Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 23,2012
Hola Todos! So there's a rumor going around that David Archuleta is here. Not sure if that's true or not (there's also one about lady gaga and whitney houston being dead)... On a less random note, several Elders in my district and I had a cool experience with our patriarchal blessings (it was weird that it was all at the same time too). it really is cool to realize that when you know this is God's church to also know the things in your patriarchal blessing are true as well and as long as we''re obedient we really dont have to worry. That's always nice to know. The scriptures are also great. I finished reading the Book of Mormon in spanish this week (and actually understood almost all of it without having to check the english scriptures). God really does help us learn when we're doing what we're supposed to do. A member of the seventy spoke to us and told us to read the Book of Mormon with our investigators, and with others after our missions. It really makes a difference to people when you show them how to read it and that you are willing to take the time to read it with them, so if anyone is looking for a cool missionary experience (every member a missionary) then try inviting a friend or someone to read with you. I'm excited to try this when I get home. Journals are also great things. I never really kept one before here, but since being here I've discovered how great they can be, they let you think/vent and they're great to look back on. A cool journal scripture is 2 Nephi 4:15 (the first part). Nephi basically says upon these plates I write the things of my soul. I thought that was cool. So spanish is going well. We're teaching four to six investigators a week, teaching several of them two to five times a week, and it really is helping. We know the gospel words and can understand most of what they're saying to us and are better at molding the lesson to them, which is cool. We're teaching someone from spain who speaks with the theta (basically a lisp) and it turns our it can be a lot harder to understand, especially when they are going off on tons of tangents about art (he's an art professor), and we have to try to get it back to the first vision. Also, I''ve discovered it can be cool to memorize scriptures. Not only do they help us in lessons, they really are great to have in your head when life's tough or stuff like that. I found a runner here and that will help me stay in shape, I'm finally back to my normal (pre-mission) weight, and my mile time is down to 5:40, so at least I'm not being lazy right? Overall life is good in the MTC. We've got the drill down pretty well, and it rocks to have time to just study the scriptures and not worry about anything else. The church is true, God loves us. Hope I dont sound too preachy. Nos Vemos! Love, Elder West

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Feliz dia del amor y amistad!!! This week has been awesome. In sacrament meeting on sunday I was talking to Hermana Goodfellow, saying she was going to get called on to speak, but nope, immediately after the sacrament they called an elder, and then when they normally call a sister, they call me. I guess I should take that as a compliment, like maybe I'm more mature or something? So I stood up, gave a three minute talk in spanish, and sat down. Apparently it sounded like good spanish because I was speaking fast. I guess being nervous helps when it's not english. Sunday night we got to watch a recording of Elder Bednar speaking to the missionaries at Christmas. It was a phenomonal talk, one of the best I've ever heard, about the character of Christ. He wasn't afraid to be candid, and spoke directly to us, but there were some incredible things he spoke about. I don't know if people can look that one up because it was here, but if they can, it's well worth the time. Valentines day in the MTC is an interesting experience. It starts with people getting down and realizing they're away from friends or special friends on valentines day, then people get mail or packages and are happy, and then some people end up looking up scriptures to send home. the best one we found was Genesis 29:20. Something like seven years seemed but a few days because of his love for Rachel. Sometime during this week I was a little down, and after reading 2 Nephi 29:7, I decided God is just, I don't have anything to complain about, and when I really worked as hard as I could, things got a lot better. God helps you when you really try. It's kind of funny for me. We have the exact same schedule pretty much every day, but somehow there's always so much that happens. I feel like I've learned so much more. Another cool thing to see is how our perception of letters has changed. Rather than thinking about home and being sad that we're not there, we get really excited to hear about people's lives, and if things aren't going so well we do our best to help them and really pray for them. It really shows you how much you care about these people, and makes you want to work harder as a missionary because of it. There's another thing. The MTC really builds your testimony of prayer. I can't wait to see what happens in the mission field. A funny quote by Elder Clark, a 70 I think, said, "A cold in Bolivia is a death in the US." aka don't complain home. I'm glad I don't have to worry about that. While there are always rough spots, there's nowhere better for me to be right now than here. It rocks to really be able to feel the spirit so often, so strong. Love you all, keep me updated!
Elder West

Thursday, February 9, 2012

February 9, 2012

Hola todos!
 So this week I feel like we've really settled into our schedule. Lots of work, but overall its not too hard. Gym is definitely still the most fun part of the day, but it's cool to see how personal study time becomes more and more valuable. I've made it almost to the end of Jacob in the spanish book of mormon (the isaiah chapters take forever in spanish), and finished the English one (though I was in Alma when I got here). People keep saying on a mission you will have the lowest lows and the highest highs. I think that's what they told me about drugs too, but here the consequences work out a lot better. Getting up early, learning a language, studying the scriptures, learning how to get along with and love people, and really learning to be humble are already huge benifits to people here. I can't wait to get out and teach people. The food is pretty good still, if a little redundant. We get BYU creamery ice cream twice a week, which is nice (though if I'm not careful I'll gain more than the six pounds I'm at right now...) One cool quote I saw in a march 2007 new era about missionary work was that a mission will be the best two years of your life, but not necessarily the best 730 days. There definitely are a few rough days, often becaue we're trying so hard to be perfect and keep messing things up, but we get over it pretty fast here. The devotionals definitely help with that. i love being able to listen to a general authority every week, twice a week. It really boosts you up, reminds you why you are here, and assures us that the Lord is with us. My friends from out of state here who have never been to conference say they are the best talks they've ever heard. They really make the week so much brighter. We get to go to the temple every week here on p-day, I just got back. I love all the amazing things about the temple and how the spirit is always there. One thing I've noticed about our lessons is that, even as we get better at teaching to the investigators needs, there is always more we want to share, so many amazing things about the gospel that we know and want to share, but there is never enough time for it all. It really makes me even more grateful that I was raised in such a great home in the church. I also read a scripture (1 Thessalonianns 2:17) about how being taken from people for a short while can make you miss them more. This is definitely true here, but the letters really help, and I know that no matter what happens, I can see everyone again. All is well. This week I accidently mixed up matanza and mananza, so I thought they were talking about the apples of the people, not the slaughter of them. I was really confused for a bit there. Another cool thing is how much your testimony builds. This week it was mainly centered on prayer. If we really pray with faith, not doubting, but really believing that God will help us, we really recieve answers and help. Don't forget to keep me updated! I love hearing about your lives, the good and the bad! Don't feel like you need to keep it short or hide the tough times in your lives. Thanks for everything, love you all!
Vaya von Dios! Con amor, Elder West

today was the 40th anniversary of the provo temple dedication and we were in it, which was cool.)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hola! Que tal?! So far we've finished two weeks and are already in our third. The days have really picked up here. it's funny to see the ways missionaries find to have fun while here. It helps to have some great guys in your district. This week we had Elder Holland  and Elder Nelson come to the fireside for the fiftieth anniversary. It was a really great fireside. I love listening to the apostles. With the spirit they bring, there really is no doubt what they are saying is true. Elder holland spent his talk about living up to the obligation we have to be the best we can be. It was a really great talk. Elder Nelson talked more about missionary history and dedicated some buildings here. I got to sing in the choir for it, so we got pretty good seats. Some other interesting things have happened this week. First, I accidentally asked my teacher if he had a boyfriend (yes, HE had a BOYfriend)... Also, I accidentally left a word out of something and said during one of the preach my gospel lessons that we eat the poor, instead of giving food to the poor. Glad that one wasn't in Mexico... The three companionship is interesting.  One thing I've found really cool this week is how the Lord can really make your burdens light if you just keep doing what's right and stick it out for long enough. Even if the problem doesn't change, it really can get so much easier to deal with. Other funny note, my companion accidentally said he was pregnant instead of embarrassed. We've been teaching once or twice a day, and we are starting to get better. We're not allowed to use notes outside of our little planners or the scriptures, we can't even use preach my gospel. It really makes you learn what you need to, and forces you to shape the lesson around the investigator. It's really cool how much easier the language gets. While none of us can really speak it, we're getting better at understanding things, and can  actually understand the scriptures in spanish enough to really just read them. Apparently president Hinckley promised that if you read the scriptures out loud in your language, by the time you finish the Book of Mormon, you will be fluent. So naturally we're all reading the book of mormon in spanish a lot more. This computer keeps freezing so I'm not sure how long I'll have. One other funny note. I got a letter with perfume on it (from a friend as a joke, nothing to worry about) and my companions were comatose for a while after smelling it. It was funny. Overall, things are going well here. We look forward to gym everyday (I'm having to cut down on some of the basketball time to run. Everyone is gaining weight here). But life is good, thanks for all the support, it really makes a difference!                        Love you all! Nos Vemos!

Ps (I just ran into a person in the temple from Mexico, and we had a full conversation with him in only spanish. It was cool. Mexico visas still a problem for people here though. Also I just got to have lunch with william, which is really nice.)