Wednesday, May 30, 2018

April 30 to Gila Valley Zone


April 30th

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Matthew 6:24

To my surprise I was transferred from Sierra Vista a few weeks ago after only being there for three months! A few highlights these past 6 weeks since I have been a slacker on my letter writing. Sorry everyone...

I was asked to be the District Leader of the Sierra Vista area in January. Elder Dickinson became my companion when I first arrived but then left 4 days later due to health complications... Elder Gee became my next companion.

Elder Gee and built up a great teaching pool from nearly nothing.  We had the opportunity to do service with some members in the Ward (I'll include pictures).  We helped out at a camp site and ended up making s'mores for the kids. (the little kids asked me to help them out).

I got to defeather, gut, and clean a chicken.  That was interesting.  I promoted my little chick to Elder for the day. hehe

In April I was transferred to the Gila Valley Zone and asked to be a Zone Leader. Sadly I had to say goodbye to Barbara, she will be getting baptized soon!!  I'm so proud of her! :)

Gila Valley is basically small town rural Arizona. I've already worked with my new companion before, so I know we will get along and we both like to work hard.  But I'm really upset to leave a biking area! We have to travel throughout the Zone to attend District meetings, move missionaries around from one area to another, work with our zone missionaries, and help train the District leaders, so we have an awesome van! 

Not much more to tell, but you'll be hearing from me soon as I head to Eastern Arizona University YSA!  😏  haha, JK

Love Elder West

Gila Valley

Barbara's First Day at Church





Sunday, April 15, 2018

Barbra

"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." - Philippians 2:12

How easy would life be if your parents were looking over your shoulder 24/7 making sure you were doing the rights things? We would have hardly any choices if our God were there also. This is our Father's Plan, to prove ourselves not just in His presence, premortal life, but to show our devotion to Him when we are without Him. A conference talk I read recently described how foolish at times we are in feeling safe from others realizing our secret works.  

"Do not take comfort in the fact that your transgressions are not known by others. That is like an ostrich with his head buried in the sand. He sees only darkness and feels comfortably hidden. In reality he is ridiculously conspicuous. Likewise our every act is seen by our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son. They know everything about us." - Richard G. Scott April 1995

President Kimball taught: “To every forgiveness there is a condition. The plaster must be as wide as the sore. The fasting, the prayers, the humility must be equal to or greater than the sin.” “It is unthinkable that God absolves serious sins upon a few requests. He is likely to wait until there has been long, sustained repentance.”

This is what life is about... REPENTANCE! It's there for a reason, use it. We can't change the past, we can only correct our course and learn from our mistakes. Come back to the path of righteousness, God will always be there with open arms and a heart full of compassion for the truly repentant soul.

These past few weeks have been different to say the least. My new companion has been transferred out of our mission due to difficulties and discomfort he feels while exerting himself on a bike, walking, etc.  He apparently has had health issues from a previous injury. So now I have Elder Gee! We are going to do good things together, I've had the spirit witness to me numerous times that this is what has needed to happen. 

Our work is moving on. We have an investigator Barbara who is preparing for baptism soon. We hardly teach her at all! We give her assignments and pamphlets to read, and she reads them! She goes through the pamphlets numerous times, and is reading the Book of Mormon on her own and is absolutely loving it! She teaches herself and we just come for support, to answer questions, and bear testimony. Even in her old age, she is finding answers to questions she didn't even know she had! The Gospel rings to her, God is calling to her. How marvelous it is to be a small part in her life, this is what missionary work is all about! Helping the one. 

A week or so ago, my previous new companion, Elder Dickinson and I went to this "chicken wing" place for dinner. They have this "homicidal wing challenge" where if you eat 20 of their hottest wings you get a free t-shirt and your photo gets posted on their Facebook page. So naturally I took the challenge and succeeded!  Haha...those buggers were hot! 

That's all folks, remember to keep in mind the messages we heard from our recent conference. 

Love,
Elder West

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Down with Elder Downey

My time with Elder Downey has sadly come to a close. It's been a good six weeks my man! Before Elder Downey leaves, we went to lunch at this sushi joint they have out here. It's one of those "hole-in-the-wall" kind of place, but I was surprised; it wasn't too bad and we didn't seem to get sick. We also tried hard to solve our Rubik's cube in under a minute, Elder Downey was a little faster than me (and I taught him how to solve it), but I'm a proud Daddy :).

Our current teaching pool isn't very big, but we are working hard to get into people's homes. The one person we are trying really hard to help is Barbara, and she has just been a missionaries dream! She's about 75 years old and I love her to death! She loves the Book of Mormon, she know's Joseph Smith is a prophet, and she finds so much peace from knowing the Plan of Salvation. She wants to be baptized, but the only problem is that she has social anxiety.  It's very difficult for her to get out and attending church meetings may not easy for her either. She is very comfortable with us, so we are praying that in time she'll gain the courage to come out of her apartment.

Spiritual message of the week..

"Wo be unto them that shall pervert the ways of the Lord after this manner, for they shall perish except they repent. Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear."
-Moroni 8:16

How can you gain power? Boldness+Love=Power. If we can overcome fear, we can overcome the stratagem of the devil.

The upcoming transfer Elder Downey is leaving and I will still remain as the District leader (blah), giving training's and so on.  So sorry if I don't feel up to preparing a very spiritual e-mail, I'll try to be better in the future.

Until next week.  Love,
Elder West

Pictures:

1) a funny sign we saw this week
2) my current Rubik's cube record.  53 second
3) picture of our District (the chairs indicate how many transfers each missionary has left before heading home)





Friday, March 23, 2018

Marching on!

March 5, 2018

"Yea, and I say unto you that if it were not for the prayers of the righteous, who are now in the land, that ye would even now be visited with utter destruction; yet it would not be by flood, as were the people in the days of Noah, but it would be by famine, and by pestilence, and the sword."

"But it is by the prayers of the righteous that ye are spared; now therefore, if ye will cast out the righteous from among you then will not the Lord stay his hand; but in his fierce anger he will come out against you; then ye shall be smitten by famine, and by pestilence, and by the sword; and the time is soon at hand except ye repent." - Alma 10:22-23

Prayers have power, they are our lifeline to God. Christ in His moments of pain and anguish in Gethsemane prayed to the father. Our influence and prayers are what keep the destruction of the wicked at bay, and the way we can get back on the covenant path is through repentance.

"Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?" - Hebrews 12:9

The only logical option for us is to come to God, there is no other way.

This week has been rough, mostly because I was sick for 3 days which put me out of commission  much longer than what I would've liked... But I'm better now! You really appreciate health after you've been sick.

Even though we weren't able to get out and track neighborhoods, or visit members very much, the Lord has not stayed his hand. We were still able to talk to people, find more investigators to teach (one of them will be playing basketball with us today), and prayers have been answered.

Don't forget about your friend here in the wild wild west.

Love,
Elder West

Pictures:
1) With a recent convert, his son, and a ward Missionary (can you tell which is which?) and yes I was sick in this photo. 🙁

2) Walking to a less-active home to wake them up for church. Haha (they didn't come).

3) Part of our area




March like a Lion!

First of all, I'm sorry for not writing or updating my activity as consistently as I should.   The past couple of weeks have been hectic for us, with the transfer and new area and all.  We've also had some issues with the other Elders in the area that normally give us a ride to shop and get groceries.  They have not been very compliant or willing to sacrifice their car like they should (we are on bikes)... But things should be settling down for now.

My companion Elder Downey and I are doing great! He reminds me a lot of Jonathan, we get along well. We are always having a good time and doing good things. He has been in Sierra Vista for about five months, so he probably be transferred in a few weeks.  I've only had a few companions that I've really "jelled with" and Elder Downey is a great missionary and a good guy.  I know his trainer and his trainer's trainer, they are all hard workers.

Our Ward kinda sucks, but I know their hearts are in right place.  Many of the members are very old, 70+ which is not a prime age for missionary work. There are only two or three younger families in our Ward and they are normally busy with kids. Our Ward Mission Leader has good intentions but lacks the correct direction, but he is improving (slowly with my help 😁). We only cover one Ward boundary, but it's around 9 square miles, and filled with all sorts of interesting people. There are multiple run down trailer parks (my favorite), lower class apartment complexes, and a few half decent neighborhoods. We tend to spend more of our time in the lower class area of Sierra Vista, where there are a lot of people who are willing to listen, but not ready to commit. There are a lot of high school drop outs here, people without jobs using government funding, drug users, and free loaders. These are people who have not committed to much in their lives nor have they been successful in achieving much in their life.  It's sad.  They tend to listen us and they are receptive to our message, but they are mostly not ready or willing to commit to a covenant relationship with our Heavenly Father... But we move forward.

I'm the District Leader in this region of the mission.  My District boundaries cover the town of Sierra Vista, Huachuca City and the military base. The district includes the Zone Leaders, the Sister training leaders, along with three other companionship's of Elders. I'll tell you this, preparing for missionary Training's every week and gathering numbers and reports from the companionship's twice a week is not the most fun, but I do enjoy being able to influence and help out the companionships.

Until next time.  Love everyone and thanks so much for your letters and packages!

Love, Elder West

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