Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Wolves, Monks, and more!

"... No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing..." 
One of my favorite lines from the Standard of Truth. 

These past few weeks of the transfer are such a blur. We are almost halfway through the transfer period but it still feels like I've only been here for a month or two. I've been on my mission for over 4 months so far, and yet I've learned so much. Elder Jackson and I have been working real hard, and hitting our missionary standards (the numbers, stats, etc.) every week, but it has always been one thing or another that keeps us from reaching our total goal. Either an investigator doesn't come to church, or we don't find enough investigators for the week. But THIS week we hit our numbers! Yay! LET'S GO! 

There have been quite a few miracles lately for us. One is that we have found about 5 un-baptized youth from LDS families who need to take the lessons. Yes, they are low hanging fruit, but our final goal is still the same; bring souls unto Christ no matter the age or background, all souls are precious to God. Brad Gutierrez got baptized! It's been a long road. He has had a tough background, being in gangs, going to jail, and having children at the age of 16. Crazy. But through his 5 years being married to a member of the church and investigating the gospel, we helped him get into the water. Now I am happy to report he is a member of the church, and holds the Aaronic Priesthood. 

Some cool things we've done these past few weeks. 

1) visited a monk monastery
2) had a dead squirrel put into our bathtub by the other Elders (story will be provided) 
3) fed a pack of wolves hot dog bits, by tossing them off my foot (story will be provided as requested)
4) took district pics in front of a bug infested box spring that we spray-painted

The monk monastery was cool and very interesting.  I care not to share the whole story about the pack of Wolves we fed unless asked by PERSONAL MESSAGE (Yes that is incentive to email me ya hooligans). 

Now to the dead squirrel. The other Elders in the area, Lewis and Kinder, thought it would be a great idea to break into our apartment and put a dead animal in our bathroom. They climbed up our balcony, shimmied open our glass door, and left the rodent in there for us to find later that night. Elder Jackson and I knew it was them, so when we called them on the phone, they were busting up laughing.  You know we will one-up-them soon. Haha

As always, keep on keeping-on. And remember who you are and what you stand for. "... Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame; but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent,..." 

Love, Elder West

Monday, June 5, 2017

Goodbye Dad

Much has happened since last P-Day. My Dad is gone (my trainer Elder VanSweden, not my real Dad). He got transferred to Thatcher, Arizona, which is in a biking area, haha and right before summer too!  Poor guys. My new companion is Elder Jackson,and is super cool. He asked to be transferred here from his AP leadership position in Tucson. I've learned a lot with him so far, and I am excited to see what more his 22 months in the mission filed has brought him. He's going to go home after this area, so I will be his last companion.

We are pretty good buds already, and BOTH of us also have a real drive to get the work moving here in Silver City. We are going to have a baptism this Friday for our investigator Brad who I've been meeting with and teaching for a while. In fact he has been seeing the missionaries for many years. It's exciting to see the change people have as they apply the gospel in their lives. Brad has been a testament to me of the importance of keeping yourself worthy and staying in this gospel. Nothing else in this world can bring you as much happiness as being a dedicated member in the LDS church. 

This week I went tracking for the first time. It's extremely ineffective, but for the hour we dedicate a week towards knocking on doors, it shows that we are willing to do anything to find those who are ready and willing to receive our message. We struck out on every door, no one wanting to hear us except for one old man. He probably felt bad for us, because it started to rain. Our visit didn't result in much.  But my dedication towards God is what we needed out of that hour. 

I've seen an increase in my drive to do hard things, and more focus in the work. I've been able to finish my study (and it was study, not just reading) of the Book of Mormon. There is so much more I can learn from it, and I invite you all to read it... if any one is even reading this. There is no other book that can bring you closer to our Heavenly Father than the BofM. Thank you all, and remember who brought you here.

Love, Elder West

Letter from Old MacDonald

Last week we received a letter in the US Mail.  It was a nicely written letter from Bro. Jerry MacDonald whom Garret and his companion has been helping over the past month with his ranch.  

"Gary Brent,

You have an awesome Elder here in the Silver City, N.M. area.  You can be proud of him.

He and his companion have been in our home numerous times.  He has helped us brand some might big calves the "old fashioned way" laying them on the ground and holding them down with the muscle the Good Lord gave him.

He and his companion gave me a blessing when I had a heart attack.  Probably saved my life!

We love him.

The Jerry McDonald's