May 8, 2017


Rapid City,South Dakota,USA


Hello From Sidney, Montana

Hello Everyone!

It's been a while, since P-Day has switched to Monday now that I'm in the
field, it's been a week and a half. I'm excited to be on the regular once a
week schedule again.

Where to begin, where to begin. A ton happens in a 10 day span. I was able
to say hi to Elder Huston before I shipped out here. Also, Elder Rasband
came to the MTC for the Tuesday Night Devotional. He talked about his talk
he gave in April General Conference. He and his wife are the cutest
together. :) I had never been in the presence of an Apostle before, and my
MTC experience allowed me to be in the presence of two. Super cool.

Also, my mailing address! Send me stuff :) I totally love it lol :)

Elder Westlake
PO Box 536
Sidney, MT 59270

I shipped out Wednesday morning. Woke up at 1:30am, got to the travel
office at 2:30am, caught a 5:50am flight to Minneapolis, then caught a 1pm
flight to Bismarck, North Dakota. We met President Hess and his wife. They
are the coolest people you'll ever meet, and the coolest mission president
and wife on the planet. We're allowed to watch G-rated Disney movies on
P-Day. Super cool. :) We saw the Bismarck temple, which we're allowed to
visit 8 times on our missions. We're also allowed to listen to any
(seriously, any) music from and, which is especially
nice because we drive two hours one way to district meeting every week.
Four hours of driving is nice when you have spiritually uplifting music.
Super relaxing after a hard week's work. The mission home is also super
awesome sauce, with an ice cream machine and popcorn machine. The home is

I met my companion for my first area in the mission home. He's Elder
Porter, also from Mesa, Arizona!!! How cool is that? We've never met each
other until now. He was in my same stake back home for about a year or so!
We mesh really well. He's been on his mission for about 9 months now, he's
only a few months older than me.

Elder Porter and I are whitewashing our new area, which means we're both
new to the area, and have no idea what's going on. It's been a ton of fun
since Thursday night getting to know the area, the members, what's where
and other stuff. The members here love missionaries and missionary work, so
the dinner calendar gets pretty full. :) Also, the food (and everything in
any store) here is super expensive, but the meat is really cheap. A 50 or
60 dollar roast in Mesa is about 5 bucks here. :) Too bad we don't get to
take too much advantage of that because we get fed dinner so much :).
Sidney, Montana is super amazing. It already feels like home, even though I
miss my friends back home sometimes. I keep telling myself I'm here for the
Lord and the people, not for me.
Also, send Elder Porter some stuff, it's his birthday May 10th :)

My two favorite parts of every day are study time in the morning, and
member meal in the evening. I'm loving study time so much because you get
spiritually fed so much, you get two hours to just learn and grow in the
Gospel, and come closer to Christ. Super cool. Member meal in the evening
is super nice, because during the day when you get discouraged and are kind
of down in the dumps, you have something to look forward to. You know that
at the end of the day, you are going to go into an environment where
everybody loves each other and supports each other, and are super friendly.
It's like hanging out with friends. Honestly, it's the best. Definitely
support your local missionaries wherever you are. After the dinner with the
members, I leave so uplifted, and so motivated to get back out there. It
really recharges and resets you as a missionary. It's like a piece of
clothing. You have a clean shirt, as you wear it and use it, it gets dirty
and soiled and disgusting. Super sad. You know that you're going to clean
it at the end of the day. During the process of cleaning it, you can see
the shirt becoming clean, bright, and fluffy again. Once you're done
cleaning it, it's the softest, most fluffy, amazing shirt ever. And you're
excited to wear it again and put it to use. That's what it's like being a
missionary and going to dinner appointments with members. :)
That happened yesterday. With it being Fast Sunday and all, I was feeling
super weak, so we stayed in the apartment and did a lot of phone calls. I
was feeling bad, because we weren't outside doing things. We had a dinner
appointment in the evening, and I left feeling super happy, loved,
motivated, and excited for the work.

There's this Mexican restaurant near where we have District Meeting. The
Elders told me it was really good, and I was super skeptical, because this
isn't Arizona. It actually is pretty good. The food, for the most part, is
kind of bland, but, it actually is pretty comparable to Arizona Mexican
restaurants, and, the flan is one of the best flans I've had at any Mexican
restaurant. So that's pretty sweet.

I totally miss the MTC, to be honest. You were constantly around over a
thousand people who were there for the same reason you were. Everyone was
super friendly, and you were always having a great time, even though there
were some trials. Here it's really just my companion and I, which is
fantastic, because we get along great. We do have ward members, but we're
not here to hang out. So it's really just my companion and I. The nearest
Elders are an hour drive. The nearest Elders to them are another hour
drive. You also don't have your favorite music, friends, family,
de-stressing outlets, or an as familiar environment from back home. It's
going to be interesting figuring out how to stay as happy and energetic as
I was back in Mesa. That being said, I am in fact loving it here, and I am
happy. Sidney is awesome.

Sorry about being super long, I know for a fact my future emails won't be
this long :). Also, I'm super stoked for all my friends back home having
their mission calls! I have friends going to Washington, Ohio, Virginia,
and Bulgaria! They all leave by August. There's still a couple left who are
really close to having their calls, and I know they'll be called to serve
where the Lord wants and needs them. I can't wait to hear all of your
mission stories.

Keep having a great time everyone. :) Almost one month down. Love y'all.

IMG 0467: I'm going to miss that view from the MTC
IMG 0479: View from the Provo Temple grounds, I'll also miss that
IMG 0482: Last temple visit as a district in the MTC
IMG 0542: North Dakota is flat
IMG 0559: Us missionaries who flew out together
IMG 0565: My companion and I

Elder Westlake


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