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