Tuesday, August 25, 2015

I'm coming to know my Savior

I saw a dog fight.
We were charged by a dog from behind. Freaky
The missionaries say that here in Coyhaique the dogs jump like cats. Elder Bustamante showed me several pics he had of dogs on top of fences. I attached a picture of a dog on top of a house to give you the idea.

Every night I go to sleep with all of my winter gear on. It´s freezing. 

We had intercombios (companion exchanges). I was with Elder Peterson who is my zone leader. We knocked a door and nobody answered even though the chimney was smoking. Then he said we need to do service. So he started clearing dead grass. But her whole yard is dead grass. One dude walked by and asked us if we had permission. Elder Peterson told him that Christ said in the Bible what we do in secret will be recompensed in the open. The guy was like, “huh”, laughed and got in his car. Elder Peterson told him also that his grandma would be Disappointed in him if he didn´t do it. I of course found out what happened after, because all this was in Spanish. Haha

The Quinteros family is having their baby!!! We visited them in the hospital. Hermano Quinteros was the happiest man alive. He shook our hands and was beaming. I’ve never seen such happiness. Elder Ryan and I both got trunky for home and our future eternal families. The Lord gave both of us a glimpse at what we can have after our missions. We were giddy.

We have a baptismal date with Monica on Oct. 3. After that lesson, I felt kind of bummed because she has a LOT of work and changes to do. But this isn´t about if I´m comfortable or not. 

We also have an investigator named Jordana. She is golden. I mean golden. But our appointments with her always fall through because she has family obligations or our member doesn´t show up so we can´t teach her in her home. But her goodness makes me happy

I´m getting humbled. Straight up. I can´t understand. I can´t express myself. I feel alone. Missionary life is stressful. 24/7. It is never about you. It never ends. I thought I was depressed. But I realized it was the stress of the language. I’m learning new ways to cope with stress. But through all of this never ending agony, my Savior Jesus Christ is with me. He knows PERFECTLY how it feels. And even though I hardly feel comfort or relief in this test I´m going through, and I´m exhausted, cold, hungry, stressed, anxious, suffering, He is with me every step. Every step of these giant hills we walk every day, literally and metaphorically, I´m getting humbled. I´m coming to know my Savior in a way I never have before. I am catching a glimpse of what he went through. The other day I was passing through a neighborhood, and on every side, there are dogs, in the streets and behind fences. They were barking like savages. Biting at us behind the fences. I was tired, hungry, cold, exhausted. We had been rejected, nothing was working, everything fell through that day. And then these dogs were barking at us, Why? WHY? Don´t they know we are literal representatives of Jesus Christ? Why are they filled with a hatred. And then I was transported to the hill Golgatha, and I was Jesus Christ. And I was walking up a steep hill, with a cross on my shoulders, and I was hungry, and tired, and sore, and rejected too. And there were "dogs" barking at me on every side. But these dogs were men. Men I was suffering for, dying for. And why were they rejecting me? Did they not know I was their savior? I´m trying not to cry right now. 

Through all of my suffering, I´m coming to know my Savior. And even though it hurts, I can´t express my gratitude for Him. 

I testify, as a representative of Jesus Christ, that Jesus Christ is REAL. His atonement is real. It is accessible. Please be patient in your trials, suffer with Him. Come to know Him too. I love you all. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

To the family,
Life as a missionary is different. In Chile, everything is super expensive. It costs about ten dollars for a bottle of mouthwash, and eight for two toothbrushes. Houses in Chile don´t have heating or AC and sometimes it doesn´t feel like walls do anything for us. We only have breakfast, we eat lunch with a member, and then we tract through dinner. I´m adjusting. and it´s hard. But it´s awesome. My testimony is shooting deep roots down. Most missionaries in our mission have members do their laundry, but we have a washer. Except it is broken and doesn´t spin. So we have detergent stains on our clothes, and we wring out our clothes, and hang them to dry over our wood burning stove. Missions are the best. Here´s an analogy. Missions are LONG paths full of disappointment, frustration, sorrow, and hard things, haha. But they are also pebbled with invaluable little golden nuggets of lessons learned, testimony strengthened, and growth. I´m growing a lot. I mean, a LOT. And growth hurts and it´s hard. But it is always worth it, and God always helps us.

Elder West

Monday, August 17, 2015

Whoa. I'm in Chile.

Elders West & Ryan

Hey guys. I’m in Chile. Woot woot.
In the CCM they spoon-fed us Spanglish. Here they firehose me with Spanish. This is nuts. It doesn’t even sound like Spanish. I cried this morning haha.
I had a headache at lunch the other day because my brain couldn’t take the Spanish. I’m a chump haha.
Things about Chile-
I just saw a 3 legged dog
I just talked to two homeless guys with yellow fingers and rotted teeth
It always smells like smoke
For lunch I’ve had pizza with a layer of fish and tomatoes on top, tomatoes stuffed with rice
A lot of people here don’t have all of their teeth
Pan con chicharrones are amazing
They have black taxis with yellow roofs,
People’s door handles are in the middle of their doors like hobbit doors
Every house has a black fence around it
It’s cold and windy like Utah winters, but we are in it for multiple hours
Light switches are outside of rooms.

There’s this less active lady we are working with named Pamela. She is super funny and immediately associated me with Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.
I flew from Puerto Montt to Coyhaique, but my flight was delayed like five times no joke, so I made a friend named Carlos. He is 46 years old, and a devout catholic. We shared our beliefs, and I taught him about the restoration and gave him a Book of Mormon. He said he would read it. I felt the Spirit strong.
On the plane I made a friend with Raul, he is 18, and he lives in Coyhaique. I got his info and he lives in the area right next to mine so the missionaries will work with him. It is beautiful here. We are surrounded by mountains just like in Utah valley so that is a tender mercy. It is freezing, and every building is just as cold on the inside as it is outside.
My testimony of the Savior is growing. I love him. Anything I experience or have to go through doesn’t even come close to what He did. He loves me. Through his atonement I can do things I couldn’t do on my own. I love my Savior. I need him. Oh how I need him, and you need him, and we need him.
Right now, it’s weird. I’ve never felt happier, more overwhelmed, more loved, more confused, and more everything than I have ever felt in my life.
My trainer is Elder Ryan. He is a saint. I love him. He is perfect. Coyhaique is dead, and we are resurrecting this area. We have a lot of hope and faith and willingness to grind in and work. And I love it.
Moses chapter 6 verses 31-34 describes my mission, feelings, and hope all in three verses. I love this scripture.
I live in a house with another companionship. Elder Peterson is funny, totally reminds me of Tommy Johnson, and is from Orem. His comp Elder Bustamonte is from Columbia, and gave up his profession as a professional guitarist for his mission. I love them both.
Do you want to feel God’s love for you more in your life? Then read and apply John chapter 14 verses 15 and 21.
I love you all.
Elder West
View of Coyhaique and surrounding area

The following is an excerpt from a letter of the missionary, Elder Davis, who spent last Wednesday with Jacob in Osorno before he flew to Coyhaique on Thursday.  The sister of Elder Davis works with Jacob’s dad.  She shared the part of Elder Davis’ letter with his dad.
"This week 18 new elders and sisters came in from the MTC! And we got to have dinner and lunch with them, I taught them about the credit cards and rules of the money here on the mission. But I LOVE helping the new elders on their first two days in Chile. They are super excited, and ready to get out there and baptize the world haha. So one elder had a plane flight the next day to meet his companion. So he was my companion for a day. He randomly asked me “Is your sisters name Kira?” hahah. Just so happens that his dad works at Tahitian Noni/Morinda… the place Kira works at and his dad knows Kira. Elder West. We went out and I was showing him his first experience of Chile. Of course we contacted a crazy guy who told us to feel his muscles and saying he’s super muscular but really he’s scrawny so we bought him some food cause he doesn’t have a home. Then we knocked doors for like an hour or longer without a single person letting us in. I felt bad cause it’s his first day and everyone is slamming doors on us. So I prayed in my heart as I was walking that we could teach someone and I could show this new elder what we do as missionaries. Then God provided and this guy let us in his house saying, “I only have 2 minutes”. We ended up staying 45 minutes and taught the restoration. This new elder, full of excitement, invited the guy to get baptized right away haha. It was awesome! Sometimes as missionaries we can kind of lose the sight of our purpose and focus on other things. But really we are here to BAPTIZE and bring people to Christ. I’m thankful for the lessons I learned from this elder on his first day. The guy said he will come to church this Sunday."

Elders Davis & West with Pres. & Sister Obeso
View of two volcanoes (Osorno and Calbuco) from the Puerto Montt airport

A couple previous farewell photos of Jacob's district (4C) in the Mexico Missionary Training Center (CCM)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Email from President Obeso

August 13, 2015

Dear Family of Elder West,

We are pleased to inform that your son has arrived safe and sound and smiling to the Chile Osorno Mission.  It was a pleasure for us to greet your son upon his arrival and feel his desire to serve.  Enclosed is a picture that we took with him shortly after his arrival.  After a short period of orientation regarding mission procedures, customs of the country, etc., we assigned Elder West to work in the city of Coyhaique with Elder Ryan as his companion.  Your son's address during his time in the mission will be:

                                               Elder Jacob West
                                      Casilla 7-0
                                      Osorno, Chile

Sister Obeso and I love our missionaries and are truly happy to have the opportunity to work with Elder West.  We appreciate your willingness to share him with us as he works as a missionary and ambassador for the Lord in Chile.  Sharing the gospel with these deserving children of our Father in Heaven will certainly bring great joy and satisfaction to him, and to you as well.  Thank you so much for helping him get to this point.

Please write him regularly–at least once a week.  Your love, interest, and support will be of great help to him.  Should there be any emergency or if you desire information regarding any urgent situation, please feel free to contact the Missionary Department in Salt Lake City rather than go to the expense of phoning the mission here in Chile.

The missionary work is progressing rapidly here in southern Chile, and I hope that you will share in his exciting mission experience as Elder West writes to you weekly and keeps you informed of his challenges and achievements and experiences.


President Rodrigo Obeso

Safe Arrival in Osorno, Chile

Yesterday, August 12, we received an email from the Osorno mission office which contained the following scanned copy of a letter from Jacob.  His first area is Coyhaique, Chile.  His trainer is Elder Ryan from Kaysville, Utah.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Fin de semana seis

August 6, 2015
There are two things that are talked about and quoted most here at the CCM, the Gospel and...Nacho Libre.
This week has been, nuts, fun, the same as usual, and as always, filled with growth and an abundance of the Spirit.
We have our flight info! We fly out on Monday, from Mexico City to Santiago, have a 6 hour layover, and then fly to Osorno. We packed today.
Last night I was pretty bummed about Spanish. We are learning subjunctives right now and all of my example sentences I made in class needed correction, and I was tired, and a bit discouraged. That day I prayed for help with Spanish, not for myself, but so I can be an instrument in God's hand in blessing his children. I felt comfort, because I know God will help me, because I'm learning Spanish for others.
I just had an experience. A wife of the second counselor in the CCM presidency was with me, Presidente Tenorio, his wife, and Elders Shobe, Woolley, and Boggs. I was speaking with Presidente Tenorio in my rookie Spanish, jk it’s a'ight, and the second counselor's wife came and heard me. She asked me where I learned my Spanish. I said here in the CCM. She then said this is a miracle. Because I spoke well, and I had the accent and everything. That was a TM to me, because in this moment the Lord showed me how he is helping me, and that I am progressing, even when it doesn't feel that way.
We saw a clip of a devotional at BYU Idaho where Elder Bednar spoke about how we can know if promptings we get are our own or from the Spirit. To this question he said: Quit worrying about it! Press forward, do your best, it works out. As long as we are
1. being a good boy or girl,
2. honoring our covenants,
3. keeping the commandments and
4. doing our best,
our life will be guided to do God's work, He will place you where you need to be, guide you to people and experiences you need to have, and most of the time you will never know it is happening that way. In the culture of our church we feel we need to know exactly why, before we follow a prompting, but we don't.
I have an experience with this. I was in a lesson, and I felt I needed to share a scripture, and I picked up my scriptures, and everyone was staring at me, and I didn't know what I was doing, and I was flipping through the pages, and then I saw Alma. I remembered the 2,000 stripling warriors. I remembered their example of faith. I remembered where it was. And I was able to help our investigator.
Sometimes we have thoughts pop into our mind to do something. And we don't see it as a prompting. Just like I had the thought to share all of this with you. But I recognized it as a prompting later. This also applies to priesthood blessings.
The priesthood is a lot like Thor. Yes, Thor. The hammer represents priesthood power. Being able to pick up the hammer represents worthiness. For blessings, sometimes what is in your mind from study and experiences we've had or are having, or things we've learned, are what we need to say. Those things are there for Heavenly Father to draw from, and He has given you those studies, insights, thoughts, experiences to bless the person you're blessing. Is it me or the Spirit? Quit worrying about it. Again, just be a good boy or girl, strive to honor your covenants, keep the commandments, and do your best, and then what you say and do will be guided.
1 Nephi 4:6 "And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do."
Also, do your prayers stink? I learned how to remedy this! To improve the quality of our prayers we need to give something to God. Don't only take and ask. In your prayers, focus on others. Talk with God. With our friends we don't take, take, take and ask, ask, ask. We tell them experiences, stories, and funny jokes. Do the same with God. In our prayers ask god what HE would want us to do, or what HE would want us to change. Forget yourself. Ask for what the Spirit gives you to ask for.
Also, something I've learned is to say hi and talk to as many people as possible. The more I do this, the more God is able to help His children feel His love, and His life, through me.
I love my mission with everything I have. I know I am a representative of Jesus Christ. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is true. I know God has a plan for all of us, for you. He loves YOU. He hears YOUR prayers. He is guiding YOUR life. He is looking out for YOU. God works on an individual level. I know that is true.
God be with you till we meet again,
Elder West

PS.  Pics of me, Elder Boggs, with Presidente Tenorio and his wife [above]. And my companion’s hand covered in mosquito bites [below]. It's a legit problem here. They especially like my companion.


From a previous short email last week about Jacob's daily schedule at the CCM:
Our day goes like this. Breakfast. Hour of personal study. Language class. Missionary fundamentals. Lunch. Computer lab language. Personal language study. Exercise time. Daily planning. Dinner. Then another language class. Then a progressing investigator. Then more class. Then bed.

Also from last week:
It also rained and hailed, so we tested out our Chile rain gear.