Elder Colton West

Elder Colton West


Monday, April 25, 2016

Week 78: The Craziest Changes of All

This last week has been a week!  We'll start with Sunday.  Sunday morning we went to bring people to church from Platanar, a cantón of Moncagua.  We woke up early to be there at 7:30 AM,  walked all over creation inviting everyone we know, but only three people could come.  It was kinda frustrating to have so few come after so much work, but at least we got people to church.

On Monday the Zone Leaders told us the changes.  

Drum roll please...............................................!!!!

I got sent to Berlin again!!!

It's something that doesn't happen much, but there is a reason for it.  I'll start from the beginning ...

When I left Berlín my companion, Elder Newey, received a brand new elder as his companion, Elder Sabán.  Fast forward a bit and Elder Sabán received an elder who was at the end of his mission as companion.  This last change Elder Sabán started having back problems.  They got so bad that the doctors said he needs to go home.  The same change that his companion finished his mission.......yeah, a bit difficult.  With both of the elders leaving, there are only two options.  Whitewash the area (put two elders who have never been there before to re-open the area), or send an elder who has served in the area before with a new companion.  And, as we can see, the Lord took the second option.  And thank goodness I'm back here.  The rest of the country is horrendously hot right now.

My new companion is Elder Hernandez, from Honduras.  He is new in the mission, just finished his training.  We get along very well, which is good.  A lot of Hondurans are a bit... difficult.  But he is a very good kid.  Very humble, very loving towards the people, and very faithful.

There is a ton of work for us here in Berlin.  Not only are we re-opening the Elders area, we also have to re-open the sisters area!  Yeah, they took the sisters out of Berlin.  One of the sister missionaries who was here last change got sent home, also for back problems!  Right now, there are way fewer missionaries in this mission than when I started, so President Vasquez didn't have anyone to send here.  So, the area was closed.  Elder Hood (one of the assistants now!) told me that part of the problem is that the church has opened several new missions, and as a result they are not sending quite as many missionaries to existing missions.  The other part of the problem is that we have had a lot of missionaries return home early for health problems

So, back to the summary of the week.  Tuesday was my first time going through the new changes.  What we do is pack our bags and take them with us on the bus.  Yeah, it's no fun at all.  Thankfully, our bus stopped right in front of the bus terminal.  When we get there, we wait for our new companion.  Once he's there, we get on another bus that takes us to the new area.  For me, things were a bit complicated.  I was supposed to be in a trio with Elder Sabán and Elder Hernandez until the Area Doctor approved sending Elder Sabán home.  However, Elder Hernandez's bus was late in arriving.  Super late.  We were worried that we wouldn't be able to make it to Berlin because the last bus leaves early, so I left for Berlin with Elder Sabán.  The assistants told us that they would send Elder Hernandez with our new district leader the next morning.

Wednesday morning we got a call from the assistants from the Central area of the mission, telling us that they were on their way to pick up Elder Sabán.  Which was a bit of a problem, because Elder Hernandez still hadn't arrived.  The Assistants ended up waiting at our house for an hour and a half.  When Elder Hernandez finally arrived in Berlin we took his stuff to the house and sent Elder Sabán off with the assistants.

Wednesday evening we spent visiting members who I know from last time, introducing my companion and setting appointments for them to take us to the houses of investigators of the other elders.

Thursday we got to see a man who I baptized in December, Rigoberto.  He's still going strong in the church!  We also visited a sister who was baptized shortly before I arrived in Berlin last time.  Thanks to her wonderful example of faith, her mother is investigating the church and wants to be baptized!

Friday we met our next investigators who will be baptized: the cousins of the Releif Society president (cousin and her boyfriend).  They are golden investigators!  Their baptism date is set for the 15th of May.

On Saturday we left with a member to visit the less-active members of Berlín.

And on Sunday we got to see the semi-remodeled chapel.  They have knocked down the walls separating the chapel from the classrooms so that the branch can fit in the chapel for sacrament meeting.  Since there are now no classrooms, the church has rented a house next to the chapel and remodeled it to host the Sunday School classes.

Sunday evening we went to visit a sister who was baptized almost a year ago, to see if she and her son can help us find investigators of the sister missionaries who were here.  Not only did she commit to do that, she also introduced us to her entire family, several of whom are willing to take the missionary discussions!

The work of the Lord is advancing here in Berlin.  When I was here last, sacramente meeting attendance was between 60 and 75 people.  Yesterday we had 84 people in attendance.  Before too terribly long Berlin will be a ward!

Time's up for us.  Thanks for reading!  Next week I'll tell you all about our area and the awesome new house that the elders moved to after I left.


Elder Colton West

El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission

At the Temple!

 Elder Tello and I outside the temple

 I FINALLY got a picture of the torogóz. 
It's the national bird of El Salvador, and are somewhat rare to see.
 I've seen several, but this was the first one that has
stayed still long enough to take a picture.

New suit!  Tailor made for $35 plus cost of fabric. 
Thanks Mom and Dad for an awesome birthday present.

According to the tradition of the Elders,
when an Elder completes 18 months in the mission,
he shall burn a pair of pants. 
I celebrated a few days early with a ruined pair of pants.

 New suit, new tie, same old elder!

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