Monday, May 26, 2014

One year older and wiser too

Hola todos!

So guess what! I am now in Xalapa! My birthday present from Presidente Saucedo hahaha everyone craves to be in Xalapa, and here I am! We found out cambias last night, and I got on a bus this morning at 9 and am currently in my new area! My new companion is Hermana M, she is from Honduras! I do not know her super well, we have only been together for like 2 hours, but so far she seems really nice and wants to help me with Spanish! 

This week was a jumble of everything. With cambias looming over our heads, everyone was kind of worrying about the changes. But we did a lot of contacting this week, and even if those references were not successful, I have SUCH A STRONG testimony of contacting! If the reference does not lead directly to someone who wants to hear the message, I know that somehow, some connection will lead to SOMEONE who wants to be baptized! It is just about following the connect the dots puzzle. Funny experience, someone gave us our landlord as a reference, but we did not know until after we were talking with his wife and then he showed up at his house. hahahah AWKWARD. He has some problems, and the Elders had talked with him before. We had a nice awkward conversation and then speedily walked away. It is all good though!

We had a Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening) this week, and I showed them how to make cookies, American style. Yes they did love them. I did too. I tried this wicked good fruit this week, called lychi? I do not know how to spell it, but it is my new favorite!

I am really starting to feel like my work here is less active members in the church. I keep running into and finding less actives, and it is not like I have plans to visit or find them, they just somehow become a part of my path during the day. If that is my work here, rather then baptisms, that is ok with me! I just want to help with this great work!

Our 2 miracle girls could not be baptized this week :(. It seems like right when I get my hopes up for a baptism, Satan smacks me down again. Felipe is still attending church! But in a drunken state. Poor guy. I know he wants to change so bad! He just has this awful addiction. I spoke at a baptism for the Elders. My spanish was not great, and it was very last minute, but I hope he felt the Spirit behind my words!

We started English and Piano classes this week! The attendance was small, but I would rather have fewer people so I can focus with them more!

Sunday was such a scramble for me. We have this great new investigator, Silvia. She goes to all the activities, and goes to church too!! We are really excited and blessed to be teaching her. AND THERE WAS A SURPRISE PARTY for me on Sunday!!!! The members of this ward are the best! There was a Jessie piñata from Toy Story, my look alike, there were endless tacos and cake. The tradition here is that when someone blows out the candles, their head is then shoved into the cake. YES. My head was shoved into the cake. But it just meant I got to try it before everyone else! hehehehe. I love tacos. Love Mexico. SO SAD TO LEAVE MY WARD :(. We found out the changes that night, so I did not get to say bye to anyone. Sad sad. But also happy day.

I love you all! Thank you for the birthday emails!

Hermana Westergard

Pieces of home

 watermelon study snack

 spider and cockroach of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints


Goodbye to Hermana E :(

one of my favorite families!!!,

Elder L and I with our piñatas

 after the molida

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Time be flyin'


Time really is flying. I cannot believe it is almost the end of May! AND YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!!!! CAMBIAS (changes) ARE IN A WEEK. birthday..... I am going to be 20. I feel wicked old. I am becoming wise beyond my years here on Mexico, if you need some advice on how to lessen the spiciness of chile, or need to know how to flush a toilet when there is no plumbing, or need to know how to best fend off 4 snarling dogs, I got your answers! Just let me know!

This week feels like a blur. Honestly, this past month feels like a blur. Everything just blends together! The weather is hot, we eat lots of rice and chicken, we speak spanish, we share the gospel, that is what we do! My week could basically just all be one day!

For the 6th month in a row, Mexico Xalapa mission is the best in Mexico!!! Wohooo!!!!

We had the big meeting that we were all dreading with the new mission president! THERE WERE NO MAJOR RULE CHANGES!!!!! I can still write friends!!!! YAY!!!!! That was a huge blessing!!!!! One new rule, we - the hermanas (sisters) - need to wear tights when we have conferences or big meetings. We need to be more feminine I think. I admit it is hard to tell sometimes when we are all sweating as much as the elders, and we just look like a large pool of sweat. Now we have tights to distinguish us!

We had AMAZING rain this week. It was literally a torrential downpour. I was well equipped with my boots and raincoat and umbrella! My companion on the other hand was not a happy camper. She left boots and umbrella in her previous area, thus she was soaked in a matter of minutes. We had to change a lot of our plans for the day too because it was literally impossible to walk up some of the hills where we had plans to visit. We would just slip and fall! But it is times like this that made for the memories, I love the rain!! I love the smell, the sounds, the colder air, I love it all! It was a beautiful day.

Our investigators were in their houses more this week! It is always disappointing when we get to the top of the hill where they live, and there is a response of silence to my BUENAS TARDES (good afternoon). We have been praying for this a lot too. We need them to be in their houses to teach them, help them with their trials, and just talk in general! Our current investigators are Felipe, Maria, Marian, Leonel, Rey and Mari, Miguel Angel, Juliocesar, Wanda and Maurliciol. We pray every day that we can find them! We make appointments, but people here do not really remember things like that. Everything just seems to be a matter or chance. Felipe and Leonel both came to church this week! Felipe wasssssss not baptized. Turns out he has still been drinking this whole time, and he thought that his baptism was going to help him quit drinking. We postponed his baptism for 2 more weeks, if he does not drink these 2 weeks. The elders visited him with us, and were able to give him a blessing. I have such a strong testimony about the priesthood and blessings, I know that he can do this! Leonel is 16, and his mom was baptized but is less-active. I am always so impressed - especially when younger people - are interested in the church and seek it out on their own accord. I think of how much stronger they are than I was at their age. They are an inspiration to me! We also seem to attract drunk people. We have had at least 2 or 3 very drunk men approach us this week, confessing their sins and pleading with us to help them change. We do our best to console them, give them a pamphlet and explain that we would like to teach them more about what we know, but it has to be a different day. We are following up with some of them next week! Hopefully the Word of Wisdom pamphlets will do some good for them!

We found 2 miracles this week too!!!!!!! Two girls, Marifer and Dana. Their mom was baptized when she was 8, but is not active. Her daughters want to be baptized! They go to church every week with their aunt, and we were eating comida (food) with her on Saturday, and were just talking about life when these two girls came in and told us all this stuff! HOPEFULLY, if all goes according to plan, they will be baptized this Saturday! Miracles do happen!!!!

We helped an Hermana (sister) in our ward make these foam roses for her Gospel Principles class, and they were a huge hit! People in Mexico love when people make crafty stuff, and these roses were pretty legit.

I gave a talk in church on Sunday! I was stressing out so much, Hermana D made me practice like 3 times hahahah she said we had to get my pronunciation right. I have been working on it a lot lately, and Hermana D is super excited with my improvement! I am too!!!!! So I gave my talk, about the Obra Misional or Missionary work. How hard could it be right? It is what I am doing! Regardless of how easy it should have been, I turned red, stuttered a decent amount and used a lot of hand gestures to make my points. BUT, people liked it! OR they just felt sorry for me. Either way, I consider it a success. An hermana told me she really liked it, and one of the missionaries told me his investigator told him that she loved my talk, and wanted to invite me to eat with her one day. Someone else's investigator liked my talk!!!!! THAT IS HUGE!!! It is not just pity! I was, still am, very excited.

Everyone is making plans for my birthday too hahaha I think like 3 hermanas in the ward have said they are going to buy postre (baked goods) and everyone wants to know what I want to eat and do. If I am not alive next monday, it is because I am in a food coma. ALSO, there is a family in this ward that TOTALLY reminds me of me, Ruth and Jess. These 3 crazy sisters are always together - Hilda, Adriana and Rosario - and they are always joking and just feed off of each other's laughs and smiles and crazy conversation. I honestly feel very lost when we are with them because I cannot keep up with the conversation, but I know they are having a good time. Miss my amazing sisters!!

I love you all so much, and I know this church is true! I love the people of Papantla, and I am so grateful for my opportunity to be here in this country.

Hermana Westergard

Fish eye in muh soup

most legit way to eat fish

showing Mexicans how to make brownies

Encroaching in the making of comida (food)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Stayin Alive, Stayin Alive, ah ah ah ah and REPEAT


Monday - We have a couple in our ward who are basically like our grandparents. They are the sweetest little couple, the hermana calls me muñecita - basically means doll - and her husband is ADDICTED to coca. I swear, coca cola will be the downfall of Mexico. So he is taking all these pills because he was in a really bad car accident a bunch of years ago, and cant sleep, and just has a bunch of other problems. We talked to him about how bad his beloved CocaCola is, and challenged him to stop, little by little, but stop ultimately. He was sitting pondering this, and his wife brought out all of his pills that he needed to take. He literally had like a huge box of pills. An interesting sight. As he is sitting there, he says "Me voy a matar", basically he is gonna kill himself with the cocacola and all his pills hahahahaha we were dying laughing. I LOVE THEM!!!!

Morning Tuesday - We got a bottle thrown at us by this cranky old lady who said she did not want to listen "Es porque, no me gusta." Her reason for not wanting to listen was because she did not like it, all I did was tell her we were missionaries from the CHurch of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! I guess it just was not her day to hear the Gospel.

Well this week has definitely been on of the CRAZIEST of my entire life. I do not know what kind of news from Mexico gets to the US, if any, but if you have heard anything, I am ok! I know that missionaries are blessed and protected and we have angels surrounding us and protecting us. If you do not know what is going on....I will try my best to give a summary from what I have gathered from what the Mexicans are saying here. But then again, no one really says anything because everyone is scared that they will get in trouble with the bad guys or that they will give something away and be a target. So, my simplified, probably not entirely accurate, and more G rated version of what has been happening Tuesday night to nowish:

So there was this mass gathering of drug lords in Papantla, from all over Mexico. The police knew about it, and were gonna try to catch them when they were all in their meeting. The drug lords found out about it though, and everyone started to scatter. Then people just started shooting, meaning the police. Now, basically the police don’t need a reason to shoot, if they have reason to believe someone is hiding one of the bad guys, they just machine gun down the house. The investigator of one of the missionaries in our ward, his dad is in the police and took pictures. The Elder said the house looked like swiss cheese after everything was done. So we were walking to an appointment Tuesday night, and I got a call from one of the sisters in the ward, she was freaking out and told us we had to get back to our apartment. In the background I heard this sound, that i thought were these annoying firecrackers that everyone in mexico loves, nope they were the machine guns. Then the drug people were going up and down the caratera, the highway, and just shooting, the police just shooting, everyones just shooting. I think 16 people died in all. Now though it is a power war, whatever drug lord is more powerful, so they are showing their power. I think one of the drug people, or a dealer or something, is our next door neighbor, because the police keep showing up and the guy who owns the apartments that we live in was saying “I don’t care if you have 6 months on your contract, I want you out.” He had these special police with him too, but the guy wasn’t there. Crazy crazy. And my comp is always freaking the flip out. I feel ok, calm and everything but my comp is talking with all the members, basically everyone is just saying what they heard from what their neighbor heard from this massive chain of mouth. I never know what is actually real or not. SO that was a huge part of my week, it disrupted a lot of teaching, and we did not get to see our investigators a lot, so that was disappointing :(. We were not allowed to work Wednesday, so we got picked up by a member and driven to the house of an AMAZING lady in another ward. We all slept there that night, the hermanas, and she fed us and kept us all calm. She is such a special woman, she calls us her angels, but in reality she is ours!!!!!

Thursday - We were only allowed to visit members today, and had to be in our houses at 7:30. I LOVE the members in the ward though!!! Since I have been here for so long, it was like hanging out with my friends all day. Hna D and I brought our pictures to share with people our lives, and it is a great way to share messages about families! They loved seeing our pictures! Also a CRAZY lightning storm. It was like day outside with all the lightning. We needed the rain for the situation to cool off....haha? Sorry if that isn’t that funny.

Friday - Today was Elder D birthday, and it was a fantastic event. The 2nd counselor in our stake owns a sweet shop, and so they did this amazing fiesta for him! There was a chocolate fountain with strawberries, PIZZA, piñata, lots of laughing and LOTS of sweets. I think the fiesta was very much needed for everyone there, the week had been a little stressful. And we ate Chinese food for lunch, the Hermanas in the ward all wanted to do something special for his birthday! Lots of eating hahahaha

Saturday - We finally contacted Juliocesar! We met him at this church event a couple of weeks ago, and we finally found his house! We got to talk to him and his wife, and they both seem pretty excited!!!! TODAY I GOT TO SKYPE MY FAMILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS WAS SUCH A GOOD DAY!!!!! My family is so important to me, I love them more than ANYTHING!!!! I am so grateful for the example they set for me, and EVERYTHING they do for me. LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU GUYS!!

Sunday - One of the strangest Sundays ever. We were sitting in sacrament meeting and Felipe just walks in! We did not visit him all week, well, because we thought he was drunk at the event last Sunday. Turns out he was not drunk, he just had not bathed in a REALLYYYY long time. And he just is a little socially awkward. Long story short, he had his baptism interview and is going to get baptized this coming Sunday if everything goes well and he goes to church and everything. WHATTTTT. Can you say miracles. Miracles every day this week, I am SOSOSSO blessed. This week has been so up and down, but the miracles and blessings and love are undeniable. This church is true!!!!!

My mission is great, I am so grateful to be here!!! I love the members, I love my ward, I love the people of Mexico! Please keep Mexico in your prayers, it could use some help right now. I love you all! Thank you for your support and love!

Love, Hermana Westergard

Our abuelitos!!!

 All the hermanas with Hermana C

 Hermano A and his family (they had the party for Elder D)

Happy Birthday Elder D !!


helping in nursrey!!


Tuesday, May 6, 2014



Sí, yo estoy en Mexico por el 5 de mayo, que chido eh? (Yes I'm in Mexico for cinco de mayo, how cool huh?) This week seemed a bit more relaxed than all the other weeks of my mission because I was stuck in Xalapa for 3 days because we traveled down Monday night for our visas, they were not ready Tuesday, and then we stayed with the missionaries down there for an extra night and finally got them on Wednesday and then made the 4 hour bus trip back again to Papantla! The mission honestly goes SO slow when you are doing nothing. I wanted to be in my area, visiting my investigators! THEY NEED ME! Every time I go to Xalapa I am in a little bit of shock. More like a lot of shock. They have everything! It is like the United States almost. Shock shock shock. They showed Brave on the bus on the way down, so we were all happy about that hahaha I cannot understand all of it, but I still felt a connection with Merida! We went on divisions (this in when they change companions for the day) with the Hermanas in Xalapa because we were literally doing nothing all day. I was with Hermana Johnson - from Utah - and Hermana Hidalgo - from Chile. LOVE THEM BOTH! And they had a 3 leches cake. You could say my love for them grew exponentially when they shared it with me.

NEWS I FORGOT FROM LAST WEEK: Hermana Daza said I was sleep talking in spanish! The goal of my mission has been fulfilled. She said I had a great accent and everything. There is hope for me yet! I am a Mexican at heart.

So I kind of felt like I did not do a lot this week, since we were stuck in Xalapa, but when I got back to Papantla, the weather has been absolutely perfect! It is a tease though....we were in a taxi and the taxistas radio was talking about how this up coming week is going to be the hottest it has been in years, with temperatures in the 50s Celsius...I do not know the conversion exactly to Fahrenheit (122F). All I know is they were basically saying if you do not drink water and walk in the shade, you will shrivel up on the spot and become a human raisin. Every man for himself!

We met some new families this week! This week has a bunch of holidays, dia de los niños (day of the children), dia de los pozos (day of the wells), dia de las mamas (mother's day)...there should be a dia de los misioneros (day of the missionaries). Anyway, barrio Tajin (the local ward) was  having a party in the capilla (at the church)  for the niños, and we got a call from one of the elders there saying that there was a family there, from our area, that were not members! We booked it over there, and talked to the dad - Juliocesar - and he is super excited and wants to learn more! Yay for ward activities! Usually we have problems with the husbands and dads, but if he is all for it, I feel like we are one step ahead of the game now!

We were taking a taxi another time this week, and were talking to the taxista - Pedro. Of course he says he is Catholic and everything else that Mexicans say, but we hada decent ride ahead of us so we just kept on talking. We figures we might as well have a lesson in the taxi hahaha so I give the opening prayer and bless his family and we proceed to talk a little about our loving Heavenly Father. When we get to our destination, he would not take any money! He just thanked us for our message, and gave us his information for us to visit his family! EEEKKKKKKK!!!! Prayers are the best!!!

Felipe section...he needs a section all for himself. This same day there was a baptism, and we brought Felipe, through the pouring rain, arrived soaked as a hurricane. Felipe went and sat himself in the front and everything! We were so excited! Sunday, we thought Felipe did not go to chur ch, but it turns out he just walked in late. So he came! There was a young single adult activity later that night that we brought him too.....but he was COMPLETELY DRUNK. Everyone at church had been thinking he was drunk, but he always smells like the way he smells and we thought he had some brain damage because he used to be an alcoholic and do all kinds of crazy stuff. But at the meeting - innocent missionary me - even I could tell he was drunk. We were so embarrassed. We gave him a ride to the estaka (church) and everything, and after the meeting the 2nd counselor of the stake told us to leave while Felipe was in the bathroom and he would drive him home. I HAD SO MUCH HOPE FOR FELIPE!!!! He was my investigator from the beginning, and I thought we were making huge strides, and now we are not. Just like that. Ug. Last night was hard. It is so hard to just drop people, especially when I have been working with them for so long. (In missionary lingo when they drop someone they say they died as an investigator.)

The viejita Maria died as an investigator too :(. This week seemed like a week of dying investigators. Isabel also died....I do not think her husband was as open as we initially thought. But I know that if one investigator does not work out, there are always more! There is someone here who is ready and open and waiting for this Gospel, we just need to find them. I know it!!!

Sunday was great though, despite the incident with Felipe. 5 less active members came to church who we had been visiting! None of our investigators went, but 5 MA (menos activos= less active) went. That filled me with so much hope and joy, I cannot describe it. Reminding them of their feelings they felt when they were first baptized and first went to church is a great thing to do.

I suggest you all search for molotes and try them. They are delicious. With salsa and beans of course.

Love you all!!
Hermana Westergard

Sunset on the bus to Xalapa

names in cement

we got roses from Dia de los niños!

wells all decorated for Day of the wells!