Elder Colton West

Elder Colton West


Monday, May 16, 2016

Week 81: Sayonora Normas de Excelencia

Hey all!

Sorry about the lack of email-age last week.  Like I said, I had to write a report about one of my ex-companions.  He may end up getting sent home early.  Tough stuff, but that's what happens sometime.

Other than all of that craziness, things have been going very well for us.  We are getting tons of references from the members here in Berlin.  And not just references, super positive references.  People who actually want to learn about the church!  It's awesome.  Just this week we received 21 references, 10 of which were fom members!

We're working on preparing people for baptism as well.  Right now we're working with Arturo, who has been investigating the church for about 6 months now.  He's already received all of the missionary discussions several times, and has overcome difficulties with alcohol, tobacco and coffee.  We're hoping to baptize him next Saturday, the 28th.  We're also working with Blanca, the mom of a recent convert.  She loves the church and the doctrine that we have taught her.  Her only problem is that she isn't married to her "husband" and he doesn't want to get married.  We're praying that he will soften his heart, and are searching for ways to serve the family and gain his confidence.

We also had a very interesting Zone Conference this week.  President and Hermana Vasquez stopped by to tell us about something new in the mission: we will no longer use mission-wide Standards of Excellence like we used to.  The Standards of Excellence are goals for our key indicators (new investigators, investigators who attend sacrament meeting, etc.) set by the mission president.  Since I got here, we've had them.  Presidente set them shortly after arriving to the misson.  However, in his time here, Presidente Vasquez has noticed a problem with the Standards, or rather with the attitude that the missionaries have towards the standards.  He has seen that putting standards for the whole mission turns the missionaries into "checklist mormons."  In other words, many missionaries focused too much on the numbers and not enough on the people.  Rather than focus on baptism dates, some leader would chew out their missionaries for not meeting the standards.  President didn't like that very much, and neither did we (the missionaries who had numbers-focused leaders).

To solve the problem, Presidente has frozen the normas de excelencia.  In other words, we no longer have mission-set goals to reach.  Every companionship is responsable for setting their own goals and reaching them.  Of course, they have to do it by the spirit of revelation, praying to the Lord for what He wants in our areas, and what he realistically expects of us.  But it takes a lot of pressure off of us.  We no longer dread the nightly report phone call because President has re-focused the mission on people, not numbers.  It is wonderful, and I beleive that we are going to see great results from this change.

Well, time's up.  Take care!


Elder Colton West

El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission

A miracle has happened! I like avocado now.
I don't know how, but I like avocado now.

Crazy awesome cloud/fog that covered the whole
town of Berlin two weeks ago.
That's what we get for living on top of a mountain!

Parrots! They don't talk but they will "parrot" (ha!)
whatever you whistle to them

My hand got all beat up from using a machete to cut firewood for Blanca.
Those were blisters but the machete kinda sorta destroyed them.

We killed a ginormous scorpion in our house.
That's the third one we've found.
We fumigated the house with Raid when
Elder Hernandez found one in his bed!

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