Update on Elder Matt

Dear Friends and Family:

I thought I’d update you a little on the continuing adventures of Elder Matt Westwood. He is still serving in Bangalore, which is the city the mission home is in as well as a technology center in India. It is a cooler time of year there. At Christmas time he said that he needed a sweater sometimes and that his coconut hair oil was getting viscous instead of liquid due to the chillier temperatures. Today he said that it is chilly in the morning and evening but pleasant during the day. He is still actively teaching families, but also training new missionaries.

He told his dad that one of the sights and sounds of India that amuse him is billboards advertising building materials. Rebar is especially touted. One advertisement showed a luscious close-up of the steel reinforcing rod, showing how to locate the company logo, urging people to make sure it is ________ brand being used in construction projects that concern them.

A couple of weeks ago Matt mentioned that it was the time of the kite-flying contests he talked about last year, but that few people in Bangalore celebrate that holiday. In Hyderabad it was very popular. And the book The Kite Runner talks about a similar event in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Today Matt reported, “I’ve recently been enjoying learning more about the lives of the quiet, hardworking people around me. One of the chapel security guards knows about 8 languages, thanks in part to working for 6 years in Saudi Arabia before his marriage. He moved back because the Hindu-Muslim clashes in India made being Indian in the middle east uncomfortable at the time. He’s also visited Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia! As we kept talking, I learned that his home is actually 2 and 1/2 hours by bus. He lives about twenty minutes walk from the KGF chapel, where I served from Jan to May last year.

This morning I learned that the mother of one of the members who works closely with us is from Calcutta… her family resettled in South India when she was young. I learned this when she came out to talk to us while her daughter got ready to come with us for
an appointment. She also knows about 8 languages, but very little
English. Later, when I asked her daughter about her life story, she
shared about how her parents ran away from home to get married,
walking many miles barefoot to the nearest big city, and how her mom
then struggled for years with depression while facing hurtful gossip
from her husband’s family. Fortunately, now she’s found peace in
living with her daughter and helping care for her grandson,
who is a darling 10 month old.

This morning while we talked, he woke up, and she brought him outside
to show him a passing airplane.”

The wife of one of the new young student couples in our ward in Columbus did a study abroad program in Visakhapatnam, India, which I believe is in Matt’s mission. She was excited when I showed her the June 2011 New Era article on the city. You might enjoy it too. http://www.lds.org/new-era/2011/06/sailing-safely-home?lang=eng

Love to all of you! Vilo Westwood


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