Elder Colton West

Elder Colton West

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Week 65: You Are the Message!

Hello Everyone!

This week was AWESOME!  We had the Worldwide Missionary Broadcast and a mission conference all in the same week!  We'll start with the Missionary Broadcast, since that happened first.

In the missionary broadcast various general authorities gave training on different aspects of missionary work.  One that stood out most to me was given by... well, this is embarassing.  I don't remember the name of the Elder who gave the training...  Anyways, he taught that we should teach less active or inactive members the same way that we teach investigators.  In meditating about that, I realized that at the core our goal with less active members is the same that it is with investigators: to help them to feel the Spirit.  So it makes sense that we should teach them the same way.

Now, for my favorite part: the mission conference.  This week's mission conference was presided by none other than Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve.  Also present were Elder Adrian Ochoa of the Area Presidency and Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy.

Various topics were discussed, and powerful testimonies were shared.  The email title of this week comes from Elder Cook's message to us.  He said "You (the missionaries) are the message."  He then explained that we are the Lord's messangers, yes, but that we also are the message.  When we act in a manner that shows a Christlike attitude and a Christlike life we become the message to the people.

To end the conference, Elder Cook shared an experience about a college student who asked him why the members of the Quorum of the Twelve aren't more direct with their testimonies.  Elder Cook explained that much of the testimony of an apostle is sacred and personal, and that they do not feel that it is correct to share such things with the world.  He then added that he felt impressed to be more direct with us, the missionaries of El Salvador.  Elder Cook shared a truly apostolic testimony with us.  As I shared after President Nelson visited us, the members of the Quorum of the Twelve are Apostles in every sense of the word.  They are witnesses of the divinity of Jesus Christ every bit as much as Peter, James, John, and the rest of the original Twelve.  I know it, because the Holy Spirit of God has made it known unto me, confirming and strengthening the testimony that I received a few short months ago.  For those who do not share my belief, I invite you to listen to their talks from any session of General Conference.  Ponder what they say, study it, and ask God.  He will tell you.  I should know; He told me.


Love,
Elder Colton West

El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission

I "borrowed" this hat from the husband of the
sister that cooks for us.
It's super cool!

Another picture of Zona La Union

A dead scorpion.  Photo taken shortly after it stung me, and my companion killed it.
This little guy got into my dirty laundry, and when I was washing socks I grabbed it by the tail,
thinking it was a piece of grass.  I realized what it was when I pulled it out of the water
 and it stung me in the thumb.  The silver lining to this cloud is that the
 scorpion was already half-drowned, so it didn't inject very much venom. 
It still hurt though.

A giant starfish. They live in the ocean down here.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Week 64: Pupusas! Tres por el dolar!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you heard right.  Pupusas!!!  I made pupusas this week.  A less active family invited me and my companion to make pupusas with them.  And I took the opportunity to ask the mom of the family to teach me how to make them.  Oriente pupusas are different from San Salvador pupusas.  From what I've seen people make pupusas the same way that they make tortillas.  Here in Oriente they use a circular sheet of plastic to make relatively thin tortillas (and pupusas.  That is very different from the way they do things in San Salvador.  The good thing is that the pupusas are still extremely delicious.

This week we also found a ton of new investigators.  15 to be exact.  It is awesome finding more people to teach.  It's something that I don't always like doing here, looking for new investigators.  We had a cool experience on Sunday though.  We were short of meeting our goal of 12.  We made plans to go and contact in part of our area that we hadn't worked in.  In all of our prayers that day, we prayed for help finding new investigators.  When we went out to work, we couldn't seem to find an open door.  We went around searching for a while, and finally felt prompted to talk to a family in a certain house.  We did, and found five new investigators there.  Then, when we went to our next appointment, we found another two investigators.  That gave us the total of 15!

Well, my time ran out...  Gotta go.  Love you all!  Talk to you next week!

Love,
Elder Colton West

El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission

Zona La Union, La Mejor!
(La Union Zone, The Best!)

PANCAKES!!!

Making pupusas

The finished product. Yum!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Week 63: The Empire Strikes Back

Hey everyone!
This week was a fun one.  It's been a bit eventful.  Tuesday afternoon I got slammed by a category 5 migraine.  After 8 months of peace, they're back.  And with a vengance.  This one put me down and out for a full day of work, required a second dose of prescription meds, and I spent the next three days taking Excedrin like candy to manage the aftershock headaches.  Hopefully they won't all be that bad.
On the bright side, we had MultiZone Conference this week.  It was a time of instruction and correction.  The Assistants to President Vasquez taught us a new way of teaching our new contacts (Lesson 0 as we call it) that works extremely well.  President Vasquez taught us a new way of looking at the Atonement and how our repentance works.  And they gave a bit of correction to help with a few little problems that have popped up in the mission.
Well, time's up for this week.  I forgot my card reader, so I can't upload pictures today.  There should be some good ones next week because we're headed out to have lunch at a place called Conchagua, which I have been told is very scenic.
Have an awesome week!

Love,

Elder Colton West

El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission

Editor's Pick: since no new pics from Elder West this week I thought
I'd share one of my faves. This is from Dec 2014 when he arrived at
the ESSSE mission home from the Guatemala MTC.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Week 62: R.O.U.S.s DO Exist!

Dear friends and family,
I have discovered where the author of "The Princess Bride" got the idea for the ROUS (Rodents Of Unusual Size).  He got it here, in Central America.  In this lovely little part of the world, ROUSs are real.  They're called taquac√≠n, and we had one in the house this week.  Thankfully, they don't jump from trees to ambush people.  I doubt that I have the same rodent-killing skills as the Dread Pirate Roberts.  The ROUS that visits our house just destroys garbage bags looking for food.  I am going to try to kill it next time I see it though.
The work continues progressing here.  We found 11 new investigators this week, three of whom accepted baptism dates.  Right now we have four investigators with baptism dates, and are planning to put more this week.  I also want to start visiting some of the towns here in my area.  We have a lot of small towns that are within the boundaries of the branch that haven't been worked in, so there's a lot of potential there.  We'll just have to see.
Thankfully, I did get some sleep this week.  To my great surprise the fireworks on New Year's Eve didn't keep me up all night!
Well, that's all for this week.  I can't send photos right now, because the computer I'm using doesn't have a working USB port.  Lame, I know.  Next week there will be photos, don't worry.
Have an awesome week!

Love,
Elder Colton West

El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission

Editor's pick! This is from the mission Christmas celebration
and was shared to us on Facebook by the mission president's wife.
Elder West is on the top row, far right end.