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!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hola y'all. Turns out y'all is usually singular, but can be plural and all y'all is plural. Also, you never say yea. It's yes mam or yes sir. And in general the people are pretty friendly. Viva Texas. So President Sagers met us right off the plane and spent the day orienting us. All I really remember from that was contacting while we waited for other missionaries, and President saying a few things like "This is Texas, we eat meat." or "Don't you dare ask a man to turn off a Dallas Cowboys game if it wasn't a prearranged appointment. That is his kingdom." "He also told us these are good, God fearing people. Jesus people." It's true, in general (we still get doors slammed in our face and stuff like that) most people are willing to hear who we are and either politely say no, or in the case of most hispanics say they are at least willing to let us come back because they won't say no to anyone who wants to come back. The first day out with my companions (Elder Wagner and Ward, the current zone leaders and one a former assistant) we met this awesome lady. Her name is Esther, she's from Mexico, Catholic, and by our second visit had a baptismal date. She rocks. We whitewashed the area, so we didn't really know anyone and the previous Elder's didn't have anything going, so we're pretty much starting from nothing. We already have eight investigators, plus several families that said we could come back (one of them has 14 people and the dad is so humble and willing to learn). It's kinda sad not knowing how long I'll be here, hopefully I'll be able to be here for Esther's baptism. The hispanics and Tongans here have so much faith and are so nice to the missionaries. They'll feed us even when they don't have a lot, just saying they need the blessings. So far the mexican food has been pretty good, and the Katsu and Kalami (no idea how to spell them, but they're tongan foods) are way good. We spent most of our p-day getting our apartment, car (which is a nice truck, it's sweet), and some other Elders all moved in. My companions are great, Elder Wagner is on his last transfer and Elder Ward has been out about a year (he reminds me of the funny big white guy on remember the titans). It'll be sad to leave here, Texas rocks (it was 72 degrees outside when I got off the plane), but I'll still be excited to get to Mexico. It's definitely a little more work out here than the MTC, but It's still great to be here. Oh yeah, the language. So I can understand pretty much everyone (which rocks, but also means my comps make me do a ton in the lessons) except for when they get excited or it's over the phone. When they get excited (especially a really interesting lady we had dinner with) they talk so fast that I'm amazed they can even speak that fast, and I only get about half of what they say. But that's more than the other new guys, so that's a blessing. The other Elder's that came out with me started in beginner so they had a lot farther to go, and didn't get to spend the extra week in the MTC with a hispanic district. Apparently I was sleep talking in spanish again. I'm sure I won't understand anything when I get to Mexico and they're not all speaking slower because of all the English around us, but for now, things are going great. It's also funny to see the Texas pride. It really is practically it's own nation, but that's not all bad. Texas is pretty great sometimes. Well I'm about out of time. Oh yeah, my mission office address is 1331 Airport Freeeway #305 Euless, Tx 76040. I don't know when I'll leave, but I'd love to hear from y'all (and I can say y'all, it's texas). Vaya Con Dios! Love Elder West
ps: General conference rocks! It teaches all of the lessons in preach my gospel, and it gives us everything we need for investigators and ourselves. It really will answer your questions if you go in with real questions. General conference weekend for missionaries is like superbowl weekend. Except one of my companions still didn't know who played in the super bowl and was shocked to hear that Steve Jobs is dead. Life in a bubble, even in the real world. But being a missionary rocks, we're finally really trying to help people. Also, since my companions are the zone leaders and our area is huge, we have a car (a brand new truck), so it'll be cool to get that experience too before Mexico. We teach some of our lessons in spanglish, going in and out of spanish and english, it's really funny. But I can't wait for this week, hopefully we won't have quite as many appointments fall through, and if we keep up our investigators, we're going to be doing so well. Cuidense!