Elder Colton West

Elder Colton West


Monday, August 29, 2016

Week 96: I am your father!

Well, this week has been fun.  Starting off,  we went around with Elder Socop so that he could say goodbye to everyone.  Then Tuesday night we stayed the night at another companionship's house so that I could go with another trainer to the trainers meeting.  And we had to be there in San Salvador at 8 in the morning.  So we woke up at 4 in the morning and grabbed the first bus out of town.  Literally, the first bus that left in the morning.  And then we got lost in San Salvador.  We took the wrong bus and ended up on the wrong side of town.  Thankfully, we saw another bus that went back to the right side of town, and got on that bus.  We got to the trainers meeting a bit late, but at least we got there!

At the trainers meeting we met our new companions and received a bit of training from the assistants and from President.   My companion is called Elder McDaniel.  He's from Hurricane, Utah.  He's a really great guy, and we're getting along well.

We've been working a lot the last few days.  So far we've been able to put a baptism date with a family of four.  We're planning on getting them married and baptized on September 17th.

Well, time's up for today.  Have an awesome week!


Elder Colton West

El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission

The elders (missionaries) of the Usulutan 1st Ward at at
service project the day before changes (8.23.16)
Companion: Elder Socop in the grey shirt next to Elder West

Elder West with his new trainee fresh from the CCM (MTC)
Elder McDaniel from Hurricane, Utah

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Week 95: Who's your daddy?!

So I have a super huge announcement to make...  I'm gonna be a trainer!!!  Well, I was already finishing the training of my companion Elder Socop, since he's in his second transfer in the mission field.  But now I am going to receive a new missionary fresh out of the MTC!  Or in unofficial missionary terms, I'm going to have a son!  It's a really big deal for me.  I've wanted to train since... pretty much forever, but God has had other plans for me.  But now I finally get to live that goal of being a trainer.

As far as I see it, training is the biggest responsibility that I have ever had in the mission.  And that's exactly what the assistants told us in the trainers meeting last week.  We set the foundation for the whole mission of these greenies.  As the scritpures say, 

"Verily,verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." (John 5:19)

No pressure, right?  But I suppose it's just preparation for some not too distant day when I'm married and have a child.  That's what I've figured out in these two years: the mission is boot camp for the rest of life.  It's not easy in any way, shape, or form, because that would defeat the entire purpose of the mission.

The good thing is that I've learned to be much more adaptable.  And much more patient.  Now I understand a bit more why the Lord was so insistent with me that I should go on a mission, despite all of the times that I had said that I did not want to go.  I never could have learned many of the lessons that the mission has taught me.  Patience, charity, service, humility, faith, losing the fear of rejection, how to talk to people I've never met before about something they've never heard of before...  All of that and so much more.  The sacrifices that one makes to serve a mission are so heavily outweighed by the blessings that it's not even worth it to try to compare them.

I am eternally grateful to God for never giving up on me, for working with me until I finally got to the point of listening to Him.  And believe me, it was a very long process.  But here I am.  And it has made all the difference.

Have an awesome week everyone!  Next week I'll tell you about my new missionary.

Photos: this week there are none.  I haven't wanted to carry my camera with me this week.  Things got a bit interesting down here.  But I'll send photos next week!


Elder Colton West

El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission

Week 94: I'm in a tree! (BONUS PICS)

A bonus second email of pics we received from our missionary on August 15th:

Photos 1 and 2: 

I climbed up a mango tree at a less active member's house to remove branches that have grown over the house.  That's something a bit dangerous in wintertime down here, because these winter storms are known to knock the branches off of trees.

Photo 3: pretty landscape in my area.

Week 94: Well...That was unexpected.

Email from August 15th:

So when I logged into my mission email today I wasn't expecting to see a little something from the mission... Turns out that they sent me my travel itinerary (I think that's how you spell it...)  Things suddenly got super super real.  I'm about to start my last transfer in the mission.  I really don't know how to feel about that.  So I'm gonna try not to think about it.  I just hope that I get to finish my mission here in Usulutan.  Moving really sucks.  
In other news...  Well, we're on fire here in Usulutan.  The other elders in the ward had a baptism Sunday morning right before sacrament meeting.  Ever since I went to do the interview they said that they weren't sure about when it was going to happen, because of the dad's work schedule.  Turns out that Sunday was the only day he had free.  So, baptism on Sunday morning.  My comp and I went running all over creation to bring investigators to the baptism.  Seriously, we walked something like a mile and a half just bringing people to church.  The bright side is that we had six investigators in the baptism and in Sacrament meeting!  And the best part is that they all stayed for Sunday school afterwards!  Getting people to stick around after sacrament meeting can be a bit of a challenge sometimes.

Elder Socop and I are gearing up to have some baptisms in the next couple of weeks.  First up will be Alexander.  He's a super awesome kid.  He used to be involved with the gangs, but has somehow miraculously gotten out of that without getting killed.  He is super interested in the church, and is getting very actively involved with the young men program.  We're hoping to baptise him within the next two weeks.

Next up will be Rafael or Christopher.  Rafael is the son of a recent convert, but I haven't met him yet.  Christopher is the son of a less-active member, and could be baptized in any moment, we just have to teach him a bit.

A bit later on, we're going to baptize the Gonzalez family, a family of four: grandma and grandpa, and their two grand-kids who live with them.  We're working with the Bishop and his wife to help the grandma lose the fear of the pastor of her old church.

And that pretty much sums up the week.  Take care!

Elder Colton West

El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission

Coconuts! They're delicious and nutritious. Especially when
they've just been cut from the palm tree. Yum!

My amazing family sent me a Lego set!

In the beginning, there were only parts without order

And it came to pass that Elder West assembled the Wookiee.

And it came to pass that after Elder West had
assembled the Wookiee that he did build a micro-fighter
that the Wookiee might fly!

Week 93: Awesome Food! (BONUS Pics Part 2)

Editor's Note: More pics from Elder West's Aug 8th email. He loves good food! I tease him that he's sent us more pictures of food and critters than he has of his face and other humans!

He writes: "We went out for mexican food for lunch today.  This monstrosity is called the Tex-Mex burrito, and it is delicious!

Last photo is of the zone, minus the elders from Santiago and Berlin."

Week 93: Cerro de la Cruz (Cross Hill) BONUS PICS!

Editor's Note:  These pics are from Colton's email on Aug 8th...somehow I forgot to post these extra pictures! These are from a hike taken on Pday in Berlin before he was transferred to Usulutan.

Elder West writes: "Photos from our little hike to the top of Cross Hill in Berlin.  And by little hike I mean like an hour of climbing a super steep volcano.  It was awesome!"

Elder West with the town of Berlin in the background


Panorama of the town of Berlin

Always a scouter with his scout hat on

boys will be boys!

the hike

along the way

Cerro de la Cruz (Cross Hill)

Elder West at the Cerro de la Cruz overlook of Berlin

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Week 93: E.T. Phone Home!

So yeah, I got emergency transferred again.  I was reaaaaaaaally hoping that this would never happen again, but God had other ideas.  To make it worse, I got taken away from Berlin, which is probably my favorite area in the mission.  But the Lord called (by way of my mission president) and like any good disciple I said "Here I am."

So now I'm serving in the city of Usulut├ín.  And oh goodness is it hot!  Highs in the 90s and humidity at or above 50%.  Let's just say that nobody would ever even think of building a sauna here.  But the people are very nice, very receptive to the gospel.  And our area is very big, so we never run out of people to contact.

So, last thursday was the mission-sponsored temple trip.  It was awesome!  I got to see a ton of people from my old areas!  A few people from Ilobasco, lots from Santa Rosa, and a few from Moncagua as well.  It was great to get to see them again, seeing as it is probably the last time I'll see any of them in my mission.

And that's the strangest thing of all...  I'm almost done with my mission.  I saw a few friends at the temple who finish their missions this month.  Guys from way back when, like Elder Hood and Elder Le May.  We all feel very strange that the mission is almost over for us.  For my part, I'm going to go out sprinting.  Not literally, but I'm not going to slow down for the end.  There are people to teach.  There are souls to save.

So I'll give updates about my area next week when I've had the chance to learn it a bit better.

Take Care!

Elder Colton West

El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission

Elder West and Elder Vasquez
in Berlin
Familia Munoz, from  Berlin
Saying goodbye before leaving for Usulutan

Elder West with new companion, Elder Socop (Guatemala),
assigned to Usulutan

Elder Socop in their area in Usulutan

more from Usulutan

Monday, August 1, 2016

Week 92: BONUS PICS!


I was so thrilled to receive these "bonus pics" from two different thoughtful sister in El Salvador yesterday. 

I've already posted about our Elder West being in the featured picture in a Central America news article in August's issue of the Liahona, the spanish-version of our church magazine.   A kind sister from when he was in Santa  Rosa de Lima noticed it and sent it to me!

Then, later  yesterday, I was sent the other two pictures from a sweet sister in his current area of Berlin. These were taken yesterday I believe. I think she sent them from her home right after they were taken!

These unexpected tender mercies, kind actions of sister believers so far way touch my heart. They are priceless treasures!!!

Week 92: The Inn, Part 2

Hey everyone!  

This week has been pretty normal.  Lots of work.  The only cool, different than the norm thing that happened this week is that we taught in the 3rd hour of church.  Our lesson topic was "The Inn," the new member missionary plan that President Vasquez taught us about in the MultiZonas.  Today I'm going to finish the explanation of "The Inn" that I started last week.

I left off mentioning that we, the members of the church, are the innkeepers.  Now, this being the 21st Century, our inn is a bit more modern than the kind that people thought of when Christ first taught His parable of the Good Samaritan.  Our Inn has more modern management.

Obviously the owner is Christ, but He can't be here physically to run the Inn.  However, He wants all of His Inns to be more like five star hotels.  So he does what any business owner would do: he contracts a manager.  In our case, the General Manager (GM) is the Bishop or Branch President.  He is in charge of making sure that everything runs smoothly with the Inn.  And since he is only one man, he can't do everything.  So he contracts other people to help out.  

The list goes something like this...

1. Customer Service Manager (Elders Quorum President), and his assistants the home teachers.
2. Sales Manager (Ward/Branch Mission Leader) and his team (the ward/branch missionaries, also all members)
3. Physical Facilities Manager (High Priests Group Leader) who oversees family history and temple work
4. Restaurant Manager (Relief Society President) and her team, the visiting teachers
5. Room Service Managers (Young Men and Young Women Presidents) who prepare future missionaries and future church leaders
6. Activities Manager (Primary President)
7. Communications Manager (Sunday School President)

And last but not least, the Inn contracts a Travel Agency to recommend travelers to the inn.  And here in Berlin the Inn has contracted the El Salvador San Salvador East Mission Travel Agency, who sent their two representatives Elder West and Elder Vasquez.

Now, we're not just getting the members pumped up to magnify their callings in the church.  We're also trying to help them be more effective member missionaries.  Most people down here think that member missionary work means working with the full time missionaries.  It is a very important part of said work, but there is so much more to do than just that.  What we're doing is encouraging the members to reach out to their friends, family, and neighbors by doing small and simple things (which according to Alma are the way that God brings great and wonderful things!)

Yesterday we assigned various members to give a Liahona magazine to somebody.  But first, they have to pray and ask God who.  Once they have their answer, they go and give the Liahona, and help the person pick out an article that they like.  Then, they have to follow up.

Other things that can be done include small service projects, inviting people to Family Home Evenings, and sending them a link to "Meet the Mormons" through social networks.

Everyone is excited for this.  We're expecting great results.  I'll let you all know how it goes!


Elder Colton West

El Salvador, San Salvador East Mission

Jefferson's baptism in June.
Finally got the pictures from Elder Martinez

Elder West and Jefferson

Jefferson's familia

English class!

Beautiful sunset