Thursday, June 26, 2014

5 Months come and gone


SO. Yesterday I celebrated 5 months in the mission. WHERE HAS TIME GONE. I felt like I was in the MTC yesterday! My life is flashing before my eyes!

Last pday we learned our lesson with the garbage. For some reason, we just never took the garbage out to the curb. The road where we live is being worked on, so it is like a war zone every time we leave and we try to carry as little as possible so we can keep our balance and not fall into the pits of destruction I mean construction. So we had a little growing pile of bags of garbage. This would be fine IF the national bug of Mexico was not the annoying fruit fly. We started to pick up the bags to take them out and there was an EXPLOSION of HUNDREDS of GROSS fruit flies. I hate them!!!!!! We also saw on the bags, after we launched them into the pile or garbage where people put their trash, little eggs of SOMEthing. GROSS GROSS GROSS. We both gagged and almost barfed. NEVER AGAIN will we collect the trash bags like that.

Other than the gross trash experience, this week felt like a re-energized and rejuvenating week! I kind of felt like I was slipping into a mission routine, doing the same things every day, going the same places...I felt like I had lost a spark of some sort. I had been praying to feel this spark, this energy and excitement again, and this week it came back! I was so excited! This week really was SO fantastic, I know our prayers are answered! No more slump! I am still wicked tired all the time, but somehow I keep on going! It reminds me a little bit of seminary. I do not know how I made it through, but I did it!

So our zone fasted last Sunday to be able to find more people. We had a lot of baptisms this transfer, but no one really had any plans for the next one. The power of fasting is real! We got 7 new investigators this week!!

Eduardo: THIS IS CLAUDIA'S BOYFRIEND. So we had a lesson with him this week....we really needed to talk to him about the whole marriage thing. We took the Elders from our ward with us too and........WE HAD AN AMAZING LESSON!!!! The Spirit was basically sitting next to him, and he agreed to get married this coming Friday! Claudia is going to be baptized that day, and he is going to be baptized Sunday! AAAHHHHHH!!!!!! We were so worried, so stressed, praying so much for this. AND HE IS TOTALLY DOWN WITH IT!!!!!!!!!!!! SOSOSOSO HAPPY!!!!!

Karla and family: Karla is 14, and she has 2 sisters and 1 brother. She was SO excited, SO animated, we were teaching her almost every day, I helped her with her English and math homework, she was teaching her family how to pray and was reading everything we assigned her from the Book of Mormon!!!! BUT, on Sunday when we went to walk to church with her, her aunt was there. I am guessing her aunt has some sort of power over the family, because she told us - very rudely - that Karla was Catholic and so was her family, and that she would not be going to church with us, and that we could leave. GAH. HORRIBLE WOMAN. We left, but we are going to try to talk to Karla a little bit more, we did not even really get to say goodbye or anything. If her aunt will not let her go to church now, at least Karla knows about it, and when she is older she can take a stance against her aunt. KARLA IS AMAZING THOUGH

Samuel: he is very blunt and matter-of-factish. Also semi OCDish, he is an interesting character. We found him by looking for his cousin who was never there, and then one day he answered the door. He told us that he believes we were placed in his path for a reason. We believe so too!!! We meet with him almost every day too, but every Sunday he texts us and tells us he cannot go for some reason or another.....hmmmmm....kind of fishy. He has a lot of input in the lessons and everything but cannot seem to make it to church. We will see where this goes

Josue: friend of Angel, an investigator who is not really progressing. He is super philosophical, is studying psychology and has so much to say about everything. More like questioning the universe, but is very interested still! He was drinking a cup of wine the whole first lesson and has a huge collection of wine and beer bottles on top of us TV. We left a Word of Wisdom pamphlet for him to read and for us to talk about next time hahahaah.

We got to do service this week for an old hermana (sister) in our ward. I hate weeding almost more than anything, but it was not that bad this time. I do not know why, but it was actually really satisfying to yank the weeks out. HAHA I win!!!!

I am in the process of creating my mission recipe book. It is going great so far, and I add new things when people are willing to give up there family cherished recipes. 

Speaking of cooking, we helped an investigator make a tres leches cake for her daughters birthday. We were actually helping her mom. We made the 3 leches part, and were working on cutting and preparing the cake to dump the heavenly goodness in the cake to soak. The grandma had been mixing the 3 leches part and told us to try it. We did, and it was so good!!!!!!! BUT THEN she says there was a secret ingredient she added, and she pulls out a bottle of brandy. WHAT! She said she just added a little for the taste.....I never thought I would try alcohol, let alone the first time being on my mission. We did not sample any more after that hahahaha.

The work is moving forward in Mexico!

Love, Hermana Westergard

old folletos!

goat looking cable tower

 the inviting signs we see

Monday, June 16, 2014



So the World Cup started! Lots of green here in Mexico. The streets are deserted basically during the times that the games are on, so Mexico is semi-quiet for a change. Kind of strange actually.

We had a Noche de Hogar this week with some less active members. Noche de Hogar is Family Home Evening, we have a short message and then we play games and have a little treat or something after. These members were having a blast!!! I did not think that they would love the games, or even have fun, but it was like watching little kids at Disney World! These less active members went to the ward Noche de Hogar we had later on in the week AND they went to church on Sunday too!!! I really like Noches de Hogar, because they help people realize that we are normal too! We do not just go to church for 3 hours on Sunday, we also have activities with food. If food is involved, there is alway guaranteed to be an awesome turnout!

Something I realized this week was that as much as I am looking for people to teach and help baptize, the members also have a great need for us. I did not realize that the little girls in the ward look up to us so much! When we visit members, their families share everything they can with us. Kids drag out their artwork, everyone runs to get their Books of Mormon, they turn off the TV and are eyes and ears to everything we have to say. Seeing this makes me want to try even more to be the best I can be, to live up to the expectations of the members and of myself!

Investigators: Saul - he is a single dad with 2 kinds. I admire him a lot. Every time we teach him, he is SO interested and the Spirit is really strong. We finished all of the first lesson with him, and we watched a movie about Joseph Smith. The movie never gets old! Every time I watch is I get goosebumps and I KNOW that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God! Saul was really impressed by the movie too. When investigators see the trials and hardships that Joseph Smith and the early members of the church went though, I think they are taken aback. Especially because it is the United States. I am really grateful for powerful church movies! I feel like what I cannot get across in Spanish is filled in with the movie. Claudia!!!!!! I LOVE HER!!!! We met with her this week and she was bawling. She said her husband does not want to get married, because he feels really pressured and he said the only reason she wants to get baptized is to get him to marry her. NOT TRUE!!!!!! I can see them in the temple! He went to church yesterday though and got to see a baptism too, and I think he really liked them both! We are visiting them tonight, so FINGERS CROSSED!!!

I went on divisions this week with my Sister Training Leader, Hermana P. We had interviews with presidente before, and we were all sitting around waiting. As I was sitting and listening, I realized she was talking to an elder in ENGLISH!!! She grew up right on the boarder of Mexico and Texas, so she is fluent in both! It was a weird day hahahaha we spoke english and spanish but my brain kept switching to spanish! I guess that is a good thing! We ate lunch at a Chinese buffet. XALAPA IS SO DIFFERENT THAN PAPANTLA! I did not try the sushi though hahaha I do not trust sushi in Mexico.

A humbling experience for me this week was when we were talking with a recent convert, Jorge. He is still having trouble not drinking coffee, se we made a deal with him. Hna M and I love the dulce pan (sweet bread) of Mexico, we are always buying it. WE LOVE IT! But, we said we would give up the pan if he gave up the coffee. And if one of us caves, we need to buy the others tacos. When people are investigating the church, they are changing their lives! It is hard for us not to eat the bread that we love, I cannot imagine what it must be like for other things. So far, we are all staying strong and no tacos have been bought.

I am trying to work on just loving people. Love love love. I know that love is the most important thing in this work! If I have love, my testimony will grow and others will feel that I am being genuine and sincere. LOVE IS KEY. Working on it!

Funny things: While contacting, Hna M asked people if they wanted to learn more about Jesus Christ. Response: NO. Okay!! Have a nice day! Another thing, I was commenting to Hna M about this old lady in the house where we ate lunch. She could not understand me. So I asked my companion, Why couldn't she understand me? My comp was expecting me to say something after about my accent or something or other, but I said, Well I could't understand her either....because I couldn't! Well my comp wasn't expecting that and spewed the water she had been drinking all over me hahahahaha. I was soaked!

ALSO. I love my companion!! We get along really well, she is super cool and we have so much fun together!! She speaks really fast though, I usually have to ask her to repeat almost everything she says.

I love you all!!!! Thank you for your support! I am sorry I cannot respond to everyone, but I try to get back to everyone eventually!! ALSO I got more letters this week! One from the US (thank you Marissa!!!!), one from Italy and one from Tawain

Love, Hermana Westergard

my lovely tan and wall decorations

members: if you look closely you can see that his hat is from the New Engand Aquarium!!!

Feliz Dia de los Padres! (Happy Father's Day!)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Rejectionnnnnnn, disgraceeeeee


SO. Title for this week is because contacting was a total bust. And I kept thinking of the song from Lion King 2 when they are singing about Kovu? I don’t know how to spell his name. But contacting was really rough this week. Lots of Catholics who do not want anything. We knocked on one door, the old woman answered, asked us if we adored the Virgin, and we said no haha because we do not. She just looks at us and says Pues, Adelante, which basically means “go away. Gracias!!”

I have been seeing SO MUCH Massachusetts gear EVERYWHERE. Red Sox, Cape Cod, Patriots, Notre Dame, it is like MA is haunting me. I see Mexicans wearing the stuff and just think YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THAT MEANS TO ME!!!

Blessings this week!! Raquel, our investigator, just had her baby so she has not been drinking alcohol! Apparently she really realllyyyyyyy liked alcohol before she got pregnant, so it is a blessing that she has her baby! Now we just have to help her get married! She committed to live the word of wisdom! Now the law of chastity. One step at a time! We were really nervous for a lesson with Claudia and her husband this week too. They are not married either, and Claudia needs to be married to be baptized. We were not sure how her husband was going to feel about all of this, but Hermana M and I were praying the whole day for the lesson to go well. IT WENT PERFECTLY!!! He wants to be baptized with Claudia! We left their apartment and just looked at each other and started laughing hahahah we could not believe it had gone so well!! Miracles happen every day! We also watched the Restoration movie with Claudia, and she loved it. CLAUDIA IS JUST PERFECT! I get so excited every time we go to teach her because I know it is going to be an amazing lesson with lots of love and Spirit. Our old mission President visited my ward on Sunday! We do not know why, but it was a relief to see him. We all miss Presidente Lopez.

We have another investigator, Juan, who wants to be baptized in a river. He keeps going on and on about the energy and power of the water. He is kind of a hippie, but he has good questions and is really interested too. I do not know if we can help his dream come true, but we will see what we can do. 

I had Dominos pizza this week!!!!!  That was a deja vu American experience. LOVE PIZZA!
I had a coconut and pineapple tamale this week. DELICIOUS. I am working on gathering the recipes of the foods I like. I plan to open a restaurant in Provo, and I think I will be very successful with the business of all the RMs who served in Mexico and miss their tortillas and tacos and tamales and chile.

This week there was TONS and TONS of rain too. It is hurricane season, and we get the rains and hail. I am so grateful for my rain-boots and umbrella and raincoat! Sososososo grateful. I usually stay mostly dry, except when taxi drivers purposefully swerve out of their way to hit the puddle just right so we get sprayed with water. I try to have good feelings and be missionary like, but when we are dripping with gross street water, we get a little mad for like 2 seconds and then start cracking up hahahaha. A mission is fun! I would never have these experiences anywhere else!

I got a ton of letters and packages this week!!!! THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR THE LOVE!!! It was honestly better than Christmas!! Christie, Nana Carol, Kelly, Jenn, Mom and Dad, Matthew, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! YOU MADE MY WEEK!!!!!! The package that my family sent me in early March finally got here! There is a big stamp on it that says Missent To Jamaica. I do not know how that happens, but it is a miracle that it made it here!

I love you all!!!! Thank you for your love and prayers!

Love, Hermana Westergard

hehehe peeking through the windows one day, we saw that one of our investigadors had this on their table!!!

FINALLY GOT A PACKAGE that was missent to Jamaica

LETTERS!!!!!! :):):) 


in the family of avacado but different


 on my roof this morning!!

(Two pictures I missed last week.)


Doing what Minions do (Mexicans are obsessed with minions and Zumba)

Monday, June 2, 2014

When it rains, it pours


SO XALAPA IS SO AMAZING!!!!!! The weather is PERFECT EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!! I am no longer sweating 24/7 and my sweat is no longer dripping into my food. Such a weird experience. I almost forgot what it was like not to sweat! But it is also starting to be hurricane season or something? Or there is a hurricane in the Atlantic? So, we have MASSIVE, torrential downpours every single day. Once the drizzle starts, you have about 30 seconds to book it to the nearest members house, find some sort of shelter, or accept that you are going to get drenched to the core. BUT I LOVE it. The weather is literally sososososososo perfect, I cannot get over it. This week was amazing too. So many miracles. I really feel like I am in a dream.

First off, so much amazing food this week. Everyone says that people get fat in Xalapa, I can see why. The members casually give us flan and hot chocolate and cookies. WHERE AM I? England? That is what it feels like! So weird. Also had watermelon with chile and limon (lime) and salt. Actually wicked good. Churros...need I say more? Capeados, which is basically fried bananas with lechera aka sweetened and condensed milk and cream. We had carrot tacos. I like the health conscious idea, but the fried aspect kind of cancels out the goodness that the carrots had Oh, and an Hermana in the ward makes pan, the bread that they sell at all the little shops. And she gave us a HUGE bag full of all the different kinds after comida (lunch) one day. I wish I did not have the love for food that I do.

We have SO MANY great investigators! There spirits are SO strong. It is amazing. So so amazing! One investigator's name is Caludia. She has 2 children, and loves church. We need to help her get married, but she comes to all the activities we have, her daughter asks us when the next time we can go to church is. We watched the Restoration video with her, she wants to get married and is really interested in temples AAAHHHHH :). Another investigator is Raquel. Her whole family is members, except her. She is 16, just had a baby, we need to help her get married too. But even with her newborn, she comes to church and has lots of good questions. AAAHHHH :). Another investigator, Mario, I cannot tell if he wants to actually learn or if he just wants to have intellectual battles with scriptures. Trying to break down his walls. Another investigator, Cynthia, was a reference from Claudia. Her son has special needs, but she has a lot of hope also. When we were talking with her, I felt prompted to share with her how I felt about my sweet cousin Elizabeth. I was crying, she started tearing up too, it was really special.

OK: now for the day of miracles. Sunday was a day of miracles. Sunday was also fast Sunday, Hermana M and I were fasting that we could find more people to teach. Sunday we found, taught, and set baptismal dates with 10 people!!!!!!!!! THAT NEVER HAPPENS!!! We also did a TON of contacting on Sunday. Contacting references is so important. Out of the 19 contacts we made, 2 of them accepted the invitation for us to return and teach them later. The percentage is small, but the work is worth it! So the 10 people we found are in 2 families. Families are so important to this work, and the fact that they all - with their families - want to be taught and baptized is amazing!!!! This work is a work of miracles, I am reminded every day.

Sunday we also had pansita for lunch. From the sounds of it, it sounds like it would be something to do with pan, or bread. WRONG. It is a soup made from, if I understand everything correctly, SHEEP BLADDER. I tried. I really really really did. I managed like 2 pieces, but i could not eat the rest of the soup. It looks like the skin of something with little hairs or taste buds or I do not know what. I was trying to distinguish what it was the whole time I was trying to eat it. I felt so bad. Then the Hermanas family got back from church and it turns out none of her kids like it either, so I did not feel so bad. Apparently, it is the husbands FAVORITE thing in the world. I do not know how...but he can have mine!

Something interesting about people here....I always ask how to spell things, like peoples names. No one ever actually tells me the letters, they just say the word realllllyyyyyyyyyyslowly. Thank you for the help!

I love you all!!!! I love my mission!!!!! This church is true, I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and I know our families can be together forever.

Love, Hermana Westergard

nice big dead rat

 new agenda made by Hermana D as a goodbye present

It pours so much the streets turn into rivers