Thursday, December 12, 2013

Dec. 9, 2013

Hola todos, this week we had a pretty crazy week as normal. The sisters called us several times to help out with blessings, which we're always happy to do. One of which was sad, the bishop ended up getting there, giving her a blessing, and shortly after she passed away. It really shows how much difference the plan of salvation makes. It was a part member family. I also got to baptize Roberto this week! I've taught him a few times, and then the sisters taught him, i did his interview, and on saturday they called me saying he wated me to baptize him, so that was a really great experience. His wife has been a member for a very long time, and now, he dropped smoking (used to smoke 24 ish a day) after he decided to join the church, and has been smoke free for a while now It was a great thing. We also took some investigators to the new visitors center which is awesome and watched theh Chrismtas devotional there, which was also great Lots to do, love you all! Elder west

-- the ward and us... we went to teh temple with them and some investigators. mainly to the visitors center.

My companionship 
Elder Twede, Elder Huefner, Elder Olivos, me

Dec. 2, 2013

Hola todos, this week we have only a few minutes, we went into mexico city for my last time, which was fun, and really exhausting. We also got to see the new visitors center at the temple that finally opened after 2 years. It's incredible. So nice and so high-tech. We sat down in one part and just said, "welcome to the enterprise" referring to star trek, it felt like that a lot. And on top of it, it really brings the spirit too. Our church rocks. Probably because it is the only true church on the face of the earth. I really enjoyed testimony meeting in our ward again. So many members are starting to talk about missionary work. It's great. The work is going really well here. Unfortunatel the family i was hoping to baptize had to go to Puebla this week, so they won't be getting baptized until the week after, but they aer a really great family. Victor will also be getting baptized. And Luis Angel, a less active started coming again, and his wife wants to get baptized too! The work is really going well. The members really love us right now too. One of whom has a son that gets home the day before i leave and wants me to come over teach them adn to explain how i feel. The members keep asking me how I feel that i am going home soon, and honestly, i just want to cry. There is nothing better than being a missionary. It's always been hard for me to leave things behind, and this is so much a part of who i am, it'll be a lot harder. I love being a missionary. We also have some less active families, who are finally coming back, they are really great people too. Love you all, Elder West
p.s. we made an awesome thanksgiving meal. we were on splits, and i was with teh elder i trained a year ago, and my two companions that i'm training. In missionary jargon, i was with my three sons for thanksgiving! It was awesome. We made popusas and potatos, chicken, and bolillos, which is like french bread. Happy dìa de acciòn de gracias, america!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Panaderías... they rock. Sweet bread. We stopped by a nice one, so my comp took a picture. 

This week was a bit crazy, but at last, Elder twede is recovering. I am now back to the weight i was when i left on my mission! Eating healty feels so great. i just wish my body didn't react negatively when i splurge on something unhealthy. The cool part is when you eat healthy you just don't like the unhealthy stuff anymore. Like 100% healthy. ANd lots of piano, even if on a keyboard. But now i'll finally be getting back out more. I'm excited. This week Elder Valenzuela, from the MExico area presidency visited our mission, and after talking with our zone talked to the trainers, which was cool. Definitely called a lot of people to repentance, but we learned a lot, adn the missionaries are going to be working better on finding new investigators. A lot of missionaries lost the urgency to find when we changed things to 5 sundays. But now on the upswing. Excited to be out and work. This week we baptized Esther and Brenda, and helped the sisters with their baptism of Elena, which is always fun, even though we were scrambling to fill the font becasue the boiler was locked and so we finally just started with cold water, but turns out the drain is broken, so as we filled it the font would empty. party. With about two feet of water we managed to get into it we managed to baptize. The bishopric didn't come again, but the bishop came to church this week! We're making progress... The ward is now at about 65 people who consistently attend, which is almost double what it was when we got here, so we're excited. Still so much work to do though. Love you all, Elder West

Hola todos. THis week was really weird for me. I was going a bit crazy not being able to be outside so much. Elder twede is probably going to have to be inside another week or two. He really has impressed me. I'm going antsy (sp?) just being inside an extra 3-5 hours a day. I can't imagine how he feels being inside for basically everything except church or a few meetings in a wheelchair... The nice thing is after talking A LOT to president, we got a keyboard for Elder Twede (the mission has a few for a piano program they are going to do to teach members through a senior couple that just got here), and even though the rest are on lockdown until they figure out a program, President finally decided to give him one until he is better, and today, Elder Twede's birthday I went with another missionary to pick it up. He was really really excited. Which was good, he can't eat a cake or really anything that tastes similar, can't go anywhere fun, so we weren't sure what we were going to do for him, but i made him a nice fruit and seed breakfast, and with the piano and a package with a magic bullet blender for the fruits and veggies i think he is pretty happy. He plays piano extremely well... Our less obedient fourth companion has been getting better. Elder TWede and Elder Huefner have set great examples for him, and  I've been really impressed with how Elder Huefner has gone out and worked with him. Due to a few mistakes or ignoring very specific directions about a divorce, it looks like one couple will now be getting baptized the week after i go home instead of teh week before, which is a bummer, but the important thing is they are going to get baptized. Victor, the future husband, is in particular so awesome. He asks all the right questions and jsut really wants to do the right thing. We also have a less active family that has become active that we've been working with that has a daughter who we are going to baptize this week. They're a good family. But there are some trials in the ward. The bishop in his typical nature has tried to help the ward in... different ways... and one of the less actives we'd been working with stood up in elders quorum, apologized for having said anything before, and anounced that after the visit he recieved from the bishop that he will never come back to church again seeing as he is not allowed to even speak (not for disfellowship, the bishop just didn't like one of his opinions)... So there's work to do, but at least the ward in general is on the upswing again. Love you all! Elder West

Hola todos. This week was crazy. Elder Twede has vascular problem that really went out of control this week. Basically he can't walk, and we really have to be careful or it would cause some serious problems, so he is not allowed to eat anything with sugar, fat, meat, or grains... 60% vegetables, 20% certain fruits, 20% protein from certain seeds. Which means not eating everything they give us here, and eating everything they don't. And it meant we were locked inside this week except for the hours we could get members to go with one of us or stay with my companion. It was rough, and really affected the investigators in church factor... But president says Elder Twede is such a great missionary we are going to fight to keep him here, so he sent us a fourth companion. Yep, we aren't a trio anymore, or even two companinships, now we are a foursome. I think i've had 17 companions in the field now, and 28 including the mtc... I guess i should be used to it by now. I was really hoping to finish with my companions like normal, but now we have Elder Olivos, from Tampico, Mexico, though he lived in McCallen, Texas. I can tell it is going to be a very different experience... His first day here he was very quiet around me, and while i was gone was asking my companions if "the assistant is really strict" (in those exact words, he speaks english). And he also admitted to watching worldy movies and offering to get tv shows for my comps. so yea, a very different dynamic in the companionship now. The other three of us are being super obedient, and hopefully it will help him out. Elder Huefner went out with him for a while and walked him to every corner of the area (his attack on the disobedience, walking isn't Elder Olivos's strength, he's a big guy, and in his own words just wants to enjoy it and stay big). During the next  5 weeks elder twede and i will be eating in the house alone on this special diet, and elder huefner will go with elder olivos to eat with the members. I'm excited, i love eating healthily. And we are making lots of salads... suggestions welcome. we can only use natural honey as a sweetener. mom, you're salads are amazing, all recipes welcome. Elder Twede has been great about it, trying t do as much as he can, but he really just wants to get out and work. He and Elder Huefner are phenominal guys. The house that was full for two people makes for a lot of fun for four. President actually asked "can you fit four in that fish bowl?" I kind of like it to be honest, the christmas lights make the whole thing cozy... I guess God is just going to keep me on my toes to the end. It really shows me how much I love this work though, how much i just want to get out and teach. THis is the true church. I have no doubt about it. Love you all, Elder West

Oct. 28, 2013
This week has been fun. I was gone for a day with a missionary while he did his registration and i chose my classes (my brother registered for me, thnaks WIlliam!). And after he registered we spent the day in his area working, and that was cool for us. We had some things that were definitely the answers to some people's prayers. Still fighting the bed bug battle, but at least right  now they aren't in the beds. just in the holes in the walls etc... we also did splits this week with an elder who is going home and had a tough companion, to help him keep it up and to give him a good enjoyable day his last week. we actually just ate with him and some members. it's been fun... This week are transfers! we don't have any changes with us, but i did tell president it would help one of the missionaries in my district to finish well if he was the district leader. i have had plenty of leadership experiences, and the other missionary hasn't had the chance, he's a good guy, and this might relaly help him to finish well. President liked the idea, but said he is going to pray first. we'll see. I've definitely lost weight though. now 145. used to be 163. go team... eating lots of seeds and fruits. i feel like adam in the garden of eden. and it's super cheap. this week we have been teaching Mirna. She rocks! When we went by on saturdy she said, "can you come back in an hour? I'm washing so i can go to church tomorrow. and i'm going to bring my sister in law." She and her sister in law came, and they love the book of mormon. they rock. Love you all! Elder West

Ice Cream Truck

 This is a girl the sisters were teaching that asked me to baptize her after her interview. She's Jocelyn, 12. And Benjamin is the little boy there, two converts little baby. He likes to follow me around.

 Soccer tournament... "We are the Champions. du du du..." 

 Bed bug infestation leaves elders sleeping on ironing board.

Hola, esta semana nos va bien. un poco loco como siempre, pero la buena vida sigue. This monday i took my companions to a mall that has a lot of american shops, we also met up with some other missionaries who are training there, it was sweet. President thought it would be good for the new missionaries too, and they loved it. We were a bit fried and sore from soccer, my companions now call me dad a lot, and calculated my age in missionary age to be 88 (like dog years, but by month out of 2). Now they're threatening to get me a cane. Bit of a tough week, but we're going strong. President spoke in stake conference, and told a story about his first day and talked about me there, that was cool. He is such an incredible man. He really knows how to really help all of his missionaries. Such an awesome man. Love you all! Elder West

Pictures from the MTC in Mexico City

hola todos. This has also been quite the week. I've just decided they're all ust going to be that way... For starters we had the mission soccer tournament today. that was awesome, our zone won the championship game, which was a lot of fun. Elder Janda and i were coaches and players to organize it, but it was cool to see how much fun a bunch of missionaries out on a field can have. and cool to see a ton of missionaries all in full soccer uniforms, and all the teams there. i definitely got fried. the sun was strong. My last companion told me he can see i've lost weight, we've been eating a bunch of grains and seeds, and fruit, and i've lost 10 pounds! party. The cooles thing this week was the testimony meeting on sunday. We had 23 less actives there of the which 21 were there for the first time in a long time. It was sweet, and the testimonies were so strong. a lot of members (active and less actives) just shared their testimonies about the missionaries getting their in the exact moment they needed, one of which was a family that all shared their testimonies about doing God's will, and about us, and they rock. the spirit was so strong. but the coolest was a 9 year old girl. she definitley made me cry... and everyone else. Two weeks ago her dad passed away of cancer. Their whole family shared theeir testimonies, but she said she knew where he is, and that we all would, but when we came to this life we had a veil put over us so we wouldn't remember where we lived or what we did before this life. She said we don't remember for that, but that "I do because i've studied the scriptures". It was sweet. Strongest testimony i've seen in a long time, and most people in church we've had too. Also this week i left my companions alone together to go to a meeting and they did great! Didn't understand anything someone said to them in the street, but they managed to teach, serve, and commit a less active to church. i was so excited, it made me want to leave them alone as much as possible. there are still time when people just say i can't understand you, but they are now forming sentances and understanding more when the people talk slow, it's sweet. Love you all, Elder West

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

October 7, 2013

I loved Conference. It goes so fast now. I felt like it was twenty minutes long. In our ward I have not taught one member who hasn't complained about the bishop yet (excepting recent converts), and every less active i have met so far has told me it was because of him, and chuch attendance is at 39 people (probabley less at conference), my old ward was got up to 280. My companions still don't understand spanish, so i am almost alone in the lessons to save them, even though i am trying to make them teach as independantly as possible. And we have a missionary in the district who wants to go home. Through that on top of several other things, and the new battle we've been waging against some bed bugs, and i was getting pretty weighed down again.Those were my constant thoughts. pure complaints again. I feel like yet again i fell into that, you'd think i'd learn by now to look for the good. That all being said, conference came at a great moment. I feel like i have a direction again, we mostly have the bed bug problem under control. Though we did have to ditch a couple super infested mattresses, i have a plan with my companions to work on the spanish, to help the ward (when you look at it this way, a ward with so many problems has a huge potential to grow if you get over them), and i have a much larger faith and hope again. I love General conference. These are men truly called of God himself. I am doing everything i knew i neeeded to before but i had stopped doing well, and more than anything we can say again we are 100% obedient. No more getting to bed at 10:31 pm. Down to the tee, 100% obedient. And working. What more can i ask for right? I really realized more than ever this talk that i am in this life to live for God and not for me. When Elder Oaks said "we may see invasions of our free excercise of religion. if so i think we should remember our first priority. to serve God. And like our pioneer predecesors, push our personal pioneer handcart forward with the same fortitude they exhibeted... courge not compromise brings the smile" i said, well if that's what it'll be, lets get at it. I really loved conference. Last conference i took 17 questions to conference. All 17 were answered. This conference there weren't quite as many, but every question for direction etc. was very clearly answered. It was cool. As i thought on each one, the talks seemed to center on those. And i loved how direct it was about the laws of God not changing, and the call to do our duty now, and almost the urgency of it. "man's laws cannot change the laws of God". It is our duty to build God's church now. I really liked that. Conference rocks. A lot. This is God's church. Love you all! Elder West

Here is a clip from Peter's companion's letter:
I've had some new interesting foods this week. Let me just say that cow stomech is the worst tasting thing in the world... I don't know why anyone would ever think of feeding that to three young missionaries... Elder West had this one particular big chewy piece in his, when our host wasn't looking he quickly threw it on his napkin and put it in his pocket. As gross as it was we did get some pretty good laughs out of it. fortunately it isn't a very common dish, Elder West has only had it once before in his 21 months here. We did get all of our health food! I love starting the day off with some grains. We also started to run now that I'm starting to get over my caugh. 

This past week Elder Huefner and I started to have little itchy red spots pop up all over out legs and arms. Last night we discovered that we have bedbugs! yay! We discovered them right before we went to bed and we didn't really have ay choice but to sleep with them again... We both covered ourselves in bug spray, said a pleading prayer that we wouldn't get eaten alive, and squimeshly climbed onto the infested matress. This morning we pulled the two mattresses out and and deep cleaned so that they wouldn't have any places to hide. My bed was covered in eggs! it would have been a dissaster if they have hatched. But all is well and I'm just grateful that it wasn't worse."

Chicken feet anyone? The truck passes every day offering, "large feet, fat feet, delicious feet. Men, women, children, come! Try our delicious little feet!"     So we did. yum... the red and white stuff on top is chile with mayonaise. 


The zoo en chapultepec

I took these on splits (two different areas). Some parts of mexico are awesome. Some streets are also a foot deep with water... Here there are both parts...

Saying goodbye in Chalco. She (Elizabeth) was crying when i left, and said we had to take a photo first. I kinda wish i'd taken more now that i think about it. She gave me a key chain with the west family crest on it, and a paper that explained it all, it was pretty cool. She also wrote me a long note and her kids drew pictures. They are awesome. Her kids were clinging on to my legs as i left. Going to really miss them. 
 los volcanes

Mission Leadership Council

CompañerosElder Huefner, Elder West, Elder Twede


This week Cindy and Christofer got baptized. They have changed a ton since i got here, it's been ridiculous. Cindy has lived through more than anyone i've ever taught, on the street since she was 5, on drugs from 8 to 15, but at 15 dropped them after almost dying on an overdose, and has lived the commandments sinces. She was balling after coming out of the water, and according to her husband, he has never seen her cry until there in the church. Doesn't suprise me based on what she's been threw, but it is sad. She is a great person, and her husband is too. It was an incredible baptismal service. Elder Twede played the piano and we sang be still my soul in a medley with cuando me bautice (when i am baptized) in spanish. it was cool. My companions are making some progress with the language, it's still tough, but we're making it. They are really great guys though and we are really enjoying it. Lots to go, but i'm excited for the next three months. Sister crickmore told them to teach me english, and called me cholo (like gangster) because the english is so bad. Love you all, Elder West

Hola todos. this week has been nuts. wandering around mexico city with two new companions who don't speak spanish, in an area i don't know at all. It was nuts. And exhausting. I didn't realize how different it would be to train americans than it was to train people who already speak the language. Especially when there are two of them... They don't understand me or anyone else when they speak, but are working really hard, and i'm sure they'll get it soon. They are great guys. Elder Twede from herriman, utah and elder Huefner from Bountiful, utah. First time with companions from utah. it's been nuts. So much has happened, but not a lot of time. It is quite an experience teaching two americans about mexico. i didn't realize how many things there are to learn about the culture, the country, the language, etc. lots of work, but it is nice to have companions that have a decent amount in common with me. we're teaching two people who finally just got married and have been coming to church for a while, but we changed their bap date for this saturday instead of the last one so that we could teach them a bit more. They are really excited, we're hoping everything goes well there. Love you all! Elder West

Tomorrow i get my new companions and head out to whitewash an area and train. I'm a bit nervous, but so ready. I can't wait to be free. It's been a ton of work. But it's been good. We finally just got all the last new missionaries fed and are now in our house until the transfer meeting tomorrow. We got them from the mtc in the morning, and then the airport in the afternoon. It was crazy. So many new missionaries. It was such an awesome day. But very tiring. Love you all! Elder West             p.s. new p-day will be monday again. probably going to write in the mornings around 10 or 11. We'll see. Love you!             p.p.s. i heard there is no hot water in the new house. party... poor new guys. welcome to mexico. but it'll be a nice adventure on top of it all. I will be in Santa Cruz Meyehualco, Iztapalapa. It's part of Mexico city. Lots of cars, people, etc. chao. 
These are some photos from splits in tepecoculco. I'm going to miss having a camera on my phone (only the assistants have it...) The nicest building by far in the pueblo is the lds church. Lots of people don't use shoes, which is fairly normal in several pueblos, the houses are often one room for 8 or more people, and lots of hills and trees. It's actually a really beautiful place, but sometimes a bit tough, the people have almost no education, little time (they all work in the fields a lot), and have lots of customs/traditions. The cool part is that they all have a ton of respect for the missionaries, even if they don't want to change at all. Tepecoculco is a weird pueblo though. President has said it, and i agree, it feels so weird, something is different in this pueblo. But the divisions were fun, and it was cool to be back in a pueblo. It's been a while. 

Birthday was great. A family from my old area invited us to come eat, and seeing as we didn't have anywhere else, we had permission to go there, and it was cool. They made cochinito pivil, which is great, and they gave me a cake. Though the tradition is, that after you sing "las mañanitas" (the birthday song here), the birthday person is supposed to bight the cake. So i bit it. And Elder Scott pushed my face a bit further... Also part of the tradition... My comp gave me a tie, (i saw that after i'd actually forgotten it was my birthday in the morning...) Also there is a photo of a metal engraving a member form ozumba gave me (from my area a year ago). She had made it while i was there, and we were in ozumba on the way back from tepecoculco (the farthest corner of the mission), and she said she'd made it and hadn't had a way to get it to me. I also saw a convert of mine in the church there, active and helping with an activity. That was great. It was awesome to see the members after a year. I also put a photo of the primary program from chalco. That was awesome too. 


Hola todos. THis week was also pretty crazy. President told me he won't put me as a junior comp to finish. I was pretty disappointed, but he is going to have me train two new missionaries, so i'm really excited about that. This week was also one of the toughest i've had. There has been some real divisions and problems in the mission and i was honestly getting pretty tired of it. But it was interesting to see how with a simple decision president fixed everything. And now i feel like i will actually be able to leave the mission in a good place when i get out of here. We are finally on our feet, and things are now running here way better than they did in the other two missions. On top of that the mission culture has changed so much and we are way more focused on only letting the people who really prove they are converted get baptized. Interestingly enough baptismal dates are going up and church attendance of investigators is higher than ever. God really is blessing us, and that's how it should be when we do things his way. Seeing as this is going to be one of my last p days that isn't on monday (and everything closes on mondays) we took advantage of the day to run to see Chapultepec. There is an awesome castle there, and a really cool zoo, and some other things. We got soaked on the way back, which was fun, and i have now checked almost everything of my places to visit of my list. Next week is board week, transfers getting ready, etc. and finally the 17th are transfers and i should be free. Can't wait. President is a great guy, I've learned a lot from him, but it's time to go back out and put my heart into an area and not a mission. Can't wait for it. Love you all! Elder West

Temazcales- the mud right before the pre-hispanich sauna. Temazcal means house of vapor. It was awesome. Elder Tovar, y companion took the photo, but he was there with us. President thought it would be great for us to relax after this week, so he let
 and told us to go. It was sweet.