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)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Last Interview With President Baldwin" 6/13/2011

Hi familiy

Yet another week has gone by and I am in still in denial and still cannot believe that I am a missionary and that I have been out for 11 months. I also cannot except the fact that Kristen is half way done in her mission. I thought it was cool that for once in my life I accomplished something before my big sister !YES! but she still found a way to finish that one thing before me !CHAFA! I will get home and I will ask Kristen "so what did you do while I was gone" and she will respond " I Served a mission!" It´s ok though the day I get home I will beat her in a game of Settlers of Cataan and we will call it even.

This week was nice. We had our last interview with President Baldwin on thursday which was kind of sad, on june 26 President Brough from Utah is going to come to our mission with his family. President Brough is really young along with his wife he has to drag along their 14 year old daughter. It should be interesting. I dont think I have ever described President Baldwin to you before, he is probably the best mission president in the world. He flew fighter planes on aircraft carriers for along time and than after that he became the boss of a large aerospace company if that gives you anyclue to his character. He is about 5 foot 6 but is also one of the most intimidating men I have ever met in my life. He has absolutely zero tolerance for disobedience and leaves no room for error whatsoever. My interviews with him are about 3 minutes long (no joke, I actually timed us one time haha) He has all of us at attention at all times. In Zone conferences we all show up really prepared because he likes to ask hard questions to random people, and if you get the answer wrong he will make you feel really stupid, hahahah. Its kind of funny sometimes but it has also happened to me so I really cannot laugh. He really cares about, and loves us alot. He has all changed our lives and helped us to realize the power and authority that we have. In his farewell testimony to us I saw him cry for the first time which almost made me cry to. He is a great man, I could totally see him as a general authority or I could also see him as a general of the worlds most awesome army of titanium superwarriors that shoot lasers out of their eyes, he totally could.

This week was also amazing because 4 people came to church. We are currently teaching A mom called Amanda and her 3 children. THey are ready for baptism they are prepared by god. The only problem is that her husband is a loser and they are also not married. And she doesnt want to get married to him because he is a loser.

We got fed 2 this past week as well which is a new record. Elder Lopez´s birthday is today so I made his bed today for his birthday present. My companion only has 2 weeks left in the mission. Being with someone who is going home is sometimes chafa because it makes me think about home alot to, but its ok. WEll I gotta go .

Love Elder West

"My Area Is Pure Stairs" 6/6/2011

HI family!

Once again the computer has counquered my poor missionary computer
skills and I was not able to attach any photos. I really do have
pictures I want to send but....its hard. I will never use this
computer again.

This week was one of those weeks that are really hard and frustrating.
Elder holland said that we would experience many days like these, were
we wouldnt catch any fish at all. On saturday (usually our most busy
and succesful days) we only had 1 lesson and it was at 8 o'clock at
night. Elder Lopez and I walked for 2 in the afternoon after lunch
until that time. Not to mention it was raining (my comp. lost his
umbrella so we had to share), we were fasting, and my area is pure
stairs and there are no flat parts whatsoever. Whoever decided to
start a city on the side of this devil hill must have been crazy. But
its ok, Elder Lopez and I were able to learn alittle bit about
dilligence this past week alot. He only has 3 weeks left on his
mission and sometimes he looses his will to work. But this past week
we really did work, and my legs are beeeeeeeet.

My favorite experience this week was a lesson that me and my companion
had with a less active member with his non-member wife. The lesson was
just really good. I could honestly say that the spirit was the one
doing the work in this lesson and not us. Both me and my companion did
not know what to say or teach at all. But we ended up teaching a great
lesson. We are basing our teaching off of a new teaching method that
the church started last year as a pilot test. Its called simplified
study, they just started teaching it in the MTC last change. Bascially
it teaches us how to help the investigador recieve revelation through
prayer, reading the B.O.M, going to church and us, as the missionaries
asking more inspired questions. The lesson we had with this family was
exactly how all lessons should be. we tought to them according to
their needs with the goal of them understanding the role of the holy
ghost and prayer in recieving an answer. Alot of times we teach like
45 minutes and try and squeeze in as many gospel principles as we can
trying to convince them that what we are teaching is true. Its really
cool how the vision of missionary work has changed so much.

Its great to hear that Peter got to Brazil safely. I cannot believe
that it is already June! I bet megan and kevin are really excited to
do chores and stuff all summer. Next summer I will be home to help.
Right now in Guatemala the rainy season is starting up which is kind
of nice because that means that the sun wont burn me as much. Last
week we were teaching and it started to rain really really hard, and
we were teaching someone who has a tin roof. It was deafening and we
could not hear a thing. Plus they were to busy taking care of all of
the roof leaks they had. Since my area is just one giant hill
everysingle street is like a giant River. It is insane! I could
seriously sit on an intertube and fly all the way down to our house
(which is at the very bottom of the hill). One day I will take a video
of guatemala rain. Well I got to go I will write to guys next week.

Love Elder West

"I tought the Plan of Salvation twice" 5/30/2011

Hola Familia!

It is really good to be able to hear from you guys. Its good to hear that
everyone is okay. It sounded like the funeral was a good experience for
everyone. This week I tought the Plan of Salvation twice and I absolutely
loved it. I think that it is my favorite lesson to teach. To let everyone
know their purpose in life and clear up all of the confusion that they have.
No wonder it is also called the Plan of Happiness. It really is perfect.
This morning I was studying a little bit about Light and Truth and the
reason why we can only feel a fulness of Joy when our spirits recieve it. I
think that my level of Spirituality has increased this week alot since the
death of Ben.

This week was a good week for me and Elder Lopez and I was able to learn
alot. We found 2 families this week. One of them is the Perez Hernandez
family. Edgar (husband) is and ex-gangster. He told us about how he was able
to turn away from the mistakes in his life and follow Jesus Christ. Here in
Peronia there is a church that was started, about 7 years ago, to help
bring togather to Rival gangs. Edgar was part of one of those gangs and he
told us his really amazing experience. As we were talking with him he told
us of the happiness going to church has brought him, but he also told us
that he felt that there was still something missing that he could not
explain. He said that he let us in to see what it was that we bring. The
spirit was really strong in this lesson and I really hope that me and Elder
Lopez can help them to gain a testimony. (And they are MARRIED!)

The second family that we found was a part member family. The day that we
found them was really hard, we were walking all day and we were really
tired. I remember that we stopped for a moment to think about what we should
do. The only thing that came to my mind was that we just needed to start
knocking more doors. My Companion knocked on the door that we stopped in
front of and the people there welcomed us in immediately. I was kind of
shocked at that someone let us in so easily. We talked with a guy named Lot.
I turned out the he is a member and his wife isnt. He went inactive about 5
years ago because he felt that the ward members were ingoring him because no
one came to visit him. But he told us that he still loves the church and
that he wants to come back. And the other cool thing is that he was talking
about the Missionaries who baptized them, Their names were Elder West, and
Elder Christiensan. And he was like, Elder West was a great person who
really changed my life and that he loved him alot. Little did he know that
my name I also Elder West. He thought it was really cool when he found out
my name was Elder West as well. anyways they are also very positive. ( we
just have to get them married first)

Well I Love you guys, Im sorry I didnt send pictures, I ran out of time and
my district leader is giving me an Evil look. I will send pictures next
week. The church is TRUE!

Love Elder West

Elder Ben Jennings 5/23/2011

I really dont have words. My mission president called me at about 9:11
in the night and broke the news to me that Elder Jennings had died in
the morning. I was speachless, I dont think anything has ever shocked
me this hard in my life. I did not sleep well that night. For the past
3 days I have been thinking and applying the plan of salvation to this
experience. Despite the pain that I do feel, the spirit has been able
to comfort me significantly. I imagine that Ben is just as suprised as
we are to have made such a fast transition in his mortal experience. I
can just imagine uncle stewart and grandmother cook rushing through
the crowd to greet and comfort him in his transition.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to testify of the plan of salvation to
a family that we are teaching. I really have no doubt in my mind that
it is true and this knowledge has brought more peace to my life than
ever before. Our investigador told us yesterday that of all of the
churches that she has been to she has never felt so peaceful than she
has when we have arrived to teach her and she told us its true. YES IT
IS! it is absolutely true, and we have God the father, Jesus Christ
and the Holy Ghost to back us up. There is no wonder why everysingle
member of this church is able to feel so much happiness and peace
despite all that we go through!

I wish I could be there to comfort Uncle Dave Aunt Emily, and Leah and
Wes and Wendy and I will be praying for them always. I have commited
this time in my life to the lord and I will continue to do it for the
rest of my life. I know that Ben will also continue to testify of our
lord jesus christ and I know that he will be a great comfort to many
souls who have died without a knowledge of him.

I know that this church is true, Joseph Smith was given the authority
and power of god to establish his kingdom on the earth. I know that
the book of mormon is true, I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet
of God. There is nothing more important or more urgent than to let
everyone know this as well. My heart goes out to the Jennings family,
I will write them a letter as soon as I can.

Love Elder West

"Really Cool Ward Activity" 5/16/2011

Hola Familia!

This week was officially the last week of the change. Tonight me and my companion will find out if we have changes. I really hope that I dont have changes because I just finished unpacking my stuff into our our new house. ON saturday we were able to change houses, and rid ourselves of our devil landlord who would not leave us alone. While we were moving our landlord showed up and starting yelling at us some more because we didnt clean good enough. Hermana Baldwin (mission presidents wife) just told us to to ingore her because she also came to inspect the house and she said that everything was fine. So we did. ON our way out I snagged everysingle lightbulb out of the house to use in our new house. AT 7:30 the following morning our old landlord called us again and yelled at us some more about that. WE have washed this lady out of our hair and we dont have to worry about her anymore. I did learn something cool out of the experience however. OUr old landlord lady wanted us to replace the parts in one of our toilets, so I got to figure out what to buy and how to put it togather, it was a great learing oportunity.

On saturday night our ward had a really cool ward activity, I took like 2 pictures that didnt turn out really good, and 4 videos that turned out great but the email thingy wont let me send them. non-members showed up! the only bummer was that they were all under the age of 12. The whole week we were inviting everyone to come to the activity and I guess only the niƱos wanted to come. It was alright though.

This week we found 12 new investigadors which includes 3 families! ME and my companion are really happy about that. A new investigador is when we enter into their house teach them and set a date for when we can come back. Me and my companion have been using the ward list to get to know everysingle member in the area. In this area there are about 300 members. ONly about 100 show up every sunday. Me and my companion are doing this to help out the bishopric clean the list of people who have died or moved, and to find new investigadors. WE have discovered that the majority of the inactive members were baptized when they were really young but then fell away really soon. But now they are all grown up, married ("united") and have families of their own. Families are what we want! yesterday 2 inactive people that we found came to church for the first time in 6 years, later that afternoon we went to their house and tought their family. I am really excited to work with them.

Also my whole teaching philosophy as a missionary has changed. For almost my entire mission I have been teaching the lessons so that my investigadors could understand the stories like the restoration, the apostacy, the plan of salvation but I was not focusing on teaching by the spirit. It is important to have a really good gospel knowledge as a missionary and know the scriptures like the back of my hand, but all in all if they dont feel the spirit it doesnt mean a thing. Within the first 10 minutes of a lesson We should be able to know if they have been prepared by god and if they are feeling the spirit. And if they do there really is no need to teach them a 35 minute lesson about how jesus christ formed his church and etc. In ten years it really doesnt matter if they remember what I said, the only thing that matters is that they know that what I said was true. Man, we talked about this today in district meeting and we all realized that we have just been robots teaching with preprogrammed routines. This happens to everysingle missionary in the world, sooner or later we are all finally going to be able to understand what the true purpose of preach my gospel is. The following 13 1/2 months are going to be really really good.

This past week sounded really fun for you guys. I hope you guys have a good week this week too. Wow, megan and kevin only have 1 month left of school! I bet they are really excited. I cannot beleive that we are already halfway throgh the month of may! Hey I love you guys have a good week!


Elder West

Pay Attention in Seminary! 5/11/2011

Hola Familia!

It was really good to be able to talk to you guys yesterday. I like writing letters and stuff to you guys and everything, but talking in person is way better. I have been on my mission for 10 months, and I have already began to see the changes that I have made as a person for the better. My knowledge of the scriptures and the gospel has grown to a level 50 million times more than what I was able to learn in my byu religion classes. I always look forward to study time in the morning because I always learn something new everytime. Lately I have been memorizing the scripture mastery scriptures in the book of mormon in spanish. Write now I have the first 5 memorized, and the cool part is that I have been able to apply everysingle one of them in a lesson with my investigadors. Everytime I study, I keep I always keep in mind that what I am studying may help someone to save their life. Their is no better feeling than sitting in a lesson with an investigador who has a really inspired question of god, and being able to answer their doubt with the scriptures. I honestly wish that I had payed more attention in seminary.

ON sunday we had a baptism! we baptized Mery Hernandez, she is 19 years old and her sisters family was baptized 3 months ago. She is a really good convert and has a really good testimony of the church. She will get confirmed this next sunday. One of the best ways to find people to get baptized is to teach the imediate family of in active members and recent converts.

Next week we have changes, I think that I will stay her in Peronia but there is always a chance that I could get a change.

Well I will write to you guys next week about the awesome week that I am going to have.

Love Elder West