Elder Colton West

Elder Colton West


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Week 69: A Strange Thing in the Land

 The view from the street right outside of my new house. 
That's the Chaparristique Volcano, a.k.a. as the San Miguel Volcano. 
It looks all nice and peaceful now, but it's an active volcano. 
About every 6-12 months it starts spitting out dust and volcanic gas
and causes large tremors (or small earthquakes, depending on your point of view).

Hello everyone,

Well, this week in Santa Rosa was very interesting.  Wednesday, we had Zone Conference in the morning, and a branch activity in the evening.  The activity was fun; it was an open house of the chapel.  We (the missionaries) planned it and we (the missionaries) gave a tour of the chapel, explaining what we do in the different parts of the building.  I enjoyed my participation there.  I explained about the baptismal font and about the Primary's Valiant class (there's only one here).  We were actually able to get a few investigators to come, thanks to an awesome less active sister who accompanied them.

The rest of the week was work as usual.  Look for people, find people, teach people, teach some more, walk to other appointments, teach some more, walk, teach, walk, teach, etc.  Our golden investigator, José, moved to the area of the other elders.  I was a bit sad that I don't get to teach him any more, but it's really the best thing that could have happened.  It is now a lot easier for him to come to church, because he lives fairly close to the Releif Society president and her family.

So, now we're going to start with the strange.  Yesterday, the Rama Santa Rosa de Lima had the lowest attendance in my time there.  37 people came to church, in total, with one investigator present.  We have no idea what in the world happened.

And now, the strangest thing in the land of Santa Rosa.  My companion and I are no longer in Santa Rosa.  We got emergency transferred.  We are now serving in the land of Moncagua.  Once upon a time, Moncagua was one of the most successful areas in the mission.  Baptisms were frequent, work was constant, and there were three companionships in the ward.  Today, Moncagua is very different.  The sister missionaries got taken out a few weeks ago, and they were the only ones there.  The area has had two or three weeks of rest from missionary work.  On the bright side, the ward leaders are excited beyond belief to have elders again.  We spent all evening yesterday touring the area with the bishop and the ex-bishop (he's now a counselor in the Stake Presidency).  They took us around to meet as many of the auxiliary presidents as we could find, plus some other members who are willing and able to help with the work.

I hope that I get to stay in Moncagua for a long time.  There is so much work to be done here.  Our working area here is roughly the size of my entire area in Santa Rosa.  There are tons of people here, and tons of members.  We have goals of four baptisms in March and six in April.  My vision is that by the end of 2016 Moncagua can be the missionary powerhouse that it was when I got here: three companionships, Zona Bautizadora (highest baptizing zone) and one of the highest-baptizing areas in the entire country, weekly church attendance close to 200 members.  And we're going to do it.  God put me here for a reason.  It's because He knows that my companion and I are going to work like crazy to get done what He wants done here.  I look forward to telling you all about it in the weeks to come.

Oh, and one fun fact about this area: my ex-companion Elder Hernandez is the district leader!

Well folks, I'm out of stuff to tell you about.  So why don't you all tell me about your week?  Don't let any of those silly thoughts like "he's a missonary, he doesn't have time to read about my life" or "my life isn't nearly as exciting as a missionary's life" get in your way.  I want to hear about what is going on back in the States!  Specifically, to you people who I write to! 

Well, time's up.  Talk to you later!


Elder Colton West

El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission

Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 68: The Dread Pirate West

I have officially joined the ranks of great men such as the Dread Pirate Roberts.  I have slain a ROUS!  We came home a couple of nights ago, and my companion saw it in the patio.  He told me it was there, turned on the lights, and I killed it with my machete.  Our lost bread has been avenged.  I will say, those things are hard to kill.  But it's gone, and our bread can rest in peace.

Other than killing rodents, we've gotten up to a lot of teaching this week.  11 new investigators, and 5 in Sacrament meeting.  It was awesome!
Well, I've run out of time.  I had a lot of personal emails come in this week, and I've been trying to answer all of them.  Thanks for your patience with me.  I'll write more next week!


Elder Colton West

El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission


He's dead, Jim!

My Preach My Gospel was falling apart
(one district meeting too many!)
So I fixed it. Hardcover PMG. It's awesome!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Week 67: This is War! (and beach pics from last week)

Well, this has been an interesting week.  My companion, Elder Hernandez had changes!  With the new way of doing changes, it was rather strange.  We just went down to the bus stop with his suitcases and sent him off with the other elder who had changes.  I stayed here with the other elder who stayed.  A few hours later our new companions came, so we went back to the bus stop to take them to their new homes.  It will be very strange doing that when I get transferred...

So, my new companion is Elder Tello.  He's from Huehuetenango, Guatemala (say that five times fast!).  We have actually been in the same zone before!  He was in the area next to mine while I was in Zona Ilopango.  So far so good; we get along well and teach together well.

We've already had a bit of adventure in this change.  Remember how I told you about the ROUS (taquacín) that visits our house sometimes?  Yeah, he's back.  And he ate nearly a whole loaf of bread.  I'm not sure how he did it, but the ROUS managed to get on top of the kitchen table and drag the loaf of bread to the other side of the house while we were sleeping.  Photos below.

So, last week... Well, for P-day the zone leaders took us to the beach.  We went to a place called Playitas (Little Beaches).  Yes, the beach was small.  But it was a very nice, clean beach.  Honestly, we didn't do a whole lot there.  Took pictures, smelled the salt in the air, ate lunch, and relaxed in hammocks.  But it was super fun to just have a day off.  Beach pictures have already been sent off.

So right now we have a golden investigator.  His name is José.  He lives in a cantón about 45 minutes away from town.  We found him walking down the dirt road to his house, and shared a short message with him and set a return appointment.  We've taught him about the Restoration of the Gospel and the Book of Mormon.  From the beginning he has accepted our messages without any of the typical "I'm catholic" or "I'm evangelical" excuses that people here typically give.  Every time we commit him to read and pray, he does it.  And every time he prays, he gets answers.  He says that the Lord has confirmed to him that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and that he needs to listen to the message that we have for him.  It is amazing and so very wonderful to have an investigator like José.  The only bad thing is that he might be moving to the other elders' area in Santa Rosa.  However, if he does move that will make it a lot easier for him to go to church on sundays.  We'll just have to wait and see what the Lord has in store for him.

Well, that's all for now.  Have an awesome week!  Say your prayers, read your scriptures, and always search for the hand of the Lord in your day!  It makes life so much sweeter being able to see the Lord working with you every step of the way.

¡Hasta luego!

Elder Colton West

El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission

Elder West a "Playitas" (Little Beaches)

Elder West was here!

Elder Hernandez & Elder West

A much deserved day off.

The bread was here

We found it here

As you can see, Elder Tello was not very happy about it
Elder Tello and I have taken advantage of the hour we have between finishing
daily planning and bedtime to make the house a bit more of a home.
The pictures you see are cut out from old Liahona magazines.
(The Liahona is the spanish-version of our churches official monthly magazine
with inspired articles from church leaders and members)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Week #66 Hurts like a playa

Yeah, this is going to be a bit painful.  I don't have time to write this week.  We had a super awesome P-day at the beach!  Unfortunately, our ride back was a bit... delayed.  So I literally have no time to write, because I still have to take an hour and a half long bus ride back to my area.  However, I will tell you all about it next week.

Sorry for leaving you hanging!


Elder Colton West
El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission

Wonderful P-day at the beach