Monday, March 31, 2014



So, title of the email this week is ¡Exactamente! becauseeeee it is the favorite word of one of our investigators who says he knows a lot, but then when we ask him more indepth questions, he has no idea. For example, Hna D asked him if he knew about the Godhead, he said Oh, si si si si. She then asked him what he knew about the Godhead, he quickly changed his mind and was like ohhhhhh.... no no no no se. He likes to talk a lot too, it is sometimes hard to get a word in!

Mon - I had some problems washing my clothes hahahah so we have a washer for the whites, and I was trying to fill up the washer with water from the hose. But it was not filling up! And I did not know where the water was going! I ask Hna D, and she comes and shows me this hose that was lying on the floor where all the water was leaking out....into someones apartment. We ran back upstairs and decided to do laundry another day. 

SISTER MILLER I LOVE YOU EMAILS!!!!! I wish i knew how to translate them more into Spanish for my companion, they are so inspiring. Love love love!!! 

I also realized today that I remember where things are in relation to food. The member we were talking to told me to develop this talent and use it hahaha I am not quite sure how to do that.

Tues - We had cooler weather! SUCH A BLESSING! I did not realize how much hotter it was going to get later in the week. Hindsight is an interesting thing. We had a long day, basically none of our lessons followed through, basically a day of walking the mountains of Papantala and knocking on doors and saying Buenas Tardes with no response. That actually seemed to be the theme of the week. Fun fun! Lots of Exercise! The hills that seemed big once, do not seem that big anymore! We got 2 new investigators today, Cornelio and Teresa, they seem actuallly genuinely interested. HIGH HOPES! And, at the end of the day when we had no energy, the husband of one of the memebers gave us money for a taxi home. I am counting my blessings in everything.

Wed - Our stove little burner thing broke this i finished cooking my eggs in the microwave. One of the lowest points of my mission hahaha and possibly life. But they were cooked! We had cam bias (exchanges) this day too with some other Hermanas. My comp for the day was Hna Tecco, she is from Peru and only has 3 months left! So crazy! We had chinese food mexican style for lunch. Interesting day. This day was the one day that you want your plans to work out...and once again everything fell through. Even the member who was supposed to go around with us cancelled. I am pretty sure I led Hna T all over every hill of our area.

Thurs - Jesus, the exactamente investigator, fell asleep during the prayer hahahahahaha. We said amen and looked up, and he was just sitting there breathing deeply. After about 3 minutes, I clear my throat and say AMEN really loudly. Then he snaps out of it and says amen. I have been needing to remind myself that I have only been here for 3 weeks! I want to understand everything, and I can feel my spanish improving, but I still want to understand more! The zone and district leaders told me that my spanish is way advanced for people who have been out for my time. Fingers crossed they mean that!

Fri - This day marks the day I have sweated the most in my entire life. Hna D and I get to the top of some stair mountains, and I turn and look at her and she died laughing. Sweat was DRIPING down my face, yes I have become one of the people who carries a sweat rag with them. We also did not have any water this morning, and we knew we were going to need it that day. We walked to get water, but it was closed. As we were walking back, I said a prayer that some water truck would go by. 2 seconds later, an hermana from the ward honks her horn and we turn around and she takes us to get water! PRAYERS ARE ANSWERED!!! Today was 42 Celsuis, which is 107 farenheight. Yeah it is hot.

Sat - I think I miss english so much that I keep convincing myself that I am hearing it. Like Have a Good Day! No haha I keep reminding myself that no one here knows english, I am just delusional from the heat. Blessing today! We were ending the lesson with  Cornelio, and we asked him to pray. He prayed and we asked him how he felt. He broke out into a huge smile and said he felt really good. YOU COULD TELL IT WAS GENUINE!! SO HAPPY!!! New investigator today too! Domingo, this really old man who works at this well, always drawing water. High hopes! We were almost attacked by the high son of one our old investigators, but his brother was there and we got past and away with no harm done. I know missionaries are looked after!!! We are TRULY blessed!!

Sun - The sister of the drugged brother did not come to church today because apparently, everyone thought he had punched me. Word travels fast in Papantala haha because the bishop came up to me at church and asked if I was ok, he heard I had gotten punched. I was like no bishop I am fine! WE HAD THE MOST AMAZING BURGERS FOR LUNCH TODAY! I had 3....seriously better than any burger I have eaten before. Mexicans know how to do burgers right.

Mon - we got to go to the BEACH today! I love the beach!!!! We had friend bananas with cream and lechera (basically sweet and condensed milk) and this strawberry stuff. Wicked wicked good. SUCH A GOOD PDAY! We played ultimate frisbee and soccer near the water, and got to walk in it! Totally living in the coast when I grow up
Love the sunsets

Minnesota license plate

stick bug

In the jungle the mighty jungle



our zone

working hard

Monday, March 24, 2014

I Will Survive

¡Hola familia y amigos! (Hi family and friends)

So the theme this week is STAY ALIVE. IT IS SO HOT AND SO HUMID! And apparently it only gets worse from here. I try taking showers at night to feel somewhat cool, and I do for about 5 minutes, and then I am sweating over again. I lay on top of my bed praying to be able to fall asleep and not drown in my sweat, so far still alive!

This week has been full of ups and downs. I passed my 2 months mark. Crazy! At times I think wow, this has flown by. Other times I think I still have 16 months left, I MISS MY FAMILY! Especially here in Mexico, families are really big, so I see their love for their families and automatically think about mine too.

Random, there are no speed limits in Mexico. Just random speed bumps in the road. Basically every time I take a taxi 5 years are taken off my life.

Mon - I was SOOOOO burnt from pday futbol (picture will follow), the members were all laughing at me. They cut a piece of an aloe vera plant and gave it to me, needless to say I have been using it religiously EVERY DAY. The redness is mostly gone now! Ara came to FHE after much persuasion to get her off Facebook. Facebook is HUGE here, people are always on it. But she came, we had tamales and played some fun games! She has not attended church though, and she has a boyfriend who is very Catholic. We keep an optimistic attitude though!

Tues - Guillermina told us that she talked about prayer with her husband! And that she had been praying! SO AWESOME!! She has a really strong Spirit, the only problem is she is expecting her baby in the next couple of weeks, so she has a lot of appointments with doctors and cannot attend church. Today was also full of scary experiences. I KNOW I AM BEING LOOKED AFTER AND PROTECTED!!! One experience, we were walking to visit Maximina, she lives down this dark path in the woods. To get to that dark path, you need to walk down a dark street with lots of turns and dogs who want to eat you. It was late at night, around 8ish so it was completely dark. After getting the dogs away from us (Hna D threw some pebbles and I basically launched a boulder), we got around the bend, saw that there were absolutely NO lights, and looked at eachother and both immediately turned around to think of a different course of action to take. Walking back, we saw some smoke that had not been there before. Then Hna D grabs my hand and takes of running. Once we get to the mainish street again, Hna told me that she had seen a man crouching in the shadows of the trees, wearing a baseball cap. The bishops house was close, so we RAN to it and got references from them. The bishops house is safe! The diference between the Spirit in the house and as we were walking around that bend were tremendous. I know We are being watched over and protected. I am so grateful for that blessing!

Wed - We had exchanges today with the Hnas in the Center. I was with Hna Hernandez. She is so great with kids, so friendly, so helpful, and so good at getting reference! I learned a lot from her!! We got a new investigator, Antonio, and I think he wants to marry us. I am referred to as guerra once again, not my favorite term. He cannot read, and was meeting with missionaries before us, but was discouraged because he could not read and stopped meeting with them. We have had some really good lessons, and he really like the pictures in the pamphlets too. The Spirit talks to us in different ways! There is a lot of military presence in Papantala because of the festival at Tajin, so that is intimidating too. We have interviews with President Lopez, he told me to wear lots of sunscreen after seeing how red I was. Apparently a missionary got skin cancer while on his mission here. I HAVE WORN IT EVERY DAY SINCE! GOT LETTERS FROM MOMMA!!!!!! Highlight of the day!!! :)

Thurs - We keeping finding bigger hills when we think we have found the largest one. We are seriously scaling mountains every day. I am so greateful for Mollys and Rachels emails and their example to me! I read them for guidance and mood boosters, they are both hilarious and inspiring. Chiles are yummy! But not too spicy. I have to take realllyyyy littleee bites before I dig into things to see how spicy it is. I talked to a man on some stairs about the BoM and baptism. Basically my first time really doing that myself. Scary! But I felt good after!

Fri - There are old ladies carrying crosses all over the streets since it is getting close to Easter and Lent and everything. Kind of daunting to see big crosses on everyones doors when we are walking to appointments. I am trying to listen to the Spirit more, the language is hard and I know I cannot say what needs to be said without extra help! I keep inviting people to baptism, but they cannot understand my accent. Ug.

Sat - 2 month mark! Wahoo!! 2 Nephi 31:20, do not give up! I know I have been gone from the US for a long time when I do not remember TSwift lyrics. The wives here need to ask for permission for everytyhing from their husbands, that is really hard. So many of these women want to be baptized, but their husbands say no. Ursula, Carmen, Daisy, they all want to but their husbands have the final say. I pray for their hearts to be softened every day. Papantala is apparently one of the hardest places in the whole mission because people are so involved with their traditions. I will break the trend! I miss mommas cookng! Rice and chicken and beans all day everyday

Sun - no investigators came to church. We had a really good lesson with Carmen about the Plan of Salvation. Her daughter died as a child, the Spirit was SO strong, I cried, she cried, she really opened up to us. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE!!

People in Mexico lie a lot, it is a fact hahaha. We often go looking for people at their houses. As we approach, people basically  take cover and hide in their houses. Finally, they send out a child to deny knowing all the people who we ask if they know them, and then we ask other neighboors if they know, for example Maria. Turns out that person is Maria because when we ask them their name they do not answer. YAY :)

This is hard, but I feel God's love for his children and want to help them. I am sorry i I cannot respond to everyone, time is REALLY limited. I love you all!!

Hermana Westergard


status about me from Ara

 Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening)

very burnt

sunsets again!




voladores again

lunch with members

Monday, March 17, 2014


Gah, what a week! Currently, I am very sunburnt from playing futbol earlier with the other elders, but that too shall pass! Also I am eaten alive by mosquitos. If you saw me right now, you probably would not recognize me. This does not help with the fact that the Mexicans already think I look strange as it is.

So, something I have learned about Mexicans is that none of them actually really intend on keeping their commintments when they say they will. We commited 4 of our investigators to come to church - Guillermina, Julio, Hector and Ara - on Sunday, and none of them came. We stopped by each of their houses and they were all either "esta durmiendo" or no answer. That means they are sleeping by the way. It was really discouraging. We work so hard during the week, and Sunday is the time when the investigators can really see what this is all about! And feel the love and Spirit from all of the members together. A rule in our mission is that the investigator needs to attend church 5 times before they can be baptized, to show that they are really commited to this life change. Hence the reason it is so important to get the investigators to attend EVERY Sunday!! Howevver, once we got there, after sacrament meeting, one of the less active members who we had taught showed up! THAT TOTALLY MADE MY DAY!!!! SO HAPPY!!! She was our glimpse of hope in the hot, humid, disappointing Sunday. It is really hot now, but it gets even hotter I am told haha I am trying to mentally prepare myself now.

Random things:
colonia = neighborhood. Everyone lives in colonias but there are no numbers. This is really difficut when we can only contact someone through referneces from neighbors who are members!
I am Hermana Wes to some people because my name is too long and too hard to pronounce.
Solta la sopa = spill the beans but means spill the soup. Like when someone wants you to say something.
I finished 1st Nephi!
torta = sandwich NOT cake
No me gusta Mole! (I don't like Mole!) It is a spice blend of like 20 different chiles. gross gross gross
WATCH UN AMOR PERDUABLE on youtube!!!! IT IS SO SWEET. Love is powerful!!!
Some of the Totonaco words I learned:
ni cuquila - donde fuisteis-(where did you go)
ni conpinpat - donde vas-(where are you going)
tucuguan mina cu - que dice tu corazon-(what does you heart tell you)
aquit lacatiyan - tu me gustas-(I like you)
quiler macat - fui lejos-(I went far)
ju u cani - ven aca-(come here)
tucu la casquina - que quieres-(what do you want)
quilacantlamantita - gracias-(thank you)
quintiku - mi papa- (my father)
mintiku - tu papa- (your father)

This week the members gave us a lot of food. Oranges, grapefruits, horchata, arroz con leche (rice pudding), popcorn with salsa you name it! THEY ARE SO DELICIOUS!!! Also Mexican candy is not actually sweet. It all has Chile. I do not like any of it hahaha everything seems to be spicy here.

Experiences with people: One man told us he would attend church and be baptized if we paid him 10,000 pesos hahaha. A borracho man - drunk man - tried to kiss Hna Dominguez. We are really hopeful for Guillermina. She is 22, has been married for 9 years, and is about to have her 2nd child. She asks so many good questions! We just need her to attend church!! Girls here get married REALLY young and just have kids really young. Life is so different!! Some of the members we ate lunch with this week told me the meat was gato. Which is cat. I blieved them for a little bit but then realized it was pork hahah they thought it was really funny. I have also been told by different memebers in the ward that I am like the girl from Valiente, aka Brave! My legacy has followed me here too! The members also told me that I have the accent down, I just need to work on more speed! I have hope!! Angel, one of our investigators, hid from us in the shower because he did not want to talk. One family in our ward, the children are all members. The mom is not because her husband and her are not married. His name is Hector. We need to get them married so that she can be baptized and then he can be too! Baby steps though! Spanish people are also VERY tone deaf, church is difficult sometimes. At lunch on Sunday, their dog apparently gobbled my water bottle and I did not know and put it in my mouth....fingers crossed that I do not get sick soon!!

This week was a humbling week for me. I think that is something that I need to learn, and Mexico is the place to learn it. I also came to the realization that my mission is about priorities. Good, better, best. My mission is good. Everything I am doing here is good. But what is the BEST that I need to do? That is what I am working on. Exact obedience brings miracles. That is what I need.

I love you all so much! I love this church and I know it is true!!

Love, Hermana Westergard
Hill of death

How I see myself when I return from the mission, How the girls see me when I return from the mission, How I see myself when I return from my mission, How the boys see me when I return from my mission.

at lunch


dead snake

Mexico is beautiful

I play futbol

Mexican stuff

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Whole New World (6)

Hola familia!!!! (Hi Family)

Let me just say that a mission is by far the most difficult thing I have ever done. I do not really know how I am still alive to be honest. Also, pardon my formal writing but I do not know where the apostrophe key on this spanish keyboard is, so bear with me! Also, no spelling check so lo siento!! (sorry)

I did not get to write last week because of traveling and tons of other things, but here I am in Mexico!!!

Leaving the MTC was crazy!!! THANK YOUUUUU to Brother and Sister Leetham for the cookies! They were sooooo delicious and totally worth  breaking our no sweet rule for the week. ALSO THANK YOUUU to Chris and Jill for the donuts!! Those were worth breaking the sweet rule too hahaha I truly believe that a mission has improved my sharing skills. Thank goodness too because if not I would be about 50 pounds larger! I caved in and bought that super decked out scripture marker at the bookstore. IT was like $12 cheaper, so why not right?! I am not gonna get a chance like that again for that great discount!!

We had in-field-orientation a couple of fridays ago. They basically told us what we should be working with members and all that stuff, basically things we already knew. BUTTTT at the orientation, I keep running into people from my past! IT is so crazy!!!! One Sister from my writing class freshman year going to Russia, one Hermana from my AH class going to Argentina, a girl that I went to EFY with when I was 14, and my old neighbor, Hermana Bentley, from when I lived in UTah! The Mormon world is such a small place and it seems like it is getting smaller and smaller every day. Well that is what it seemed like until I got to Mexico at least. Here I know no one hahahah.

I got sick again, losing my voice is the best! Especially when I am trying to teach people and they think I am a teenage boy. Speaking of boys, I mean Elders, I taught Elder W how to roll his Rs!!! You could say I am a grandmaster teacher or something, and I am not even paid. I see being a spanish tongue R roller teacher in my future.

As I was preparing and packing to leave the MTC, I really tried to savor my last moments in the US for 18 months. Meaning my last semi-decent shower, my last BATH :(, all those good things. I AM NEVER TAKING ANYTHING FOR GRANTED EVER AGAIN!!!! I am lucky here to boil my hot water in 2 tiny saucepans on the stove every morning while I work out, and then pour them into a bucket after to have some hot water for my shower. Yes, I am grateful for my washcloth too because without it the bucket shower would be a lot more difficult! I tried that Mexican sucker too that Hno Call gave us, GROSS. It tastes like a lime on steroids? I do not really know how to describe it, but I do know that I never want to eat it ever again. I tried to like it, I really did, out of respect for Hno Call, but in the end I just threw it out. We had an amazing last Sacrament meeting with our zone, everyone who was leaving got to bear their testimonies. That was one of my first experiences where I felt like the Spirit was drawing from my well of knowledge, it was AMAZING!!!!! It just reinforces in my head that this is where I am supposed to be and that this church is true! Our last Sunday was filled with all sorts of fun stuff. I got to be one of the faamous ushers! No on from west campus ever gets to be anything, and so the fact that we got to usher basically makes us royalty. Someone I went to Las Vegas with saw me and said I AM FAMOUS BY ASSOCATION!!! Yes, yes you are!

SOOOO THEN WE LEFT THE MTC!!! We left at 4:30 to get to the airport and wait for our plane. Someone in the group that we were traveling with fainted right after she got through security, so she went to the hospital with her companion and they missed the flight. We had so many layovers though, that they actually ended up catching up with us again in Texas! So they were lucky! The Colorado airport had FREE PHONES!!!! SO I GOT TO TALK TO MI FAMILIA!!!!! THAT WAS SO GREAT!!! I LOVE YOU ALL SOSOSOSOSOSO MUCH!!!!! Definitely the highlight of my day!!!! Our planes were delayed again, but this time we were on the plane for like 1.5 hours waiting for them to fix what ever they were fixing. I was traveling with a bunch of Elders from my zone, Elder W, H and H so I had amigos. Elder H and I played a bunch of really intense games of dots, but by the last couple of games we were doing everything in our power just to stay away and move our hands to connect the dots on the paper. Definitely one of the longest days of my life up to that moment, now though I am not so sure hahaha every day seems to be the longest day!!.

THEN we finally landed in Veracruz! We then drove up to Xalapa that night. The first thing I noticed stepping off the plane was the humidity. Lets just say that my hair will either be a poofball or in a braid for the next 17 months!! One of my bags was lost, the one with all my clothes so that was not too great. I had a a feeling last minute though to put a couple of extra shirts in my carry on, so not all hope was lost! I got my bag back eventually though, and everything was there! Nothing stolen! Yay! Counting the little blessings!! Matt C, an acquaintance from BYU freshman year, is in my mission and was part of the group picking us up from the airport! One familiar face!!

So, some things about Mexico. Roosters start making noises at 4 AM, people are ALWAYS zooming up and down the street on their mopeds and motorcycles honking their horns. Different horns mean different things. Some mean they have tortillas, others mean elote (corn with mayo), others mean they have water refill tanks, others have gas, so there is just A LOT of honking all the time. So despite the fact that I am trying to hear and understand these Mexican people speaking at 1000000000000 mph, now i need to block out all the honks too. I am doing my best! Other things, the Mexican police drive around in big huge trucks with machine guns. And they have their faces covered because if people know who they are they will kill their families. Not very pleasant. Also, the taxi driver told me to be afraid and not be friends with the police because they are actually the bad guys...WHO TO TRUST?¡?¡?¡?¡?¡ Also, all the milk here is in boxes, my first companion is Hermana D - she is from Acayucan (in the state of Veracruz so she is like 8 hours from home) and she speaks no English! We have our funny moments and also the awkward moments where I look at her with a look of bewilderment on my face because I have no idea what she just said. But we are both trying our hardest!!

President Lopez is my mission president, and he is an AMAZING man. He is so humble, so spiritual, I really am very lucky to be in this mission. He owns pharmacies/is a pharmacist, so he can prescribe the meds for all the missionaries in our mission hahah that is pretty awesome. He is trying to learn english, so I get to write him in English!! YAY!!!! We had horchata our first day here (I thought of Ruth). It is WYAYYYY better than Cafe Rio, I do not know if I can ever go back.

So I am serving in Papantala, it is one of the Northern areas in my mission. We took a 5 hour bus ride up to our area after companionships were assigned, and we got stopped by the scary police  on the way up. They just walk on the bus like it is their territory, yeah I was scared to death. And they are carrying around machine guns remember!!! He just looked at us and was like oh, son missionaros (they are missionaries) and then walked away. WE ARE BLESSED!!!!! We also are not allowed to knock on doors here ,everything needs to be done by referrals. So we hear someone talking about their neighbor and that is a referral hahaha us missionaries use our resources. The first apartment we were in was brand new! It was actually really nice. No hot water though, hence the showering out of a bucket. We were in Xanath 3 (3 areas in the ward). Turns out we could not  serve there because  there are these little ranches on the outskirts of the area that are too dangerous for we went through this whole process of looking for and changing apartments and everything.  We just switched yesterday, and now we have hot water and clima - air conditioning - AND a washer!!! WE ARE BLESSED AGAIN!!!! Everywhere is kinda sketchy at night is dark and creepy so basically I just pray while we are walking !

The people here have nothing. Literally. Dirt floors, everything in one room, the whole family of aunts and uncles and grandmas and everyone all live in one house. I did not think that culture shock was a real thing before my mission, but now I really believe in it. These people are so humble and want to give us everything. I really do not know how to react. They have big hearts though. We eat lunch with the members every day. Basically, lunch is the only meal you eat here, and it is always beans and rice and tortillas and chicken. It is good, but just the same every day. I am sure that when I return from my mission I will never want any of those ever again hahaha. I found big spiders, killed them for my companion, cockroaches, lizards, chickens, roosters you name it we got it!! The weather here is loco. Sun, cold, hot, rain, tons of wind, everything. The weather in march is locito, a little loco.

The women here are basically at the will of their husbands. I feel so bad! We invited this woman named Evagelina and her 4 daughters to church with us, and we stopped by to go with them and she said her husband said no. It is really sad. I am so grateful to live in America! For now, I need to help the people here though, who do not have the same social freedoms that I have. I have eaten Chiles stuffed with stuff, tamales, more fried tortilla stuff snacks, it is just food on food on food. Everyone wants to feed us!!! Especially the poor members. They have nothing but give us the soda and treats that they sell. Apparently, you can refuse more food from people who have more money, but you need to accepts everything the poor people give you. SO MUCH LOVE FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE SO LITTLE!!! They are HUGE examples for me in my life.

I got to have salad yesterday!!!! I WAS SO HAPPPY!!!!! I crave it. I miss it. Little blessings everywhere!!! And strawberry ice cream, so delicious also. yumyumyumyumyumyumyum. The lights went out yesterday with one of our investigators, Ara. It was late and wicked dark outside, so they insisted we stay with them and have hot chocolate and homemade sweet bread. These people know the way to my heart haha chocolate and food.

I do not have a lot of time, but I love you all so much and I am so grateful to be here! I am so grateful for my family and the love from them, I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve a mission and become humbled. I love you!!!

xoxoxoxxo Hermana Westergard

Us with our teacher Hno Call

Me and Hna R on a wall on our last Sunday

Our districts that are leaving!!

Me and Hermana B

goodbye pictures!!

Me and Hna P in Xalapa!

Me, Hermana D and Hermana F (her old companion)

Part of our zone, it is difficult to take pictures with timers haha

Walking around the hills! Xanatha is like the San Fran of Mexico



rain rain rain

first tamale

Eustacios wife showing us how to eat these pea things

inside tamale

los perriots = amor

little fried yummy things hahha basically more food


pday soccer preparation

SALTAMOS!! (Jumping)

pizza for lunch. I miss America!!!