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