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 michelle.pitcher@gmail.com

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.