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