Monday, December 2, 2013

Week 12: Happy Turkey Day

Oi! <3
I hope everyone enjoys their little break and spends time with their loved ones for the holidays!  So Sammy was baptized this week!! yay! She is so cute and was so excited!  Her boyfriend, Benji, also came up to us after her baptism and said that he wants to start meeting with us! AHH so great! He brought Sammy flowers and it was adorable... but pretty much I fall over anything cute and lovey, being on a mission will do that to ya.  Sammy is having surgery this week so everyone keep her in your prayers please!
This week was another reminder that this is certainly NOT our work and that someone much more important is in charge!  We have had a hard time finding new people to teach and we were really praying that we would be able to find those who have been prepared if that is what God wanted.  So we went to teach a less active this week who we haven't seen in a while and I think that she forgot about our appt.  But she was home and... had a friend over! perfect :) haha So we ended up teaching him the restoration and they both came to church yesterday! His name is Frou and is from Samoa and he said that he had a lot of LDS friends and was super happy and excited to hear the things we had to teach him.  So that was grrreat!  Then, we were on exchanges yesterday (I stayed in the area and one of our Sister Training Leaders came down) and we went to conact some former investigators before our dinner appointment with the Winfields and the one person who we had time to see was totally happy to see us and set up an appointment for next week! AWESOME!! Then, Benji wanting to meet with us was just the greatest news! So pretty much Heavenly Father has blessed us more than we can even say! He is so good to us :)
I was like totally freaking out for our exchange yesterday because I had to be in charge of the area and I honestly have absolutely know idea what I am doing half of the time!  We also had a dinner appointment with the Winfred's and they didn't seem so excited to have us over so I was seriously so nervous! I was praying so hard!  But then I remembered that this isn't a test, this isn't my career, or class, or anything like that... this is my life, and my light, my love! and as long as I just continue to love everyone, all the time, then I am doing okay!  Hank came to church and Frou came to church and we were so so happy to see both of them! I'm the chorister in the branch and my face was like beaming while I was leading the music because I was so happy haha.  Also, the Winfreds appointment went SO WELL! MIRACLE!  Our lesson was on faith (Alma 37:40-46) and how we need to act on our faith and nourish our faith.  Cami was like "I need to do that! My faith is like dead right now and I know that I need to do something about it!" Ahh yay!!  They all were like friendlier and happier to have us over than they have every been and we committed them all to read one verse in Ether 12 every day this week (something that we know that they can do).  They also invted us over for thanksgiving dessert and considering they are the best cooks around, I was not about to say no! They all love to cook and make the best dinners for us, they are so so good to us and hilarious and I just want them to start coming back to church so bad!  Anyway, the appointment couldn't have gone any better.  I just love them to death and want the best for them more than anything!
Random fact: there is a park called Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach that used to be a landfill and then they built a hill on top of it.  Yep, super classy. 
Mom! THANK YOU for the package!! totally made my week!! So I went to our apartment complex office to pick it up and I told the lady my address and she went in the back to get it and I could here the two ladies that work there talking:
"What one is it?"
"Is it one of the big ones?" (YES!)
"Do you think it's this one?"
"Oh it's the one with the turkey on it!" (Yes... that is definitely the one from my mom haha!)
so they pull out this giant package with a giant turkey drawn on it and we all got a good laugh! haha I told them I have the best mom around!! Thank you thank you!
Okay well just know that you are all amazing!!  Be sure to spread the love!  I miss you and love you tons!
Oh and I'm going to Celia Overts familie's house for thanksgiving dinner! (she is like my favorite less active EVER... who isn't even less active any more) and she is living with her brother and sister in law who have four adorable little kids! So lucky! I'm going to be thinking about you all day though!!
          SIster Westover

Sammy's Baptism


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Week 11

Hey again :)
I hope this email finds it's recipients happy, healthy and better than ever!

Another week gone by and we are done with all the crazy transfer stuff.  Lucky we didn't have to go anywhere so there wasn't a whole lot to do other than cleaning and making room for our new roommate.  I can't even explain how happy this transfer made me and this is seriously going to be the greatest five weeks yet.  I absolutely love Sister Jasperson! She is the greatest trainer and I know that she is exactly who I prayed that I would get before I came out in the field!  We are having so much fun and working our butts off all day every day and it is the greatest thing.

I really am short on time so just some brief thoughts and recap for the week!  

We have a baptism on Saturday! I never remember what I write in my emails so I don't know if I have talked about Sarah at all.  She has been going to the family ward for 6 months and just switched over to the YSA branch so we have been teaching her.  Anyway, she is just eating it up and doing so great!  Minor downfall... she has two cats and they both have fleas.  Oh my gosh just typing that made me itchy all over.  Yeah so we had to teach her at her apartment at first and it's like super super sketchy and the complex smells like really strong chemicals so I felt like I was burning my nosehairs and all of my insides just by breathing haha it was awful.  Then one of the cats has fleas and we go to sit on the couch and you can see them on the couch!! and then the cat jumped on us a couple times in the lesson!! Every time Sarah would turn her head I would like kick the cat away or try to scare it and then Sarah would turn back and I would just smile at her haha, it was so miserable.  Typing the word fleas literally sends shivers all over me so I'm just going to say sparkles instead.  Anway, so I don't know how she hasn't noticed the sparkles all over her cat!  After we left we had to de-sparkle ourselves and I couldn't stopping itching!  We tried to get rid of all of the sparkles before we got in the car and then luckily our washer and dryer are the first thing in the apartment so we threw all of our clothes in it the washer before we were allowed to enter the rest of the house and then ran straight to the shower.  ick... the sparkles really got to us so we just got Sarah to meet with us in the church from now on!  Much better!  

Our neighbor Nicole is out of town but she is so great and I can't wait for her to come back!  Miranda has been hard to get a hold of because she is a busy college student but we are going to try to stop by later this week, her friend Derek leaves for his mission in two days!  Sister Jasperson and I  are working with a ton of members this week to encourage them to increase their finding efforts so that we can have more people to teach!  God has clearly placed people right in front of us and we know that He can continue to do so but we are either baptizing or are dropped so we need to find more people!  I'm excited for the miracles we will see this week :)

HUGE THANKS to Lisa Price for her absolutely adorable package!!! That made me soo happy!!! I needed a little sunshine over here :) and Taylor Bloom for her letter!!! Seriously both of those just made my week brighter!

My thought this week is that you can always do better than you think!  Push yourself and believe in yourself!  Let your faith in Christ increase your faith in yourself, and miracles will happen, I promise! :)

Sister Westover
P.S. Virginia is so pretty right now! and here is a picture from Isiah's baptism!

Her Apartment Complex

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Week 10

Hey hey all you amazing people!

Life is so good!  I hope you can see that. We are so so blessed so you best be sure you're thankin the Lord erry day.  But really.  Okay so something awful has happened, sometimes random words come out of my mouth with a southern accent. What is this?? Virginia isn't even in the south! (Don't tell anyone from Virginia that though...apparently they don't understand their directions)  But if I pick up Portuguese as fast as I pick up Southerner then I'll be doing great in Brazil so no worries!

So my amazing experience from last Sunday!! We were fasting to find new investigators and after church when to contact some people who we have been trying to reach all transfer.  We drive up to one of the houses and park and before we even get all the way out of the car there is a girl standing in the doorway holding the front door open for us with a big smile on her face!  She was so excited to see us and happily invited us into her home (AHH!).  Her name is Miranda and she is 18 (just graduated from high school this spring) and is going to a college near by so she is still living at home.  Her family has met the missionaries a couple times so she knew who we were and she put away all of her homework so that we could just talk for a while.  She is so adorable and we got along so well!  She said she has church hopped her whole life and could see parts of the truth everywhere but also felt like no where had the whole truth and she just wanted to find it.  She told us how she loves going to church and after we met with her we texted her and she told us it was the highlight of her week. Why everyone doesn't tell us that is a mystery to me :).  We taught her the restoration and she loved it.  She said she actually has a really good friend that is leaving for his mission next week. Then on Monday they both came to FHE! This weekend she was out of town but we are so excited to continue meeting with her and hopefully increasing the depth of her desires to act in faith.

Transfer news was crazy.  Sister Jasperson and I are going to be our own companionship and then Sister Anderson (the other visa waiter Sister Missionary) is going to move in with us and her and Sister Gale with be companions and we are splitting the area!  I'm super excited about that because it will help a ton with my language study!! We are all excited for the change.  We have definitely had two companionships worth of work this last week so we know God was preparing us to split it up!

The less active we went to contact...... The family environment isn't the greatest, but I'm so glad we were able to bring the spirit in!  Hunter is the oldest of 5 girls and the others are all really young. The good news is she came to FHE right after we taught her and she is really excited to come to the branch! yay!  I'm so thankful that I'm able to help bring light to people's lives.

on a strikingly unspiritual note:
We found out this week that Sister Gale doesn't know how to plunge a toilet so Sister Jasperson had to teach her! yeah I wasn't going to help with that... sister Gale was like "I think I know how... I've seen it on TV" hahaha I don't even want to know but I kept my distance from the bathroom for the rest of the day.

okay so here is the good stuff:

The most amazing thing that has happened to me thus far:  On Thursday afternoon we get a knock on our door right before we were about to head to contact some people and were kind of surprised because the only people who know where we live are other missionaries and we weren't expecting anyone.  So I answer the door and it's our neighbor and her daughter (who, by the way, are so freakin adorable).  Our neighbors are a young couple and they have a three year old daughter.  They can't be much older than 21 and he is in the Navy. Anyway so it's the wife, Nicole, and her daughter, Leelah and Nicole was like "Hey so we are always running in and out when we run into each other but I just have been meaning to ask y'all what it is that you do exactly?" AHHH I was seriously like jumping with excitement on the inside.  Since we were about to leave we set up an appt. for Friday afternoon and then went to contact our less active. So Friday we go next door and talk to Nicole some more and find out that she has been searching for a church for her family and has been praying that God would help her know what to do for months now and she had done a bunch of studying about the LDS church and then we moved in right next door to her two weeks after she moved in!  She said she knew it was a sign from God and it took her the past 4 months to work up the courage to ask us more!  My jaw dropped I think. So she just ate up everything we could tell her and said that it was exactly what she had come to believe on her own.  Yesterday morning we taught her the restoration and she just started crying!  She couldn't say anything and just sat and listened with tears running down her face. At the end she said "I have always wondered why it just stopped after the new testament. It doesn't make sense to me that God just stopped giving us direction and why he just stopped reaching out to us.  This just makes so much sense."  I was so overwhelmed by how blessed I was to be able to be there, with Nicole, teaching her about this AMAZING truth that we have!  I have been able to know this my whole life and am finally realizing why it is such a blessing that I have known it all along. We are so lucky.  Don't forget that.  There are so many out there searching for the truth and here we are with it!  Nicole is absolutely amazing and a miracle from God. 

Okay well so much amor for all y'all.  I hope you have a fantastic week and know that this gospel changes lives :)

Sister Westover

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Week 9!

Hey hey!! Glad it's another new week and another set of emails :) I love you lots!
All is well in Virginia Beach!  This week has seriously been crazy, but the good kind of crazy.  We've been so so busy and especially as missionaries that's always a good thing! So... BIG NEWS! Isiah was baptized!!!!! WOOO!!! Oh my gosh it was the best thing EVER!!!  So obviously this was a miracle because last week we were still unsure on his parents permission.  We had been praying and fasting like no tomorrow for him and the plan was that he was trying to get his parents to let him be baptized this coming Saturday (it's his birthday) but he really was hoping that his mom would be able to come (his dad had obviously refused to come at this point) and the only day she had off of work was this last Saturday and then wouldn't have another until January.  We found this out on Thursday and made a ton of phone calls to try to pull off a baptism in two days and then just prayed that his parents would be encouraging and see the light he has gained in his life.  Well on Saturday our branch did a temple trip, the nearest temple is D.C. so Isiah drove down with them and then walked around outside and went to the visitor center.  He called us on his way back and said that BOTH of his parents were coming!!! Oh my gosh I can't even tell you how amazing that was.  We prayed all day that there wouldn't be too bad of traffic and that they would get back to VB in time.  It truly was a miracle, they all said traffic coming back from D.C. is always terrible but this time the whole drive was open and no traffic!  Isiah's parents came and Isiah bore his testimony and it was one of the most spiritual experiences I've ever had.  He said "I know that God is real because I know I wouldn't be able to feel this happiness if He didn't give it to me."  He talked about how he was lost before and now he feels like he is home and he is loved.  It was so so great.  Love that kid to death!
On Tuesday we had sisters conference for all of the sisters in the mission! It was so fun! We had some hermanas from North Carolina stay the night with us so they didn't have to drive that far in the morning.  President and sister Baker and the assistants all gave trainings and they were really awesome and encouraging.  I got to talk to Sister Anderson in Portuguese the whole time too so that is always fun :).  President Baker talked about the importance of humor in our lives and I LOVED that!!  He talked about how humor not only helps, it heals.  Somethings he said were "spirituality isn't the same thing as solemnity" and "don't wear your religion like a headache" haha I really liked what he had to say and he told us some super funny stories from his life.  The Bakers are so awesome and love us all so much you can really feel it. 
Appointments this week all were so so awesome.  We were running around crazy but everytime we got in a lesson we just had this overwhelming feeling that is exactly where we needed to be and every person we talked to was amazed at how we knew exactly what they needed to hear!  Such a testimony to me that God knows His children perfectly and if we are living close to Him, we can help to do His will and be the miracles in the lives of those around us!  We taught Bobby about charity and it was a really amazing lesson.  He struggles so much with working with these amazing kids who have cancer.  We talked about how God loves us perfectly and sometimes it is hard for us to understand or to see His plan for those around us, but we have to have faith and trust that He knows best.  We talked about how he is a miracle and and angel to a lot of those kids.  It was one of the most amazing lessons I have been in yet.  The whole lesson was so guided and inspired.  At the end he was like "How do you always know exactly what to talk about?" It was so clear that the spirit had directed us! 
We fasted and prayed to find new investigators and totally had this crazy awesome experience yesterday!! But I am so running out of time so I guess cliff-hanger for next week :)  Be excited.
My thoughts this week:
make someone laugh today!! Laughing, like the word of God, heals the wounded soul! 
Sister Brittany Westover

Week 8

Hi hi hi! I hope everyone is doing well and feels my love!
Here we are again... almost 10 weeks in and it's freakin me out!! This mission thing is gonna go WAY too fast!! But I'm happy as every to be serving and to know I'm right where I'm supposed to be! To start off... WE HAD A BAPTISM ON SATURDAYYYY!!  I cannot describe my joy Saturday and Sunday (when he was confirmed) to know that I was blessed to be able to help him along his journey to baptism and home :)  Oh my gosh it was seriously the greatest thing in the world.  Scott continues to just blow us away, he was clearly so prepared and so ready to hear the gospel and he just ate it up faster than we could teach!  I am certain that from here on out he will continue to become more and more Christlike each day.  He wanted to bear his testimony at his baptism and he literally said "I know this is the first covenant of many and I can't wait to make more!"... like who is this guy??? Seriously... blows me away.  He talked about how the things of the world started to dull and he really wasn't feeling satisfied and once he started learning more and more of the gospel he couldn't get enough because it brought more joy than any outlet he could find.  I seriously feel so blessed to have been able to meet him and work with him and just watch his life change right before me!  So, so great.
Isiah came to the baptism and now has an even greater desire to be baptized (if it wasn't already at maximum).  His birthday is on November 9th so he said he is going to talk to his parents and see if they will support him in his decision and the date.  They both have told him that he can get baptized but weren't so sure about picking a date yet so we are continuing to pray for miracles!  He is a really really great kid and just loves sharing truth with everyone around him! It puts me to shame!  He's awesome!  We need more investigators so we are praying to find people to teach and I fasted on Sunday as well.  I know that we can see miracles and find those who have been prepared to hear the gospel.  We have tried to contact some referrals the past couple days but no one has been home (as is the story of missionary work) but it's coming! I can feel it!
I love working with less actives! ... okay pause in regular thought process..  I really don't remember what I have already said in my emails so I hope I'm not just the most repetative person ever... if so, just pretend this is the most captivating letter yet!... anyway, I love working with less actives!  We are able to talk about things really deeply and help them with their concerns and trials to progress.  There is always something behind their "surface reasoning" and as they allow us to grow with them they start to let us help them with the parts of their heart that have been wounded and guarded by the world.  Watching them regain strength and desire to fully heal themselves is an amazing thing.  I love seeing their excitement for activity again.  Bobby is like my favorite person ever (he works in a pediatric cancer unit)  and he thanked us this last week for working with him and being willing to reach out and really listen to his concerns.  It just warmed my heart because I know how much progress he has made and I have seen this light grow in him  over the past few weeks (honestly).  I truly LOVE the people that I get to meet with every day, they amaze me and humble me and allow me to grow and stretch myself as well.
Random goodness about Virginia Beach/ Virinia Chesapeake Mission:
-Virginia Beach has the largest naval bases in the world (maybe just country but world sounds cooler anyway) so most of our branch and pretty much everyone we teach is in the Navy or some branch of the military, which also means there isn't a lot of consistancy in the wards or branches, but it's cool!
-The streets in monopoly are named after the streets in Virginia Beach! pretty sweet! haha
-There was once an elder who loved bacon and so they had 12 pounds of bacon in their freezer and one day they were doing presonal study and heard a noise out in the kitchen so they came out and there was a guy with a ski mask loading the bacon into his backpack! hahahaha and then later that day they were at a members house and saw on the news that a guy walking down the street got arrested for stealing bacon and his backpack was like LOADED and the guys called himself the bacon theif or something great like that. hahah this cracked me up... but also, since we know how I feel about bacon, I really should have gotten in on that before they shut the bacon ring down.
-Virginia Beach is so great!
Britt's crazy thoughts this week:
Faith allows miracles to occur!  No wonder faith in Jesus Christ is the first principle of the gospel, it is a "principle of power"!  In PMG it talks about how God works by power and typically his power is manifest as a response to faith.  As we exercise faith in different areas of our lives we are allowing mircacles to take place, which in turn increases our faith and then more miracles and then MORE FAITH AND MIRACLES AND FAITH and you get the idea.  In conference Edward Dube talked about how faith is always pointed toward the future.  Faith is the opposit of doubt and fear (which are also pointed toward the future), by increasing our faith we can reduce our fear and anxiety.  We increase our faith in Jesus Christ through action (faith is also a principe of action) and we can act by studying the scriptures and the life and teachings of Christ, we can pray diligently, we can serve, and we can act on the promptings we recieve from the Holy Ghost.  Most importantly we need to have faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, this allows us to be delivered from every and anything that holds us back.  In 1 Nephi chapter 1 verse 20 (the end) it says:" But behold, I Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverence."  We can become "chosen" by acting on our faith, and in turn we will behold the tender mercies and miracles of God in our life every day! How awesome!
comittment: increase your faith this week through prayer!  Pray to our Heavenly Father and trust in Him :)
okay so much loves to all y'all (this word is becoming a common one in my vocabulary unfortunately, Virginia will do that to ya)
Sister Brittany Westover



Scott's Baptism

Elder Linchfield

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mission Week 7

Hey hey hey!
Man, I have so many thoughts and stories and feelings and I wish I could just put it into your brain to because for some reason I can't form any words with it all!  Things are great though!  We went to the beach again this morning to watch the sunrise so I'm a happy woman!  This week has been full of trials and challenges and miracles and crazy craziness.  Being a missionary is the best/strangest/hardest thing ever.  Since I'm not sure where to start I'll just start with our investigators and the people we have been working with!
Scott is amazing!!  He is getting baptized on Saturday and I'm so so excited for him!!  He studies Preach My Gospel before our lessons and has already read the entire Book of Mormon and is half way through again!  He pretty much teaches us when we meet for lessons haha it is crazy awesome.  It has been really amazing to watch him learn and change and grow at such a rapid pace in the last 21/2 weeks.  He just jumped right in and has really studied it all out for himself and prayed to gain a testimony and is so ahead of us.  He has become truly happy and tells us everytime we meet. Keep praying for him that he will have strength and faith leading up to his baptism!
Isiah's mom said he could get baptized!!!  His dad is still thinking about it but this is a HUGE step!! We couldn't be happier for him.  He is one of the most amazing kids I have ever met.  He really has a light about him and he bears his testimony at every chance he gets.  He is so willing and earnest to learn and to share this message with everyone around him!  We are still praying that his dad will soften his heart and see the change (for the better) that has occured in his sons life.  Isiah's mom has told him how proud she is of him and how he has grown.  Warms my heart!
Yoki.  Oh Yoki.  We had another out of this world weird lesson with Yoki that we taught on the front porch of the house she lives in with like 20 other chinese people.  We are pretty sure they are illegal.  They all live with the boss of this sushi place and work for him and are all trying to get green cards.  She texted us on Saturday night and dropped us.  It was pretty sad but also maybe a blessing in disguise that we don't get involved with any of this sketchy illegal sushi shop.
Well we are working on reactivating A TON and the branch is awesome!! I get to work with very inspiring people every day and it is such a blessing.  Sister Jasperson (my trainer) can hardly walk because of a random knee problem that just happened last pday so we haven't been super busy.  We have a lot of meetings but can't do any tracting or a lot of contacting because it obviously requires a lot of walking.  We have had some weird experiences this week but know that the spirit is protecting us!  I am so grateful to know that God is watching out for us and we just continue to trust that the feelings we get are from the spirit and we should trust them so we do!  I got the package mom sent this week and it was THE BEST!!!  Thank YOU Mommy!! Also I got a letter from Janet Cathcart and from Hailey and from one of my MTC teachers with a talk that I had really wanted.  Mail is seriously so fun as a missionary and always makes my day so thank you :). 
I GOT TO TEACH A LESSON IN PORTUGUESE THIS WEEK AND IT WAS THE BEST!!!  There is a lady from Brazil that is in the family ward by us so we did a little exchange so Sister Jasperson took me and Sister Anderson (the other Brazil visa waiter in my district) to teach her.  Her name is Anilda and we talked for like an hour in Portuguese!!  It felt so good to be able to speak with someone!  At the end of the lesson she told me I don't have an American accent when I speak and I like fainted I was so happy!! :)  We are going to see her tomorrow so I'm super excited!
Alright well my thoughts this week were: life is hard! We all make mistakes and NO ONE is perfect.  So don't judge those around you! LOVE EVERYONE! Love is the greatest motivator in this world.  Everyone could use a little pick me up and a good friend, so be that friend! My commitment: think of someone you have held negative feelings towards and forgive them.  I promise you it will be worth it.  Be that friend that everyone needs.
Okay love love love
Sister Brittany Westover

She said they are total missionaries. They saw the word "restoration" and got excited!

She also wrote tons of letters this week!

These are the missionaries in her current mission waiting for their visas to Brazil

Friday, October 18, 2013

Week 6: Virginia Beach!

Hi Loves! (my super cute fam bam and all other dear friends who take the time to read my letters!)
So pretty much Virginia Beach is supa sweet and the gospel rocks!!  Wow this has been a crazy week! I feel so... alive! haha I am meeting tons of people every day and getting weird looks and yelled at and hugged and name-tag checked out and all sorts of great stuff by all sorts of people I don't know!

My companionship get better and better! My trainer is awesome and we have gotten really close.  My other companion I swear is a minion from Despicable Me and it seriously cracks me up.  Sometimes it takes everything in my power to not just start crying from laughing so hard... in a good way! She is so sweet but seriously reminds me of a minion!

This last week we were on hurricane watch for a little while so it was SUPER stormy and exciting!! Like we would walk from the car to the apartment and be drenched.  So I feel very at home :)  and when you aren't wet from the rain, the humidity will get you!  I now know what 100% humidity and not raining is.  Imagine walking through the air full of giant floating raindrops (floating, not falling, is the key word here), yeah it's fun stuff! haha

We have taught some more less actives and got new investigators!  We taught a part-member family yesterday on exchanges (so I got to go to Chesapeake for the day) and they live in a zoo.  We also met their 5 dogs and birds and chickens with chicks and goats and horses and all other members of their diverse family.  So free trip to the zoo and a lesson in one trip! totally sweet! Also, we taught a lesson in a sushi restaurant to our Chinese waitress.  That was so random/hilarious/great.  Some Elders who like to eat there referred her to us and she was excited to see us but we also had to order (and being in a YSA we all know how the $ situation goes...) so she was like bringing our food and serving other customers but would then come sit next to us and ask us questions.  Her name is Yoki and she is the cutest thing every.  I was wondering why she was so curious about God and what we had to say.  After we taught her about prayer we asked her what kinds of things she wants to know or ask God and she said the desire of her heart was for her parents to get visas. yeah. that was the Kicker haha.  But I know God can work miracles and if it's meant to be it's meant to be!  She wanted us to show her how to pray so we did right there in the restaurant and I think that the couples on dates around us were a little confused haha.  It made me laugh because never in a million years did I imagine I would be in Virginia, in a sushi restaurant, talking to Yoki who can barely speak English, and praying out loud in front of other customers.  It was awesome. The gospel is true.  Also.... in our lesson with Scott I invited him to be baptized and he said YES!!! aaAAHHH!!! I just wanted to scream and hug him and kiss him I was so happy.  But I contained my excitement to a smile and a nice testimony.

Britt's Weekly Devotional: (Sidenote: if you are talking about yourself in 3rd person is it appropriate to use your first name? I'm going to say yes. Missionary probs...)
Okay so at institute this week we listened to a talk about happiness from some Jewish man in 1989 and it was really thought provoking!  So I've been thinking about happiness and pain this week and wanted to talk about it.  Pain does not mean that we need to be miserable, or sad, or unhappy.  In fact, there is nothing that brings us happiness that isn't also filled with pain.  Think about it.  Relationships with family and close friends and significant others, great jobs, our devotions, our talents, simply, (sometimes) getting up in the morning, or exercising.  Growing pains are not just to be experienced physically throughout our adolescence, but rather, in all aspect of our being, all throughout our life!  Pain may just mean that we are stretching, changing, growing, and experiencing life, which is actually a very, very good thing!  Sometimes we fill our lives with meaningless activities that may be fun but don't necessarily bring us happiness... we are seeking in the wrong places.  As we seek to grow closer to our Heavenly Father, recognizing our weaknesses (which may bring a little pain) in order to replace them with strengths, and turn outward, focusing on others when the human nature in us might want to turn in (also might bring some pain).. we will realize that we are truly happy!  In that moment we can see the stretching, growing and experiencing have been for our good and for, ultimately, our happiness.  The greatest act of eternal pain and grief was the Atonement of Christ, and inconsequentially, this also (when applied in our lives) will result in the greatest happiness we can know. Our Father in Heaven loves us and wants us to be happy.  He will help us to enjoy our journey home!
Commitment: Go outside of your comfort zone and help others when you regularly would not! See a little pain and a little change to make a better person!

Life is good.  The Gospel is true.  Be kind.
Sister Brittany Westover

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week 5: "This isn't the Language they Taught me in the MTC"

Oi! Tudo bem!  Como vai?
Well, I miss the MTC!!  Of course, that was expected... but why does change have to be so hard??  It is really weird to not be teaching and praying in Portuguese!  I am still staying by personal prayers in Portuguese but I always want to plan in Portuguese and am a little sad when I have to switch to English.  At first I almost felt like I didn't know how to teach these things in English and it made me laugh... but no need to worry, I am spiritual in two languages :) haha.  Virginia is good!  I'm in Virginia Beach and about 10 minutes from the coast!  This morning we went to watch the sunrise on the beach and that was so sweet!!  It's still warm and humid luckily so that's good!  I am in a trio and my trainer was my freshman mentor at BYU so that was super weird at first... especially since I never met with my mentor haha.  We are serving in the Tidewater YSA branch and it is really interesting.  There used to only be 20 active members a couple months ago but since the sisters moved it the number has gone up to about 60!  The hard part is that we have to give any family investigators to the family ward missionaries so we are mostly working with inactives.  My companions names are Sister Jasperson and Sister Gale.  We have a really nice apartment but I've never been so poor in my life!! I own ritz, peanut butter, 1/2 gallon of milk, a box of granola, 2 apples and 2 boxes of mac n' cheese... yum.  The stress, raveling and no food or sleep made me really sick when we first got here but luckily I've had enough experience, I knew what to and not to do.  and two of the Brazil Elders (from sister Lewis's district) that I traveled over here with gave me a blessing which was super awesome.
On Friday we walked over to the Zone leaders apartment (they're in the same complex as us) to get medicine and on our way back a young mom stopped us to ask if we belonged to a church.  She had ehr mom and 2 little boys with her but she just kept asking us questions and we taught her the restoration right there!  It was so great.  She was so excited to know that we can recieve personal revelation and talk to God on our own.  She said she has seen the missionaries around the complex a lot and was happy to have us walk by while they were outside.  it was such a testament to me that God prepares people to hear the gospel and situations so that those people who are seeking might be able to find it!  her name was Catalina and we gave her number to the family ward missionaries so I look forward to hearing more!  One of our investigators, Scott, came to all 5 sessions of conference!  He even read previous conference talks and took notes.  He is a friend of the Relief Society president in the YSA branch and is so awesome.  We have our first lesson with him on Thursday.  Isiah and Stephanie are brother and sister and they have been meeting with the missionaries for a little while.  Stephanie is 19 and is living with her boyfriend.  She had a baptismal date but then because of childhood experiences isn't so willing to move out because of the protection and love that she feels she has in her relationship.  From what I know, the relationship isn't so healthy and her boyfriend doesn't like her taking the discussions so we are praying that she will be able to recognize the strength and comfort God gives us when we follow what he has asked us to do.  Isiah is 16 and is so awesome but is afraid to tell his parents that he wants to get baptized.  He has such a strong testimony and comes up with such profound thoughts but his dad doesn't approve of his kids meeting with us.  So we are also praying that their fathers heart will be softened and that Isiah and Stephanie will have courage!
I didn't realize how anxious I would be to get to Brazil when I got here.  I know I am supposed to be here now (if for no other reason that to get healthy!) but I feel like I'm in limbo, not knowing how long I will be here.  I am so humbled by all of the missionaries who are doing so well with their reassignments!  I started to recognize some of my anxious tendencies were coming out and that made me really nervous the first few days but just in time... General Conference was JUST what I needed!!  President Monson's talk spoke directly to me!  I loved when he said "We often forget that the Heavenly virtue of patience is required."  I felt so much better after listening to the talks and I have been praying and studying patience so that I will be able to work through my reassignment with patience and take advantage of every moment I am here.  On the front of one of my journals it says "Everything we are learning now is preparing us for something greater" and how true is that!  I know that God needs me here to prepare me for Brazil and for what is to come.
I have a testimony that God knows what He is doing!  I know that we hve trials so we will grow and learn to realy more on God.  I'm so thankful for the atonement of our Savior and that I can strive to overcome my weaknesses and become a better person each day!  I love you all and am so thankful for you! Praying for you :)
com muito amor,
Sister Brittany Westover

My address:
4813 Crystalline Place
Virginia Beach, VA

With Sister Sara Carlile before leaving MTC

With Sister Hardester

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mission week 4: leaving MTC wednesday to Virginia

Early letter on Thursday about reassignment:
We got reassignments today!!!!!!! I'm going to the CHESAPEAKE VIRGINIA MISSION!!!!!!!!! I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED!!!! AHHHHH!!!! I leave Wednesday morning... my flight is 7:30 AM-1:00 PM from Salt Lake to Detroit and then 1:51 PM-3:39 AM from Detroit to Norfolk.  I seriously cannot wait!!  I love you all soo much and can't wait to email tomorrow :) hugs and kisses!!
Sister Westover

Letter on Friday:
Oi!!!! I miss you all dearly and send my love and prayers!

Sounds like things are starting to pick up and I'm so glad to here that everyone is happy!! It's so weird to think that the fam is living in a NEW HOUSE! Ah crazy!!  I started crying when I read that Kona is missing so please please let me know if he comes home! I'm praying for him!!! :( 

I'm so excited for Ryan and think about him often!! He is going to be amazing!  I see Lindsey all the time so that is so so fun!  I have gotten so close to all the amazing people I get to see everyday!  I see Halie Lewis like every day too so that is always a lovely little surprise.  Sister Hardester and I are like the same person... we always do the exact same thing at the exact same time and then just start laughing because we are always so similar.  I'm going to miss her so much!

Okay so my temporary reassignment consists of the coast of Virginia, the coast of North Carolina and part of Delaware! I'm so so excited to get there!!! I've heard that it is beautiful and I just feel good about it :).  I'm one of the last to leave from my district but Elder Preciado, Elder Kinney, Elder Carrillo and I all leave at like 3:30 in the morning on Wednesday so at least I've got some of my buddies with me!  I'm going to miss my companion so much!!  Sister Stone and I started, and ended, as two completely different people but we have grown to be able to work as one companionship and that is a testament to me of the power of service and prayer!  I love her more than I ever thought I could and I'm so grateful for the charity that I can feel for others.  I'm going to miss my district all so much! They are so fun and funny and are some of the strongest individuals I've ever met.  I was pretty dang lucky to end up in this district and I'm certain that I will be good friends with them for a long time!  I seriously am humbled to be in their presence each day and to hear their insights and experiences and testimonies and I have grown to love them all so much!  I am the only one going to Virginia Chesapeake mission so here is everyone elses reassignments:
Sister Stone: Vancouver Washington
Sister Hardester: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Sister Nielson: Charlotte, North Carolina
Elder Preciado: Minnesota (Sister Amis is going here too! I lover her!)
Elder Evans: Twin Falls, Idaho
Elder Petitta: got his visa!!!!!! headed to Porto Alegre Brazil!!!
Elder Kinney: LA, California
Elder Carrillo: Tacoma, Washington
Elder Marcum: Chicago West, Illinois
Elder Cotton: Chicago West, Illinois
Elder Seawell: Charlotte, North Carolina

My thoughts for the week:
Watch the "will of God" mormon message

and Mountains to Climb:
I have never, and probably never again will, put all that I have and give all of myself over to God and as hard as it is to think of what I have potentially lost I am in awe and continually amazed at how much more I will gain.  I know that God is aware of each of us.  He is our Heavenly Father and he knows us personally.  He wants us to be happy and He is waiting to pour out blessings on us.  We are so blessed.

Com muito Amor,
Sister Brittany Westover

P.S. Try a little harder to be a little better 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mission Week 4

Hi Hi!!!!

Okay so I sent pictures first because I never have enough time to send them all! Which means shorter email... unless I type super fast!
She gets to sing during General Conference! (her with her music) So keep your eyes out for her :)

First: I have been thinking about Corinne this week and want and address to write here! Also Thomas!
Thanks so much to: Eric, Taylor, Kevin, Ellis's, Lisa, and family for packages and letters! they are so fun and I can't tell you how excited I get to get mail and how much I appreciate you all for taking the time to send me goodies :).
Sister Hardester, Sister Westover, Elder Baird (her cousin)

This week has been good! It felt like it really flew by!! I have already been here for one month! so crazy!! I can really see why everyone says a mission flies by!  We have had some really fun and really spiritual experiences this week.  I thought while we were at devotional, one of the first weeks here, what a testament all of these people are to how important this work is. Seriously.  Looking out at 4,000 18-21 year olds that are sitting in Sunday clothes every day of the week and going through this training to learn a new language and go wherever the are asked to go and love it.... I don't think you could find this anywhere else on earth, and there is no greater cause that could make this happen than what we are here for!  Devotional this Tuesday was AWESOME.  They talked on becoming a missionary and why we are here.  The choir sang Joseph Smith's first prayer and it was the best version I've ever sang! When we sang "Joseph, this is my beloved, hear him" the spirit was so amazing and I just had this overwhelming feeling of how true and what a blessing this story is!
 temple with the other sisters

Anyway, one thing that the speaker (Gregory A. Schwitzer) said was that we are here to touch the hearts of people and to relieve the sorrow of the world, one missionary at a time.  That really spoke to me because that is exactly what I hope to do.  Sometimes I feel like I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders and it is too hard, and too heavy for any individual to do.  That is why we have our Savior.  After Devo we had a district discussion about it and I told them about the shootings at the clackamas mall and the accident in which Drake passed away and how at that time I felt so sad and it was so hard for me to think I live in this world of tragedy.  But then that night that I was struggling Eric came over and we played Christmas songs on the guitar and sang and I think it is no coincidence that through the songs of Christ, I could find solace.  Matthew 11:28-30 says: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  I LOVE this!!  We have someone willing to bear our burdens because we cannot carry them on our own; they are not our burden to carry!  So learn to rely our Christ and give your struggles and sorrows to him!
Sister Lewis (roommate freshman year)

One of the Elders in our district got a Dear Elder from his dad and he told him that there had been a shooting in the naval yard in DC and that 13 people had died.  That night in the residence all of the sisters in our zone decided to gather together and say a prayer for those affected.  I wrote in my journal: "I felt impressed to say the prayer for some reason and I honestly don't remember everything I said but I know the spirit brought the thoughts and words to my mind and mouth.  We were all squished in our little dorm room but I know that there were more individuals in here than we could see.  As tears ran down my cheeks I felt so strongly the presence of angels watching over us and testifying to our hearts that we are doing the right thing and bringing strength to us in this time of need so that we might understand the sacredness of our calling as representatives of Jesus Christ, to stand as a beacon of light and hope and truth to all the world and especially to those who are seeking it."  It was such an amazing experience and one unlike I have ever had before!
Birthday party in the district

Okay well back to normal person stuff:  I hurt my hip playing soccer so I'm going to a physical therapist on Monday just to make sure that I won't deal with anything off and on during my mission.  Also, I don't think I every got a missionary plaque...? I don't know if I spelled that right because that brings me to my next point: I need floss! haha My tender mercy this week was getting to host Lindsey and see Brooklynn!!!!!! greatest moment ever!!!!!!! AH it was the BEST!!!!

Okay I love you all so so much!!!
Thought for the week: "There are feet to steady, hands to grasp, minds to encourage, hearts to inspire, and souls to save... are we doing all we should?"-Pres.Monson
and Watch Daily Bread by elder Christofferson!!! They are the best videos (like three short videos so everyone watch them!!!

Sister Brittany Westover
p.s. sorry pretty much this whole things was spiritual and not really funny. I'll try to balance it out haha.

Found Elder....Tanner....! :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mission Letter: week 3

So I am over half way done with my stay here at the MTC! so crazy! I have 21/2 weeks left and then I will get a reassignment (unless I get my visa). I am so so excited! But I also love it here :).  I FINALLY got to see Wyatt! It was soo fun! and as I was on my way to write this email I ran into him again!  Also Chisa Sawada from school is here and I have seen her a couple times!  I CANNOT wait for Lindsey to get here!!!!  She won't be in my zone unfortunately because we aren't getting any new missionaries this coming week but we will most likely have our classrooms on the same floor so I can't wait to see her! She is going to love it :).  Also I get to host new missionaries this week so I am praying that I will see her when she gets here so I can take her around to get her books and to her classroom and residence and stuff!  I met a couple missionaries who have family in Kennewick and they said Westover sounded familiar to them so a little shout out and love to the Kennewick Westovers!
This week has been super fun!  Every day we do gradually more SYL (speak your language) with portuguese.  Monday we spoke only portuguese until the end of breakfast, Tuesday until the beginning of lunch, Wednesday until 3:30, Thursday until the end of dinner... and since today is P-day we got a break.  It helps a ton to do SYL because then you figure out the things you say all the time and can learn how to say them in Portuguese.  We are gradually getting better and better... but still oh so far from there haha but it's fun!  Earlier this week our teacher was helping us with lessons and how we can't just plan out what to say in Portugues because our investigators are real people, not robots.  It portuguese the word "robots" sounds like "hobos" Sister Hardester thought it sounded like "ovos" (which is eggs in portuguese) so she was like "oh our investigators are people not... eggs?" and our teacher started laughing and said it again for us to understand and then sister Hardester was like "oh so our investigators are people not... hobos?" and we all started cracking up haha our teacher was like "Hobos are poeple too!" and he had to write the word out until we realized it was robots.  It was a funny moment but I don't know if that made any sense typed out haha.
My district is:
Sister Stone: From Denver, Colorado... Brazil Fortaleza East Mission
Sister Hardester: From San Jose, California... Brazil Fortaleza East Mission
Sister Neilson: From Austin, Texas... Brazil Fortaleza East Mission
(a new sister who had surgery and is waiting for it to heal) Sister Spencer: Fort Collins, Colorado... Brazil Campinas Mission
Elder Pettita: Georgia... Brazil Porto Alegre North Mission
Elder Kinney: North Carolina... Brazil Porto Alegre North Mission
Elder Preciado: Cameron Park, California... Brazil Fortaleza East Mission
Elder Evans: Texas... Fortaleza East Mission
Elder Marcum: San Jose California... Fortaleza East Mission
Elder Carrillo: Deluth(spelling), Minnesota... Fortaleza East Mission
Elder Cotton: Texas... Porto Alegre North Mission
Elder Seawell: Georgia... Porto Alegre North Mission
Okay I am in such a hurry today but some funny/interesting/random things:
Elder Marcum is maybe the funniest person I've ever met and he looks kind of like Winnie the Pooh... he told us that he thought he grabbed his Bible while packing for his mission and he accidentally grabbed the Hobbit and didn't realized until he was unpacking here hahah cracks me up everytime I think about it.  Also, there are "narnia holes" in the residence so people hide things in the rooms for people to find and I think we found candy that was a year and a half old (the letters with it were from 2011)... YUM haha.  Last Friday we got to teach a real Brazilian!! and he was very good looking (I am seeing a trend with these Brazilians...) and we went in the room to teach him and it smelled so bad! and I thought that he had been farting in the room and I was so grossed out, the longer we talked to him the worse it was and I seriously coulnd't believe that he would just keep farting while we were in there trying to teach him! When the time was up we walked out and went back to our classroom which also smelled terribly only to find out that there had been a sulfur explosion at the stadium (right down the road) and the smell had leaked into all the buildings. haha so it wasn't poor Pedro... kinda gross but kinda funny.
Yesterday I had a tender mercy from God!  It was gym time and it had been raining all day so we weren't going to be able to go out to the field but right before it stopped raining and the sun came out! We were planning on playing beach volleyball as a district but we walked up in sandals and one of the ladies at the field told us we weren't allowed to wear flip flops up to exercise and had to go change our shoes and come back.  We walked back and were kind of annoyed because we have always been allowed to wear them... But I thought maybe this was a blessing in disguise so I tried to have a good attitude and hurried back to change our shoes and head back up to the field.  Since us Sisters had to go back to change our shoes the Elders had started playing soccer so even though I had been so looking forward to volleyball it didn't work out so instead Sister Hardester and I played soccer with each other and wore ourselves out... and the sun was starting to set, and shone on the mountains (my favorite time of day in Utah) and we could overlook the whole valley and the grass was so green and we had been laughing so hard and I just said out loud "I am so happy" and all of the sudden I just realized how awesome that was.  I started to cry a little bit haha (probably mostly out of exhaustion and insanity) but I was/am so happy that I am so happy.  We just laid in the field the rest of the time and just looked up at the sky and all I could think was how happy I was. When I was preparing to leave for my mission I was so afraid that I would be unhappy and I was so afraid for what the future held and yesterday for a second I just knew that God had given that situation to me to let me know that he is taking care of me and that everything is going to be okay, and I can always be happy as I rely on Him.  This is the first time in my life that I have been truly happy on my own but I think it's because I'm not actually on my own... I know I've got someone pretty important looking out for me.  It truly was a blessing in disguise and such a wonderful tender mercy!
Okay well that is all for now!  I am so thankful to be here, I am so thankful for all that I am learning.  I am so thankful for the love I am gaining for the Book of Mormon and the amazing experiences in it.
Amor e oracoes for all of you!
Sister Brittany Westover

P.S. HUGE THANKS to Lisa Price, the Ellis family, and cameron for my packages and letters this week! Every single one of them totally made my day!! I can't tell you how fun it it to get mail and they were all huge surprises!! I love you guys!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Mission Week 2: MTC

Tudo Bem! Wow it feels like it's been way longer than 2 weeks!! But technically it's been 17 days.  Thanks for your emails!! I printed them out this morning and read them while doing laundry and eating breakfast!  It is so fun to hear from you all!

Photo: View of the temple from class on the 5th floor of the MTC

I don't even know where to start!  This week has had it's highs and lows for sure but it has been so great the past couple days!  We have been playing volleyball for gym time and it is so dang fun!  Most everyone from our district plays together and we all love it.  Yesterday we played baseball so I didn't really do anything but stand in the outfield and yell to Sister Hardester.  But we are all aways grateful for the opportunity to get outside and play!  My district is so so awesome.  We all grow closer every day and I feel like we are a little family trying to figure it out together.  I have some of the funniest Elders in my district.  When we play volleyball or things with other disctricts they are like dying laughing because of our Elders.  Every day we have a new story or something fun.

Photo: Sister Westover and Sister Hardester with matching toenails and shirts

Thanks this week to: Chad and Cathy and Wes for the yummy swedish fish and sweet card!! I think they are almost gone haha... we all love swedish fish.  and to the McOmbers for the DELICIOUS treats and letter!!  I seriously love the little surprises!  They totally make my day!  I was able to pick up both packages the same day they were delivered so it worked out perfect!  It is such a pick-me-up getting little reminders of love :)

 Photo: Brittany saw Sarah (or Sister Carlile) this week. They lived in the dorms her freshman year and Brittany went and visited Sarah in Hawaii in April. So fun they saw each other at the MTC!

We got a new teacher this week and he is AMAZING.  He is from Mozambique and moved here his junior year of High School.  He was baptized in Mozambique and started teach seminary when he was 16 to other members of the church over there!  He served his mission in Ventura California and learned Spanish and English.  He is seriously one of the most inspiring people I have ever met.  His life is crazy and he tells us the most insane stories every day!  He has such a testimony of the atonement and invites us to repent all the time... repent for doubting God when we get nervous about the language, repent for not using our time wisely, or for judging other people etc.  He says: "Don't you know that God called you to learn Portuguese for a reason? He knows you can do it.  So why are you doubting Him?" or "you are giving this time to the Lord so you need to use it wisely".  I just have never met someone that is so open and excited about repentance!  It's so cool.  He has done amazing things in his life and has the strongest testimony.  My other teacher is the one I have had from the beginning and he is so cool too!!  He served in Mozambique and he also gives us the best pep talks.  Yesterday we all wrote down questions about the Plan of Salvation that we have for him or that investigators might ask us and then we went through them one by one and answered them as a group.  I just felt the spirit so strongly, I started crying because I was so anxious to just get out and teach people.  One thing that is hard about being here is learning all of this stuff and just wanting to get out and teach!  We have such an amazing message to share with everyone and it brings such peace and happiness and love and the basic doctrines just make sense and I know that it is so true.  I just had the strongest desire I have ever had to share it with everyone!!! AHH can't wait to get out of here!

Photo: Classes are taking their toll on some of the Elders

I am so glad that everyone at home is doing well! It was so fun to hear from you! Thank you Brooklynn for doing the blog for me!! I love you!  Sister Hardester is going to send some pictures to you guys and her family.

My thoughts for the week: Prayer is essential to know of spiritual truths.  No one can know God without prayer and no one can come to know of spiritual truths without prayer.  Prayer is communication with God and how absolutely amazing that the Ruler of the Universe not only allows but wants us to communicate with Him each day and tell him what we enjoy about our day or what we are struggling with and what we need help with. It is such a blessing in my life and I know if you pray daily it will be a blessing in yours!  So do it!!! My other thought is about angels.  Our teacher talked about angles and how we are surrounded by angels in our lives.  Often times we have angels in our lives and don't even realize it until they are gone.  God knows we need angels to keep us from turning back, to keep our heads up and our hearts strong.  So I am grateful for the angels in my life.  I want you to know that you are all angels for me and I don't know what I would do without you!  Recap: Strive to pray daily! and recognize the angels in you life!

P.S. I saw Jed this week and that was fun!! I also have seen Irmao Pinho a couple of times (Austins mission companion that visited us) and that is so fun!  I still haven't seen Wyatt but I can't wait until I do! Also the Sister Training Leader that I loved and got close with knows Lindsey and she was soo happy when I told her we were cousins! Her name was Sister Hymas and she is serving in South Carolina while waiting for her visa.  Things for Brazil: mosquito net.  and can you send that other skirt I left at home? thanks! 

com muito amor :)
Sister Brittany Westover

@ the MTC