Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Week 17 - I'm getting fat

First off, shout out to Brother Bennett and Brother Lowder, my mission prep teachers. Doing the practices are the things that have helped me out the most.
One night we sat on a bench to eat a sack dinner. I left my bag on the ground. The next thing I knew there was a dog with its mouth in my bag and it ran off with my bread! DOGS ARE VULTURES.
Right now, to just spice up life I’m writing a poem about dogs and reasons they bark. I’ll publish it in a week or two.
More about dogs: Those two dogs I wrote about forever ago that follow us everywhere, when they follow us, all of the dogs in Coyhaique go crazy and we can’t hear people when we are talking to them. And other dogs attack them, so they try to hide behind us, which means we get an angry dog up in our grill. So we are still throwing rocks and locking them in our fence so they can’t follow us around all day. We call them Dill (brown one) and Squirtle (black one).
Today, we did some chores to get my visa coming along.
We are teaching two menos activos English for service.
It’s now week 6 in the cambio. I’ll find out if I’m getting transferred on Monday of next week. Pretty sure I’m staying. It is also week 12 of my training. After this week, I will be fully trained! Spanish is always coming along. Sometimes when I’m speaking English, Spanish words slip in which is pretty frustrating and cool at the same time. I had a conversation about the political viewpoints of a project for water and electricity going on in Aysen, in Spanish. I understood enough to get the gist of it.
So many times this week, I have crashed onto my bed at the end of the day. My feet and back kill me from walking all day, but I feel happy because we are doing good things. Missions are hard. I’ve never walked for about 9 hours every day before.
Many times throughout the week, I feel down or super happy. When I’m down, I know that means I’m going to have an awesome experience pretty soon, or the Spirit is going to comfort me, or I’m going to feel energized. God is so good. Life is always really good, or only going to get better.
An investigator said she wants to be baptized and is going talk with her pareja to see if they will separate or get married. But she didn’t come to church.
In a conference talk we were listening to, I heard the line, "it will all make sense in the end." The Spirit comforted me with the amount of success I’ve had in my mission to this point. I know that God fulfills His promises He has made to us. It will all make sense in the end.
In our zone leadership meeting we all shared our testimonies of Christ at the end. So powerful. All representatives of Jesus Christ testifying of Him and all living in a selfless manner and keeping their temple covenants equals POWER. Tangible power.
On Sunday, as I took the sacrament, it felt like I was in the temple. Even though I can’t go for two years, I felt like I was in the temple during the sacrament. It felt that way because I thought about my covenants throughout the week, about Jesus Christ, and I prayed for help to be prepared to take it and renew my baptismal covenant.
Yesterday, we taught a woman and her son-in-law. His wife left for Santiago for emergency chemotherapy. We showed up to teach them about the restoration and baptism. But the lesson went a different direction. They unloaded to us all of their stresses, doubts, financial burdens, and everything that is just weighing them down. Then the asked us, US!, what to do. We are just two 20 and 18 year old boys from Utah. But the spirit magnifies us in our calling. We just listened to them and shared with them comfort and strength scriptures. I felt the spirit testify to them when I spoke.
I prayed and asked God to bless me to know that He is aware of me. We were waiting to see if a door contact would answer, and I looked at a wild rose bush. The leaves were so detailed. There was little fuzz, divots, they were so green, and the Spirit struck me and told me: “if God has SO MUCH concern to design and detail a little wild and unkempt rose bush plant that is growing outside of a fence in southern Chile, then HE IS AWARE OF ME. HIS SON.” He will not forget or forsake us. Just like he detailed and designed that plant, he will do the same that much more for my life.
We were walking the other day on a street, and there were some teenaged gangsters sitting on a bench. They called out some stuff at us, and the only word I could hear was "Mormons." They must have that that Elder West was going to keep on walking and that he would be embarrassed. And they would have a good old laugh and then slap and tickle each other. But NO. Before my mission, I was passive a bit, but I have now come to have some red personality in me. When they said that, I was not going to let them mock representatives of Jesus Christ. We hadn’t talked to enough people that day either. I walked right up to them and they started laughing. I shook their hands and told them why we are here and what our message is about. They all turned out to be like 14 or 16 years old. They laughed so hard to blow off their discomfort. I felt guided to tell them that God loves them and he wants to give us guidance in our lives. They just laughed and said that is the kind of stuff their grandma believes in. I could tell one kid was uncomfortable. He probably had good parents teach him. He will remember that experience with us. I could tell that they were all really uncomfortable. But I felt power in that moment because I defended the truth. I looked at my companion Elder Lawton, and I saw a man, a priesthood man. And none of those "cool" kids could even touch that. This is the Lords work. I testify of that.
1 John 4:4

Elder West
Jacob's missionary planner with a President Hinckley quote

Monday, October 19, 2015

Weird Week--week 16

This week was straight weird.
I was actually bitten by a dog this week. He was a shrimp though and it didn’t even hurt. But hey, a bite is a bite.
We contacted this guy in the street. As we approached him we saw he was limp walking, which means he had a deformity or was drunk or both. I thought he was drunk. When we shook his hand he looked at us, and his face looked kind of torn up and bloody a bit. He was like "I’m going to my house. I just got hit by a truck." Then he left us there speechless.
We also saw domestic violence in the street. A guy and a lady were fighting. The lady was hitting him and screaming and he was trying to make her go to his house. There was a little girl with them and she was just screaming and crying. The lady came up to us and kept telling me "ayudáme, ayudáme." At least I knew that phrase from Dora the Explorer. I had NO idea what to do so I just said a silent prayer. The ywere arguing their cases in front of us. They were all up in our grills, and we just stood there. They left when the saw that we had no idea what to do. We called the carabineros [police] after.
We talked with a Jewish man. His parents left Germany when persecution got bad in WW2. We also talked with a Muslim from Algeria. He speaks Spanish, French, Arabic, and English perfectly. He was super cool. 32 years old. Way chill.
Last p-day, we made completos [Chilean hot dogs].

I’m now exercising 30 minutes every day. Hermana Obeso told us we should all do that. I’m rushing so hard in the mornings.
There is a little girl in a park that we pass by often. We stopped to make phone calls and she came up to us to talk. She is 6 years old, and looks just like my little sister Rebecca, except Chilean. We talked. She rode her bike away. I cried a bit because she was Just like Rebecca. Such a tender mercy. No, I’m not homesick, no sarcasm there.
An antiguo investigador [former investigator] let us in to talk. Her name in our phone contacts is "gato lady", but I didn’t know why. I now know. There were 9 cats, but only 17 eyes. One was like a cyclops. During our lesson they were climbing all over me and scratching me. It was hard to focus. But as we focused, we felt the Spirit and we invited her to baptism. She didn’t accept, but she wants to learn more before she says yes. I felt the Spirit testify to her. She understood profetas [prophets] really well and she commented on how excited and happy I was as I shared.
As I have put more focus on studying for questions our investigators might have, I feel the Spirit so much stronger in my study, especially with Moroni 9 and that whole context of that chapter. And then vs. 25 and 26 hit me so hard, and I was crying.
Lee told us that even though he has a critical mind, he is convinced that it was prayer that helped him be happy with his situation here in Chile.
We are now eating lunches with members. The members here are golden and so faithful.
We are teaching Ricardo and Lorenza. We taught them the plan of salvation and shared Alma 7: 11-13. They loved it. I kept thinking throughout the day that we needed to visit them even though they weren’t in our plans. I now know it was the Spirit.
God loves us. He hears our prayers. Even when it doesn’t feel that way. I know that is true.

Elder West

Somebody's pet rock (in espanol)

Monday, October 12, 2015

'Notha week en Octubre

Horse drawn cart in Coyhaique.

Dogs: we saw a dog jump 20 times like a kangaroo about 4 feet into the air. At one point, we had 10 dogs within 5 feet of us. I wouldn't believe it if I didn't experience it. At another point, we had 4 dogs and 2 cats within 3 feet of us. On an intercombio with AP Elder Nogales at a door contact, a dog was barking at me. It was on a hill right by the fence, and our faces were 1 ft. away. His barks were like concussions through my body. I could feel its breath on my face, and its breath reaked. I'm feeding Judas hotdogs now. He still barks like crazy and tries to eat me through the fence, but my feelings towards him have changed. Service lesson of the day for you right there.

We contacted a lady in the street, and the top of her head reached the bottom of my rib cage. 

I pause so many times here because it is so beautiful. Just like Walter Mitty. So blessed to preach the gospel in PATAGONIA.

We found a golden family. We meet up with them this week. They are teaching their kids to pray.

We have been challenged to read the Book of Mormon in three months. I'm reading it before the end of the year. That book is so true. I started on Tuesday to read the scriptures in only Spanish. I understand maybe 80 percent, until I arrived at the Isaiah chapters, haha. I had two conversations this week with Chileans that I walked away from and went "Whoa, I understood all of that, an d they understood me!" Spanish is coming.

Elder Lawton is so great for me. He is helping me with my Spanish, dealing with stress, being myself at all times, and speaking up. We've had to run to the house a bunch at nights to get home on time at 9:30.

Jordana is now living in our sector again!!! Joel is completing his compromisos.

Experiences: At one point there was a Chile soccer game. NO ONE would even come to the door. One guy did, and he was evangelico. He just went off on this rant about "the gospel". I was just standing there, and my mind was elsewhere. Then I realized he is a child of God that is precious to God. I couldn't help but love that guy so much. He didn't know what he was missing, how we could help him. I loved him so much. We left, and, afterward, I felt like crying. I'm so grateful I can help people here.

We talked with a guy, and he just told us all of his marital problems.  Then he asked me what he should do. In that moment I felt like "Whoa, I'm just 18 and I have no marital experience and no idea how to help him". Then the Spirit reminded me that I am a representative of Jesus Christ. And if I open my mouth, it will be filled. I did, and it was filled. We counseled him to pray. He has been, and a completely new light has come into his life. He now has perspective, happiness, and patience.

We were rejected a lot one day, and that night I read 1 Nephi 2: 18-20. The Spirit rocked me and told me that these verses apply to me and I don´t need to worry about anything. I have been faithful, and God will take care of me.

I love you all so much. Ponderize 1 Nephi 17:3 with me this week.

Elder West

sent from a rented Chilean computer

After having to run home at night.

A model dog.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Week 14, Conference

Eating Nalca Root (a type of Chilean Rhubarb)

After trying nalca

For missionaries, conference is bigger than Christmas. I've never had a more enriching conference experience. And conference made me trunky for all of my conference memories with family, priesthood session, and going to it last April.

Last preparation day we made stir fry. Elder Watson bet me I couldn't eat my whole bowl. Well I put him in his place and he is now washing my dishes for the month of October :).   [Jacob later added that he will never actually require him to do them, since his mom's teachings are to engrained in him].

I ate horse.

After the session of conference where the apostles were announced, we watched the press conference with a question and answer session. A reporter from the Associated Press asked them what the biggest problem was that the Church faced and what they were going to do about it. Then he sat down with a smug, arrogant smile on his face. Then Elder Rasband answered that this is the reason why we have conference, and all the answers are there. It was an answer guided by the Spirit, and it wasn’t contentious.

This Friday we have zone conference with Presidente Obeso. Joel is progressing and Lee came to conference.

I can understand more now. Not everything. But it is only getting better. I’m grateful for what I can say and for what I can understand.

I had the question in my morning study today of how can I be happy even when I need to do something hard. All of the scriptures pointed me to Jesus Christ and how through Him we can have joy in every situation. My invitation to you all is to look to Christ when you want to feel happy. Ponder on His sacrifice, what you can do through His atonement, what blessings we can enjoy because of the atonement, His example, and His love for you. Things will get better. I testify that Jesus Christ is exactly who He said He was: Jesus Christ, YOUR redeemer. He did what he said He would do. And that gift to us is priceless. I testify that He works on a personal level.

Elder West


Dad: in conference with Elder Bradley D Foster and his talk about “I was once your age. I’ll tell you what you might experience. And then I’ll help you through it”, that talk hit me like a load of bricks. I thought about you so much. I. LOVE. YOU. Last letter you talked about maybe hanging back on advice after my mission because I’ll be my own man. But I love you, and I want your advice and help. I’m opening up right now the line for all of your advice. Please let me know what you experienced and how it helped you. I love you.

Mom, Grandma, Allison- thank you for being the kind of women in my life that Elder Nelson talked about.

Mom and Dad- birthday stuff. Chao no más. Anything is good. I just want to hear from each of you individually. Thank you for your prayers. Dad, thank you for playing with the kids even when you are tired. Mom, thank you for sending me the emails about what experiences the family is having. It makes me feel at home. Mom, Dad: I want to charge this with as much emotional energy as possible- the Spirit hit me so hard during conference with gratitude for you both. I am on my knees every morning and evening pleading on behalf of my beloved mother and father and thanking my blessed Father in Heaven-without words strong enough to communicate- for my parents. YOU. ARE. EVERYTHING. TO. ME. I love you. I am blessed above all to call you my parents.

Mom, I just want to cook with you when I get home. I love you so much. Elder Holland’s mother talk is on point. I love you.

Allison- I needed your email last week. Every week I almost cry when I read yours because I’m so happy about the woman you are becoming and the good choices you are making. You are an example to me. In what ways have you seen our family be blessed while I’m serving? I’ve never loved you more Allison than I have while I’m out here. Look up "Trust in the Lord" by Elder Scott. It is a great talk. Family is the most important thing. The Lord has drilled that to my core while I’m out here. I will be different with my relationships when I get back. I’ll put more into them. Before your mission, strengthen them too. I love you so much Allison.

Then the rest of the niños- listen to and obey mom and dad, even when it seems dumb because they know what´s up. Don’t wait until you are on a mission in southern Chile to see that. I love you all. Thank you for your emails. I pray for you. Please be kind to each other and spend time with each other. Laugh together. Go to the park together. Play games together (not video games, I mean the old school kind of games), and cook together.

I love you family!!!!