Happy Belated Easter!

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This was a good week. We weren´t able to get a ton done because Sister R.´s hip popped out of place. We´re going to the chiropractor after our emailing today.

Our city is celebrating its 51st anniversary this weekend, so there´s been parades and live music and trash all over the streets all week. Also our neighbors just drank and listened to loud music all week. and left the bottles everywhere.
 We had a normal day on Easter, but the irmã who made us lunch yesterday gave us each a little box of assorted chocolates, so that was nice! Holidays don´t really mean anything on the mission. They eat chocolate easter eggs here, but they´re incredibly expensive so we bought Kinder eggs instead. Even though they’re from Germany they’re a lot cheaper.

We made lots of visits with our baptism from last week–I’ll call him Roberto– and he helped us out a lot. He knows lots of people in the city, and he has a strong, firm testimony. Yesterday we were teaching a drunk man, and in the middle of talking about Joseph Smith, Roberto just randomly recited the First Vision, and our mouths just hung open… When did he learn that? He told us he remembered from when we taught him. But here´s the thing.. when we taught him about the Restoration, he was high. So that was a miracle.

My legs and feet just are exhausted from this hilly area. And my back hurts a bit. Especially because we did a service project digging a foundation for a house for someone. the buildings are very poorly constructed, so it was just digging out a bunch of dirt to about 3 feet deep. We brought our recent convert to help, and the elders were there too, but it was exhausting. Roberto does work like that a lot, so without him I doubt we would have finished on time. We were both super sore when we were done. But we got there, and at least 4 members of the family we were helping said “You guys can´t do it! Dirt is heavy, and you´re women!” And then when we were working a little girl came up and was like “Why are the sisters working? They´re women.” So of course we were more determined to show that we are actually capable of shoveling dirt and helping, so we worked really hard and got super dirty and sweaty. People´s view of women is totally different here. Did World War II not teach them that women are strong?
We´re teaching a guy named M., and he has a serious drinking problem. but after we taught him about the Atonement and about The Restoration, he stopped. Cold. Turkey. In the middle of church yesterday his hands started shaking and he kept breathing really hard and fast from the withdrawal. So one of the elders gave him a blessing and he felt a bit better. What a brave guy! The Gospel really has the capacity to change lives.
We´re teaching these three ADORABLE little boys who are the sons of one of our former investigators. I´ll try and take a picture of them this week. But we were walking home one night, and their dad´s car pulled up next to us. Their dad was hammered. Driving. With his son in the car. So we coaxed his son out of the car and walked home with him. We couldn´t persuade the dad to leave his car and walk home. We are constantly confronted with serious substance abuse here. But really I´m learning that the grace of Jesus Christ is sufficient to help anyone, no matter how far away they are from God. That our work
really is the work of angels for this people, and that our message has the ability to change eternity for these people. And it´s not me that gets the credit for this. It´s God and the Holy Spirit, working through us.
Some days we walk home through the forest, look up at the crazy bright stars, see the points of firefly light and hear the cicadas, and I think that I am so grateful to be here. I remember in December telling Heavenly Father that I would stick with this until I hit 6 months, and then decide to stay or not, but that He had to make something change for me. And then I hit 6 months and realized that He did His part. I´m staying for sure! it´s gotten a lot better in the last 3 months. I´ll be halfway done before you know it!
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I love you so much, everyone! Have a great week!

Sister Westenhaver

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