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!