Monday, July 28, 2014

40 Such a Good Number

Family and Friends!

Man, good week. A ton better than the last 6!

So, i was talking to my new district leader and turns out i am a co senior companion...have been for 2 transfers ha.  So, i started taking the lead, just taking it. As Elder Watts told me to do. I managed time, lessons and commitments.  We finally hit, for the first time, 40 lessons in a week, the standard of excellence.  I am so stoked! Usually my companion would plan the majority, but this week i decided to take the lead and plan, schedule and all. haha well it worked! we had 14 lessons with members present also, which is huge here in Delicias.  also, we found 13 new people to teach! one family is a family of 7 and we can baptize 4 of them. they are incredible! so yeah, the numbers were great this week, lets just hope we can put it all together in the month of August and see some miracles and baptisms :) Everything is chill with Elder Espino, i had a good talk with him, ha i sat him down one night and just had a very grown up chat with this 24 year old dude. things are great now. thanks for your love and support.

We were given a reference from other missionaries and we will be baptising this investigator this week, his name is Alfonso, he is so smart! and he WANTS TO SERVE A MISSION! that is so dope! haha but for real, to know that someone we have taught has the desires to go out and serve and preach as we are now is just a huge reward and blessing. :)

Rocio will be baptized next week most likely, but she is doing great, after we took the last bit of coffee away, placed carefully in my backpack, she has been coffee free for about a week now! i will let you know how she is doing next week.  She still has limited contact with her children, but we will soon be passing a reference up north and get missionaries to visit her children too.But Rocio said she feels better and is finding more LIGHT in her life.  That's what i like to hear.

When the mission work gets better, that's usually when the living circumstances worsen and so they did.  We went without gas for 2 days...very cold showers. That's not the worst, haha that's nothing.  Here in TJ, things just break a lot.  So, a water line broke somewhere and we lost water, all water, for 3 days.  Yeah, you cant find clean water to drink, you cant flush your toilet, you cant wash hands, shave, and everything else.  It is awful. But, we did our best to make the best of what we had left for water.  It took some real patience and courage haha, i used to be a germaphobe as you all know, well i am officially cured of that disease.  there is a phrase in spanish that means just "whatever", lets just say i used it a lot this week with the living situations haha "nimodo", after i say that, i can do whatever, its magic.  but, after 3 long days, the water came back, and we were able to flush the toilets and clean up a little haha.  there is actually a cool way to flush toilets without levers but we didn't want to waste our drinking water.  Also, that morning the senior missionaries and the president's wife came to inspect the house, hahaha disaster!

Another rough thing this week, we were walking in a park and a man came up to us, yelling Elderes! Elderes!  Turns out this man's dad is a bishop down south.  This man's life has been literally falling apart...we started to talk to this man and he told us that he was just on his way to commit suicide right there in the street that we were in but then we stumbled into his path and he took it to be a sign from God.  We talked with him and he just cried and cried and cried with all that has been happening. He told us the first vision that Joseph Smith had with the father and the son, in such a way that was gorgeous...and then it got very sad, he told us of his life and began to shake and cry out...he started a prayer out loud....and just as Christ did on the cross, this broken and yes, bleeding, man started to cry out "Abba, Father, Abba, Father!!" and talked with his Father in Heaven, i was moved to almost shook us pretty hard, all that he has said, done and been through.  Then i saw as he pulled out his alcohol and poured it out all over the ground....the start of a change. I do now know if we will be able to teach this man, due to a few things, but I would sure like to try.

Family and friends, please know that there is always hope, you can always find strength to come back to the good path, which is Christ. through him we can all be safe, and happy.  I know that Christ in fact, lives.  I love you all.

Elder Westbroek

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

I am my companion's last companion

'Hey y'all, not much to report from TJ except a rough week in the work.  We ran into some major walls this week with baptisms, family situations, marriages torn apart, commandments, collective weddings, spiritual and ethical problems too. My heart and head literally hurt after this week.  Also i received the "great news" that i will be with Elder Espino for the next transfer also.  whoo. So, all i can say is life down here is a little tough. "Pesado" or "heavy" as we say here in TJ.  But life moves on somehow and so does the work.  

I basically just spent a lot of time on my knees this week praying for a miracle, and lets just say i am now waiting on the Lord. Its a great thing i have learned to be very patient. 

Rocio is doing great, she has noticed some major changes in her Life thanks to the gospel! whoo, we are not working with her to drop the coffee, you should have seen her face when we talked about it, haha so sad. but she will do it, she overcame smoking and alcoholism so she can do anything!  Her kids got released from the government program and now are living with a friend of Rocio, She talks with them a couple times a week if she is lucky. i expect she will be baptized the 7th of august.

Thank you for all the packages! i was blessed to receive 4 packages all filled with goodies haha, it made my day! thank you for the letters and love. the candy, toys and snacks! honestly, i saved so much money this week with groceries because i have food in the house now haha. so thank you :) also, thanks for the sick superman under armour shirt. a cool pic is coming your way the following week :)  

nothing to report this week, i am doing ok, having a rough go at things right now, but that's life right? :) love ya all!  here is the only beautiful part of TJ!

Elder Westbroek

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Just Enjoy It."

I survived another week here in Tijuana Mexico :)

So another week has passed in the blink of an eye! i find myself staring at 7 months this week haha. did i just turn 6 last week? Man, i love this place.  This week i had the chance to just talk to a few elders about what we really think of TJ and our mission. We all love the work.  But we all agree that we have a very rough and tough mission filled with difficulties and without a whole lot of beauty haha. TJ isn't the most exotic or beautiful place...but then, you sit in a very humble home and talk to a family or a broken hearted man and you begin to find the...well beauty of it all. The ugliest place in the world, filled with garbage, drugs, gangsters, problems and more suddenly becomes a place to mend families, change lives, and create happiness. As missionaries we literally bring a message of hope and happiness.
This week, by some miracle, my favorite investigator came to church again. Her name is Rocio, she was recently deported after she got in a fight with her 18 year old daughter, her daughter then called immigration to come and take her mom away.  Rocio has lost all contact with her 18, 13 and 5 year old daughters. She is recently divorced and lives alone. She does not know anyone. And yet, she has hope. She has battled alcoholism for a few years now and is on the mend. you can see the effects of her situation weighing down on her. I have kind of made her my special project, focusing a lot of attention on her.  I really think the spirit is doing a number on her to guide her in her life now.  She told me yesterday at church that she can see a glow or a light when i talk to her and others...i find this rather strange, because my convert Armando in Mexicali told me the same thing.  I think its just because my hair is so blond now so the sun hits it and i glow ;) haha. But honestly, the spirit works just as hard if not harder than we do to bring these people the truth. and i feel very honored to be a representative of Christ here in such a dark city.

This week, we found the man that contacted us the other week while i was outside in basketball shorts and T shirt. He told me he had be apprehensive to talk with us while we were dressed up.  This has got to be one of the coolest guys i have ever met.  This man was deported about 8 years ago after spending 25 years or so in the USA, in California, and Utah. He has visited the temple and seen the visitors center in San Diego also. And well, he wants to know more!  His story tho, wow.  He was charged with some rather large crimes just because he was defending his life after he had a gun to his face.  After his buddy had been shot he defended himself and beat one guy to pieces ha. man.  After being tried, he wasn't granted freedom because this all happened on private property, but he was only given 6.5 years in prison instead of 25 to life. He was tried as a minor and was put in a special prison.  After 6.5 years he headed over to Utah and lived in SLC! But, got into more trouble.. He really is a great guy, wish i could tell you the whole story. Right now he is just concerned of taking care of his daughter and finding work.  I think he has a bright future ahead...especially as member of the church!

I feel a lot healthier this week, no more throwing up almost back to "normal", as normal as you can get around here.  Not going to lie, i almost cried the other day when Holland lost, man that was rough. i knew Germany would win tho, puro poder.

The mission really is pretty amazing tho, i love talking with the people and hearing their unique stories. i have become very close with many investigators and members here. Also, i truly can feel the spirit directing the work in the lessons and the streets.  For example, the other night we were walking and we heard some shouting and talking saw a man walking, and we now assume he was very heavily drugged, we continued, but then elder Espino and i stopped walking at the exact same time. we both had a very strong prompting to take the long way around.  Just as we did that the situation in our route got a bit intense haha lets just say.  Its amazing what the lord does to help us just simply use our brains and avoid disaster, but also, help us out of situations when we are completely oblivious to the danger.

Mom i loved the missionary activity you did with the kids, and the pioneer day activity will be awesome!  haha i also loved the book of Mormon story of the sister missionaries, crazy stuff like that happens a lot here in the mission!!

Well, i will send some pics. Hope to hear from you all soon!  Callie Brown, i will write ya back i promise! Tyler and Brittany King!!!!!! i love you guys. And know i pray for you two a lot :)

What else do y'all wanna know??

The title of my email is exactly as it says. at times life and the mission get super hard. but we just have to enjoy what we have and trust in the Lord! Keep on keeping on!

Love ya all!
Elder Benji Hyrum Westbroek

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Muy buenas tardes!

There is never a dull moment in Mexico. I will tell you that much!  Each week it is new experiences, adventures and so on!  

To answer some fan mail...On average we teach 30 to 40 lessons a week. a lesson is a prayer to open, at least two principles, an  invitation to action and a closing prayer.  So we do a lot of contacts and partial lessons, but we only "count" the full complete lessons. We try our hardest to get members to accompany us on visits but they are so hard to find where we live. plus, no one has cars around here.  We try and get at least 12 to 15 member present lessons a week.  
We have been asked to not contact in the streets by playing soccer...but, occasionally a loose ball goes flying by and i am always the first one to take off to go get it, do a couple tricks and send it back haha. honestly, it is a fantastic way to contact, i have found a few new investigators that way! 
Our P Days...well those took a drastic change about a month ago. We aren't sure what went down somewhere here in Mexico in another mission...but we have been given new direction on Zone and district activities from the Area Presidency (Mission President"s Boss) and so now we cannot go out in public with a group of more than 4 missionaries.  We cant even go to the church to play soccer.  So, we don't do activities anymore.  Occasionally we will take two other missionaries to go eat somewhere, but we have to avoid the other elders if they are there too with their group of 4. It is rather sad. We have 6 elders in our ward, so we received permission to do the dinner the other week with the members. 
The tie tradition is great huh!? you burn a tie at 6 months, a shirt at a year and a suit on your last day.  

This 4th of July was a bit different, I was in interchanges with Elder Watts again, that was great. Two Americans working together, trying our hardest not to think about home and our families haha.  We worked really hard all day, we were so happy too! We get a long very  well. to celebrate, we had bought tacos, and then later that day some pizza to celebrate.  It was so much fun.  But i cant lie, i missed my family and the US a ton that day haha.

I don't know what it is with Americans and getting sick here in TJ. It happens a lot.  A few Americans here have been getting super sick repeatedly, and this week, it was my turn.  I woke up one morning and was just super nauseated  went to the restroom and got sick. real sick.  I headed over to other missionaries house and ended up throwing up there.  Then the same thing on our way back home in a store, and then again in our home when we finally got home again.  We talked to the doctors of the mission and judging from what was happening i had to go get an IV or drink some suerros and get checked out.  After a long ride to the offices i was checked out by the doctors for about an hour and a half, and then they drove me back to the house, there i received two huge injectors for the vomiting.  i almost passed out during the second injection. that was intense.  So far i feel a lot better. in over 48 hours i have hardly eaten anything, some fruit and crackers and that's all i can hold down. but I'm not hungry in the slightest.  I'm up and working today and i worked yesterday too.  Not sure what it was man haha. But it was rough!  Just some viruses we pick up here, us Americans. in the food, in the air. There is a long history of Americans getting sick here in TJ, and in this zone.  
My companion took a pic of me praying for my dinner. the only food i have really had in 50 something hours...ha. 

Work wise, we are finding people who are so so ready to receive the gospel! and we are working really hard trying to activate less actives. our calling as missionaries is very important in not just baptizing, but retaining members and reactivation. A few of our great investigators still have to get married, here money is a huge struggle and no one has the means to get married.  So they say.  Its either put food on the table or get married.  Luckily, we are having collective weddings this months and we are trying to get several couples ready for the weddings and baptism!  Nothing too exciting down here, just killing sin on a daily, doing our best to help save all of these families!  Hopefully we can find a miracle and baptize a woman and her two children next week!

I love you all! please take care of yourselves! And....Go Holland!

Elder Westbroek

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pictures from Tijuana

Trying on old jeans 

Harmin's Baptism 
6 months out & the burning of the tie ceremony 

Alexis's Baptism

Bob Marley!