Thursday, March 24, 2016

Week #57 - Simply Awesome

This week was pretty awesome! Simply that...
(the end?)

Haha just kidding, I should say more concerning the week.

Well the week started out how it usually starts out.. .uper duper slow. But from Thursday on, the rest of the week was pretty awesome.

To start with the good, we had our zone conference on Thursday which was a really great experience for me personally. President Nelson started out the conference very very seriously, talking about the obedience to the mission rules. Which is normal, but this time he was especially serious. In the past week, four missionaries were sent home from the mission. Why? Disobedience. It was honestly really sad, because I knew them, they are my friends. But the temptations got the best of them.

Hermana Nelson got up to share a little talk during the conference as well, and her few words were filled with love, and concern. She talked about the time when she was a seminary teacher, and one of her favorite little videos to share with the class. Basically it is about this young man, who conquered this big mountain, and when he got to the top of this mountain, he found a snake. The snake spoke to him, saying "Please help me, the top of this mountain is cold, and there is no food. Put me in your shirt and carry me down the mountain." But the young man responded, "No. I know what you are. You are a rattlesnake. If you bite me, I will die." Then snake goes on persuading the young man that he wouldn't bite him, but just to help him down the mountain. Eventually, the rattlesnake did convince the young man, and he put him in his shirt and carried him down the mountain. Once they got down to the bottom, the young man took the rattlesnake out of his shirt and placed it on the ground. And in that moment, the rattlesnake curled up, shook its rattle, and bit the young man. The young man was very upset, saying "But you promised that you wouldn't bite me!" The rattlesnake responded, "You knew what I was before you picked me up."

Thanks to the Light of Christ, we already know was is sin, and that that isn't. And as members, we have the additional help from the Spirit, to make better decisions concerning right from wrong. But, if we make one wrong decision, it is easier to do it again. And again. And again. So we need to do all that we can to make to decision that is according to the will of the Lord.

I heard somethings that I really needed to hear. Knowing that my obedience wasn't perfect in that moment, we returned home from the conference, and we committed ourselves to be exactly obedient missionaries of the Lord. And with that commitment, we immediately saw miracles. We had more lessons, found more investigators, set baptismal dates, and with other such miracles, we had a great rest of the week. 

I know the obedience isn't always easy, but it is certainly possible. As we are constantly being tempted and persuaded by that rattlesnake, we are more powerful than him. And as we obey and keep the convents that we have made with the Lord, we will surely be blessed.

*** Step Stats ***
Impressive 5k results from Cooper and Keaton! I remember running a lot sophomore year. Then I got out of shape. Here are the steps from this week ...

Monday, March 14 - 20550
Tuesday, March 15 - 22412
Wednesday, March 16 - 20932
Thursday, March 17 - 9984
Friday, March 18 - 15740
Saturday, March 19 - 20243
Sunday, March 20 - 19980

I updated SuperCooper's Fitbit profile picture to the cute one I took after his 5k on Saturday (you can read about it in Cooper's letter below). I did better this week but oops, Daddy dropped off!  He's been doing some biking, and that usually doesn't show up as "steps" on Fitbit counting. Good to see Grandpa in the Top10 again!. 

*** Between Brothers ***

Dear Landon, I did have one game this week, I got 7 points with a few assists. Near the end of the game, I took a shot and a kid full on pushed me to the ground. One ref called a flagrant foul but the other ref overruled it because he just wanted the game to end. Golden State now has 7 losses because they went against the second seed San Antonio. Spurs were undefeated at home, so that was the main reason they won. Warriors will have to win 11 of their next 13 games to beat the record that the Bulls set in 1996. Dad, Keaton, and Coop all went on the 5K run. (3 miles) I didn't go because I heard there was going to be over 300 people there. On the lowest part of the hoop, I was able to dunk on it with a mini ball! I was at school a few days ago playing tornado, the kid in front of me already got his shot off before mine because the ball slipped out of my hand, so I cam hurrying back then I just chucked up the ball and made and got him out! Anyway, I don't have anything else to tell you about, soooooooo, talk to you next week! Love ya. ColtBolt

Dear Landon, this week I practiced a lot with my ball handling (even though I am still really good at it). I have been bringing two balls to school, so I could practice dribbling with both of them, and I learned more stuff. Some of the things I learned is doing them through my legs, behind my back, switching them back and forth, and some sort of juggling that I do not know what to call. And with one ball, I can dribble really low, and it makes it look really cool. But it also comes with a price, because I have cut some of my fingernails too short, and there is a nasty cut on my middle finger. I have had the cut on my middle finger for about two months, but it never bled. But a few weeks ago, it started bleeding, and it can't stop because I keep on hitting hit everywhere. So mom and I bandaged my fingers up, and it has helped a lot. There has been a few cool games this week, like the Charlotte Hornets have been dominating in March. I do not know if I have told you, but the Hornets are my favorite team, and I think they will have a playoff spot at the end of the year! San Antonio, Golden State, OKC, and the Cavs have all clinched a playoff spot, and that means no matter how many losses they get right now, they will still be in the playoffs. On the other hand, Philadelphia, LA Lakers, Phoenix, and Brooklyn have all clinched NOT being in the playoffs, so no matter how much they win, they won't be in the playoffs. One of the games that was cool was San Antonio vs Golden State or #2 vs #1. They are both undefeated at home, and it was at San Antonio, so I was ready for the Warriors losing. And it happened, because SAS only allowed them to score 79 points, as they got 87 points. Now the Warriors are 62-7, meaning they have to win 11 out of their las 13 games to beat the best record in NBA history (72-10, Chicago Bulls). Dad, Keaton, and I all ran a 5K (3mi.) race yesterday, an it was really fun. I estimated that there were probably 350 people there, and I got 19th place overall, and 2nd in my age group with a time of 23:55.5! Keaton got 20th overall, and I got 12 seconds faster than him. We got some cool shirts as well to kind of prove that we ran this race, and there were also some prizes at the end. Love, Cooper

Dear Landon, it's only a three day week for school this week because of spring break on Thursday, Friday, and Monday. Next week we have two days because it's the end of the quarter. I think I have all A's, but I'm still worried if I mess up something at the last minute and I can't fix it. Next week is Easter. Do they celebrate Easter down in Mexico? I'm thinking that we'll go to Grandma and Grandpa's house this Saturday for the Westra get together and Easter egg hunt and we'll go to Maga's on Sunday for something Easter-ish. I forgot to tell you last week that we had daylight savings. Our time jumped forward an hour, so now we have the same time! I actually like this daylight savings better because the sun is out longer at night. In gym, we were playing handball this week and some guy was talking to his teammates and said, "Don't worry about him. He's a cripple!" I was like, "Hmmmmmmm..." I was playing against that guy and I totally bodied him on a pop fly and knocked him into a wall. Also, we were right next to each other and both jumped for the ball. Of course I got it, since I can jump higher, but he jumped for it too and his nails skidded on my cast and started bleeding, and I was like, "Who's the cripple now??" It was so funny. So yeah... Your boi, Keat

  • Dear Colton: Ah what a shame.. I would've called it a flagrant.. can't be pulling that kind of stuff on the court! I heard that March Maddness has started, with Utah in as a number three seed, what?! That is pretty awesome!
  • Dear Cooper: Wow, sounds pretty impressive with your ball handling skills! I am alright with my ball handling skills in basketball, but now I need to improve them for soccer! I got nothing when it comes to soccer. But I have made some goals, but just thanks to teammates who know how to set me up, haha. Ugh.. That is the worst! I also had the same problem.. It hurts sooo bad. And then you just have to wait an eternity and a half until they heal. Sounds fun
  • Dear Keaton: I'm sure you can deal some serious damage with that cast.. You are a bit like Ironman in a way! Haha. So to answer your question, yes. oh yes, they sure celebrate Easter here. But here it is called "La Pascua" or "Semana Santa" (Holy Week), where they actually have all sorts of different activities they do all week. Marches, reinactments, fairs, etc.. The Catholics go crazy during Semana Santa.. One of the traditions that is especially weird is on Saturday. It is called "Sabado de Gloria" (Saturday of Glory) where all the little pranksters of the town get people in the street wet with water (sometimes beer)... Soooo.. Not looking forward to that. Also in general, working is harder, because everyone is either partying, sleeping, or drunk. But oh well. I will let you know if anything "interesting" happens this week.. Hopefully no!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Week #56 - Between Brothers

If you follow the "Between Brothers" portion of the blog, you might have noticed that there hasn't been a letter from Callahan in a while. He SAYS he is writing Landon on his own. He forwarded me this exchange to prove it. Callahan was the only one to actually receive a letter from Landon this week!

Callahan to Landon ...
Alright so with me there hasn't been too much. Basketball is over and now I have a gym pass and I'm working a lot so it's pretty much like before season. It's kinda nice that basketball season is done but it also kinda sucks. I'm just nervous for next year because if I play good during the summer then I'll be starting next year which is nerve wracking. But it'll be good. School has been all right. Not too bad, got s couple grades I need to get up but nothing below a C right now. I'm trying to eat healthier but I'm not sure how that's gonna go because I'm not a very good eater.. But I'll have to become less picky depending on where I go on my mission because some places have some stuff I don't like but I guess I'll get used to it. Has it been like that for you? Or have you always liked Mexican food? Anyway that's most of what has gone on. Love and miss you bro. 

Landon to Callahan ...
Haha so sad.. No basketball.. Right now, of all the Elders that we play with on Monday, I am the best basketball player. There are some other good players, but I am #1. 😎 All the Mexican Elders look at me like I am some professional. Haha 

I have discovered that eating healthy is very hard.. And not to mention very expensive too! Many times we are at the store looking, so there is a healthy Wheat Bran cereal, which contains 400g for $56 (pesos) or Frosted Corn Flakes that contains 850g for $42.... Corn Flakes of course!  Me? I have come to love Mexican food! I rarely ate it before my mission.. And besides, I really isn't Mexican food there in America! Many people ask me what we eat as Americans.... It is surprisingly very hard to answer that question. We just eat a whole lot of everything! Here, basically with every meal, tortillas are served. So that will be weird to return home and eat without any tortillas.

Good to hear from you. Keep up with reading the scriptures and praying! I hope you are going to church. You won't believe how hard it is to get people here to go to church.. Before we can baptize a person, they need to attend church 5 times.. But all the people here have the bad custom of going to "Misa" (Catholic sacrament meeting) when "they feel like it". But you should already be well accustomed to going to church!  Love you dude.

*** Step Stats ***
(This was all I got in my "to mommy" letter!) Hey super sorry! But we don't have much time to write today! We played a bit too much at the church today... hehehe. But here are the steps!

Monday, March 7 - 23498
Tuesday, March 8 - 19851
Wednesday, March 9 - 14697
Thursday, March 10 - 8861
Friday, March 11 - 21014
Saturday, March 12 - 24786
Sunday, March 13 - 14288

Oops, Mommy dropped down this week. I had a bit of an off week, not getting in all of my regular activity. All the brothers are there in the Top10, as well as Grayson! Always glad to see him there. This mission area sure does keep Elder Blackham stepping! No one can catch Super Cooper though! 

*** Between Brothers ***
Landon doesn't always have time to write brothers back,
but here are the emails out!

Dear Landon, I don't have a lot to write, I had a really good report card at school. This week on Thursday, it was Grandparents day. So Grandma and Grandpa Westra came and ate lunch with us. Cooper, Keaton and I have been playing a LOT on the small hoop, it has been really, really fun. Mom made a video of my Jr Jazz tournament. I did really good, so did my friend Tyler. Yesterday, I went to a friend's birthday party. What we did first was go to the church and play a lot of basketball. I was winning by so much that I JUST shot half courts. I made 2 of them! I ended up making about 16 three or something close to that. After, we went and played on his Xbox 360. We had ice cream and cupcakes. I had so much fun. I am about done because nothing that interesting really happened this week, sop, Love ya! ColtBolt

Dear Landon, we had another short week, missing Friday because of Parent Teacher Conferences. I had better grades this term than last term, because the last term I got two 3's, but now I only have 4's. I "bragged" to Colton that I had better grades, because he had one 3. We went to the book fair after, and I got myself a couple of books. And when we were at school, a few hours before PTC, I finished the 40 book challenge! I still have about two and a half months of school left, so I still have a lot of reading to do. I'm the first one to do it in my class, and the first to finish in the grade. Colton, Keaton, and I made up a game for the small hoop called "The 5 Second Game." We pretend it is a tie game with only five seconds left, and we try to be clutch. We have made some pretty cool shots, and it is really fun. I learned a few more dunks to do on the tramp. One of them is an off the backboard pass to myself, catch it one handed 180 dunk. The other dunk is a behind the back reverse dunk, and they are both really hard to do. Thursday was bring a special guest to lunch day, so we brought grandpa and grandpa. My lunch was at 12:45, and Colton's was at 11:10, so we went at Colton's lunch time. My teacher kind of gave me a reward for an extra long recess. She gave me the choice to go at recess the same time as 4th grade, or come back to class and do art, and you definitely know what my choice was. I got nearly a two hour recess of playing basketball. Love, Cooper

Dear Landon, we've been doing a dissection lab in Biology this whole week. We got to choose between a frog and a pig. My partner and I chose frog because it was easier. It was pretty fun and really disgusting. I'm starting to write with my right hand a little bit more, but it's still harder than before. I finally got my permit on 11 de marzo. You had to get 80% to pass (40/50), and I got 40/50 lqtm. I don't really want to drive until I get my cast off because I want to get used to driving regularly. Have you heard about the new Captain America movie coming out? It's called "Captain America Civil War. It looks so awesome. Almost all of the Avengers are in it, except Hulk and Thor; and they're choosing sides between Iron Man or Captain America. There is also three new characters in the movies that aren't Avengers: Ant Man, Black Panther, and SPIDER MAN!!!! Spidey is my fav sooper hero of all time. The trailer shows who is on Iron Man's side and Captain America's side. Spider Man, War Machine (Rhodey), The Vision, Black Widow, and Black Panther are on Iron Man's side. Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Ant Man, and Buck, who is one of Captain's old frenemies, are on Captain America's side. I hate Captain America now because in the first trailer, you can see Cap and Buck teaming up on Iron Man and just completely recking him. So yeah... it comes out on May 6. Wuv, Keat

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Week #55 - Finding Four

Adios a Elder Cordero!

Well it is already the end of the first week of the new change. And it was another week of seeing miracles. 

Wednesday I had the chance to do interchanges with my district leader for the second time, which was fun.. He is in the ward Loma Florida, and right now, the elders that are there are only American elders. Four Americans working in Loma. We all ate together in a little business, and since we were all Americans, we decided to have a little competition for who could eat the most "picante".(spiciness... I think that is how you spell that.) There was a super spicy sauce of the Habenero pepper. We were just eating it with tortilla chips.. And we all got spiced pretty good. With no clear winner declared.

But concerning the miracles that we have seen this week was the following experience.. We set the goal in our district meeting to find new investigators, and we agreed on 4 new investigators for the week from every companionship of the district. We felt excited and committed leaving from the meeting, and went to work to reach the goal. But, the whole week we worked hard...looking, searching for those people that are ready to receive the message that we bring from our Loving Father in Heaven. Everyday. We got to Sunday, with nothing! We were feeling a little down.. But we continued working. And finally we found a family of three people, whose challenges of life have humbled them in a very sad way,, But they were willing to receive the message. 

So there were three. One more to fulfill to goal. We went with a less active family planning on meeting one of their sons, but they said that he wasn't home, but they had another son that was visiting at the time! Perfect! We will teach him then! And there it was, mission accomplished.

I know with diligence, this work will be fulfilled. We can't expect perfect results when we give a half-hearted effort.. We must do as all the men of God have taught us since the beginning, ENDURE TO THE END.

***Step Stats ***
Monday, February 29 - 28493
Tuesday, March 1 - 26830
Wednesday, March 2 - 18551
Thursday, March 3 - 16445
Friday, March 4 - 17847
Saturday, March 5 - 245535
Sunday, March 6 - 20039

While it appears I'm a step above Landon ... his average is higher, and my Monday morning steps were added in (whereas his step count ended with his Sunday steps). I really think he's got me beat this week! Crazy Cooper is still #1. It's good to see Colton and Keaton back up on the list again (Keaton updated to a Fitbit One, and I made sure Colton had synced recently). Callahan dropped down though ... there was basketball this past week, but it was the state playoffs for Varsity, so he was sitting the bench cheering instead of getting in steps. Grayson is doing well still. Still there in the Top10! Go Gray!  

***Between Brothers ***
March 6, 2016 #55

Dear Landon, I played on the trampoline a LOT recently. I have done some mean dunks! I did a double clutch reverse, through the legs reverse, under the legs, 360 through the legs, and behind the back dunks! The Warriors now have 6 losses! They lost to the Lakers, the second worst team! Steph Curry did unusually really bad. Keaton now has a blue cast. I keep on getting scared that his cast is going to drill me right to the face while we are playing basketball. My team won the whole entire Jr. Jazz tournament! In the championship, we only won by two! In my third game, I made some pretty clutch free throws. We were only up by one with seven seconds left, and I got fouled and made both of my free throws! We went undefeated all throughout the tournament. Throughout this whole week, I had I think 25 points but a whole lot of assists! Anyway, that is about all for this week. Love , ColtBolt

Dear Landon, Colton and I have been playing on the tramp a lot more often. It is really fun too because we know a lot more tricks to do since we are more athletic since the last times we have been on the tramp. It has been really sunny these past few days, and it has been nearly 60 degrees, and it is so wonderful. I can play outside without a jacket, and I can play with my friends at school and do good at basketball. I still have been playing wall-ball, but I have really improved at my ball handling in basketball. If I told my friends I have improved at ball handling, they will not believe me because I am really, really good compared to them. Today we went to the monthly cousins thing, and Keaton, Colton, and I were playing Heads-Up basketball edition. It was a lot easier compared to the other categories, because we already know everything. We also played the Head's Up "Friends" edition and all the cousins were surprised at how much we knew. Kemery also loaned us this Friends Trivia game, and it is fun because we are getting like everything right. We started talking about "Friends" because she had changed all their family photos to the characters from "Friends". Funny! I still want to play the Friends trivia right now, so I guess I will write you next week. Love, Cooper

Dear Landon, my cast is so much better than the stupid splint. My fingers aren't moist anymore and I can move them, but my arm stinks a lot more and it's harder to take showers. I'm getting a lot better with my left-handed writing. I couldn't really play games with my splint, but now I can since my fingers are free. It's kinda fun to bash people over the head with my cast. I'm a baller at volleyball during gym. I can't spike it with my cast, or serve with my cast because it hurts, but I can spike it with my left hand and I'm like the best setter to spike it. I only use one hand too! It's getting pretty warm out here (except for today; it snowed lqtm). At school, we've been going outside almost everyday after lunch. Golden State just lost their sixth time this season to the Lakers! It was so funny and they lost by 17. The Lakers also have one of the worst records in the NBA this season! I hate Golden State because Steph isn't a team player. Their shots were so bad. I think they were 4-30 from the three. I was laughing so hard. So yeah... Wuv, Keat

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Week #54 - No Changes

So I just wanted to write a really quick email to you all, telling you about the changes. Well there aren't any. I will be staying for a another change here in Apizaco with Elder Cocom! We are looking forward to a baptism in week 3 of the change, so that will be great! A little about my companion Elder Cocom. He comes from a very poor family. His parents can't read or write. So think a little about how when we are in the mission, we can only communicate through letters! So he needs for some member from the ward to help them write, and that is only every other week. Tough stuff! It appears we have some early spring upon us right now.. Wish us luck!

*** Step Stats ***

Monday, February 22 - 16379
Tuesday, February 23 - 14831
Wednesday, February 24 - 26032
Thursday, February 25 - 18525
Friday, February 26 - 19007
Saturday, February 27 - 25041
Sunday, February 28 - 16656

Super Cooper still up there at the top! I remember many months ago when he was SO excited to hit that #1 spot for the first time ... and now it's where he's always at. Crazy kid! Mr. Missionary is stepping a lot, still beating Mommy, who has yet to regain her weekly goal average of 22k. Happy to have Grayson in the top10 again. Pretty impressive! Keaton should be there I'm sure, and Colton should be higher I think. Both were having Fitbit issues this past week. Hopefully they will be resolved and we'll see where the other brothers stand.

*** Between Brothers ***

Dear Landon, I had 5 games in 4 days this week. I won three of them. And in all the points I got were around 31 points. The three games I won were the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Although I did some great passes. I got a lot of assists as well! So, the Saturday season is done, and Wednesday. Stephen Curry hit a game winner against the thunder! Cooper and I were so mad! It was a couple meters inside the half court line! He hit 12 three pointers in that single game. He also broke his own record, again! He already has 288 three pointers in this season, with almost 20 more games to go! (The prior record was 286, also set by steph) While Keaton was in gym class at school, he landed awkwardly on his wrist. It is now broken and he is getting a cast tomorrow. Sooooooooooo, I'm really tired, I should have written you earlier. Anyway, Love ya! ColtBolt

Dear Landon, I have been playing wall ball a lot lately, and the more I play with them, the more I lose them. Mom I got me this kind of bucket with a dozen wall balls in it. They were the "Penn' brand, so they were much bouncier, which made it better. Since the snow is all melted, my friends have been playing football again. It is hard to choose between basketball and football at school, because basketball is my favorite, but nobody plays with me. But if I play football, everybody is playing, but I kind of struggle with how they sometimes act while playing. I tried football again, and my first touchdown, better yet, my first catch was an interception that led to a pick-six. I got to see my friends Hunter and Rachel perform in "Merrywives of Winsor" this week, but I did not really like it. Everybody acted fine, it was just very confusing, and hard to follow, which made it a very weird play. I had a substitute for two straight days, because my teacher was in Pennsylvania. I always hate the subs, and it seems like I have one a week. She may be back on Monday, but not for sure. Golden State and Oklahoma City went against each other yesterday, and boy was it a good game. It was close for the entire game, then it came down to the fourth quarter. Stephen Curry had a 3-pointer record setting night. First of all, he tied the most 3-pointers made in a game (12), he passed how many three pointers he made last season (286), and got the game winning shot from almost 6 feet behind the three point line. It went to OT, and when I saw that he made that three with 0.6 seconds left, I collapsed. OKC still had a chance, but Kevin Durant was fouled out, and Russell missed the three to put it into 2-OT. Oh yeah, Keaton broke his arm at school a few days ago, and it has made me to go to these past few derbies. Love, Cooper

Dear Landon, on Monday in gym we were playing dunkball and one of my friends threw me an oop. It went completely over my head (he was a soccer player though lqtm). I had still gone for it and end up with both of my hands hanging on the rim, but I was running too fast and jumped too high that I flipped, someone had ran into my legs in the air, and I tried to catch myself with my right hand. I also landed on my left knee and got a pretty bad bruise, and my head swung down and hit the floor hard. Broken wrist, bruised knee, and headache still today. The doctor in Riverton said there were three breaks! They put me in a splint because my hand was pretty swollen, so I needed to ice it all this week. It's hard to write lefty! Not just because it's not dominant, but when you start writing on the left side, your left hand isn't supporting the paper. And since I have a splint, I could barely support the paper with my right hand, so the paper is always moving around. IT'S FRUSTRATING!! I'm getting kind of used to doing some stuff left-handed though. I should get a cast tomorrow, but when I was icing it today, Dad said it still looked pretty swollen. My fingers were disgusting! They were the size of sausages and felt all sticky and moist with dead skin all around. So yeah... Wuv, Keat

  • Dear Colton: Dang.. that is a lot of games.. Sounds like the super league is a bit more difficult. But at least have fun! Haha I thought that you guys liked Golden State? Or just like Thunder more? It should almost be time for Playoffs, right? 12 three pointers?!?! That is nuts! 
  • Dear Cooper,: Are you playing at home or at school? I can see it being easy to lose the balls at school.. But at home? How can you be losing them so often? Haha but as usual.. Mom provides! I am really happy here in my area because there are a lot of American Elders, who want to play other sports other than just soccer. So today we got a few games of basketball, soccer, and even football! It was pretty awesome, but I am pretty tired now too.. And I haven't even showered either.. Yikes. Don't worry, I will shower. 
  • Dear Keaton,Ouchie dude.. That sure does suck.. I guess there won't be any basketball for a while, right? Dang.. Nor is it easy to hold a controller to play games either! No manches.. Sorry little bro. Hope that you can get through it! This is the third broken bone for you? I can't remember.. Hang in there!