Monday, June 30, 2014

Tijuana 3

Muy buenas tardes, estoy aquí en Tijuana todavía!

Hey everyone, can I just say that life is good!  I don't know what it is, but i am really starting to settle in to things here in Tijuana. I am finding the joy in the work, and starting to really love these people! The city is still a disaster, but these people are just so humble and ready to hear our messages! Recently, we have been really trying to find new people to teach, and we have prayed so hard for it! and lately, people have literally been chasing us down in the streets to talk to us and invite us to our homes to teach!  We even had a guy come up to us while we were eating tacos this morning on the side of the road and make a meeting with us.  It really is just so cool to put all the trust in the Lord and watch it all unfold.  

This week i got pretty sick! The city is super dirty so people get sick here a lot. Especially Americans.  I got a super bad infection in my throat from breathing in all this stuff here in the air.  I lost my voice for about 3 or 4 days and was super sick.  But, we went out to work anyways.  The Lord heard my prayers and allowed me to talk in a very raspy hushed voice during the lessons.  And after the lessons, it was gone again.  I got a blessing from my companion and really started to get better much faster.  It pays to be with the only true church that has the authority of God ;) But, now I'm back to full voice and almost back to full health! 

This week haha, we had another we come in on Saturday to have the baptism, i step into the chapel and SPLASH SPLASH! uhh oh. yep. the elders that went and filled of the font for us over flowed it and flooded the church.  So it took us about 3 hours to get the church unflooded and somewhat dry....there is a lot of wood work and wooden doors so we are hoping for the best that it didn't get also got into the bishops office. But i think everything is ok now, some what.  We baptized a little girl named Harim.  She is so cute and so intelligent! Her mom is a member, and her step dad is not. we are actually teaching him right now. his name is Pablo and is very interested, he lost 2 of his daughters when they were just babies, so he is very interested in forever families and the plan of salvation. but we got to kick the coffee and the cigarettes.  But he knows its true, you should listen to this guy pray!  Also, last week with Alexis, both of his parents are members, we worked really hard to reactivate his dad so he could baptize his son, we still have a lot of work to do with his mom tho.  Little, by little it will all be great.  

Uh, investigators. we have a ton!  One lady had a super scary experience this week, i wont say when went down, just know Satan works very hard to stop the work, but God works harder and is stronger. always. we have visited her and blessed her home and we feel much better now.  We started teaching a lady who was recently deported, her 18 year old daughter turned her into the immigration services just to get her deported because they were fighting one day...that made me so mad! she is progressing so well, we gave her a blessing to find more strength to deal with all that is happening. i think she will find a great family here in the church.  Each day i really am amazed at all the problems here, and yet, the people put on a smile each day, head to work and make the most of it.  

last week, for p day, we worked in the morning and then headed out to play in the afternoon, we went to a members house, all payed 100 pesos and made some incredible food! Carne asada! and more! i will send some pictures.  Also, to celebrate 6 months of mission life, i burned a tie. it was a really great experience to tell ya the truth. 6 of the craziest, fastest and most memorable months. it was great just watching the tie burn and looking back at it all, and looking forward to all that is ahead of me! 

i love you all. i really do. Family is thee most important thing in this world. Thank you for your prayers and support. Keep praying that i can get a Mexican accent. that is something this Guerro needs. Gracias.

Love, Elder Westbroek

ps. i found Bob Marley in Mexico... :) Every little thing is gonna be alright! 

The Grass Really is Greener

Hello one and all!

Hey guys, it was so good to hear from everyone this week!  Life in TJ is pretty good. I am settling into the city, slowly I'm getting used to it. Sometimes I just sit here and look at how we live, how the people live, i look at the city, the problems, listen to the stories of the people...and just wonder why God sent me here. I know why I'm here in general. But I want a better explanation. Its rough man. Also, It has been dubbed as 'The Ugliest Mission on Earth' haha. But that's not really what matters truthfully. 

The comp and i are doing pretty good. We get a long just fine! All he wants to do is speak English so that is really killing me, and my Spanish. lucky the president chewed him out pretty good this week in an email i guess. so now we are just going to be speaking in Spanish. which is what i have wanted for the last 6 months. Going from a companionship where i did every single thing, taught every lesson and lead the lessons ad planning and all to this kind of a lot stinks. i loved having to do it all. I LOVED IT.  This dude will hardly let me teach, share my thoughts, scriptures and whatever else i feel like i should do. So that blows. The other day he just talked for 1 hour and 12 minutes straight. the lesson was a disaster, i cut in to say something and got cut right back out. so as you can imagine i am frustrated. very. But life moves on. Also, we baptized again! whoo! his name is Alexis, he is 9 years old! it was great!

Transportation is super nuts around here. you could actually make a roller coaster ride out of these buses.  its fun haha, On a trip to our district meeting we hit a hole so hard in the road it threw the bus up and everyone about switched seats on the bus.  

Luckily, I went on interchanges with our district leader this week! Elder Watts, he lives down in American Fork Utah. The kid is awesome! we taught 15 solid, quality lessons in less than 2 full days.  We work so well together! It was great to see how this kid works and teaches, its a lot how i teach. so we just meshed like it was nothing! the spirit was so strong and the investigators really started progressing again he said! When we were headed back to the church to switch companions again haha he grabbed me and said "Elder Westbroek, don't leave me!"haha.  It was great to work in the sector of Urbi, we were hardly ever on pavement and we ate thee best tacos i have ever tasted in my life!  i couldn't tell you what kind of meat it was, but that doesn't really matter too much haha. 

hey i think i will start writing ya big email about every 2 weeks, i just don't have much to say recently haha. any questions? just remember, i need American candy.....

love you all!
Elder Westbroek

PS. i saw America this week...the grass literally is greener on the other side....well that's partially because we don't have grass over here. ha. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Hey Family! How is life?

So yes, Tijuana. It is just as ugly as everyone says it is.  We live in, walk in, breath in, work in, run in, workout in, preach in, serve in....garbage. the city is filled with garbage. It is the nastiest city haha.  I think i would rather live in down town Ogden than Tijuana. Dad, you grew up in a sketchy area, i will give you that. But man, i think i would rather live there in Ogden haha. Just like Mexicali, the city is destroyed by graffiti, drugs, garbage and more.  There are literally piles of garbage 10 to 15 feet high.  it stinks so bad haha. but I'm adjusting fine.  Just like Ogden, there are very sketchy parts...just a bit more sketchy. ok, a lot more sketchy haha. Ogden is high class.  
The house, lets just say it ain't pretty.  its two floors but so so tiny.  in our bathroom upstairs you can shower, go to the bathroom and shave in the mirror all at the same time haha. its horrible. the other day we ran out of gas for a few days, and the water is so so so cold here! so what did I do? I did what any good Mexican would do! I cleaned out an old bucket, microwaved cups of water and slowly filled the bucket haha.  After about 20 minutes the bucket was about one third full and kind of warm haha so i lugged it up the stairs and showered using a cup. It was actually pretty legit. Do not take your bathrooms at home for granted!  It is just me and elder espino here in this couldn't fit any more in there haha.  Elder Espino is awesome! he speaks basically perfect English because he lived in Texas and in Canada. He has about 3 months left in his mission so he is very experienced and a great teacher. But i fear the progression of my Spanish will be slowed down again with all these companions that speak English.....grrrr. The ward is HUGE! we have 6 missionaries in this ward! the usual attendance is 270ish. its so sick. total functioning. i love the ward.  
The new president will arrive this month on the 28th i think? that will be cool! i am very excited to meet him and see how he is going to help us out!  Also, the temple is looking amazing! still under construction outside, but is coming along fantastic! look it up on google! however it is not in my sector.  my sector by the way is HUGE also! we take so many buses, we get 400 pesos for transportation because we are always riding a bus or taking a taxi.  The work is good here tho! we are the highest baptizing zone in the mission right now, and we plan to keep it that way. its pretty legit. its hard tho being in a crazy busy city without any knowledge of the bus routes, colonies and all. but i will learn.  
well boys and girls. Wednesday marks 6 months. wow. you'd all be amazed if you were with me right now. i would say I'm a bit different than i was just 6 months ago. A better person. It has been an incredible road. full of thrills and spills. i have experienced more in these 6 months than many missionaries do in their two years haha. I look forward to many more. at times i get very overwhelmed by it all. but that is when we all must trust in the Lord. 
I love you all! i will have some better stories next week I'm sure! 

Elder Westbroek III

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

 " For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." Romans 1:16

Monday, June 9, 2014

Home away from Home


Hello Everyone! what a long and very short week it has been! this week has been very eventful! just so you know where i am, i am not in Tijuana! we had exchanges today! Tijuana is so great, not has hot, very busy. this Area is huge!!! My companion is Elder Espino, he is from a little city under Texas, but he lived in Houston and in Canada haha. Pretty legit this Elder.!

So this week, my last week in Mexicali and with elder Hilton. That was honestly really sad and difficult to leave Elder Hilton and Mexicali!  That place really is like home! i have to go back! i have a family back there who literally begging me to come back. one lady told me with lots of tears rolling down her face that she is going to write the prophet and tell him i cant leave Mexicali haha. it was awesome! i have some good pics for you all too!

So this week, i got bit by a dog has i was helping some people push a car, it didn't break skin, but i sure bruised really good! man it was so so so funny!!!

Also, had an interesting experience with casting out a spirit from a house, that was very very interesting, my first time having to do that. i wont go into a whole lot of detail on what went down there.  

The main even tho, We finally baptized Armando!!!! It was incredible!!!! after 3.5 months of working with this man, after he was hit by a car and robbed, we baptized him!  The newly set apart elders quorum president did the baptism. Armando cant walk, so we carried him, The president and i, into the water, it was so scary and slippery, we almost baptized him before we were ready by accident, but i know the lord gave us the strength to carry this man into the waters of baptism. It was literally thee greatest thing i have ever seen.  The look on Armando's face...still in the water he clasped his hands together and said "thank you father, this is happiness!" i was right there, waist deep in the water with the president and Armando, support his leg and hip so we didn't have any problems, it was INCREDIBLE!  As we carried him out of the font he continued to praise god and give thanks.  I visited later that day, as he laid in his bed resting, he took me by the hand and told me "Elder Westbroek, thank you for making my dream come true. I have found happiness." Man, my eyes filled with tears and did his.  I just love this man, he is so solid in his testimony and prayers. He is so blessed to be alive.  The last couple of weeks as i was fasting for the baptism of Armando, he didn't get baptized for a bit, and i thought that god didn't want to baptize him or answer my little my faith! through more action, which is more faith, elder Hilton and i did everything we good, talking to our leaders, calling the president, teaching and teaching and teaching, and wow, after the test of faith, god answered. in thee best way possible. i know he loves us and listens!

Also, we baptized the week past, Francisco, also that was beautiful.  I really am just so happy right now! And now I'm in Tijuana, escaping the skin damage a little bit haha.  

So life is really crazy sometimes, that i have learned here. you don't know what to expect. the only constant in life is change. we all have to come to accept it. in all shapes and forms.  I know that if we put our faith and trust in the lord we have no reason to fear.  Leaving Mexicali was bitter sweet...mostly just bitter. i love that place, but i am stoked to be here in TJ with such great missionaries! i really did settle in quite nicely here, and that's when god helps us unsettle, to keep growing haha.  

Just so ya know, the Spanish is coming in great! its a slow and literally painful process, but i can understand almost all of it and communicate with whoever, it makes the mission a lot more enjoyable and interesting! i have been truly blessed and i know the lord is mindful of me, just as he is of all of you.  

My thoughts are very scattered today with a lot of new thoughts, with now serving in Tijuana, Los Pinos 2, and new companion and leaving my first sector, everything in my head is mixed together. so i will make of list of things to talk about next week!!!  

Any questions? i will take pics of the house here in its sweet! haha i lied. its pretty cool tho ;) oh Mexico. 

I love you all!!!! write me some questions!

love ya all! elder westbroek!!!!!

Faith Requires Action

Muy buenas tardes :)

Hey everyone! it has been another week! Can you believe it? SO FAST.

This week.  It was a bit pesado.  Meaning, heavy.

First off, we had our conference which was awesome! i learned so much about asking inspired questions and just following the spirit to figure out what questions to ask.  Also, during the practice, the President joined elder Hilton and I in our lesson! That was so cool and fun!  He is very very powerful.  We taught about our life hear on earth and the atonement, it went very well.  He gave us some very great advice about how to directly apply what we are teaching to the lives of the investigators.  I felt very good about how i taught with the President right next to me, it was a bit nerve wracking ha.  

Later in the week, is when it got heavy.  We had two baptisms scheduled for this friday.  So, i headed to work during interchanges with my district leader, Elder Jacome, he is from Ecuador.  We headed out teaching and had some great success.  But then we got to our investigators who were supposed to be baptized...Turned out they had changed their mind.  Elder Jacome and i took turns explaining doctrine of baptism and the atonement, we both felt that they are very ready.  One of them was worried, very worried about committing errors after baptism...That was his hold up.  And the other wasnt reading the book of mormon.  I have never realized the importance of this book before....until i started to really search the pages.  If this man had been reading and praying, he would not be able to deny the validity of this book nor the path that we all must follow, which is Jesus Christ.  So I poured out my soul in a testimony on two seperate occasions in a last effort to show they are very ready to enter into the waters of baptism.  

The next day, I was talking with my buddy, Elder Chappell, one of the zone leaders at another conference, he is from Mississippi, He and i both had a very strong desire to try again with these two investigators.  So we called the assistants and headed out of interchanges again.  Elder Chappell is a great Elder, he has 19 months, so i got some great advice.  We worked hard for the hours left in the day.  First off we headed to one of the investigadors who was supposed to be baptized...his name is Milton. He owns 17 miracles and has gone to church, prays like a machine, has seen great changes in his life with the church...but still didnt feel right to be, come on!!!!  So we headed over to talk, and after a long process, we finally got to chat with Milton.  The spirit was strong, and we felt like we needed to do the interview for the baptism.  Elder Chappell took him to another room and talked for awhile, so i had a great opportunity to teach a mom and her son during the interview. We read Alma 32. It was so fun just getting to talk and teach solo for once.  Anyways,  after the interview, which milton passed.....we shared our testimonies and told milton...."We feel you are very ready milton, you have a strong testimony, you have seen a difference in your life, and you know this is the path god has for you. We will be at the church waiting for you if you feel the desire to still be baptized this night at 8." he said ok...and we headed off.  We hurried through the fields, abandoned houses and garbage to the church haha.  

This is why this email is titled "faith requires action"....we felt that if we did all we could to have a baptism, we wouldnt be guilty of anything, we must USE our agency to benefit others and show our faith in God. So we did just that.  First, Elder Chappell and I kneeled in front of an empty baptismal font and poured our hearts out to our Heavenly Father...we prayed that through our faith we could help Milton find a better life and obtain the blessings of heaven.  After the very humble prayer, we went to work.  Cleaning the font (filled with crickets, big spiders and who knows what), filling the font, setting up the chairs and all. We had speakers arranged, Elder Chappell and i had the baptismals clothes ready and we had prepared a musical number too.  It was 7:45 when we we will just have to wait. we waited. and waited.  He didnt come.  

Now, what is the lesson here? there are many.  First off, the conversion process is a very large process that cant be rushed.  However, with a testimony of the book of mormon, no one can deny that this church is thee only true church.  secondly, When we have faith, we do not always get miracles, when we have faith and demonstrate this faith, we do not always get miracles.  But, when you have faith, demonstrate it through your righteous actions and desires, you will get more Faith.  At times, yes, we do lack faith. Everyone does.  But we must remember that it is we who lack faith, it is not God who lacks power or love.  Milton was also worried about committing errors after baptism.  If we have sufficient faith in our Lord Jesus Christ and show it through our actions, we will not doubt his love or grace.  The atonement is infinite.  In the humble prayer of Elder Chappell and i, we asked that through our faith we could help someone, but if it didnt work out, we would find comfort in knowing we did what we could.  We recieved both.  Elder Chappell and i helped one another this night gain a strong testimony, and more faith.  Also, that night as i knelt down to pray, i talked to god a lot about milton and how i felt after all this work, and no baptism.  I felt comforted.  I had no stains on my shirt that night, metaphorically, because i had done all i could, i had demonstrated my faith.  

Brothers and sisters.  Faith requires action.  Action requires faith.  Trust in the lord, and if it doesnt work out, its because He knows better than you do.  Thats just how it is, straight up.  Already, i am seeing blessings from that demonstration of faith in this week, and its only monday.  

i am happier than i have ever been, and probably more stressed than ever too.  How stressed? I had a dream all my hair turned grey haha.  Yeah thats the real deal.  I am learning so so so much out here. it is awesome.  

fun facts this week, we hit 107 degrees, and our air conditioner broke that same day haha.  We ran out of water for 3 days too.  :)  Life is so good.

Thank you for the packages, paintings, letters and all! Keep doing what you should and you will be blessed!

I love you all, hopefully this email makes sense, and pardon my spelling please.  

The church is very true, and YOU literally have a father in heaven who loves you and knows you personally.

Mucho amor,
Elder Westbroek

Another Week

Hey Everyone!

So, once again i cannot believe it. Another week in the books!

This week, honestly, not a whole lot happened. The usual stress, running from appointment to appointment, rides in wheel chairs and so on.  Elder Hilton and I may have crashed a wheel chair right in the road one day hahaha. turns out pot holes and wheel chairs don't go together.    

Uh, to answer some questions....When we were out of water for a few days, I used a filter bottle and we "made water" haha bottle by bottle.  It still tastes kind of weird tho.  I'm not sure whats up but the water here smells so bad.  We still are without air conditioning in the majority of our house, it was supposed to get fixed last week, but they never came by to repair, its still hot.  Back where we sleep, we have one, but we only run it for an hour at a time to save money, so when we wake up, its back to 90 degrees, usually more ha.  

But, more importantly, the work.  We have been super busy, and i love it. I'm working on 6 months and I'm still not fluent, but my Spanish has started to get a TON better.  i have learned more Spanish having an American companion than i thought possible ha.  Its great tho, the days are enjoyable because i am part of all the conversations and i direct every lesson.  It really is so cool!  Milton....Man, its been rough, after the experience with Elder Chapel, Milton hasn't come back to church. not sure what happened there.  We have visited and just been super friendly and relaxed trying to gain back his trust.  But we just cant quite find what he is so scared of....I will let ya know what we find out.  

Remember the investigator who was hit by the car and jumped?? HE IS OUT OF THE HOSPITAL!!! The morning of his previously scheduled baptism, he was walking home from work.  A car came up to him and ran him over, then they got out, hit him in the head with a bat and continued to beat him.  He woke up later in the hospital.  I looked at his x rays yesterday and wow....he has got some work done.  He has metal disks and 4 or 5 very large screws holding his hip and femur together.  The doctors said that from the looks of the hits and all the cuts on his head, they were trying to kill and he is lucky to be here.  Armando really wants to be baptized, more than anything. So we are going to rig up something to help him get to church and also to baptize him next week! after about 3 months of working with this guy it is finally going to happen! its been so cool to watch his progress!

Also, this Wednesday night we will baptize a brother named Fracisco Amador, he is so solid and so ready.  He was kicked out of his house once he told his family he was going to be baptized, luckily this church is like a big family and he was quickly taken in by a member.  Francisco literally has one of the strongest testimonies i have ever heard.  If i didn't know better, i would think he is already a member.  

Nothing too crazy happened this week tho...just enjoying the work honestly.  I have started to finally love it, i have learned this traslado that it is actually possible to work very hard and still enjoy it....the first 3 months of the field was nothing but pain and stress.  When dad asked me over skype the other day if i was actually enjoying this...i started to ask myself that every single day, am i enjoying this? and now, honestly i can answer, "yes i love this work."

The church is true ladies and gents.  any questions.  i am in my last two weeks here in Bugambilias so i will start taking pics of my sector :)  any questions or requests? 

Mission life, good life.

Elder Westbroek

feliz cinco de May

Muy buenas tardes y feliz cinco de Mayo!

I hope everyone is doing so great!

This week was awesome, so stressful. But awesome.  Elder Hilton and i are doing great!  We teach very well together, and he lets me take the lead in every single lesson...which is a huge change from my training haha.  So finally i feel like i will start learning Spanish! Elder Hilton knows how i feel because he has been there before.  So he is easy to talk to about my situation and frustrations! And we talk completely in Spanish which is really cool. He is a great Elder! I am very happy. finally.  

This week, bad news first.  My buddy Armando, who was supposed to be baptized but then disappeared...Was involved in a hit and run. He was hit by a car and then beaten and then robbed.  He is currently in the hospital with a shattered hip, and many cuts, and a large gash on his head.  He was walking home from work at night.  They took everything from him.  He was found at 3 AM unconscious on the side of the road.  Man this just broke my heart.  He will get surgery tomorrow. Next bad news, the young man of 15 years, I talked to his mom and just begged for me to help him.  Alejandro is currently going through some troubling times in his teenage years...the bad thing is, i know how to help him.  But i cant, because i am not catholic.  The first time i met this kid out on the street, i had this feeling that i just had to help him.  it is so frustrating.  I talked my heart out with his mom, fighting tears and all, but she just wouldn't let us help.  Alejandro knows our messages are true and will bless his life....But i guess right now just isn't time.  

Alright, time for the miracle of the week. There are a few.   So with this week being fast Sunday, as a zone we fasted for success in baptisms to start baptising every single week and baptize in the month of may.  I prayed and prayed that we would find people ready to receive the gospel.  First off, fasting here in Mexicali is difficult.  You dry out really fast, an elder asked the president how long we should fast out here in Mexicali for our safety, he said, fast according to your faith.  So i did that.  After a full fast, i ended it with a prayer. For a miracle of course.  We didn't have many safe baptismal dates.  But, i have faith in our Heavenly Father.  After lunch with the members, i was talking with a young man of 10 years about his life and his vacations.  Something prompted me to invite him to be baptized (note:we have taught him for months, and other elders before us, and nothing.  he has 20 or more times at church but isn't interested.)  So instead of preaching to him, i told him about how i have been praying for him every day, and that i feel the 16th of May is the day he will be ready to be baptized....He just stared at me straight in the eyes...and said "yes, yes lets do it" ha.  not what i was expecting! then his grandpa said "and i will do the ordinance" and Damian, the 10 year old, just got a huge smile on his face! yay! Finally!
Next, the grandma of Damian told us she has a friend who wants to know more about us.  We walked in to her ever so humble home and introduced ourselves, within 5 minutes of talking to here...i had a very strong prompting and a voice that said "fecha, ponga una fecha." meaning date, put a date for baptism.  This is the first time the spirit has prompted me in Spanish. Finally! i have prayed for that, over and over and over. for a prompting in spanish.  I immediately turned to Elder Hilton and said, "I'm putting a date ok? ok"  haha his face was priceless, complete surprise.  I invited the woman to be baptized...and she accepted "yes, i will follow Jesus Christ", with a huge smile on her face :)  We have an appointment with her tonight! What a great experience.  oh and her name is Palmira.  
I'm not done....another investigator who we have been trying to teach for about 3 months too came to church the other day again and I immediately went over and grabbed him, but an appointment for that night.  Finally, we got him. That's not all.  We taught him the restoration?(restauración).  The spirit was so strong.  Once again, i felt that i needed to place a date. i was going to say 16th, but i was prompted otherwise.  the 23rd, my great friend Fracisco Amador will be baptized! When i invited him to be baptized, he just smiled and smiled. and said "of course, i know these things are true."  success.  I was about ready to just go run through the streets i was so happy haha.  still am :)

So yeah, that is basically my week.  After a rough week of a lot of walking, lots of appointments falling, we finally had success. in a huge way.  Hopefully all of this makes sense.  sorry for my spelling.  

The bishop is doing well, his hand isn't quite back to full function tho...and i visited the family of the fight.  They aren't doing so great, but we are working with them.  and dad, good news! they caught one of the people! 

Anyways, life is good here in Mexico, we are working very hard!

The church is true! Christ lives. 

-Elder Westbroek


Muy buenas tardes!

Finalmente! finally! Training is over.  After 3 long, very quick, months with Elder Martin, I am done.  Training has come to a close.  I am very ready to work with other missionaries and learn from them all!  Today at noon i received my next companion.  His name is Elder Hilton, he has about 9 months in the mission, we are co-mayores companions, he is from Maryland, but lived in Utah too.  

This week was stressful to say the least! Number crunching and all.  To start out the week, we had our interviews with President Carreón.  He is such an amazing guy.  He taught me a lot in 15 minutes, including how to fold my suit coat inside out so it wouldn't wrinkle in my backpack, i needed this because it is so hot down here ha.  We talked about patience and Spanish.  He was so great, he called me a miracle haha, my Spanish is starting to come in a little more rapid and I'm picking up a bit of an accent which is very nice.  He gave me a lot of great tips to work on my accent.  Oh, also he says Hello to you all! He asked about all my family and i told him what you are all up to! also, mom and dad, he says you need to go serve a mission ha.  

later in the week, we were on splits, i worked with an elder from Georgia, Elder Lefholz. He was our leader of the district, what an awesome missionary. i learned so much i just a 24 hour period.  

Sorry to say, our baptism fell through...Armando works in a taxi service, 24/ he is so hard to find.  we have checked his house at 8, 9, 11AM and about every hour of the afternoon....and nothing.  We almost saw him the other day, he was pulling away in his taxi as we came around the corner and i took off sprinting, but he got away before i could get to him...crushed me. Literally.  I have started to become so attached to these people now that i can talk to them a lot more....
Oh and with Alejandro, we talked with his step dad and after a very intense 40 minute talk, we got his permission to take him to church...but him mom still says no. so yeah, we will keep working and praying.  so that was little sad.  The little family we were teaching left to go get their visas to move to the USA...part of me doesn't want them to get it so we can baptise them ha, but i want the best for them so i pray each day that they will get their visas.  Its a love hate relationship haha.  

This week, we had a lot of meetings Elder Martin and i went on splits with some of the members, It was so great to finally get to talk a lot in a lesson and direct it as the spirit directed.  We taught a family of 7, less active, this family also includes a boyfriend and girlfriend. only 3 of them were members.  Make sense?  So i was going to teach about the Plan of Salvacion, but then something didn't feel right..I felt like i needed to teach lesson 3, The gospel of Jesus Christ.  It was awesome.  I used 3rd nephi, 27 i believe.  I simply taught as the spirit directed about Faith, repentance, baptism, the holy spirit and enduring to the end.  One of the sisters in the family asked me about the love that god and Christ have for us, how we are judged for every sin but that they still love us...she was very confused about justice and mercy.  As we taught about the holy spirit we used a scripture in Doctrine and covenants that was awesome...i cant remember which one...DyC 124:15? i think. replace hyrum smith with your own name.  As each person in the room read the verse out loud with their own name we felt the spirit very strong.  The girlfriend of my buddy named Eber, is very catholic but has a ton of faith.  As she read, she shivered, she said that she felt something go through her as she read. That my friends is the holy spirit.  She knew for a fact that the message we shared that night was true. but said no to a baptismal date. I will teach the family again this Sunday. i will keep you updated!

The church is true. I love you all! 

Gotta run!

Elder Westbroek

Last Week of Training

Que tal le va!?

Hey everyone! I hope all is well!

This week has a little rough, Its getting hotter so everyone is hiding inside plus, they do easter down here a little different. its a week of partying and vacations.  so all week during the semana santa We looked and knocked and hardly found anyone haha.  

Mom you wanted to know more about praying for is exactly that. Here in Mexicali, everyone plays their music at full blast at all hours of the day, everyone has 1 or 10 dogs, their are always fights and whatnot so its always loud.  So i actually pray for silence a lot...especially during lessons.  the spirit is so soft and subtle its hard to listen to when there is so much disturbance, for the investigators.  But when we ask in faith and act, we receive :) i can testify of that!

Dad great job on the award! that is so sick! 2.5 million! atta boy! hey did you get your 17000 dollars back yet? ha.  The letter is on its way, the bishop thing was a little bit more exciting that an argument.   Uh the area i live in is desert. not a lot of trees or anything. sand and sage brush.  I have some very sketchy areas, in one area where we have a lot of success, Condor is like the Projects...a year ago you couldn't even walk in without getting jumped, says one of our neighbors. if you watch the abandoned buildings and people you see some pretty wild stuff!  I haven't seen much of Mexicali, just my little area haha.  transfers are next week! kinda a lot excited, i will stay here and elder martin will leave.  but i do believe i will be here in Mexicali for awhile ha. yes in the heat! man its hot. 

The young man on the bus was doing so well, went to the activities and to the church with us! but his grandma and mom started saying some really horrible things about us...and he is super shy so he doesn't want to stand up to his mom....he was almost in tears the other night, he gave me a hug... i said "Alejandro, i know these things will help you", he said "these things are true huh?" i said "yes, and they will help you so much in your life."  he has a lot of issues with his family, he doesn't know his real dad, and i don't think he has a good relationship with his step dad either...we are trying to help this kid. man he is so ready to receive this gospel in his life.  The other little family came to church with us :) but then went out of town...we are trying to find them again. 

we have a baptism this week tho! i am so excited! Armando! this man is so ready! i will send pics maybe next week or whenever i get my package haha.  

sorry I'm out of time! i will write more next week i promise!
 love you all so much! the church is true!!!!!

Elder Westbroek

Lucky Number 7!

Buenas Tardes,

Alright! Where to begin!?

Mom and dad! you're so close to me! Sounds like San Diego is treating you well! Whale watching sounds like a riot haha.  Nothing better than being on a boat! Let me know what goes down with the trip and the Big O convention. Dad i met a guy last night who thinks he knows you, do you know a Ricardo who works for De Anda Trucking? haha really random.  
Mom i know the feeling about being the only white kid on the block haha. Because i am!  And people let me know it. I am the end of many racist jokes and they all have many nicknames for me.  Haha the other day, a guy yelled to me in English "Hey what are you doing here white kid?" haha i introduced myself and told him about missionaries... he said "man, you can die in the USA, but it is more common here in Mexico! But i respect you for preaching the word my man." We had a conversation for about 20 minutes and it just got better and better every minute.  I really hope we get to teach this man.  
I think those skeletons are for the day of the dead. it is like Halloween, but it is for the family. it is a big party to celebrate your ancestors.  But it isnt for like 6 months or so.  
I might be back to the mission office in a week or 2 weeks for my visa, or in a month for conference? so who really knows.  i didn't get any packages in the conference last week, that was a little weird.  so i guess i will wait haha.  no i didnt buy any shoes, they are all bien bien caro, very very expensive. and i don't want to buy expensive shoes ha. i will keep looking in the streets for cheap nice ones.  i bought 2 cans of vegetables, the produce here isnt the best, we will check a different store next week. I am down 10 pounds....but my pants are getting tight haha you do the math! (don't forward that haha).

The title of this email is lucky number 7...because after a lot of work, prayer, blood, sweat and tears, we got 7 investigators in the church.  It was incredible.  And our bishop after his incident has a whole new outlook on life and his calling and he was just beaming ear to ear and he was so great with every single investigator! (dad i sent my letter to you about my week that was literally insane, so you'll know whats up in a couple weeks or less.) But man, it was an amazing sight.  We walked in with a family of 4, Mom, Dad, 2 young little boys.  This is the man that was beaten in front of his family, that we found one night.  They are one incredibly tough family.  

This week was full of little miracles.  Praying for silence, and the world goes quiet. Praying for words to come to my mind and i get a whole conversation.  Praying that we will find someone new to teach and we find a young man on a bus who is so ready and is literally looking for the truth.  Praying praying praying. And the lord keeps on giving. It is just amazing.  Every week really is a blur, this week i hit 4 months, it is such a short time, that has taken forever, but really has past in the blink of an eye.  Each day i am learning about the church, my life.  I have come to appreciate both very very much.  

I really don't have any complaints this week, the lord has answered all my prayers, and he is taking care of my family.  I have been truly blessed this week and my whole life with everyone who is in it.  The same guy who told me i could die here in Mexicali told me that my dad did a dang good job.  He said that by keeping us in the church we have completely different lives. And i believe that.  We don't see it always, but we have so much to be grateful for because of the teachings of Christ and applying them to our lives.  

Well that is all i can remember about this week, i should start writing it all down huh? Anyways, you all got any questions about Mexicali? i think we hit 100 degrees today. last year they hit about 135, and this summer is supposed to be hotter. yay. 

The church is true! 

Love you all!

Elder Westbroek

Faith Before Fear

Buenas Tardes, familia y amigos.

This week, not much happened quite honestly.  It was a week of trials, frustration, STRESS and more stress.  This week we worked so hard trying to get investigators to come to church/General Conference.  No luck.  After many Si's, 4 families committed, 10 individuals, and one family who said they were on their way(not really),  we had a whopping zero investigators in the conference.  That crushed me.  Dates for baptisms have been dropping left and right.  And naturally as missionaries, we look inward.  This week I have struggled like none other, i was so frustrated with myself i couldn't open my mouth Things got a little rough and after conference that night on Saturday i just kind of lost a good way.....i let it all spill out as i testified of the words of Elder Anderson of the 12 to a couple who are less active.  I loved his analogy of the tress in the wind and how they adapt. Their roots grow deeper and their trunks get stronger and more flexible to move with the winds.  Right now i am in a very heavy wind, but i feel like i am a lot stronger that i was almost 4 months ago.  honestly, I'm a completely different person. i know that through faith and trials we become who god knows we can be. be patient in your afflictions and learn to wait upon the lord.  

 the other day i was on splits with an elder from Mexico, he said elder westbroek, Could you have a conversation with a Mexican 4 months ago? haha i laughed and said no elder Fraga, i couldn't. He said, well there is your answer, you are improving!.  this elder is awesome, and all day we talked in Spanish and had some very solid lessons. this was an answer to my prayers.

hey i gotta head out, so sorry this message is so short! we have a lesson that is way far away.

i love you all!
Elder Westbroek


Que tal le va mi familia?

Todo esta bien aqui en Mexicali.  First off to answer some questions.  The ward, we are in the ward of Bugambilias, we have usually about 100 members that come, we have a list of inactive and less has over 250 names on it, lots of work to do. But the ward is great. 
For conference, they will show all four sessions at our stake down in Benito Juarez, i am so excited for conference!!!

Yes, i am so stoked for Rick and Kira! Johns Hopkins! What a blessing, i think that will be great. I want to see lots of pics of the house when they buy!

The food, it is an adventure. My stomach has had a hard time trying to adjust to it, i was sick last week for about 5 days in a row, so was Elder Martin.  But i am starting to love spicy spicy foods.  The saying for American missionaries around here is "mas chile, mas espanol", so i eat a lot of chilies haha.  the meat is still a big problem, it is either pretty dirty, or mostly artificial.  the artificial meat is the hardest on the body.  to buy meat that is only one type of animal or real meat period is super super expensive. 

Dog problems. Everyone wants the biggest baddest dog they can get. not for show, but for safety. and for some reason missionaries look like bad guys.  on a daily we get chased haha but luckily Elder Martin and I can get up and go when we really need to.  The only bad thing is, with these shoulder bags you cant get them off fast enough to swing when you need to defend yourself.  

The Tijuana trip was for more photos and fingerprints and questions.  I went with lots of other missionaries, from all over the world. really fun. and i saw all of my district from the MTC which was so so so great! i believe i will have to return again in the next couple of weeks.  so dont be worried if i miss again on a Monday haha. 

Elder Martin, wow this kid is rock solid haha.  He is from Guadalajara Mexico, he moved to brazil for his dads work, his dad is in charge of buying the food for restaurants like Cheescake factory, PF Changs and other restaurants. so Elder Martin also speaks Portuguese, and his english is rock solid too. I never realized how bad of an accent i have haha, utah accent that is.  His Spanish is awesome, his accent is a lot different, his pronunciation is so so so much better than most.  That might be because i am used to it and so i know his accent, but yeah it is different.  

Uh the last week, it has been very interesting. Most of this weeks experiences will be in a letter to dad and he will get to tell you all about it :) And the rest of the details will be after the mission ha. Just know we are perfectly healthy and happy. we didn't get robbed or anything. Dad will let you know if he wants to share.  

This week, we have worked really hard, but the people are so hard to get through to sometimes.  People have very very difficult lives here, a lot of torn apart families, split between marriage issues or literally split between the US and Mexico.  This week we were only able to set one date for baptisms, we invited many to come unto Christ but all but one said no. and the one that said yes, said no 7 times before saying yes after the 8th invitation ha. this was enduring to the end for sure haha.  The work goes on, it is frustrating, baptisms dates fall faster than they can get set, we are postponing one of them for next week hopefully, church attendance is always was makes the dates fall.   

Thank you for sending my shoes and backpack! Any more questions about life here in Mexico? oh and you might notice that i bought about 130 dollars of bus tickets to Tijuana...that was bad. i got taken advantage of at the bus station haha, but i will get it all back, so no worries! how much do i have in my person account?

Please tell the guys at the shop i love em and miss em. and tell pablo, turtle and brown to write me a letter haha.  tell the gym hi for me and that i love and miss em too!

the work moves on, love you all!! the church is true, Jesus Christ lives!

Elder Westbroek

I am Alive!

Hey everyone!

Sorry i didn't write yesterday, i was in Tijuana for my visa and didn't return until late last night around 6:30, then we had plans with investigators, so i decided i wanted to visit them instead of write haha sorry. 

Wow, i cant believe it has been another week.  It really all is just flying right on by!  This week was filled with more work, meetings, lessons, great experiences, a trip to TJ and more.  But this week was different...what was so different? i actually enjoyed the work.  I taught people, and followed the spirit to do so.  Things are finally starting to click. I am starting to, ever so slowly, memorize the conjugations, and get more words in my vocabulary.  This week as part of the training, Elder Martin started to hand over the lessons. Every other lesson one of us is in charge, we control the flow of the principles and choose when to move to the next.  It is actually really hard haha but i finally started to figure it out...kind of.  It has been incredible to watch the Holy Spirit work in our lessons with the investigators, we really dint do the teaching, it is entirely what the Spirit prompts us to say and do and go.  

This week we really worked on finding. Finding those who are ready to receive the restored gospel.  I truly believe that god places people in our lives for a reason.  i also believe god will place people in your life when YOU are ready.  This also goes the other way around.  When someone else is ready, you will be placed in THEIR life.  This week as we prayed to find people to teach, and then acted and talked with people, viewed all as our brothers and sisters, people who were prepared to receive the gospel began popping up in our path.  People who would stop us to ask questions, people who wanted to come with us to visit investigators, people who had questions about the apostasy and so on....It was so cool. 

In order for a change to occur we first need a change of heart.  We find this in the story of Alma the younger, along with the many others.  But this change of heart is key.  Change is inevitable, good change, bad change. We fight it, and it still happens.  But there is a change we can control, unless god wants and needs us to change.  People choose to reject us here on a daily basis, we get doors slammed in our faces, i get bashed and sworn at... So when god sees us ready, or another person ready, he gives them experiences, to help them progress, soften their hearts. Then the people, we, have the opportunity to learn and grow, soften our hearts, or harden our hearts and not progress.  When we allow our hearts to be softened by our own personal experiences, we allow a very good change to occur.  

This week i allowed a bit of change in me to happen.  I stopped fighting God.  I realized that God can do more for me than i can for Him.  I testify that when we do the will of God, we are truly free.  When we do the will of God, we are truly free.  This week, i put my trust in Him, and went to work.  I taught, i studied, i struggled, but not once did i lose the faith that my Father in Heaven is there.  And i saw a great change occur in my attitude, my Spanish, my teaching skills and more.  That is because God has more power than i could ever have. obviously.  Trust in your Heavenly Father, trust in the Lord Jesus Christ...experiment upon the word of God...and see what mighty miracles occur in your life.  I testify that you all will see a great change, an answer, receive a change of heart, fix a problem, change a relationship...anything, when you put your trust in Him.  I know it is true, because i watched it occur right in front of me with the investigators.

I don't have anything out of the ordinary this week, uhhh haha well as normal as you get here in Mexico. 

i gotta run, back to work! i love you all! talk to you soon!!!!!

- Elder Westbroek 

Pray with Faith. Then Act.

My Family and Friends!

How is everyone?? I miss you all!

This week has been a roller coaster for sure!

Tuesday, we had a zone conference where we learned about prayer and praying with faith, and learned how to apply these teaching into our lessons. It was a game changer.  Elder Martin and I got called out though....on putting up the best numbers in the Zone! We were called the most powerful companionship in our zone.  I didn't let it go to my head, but man it felt good haha.  Yes, numbers. But for Elder Martin and I, they are people, with families. And that is what we have been working on. families.  And it is really working.

Later in the week we had a very cool experience.  One of our investigators, Alejandro, who was baptized this week!, had a very large doubt about the prophet, Thomas S Monson. Since i have been to general conference, i take the lead on testifying of the prophet most of the time. But something different happened this i spoke the words were different, there was a different feeling in the room.  I told Alejandro that I know for a fact, with my whole heart that President Thomas S Monson speaks with God face to face...and immediately after, there was a boom. In each of our hearts.  It literally was like something punched our hearts.  It was very quite after, then Alejandro's brother in law asked him...did you feel that? yes he said.  That my friends, is the power of the holy spirit testifying of the truth.  That is a little miracle that was the game changer.  Also, the answer the his very specific prayer.  

Also, the mother of Julian, who also was baptized this week!, Julian, not his mom. not yet.  Anyways, Vicky is her name, has lost 5 family members to drugs in the last 2 years. she is depressed, and has many other problems.  We have visited with her each time we met with Julian.  We had little success. We talked about the spirit and the power of prayer. Elder Martin and i told her that if she prayed with faith and about something specific, she would receive the answer needed through a person or a dream.  She had a dream...her son who passed away came to her, dressed in all white, and told her to be calm, that is well. She described everything so vividly.  it was quite the experience.

Baptisms! yes, Fridays are great days! after a lot of hard work, studying, lots of prayer...Alejandro and Julian were baptized. it was such a great experience. Julian has a son who is almost 8, he really wants to be baptized like his dad.  I had the opportunity to baptize Julian and Elder Martin Baptized Alejandro.  Such a great day.  

Sunday night...finally, after Saturday which was a very very bad day, I had a good experience.  We taught a little family who is less active.  We taught their son and his girlfriend. they have a little family but are not married.  For some reason i was immediately attached to this family.  The lesson lasted about an hour and a half on accident. they had a lot of questions.  And, for an hour and a half, i had the words in my mouth to answer the questions.  I poured my heart out to these people and taught about the Restoration.  It was incredible.  Usually during lessons they speak to my companion and i just tag along, but i was able to be active and talk a lot during the lesson.  They asked me questions directly and really wanted to know my thoughts.  And by some miracle, i was able to understand every word, and teach by the spirit and help them see the importance of the Restoration, and matrimonio.  What a great night.  

That is basically it, a fantastic week.  A roller coaster ride for sure, but it was great.  Every day i have a little notebook where i write Spanish words i want and need to learn.  Each day i pray to receive help with the language. This week, i saw a dramatic increase in my Spanish capabilities.  I know for a fact, when we pray specifically, with faith, and then through our actions, we reflect the desires of our hear, our Heavenly Father will bless us for our efforts and provide a way for us all to accomplish the trial we are currently enduring.  This is an invitation, pray with faith. then act.  Experiment upon the word of God and see the miracles unfold.
remember...revelation can come like a light switch or like the sun as it rises slowly and illuminates the world.  You will receive person revelation if you ask God for it. be specific. then act.
I love you all, take care of yourselves.  Thank you for your love and prayers.

Elder Westbroek

The Other Side of the Fence

Hey Family and Friends!

Another week has passed, it is hard to believe.  This week was yet another week full of difficulties, blessings, triumph and downfalls. The usual haha.  

There isn't a whole lot to report this week, we are lesson teaching machines however.  Elder Martin and I have posted up over 200 lessons these first 4 weeks.  It has been incredible.  However there is one number that is sitting at a zero....

The mission is moving to a new focus, of baptizing every single week.  Every companionship should baptize every week.  Yeah. intense.  I find myself struggling with this.  I am not here to baptize, I am here as a representative of Jesus Christ, and help build the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints...but, you gotta do what you gotta do.  So, we have started being direct with our investigators, navigating with the spirit to ask the inspired questions, then pop the big question....will you....follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone who has the authority of God? (in Spanish of course).  After this recent push for baptisms, my companion and i have picked up 15 new investigators this week, stamped on 2 baptisms dates for the 14th, and 9 baptismal dates for the 28th of March.  Not too shabby. hopefully we can hang on to each person, and not only baptize them, but help them come closer to Christ and raise their quality of life through the teachings of Christ.  That is my goal, not to baptize, but to help those i come in contact with here in Mexico.  

This week we had a zone conference, it was a lot of fun to be back with all the missionaries here in Mexicali, I had an opportunity to share my testimony with the zone, mission president and his wife. That was slightly scary, but mostly fun, i love public speaking.  We discussed the importance of the sacrament and church. All i gotta say is...Go to Church.

This week, i made a new friend.  His name is Ezequiel. He is 11 years old, born and raised in Utah! He was a reference from a 10 year old investigator of ours.  I walked up to Ezequiel and started speaking Spanish, the usual conversation, then switched to his face just lit up! "How do you know English?!?!" he screamed haha i said I'm an American! he said I am too!!! i told him i was from Utah, he screamed "I am from Utah!".  we had a great talk.  This kid has an incredible spirit.  At the age of 10 he was homeless, his parents lost their house, and were sent from shelter to shelter for about 6 months, they lived in several churches too.  Then after awhile, his father was deported and the family went with him.  I met the family, his little sisters, his best friend from las vegas, age 12, family deported tambien.  Ezequiel's dad wasn't too interested in us, but i invited them to church and to play some futbol with the other kids in the ward on Friday nights.  We plan to visit this family soon, they are incredible.. My buddy Ezequiel says he has a plan to return to Utah in 2 years, i am not sure what this plan entails, but i want to help this kid in any way possible.

i said i would have more about a man named Luis Alberto, we have had some trouble contacting him this week, so hopefully next week i will have more to say about him... He is another deportee...he grew up in California. kindergarten, jr high, graduated high school, worked and loved the states, but, he didn't have his papers.... He is one incredible guy, incredible mechanic too.  I cant believe the heart ache these people have.  They have a home, lives, families...but because they don't have a paper, they lose it all. makes me sick.

That really is about all i can tell you this week.. We are safe and healthy.  more gun shots this week, real ones this time, but no sirens so we assume all was well.  We had quite the military show in the streets the other night.  In a colony we are in very often called Condor is a huge place for drug dealing, the military was everywhere the other night, quite intense.  Elder Martin and i are good at keeping each other safe tho, we switch up our routes by times, people and shadows, if we see someone sketchy, we say "suspect" in English and make them known haha, it started out just as something fun we did, but now it is just for when it is dark and for safety.  We most definitely feel the protection of the Holy spirit as we walk through these streets, obedience is key, and we have faith we will be kept safe.  

Random facts....pig skin is a real food.  it is delicious in red salsa, not so much green.  One of our investigators showed up to church high and got arrested right in front of us....ha that was unique.  

The church is true!!!! i love you all, thank you for all the emails, sorry i cant get back to you all! Mas Fe, Mas Exito.  

Elder Westbroek