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

Friday, September 16, 2011

Hey Family!

This was a good week, really really really really fast.  I can't believe that I'm already emailing again lol.  Let's see.  We were in Xela until Wednesday of last week because we had interviews with president so that kinda knocked out half of the week.  But they were good.  He's trying to "change the mission DNA" as he says.  We're trying to focus more on less actives and working with the members to get referrals more than contacting.  It's a really great idea and we're trying our best to implement it but it's tough just because in our area there's only 40 members in the branch and there's no addresses anywhere in our area so it's really tough to contact old investigators or less actives because on the address bar it says something like "up the mountain, by the river" because that's the best description that can be given.  It's a really tough area but we're trying our best.  I guess in Cunén there have been 4 baptisms in the last 4 years so the odds aren't exactly stacked in our favor but we're doing our best.  We've implemented a plan to try and go with president's new vision.  We're meeting with every family in the ward and giving them a Book of Mormon with Moroni 10:3-5 premarked and our information written in and a space for the member to write their testimony so we're asking them to pray about finding someone to give it to so that the person can call us.  We think it's a good plan and we'll see if it brings results, we're really praying to be able to find people to teach so we'll see how it goes :).  

Another reason the area is really tough is nobody is ever home.  I had my first fallen through appointment this week.  This lady that lives up the mountain (probably a 25 minute hike) just wasn't home for our appointment.  That kind of stuff is hard to deal with but it's not a huge deal.  It just gave us an empty hour which is never good so we ended up contacting all afternoon (which is a very very long time when literally NOBODY will let you in haha)  So that day was kind of a wash.  But whatever, our family that we're teaching in Utspantan, Eliseo and his kids, invited us to this weird evangelical service thing and even invited us to stay the night at their house, how nice of them!  But yeah, we're not going to go to that, we're just going to keep trying to teach them and praying for them and hope that something happens.  It's just tough because Utspantan is an hour from Cunén so it's really hard to get people to come to church (because the only meeting house is in Cunén)  But like I said, we're trying :).  

Also, elections were this week so everybody was pretty focused on that.  They take over this country like something I've never seen before.  We actually weren't allowed to go out proselyting yesterday because it was voting day haha.  It was actually a pretty fun day though and then now today is pday so it's kinda like 2 days off lol.  Kinda sucks because days always go slower when you're not working but it's still a lot of fun.  Plus, we've got to go down to Xela again this week for a conference so we're staying the night in Quiche and heading down tomorrow and we probably won't get back til Wednesday afternoon.  It's all good though :)  Time flies though, it really does.  I can't believe I've been here almost 2 weeks, it feels like a day and a half lol.  But I love it, we're in a tough area but I know that it's prepping me for the rest of my mission in a good way.  Plus, we have the greatest zone.  There's only 12 people in Quiche and they're all gringos (They don't send Latinos here for some reason) so we have gringo zone and it's a whole ton of fun, I love it :) 
Well, I think that's it, Love you all, the gospel is true, keep it up everyone :)
-Elder Westenskow

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

First Week!!!

SO!  First, MOM, I got the package!  It was postmarked August 19th so I guess thats when it got here.  THANK YOU!!!  There was SO much food but it's so appreciated! We pretty much just have it sitting open in the room and eat it at night. The chapstick was amazing as well!  Make sure to give Russ Johnson a big thanks for me, that was a really cool thing that he sent and I look forward to using it!

 So first off, my week was awesome!  Very hard, pretty long, but I think that the time will pick up as I go.  My zone is called Quiche and my area is Cunen.  It's the biggest zone in the mission and it's the furthest area from the mission home.  It was just opened 6 weeks ago by my comp and his old comp.

We live in the church in this tiny little room off the chapel (the only other room in the building) and we have a branch of about 40 people.  The members that come are pretty strong but we have a lot of nonmembers.  The area is HUGE!  I'ts the biggest in the mission, we can travel 11 hours and still be in our area.  We have a couple bigger cities around Cunén but they're like an hour or so away by bus.  We're really in the middle of nowhere, one of the pictures that I sent was taken just from where we were contacting. 

It's sometimes tough to find things to do but we're really trying hard to find people.  We work a lot with the members and less actives to try to increase church attendance.  Like I said our branch is pretty small and our branch president has been in for like 15 years so he's kind of lost the fire a bit.  But we're working hard, contacting quite a bit.  We have a few potentials, one guy named Andrés seems really positive.  There's also a bunch of languages in our area, we've been contacting out in the mountains and half the people we run into don't speak Spanish.  But its fun.  Like I said the days are kind of long right now but I think it'll be like the CCM/MTC and pick up as we go.  There's also a whole freaking ton of wild dogs, everywhere you turn there's wild dogs!  But its cool, I like the area I'm just scared because I'm probably going to be there for like 6 months, as time goes on I could see it becoming hard to find things to do but we're taking it one day at a time and just doing all that we can.  We're about 5 hours from Xela by the way and about 2 hours from all the other Elders in our zone (we dont have a district, just a zone). 
My comp is Elder Bitner, hes from Glendale, Arizona and he's really cool.  He's been out about 13 months.  (seeing that makes me feel like I'll never get to that point, I'm kind of feeling like 2 years is a really long time again but I'm having fun and I'm working hard and that's what counts, I know the time will go faster as long as I do that.  I really just wanna go to a city where its easier to find people to talk to but we're doing alright right now.  Plus, I think everyone's first area is tough so I'm just praying a LOT! haha).  Speaking of my comp though, yeah, he's really good, he knows the area really well so he knows the places that we can go to see people and talk to people.  People are pretty welcoming but after a first visit I think it gets a little rough.  Especially since the chapel that we live in is the only chapel for the entire area (meaning that we can go contacting an hour away but it's not super likely that people are going to come to church (we have members in these surrounding cities that don't even come very often, they're really good members too, it's just really tough to get them to church).  Yeah, ít's a tough area for sure, President said that they don't send just anybody to Cunén so that made me feel good.  I am having fun, I am enjoying myself, always remember that :).  I'm not sure what else to write, I'm doing the same thing and printing my emails and then writing and then I'll answer the emails from this week next week so yeah!  I love you all!  Have a really really great week and I'll talk to you next week!

-Elder Westenskow