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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Talent Show Was Excellent! 7/30/2012

Heyo Familio,

FIRST OFF! I have a buddy, I believe I've told you his name before, coming home this week.  Elder Zimmerman, soon to be Connor Zimmerman lol.  That's weird.  But, I gave him a couple (slightly lame and touristy) things to give to Meagan and Nicole (by that I mean 2 things, one each) and he was willing to go to the house to drop them off.  Now, this guy is an EXCELLENT friend so I gave him the home phone and dads phone to be able to call and set it up. He can tell you all sorts of stories about me and answer questions and the whole thing.  He lives in Draper so not too far away. He's  a great dude! So, he goes home on Thursday so in the next couple weeks just be waiting for a phone call from him :)   

Now, to answer questions, I wasn't wearing the new glasses in the photos because apparently I only take photos on days where I wear the old ones ha ha. Bad luck I suppose. But I do wear them and I do love them!  I just wear them about half the time ha ha. I use both pairs. And Dad, your new job sounds CRAZY with an extra capital C.  I can't imagine that, a butt ton of travel and stress and all of it, dang.  Respect ha ha. Keep it up, I'm sure you're doing great cause that's what you do!  

Now that I've written a ton, I'll get to me. I have kinda bad news, we had kinda a lame week ha ha. But, life is still great and we're still working hard and being good.  Investigators: Pablo continues in his "I'm going to be baptized, but I'll let you know when" however, I do have an idea for this week, it's a little bit of a machete but not too hard so I hope it goes well :)  

Family Lucas, we had a cita but it fell... super lame, it's so hard because they can only meet certain nights of the week.  But, well figure it out.  The dad is kinda working like an agent behind enemy lines in that he keeps saying stuff and animating them to go to church and everything ha ha. So that's good :)

Family Armas.  They're good, going a little slow but going :)  We had a good cita in which we read together 2 Nephi 31 with them and Juan Manuel was like "Well, to say that we're ready for a baptism would be a lie but if we do it, it'll be forever and for life.  That's what the chapter teaches us" he just told us that he has a lot of books to read he's like "well, y'all visited me last.  First the Central American church came, they gave me a book and I read it.  Then the Jehovah Witnesses came and gave me a book and I'm reading it and then y'all came and gave me a book so I'll read it after, y'all have to wait your turn" ha ha. So that was kinda funny, but his desire to learn is sincere, he even prayed with us last night which has been hard for him up until now :)

What else? Oh, the Talent Show was EXCELLENT!!!  We had 40 people there! and they LOVED it.  Basically it was members and investigators that we already had so we didn't find because of it but at the very least it helped with the relationship that we have with them :) It really was great!  I'm back on slow Internet or else I'd try to send some pictures but just know that it was great :)

I do believe that that was my week, nothing too exciting but I hope to have more entre 8 ha ha.  Say hey to everyone there for me. 
-Elder Westenskow

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Pday again, what the heck ha ha. This week has seemed to go too fast. Looking through my agenda last night to see what I could share with you today I was thinking "we haven't done anything, I don't even remember this week!" But looking back we actually had a pretty busy week and a couple good things happened :)

But first, I apologize for getting after y'all for my year mark, I honestly didn't know that I had asked not to have it mentioned ha ha. From here on out don't worry about it, I have enough time that I'm more scared by how fast it's going than actually thinking "I have HOW much time left?!?!?!" ha ha.  Mom, don't worry about the living conditions, they're just fine.  I've learned to live among cockroaches, crickets (OH and there are CRICKETS), flies, mosquitoes, and we even found a rat the other night hanging out in our kitchen (now THAT was an experience not to be forgotten.  Let's just say that my comp has an extreme fear of rats and I was honestly surprised by how little it affected me ha ha) And above all, in spite of the fact that it would be easy to get
discouraged with some stuff that's going on, lack of baptisms in spite of hard work, comp troubles, branch problems, personal issues (that everyone has ha ha) I find myself more relying on the Lord for support and comfort.  A cita falls and I don't find myself discouraged or angry, someone doesn't come to church (and I do feel disappointed) but I don't find myself wanting to give up.  I find myself with a reassuring feeling that I am doing my job, I am working hard and trying to improve myself, I am trying to help others come unto Christ and I cannot take away their agency.  I find myself calm in moments of struggle, and I find myself with a desire to never give up, to try a little harder, work a little harder, love a little more, forgive a little easier, and basically just become more like the perfect example that all of us tries to follow in this life, the perfect example of Jesus Christ.  Because I have learned to listen more to the spirit, to recognize his promptings and comfort, to have him be a bigger part of
my life, I never want to give up, because I always have his help.

I didn't really plan on sharing that but it just came out, I hope it can be read in the spirit with which it was intended.  I hope it can help someone :)

Now, mom asked if talking to my comp helped... sorta?  I dunno, it's hard to give a lot of details but just pray for me ha ha.  Nicole said I should share my difficulties and right now there really are a ton, but what I wrote up there is absolutely true.  Just keep me in your prayers.  :)

As for investigators.  An appropriate nickname for San Antonio Huista would be The Land Where It Is Super Easy to Find Super Positive People That Get an Answer to Their Prayers and Then Decide to Do Nothing About It.  However, that nickname is a bit long so from here on out I will refer to this place as TLWIISETFSPPTGAATTPATDTDNAI.

Example 1: The family Marroquin.  They continue to be SUPER positive. We have great citas with them.  This week we had 2.  We had a Family Home Evening in their house with some members and we talked about The
Family.  They LOVED it :)  It was a great cita and the spirit was great. They got super excited and we went back on Saturday for the cita on Saturday and also super great. We talked almost exclusively about baptism.  How they felt, what impeded them and they say they just want more time.  But then Marvin brought up that we never know when Christ will come or when we will be called to die. He didn't mean it in the sense of baptism but we took it an ran with it.  We talked about how there isn't time to wait, how we need to act NOW on the commandments of God.  We challenged them to pray with us right there and ask for an answer as to whether the church was true and they needed to be baptized and they did it. The spirit was good and you could tell that they felt it.  We left then, so they could talk and feel and listen.  But then they didn't come to church. Marvin lost his job last week so he had to do the oficios of the house on Sunday morning because he's been working all week.  It's a rather thin excuse but we're going back tomorrow.  So we'll see what they say ha ha.  Oh, and also he talked about how he could see the that the church could bless his family that he could feel happiness and peace when they talk about the things and we're like "WELL THAT'S THE SPIRIT" but they always want more time ha ha.  So we're praying hard and working harder with them.  We still feel good about the family, we just need to help them overcome their difficulties.  :)

Now with Clemantino, we also had a great cita with him.  He tells us that he's at about 80 percent sure that he needs to be baptized.  He just lacks a little bit.  But he's still praying and reading and having good experiences so we can't really complain there :)  He's had a ton of really good experiences with the spirit so we're really counting on him to go through :)

With the families Lucas and Armas we had some bad luck as far as citas go. With the family Armas we were going to go yesterday night but at about 5:30 the power went out in ALL of TLWIISETFSPPTGAATTPATDTDNAI and we couldn't go to their house due to that (have to be inside after dark if there's no power) and plus the way to their house is a little sketchy so we didn't want to do it with zero light ha ha.  But we're going to stop by tomorrow as well and see what they say.  We had agreed that they were going to read and pray and we were going to talk.

As far as the Family Lucas.  We couldn't meet with them but we did meet with just the dad and get him excited a little more.  We told him that if they come back and he puts some stuff in order that he could baptize his family and then in a year that they could go to the temple.  So he got pretty stoked about that.  We have an FHE with them tonight so we'll see what happens.

And I'm pretty sure that's the week.  Not super exciting but SUPER fast ha ha. We have to go to Huehue this week for interviews (we have em every 3 months ha ha) so wish me luck in that travel ha ha.  

LOVE YOU ALL!!!! Have a GREAT week, I look forward to reading the NOVELS I got from everyone today :) 

-Elder Westenskow

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Slow Week, But Still Working Hard 7/16/2012

First off, we finally found an Internet here that is fast enough to send photos so that's your present for this week! I've included a couple of a few kids from here that find it extremely funny to try on my glasses,

 a couple of a service we did breaking rocks to make sand, 

and one of me tortillando, proving that Nicole is not the only one that can do it by hand ;)

Now, to clear up the doubt about games, we're looking for games that can be played with a group, not too big but not too small, semi active but nothing that will make anyone sweat.  So there's that :)

Now, week update.  Little less happy that what y'all are probably expecting but there are still no fechas.  I don't know what it is about being me that just gives people the impulse to not accept a fecha ha ha. But, we're working hard.  And we're still more or less happy (learning to live better together) and life is a great thing :)  

Family Marroquin, they've been working a TON lately so we've been able to go do service a few times this week but as far as real teaching goes, that didn't really happen.  And they didn't come to church. I'm really scared they're getting cold but I don't know what more to do.  We have a legit fhe planned with them this week with a couple member families so I'll let y'all know how that goes and how they're doing next week :)

Pablo Vasquez, he JUST doesn't want to accept a fecha.  He told us this week (In these words) "I'm going to get baptized, but I'll let y'all or the elders in Huehue know when" LAME but he's super positive still, goes to church every week and all that stuff but holy cow he's giving us a hard time ha ha.  We've explained and testified and he's prayed and says he feels good about it all and that it's all true and that he'll be baptized, just not yet ha ha.  

Clemantino, he's back in the picture and SUPER positive.  The same thing, just doesn't want to say yes for sure to baptism, but we had an EXCELLENT cita with him on Saturday, one of the best I've had my entire mission and we left him to pray about if he should be baptized, but to ask very very specifically and he said he'd do it this week :) So that'll go through, just a matter of when :)  

The family Lucas, they're still legit, just struggling with working on Sundays. We went and showed them Together Forever this week and that movie talks about putting work before all else and how it'll destroy the family and they said that really impacted them a lot.  So we challenged them to talk about what they needed to do to be able to close next Sunday and come to church. So that'll be good if they go through with it, they know what they need to do, they just have to do it.  The good thing there, is that the kids really want to so hopefully they can talk their parents into something too :)  

The family Armas is still in the picture as well, we had an excellent cita about the Book of Mormon yesterday and they seemed really interested and we left them to read and pray.  We're pretty sure that the oldest daughter has already prayed and received an answer, but she's embarrassed or something (le da pena) to say it before her dad does, so really if we can get him, we can get everybody.  The good thing is that he's really focused in doing everything as a family.  He's said "if we're going to accept this, we're going to do it as a family" and that's a point in our favor.  

We also found a pretty positive family this week, the family Cruz. They're a reference from a member and apart from a HUGE preoccupation for why we can't tell him our first names he seems positive. He's recently had a desire to look for God awake in him and he started going to church (a different church) about a month ago which is so little time it hardly counts ha ha.  But he too is interested, it's just a matter if he prays and asks.  We're going there tonight and so I'll let you know about that :)  

Finally, we had some ideas this week to combat the blues that are being caused by a lame streak with investigators.  In 2 weeks we're going to have a talent show to try to find new investigators and in like 4 weeks were going to do a HUGE improvement activity.  We're going to OVERHAUL the church, clean everything, put flowers and stuff up so it actually looks like a church and clean up the yard around the church and to top it all off, we're going to be selling food to raise money for a temple trip for the members.  3 activities in one!  We presented it to the branch council yesterday and it was VERY well received.  So I'll let y'all know when that happens :) But life is good, the mission is better, and the church is true, so that's all good stuff :)

Stay healthy and stay well,
-Elder Westenskow

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New Investigators!! 7/9/2012

What is going on there in Utah town? All good things I sure do hope.  Things here are pretty darn dandy!    

Now, please give Ginger a big hug for me and a big kiss because I hate to hear about her being sad or in pain.  Also, I think everyone forgot my year mark ha ha, nobody said anything last week, but in case y'all missed it, I have a year in the mission ha ha.  GO ME!  Half way there!  And I'm sorry I was so terribly missed in Rock Band, when I get back I'll be sure to throw a BIG Rock Band party, I have ganas ha ha.  Adub and the Chicas will be reunited again!  

Now, to keep answering questions.  Mom asked a bunch about my comp.  Am I able to understand him now? More or less ha ha, if he gets on a roll, it's tough but for the most part, yes.  Is it more difficult to train an older comp? YES.  He does indeed have a hard time accepting direction or suggestions. Is he fun to be with? Sort of, depends on the day ha ha.  If he tries to be too funny holy moly but if he's just chill it's chill.  Is he a hard worker? To a certain point.  He tells me to slow down a lot ha ha.  

So there's that.  Now, investigators.  We had an excellent opportunity to do service this week making tamales and tortillas for a 15 years party (don't worry, we didn't go to the party) but like half of the people we visit were doing stuff to get it ready so we went to do service and got a couple citas out of it ha ha.  It was good :)  Next the Family Marroquin, some bad news there.  We challenged them to be baptized this week for the 21st but they said no.  They said they wanted more time to learn and experience and everything like that and we explained them everything and testified but they would not budge.  Then they didn't come to church yesterday, so we'll see what happens.  We're going to go see them tomorrow I think so I'll let y'all know, we haven't lost hope though!  

Now, we did find this week a super positive family.  The family Armas.  They're 5 people and they like the message a lot.  They're super intelligent.  We went with them and watched the Restoration movie yesterday and they definitely felt the spirit, they're going to pray this week and we're going back.  They also really liked the plan of salvation which we also taught them.  So they seem really great!

Next, we had a super duper cita with Clemantino (remember him?) and we pretty much just talked about the spirit, and how you recognize it and how you feel it and all that good stuff, EXCELLENT cita.  He described a couple experiences he had had with the spirit and we challenged him to be baptized but he said he'd thought about it but was still undecided.  So yeah, a lot of rejected baptismal invitations this week ha ha.  

That's the more part of the exciting stuff.  I'm really excited for this week, with the family Armas, Family Lucas, Family Marroquin, Clemantino, Pablo.  All of it, super ready to work crazy hard this week 
-Elder Westenskow

Thursday, July 5, 2012

One Year!! 7/2/2012

First off, a very big happy birthday to Brad today (That calendar sure does come in handy!) I wish you the best day ever and a very fantastic next year!  ONE YEAR OLDER AND WISER TOO as they say :)  Now, I have a request for all, we have a weekly activity in the branch and the Elders are expected to supply a game every week and my well of games is running dry, so any kind of game that you can play spending little or preferably nothing with a group of 15 to 35 people, please send them to me :) Thanks, y'all are great!

I was going to keep it a surprise but now it'll just be a thing y'all have to wait a year to see. When Elder Caceres left, we burned some of his clothes (More symbolic than practical) (and yes that's a dumb elder thing ha ha) BUT!  Inspired by the makeshift campfire (Which for some reason smelled heavily of bug spray ;)) and the time of year, I made a video version of what I could remember of Pioneer (Not sure what the song is exactly called but y'all know what I'm talking about ha ha) so there's that :)  

NOW, we had actually a great week!  We did some finding, teaching, helping, miracles, and all the stuff that's great about being an Elder.  First off, Edvin Rosenberg.  He's a SUPER DUPER hard investigator, says he doesn't believe in Christ, heaven, a life after this one.  Basically all the things that make the gospel great ha ha.  BUT, we managed to get a cita with him (the first elders to do so in quite some time) and just chatted with him, found out more about his beliefs and the promise of Jeffrey R Holland in PMG was proven, the things that he said highlighted gospel principles and we were able to share with him, it was great!  At the end he was like "hmm, who knows, you guys might actually convince me" and we were like, "We don't want to convince you, we want to help you have a spiritual experience to be able to be converted" and he liked that ha ha.  

Next, we had a super duper Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) with Hermana Cony, she's a super legit member.  It was going to start out with something small, just a few people to watch the Joseph Smith movie to help grow testimony of a less active lady.  However, word got out and we eventually just invited EVERYBODY pretty much.  We had investigators, less actives, recent converts 19 people in all.  The family Marroquin didn't come which bummed me out and worse, just as we were about to start, what happens? The power goes out!  I was kinda ticked just a little, but we ended up doing a group study of Alma 34 led by a less active lady named Vicky.  It turned out excellent!  

Next, the family Lucas.  I told the story last week how it was so hard to get a cita with them and it was just as hard to get a second cita, HOWEVER. We did it, and it was a dinner cita so all the better ha ha.  But they gave us dinner and then we read the Book of Mormon together (2 Nephi 31) and kinda did a group study with everyone opinioning and sharing their thoughts.  At the end, the mom, Norma, finally opened up and raised her doubt about the Book of Mormon, why we have it, why is it different, why we need it, its not the Bible.  Typical doubt, but we were so excited when she raised it.  Now, raising that doubt may not seem like a good thing to outsiders, but in the mission this shows a few things.  1. She understands what the Book of Mormon means. 2. She understands that whether or not its true makes a difference.  and 3. She is willing to find out.  All excellent steps.  Really a great cita that excited me very much. :)

Also, the family Marroquin.  The cita we had on Saturday was kinda weird because the wife was sick and the kids were doing stuff so it was just with Marvin.  But we offered the wife a blessing and she accepted so we anointed her and blessed her and it was good.  Next day they show up to church lookin good and all that good stuff and we ask the husband how is wife is doing and he says "Well, you probably won't believe me but when we woke up she was super stoked to come to church and I asked how she was feeling and she said ´well you won't believe this but the Elders healed me´" so that was pretty legit, I've never healed anyone before but now yes, really cool feeling and really large testimony of the power of the priesthood, ITS TRUE!!

We also got to visit this week a nice little place called Jacaltenango.  Its close to San Antonio and we're not allowed to go unless we have a very specific person to visit.  Well, the office called and told us they had an investigator from Jacal that studies in Xela and he was on vacations for a week and they wanted us to go visit him.  So we did and it was good and all that.  Now you may ask, why are we not allowed to go preach there? Well, the Catholic church kicked out the local government of the town and took over the municipalidad.  They don't permit missionaries of other churches to go to go door to door, only if we have someone specific.  And holy cow, I never realized this but you feel DIFFERENT in a place where the church doesn't exist and all of it, government and all is the catholic church.  Cool to visit but holy cow the spirit does not like that town ha ha.  

TO top it all off of such a great week, we had an attendance of 29 on Sunday.  Keep in mind, when I came the attendance was hovering between 17 and 19 and 29 is the highest its been since January of this year, its been slowly rising since I came and we almost broke 30 yesterday.  The best part is, it's an attendance that can be maintained.  When we leave, it's not going to drop like crazy.  HOORAY FOR SEEING BLESSINGS FROM HARD WORK!!!

Also I hit a year this last week.  Holy crap.

-Elder Westenstorm (mission nicknames rock)

I've included some pics from when we went to the ruins here in Huehue with  Elder Caceres.

Zaculeu Ruins

Andrew and Elder C