Monday, December 10, 2012

Hola todos, esta semana fue bien cansado, pero bien divertido tambien. This week we had our noche navideña or christmas night, which was basically just a big meeting with half the mission and in the second half they gave us a turkey dinner (mexican style, which is very different), and then a talent/skit show. It was really funny. I feel like we really find ways to have fun in the mission to just enjoy every moment, and this night was all of it combined in one. Lots of laughing, singing, etc. It was great.
Right now we don't really have many investigators. The least i have had in my mission, which is more than many of the missionaries have right now. It's a change, but there is a much higher percentage of good investigators. One or two who are ok, but have problems like divorces or something, but we are teaching one guy that i feel like will get baptized the 22nd of december. he has a cousin who is 16, but such a good example and is going to go on a mission that this 15 year old wants to get baptized and wants to go on a mission. It just testifies of being a good example. This really is the work of the Lord. God finds so many ways to teach me every day. This wednesday is the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe (one who apparently appeared here in mexico). Basically it means that we can't leave our house from tuesday evening to thursday morning. The people go crazy, and walk (even when they can drive) for between 7 hours and 3 days to get to the church where the virgin appeared. and this year 12/12/12 is going to be even bigger. There are already hundreds (and growing, apparently soon to be thousands) of people walking in the freeway towards this church, carrying a backpack with food, etc, and always a painting or a banner, or a statue of the virgin. Apparently it is the second most visited catholic site, second to the vatican. We have the luck to have the freeway in our area, so we are already starting to see the affects, and are going to be able to see what really goes on. Most of them go pretty crazy, and a lot of them very drunk, but i do have to give them credit, it is a very long way to walk, and especially when they carry a 4 or 5 foot tall picture or statue. But it means that all the missionaries are going to be inside this day. And we got permission to watch a few church movies (to avoid thinking about home). My comp and i are going to make enchiladas mexican style. Apparently in his house, enchiladas are tostadas. And they don't have tacos!!! So we're goint to run and get a few right now. Love you all! Elder West ¡feliz día de la apostasía de la virgen!

Hola todos, está semana me dejó... pues no sé, ¿a la mejor feliz? Pero estuvo muy bueno tambien.  This week was crazy. Transfers!!! So my companion had transfers and is now in my ward. That kind of rocks. I really love that guy. Never enjoyed three months of the mission more. The hard part will be not comparing my new companion to him. He's pretty hard to top. My new companion is Elder Martinez, from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. His accent is very different. A bit less clear. But i'm excited to work with him. He seems to really want to work, and now it's all about learning how and applying it. Training is a bit tiring, but it is cool to see how much the new missionaries progress (especially when i compare where i was to where i am now, and look at the new missionary where he is, and where he can be in three months). We started out this transfer well, three baptisms on saturday! The Familia Feliciano got baptized!!! It was awesome, they are a very very humble family, and the daughter is so smart (she's 12 and reteaches everything to her mom who doesn't read very well and speaks more of a dialect of Mayan or Aztec (she doesn't know which) than she does spanish). They rock. And it makes me really happy that he also got to start his mission with a wedding and baptizing. We also got to attend a ceremony in which a member asked the dad of a convert for her hand in marriage. It was quite the ceremony The dad talks first, then everyone else present (that caught me by surprise), then the future son in law gives the parents gifts, talks, and then proposes in front of everyone. Then the family and everyone talks again, all one by one, and they finish by having a banquet. And they will be getting married in the temple!!! The week was exhausting, but overall pretty good. Love you all, ¡que les vaya bien! Elder West

My companion, Elder Martinez, and My companion with my trainer (Elder Quiñones), his trainer (Elder Ostler, who is from sandy as  well), and me.


¡Hola todos, mi hijo ya se va, ya es adulto, y voy a tener otro hijo! Ni sabía que era embarazado. This week was a bit crazy. We've been scrambling to try to find all of the members we can and help them in some way. The goal is that the more converted someone is the more likely they are to share the gospel, and the ward would be a lot stronger. President Spencer W. Smith (or Howard W. Hunter, i don't remember which) said that the desire to share the gospel is a good way to measure conversion. So we're going with that tactic. We´ve been working with the familia feliciano a lot, and they are getting married this thursday! The judge and i know each other pretty well by now, so he gave me an appointment, a better price and everything. ¡va mormones y juezes medio corruptos! The only downside is that the dad won't be ready to get baptized this week. We've been postponing the family's baptism for him, but he needs a bit more time to be ready, so his wife and two of his three kids (the other is too young) are getting baptized. It's been cool to see how much the daughter really really wants her family to go to church, to learn more. One person can make a big difference in the family. And then there's transfers... I really loved these last three months with my companion, he's a great guy. But now he's going to be leaving me. But turns out he's just going to move one area over, still going to be in my district and my ward, and he's going to be a step dad (he'll be finishing the training of another new missionary). And i am going to train again. I'm excited, i really loved it the first time, and can't wait to see who my new companion will be. The Bishop called president yesterday to tell him not to change us, apparently he really likes having us in the ward... That was good to hear. And my next companion will be able to start his mission with three baptisms this saturday! A family! We also made a cake with some converts, turns out chocolate cake isn't a common thing here. It lasted about five minutes. It was a pretty good week, and i am really excited to see what happens with the new transfers. ¡Les amo a todos y espero que todos estén bien! Con amor, Elder West
p.s. I forgot to mention, thanksgiving doesn't exist here, but a lot of people asked me about our turkey day, and about thanksgiving. We were going to try to have our own little thanksgiving feast, but the members this week gave us so much food (and if you don't eat it all it can be offensive) that we got to the house and didn't have any desire to eat any more. So we saved it for today. Happy Thanksgiving!

Hola todos. Una semana que se quedará sin descripcion. So surprise. Yesterday we had a baptism. We didn't know about it either. We started fasting saturday, mainly because we hadn't had a lot of success, and the Lord really opened up all of the doors. First off we ended up with twelve people (mainly families, which rocks) that can be ready for baptism and have baptism dates for December first or 8th. That was really cool. 12 souls. We left a lesson and I just turned to my companion and said, "God loves us". In sunday we got to church, still fasting, and were getting ready to leave when we found out that one of the less active families we had been teaching (and now have been in church for 4 weeks, callings, and are so excited) has a son who isn't a member. What we didn't know is that his baptism was yesterday, and that he actual counts as a convert. So we showed up and suddenly had a baptism service all ready. That was a nice surprise to say the least. And even better because this family is awesome. The week was really tough in a lot of ways, but God really answered our prayers. ANd our fast. I also really like fasting because the food at the end always tastes so good. My Dad always said on fast sunday, "Hunger is the sweetest sauce". It's very true. God answers prayers. And loves us a lot. Espero que estén bien. Love Elder West

Nunca darse por vencido. La santa cena es lo que nos permite ir de fracaso a fracaso y levantarnos otra vez sin perder el animo. Buena suerte google translate. This week we  had a bit of cold. Mexico. Cold. I was a bit surprised... Mainly just in the nights. But it's probably tropical compared to Utah. The people here have never seen snow (except on top of the volcano). Stake conference this week was a broadcast for all of Mexico. Elder Scott and Elder Clark (a seventy) spoke, and spoke in spanish. They don't exactly sound like natives, but it was cool to see them speak to the people in their language, and see how the people really loved it. Elder Clark went to a sunday school class and asked every one of the kids if they prayed as a family. It was about half and half when he got to the bishop's son. The bishop was sitting behind him. The poor kid looks at his dad, back at Elder Clark, at which point Elder Clark said tell me the truth. The kid said no. I can't imagine how the dad felt. We should all be praying and reading scriptures as a family. Elder Scott spoke, i liked his comment about how glad he was he was sealed to his wife, because now all the other awesome guys in heaven couldn't have her. He also talked about how grateful he was that he learned spanish, how it is a marvelous language. De acuerdo. We actually started the broadcast a bit late because of time zone confusions, teh stake president felt really bad, he said he had felt a prompting to start it early, even telling people it started an hour early, but he delayed acting on it for 23 minutes, so we started late, and he felt bad. But it was rebroadcast after, so we saw everything, but as a very distraught stake president and president Monson said, never delay a prompting. We also had the experience to work with President this week. He studied with the district in the morning, and after went to work teh whole day with my companion and i. He really speaks with so much power adn authority. My comp said he felt like a little baby chicken next to him. Definitely learned a ton. We worked a ton with members this week. 26 lessons this week with just members. In addition to service and other things. Crazy. Les amo a todos. Elder West   Dios siempre nos va a probar. Así es la vida. Que bueno que nos ayuda a trabajar.

¡Los cambios ahorita son los más grandes que he escuchado jamas en un misión! Estoy animado y voy a tener que confiar más que nunca... This week was a bit crazy. It really changes things not contacting, but i have really made it my goal to just put my trust in president, and teh area president, and do it with everything i've got. Turns out this is a change (no contacting) that is going to happen in all of mexico. We used to work (and always have in mexico) by pure tracting. I'm really excited. We also had some interesting experiences this week. A member passed away and we were in the funeral for a bit. It's really interesting to see the approach of the members and the non members. The members it was almost reverence. THe non members were sad until they got drunk enough to smile again. It really helps to know that God has a plan for us, to know where we are going, that the only sad part of death is the temporary separation, and that things really will only get better for them if we follow the Gospel. I also had some interesting oppotunities to work with missionaries in my district who have been having some problems. One was thinking about going home, but after some splits, district study, and visiting with each member of the district, i really feel like he has a lot more hope about the future, and seems like even in a few days that he is starting to do better, that is comp is a bit less down about things, and that the problems another companionship had have largely improved. It´s really cool to see how God will help us act within our callings to help others. It really helped me to realize that the experiences that i have had have really served to help me help others. I had three weeks where i was the most depressed i had ever been in my life, i thought it would be easier to just get hit by a car, it was bad, but since recovering from that, from learning more about teh atonement of Christ, i have really been able to get up and love each day, love the work. I have never been so happy. We didn't come to suffer, "life is to be enjoyed, not just endured". I really tried to help others see that this week, and i really think it has helped. A difficult week for numbers, but still loved it. I'm excited for the next. Love you all, con mucho amor, Elder West 

Also forgot to say, the day of the dead was crazy. It actually lasted three days, one for the little kids, who basically went trick or treating, except instead of knocking on doors, they ask for candy from everyone in the streets, even other trick or treaters. So we bought a bag of candy to pass out. It was actually really fun. The second day is for the adults, who visit the graves of loved ones and put little alters with all their favorite things, and no one is in their houses or in our area this day. It was like a ghost town. The third day is for the youth who have their "halloween fiestas". It was fun to see. A bit tough to teach, but definitely a cultural experience. 

¡hola todos! This week was crazy. My companion and i had to go to a meeting with president, where he announced that we will no longer be knocking doors. We now need to be working with 40 to 60 less active families as well as 15 active families. I'm honestly a bit worried, the majority of our investigators come from knocking doors, but we are going to trust president and work a ton with the ward. The good thing is that this will help to really strengthen the wards. The idea is that if 60% of our baptisms come from member references, and only 40% from contacting, if we stop spending 90% of our time contacting and use it all on the members than we will have way more baptisms. Converts that already have friends and are more likely to stay active their entire lives. It's definitely going to be a change. This week was a bit of a trial of our faith. The people we had ready for baptism all fell through, and all of them because of a combination of really unhappy family and a member that isn't fully converted yet. We're going to work with them and try to help their families see that this really is the way they will be happy. ¡Que tengan una buena semana! Love, Elder West

Other note for the week. Happy Halloween! And happy day of the dead. It is almost the same as halloween here now, except people put out the favorite food of their loved ones that have passed away, and there are a lot more skeletons and some people who worship death. Basically it gets more like halloween every year. But it definitely has a mexican twist, which is always fun to see. I'm excited to see how it goes. Love you all!

Monday, October 29, 2012


Bautismos!!! And my companion and the bishop's sons. Nayeli and Jose Juan (they got baptized a week ago). Jessica Margarita and Osvaldo. They got baptized this week. God is blessing us so much right now. 

Esta semana estuvo freaking chido. This week we had one of the craziest weeks i have ever had. We ran from one place to another trying to make it to everything. We do use a lot of public transit, that's where most of our money goes. We walk a ton, but sometimes we have to travel 3 or 4 miles and only have about 5 minutes to do it. Luckily we have a freeway that splits our area and makes it really easy to cross. This week a family that hadn't come to church in more than 12 years shared their testimonies in church, and it was a really cool experience for us. They thanked us for serving a mission and talked about how they had been trying to find a way to come back, but didn`t know how. Also, we had three baptisms!!! Jessica, Margarita, and Osvaldo. They're all from the same family, and it was really cool to see how they went from believing that either all religions are the same, or that only the saints and the virgin mary can help us, to recieving a testimony of the Book of Mormon and wanting to be baptized. It was sweet. Jessica said, if i am going to change, i'm going to do it completely. She took out all of her peircings, left all of the bad influences in her life, and really seems excited to try to be the best she can be. Today we had to take the mail from the zone to the offices, and on the way back we stopped by Zocalo (the center of DF). My comp was so excited to see everything, and we decided to splurge and buy a hamburger from the mcdonalds there (american restaurants are always a highlight for everyone to visit when we're in the downtown). Les amo a todos, Elder West

Oct. 15,2012

¿Que transa? This week was crazy. Last week of the transfer always seems like a crazy one. We had interviews with president, which always rock, and i got to listen to a bit of conference that i hadn't seen. REally showed me how awesome every second of general conference is, how every part can answer a question. This week we also learned God really answers prayers. We had several days of scrambling to try to help people be ready for their baptisms, and sunday morning at seven forty it seemed like all three had fallen, we were pretty down, running to take a bus to get to one house, finding out the monster in law of Elizabeth had arrived and after a lot of problems with her, she couldn't get baptized this week, but we are hopeful for next week (she rocks, wants to pay tithing before her baptism, so awesome). We ended up walking to church and in camino we ran into Nayeli and Jose Juan. They were walking to church on their own with the clothes and towel, ready for their baptism. It really was a miracle. The boss of Jose Juan called him that morning and told him he could now take sundays off of work. We thought he wasn't going to get baptized for months because of work, but in the end they got baptized together!!! Always better for couples to get baptized togethor. They were so happy. It was sweet. And they make really really good tacos. Seis por veinte. Solo carne de gato es más barrato. Pero bien ricos. Overall a really good week. And my companion and I don´t have changes, so we'll be here together at least another six weeks. Two people in my district will be changing, so that will be interesting. It's always exciting around transfers. Love you all! ¡que les vaya bien! Elder West


¡hola todos! This week was awesome. I feel like God keeps throughing things in to keep me busy and a bit out of my comfort zone, but it's been great. General conference rocks. The anouncement left thirteen missionaries that i was with with open mouths and stunned silence for almost a minute. And then a lot of celebrating and talking. (we got to watch in english!) There are definitely people who feel a bit uneasy about more immature missionaries, or problems with the girls and guys being the same age, but i doubt these will really be problems. My companion is 18 and one of the best prepared missionaries i know. It's not the age, but the effort they put in preparation. Even if they haven't lived out of the home, I think for many it can be a really really great thing. David, whatever you choose to do, pray a lot first, and trust what you feel. I know that you can be one of the best missionaries whether you leave at 18 or 19. Don't stress about it, just ask God and do it. You're better prepared than almost all of the missionaries i've known where when they left. (but that doesn't mean you don't need to really try to prepare). Love you bro. We also really liked Elder Nelson's saying "ask the missionaries". I presonally liked when President Uchtdorf said we can choose to be happy in any circumstance. And that we need to make resolutions now to not have regrets later. I also feel the same as Elder Perry when he said I hope to always be worthy of the title of the son of my parents. Can't thank them enough. Another thing you learn in the mission whether you leave at 18 or at 19 or 21. I also really liked how Elder Oaks talked about protecting the kids and how marriage really affects it. My companion and I are marriage experts here (the members are now asking us for advice on how to get married in the cheapest way), and it really shows how much it hurts a family when they start the family before getting married (or without getting married at all). During the Priesthood session we lost the signal for about ten minutes during President Monson, that was a bit rough, but finally we all got on our knees and prayed, and ten seconds later it came back on. It was a really cool thing too. I also feel the same as President Monson when he said, "I need, and I feel your prayers. Thank you." One of our investigators that came to conference told me, "you were right, it answered all of my doubts". I had asked her to come with questions and all of hers (and mine) were answered. These men really are the leaders of God's church, they really recieve revelation from him. I know this is the Church of Jesus Christ. We just have to help others know it. Love you all! Elder West 


my birthday... it's better if you don't ask. 

 Andrea's baptism (she rocks), Gloria's baptsims (also great), 

 Elder Carrillo, Elder Reyes in middle, and me during transfers.

Our Mexico independance day celebration (it was a party, two missionaries, food, finger soccer, and a church movie (with permission)).

¡hola todos! ¿Como les va? This week has been crazy. We went to another city to marry a couple (they're awesome, going to be baptized this week), we had no money (there was an error and we didn't recieve money three weeks ago, and it ran out, but today we finally recieved it), and my district leader had special transfers (tranfers aren't for two weeks), and I am now the new district leader. That about sums the week up completely. It was cool to see that when we had no money the people seemed to randomly offer us food, rides, etc. God looks out for his missionaries. We don't really know why, but my district leader (who was great) is now in another zone, and I know get the opportunity to try to help out the missionaries in my district. That has been one thing that has humbled me a lot. I'm the youngest by a lot of the senior companions in my district, but God has his reasons to do things, and i guess it's another thing i need to learn, and that there is someone i can help. I love that every time i start to feel comfortable in the mission, like i've got a routine, God throws something in to mix it up. It's really something I love, it helps to keep us reliant on the Lord, keeps us praying constantly more than ever before. Another thing that happened this week was a really cool experience with my patriarchal blessing. They really are God's council for us, and the blessing that are promised are real. He loves us and really answers prayers. ¡Les amo! ¡que tengan buenas semanas! Elder West 


"La iglesia mormona es la unica iglesia que tiene permiso de bautizar y confirmar." - Padre Catolico. A catholic priest or "father" told one of our investigators that The "Mormon" church is the only one that has permission from God to baptize and confirm people. That was a pleasant surprise. He said this in a catholic baptism to a huge group of people (accorting to her). I thought that was cool. Everyone who really wants to find the truth will recognize it, even if they don't always decide to follow it. This week we did a lot of service for the ward, we've been focusing more on members to the point where we're not contacting much. This week we helped one family tear down two walls and take out all of the debris as one of our service projects. It was actually pretty fun for one afternoon. Turns out concrete bricks aren't quite as hard as they look. One thing i've loved about these past few weeks has been teh excitement of my companion. He got here new and full of excitement for the work, and it really makes the problems pass by faster, and the rest of the day a lot of fun. It's definitely taught me a lot. Sometimes it's easy to lose the excitement for the little things, or even for the big ones. Sometimes we just need to take a step back and see how great life and where we are really is, regardless of problems, homework, or just plain work. It also has been a lot of fun because he has a pretty good sense of humor and likes to laugh. Reminds me a bit of the song "make them laugh" from singing in the rain. Make 'em laugh. Life's more fun that way. This week we had an awesome experience in the church. We brought a couple for a tour, and by the end they were crying and kept telling us they felt a peace they hadn't had before. Especially with some traumatic (no idea how to spell that now... español...) experiences. They have a baptismal date, and are really excited. It was also cool to teach an inactive family, and as we've been teaching them see them become reconverted to the gospel. Having people who haven't come to church in years is something awesome to see. Like they get baptized again or something. And it's been really cool to see one of our converts become the most active member in church. She goes to all of the activities, is early to church every week, and already has a tone of responsibilities. It's been really cool. It's cool to come to church and see a lot of people there that weren't there before. Even in a short period of time. The gospel is true. It really makes people happy if they are converted to the gospel, and not just the motions of going to church etc. ¡les amo! Elder West

¡Feliz cumpleaños México! This week was crazy. the 16th is the independence day of Mexico. No one celebrates 5 de mayo, but everyone goes nuts the 15th to start celebrating the 16th. We had to be in the house early to avoid problems (lots of drunk people celebrating independence doesn't always go well with foreigners). We ended up celebrating in our house on our own. It was great, chicken necks, tortillas, empanadas, and we made mexican rice and juice (peach flavored). We were practically mexican. Except that today we made hamburgers... We also had a lot of fun with a finger soccer game (thanks mom!). The day after the streets were carpeted with millions of fireworks (mostly bottle rocket like things). We also had a cool experience with Brenda, Yael, and Viridiana. We finally were able to talk to her husband, and for a while i thought he was going to get baptized too. But in the end, Brenda and Yael got baptized Sunday. Great way to end the independance day celebrations. We also had a really cool experience with a couple we took to the church to give a tour and teach the Sabbath day. We finished in front of the baptismal font, sang a hymn, and in the end they were crying, and almost couldn't pray. It was really cool, and we're hoping they can get baptized in a few weeks. They were really excited about the idea of having the gift of the Holy Ghost. ¡Les amo! Elder West

THis week i don't have a lot of time, we are very behind, we had a meeting with the zone in the morning that killed most of our day, so we're running to get things done. My new companion is Elder Reyes. He is great. He's from Guatemala, came really prepared, and seems like a really nice guy with his head and more importantly his heart in the right place. We had a really great, and really crazy week. This week we had the baptism of Gloria!!!! We spent the week scrambling, running, and judge hopping to get them married, and finally we managed to track down all the papers that are legally required, and find a judge who doesn't charge us as much, and we finally managed to get her married in saturday. It was really hectic, but it was a great way to spend my birthday. Really mixed things up, which was nice. And what better way to celebrate a birthday than with a wedding? We ended up eating a lot of sweets that day too... Turns out people here haven't ever seen chocolate chip cookies, and most of them haven't seen brownies. But i think another american elder and i have made addicts out of our companions.... It's been a great week, and it's been kind of funny to see how having a "son" in the mission really makes you feel like he's your son sometimes. You really want to do the best for him, and make everything perfect. It was so great, i asked Gloria if he could baptize her, and she was excited for it, and so my companion was able to baptize someone his first week in the field. I was really excited, and he was almost skipping. It was great. But out of time, ¡les amo a todos! ¡Gracias por todo! 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sept. 3, 2012

"Hola, quiero agradecerles por todo lo que me han enseñado. Sé que es poco, pero para mí es valioso. Hoy fue el día más feliz que he tenido en mi vida. Hoy volví a nacer y me esforzaré por seguir el camino correcto. Gracias. Hasta pronto… Att. “Andy” " This was the text we got from Andrea. She got baptized yesterday. It was one of the best baptismal services i've seen. All of the missionaries in the zone got togethor and we had a stake baptismal service. It was really cool. We had five people ready for baptism, but with a death of a family member, marital problems, and one that just lacked faith we dropped to one, all in the space of a few hours before the baptismal service. We got there and the ward mission leader called us saying he had passed by for andrea but she said she couldn't come, something happened, and wasn't going to get baptized either. We were pretty depressed. And then she called us to confirm that she couldn't come because of an "enormous" problem. We were just about to leave (we felt awful, we worked like dogs this week to get everything ready and it all fell through), when Andrea and the ward mission leader showed up and said, "just kidding". We were so relieved we managed not to get mad at the ward mission leader (his idea). It turned out to be an incredible experience. And then she sent us the text after telling us how this was the happiest day of her life, that she was born again, and how much it means to her. She is a single mother with 24 years, and is really great. Her sister wants go get baptized too, but she has to get married and her husband has some drinking and atheist problems. But yesterday was one of the coolest days we've had. And now we have transfers. Elder Carrillo ya se va, and i am going to train a new missionary.I'm really excited and terrified. One more cool story. There is a blind man and a man that is crippled and confined to a wheel chair in the ward. The blind man is led by is dog to the house of the man in the wheel chair. The blind man then pushes the man in the wheel chair to the church as the man in the wheel chair tells him where to go. Talk about faith. Two awesome old men who found a way to come even in those conditions. If they can make it, we can wake up in the morning to make it to church on time. I thought that was an awesome example. Out of time, love you all! Next week I'll let you know who my new comp is and where he is from. ¡Cuidense mucho! hasta luego, Elder West
August 27, 2012

¡Hola todos! Dios conteste oraciones, y conteste aun más cuando ayunas.   Turns out i can't pray in english. I've prayed in spanish since almost the beginning of the mtc and now i really struggle with it. They asked me to pray in the english classes and it really took me a while to get through it. I think they just thought i was speaking slowly so they would have a better chance to understand... This week we had another baptism!!! Irving! His brother is a member, but his whole family  is extremely catholic. The thing that did it was the Book of Mormon. He had been reading on his own as we taught him, and he recieved a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and the rest fell into place. He's awesome. We are also teaching two sisters and their kids, they rock. They were very against coming to church, but we did an open house thing for them and i think that really helped them get over their fears of coming, and they really felt the spirit. The only problem there is that one of the husbands refuses to talk to us and now his wife (he came back drunk one night and they fought). It's really cool to see that even though they are catholic and Jehovah's witness, they really have recieved a testimony by coming to church, they can feel a 'peace there that is stronger than any other place they have been.' The funny part was they both thought i am between 30 and 32 years old, and my comp 27.  Today we brought the mail from the zone to the offices, and while there, the assistants told me I am going to train! I'm excited. ANd really nervous. Transfers aren't for another week, but i am really excited. It's been quite a week, and I really know the Lord knows us and gives us the trials that are perfect for us to help smooth the rough edges. I strengthened my testimony of fasting. It works, and it really helps you feel closer  to God. ¡Les amo a todos! ¡Cuidense mucho! Elder West

Friday, August 24, 2012

August 20, 2012

Hola todos! This week was really hectic, but really good. First, we had two baptisms. It was great, they were two kids, but their parents are just waiting on the divorce papers (her other husband is in prison) to go through to get married and baptized. They're really excited. The only downside is the divorce is going to take several months (6?). It's been interesting to see how they have been really prepàred and humbled. Money and family problems really changed their attitudes, they even told us if they hadn't had these things happen they probably never would have given us a chance. In addition to the baptisms, i learned how to clean, boil, and fry grasshoppers. They're actually pretty good when they're little (the big ones have a bit too much something inside). Fried grasshopper. Never thought i would like that (beef still tops it, but for a bug it's not bad). This week i feel like i learned a lot about marriage. We visited a lot of families, and they all trust us really fast (members or nonmembers), and are really open about their problems. Between the people we meet and living with someone 86400 seconds in a day (i think), seven days a week, 42 days a transfer, you learn a lot. It really is one of the best ways to learn in my opinion. WE have another baptism planned for this week with Irving, a really cool guy who has a brother who is a member. As long has he doesn't listen to his mom or other relatives, he will be so ready to be baptized and really be converted. Love you all! ¡Vaya con Dios!

August 13, 2012

¿Que dice? Cada día aprendemos algo nuevo que parece tan sencillo y clave. Me sorprende cada vez. No hay nada como un misión. This week we had several days of really hot, and then several days of rain and really cold. I felt like i was in Utah. My comp thinks the weather has gone crazy. He's lived by the sea his whole life, and it's always a warm climate there, with a ton of fresh fish. Apparently they don't eat a lot of tortillas there. And apparently they eat everything here, even if in Peru it would normally be dog food. I still think the food is pretty good. And some things are really good. Pastel Azteca, pan dulce, tacos de suadero, tacos dorados, the list goes on. Thank heavens (literally) that we have time in the morning to excercise. We've been teaching a family that is so ready to get baptized, they just have to work through their money problems. They all have said, yes i want to be baptized, and expect to this saturday. The only problem is the wife just got taken to jail for debts she hadn't paid, and the kids now have to work instead of school. It's a different world here. Half the people make about 40 dollars a week, and yet they live happily. It's something i am definitely learning from. Money doesn't mean happiness. It does help to not worry, but the key to a happy life (and marriage from what we've seen here) is the gospel. There is no book or therapist that can do the same. It's really cool to see how it has changed lives. This week Elder Alonso of the seventy came to talk to us (half the mission one day, the other half another). It was really cool, he's really loving, respectful, and has a really strong testimony and has absolutely no fear of sharing it. I learned a ton. One of my favorite things he said was that, `a lot of people think the gospel is a list of things to do. It isn't. The gospel is a list of blessing to recieve`. He also spoke to us in the mtc, so i've heard him a lot. There's a lot to be learned from the leaders God gives us. We still do a lot of knocking doors, but the members are starting to trust us, and it is making a big difference. I'm excited to start baptizing. President also showed up at church this week to talk to the members and came to gospel principles with our investigators. It was really cool. He definitely got the members excited about missionary work, and the investigators about baptism. One even committed to him in that moment to be baptized, more than we had managed in two weeks. Life has been pretty good to us. Espero que todos esten bien. ¡Cuidense mucho! Love Elder West

 I forgot to mention that we actually heard a bit about the olympics this week. Mexico won in soccer (the only event i've heard about here), and they people went a bit crazy. First time in a very long time. It was cool to be here in the excitement. ANd we saw about 20 seconds of the closing ceremonies while waiting for a member in their house. It was cool, i'm excited to watch the winter olympics in two years. I love how everyone can enjoy it together rather than hate each other for the team they cheer for.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

August 6th Letter

Hola todos! This week has been crazy. We've been working like crazy to get this area going. The people here are a bit more rushed, we border the federal district (mexico city), but still there are a ton of people here, so we'll find the ones ready to listen to us. We live about 45 minutes walking from the church, but there are a couple members who are helping us get investigators there, and we're teaching english classes. There is one other american in our district (the rest from peru, el salvador, and mexico), and he teaches on wednesday, and i teach thursdays. It's really kind of fun to teach english, we teach in the same way they tought us in the mtc (don't speak any spanish the whole time), and turns out it's hard to not slip back into spanish, or to remember words in english... We'll see what happens in two years. But we've had about 20 people coming and it's just starting, so i'm excited for that. We found an awesome family knocking doors one day, and the whole family came to church. The coolest part was ricardo, the dad, told us he felt something he had never felt before in his chest, that was like burns but doesn't hurt, and that he is going to come every week now. It was cool. One thing i regret is that i didn't learn piano better. I can't play all of the hymns, and the ones i can't play, they have to kind of make up a tune if they don't know it well. So learn piano (this is directed at David West)! But i'm excited for this area. Love you all! Elder West

Me and a bottle of heinz ketchup (the best), and bbq sauce (go walmart).

My comp (Elder Carillo), Elder wyman, and his new comp.

July 30th Letter

This computer has some problems, so i can't send pictures, but i will try to next week. Transfers... The Lord decided he would humble me some more and put me as senior comp opening an area with an Elder who has 15 months in the mission. I definitely felt and feel like i don't know what i am doing, and i really have to really on the spirit more than ever. My comp (Elder Carillo) is from the south of Peru. He is 24 and was baptized 6 years ago and his goal for the mission is to be ready to teach the other 8 people out of twelve in his family who aren't members. That definitely is something i really admire about him. He is very different from my other companions, but I think the Lord gives us that to learn. Right now i am about half way between where i was and mexico city. (Valle de Chalco, soledaridad). It's a lot more of a city here. Definitely very different from my old area. We have a huge area, a ton of people, and not a lot of members. I'm excited to get this area going. There's a lot of potential. We just need to find them. It's definitely a lot of work to get going, but I'm excited for the chance. And Walmart and the plaza sendero is in our area. That rocks. Plaza sendero is almost like a mall, and walmart just rocks. We went there today and celebrated with food court food and some special things from walmart (heinz ketchup, bbq sauce, etc.) Definitely excited to have that in our area. Even if walmart is very very expensive. We can't splurge there too much. But we're excited to get to work/keep working. Love you all, que les vaya bien! ¡Vaya con Dios! ¡Les amo! Elder West

July 23rd Letter

¡Hola todos! ¿Que hay de nuevo? This week has been crazy. We've been working a ton with the members and it's really starting to pay off.yesterday we had the baptism of Jorge. He is an awesome guy who really just wanted to know if this was true, he got his answer, and we had an awesome baptismal service. We got more than sixty members to go, and we managed to introduce him with an awesome RM who ended up being the one to baptize him, it was really cool to see. THe spirit was so strong there, and it really helps that now he has friends in the church to help him stay there. There were a lot of people crying yesterday, it's not a day we'll forget soon. On another note, we got the call last night that i have transfers. I won't know where i am going or with who until tomorrow, but i was definitely really sad to get the call. We have the best ward in teh mission, we just go an awesome new bishop that visits all of our investigators in the ward to help out (he rocks), we live in one of the best houses in the mission, surrounded by the most awesome members, and we have a lot of incredible investigators right now. Saturday and sunday and the next saturday we had baptisms planned, the area was just starting to explode, and i am definitely really going to miss it, but on the plus side, I'll get to meet new people and work in a new area. I haven't been here too long (two transfers), it was really a surprise to hear that I'm getting transferred, but i already really love the people here. It must be really hard for the people who have up to 9 months in an area. I'll let y'all know how it goes in a week, love you all! Love Elder West ¡Cuidense mucho!

This is part of our area, close to where we live

the baptism of Jorge

One thing that will change is that i won't wake up to a volcano anymore, that's a bit disappointing. This picture is of a car that got coated in ash two days ago. It rained a bunch of ash that day. Our shirts were grey.

 And another one of our area. Same place.

July 16th Letter

This week has been a bit crazy, we've had so many people so close to baptism, we just have to marry them, or stuff like that. It is really weird to see how these people three times my age are asking us for advice. We had ward conference this week, it was awesome. Definitely better with the musical numbers, and everyone came, even polygamists, to see who would be the new bishop. We haven't had one for months, he left for work. It definitely rocks to have a bishop, and more when the guy they called is already one of the best friends of the missionaries. We've been working a ton with less active and recent converts, and it's just as cool to see people change their lives again as it is the first time. The ward has definitely grown a lot since we got here. It's been cool to see. God lives, this is his church, and he loves you. One more week and we have transfers. I really hope i don't go right now, but everyone tells me that is usually when you get transferred, and i'm pretty sure it's true. We'll see. Love you all, Love Elder West

July 9th Letter

¡Hola todos! This week we had a lot of really cool experiences. We spent a lot of time trying to figure out where God wanted us to go, and finally chose a street. The next day we went there and after knocking a lot of doors with no success and almost out of time we decided to knock one more. A lady answered it and just stared at us, and after we introduced ourselves she started crying. She is a member who hadn't been to church in years, but had just barely prayed and asked God for help, for dirrection and help with her catholic husband. She told us she was sure we were the answer to her prayers. It was cool. We've also had some really cool lessons, where we've taught people who have had some really tough problems, but we really felt the spirit, and seen how these people are already changing their lives. We have a family that was just about to split up when we found them, and now they've been to church twice, they're excited, have a baptismal date, and just awesome people. They've had a lot of problems, and it's a bit weird to be 19 and teaching people with a lot more experience how they can really be happy. It really is amazing to see how people in such different circumstances with problems from depression to marriage to drinking or whatever else, all find the answer in the gospel, and really turn out happy. This family (Martha, Antonio, Fani, Leo, and Aldo) are awesome. We´re really excited for them, and it´s awesome to see how much this has already helped them in every aspect of their lives. The Gospel is true. It´s the only way to be really happy. ¡Les amo a todos! ¡Que tengan una buena semana! Elder West

Friday, July 6, 2012

¡ya es el fin! ¡Las elleciones ye terminaron! This week has been a bit crazy with the elections, but it´s finally over! Campaigns are very different here than in the U.S. Almost everyone participates in the government at the local level, the presidential candidates are literally buying votes, there´s always fireworks, marches, cars blaring a candidates music, etc. And no one is ever home. The Fact that we had the success we did was really a miracle. And luckily there haven´t been riots due to fraud in the voting. Everyone beleives there´s a problem in one way or another, annd i´m pretty sure there is, but so far no really big riots. There was one the night of the elections, but we were asleep by the time it started, so it wasn´t a problem, and now everyone has pretty much just accepted it. The best part of this week was Martha and Antonio. We were walking and I decided to walk up to someone after we´d just passed them twice (my comp says I have a gift of not being afraid of awkward situations like that...) We started teaching Martha the next day, set a baptismal date, and after talking to her husband the next day, we were able to teach the whole family (5). My comp says it was the most powerful lesson he has had in 20 months in the mission. They came to church, have baptismal dates (we just need to marry them and help him quit smoking and drinking). We also found Aurora, her husband died a year ago, and even though she´s loaded, she can´t find peace in her money, profession (she works for the PRI (a political party that just won), or in the catholic church, and the idea of seeing her husband again, of being sealed in the temple is something she finds really ¨beautiful¨. That was also a really cool lesson. We also had an interesting lesson with someone who hadn´t been progressing at all for a while and we were about to drop him when we found out the reason he hadn´t progressed was because he thought we were the polygamists, he even asked us about the street Jose Smith. I feel like that´s happened a lot lately... We´ve been reading general conference talks when we get back at night or if we have a few minutes in the morning, and i just read the talk ¨Mountains to climb¨by President Eyring from this conference. That is an amazing talk if you need help with something. I love that even when we just read the words of the prophets, the spirit is so strong. I've really learned this week that God really does want us to be happy, even if it is necessary that we go through trials or difficulties. God really loves us, all we have to do is do what he wants, and we´ll end up with everything we could want too. The Church is true, no se olvide de que Dios les ama. ¡Les amo! Elder West

Monday, June 25, 2012

Que dice? Como estan? It has been a few crazy weeks. My companion Elder Wyman and I still have to speak spanish, and now more than ever due to some problems with cartels not like america at the moment in other places. We are currently not allowed to go to any tourist locations or american like places (mcdonalds, walmart, mexico city tourist areas, etc.) Which means we got there just in time. It was cool to go into the city. We got to see the templo mayor, not sure the best way to translate that, but a mayan pyramid, and other cool tourist places like zocalo. This week we worked a ton with the members and we're really hoping that will pay off. Two of our investigators that were about to get baptized this sunday moved on saturday to nezahuacoyatl. That was a bummer... That seems to happen a lot. There wasn't work here and they got to the point where the only thing they had, the ward had given them and they finally had to leave. But we're working a lot more in a pueblo that hasn't had missionaries working there in a long time. A large part is because the polygamist colony is in this town (we have to be careful with that). But we found an awesome new family. The kids say they want to be baptized already and are so excited when they see us. The parents will take some more time, but really love the things we've taught them. There are a decent number of people who are really looking for the truth and are disenchanted with the catholic church right now. Diana, one of our recent converts, has an awesome conversion story. Her parents  are paying for her schooling, she's nineteen, and they told her that if she got baptized they would stop paying, they kept trying to stop her going, until one day she came home and said, mom, I got baptized, I'm going to get confirmed this sunday. Her parents got really mad and brought her to the catholic priest. He asked her to tell him why the parents had brought her and she shared her testimony and said she had gotten baptized. Rather than getting mad at her, the priest told her parents that what she had done was good, she has a testimony, and that she was doing what is right. He then asked her parents to share their testimonies and they just sat their silent. He then chastised them for not having a testimony of their church and told them to stop criticizing their daughter and to support her. It was cool. She has been regularly coming to church, and her parents are finally starting to support her in it. My comp is from san francisco, studied in BYU for two years (he started young, he is 20 right now) has 20 months in the mission. It is definitely very different to work with a gringo here. We understand the culture the other person is coming from a lot better. We still have to learn to work together, but it is cool experience to work with a guy with a more similar background. Oh, and today we cooked mexican food with a member. We're actually trying to learn how to do a bunch of things so that we can make them on our own here, and after the mission. There is some really great food here. Vaya con Dios, les amo! Elder West

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Don't have a lot of time to write, we went in to mexico city today and we've got about five minutes to write quickly. It was definitely an experience. We got there a little lake due to special circumstances, but it was still cool to see. My new companion is from california (though his family has been living in idaho for a little). Elder Wyman. It definitely is a huge change to have a gringo companion, but we still are speaking almost all the time in spanish. It'll definitely take more effort to improve, but we're having a lot of fun. I'll try to send picks next week. We're still waiting on word from president to see if we will probably get permission from the first presidency or not to baptize Liz. She is from the polygamist colony (they live across the street from us, and her dad is a seventy with them. They believe almost the same as us, even using church manuals and temple clothes etc when they can get it... It also means we have a temple in our area, even if it's from the polygamists.) We had some problems this week with two husbands getting mad that there spouses were listening to us, and one of our investigators got really sick. A bit interesting this week, but we'll make things better in the end. ¡Les amo, que les vaya bien! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Que transa? We have had quite an interesting couple weeks. We were going to go into mexico city last week, but we didn't receive permission until this week, which was good because we ended up having to change houses because the owner of our old house doesn't like the missionaries and we found a place near a lot of members that is nice and cheaper, so now we have an awesome house and a lot of members that like to feed us. Both are very good situations. The rains are starting now. Apparently it`ll rain three in four days for the next few months, so that'll be new. On the plus side the hottest time of the year is over here. The volcano has calmed down a lot, though it still spews smoke occasionally. This week we had an activity with our zone in which, after soccer, we made some tacos with habanero salsa. We were all dying, it was great. Even the natives were sweating/crying. Yep that's how we have fun. We were going to go into Mexico City today until we got a call last night right before bed that Elder Quiñones is being transferred. We definitely didn't see that coming, normally he would be with me at least three months, usually four and a half. So tomorrow i will get a new companion. More updates on that to come. We discovered this week that someone in our ward is actually not a member, but has been assisting for a year, just hasn't been baptized yet because she is from the colony (there is a polygamist colony in our area with their own temple, chapel, book of mormon, and prophet that broke of from the church a long time ago) and there are sometimes problems with people from the colony, but she wants to be baptized, so we're going to try to work that out. I don't think i ever shared the conversion story of Jose. The Elders had been teaching him for a month and he wasn't really progressing because he didn't feel like he had an answer yet, but we were teaching him and had a really cool experience. We were about to review the restoration with him, but we felt like we needed to change. It was cool, the spirit was really strong, and finally I really felt like I should tell him to do something, and I promised him that if he did this he would have his answer and would feel ready for baptism. That saturday he was baptized. It was really cool to feel like I was really speaking by the spirit. It's cool to see how the spirit really works in peoples lives, that if they really seek an answer with real intent, God will answer them. Well thats all for this week, love you all! Que les vaya bien! Love Elder West 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012
Que dice? Como estan? THis week we had a couple really cool experiences. The first was a really awesome lesson we had with an investigator in a family home evening. The whole family and the investigator were crying. It was cool to be able to see someone realize and feel for the first time that this really is true, to really feel the difference from teh culture they were raised in. Catholic is the culture more than the religion. And when they want a party, they pick a saint, put a painting or statue of said saint in some place, and then say they have to celebrate the saint or somehting bad will happen to that place (for example the one by the water pump would stop the water flowing if they don`t celebrate it). We get a ton of fruit here, which kind of rocks, there are fruit trees everywhere, and everyone has fruit at every meal. Apples, oranges, bananas, guava, papaya, mango, lemon, lime, whatever, they have it, and it`s really good, because it's fresh. We also managed to get Veatriz to come to church. That on it's own is a miracle, the testigos (JW's) taught her so many things that are a little wacked, but she's starting to trust more in the Book of Mormon than them, which is great. Gustavo didn't get baptized this saturday because he wants his dad to be there and he is only in town a couple days a month. But he does want to get baptized, so that is great. I'm finally used to spicy food, we ate with members yesterday and I didn't have any problems with the jalapeños in everything, though the habanero is still a bit much. Definitely still learning a ton. Mainly I'm learning every day how much we really need God. He really performs so many miracles for us every day. That is definitely one of my favorite things about being here. I'm really learning about and developing a better relationship with God. Love you all, que les vaya bien! Love Elder West

ps I might be able to get permission to go into Mexico city next monday, which would mean several things. One I wouldn't be able to write anyone next week, and also, I would need fifty or sixty dollars (or thats what my comp says). He has gone once and wants to take me.

we got to help our ward mission leader make shirts for a little. its cool how they do it. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Our Jerseys for the zone and our baptism with Jose!!! My comp and I, and the mothers day activity in one of our wards. It was really cool.

May 21, 2012
Hola todos! We had another baptism, this time on saturday. It was really a miracle, we had been working with him and thought he was stuck and wasnt going to do anything and out of the blue Jose tells us he wants to be baptized. And he chose me to baptize him, which was sweet. There really is nothing quite like it. Definitely the highlight of the week. I had some interesting experiences with the food this week, accidentally didnt notice the jabanero in my taco... and we didnt have drinks, that was a little hot. And we got to try mole (mo lay) two days in a row, the green and the brown kind. Ironically my companion from mexico had more stomach problems than I did, but neither of us were really sick. Really shows how the Lord takes care of us, even when our stomachs arent quite use to everything. Our zone just got soccer jerseys, ill try to send a picture. Im betting/hoping that i will be a little better at soccer in two years, we play every week. We are hoping to have another baptism this saturday, it depends on his dad. Even after he is married and living on his own with his wife, the family has a huge influence here, and everyone is catholic, jw, or a member. Almost completely catholic. The good thing about Gustavo, the guy we want to baptize this saturday, is that his wife is a member. Members really make the difference. Love you all! Que les vaya bien!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

First Baptism

May 14, 2012

This week has been crazy. We finally got a couple married on thursday and on friday I got to baptize them!! It was awesome. First baptisms in mexico! It was also great to talk to the family on mothers day. It was nice to see that the u.s. still exists. The world is completely different here. We almost got trampled by a heard of sheep that belongs to my stake president, wake up to roosters and dogs, and get freaking awesome food. And we get to live next to a volcano that looks like a scene from land before time. The members always give us agua, which is water with sugar and real fruit juice (like guava, mango, peach, lemon, etc) it is always really good. And the sweet bread here is really good too. It only costs like 2 or 3 pesos (like twenty cents). Its also been really nice to not have the language barrier. I can understand everything in lessons, and almost everything in all the other places, so that has been really nice. The culture is very different, but the people are really friendly. We also had one of our towns go crazy this week. They celebrated their patron saint this week  and we got almost nothing done there. We did get to see one of their parades go by, which was fun. they may not have a lot but they know how to go crazy and have fun. We also got to play soccer again on p-day. Give me two years and I will be pro. Its been especially crazy because the championship for the regional teams is coming up. My comp was ticked when his team lost, but we still have fun with it. We have an awesome family of 5 that we found, and we are really excited to teach them. Also, I apologize for lack of spelling and punctuation, the spanish keyboard still throws me off. Love you all, cuidense mucho! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pictures from Mexico!

May 7, 2012

Mexico!! It really is a completely different world here. My companion has been out the same time as me, buy he is from here, so he's had three months in the field in mexico. He doesn't speak english, so I've been learning a lot, no one except for other missionaries in other areas speak english. It's really cool, the people are really nice, the food is really good, and it's not to hot. My area has six little pueblos, we're actually outside the federal district in the state of mexico. Our zone is called los volcanes (or the volcanoes) becuase we are literally right next to the volcano (el popo). My first day it rained ash on us all day long and the members gave us masks to wear. We got back and all of our clothes were gray from the ash. Luckily it hasn't happend like that since, the wind has taken the ash to the other side, but it was a cool way to start out. Some people have left to the city (mexico city or other pueblos farther away), but most don't think anything will happen because this happens a lot. Everyone is catholic here. Everyone. And since no one speaks spanish, I'm really grateful I got to go to texas first so I could understand before I got here. Understanding isn't a problem, which is such a blessing, speaking is still a bit, I feel like I have the vocab of a one year old. We had a cool experience with a girl who just got baptized and is going to get confirmed this sunday. She couldn't last sunday becuase here parents took her to a priest to ask for advice. He told them she was at least going to church, which they weren't, and said mormons are good people. She said she knows with out a doubt the church is true, we had an awesome lesson with her. We gave a blessing to a guy to help him stop drinking and he hasn't since, which was cool, and of healing to a baby with a rash that he had for two months, and it has almost completely disappeared. Our area is supposed to be really tough, but the members help a ton, so we'll get it done. The mission goal is for everyone to baptize once a week. It's hard to do, but hopefully we'll be able to get that going. It's a completely different world here, but there are so many awesome things. And as far as dogs, there are dogs everywhere, but we manage to avoid all the ones that bite, my comp is pretty used to them. He is from aquas calientes. We don't have a lot of time spent our day washing clothes on the washboard (they tell me it's way better than a washing machine, which we don't have anyway) and playing soccer. That was a lot of fun. Some people are really good here, and the white missionaries look pretty stupid, but we try. Love you all! Que les vayan bien! "La fe en Dios significa fe en su tiempo." Y ahora estoy aqui debido a todo.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1, 2012

Peter was not able to send a letter this week because he was en route to Mexico!
Here is the address for the mission home there:

Elder Peter Gardiner West
Mexico Mexico City Southeast Mission
Av. Del Taller No. 540
Col. Jardin Balbuena
Delegacion Venustiano Carranza
C.P. 15900, Distrito Federal, MEXICO

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 23, 2012

La obra misional es mejor que cualquier otra cosa aunque a veces es un pequito dificil. This week has been quite a week. To start out, I realized that my companions are Chris Farley (though slightly more controlled as a result of the mission) and Steve Carrell (don't know how to spell it). Elder Wagner really is exactly like steve carrell, it's really funny to watch. And Elder Ward, well, he's definitely got a gift for humor, but funny things just seem to happen to him. For example he broke not one, but two of 7/11's toilets. When I say broke, I don't just mean clogged or something, I mean like the toilet itself is cracked or fell over or something along those lines. He left a pass-a-long card and told us that's his way of paying for it. Salvation in exchange for toilet repairs. He told us he thought it was a pretty good deal for them. He's also still convinced that Handel was named after a doorknob. On another note, we were supposed to have a baptism on Friday. Esther was doing so great, we had everything set up, I was supposed to baptize her and she would have been confirmed Sunday, but the night before her baptism she disappeared. The owners of the house she was in (who hate all religious people) tell us that her sister's husband died so she moved in with her, and they don't have an address, and Esther doesn't have a phone. She literally disappeared over night. That was really tough. Hopefully the missionaries will find her again. She says she knows 100% that it is true. We also found this awesome Puerto Rican family. They were a member reference (friends with a 11 year old member), and they are reading, have baptismal dates, and attended church, all in one week. They really rock. And they keep giving us food. Flan and candy from Puerto Rico. They rock. And I got my visa this last week! I will be leaving for Mexico on April 30th!!! I'm really excited, I feel like I'll actually be able to understand people there now, and I'm going in right at the transfer, so I might not be in a trio for the first time! It'll be cool to see how different the culture and missionary work is there. I'm pretty sure I won't be in the awesome truck/bikes we have now, but it'll be great to get there and not have to try to pick out all the hispanic houses on the block. Texas is awesome, but I am excited to get to the Mission I was called to. I'm about out of time, Love you all! Love, Elder West

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mission Address
Fort Worth Texas Mission
Elder Peter West
1331 Airport Freeeway #305
Euless, Tx 76040

Apartment Address:
Elder Peter West
131 Manchester Drive #127
Euless, TX 76039
April 16, 2012
This week was again really cool. Not quite the extremes of weather as last week, but we still got some hot days and some rain. Texas is a little like Utah weather, but without the snow and a lot of humidity. We had a really cool experience this week when I got to give my companion a blessing, and right after we were called to give a non-member a blessing. It was cool how the Lord opened the door for us. His friend is mormon and he's had good experiences with mormons and his friend suggested we give him a blessing. Members make such a huge difference in missionary work. Exchanges, dinners (which are really good, we got tres leches which was amazing), referrals, and most importantly just inviting their friends and fellowshipping investigators. The ward here is great. Spanish wards are very different, but it's still the same church no matter where you are, and we have some great members. This week I've really gained a stronger testimony that when you teach by the spirit, and they recieve it, both are edified and rejoic together. It amazes me how much we learn by teaching the most simple doctrines. The spirit really is teaching us both. The one downside to spanish speaking here is that we have to give all the awesome english investigators to the english missionaries. Though I hear it's different in McCallen TExas because it is the only completely spanish speaking mission in the U.S. That would be cool. And apparently it's less spanglish than here. A lot of the members and missionaries just make up words like parkiarse for park or weldiar for weld. It's funny. We also talk to a lot of Tongans in our area, the tongans help the missionaries a ton, and my companion served in a tongan ward before, so they love him, and he's been teaching us some tongan. They don't conjugate there verbs, so it's not too hard, but I think I'll be sticking to spanish. We also got to help at an eleven year old scout/priesthood preview fireside, which was cool. Apparently 33% of LDS men serve missions, but 94% of LDS eagle scouts serve missions. And scouting really does help with being on a mission/getting ready. Texas really is awesome. The song called to serve says "Called to know the richness of his blessings" and it really is true. We get to see God bless so many lives including our own. Missions just rock. Still can't wait for Mexico (because it's where I was called), but Texas is awesome! Que les vayan bien! Love Elder West
April 9, 2012
This has been an incredible week. God has really been giving us miracle after miracle. My senior companion, Elder Wagner, is on his last transfer, and rather than being trunky has decided that he needs to fit in every last ounce of work he can, so we've been working from six thirty to ten thirty (and since they're zone leaders and have to put stuff in the computers in the mission office at night sometimes we work until eleven) without stopping. It's exhuasting, but it's great. We set three more baptismal dates. Which is especially incredible because this area hasn't baptized in two years, and now we have it set up to baptize weekly for the next month, plus several others who are so close. As far as the Tornados go, we kind of didn't take the tornado warning too seriously (sorry mom), and didn't notice that the president had told us all to "seek shelter" becuase we were working rather than checking our phone, and ended up seeing several miracles. The tornados were far enough away that it didn't really affect us. THe cool thing was the hail that was the size of golf balls to base balls. WE have some saved in the freezer. All of the cars in our apartment complex, and almost our entire area recieved some form of damage, mainly lots of dents on the roof and the hood, but we were in a corner of our area, and didn't find out about the hail until after, meaning our truck was completely undamaged. It was really cool. President has now sent out rules that we are required to seek shelter if any list of bad weather occurrences happen. So don't worry mom, we'll be safe. Another cool thing is that, since we whitewashed in, and the elders before us don't seem to have been to hard working, we started from literally nothing, but this area has become one of the most productive. There are so many people ready to here the gospel here, it's great. Also, my companions have broken my fear of speaking on the phone by only writing my name on all the cards they give out with the phone number, so everyone asks for me, and for making me call everyone. After several days of some very misunderstood phone calls, including a couple just hanging up and Elder Wagner or Ward calling back, I can officially have a phone conversation in spanish. So there's that language barrier down. The gift of tongues is really real, spanish is not a problem here, and now I can focus a little more on being a better missionary and teacher. My comps are great for that. Another random fact, I can read portuguese (even if I can't spell it). It's very similar to spanish in spelling. We had a portuguese BoM with us and I opened it up and we could actually read it, it was cool. Well, I'm pretty much out of time, gotta go. Que les vaya bien, love Elder West!
Also, we got caught in an easter storm out tracting. No one is home on easter until late in the evening, so we basically had to fill all of our appointments that didn't show (hispanics punch a lot more than white people, but are a lot more willing to listen in general if you are talking about God or Christ). We got caught in a really long thunderstorm that rained so much the whole time. When we drove home some of the roads felt more like little rivers. My comp who has been out 23 months said he has never been so wet in his whole mission... It was really fun though. There was one bolt of lightning that was really close, almost at the same time as the thunder, that was so loud it set of a couple car alarms. It was cool. But we met some cool people. I think people decided that if we were going out in this we were either crazy, or we really believed what we were teaching was true. One guy even came back and asked us to come by after he had told us we were crazy, it was funny. But out of time, love you all! Cuidanse!