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