the water with shovels and a broom around the side of their house to prevent it from flooding their house. Elder Jensen and I joined em in their efforts. My feet were submerged in the water at various points of our service, and the water was cold! My feet got used to it though, as they became numb. I was 'past feeling' in my feeties. But I was happy and smiling as we served, and actually had a really nice experience even though it was rainy and cold. 

Something I've thought about recently is from my blessing given to me to set me apart as a missionary. "People's first impression of me will often be social." I've tried to smile and be more happy and enthusiastic while finding and talking with people. 

Recently I said a prayer asking to know what I needed to improve on most! I was surprised at how specific and clear of an answer I received. God answers prayers. 

Elder Jensen and I went tracting on Wednesday night. Not too long ago, I read part of the Ricciardi letter (written about a legendary Italian missionary that served in England). Being inspired by his boldness, I made a move at one of the doors we knocked. A Greek couple opened the door, and stood back a bit from the door. Early in the convo, I spotted something on their dresser thing that was near the door. I asked what it was, and they didn't know what I was referring to. I then walked into their home, past them to get a closer look. We tried to see if we could sit down with them right then but their baby was in bed. We set up an appointment for the next morning. The appointment didn't happen, but it was a fun experience setting up an appointment from inside their home. Boldness be my friend :) 

We also stopped by a less active woman named Gabrielle on Wednesday.

At one point while we were at the door, her 6 year old son, Niall, came to the door and told us he had a surprise for us. He proceeded to turn around and release a wet sounding passage of gas in mine and Elder Jensen's direction. Thanks for the surprise, Niall...

Thursday we woke up at 4am to travel to London for MLC. On Saturday, we had Zone Meeting. On the way there, Elder Jensen unintentionally ran over a squirrel. The squirrel "picked the wrong lane". 

Ipswich Zone Conference

We went tracting with a different style of approach. Our goal was to place 5 BoM's and get inside 3 homes. We hit our goal as well! We went by yesterday to follow up with those that we gave a chapter to read.

Sadly, no one had the experience that we wanted for them (due to lack of reading, sincerity, and prayer). But we feel we can make tracting/finding more effective now by focusing on getting people to read from the Book of Mormon. After all, it is the keystone of our religion and it brings the Spirit more than any other book! 

While tracting we met some interesting people: a woman who was a witch who had a dog named Demon, a woman who said water is God, a Buddhist dude that let us in his home but wasn't teachable, and another guy that we had a funny convo with that wanted to think about reading the BoM before we gave him one. People are great 😊 

Love you all! Hope you're having a great vida!
Elder Withers


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Elder Withers and Elder Jensen
So my time is super limited so I'll try to write fast.

I hit my year mark this week! That's so strange... To celebrate I opened the package from you guys (I loved it :), and went to Bills (a restaurant in town) with Elder Jensen.

I had an English breakfast (we went 
at 11am so lunch wasn't being served) and Elder Jensen got pancakes. Here's a pic of my yummy comida:

We visited Honeysuckle on Friday night! We brought cookies for them. It was a really spiritual lesson; we read 2 chapters from the child's BoM, and I even stood up on their couch to explain/demonstrate Samuel the Lamanite a bit. Honeysuckle's older brother Asher (nonmember) volunteered to say the closing prayer. How cool is that?

Saturday morning we played football. I really enjoyed it because I made a concerted effort to talk with and praise others as we played. It's funny how my experience playing sports has changed... Now I'm not even supposed to be competitive :) A member brought his stepbrother Chris so that was cool too.

On the way to a teaching appointment, we were pretty much at the guy's house. I was resting my arm on the car window (rolled down) when all the sudden a sign from heaven strikes like a lightning in a summer storm in he mountain tops. A bird pooped on my arm. Here's a pic:

Needless to say, I changed my shirt.

Marcel got baptised on Saturday! He got there late but all is well. Before I baptised Marcel, I said a prayer with him in the bathroom. There was such a nice peaceful spirit in that moment. After he was baptised, he bore a wonderful testimo of his conversion story. He came to England from Nigeria. One day he prayed to hear the word of God, and the next day, while he was on the phone, was stopped by Elder Wright and Elder Isaksen. He ended his phone call to talk with them. How cool! He also said that when he was under the water that he knew he was doing the right thing. 

After the baptism there was a talent show that us and the sisters were a part of. Our act was funny! Basically we walked through the day of a missionary. One set of sisters put their face through a sheet, while the other set stood hidden behind them and put their arms through the sheet. Elder Jensen and I narrated different events in our day (such as waking up, praying, shaving, exercising, eating a healthy lunch, etc. Meanwhile, the sisters acted it out (smeared shaving cream on the sisters faces, fed them, etc). It was a good laugh.

Love you all! My time is short today so sorry for the short emails I'm about to send.

Love yous!
Elder Withers

[RECEIVED 5-23-16]

Alec and Elder Jensen
Hey Fam!

Happy moon day. 
On Tuesday we had an exchange with the Cambridge Elders. We had a lesson with a guy named Sam. We taught him about the Plan of Salvation in Subway. Sadly, he's too busy to meet with us at this time because of exams, but it was a really nice lesson. He's a great guy! After the lesson, I bought a footlong sub and shared half of it with him. 
We did some service for an elderly lady afterwards. Sadly it was in our proselyting clothes because we didn't have time to return to our flat to change. I had the strimmer (AKA weed wacker) and got nice and grassy. That's a good memory :)

We played football with the Cambridge elders on wednesday morning. That same day, we had another exchange with the Bury St. Edumunds Elders. I was with Elder Dalley and we went finding for 4.5 hours that day :) And we were blessed with a miracle! While on the way back to our flat, Elder Dalley stopped a guy that looked like he was 14. We talked with him, and he was interested in getting a book of Mormon. So we set up an appointment for later that night. When the time comes, we go over to his home (across the street from our flat). When we enter his flat, we're greeted by a girl, named Lydia, that I'd spoken with before that wasn't interested! The man turned out to be 22 and his name is Blessing. Long story short, we had a nice overview of the restoration, and invited them to read from the Book of Mormon, in the which both were pretty receptive. Which was neat, since Lydia wasn't interested in the past. We should be seeing them tonight so hopefully all goes well.

Funny stories:
There was this one day that Elder Jensen and I were waiting for an elevator. A woman came out with a suitcase. We said hi and Elder Jensen asked if she was going on holiday. She said no, that she was going to visit her family. All the while, we were walking into the elevator as she was walking to the door. Once in the elevator, I asked her (at this point near the door) where her family lived. Then the elevator door closed before she could adequately respond. It was nice and awkward... Good thing I'm not going on any dates for a while!

Elder Jensen and I often say the same thing at the same time, or one of us says something and the other is like "what?... I was just going to say that..." It's so strange how in sync we are sometimes...

Being a missionary is great! I love it. Hope you all have a great week