Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Lovely salmon lunch
Hello familia!
Its been another great week. The weather in London today is absolutely beautiful.

English Culture

This isnt really english culture but we baked Salmon yesterday. It was good
A missionary from Brazil made Coxhinas and chocolate covered straweberries. They were the best chocolate covered strawberries Ive EVER HAD IN MY ENTIRE LIFE! The chocolate coering was made from condensed milk and chocolate and it had chocolate sprinkles. So it was really guey and soft and didnt break apart when you ate it. I guess its english culture because I was in England when I ate them...


We saw a black cat and I called it a dirt bag. And as soon as I did it looked right at me. I actually took a video of this event. I will send it to Brock. If you like a copy, consult him. D)
We got a nice text from someone I talked with on a bus. It said “Sorry i can don text me or call me anymore bye”. I took a picture of it because I found it humorous.


On Tuesday, the Victoria Line was closed due to a suicide, so we took an alternate route into Central London for a District Meeting. On the tube, a guy started talking to us. He told us he seen missionaries before in Greece. We found out, to our surprise, that he lives in Tottenham Hale as well! What are the odds... We will see him this week.
Spiritual Experiences

After dinner on Tuesday, I was feeling pretty tired. Regardless, we went out to find. I received a very specific prompting that if we stopped everyone, we find someone who would meet with us. Soon enough, we met a guy named Eugene that we set up an appointment for. I was energized by the Spirit. Sadly, the appointment hosed, but it was a cool experience.
I had a couple neat experiences with prayer this past week. For one of them, I was kneeling in our living room in our flat praying, and I just really felt the Spirit strongly as I prayed. On another occasion, I was praying to know what I need to do for the zone. The inspiration came to “Light the Fire within” (Something Sister Stevens shared in a recent training). Before my personal prayer, I had received the inspiration to remind a missionary of his own conversion, and help him desire to help others feel the same way as he.

The Work

I gave a training on lesson plans on Wednesday in District Meeting. We also had a really good lesson on the Sabbath day with Jorge and Marcela, with a focus on the sacrament. And they came for the first time yesterday! Yes!! They're practically a supermodel couple...
Alex received the Priesthood yesterday! His wife is working towards her baptism in August.

What I learned

I had a cool insight while talking with Elder Parkin. He shared his experience of feeling the Spirit from an ensign article he read on Friday morning of a dad helping his handicapped son pass the sacrament. My insight was that people feel the Spirit when there is something related to and interesting to them, that they connect with. We must connect with the things we read, hear, and see in order for our hearts and minds to be opened. Thats the reason why you feel the spirit especially strong when watching a video of someone in a similar situation to you, or when you read a passage of scripture that applies directly to you you have a powerful spiritual experience, or when someone says something in sacrament that speaks to you you start crying, etc. For this reason, we need to teach, testify, and invite with authenticity, and give people relevant and related lessons and commitments.
Have a great week familia!


Elder Withers


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

[SENT 7/11/16]

Windsor Castle
Hiya Family!                                                                           

I shall format my letter in a similar way as I did last week. Enjoy :)

English Culture
Today we visited Tower Bridge and a Freemason temple. Both were amazing! I think we were at Windsor Castle as well... I'm not sure the name of the castle we saw. I'll send some pictures.
Events in My Week
We had Zone Training Meeting on Friday in the Hyde Park chapel! It went really well. 

We had lunch with Alex and Rhama on Saturday! Elder Parkin and I helped prepare food. 

We did two hours of service for a lovely Ghanain family that we met last week! We helped them clean up their back garden, and then taught them (Mom, and two daughters) the Restoration. Service softens hearts :)

My Growth
My perspective on leadership continues to develop... I realize more and more how much of an opportunity I have to impact missionaries for good; to really help them and make a difference in their work. 

I have lost over 10lbs since the middle of June! I'm still not where I want to be, but I'm committed to get healthier. Follow up with me next week and keep me accountable! :)

Alec on Tower Bridge
This is kinda a miracle/heartbreak story... But here we go. On Tuesday while street contacting we come across this woman with a cup of alcohol in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Her name is Marie and she's 31. She's had a tough life; she lost both her parents, she no longer has custody of her 2 kids,  and she's practically thrown her life away because of drugs and alcohol. Since we found her in Walthamstow, we were close enough to walk with her to the church. We took her into the chapel and to the sacrament table. We talked about how Jesus could help her since He knows what she's going through. I was prompted to play the Mormon message that tells the story of a man who went through a similar experience to her. It's called "The Savior Wants To Forgive." Watching the video with her invited the Spirit so strongly! She was crying at the end of the video. We set up another time to meet with her, but sadly she didn't make the appointment for Wednesday, and the successive appointment for Saturday. She has lost control of her life because of her addictions. It's heartbreaking, especially since I could picture her changing her life. 

So remember how I was debating getting a new suit? I had decided not to get one until the end of my mission. Not long after that decision was made, I was looking in my closet and I saw a suit that I hadn't seen before! It was a suit someone had left behind. I tried it on, and the jacket was pretty good, but the trousers were too short and too baggy. So I took them to a Dry Cleaning/Tailoring place near our flat and got the trousers adjusted! So I got a new suit for about £23. What a deal! "There can be miracles...when you believe" (quote from Prince of Egypt)

Lessons Learned
We had an AP Exchange with Elder Steuer. He's a great guy. He shared a really cool spiritual thought with us from Moses 5:5-7. The "firstlings of our flocks" is the sacrificial offering. In our day, we offer our agency, since it's the only thing we can put on the altar of sacrifice (see verse 5). Some times we don't know why we put our will on the altar, or why we are obedient, but we do it anyways (verse 6). The promise with obedience is that we grow in our knowledge and understanding of the Atonement. We come to know Jesus Christ (7).  Cool, huh?

I love you all! Have a wonderful week.

Con amor,

Elder Withers
Two more categories to add to my list [sent in separate email]

Someone told me they heard Mormons were born dead, and someone else said that we believed black people had no souls. Thanks for the misconceptions, Satan. 

The Work
Last night we had a lesson with a Romanian guy named John. He's a man of great faith, and not as great English. As we were trying to teach him, he confused "prophet" for "profit", as he told us that he wasn't here for money he was here to pray. At one point, we busted out google translate on our iPad's to convey to him the idea of baptism. Thank goodness for technology. He accepted a date for baptism on Drake's birthday :) So we'll see how it goes.

Our investigator is doing well. There's a concern that could keep him from baptism regarding a difficult situation with one of the commandments, but he has a really great testimony and understanding of everything we've taught him. He brought his mother to church with him on Sunday, and we gave her a cake we made (it was her birthday on Saturday) I think we made a good first impression ;)

Alex was confirmed in sacrament meeting. The next project is his wife, Rhama. I love their family so much...

Love you's!

Elder Withers
Inside the Freemason Temple
Tower Bridge

Panoramic from flat

Freemason Temple

On Tower Bridge at mission boundary



Monday, July 4, 2016

Elder Parkin, Unknown Elder and Elder Alec

Happy Fourth of July! I hope England shoots off some fireworks today... But I'm not too optimistic. 
I'm going to structure my email a bit differently today. Let me know what you think:

English Culture:

- I Visited Buckingham Palace Today
Buckingham Palace

- The Weather is really moody

- There is diversity everywhere

- It's fun to travel on the Tube and get to know the stations and the tube lines better. 

- People don't usually talk on the tube. Until you talk to them first... (Insert smug face here)


Funny experiences

We accidentally bought a ton of fruit today. We just kept loading up our cart at Lidl and spent more than we intended. Hopefully it lasts :) Fruit is life. 
"Fruit is Life."
We were waiting for the train yesterday while travelling to Ilford for a baptismal interview. We were sitting on a bench, and talking, when I look across the tracks to see a small boy with his back towards me. He's at the edge of the fence facing the trees, and a stream of fluids comes from within his body. All the while, his dad stands proudly at his side. What has the world come to. 

Lessons I learned this week:

- I had an exchange with a certain elder this past week. He goes home later this year, and he's been having some struggles. During the exchange evaluation, he shared with me his struggles. Once again, I realised you can never judge someone, because you never know the full story

- A Quote from Jeffrey R. Holland stuck out to me. In essence it said "my morning schedule and routine will tell the tale of my day, month, year, mission and life" Wow...

Spiritual Experiences:

President Kearon came to our mission on Wednesday and it was amazing. Some of the things I gleaned from the conference with him, his wife, and President and Sister Stevens are as follows: 

-Pray every day that the Lord is preparing people in my current and future areas (Sis Kearon)

- Imagine the Lord being my companion for the day; How would I be different (Sis Kearon)

- Attack the morning; by praying with real intent, exercising (meaning I must sweat), taking a shower and then ending with a cold blast of water, and having good studies (Pres Kearon)

- Gain greater conviction of what the gospel and specific commandments do for me so I can bear greater personal witness in colloquial terms to those I teach (Pres. Kearon)

MLC was just amazing. President Kearon and his wife came. This was the best MLC of my entire mission... Sister Kearon shared a powerful, personal experience. As she shared, I felt the Spirit so strongly testify that God is so near to each of us, and he will never leave our side. There is no way for me to adequately describe the Spirit that was there, besides what it says in 3 Nephi 17:16 "The eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard." The Kearons are spiritual giants.

London Mission Conference
Even though I've been in Leadership for a while, I had my first baptismal interview yesterday! It was held in the Ilford chapel (which looks kinda like a castle). It was a very nice Spiritual experience. The candidate was well prepared, understood the responsibility that accompanies baptism, and had a very sweet, humble, simple, yet powerful testimony. 

Other just good experiences

- On Wednesday we ate dinner at a Columbian restaurant in Turnpike Lane with Valentina and Hanson. I spoke spanish to the chef, and tried to set up a time to meet with him, but he wasn't interested. It's all good though. I tried an Arepa for the first time! I sent a picture of it, but it's basically a rice disk with a burger, and cheese, and tomato, and something random on top. 


The DeJohns (A Senior missionary couple) took us out to dinner after MLC to a really nice Italian restaurant in South Kensington. I just really enjoyed that time with them. They brought with them a friend that works with them in the archives, with whom I feel I made a positive impact (she seemed less than happy for whatever reason. she's an older lady). I spoke spanish to a couple that sat neighboring us, and gave them a card when they left. I left a card on the table with a brief thank you written on the back. I talked to a less active member from Stevenage on the Tube. And in the tube station, as we were walking I followed the prompting to stop a girl with a shirt that said "Spiritual gangster". She seemed quite interested, and lives in stratford. I told her that we were Spiritual Gangsters, too. haha
This was a great week! I really do love London. Thank you for your prayers and support.

Love you all!

Elder Withers


Happy Bday, Elder Withers! From Amos Family <3