Friday, November 7, 2008

Excerpt from Whitney’s first letter Feb 13, 2008

São Paulo is honestly HUGE! It goes on for minutes and minutes when you´re flying over it. 18 million people. I couldn´t believe it. All the houses are all built up on top of each other and I cannot believe that people live in some of those buildings. I think I might have a hard time with the poverty. But I´ve only seen it from a bus the two times that I´ve been out of the CTM in the past week (First time was on the way to the CTM from the aiport and the second was on the way to the Campinas temple this morning. we go to the temple on p-days.) Between those two times I did not leave the building. I felt a bit claustrophobic, but nothing too tragic.

I have two companions! Their names are Sister Tittelfitz and Sister Martin. They are both 22 as of January. Sister Tittelfitz graduated from BYU last Spring in Social Work and then went to Ethiopia to work in an orphanage. Cool. And Sister Martin is from Houston! She is huh-larious, to put it in her own words. We all get along so well. I am really lucky.

I´ve never worked this hard in my life, but I´m doing okay with it so far. I´m incredibly grateful for my companions, because they are all totally committed to working hard every day. They want to follow the rules and learn the language and everything. Our district is all hard-working... even though the rest of them are nineteen.

We have all of our classes and MDST time with our district and we´re in a district with 3 companionships of 19-year-old elders... they´re all super-sweet kids. We had our first district testimony meeting yesterday (on our own... no teacher, just our district leader who was chosen on Sunday who´s one of the elders in the district) and we started the meeting by discussing the devotional we just went to for about half an hour and then bearing our testimonies. And everyone was on task the whole time and really contributed to the meeting and bore real testimonies.

I am here to testify that the person who designed this program was inspired and this church is true. I can say that because there is no way that in any other context you could put a bunch of 19 year old boys together, work them to the bone, make them stay within sight and sound of another guy they just barely met 24 hours a day, confine them to a building for 6 days straight, deprive them of all contact with their families and friends... and at the end of that suggest to them that they should all get together and have a spiritual discussion and bear testimony to one another AND HAVE IT WORK! I still don´t understand it. But I love it. It´s great to see the Elders stepping it up and growing up so quickly. Most of them have never lived away from home before and they´re doing an amazing job.

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