Thursday, February 22, 2018

Quick Update

Okay, busy, busy, busy P-day.  Laundry, dry cleaners, hair appointment, bike shop for repairs, etc. etc., but I'll give everyone a quick update.  In short..this week has been SUPER GREAT!  We are working super hard and ALWAYS trying to pass along a Book of Mormon and talk to everyone. 

Just to give you a taste of how great its been...

  • We set an important appointment today... a hair appointment that worked perfectly! Haha. 
  • We've been working with a few new investigators and we set a new baptismal date! Yayyy!   
  • We have another investigator who really wants to study the book of Mormon and was proactive in setting meetings with us. Gotta love that.  
  • We gave bug spray to some recent converts who needed some.  We had some on us and we brought it on time perfectly. Haha
  • I found 5 dollars on the floor! Tithing pays off. 
  • And we got mail in the mail box!
  • Super great week! 😎

Is been raining a lot recently here, but nothing can put a damper on our parade!

This week has been full of blessings and miracles because..... we are striving to be obedient and always working really hard. Its the Lords time. What a blessing to be on a mission! I love it!

Here are some pictures of our area... Not too shabby

Love, Elder West

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Sierra Vista

"Wo, wo, wo unto this people; wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except they shall repent; for the devil laugheth, and his angels rejoice, because of the slain of the fair sons and daughters of my people; and it is because of their iniquity and abominations that they are fallen!"
-3 Nephi 9:2

Normally in the scriptures when someone writes down a word multiple times, it means you should pay attention. Repentance is a key part of our existence, Satan knows this. When we choose not to repent but continue to live in our sinful state, Satan laughs and rejoices. Do you want to make Satan happy? No! So stick it to him and change, is what we tell investigators.

My new area is awesome!!! I absolutely love it here! Sierra Vista is a little bit like "banishment" here.  The area is far south of Tucson, closer to the Mexican boarder and it is totally different than Oro Valley.  There is a lot of poverty and drugs and "tweakers," but the people here are humble... what more can you ask for a missionary?

My new companion is Elder Downey and he is a stud!  He is still a 'greeny' and this is the only area he has served.  He has been in Sierra Vista for about five months so far. We are fearless with making new contacts as there are so many people to talk to. We cover multiple apartment complexes near where we live, and unfortunately there is a lot of drugs and sketchy people. But everyone has been pretty nice to us and they are used to seeing the missionaries. What a change this is from the middle /upper class area of Oro Valley....and I am not upset at all.

We helped a non-member move from her apartment complex to another building last week.  While we were helping her she told us that a few nights ago she was sitting on her porch drinking iced tea (remember she is not a member... YET 😊) and she watched someone get shot right in front of her! I guess this is why she is moving.  Of course drugs run through this area constantly because we are so close to the Mexican border.

There are a lot of kids in the apartments out here and they enjoy talking to us. Basically all of the kids here love the missionaries. Many of them are living with their single Moms with split homes with no idea who their Dad is. Monogamy is not much of a thing in Sierra Vista. We've been talking to some of the young kids and some of the girls even came to church on Sunday! They came alone, so they sat with us during Sacrament meeting, and wanted to play with my tablet and take pictures (see below). They're so funny!

I'll send a few pictures of the kids and area; it will give you a good idea of the kind of life it is out here. Oh, and I'm in a bike area again too, so I'll be enjoying the exercise.

Until next week!
Love, Elder West

Kids during Sacrament Meeting

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Cactus and Transfer

Hi everyone.  Sorry in advance for the short message, but it’s sad to say, I will be leaving the La Cholla Ward and Oro Valley area and I’m so busy with my second transfer.  I will be heading to Sierra Vista, AZ to be a District Leader.  Pray for me, I will need it.

Last week during one of our service projects we had a funny thing happen. While we were at our weekly service at Catalina State Park, a series of unfortunate events occurred which involved a few cactus's (or cacti). There are many different kinds of cactus, so bear with me. 🌵

During our regular work activities at the park, one of the Elders in our District was investigating and playing with a cactus.  While he was messing with it, one of the bulbs came off.  Elder Remus, my companion, walked by and somehow seemed to get it stuck on the toe of his shoe. He didn’t want to pull the thorny bulb off his shoe with his bare hands, so he began to shake and kick his foot, hoping to dislodge it. He was successful, but accidentally kicked the spiky bulb high in the air behind him. As it flew through the air, it managed to land right on the thigh of our Zone Leader's leg! Now the needles on a cactus don't stick like Velcro, they literally stab into you like a needle.  Many of us saw the flying cactus bulb land on his leg, but there was a quiet pause before this poor Elder let-out a loud whine of pain. He stood up slowly, trying not to move a muscle, but every movement only seemed to intensifies the sting. He was weeping and wailing, not letting any of us touch it. Our District Leader tried to help along with four of our service Sister missionaries.  But they couldn’t stop laughing from the exaggerated expression from our poor Elder. Then to add to the crazy events, while our District Leader bent down to look and see if he could help, he sat back on another cactus and got needles in HIS rear end!  Haha…needless (no pun intended) to say we had a few screaming Elders, and many laughing Sisters.  It was hilarious.  BTW, I had the pleasure to help remove the needles from our District Leaders backside.  Very memorable. 😊

Hope everyone enjoys their day today, I know I have!  As always, read the Book of Mormon!!

Elder West

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Hmmmm. AZ Winter & the Sabbath

Hi everyone!  Sorry, but we don't have much to report this week. We got poured ON, (lots of rain that is) one day this week, and I'm pretty sure that was the reason for our recent potential investigator.  I guess the blessings do come from above; wet or not.  So this Gentleman waved us over and let us in his home.  haha. We set-up another time for us to come back when we're are not so dripping wet.  We are hoping this develops into something. 

We are loving the Arizona winter.  Compared to the rest of the states, I'm very pleased with the weather we are having. I guess Tucson isn't so bad after all (until the summer hits).  But I will take what we have so far. 

To follow-up to the talk by Elder Stoddard from Stake Conference last week I mentioned in my previous letter.  One main point of doctrine he discussed was on the importance of the Sabbath day. We can't just show up to church and expect help; we need to attend prayerfully, have a purpose and an open heart searching for guidance. Church is for those who are not perfect, which are basically all of us.  We go to become better and to prepare ourselves for the protecting guidance of the Holy Ghost. Preparing for the Sacrament and the "rental" of our Covenants will enable the God's Spirit to cleanse the wrongs we have committed. An important part of repentance is first recognizing we have done wrong. Not always are we going from bad to good, but sometimes it's good to better, or better to best. No one is godly or 100% Christlike, we all have room for improvement.

That's it.  Sorry there isn't much more to tell.  But...Remember to do those "Primary Answers", read your scriptures, pray always and go to church ;)  Our time on earth is a testing period, so we should do the best we can and the Lord has promised us a GREAT REWARD!!

Love everyone!  Thanks for everything you do for me!

Elder West

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