First things first... Sister Jasperson and I had just finished a really awesome lesson on Wednesday and were driving home for the night and I thought "If I could continue to work with these people and help them grow and change and love life, I would stay here for my whole mission!" Right then our car phone rang and it was a call from President Baker from the Mission Home! We freaked out because that means it's something really serious... so we pulled over and answered on the bluetooth and President Baker said "Sister Westover, I'm assuming you've been informed that your visa came through?" I didn't even know what to do I just shouted into the car screen in front of me "WHAT???" His next response was "Oh, I take it you weren't informed...?" haha! I love him! But there ya go! Yeah I just started bawling and we got out of the car on the side of the road, after we hung up, and jumped around and hugged and cried and fell on the ground! haha I just had like a gazillion different emotions I didn't even know what to do. So.. I got my visa!! AHHHH!!! I'm leaving for Brazil on December 16th (next Monday) and FREAKING OUT!! I don't know what to do with myself haha but we are so busy that I don't even have time to think so that is definitely a blessing in disguise :).
I had really been feeling strongly like I needed to fast for it on Sunday so I did and apparently Mom thought the same thing! And also I felt like it was coming so last Monday I emailed mom to send me the things that I needed... and she thought the same thing so she sent them off to me! The spirit it so awesome. So thank you to all of the prayers and fasting that everyone has had in my behalf. I know that prayers and fasting adds power to our lives and we can truly see miracles as we act in faith! I'm so so sad to leave Virginia Beach, I just don't even know what to do. I love it here more than anything! and I LOVE the people I get to meet with every day! I LOVE my companion and the area and everything about it. I truly have given my heart to my little Tidewater YSA branch so I hope there is room for it to expand it Brazil :). Although I'm heartbroken, I'm also so so excited and I know that God has a very specific plan for me (and for all of us) and that he knows just what I need right now!
Also, sidenote, I get to travel with Elder Seawell from Atlanta to Fortaleza so I'm SO EXCITED!! I can't wait to see him again and soo glad I will have a friend to travel with :)
This last week was seriously the greatest week ever! We were busy busy and I loved every second of it... well almost. Sister Jasperson and I have been losing our minds a bit and one night our planning session went on for like 2 hours and we started laughing so hard we were crying to try to keep us from actually crying out of despair haha. But we had a rockin next day so it made up for it! There is always perfect opposition!
We had a lesson with Rob this week that was so so great. Our lessons with Rob are always super deep and really thought provoking and everyone leaves feeling great and like we have all learned something about how to be a little better! Love him! We went to print a conference talk out in our apt complex office after that and ran into Niki and her adorable daughter Leah! (YAY) and Niki was excited to see us and set up another appointment! Then that night we had a lesson with Landon (a less active who served in the Salt Lake mission). We stopped by to teach him and we didn't tell him we were coming (for some people it's better to just drop in unexpected... and we are good at that haha). Right as we pulled up he was about to start smoking a cig and he told us it was meant to be that we came to talk to him so that we could stop him from smoking. Way to go spirit (again)! We talk him a really powerful lesson about faith and how we need to act on our faith. In James ch.2 it talks about how even the devils believe in God... so what are we doing to make ourselves any different? We made a game plan and set some goals with Landon of things he can do in his life to be a little better and get his life together. It went so well! I love lessons with Landon because we can be really bold and just say it how it is. There is no mincing words with him and it's so great. He has such strong desires so we are helping him to ACT! He has been keeping all of his commitments too! He has been reading his scriptures and praying every day (even thought it's one verse and one line.. it's progress!!) and met with President Wright yesterday. I couldn't be more proud of him and I love seeing how happy it makes him. Later this week we stopped by again to check in and his girlfriend was over so we had a casual lesson with her too. She reminds me a ton of Taylor Bloom haha. Like seriously, she looks like her and talks like her and is so much the same! It was so weird and it made me just love her haha. Landon lives with 2 other guys who aren't members and they all just live the typical college boy life so it is an interesting environment for missionaries but it makes me laugh and at least we can help bring the spirit into their home. His roommates are polite but they never sit with us, I think it makes them a little uncomfortable haha but I love it! Seriously... missionary work is all about embracing the awkwardness! That's always been one of the family's favorite phrases and it's SO TRUE!
In our lesson with Niki, she told us that she knows the church is true! She has been trying to give up coffee and wine and we haven't even taught her the word of wisdom yet! She is just trying to do it all on her own. AMAZING. She reads a lot online and has run into anti, of course, but she just understands that other people really like to put it down and like to blame what they don't understand. She always tells us how she read another article on lds.org or mormon.org and it made complete sense and she felt good about it! Seriously she is so, so amazing. I don't know if I will ever find someone like Niki again! The hard thing is that her husband is really not on board with the whole Mormon thing and he thinks we are a cult and all that great stuff. We told her that her family is most important and that we don't want to cause any contention in their home. She thinks that as she continues to live the principles that she can help her husband see that it isn't strange, or scary, or anything like that, but that it's truly joy and happiness and just a different lifestyle that allows us to grow closer to God and invites his influence more fully into our lives. Pray that her husband's heart will be softened! She wants this so bad and she desires to be able to take steps to act on her faith, like baptism but we really want his support.
Our lesson with Benji went great! His member friend in the family ward got a text from him that said that he decided to be baptized!!! The friend showed the missionaries in that ward and then they told us!!! We are so happy for him!! He wants to surprise us so we have to act like we don't know until Friday when we have our lesson with him. Amilia (Brazilian) started coming back to church! She made us a delicious Brazilian dinner last night and it was so yummy! I love her so much and she is so excited for me to head to Brazil!
SO MANY MIRACLES. I just don't even know what to do with it all! God is seriously just pouring out all of these blessings on us!
We had mission conference today! Elder Perkins of the 70 was visiting. We were asked to prepare a lesson and a personal training in advance and then some missionaries would be chosen out of the audience to give them in front of everyone. Sister Jasperson and I both felt very strongly all week long that we would be asked to speak but things have been so busy and I have been making myself sick because I'm so nervous that I prayed so hard that we wouldn't have to talk if we didn't need to. Needless to say, God knows better, and we were asked to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ in front of all of the missionaries serving in the Viriginia half of our mission, our mission president, and a general authority!! We were shaking and like my heart was pounding out of my chest. When we got up there the spirit just took over and the words just flowed out of our mouths. It was a truly miraculous experience as I had no idea what I was saying! Afterward they asked for things we could improve on and what we did well and all the missionaries were so encouraging. Our mission president gave us really great compliments and finished with "I want you to teach all of my friends!" Elder Perkins said it was amazing and was very complimentary as well. People picked out specifics of what we said and I didn't even remember it and they would say that was beautiful or that we explained it so well. I had a HUGE prayer of thanks afterwards!! God is seriously WAY TO GOOD to us!! I feel like Ammon in Alma 26:11-12, I am nothing but with God I can truly accomplish all things. I am going to miss Sister Jasperson so much! We are so unified and I am so so grateful for all of the things that she has taught me to make me the missionary that I need to be in Brazil! :)
So I realized after sending my email last week that it probably made no sense. haha. I only talk in like half thoughts now because I always have someone to finish the other half! I guess that's what happens as a missionary, and when you have a really great companion.
Sheesh. Well that's what I have for today! I got to see Elder Harbertson and Elder Francom today (the other visa waiters) so that was super fun! Life is crazy crazy. LOVE IT. Be kind, be a little better every day. And the adventures continue!
Sister Brittany Westover
p.s. lots of love being sent to y'all!
p.p.s THANK YOU mom for the packages!!! They made my day/week/christmas!!! LOVE YOU :)