Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 24, 2013
¡Hola todos! we´ve had quite a few days, we don't have time to write much, but just as an idea, monday scrambling to get everything ready for the guys going home, moving into the house that will be for the new guys, buying things, doing the secretaries jobs, etc. Sleeping at 1:45am. Up at 6:30, running to part of mexico city in the morning for interviews, the elder who said he knew that stake (from the other mission) got us pretty lost for about 3 hours. and 3 hours  on the way out too. That is the only zone i didn't know. Big city, traffic, bad directions... Getting from there to president's house, dinner for the people going home, their exit interviews, testimony meeting, and me driving back at 11:30 to 1:15am. Sleep at almost 2. comp asleep at 1:20 before i'd even gotten back from parking the car... Up at 4 am. Scrambling to get to the airport... And i'm off to drive them there with a secretary. comp  was planning on sleeping and staying with the other secretary, though may sleep in the car. And i'm going to temporarily pay the money because the secretaries lost the mission credit card... It's been quite a few busy days, but i'm surprised at how well i've been able to hold up so far. My comp not so much, but President just asked, "do you ever sleep?". He likes to make jokes that Elder west doesn't know what nap means, or gets home and just studies until 3:30 am every day and doesn't sleep... Stuff like that. But it's worked out so far even with the schedule. Abandoning the area again. We've left it almost completely abandoned (except for visiting the 4 that got baptized before their baptisms for one week) for 5 weeks. I'm getting a bit worried on that front. But everything's going well. Love you!

July 15, 2013
Hola todos, this week was also pretty crazy, but God has really blessed us with some miracles. We had the mission leadership council on tuesday. The first one of hte mission Chalco! It was cool, we (my comp and I) presented the new way we were going to work as a mission, and President had us lead the council, which was cool. We ended up choosing the mission hymn. "oíd el toque del clarín" the zions camp version, and we chose the mission scripture and motto. It was cool. We also talked a lot about the new mission culture that was forming, what the responsiblities of the leaders are, all of the administrative stuff, and how to really help the missionaries. I am really excited. There has been so much more than i expected to get the new mission running, and there is still a lot to do, but at least now the missionaries have a direction for the goals, the missionaries that come from the south and the southeast are starting to mix (more on that later), and it is working out with the new mission goals. We also had some special changes this week. President wasn't too happy we spent most of our p-day doing special changes, but was really happy with how it all turned out. We ended up making a ton of changes. Half of the leadership. President wants to get ready for the future, and he is stressing obedience in leaders more, which i like a lot. We spent friday in cuatla doing those with president and on the way back we got to pass by the tianguis in my first area, which was cool because i got to see my first area again, say hi to several members i met there. Two of which told me they thought i'd finished a while ago, but it was cool to see them. We had the changes the next day, about 30 companionships, it was cool though, we sang the mission hymn, which turned out really cool, and the missionaries are really excited. And on saturday we had one of the best baptismal services i've ever had. It was so awesome!!! Lydia and Alejandro have been waiting to get baptized for almost 5 months. They kept asking me the whole time "Can't we just get baptized now? Isn't there anything we can do?" They were so happy, there son, who is a recent convert (I baptized him in february), showed up to help us with "a baptism" and ended up bapizing his parents. They were crying a lot and were so happy, they kept thanking me, and are so awesome. That was one of the happiest moments of my mission. Ana is just super elect. She actually had told me no a few months ago, but her neighbor kept talking to her about the church, and she finally showed up at the church asking for the missionaries, and ever since has been golden. We were always friendly with her, but i never thought she would be so elect. She just showed up and lives the commandments and was so excited for her baptisma and has been asking for more to read etc. She told my companion and i that we gave her the gospel and she needed another one to "give" her the baptism, so Elder Putegnat baptized her. Miguel also got baptized. He has been listening to us ever since his less active (and now active) friend started telling him about the gospel and how much he needed it, which he did, he was going through some tough moments. He asked Elder Milner to baptize him, he told us he reminds us of his son who committed suicide recently, which has been really tough for him, but he loves the gospel. He is really timid, but really a great guy. We loved it. I played the guitar and we sang. It was an awesome service. President Crickmore brought his whole family too, which was awesome, and there were a ton of members. They already knew a lot of people, especially lydia and alejandro. It was such a great service. I was so happy on saturday. Yesterday we spent the day with president taking him to the stake center with some of the stake presidents, and then we finished off with the reports. It was an awesome week. The only downside was that we convinced president that his wife needed to have the car in case something happened, there isn't transport where she is, so we no longer have a car, but it was a nice 3 weeks... But such an awesome week. We just have to start over, we've only been in the area long enough to teach alejandro, lydia, miguel, and ana. So we no longer have anyone in teaching, but a 100% baptism rate isn't too bad. It was a great week overall. Exhausted. Love you all, Elder West

July 8, 2013
¡Hola todos! This week was one of the cooles and definitely the craziest of my mission. 4 states, 3 missions, 3 mission presidents, and half a day in our area. We went to the airport with President Valadez (from the south mission) and President Morales (from the southeast) on monday for President Crickmore, which was awesome. It was so cool. It's a very different experience to go for new missionaries than it is for a new president and his wife. It was incredible. From there we took him to the offices, he asked me a ton of questions, showed him the offices, and then to his house in cuatla, really far away. We got there finally, and just before arriving we stopped to eat, and the people who were going to officially give us the keys to the house (even though we've already been down there preparing), invited us all to a super expensive awesome steak restaurant, deifnitely the most expensive i've ever eaten in mexico, and the only time i've eaten stake like that as a missionary. President speaks spanish pretty well, sometimes i have to explain things to him or translate, and his wife speaks spanish alright, she didn't know it at all before, she's been learning since she got the call. We then got to the house, showed it to them, and they asked us to sleep there with them to help them out a bit, and to show president how to get to the offices again in the morning. We stayed up late talking to them, answering questions, they don't know almost anything about mexico or living in it, and things about the mission too, etc (not against the rules, president was with us), and finally my comp and i went to bed (not before deciding we'd died and had gone to paradise with a steak dinner and really nice house).

          That was an incredible day, but we didn't want it to end there. We got up early and made president and his wife an awesome breakfast (though his wife got down a lot later, hadn't been able to sleep at all for several reasons not too pleasant...). But President told us to sit down and eat with him, and we had his first meeting with us as we ate an awesome breakfast. We then went to the offices (looking for a short cut on the way and probably taking longer, but the next time was faster for him...). We then spent the rest of the day with president in the offices, which was cool. We both presented the way we work in our missions (my comp from the south mission and i did from the southeast mission) as if he was a new missionary, and after we finished he told us that he was very impressed, that we both taught with the spirit and said something was going well in these missions. He then asked my comp and i to put the way the two missions work together, and to present it to him, seeing as we had a bit more experience in both missions, and he was in his second day here. It did surprise me a bit how much he had to learn, but it does make sense. We then took him home to his house, and we drove the little car back to our place and slep there. Really tiring, but again a great day.
              We then had the first meeting with half the mission (with people form both missions), and president asked us to talk, we just focused on unity and that President is called of God (he really is, he is such an awesome guy, it is incredible), and the room was so full of energy, it was awesome. President's wife was able to speak a little bit, and got the idea across, she is awesome, really trying and putting up with everything. We then spent the rest of the day in the offices with president, trying to get him up to date on the mission, putting everything together, lots of administrative stuff, even some special changes (that was a great welcome to teh mission, missionaries with special needs...). We also went to get all of the supplies that lacked. In the end it worked out really well though.

               THe next day we had the meeting with two other zones, which wasn't quite as awesome because two zone leaders are really bitter about the new mission (and being in it), but i guess that is understandable, we're working with them. We also taught one lesson that day! Ana, super elect, so awesome. She has a really dry personality and is pretty reserved, except when she is direct, but is so awesome. And got her answer too. We asked her what she thought would happen if she asked God, and she said, "He'd say yes". She'd already gotten the answer by that point. We then spent the rest of the day making the new presentation for how the new mission will work. It was really interesting. We have very different missions, and the first week with my comp it was tought to put it together, but now it was trying to take the best from both missions. I had to decide the points most important to bring from the southeast try to get those in, which meant we had a sort of negotiating project. I didn't argue about new some new things from the south, and he let in those from the southeast. But it wasn't like fighting or anything, it was just both of us trying to get the best of both in, and it worked out really well, that was the plan to finish for friday.
            Friday we spent in the offices, first trying to get the report ready, and then presenting it. We went over a lot of individual points with president first (like rules he would need to get out before the missionaries could decide "new mission, new rules", and ignore the past ones). President really wants to trust the missionaries and help them. He is so much more focused on just doing everything so that the missionaries become converted. He is great. Several rules have changed though. After the administrative stuff that had to be done, we presented the rough draft of how the missions can work together in one, he loved it. So we had to finalize it for saturday, (with all of the rules, things we have to do weekly, daily, always, and monthly, and the way we are going to work, how we are going to teach, set goals, etc). It was a ton of week. But President told us we'd been working way to hard and told us to take some time off today and take a mini p-day. He actually told me "you will be obedient to me, and i am telling you to take a break." That was honestly a bit hard... but it was nice to have 3 hours to buy a bit of food and organize the house. We then visited miguel, he is also getting ready for his baptism, great guy, really timid.

           Saturday we went to the offices, set up plans for the mission leadership council, how we are going to get everything up and running, and a lot of other things (financial, plans for future, focus of the mission right now, and lots of administrative stuff). And finally we went to eat a bit, and had 5 hours in our area!!! That was great. Though it has been cool to spend so much time with president.

           Sunday was mostly normal, but instead of a 2 hour drive to the offices, we spent those two hours getting the new reports etc. ready, and finally took reports, called president to let him know how the mission was doing, and got to bed earlier than i am used to on sunday. It was nice. Lots of plans for a long meeting with president on monday...

         Today we had the meeting with president. At about two we went to eat with President, we spent the whole morning on reports, and the finalized project of how the mission will work (administrative, and missionary work), and got a whole lot of calendar and transfer things ready. (the missionaries from the other mission go home 2 weeks earlier (just this transfer) so we'll be having a lot of special changes this transfer). We finally finished at about 5:30 with everything, and right now just need to get everything ready for the mission leadership council, which feels like the real kick off of the mission. President made us raise our hands to the square and tell him we would take a p-day. I haven't had one in almost 4 months... That'll be weird, but at least the house will be clean now... He told us we had done everything, but we too needed to take a break occassionally. My companion loved that decisión. they have pdays in the south mission. I'd kinda gotten used to it, but it'll be nice.

             Lidia an Alejandro are now finally divorced!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We're planning their wedding for thursday and the baptism for saturday! Craziest week of my life, but so awesome. Definitely once in a lifetime week (unfortunately). Love you all! Elder West

July 1, 2013
Esta semana ha sido muy diferente de lo que me imaginaba que sería. This week was crazy. I thought we were going to have a bit more time than this until the new president got here, but we have been in our area an average of 45 minutes a day, just enought to not abandon the people we need to visit. We've been in three states, and three missions, and definitely learned a ton. This week I went to President's house for the first time, he doesn't go there with missionaries much any more because it is outside of the mission. But he lives next door to another president, and we spent time in the south mission with their president and in their offices, and we also were in morelos, where the new mission president (President Crickmore) is going to live, also outside of the mission, but on the other side of our mission, exactly opposite of President Morales. We also have been getting the new offices up and running. They built new ones. They´re pretty small, but a lot more organized, which is great, and i have been working out all the computer problems, getting all of the reports, etc ready for the new president. I didn't realize how hard it is to combine parts of two other missions to make a new one. Especially in our mission where we do things very differently than the rest of the world. My new comp, Elder Milner keeps saying "That's why you baptize so much!" Even though we are border missions our mission baptizes more than triple... President Morales rocks. He´s got a system so that not just the leaders, but everyone baptizes. It is cool. But it has been really hard to suddenly have a comp who has a completely different idea of how to work, and all of that. It is going to be tough to combine two completely different styles, and with a new president. We have slept at between 1 adn 2 every night, it's exhausting, but we are really excited. Today we go for President Crickmore at the airport!!! We are going to show him the offices, show him his house, and from there, it's all his. We're excited. Love you all! Elder West

June 24, 2013
¡Hola Todos! Espero que muchas de ustedes estén bien animados después de ver la transmisión (y espero que lo vieron). We got to watch the transmission to the world on the fifth chapter of the church manual, the work of salvation. That was awesome! I also realized that all of these "new changes" we are already doing in our mission, with the small exception of internet. Facebook and blogs and stuff would be really new, and suddenly take us out of the dark ages... Member missionary work is the way to go! Also, it is official, i am now part of the Mission Mexico City Chalco! Basically. It's been sent that way to Salt lake, officially the mission starts July 1st. Also the day President Crickmore gets here. We are extremely excited. Can't wait. don't know my comp yet, not sure when he will get here (he comes from the south mission, not ours), but my comp will be in a new are this tuesday. He's a good guy, but it definitely was a huge learning experience. Just think of Elder Calhoun in appearance, but, unfortunately the personality very different... Like i said, good guy, just a big learning experience for me. Lots of changes. We also had the baptisms of Elizabet, Cesar, and Sigrid. It was awesome. We had a the baptismal service with the other missionaries in the ward, who also had two baptisms. The advantage of having the zone leaders in our ward with us means that between the two, the ward is growing really fast. 280 in attendance (270 last week). It was 200 when i got here! We had 20 less actives (17 last week), plus more we aren't counting because they have come 3 or 4 times. It was awesome! We also set a mission record in baptisms in a week!!!! It was awesome. Love you all! 

Hola todos, THis week was nuts. I was in my area for two days, and was supposed to give 55 lessons. Crazy times. Monday and Tuesday i was in the offices with President, and tuesday in immigration. Then i got my new comp, Elder Valenzuela who is from Querétaro, México. Wednesday we were together, thrusday i was in ixtapaluca with the zone leaders there, friday we had mission leadership council, and saturday with my comp again. And sunday (after the services) and monday in the offices. It's been a party. Definitely still learning a lot from other missionaries, and from President, but things are speeding up a lot. President wants everything ready for the new mission. I am really excited. Love you all, Elder West

May 27, 2013

hola todos, esta semana fue un poco difícil, pero aprendí muchísimo. So this week i got to see the counselor in the bishopric from my last area, which was cool. We also did splits for three days, which was fun, and definitely a learning experience. And it was nice to give my comp a chance to be with someone else. I got to go with Elder Zufelt, a zone leader in Ixtapaluca, and a really funny guy. And also with Elder Agurto, the southeast mission assistant. We definitely found a few miracles, and some trials, but i guess that's life. My comp still doesn't know the area right now, so it is a bit tough to remember everything alone, but so far, so good. My new comp sould be getting here from the other mission in two to four weeks. we have to learn everything pretty well right now so that it's all ready for the new mission. Lydia and Alejandro are really excited for their baptisms, we just have to pray that everything goes well with the divorce (thanks dad and mom!), and Habinaí is really excited too. She is getting baptized June 4 by her dad. we're excited. Though definitely feeling pressure to get things going in the area. Love you all, Elder West

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