Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Hopeless Wanderer

This past week, I've felt a bit like my dear friend Marcus Mumford, in that I've been a bit of a 'Hopeless Wanderer' of sorts. Not as in like, overwhelming, Earth-tumbling sadness, but in the fact that half the time, I have NO clue what I'm doing, but at the same time, that's all the fun in it :)
With the start of a new transfer, I've gotten yet ANOTHER new companion, but this time, my comp isn't, technically, a reaaaaal companion by definition as a missionary called to the Cape Verde Praia Mission, but my comp is what is called a 'Mini-Missionary', meaning one who serves a 'mini-mission'. His name is Elder Rocha, he's from Praia, and he's going to be serving with me for about a month. A mini is someone who, usually, hasn't gone through the MTC or had any mission experience, but is someone the mission enlists for a small amount of time to help out and be someones comp, more-or-less. With that being said, with their limited experience and lack-of-training, usually with missionaries, the mini becomes sort of a 'follower', just someone who kinda follws around while the missionary does a majority of the work. Not that my mini isn't good, but the situation is pretty well as such for me. Woooooooooooo
Having only had two weeks in my existing area prior, and only reaaaally knowing the people we've been progressing with, this week as been a LOT of wandering and discovering. My area covers three different zones in and around Cova Figueira, and I have been to one of them exactly once beforehand, and the others, I really only knew the people my comp had been talking to, so this week, I hopelessly wandered :) A lot of the time, I had NO clue where to go, so I jsut talked to legitimately every person I came across and practically begged them for 10 minutes of their time to share my message with them. It's actaully been jsut kinda fun, and ALWAYS awkward. It's been tough for me to jsut push past the awkward point and just do it anyways, cuz otherwise, I'm never gunna get anything done. Hopelessly wandering isn't aaaaall that bad sometimes :)
One of the zone we have is call Tenteira, and it happens to be about a 40 minute walk away, so I'm going to kae an effort to head out there at least once a week. This week, when we got out there, I knew pretty well nobody, so I just went about with my team of three followers (my mini, ward mission leader Danny, and Adriano, this 15-year-old who lieks us) and talked to everyone we could come across. It didn't neccessarily come out with the results I wanted, we taught a few really old people who really have no desire to do anything more than just hear the 'bom palavra de Deus' (good word of God), and also taught a younger Adventist guy, who told us that Christ kept Saturday holy when he rested in the tomb on Saturday before he ressurected on Sunday. That was a classic response, loved that one. Basically, I'm just on the work of wandering around a getting to know every house and every person until someone is willing to really recieve the message, cuz for most people here, it just kinda stops at the surface. For a majority of the people here, if not all, our message isn't something new, because missionaries have been here for years and years, and bascially everyone has talked to the missionaries before, so it's tough sometimes to find those lights that keep ya going, but it'll all come in it's due time (or so I'm praying!!)
I'll give ya one of my more proud moments of the week, and a true sign of my desperation just to sit down and teach people, one day it was DEAD quiet, and I wanted just to get in someones house and teach them more than ANYTHING. I saw this one kid, who's like 16 or 17 that I've wanted to teach, and he was playing soccer with a buddy, so I was like,'hey, let me play with you guys!' so I played with them for 5 minutes, had some fun, and was like, 'heeeeeeey, you guys got 5 minutes to sit down and talk?' and the kid looks at me and is like, 'weeeeeell, I'm actually working right now, uhh...' and I was all like, 'okay, come on man, we just spent 5 minutes playing, lets take 5 minutes, I'll tell you a Book of Mormon story, and we can all go on our way', and he was like, 'uhhhhh, okay, we can do that' AND I TAUGHT THEM A LESSON AND FELT LIKE A KING. Maybe it was a little decietful, but it worked, and for that, I was pretty darn happy :)
That's about all for this week! Further working updates to follow!
I'm exhausted
Elder Massey

Monday, 20 July 2015

When You Were Young

I figured it's been long enough since I've used a Killers song as a title, so please excuse my loose connections, as it's been getting harder and harder to come up with decent song titles. Sorry :P

Brandon Flowers once sang about how sometimes, the expectations or dreams of what we had 'when (we) were young' sometimes don't come in the packages we expect. He sings about how we just wait for that which we want to come, almost believing it will come without work, and when it finally happens, it's not necessarily in the same way we always dreamed of it. I guess what I try to say by this, is sometimes, we want things to work out perfectly, or for us to get exactly what we want, without necessarily having to do the work for it; that, or we are so darn keen on a certain unfolding of events, that we will not except anything else as the answer or solution. 

This week, we encountered this problem with our investigator, Djone, who is sooooooooo close to baptism. We'd previously had the goal of this past Saturday, but due to a smoking problem, it's been pushed back, and we're aiming hard for this week. Funny enough, in progressing him to baptism, the main problem hasn't been his smoking, but his strong desire to have a child and a wife (well, more a woman than a wife, but we're working on that...). It seems that, no matter what direction we take lessons with him, they always end up back at his worries that, if he gets baptized and keeps the Law of Chastity , he'll never find a wife, or that if he marries a woman, she might not be able to have kids, and basically, if there's a worry about it, he has it. It feels like every time we sit down with him, we just repeat to him the same answers, that Heavenly Father will help him out, if he's willing to keep the commandments, but in constantly teaching that, I guess it's something I'm really beginning to learn for myself. When Heavenly Father gives us a commandments, like living the Law of Chastity, he doesn't do so so that we won't get to have kids or a wife or things like that, but he does so that when we follow him and keep his commandments, he can bless us! For me, it's been both a frustrating and cool experience, in teaching from such a stand point, because it's really taught me that Heavenly Father will never let us down, and I know he's not gunna let Djone down. We just gotta help him get it! 

Elder Pettingill and I did have a good week this week though, and we worked freaking hard for it! For the first time ever on my mission, we taught 20 lessons with a member present (because of Danny, our boss member) and it was pretty darn rad. Something that's getting to be tough about our area however is the frequency of soccer games, and how many people go to them. They hold soccer games on Wednesday, Saturday AND Sunday, and EVERYBODY goes, meaning on those days, our work is a little thin. Elder Pettingill and I altered up our usual schedule a bit so that we could be out a little bit more in the morning when people should, in theory, be home, and take our lunch in the afternoon, when everyone is at the 'jogos'. On Saturday, however, we made the mistake of heading down to one of the lower zones that is part of our area in the morning, only to find basically everyone was in the field working, or down at the beach. That was a rather quiet morning. 

As for funny stories this week, leeeeeet me think... hmmmm.
One thing Elder Pettingill and I have been having fun with is a laser pointer that was left behind by his last companion. Whether 'having fun' means messing with kids, cats, the occasional dog, and sometimes a small spider, it's been rather interesting. We've been able to get a group of 5 kids SOLID going hard trying to get the dang light. It's been a good amount of fun for us. 

Anyways, that's been my week! Hope y'all had a rad one! 

Elder Massey

Take It or Leave It

Matt Shultz of Cage the Elephant once sang out, 'Oh why won't you make up your mind?', and directing a command, 'stay with me or cut me free'.

Something I've been learning a lot about this week is how we get to decide exactly what we get out of anything. In each and every one of our lives, Heavenly Father gives us the option to 'take it or leave it', and it determined upon us to decide whether or not we want it; all Heavenly Father asks for us is to make up our minds! Do I reaaaaaally want to put all I've got into what he's offering, or would I rather just leave it? 

This week, we've been working a LOT with one investigator, named Djone (no, not Da-jone, it's pronounced like Johnny. Kinda weird, hey?) and he's basically a mega boss. He's a guy from Praia that's been living and working here in Cova Figueira recently, and he's been very accepting of the gospel. It's funny, because he has basically nothing; where he lives is just a small room, with the sole furniture being a mattress on the floor, as well as a propane tank to cook with, and some various food items on the floor to cook, yet he's always got a smile on his face. WE've been teaching him a bunch, and working to have him baptized this coming Saturday. Something I kinda learned in teaching him though, happened when we taught him about the Law of Chastity. He's very accepting of everything we've taught him, but this commandment made him worry just a bit, because he wants nothing more right now than to have a kid, and if he has to do it in the confines of marriage, he knows that's going to be difficult, because not a whole lot of Cape Verdeans are married. Both Elder Pettingill and I were impressed to tell him that if he were to keep the Law of Chastity and be baptized, that Heavenly Father would help him find the wife that he wants, and in doing so, made me think, that when we 'take' that which our Father has given us, he is SO much more willing to bless us when we make the decision to do exactly as he's asked! In doing so, Heavenly Father kinda gives us the same proposition, that we can stay with him, and he will help us, but we can also make the decision to cut free. Everything we get is basically based upon our choices first.

OKAY, so that's probably good for ranting for today, wouldn't you say? I apologize for excessive ranting at times. TIME FOR SOME FUN STORIES :D 

So, in our area, we have an AWESOME Ward Mission Leader, whose name is Danny. Danny is a boss in that he basically waits for us to come by everyday and get him to come teach with us; he LOVES going out and talking about the gospel with us. 
Danny the Ward Mission Leader
The only problem, is that sometimes, he gets a liiiiiittle bit spacey, and will go off on tangents in lessons. We had it happen once, where we turned it over to him to testify about the Restoration, and he went off about the Resurrection, Judgement, and such, which usually would go with the 2nd Lesson in Preach My Gospel, and at the end of his little teaching, turned to us and smiled, kinda to say, 'There you go guys :) I did it'. Another time, we were teaching a 14 year old girl about receiving an answer about the truth, and we were trying to keep everything on a happy note more or less, and Danny shares a scripture that says, more or less, if you die in your sins, you're toast, and it just got like suuuuper heavy cuz of what he said. When he turned it back over to us, we were like,'ooooookay, thanks Danny, good job', and had to figure out a way to get everyone smiling again. With that said, he is a total boss. One night, we were walking in our area, and EVERYONE was partying, and we saw him out in front of a house with our investigator, Djone, and he had his guitar with him, so I asked if I could play, and we ended up sitting down there and jus singing hymns and stuff while the rest of the world indulged in iniquity :) it was a lot of fun. 

Also, another funny story. Dogs here can go either way, they can be super nice, or super mean, so you gotta be careful. Yesterday, there was this cute dog chained up, and I went to go pet it. It wasn't being apprehensive, so I figured I was good (and it was a really cute dog) so I was like, 'Elder Pettingill, look at this dog!' (cuz he likes dogs too) and right as he looked, I could see the change in the dogs eyes go from not-really-caring-about-the-white-guy-petting-him to pure fury. Thankfully, it was chained up, so when it juped at me with teeth bared, it couldn't jump too far. Thanks to my cat-lie reflexes and incredible intuition, I was able to dodge the attack. It was pretty comical to watch though. 
Elder Massey and his Cape Verdean "Mom" - Aninha

That's about all for this week, but I wanna throw a shout out to my brutha Elder Penner (Penbaby Sunshine) who had to go home for surgery, and even though he's totally messed up all our plans to dorm together at BYU after our missions, I really hope he's doin' all good, and that my prayers go out to him and his family. Elder Penner, you're a mega boss, and I can't wait til you're back here in a few. Bejinhos you beautiful man.

Love y'all! 
Elder Massey
Think this kid actually went to Vancouver????
Fogo Zone
MTC Brothers!  McMullin, Bannerman, Massey and Bullock sending get well wishes to Elder Penner!

Strange Times

I feel like Dan Auerbach describes my life right now when he sings that, 'strange times are here' ;as if it hasn't been a strange enough transfer already, this week was just as weird, if not even weirder.

I'm starting to learn that you can't pick and choose exactly how stuff works out, no matter HOW much you want to.If I coulda picked and chosen exactly how this transfer would work out, I'd still be serving in Sal right now, but I guess that's not what I'm meant to be doing; otherwise, I wouldn't be here on the island of Fogo.

This past week, Elder Gunther and I were put in a triple with Elder Pettingill, which was sorta strange; when you're put in a triple, you start to understand exactly why we're put in 2s, and not 3s, just because it's just so darn weird!! Being with just one companion makes things so much easier (as long as you like your comp that is), so basically for us this week, we were finding ways to work in our area, and in Elder Pettingill's area, all why trying to focus on our investigators at the same time. TRIPLES ARE TOUGH.

This week, we had planned for this couple Elder Gunther had been teaching, Zelito and Salete, to be baptized this past Saturday, and so over the course of the week, we'd been doing all we could to prepare them for that day, but because of all of our complications this week, and other problems, it didn't end up happening. Kinda like I was saying, sometimes, you just wanna choose exactly how everything will all work out, to exercise peoples agency for them, but (un)fortunately, Heavenly Father doesn't work in that way. Salete has been having some troubles with finding an answer for certain that this is what she wants to do, and so for now, it's a matter of helping her find that which she still lacks. It's been tough for Elder Gunther and I, because they are such awesome people and have been so prepared to receive the gospel, and since Elder Gunther leaves here in two weeks, he's getting extra anxious about them. I guess if I've learned anything, it's that we've gotta trust through the Lord in the 'strange times', and know that all is right in his timing. Sometimes it's just SO darn frustrating!

We did find ways to have fun over the last few days, in that we celebrated a certain Independence Day that doesn't even really matter to me. This past week marked the celebrations of Canada Day, 4th of July, AND Cape Verde's Independence Day on the 5th, so it was basically just a week devoted to being proud and wearing ties with red in them. We made a distinctive effort to celebrate the 4th of July through making a darn American lunch. Elder Pettingill went out of his way to get a grill from a member so he could grill us some BBQ chicken and hamburgers, and I made mashed potatoes and a Star-Spangled-Cake which I was rather proud of. The whole sum of the parts eventuated into a rather proud gathering together and celebration through wonderful food, Mountain Dew, and BBQ sauce. It was truly wonderful. 
The last cool thing from this past week was going to church up in the other zone we have, Estancia Roque. Because our area has two congregations, we split up and go on divisions with members, so that we can have a missionary at either service; fortunately for me, it was my turn this week to head up the mountain to go to church. However, it WAS Fast Sunday yesterday, meaning I'd been fasting since our overly American lunch the previous day. I was pretty worried about how it was all going to work out, especially since I know how whiny and tired I get when I fast, but through much prayer and pleading, Heavenly Father gave me the strength I needed not to whine my way up the mountain, and make it there. It was actually a really cool experience for me to see, just how our Heavenly Father knows us so individually, and gives us help when we really need it, even if it is just through helping a 19 year old missionary not whine walking 5km up a mountain on an empty stomach. Needless to say, church up there was AWESOME. I loved it. 
Church - Cape Verde style.....surprisingly they have the same chairs!  (but little else....)
So, just to close out, and to finish with my theme of Strange Times, this transfer got even stranger in that I know have my 3rd companion and 3rd area in the same transfer, which is crazy. We recieved a call from President Mathews this week saying that Elder Gunther would be getting a greenie, whie I would be going with Elder Pettingill in his area. Yeah. It's been weird. 5 companions in 4 transfers...

Love y'all! 
Elder Massey, Captain Canada