Monday, April 28, 2014

Nothing Worth Having Comes Easy

Hola todos!!!! (Hi Everyone!)

SO LOTS OF STUFF THIS WEEK!!!! First, the title. All of our prime investigators, or namely ALL of our investigators live atop the BIGGEST and STEEPEST hills. But it is worth it! Knowing they have a desire to learn more and knowing that they are as happy to see us as we are to see them, the sweat pouring out of my pores is only slightly noticeable. It all works out! We had 3 investigators come to church this week! 3! Marian (she is 15, and she told me to talk to her in tu form - more personal form of verbs that people use with family and friends EEEEKKKKKK :) ), Felipe (he used to be an alcoholic, but is changing, he was 10 minutes early, he was very adamant that he wanted to walk of his own accord and he did not want us to pass by for him, and then he was early!!!!), and then Maria (she is actually Armandos wife, Armando is not the person we thought we was :( but I think the real reason we were teaching Armando was to finally find Maria, I do not really know what the deal is with Armando at this point). BUT YEAH!!!!! SO HAPPPPYYYYY!!!!!!!! MAYBE I AM A GOOD MISSIONARY AFTER ALL!!!!!!

We met a lot of new people this week too!!! Another Maria, she is this sweet, beautiful viejita. Her son just died, so we focused a lot on the plan of salvation. I never want to go to the doctors here in Mexico for a couple of reasons. However, the major one is that their first option basically is amputation, because it is the most expensive. There are so many people here walking around missing limbs, it is because its like oh your finger has a sliver? CHOP OFF THE ARM. Yes, i never want to go to the doctors here. Anyway, her son had diabetes and couldn't feel his feet, but got an infection or cut himself somehow but did not feel it, so his foot was having problems. So the doctors cut off his foot and then eventually his whole leg and then he got another infection and died :(. This poor woman misses her son so much. But she is very open to our message, I hope we are helping her through this! Another new investigator is Isabel! She also lives atop a mountain of stairs, but like I said it is worth it!! She is super open, and I think she has a really good relationship with her husband because she did not say anything about needing to ask permission or anything, so we are excited to teach her too!! Betty was finally home when we went by one day! Her brother was listening in on the conversation and wants to come to church next week with his sister! I feel like things are finally starting to fall into place! Her brother - Alexander - has a girlfriend in the United States and spent 2 months walking to try to see her. It was not legal of course, but he said he was like 4 meters from her house and he got deported back to Mexico. I am seeing the other side of deportation and Mexicans view of the government here. Everyone always asks me why is it so easy for me to be here in Mexico, but they cannot go to the US, I do not have the answers. I feel bad though :(

AND we have a new MIssion President! Presidente Saucedo, he was the old mission president of Guadalajara Mexico. So President Johnson from the 70 came down to speak to us, no one knew why, and BAM new mission president. But only for 2 months, and then we are getting a new one. I was not expecting it at all, no one was. A lot of the Elders were really upset, especially the ones with only a couple months left.

Random: there is a phantom cockroach in our apartment, always near my stuff. But i see it and then move the table/take off my shoe to kill it and then it is gone. I DO NOT KNOW WHERE IT IS!!!!!!! GAHHHHH. I am just grossed out by the fact it is crawling in my stuff somewhere, and I do not know where. This bug is NOT out of sight out of mind. 

Food this week: a member in the ward owns a restaurant and basically made us KFC chicken! I had lentil soup - I thought of you momma, I think you used to make a soup like that? And we had platanos asados, which is like grilled bananas with cream and cheese. YUM. Still love food a lot.

I love you all!!!! This church is true, and I have so many blessings! We all do!

Hermana Westergard 

soccer multi zone


huge snake

Note for Marian to remind her about church

Monday, April 21, 2014

No Hay Nadie


So this week is No Hay Nadie, which means there is not anyone here. This was what happened yesterday when we were contacting, we knocked on a door and no one was there. We return down the path a little, and then hear tons of life in the house, so we go back and knock again. Silence settles. Then this little girl comes from around the corner as says No Hay Nadie. I say, but you are here! She just kind of slinks back around the corner. Needless to say, we think they do not want anything hahahahaha. Funny Mexicans!

So Hermana D is my new companion. We both only have 6 weeks in the mission, but I am senior companion, I think it is because I know the area. Hermana D has so much energy and such a strong spirit, and is from Columbia. She is VERY driven/says things how they are, so I am trying to get used to that. She does not like the hills in Papantla, and we often need to stop 2 or 3 times walking up stairs or hills. Hehehe I will whip her into shape in no time. We work really well together though! We feed off of each other in lessons, and have been contacting and looking for tons of people. I hope we have a lot of success together!

We have a couple new investigators! EVERYONE HERE LOOKS OLDER THAN THEY ARE TOO!!! Example, Itzel. I thought she was 16 or 17ish, but she is only 13. No wonder her dad does not want her to go to church with us! Itzel is my first investigator that has really read the assignment we gave her. She even took notes and said that she loved what she read! SO AMAZING!!! BUT her dad does not want her to go to church, we are trying to meet him so he can see we are normal people and there is nothing to be afraid of. Her neighbor, Marian, is also a new investigator of ours, however they do not seem to get along. Not quite sure what to do about that. But it is nice that they both live up the 154 step mountain, so if one is not home, we look for the other! Our climbing is not in vain! A funny experience with Felipe. We taught him the word of wisdom - no coffee, tea, alcohol, the whole shebang. The next visit we have with him, he is sitting in a rocking chair with little animal crackers, drinking a cup of coffee.....hmmmmmm. We ask him how he is doing with the Word of Wisdom. He says, Well honestly, I am drinkiing this coffee. hahah yes we can see that! He said his daughter gave it to him, but after some scriptures about blessings we recieve when we keep the commandmants, he takes 2 more sips and dumps the rest out. I HOPE THAT IS THE LAST OF IT!  He did not go to church on Sunday, and so we went to visit him in the afternoon, and found him glumly sitting on a corner near his house. He told us he didn't go to church because he went to visit his daughter that morning (she lives with his kind of wife), but his semi brother in law would not let him in the house. He did not want to go to church with a sad attitude, so he had been sitting there the whole day, and we just happened to walk by. He is trying to change his life for his daughter! He loves her so much! I WANT TO HELP THESE PEOPLE!!!!! But they need to come to church too! There is so much love there for them in a world where they do not feel a lot of love! I want them to feel that love!

We might be starting an English class here, so that is really cool! SO many people want to learn the language, but they do not know where to start. Well my friends, I will help you learn English if you help me learn Spanish! I tried Elote finally!!! LOVEEEEE ITTTTTTTTT. With chile of course too, gotta have chile!

One of my favorite scriptures this week - 1 Nephi 16:29 - missionaries are the small things that great things are brought to pass! I may be only one person, but I have so much to offer!

I know this church is true! I know missionaries are blessed and protected! I am reminded every single day, I know I am being looked after!

Love, Hermana Westergard
Hna D y yo en colonia Corpus Cristi,

nueva zona! (new zone!)

my new companion Hna D

one of the MILLIONS of hills in Papantla


salamander friends in the apartment

my agenda!

Monday, April 14, 2014

This Girl is on FIREEEE

¡Hola todos! (Hi Everyone)

So, email title this week is from a painful experience I had eating tacos. Hermana D had to be a witness for a marriage, so this woman could get baptized, so we went to Centro. Afterward, the woman who we helped get married owns a little taco stand, so she made us all tacitos. There were some onions on the table and I think to myself, oh onions are good, I will have some of those, so I load up the tacos with onions. TURNS OUT there was Abanero mixed in. I look at Hermana D when I start to feel the fire start in my mouth, and she looks at me too because she was starting to feel it. Then I turn red and everyone notices that I am sweating and that I am basically breathing fire. BUT I CONQUERED THE ABANERO. I am a Mexican at heart I guess, however I am not sure if I will ever eat them every again.

Monday - I tried esquites! It is elote minus the cob part, they load it up with mayo and cheese and chile and crema. It is pretty good, I mean who does not love corn right? A member kindly bought us some after Cornelio - our OLD investigator - basically told us he did not want to learn anything anymore and that some miracle worker in the campo (field) near his house healed his daughter from her hernia. I am glad his daughter is better, but not so happy that he thinks this miracle man now has the power for everything. Hopes not crushed though, BECAUSE WE HAVE 2 NEW FANTASTIC INVESTIGATORS THIS WEEK! Stay tuned...

Tuesday - I think the majority of people in Mexico have clothes from the Salvation Army and other stores like that. I saw one girl wearing a shirt that said I Love Being A Jewish Girl, and lots of grandmas wear shirts that have inappropriate phrases and things on them. I try not to read the shirts anymore. We had AMAZING weather this week, not too humid and not too hot. It was an amazing blessing compared to last week. I was not sure how much more we could last with the heat. Turns out one of the MA (member activation?) we are helping reactivate goes to 2 churches. We found out from another MA, he was telling her that it is fine that she goes to 2 churches, because he does too! I think he is missing the point. We were also looking for a reference, Marian, she lives atop a hill with 154 steps. We finally get there and she is least we know where she lives! We made plans to visit her the next week. We found another MA, but he did not have any references for us BECAUSE apparently all of his neighboors are dead because they were all killed, he told us to never visit his house at night and to be far away from there at night too. He does not need to tell us twice! TODAY WE ENCOUNTERED ARMANDO!! One of our fabulous new investigators! He had a drinking problem, but is recovering and really wants to change his life. I can feel, and so can Hna D that he has such a strong Spirit. He kept seeing us later days during the week and kept reminding us that we were going to walk to church with him on Sunday. Heck yes we are!

Wednesday - We had capitacion (?) with Presidente Lopez today too, he really is such an amazing man, and I am so greatful for him to be my mission president! We visited another MA member, Tomas. All the members are so loving, they just have such hard lives. His wife died 3 months ago and his oldest daughter is 14, she stopped going to school because she had to take care of her mom. Now she works, and her younger sister - 11 - goes to school, and they all get to be together around 8 at night when everyone gets back from their activities.  They still love the Gospel though, and we reminded them of the importance of the temple and eternal families. I am so grateful for my family! I am reminded every day of that!!

Thursday - Ate purple bananas today, super sweet and yummy! Perfect weather again!

Friday - The day that I went to my first wedding and my mouth also was in flames. Another amazing investigator today too!!!! His name is Felipe, and also has a drinking problem but is trying to change. He has not had alcohol in more than 15 days! He also went to church a lot with missionaries before, but ultimately alcohol stopped him from getting baptized. He now is in a support group now, so we are hoping he will be ready in 2 weeks! High hopes!

Saturday - We did sooooooooooo much walking today and NO ONE was home. Literally no one. I think we sat for probably 1 hour the whole day, plus lunch. We also kind of walked into a more jungly part of our area, and found chico zapote - the gum fruit stuff - and I thought Hna D was going to be attacked by some mysterious thing when she turned around in front of me and started running back to where I was. She thought she heard a snake, we did some more exploring and it turns out that it was just a lizard that had a snake like head hahahah but still, we kepy hearing weird animal noises after and decided to go work somewhere else.

Sunday - ARMANDO CAME TO CHURCH!!!!! Barely. We went to get him in the morning - he also lives atop a hill of el diablo - and we get there and his son said he went to chop firewood. We waited,  but he did not return. We decided to go try to get one one of our old investigators - Jesus aka EXACTAMENTE - to come. We see he is home, and run up his steps and catch him before he can hide. Hna D basically told him to put on his shoes, and we would wait for him like 20 times. Aqui esperamos. He looked in pain hahaha he did NOT want to come. I was looking at the main street while Hna D was trying to persuade him and I SEE ARMANDO ON HIS DONKEY RIDING UP THE HILL. I proclaim half in jibberish half in spanish to Hna D that Armando is returning, and we SPRINT back up the hill to his house, and he comes to church! AHHHH!!! YAYYYYY MRIACLES HAPPEN!!!! No one was really home the rest of the day, BUT Armando going to church filled my canteen of investigators for the whole day, I was so elated!

NEWS: This week is cambias. My first 6 weeks in Mexico are done! I still have 6 more weeks of training with Hna D. OR SO I THOUGHT. I AM NOW TRAINING ANOTHER HERMANA THAT HAS BEEN HERE FOR 6 WEEKS. She is coming to my area, Hna D is heading to Palmas in Poza Rica, and I am senior comp, finishing my new comps training basically. THAT NEVER HAPPENS! When the zone leader told me, i thought he was kidding. No he was serious. I went into shock honestly. I cried a little, tried to hide it from the elders, they felt bad and gave me a snickers and told me to be happy. I feel better now, but I am super nervous!!!!!!!! Usually people only SOMETIMES train after finishing their training. Not in my case. Nervous but excited. Yes.

I love my mission, I am grateful for everyones support! Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers!!

Love, Hermana Westergard

sunsets are beautiful!

got water from a well

bamboo trees

  fruit that chicle (gum) comes from!

in da jungle on a mountain

5 in the taxi and I get to hang out the window

 last pday lunch with the Voladores hermanas

Old photos from when she arrived in Mexico

Eliza with the Mission President and his wife.

In the airport.  She looks chipper after a long day traveling

they must of found her luggage because she's in a new outfit.  First companion in Mexico!

Monday, April 7, 2014


Hola familia y amigos!

So, snake. Snake because I am a snake. Because I have finally peeled all the way from my wicked bad burn and now am a new missionary! I think I might have scared some people off from the fact I looked like a lizard growing out of its skin, but all is well now! I am glad that is over. Oh, also that picture of the dead snake I sent a while ago is WICKED deadly and dangerous, we keep finding ones that people have killed all over. It had a head, but everyone chops off the tail because it has a stinger like a scorpion. Yeah, not good. I am glad they are dead when we find them!

This week - 

Tuesday - We got to go to Xalapa! Hna D is a sister training leader, and it was a big conference for all the leaders of the mission, so lucky me being her comp, I got to go! It was like culture shock again going down, they have Walmart, Pizza Hut, Dominoes, Subway, Costco...everything. I did not even feel like I was in Mexico. I also realized how quickly I had become accustomed to the littleness that Papantala had. Papantala literally has nothing. I was talking to Elder Hansen (from Orem, on the BYU soccer team, kinda cool!) on the bus on the way back to Papantala, and he said my area basically has the most nothing out of the whole mission, if that makes sense. I cannot get over how different Mexico is in different areas! ALSO THERE ARE NO HILLS IN XALAPA! That was a shock also hahaha we are basically in the middle of the mountains in Papantala. Our visas were not ready yet either, so we are going to have to make another trip back to Xalapa at some point.

Wednesday - back to missionary work! We had a zone meeting, about all the announcements from the big meeting in Xalapa. I GOT A BUNCH OF LETTERS! THANK YOU EVERYONE!!! I feel the love! Getting letters is my absolute favorite thing!! It was like Christmas! Momma, Sister Zeller, Nana Carol, Matthew Finnerty, thank you everyone!!! My day was amazing from that point on. Hot, but still good. We are working really hard with Cornelio and his 2 kids, Nancy and Javier. He works in the ranches though, so we never know when he is going to be there and we never know if he will be able to make it to church. But they have so many good questions, and get so exciting about the scriptures. THEY JUST NEED TO GO TO CHURCH!!!! I have such high hopes for them, but they need to do their part too!

Thursday - if some thing has been emphasized to me, it is that nothing worth having is easy. God works through people working hard, so that means I need to work wicked hard if I want lots of results! No slacking!

 Everything has chile here, carmel apples, candy, doritoes, everything. I might be turning into a chile if you are what you eat. Had cucumber water today, that was interesting. I take back what I said about mole. There are 2 different types. Sweet mole is DELICIOUS! The other kind though is a different story.

 Something I learned today is that we need to be more personal in our lessons, ask lots of questions, make it SO personalized. We had our DL come with us to a lesson with Cornelio, and we had Cornelio pray. AFter he finished, Cornelio was blinking rapidly. Tears?!?!?!!? The spirit was so strong! My heart hurts because I want him to go to church so bad. I know if we have more personalized lessons, the Spirit will flow and new doors will be opened.

Friday - Mexicans put ketchup on pizza.....i tried it. LOVED IT!!!! Here we add the letters ita onto words to make them nicer. For example, I was refering to an old person and said vieja, but apparently that is really rude. However, viejita is acceptable. I do not understand this language. New investigators today! Her name is Gelacia, her daughter is a member, BUT she is Catholic, like everyone else in Papantala it seems hahaha but by the end of the lesson, she really looked like she was thinking. I love when you can tell that people are having spiritual thoughts!

Saturday - Conference! We only got like 5ish talks from both sessions because it was so delayed and paused, but I was grateful to hear some uplifting words in English! The mangos here are SO GOOD. People keep giving them to us lately, sosososo good. Today was hard though, Javier the son of Cornelio, would not stop laughing when I was talking. My accent was cracking him up. It actually hurt a lot, I thought the language was going pretty good and then he was laughing his head off. I did not talk for the rest of the lesson...I know I cannot let stuff like that get to me, but it did today!

Sunday - CONFERENCE WORKING TODAY!!! So amazing. I felt like so many of the messages were aimed right at me. So grateful for inspired leaders of our church! One of the speakers reminded me of the guy in Dispicable Me, we could not stop laughing once we made the connection in our tiny room with 9 missionaries crowded around the computer. Someone tried to sell us cocaine on the way to the chapel. NO THANK YOU. None of our investigators came again :(. Blessings come after the trial of our faith, I know that. This is the trial of my faith!

Monday - we got to go the Tajin today! They are these ancient pyramids about 10 minutes from my area. Pretty cool! Valiente aka Brave is playing in the computer place as I write this email. Ironic!

I love you all, I am so grateful that I get to be here in Mexico! I am sorry if I cannot respond to all your emails, but I appreciate all of them! I print them off and read them for boosters throughout the week!

Love, Hermana Westergard

Xalapa in the morning


some of the english missionaries

I hold up pyramids 


The hermanas in my zone