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, February 29, 2012

The Lord Tests Us, Then He Blesses Us 2/27/2012

Hey Family!

First off, here's a picture of my kid, hope it satisfies :)

Second off, Mom, about being on a spiritual high from the baptisms, it was the same way for me, took a few days to come down ha ha.  And with bushwhacking, we just did it with our hands, I'm not saying it was a good idea, I'm just saying we did it :)   

As for us, this email might be a little short, we had a good week, just not a whole ton happened.  This was a week of fallen appointments, EVERYTHING we planned fell, primary plans, backup plans, all of it.  We even had great plans, we had plans to teach in members houses, bring members to citas, everything with members but it all fell ha ha.  It was really stressful for a bit but then Saturday came and proved the statement, "the Lord tests us, then he blesses us" that's what I've been telling my kid all week ha ha.  I'm not sure if I've told y'all about Jersón but he's a 16 year old kid we've taught like twice.  We meant to teach him the restoration but when we were verifying if he had read he told us he had read and prayed.  When we asked what happened in his prayer he just said "well, in the moment, nothing.  But then I came to church the next day and I just felt really really good about all of it"  so we just started talking about 3 Nephi 11 and the importance of the things that Christ taught and how the first thing he taught was baptism.  So we asked him what he thought about that and he said it was really important and all that stuff so we just challenged him on the spot and he accepted a fecha for the 24th of March.  IT WAS EXCELLENT!  A week of being tested and bailed on only to have success on Saturday!  Also, yesterday in church, a family we taught forever ago randomly showed up so we had investigators in sacrament meeting too!  So that was all excellent!

Walter is still working his butt off, we have an FHE with them tonight to teach his brother and he's got some other ideas for people as well.  Also, starting Thursday he's going to be making us lunch every day for 15 quetz a meal ha ha..  Much better than getting fat off pasta every day.  SO we're pretty excited for that :)  Also, we offered some sick service this week, we basically rebuilt a lady's house ha ha.  She was having a lot of problems so we redid her wood ceiling, and her door and stuff :)  It was really cool and fun to work with hands.  The only thing with this week is it was just so unbelievably fast.  And as far as package goes, just some sort of fruity candy would be super duper legit, chocolate is easy here, fruity is harder... so yeah.  So sorry this is pretty short but I love you all and I'm excited to see what the next week holds in store :)  LOVE YOU ALL!!!!
-Elder Westenskow

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Companion!! 2/20/12

Hey there everyone!  How's life?  Very good I hope, life here is good as well.  

I'm glad to hear that y'all had an exciting weekend, I bet that was fun to have the Torres (Nicole's first mission president) over and to be able to talk about all kinds of stuff and to receive counsel and help from them.  Mission presidents are special people and they have a special ability to say the necessary things in the necessary time. 

About my kid, I completely forgot to take any pictures this week ha ha.  We've been working really hard, trying to give him a good start to the mission, not killing him but always busy.  His name is Elder Garcia, he's from Tegucigalpa, Honduras and he's really cool.  I thought I was going to have a gringo kid but the president got special instructions from President Falabella to have more interracial companionships ha ha.  So I got a Latino but he's super legit.  He likes to cook and I haven't yet enjoyed that but I'm excited to.  I don't know what else to say, y'all know that I'm really bad at describing people ha ha. 

About work, we worked hard this week and we saw results. We found some news, namely we finally had a cita with Victor Sac.  He's a reference from forever ago that it's been really hard to contact because they always travel.  BUT we finally had a cita with him and his wife.  They don't have a religion but they're anxious to learn more about ours.  They didn't just want to be visited, they wanted to be taught. We went in and started to talk to them get to know them and they're like "well, do you have some sort of teaching to give us or something?" so we taught the Book of Mormon.  They couldn't come to church this week but they promised to next week.  Also, a guy named Edwin.  He's a member but his wife and kids aren't.  Hes inactive and we've been visiting him every now and again since we've got here and now his kids want to be taught.  So were going to be visiting them and we'll try to get the wife in too :)  Really a pretty normal week, nothing too exciting happened apart from changes.  My kid is cool, training is stressful ha ha.  But all is well in the life of Elder Westenskow. 

Walter is continuing to be legit.  We have an FHE with him tonight and he invited a bunch of people to come and he gives us references almost daily ha ha.  Hes super stoked to help other people learn about these things that have helped him so much.  We have a lot of hope from him and he'll be helping us until I'm out of here at the very least.  I'm excited for this change and the next one ha ha.  Life is good, the gospel is true :)
-Elder Westenskow

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Big Week! Baptisms, Mayan Sacrifice and Cow Tongue!! 2/13/2012

So I'll start with today and why I'm writing so late.  We hiked a mountain, it's called Siete Orejas, y'all can look it up if you want.  It was a recommendation from Walter and it was excellent.  There were a lot of times where there was no path so we had to bushwhack and trail blaze and a few other fun words.  And when we got to the top we found some guys doing Mayan sacrifices.  They were really chill, they were just glad we weren't government workers and they let us take pictures ha ha so here's some pictures of some of the views that we got today as well as the sacrifice and Elder R and I in a cave that we found :)  Good Pday ha ha

 I'm really glad that y'all like the letters so much. They are a lot of work but the fact that you so much enjoy them makes it worth it.  Just so you know, the cow tongue and the cow tail were both DELICIOUS!!!! SO good!  Shirley is a GREAT cook though so that could have had something to do with it ha ha. (These are just pictures of the cow tongue, raw and cooked.  Hope you're a little grossed out ;)  ha ha.)

No news worth mentioning this week but we're going to be looking hard next week.  Health is good, no worries there ha ha.   

So as you can imagine, this week was all Walter, well more Family Castillo.  Preparing, baptismal interviews, preparing, making agendas (which got sent to dad so y'all can see how they turned out
ha ha. Andrew accidentally emailed the baptism agenda to his dad! It kinda freaked us out to get a mid-week email ;-))  And in the middle of all this we had time for ANOTHER multi zone conference and the trainers meeting both of which were excellent!  Also on Friday we had an excellent baptism, the sisters baptized a family of five and it was really well done, got the ward even more excited for the Castillo family ha ha.  And then on top of all of it, Saturday.  I cannot contain what happened there in an email.  It was one of the most spiritual experiences of my entire life.  We had Shirley's sister speak as well as her husband and some of the people that have been working with him for such a long time ha ha.  It was excellent and invited the spirit.  Also, the agendas did more than you'd think they would.  But having every ones testimonies on paper was excellent.  We, Elder R, the zonies and I, did a special musical number which I think went well and then Shirley's brother-in-law spoke, he's the Stake President of Momos.  He also did an excellent job!  Then we passed to the font and that's where it got really out of control.  Everyone was already really emotional and a little nervous but we did alright.  I baptized Bryan first, he wasn't too nervous but Emily was.  This entire time the spirit was just.... indescribable.  Everyone was either on the verge of tears or crying.  Emily was baptized next and it was all just such a special experience.  When I came out of the font emotions were very high and Walter was crying as well and he just came up and gave me a huge hug.  Elder R then baptized Walter and everyone was completely silent, they both started crying during the prayer and just hugged big after the ordinance.  After all of the changing time though was one of my favorite moments.  As I said Emily was a bit nervous and I was trying to help her the whole time and when we were all sitting down she grabbed my arm and whispered in my ear "estuvimos bien"(we were good) and she was just beaming.  It was incredible.  On top of all of it we got to participate in the confirmations.  Elder R confirmed Walter, Bishop confirmed Emily and I confirmed Bryan.  It was a very singular experience, something I can't ever forget.  One of the best weekends ever! 

Kid tomorrow as well, I'll tell you all about him next week LOVE YOU ALL!!! Andrew will be training a new missionary this change.  
-Elder Westenskow

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Baptisms! 2/6/2012


So, first off, Geronimo, we actually taught him this week ha ha.  We've had a hard time teaching him and we almost dropped him but we found him this week and taught him and it went really well so we'll keep with him ha ha.  Not a hugely special lesson that requires a lot of detail but yeah :)  Karina is doing fantastic, and we're working with Gustavo. 
So yeah.  Mom, about tie trades, there are obviously some ties that are so untradeable they don't even get brought to tie trades that includes the wedding tie, the ties I got for my birthday, the ones I got from Brad and a couple I bought at Mr Mac.  I just have a lot of ties (there are a lot of ways to get ties on the mission especially in this country, have Nicole tell you about pacas lol)  Also mom, questions are fine, I don't care how many you send ha ha.  Also, 21 kids getting baptized in one year, what the flip? They need to split that ward already.  And health is good :)

Now, Walter.  We visited him almost every day this week reviewing commandments, taking away doubts, etc.  He's super pilas.  No real singular experience this week to share, just a bunch of really good lessons that we had with him.  Especially when we reviewed the baptismal interview questions, hearing his answers and testimony about the restoration, prophets, etc was just incredible. He's so ready. Elder R just keeps telling me that Walter has ruined my mission because I'll never find a convert like him again ha ha.  He's just so pilas, I'm stoked.  PLUS, BLESSINGS!!!!!  We found out that Bryan, the 8 year old kid is going to count for a mission baptism because he was never presented or on the church records so he doesn't count for the ward but for the mission so we'll have 3 baptisms this Saturday :)  And, when Walter asked the kids who they wanted to baptize them they're both like "WESTENSKOW!" so Elder R is baptizing Walter and I'm getting in the water for the first time to baptize the two kids, we're pretty excited :) ha ha.  

So this email might be a little short but know that it's big on love and excitement and next week I'll have some pictures of some people in white :)  Tonight with Walter we're eating cow tongue so I'll let you know on that one as well ha ha.  Also, it seems rainy season is starting early here, we've had rain every day for almost a week and hail twice, its weird.  Also, tell Rhonda Happy Birthday since I don't have her email (thank you calendar!) ha ha.  
-Elder Westenskow
                                                         A Jerusalem Cricket we found


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mission Conference 1/30/12

Another really good week here, first I'll address questions :)  About who moved us, the office has a guy that works for them to do that kind of stuff, pretty easy haha.  About health, estoy mejorando poco a poco, todavia me queda la tos pera lo bueno es que ya no esta seca.  Entonces, ya, lo que pasa es que las enfermeras me dieron un jarabe y eso me ayudo un poco pero todavia me molesta.  Vamos a ver que pasa si tengo que ir al doctor o algo asi, no se. (Basically he says,"I'm getting better little by little. I still have a cough but the good thing is that it's not dry anymore.  So what happened is that the nurses gave me a syrup and that helped a little but it still bugs me.  We'll have to see what happens, if I have to go to the doctor or something like that, I don't know.")

So yeah, first off, I'll tell you not about Walter. The only other thing that happened is we had a mission conference with President/Elder Falabella, he's the president of the area Central America and a member of the First Quorum of 70.  It was... intense haha.  He gave us a lot of good councils and a lot of hard machetes but he told it like it is and we can really improve a lot from the things that he told us.  I really enjoyed the conference   Really the gist of his message was that the mission work doesn't need to be robotic, it shouldn't be robotic, we need to be people and we need to make people excited about the message, good conference :) 

Now Walter, first, on Monday we ate the cow tail.


I included a picture of it raw and prepared so you can see.  It was...... DELICIOUS!!!! It was so good, Shirly made it in a pressure cooker with some sort of salsa, I dunno, it was really really good.  Next Monday we're eating cow tongue.  He says it's also very good so I'm excited to see what happens there :)  We spent a lot of time with him this week.  One of the pictures I included is when Elder R helped him put a gas tank in his car, this is so that he can come to church.  I say that Elder R helped because neither Shirly nor I know anything about cars and so we just watched and fetched them tools when they needed it but it was a lot of fun :)  And now you know what Walter looks like haha.

He really appreciated the help and we enjoyed spending the time over there.   We were going to try to have a lesson that day but the time was not given to us to be able to do so haha.  So Friday we had the real lesson, we first talked about temple work and they told us that Shirly had a dream about an old family friend that had passed away about a year ago and this friend told Shirly that she would do the work that would allow her to move from one place to a better place.  They took what they know about the spirit world and applied it to temple work and decided that it meant that they need to do this ladies temple work haha so they asked us how to do it.  So we taught them about family history and stuff and it was all really good.  And then came the moment, we were just like "so do you remember what we talked about last week?"  "Baptism, when, and stuff.... (we just waited) so if it were the 11th what time would it be?" "Whenever you want"  "Yeah, I'll do it" so we just freaked out. Then we're like, "and the kids?" and he asks them "what do you guys want to do?" "YES" they both say.  Then he asks Brian, the 8 year old boy "why do you want to get baptized?"  and he answers "to be with God"  so precious haha.  SO WALTER AND HIS KIDS ARE GETTING BAPTIZED ON THE 11th!!!!!!  They're really excited to, after church yesterday he asked us to show him the baptismal font and he was talking to his kids about it and stuff.  So yeah, overall great week, 2 fechas and quite possibly the best convert I'll have all mission haha

-Elder Westenskow

P.S. Also a little fun story.  We went to Walters yesterday to watch Testaments and he was outside when we got there sitting in his truck reading the Book of Mormon, always a special feeling to see one of your investigators reading the Book of Mormon :) love this guy!