Monday, July 28, 2014

Let us Cheerfully do All Things

The Subject this week is a quote from President Uchtdorf that basically has been the theme of my week! I LOVE PRESIDENT UCHTDORF, and I have been working really hard to be genuinely cheerful and happy. Easier said than done, but I feel myself being happier in general! It is something that all of my companions have said about me, that I am a really happy person. I do not feel exceptionally happy all the time, but I rarely get I guess that makes me a really happy person!
This week I celebrated 6 months in the mission! Hermana Q made me french toast with Nutella, basically you could not ask for a better companion! She has such a strong testimony and so much love for the people here. She is SO great!!! Another reason she is so great, she killed this massive spider that almost attacked me (see attached picture). This spider was one of the real ones! Not a wimpy daddy long leg, like a legit spider. I was turning off the lights downstairs because we were going to bed and looked up for some reason and saw this TERRIFYING insect. I know spiders are not insects but I cannot remember the name of what they are right now. I called Hermana Q down to see it, and I was getting ready to squish it on the ceiling with a dust pan and PLOP it falls just as I smash the dust pan into the ceiling. I scream like I am being murdered, throw the dustpan like a nonprofessional baseball player throws the bat after they hit the ball, and scream some more. The courageous Hermana Q has another broom and starts lunging after the spider and finally kills it as I am screeching MATALO, kill it in Spanish. hahahahaha we must have looked so ridiculous BUT it was terrifying!!!!
I met one of my Uncle Luke´s mission companion this week when I was on exchanges!!! This world is so small!
I spoke at Zone class this week on humility, they called me at 10:30 the night before. It was ironic because it was a humbling experience haha, I was the only non-fluent spanish speaker giving a talk, so obviously my spanish was not up to par with the other speakers. BUT I think everyone got the general point of my message! Being humble is so important, when we truly realize that we cannot do anything solely by ourselves, we are on the right path. So, let us all be humble!
Hermana Q gets really down on herself sometimes when we do not have new investigators every day. I try to help her see that if she is improving the life of at least 1 person during the day, then she is doing an AMAZING job. I do not know if she entirely believes me or not, but she really is a great missionary!!!! So grateful to have her as my companion!
Maria Jose and Daniela: Still so great! Daniela has been sick so we have not been able to teach her, but her mom has so many questions and is buying skirts to wear to church! They are thinking about who they want to baptize them, we are all VERY EXCITED :)
Claudia: officially is not getting marred until December, but still goes to church and the activities. I will not be here for her baptism :( but she is truly converted. I LOVE HER. Really sad I will not be here to see her get baptized
Adriana: sister of another investigator. She has 4 kids, all from different dads, just had a baby 1 month ago, she does not work and does not live with anyone. I do not understand her situation entirely...still working on it.  But she loves listening to us!! I think it is a bit of a break for her, her kids are all very demanding. We passed by for her on Sunday to go to church, but no one answered the door. We opened up their window a little, and I could see her kids. Tried to get them to come over to talk to us, but they ignored me or were more focused on something else. Still confused....gonna try to understand more this week. She is a sweet, loving person, and I can feel how badly she wants to do the right things for her kids.
Yolanda and Rosalba. Yolanda is AMAZING. She is spunky, and does not let anyone tell her what to do. We watched the Restoration movie with them, and I ended up bawling my eyes out after when I was sharing my testimony. Embarrassing, but effective hahaha I saw tears in both of their eyes!! It was a really special moment!!! AND THEN, the next day she told us that her `husband` was bashing us when she was trying to explain about the church. He told her that she had to chose him or the church, and she told HIM not to make her chose because he would come out losing. HOW GREAT IS SHE!!!! AND the day after we watched the movie, we showed up and she told us she had read the whole pamphlet we gave her and has been saying her prayers. I really feel like the movie/emotional testimony was a turning point for her. Rosalba is less assertive, she kind of takes the place of little sister, but she listens to us too. We will see where things go!
Yussi: SHE CAME TO CHURCH YAYYYYYYY AND SHE LOVEDDDD ITTTTTTTTTTT. Her husband is talking to the bishop because he wants to baptize her! Yussi is so special, so loving, so ready! We have SUCH GREAT investigators. SO blessed to be here!!
I love you ALL!!!!! Thank you for your support and your prayers, really, I know I would not feel how I do here without them!
Hermana Westergard
spider with red eye yayyyyyy

happy 6 months french toast!


dead cat I think

my new agenda!

that mountain in the back has snow!!

Hermana Q y yo

bird and snake museum on top of Macuiltepe


Elder who like to photobomb

 our district!!! 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

6 meses mañana wut


SO TOMORROW I CELEBRATE 6 MONTHS IN MY MISSION. I honestly feel so strange saying that. I do not know how to think about it, i am 1/3 of the way done with my mission. AH. NO. I LOVE MEXICO.

This week we had interviews with the new mission president! Presidente Greer, HE IS SO AMAZING. Literally so so so so so awesome. He loves us, he lets us know that he is here for us, that we have a divine potential and that WE CAN DO IT. He is just awesome! My words do not do him justice. Something funny he told me, is that EVERYONE in Mexico wants to talk to me. We need to ask people for references to teach people, since we are not allowed to knock doors. But, he told me that if I asked someone if they knew anyone who would like to talk to us, he said EVERYONE and ALL their friends want to talk to you......hmmmmmm going to work to use this to my advantage. It is still hard to talk to everyone though! I am worried about my Spanish, what they will think of me, all kinds of things like that. But I know I should not and cannot worry about that! I only have 12 months left! I do not want to end my mission, thinking about all the people I was too scared to open up my mouth to talk to. I also got the General Conference Ensign and a Liahona (church magazines)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEY ARE SO GREAT!!!! I love them!!! I highly encourage anyone who has not read the April 2014 General Conference Ensign to do so now! And it is in English, that may be another reason for my love for it hahaha.

We had a hottish day here this week, the hottish day here was like a mild day in Papantla. BUT, I was still sweating tons!! I am really SO blessed to be here in Xalapa during the summer months, I cannot imagine how Poza Rica or Papantla are right now if I feel hot in Xalapa.

Hermana Cirila is a little old lady convert who we had lunch with this week, and my heart melted out of love for her. She is so sweet, so loving, so pure. I love her!!! It was the first time I met her, but she has my heart. I felt like she needed something, so after the meal I asked if there was anything we could do for her. She asked us, if it wasn't too much trouble, if we could read a story or 2 from the scriptures since she cannot read. I WOULD HAVE GLADLY READ THE WHOLE BIBLE AND BOOK OF MORMON TO HER if time was permitting!!!

My district is slowly shrinking. Elder B - our district leader - finished his mission, and Elder T  keeps getting sick so he is going back to the US so they can find out what is wrong with him. Now, I am the only American left. AH. 


Aaron and Yussi: Aaron is a less active member, and Yussi is AMAZING. She is basically a chosen person. She told us that she gets a lot of her answers in dreams, and that she had a dream about her family, and she felt like there was something bigger and better for them, meaning she knows that the things we are teaching are true!!!! She has another daughter who was kidnapped by the man she was with before her husband :(. I never quite know how to respond when the investigators tell me things like that. They sell cheese though, and they told us they are going to close the store on Sundays so they can go to church!

Samuel: interesting as always. He seems to enjoy talking to me a lot through the crack in his door, but he is coming to church and he said next week he is going to stay for 2 hours. Baby steps!

Claudia: we did not see her at all this week! AH!! Her brother was visiting so they were doing a lot of stuff with him....they also baptized Mateo (her baby) in the Catholic church this weekend, I do not know how much say she had in it though.

Rosalba and Yolanda: Sisters, lived in the US for a while and while they were there, missionaries baptized their brothers! They are super interested and feed off of each other's laughte and happiness for life, reminds me of me and my sisters!!

Raquel: Trying to help her get married still! Raquel is all for it, we are waiting for Alejandro (her husband) to finally say YES, lets do this!

Daniella and Maria Jose: They were not around all week, but they came to church and are making tons of friends! They fit in the church like a missing piece in a puzzle, I love them so much! I have such amazing investigators!

I love you all! This work is amazing and I am so blessed to have the chance to share the message of this gospel with the people of Mexico!

Love, Hermana Westergard

found my twin on the cover of a church magazine! (but a little less fat)

basically it was the week of gorgeous clouds and skies

Monday, July 14, 2014

Son del Diablo


Sooooo this week my companion and I were told that we were from the Devil. I have never been told that in my life, nor did I ever expect to be told that hahaha but it happened! My companion and I were being friendly, we were walking by our chapel and there were these 2 old people walking by. I started talking to the little old man, asking if he had ever gone to the church before. I think he was drunk or something, he was also eating cotton candy and had very few teeth. He kind of smiled and giggled and mumbled sí, that yes, he had, and kind of teetered away. He was fine haha but then his wife, or the little old lady who was with him, looked at us with a crazed look in her eyes - she was eating an apple - and screeched YO SOY CATOLICA, did the cross thing with her hand and started clamoring after the little old man. A couple of seconds later, she turns and looks at us and screeches, SON DEL DIABLO, and murmurs other things as she is walking away. My companion and I looked at each other, not sure if we had heard correctly, but the looks in our eyes confirmed that we both had. We both nervously laughed a little, and then started dying hahahaha because it was so unexpected. Lots of interesting things happen in Mexico!

Anyways, this week was a great week! We found a couple of really hopeful new people, a great way to start off the transfer!!! My new companion is Hermana Q, from Guatemala. Kind of cool that each of my companions has been from a different country! I am getting a taste of the world! Hermana Q reminds me of a fairy plum princess or something. She is always so put together, her cheeks are rosy and happy, and she has such a powerful testimony and a love for the work! We are from the same generation also, so we have the same time in Mexico! I am trying to find a balance with her, like I have done with all my other companions. It is always a little awkward at the beginning of the transfer because we do not have our groove yet, but it is a work in progress! I am really trying to focus and think about what I can learn from her. I know that there is something I can learn from each new companion, we are paired together for a reason! Hna Q also told me that I have the best Spanish out of all of her companions so far, and she is constantly complimenting me and telling me it is really good, so I let her toot my horn for me hahaha.

I am working on having really personal prayers these days. Sometimes I feel like I slip into a bit of a routine because I am constantly saying prayers, but they should be personal! Praying for charity, diligence  humility, lots of things. Honestly, I am starting to feel really humbled these days. I know I need to make a conscious effort to improve these things if I want to develop these characteristics.

Random things:
We need to ignite the gas if we want hot water in the morning. My finger tips feel like charcoal because for some reason I can never get it to ignite, and I light like 20 matches with no success.

Hermana B is in my zone again!!!!! YAYYYYYY. We were in Papantla together and now she is in Xalapa with me! No longer the only American sister!

Ate paella this week, it had hot dogs too. Hot dogs, tortillas and Coca Cola are the foods of Mexico I have decided.

Investigators/People in General:

Maria and Daniela - Mother and daughter, they basically have nothing but each other. Maria shares her problems of the world with her daughter because she has nothing else, and they both have the weight of the world on their shoulders. We have been teaching them a lot, they love the church activities, cry in almost every lesson and know that we have a message of happiness. I LOVE THEM!!! The members are so loving to them also, the members are great!!!

Aaron and Yuci - Husband is less active, we had a lesson with the couple and another member and it was AMAZING!!!! The Spirit was spectacular, I cannot say much more than that. It was GREAT!

Raquel - she wants to bless her baby in the church! We are going this week to see if we can make an appointment to help them get married!!!!

Karla - ran into Karla :( she was really upset because her uncle hit her and her brother in front of the whole neighborhood basically. Poor kids :( We gave her a hug, it was all we could do.

One thing that has been emphasized this week, NOTHING HAPPENS JUST BY CHANCE. There is a reason behind EVERYTHING!!!

I love you all! Stay safe, stay happy, look for your blessings!

Love, Hermana Westergard

New zone!

Hermana Q

waiting for the train to pass

we made 3 leches pastel!

mordida hahaha we were both resisting


Monday, July 7, 2014

The week of being stood up

Well everyone,

This week I felt like an awkward teenage boy that got stood up by every, single one of his date prospects. We had a week scheduled for success!!! We had so many appointment planned, and SPLAT, like a pie in the face, people either were not there or were busy and could not talk to us or they literally ran away. We do not bite! I promise!!!!  We only taught 11 lessons this week, that hurts. But, we can still find the good even when we are stood up! We can find things to laugh about, try to talk with their neighbors who have been watching us knock on the door for 5 minutes, and buy elotes! So it really is not so bad after all. I am hoping this week that we will be able to teach a lot more. The prayers and feelings during the lessons are so important!!!!! I want our investigators to be able to feel these things! So we did a ton of walking this week. Tons and tons and tons. Burning off those tortillas! We also have some taxi friends who we keep running into when we need a ride sometimes, so we get a lift for free! Making plans to visit/find their houses this week.

Investigators/People in General:

I am getting a new companion! Hermana M is going to Poza Rica, and my new companion will be Hermana Q. She is from Guatemala, and was comps with Hermana M in the MTC. I am excited!

Clauda: Still amazing, still has such a strong spirit, still not married :(. Her boyfriend says he wants to wait until December when his family can all come. It seems like all we can do now is just make sure she keeps going to church until December then! Merry Christmas!

Carlos: is a recent convert who we visit. He does not like to read, his mom cannot read and his dad is really sick. But we challenged their family to read the Book of Mormon together, 1 chapter a day, and they have been doing it!!!! AND they like it! Success

Ingrid Abril: She is 8 years old, but she is not baptized. Her parents are less active members, but she wants to be baptized! We had a really special lesson with her yesterday, and she is going to get baptized on Sunday! I love teaching kids so much more! They have a special spirit, I cannot really describe it, but children are special!

Aurelia: a little old lady we met in the park. We go running on Mondays, and she is always there so we just started talking to her. She has the funniest laugh ever hahaha and has A LOT to say. We have a lot to share too! Working on finding a happy medium with her 30 minute tangents and our lesson plans.

Jesus: friend of Carlos. We taught a lesson to him at his front door with basically every sound in the world going on behind us. All the dogs were barking, trash trucks, fruit trucks, gas trucks, and all these trucks have their own sounds with speakers to announce they are there. I could not hear the majority of what he was saying, but we did our best to teach with the Spirit, despite all the other sounds! We gave him a Book of Mormon and invited him to be baptized too. He is timid, but had a lot of good questions! We will see where things go with him this week.

Highlights of the week: 
Got pooped on by a bird. Yep.

Finished the Book of Mormon! It was only my 2nd time reading it! Now on to Doctrine and Covenants! SO EXCITED!!!

OUR NEW MISSION PRESIDENT IS AMAZING!!!! He loves us all so much! The love is literally illuminating from his body. His name is President Greer, he served his mission in Guatemala, so he knows some Spanish. His wife though is just learning the language, but she is so sweet and so beautiful! Something he emphasized was that we need to focus on helping people get to the temple, so he wants us to focus a little more on teaching the importance of temples and helping recent converts set goals to go to the temple with their families! I love temples though and talking about them, sooooo my pleasure!!!

My croc flats are one of my best purchases. The streets turn into rivers with a rapid current when there is even a LITTLE bit of rain. I do not need to worry about my shoes getting wet! I just need to worry about how much the water will splash up when I take a running leap to avoid the deepest part of the river, from the curb to the center of the street. But it is fun!

This week was my 2nd year in a row not being in the US for the 4th of July. My District Leader called me in the morning and played the National Anthem to remind me of the holiday. I had already decked out the page in my agenda with flags and stars and fireworks and everything, I remembered! BUT I started crying hahaha it was so unexpected to hear the song. I love my country. I am so grateful for the freedoms we have, and the thousands of other blessings and opportunities I have in the US. USA!!!! I celebrated the day by eating an elote.

Working hard, rain or shine! I got goosebumps from the cold this week! Basically my first ones in like 4 months. I was excited!

I love you all!
Hermana Westergard

Last attempts at District picture before transfers (it started raining right then hahaha we are dysfunctional)

 our new creepy crawler friend we discovered last night

bird pooped on me

the hermanas in Xalapa

a Papantla picture that turned into every missionary jump in picture

Red White and Blue for AMERICA

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Borrego soup


So this week kind of seemed like a blur, the days seem to blend together. I am feeling pretty tired, the mission might be catching up with me! So Borrego is goat. And I ate a lovely soup this week with the borrego. When I say borrego, I mean the WHOLE borrego. People in Mexico use basically every part of the animals when they cook, organs and all. Yum yum! After I ate the soup, the investigator told me what was in it. It included the following: liver, pancreas, stomach, bladder, lungs. throat and lungs. AND I ATE IT. I am proud of the people in Mexico for being so frugal and utilizing all parts of the animals. I am also glad that I grew up in the United States!

Investigators: Claudia still is not married!!!!!! LSDKFJLSDKFJSLDGJHSDLKFJSDLKFJ. She is working a lot, her boyfriend works late and she works early. We need to find a time where they can both get to the building to get married. This is our project for this week. IT CAN BE DONE. IT WILL BE DONE. We are teaching one of Claudia's friends now too though! His name is Manuel, he works as a clown. He is kind of timid, but he is really interested and has come to activities at the church before! No one came to church this week either. A lot of investigators were out of town, Mexico was playing in the World Cup, sacrament meeting was noticeably more empty hahahaha. We had an AMAZING lesson with one of the youth in the ward and his friend. William - the youth - has such a strong testimony and his spirit was so powerful. I hope that my testimony has the same impact on people that his had on me! William is going to be an amazing missionary! We contacted a family this week: the dad cannot read, their son is really sick, their 15 year old just had a baby a month ago, and her husband works painting 20 story buildings. BUT THEY ARE ALL STILL SO HAPPY!!!! It is hard for me to see teenagers so young with children. I feel like they are still kids themselves, but they already have the responsibility of a family. We have not met the mom yet, but apparently she is very Catholic. We get the feeling that what she says in the family goes, so we are hoping to have an AMAZING lesson with her this week!! 

We visited a less active family this week, Carlos and Eufemia. On the outside, they look fine, but after we were talking to them, we realized that they had nothing, They shared the weight of the world they were feeling with us, and I felt like I was carrying 999,999 pounds when we left their house. She is really sick, there is not much work around for anyone, the situation is just really dire. It is hard for me when I think about the privileged life I have had, that I have never worried like they are, that I have never gone without, and this poor couple is struggling to make soup day to day. It is really hard when I realize how different my situation is than these people. It is very humbling.

Funny things: We contacted a woman names Rosa. We asked her who she lived with and she told us she was along, very very alone. Just herself, her soul, God and her Virgin. I guess she is not so alone after all! She was doing this weird thing with her hands, we could not tell if she was praising us, shooing us away or praying. Contacting another time, we encountered the references daughter and very drunk husband. He asked us if we wanted to read the Bible with him on his front porch was was going on and on about how he was very Catholic. We decided we should probably leave, so we were saying bye to the daughter and the husband butts in to say goodbye also. Shaking my hand, and very drunkenly he says "You are very pretty". I was not expecting it at all, turned SO red and stumbled out something incomprehensible in spanglish and walked away as fast as I could. Red hair, red face. UG

Good news: We have a new friend who owns a taqueria! He gives us free tacos al pastor! I LOVE TACOS AL PASTOR! Ive got friends in HIGH placessssss.

Interesting news: We had lunch with a member yesterday, her son served in the same mission as dad! Concepcion, Chile! AND he served with the husband of one of my roommates, Bre!!!!! JEFF MOSS IF YOU READ THIS do you know Fransisco Conteras? He remembers you!!!

I love you all! Thank you for your support!!!!

Love, Hermana Westergard


tacos al pastor with limon and salsaaaaa