Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Psalms 46:10-11

Monday, July 18, 2011

Today is Going to Be a Good Day!

Hey familia! 
How is everyone doing today?  Good I hope.  You all have no idea how much I enjoy hearing from all of you every day and some of you a couple times a week.  First, on the issue of Dearelders.    Keep sending them every day you everydayers.  I’ll get them in pouch time and have a whole bunch at once.  I’ll read a few a day to make the illusion that I’m getting mail every day, it’s a perfect system!  For this to work, however, you all will need to do one thing for me.  At the top of the Dearelder, please put your name and the date you are sending it.  That way I can quickly open them, order them, and figure out when to read each one.  I hope that system makes sense to everyone out there, if not, talk to my Mom, I’m sure she understands. 

So, this week has been good, really good!  I can’t believe that it’s already Pday again, I feel like I just wrote you all yesterday.  Again, everyone who wrote me can expect an answer once again, some novels, some shorter.  I’ve already written 3 today one of which was a 4 pager (front and back) to dad so get excited for that Steve-o!  I put it in the mail so hopefully it will get to you by tomorrow and you might be able to get a reply out before I leave (but that all depends on if you’re even in town to get the letter tomorrow which I don’t know if you will be so, yeah.)  I told dad this but I’ve been trying out this positive thinking routine every day.  I wake up and I say to myself “today is going to be a good day” and I just keep that thought in my head.  I’ve had downer moments but never a bad day and the downer moments are far and few between now.  I still think about home and how much I want to see you guys and I still can’t wait to be done with these 2 years and be back home but I’m also anxious to have all of the experiences of a missionary.  I really, really wanna get out in the field.  I have a feeling the 6 weeks I have left will kind of kill me but I’m going to try my hardest to endure it and get as many blessings as I can.  I think the biggest problem I’ve been having is boredom.  We’re always doing stuff and I know I’m improving and learning but it’s the same thing every single day which bothers me more than you’d think it would.  That’s partly why I’m so excited for the CCM, new scenery, new schedule. I hope that I can use my time well in the CCM so I can be better prepared to serve.   

The Spanish is still coming good for me, I learn new things every day!  The days go kinda slow in the minute but like I said, this week has flown by!  I hope that time continues to go fast for the next 2 years.  Oh mom, since you’re dying to know, Elder Herman is an elder in our district.  He, Elder Cavanaugh, and I have kinda become really good friends really fast, I’m going to miss those guys.  You’ll see them in the pictures I mailed yesterday (I’ll send my SD card on Tuesday before I leave just in case I take more pictures and also there’s some videos on there y’all might enjoy.  (just us doing dumb elder things as Nicole would say).  We have a lot of improv percussion jams in our district and there’s a couple of those on there.  Like I said, not a whole lot to report on.  We have our 2 progressing investigators (Laura and Eliseo) both played by our teachers that we’re teaching.  It’s kinda hard for me to get really invested in them though just because we’re leaving so soon.  I dunno, it’s hard to explain.  I’m kinda growing detached from here knowing that I’m leaving so soon, I’ll miss the people but not this place.  It does have a fantastic spirit and I’m learning so much every day but I’m so ready to be done with it.  Haven’t even spotted any general authorities.  Oh well, I haven't seen Caleb either although I’ve kept an eye out for him.  They keep a lot of the foreign speaking missionaries on one schedule and the English speaking on another so I fear it’ll be unlikely that our paths will cross.  He’ll do great though!  I know he will. 
I’ve been reading Jesus the Christ a lot lately, I’m about 200 pages in and as soon as y’all finish Our Search for Happiness you should read JTC
Mostly I'm very excited to get to the CCM and improve my Spanish, I can't wait to talk to all of you and the church is true!  La iglesia es verdad!  Les quiero mucho!!!  Also, everybody should read Peach My Gospel, missionary or not, it's amazing.  The tips on recognizing the spirit (chapter 4) are SOOOOOOOOO good!  Also read the entire Missionary Library.
-Elder Westenskow

Monday, July 11, 2011

My District is Awesome!!

So, I took some notes so that I can better organize this email as opposed to the last one but I can't promise it will be anything special.  After reading the one you sent (I understand why it was short, but you can't imagine how good it felt to have something waiting for me when I signed on) and clicking through to start I now have 26 minutes so let's settle in, shall we?  First of all WOW!  Meagan looks great!  I teared up a little when I printed them off seeing her all dressed up and whatnot, she really looks amazing! I'm sad that I won't be able to be there for the wedding but I just keep thinking of the council that President Torres gave Nicole and I feel a little better. 

The food is good still, no gas problems here (although I can't say the same for my district [District, zone :: ward, stake]).  The Spanish is coming really well, I'm picking it up fast.  The grammar is fine but I'm still struggling with the 'Mormon vocabulary' that we all take for granted in English.  But it has only been one week so I’m sure it will come.  In some ways this week has gone by really fast but in other ways it’s taken forever.  In the moment it seems like forever but looking back I’m like ‘where did this week go?!’  It still feels like I just got here.  But there is only 11 days to go until we head out to Guatemala so that’s a bit nerve wracking and exciting at the same time, I’m pretty pumped to go.  I wanna just immerse myself in the language and that’s exactly what will happen there. We’re heading out either the 18th or the 19th, I’m not sure which, I’ve heard both but I think the 18th.  To answer Mom’s long awaited question, Elder Orton is serving in the same mission as I am and therefore going to the CCM with me.  I dunno if we’re going to be companions down there but I know we will for the whole time we’re here. 

My district is AWESOME!  We don’t have any hermanas so that leads us to be a bit immature sometimes but we make it work, we still get a lot done and have a good time, I’m definitely going to miss these guys.  However, Elder Herman and I have plans to live together after the mission (he goes to BYUI as well).  That’s an amazing thing about this place.  We made these plans on Monday, 5 days into the mission.  5 days and I knew I could live with this guy, it’s really fantastic.  We’re like family and being so close to them helps with missing everyone so much (although it is an alright kind of miss.)  Speaking of missing people, THANK YOU SO SO MUCH TO THOSE WHO DEAR ELDER EVERYDAY!!!!  You’d think that knowing everything that goes on in ppls lives would make you miss them more, but it resolves that wonderment of not knowing what people are doing.  Like I said, I only have 11 more days en los estados unidos and I’m not sure how Dearelder works down there so PLEASE do the everyday thing while you can then switch to once a week when you are unable to do once a day.  I love getting letters!  We have competitions to see who gets the most and I’ve won every single day so far.  Protect my perfect record!  Keep me winning!  KEEP WRITING!  One thing I can guarantee is that if you write me you’ll get a letter back.  I spent 3 hours this morning writing letters and I still have a handful to go!  I love writing letters!  It helps me feel connected to all of you guys back home!  So please, keep me winning!   

We taught Jesus again this week TWICE.  Two days in a row.  It’s spectacular how the spirit can save a lesson even if we don’t know what on earth we’re saying.  I’m not saying that I’m spitting out words I don’t understand, I know what I’m saying, it’s just as if he was being taught by someone with a first grade vocabulary.  Por ejemplo: ‘Si arrepentirnos de nuestros pecados, hablamos a Dios que lo siento’  en ingles: if we to repent of our sins, we say to God that I’m sorry. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but the message gets across and you can tell that he feels the spirit.  It’s amazing.  I want to learn the vocabulary though to be able to say exactly the things that I want. 

Also, I read so much here, in 3 days I read ‘Our Search For Happiness’ by M. Russel Ballard and EVERY SINGLE PERSON EVER MEMBER OR ESPECIALLY NONMEMBER SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!!!!!  It’s pretty much the Gospel for dummies and it blew my mind.  I read a 150 page book in 3 days using only scraps of time here or there, that should tell you how good it is.  I don’t read.  It’s such an amazing place here.  I do get claustrophobic but I know that it’s necessary if I want to do as well as I can in the field.  I go up and I go down.  Moments are up or down but by the time I’m going to bed I always feel good, and that’s what counts.  

So in summation.  Everything is good, I’m happy, read ‘Our Search For Happiness’ and the gospel is true no matter what. 

LOVE YOU ALL!!!!  Thanks so much to everyone who has written me, and remember KEEP ME WINNING!!!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

I Love This Place!

What's up everyone?!?!   Everyone here is so nice!  It's crazy, it's like Texas on steroids (or on the spirit, you choose).  I really am loving it here. 
We're part of a pilot program where we teach real investigators.  We taught a guy names Jesus yesterday, he's a nonmember friend of our teacher, knows nothing about the church and speaks no English.  And we taught him.  Yesterday.  In Spanish.  It was a completely nerve wracking, frustrating, incredible, spiritual experience.  It was crazy, I could understand him a lot better than I could speak so I could understand the questions he was asking but I couldn't give him the answers.  We all planned out these scripts pretty much and then we were astounded  when he asked a question, silly us.  He asked me how he could be with his family forever and I didn't know how to tell him, it was AWFUL!  I knew the answer, I just couldn't tell him, I'm not sure I've wanted to tell anyone something so badly.  He doesn't know, he wants to know, and it's my responsibility to tell him!  I wanted to soooooooo badly but that's why I need to keep studying.  This place is amazing, everything from high  school Spanish has come back to me and it's incredible.  I'm slowly learning more and more but I know that this isn't impossible, if I work my hardest and continue to work, I will be given the gift of tongues more than I already have.  
I love this place, Mom, to answer your question, I love the food, it's fantastic.  I miss everyone but like Mom said, it's not so much a hurt miss as it is a wondering what's going on miss, I want to know whats going on with everyone.  People that have my email, WRITE ME!!!  I never got why Nicole was so insistent about writing but now I do, hearing from home is THE BEST!!!!  I want to hear from everyone!  Especially a select few, you know who you are (Mom, Dad, Meagan, Katlin, Jaymie, Brad, Grandparents, Wendi, etc.)  Dearelder me, email me, DO IT ALL!!!!   I also want people to send me pictures, print some out and stick them in an envelope and send them to me (I want letters and pictures specifically from the people mentioned before.  
It's hard work that we do here and the days are long but it's a lot of fun, it's an amazing work that we're doing.  My comp is Elder Orton from South Jordan, he's a good kid, we're working on the language but it's really hard, we're doing our best though. OH MOM, we're not talking only in Spanish, but yesterday after teaching Jesus, we decided to make a challenge to ourselves to only speak in Spanish in the classroom and to always say what Spanish we know outside of the classroom.  We also only pray in Spanish.  
How's stuff with the wedding going?  How's everyone doing?  Bueno I hope.  Just let me know what's going on (in Riverton & Rexburg) because I do think about everyone quite a lot.  We only have 30 minutes to write and then it kicks us off so I'm going to go to make sure that I can get this email out, love you all! La iglesia es verdad! 
-Elder Westenskow