Thursday, January 18, 2018

God, The Holy Ghost etc etc

Hello again from Oro Valley, Arizona.  Nothing new to add from last week.  Sorry.  We are just as disappointed as you are.  But we continue to knock on doors, work with members and the Ward mission leader, but our teaching pool is not where we want it to be.  We are doing what we can and planting lots of seeds!!

This week we had the wonderful opportunity to have William H. Stoddard from the Quorum of the Seventy come and speak to us at Stake Conference. He is a funny guy. He talked a lot, and shared a lot of good insight on making the Sabbath more sacred. He also talked a lot about Missionary work and the need of our members to aide the full time missionaries, which I loved of course. I hope the members got the "hint". Maybe I'll share more next week when I have more time to read through all of the notes I took.

"But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money." 
-Acts 8:20

I think it's amazing to realize how the best gifts in life are those that cannot be bought with money. Hardly do I ever remember the presents I've received, or the trips we've gone on, or any other amount of gifts given to me. What I remember mostly is the love I felt and the care and attention of those who showed their love. Love is a fickle thing. Lust is not Love. Lust is Satan's counterfeit to love, and he tries to persuade us to believe in his counterfeits every day. Yes, there is "opposition in all things", but the Adversary rarely presents us with the black, in exchange for white, that's too obvious. He molds and creates something close, when in reality it is just a sad attempt. We need to be attentive and aware of what comes from God, and not our common enemy.

How do we know what is good? Let me refer you to a few scriptures.

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." 
-John 14:26

Heavenly Father will send his Holy Spirit to guide us, help us, and direct our paths. 

How will we know if it's the Spirit? "Ye shall know them by their fruits."
-Matthew 7:15-20

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,"  "Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
-Galatians 5:22-23

How will we know if it is not by the Spirit?
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness," 
"Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,"  "Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
-Galatians 5:19-21

Remember, "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace..." 
1 Corinthians 14:33

We can trust in a God that wants us to know we are on the right path and are doing the right things. If it is confusing and we don't know why we're doing it, that might be a good indication that you should stop and reevaluate yourself. If anyone has made it this far through my rant or have been paying attention to the scriptures I've used, you may notice they are all from the Bible... You're welcome in advance haha

Peace off! 
Love Elder West

A lego scene we put together in our spare time.  Not a bad photo huh?

A small desert gecko I caught. 😊
Thank's family for coming in clutch and saving my ankles.
... haha.  Really needed them!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Knock, knock...

"Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God."
-Mormon 9:28

I've had an incredible experience in the La Cholla Ward. I'll be here a little longer, and I'm happy about that! The work has been slow, we walk and knock, and knock again tracking in our streets most of our days. I know we are planting seeds, we just aren't the ones who will be harvesting! That's difficult, especially when there are so many others who seem to be having so much more "success" than us. But we determine our worth from within, and I feel that Heavenly Father is grateful for our diligence and hard work. Sorry there is not much to report. Sorry.

One cool experience I had this week was with a few answers to my prayers while doing my regular studies. I've felt like the adversary has been working on me, and has warped my thoughts; he is definitely trying to get me down.  But have too much energy and work to do to let that sway me! But still, you ask questions and get down when things aren't going the way you would like. The Ensign answered that question for me. "The War Goes On" April 2017, really helped remind me of the influence Satan can have on us if we let him. He knows not our thoughts, but he can put them in our minds if we let them "fester." That gave me comfort and solace in a time of need.

God's love surpasses all comprehension. His depth and care cannot be described. As we walk in His ways, we are following a path that has been laid for us long before we were. They are footprints in the sand, with every careful step placed, we move forward towards our divine potential. No one knows where it may take us! But with a foundation built on Christ, that faith can make anything happen. Past life, our greatest gift is Eternal Life in the presence of whose latches I am unworthy to loose. Jesus' final sacrifice set us at liberty to act for ourselves, so we would not be acted upon. We owe everything to our Lord.


Elder Remus and I helped set up some roosters on top of our Ward Mission Leader's cabinets... Not to bad if I say so myself! 

Teaching a lesson to some members' kids

Some Legos Elder Remus got for Christmas, haha

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year everyone! It's been a good year and a good time to be a missionary! 

As I contemplate this new year and what opportunities are in store for us, I think of the wonderful opportunity it is to look forward, make changes, to repent and become better.  As we look back and reflect on what we have accomplished in 2017, we can now begin to look forward; we can seek to become better and to change ourselves. I think of Alma 11, and the story of Zeezrom, a lawyer from the city of Ammonihah. While he made grave mistakes, we must remember that no one can stoop lower than the atonement can cover, and that the holy spirit of promise is available and that His spirit will testify to us that we are good in the eyes of the Lord, if we forsake our faults and become true to our conversion.

Oro Valley, AZ has been good.  Our members have been extremely loving and are taking good care of Elder Remus and myself. Despite what you might think of the desert, this area has some big hills to climb, and biking is tough at times, but I'm enjoying the good weather and enjoying being outside. It didn't feel like Christmas this year, due to the lack of snow, but I felt the love from everyone at home. I greatly appreciate all of your letters, cards, gifts, and support during this season.... that was a real treat!

We've been going through our pool of investigators and beginning to "weed" out the "searchers" of the Gospel from the people we "babysit" haha. As missionaries and servants of the Lord, we are called to both harvest and plant seeds. Most of the time, we don't reap the harvest we sow... but hopefully the people we are contacting, teaching, providing service, and introducing the true Gospel may accept it another time (if not now, we'll get them when they're dead). I'll send a picture of an interesting guy, Shane, whom we recently dropped from our regular teaching pool. He listens, but doesn't want to commit or change. We will keep in contact, but we can't spend all of our time with him if he's not willing to change or try to move forward. It's sad to see a person who could greatly benefit from the gospel, and then reject it. Oh well!

My favorite chapter right now in the Book of Mormon, is Mormon, Chapter 9. I think Mormon is speaking to these same unrepentant souls who refuse to change, and he describes clearly their faulty thinking but further gives them the admonition and invitation to revert back to God. If you haven't read it in a while, read it again.

I think all of us should think of what we can sacrifice this year in order to accept Christ's ultimate sacrifice more completely in 2018.

Love you all, and thanks again for everything you do for me!

Elder West

Meet Shane!

AZ Desert Christmas Serenity
Awesome New Year's Eve

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Almost Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! 

We had our mission Christmas conference this past week, so that was fun.  To keep us entertained we played a Family Feud type of event (pictures below), and your Boy Elder West was a final contestant (let's go!).  

Thank you to everyone who have sent presents cards etc.!! It truly has made this Christmas a special one. I feel so loved!!! 

The work continues and Elder Remus and I are doing great. The bike is doing me good, and I love getting my legs back in shape for the eventual ski season 🙃. Pray that I don't break an ankle today 🏀 playing basketball.

I strongly advise you all to read Psalm 139... HO HO HO! 

Love, Elder West

Love the desert sunsets and creative Christmas decorations!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Light the World

I just have to say, everyone needs to watch the #LightTheWorld videos. I love them!

It's a great time to be a missionary and a great time to testify of Christ. Sadly, I do not get to enjoy the snow this year, but the decorations are legendary!  Elder Remus and I are on bikes now, so we are trying to figure that out. Hopefully I'll be able to get my legs back in shape for the ski season when I get home!

Love you all.  Merry Christmas!

Elder West

Monday, November 27, 2017

I'm a father!

My time with Elder Bradfield has come to a close, and I am now the proud parent to Elder Remus! He is straight from the MTC, he was born and raised in Columbia, Missouri. Both of us are working great together so far, and there are only good things to come!

One profound experience that we had this week was while we were tracking in the late hours of the day. If you don't know this already, Arizona does not have day light savings time... so that means it gets dark earlier now, by about 6 or 6:30. As you can imagine, it’s not ideal for us to contact people in the dark, but we try it anyways. Elder Remus and I thought we should get out of the car and walk the streets in one of our areas and knock on some potential investigator doors and stop by a few less active members. We began walking from house to house, trying to make sure we are spiritually in-tune for any promptings we may have along the way. We met one lady who was very nice, so try to see if our discussions go anywhere, but it was getting late and we needed to begin walking back to our car before it got too dark.  As we are walking back, we start reminiscing about handing out a Book of Mormon earlier and other jolly fun things we did. We pass by this house and I look inside the window and see a lady in front of her computer on the phone. I want to talk to her, but immediately I think of a million reasons why we shouldn't...its getting late, its dark, she's busy because she's on the phone, etc. etc. so we keep walking. About a minute later I feel a strong impression that we should turn around and knock on her door, so we head back. We walk up to her door and knock. She hangs up the phone, leaves her computer, stops everything she is doing, and greets us warmly at the front door. Now I need to point out, that this is extremely out-of-the-ordinary for this area, we never get a warm welcome, especially so quickly. She invites us into her home, which is also very odd; I have only been invited inside a home after a first contact once before, during my entire mission. She then asked if WE had any questions for her. Both of us are kinda dumb founded at this point, as we are usually the ones asking all of the questions. She then proceeds to tell us how her daughter used to take the missionary discussions and she even invited the missionaries over for dinner in the past. Wow, now she is super nice! We talk a bit, she asks US for OUR phone number, (another first) so she can have us over for dinner sometime. Amazing experience for us, especially for Elder Remus, being in his first area, and an awesome way to end a long day of contacting! Honestly, that was the best cold contact I've ever had, thank goodness this is God's work and not mine. If this were my work, it would be impossible to get anything done… haha.

One "fun" experience I had today during P-day was while playing soccer. It's in a small turf field in the middle of an apartment complex that we visit periodically... and it so happens, that soccer balls and glass don't really mesh together very well (go figure). Yes, I broke someone's window. Luckily the lady was very nice, apparently it has happened to her before (I don't know if that is a bad thing or a good thing). I spoke with the apartment manager about how I will be paying for it, so it's all good for now. They were very surprised that I fessed up, they told me that most of the time when this happens no one claims responsibility. Oh well, such is life.

I hope everyone has a good rest of their week, and remember to be thankful for all that we enjoy. 

Love you all! 

Love, Elder West

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Few thoughts...

Changes are in store for Oro Valley!  We spent most of our P-day running around visiting members and contacts Elder Bradfield wanted to see before he leaves.  His time is up and he is very ready to go home.  I look forward to my new companion and helping to lead the work in this area.  I've been frustrated with the lack of a teaching pool and investigators; which has not been very large since I arrived in Oro Valley.  I think things need to change and I'm ready to tackle them! 

- D&C 6:33,34,36 -
"Fear not to do good, my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.

Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.

Look unto me in every thought; doubt not fear not."

I know that if I work hard, have the faith and desire to improve the work in Oro Valley the Lord will bless us and help us find those who are seeking the truth. I am hopeful with the right changes and my new companion the Lord will help us prevail. We must not fear our beliefs or the challenges we face. Yes, there are many adversaries out there trying to diminish our faith and trust in God. We cannot fear, because fear is contrary to faith. If we have complete trust in our Father in Heaven, we can trust us with his blessings. Then, we may reap the blessings after the trial of our faith. More often than not, we have to show ourselves as willing disciples, then we gain that reward we are promised. As we are patient and long suffering with Him, we are truly following God's command to all of us... to endure to the end.

- Philipians 2:12 -
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."

As we are working to endure to the end, we need to remember that is not only important to be righteous when others are watching, but we need to be on our game 24/7.  We must always remember, God is watching and looking out for us.

Love you all!

Elder West