16 Nov. 2015

This week my companion and I baptised 4 brothers and gave all of them the holy ghost as well. The two oldest also so recieved the preisthood. and they´re all super good friends with all the members in the ward alread so I´m sure they´re gonna stay active. The Oldest wants to serve a mission as well!

This week the President called every missionary in our mission to one location for an impromptu meeting about goals. He then proceded to quintuple our goals for street contacting and door knocking and highten all the rest of our goals as well. Thus, Needless to say this week was pretty difficult. But I think that were probably gonna have 3 or 4 more baptisms this month because of our change in goals.
 This week wen I was studying the old testament I came across some funny scriptures that I´d like to share.
In Zechariah chapter 5 verses 1 and 2, the prophet is caught up into a vision and in his words… “then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and beheld a flying roll. And (an angel) said unto me, what seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll.” I´m not entirely sure what this is supposed to mean but I really hope that Zechariah really did see and stray cinnamon roll flying towards him from some innexperienced overzealous cook.
In Job chapters 39:9-11 and 30:29 we find some interesting animals around Job´s house… “Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee? Wilt thou trust him because his stregth is so great?” ——  “I am a brother to Dragons.” I dont know exactly what Job was talking about here either but these scriptures at face value seem to suggest that Job, Like Eragon, is a dragon rider and that Unicorns exist.
In proverbs 23:13-14 the writer sassily tells us “to withold NOT correction from the child. For is thou beatest him with a rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with a rod.” Maybe its just me but the writer was in a sarcastic mood when he wrote this one…
Thus far on my mission Ive been using the same plastic Desani Water bottler that I recieved on the air plane for free on my way here to Sao Paulo. My goal is to use it my entire mission.
About 20 feet from my house theres this church in which everyone has the opportunity to sing if the want to. For whatever reason the people that frequent this church all love to sing solos in to the Mic even though they´re all horrible. So every day here beofre I go to sleep it sounds like some knock off bar is having a Kareoke Night next door.
ANyway this week was fun, stressful but rewarding.
Goodspeed and Love, Elder Westenhaver

9 November, 2015

This week was fun / interesting / made-me-rage-a-few-times. Because someone stole my razor from in the CTM, and because I was having problems with my church issued money card, as of wednesday last week I had not purchased a high quality replacement. Because I decided to be thrifty and settle for the cheapest razor I could find at the store near my house, I ended up with thousands of cuts on my jaw from the crap BIC razor I bought for one R$. I literally snapped the razor in half afterwards and actually threw it into the trash can… moral of the story: Buy good razors. Also here in brazil they have these Ice-cream-man-esque companies that drive around the city playing music so that if you are in dire need of propane tanks or water you can simply buy it on your doorstep instead of going to the store. I mention this because very near to our house we have an incredibly overzealous salesman who loves to drive by our house at 4 am in the morning playing his song trying to sell us propane.

Many of our investigators live in an apartment complex close to our house so we spend much of our time in that complex. One of the people who lives in those apartments likes to go from doorstep to doorstep in Sao Bernardo and dig through your trash on garbage day to remove anything recyclable you might be trying to throw away. He places all of the recyclable goods he finds in a huge cart that he pushes around. I have no idea where him or his recyclables go.
Every Bus here in Brazil drives like the night bus from Harry Potter. This week during a particularly foggy night we were walking around the city and one of the night busses stopped next to us. The driver opened the door, hailed us and told us that he was a member of the church and that he wanted us to teach his friend (who was on the bus with him) the first discussion. So while he drove through the ultra thick fog we taught the restoration to the man while the eerie yellow-orange light of the road lamps barely allowed us to see. It was a strange lesson.
While I was buying my razor at walmart, (literally the only place that had the kind I needed) George Michael´s Careless whispers (THE saxaphone song) met my ears from the walmart overhead speakers. After that like 5 of my favoirte songs came on those speakers. I now officially love walmart almost as much as I love target.
This Upcoming week were going to have 4 baptisms!! Its a family and after the parents are married were going to have 2 more! finally my work here seems to be paying off. Also this week I went on splits twice and the missionaries that I spent the day with taught me a lot.
Also this week while I was studying upstairs the washing machine began to overflow because there was a problem with the water drain. I ran down and solved the problem but the damage was done… there was water all over the floor of my downstairs. Of course right then the Metcalfs called (the senior couple in our ward and told us that in 10 minutes they would be at our doorstep to examine our apratment. but it was all good becuase the were super understanding about the whole thing.
Anyway this week was good, fun and fullfilling and I wish  you all a happy wonderful day wherever it is that you live.
Elder Westenhaver

26 October 2015

I left the Brazil MTC on the 20th and when I left i got to my new area i learned that my email day was Mondays so i had to wait a little longer. But i finished up things at the MTC and finished up my classes and training. I said my goodbyes to some wonderful people that I’ve met these past 6 weeks, like my companion, Elder J.

Yorks MTC comp



And of course India too.

York and India last shot

I left the MTC tuesday morning the 20th at 7:00 and we went to the misson home where we met our new misson president. The misson pres and his wife are our new parents for the next 2 years so its nice to have someone watching over you and someone that can help you; Their names are Pres Broadbent and Sis Broadbent! Theyre awesome people! When we arrived at the misson home they came up to us and hugged us righ away and said they were so happy to see us. We then spent a couple hours with them socializing and getting to know one another. After that we went to the church building near by to get our new companion/trainer. My companion for the next 12 weeks is Elder D.! He is from Fortaleza Brazil and has been on his misson for a year and 3 months. He has a lot of experience and has already taught me a lot! He knows zero english but we can communicate what we need to say with one another portuguese.


York and his companion

After we received our new companions we had orientation where we learned all the rules and expectations in the sao paulo sul misson. There are 11 million people in our mission. After orientation, Elder D. and I took our bags (one of which broke I might add. hashtag dont buy magellan) and got on a crammed autobus to head to our new home. Here’s our kitchen:

Yorks first apt

Our area is in the city of São Bernardo. The area is almost entirely favelas (slums) and there are a ton of hills.

Yorks first area

Our schelude is as follows…we wake up at 630..workout and eat breakfast and get dressed by 8..at 8 we study for an hour..9 is companion study..and 10-11 is language study. We then eat lunch at a members house around 12 and then the rest of the day is appointments and proslyting. I’d like to pause for a momoent and once again talk about the food here. Every day we are fed lunch by a member. Sometimes thats a blessing and sometimes thats a curse. Of course, naturally, everyone here is an amazing cook. The curse lies with the fact that its rude here to eat only one or two servings. Ive been told that I must eat at least 3. Which can be difficult when the hostess is the one deciding your serving size each time. One of the wealthier couples who ive had the great oportunity to eat dinner and lunch with here took us to a buffet and the buffet had sushi!! I ate probably 150 dollars worth of sushi and chicken hearts. Turns out chicken hearts are pretty good. The buffet was like one of those Brazilian places where the people walk around with giant skewers and trays of different meats and stuff and give it to you whenever you want. Also here every meal they serve beans, rice and often eggplant (which has the texture of uncooked octopus).

The people here in Brazil are awesome! They are so friendly and willing to listen to our messgae we have to share. But I also get a lot of weird looks..called a lot of interesting names..people like to yell at the white kid..especially if your a giant compared to them..and I’ve even had people run up to me and take pics of me so thats always an intersting expereince…weird people lol.

My second day here, this guy brought me and my companion into a house to pray with him and his friends because their friend had been killed by her drunk husband during an argument the previous night. I walked inside the little stone-walled apartment and realized that we were in the house where she had gotten killed.There was a pool of blood and over-turned furniture in the room where she had gotten her head smashed by her boyfriend with a bicicle handlebar the night before. I just sat there and waited for my companion to teach the plan of salvation and say the prayer for that one.

I think were gonna have a baptism for this upoming week and maybe two; the people in question need to learn some more lessons this week but maria and juliano seem really interested in the church. Its hard here but I feel like I am doing well! Thanks to you all and love ya.

Sincerely Elder West

20 October 2015

We received this letter from York’s Mission President:

Dear Family of Elder Westenhaver,

Elder Westenhaver has arrived safely in the São Paulo South Mission. I have had an opportunity to visit with him in a personal interview, and I am inspired by his missionary efforts thus far and know that he will make a great contribution to the work of the Lord here. We are so pleased to have him! Sister Broadbent and I love him already, and we appreciate his desire and preparation to serve the Lord. It will be a wonderful experience for us to work with him in this great missionary effort as the Lord hastens His work here in Brazil and throughout the world. We know that our Heavenly Father will bless him, as he is obedient and diligent.

Thank you for your willingness to share him with the people he is serving here in Brazil. May you feel peace and joy in his service.

I have attached two pictures: One of Elder Westenhaver with my wife and me and another with his new companion.

With our love,

President and Sister Broadbent

York and Broadbents

York and first comp

14 October 2015

York Slouchy Brazil
This is my last week in the MTC; and likely my last time to speak English for the better part of two years. Dispite all of the grammar I´ve drilled and the vocab I´ve memorized, I cant help but feel largely unprepared to enter the field. Earlier this week my district received a new elder named Elder F. On the night of his arrival our district hosted a 16 person double elimination arm wrestling tournament. I was about to start the semi finals when the senior missionaries shut us down. We’re just trying to exercise and stay healthy! Haha.

Although I´m apprehensive to leave the MTC, I believe that I´ve learned all I can here.

I´m doing great. Wish me luck!! Love you guys!

Elder Westenhaver

PS: Facci made up a cool quote and I though I should tell you guys it: Goals are not limits.

Here’s a picture from the American-stye cookie shop across from the MTC where York has been staying. I don’t know who this girl is but there’s York in the background. So far these are the only pics I’ve gotten from him.

York Mr. Cheneys

7 October, 2015

Hi everyone,

A lot of interesting things occured this past week so I´ve decided that a chronological account of these events is the best option to cover all of the goings on here in Brazil. First I´d like to point out that the “days-of-the-week” system in brazil is extraordinarily cunfusing; attempting to recall the events of a specific day is virtually impossible. Now I know what you´re thinking, “Why can´t Elder Westenhaver just use his daily journal entries to spark his momories?” well… forgive me for answering a question with a question: but, have you ever tried to read my laughably inscrutable hand writing? For those of you who havent, imagine an Aztec codex writed by a blinnd 4 year old riding a gallaping horse. Now turn what your imagining upside down and look at it cross-eyed. Thats probably what my hand writing would look like to you.

The point of me saying this is to help you understand how terrible my attampt at remembering this week will be… but nevertheless here we go:
Last wednesday. After I´d writen last weeks letters, my companion, roomates and I travelled out into Sao Paulo once again in search of snack food. While my roommates found knock-off Brazilian gummy worms from the candy shop and pão de quejo (cheese bread) from the bakery sufficient to satisfy their sweet tooths, I was unwilling to settle for such generic american foods. After mmuch deliberation and searching I finally chose a munition of much higher caliber than that of my friends: the Dog Egg Master. The Dog Egg Master does in fact live up to its name. As the food cart chef created the confectionary wonder in front of my eyes; as the freshly broiled bacon, eggs, mashed potatoes, hotdogs and french fries sliid into the bun; and as the man drizzled the lot in catsup, mayanaise, relish, cheese and mustard, I knew that I had discovered love at first sight.
2 hours, a stomach ache, and an hour of self justification later (in that order) I ate nutella bannana pizza for dinner. #best day ever.
On Thusday and Friday all of my laundry disapeared at the hands of some laundry-schedual illiterate guys on my floor. Luckily I got all of my clothes back eventually. But unfortunately the washing machine ate one of my socks. On sauturday and Sunday I ate, slept and dreamt conference. Bieng enriched by 10 hours of talks and hymns made this weekend vastly more enjoyable that my typical weekends here. It was great!
On monday one of the Brazilians learned that you cant flush a volleyball sized piece of toilett paper down the toilet. Sadly, I was at the wrong place at the wrong time when this crime went down so I was forced to walk through the brown liquid aftermath.
On tuesday (ie. Yesterday), my companion and my current roommates and I recieved some new Brazilian roomates. In addition to this alteration our room number was changed to the floor above. Now instead of the beautiful star-lit city scape that used to meet my eyes each night, I am blessed with an attractive view of matte black steel  bars.
Nonetheless, this week, through its ups and downs has been great!!
Love to you all,

30 Sept. 2015

30 Sept. 2015

Dear Family,
…….To be mayonaise, or not to be mayonaise? That is the question…….

Consistantly, some of the best, yet wierdest things in brazil are the assorted breads, fruits, cheeses, fruit juices, entres, side dishes, drinks and deserts that I eat/drink here. At breakfast each morning there is one thing you can almost always guarentee: the creme of wheat poridge they always serve will be sweet, delicious, and slightly different in taste and minutely different in texture from any other porridge that you’ve been served so far.

Sometimes its thick, and sometimes its thin. Sometimes its topped with a flesh colored skin. Sometimes your porridge is filled with small grains. And sometimes your porridge is textured like brains. About once a week, your porridge is cold, leading to feelins of sadness untold. But if you want breakfast you needent go forrage, Cause a good solid bet will always be porridge. (Yes, I did just write a rhyme about enriched farina… #bored on the way back from the temple)

Anyway, for lunch and dinner, the vast majority of the time, the meal consists of some meat sauce poured atop rice and beans served aside some variety of sesame or cheese bread. Guaraná is the drink of choice for every meal, although every time I drink it I get super bad acid reflux for the rest of the day. Almost* every dinner and lunch so far here in the MTC have been accopanied by some kind of pudding for dessert. There are aproximately a thousand different textures and flavors of pudding so thankfully we havent had the same pudding twice.

I love the food here, dispite the fact that most of the time I dont understand it. And although I’ve tried some of the best barbecue in texas, I have to admist that the bazilians make sausage better.

^^ *Unfortunately once this week for dinner they didnt serve us any pudding for desert. And my friend Elder Brown learned the hard way that a spoonful of mayonaise doesnt taste anything like vanilla.

                             …..Tio Facci, Irmá Correa and how to cast out an evil spirit…
here at the MTC I´ve been blessed with the best language and gospel doctrine teachers imaginable. Irmão Faccinetto (or tio facci as we call him) has been our language instructer since we arrived here. Hes a native Brazilian from Curitiba yet he speaks fluent english in a addition to portuguese. Facci has a GQ model’s smile and more heart than a crate full of middle school crush valentines letters. (Bytheway, interesting fact, the word for gym literally translates to “middle school of sports.” Yeah, I dont get it either.) Facci honestly spends time getting to know each and every one of the missionaries he teaches and hes one of the most gunuine, down to earth people I’ve ever met.

Just this week Facci proposed to his girlfriend after dating her for only a week!! The fact that she said yes is testament of the kind of man he is. My other language teacher is a 5 foot nothing, rugby playin, fire ball of a woman. She has no problem calling you out if you misspell, misuse or mispronounce a word. She honestly brutal, and brutally honest, but deep down shes one of the most caring people I know here; she gently shoves you into the deep end.

Each Sunday here we hav gospel doctrine class in which we can ask the mission president (President Swenson) and questions we have. This week someone asked “what do we do if someone claimes to be possesed by a spirit or wants one casted away?” The following 15 minute conversation about evil spirits was really cool and interesting. 🙂

This week has gone great and has been hard but I know god has been blessing me!!

Love and miss you guys a lot! xoxoxo