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. 



... Es todo que tengo que decir... This week has been interesting. I no longer have a proselyting area... That is definitely the biggest change. President has asked us to go around on splits every day to help the mission improve on teaching. So until the transfers the assistants don't have a proselyting area. And in those transfers i will have transfers. I have been talking a lot to president and he told me to get back for school, and i could pick between Dec. 11, 19 or 23rd (but he told me to please not the 23rd with holiday travel traffic etc.) So i will be back Dec. 19. Saying goodbye to the converts and less actives that are no longer less active has been tough. Nataly just got called to be a seminary teacher, which was really exciting. Elizabeth was crying when we said goodbye, and i gave her kids a few little gifts, they are awesome too. And were clinging on to me as we tried to leave. We sang "God be with you ´til we meet again" with Dulce and her family and they were also pretty emotional, it was sad to say goodbye, but there's a saying here that all change is good... But I've been in this area since January 2nd, so a bit of time. I realized last week i feel like i even know most of the non-members. The ones that go outside at least. I'm going to really miss this area. Tomorrow i will be in my area again just to show the new missionaries where everyone lives, etc. Pretty interesting week. On top of talking to president about the day he'll be sending me home, i talked to him about how i asked to finish as a junior. He told me no. I will be training. Starting spetember 17. I'm actually really excited. There will be a large need in the mission for trainers in september, october, and december. Lots of missionaries will be getting here. Also, the Elder Tovar that is my companion now is not the Elder Tovar that was my companion before. THe last one finished his mission with me, the current one still has a while left. President keeps asking me if he'll be ready by the transfers, and we're going to have to work, but he is awesome, so i'm sure he'll be ready. I'm really enjoying being with him. My last companion and i were very different. He is a lot like me. Though i feel bad, i've been taking him to the doctor a lot lately. Last time i talked to a doctor they told me i needed an x-ray. So finally we had a p-day and i got one. The doctor then told me i probably had a problem in the rotator cuff from tennis, and to check it by ultrasound. So now i´ve gotten one of those, and apparently the doctor that looked like that doesn't agree, he says it is another tendon (no idea what it's called, i'm understanding almost all of the medical words, but certain tendon names are still a bit much, even if it were in english). So i have another doctors appointment tomorrow. Depending on that one they should tell me if it really is that bad and if i will be able to play tennis again (in 4-6 months). Though we'll see if the doctors can help here. not exactly inspiring a lot of confidence so far... But that's life right now. Love you all! Elder West

hola todos, otra semana loco, ya no creo que se calme... así es la vida. This week started a bit crazy. Monday we got up at 3:30 AM to get a missionary (who had to go home for sudden health problems) to the airport and then pick another up from the benemerito, the new ccm, but when we got there they started looking for him and found out someone had taken him to the embassy and he was actually probably going to get his visa, so we headed back finally getting to chalco at 11 AM. That was a pretty tiring day. And then we got back to work out some special changes. I now have a new companion. Elder Tovar, he's from Hidalgo, Mexico. My old comp was having a bit of a tough time, he's had a very long time in the offices, so president decided to give him the assignment as a traveling assistent, he goes from area to area in divisiones with another missionary, no longer has an area. And now Elder Tovar is the new assistant. This new change means i can definitely be out of here in september or october, we'll see what happens there. Then tuesday night/wednesday morning Elder Durham and I got up at 1 AM to head to the airport again to drop someone off, and after lots of lines, etc. we finally got back at 7:45 AM, and just crashed for a couple hours. That one definitely left us pretty tired... And now starting again in the area. Today to relax we are going to go to Temazcales. Pre-hispanic saunas. THey heat up volcanic rocks and put them inside and then put them inside and pour water on them to make the steam. President was going to come with us but he has a family situation he needs to take care of... But maybe we'll get a few normal days later on. I heard a quote that mission presidents are mission presidents for three years because they can't survive it one day more. I don't know if that is quite true, but he definitely has so much work and people to worry about. This is God's work, he really does protect and help us. There was also another 6.0 earthquake, that happened right when i got home from teh airport at 7:45 or 8 am. Volcanos and earthquakes, not gonna lie, it's a cool place here, never a boring day.

Hola todos. This week was still a bit crazy, but things are going a little bit smoother. We had mission conference on tuesday and president asked us to speak to the mission. I am really excited. lots of changes. lots. There has definitely been a probelm in mexico with missionary work in the past by looking at the numbers, but in the last year it has changed 180 degrees. Now it isn't just knock and baptize. Now there is a ton of focus on members and strengthening the wards. I'm really excited. And the mission atmosphere is changing a ton too. The leaders, the attitude, the goal, everything, i'm really excited. The best of both missions. We finally got some time back in our area this week, and i really felt like we were just being led by the spirit. I was on splits with a zone leader when and we got to so many houses in the moment they were going through a really rough time. It was awesome. This is the Lord's work. Love you all, Elder West
Estas meses han sidos... unicos... We had a pretty crazy week again... Monday we went to the new mtc really early. The new missionaries that got here were great. We took them on an awesome contacting activity, President and i took the two sisters (we got the stake counselor to be their first contact to help them gain confidence. we forgot to tell them after...) It rocks getting the new people, they get here with stars in their eyes, so excited about everything. I took one of them with me to work in our area for a little minutes. It was cool. Tuesday morning we had a changes meeting, lots of new changes in the mission. President surprised us with a lot of those... Though it was weird how much he relied on us for the changes. I guess it makes sense. He still doesn't really know the missionaries in meyehualco (the zone from the south mission) and Elder Milner does, and I know those from the other five stakes. But we're very excited about the changes. Though it was really sad to see Elder Vazquez and Elder Medina go. They were some of my best friends in the mission. Wednesday I went with Elder Durham, one of the secretaries, to take the missionaries who are going home to the airport. On the way in shuttle bus we rented we got hit by a semi-truck... Though after waiting for a new shuttle to get there while the insurance company was debating things with the semi truck driver, we were able to get to the flights on time. It wasn't a bad crash, just clipped the back end and broke the light and damaged all the fiber glass etc. But it was cool to take my friends to the airport. One Elder's family was waiting for him there. that was weird. We did have some visa problems getting the missionaries out of there. One Elder was literally days away from being arrested and deported. Finished just in time... But finally it all worked out and we ended up back in chalco around 5 or 6. Definitely an exhausting day. And Thursday was the mission leadership council. There were so many changes, it was ridiculous. Changes from the president of the area of mexico, and from President Crickmore. We'd been talking for a while on how we were going to present this to help the missionaries see why and want to do it. The largest change was that we are now going to require 5 times attending church before baptisms. President talked to us a lot about that one before. We told him we would love it. he was originally thinking 3 or 4, but we talked about the ridiculous numbers of inactivity in some wards, and decided for so many reasons more than 3 would be better. The next day he called us and said he agreed, but not just 4, he wanted 5. The statistics of activity of people who went 4 times to 5 times skyrocketed. So we are going to be putting a ton of emphasis in that. I'm very excited. Lots of changes. There are definitely several missionaries who are a bit worried, but we're excited. And starting next wednesday we should finally be back on a more or less normal schedule, and be able to work in our area!!! We have basically had to abandon it. 10 ish hours a week, but we finally should be over the just start up phase of the mission. Now it's going to be a lot of putting it in practice and helping the missionaries to do the same. It's been a few really tough months. Several of the zone leaders have mentioned these have been the hardest of their missions, but we're hopeful we are getting out of it, with a focus on just complete conversion of investigators, members, and less actives, and most importantly of the missionaries. i am really excited. I just wish that we had made these changes at the beginning of my mission. it is going to be awesome. Les amo, Elder West


People in native american outfits swinging down from pole at teotihucan.
Also, baptism of Lydia, Alejandro, Ana, Miguel. Not sure if i sent a picture. if not, here it is...

Before sprinting up the sun pyramid.

Before sprinting up the sun pyramid. That definitely almost killed me. We actually took these pictures from pretty far away. 


Elder Tovar, Milner, Putegnat and I from the pyramid of the moon looking toward the pyramid of the sun. By this point we were fairly tired from pyramid sprinting.
Pyramid of the sun and path of the dead from the pyramid of the moon.
Pyramid of the sun from the moon.
Pyramid of the feathered serpent. (They definitely had human sacrifices there. Dates fit in pretty well with the BoM...) 

July 29, 2013
Esta semana fuen bien bien difícil, pero al final impactó mi misión muchísimo.This week we were  crazy, running all over, without time to sleep or work enough in the area. My companion definitley has gotten pretty warn down, he was a secretary before, and he's been in the offices too long, it's tough for him. We also got to have our interviews with president this week. First time in a very long time. President rocks. He helps so much, but doesn't let anyone push him around. We were able to go to teotihuacan on friday. It is huge! It was really cool to see the ancient buildings that we know so little about, and really just to see how perfectly it fits in with the book of mormon. President offered fifty pesos (like $3.40) to whoever got to the top of the pyramid of the sun first. I made the mistake of sprinting it. It is really high, and really steep (they actually have handrails on the way up and down so that everyone doesn't just come crashing down). I realized i'm pretty out of shape. Great view from the top of it. It was really cool. Definitley a great sightseeing item. But for several thigns on saturday everything seemed to have come crashing down. One of the hardest times of my mission, but it was such a cool experience. I went through a lot, got a lot of answers from the scriptures, and ended up changing completely my goals for the mission and life. I felt like God just sand an edge off, but afterword i felt so much happier. It was an important moment for me.  We are now living in a house with one pair of zone leaders, the secretaries, and it's where the new people and hte people going home will sleep (their first or last nights). We have a piano! i convinced the hermana to let it stay (she said she'll leave it until i'm gone). My thoughts aren't very well organized right now, sorry it's bouncing around. lots to do, changes are on tuesday. les amo! Elder West