Monday, November 24, 2014

Be Converted!

Goodmorning America!

Hey so everything is normal in the same not-normal sort of way!  I am happy and my companion is still awesome as ever.  She is definitely getting acustomed to everything and it is way fun to have an American at my side who understands my homeland.  We are working a lot with the members and yesterday I talked in church about how the members can help move the work along!  It was awesome (if I may say so) they cried, they laughed, and now they will work (I hope :)).  I used the talk from Elder Ballard (put your trust in the Lord... I think) from conference last year and talked about two things that might stop members from sharing the gospel.  The first is fear, and the second is simply not knowing how!  So I shared some stories/experiences from my life that have helped me and might be able to help someone else as well.  
First I talked about cookies and how much I love them! haha I love baking them as much as eating them!  I had everyone think about something else in their life that they love and then imagine that thing without someone to share it with... all of a sudden that thing that you love isn´t so great!  So imagine the gospel!  The greatest thing in the world!  We want to share it, we want to bless the lives of those around us and in so doing we also become happier and enjoy more of the blessings for ourselves as well! It is a promise that if we just open our mouths then God will put in our minds the very words that we need to say and this has happened to me so many times!  I remember when I got here to Brazil and could hardly understand or hardly speak and I was so afraid to say the wrong thing but I would pray my heart out and open my mouth and some how God helped me to be able to say something that helped someone understand a little more about Christ, it truly was a miracle every time!  I have had huge regrets for not sharing the gospĂ©l with those in my life and I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have to serve now and to change and gain the desire and the courage to talk to everyone because I never again want to feel the guilt of not helping someone come closer to Christ and realizing after that it is too late.  If we just pray for opportunites to share the gospel, the Lord will answer our prayers.  He was enable us to recognize the opportunities and then to talk, to share, to bless.  
We are working our butts of here and the work is moving  along. Yesterday we had a bunch of less actives and recent converts in church along with investigators so that was great!  
Missing you all soooo much but so happy to be here!
This week Sister Ray and I surprised the other sisters so that when they came home at night the house was all decorated and there is a little christmas tree!  Everyone is getting in the mood (even if we are still sweating in the sun when it is supposed to snow).
 Love you!!
Sister Westover

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 14

Hey family!

Thank you to the McOmbers and the Brent and Melanie Westovers for the letters!!  and Amy Biancardi!  Her idea to send to the sisters in the ward has been one of my favorite things ever!! 

This week was just a ton of meetings so it was hard to have a good week of work but the good news is that I am still with Sister Ray (we had transfers but nothing happened in our house fortunately!).  Today we were talking about faith and obedience and how our faith is dependent on our obedience.  If we have faith in Christ then we accept him as our Savior and understand that his path is better that ours.  When we understand that His path is better then we follow him and are obedient and when we are following Christ and are obedient to him, we see miracles!  So the key to faith is in our obedience.  Which is really the only gift that we can give to God. So be obediente!  Seek to know his will and to do his will and you will see miracles!  That is what I am trying to do and even though I am not perfect and am full of weakness I know that I am blessed for every effort that I give to be more obedient on the journey to perfection.

Love you !!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Mission life is never predictable!

I am doing well! 
My companion (Sister Ray/ Becca) has been sick lately which has been hard as we are supposed to be doing divisions with all of the other sisters but I know that the Lord will take care of us and it is all in His plans!  Sister Ray is awesome.  she was in the MTC with me but in another district and then served in the states for a year.  I LOVE my new area and ward!  It is the most functioning ward that I have been in and the members here are AMAZING.  That is a huge difference from  most of the other wards in the misison (all members are awesome but some don´t like to serve so much or participate in the missionary work).  We are teacing a lot of people!  We have 8 baptismal dates for this week but never all of them work out so we will see how this week goes! They are Kelvia and Clevam (they are married and have two little kids that are 7 and 3), Tinale and Daniel and their son Ikaro, Ferreira and Lucia (also married and older), and a girl that is 21 Lorena.  They are all amazing and I am loving all of the people that we are teaching!  We have baptized one little girl (Adria) when we were here but her parents are also investigating they just need to get married to be baptized but the whole family is awesome! 
We are also teaching another couple (Thais and Fransisco) that isn´t married and has one little boy and they are so great!  They are having some financial problems and so on Sunday is usually when they go to the market to sell things and make money to pay the bills and such so it is a sacrifice for them to go to church.  This last week Sister Ray and I were praying so hard for them to see miracles and recognize the blessing of the gospel and we fasted for them too.  On Sunday they went to church even though they were needing to work and on the way back home Thais found 50 reais in the street!  She was able to pay the bills and had some money left over! I almost cried yesterday when she told me because it was so clear that God had answered all of our prayers and our fast.  We always have to act in faith and then the blessing come!
I was SO EXCITED to hear that you will be in the stake relief society presidency! How awesome!!  What a great opportunity to serve! 
I love you! I am working harder than I have ever worked in my life and giving all that I have.  Sometimes I honestly feel like I have nothing left in me and I just want to fall on the ground and die because my body is so dang tired and my mind is exhausted and I am trying to focus and my spirit is worn out and I am praying so hard for Heavenly Father to keep supporting me so that I can keep going and I am just holding on to whatever I get from him.  But the miracle is that I always  keep going and keep teaching and at the end of the day, regardless of what happened, I know that I gave my all. I am so grateful to be a missionary.
Love you soooo much!
Sister Brittany Westover

Hi everyone!

Hi Everyone!
This week Sister Ray got sick so I have been trying to take care of her... a missionary without a voice is kind of ironic.  But I am just talking more so that she can rest her voice... no need to worry, no matter how much I have changed there is still one thing that is the same... I love to talk haha.  Except when I get home I think that it will be really difficult to talk in normal english because sometimes I try to talk with Sister Ray in english and she just laughs at me.  I always thought it was pathetic when missionaris said that they ´´forgot´´ their own language and they were just trying to show that they are all cool speaking another language... but warning: this isn´t true.  Not that we forget our own language but we forget how to use it!  One thing that I love in the house that I am now is that we have a shower head outside behind our house and the sun heats the water during the day and at night the air cools down and I can take a hot shower outside! It´s the best thing ever!  Sister Ray is the BEST... I cannot explain how I love working with her!  It is the best to be around people that make you want to be better.  Not just kinder but happier, healthier, funnier, more intelligent, more inpiring to others, wiser, more selfless etc.  Always try to surround yourself with good company because you will be like them!  It reminds me of that play... (thoroughly modern milly?) when the guy says ´´I like rich people.  I like the way rich people live. I like the way I live when I´m with rich people!´´ haha we can apply that in our lives every day!  If we surround ourselves with people who are more like Christ, we too will alter our lives to be more like Him. Something that I love about Sister Ray, she makes me want to be better!
The other thing I was thinking this week is that temperance is a virtue!  We have to have balance in all things.  We need to have patience with ourselves but never get too comfortable with what we have already done.  We need to be humble and recognize that we are nothing compared to God but have confindence that we can do all things with God.  We need to take care of ourselves and seek to better our lives, but also be selfless and serve others in every opportunity.  Temperance allows us to have balance in our lives so that we may continue, day by day, on our straight and narrow path to perfection.  And for every time that we stray the path and lose our balance, the grace of Christ is there to life us up, put us back on the path and make our weaknesses strong! Love the gospel and the perfect plan that God has given us!
Love you all sooooo much!!
Sister Brittany Westover

blue is for baptism

The baptismal font overflowed and it was draining so we had to grab buckets and drain the water ourselves!


Hey fam!
One more week here in the miss ahh.  I am absolutely LOVING my companion and my area and everything!  The area is actually really ugly but it is a really good area to work in so I am liking it!  My companion is soo great :) I love sister Ray!  She served for a long time in the states and so it is way fun to be able to remember the things that I learned there and apply everything that we have learned in our two missions right now!  We have been feeling the spirit really strongly in our lessons and it is the best thing ever to feel that God is using you to bless others.  Right now we are teaching a bunch of families... I love this!  Not like huge families but some young couples who don´t have kids or have one or two.  It is amazing to see the difference that the gospel makes in our lives when we create a home that centers itself in the teachings of Christ. I am soo grateful for Mom and Dad.  I feel like I say the same thing every week but it is because every single day that I am here I really am overwhelmed by the grattitude I feel to have grown up where I did, with who I did, in the gospel, with the experiences that I gained. We are so extremely blessed and don´t ever forget it!!
I am really happy and loving the mission! Trying to use every moment that God gives me.  I hope that all is in order and everyone is happy at home!
Love you all!


Hey Fam!
So did everyone LOVE conference?? It is always the best!!! I am now in Castelo with Sister Ray (another American!) and super excited to start working here.  Transfers are really hard but always excited because it gives you a chance to start everything all over again and you get a different kind of hope and excitement for things to come!  But I am super sad that I won´t be in Aracati any more... I absolutely loved that area! 
Elder Bednar´s talk was so great! and made me think a bunch.  I thought about how much I have changed in the last year and couple months and how my focus in my life has really changed.  I think that probably I have a lot of friends that wonder why I only talk about religion now haha or probably even my family has noticed that I am different than I was when I left but for whoever is reading this and wondering what has changed I just want share one thing with you!  We all have difficulties and trials in this life time and whatever they may be there lies an answer in the wonderfully perfect path of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  I am not here on my mission, and I don´t write home, just to convince people to believe the same things that I believe or to increase the statistical numbers in the church.  It is because I want to share with everyone (especially those that I love) somethings that is very dear to my heart and has helped me overcome the most challenging moments in my life and find the peace and pure happiness that we all want to enjoy in this life!  It is a joy unlike anything I have ever experienced to be able to look back at how I have changed and to see the lives that I have been able to touch.  The mission is a weird thing but it is also such a blessing!  Sometimes I wonder what the heck I am doing in Brazil, speaking in Portuguese, walking 24/7 with a complete stranger and talking to more strangers about how to find happiness but it has changed my life!  Wouldn´t this world be a better place if everyone really sought to bless their family, friends and neighbors, or even complete strangers, with someting as life changing as the knowledge of a Savior?  We don´t invite people to change their beliefs... we invite ALL to take their beliefs (whether they be Christian, or don´t know if God exists) and to learn more and test out the truthfulness of what we teach.  
I know that this church is the only church on the earth that has the power and authority to act in God´s name.  I know that it is the restored church and gospel of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  I know that the only way that we have to make it through this life and fulfill our purpose to grow and improve and live with God again is through our Savior.  This is God´s plan for us, and how marvelous it is! Just put it to the test.  Those who have doubts, or questions, or a desire to understand more, or think that they already have it all, just put it to the test.  Ask and ye shall recieve, knock and it shall be opened unto you! :)
Love you all!
Sister Westover

Happy Saturdayy... and conference!

The fact that I am finishing my time on the computer on Saturday shows you what my week has been like!  I haven´t even been in my area for more than a couple hours this week.  We had sisters conference on Pday and then mission conference on Tuesday and on Wednesday my companion went to the doctor in Fortaleza, Thursday I traveled back to my area (4 hours) with my companion, ate lunch, and then the secretary called saying that I had to go back to Fortaleza that same day to do some things with Sister Johnson´s visa on Friday morning!  So we went back and figured it all out yesterday  and got to my area today just in time to catch the end of the first session of conference.  This week was a little strange seeing as to the fact that I hardly did any missionary work but it also made me grateful for two things: 1. To be a missionary 2. The will of God.
1. Not talking about the gospel all day long is exhausting (I never thought that I would say that).  I absolutely LOVE being able to focus on other people´s needs all day long and forget my own worries and wants to bless the lives of those around me!  I can guarantee that if you are sad or tired or lonely or feeling any type of weight on your shoulders there is a cure... service!  It doesnt make a lot of sense to put other peoples burdens on your shoulders when you are feeling overwhelmed yourself but I promise that there is magic in service.  When we make GOOD sacrifices to be able to help others we will forget our own problems and find a much happier and more fulfilling life!
2.  I tried every day this week to get to my area so that we could get a good week of work in before general conference and it was really hard for me to let go of my plans and go with what we had to do but I was reminded once again that God literally has a plan for all of us and many times, may I add most of the time, it is not the same plan that we have for ouselves!  If I have learned one thing on the mission it is that you should do all you can, love all you can, plan as best as you can, and then be willing to "let go and let God".  There is no point in complaining or getting upset or sad or stubborn when things don't work out the way that you planned because God ALWAYS has a better plan that will help you and bless you more than your own plan in the end!  So just remember... do all you can happily and leave the rest to Him :).
Love you!
Sister Brittany Westover

The States

Hey home:)

So there was already a transfer again!  God knows that I need to keep changing I think because he doesn´t let me stay comfortable for too long!  Larissa (Sister J Lima) went home :( because she had already been in the mission for 4 months and she is still going to serve her own mission next year.  I am training an American, Sister Johnson, who has already served for 10 months in the states and just got here to our mission.  She is really sweet and I know that the transition is really hard for her so I´m trying to lift her spirits so that she loves it here too!  This week I was in Fortaleza to get my companion so we didn´t have a ton of time to work but I did have a cool experience!
First, because we didn´t have a lot of time to work it was a lot harder to get people to go to church and so I knew that the number of visitors would be pretty sad so I prayed a lot that God would bless all of the work that we have been doing and help us to have people in church.  When we got to sacrament meeting there was a visitor (in my two months here there has never been a visitor that I didn´t invite) that was interested in the church!  I wanted so badly to talk to him but I had gotten really sick and forgot my medicine in the house so after the meeting we went to get my medicine and when we got back he wasn´t there!  I was so sad that we didn´t get his adress or even get to talk to him.  After lunch we were on our way to our first appointment and guess who was walking through the park in our direction? woohooo how amazing is Heavenly Father!  The visitor, Gabriel, was on his way to his house and just happened to pass the park in the same minute we did!  So we stopped and taught the Restoration to him and he loved it!  If everything goes well he wants to be baptized next week! Pray for him!
Also we are getting to know every single member here in Aracati and I am loving it because there are a lot of people that have fallen away from the church or that just let life create a bunch of problems that they never overcame and now we can help them!  I am excited to change this place!
Love you all!
Britt (Sister West)


So I don´t really have a lot to say but hi!  I miss you all a tonnnn but can´t believe that I will be home in 5 months!!  I love my area right now!  It is ten minutes from one of the pretiest beaches in the world (Canoa Quebrada).  I have had 5 baptisms in 8 weeks here and have had 2 companions.  We live with two other sisters that are super awesome and we get to do 2 divisions every week which I love!  One of our investigators is a teacher in Canoa and so he gave us a bunch of referals of his students to visit so last week we went with the other sisters (because it is in their area) and visited some of the students and then they lead us into 2 different classrooms to leave a message with the students!  how cool!!!! We taught the restoration in front of 30 kids and a teacher (one of the coolest experiences that I have had) and then left another message with the Book of Mormon in another class.  It was really awesome to see how that city has been prepared to accept the gospel and how well everyone recieved us!  Today we are going to the beach (not to the beach but to the city) to buy some things to take home and so I wanted to know if any of you have somethings specific that you want from Brazil? Havaiana flip flops?  bracelet? ´painting? etc.  and if you could put money in my account... if not I will do my best to save! haha I am so so grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve and I am loving every minute that I have here!  I feel really blessed to be serving in this mission and to learn all of the lessons that I am learning.  All of the exhaustion and the hunger and thirst and sickness and sadness and trial is worth it to be just a little bit closer to my Savior.  Do what you can to grow closer to Christ!  He is calling us all day every day! 
Love you all!! 

Write your story.

Happy Monday!  I think that I have never loved Monday´s like I love them on the mission haha.  But I hope you are all enjoying your Monday :).  I don´t know what I have updated you on and what I haven´t so I will start with the transfer from two weeks ago.  Sister Mobley left me :( I will miss her a ton because I seriously love that woman to death!  But the good news is that I am still here in Aracati and my companion is Larissa!  I don´t know if you remember the girl that always did exchanges with me in Novo Oriente when I got to Brazil (I always took pictures with her when we saw each other in the stake center...?) anyway she is doing like a practice mission that they do here and she has been serving in our mission for two transfers and now is my companion!  It´s like the coolest thing ever!  I love having a friend at my side!  The only hard part is calling her Sister J Lima and not Larissa.  
So I think you have all seen the ´´my family´´ pamphlet that the church has.  Well we have been using because we have to explain it to all of our baptisms and they have to fill it out before they are baptized.  Anyway this week when we were explaining it to a girl that we are teaching Sister J Lima (Larissa) said something that I couldn´t stop thinking about: ´´You get to write your own story here!´´  I kept thinking about the truthfulness of that statement.  God created us to act and not to be acted upon and because of that we get to write our own story!  We get to decide what we want to do, who we want to follow, what we like and don´t like, who we will become!  How amazing is that!  I guess I had heard it a million times but I hadn´t really understood it until now.  So our decisions are super important because they write our story, they shape our future!  How we will make sure that we are writing the story that we want? There is a quote from one of the best talks by Elder Uchtdorf that goes like this:
´´ No, God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God!
For what we love determines what we seek.
What we seek determines what we think and do.
What we think and do determines who we are—and who we will become.´´
So it is when we love God that we align our priorities as they should be, that we make the best decisions, that we have a happier and more blessed life!  A better story!  and the best part is that there will be a happy ending.  How great is the love that our God has for us... don´t you think we could at least try to reflect a part of that?  We are, after all, His children.
This week, write your story as you would like it to be written!  Love God, seek God, think God, become like God.
Love you all!
Sister Westove