Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Islands Disappear

 This picture came with the title ---Overcome by the Spirit.....apparently he was so overcome while saying his morning prayers, he was there for over an hour!  Glad his companions could see the humor in it and took several photos!
           Elder Massey and Elder Stone - his companion who was taking the above picture!


                                               Carnival - Maio style!!!
Greetings all!
This week has been a week of many ups and downs, but it's been a ton of fun. 
We found out on Monday that we WOULDN'T be going to our Zone Conference, which was last Thursday, which was a bit of a bummer, at least for me. The other Elders here talk about how much fun it is to go to Praia for a few days and EAT, but sadly, that didn't happen. 
This past week was Carnival, which was pretty interesting, but thankfully, Maio doesn't party too hard. It's really a lot like Invermere, BC here, so Carnival was about as big as the Canada Day parade out there, which kinda reminded me of my summers back home. Ever since then, the parallels between Invermere and here have been increasing in number every DAY. 
After Carnival, for about a solid day, the whole island seemed to disappear for like a solid day and a half, as the Catholics have a holiday on the day after Carnival where they eat this salted fish stuff (we didn't get to have any), so half the island was there, and the other half (a much bigger half) was inside and asleep, due to some lingering headaches from the day before...
Speaking of sleeping, I'm starting to believe it is the national pastime here. We've had appointments where we'll go by and someone else will answer the door, and will proceed to tell us that the person we are supposed to meet with is asleep. It even happened once a few weeks ago where we were teaching with a member, Gilson, and we went to a house of a guy he knew, who, was asleep, and Elder Stone asked him why the guy couldn't wake up, to which Gilson repsonded, incredulously, 'but he's SLEEPING!'. The people here are so funny sometimes.
I got to give my first talk in church this week, there were supposed to be two sisters speaking, but they didn't know how to give a talk, so our Branch President, Ta, asked if I could give one. So, that was fun! It didn't go as bad as I thought it would. I also played the piano again this week, which went MUCH better than last week. It was still interesting though, because the hymn we sang for sacrament is one the members like very much, and they also like to sing one part wrong I guess, so Elder Stone and I were doing our very best to get them to hit the right note. It was very entertaining for me. 
We haven't taught a whole lot this week, but we've found some really awesome people toward the end of this week. Within the span of a day, we had 3 different investigators all read in the Book of Mormon, something that hasn't happened with me so far, and it was so cool to see. They all knew exactly what was going on, and had some really awesome questions. It was so darn cool. 
We did have one really cool lesson last night, that I'd like to talk a little about. We found this guy named Chando a few weeks ago, he yelled at us as we walked by him and was like 'HEY! Why the heck do you guys never talk to me?', to which we apologized to, and marked a day with him. We had taught him about a week ago or so, and had marked a day to return once his wife came back from Praia. So, last night, we returned to teach Chando, and his wife, Milseilita (quite the name, I know), with Ta, and we went over the first lesson with her. It was a really simple lesson, and we didn't teach anything in an overly different way, but her desire to find the truth in her life was so incredibly strong. You could just feel the desire that was in the room, and it was so incredible. We bore simple testimonies, and testified to them of the importance of making sure they knew for themselves, and they just ate it all up, and the desire they had was just so incredibly strong in that room. They are seriously such cool people. They had made a bowl of popcorn before we came, and after we were done, they let us (well, more like MADE us) eat the bowl, to which I graciously accepted, and felt bad after. After we left, Ta told us that he's never felt so happy when teaching with missionaries before. It was awesome.
Well, I apologize for the large email! The Lord has definitely blessed our work here in so many ways, and we may not have the numbers, but the work is alive!
Love y'alls so much, and hopin' y'alls is keepin' on!
Rock on!
Elder Massey 

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Here Comes the Night Time

 When you have family members living all over the world, it can be tricky to keep track of time! This is our solution, which hangs on the wall of Simon's bedroom so he can keep track of his big brothers.  We are usually going to bed when they are just getting up!
Here is Sean's letter from this week:
My companion, Elder Stone, always titles his emails with a song, so I figured I would start doing the same.
Maio truly exists on the same wavelength that Win Butler of Arcade Fire sings of when he says 'When the sun goes down, you head inside; but the lights don't work, yeah nothing works, you say you don't mind, here comes the night time'.
Literally every day, at like 6 pm basically, everyone is off the streets, becuse it's starting to get dark or cold. Cabo Verde is full of little funny things that people do that make it so much fun. One thing that everyone here does is when you knock on doors, they just shout 'QUEM?', which literally means 'who'. It's a funny place, and I'm loving it. So, there's a little culture update for ya.
The work here is slow but lots of fun. We mark so many people for appointments and then they're like never there, which makes it a lot of fun. However, just about everyone here is so friendly and it's just so much fun to talk to people. People will never turn us down basically when we ask them if we can come by and talk to them at their homes, which is always a cool thing to hear. One highlight from this week was when we spoke to a Nazarene lady, and Elder Stone asked her 'if God told you to change churches, would you?' to which she replied, 'heck no, are you kidding me? My mom raised me in this church!'. We've taught some really cool people here, and have extended a few invitations to be baptized. Elder Stone was working with me one morning this week on how to extend the invitation, and made me repeat it to him like what felt like 80 times, so when I finally used it in a lesson, I felt like such a boss.
A few highlights from this week:
Friday morning, 2 of the Elders in our house decided they wanted oatmeal, so Elder Stone and I embarked on a quest to find it, and what we came back, which we thought would be LIKE oatmeal, ended up turning to basically straight MUSH once we added hot water. It was pretty darn funny as we all sat glumly eating our mush.
We played soccer this mornig, just the four of us, on this little boxed in field up at a housing complex called 'Casa Para Todos', or House for All, and we had a couple of kids join in with us, and they ended up being way better than we were! We went SO hard, and we were sweating pretty good by the end of it.
Tonight, we've got a couple of promising lessons with a couple of investigators who we feel really strongly about, so we're hoping it goes well. This work is truly so much fun and I'm loving every single day here, and Maio truly is the place to be.
I love all of y'all, keep being bosses and rad people!

Elder Massey
A classic Sean pose....if you only knew how many pictures we have of him in his classic Thinker pose....guess it translates in Portuguese as well!

Out in the streets of Maio...I think this must be Elder Stone (because Sean wears his watch on his right hand)  Looks like they are popular with the little guys!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Ilha de Maio

Well, everybody, I've made it!
Our travel day from the MTC was very very long and very interesting. What was supposed to be a 26 hour travel day actually turned out to be close to 50 hours. After a very long and stressful day in Madrid, we were able to make it to Lisbon, on Wednesday night, where we were rescued by President and Sister Fluckiger, of the great Portugal Lisbon Mission, and we stayed that night in the mission home with them. And let me tell ya, those kids going there are freaking lucky. They are  incredible people. We got to spend a night in Portugal, and on Thursday, we arrived in the Promised Land! We were greeted by President and Sister Mathews at the airport, who we very quickly threw ourselves into the arms of. They are seriously killer people man, like they rock. However, as exciting as reaching Cabo Verde was, it also meant that our travel group of what was formerly 8, then 6, turned to 5, as Elder Penner got turned around at the airport to head to his first area, in Mindelo. So, the remaining 5 of us went with the Assistants to the President to the mission office, where we all received interviews, recieved very abbreviated training, and our first assignments.
I have been assigned to the INCREDIBLE island of.. MAIO!
Maio is one of the newest islands opened in the mission, it's had elders for about a year now. I happen to be the 10th elder ever to serve here, and only the second person to be BORN here, which is pretty rad. My trainer and first companion is Elder Stone, from California, and he's a pretty rad guy. He's been out almost a year and a half, and really knows the people here really well. We've been having a lot of fun, and we've been working together really well. He's a pretty boss guy, and really easy to get along with. We share this island with 2 other elders, Elder Martinez and Elder Schofield (the first elder born here). We all share the apartment we have together, and it's a pretty rad time. We have a warm shower, we have a washing machine, TWO toilets, and like 3 or 4 rooms, it's pretty sweet. 
We are in a branch here, that has about 40 or so members, but only about 25 or so show up to church on average. One of our goals here is to get those members really self sufficient in the work they do, because right now, they aren't. Howver, the members are really nice. We've had a couple members come around and teach with us, one named Gilson, and he's a boss, and the other was João, who's an interesting guy. They're both tons of fun to be around. 
The people here, though, are so much fun. Like, seriously. They're BOSS. Everyone here will talk with us, and it's absolutely no problem finding people to teach. Everyone is just super nice, super friendly, and they really really like to shake hands. The only problem with them is I don't actually know what just about all of them say basically all the time; everyone here speaks Creole, so it just tend to smile, say Portuguese words, and use their hand gestures to figure out what the heck they're saying. It's super entertaining. Thankfully, my lovely companion understands Creole, so it's a real blessing to have someone who actually GETS it. 
Guys, seriously, it's so cool here. I stop like at least 8 times a day and go, 'holy heck, I'm here. Wow'. 
I fully believe Cabo Verde is the Lord's Promised land, second to Canada.
I love y'all so much!
Tudo feixe amigos!
(That means like all's cool guys)
Love ya!
Elder Massey

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Travel Days....

 So this is the "band of merry men" before embarking on their journey to Cape Verde! 
R to L  Elder Bannerman, Elder Maake, Elder Massey, Elder Wakeham, Elder Penner, Elder Bullock, Elder Masubelele,  and Elder McMullin.

The next morning they left Salt Lake City for Atlanta with connecting flights to Madrid, Spain then Lisbon, Portugal and finally to Praia in Cape Verde.  We had a wonderful phone call from Salt Lake before their departure and a quick one to Mitch who was in California on business from their short layover in Atlanta.  They arrived in Madrid around 1 am Calgary time and were expected to be on the flight to Lisbon in a couple of hours.  While going through passport control, the 2 missionaries from South Africa were denied entry and were taken away from the remaining missionaries.  They tried their best to find out where they were and what was happening with them when they realized that they were not going to be able to make their connecting flight to Lisbon.  That's when I got a phone call around 3 am asking for help....
They had a couple of phone numbers but were having trouble with the calling card and the operator.  They could log onto a computer using a credit card so between the calling card and the computer, lots of prayers and many phone calls from Canada to the travel office and their mission president who was able to arrange from some help from the Spain Madrid Mission, the remaining 6 elders were able to get on a later flight to Lisbon.  By the time they arrived, there were no more connecting flights to Praia so they were "rescued" by the Portugal Lisbon Mission President and his wife, where they were fed and able to have a good night's sleep.  By this time, they had been traveling for over 36 hours! So despite missing 2 of their friends, they were relieved to be taken in and get some rest!
 The following afternoon they made the 4 hour flight to Praia where they were picked up by their mission president and most were able to go to the mission home for orientation and another night of sleep.  Sadly, Elder Penner had to just get off his flight only to board another one to his assignment in Mindelo.  Elder Massey has been assigned to serve in Maio with 3 other elders.   We received this picture in an email from Sister Mathews, the mission president's wife because it was too late for Elder Massey to even email us himself. 
Looking forward to P Day tomorrow to hear Elder Massey's version of his epic adventure since we haven't had any direct contact with him since he left Madrid on Wednesday evening.

Monday, 2 February 2015

The Last Day(s)!

             Elder Massey with Elder Bullock, Maake and Masubelele - all going to Cape Verde
                                          The District - half the elders are going to Portugal
                               The Zone - 8 of these missionaries leave for Cape Verde tomorrow
                                               Elder Massey with Elder Kohl Yee from Calgary
Hello all! This is my LAST day in the MTC! Isn't that crazy? It feels just like yesterday that I got into the joint, and yet it seems like an eternity ago!
This week has sure flown by, and it's been a hectic one to say the least! Last Thursday, all the Elders and Sisters going to Portugal got re-assignments, since their visas didn't come on time (which is INCREDIBLY unheard of), and so our entire zone was in a panic and frenzy for about a solid DAY, as people reacted to these re-assignments. However, as Friday came around, it became known that the visas were actually a day LATE from being sent, meaning that 18 of the 23 people going to Portugal actually got their visas. It was definitely hard for those 5 people who didn't get their visas; one of them was Elder Gee in our district, he left this morning for the California Roseville mission. So, with that said, our district is down to 7 for our final day here! Thankfully, none of us Cape Verde goers had any issue with our visas, which is a blessing for sure!
This week, Elder Maake and I got invited to help out with one of the activities they have all the brand new missionaries do on the first night. Out of the WHOLE MTC, they asked a total of 5 companionships, 2 of which were from our zone, to come and start out a discussion that they do with the new missionaries. On the first night, they split all he new missionaries into five rooms, and they sit them down in front of an 'investigator' (some of them are, some of them were). They then have missionaries come in, as if it were a meeting at the investigator's home, and they proceed to get o know these people, just having a conversation with them, so that all the new missionaries in the room can get to know A) the person, and B) how to talk to investigators. So, Elder Maake and I got to get to know two different people in front of probably 50 or so missionaries, and it was pretty darn fun! It was a rad experience for sure, we had a lot of fun doing it.
On Friday, we had our last TRC, where we talked to Tania from Brazil, and this time, we actually understood her! Her microphone was way better than he person we talked to last week, so we were able to have a good discussion with her, to sorta figure out what she's like, and what she can do better in her life as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! (or, A Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Últimos Dias, hehehehe) It was an awesome experience, and a definite confidence booster for sure!
As we've been going through this past week, we've been focusing on making a best push that we can til the end of our stay here, and I've noticed as I've worked on focusing and worked at just WORKING, I've been able to rock the language a lot better. I'm just PUMPED to get to the other side of the world, where they don't even speak the language I've been learning these past 6 weeks :D 
I'm seriously SO pumped to go man, like WOOOOOOO!! 
The MTC rocks everybody, this has been an awesome experience!
Love y'aaaaaall
Todos os meus amigos são os peixes
Elder Massey

The Final Countdown

 This was last week's letter...sorry it has taken me so long!

Greetings again, from the last week in the Provo MTC!
We have reached single-digit-days here in the hole, and we couldn't be more excited! By this time next week, I'll be on one of four flights on my way over to the great nation of Cape Verde!
The days have been flying by here. We've started a 'conta final' in the top corner of our whiteboard, and we are now down to solid SEVEN days remaining, here on the inside. It's crazy to think how fast time has flown by in this institution, but also crazy to think how long it's been. It's really quite paradoxical, but THAT'S OKAY :D it was crazy the other day, when it was the 25th, that it had been a whole month since Christmas. Anyways, I'll stop rambling about that!
Something I forgot to mention in my email last week was the fact I got called on in the previous sacrament meeting to give a talk, in Portuguese, about the Holy Ghost. Now, usually on Saturday nights, everyone in the zone tends to forego our companion study and prepare a talk for the next day, but alas, I had forgotten (or neglected) to do so, and as Sunday morning approached, I felt a nagging feeling telling me that it would likely be I who would be called to speak, and such as I felt, I WAS called, having not prepared a talk for the first time since coming here. So that was fun! I was told it wasn't a bad talk, and I'm comfortable enough with my Portuguese that it wasn't allllll too hard. But I know that was some form of karma from Heavenly Father, telling me I gotta step up my game!
This past Tuesday, being the first Tuesday evening devotional with our new presidency, we got to hear from Elder M. Russell Ballard, and it too, just like with Elder Nelson, was an awesome experience. He talked about a variety of things, mostly just advice and guidance for us as missionaries, but a cool thing he spoke on was what to do when the hard days on a mission, or in life, come. He said that, as we have hard days, weeks, or months, we often tend to complain, and get in a rut as to what we are doing and how we are living, that we start to complain and feel sorry for ourselves and feel we need more attention than we receive. It's during these times, he said, that we should sit down, and, as random as it sounds, think about the Prophet Joseph Smith, while in Liberty Jail, in the late 1830s or whenever that was. The guy was in there for like 4 and a half MONTHS, in just about the crappiest conditions possible. He said that, as we do this, we should write a letter to him, to console him in his time there, to try to seek to help him, to be a friend for him, and that, as we do this, we won't feel so sorry for ourselves anymore. I thought that was such an incredible thought, I just wanted to share it with y'all. 
The rest of the week has been pretty good! We taught another Skype TRC lesson on Friday and HECK it was hard. The girl we got had a crappy camera and microphone, so we could hardly hear what she was saying, and she would give us one-word answers when we asked her questions. We got through the half an hour pretty well, and it was good, but it was TOUGH. 
We received our travel plans this week, much to everyone's excitement. We are meeting at the MTC Travel Office at like 6:00am next Tuesday moring, and we fly from here to Atlanta (where I'm DESPERATELY hoping I can find a McDonald's), then from Atlanta to Madrid, and then to Lisbon, and from there, to Praia. It should be a rather long day, but it'll be all good. We actually leave the MTC after the people going to Portugal, but we arrive in Lisbon before they do; we've been throwing that one in their faces a fair amount, so that's been fun for sure.
I should get another P-Day next Monday, so expect to hear from me once more before I depart for the real world.
Y'all rock! Amo todos os y'alls
Elder Massey, o melhor