Saturday, November 26, 2016

First Christmas package arrived in less than a week!
Hi familia!

I hope everyone's started listening to Christmas music, because I sure have! Christmas cheer is finally here. The HP Chapel has been decked with boughs of holly (figuratively speaking), and it's quite festive. On Monday night Elder Burgess and I will be Joseph for the live nativity (at different times, of course). One of us will be finding with a member while the other assumes his role. 

Also, you've probably heard about this, but the Christmas Initiative has been launched! How fun. I look forward to using it in finding and teaching situations. 

There's an app called "Face swop" that we've enjoyed taking selfies with. (When I say we, it means us and our Chinese investigators). Jing commented on one of the pictures "I look handsome as a man."  

The office
The Rees took us out to dinner this past week to a very nice Italian restaurant! It was so fun to be with them. Sadly we had an appointment not too long afterwards, so we didn't have tons of time to talk, but it was so good to get to know them a bit better. Also, Sister Rees shared her conversion story with us a couple of days ago. It was incredibly powerful! She gave up a lot for the gospel. Amazing. I love the Rees and I'm glad they're here! 

Transfers have begun! We spent all day yesterday with President and Sister Stevens discussing leadership and changes in companionships. Fun fun! They are both such wonderful people. If only the rest of the mission knew how funny President was... :D 

The Work
Our new investigator is great! She's done so well with reading, praying, commandments, and she even committed to invite a friend to church for next week. She's an example to me. 

Our other investigator is doing well, too! She has quite the enthusiastic personality. Funny to teach her. 

My Companion
Elder Burgess and I are having a great time together. Working hard, learning lots, and enjoying the work. We started running a bit in Hyde Park this week! We want to alternate between running and basketball. 

It's strange how fast the time is going... The Sister Missionaries that came out the same time as me go home on Wednesday. This is definitely a spur for even further change! Missions are so precious and I'm grateful I have so much time left.  

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I'm so grateful for each of you. For you love, letters, prayers, friendship, and support. I'm so grateful to be here in England! I really love it here, and I love the people. The mission is incredible. 

Love you all!

Elder Withers 

P.S. I don't have anything to report about reindeers, but I put it in the subject line because it rhymed with "Christmas Cheer"


Friday, November 25, 2016

[SENT NOVEMBER 19, 2016]

Gale's Farewell

Familia. Tudo bem? That's Portuguese. I'm currently sitting in the mission office on the 3rd floor of Hyde Park Chapel. To my right sits "The Mews", an expensive grouping of housing. To my left sits "Elder Burgess", my faithful companion. In front of me sits "Vanilla Yogurt", which is the most pleasing to the taste. Anywho, I'll tell you about my life during the past 7 days.  

Elder Burgess got a hair cut this morning. I'm so excited for today actually. It'll be the first p day that we've had time to just chill a bit; we are going to walk by "The Globe Theatre." T'will be fun. 

The Work
Our dear friend dropped us. ): It was quite heartbreaking. She "made a decision to give up", saying "it's too hard for me to have a religion. I tried, but I failed. And I have talked with my parents about this, they also don't agree. Sadness... 

I was talking to investigators (since they're friends, and Jing was the one who originally referred her). Our new convert had such a good attitude. She said "At least she heard about God. More Chinese people need to learn about God." What a good perspective. She went to FHE on Monday, is having fun, and making even more great friends. I'm so happy for her! She's just the coolest person.  

On Sunday we had Hot Pot at an investigator's house (she will be baptized at the end of this month. She's being taught by another set of missionaries in the ward). If you don't know what Chinese hot pot is, look it up on google! It was super good, and fun.  

After the dinner, we taught our first lesson with our new convert since she was confirmed (she was confirmed on Sunday during sacrament). We taught a wechat lesson. Our new convert was so excited to teach.  

We found another Chinese girl to teach! We taught her in person, with our new convert joining the lesson over my iPad. They met up the next day (since they both go to UCL), and now she is super excited for church because our new convert told her that Sundays are her favorite day. WOW! I wish you could meet her. Add her on facebook! She'd love it. :) 

Lessons Learned

I've realized that many of the skills I've developed at home (organization, computer skills, movie making, people skills, nunchuck skills etc.) are being used in the mission. It's quite neat! Yesterday I typed up in excel an availability calendar, displaying availability times for members. I was quite proud of it actually. One column is for the member name, and then there are 7 columns for the days of the week. If they can't teach then, I just put an "x". Otherwise I'd specify when they can teach. There's another column for phone number as well. I got all the information by mass messaging individual members and asking for their availability. It's quite beautiful, if I do say so myself. If I'm ever a ward mission leader, this is totally what I'd do. It makes it very easy to plan for and teach with a variety of members! Also it increases ward missionary work by involving more people. 

I asked my Chinese friends for a Chinese name on Sunday, and was given the name "Wei Shau Bau", which is apparently some polygamist Chinese character. Needless to say, I requested another name. Lol Chinese people are such jokesters. 

Elder Burgess and I made a funny video to preface our training to the Skype Super MLC we had yesterday. Our training was on interpreting Key Indicators (meaning #'s). I'll send the video to you :) 

It's just amazing serving a mission. I'm so grateful for the time I've had hear, and that I have lots of time left!  

Love you all!
Have a great week

Elder Withers

Happy P day everyone!                                    

I really like having Saturday P-Days. It feels nice :) This has been a really good week! It's just so good to be a missionary. I love the people, I love my companion, I love the gospel, I love President and Sister Stevens, I love the missionaries in our mission, and I love the way the Lord is shaping and molding me while I'm here. The mission life is the good life.  

The People

Our new convert is just the most amazing person ever. Her baptism was such a wonderful experience. There were a lot of people there. After the ordinance, while still in the font, she was so happy. She put her hands together and did a little bow towards everyone that was there. She got changed, and the first thing she said after she came out of the changing room was "The world is peaceful." She bore a wonderful testimony (funnily enough, I talked to her in the morning about her bearing her testimony, and she was unsure if she wanted to. But she decided she would, so she came prepared with things typed up on her phone) 

Our other new convert received the Holy Ghost and the Priesthood on Sunday! He's a great man. I look forward to him getting even more integrated into the ward. 

We had the three week missionary meeting a couple days ago. It was fun being with the new missionaries again, and seeing them a bit more comfortable with everything they're doing. 

Last night we were out finding. I was with Elder Mthombeni (again :) for our exchange. We ended up talking with this girl from India! She was the last person we talked with all day. It was about 9:00pm when we met her. She had a conversation with someone earlier that day about believing in God, and her answer was that she didn't know. We read Alma 32:28 with her, and it was a wonderful teaching experience on the streets in London, near Warren Street Station.  

On Sunday, I was facetiming our new convert before church to get some information about her and her family for her baptismal record. When I asked her for her dad's b day she didn't know it. In response she said "sorry dad" and laughed. Lol 

We were talking to her, and she reflected on her baptism. She said, "When I was under the water it was just me and God." She's super sweet. She also said she wished I would've held her under the water for like 2 minutes. HAHA Chinese people are just the best ever. 

Spiritual Experiences
There was a missionary that went home this past week. We had him stay in our flat with us. It was so special to have him there, and talk with him. I appreciated his powerful prayer that he offered. I hope he's had a good transition home.  

Love you all! Have a great week

Elder Withers

Hiya everyone!                                                                                                                       

Hope you all had a Happy Halloween. Like I did when I was younger, I dressed up as a missionary. It was quite exciting. Thanks for the Halloween package mumsie! It was so fun. Elder Burgess, President, and Sister Stevens all loved their packages of goods. Sister Stevens said I had a special mum. And she is right :)

Here is some organized observations of the occurrences of my past week.

The Work
Will was baptised! It was a great day for him. I don't remember exactly what he said after he was baptised, but he felt really good. He's such a good guy and I'm so happy for him. He will be confirmed on momma's birthday.

Jing is so ready for her baptism! We are teaching her two friends: Circle and Bamboo. Yes, their english names are "Circle" and "Bamboo". They are both super sweet. They accepted 10 December as the day for their baptism! I just love teaching Chinese people... Once again, we're making dinner for them tonight and then teaching them. We will cook up some wonderful spaghetti.

Earlier this week on Tuesday, we were street contacting near University College of London (UCL), and we met a guy named Paul. We set up a time to meet him for the following day, and parted. On the day of the appointment, we were OYMing (OYM = Open Your Mouth) near UCL, and in the middle of a conversation we were having, Paul, along with a friend, show up and just stand by us. Turns out, Paul brought a friend named Ricardo with him. We taught both of them about the Godhead and about prayer. After we said the opening prayer, Paul said he felt calm. So neat that he already felt the Spirit. Ricardo was super cool, too. We finish the lesson, and go off in our separate ways.

The next day, I message him on WeChat (the Chinese equivalent of FB). He responded to my messages by saying "I told everything to my parents but they are not allowed me to believe the western belief. Sry, but thx." He deleted me from his contacts, as well. Very sad that his parents interfered even when he was doing so well. However, Ricardo is amazing. He accepted a baptismal date for 17 December. I feel the reason we met Paul was so we could teach Ricardo! Hopefully Paul comes around one day...


I loved the fake spider that was in my Halloween package. I have used it on Elder Burgess, Elder Gale (A senior missionary in the office) and on Sister Gale. I'll send you the reactions of Elder Gale and Burgess.

We were out finding on Exhibition Road, and there was a guy I stopped by asking "do all English people hate the dentist?"  He said something, and then was like "you're rather slim for an American. See it's probably not a good idea to start a conversation with stereotype". He was a bit salty. :D Bless him...

Spiritual Experiences

We had a mission wide conference call today to start off our mission wide finding, and to prelude the mission wide fast we will do together for fast Sunday. During President Steven's remarks, he talked about what he felt as he read the story of Ammon and the other sons of Mosiah in the Book of Mormon. That many probably thought they would be unable to teach the gospel to and convert the hardened Lamanites. He said that some of us may be feeling the same way about our areas. President promised that if the Lord prepared people for the sons of Mosiah to find, teach, and baptise, so to would he here in England. I felt the Spirit strongly as he shared this wonderful insight.

That sums it up. Thanks for reading this, thinking of me, loving me, and praying for me.

Much love,
Your hijo and hermano,
Elder Withers

P.S. I'll send some personal emails a bit later, since we are going to prepare spaghetti soon. Our emailing time is segmented today. :)