Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013
Hola todos, ¿que tal? THis week was crazy. Tuesday were the transfers. so i am now as a solo assistant in chalco, until the other one gets here from the other mission in a month. My comp is Elder Hernandez, he's from tamaulipas. He's still learning a lot of things, but a good guy. This weekend they called a new stake presidency in our ward. Elder Anderson came to re-organize the stake presidency, president came too. It was a pretty cool weekend. Learned a lot of things. Elder Anderson while talking asked a little ten year old to come up and answer some questions. The little kid answered them as well as the missionaries. Then Elder Anderson asked him how often they have family home evenings in his home. HE said every week, family prayer every day, etc. Elder Anderson then talked about antoher time he had asked a little boy the same questions, but who had said, I don't know, i don't know... AFter a while Elder Anderson asked him, and who taught you all of that? The little boy said, "my dad". The parents make suchy a big difference. And then he said, a good father is a father that hopes that his kids don't learn anything in church that he hasn't learned in his home first." And that we need to help them have the habit of being in church every week, even if they scream in the meetings, etc. he actually talked about an experience in a meeting where a mom was taking her screaming child out, and the guy says, "you don't need to take him out, he isn't bothering me." The mom then answered to the general authority, "he may not be bothering you, but you are obviously bothering him." I thought that was funny. But it really showed the importance of always teaching your kids at home and always bringing them to church on sunday. And today, Elder Hallstrom, and Elder Johnson came to the mission and talked to us all. It was sweet. He answered questions too. Definitely a very powerful weekend. Love you all, Elder West

May 6, 2013
Esta semana estuvo bien chido. Me gusta trabajar con Elder Tovar. El unico desefio será ayudarle a que no muera. Una semana le queda!!! We definitely had a great week. Alejandra got baptized!!! And her sister is getting baptize this week!!!!! The baptism was awesome. My comp played the guitar, I sang with the ward mission leader, the member/friend shared a small talk and everyone was crying, it was great. She (Alejandra) was so excited for her baptism. She has a sister who really wanted to get baptized too, single mother, and really great, but she had a problem with question 4 in the interview. she started crying and talking about the guilt she's been carrying, and after we explained the atonement, she said, "knowing what God has done for me, it makes me want to do everything i can to serve him and be obedient." It was awesome. it will be an awesome one to finish the mission with for my comp. And the Familia Alvarez (Gabriela, Gabriel, and Gabriela junior, but she prefers Alondra) is also getting baptized this week!!! It is going to be great finish for my comp. And i will be going to another ward to be in a trio with the other two assistants. One of the three, we still don't know which, will be opening the new mission (Chalco!!!) most likely it will be me, because i know the area, and the zones that will be in that mission really well, and the other two almost not at all. But we'll leave it to the Lord. I'm really excited for this week. Elder Tovar's last week, but we are really excited. Love you all, Elder West

 Whole mission with Elder Cook

 Peter's first day in Mexico

Peter with less-active tarantula

April29, 2013

Hola todos, esta semana estuvo chido. y no me juzguen por mi jerga chilango/mexicano. Mi compañero está tratando de dejar su jerga de aquí porque se van a burlar un buen de él en su casa cuando regrese... de hecho, se va en dos semanas. que extraño... Hey family and everyone, this week was really cool. We had a family we were about to drop, but we brought them to a tour of the church on tuesday where they met a ton of members, and got there just in time for the choir practice. Several awesome members went and sat by them, explained how to read the music a bit, helped them out, and we left them there with the members. The next day we taught them with a recent convert (vicky) and another member who was the friend who gave us the reference of vicky, and they got so excited, decided they can beat their smoking and other problems, and now have baptismal dates for this saturday. Members make the difference. I love members. It has been really cool to see the change in them. the 23 year old daughter is a single mother and has been really depressed for a long time. When we got there it looked pretty bad, but just living the gospel, reading daily, etc. she is now really happy. I haven't seen her without a huge smile in the last week, and we went by every day. In part for reading. We've been realizing more and more how important it is that investigators, members, and converts are reading the book of mormon every day. It applies to all of us! If we stop doing it, we start to los everything. Life becomes less full of good things without us noticing, we begin to have doubts, and that just makes us even less happy. My grandpa told me, "Believe your beliefs and doubt your doubts, because if you believe your doubts and doubt your beliefs, you don't have anything." I liked that. I also like Ether 12:4.  4 Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with asurety bhope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which chope cometh of dfaith, maketh an eanchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in fgood works, being led to gglorify God. Those that believe in God might with a surety hope for a better world. This is what makes us steadfast and abounding in good works, and this is what makes us happy even in the worst of times. I know that if we do the little things, if we are really reading the BoM every day, really praying to God to communicate with him, going to church, the temple, etc. We will be happy! Sadness and challenges will last only moments, and God will make them light. No matter how deep in we get, there is always a  way out, and it is a simple one. The gospel. Even in the moments where we seem like nothing, like we are alone, remember that "to God, you are everything," and he wants you to be happy. And if God wants it, all that lacks is our own effort to live his gospel Love you All, Elder West 

April 22, 2013
So one lovely Sunday night we were in the offices reporting with the zone leaders and suddenly I felt like i was getting car sick or something. I looked up and the pictures were moving. I look over and my companion jumps up and yells earthquake. I guess it's probably amplified the feeling when you're on the top floor, but we all ran outside (don't judge our lack of protocall, we did go to the doorframe first...) All of the other buildings around us emptied. turns out we just were in a 6.25 magnitude earthquake on the richter scale, while in the middle of the 2nd or 3rd largest city in the world. And officially the first earthquake i've ever really felt. But don't worry. We're all good (or i guess we're all "well"). And Elder Quiñones is a bit traumatized. turns out it isn't quite as pleasant to be the guy in the bathroom when a 6.25 magnitude earthquake hits. The rest of us thought it was pretty funny. The epicenter wasn't too far either. so that was fun... this week has been crazy. Visiting other zones, training the new missionaries (which is actually really stressful because you have to do everything perfectly) but cool, and several miracles. We had the baptism of Jonathan, a guy who has been going to church in DF, but lives in Chalco and now is coming to church here. He was a former investigator from people a year ago. No effort is wasted. My companion completed 2 years in the mission this saturday. He officially has served 2 years. And he baptized that day. And the funny part was that he forgot to bring an extra shirt. 2 years of experience and still forgetting the shirt. We had some fun with that. There are going to be a lot of major changes in the mission these next few months. There are now going to be sisters that have leadership possisions to help other sisters, and we are getting everything ready for the new mission. And my companion and i have to get everything (calendar, trainings, meetings, etc) for the next months to the new mission president. I'm really enjoying the work. A lot more than ever, but enjoying it a lot. hope you all are well, Love Elder West             p.s. yo creo misioneros se vuelven más locos lo más que se acerca dos años... ejemplo:Elder Tovar. ¡les amo!

April 15, 2013
Hola todos, this week was crazy. Definitely a lot of trials. We were on splits the entire week, so i still feel like i haven't had more than just temporary companions for 4 weeks, but it does help people get going. This week we had a family of 4 that were awesome. They were another one of those contacts that i just felt like i had to say something, and they told us we were the answers to their prayers. It was awesome. But Satan was also working pretty hard this week. First off, someone sold them a falty gas tank, which blew up in their house. Luckily no one was hurt, but the fireman told them they had to be out of the house for 8 days... So we haven't been able to see them since. And it gets tougher because they are now staying with their super catholic family that is apparently telling them the usual lies and rumors about mormons. But we're still working on things. We also had an awesome familiy contact us in the street, but they couldn't come to church, and we can't really set an appointment because their dad/grandpa's heart is failing, and they are just waiting with him in the hospital. There are always trials when we try to do something good. Satan wants everything but that, but the good news is, God knows everything, and if we really just humble ourselves and follow him, he will lead us out andn over. The trick is the humbling part. I feel like pride is the biggest obstacle we have in life, and we put it there ourselves... But that's what service is for, right? the "weapon against pride". General Conference also really helps. Keep studying it, the prophet really is guided by God, really tells us what to do to be happy. Love you all. Cuidense, Elder West

April 8, 2013

Holah todos, i forgot to mention the semana santa (Holy Week, the week before easter). Everyone goes crazy. They reenact everything about the last week of Christ's ministry, and add a lot of other things. For example, saturday is called saturday of Glory, and it means everyone needs to get wet. In pools or simply because everyone jst throws buckets of water on anyone who isn't soaked already. Luckily we managed to escape... There are a ton of traditions. And EVERYONE is with on vacation visiting family near by, or just "on vacation" and ignore the world. And we had transfers.... Most of the mission had transfers, and everything was pretty crazy. Most crazy of all: I am the new assistant to the President. I have never felt so humbled or inadequate in my life, but I'm not  going to lie, General conference helped a ton. The pressure definitely goes up, now responsable for a mission instead of a zone, and it didn't go so hot this week for the mission. But I am really excited to be around president more, to learn a ton, and to help a new president open a new mission!!! It is almost gaurenteed that i will be the assitant in the new mission, Mexico City Chalco! I am so excited. It is going to be a ton of work, i am just seeing the tip of the ice berg. And P-day no longer exists. But I am really excited. I really love how we can always get answers to our questions, any question, in general conference. It rocks. I am also pretty excited to be able to go get the new missionaries from the airport, mtc, and the new mtc they are opening here, that was the church's school. It is going to be a ton of work, which we're already seeing a bit, we don't have much time to sleep or eat, but I guess God just helps us out. So far so good. Also going to have less time to email, and it will be early monday mornings. My companion is Elder Tovar, he's 24, from Bogota Columbia, and he teaches really well. Happy Birthday Lucy!!! Les amo, Elder West

April 1, 2013
hola todos, this week was crazy. again. my companion was in our area a total of 8 hours this week. I was with Elder Vasquez from monday to thursday. Elder Pleites and Scott from thursday to friday, and Elder Tovar (the asistant to the president) from friday to sunday afternoon. It was crazy. My companion only knows one of our investigators that we are currently teaching, and doesn't even know her very well. This week Lizeth got baptized! I taught her with four different missionaries, and she asked us to change her baptismal date from next saturday to this last saturday. President said to do it, and she got baptized on Saturday (and no, my companion was not present in her baptism or confirmation...)! She is going to go to the temple with the ward this week and is really excited. During her baptism we had to wait a bit because the water had become too hot (never had that problem before), not helped by the sun, so we had to sing hymns while we poured in cold water. During this time a little boy was hanging on the soccer goal outside, fell and cut his head, was bleeding a ton, and all of the adults were just watching him and saying"he is going to die!" that was a fun one... luckily Elder Whitehead and i actually did something (both of us were lifeguards, so at least we know a tiny bit). The kids shirt was pretty soaked in blood, and we got his head bandaged up and managed to stop the bleeding. The only thing that really scared us was blood loss, there was a ton (we gave him a gatorade, all we could find), and also that he might go into shock, made worse by everyone telling him he was going to die. But in the end we got him to the hospital. During this whole time Elder Tovar just played a guitar and sang hymns. Finally we were able to have the baptism, and Lizeth was really happy. Her whole family and extended family came. And elder Tovar came to church with me, and officially knows our investigators better than my comp. We had an awesome contact. Elder Vasquez and i were walking when we passed a lady buying fruits and vegetables in the street, we kept walking... After a street and a half, i just turned around and started walking back. Luckily Elder Vasquez already knows i`m crazy, so he just followed. I told him we have to contact that lady. We did. It was awesome. We taught her nad her family saturday night, the mom said she had been praying God would send her someone, the daughter who is married has been feeling an emptiness and thinks we can fill it, and the husband really loves what we teach. The other son is 5. It was awesome. THey came to church and are really excited. On top of all of this we have transfers this week. Made even more fun by the fact they keep changin them on us. The new assistants of the Mexico Chalco mission, the new one they are going to open, are coming to our ward, and taking my area.... Last night they called me to give us the transfers, and said first, Elder Medina has transfers. Then they said, i messed up. Elder WEst has transfers and needs to bring his suitcases (meaning i would be leaving the zone), and then today called again to tell me that my comp and i both have transfers and neither should bring their suitcases (meaning we are staying in the zone). I am confused out of my mind. THis whole new mission thing has taken all predictability out of the transfers. I'll let you know what happens next week. Love you all. Elder Wes

Some more pictures

Hola todos. Otra vez, no hay tiempo. This week was rediculous. And i have no idea how to spell that.... but we did splits like 5 times this week, the zone did pretty well, pressure is building a lot with these transfers that are coming, i will probably stay in the mission chalco. We tought two awesome people this week, they came to church, and are really excited. and the mom really wants her son to listen. It was awesome. Love you all! Elder West

Hola todos, esta semana fue lleno de esperanza, estrés, decepción, y otra vez esperanza. This week was crazy. First off, last week we had a sister in our zone with appendicitis, which was fun... her two comps had to sleep on benches in the hospital, and it wasn't exactly top quality... we ended up bringing them food because they hadn't eaten, and we brought them deserts and things. They definitely earned a lot of respect from me. Didn't complain once. The assistants came to our zone on tuesday to get the zone excited and to chastise a bit. We had a rough week. This week we had the baptism of Yazmin. She is the one that had the dream about the baptismal font and getting confirmed, which was awesome. ANd it was cold that day. Rainy and windy. The cool part was the volcanos have snow now... Snow in Mexico! just way higher up. So i went with Elder Whitehead on splits and we really were just lookiung for miracles. There was nothing in the zone and the assitants were already planching us a ton, and the only people with someone to baptize in the zone was my comp and I. I called a companionship in an area i had been in on splits a lot before they changed the district leader, and asked about a guy i knew. He's been going to church, and has a testimony, and obeys the commandments, so i asked them to baptize him this week. We now were up to two. Still bad enough the assistants would murder us. But i told a couple people not to baptize some people this week because they didn't think they were ready, and i failed two people in their interviews while i was with Elder Whitehead. We really are trying to keep only converted people the ones that get baptized. Which is why it was such a miracle when i went with Elder Whitehead. We ate with a family whose husband hadn't been baptized, and i decided i would invite him to be baptized. he obeys the commandments, goes to church, etc, so i said, "WE have your baptismal service prepared for today at 7pm (this was at 3pm) and I am here to do your interview." At first he said, I'm not ready, but after i told him about the interview questions he decided he was ready. He had a testimony of Joseph Smith and the book of Mormon too, so he just lacked the decision and desire to be baptized, but at the end of the interview he was really excited to be baptized, and three and a half hours later, he was baptized. His wife was so excited, she had been a member 3 years, and he had always just told the missionaries no, that he wasn't ready, etc. And he got confirmed this week and is apparently really excited. IT really was a complete miracle. The rest of the zone's baptisms fell, so we still felt like we were condemning ourselves a lot, we had 18 who could've been baptized. And only 3 weren't because of agency. THe rest were because of family health problems or deaths, and we are sure that isn't just because God doesn't want us to baptize. We started asking and found a lot of obedience problems, and are going to have to get better at that if we want to meet our goal of 20 this week, which would be beating the record. Elder Cook came to our mission on saturday!!! It was awesome. He answered very directly in his talk almost all of the questions i had brought. And apparently there are now 5 or 6 apostles assigning missionary calls now instead of 2. Go missionary work. And he talked about a lot of new people coming. Of putting the example, etc. Apostles talk with so much power, it was incredible. As he left, he "invoked" a lot of blessing on us, and it felt so strong. We left feeling like nothing could stop us. It was awesome. Apostles really are special witnesses of Christ. And he talked about when he recieved the call to be an apostle how he had just cried at first because he felt inadequate, but how he then realized his first responsibility was to testify of Christ,and he said, i knew i could do that. It was so powerful. Love you All. Elder West

Hola todos. Well this week was awesome and really tough at the same time. The ward mission leader from my last ward works as a taxi driver here (a fairly decent job actually) and I ran in to him this week. he told me about all of my converts. They are doing awesome. Active, callings, plus some less active families we activated are really doing well. The family that hadn't gone in twelve years is now teaching gospel principles and in teh relief society, others are ward missionaries, etc. It made we way happy to here they are active and excited. That was definitely great. It was a bit tough because pressure is building a lot. President wants this mission to be ready for the new one, and that means more than double the output (double the missions...) It's tough when we still don't have more missionaries (actually less because of the annual december to april visa delay problems due to vacations in teh government every december and new laws this year). But the thing is, we really can do it. We have come so close to having the 15 baptisms a week that we need, but then we have two weeks where we collapse again, and this happened to be the first of two of those... But The good news is God has blessed my comp and I and i think we are going to be able to spare the zone with a couple of miracles. A lady contacted us, has a lot of problems, and wants to change. She actually asked us how long she had to wait to get baptized and how long to get confirmed. It was sweet. Also saw the baptismal font in a dream. So no complaints here. God loves us. Overall it has been a good week, lots of work, but I wouldn't have it any other way (John5:17) I hope that scripture is the same in english as it is in spanish. We also had an awesome zone activity today. We got subway (we found one!) and played kickball. Felt a bit like kindergarten again, but it was great. And it was finally something we found that the sisters could do too. Con amor, Elder West. 

March 4, 2013
Hola todos, ésta semana nos fue bien. We had a crazy week again. Meetings with President on wednesday and friday killed a lot of time, but we learned a lot. It is probable i will be in the Chalco mission, the new one and it is official july first. Though by may we will know where we will be.There are going to be a lot of changes in the mission, i am really excited. Not a ton of time because we have to get a calendar and a report ready, but this week rocked. Yesterday we had the baptism of Montse, Eric, and Itzel, which was sweet. THey are awesome people that we contacted two and a half weeks ago, a super inspired contact, it feels great when God tells you directly who to talk to. ANd the baptismal service was done by less actives and recent converts (talks, prayers, testimonies, etc.). It was one of the best we've had, and the ward was really excited. The work is going well here, and there is a lot to do. Love you all! Elder West