Elder West's Favorite Scripture

And now, my son, I have told you this that ye may learn wisdom, that ye may learn of me that there is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world. Behold, he is the work of truth and righteousness (Alma 38:9)

Monday, April 25, 2011

"Golden Family" 4/25/2011

Hola Familia!
Boy oh boy I have some good stories this week. The first one I want to tell you about is the Golden family that me and my companion found on saturday. For the past 2 weeks we have been praying and working our butts off to find a family that we can teach. ON saturday morning while we were studying our bishop called us and told us that one of his neighboors knocked on his door and asked him what she needed to do in order to baptized in the mormon church. Wooohooo! but thats not even the best part. Later that day we went to her house with the bishop to teach her. Her Husband was home as well. They are the family Ortega Estrada, his name is Fernando and her name is Velma. And they both speak perfect english which is another plus. Anyways, we sat down and Fernando started to tell us his life story about how he got baptized and recieved the melchesidec priesthood but went inactive after he moved to the united states for 20 years. He came back, met his ¨wife¨ (they arent actually officially married), who also lived in the united states and speaks perfect english as well. Fernando wanted to come back to church and so he also started to teach his wife about the gospel and the book of mormon. What they basically told us was that Velma had prayed all night to find an answer and she did. Thats why they went and found the bishop. THey told us that there goal is to get sealed in the temple. WE tought them about the restoration and it was perfect! afterword we gave each of them a blessing, and they both cried and told us that they truly were able to feel the spirit. Man it is amazing to be able to be able to be a part of an experience like this. Every missionary dreams of a family like this. The contacted us and told us they wanted to get baptized! All of the slammed doors and rejections are worth it.
Last week I also wrote about my goal to contact buses. I had the opportunity to do it twice this past week. Whoooweeee, what an adrenaline rush! 10 months ago I never could have imagined myself standing at the front of a crowded bus with a huge poster of the first vision, qouting what joseph smith saw. hahahah, I dont know if it actually worked but I think it helped me overcome my fear. "I SAW A PILAR OF LIGHT, DIRECTLY OVER MY HEAD!" hahahah. I wish that I had told my companion to take a video of it. The most that I can hope for Is that I planted some good seeds, and I think I did. If I end up training I think that I will make my son do it with me. (in missionary language a new missionary`s first companion is called his dad, because its like he is being born, and at the end of the mission that means that you died or your companion killed you) So if I am ever a dad I will be sure to let my son experience a full on bus contact.
So in 2 weeks I can call you guys, I havent been able to figure out a cheaper way to call but I will keep asking around. My one year mark is approaching really really fast. I cannot believe it, I am almost on the down hill run. Write now my companion is really "Baggy" which means that he is thinking about home alot, becuase the only has 2 months left. So that means that I probably will be killing him. Well I dont really know what else to say but, I love you guys and I will talk to you guys next week.
Elder West

Monday, April 18, 2011

"big laminated poster of the first vision" 4-18/2011

Hi family!

Ok so I took pictures and I remembered to bring my cord, its just that the computer I am using is really old and doesnt have enough USB drives, so sorry but next week forsure I will send pictures.

So this week was probably one of the most unsuccesful weeks of my mission so far. We were only able to find one new investigador, which is really bad. The tactics I used to find new investidadors in my last zone do not work here. My last zone was in the mountains, and in the mountains people are alot nicer, less educated, and more trusting with other people. But now i am in pure city, and the people are alot meaner, more educated, richer, and do not trust anyone because they are afraid for their lives. I know and have faith that I can find new investigadors here in Peronia its just that I need to start from scratch and develop a new strategy. The first thing I need to do is learn to trust more in the spirit and to act on its promptings.

The good thing about last week is that we put a baptismal date for the 21 of may, and we set a goal for them to be married the 14 of may, one weekend before. His name is Juan Carlos Martinez Garcia, his wife is a member and the missionaries have been working with them for a while. He is really progressing, he goes to institute with his wife every weekend and he always comes to church, they only thing is that they need to get married and he needs to get baptized because he is really ready.

Last week we decided that we were going to go visit a less active family, called the estrada family. And when we arrived everyone was really agitated and startled. We asked them what happened and they told us that 15 minutes earliear they were robbed at gunpoint. The interesting thing is that they were all sitting outside on their front steps, but the robbers only wanted to rob one of them, Hermana edna who is 23 years old and thinking about going on a mission. The reason why they robbed her was because they saw her talking on her phone before hand and they really wanted that phone. Fortunately nobody got hurt, and they were actually all pretty relaxed. Hermana Edna said that that was the 4th time that she has been mugged and that is the 4th phone that has been stolen. bummer. I am never going to use my camera outside in public while I am here! We shared a message with them and I think that helped them forget about it easier.

In my house I found a really big laminated poster of the first vision, and on the back was the name of Elder Waldo. Elder waldo was known for taking that poster everywhere and teaching bus loads of people at a time. That poster inspired me to do the same. This week I set a goal to that whenever I get on a bus, I will use that poster to teach the whole bus. For a while i have been feeling unsatisfied with my efforts even though I have been working really really. I need to challenge myself more and do stuff that makes me overcome my fears and burst out of my bubble. Just writing about it makes me really nervous, and I honestly really dont want to but that means that it is excactly what I need to do.

It sounds like everything is goin pretty good up there in lake stevens. Its good to hear that megan is learning how drive...hahahahah. Im sorry megan but I laughed really hard when I read the account that mom gave me about your driving experience. By the way I sent some letters to megan and kevin last week so they should get there in a little while. anyway I need to go.


Elder West

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Zone Mariscal, in an area called Peronia" 4/13/2011

Hello family!

Hey guess what! I got transfered and recieved a new companion again. Right now I am in the Zone Mariscal, in an area called Peronia. My companion´s name is Elder Lopez and he is from guatemala. Elder lopez has 21 months in the mission which means that I will probably be his last companion. I also have a very strong feeling that after he leaves they will make me start training. I like my area alot. When I first heard that I was going to Peronia I got really excited because it sounded like the name of a futuristic city form mars. But it turns out that its not. The zone Mariscal is most dangerous zone in the mission, and peronia is among the most dangerous areas in the zone. Its a huge shift coming from the nice safe mountain area where I was before. Here in the city people dont respond when you say hi or good morning. Im not to worried about anything bad happening though, because I know that the Lord is on my side. Besides, my companion said that in the passed 3 months they have only been mugged twice. We live in a really safe neighborhood that has only one entrance and is guarded by 3 guys with shotguns. At night time we almost always hear gunshots, but they usually sound like they are really far away. Another interesting thing about my area is that it happens to be placed right on the side of a very large hill. And so the streets are not flat at all, infact the streets are just really big stairs. I have a picture of them but I forgot my camera back at the house. I also am a little bit more cautious about bringing my camera with me while I am proselyting.

The day after I arrived in peronia, the land lord of our house arrived the house to do a little inspection. She is originally from guatemala but is living in the united states right now, so she doesnt usually come down to check up on her house alot. Ok, so when I first got to my house, the first thought that popped into my head was ¨wow, this is a really dirty house.¨ Apparently the missionaries have been living there for 4 years, so you could imagine all the crud that missionaries have left behind and how messy it was. And lucky me that I just happened to be the Elder that had to recieve the full wrath of the this very sparky middle aged women. The land lord arrived, at like 9 in the morning while we were studying and she told us that she wanted to look at her house and that she had recieved permission from President Baldwin. So we told her it was all good, the only thing was that we had to wait outside because we cant be inside a house with a women without a man present. So we went outside and she went in, and not very long after we heard her reaction. Needless to say she yelled at us alot, and she also yelled at president baldwin. And as a result president baldwin told us that we have one month to find a new house to live in. Darn, the day after I unpacked all of my stuff I learn that I have to pack it all up again. Its ok I guess.

We have a very small pool of investigadors in this area, we probably only have about 5. And last change they only found 8 new investigadors. Those stats are not very good at all. Me and my companion are going to work really hard to get this ward up and running even more. This ward is really awesome, our bishop is really good as well. What we have been doing is walking around getting to know all 200 less active members and contacting there neighboors. We have found alot of people who are now dead, gone, or who are now catholic. So our bishop is really happy that we are helpinng him pruify the ward list. Huhhhhh, well, everything is all good here in Peronia, my legs are tired from climbing up and down stairs all day but other than that I am fine. I love you guys and I cant wait to hear from you next week.

Love Elder West

"proselyting in sandals" 4/4/2011

Hello family

Everytime I write an email I have absolutely no idea where to start. On tuesday I had to use my p-day to go down to the mission office. I had to go down there because I had to speak to the doctor missionary guy. The reason why I had to talk to the missionary doctor is because for the last 3 weeks by big toe had been swolen and red and oozing out pus. So I decided that I should have him check it out because it was like that for 3 weeks. The reason why my toe was like that is becuase I tried to operate on my ingrown toenail by myself. The missionary doctor guy looked at my toe for one second and ¨well I guess I will have to give you the standard surgery¨. I guess that he has had to to this alot. What he did was he numbed my toe, the took out a pare of surgical scissors or something like that and he cut right down the middle of my nail all the way down to the root and yanked it out. I have gotta say...that felt really weird. It was like 30 minutes long, he was done in like 5 minutes, and the other 25 minutes he spent telling me cool stories about how he was a top gun pilot in vietnam, and why he chose to become a doctor. I love old people stories. But the cool thing is that I had to walk around outside proselyting in sandals for two days, and my toe felt better.

Conferance weekend was really reallly good. OH man saturday morning I woke up just like it were christmas. All of the north americans get to have a break from spanish and we get our own little room with a tv in it all to ourselves. WE get to watch it in english becuase it really sucks watching it in spanish, my mission president said so himself. It is truly a blessing to be able to listen to the actual voice of the prophets instead of just listening to a translator. PLus it says in 2 nephi 31 verse 3 that all shall recieve this gospel in his own tounge (or something like that). However, the stake presidency thought that they would do us the favor of helping us learn more spanish by taking out all of the T.Vs so that we were forced to watch it in spanish with the main congregation. They almost had a full our riot on their hands. Needless to say we watched the very first session in spanish, and I mostly understood everything. But by the next session we made sure that we had are special english room. Listening to conferance talks in spanish is sooooo hard because the general authorities tend to use very eloborate anologies, and vocabulary, and not to mention the translator is speaking at the speed of sound trying to keep up. But all in all I loved every second of conferance and I learned alot, there is now 5 months and 30 days left until the next session in october.

Anyways tonight we are going to find out if I have changes, I will let you guys know next monday. I am doing alright, I am happy, healthy, and working hard. I have got to go but I hope you guys enjoyed conference as well, I tried to find dad and megan in the audience but it was to hard and I couldnt do it. I love you guys and I will talk to you guys on monday.

Love Elder West