Monday, February 18, 2013

Sendin' a Rowdy Howdy from Jequié

Well, I'm relieved to report that I didn't get on the wrong bus and end up in Rio de Janeiro (I told Sister V. Silva I most likely would). Rafael and Carol, the coolest recent converts ever, threw me a going-away party (missionary-style, of course) and escorted me to the bus station with Carol's mom (who isn't a member but who will do anything short of, well, nothing, to help us missionaries). They three of them, with Sister V. Silva made quite a fuss about carrying all my things for me and making sure I got on the right bus. It was actually very funny, watching them all dash about in different directions to ask different people about the buses, talking over each other, calling out instructions to me, etc. They even hopped the gate (I don't know how they got away with that) to walk up to the door of the bus itself with me. It was rough, saying goodbye to them, let me tell you.
    I slept the whole way there (very awkwardly, I might add, as I was alone for the first time in months and sitting next to a boy who was also trying to sleep). When the bus arrived in Conquitsa, President Andrezzo was waiting for me in plain sight and everything went very smoothly. Don't worry, mama!

   Now here I am in Jequié and let me tell you... It's nothing like Salvador. In fact, many times during the day I find myself thinking of how much it looks like the more podunk towns of Utah. Of course, it's definitely Brasil, NOT Utah, but the mountains that surround Jequié resemble Utah's mountains, I think.

  So, Jequié, where do I begin?....

   Several times throughout my first few days here, I found myself thinking of a movie line from "Return to Me". It's that part where the heroine realizes that during her heart transplant she'd been given the heart of her new boyfriend's dead wife and, while sobbing in the arms of her friend she yells, "What was God thinking?!"
   I've found myself feeling that way. No, not like I have the heart of my boyfriend's dead wife, but the desire to cry out to the skies, "What was God thinking?!"

  When I first met Sister Ellis (my Senior companion), I was surprised to find that she speaks even less Português than I do. We live in a house smaller than the one I was living in before and there's another companionship living with us in the same house (Sister C. Silva, who was in my district in Salvador first transfer, and Sister Freitas, a newbie). It's strange to have a companionship of Brasileiras and a companionship of Americanas living together. But wait, the fun doesn't end there! When we got to this tiny house, I learned that Sister Ellis has only been in this area for 2 weeks and doesn't know it very well yet, that we don't have a single active member of the church living in the bounds of our area, and that we're basically opening this area. Whewy!
   Needless to say, we're expecting a lot of miracles here and I've already seen more than I can say. The first miracle is that I'm speaking Português a TON more now. The second is that people are actually understanding me. Every day we see a million miracles.
  And so, what was God thinking? Whatever it was, I'm sure it had something to do with the fact that this area needs miracles. Miracles that only come from those who are relying heavily on faith because they have absolutely nothing else. That's me and Sister Ellis alright. I'm constantly amazed by the faith of that woman. I feel honored to work with her! Y'all get to hear more about her next week, because I'm out of time now. For now I'll just say that she's a cowgirl with a Treemon'in Utah accent that thickly carries over into her Português.

   I have a testimony of this work. I KNOW that the Lord is very much aware of His children and their needs throughout the world. Miracles are born of faith.

  I love you all!!!

-Sister Whitaker

P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Renee Borage!

Daddy, I read this joke on a Laffy Taffy wrapper (thanks Grandma and Grandpa Gurney) that made me think of you and laugh and laugh:
What do you call a Dinosaur who lost his glasses?

..... A Doyouthinkhesaurus

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