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

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Last Week Before The Field!!!

Hey Family!

So the upside of all of this is that I get to write you all today.  The downside is I really don't have a whole ton to say.  The last few days at the CCM have been pretty standard, class, studying, the normal.  WE DID HAVE ONE REALLY COOL EXPERIENCE!!!  We taught in CRE for the last time (mom, for you, CRE is an off campus house that the church owns that has several living rooms set up and we go in and teach people (sometimes teachers, sometimes volunteers) and they're in street clothes and we just teach in a home setting rather than in a classroom setting).  ANYWAY, we were teaching "less active members" which means people acting as less active members and before we went in, Hmno Vasquez told us that for realzies the people we were teaching (a girl and her boyfriend) that the girl was a return missionary and active but would be pretending to be less active but that he wasn't a member at all.  We figured he was just telling us this as they always do so we didn't thing much of it and we taught and it was really good.  Bore lots of testimony, invited them to attend church and they said they would.  Wimmer committed Erick to read Moroni 10 and pray about it and he prayed and we left.  AFTER: In the classroom, Hmno Vasquez told us "everyone that you all taught were real, active members except for one, and that was yours (then he pointed at Me and Wimmer)" So we taught our first real sit down lesson without even knowing it!  IT was SOOO COOL!!! There was a definite difference and when we came out of there I was actively trying to convince myself that he was a member but I didn't really believe it.  It just felt so cool 1)To teach a real investigator (he had never met with the missionaries but we got his reference [also Hmno Vasquez told us "he's never met with the missionaries before and now he wants to because of you" which felt AMAZING]) and 2)That they trusted Wimmer and Me with that responsibility, it was SOOOOO COOL!!!!  I don't know what else to say about it, it was just amazing. 

Basically, I'm just so incredibly psyched to get out to the field and do this for realzies, teach real people, help real people, show real people this amazing thing that we have.  Tomorrow I meet my mission president and my trainer and I could not be more excited.  I'm going to miss the CCM I've realized that I really like it here, its comfortable, its fun, my district is AMAZING.  Were going to party it up when we get home in St. George (like RIGHT after we get home) and its going to be soooo sick.  However, they've told us that the only thing constant on the mission is change so I guess getting comfortable isn't part of the gig.  I'm going to do my absolute best to dive in completely head first and immerse myself in all of it.  This work is amazing and it will change people (including me).  One of the things we've talked about the last few days a lot is having vision, seeing into the future, planning the person we want to become and then doing the things that are necessary to achieve that. 

I love Guatemala, I love Spanish, I love the gospel and I love all of you.  I greatly appreciate all of the people who continue to write to me and I ask for their patience as I know I'll have very little time to write out in the field, I will still always try to get a note to those who get notes to me.  I love you all, I'm probably not as prepared as I could be for this next step but I am so beyond ready to make it.  Faith and prayer are my new best friends.  I love you all, I can't wait to see you again, but I do not want to be anywhere but here right now.  Take no offense to this, but the last place I want to be right now is home.  I am soooooooo flippin happy all the time and I know it's because I'm doing the things that I'm supposed to.  I have a testimony of that and it grows every day and I know it will continue to grow out in the field.  This is what Ive been waiting for, I feel like I'm actually leaving on my mission tomorrow, I've waited a long time for this moment and now its here, I'm not going to screw it up.  You all rock and I'll talk to you next week :)

-Elder Westenskow

Saturday, August 27, 2011

6 Days!!!

FIRST!  Meagan, about the short tie, we were having short tie Tuesday on Monday and we actually got yelled at for it hahaha.  Yes, I know the tie is supposed to go past my nipples ;).  Next, no more Dearelders to the CCM please for anyone!  I won't get them, they'll get thrown away.  Just start sending them to Quetzaltenango and I'll get them eventually!  haha

Next, Nicole, I got your comps scripture cases, they're not exact but I tried to get the closest cutest ones and I had to fight a sister in my district for them so savor them.  I'll be sending them with Hermana Parker so keep a look out. 

NOW ON TO THIS WEEK IT WAS SO GOOD OH MY GOSH!!!!!  First, we had a practice with some real members to practice understanding and teaching people we didn't know.  We taught a guy named Antonio, he was probably late 70s and talked super clear so that was pretty rad.  He was converted in the late 80s and his testimony was so crazy strong.  I know I was able to understand everything he said because of the spirit which was crazy just in our little space!  It gave me a lot of hope about missionary work, about the fact that people will change.  We have this message and people are waiting for it and they'll accept it and change for it, and that's amazing!  We didn't really teach what we had prepared but just kinda talked and shared testimony and experiences it was so flippidy dang cool!  NEXT, we were able to go contacting again for a second time!  We weren't going to be able to because of the new schedule but the night before president made some calls and made it so we could go again and it was sooooooo good.  We met a guy in a meat shop that was hanging out and we just kinda waved but he spat some English at us so we went back and started talking to him (in Spanish) and talked about the restoration a bit and we were like "well we can see that you're working so..." and he cut us off and was like "nah, I'm not busy I can talk now!" so we ended up talking a good 15 minutes with him and when we were like "so would you like to learn more?" he was like "how about tomorrow afternoon?!"  we told him we couldn't make an appointment with him but we got his reference stuff so the other missionaries can contact him, it was so freaking cool. 

ALSO! Yesterday I got a thing from Lisa that had a bunch of pictures of the wedding!  MAKE SURE SHE KNOWS THAT I SAID A BIGGGGG HUGEEE THANK YOU!!!!  IT all looks sooooooo good!!!!  Not much else happened this week, mostly just finishing up, teaching a lot of our teachers, studying a lot, getting ready to get out there.  Going tracting got me soooo ready (PS Wimmer and I went, not with a Latin comp) and I'm just so psyched to get out there and so ready.  ALSO, We'll either be writing on Monday or Tuesday next week because were leaving Tuesday so probably Monday so write me before then please!  LOVE YOU ALL!  I'm so excited to read the emails that I got and Meagan and Dad can expect snail mail in the near future. But yeah, that was my week, love you all, the gospel is true and have a good one!

-Elder Westenskow

Saturday, August 20, 2011

17 Days Left!!!

 Okay so nothing much happened this week except for that I SAW NICOLE!!!!! AHHHHHH it was so great!  Not anything special to anyone but us probably, we just hung out for an hour.  Nothings changed between us.  She got a bunch of pictures which I'm sure you'll appreciate.  I'm so glad that it could happen, its been far too long since Ive seen my best friend.  I wish there was more to report but we really just chatted for an hour, it was so legit.  I'm sure she'll give you more details than me hahah shes always like that.

Anyway, apart from that, we've just been working hard, the last few days have gone really slow but the first half of the week is always slower than the second.  I'm just SO READY to get out of here!! Total cabin fever lol. Just ready to get out in the field and actually feel like I'm on my mission.  17days away!!  I'm sure it'll be here before I know it and when I get out there I'm going to get thrown down on my butt but I couldn't be more excited for it. 

The Spanish is coming good, I'm pretty much just solidifying everything by talking to Latinos and teaching the grammar to other missionaries in my class.  I'm going to miss this district when I'm done here, they're so awesome!!!  We watched a crazy Jeffery R Holland talk last night that did a lot of things to me one of which was PUMP. ME. UP.  To get out there!  I wish there was more to report on here but there really isn't.  Things are good with Wimmer and me, things are good in my classes, the spirit is REALLY GOOD.  We went to the temple this morning which is always rad!  We still just pretty much do the same thing every day, we haven't been teaching so there's nothing to report on there, just studying a lot and getting ready to get out there in the field for real!

Hard to believe I've been out almost 2 months already but yeah.  I have a feeling my mission is going to whiz by so I'm really trying my hardest just to focus on serving others and helping other people out as much as I possibly can.  Trying to forget myself and everything back at home.  Its tough but the spirit helps a LOT.  I'm so excited to read through the emails that you guys sent and Dearelders tomorrow will be good too I'm sure!  I love you all and thanks to everyone who writes me!  It means more than you all know.  I have the absolute best family and friends that anyone could ask for.  I pray for all of you every day as I know you pray for me.  You're all spectacular and I can't wait to have actual stories to tell all of you.
Keep up the good work family, friends, and everyone in between. 
-Elder Westenskow.
PS I think there's a new photo up on if ya'll wanna check that out, if not it'll be there in a few days.  LOVE YOU ALL!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Can't Believe I've Been Here Three Weeks!!!

So we are emailing today, I have no idea why but I hope that well be able to just check tomorrow for emails and print them so please still send one.

Lets see, cool experiences from this week.  We went to talk to people on the temple grounds on Saturday to practice Spanish and of course, the first guy that we talk to isn't a member lol.  So we just talked to him a bit and bore our testimonies, gave him a BOM (well, Wimmer gave him his triple because we didn't have a BOM, silly kid) and committed him to read 3 Nephi 11 and then meet with the missionaries (we got his info so they can find him).  His name was Marco and it was IMPOSSIBLE to understand him.  But it was really cool.  Also, just going to the temple is super rad, I love it so much, going on Wednesdays is like the best part of my week. 

I CANT BELIEVE I'VE BEEN HERE 3 WEEKS!!!  Nicole was crazy, the time here flies by!  I've only got 21 days til I get to the field and I couldn't be more excited.  It's going to be so stellar.  The group that came before us and the Latinos left today and I wanted to go with them.  But this place is like empty now, its kind of crazy.  I'm so stoked to get new missionaries tomorrow though!   I can't wait to see their faces when they get off the bus, it's going to be stellar!  ALSO I SEE NICOLE IN LESS THAN A WEEK!!!!!!  I cannot wait even a little bit I'm so excited! 

We went to the market and the mall today.  The market was so awesome, I took a video of us just walking through to hopefully give a little bit of an impression of what its like.  I dunno when you're going to see it but I'm excited for you to nonetheless.  I've been taking a few videos while I still can actually so I might need a new memory card soon.  Idk if you've sent that package but if you haven't I have a request if you can make it happen.  More music please, movie scores are best (LOTR, Home Alone, whatever works really)    Back to the mall/market.  We walked around and bought some stuff, I bought a bag that's really cool, a poncho hoodie thing, and a soccer jersey (no I don't like soccer all of the sudden, they were just mega cheap and cool looking).  Then we went to the mall, I had McDonalds and Dominos and a coke (they had no MTN Dew.)  It was really really fun but it also felt kinda wrong, I knew that we were allowed to since we were there with leaders and whatnot but it felt weird being around a bunch of people and not talking to them.  I felt like a tourist a little and that was really really weird.  But it really was a lot of fun, I spent like 50 dollars all together but it was cool, I'm not going to have a whole ton of opportunities to just go shopping like that so I kinda went all out. 

I'm kinda running out of time, I don't know what happened, the schedule is really messed up and we got hardly any time for emailing so I'll have to cut this one off now, sorry about that.  I love you all and I love getting all of the Dearelders, tell Meagan to write me, I need to hear from her!  Dad, I don't know if you got my letter yet but there's one in the mail for you and another will be coming this week.  I love you all and cant wait to get mail on Thursday!  LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!
-Elder Westenskow

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Two Weeks in the CCM Already?!?!?!?

Sup family?  It's tough to talk too much about the things that we do because every day is pretty much the same.  We get up, play sports, study, food, class, food, class, bed.  It's fairly repetitive but time goes so fast!!  I cant believe Ive already been a missionary a month and been here 2 weeks, its absolutely crazy!! 

One thing that was awesome, we got to go tracting/contacting on Monday which was pretty sick.  I'm not as ready as I thought I was.   I can speak alright but understanding is a whole new thing, everyone talks so dang fast!!!  I also need to learn to be more bold, I had a really hard time walking up to people or knocking on doors.  We weren't very successful but we managed to place some BOMs and get a few (5) referrals for the missionaries in the Sur mission so that was good.  I'm excited to go out in 2.5 more weeks and try to redeem myself.  I want to just be able to talk to everybody!!  We did only get one flat out rejection which was actually pretty funny.  We knocked the door "hola!  Somos representantes de Jesucristo"  "de quien?!"  "somos misioneros con la iglesia de Jesucristo de los santos de los ultimos dias"  "NO LES QUIERO CONOCER, SOY CATOLICA!!"  and she slammed the door.  You can have somebody translate.  I'm sure that was pretty rough Spanish but whatever.  I told you I can't understand anything.  I am still so stoked to get out in the field though, I LOVE teaching, it's so much fun!  I can't wait to teach real people and not just teachers acting as investigators.

I can't believe I've got less than a month til I'll actually be out in the field, if time here goes this fast and it's supposed to go slow in the MTC I can only imagine how fast it will go out in the field.  I LOVE MY MISSION!!!  I can't wait to actually be doing real missionary work.   I am very very nervous but I know that I will be blessed with strength and with courage. 

Oh for mom, to picture.  It's beautiful here.  The city is not too nice but that's to be expected.  The temple (which we get to go to later today!!!!)  is just right in the middle of the city, there's a trashy gas station across the street from it.  But its so amazing!!  OH CRE!!!!!  CRE is the coolest thing ever.  We walk to this house down the street from the CCM and we go and knock on the door and a teacher dressed in street clothes answers (Not your teacher and not a teacher that you see very often so its so real) and you go in and teach them.  They've got this whole living room setup that's so rad.  I love it and its the best part of the week.  Right now we've got her committed to baptism and she's excited about reading the BOM, shes having trouble praying but a lot of people here do.     

Hit me up with more pictures from the wedding, send them in a package if you can (remember it takes about 2 weeks to get here so determine if its better to send it here or to the mission home, I'll get you that address next week hopefully).  Apparently I get to see Nicole on the 15th but I guess that's subject to change, I'm so psyched!!!!  Basically, I love it here and I can't wait to get out in the field.  With how fast this month has gone, 24 months doesn't seem like all that long, I'm trying to make every moment count.  I love you all and thanks to everyone who writes me, its much appreciated!!!!!  I don't know what else I'm forgetting but I think this letter is a bit less scattered than the last one.  Tell Meagan and Brad that I'm so freakin excited for them and I sent a letter to Meagan Soderman last week and that was pretty weird.  I love all of you so much!!!  Have a good week and I'm out of time!!

-Elder Westenskow

One Week in the CCM Down, 33 Days To Go!

 This place rules, its so much better than the MTC.  Its a lot more laid back and intimate.  Its smaller but there's a lot less people and it actually feels less claustrophobic.  My comp is Elder Wimmer, he's awesome, we work so well together. I'm having a great time.  I'm so psyched to get out in the field (I THINK my date is 8/30 because that was the date for all my peeps back in Provo but I dunno).  I'm psyched to see Nicole but I haven't yet.  We also have Latin comps during meal times and gym and mine is Elder Torres, he's from Nicaragua and he speaks alright English but they're doing an ESL program here where once a day we help our Latin comps learn English because they help us every day learn Spanish.  It's a lot of fun.  I'll make sure to get some pictures with him.  HE GOES THROUGH THE TEMPLE TODAY FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!! It's so exciting AND MEAGAN WENT YESTERDAY AND IS MARRIED ON FRIDAY!!!!! I'm so psyched for her, I wish I could be there but I expect lots of pictures (Yard looks great by the way!). 

We're working hard here every day, we teach almost every day and every time we teach I just get more excited to be out in the field and actually teaching people.  I hope the next 33 days go fast.  I'm not sure how my Spanish is, I'll wait til I see Nicole and then I'll let her tell you in an email and then you can tell me, I think its coming well though.  Sometimes I'll just start saying things and not really know whats happening, gift of tongues fo sho. 

I love it here.  Teachers are great, President is great (had an opportunity to meet with him, he's amazing).  My comps are great (Latin and English) and things are going great (aside from occasional cabin fever but what can you do).  Nicole lied, we actually get out of the CCM quite a bit.  We clean up temple grounds on Saturdays, in a couple weeks we get to go to a mall, and a week after that we get to go contacting with out Latin comps, I'm so psyched!!! 

This place is actually nicer than the MTC I think, its smaller and more humble but the rooms and bathrooms are so much nicer (in Provo the showers were cold a lot and infested with flies) but here I haven't had a cold shower and haven't really seen any bugs either.  The food is super good, they try to do a lot of different things (yesterday we had hamburgers for lunch and Chinese for dinner and it actually wasn't bad at all). My stomach has been handling it well too which is great!!!  To everyone reading this that sent me emails I'm sorry I cant respond individually but its so tough when they time you so exactly.  I printed off the picture of Meagan at the temple too, everyone looks so happy and I was so stoked to see Abby and Meagan standing together again, I MISS THAT GIRL!!!  One thing that's bad is that I'm tired all the time and sometimes its hard to study but I'm trying really hard.  I really do just want to get out there!  But I'm having a good time right now and 33 days really isn't all that long.  Its weird to thing that its been almost 10 days since we left the states.  I don't really know what else to write but I know that I'm forgetting things.

The church is true and its an amazing thing and such a blessing in my life.  I can't wait so share it with people who have never heard it before.      

Apparently you can go to and see a picture of everyone here right now.  So check that out, I can't wait to get all of the dearelders that y'all have sent and read what's going on.  I'm also excited to read these emails from everyone.  I don't know what I'm forgetting.  OH Family, you probably won't be getting print letters from me this week, we just don't have as much time to write but I'll try next week.  Dad, I'm especially excited to get your dearelder, rumor has it that they'll come in tomorrow, I hope so.  Have a good week everyone and I'll tell you all of my adventures next week.  (Dad, you wanted me to share from my journal but the truth is that its pretty lame, we pretty much do the same thing everyday here so when I get out in the field and have different things happening I'll share but its pretty much just class, work, teach, and eat here.  LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH GUATEMALA RULESSSSS!!!!!

-Elder Westenskow