December 11, 2010

Me and my new bishop... we took those fotos today ( at the sea)
Hey family... thanks so much for the letter. and thanks Vince for the letter. Life is good.

Today we had to go to Talcahuano which is in the other mission. One of the new converts of the sector had some problems and so we had to take her and her daughter to Talcahuano. The bishop came with us. It was kind of a weird situation because we really aren't allowed to leave mission boundaries, but we told president what was going on and went. That was the only chance I'll probably have to familiarize myself with Talcahuano. We got to see those sea wolves (is that what they are called in English) no I think they are called sea lions in English.
Me and my comp
It was a good week. It honestly flew by. I cant believe we are almost starting the third week of the transfer. We had the conferences this week. On Wednesday we were in Talca and on Friday here in Concepcion. It was a little bit different this time, because there were less talks, but more classes. We spilt each conference into 3 30 missionary groups and we had little workshops on teaching and our purpose and planning and stuff. President Humphrey did one, Hna Humphrey one, and my companion and I one. It went really really well, both conferences. There are very few Latins in this mission, and so each conference there was only one group of Latins so that the others could be done in English (hna Humphrey doesn't speak Spanish, but she is learning SO fast) I don't know why Ive had 4 Latin comps. There are a lot of missionaries here in this mission that go their entire mission without having a Latin comp. I think I've had four because I have such a hard time speaking Spanish. You'd think I could do it by now, but its still tough. The mission is about 15% Latin... compare that to the Concepcion south mission that is 50/50 latin/gringo.
That is me looking over Conce with the truck in the background
So this week we have to go to four different zones to do interviews. We´ll be traveling a lot. I don't mind that at all. I actually really like the assignment I have in this moment. It is tiring, but I like it. We really haven't had time to work in our sector. This last week we were in the office for a lot of time. For example, on Tuesday my companion and I with the office elders were here until about 5 am. We were making final preparations for the conference. At 3 my companion and I laid down and fell asleep until 5... we woke up at five, got home, showered and left at 715. We drove up to Talca, got there at about 945 and had the conference. We were going to come home after that, but we felt like we needed to go somewhere. We ended up going to Curico... Actually to Molina, (elder Tanner Christensons sector) we were going to do some things, but all the appointments fell thru, so we ended up doing a lot of little minicambios, I went with one of the zone leaders to a different sector to interview a lady, the other zone leader stayed with Elder Christenson and my companion stayed with the kid elder Christenson is training.

I love the mission. thanks for everything. I love you guys.

Love elder PITCHER.

November 29, 2010

Hey Family
Thanks so much for the letters. You all sound great. That’s too bad about the cougs. Sounds like winter is there for you guys, it’s almost summer here. The truth is that it had been so hot in Talca for some time. I say had, because I’m not in Talca right now. I’m down in Concepcion.
It’s been a pretty crazy day. Well the truth is that it has been a crazy week. You asked me about transfers. Well I was transferred. On Friday I got a call from Pres Humphrey. “Well, Elder Pitcher, I’m calling you to let you know you are going to be called as my new assistant.” So I’ll try and let you know some of the things that happened from Friday until now.
About an hour after president called me, we went to a house to teach. The guy is awesome, but he isn’t a member still. We have basically taught him one time. Now, I had always tried to prepare my converts by telling them, “In some moment I am going to leave, but you don’t need me anymore. You already have the tools that you need to continue feeling the spirit and work your way towards eternal life.” Anyhow, when I was there in the house, for some reason they starting talking a little bit about that, that it was going to be sad when I had to leave. Then they asked if I knew when I had to leave (I had found out one hour earlier). I said yes I did know but first let's share something about the Gospel and then after the lesson I'll let you know when I have to leave. So we taught the Restoration. Previous to this, we had only taught him one time when we shared about the Plan of Salvation. So we sat down and taught the restoration, and then at the end of the lesson, he said, “So it looks like you’re not going to be here for when I get baptized Elder Pitcher.” That reminded the others and they asked, “Oh yea, when are you leaving?” I told them, “The day after tomorrow.” That kind of changed the feeling that was in the room, but the good thing is we were able to eat lunch on Saturday. After sharing with them, we made some other visits.

On Sunday Brother M arrived to the church basically in tears. His daughter was ready to get baptized yesterday, but after she spent the night at her aunt’s house, she came home in tears and said she didn’t want to get baptized, and then left again. The dad was struggling, he is so awesome. He had been inactive for about a year, but he has such a good heart, and he wants to do the best for his family. His wife didn’t even come with him to church, but he showed up on time with a white shirt and tie. The bishop gave me a couple minutes at the start of sacrament meeting to say some things. That was thoughtful of him. Then the primary had their program. It was actually very, very good. There were some great talks given by those little ones.
After, we had a baptismal service for Mady. It was a really good service. She is so awesome. I will send you a picture next week.
There was some great stuff that happened with Alejandro. I love him so much. I wasn’t able to say goodbye to Javiera.
At 5:00 PM I had to take a bus to leave to Concepcion. I was going with three others who are going home. The problem is, we missed the bus. Ha, ha. We waited for a taxi for 30 minutes, finally the neighbor saw us still there and said, “I’ll take you!" Really nice, that guy saved us (non member... but he knows the church because his cousins are members.) It was really, really funny when I was there at the terminal because no one knew what was going on. They didn’t know why I was there - because no one makes their change until tomorrow. We ended up getting a bus at 6:00. The funny thing is the bus we took at six got to Concepcion before the bus that left at 5, because that one made two stops along the way.
I actually taught a guy on the bus that has read the Book of Mormon twice, but told me he isn’t baptized yet because he can’t go to church on Sundays and he knows the sacrament is important. He was a really smart guy. Young and he had a little bit of money. It’s sad when people get the important things mixed up with the not so important things.
Then I got here to Concepcion.
I live with 5 other missionaries. Last night there were 9 that slept in the apartment.
Today, I’ve done a lot. I went to go pick up some sister missionaries.  I’ve been learning a lot. We had a meeting with president that lasted about an hour and a half. We have so much stuff to do. Tonight I have to go to the mission home and do some stuff with the missionaries that are going home. Tomorrow we are going to pick up the new missionaries, do a lot of things with them and get them off to their areas.  We have a Mission counsel with all the zone leaders on Friday in Chillan... Lots of stuff.... I am so excited. I am tired right now. I think its cause I got not great sleep last night on that air mattress. But I have got good news. I HAVE THE BEST PILLOW IN THE MISSION NOW!!!!!! I am very excited for that. So hopefully I’ll sleep well, but from what I have heard, I won’t be sleeping much.
I love you all. Oh yea, my new preparation day is Saturday, so I’ll be writing on Saturday.

I love you
Elder Pitcher.

November 15, 2010

Good Morning!

Hey everybody. Thanks for the letters. I loved them. I love hearing from you guys and finding out how you're doing. RPitch... looking good. It's weird when you said it was for Preference because here we are going into spring and spring for me still means April, not November, so when I read Preference I thought 'don't you mean prom?' I hope you had a good time Ry.

Its crazy to think that it is Thanksgiving. Last year I didn't even know it was Thanksgiving. I was with Elder Poma and I would imagine he didn't even know what Thanksgiving was. I remember we had a Mission Conference that day.  I found out it was Thanksgiving when President Chavez got up and said, "Happy Thanksgiving... I know you always eat turkey on Thanksgiving, but we are going to be eating the turkey's cousin, chicken." That was nothing new, because we always eat chicken and rice.... ALWAYS eat chicken and rice.

It's very possible I get changed this cambio. I don't want to, I love my sector and we have some great investigators that I love. I also love the ward. We have a great bishop... he is so awesome... and his wife is amazing also. He is 24 years old and she is 21. I haven't had a better relationship with my bishop here on the mission.

So like I said we have some neat investigators.  Mady is a 16 year old girl who is just awesome. She has gone to seminary a lot and she has been reading in the Book of Mormon. I asked her the other day if she knew that what we teach is true and she said yes. I asked her if she knew the Book of Mormon was true and she said yes. I asked her how she knew, if she had prayed or how she knew, and she said, 'I honestly haven't had to pray. Since the first time I entered the church I knew it was true, and every time I listen and learn more I believe more.'  It's very interesting that answer she gave. We always want people to gain their testimony by the spirit, and we always teach that if you read the Book of Mormon, go to church and pray you will feel that spirit and know it's true. But after listening to Mady, and meditating in what she said, I thought about a scripture in the book of John, when Christ said that his sheep hear is voice, and recognize it. She has shown a lot of faith in what she is doing, and it really is a pleasure to teach her.

Yesterday after church I was talking to Alejandro. He went on a mission, came home, but afterward had a lot of trials and ultimately stopped going to church. He had been away from the church for a lot of years. Not really 100% away, but he would go to church 2 times a year, or go to the activities. He is extremely intelligent. I really love him, and since about the 6th week I was here in Talca he has been coming to church. Yesterday after church we were talking and he mentioned how he needed to go home and open his internet shop. I said, 'What?' and he just got a look on his face.... he started explaining... he said how about 5 months ago he had to start opening on Sundays because his mom had some problems and basically he was paying for all his college studies with the money he made on Sunday. He told me how he had talked with the Bishop and was told 'Do what you think is best'. We talked a long time about obedience and faith. We talked about the scripture Mosiah 3:19 and how the Atonement can't take full effect in our lives unless we yield to the Holy Ghost. He told me how he always needed to be 'in control' - in control of his future, and understand what was going to happen. I told him 'Faith sometimes requires walking in the dark, not knowing what is ahead.'  He told us to pass by his house in the afternoon. When we got there we shared a scripture and he started to talk again, his internet shop wasn't open. He told us that when his sister asked him if he was going to open it he said no. She said 'But what are you going to do? What is going to happen?' and he said 'I don't know, but God does'.... I get teary eyed even writing this story to you. She ran and got her scriptures and shared with him D&C 82:10, you know, the one that says (mas o menos) 'I the Lord am bound when ye do what I say, but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.' He said, with swollen eyes... I don't know what is going to happen. I don't know if the things are even going to turn out good. They might not turn out the way I want them to, but God knows. I am doing what he wants.

I was thinking again, about the sins of omission, and how Hard and Difficult it is to repent of them. It is very hard, almost impossible, to make up for the things that you don't do. That is why it is so important to be obedient, always. Repentance is always there, but it isn't easy.....
I love the gospel. I love the plan of salvation. I love my family. I love the mission. I am so grateful for everything I have been given. I am lucky.

With much love
Elder Pitcher.
 A spider that we saw one night in the house - I thought it was kind of cool.
The baptism of Matilde a couple weeks ago
Patricio and his family and Adela in Chillan
Me in part of downtown a couple weeks ago... it was a holiday and so NO ONE was there, that is why I thought the picture was so cool... you can see damage from the earthquake still.

October 25th, 2010


So it was another good week. I can´t believe it is already Halloween time. To answer your question, yes, they have Halloween here. It’s interesting because all of the Catholics love Halloween, the Evangelics swear it’s the day of the devil, and the Mormons don’t know if they can celebrate it or not. Last year I remember someone asking me the following question, "Do you know what Halloween means in English?" Yea... it’s a holiday. "No! It means the birthday of the devil!" That’s what Halloween is like here.

So it was a good week. My companion is Elder Clark. He is from Mesa, Arizona. My companion has 3 cambios left. I won’t be here when he ends. This is my third cambio here and it is very possible I will change after this cambio and then have 4 cambios in my last sector.

So today we played volleyball and a little bit of Soccer with the zone. It was nice. It is a very nice day. I would even use the word Hot today. I think I got sunburned. We are really going to try and have a zone that is united this cambio. We have 4 brand new missionaries in our zone. That is a lot. There are 8 companionships in the zone and all of them expect 1 received a change of some sort last week. It will be a great cambio. We are excited and the zone seems to be very excited too.

This week we had a total of 15 hours in our sector I think. On Tuesday I was in the bus terminal all day long sending missionaries to other cities, receiving new missionaries and waiting for my companion. I was there from 9 to 5:30. I’m happy to say everything went well. There was a break in between buses and I just sat down and looked at everything that was happening around me. Sometimes I really don’t feel like I am in a foreign country thousands of miles away from friends and family. I had to remind myself on Tuesday that I was in Chile. It just feels like home. But then I started watching all the buses jetting in and out and driving around in that terminal and I thought... 'there would never be anything so crazy in the States.' I really love Chile. I think it is a lot like the United States. However, on Thursday I was working with a brand new missionary and he told me he was shocked when he got here because it was so different than the States. I didn’t really believe him. Mom and Dad, when you’re down here, then you can tell me if it’s different than the states.

On Friday we woke up at 5:30 am and we were down in Chillan for a leader counsel. On Sunday we were right there again, but Sunday was even better because I got to see Patricio and his wife and kids and everyone else from there including Adela. Patricio and Marjorie are doing great. Patricio is still in the Stake young mens presidency and is loving it! Marj doesn’t have a calling because she just had her baby. I was so grateful to see them . Then we got in the car and went to Tome with president and his wife. It was a great ride. I can’t really remember what we talked about. They gave us some snacks, crackers and peanuts, because we didn’t have lunch. They are a very funny couple. A very real couple. We got to the baptism a little late. They were there waiting for us. It was a great great great service. There were tears. It was so nice to see everyone. Matilde and Jose Luis (the son) were baptized. I baptized both of them. They were so so happy. Matilde happier than anyone. When I saw her I asked her... 'are you ready?' and she said 'I’ve been ready for a long time.' Oh it was so awesome. After the baptism, we sang 'Families can be together forever.' That was neat because I was able to think about grandma a little bit. I loved her. I love her. I hope everyone is doing OK up there. I am doing OK here. I know families are eternal. I truly believe that with all my heart. Death is just another stepping stone on the path to Exaltation, and another piece to the grand eternal plan. It is amazing the peace someone can feel having the gospel in their life. That is what I was thinking while we were singing the song.
And then it ended.... I had to say goodbye again. It was hard. There were more tears. I saw Camila and Danelia. They are doing great, going to seminary every day. Some people gave me some gifts and some pictures. It was honestly incredible....The president was in the car waiting for me for a long time because we were all taking pictures. My companion was there saying we gotta go, we gotta go. And the last people I said goodbye to were Matlide, Jose Luis, Jose Luis and Claudia. They were all crying, even the dad. That was pretty tough. It is in moments like that I wish you were here Mom and Dad. I want you to meet these people. I want you to feel the love they have. I want you to feel the love I have for them. There is so much I would like to happen.
Jose Luis said he is getting baptized. Actually get this... when President Humphrey walked in he shook Jose Luis' hand. Then, a couple minutes later, someone introduced Jose Luis to the president as the father of the son and wife that were getting baptized. President said... 'You’re the Father! I thought you were the Bishop!'  Jose Luis just smiled. I don’t think I will be able to go to their baptism. Jose Luis said Pres Navarro can baptize him and Claudia wants me to baptize her but who knows what will happen.
After the baptism we went to the mission house to grab a quick bite to eat. I have done my best to submerge myself in the work. I have felt the blessings that have come from that. I Love this work. I love my Savior. I have felt his comforting power. It is the same comforting power He offers to everyone through His gospel and His spirit -- they just have to accept him.

I love you all so much.
Elder Pitcher.
 This is from last week's zone activity

October 4th, 2010

Hey everybody
I'm still here in Talca and I'm doing good. This week seemed to pass by pretty fast and time in general is passing by very fast.
On Monday we started out by having a family home evening lesson that we are starting to do every week now.
Tuesday we did a mini cambio. Elder Cockrell came to my sector and worked with me, but even that was weird because we had to do a switch while we were switched so Elder Irigoyen and I could go and have a meeting with the stake presidency. We also taught a good lesson with Kathy and Tihany. They had a huge change in their attitudes and we really saw a miracle with them.
Last Thursday Elder Horton and I went to their house. When we got there the mom was kind of busy and stressed and to make a long story short, one of the first things she said to us was 'I don't want to keep going with this. I don't want to get baptized, it's just not for me. I was doing it to support my daughter, but now I'm just too tired and I don't want to.' Whenever I hear anything like this I know I've done something wrong or we haven't taught well enough or something. We listened to everything she said, and then we started to talk to her. We expressed the love we have for them and we taught them the covenant of a baptism and how important it is. When we finished she said, 'Wow, OK' and we left her some things to read in the Book of Mormon. They were both very good in reading and all that and on Tuesday in the lesson they had a change, and said they were ready.

So Wednesday morning rolls around and I'm at the house with Elder Cockrell still, when Elder Fishbeck calls me. Elder Fishbeck is the Senior missionary here in the mission. About 6'3", 65 years old, loves to talk loud and laugh. He gets there and the very first thing he says is 'Where am I puttin my air mattress?' He had come up to work on the house. And he was going to stay the night with us. So right then we all went to the Chilean equivalent of Home Depot. It was funny walking around there, four missionaries in shirt and tie and a big old man in jeans and a T-shirt. We had a big sheet of Sheetrock, we bought paint, Mud, tape, a lot of stuff. We went and started working in the house. Elder Fishbeck stayed the night, but at 9 o'clock we got a call from the APs who said they were coming from Concepcion and needed to stay with us also. And so instead of having us four in the house, we were 7 people. When we got to the house at 10, Elder Fishbeck was already sleeping, but we woke him up... However, he got his revenge. At 6 o'clock the next morning he snuck into our room and started yelling stuff... he actually jumped on one of the missionaries that was sleeping on a mattress on the ground.
Thursday, we also had interviews with the president. They were good. We taught his wife and the assistants while the president was doing the interviews. We really have some great missionaries in our zone, however, we can all become better teachers. Something that has always been able to help me in my teaching is teaching, talking, and testifying about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Everything has to do with the Atonement, but at times, I think people forget that. I believe many times people take for granted what the Lord Jesus Christ did for us. They have heard so many times that they just say, almost without gratitude or emotion, 'Yes, Jesus died for you and me' but it is almost as if they aren't listening to the words they are saying.
I truly believe, with all my heart, that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, suffered and died, and resurrected from the dead. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to serve him as a missionary. I firmly believe that he lives, and is literally guiding this work. It is such an amazing blessing to be able to be here in Chile. I love it so much.

Saturday and Sunday were just awesome. We watched conference in the stake center. There were a couple talks that I want to study, because they were just jammed packed full of doctrine. A couple things that really came to my mind this conference were...
I need to be more grateful. I have been given so much, and I need to show gratitude.
I need to write in my journal a lot more.
We are lead by a prophet of God. Thomas S Monson really is the living prophet of God. What he says really is the will of the Lord. I meditated in that a lot and it really got to me. We believe in Christ, if we want to follow him, we must follow every word that comes from His prophet's mouth. I feel so lucky that we have what we have, that we are members of the true church of Jesus Christ. There is not doubt in my mind about that. If anyone sincerely listens to our message, if they sincerely read in the Book of Mormon and if they sincerely ask God, they too will know that this is the only living church on the earth. I feel so lucky to have been born into it and to have the opportunity to be a small, small part in the building up of it.

I love you all, thanks for everything!!

Today our zone went paintballing.  

Sept 20, 2010

So we just passed the independence day here in Chile. Independence Day is bigger than Christmas I think. They have given them 4 days off from work and school, and they just love it. The holiday was special this year because they are celebrating the 200 year anniversary. The 18 of September is the day, but we had a big party as a ward on Friday the 17th. It was a big party. It started at 10 and the last people left at 11 at night. We got there at about 12 and left at 9:30 (we left a couple times in between to get investigators) There were games and there was food. Lots of food. Empanadas, Cazuela (its like a soup with chicken and potatoes, very Chilean) and barbecue.  One of the highlights of the night was when a group of teenage girls and boys came and danced the Cueca, the national dance of Chile. It is very neat, and when you understand the history of it, it is neat to watch the dance and understand what is happening. It is very cowboyish. Chile has a cowboy past, and it's almost all gone now, but they LOVE dressing up like Chilean cowboys and celebrating their independence. Chile is very different from all other Latin America countries in many aspects, and the national dance is very different too. I always thought about dances like the Salsa and Flamenco, But I found out it's not like that here. They dance a lot of Salsa in Columbia and the Samba from Brasil is very fast and hipmoving, but the Cueca is nothing like that. I know I will be finding a way to get down here with my future wife for a 18 de Septriembre and we will be dancing the Cueca together. I know, I cant believe I said I'll be learning a dance, but I really want to. I would also love to learn the Salsa that they dance in Colombia, The only thing is, that takes moves, and moves are what I don't have, but Elder Valderruten told me he will be teaching me the Salsa.

Saturday was a very tough day for the work because it was the 18 and everyone was with their families and a lot of them were drunk, but we still got some things done. In the night time we went to bed at 11 (regular time) and the house behind us had a couple people in the back yard. They were having some drinks and talking and just being happy. There were about 5 of them. However, at 1:30 in the morning I kind of was awakened by their music, but it wasn't that bad, I just went back to sleep. But then at 3:30 they must have turned their music up. I looked out from our second story bedroom and saw like 30 people back there. I woke up to a song by Shakira and I woke up thinking about Elder Jake Perry. Why? Because the song they were cranking so loud was the theme song for the Spanish world for the World Cup. Now I know that in the states, the World cup isn't that big, but here it is HUGE.. Bigger than big, and everyone and their dog was listening to that Shakira song talking about Africa. Naturally, every time I here the world Africa I think about my dear, dear friend.  And so when I heard this song at 3:30, Elder P was in my mind. I love him. Please give him a big shout out for me.

 Yesterday we taught some great lessons. We did a lot of door knocking and talked with a lot of people in the street. We got rejected a lot of times. Some people wouldn't shake our hands or talk to us, but we kept on going and we didn't get down. One of the last lessons we taught was one of the best lessons we've had in a long time. We walked past a house with a little girl jumping up and down and yelling. She was about 11 and she wasn't yelling because she was mad, just because she was having fun. We passed the house and my companion told me 'It looks like they are having a fun family night'.  He said it as a joke, but I said 'Lets talk to them!' and so we went back and we talked. To make a long story short, we got into the house. The man was drunk, but by some miracle he left after saying some choice words to us. The 11 year old girl was actually 10 and she is probably the smartest I've met here in Chile. She literally was finishing our sentences when we were teaching the restoration. After teaching about the First vision she said 'And after that he was called to be the prophet to make the church again. The only true church that has the power to baptize'. We invited them to baptism and the daughter of 14 was nervous, the mom was nervous, but the girl of 10 was like, 'obviously I need to get baptized in that church, and I don't care what my grandpa or dad tell me because I am going to choose this church because its true." (The grandpa goes to a different church and dad doesn't believe much in God). We invited them to a Family Night we are doing here tonight. I hope it all goes well.

I have to go get something to eat.

I love you all.

Sept 13, 2010

The foto is of my zone.
Answers to some questions.

Which area was it hardest to leave - Chillan or Tome?
I don't know what was harder. I honestly couldn't tell you. I love the way the people in Tome are. I love how loving they are. I also loved Chillan. I loved that sector. I can't give you an answer :)

What has been your biggest surprise about Chile?
How American it is.

What is your favorite scripture and has it changed from the beginning of your mission?
I can't pick a favorite scripture... One that always comes to my mind 'If you love me, keep my commandments'.... Elder Law always talked about that one. Wow, Elder Law is such a neat guy. Such a great missionary. I hope you meet him soon.

Are you compiling recipes so you can cook us a good Chilean meal some day?
Honestly... no... I might have just forgotten everything, but I swear a lot of the food is the same as the states... ha ha I just asked my companion and elder nelson if the food here is like the food in the states. They jumped all over me. NO. They said no its not. They then said Chilean food is like poorly made American food... don't worry, Ill get some recipes.

Ok... so some things that I just have to tell you. Mom, you are so cool. I was sitting in lunch yesterday eating a big salad when the the song LET IT BE came on the radio. Now, as missionaries, we don't listen to music, but the mom of this family was listening to it in the kitchen, and she cranked the volume. All I could think about was being with you, mom, with you driving way too fast, and the classic rock just playing and us just singing. You don't know how much I love you.

 Yesterday we spent the entire day in the sector of Piduco. That is the sector of Elder Pierce and Elder Kuykendall. We worked all of the afternoon with them. We were knocking doors in a very nice neighborhood and entered into a house and taught a man named Victor. He is such a neat guy. We could tell he had been having a hard time. He had some great questions about God. We taught a neat lesson. We taught about the power and gift of the Holy Ghost and what he needed to do to get it in his life. We testified that Jesus Christ gave his life to give him the chance to repent and be baptized for the remission of his sins. He talked about how little faith he has in Christ - how his faith has died. We taught him what he would need to do to increase his faith, and we taught him to pray. We then invited him to say a prayer. We knelt down and he said a prayer. I remember asking him what he felt. He said 'I have felt two things. I have felt a peace enter into me, but I also feel pain for all of the sins I have committed.' After his prayer, he stood up and he said ' its something so simple, but it helps so much.'

I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. He is our Lord and God. I believe that as we gain more faith in him and as we understand what he did for us and why he did it, sin becomes something that disgusts us. He has the power to forgive us of our sins, but he also has the power to change the deepest desires of our hearts, so we no longer have the desire to sin. We just have to let him.
I feel like I have gained a greater testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ. I have been able to recognize what he has done in my life. I believe in Him. I love the line of the hymn.... 'I believe in Christ, so come what may.' Lets remember that always.

Love you all
Elder Pitcher

Sept 7, 2010

Hey everybody.
It's a beautiful day here in Talca. We got up early and went to the church to check out the cambios and let our zones know what was happening. I made it through the cambio. We were all pretty nervous because I actually could have left, but now I'll be here for at least two more cambios because this is my companion's last cambio. From the church we went home and then we went to play soccer at a complex that is close by and now I'm writing you. (I'm bad at soccer)
Ok. so it was a great week. Lots of stuff, like always, but it was good.

All the way back on Tuesday we taught some good lessons and it went well. We then had a meeting (the four zone leaders of all of Talca) with the stake president. He told us about some problems the members have with missionaries and what the stake expects of us missionaries, and then we basically did the same to him. It was a great meeting. We have a great stake president, Presidente Salazar.

On Wednesday Elder Irigoyen and I took the morning to prepare a power point that we presented to all the Mission Leaders of the stake, I ended up eating lunch with Elder Irigoyen in my sector and my companion was with his companion. From there, we stayed in the mini cambio for the entire day because I had some lessons to teach with him in his sector. We then went to the stake center and presented the slideshow and tried to help everyone out. It went well... little by little we are progressing.

Thursday we were in a mini-cambio with the sector of Cancha Rayada (that means Scratched Field) because my companion had some interviews to do up there..

Friday we went to San Javier and worked with the Hermanas all day long. It was good. They are great hermanas and they teach well. At the end we were waiting for the others to meet up with us. (we went out in groups of 4, me, a priest, and 2 sisters) While we were waiting for the bus I  thought we should go back out again on Sunday and just work all day... we talked and prayed and on Saturday we told them we would be going back out the next day.

Saturday. Was another great day. In the morning we taught a less active who has basically lost his faith in God. I love him so much. He is so awesome. He was a missionary in Colombia.  We started teaching and by the end of the lesson we were just testifying of the Book of Mormon and helping him understand how it could be the pillar of his testimony. When someone says what they truly feel and know and when someone listens, with an open heart, it's amazing the power a sentence or two can have.

We taught a new convert that is 16 years old. He was baptized 2 weeks before I got here. He has been passing through some hard times and at the end of the lesson he said. 'How can I forgive someone that has done something bad to me?' It was such a strong question. He went on saying how he could find the strength in him to forgive this person.... The Spirit directed by mind instantly to the Atonement. We talked and we read...

9 And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.

We talked about what happened before His crucifixion, and what it must have been like being nailed to the cross. We asked him if he remembered what Christ said while He was on the cross. Half smiling, with a few small tears filling his eyes he said ' I remember, Forgive them father, for they know not what they do'
I don't know how He did it. He was beaten physically, He was mocked and humiliated mentally, but He never got mad at those  that did Him wrong. He just loved them. He loved them and He did not hold any anger against them. When we believe that someone has done us wrong in our live, I hope we look to the example of our Savior Jesus Christ. I hope we realize that it is just an opportunity to forgive, and become a little more like Him.

It hit me evening harder this week how lucky I am to be here. How lucky I am to have all my time to dedicate to the Lord. This week I had the strong feeling that I know I am supposed to be here in Chile building up the Kingdom of our God. In this specific part. I know it. It will be a life- long goal to help build up the church here in Chile, but not only here in Chile, but everywhere.

I would invite you to read this talk Bruce R McKonkie - Obedience, Consecration and Sacrifice

I love you all so much.
Elder Pitcher

Aug 16, 2010

Hey... thanks so much for the letters. Everyone sounds great.

We are coming out of Winter. It really has been very, very nice here. I actually have sweat a little during the day, but at night its colder. The good thing is that it hasn't rained since I got here.

Vincent Ing is so awesome. I love that guy so much. man, I still remember where I was fishing and the moment that he called me and said that he was going to Texas mission... viet speaking... wow I miss him.

Lots of things happened this week.... Tuesday the president was here in the morning and came to the first part of our zone meeting. It was pretty neat to have him there. Every Tuesday we meet as zones (16 missionaries). What happens is we all meet together and my companion and I say some things then we split and the district leaders take their district and teach a little class. As missionaries, we are trying to teach better. When I was in the MTC, I heard Elder Holland say 'Missionaries don't know how to teach'.  I didn't believe that at the time, but here in the mission I affirm that it is true. Because we do not teach well as missionaries, the First Presidency gave us the new simplified stuff. To try and help the zone, my companion and I talked about three things we can always do so the spirit guides us throughout the lesson.

1 - Listen attentively
2 - Look the investigator in the eyes
3 - Give room for silence.

It's incredible how the spirit will tell you what to say after you have listened and while there is silence. We talked a little about these 3 things and then the president started to talk and he just took off from there. It was neat because we didn't have any clue what he wanted to say, but it was cool that we were able to talk about the same things.

Then on Friday the president was here again. He was coming back from Santiago I believe, and he wanted the leaders of the two zones of Talca to meet for a quick little meeting. There we talked about some things, but he gave us some news that hit me like a ton of bricks. Elder Law is going home. I couldn't believe it. I just put my head down and started to cry. He has some health problems so he is going home today.  Elder Law is incredible. I love him. I loved being in the MTC with him. He was an incredible missionary. He was so prepared going into the MTC, I learned so much from him. He was an incredible missionary here. I don't know why the Lord has giving me the chance to keep serving Him here as a missionary, but I am so grateful for it. I LOVE being here. I love being a missionary.
On Saturday, we went to the first counselor in the stake presidency`s house.  He has built a new house about 2 miles out of town. I know that sounds really weird, two miles out of town is nothing in the states, but here it is. That's a picture of us.

Our investigators right now - Danilo 22, Veronica and Karen (a mom and daughter),  Kathy, Kathy, Kevin, Richard (mom, daughter, son, son). Kathy and her family are great. We had a strong lesson with them about tithing. After the first lesson, they wanted to get baptized, but then someone told them about how much you have to pay the church in tithing and all that, and basically warped the truth. We went there with a couple that was baptized 2 years ago that has a strong testimony about tithing.  We explained to them what it is, and we let the members share their experiences, it was special. Also, we taught a guy yesterday named Osvaldo and his daughter, Camila. (wife was sick) It was the second time we had been inside the house, but the first lesson. By the end, he was very excited about baptism. The daughter wasn't, but we will see what happens.  I hope they progress, it is a family I will fall in love with. Danilo is doing great. He is living all the commandments we have taught him, but we believe he has a really big barrier with his family. He doesn't live with his family, but we believe there is a lot of opposition there. We had a good lesson with him on Saturday. Actually it was a very powerful lesson. We talked a lot about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of the Gospel. I know that Jesus is waiting for Danilo. The thing is, I know that Christ knows Danilo. Jesus Christ knows us. It is something that I cannot comprehend or understand, but I know it's true. He knows us, and like the scriptures say, he invites us to come unto him. He is waiting for us with arms wide open. We just have to do our part. I love being His missionary. I love helping people enjoy of the blessings of His atonement. Not only does He have the power to forgive us, but He truly has the power to change us. I know that He has the power to perfect us. I know that through Christ we can overcome the desires to sin, and He will change us so that we no longer have the desire to sin. I believe that is an absolute miracle. I love the invitation Moroni gives us at the end of the Book of Mormon.

32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy without spot.

I love you guys.

Aug. 9, 2010.

I love when You give me questions like this.

How is Talca?
Talca is great, I love it. I love where I am living, I love everything about it. We actually don't live in our sector, we live in the sector of the other zone leaders. I really, really like them.
How are your new responsibilities going?
The new responsibilities are fine. I really like being a zone leader. They are going great.
Sister Pierce said that you and Elder Pierce finally saw each other. How was that?
Yes... Elder Pierce is actually in my zone. We did a mini-cambio on Thursday and I was over in their sector with Elder Pierce to check up on some investigators and stuff. I will actually be over there again this week to do interviews.
Where is Tanner now?
Where Is Elder Christenson? Well, at this moment he is about 8 feet away from me. He came down here to Talca today to do some legal stuff. He is in the zone of Curico. It was nice to see him.
How do you like the rain pants? Tell me the truth.
They weren't what I thought they were going to be, but yes I like them. The thing is, it doesn't rain that much here in Talca ha ha ha but I have heard that when it rains it rains very very hard.
How much are you able to teach in your area? Are you going on a lot of mini-cambios?
Yes, we teach, but we also do a lot of mini cambios. For example, yesterday, I didn't do anything in our sector because right after church we did a change with the other zone leaders. My companion went with Elder Echeverria and did some stuff and Elder Irigoyen and I went to San Javier, the sector of the Hermanas in my zone. We had to do some interviews. It was pretty awesome. We ended up getting home very, very late actually.
I love teaching, and I love doing interviews. Yesterday it was great. We were with the hermanas and we went to the house of a girl that needed an interview and so i did it. We then went to Mario and MariaInes. They are an older couple and we had a good lesson. It was very neat because when we entered in Elder Irigoyen said "can we sing?" and the hermanas said yea we actually usually sing, and so we sang 'Conmigo Quedate Senor' or 'Abide with me tis eventide' and it was pretty powerful.  Then we started to teach. It was very neat because Elder Irigoyen and I were able to explain some things and answer some questions that they had. It was a very spiritual lesson. Then we went to Guillermo and Maria Ines. We entered in and we split up. I went with the dad and Elder Irigoyen went with the wife. I had a long interview with him, it really wasn't an interview because he isn't ready for baptism. But we talked and I taught for over an hour.  It was a neat experience, but I wish I would have relied on the spirit more... When I do another interview with him I will be sure to rely more on the spirit. Elder Irigoyen had a great interview with the wife. He said one of the most spiritual of the mission. Afterward the dad took us in his car to where the bus was because it was very late.   Everything that happened out there was good.
We are honestly always going to other sectors, doing mini-cambios and doing interviews, but I love it. We are still expected to have a normal sector for us. We have a couple really good investigators right now, Danilo is ready to be baptized this next week. He is 22 and I love him.  Also in the evening we have a meeting with The first counselor in the stake presidency to talk about the mission work here in Talca.
What ward are you in?
I am in Calle Larga ward. o sea... Long Street.

I really love the mission. I know this letter was kind of dumb, but I really don't have time today. There are some things we need to send to Concepcion but we left them in the house and so we have got to get going. I love you all so so much. 

Photos from last week
Church in Talca
Bus Station
Plaza in Tome
President Navarro and family

July 27, 2010

OK.  So I have to confess.  It is true that Nate wanted to ask everyone this question, but more importantly, he was hoping for several responses.  Right now, I've only received 2.  Part of my confession needs to include the fact that this question was posed over two weeks ago...and I forgot to post it.  My bad.  :(  That is why I am not-so-subtly soliciting MORE RESPONSES.  Come on.  I KNOW there are more than 2 people who read this blog.

Thanks for your help.
Michelle :)

How does one develop unshakable faith in Jesus Christ?
Please send your thoughts to

July 26, 2010

Greetings from Tomé for the last time.... :(

Yesterday the elders from Dichato came over for a baptism in our church because they still don't have water in their church building. The assistants to the president came to the baptism because they had done the interviews a couple days before. Before yesterday, I was sure I was leaving Tome. I didn't want to leave, but I felt I was leaving. However, while I was talking to the assistants yesterday, I really got my hopes up that I was going to stay one more cambio.  We were talking about some of the investigators. The way we were talking, I started to think, 'maybe I'll be staying..' but no... it was not meant to be. Last night I went to the Navarro's house to say goodbye. They left to go to the temple today, really early, so I knew yesterday that if I was going to be leaving, I wouldn't be able to say goodbye to them today. I went over there and gave them the gift from you guys. I said, 'my parents wanted to thank you for letting me use your telephone to call them two times.' As we were talking, the eyes watered up on everyone, but tears didn't fall. They are an incredible family. She showed me where they would be putting the picture. They have a pretty painting of horses in their main room, but she said 'this is going right there'. President Navarro said 'this is my favorite picture of Christ'. They said to tell your parents thank you a thousand times, but I said 'hey... when they come here for the temple dedication, then you will be able to tell them for yourselves'.

There are so many people I want you to meet. Mabel Cuevas is one of them. Oh, how I love her. We have all had crying moments together. Yesterday, after sacrament meeting, we had another strong moment. Hermana Solange Navarro gave a talk about missionary work. She talked about the talk that Elder Rasband gave in priesthood, her mission, and the missionaries this ward has had. Afterward, Carlos (18 years old, was inactive, now is coming) came up to me and gave me a huge hug. He started crying because he knew I was probably leaving. He started crying because we had talked so much about the mission and the Hermana Solange had just given an amazing (AMAZING) talk about missions and it was tough. The other two teenagers are Sebastien and Ivan.  I'm leaving them all ties. It is so hard thinking that I might never, ever, see them again.

On Saturday it was about 9pm and we were walking in the street. I kind of needed to use a bathroom - not really, but it was a really good excuse to get into a house. We were walking and we passed a house. We walked about 20 yards and we felt like we should turn around. We yelled... they answered the door... I asked for their bathroom. It was the first time the person didn't say 'obviously come on in' ... The lady said... WOW... uummm... and come in. After I was done we were talking a little bit and questions started coming out... more and more questions, we started to teach. We taught about the Atonement and it was a good lesson, we are going back, or should I say, my companion is going back. We actually just saw the lady here in the Center and she said when are you coming back? All because I felt like I needed to turn around and ask for the bathroom.

Jose Luis Oportu and Matilde, Jose Luis y Claudia.... I love them. They feel this is the church. They are just scared to death. Yesterday, in the baptism, Claudia actually said to her mom. 'why don't you just take advantage right now since the fount is already full'...... I think the kids are waiting for the example of their mom... but the mom is waiting for the support of the dad. I feel bad because I just didn't do enough. I know there was a little more that I could have done to help them. I love them a lot. They are a great family. I hope that Elder Valderruten will help them get into the water. They are so awesome. Jose Luis actually said to us, 'When I feel this is all true, I will be in the streets preaching with you guys'. I hope and pray Elder Valderruten and his new companion can baptize them. Oh yea, Yesterday in relief society, Matilde actually told all the Hermanas that when Elder Keller and I were there teaching them, and when she started reading the Book of Mormon, she felt it was all true really fast. She told them, 'I'm ready to get baptized, I Just want the help of my husband'. All the Relief society is now praying for him, too.

Oh. So maybe you want to know where I'm going. I'm going to Talca. It's about 4 hours away. It's very cold there. My new companion will be Elder Jensen from Utah. We will be the zone leaders there in Talca. I will be going up there with a couple people, Elder Nelson (got here with me) and Elder McDonald, and Elder Casperson (in my district right now) all of us will be on the same bus going up there I think. We will be living in a house with 2 other missinoaries. Elder Irigoyen and some Elder from Chile. Elder Irigoyen was my district leader in Chillan. He is a good missionary and I'm excited to be with him. His companion is ending his mission this cambio, and he is ending in three cambios. He already called me and told me how excited he is because he said 'you'll be up here to make sure I finish my mission strong' We did a lot of really good things together in Chillan. Depending on how long I'm in Talca, I might see the death of 3 missionaries. My companion has 3 cambios left too. So either all three of them will be hard workers, or all three of them will be trunky and lazy... we'll see what happens :)
Today I will be going to Conce to finish the tooth. I hope that we can do everything today because afterward I will be 4 hours away in Talca, so we'll see what happens. From what I've heard, Talca is cold so we'll see how it is.

Tell Matt, Bishop Ok and Terry I love them.

Please tell Jake Tay, Andy and Meg that I have had letters to send them for a long time, but I will have to send them next week. Love you all. I got a letter from Ben Felix :) I need to write Ty Brown. I also got one from Kevin M... he is such a good guy. We are so lucky to have the friends we have. Keep on progressing and keep on saving money for the temple dedication trip :)... I'm going to call it right now... when they do the ground breaking Elder Holland is going to come and I'm going to meet him :)

July 12, 2010

I love you guys... honestly I say that every week, but it is so true. Truer than you know.

Things are pretty much back to normal. There is obviously a lot of work to do in Dichato. It is getting colder, but not too cold. Here in Penco it does get as cold as Chillán.

The interview with the President was good. He’s good. I really like him. His wife is really good too. They both have very strong testimonies. Like I told you last week, The First Presidency has sent out a new program to some of the missions, and we are one of them. We will be having a lot more ´leadership meetings'. This Friday we are going to have one in the House of the Mission President.

Jose Luis and his family... they are so awesome, but it’s tough for them. Plus ha, ha we started priesthood yesterday with the 1st counselor, us, Jose Luis and José Luis. If we were in a very small branch it would be understandable, but when there are 70 people by the time Sacrament Meeting starts, it is weird. However, I have a very, very strong feeling that tomorrow we are going to have a good lesson with them, and they just might get the confidence necessary to take the choice. I believe we are going to help them understand how the Book of Mormon can be their testimony, their sword, and their rock.

I love you guys so much. I always think about you. Send an email to my friends and tell them I love them... Elder Lewis, Elder Perry, Elder Taylor, Elder Hall, Elder Poulson, Megan, Elder Jones... everyone. I love you guys so, so much. I love you all :)

Oh yea, yesterday there was an eclipse. The sun looked like a crescent moon :) I just about burned my eyes looking at it.

July 5, 2010

I am convinced that I am the luckiest man on the earth -- even though I'm near the bottom of it here in Chile. I love you guys so much. So much. I love grandpa and grandma. I miss them. I'm so happy that Vince got a job at the MTC. I would love to work there, but it is really hard to get a job there.

My companion is Andrés Mauricio Valderrutén Ramirez - or Elder Valderrutén. From Colombia - Cali

Querida Familia... I love the mission. It is such a blessing to be here. I love it. It has rained a lot of times, yesterday morning it rained very, very hard. We actually had an assistance of 40 people in the church. The normal is around 80... so yea... Only 5 investigators came, but we were actually the only companionship in the district that had investigators in the church. We ended up giving the priesthood lesson again because people didn't show up. There was only 6 of us. (2 investigators) it was a neat lesson. After that, we did the 2nd hour class with the investigators and 2 members. It was about baptism chapter 20. It went well. I really like teaching, but I'm not a great teacher yet. I'm trying to do better though.

On Tuesday We did a mini cambio - a division with a different companionship. I went to the sector and spent the day and the night with Elder Michie from Moroni, Utah. He knows the Poulsons. I don't think he knows Brady, but he does know Amanda, Brady’s cousin. He is new to the mission field. He got here 2 weeks ago. We were able to teach some good lessons and hopefully they will be able to keep teaching the people so they progress. It was neat to have a day with Elder Michie.

The Oportu Solar family is progressing little by little. Matilde is ready. She doesn’t understand everything, and she says that, but she says she has felt the spirit and that’s all she needs. She knows the rest will come. Claudia is very, very close. Claudia believes what we say, but she doubts too. She believes it but she doesn't admit that and she is in a fight with herself. Jose Luis does not want to accept the Book of Mormon. I think that there is something behind him not wanting to accept it, but he is not even giving it a chance in this moment. We had a neat experience the other day in their house. We went with Sister Mabel who is just awesome. We shared testimonies, and then we asked Matilde to share her testimony. She said a lot of things, but something I really liked is how she started it all... she said 'When Elder Pitcher and Elder Keller got here, I basically told them that we are Evangelic. We have been for all our life, and we will be forever..... But I don't know why, after listening to them, I accepted the Book of Mormon and I started reading it (she likes to read) and I feel that it is the word of God. I don’t know why I gave room for it in my heart, but I did, and I have felt that it is something very good'. When that happened I just was hit with the importance of testimonies. I said to Claudia. 'You have already heard my testimony, you have the testimony of my companion, the testimony of Mabel. If you don’t want to accept ours, or you don’t feel sure, listen to the testimony of your mom.' Claudia started crying, it kind of hit her, but it didn’t have a lot of effect on Jose Luis.

President Humphrey is a good guy. He likes to laugh a lot. He speaks Spanish, but by no means speaks it perfectly right now (shoot, he hasn’t spoken it in 20 years) he will speak perfectly in about 2 months. His wife doesn’t speak much, but I know she will learn too. I loved President Chavez because he was, BAM, right to the point...all about business. President Humphrey is different, but I know he has been called by God. We will be implementing a new program with him. There will be a lot of changes. It is something that will be happening to all the missions in the next year, but it has been started with the new presidents that went out this year (a week ago). The First Presidency has done something to help missionaries teach better because missionaries don’t teach well. I remember I heard Elder Holland say that when we were in the MTC. I didn’t believe it then, but I affirm that it’s true now. Missionaries don’t teach that well. Because of that, The Prophet and the Apostles have done some things. It will be interesting to see what happens. We have interviews on Wednesday. I'll keep you updated.

I realized again how important it is to have the spirit with you always. I realized how important it is to never do anything that doesn’t invite the spirit. That is the hard part because many times we don’t do bad things, but they are things that don’t invite the spirit, and because of that, they are bad things.

I love you all. Thanks for everything.

June 28, 2010

Dearest Family -

I can’t express how much I love you and miss you. I feel like I have the best family in the world. Dad, I hope you had a great Father’s Day last week and Mom, I hope you had a great birthday. I had forgotten it was your birthday until the 15th of June. I showed the picture of our family to someone and they said, 'Wow! Your parents are so young! How old are they?' It was then that I realized, ‘Wow! It is already June, and it is almost the 18th.’ I love you guys. I love showing the picture of our family. Wow I love Grandma and Grandma and Grandpa. I was actually thinking about Grandpa Kay yesterday because I thought of my 10th grade health teacher, Ann Johnson. Grandpa, or maybe Grandpa Morgan, baptized either her or her parents - I can’t remember. I love my brothers and sister.

We had a conference last Thursday, the last one with president Chavez. I will miss him, but that’s ok. It just kind of stinks I’ll probably never see him again. I’m excited for the new President. At lunch on Thursday we all went up and shook their hands and gave them hugs. We hugged Hermana Chavez. So many people thought that was so weird, but it didn’t bug me at all. I love those two.

Oh yea, I forgot to tell you I’m a district leader now.

I have learned and grown a lot in these last two weeks. I have learned a lot about learning and teaching line upon line, precept on precept. I have learned a lot about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I have learned a lot about the plan our Heavenly Father has prepared for us.

I love learning and studying. I really need the Word of God.

Our Heavenly Father loves us more than we understand. I remember you always telling me that I don’t understand what you two feel for me, and I won’t until I am a parent and become what you already are. I believe you 100%. I also imagine that we won’t comprehend His love until we become as He is. I love the scripture in Mosiah 4:9 that says we don’t comprehend what He does. He does understand. For that, we have to follow Him. His plan is that we follow His Son. It is the only intelligent thing to do. Any other form, any other way, is madness. The other day I was reading my notes from the MTC and they provoked a thought I had when I was there. It’s something that you have thought about before, but it’s always good to think it again....

If what we say is true really is true, then we must dedicate our entire life to this work. We must obsess over it. If God really is our Father, If Jesus of Nazareth really is the Savior and Redeemer of this world, if Joseph Smith really was called by God to restore the fullness of His Gospel, if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints really is the True Church, the only intelligent thing to do would be obsess with advancing His work. We would need to dedicate our lives to it. Dedicate our lives to follow his plan....

Here is the kicker....

It Is True.

There is a God in the heavens. He is the Father of our spirits. The boy from Nazareth named Jesus really is our Savior. I still don’t know how He is, but I know He is. Because of that, we owe Him everything. We owe Him our lives. As we know, and as the prophets have taught us, He hasn’t asked us to give our life for Him by dying, He has asked us to give our life to Him by living.

I have gained a new love for our Savior, Jesus Christ. He really is our Master. He really lives. This really is His church.

Elder Pitcher

June 21, 2010

I am so sorry, but I can’t write anything today... I went to the dentist. This will be the worst email ever, but I have to tell you your prayers are working for Claudia. Thank you SO mucho. I love you all. I think about you always. It is raining, and its not stopping but that’s ok :) I don’t need a jacket, but either pair of the pants would be awesome. You decide. I trust you.

Love your son...
Elder Nathan Pitcher.

June 14, 2010

Hello Gringos
(that is what everyone says to us in the streets here)

I love grandpa Stu. Goodness I do, and I miss him. We went to a home center place today and it reminded so much of Home Depot... because of the colors. It was almost a mix between Home Depot and Griggs (yes... the famous Griggs). Because of that I was just thinking about gramps. I went and bought another rain jacket. The one I have now is a good jacket, but let me tell you... I bought it because it wasn’t the most expensive of them all -- I wish I would have bought the most expensive now! It works OK, it is water proof and stuff, but the hood is really bad. And that stinks because no one likes a water head when it rains. Yesterday it rained and the hood was just giving me problems, big time, so what did I do? I went to the store and bought one of those heavy duty jackets... you know - The Deadliest Catch style - or, McKinnis orchard style... no, I didn’t buy the yellow color, but its one of those that goes almost to my knees... so, walking around in that and big rubber boots (McKinnis orchard style) I only have a small portion exposed to the water, that would be the leg area... The rain is starting, and I don’t think it is going to stop anytime soon. But that’s OK. I really like the rain. It gets me excited. Plus, if it is raining really hard and hitting the ground and making a lot of noise that means I can sing songs out loud and no one will hear me. However... rain and cold are difficult together.

Oh... they called for transfers today... I’m staying, however, Elder Findlay is leaving, I really, really, really like Elder Findlay (he’s from Seattle) Plus, I have gotten really used to his feet because the position of the beds put his feet about 6 inches from my face. So who is coming? Elder Bird. Who is Elder Bird? The tallest missionary in the mission...probably 6’ 6”ish... so we will see what happens :) Elder Findlay and a missionary from my neighboring sector are going to Chillán. Elder Cutler (from the sector next to me) is going to Coyquen... he will be a companion with Elder Higham... What a good guy Elder Higham.

So... yesterday Camila and Daniela got baptized (two sisters) that are pretty awesome... they are just Mormon girls... We taught them for about 7 or 8 weeks... it was a good service... they had a lot of their family there (none are members) I baptized Camila and it was funny, she got really, really nervous right before entering the pila bautismal and when we were standing there in the water before the baptism she was very, very nervous. She did great though... Hna Solange was right there to help her when she got out... Solange is awesome. Daniela did great too. They then invited us to eat lunch with them and all their family. We figured we would go because it would be the only time we could see all their extended family together. We canceled the lunch we were going to have and we went with them. It was a good lunch. They have a great family. I wish they would listen to us.

Jose Luis and his family.................................. They are so scared - they are just confused.  The problem is the kids I think. Claudia is 15 and José Luis 24. The parents are so worried. The kids are so confused. Claudia just doesn’t believe that so many people could be wrong in other churches. She doesn’t believe that there is only one church of God. That is actually a big problem down here. That and also people just don’t want to admit some times that there was something more for them. Like, it takes humility to say, "Wow, I need to change my church because I need to be in the church of Jesus Christ." Matilde is ready. Not because she understands, but because she has felt the spirit and that is enough for her. The dad wants to understand more. I think so he can explain it and prove it to people. We are walking a fine line right now. We could fall off either side of the sword. We just have to keep helping them feel the spirit. The problem is Claudia says she already got an answer to her prayer that said she is fine where she is. Keep praying lots.

We have a TON of investigators that are just starting right now. Lots and lost of potential. I’m excited for this next cambio. I am very grateful to not have changed, and I love this work.

Elder Pitcher

PS - I love you all... see ya in 11 months (wow... only 11 months... scary!!!)

June 7, 2010

Good morning my dearest family
Mom... I love you so much. So much. wow.

Everyone sounds to be doing great. I'm sorry to hear that you couldn't go to the activity with Chyrl and the family. I love that Aunty C - always doing things like that, I think its so awesome. I'm still using the laundry bag she gave me when I started at BYU. I love her. I'm glad Aussy and Ryan went to the priest camp. I always loved those.

Dad... guess what the guy right next to me is playing... Call of Duty :) He is on the Harbor map

Ok... so its hard to believe that another week has come and gone. Time flies, but at the same time it seems like last week was so long ago. This week we had 7 investigators in the church. Jose Luis and his family were there. They are doing well. Yesterday in the Gospel Principles class we taught chapter 16. It was cool because it even touched on the work and ordinances for the dead that they did in that time. He is having such a hard time accepting anything more then the Bible. Soon, he will realize that our church is not based on a book... it is based on revelation. As soon as he understands and accepts that, it will be great. However, yesterday he understood the Apostasy a little better and said, "Wow, so what happened to the millions of people that lived in that apostasy... they wont be saved?" We said, "Another day we will talk more about this.." They will be Temple Hounds after they are baptized. :) :) :)

This Sunday we should baptize two teenage girls. Oh I love them. Camilia is 14 and Daniela 15. I like to ask people to write me a letter about why they want to get baptized, before they get baptized. They did that and wow, I loved what they wrote. They truly just want to do what God wants them to do. Their mom also wants to get baptized, but she doesn't know how she can do it - because of her husband and her mom. We will see what happens. They need prayers.

We have a lot of other investigators... a lot. I hope I don't get transferred next week, but who knows what will happen. Yina (Gina) is a girl that we are working with, she is 26 and she has a 5 year old girl. She lives with her parents (everyone lives with their parents here) her dad was baptized a long time ago but doesn't go now, but I know he has a desire to change. He is out of the house 9 days and in 5 days. A lot of people have to work like that here in Chile. But Yina is awesome. She says the churches just make her mad, but she is working and progressing with us. She is different. She has like 5 rings in her face, but she is so awesome. She has just become so confused with the world, but I see what kind of heart and mind she has. I hope we can help her.

And we have a lot more investigators to, I could talk for a long time about all of them. The thing is, there is so much stuff for them to learn... too much stuff for them to learn... and because of that, they just need to feel the spirit. We can't teach them everything they need to know, but the spirit can do the work. The spirit can change them. When we try and depend on our own skills, we fail, and will fail every time....The spirit is something we always need. I remember in a General Conference not too long ago someone said that 'it is hard to obtain and maintain the spirit, also that it is hard to receive personal revelation. If it was easy, we would become weak.' I thought about that yesterday in church. It was a pretty noisy sacrament meeting, but a sister got up and shared her testimony, because of that, I wanted to get up to share mine. So I did. I could feel the spirit. I could honestly feel that burning inside my chest. After I got back down and began listening again, I listened more attentively, and the burning was even stronger. The testimonies were awesome, and the spirit was strong. I then looked at the people that were surrounding me... some of them looked like they didn't even want to be there. I thought this meeting was incredible, and others thought it was boring. I could feel the spirit so strong, I didn't want to be in a different place. And people in the same meeting looked so bored. I thought about the spirit as Fire. How fire burns things. A fire can not burn something that has already been burned. If someone feels the spirit, and feels that burning sensation, it is a great feeling, however IT WILL BURN OUT. To feel that burning again, you will have to work even harder, be even better. It can only burn if it reaches a new level. We know that the spirit purifies us... how can it purify something that it already purified? Impossible! If we want to to purify us more, we have to be even better.

I know its something very simple. Something that you already know. But it just kind of hit me yesterday. I feel like I understand a little better why it is so important to always have the spirit. Why, if we have the spirit, we will have Eternal Life. Its because we will be progressing, Always moving to the next level. We need to have the spirit, because that means we are progressing, if we are doing that, we have done all we can do. If we have done all we can do, The Lord will say, 'OK... thanks for trying your best... let me make up the rest'
I love you guys lots... lots lots lots.
Elder Pitcher

May 24, 2010

Hello friends, family and anyone else

Another week has come and gone.  Time here is very weird.  I have said that many times, and I'm sure I’ll say it till I get home.  It truly flies by, but it seems like I have been in Tomé for a long time.  I received a letter from Patricio a couple days ago.  Oh how I love him and his family.  He informed me that he is the 1st counselor in the stake young men’s presidency (don’t know if you already knew that) and also that Marjori is pregnant.  I know I already told you that, but I just had to tell you again. I love that family so much.  I love everyone from Chillan, but I also love Tomé.  The members are incredible.  There are also great people.
We had two girls pass interviews yesterday, but we aren’t sure when they will be getting baptized because they are a little bit afraid. We have been teaching them and their mom.  They are all worried because the dad used to go to a different church and the grandma (who lives with them) goes to a different church.  The grandma has given them so many problems.  The girls are very ready.  They have come to church lots of times and they go to seminary almost every day.  The mom has only come to church once.  The girls are named Camilia and Daniela, the mom Janet.
Jose Luis and his family are doing well.  They came to church yesterday. They were there early.  We know they are very punctual, so last week we told them to get there at 10:20 because people just don’t show up to church on time here. Plus, in Tomé, Sacrament meeting is at the end, so lots of people don’t show up right at 10. Anyway, they were there at 10:00 yesterday with about 10 members, but igual, it was fine.  The principles of gospel class was taught by me yesterday. The teacher got there and told me she didn’t prepare it.  That was ok because it was about organization of the priesthood and I gladly taught it.  Jose Luis is blown away every time he learns more about the church.  Matilde is ready to get baptized because she has read the Book of Mormon a lot.  Claudia is awesome, but has her doubts because she hasn’t been reading always. The Book of Mormon is incredible.  I affirm what Joseph Smith said, that a man will get closer to God by living by its principles than any other book, (I have no clue if that’s what it says in English, sorry) Through the Book of Mormon, anyone can gain a testimony of Jesus Christ.
The Atonement is everything.  I love learning more and more about it everyday.  As a mission, we have a huge focus in it.  I love trying to help people understand it better, and learning more about it even as we teach them.   I don’t understand how He did it.  I just know He did.
He gives us a chance to overcome sin.  He gives us a chance to turn our weaknesses into strengths.  He gives us a chance to perfect ourselves. I love the invitation Moroni gives us at the end of the Book of Mormon - the invitation to leave all sin and worldliness to follow Christ.  Let us do that.  We have been baptized for the remission of sins, and now we have the blessing to participate in the Sacrament every week.  The plan that our Father has for us is so simple.  He sent His Son.  The Son did His part.  He has marked The Way. Now we have the choice to follow it - or to go some other way.  That is what is so hard to help people understand.  There is only one way.  We can’t blaze our own trail to Salvation and Exaltation.  We have to follow the trail that Christ has marked. To do that, we have to be humble.  That is something that we have been trying to help the people realize right now.  We owe everything to our Savior, Jesus Christ, and we can’t do things in the way we want to.  We have to follow the standards He has set, and it is incredible how simple it is.  It is not always easy, but it is simple, and that’s what makes it incredible.  I heard the quote that the gospel is simply beautiful, and beautifully simple.  That’s how it is.  I love you guys so much and I thank you for the example you have been, are, and will be.  I pray that we accept the invitation of Moroni.  I hope we truly evade all sin.  I hope we participate in the Sacrament every week, where we can renew sacred covenants and promises.
We were able to find some new people this week.  We were knocking some doors when we entered into one. The 27-year-old girl told us she didn’t believe in God.  Her mom told us her husband was baptized Mormon.  As we began teaching, the girl began telling us how she does believe in God, but that churches just make her mad.  We hope to be able to help her (and her mom and sister).  She is named Gina.
Jennifer is a young mom - probably 25, with a couple of little kids.  We taught her and it was good. She actually came to church for a little bit, but she had to leave early.  I hope we can help her too.  It is amazing what happens when people feel the spirit.  Jennifer knows she is in sin, and she wants to leave it.  She is living with a man that is married to someone else, but she says she is trying to fix it.
I love you all. The weather is good.  It’s getting cold.  Today we went to Punta de Parra again.  That was cool.  We did a BBQ on the beach.  I had a long talk with Elder Jaar.  I love him.  I don’t know why, but I love him.

Elder Pitcher

May 17, 2010

I love you guys...

We are in Concepcion right now.  Coming here we were on a bus with a lot of university students.  It was very weird, because I have their age, but I’m not one of them.  Not in any way am I one of them. We are the same, but we are so different.  I wondered what life will be like after the mission.  I’m scared for that. I had a dream last night that I finished the mission, but I didn’t do everything that I was supposed to, like I didn’t fulfill my purpose.  I’ve had dreams like that before and I wake up with the emptiest feeling in my stomach.  It honestly scares me.  The plan that our Heavenly Father has for us is so complex, but it is so simple.  It whacks me out when I think about this life.  This life really is the time to prepare to meet God.... its the entire purpose of this life.  We are here to have joy, but that only comes by completing with our Heavenly Father. 
It’s interesting because I write this and I think about this, and I think about the importance of reading the Book of Mormon EVERYDAY.  That book is amazing.  When we read it we can keep an eternal perspective.  We can truly receive the things we need to continue on day to day.  It gives us counsel.  It shows us what we need to do.  It guides us through this life... a life that is absolutely loaded with temptations and traps. I walk through Concepcion and I like it... I do. I love the feel.  It has a bigger city feel, but not too big.  It has a lot of stores and formats that I saw in New York, but the buildings are tiny compared to those in New York.  I like it a lot, but while I walk through the street you can just see Satan everywhere.  He is so good at what he does.  He is so sneaky, tricky, slimy, and down right snakey.  He will get you and you wont even realize it.  That is the scary part.  I think back to the kids that were standing next to me on the bus.  The college girl I was sitting next to.  The guy on my other side.  They are just blinded.  They are blinded children of our Heavenly Father.  I wish I could help them, but they are convinced they are OK where they are.  Last night we were doing contacts in the street and we talked to a guy for so long... in the end, he knew he hadn’t completed the commandments of God, but it didn’t bother / worry him.  He said he was okay were he was.  Right after that we knocked a door and a lady of 60 years mas o menos came out.  We found out she has read the Book of Mormon, she has read the Pearl of Great Price, but she is not interested she tells us.  It about put a dagger in me.  I looked at her and I truly saw her as a daughter of our Father, a lost, confused daughter.  My eyes watered up... I didn’t cry... but there was nothing we could do.  Right then her twenty-year-old son got home... we started talking with him... He said we could come back today.  His name is Jose.  I hope and pray we can do something for him. 
Yesterday Jose Luis and his family came to church... I believe they really liked it.  It was good... they are a great family.  They are incredible examples. Matilde has been reading a lot in the Book of Mormon, and she is truly converted I believe.  Her husband hasn’t read.  I know he likes the organization of the church, but he has so many doubts... Matilde also.  They difference is that Matilde has been reading the Book of Mormon (I love that book!!) Claudia is 15 years old and I love her because she is just a good Daughter of God.  What am I talking about... the four of them are great children of God.  They need lots of support to be able to make the change. It will be interesting to see what happens.  This is God’s work... and He does it.  We haven’t done much in the conversion of these people... its God.  I spoke earlier of the sneakiness of Satan. God knows how to work a lot more then Satan. The only difference is that God doesn’t force it... you have to desire it.  He invites, never obligates.  I say this because he has truly prepared this family.  We are also sharing with two teenage girls and their mom.  They are so awesome.  The girls go to seminary almost every night.  The mom is great too. The only problem is the dad.  He WENT to a different church.  He is so nice, but because he is so nice, the mom doesn’t want to go to a different church.  Plus, her mom, who lives with them, goes to a different church and is so, so mad at her for listening to us.  It is incredible... Satan always puts in those things.  But it’s all a part of God's plan.  I love the challenges that people have because then they will be even stronger in the church.
Yesterday I thought I was going to give a talk.  I got there with lots of ideas in my mind, but not knowing what I was going to say.  While I was sitting there, I knew that I needed to talk about the Perfection.  I always like to speak last, so there were two people before me.  I was extremely excited to speak.  I felt very good about speaking about the Perfection.  However, the two speakers before me spoke a long time.  I didn’t even get to say a word.  Now I ALMOST started to get frustrated thinking about that, but then I thought 'Can I really talk about perfection if I get frustrated because someone didn’t give me my time to speak?' NO! I didn’t get frustrated at all, and I am actually very grateful it happened.  Like I said, God knows his children.  He does what is best for them.  He let me get a little bit closer to perfection yesterday by not letting me speak :)  I have come to love trials. I need a lot more patience, humility, love and faith.  Because of that, I know I will pass a lot more challenges... because God loves me.  He knows me.  HE KNOWS. 
I testify he knows.  I also testify he lets us know what we have to do; we just need to be humble and listen to the counsel of our leaders and Prophets.  It’s amazing how much Love, Humility, Patience, and Obedience are connected.  I hope that we always obey.  I hope we obey the counsel to read –no- STUDY the Book of Mormon everyday.  If we are obedient in that, we will learn to be more humble, have more love, develop more patience, and be more obedient. 

I love you guys... Thanks for everything....
You are all so Amazing.  I LOVE YOU.

Elder Pitcher