Monday, 28 September 2015

Glass of Water

I choose such a title for this week because of our greatest lack from this past week...
Our hours went without water literally all week. It was such a foreign sight to me to turn on the water tap, and have nothing come out, or try to wash the dishes, and nothing happens when I go to the sink. It's incredible how important water becomes to you when you don't have any. There were a few days this past week where showering was a bit difficult; we do have a big water barrel inside our house for emergency water, but it was not fun/enjoyable to take showers with said water, so many days existed of a hair wash, and maybe a nice rinse. Some days, the dishes went without being washed for 1, 2, maybe 3 days. It was pretty darn annoying and sad.
We also had the issue of having a new bathtub put into our house (don't ask about that issue, that's a whole OTHER deal), which meant it was hard to be in our house during those hours. Let it be known, it is hard to maintain the Spirit in a personal study when all you hear is BAM BAM BAM against the wall. That was sure fun.
Okay, as for work wise, it's been a pretty fun week. We didn't have as much luck with us to teach as MUCH as we woulda liked, but the lessons we taught went pretty well. Just about once a week, we manage to find a day where we have little to no appointments marked, so we just have to ask whoever we see if they want to sit down and talk. One such day this week, we managed to find 3 lessons by just telling the people that we would take 5 minutes, and they could kick us out whenever we want. One such lesson was sitting out on a back step with a guy named Janito, who was nice enough to let us talk to him for a bit. As we taught the first lesson to him, Elder Mason was explaining the importance of prophets to him, when he asked us the question, 'y'know, I totally agree with you guys on this prophet stuff, like I feel like we really need them, but could it be that God would call a prophet in our day?' and internally I was just like YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS because I love it when people say stuff like that. It was so much fun to respond to him and look him in the eyes and tell him, ' yeah, God actually does do that. Can we explain that to you?'
My mission is slowly conditioning me into becoming a very good housewife. This week we had a visit from the Zone Leaders, with whom we had our district meeting with, and it was rad, but after, we were kinda waiting around, and neither them, nor the other Cova Figueira elders had any plans for lunch, neither the food to make anything really (we live pretty thinly in Cova), so I offered to make pizza for them all. What followed was me making pizza for 6 elders, which ended up being something like 4 or 5 different pizzas. Also, one night this week we came home, and I just knew that I needed to have brownies in my life that night, so Elder Mason and I put on some rousing EFY music and made wonderful brownies. I have members here that want me to teach them how to make them. We'll see what happens with that...

The best part of this week though was easily Sunday, in that we had 3 investigators come to church, which is a Cova record for me. One of them was a guy I taught way back, but was never able to find again, but was invited by a member this past week to come and join us at church. it was freakin' sweet. The best part though was standing in the halls of the church in between classes and seeing our investigator, Ricardo, standing in the church. It was so awesome, because we had no clue he was coming, and didn't expect him to show up, due to work in the fields. It was just AWESOME to see him there. Sunday was the freakin' boss.
Sorry for a rather scattered letter today, it's been a busy one, and I gotta run pretty quick. I'm so sunburned right now, we went up to the volcano here today. Pictures to follow next week.
Love y'all!
Elder Massey

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

In One Ear

Never discount a missionary opportunity.....
As Matt Shultz sings on the opening track of Cage the Elephant's debut album, 'it goes in one ear, and right out the other'.
In our missionary work, we are constantly bringing forward the message Heavenly Father has given us to bring, and when we give it to our investigators, it becomes their job to decide whether or not to let that message go 'in one ear, and right out the other', or to let it stay, and dwell in them. As missionaries, we just gotta do our very best to make sure that message gets to as many ears as we can! Whether our investigators choose to listen to that guide of the Spirit or not, is ultimately their choice. I felt like that's been a bit of a theme this past week in our work.
Work wise, it's been a pretty regular week, though it's been a fun one for sure. I've been finding it tough to balance the amount of time in how much I work with my companion, Elder Mason, in training him, and in actually being out doing the work. We'll be spending so much time in the mornings studying and doing practices and stuff that I'll look at my watch or our phone and be like 'OH dang it we gotta get out there', and other days, we go out without getting enough practicing in! It's a very fine line I'm working on trying to figure it out, but let it be known, training is very fun. I'm enjoying it a lot. We've been working to make sure that what we study and work on doesn't 'go in one ear, and right out the other' ... hahaha
Elder Massey and his "son" Elder Mason from California

There were a few cool and fun experiences this week that definitely stood out. I've been working on getting better at talking to everyone again, kinda like I was doing last transfer, because I've been focusing so much on the existing investigators we have (some who let the message go 'in' and 'out') that I've been lacking on making sure we're always finding new people! We found two different people this week that I thought definitely stood out in cool-ness, that I like a lot. Both of them seemed to come when I questioned whether or not I should stop to talk to that person; I've found a lot of the time, I'll be passing by a house and think, 'hey, you should knock there' but my mind will tell me, 'nahhhh, you don't have enough time', but I almost always stop, think about it, and just do the dang contact, and 9 times out of 10, they turn out to be cool people. Funny how that one works...
One of these investigators we found is named Toni, he's 19 years old, and we found him in Tinteira. I was doubting whether or not to pass by this one house, and once I just decided to get it over with, I found out this guy lived there who I had contacted in the past, and was waiting for us to come by, but we never showed. I was pretty darn happy when we found that out. To add to it, he's never heard our message before, which is SUPER rare here in Fogo, cuz there's only so many people, that legit almost everyone has talked to the Elders before. We had a sweet lesson with him, and he seemed super willing to follow up with our invites. Hopefully we can find him again this week!
A bit of a funny story from this week, I had been planning with our young women's leader for a while now about havinh a youth activity in our ward, since we've been teaching so many youth, and this week, we finally got around to actually having the activity. Only problem was, is that when the activity was supposed to start, at 3, there was legit no one there. So we waited, and waited, and waited, and by about 5, we had 8 or so people there, none of whom were investigators. We ended up losing the entire afternoon to running this activity since it started so darn late, but we had a bunch of fun. I wanted to duplicate the Tree of LIfe activity we did at Moroni's Quest, but in classic Cape Verdean fashion, it came no where close. A lot of the youth were being used to be temptations, cuz they wanted to join in, so in the end, only like 6 people ended up going through the course we set up, and like 3 of them made it to the end. It ended up being super fun, but it was still just super average; I'm starting to realize that just slighly average is starting to describe a lot of standards of life here in Cape Verde... but it is what it is!
Hope all is well with all in the sound of this letter! Keep on being awesome!
Elder Massey

Honoring the start of hockey season.....

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Another's Arms

Chris Martin once sang, 'Is there someone there to reach me, or someone there to find me?'
Sometimes we feel like we're calling out, looking for something to help us, and it feels like nothing is coming. However, we can ALL find what we're looking for in Another's Arms... and that person happens to Jesus Christ :)
This week we spent our time in the work of helping people find those arms outstretched to all, and whether or not we made a difference on paper or not, our work is always doing as such. Something I'm continually working to realize is not that I'm here to teach a certain amount of people, a certain amount of lessons, or a certain amount of baptisms, but to continually push those around me into the arms of our Savior Jesus Christ, and when somebody can recognize that, the feeling is incredible.
This week was pretty simple and regular work wise, but there were definitely a couple cool experiences. One day this week, we went down to our lower zone, Maria de Cruz and Domingo Lobo, and we managed to teach 4 different lessons, 3 of which I managed to convince the people to sit down and talk with me 'for jsut 5 minutes'. One of the things I love about saying that, is I always preface that with, 'we'll only take 5 minutes, when you don't have any more time, you let us know, and we'll end', but the incredible thing is, it doesn't matter how much time we take once we've started that lesson, because the people we're teaching feel that Spirit, and will attently listen for 10, 15, or 20 minutes or more, to the message we have, without a problem of taking more than we had originally agreed upon. This week, I think I came to the conclusion that this happens because they can feel that sweet spirit that we bring, and genuinely want to hear. It's pretty darn cool how the Spirit works sometimes.
In examples of investigators feeling or recognizing that, we had a pretty cool experience with one of my investigators, Ricardo, who I like a lot. Last night, we had stopped by to talk with him, and as we went to take our 'only 5 minutes', I had no clue what I wanted to teach him, because I knew he didn't need what we had planned. It was fair enought to say the Spirit led that lesson, as we talked exactly about what was needed for him, and at the end, when I asked Ricardo if he had any questions or comments, he said, 'I just have one comment' and he kinda paused and said, "the Spirit is here right now', and it made me smile so much. It was so cool. He definitely felt the love of another's arms in that moment.
As for training this week, Elder Mason is doing a boss job. He's always willing to learn and get better, which is super awesome. Nothing is more frustrating than a stubborn missionary, so when a missionary is open to do whatever the heck his mission dad tells him to do, it's a lot of fun. We've been working a lot in going over the First Lesson, which means I've been getting to know it EVEN more than ever.
Apologies for what could appear as a rather 'mofino' update, always stressin' about pleasin' the blog crowd, but I'm afraid today may dissapoint. hopefully next week is better :) 
Love y'all! 
Elder Massey

Monday, 7 September 2015

Sweet Child 'O' Mine

Throwing this title back to the days when I was born on the mission, and my dad, Elder Stone, used the same title to describe my birth. As a newly proud father, figured I would do the same!
This week was a bit of a whirlwind, as a whole lot of random stuff went on. It all started off with my mini going home on Monday, meaning I had to stay with the other Elders in Cova Figueira, and find a member to go out with me during the day to teach, cuz I didn't wanna leave my area all on it's own for the better part of the week. That meant that even HARDER work was needed, cuz it was just legit ME walking around with a name tag on, and Dani with me, preaching the good word. In getting a greenie, that meant I would get to go to Praia to pick him up, which I was SUPER stoked about, so on Thursday, me and Elder Bullock went on a divison in his area, as he was without a companion as well, which happened to work perfectly. We had a member in his area tell us that we should serve together, because 'everybody would love us'. I guess it's just evident how incredibly loveable us Canadians are...
Friday brought to us our grand journey to Praia, which was a crazy day all on it's own. There were 4 of us who went together, Elder Bullock, Elder Manjate, a Sister, and I, to go get our greenies coming in, and to recieve some training on HOW to train. Once in the mission office, Elder Bullock and I got to give our sons the moment we never had, in the Assistants announcing to the greenie who their companion would be, and him running out to give him a hug. Both of our dads were just too lazy or something amd couldn't make it for OUR big day, but I'm not upset about it or anything. (perhaps all the problems with their flight there may have played a major role in all of that....)
My new companion is Elder Mason (which is hilarious cuz like nobody here can differentiate our names from each other, they just think we have the same name) and he's from Southern California. It's so incredibly incredible to be with someone who speaks English again, and to be able to make the same jokes and stuff. One thing I'm LOVIN' about being a dad is jsut how dang excited and curious he is about anything. To me, it's kinda funny, but at the same time, I remember I was exactly the same way when I came in. He's a SUPER fun kid, really chilled out (I think that's cuz his from Cali), and will do or listen to anything I say, so ,y power right now is pretty incredible hahaha. I was an incredibly proud dad when he got up in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, and bore his testimony, even before I had gotten up! I know I couldn't have done that on my first fast Sunday. I am serious so excited for this trasnfer, and maybe the next two, with him. He's such a boss, and he's gunna do incredible things in this mission. ( photos of father and son today...)
Only other news from this week was getting to go on a divison with my MTC comp, Elder Maake, while we were in Praia. They wanted us to be working duirng the day, after the fun was done, so I got to go out with him and his companion, Elder Lunt, for a bit. Needless to say, it was interesting. I had a blast, and freakin' Elder Maake speaks the language waaaaaaaay better than I can now, a big difference from the MTC. Not everything changed since the MTC though :) It was awesome and hilarious to see him again, aaaaaand I got to see what it's like to work in Praia. Waaaaay different than what I'm used to!
Anyways, that's about all I've got for this week, sorry it wasn't overly spiritual, but this week has been a lot of fun for me. I think in showing a missionary how to work, has really taught me exactly how much I'VE learned these past 8 (almost 9) months. The mission is incredible.
Love y'all!!
Elder Massey, the Dad

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Under The Bridge

So, I've never honestly been a huge Red Hot Chili Peppers fan, but this week this just seemed fitting to use this song, for reasons which I will divulge.

So, this past week, I said goodbye to my first mini, Elder Rocha, and got a new mini, Elder Andrade, just for one week, until the end of the transfer. Now, I had been spending a fair amount of time last transfer feeling sorry for myself for having a mini, Elder Rocha, and thinking my life was so hard. I only realized how good of a mini he was after he left, and I had a new one. 

One day I found myself singing the above mentioned Chili Peppers' song, and the words rung strangely true for how I felt with my new mini, 

'Some days I feel like I don't have a partner, some days I feel like my only friend'

Now, that may sound depressing, but I say it in a humorous way. Having adjusted to how mini's work, I had thought, getting my new mini, things would be easier, that I would know how to teach him better and such, but it turns out it was VERY opposite. I'm not entirely sure when I realized he was a bit of a 'block' (as I soon termed it), but he knew very very little as to what we actually teach, and how to teach. Now, I understand that, being a missionary for 8 months, I was far more used to it than he was, but even as I taught him how to do simple things, such as telling the Joseph Smith story, or teaching what the Book of Mormon is, or even HOW to teach with a scripture, but just about every time I did so, he was like, 'yeah, I don't understand', or, would do a great job in companion study practices, but once we taught, it jsut all went away. This week, there were legit MANY lessons I taught 100% on my own, while when I was with Elder Rocha, he would often teach a large chunk of the 1st Lesson. It was kinda a funny strugle this week, and thankfully, I was able to laugh about it more than get frustrated about it. 

This email might end up just being a long rant, so I ask for your patience, as I continue with my rant. 

There were a few classic, defining crappy moments from this week that were just too classic too not share, it was pretty great. 
First day with my companion, we went out teaching, and found a new investigator to whom we taught the First Lesson. Knowing my companions likely hesitance (or probable incompetence) I taught a majority of the lesson, including the First Vision of Joseph Smith, at which point I passed the time over to my companion, clearly to teach about
the Book of Mormon. The first things he said to the investigator was, 'yeah, so why is God important to you?' (which is not a bad question, but when we've already asked the exact same question early, is not necessary to return to) and proceeded to teach a VERY mellow and not-at-all accurate version of the First Lesson in about 2 or 4 minutes, saying miscellaneous things here and there, and NOTHING about the Book of Mormon. Seeing the situation, I quickly found an opportunity, and brought it back to what we WERE teaching, and proceeded to finish off the lesson on my own. That day, I didn't pass the time over to my comp to teach again :P call that mean, but I didn't wanna risk him saying something that we don't actually believe in, such as 'the Book of Mormon was written by Joseph Smith' (direct quote from a practice that was done). 

Also, had a moment one night where he called the Zone Leaders (on his personal phone) and told them he wanted to go home, but wouldn't tell them why he wanted to go home. The ZLs were like, 'come on man, what's going on?' and he's like 'I won't say' and they kept going asking, and finally he was like 'yeah, I'm passing through hunger'. NOW, I desire it to be known, that my house always has food sufficient for any needs. I always have ramen, spaghetti, potatoes, popcorn, cookies, basically any random Cape Verdean need, but somehow my comp was living hungry? It was a crap excuse for wanting to go home. The ZLs told him to suck it up and make til Monday. It was definitely legendary. 

I would talk about more stuff, but I've gotta get running here. The news for this week, is that I don't have to put up with minis any longer, as I will be TRAINING :D I get a new missionary from AMERICA, and for that, I get to go to Praia this Friday to pick him up. You could say I'm moving up in the world :) 

Love y'all! 
Elder Massey