Elder West's Favorite Scripture
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I forgot to tell you that they switched our p-days to mondays and internet day to tuesday, so that is why I have been writing you a day late.
This past week was a bit rough. It has been getting cold down here as well, it probably gets down in the low 40s, haha, but I bet that is nothing compared to chicago cold. This past week we only found 9 new investigadors, but they were pretty good ones. We found one family who recently moved from El Salvador, and we were really suprised when they took our their Hymn books and asked what hymn we should start off with, haha. Apparently the missionaries were teaching them in El Salvador and they were super close to getting baptized but they couldnt because they arent married. They couldnt get married because the husband (who is also a baker which is really cool) is from guatemala, but his wife/partner is from El Salvador. With all of the experience that I have marrying people I already know that it will be literally impossible to get them married. Because they probably his wife/partner is probably living here illegaly. (in my last area I tought a family where the mom was from peru and wanted to get married but couldnt because she had 75,000 quetzales worth of legal fines). And judging by the very small, house made our of cinder blocks and tin sheets we can very well assume that this family that we found could not afford to become legal citezens, let alone get married. It is really sad because this family is great! They already know that this is the true church of Jesus christ but it will be very very difficult for them to be able to repent in order to be baptized. The three most commonly commandments broken here in guatemala is first, killing people, second the law of chastity, and third the word of wisdom. And I think that more the 50 % if not100% of the poverty in this country is related to at least one of these 3 very big commandments.
Yesterday and today we had a Super p-day activity for our christmas treat! It was great. It started off yesterday with a bunch of service projects helping to fix members houses and stuff. Then we played games and ate free food. Then we watched a new church movie called the 17 miracles which was incredibly amazing. I nearly cried 17 times during this movies I think, haha. It is about the martin and willie handcart companies. you guys have got to watch it. It made me realize that the sacrifice that I have made to serve a mission is not a big sacrifice at all. In fact it is the least I can do to. Plus it strenghtened my faith about how god continues to be a god of miracle. In the movie in focuses on all of the miracles that happened along the journey. It is a must see, it would be a good sabbath day movie to watch with the family. Then we stayed the night at the mission bunk house (thats where all of the newbies stay the day before they enter into the field) and then woke up at 3 oclock to go to the temple. Oh and I forgot to mention that we started a fast after dinner to baptize 204 people in the month of january. And so I am still fasting and I am absolutely wiped. But it was a very spiritually edifying experience. The area authority presidency was also in the same temple session as us which was kind of cool.
Well I gotta go, but I love you guys one million. (i got grandmas letter that she sent, Thanks Grandma J)
P.S I complete 17 months on thursday! thats almost a girl mission!
So I completly forgot that it was thanksgiving last thursday. While we were eating breakfast my companion mentioned it to me so, I made an extra top ramen to celebrate. We also bought a popsicle after lunch. It was great.
So this week the work of the lord went very very well. We were able to find 21 investigadors! and 12 of our investigadors came to church. In the past 6 weeks we have found 58 new investigadors! It is incredible. Right before we got to this area the other elders that were here told us that this was a really really hard area to find new investigadors and this area has only had 4 baptism for the whole year. HA. I guess they didnt know that I was in one of the roughest area in the mission for 7 1/2 months. This area is heaven on earth to me. There are no large hills or endless stairs, it is safe (1 or 2 murders a month), and the people are really humble. As a mission we have really raised the bar a ton. We usually find about 1000 new investigadors each week and last month we had 180 baptism! For january we have a goal to baptize 204 people. When President Brough was here, he said the most succesfull month that they had was 203 baptisms so we are going to try and beat that.
Yesterday we found a new young couple who told us that they want to change their lifes, and have been living in unhappiness eversince they got married. I was sad for them, but at the same time my soul was rejoicing because I know exactly how the gospel of Jesus christ can help them.
That really poor family I told you about a few weeks ago is progressing really well. The branch president authorized a huge food donation for us without even telling us. Which is great! but they told all of their family members (who are many other very poor families) and for some reason all of them want to come to our church now hmmmm.... I wonder why? But its okay, we were able to talk with alot of them and many of them have good intentions in coming to church. We challenged all of them to be baptized and they all said yes (thats like 15 people) but we could tell that some of them just want more stuff. We had a good lesson with one of them who has a family of 6, and their kids have aspirations to be doctors and teachers, and I felt like I should promise them that if they remained faithfull in the church, kept all of the commandments, and served missions they would all be given the opportunity to accomplish their goals. This family has been stuck in this huge rut if poverty for generations and generations, in fact they are known in this town for being a very poor family with a lot of problems. If this family can become converted to the gospel they would be huge testimonies and examples for the entire town.
Today our zone went to Antigua, and I showed my companion all of the best parts. I sent a package of stuff about a month ago has it arrived yet? It contains a memory card of the first half of my mission and it would be very tragic if it got lost. I half been really good at buying suveniers and I would like to send you guys another package, but if my other package got lost then I just will carry around all of this stuff until the end of my mission. I got a hold of a really sweet machette for like 100 quetzales (12 dollars) that kevin would absolutely adore, haha.
Next week, President brough is going to let us go to the temple as a christmas treat! I am sooooo excited. I look forward to being able to go to the temple with all of you when I get home.
I also had a revelation yesterday as I walked past a window. I totally invisioned my self as an airplane pilot. And that Is what I really want to do, but if that is not possible I will just be a dentist or something. I will have to research that after I get back. Dont worry megan, I failed the driving test my first time as well, I did a very illegal manuver that wasnt my falt.
Have fun eating thanksgiving leftovers.
Monday, November 21, 2011
This week was pretty good as well. We had like 4 days straight were we only had one lesson each day, which meant that we contacted a TON. We were able to find 14 new investigadors which is awesome. When you are in a mission without cellphones, without cars, without, bikes you tend to walk alot. But its ok though because it keeps me in good form. I figured out that everytime an appointment falls through that means that God doesnt want you to teach that person, he just wants you to be in that place to find someone even better. I have found tons of people that way.
We went to the mission office today for a "new kid" meeting. It takes us 2 and a half hours to get their on bus. My comp. finally got the guts to do his first contact on the bus by himself, atta boy. I felt proud. they gave us quiznos which was really good because they had ranch dip (Ranch does not exist here). As a district we also went to Lake Atitlan, which was really pretty! I have been in the capital (dirty, dangerous, smoggy, crowded, loud, gangs, annoying little motorcycles that make a ton of noise) for so long, I was never actually able to see how pretty guatemala is. By the side of the lake there is a tourist town called panahatchel that is really cool as well. I would totally visit here after my mission. Around the lake there are alot of people that dont speak spanish, they only speak mayan (quiche, tsutuil, mam, qak-chikel) which is really awesome, but it made contacting really difficult. I have pictures but I dont want to download them because I know that this computer has a virus because like every 5 minutes the anitvirus box kept popping up. But you guys should totally google some pictures because it is absolutly wonderful.
Well I am out of time again but I whish you all a happy week!
Love Elder West
Monday, November 14, 2011
Happy Birthday Kev-bot! Holy cow I can not believe how different kevinlooks, I was probably smiling for like 5 minute when I saw the pictures yousent me. I decided that I need to start waking up early to get moreexercizes in, because I have been getting a little bit flabby. I thinkKevin is going to be able to beat me up, haha. Time is gowing by soooooofast, I cannot believe it.This past week, me and my companion decided that we were going to talk witheverybody! we contacted sooooooo much. By the end of the week we had found18 new investigadors. We found alot of really interesting people. I had myfirst lesson sitting right next to a cow, which was kind of fun. We found afather with a drinking problem who is looking for help, and we foundseveral evangelicals who just wanted to bible bash. It was great. MYtestimony gets strengthened everytime that I get attacked. I can imaginethat right now in the States there has been alot of persecution against thechurch with all of the political stuff going on. But with the eternalperspective we have it doesnt make any difference. The gospel ofJesuschrist is unstoppable, and all of its persecuters are like flies onthe wall. I am amazed that there are some people who study the bible soooomuch (which is good) that it becomes a source of pride, 2 nephi 9, 28-29.MY new companion, elder corrigan is gaining more confidence in his languageskills. I remember exactly how he feels. It is a truly humbling experienceto have to learn a new language.Today I dont have very much time so I gotta go. Tommorow for p-day we aregoing to visti lake atitlan and I will take really good pictures, and Iwill try and buy some cool stuff for you guys.The Church is True!Love,Elder West
Monday, November 7, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
- The street that I took a picture of is an example of how everysingle street in my area is like (I took the picture half way up the hill, and you still cant see that top, and there are longer streets than this one)
- Baptism with the Hermanas
- Raul and my companion Elder Pineda (he thinks he tough, hahaha)
- and two pictures of me in my apartment
Monday, October 17, 2011
Let me just start out by saying that I got really wet this week! IT RAINED EVERYSINGLE DAY! and it is still raining as I speak. Apparently there was like a hurricane or tropical storm or something that passed by on the way to Mexico, but naturally as missionaries we always find stuff like that out after it has already happened. We are also running out of clean clothes because, the sister that washes our clothes drys our clothes outside on a clothes line, which is something that you can´t do when it is raining. I also figured out that those really cool boots that I got from missionary mall arent entirely waterproof either. But thats ok, it was a good experience to right in my journal.
On saturday it rained the hardest! and all of our appointments fell through as well. So we were knocking door after door in the rain hoping that someone would feel compassionate enough to let us in. After about 4 hours of doing that, when it was dark and raining harder than ever, a lady opened the door and I had one of the sweetest contacting moments ever. I put the biggest smile on that I could and said "its really rainging hard isnt it" ( I had to yell it because the rain was deafening) and then she said "si (yah)" and then Me and my companion just stood there smiling the best we could. And she made one of the most wonderfull observations in the world "it looks like your getting wet do you want to come inside?" How glorious were those words in my very wet ears! Fortunately her brother (who is older than 18 years) was home so we were able to enter. It was a pretty good lesson despite the fact that we couldnt hear anything because she has a tin roof and the rain was deafening. She doesnt have a church and is willing to listen. That was awesome. This past week we found 16 new investigadors!
Yesterday we also had a really good lesson with and investigador that we found last week. His name is Estuardo Soliz and he has about 24 years, yesterday we also found his Dad as well. It turns out that the missionaries tought them a couple of years ago. At the beggining of the lesson his dad told us that the other missionaries failed to convince him, and he told us that he was catholic and wasnt going to change. His son, estuardo, asked us about baptizing niños, and his dad asked us about hell and where it is located. We tought them bits and pieces of the plan of salvation and I really feel that we were being led by the spirit. The Spirit was really strong. At the end of the lesson, Estuardo´s dad said " well, it looks like you guys might just convince me after all." Victory! God wins! The spirit is so important in the lessons!
Well I have got to go but I love you guys and I hope you guys continue to stay dry up there in Washington. Could you guys said me the mission adresses to Peter and Nelson, I probably should send them a letter. This tuesday I am going to make a run at the post office, and I will try and send you guys a package.
I love you guys So much! and I love being a Missionary!
Monday, October 10, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
I cannot believe that another general conferance has passed by! Its hard to say if I have a favorite talk because there were so many good ones. Two of them that really stood out to me, was Elder Hollands talk, and the talk given by Elder Richardsen. Both of them talked alot about topics that relate really well with missionaries. Elder Hollands talk was mainly focused on the future missionaries but i was able to learn alot about what kind of missionaries the lord expects us to be. I just love his talks becuase he is so direct and clear about things. He talked about how there are only two sides in life, the side of the devil and the side of god. If we are afraid to open our mouths to talk with someone, than that means that we are letting the side of satan take over. It is really brutal, but it is absoluty true, we are either obedient, or disobedient, there is no grey area. I liked the anology he used about the lines that are drawn in sporting events, and how we can not play out of bounds when we are on gods team.
Elder Richardson explained really really well, the role that the holy ghost has in the conversion. This is something that I have been trying to develop more in these past months. In the MTC one of the main focuses they teach to the missionaries now is to teach people not lessons. ç
This week we set 3 more baptismal dates! we set the date for the 23 of october. This is a family that we found in the Area book that was tought almost 2 years ago. On their teaching record it said that they were not positive at all and that is why the missionaries left them. 2 years later we found them again, and they are very prepared by god. Our first lesson we were prompted to talk about the anology in alma 32 about the how faith is like a little seed, and they really were able to relate to that. We felt the spirit very strongly on friday when we tought them about the plan of salvation and they understood everything perfectly and they accepted the invitation to be baptized.
This week we spent alot of time getting our investigadors ready for conferance. We were able to help one of our families get some shirts and ties and dresses to wear. THey were all very excited to go but, for various reasons they could not. There was car problems, sickness, job opportunities, and etc.. Satan really did not want them to go to general conferance and he succeeded. But in the long run satan will always lose so me and my companion arent discouraged.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Highlights for this week:
- We have 4 baptismal Dates
- Juan Martinez (11 de Octubre)
- Familia Tay Ramos (15 de octubre)
- Eswin (15 de octubre)
- (second, i cant figure out how to change that to a 2, its sad)
- third, 8 investigadors came to church which included 2 families
- I got invited to eat dinner (the first time in 4 months)
- We are going to have 3 more fechas at the end of this next week
- This week I lost my planner and a bag full of pamphlets in the street, and I magically found both them, haha, que suerte (how lucky).
- I am officially in my 5th change here in Peronia so I will have 7 1/2 months in one of the most physically demanding areas in the mission ( I promise to send pictures of the never ending stairs)
- I have more faith
The biggest lesson i learned this week is that I have to learn to Trust more in the Lord. I learned that if we stop finding ways to increase our faith, we cant progress and we will have the same results in life that we have always had. So this week i challeenged everysingle one of my investigadors to be baptized on a specific date. I have always challenged my investigadors to be baptized, in fact sometimes during personal contacts I challenge them to be baptize. But I realized that I was avoiding challenging them to a specific date. This week i tried it and we now have 4 baptismal dates. This month we have a goal to baptize 6 people and I know that we can do it.
Thats cool that everyone is going good in school and stuff. It must be really cool for Keving because he has alot of the same friends form Elementry school. I dont think that I had any of those teachers that megan has. Is megan going to get her Liscence soon. That cake looks really good as well. The cake here in Guatemala is really diefferent, they like to have their cake really wet. All of the cake that I have eaten here has been extremely most as if they had dumped water on it or somthing. Instead of frosting the cover it it whipped cream with a ton of fruit on top. Its actually pretty good and its probably heathier than the cake from the states.
Right now the climate in Guatemala is getting a little bit colder, but at 2 oclock in the afternoon it is really really hot! at night it is pretty chilly. It has been raining alot as well but not as much as last year. I heard that there is a new Joseph Smith movie that is out in theatres is that true?
Well I gotta go but I love you guys and I will write next week.
Love Elder West
Monday, September 19, 2011
There was just an earthquake right now! That was so cool, my companion got so scared, hahaha that was hilarious. It was actually a pretty decent sized earthquake.
Boy when I saw the pictures of Grant at home I got a little bit Baggy I’m not going to lie, but that’s ok, its really good motivation to see friends how have finished honorable full time missions.
This week was pretty interesting we had two miracles that were amazing.
The first one is with one of our investigadors whose name is Giovani Leonor. Some other missionaries found him almost one year ago and he is awesome, he is really smart and he speaks English to. He has read the book of Mormon from cover to cover and he knows that it is true and he has been converted. The only thing is that he doesn’t believe in the Sabbath day and hasn’t been baptized because works on Sundays. This past week my companion and me had a great lesson with him. All we did was read one verse with him (Jacob 4:10) and we did not even say a word. He talked the whole time, and it was interesting how he was able to convince himself, haha. But I am positive that this verse that we shared with him was exactly what he needed to hear, and the Holy Ghost was able to testify to him of what he needed to do. He told us that he was going to start looking for a new Job right away, so we fasted and prayed really hard so that he will be able to find one. And yesterday during PEC meeting our high council member Robert Harrison (yes, he is from the states) told us that he is hiring people, and the cool part is that it is the same kind of work that Giovani was doing! What a blessing, I have a strong testimony of fasting and prayer.
The second one is with Amanda Gomez, I found her like 5 months ago, and she was ready to be baptized 5 months ago! But she couldn’t get baptized because her husband doesn’t want to get married with her. Like 3 weeks ago we brought the bishop with us and convinced her husband to get married to her, and last week he changed his mind! We were a bit discouraged, but my companion and me knew that we were going to be able to baptize her. So we went and called repentance unto this man a second time and we fasted (we fasted for Amanda and Giovanni at the same time) and yesterday he decided that he actually was going to get married! wohoooo. We are hoping that we can baptize her this week!
It is amazing how the lord provides the way so that his children can keep his commandments and follow him. That is, if we are willing to work and use our faith.
I love being a missionary!
Love Elder West