26 October, 2015

Well here I am! I am in the zone Guarapiranga, in the area of Chácara Santana. My companion and I live in the tiniest apartment with 2 other sisters. There´s about 1 foot of clearance above my head when I lay down in my bunk bed. The shower is in the corner of the bathroom on the same surface. I have no shelves on which to put things, only a clothes rack and my suitcases stacked up.
India's 1st Apartment Living Room
Our kitchen is TINY and the appliances are ancient. We get our water by tipping 5 gallon bottles on their side and holding a cup out next to it. Haven´t done laundry yet, but we have a washer and a very small space to hang the stuff to dry.
Indias 1st Apartment kitchen
There are lots of hills and lots of weird houses that are just sort of mixtures of concrete and bricks and everything else. It´s not the poorest, but not super nice either. I feel safe here though. It´s not a favela. There are so many feral dogs and cats here. It´s a struggle not to pet them all, but then I notice them all scratching themselves because pests. Gross. Poor things.


My companion is nice and very patient with me, but she´s from the north of Brazil so when I imitate the words she says I´m speaking with the wrong accent… She pronounces some of her r´s like French, and s´s like a shh sound.



Some things I´ve noticed about Brazilians. They don´t understand cats. They just pick them up and force them to sit in their laps and pet them kind of violently. I feel sorry for them. Also don´t ever cry in front of a Brazilian. all they´ll do is say “BE HAPPY.” And touch your arms and stuff. Like, please just let me cry and don´t touch me. Thanks. Also they don´t sell tissues in the grocery store here. Which is a problem because the mold in our house is killing me. So I use gross one-ply toilet paper. You have to throw the toilet paper into a bin here; you can´t flush it. That´s fun. I´m used to all that now for the most part.

Also the school bells here no joke sound like London bomb sirens.

IT´s pretty chilly right now, although today so far is a bit warmer. I wore tights when we went tracting last night.

Okay, some significant things. I had my first baptism yesterday! This girl, G, is the child of some less-active members, and since she´s 9 and hadn´t been baptized yet, it was our job to teach her! She´s super goofy and my companion had to actually grab her hand to get her to hug here afterwards. Our “padrões de ouro” or patterns we need to keep weekly here are 21 new investigators, 15 with a baptismal date marked, and 5 in Sacrament meeting on Sunday. That last one is actually the hardest. These people are great and will listen to you and promise whatever, but they´re a little flakey. We ended up getting enough investigators to church yesterday, but 4 of them either didn´t get out of bed, or just left before we came to get them.

Oh man though, we found this family of 4, and they´re perfect! We taught them the Restoration (Well I at least tried to help… I talked about prophets and nodded my head a lot) and they all said they´d be baptized. The dad, J, wouldn´t commit to a date and neither would the mom, which was frustrating. BUT THEN as we were leaving, Sister N (my comp) said “Oh, what´s your family name so we can write it in our planners) and they were like, “Oh we´re not legally married”. WHAT. You have two teenage daughters and a house together and you didn´t just bother to sign a piece of paper? I was warned that this was a problem here but I see it more now. But this week we´re gonna teach them the Plan of Salvation and about eternal families, and I have a lot of faith that their hearts will change, and they´ll be willing to get married and be baptized on the 15th with their daughters.


We also taught this lady, whose name I can´t remember, on the street. she talked forever about her family so we gave her a Plan of Salvation pamplet and set an appointment. We went back yesterday and she showed us (I don´t know how i didn´t notice before) a HUGE TUMOR the size of a softball, protruding from the front of her belly. WHAT EVEN. She told us she´s afraid of doctors but not of dying (she´s 77) so that´s that. She´ll get baptized, I know it.



Yesterday we marked 3 people for baptism on the same street. But again Brazilians are flakey so we´ll see. JK they´re all gonna get baptized, I know it.



This is incredibly hard work. My legs are killing me, and I don´t understnad about 60% of what they´re saying because they talk so fast. Therefore I don´t really know how to respond. But i know as I exercise more faith and try reaaaallllly hard to understnad, this week will be much better. It´s just frustrating because I don´t really have the ability to say what I´m thinking yet. PLus I´m just scared. I don´t like talking to people in English, let alone in a brand-new language. But hey, it´s worth it when these few golden people get found and converted. And let me tell you right now, I would have gone home already if I didn´t know beyond a doubt that these things are true. Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Gospel was restored through him. Jesus Christ is our savior. He felt every pain, sorrow, sin, and other awful things, and through repentance we can be cleansed and healed. I know that! This is all true, people! YOu just have to open your mouth, and I know someone will listen eventually.



Love you all!

Sister Westenhaver

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