Wednesday, 26 August 2015

With a Little Help From My Friends

Figured it's due time I throw it back to the Beatles. If I'm not mistaken, this is my first time using the Fab Four for an email subject. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

First of all, this email comes a day late due to a 'medical emergency' we had yesterday. By that, I mean my comp got a headache, and had it for longer than a day, and told me he needed to go to the hospital for it. Granted, I get what bad headaches are like, but it's like, come on dude, the best thing for you is gunna be an ibuprofen, not anything a doctor here can tell ya. Regardless, my companion waited 4 hours in the hospital line, to get a prescription, which the hospital wouldn't fulfill until he'd had testing done, aaaaaaaand they don't test on Mondays. By the time it was all over an done with, my window to get stuff done on P-day was more or less done. Cape Verde is a bit dumb sometimes, even if I love it to death here. 

Ringo Starr, though the least talented musically and lyrically of the Beatles, once sang profoundly in saying, 'I get by.. I'm gunna try... (and) I get high' all 'with a little help from my friends', which, if we looked at those lyrics, would lead to suggest that, without that help, he might not 'get by' or 'get high', and only through his friends is he able to get that. In bringing this up, I wanna talk a bit about the one friend we all need to 'get by' or 'get high' (disclaimer: high is used as in terms spiritually, or by achieving high set goals), and that we need to give this friend a 'try' in helping us. Something I'm learning every single day of my mission is that I can't do this mission on my own, despite how much I feel like I am alone sometimes. I don't think there's any way a wimpy white kid from Canada like me could be shipped over the ocean and be expected to function on a random island where everybody speaks a language that really isn't even a written language, but because of the help of my best friend, that is, Jesus Christ, I'm able to do that. I've noticed so many times in these past few weeks where I had nothing to give, but found the Lord picking me up and giving me the strength I need 'to get high', or even just 'to get by', and the funny thing is, that's exactly what I go around telling people, is they need to 'get by with a little help' from their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

With all that said, this week wasn't easy, or one where I quite reached high enough, maybe more of one where I 'got by', but that's not to say it wasn't a good week. Definitely learned my fair share of lessons. We had Zone Conference this past Wednesday, which was definitely a good pick-me-up, or good 'spiritual feeding', as well as physical feeding. The lunch we had, the caterers had provided us with noticeably REAL ketchup instead of the wide-spread Cape Verdean stuff that is definitely less-than-satisfying, so if you want to know, yes, having real Heinz ketchup is worthwhile putting in my weekly letter, it was such a lovely experience. Something that stood out to me was an Elder Holland quote, where he talked about every road to perfection goes through the Garden of Gethsemane, no matter how close or far, and that as missionaries, it's often at the end of the most miserable, tiring days or weeks that we find that glimpse of light, whether it's the last door we go to, last person we talk to, whatever. I thought that was pretty cool, but I hadn't really had that experience happen. Funny that it would be something I would experience the very next day, hey?
We had gone to our lower zones, Maria de Cruz and Domingo Lobo, where we have a number of progressing and decent investigators, and I can usually find anywhere from 2-4 lessons in walking through there. This day, however, happened to be a day where it seemed like legit EVERYONE didn't want to talk to us, or legitimately ran away or hid from us; that happened with two different investigators in TWO different places. One hid behind her freezer, the other locked herself inside after I had made eye contact with her from around the corner. I was stressing out, cuz I was like 'what the even HECK is going on right now, why is everyone hiding from us??' I have my suspicions someone is spreading crap about us, but I have no evidence. However, at the second last house, this girl hid from us behind her freezer, and when she finally came out, I told her, 'listen, if you really don't want us to pass by, we won't', and there was a kid there who was like, 'you really won't listen to these guys? Come on' and so I was like, 'hey, you got 5 minutes to talk a little?' and he was kinda surprised, but was like, 'yeah for sure!' and we went to his house, legit the last one in Domingo Lobo, and had an awesome lesson with him. It made all the strugglin' worth it, and as we hiked up the side of the hill,  I played my harmonica in success.
I want all of you to know that I know with a little help (or a LOT of help) from our Savior Jesus Christ, that we can all get by, no matter what we have in front of us; just turn to him and take his hand. Only by Christ is it possible. 

Got a new mini for the last week of the transfer, transfer Sunday is coming up here, I'll keep y'all posted on what happens! Have my suspicions, but won't say anything here. 

(Funny story on the service project:  They are helping a member family weed their crop using hoes.  After only a few minutes, the 15 year old boy says "Elder, you should stop and take a rest.  You look tired."  English translation:  "You're terrible at this!"  Give him credit for trying....)

Elder Massey

Monday, 17 August 2015

Hear Me

"Can nobody hear me?", sings Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons, "I've got a lot that's on my mind".

This week has been a lot of the same-old-same-old on my end, or so it feels like. Days come and go, and sometimes I wonder, 'can nobody hear me??????' and it bugs the HECK outta me cuz I'm here all like 'I'VE GOT THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS YOU EVER NEED LISTEN TO ME', but I guess this week, I've started to realize, it really isn't all that important whether people hear ME or not, but whether they hear the Spirit talking to them. In walking around my area, I'm able every day to find people to teach, but them thing that's been bugging me is that there is quite little progression in my investigators, and my role is just 'the nice Elder that has a good message and of course we'll listen to the word but I'm too busy to go to church', and so, in all honesty, I'm getting a little bit frustrated sometimes, cuz I question whether or not what I'M doing is good enough, but, in reality, it doesn't matter whether they hear me, cuz if they don't hear the Spirit, they won't hear ANYTHING. 

One day this week, I was quite frustrated, and waking up, I really did NOT want to do anything. My desire was so low, and I was pretty bummed out. That morning, I said to Heavenly Father, pretty honestly, 'Heavenly Father, I have no clue what I'm doing here, but I know you need me. I'm willing to do whatever you want, just give me the strength to do it', and for me, I've begun to realize often to solution for this is just to put one foot in front of the other, no matter how tough or tiring or useless it might seem. That day, I just walked forward, hoping for the best, and as my day went on, I was able to feel a TOTAL change in how I felt, going from exhausted and disheartened, to being excited and FULL of energy. That day, we had walked out to the zone a bit further away, Tinteira, and on the walk back, I was so happy I was singing and maybe dancing like a bit of a white idiot. Thankfully nobody really lives on the road to Tinteira, so nobody really saw or heard :) I guess if I learned anything from that day, it was that when we've got nothing left to give, or 'nothing left to say', as is titled another Imagine Dragons song, the Lord will give us that which we need to get through those days that we just don't wanna do anything. It was definitely a humbler for me, and a day I was very grateful for. 

To get back to my main point I wanna make, this past week I've really started on focusing in on my investigators really looking for an answer about our message. We are so confident that our message is true, that we get our investigators to legitimately ASK God if they are true or not. Sometimes, it's absolutely incredible to see what people receive, and other times, terribly sad to see how little people are really willing to give to God. One lesson we taught this week, we were teaching a 19 year old girl, and I was trying so hard to help her understand how important it was for her to ask for an answer, but I could tell she was apathetic towards it, so I felt the need at the end to ask her, 'Do you honestly want an answer about these things?', to which she responded, 'well, yeah', and I asked her, 'then do you honestly believe God can give that to you?', after which the answer was a bit of a shoulder shrug, a bit of a 'hmm' and a final, 'more-or-less', which in Cape Verdean talk, basically means 'yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, not really'. I could teach this girl EVERYTHING about the gospel, perfectly, and with the Spirit, but if she doesn't believe God can actually tell her it's true, then I've got nothing for ya. 

I really hope my email this week hasn't come across as depressing, I apologize for as such. I'm gunna be sticking with my companion likely til the end of the transfer, which is another two weeks. Won't be the worst thing ever, but I'm just dang tired . On the upside, though, my harmonica skills are becoming INCREDIBLE. 
 (And he has been asked to teach a ward member how to play the piano...that should be interesting!)

Love y'all, and thanks for the support! 
Elder Massey

Thursday, 13 August 2015


 (No new pictures for the past couple of weeks.  His SD card has acquired a virus....hoping we get some new ones next week!)

' I've got the most important line for you ' once sang Tyler Bancroft of Said the Whale. I'm starting to feel a little bit like him some days, seeing as how that's exactly what I'm trying to tell everybody here that I'm teaching, and I just want them so badly to get it. Sometimes, it's a bit tough though.

This week, we had Zone Meeting with all the other missionaries on the island of Fogo here in Cova Figueira, and we had the focus of making sure we're really focusing our investigators in on baptism, which, in reality, is not something I've been doing a good job at. I've been more or less just teaching people with the hope they'll just decide to get baptized, and maybe inviting those who seem like they're genuinely interested, but now, I've started telling EVERYONE what Tyler Bancroft told me to tell them, and that this is 'the most important line'. After Zone Meeting, with the 3 remaining days in the week, I was able to go out and double the amount of dates we had marked for baptism. (Maaaaaay have marked an inactive-member-turned-Adventist guy for baptism, but that's besides the point for now... )

Currently, I'm in a members home typing while the President of Cape Verde is leading a cooking show on TV.. not too sure why he's got his own cooking show, but I guess he must be a good cook!

The reason why I have to write from a member's house this week is because, yesterday, on P-day, Cape Verde went down with a 'National Crisis', where legit ALL the internet went down EVERYWHERE. In the whole country. Maybe that's not exactly a national crisis, but just to give perspective of the country I'm living in, it IS possible for the internet to go out on all 9 of the inhabited islands. Yup. 

As for the work I'm doing, I'm pretty darn exhausted. With my mini, I've continued to do a lot fo the work. It's gotten to the point where I feel like I'm sorta dragging him around, which isn't entirely his fault, since he's not really a full-on missionary, but I'll be running around trying to find lessons, and he just walks like 10 steps behind joking around with Dani, our Ward Mission Leader. I miss having a legit comp, buuuuut it is giving me the opportunity to work even harder. I've never had to work harder in my life than these past few weeks. AP Calculus in Grade 12 does come as a close second though.. hahaha

Even though it is tough right now, I too have to put my trust in Heavenly Father as he sings a little bit like Tyler as he's telling me that, even though it ain't easily, that this 'is the most important line' for me, cuz no matter how tough it is, how depressed I might feel some days, or how exhausting it might be, there is NO WHERE I would rather be right now. I'm having a blast, an exhausting, exhausting blast. 
Love y'all!
Elder Massey


Have You Ever Seen the Rain?


Spent FAR too long tryna come up with a witty song title about rain, guess this is the best I could do... I guess I coooooulda gone with Toto's 'Africa', seeing as how I've seen the rain down in Africa, buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut

For a while here in Fogo, it's been getting cooler and the clouds have been swooping in, but this week, the rain began to fall. Now, I guess I never really took much thought about the rain back home, most of the time it just interruted or cancelled a soccer game, but here, rain is quite literally everyones life. In Cova Figueira, everybody has what's called a petxiga (best guess at how to spell it, pronounced pe-jee-ga), which is the Fogo-Creole word, more or less, for field. The livelyhood of everyone in the town relies on whether the rain comes, and if they're able to harvest their crops or not. If no rain comes, these people have got nothing, so you can imagine the excitement when we got rain about 3 times this past week. To give some insight into how dry it really is, as we went out to teach one day while it was sprinkling, in my mind I was complaining about why we had to work in the rain, if I was just gunna get wet and miserable. About 8 seconds into that thought, I realized I was being a baby, and to tough it out, as difficult as it was. I could say it was the #struggle, but to be honest, it really wasn't :P 

In thinking about the rain, I had a study this week, where I got in real deep, and thought about the ways in which we need spiritual rain in our own lives. I'm sure I sound awful prententious saying all this, but I thought about how each one of us is this seed, trying to grow to become what our Heavenly Father wants of us, and we can do all we can to grow, but unless we're getting that spiritual rain from our Father, we've got nothin'. With that being said, it's amazing to see how Heavenly Father can give that spiritual rain to us as we diligently search for it. We've been teaching this kid, Ricardo (I say kid, but he's like 18), who's got an icredible desire to grow spiritually, but was doing little to actually get it. This week, we worked with him to get reading in the Book of Mormon, and one day, he stopped us on the street and was like, 'guys! I read from page 1 to page 19 in like, one day, and I totally get what's going on!', and on top of that, we had what was one of the coolest lessons on my mission talking about answers from the Holy Ghost, and he was able to really feel in that moment that he got an answer. The only problem, is we've gotta help him make that next step to be baptized, something that's a bit of a bump or a hill for him to get over, despite the fact that he wants to follow Heavenly Father with everything he's got. We're working for baptism this week, and it'll take something of a miracle for that to happen, but I'm praying for that rain to come and help him grow!! 

Because of the rain coming this week, we had the opportunity to go up into the petxigas with some of our favorite members (basically my family here), and got to work with them. It was a super legit time. Basically, a bunch of Cape Verdeans taught a wimpy white guy how to use a hoe, and I more or less shoveled dirt over holes they'd put seeds in for like 4 hours. My hands hurt so much after, I had that thing where you have your hands wrapped around something so long that your fingers stick in that shape, and it's like near impossible to straighten them again. That day was a dang tiring day. 

In all honesty, this week has been dang exhausting. We've been walking all over the place, working a heck ton (both for the Lord and in the petxigas) and all I wanna do is lay down and die at the end of pretty well every day. One of my few joys in life has become my case of Mountain Dew and the Froot Loops I bought last week, and so my life basically consists of me going out during the day, beggin people to talk to me, walking all over the place, then coming home, laying on my bed exhausted, as I write in my journal and eat such as was mentioned above. I'm so tired. 

Funny story for this week? Well, at one point, when we were in Tinteira, we were talking with a member for a bit, and our Ward Mission Leader, Dani, went off and kept on walking, and we lost him for a bit, so as we were trying to find him, I saw him further down the road, appearing to be talking to a teenage girl about something, but as we got closer, it became apparent he was in a doctrinal argument with her. Turns out, the girl was a member of the Adventist church (there's a billion of em here), and Dani was trying to testify to her that he knew for a fact that the Spirit World is where we go right after we die, and was getting rather upset about it, while the girl was trying to ask him to prove it in the Bible. Dani was taking it pretty seriously, but these Adventists were being pretty chill, they thought it was funny how upset he was getting, so I swooped in, all missionary-like, with the dialogue being something along the follwoing lines: 
Me: 'Hey, what's that scripture you got in the Bible? Mind if I study it a bit tomorrow?' Her: 'Sure! Here it is!' 'Hey, if I study this scripture, would you mind studying a little in the Book of Mormon?' 'No problem, we've got one at home!' 'Awesome! Here's a chapter to read (Alma 40), and next week when we come back, I'd like to talk a little about it' 'No worries, we'd love to!' 'Sweet! Have a good one!' and I walked outta there like a gang-buster. I'll be prideful and say I was darn proud of difusing the situation. 

Well, I'm sure that enough babbling for this week, hope you're all doing just peachy! 
Elder Massey