Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Every Teardrop is a Waterfall

This week's title is a little less philosophical and a little more literal.

Just about half of our week resulted in us ending up pretty wet, since Cova Figueira was blessed with abundant rain. We had a pretty good streak from Wednesday to Friday of just being in a state of wetness. It wasn't all that fun :P

On Thursday, we had left our house at about 1, to go out and walk to Tinteira, while it was raining slightly; it really didn't appear to be all that bad, since it was the eauivalent of a windy drizzle. However, it became pretty apparent that, as we walked, those little raindrops resulted in feeling like going through a waterfall; by the time we hit Tinteira, about 45 minutes later, we were thoroughly soaked. Elder Mason took a video on his camera of pouring water out of his shoe. It meant that everything from our shirts, ties, pants, shoes, planners, scriptures, and even pamphlets were just totally wet. Needless to say, as much fun as it is to walk 45 minutes in the rain, it was pretty miserable. 
Singing in the Rain with Elder Mason
(He shared that as they were getting soaked they started to sing "Called to Serve" in Portuguese and it helped to cheer them up....)

However, as I walked, I sorta realized to myself that, I wouldn't do this for just no reason; I would never actively CHOOSE to walk that much and be that soaked, but I did so because I knew it was what the Lord wanted. In putting our faith in him, the Lord was willing to bless us with the success we needed that day; we taught a lesson in literally every house we stopped at in Tinteira that day, meaning a solid 5 in just Tinteira alone. It was a super cool blessing. 

It wasn't too nice, though, when a lady, who graciously let us into her house, told us that, 'as nice as it was that we walked, it really wasn't necessary to make such a sacrifice, since Jesus already died for our sins' (you can be THAT felt good to hear, eh?) I responded in a sorta of manner of, 'well, if he died for all our sins, then it's all the more important we walk hear so you can know how to be saved from them!'. Basically, I think she was just upset that we walked so far to teach in a town dominated by her church :P it was a FUN lesson to teach. She kept trying to throw down and argue with us, but we gave her nothing. It's in lessons where people try to go against you that you really realize how true the gospel we live is; you just get this overwhelming feeling of certainty that this IS the way that God determined for us. I love it. 

Just about our coolest moment from the week was teaching our investigators Edmir and Carlos, who are High School teachers. We've been teaching them for a while, and had the opportunity this week to teach them the 3rd lesson, or the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we taught, it became clear how prepared they are to receive the gospel at this point in time, Just about every question we asked them, they answered it with Preach My Gospel-esque accuracy. When we got to baptism, I explained it, and Carlos was like, 'yeah, I just got one question, when is it that I know I'm ready to be baptized?'. It was such a beautiful question that I was so taken aback and had no clue how to answer it :P hahaha! After explaining to them how simple it really is to know, they resulted that, while they want to follow the true church, they need a certain amount of time to know for sure. They promised a visit to our church this coming Sunday, and agreed to be baptized when they know that it is true. They've come quite the long way, from almost being contentious with us, to being like best friends with us. They are SO cool. 

We had interviews with President Mathews today, which was super good; he mentioned that he enjoys reading my blog here and there, and even gave me a suggestion for some themed-content. (He really looks out for me hahaha). He mentioned to us that, in our area, he almost changed our focus from working with investigators to working with inactive members exclusively, but decided not to; however, our focus WILL be changing, just in our area, to working more so with inactive people, since our area has a TON, and a little less with investigators. 

Should be fun :) 

Love y'all! 

Elder Massey

Monday, 19 October 2015

Ain't No Rest for the Wicked!

Okay, so I'm going to be pretty liberal with my interpretation of the song today, and am by no way suggesting any wickedness or anything of such sort. Por favor tenha pacienca comigo :)
As Matt Shultz once sang, " there ain't no rest for the wicked, money don't grow on trees; I got bills to pay, I got mouths to feed, ain't nothin' in this world's for free! "
I kinda felt that way this week juuuuust a bit (minus the wicked part) in that I kinda realized nothing in our area is going to come to us for free. As I mentioned last week, the mission changed our daily focus from 10 contacts and 3 lessons to 15 contacts and 5 lessons every day, which I knew would NOT be easy, especially in our area. Kinda like Cage the Elephant tries to tell us, I knew nothing would be coming to us for free, SO, this week we cracked DOWN and got to work.
Since our area consists of 3 main zones, Lapinha (like half of Cova Figueira), Maria de Cruz / Domingo Lobo, and Tinteira, what we've begun doing, in order to find 5 lessons every day, is work in at least 2 of those 3 zones every single day, and to be able to contact 15 people every day, is talking to literally everyone. It's actually been quite fun :)
One suggestion our Zone Leaders had for us was to use these 15 contacts as an opportunity to find 2 or 3 of our 5 lessons every day, so with that, we've taught a lot of lessons in a lot of strange places this week :) to name a few off... we taught one sitting on rocks underneath a tree, taught one on the side of the main road in Tinteira, various doorsteps, while people cut up raw pork meat, in a house where a dog wanted to kill us, on the side of the road to an Adventist who wanted to fight about why we don't use Saturday, in a house where everyone was asleep cuz they were sick except for the mom who got up to talk to us, to some girls doing homework off the side of the road, baaasically anyone sitting down in a public place this week in our area has been taught by the Elders. In working on our contacting, something I've got Elder Mason doing is asking just about anybody if they're willing to sit with us for 5 or 10 minutes, and just about every time he does the contact and asks, I feel sorta hesitant about it, but 9 times out of 10, they're willing to accept and listen to us. It's actually pretty darn fun, and becomes almost like a game most days.
In teaching so many spontaneous lessons, we were able to find a TON of new investigators this week, just left, right, and centre, of people who were like, ' yeah, come back any time Elders! ', and were even able to commit a few to baptismal dates. We've started to work with two different couples, one in Lapinha and one in Tinteira, who seem to be really cool. The couple in Lapinha has come to church both this week and last week, which has been straight up sent from Heaven. Patrik, the guy, showed up to church in a button up shirt and stingy, stylish suit, and sunglasses, and rolled in all like
 ' look at how cool I look ' but very quickly realized that our church isn't so much of a fashion parade here :) hahaha. It was boss!
Unfortunately, some people still are a bit hesitant about the 'dressing up for church' thing, since we had a LOT of less active young men tell us they couldn't come to church because they ' don't have shoes ' or because they 'have to wash clothes '. We tried telling them that they don't need to worry about the shoes they wear, cuz I'm like 97% sure the Savior didn't show up to church in Eccos, buuuuut people here are a little more hesitant to believe that. We even had an investigator tell us he would not come to church because the iron in his house was locked up and couldn't iron his clothes. The fact whether he was baptized on the 31st of this month depended on whether or not he came to church today, and while he's totally down to get baptized on the 31st, he can't now because he was too stubborn to show up in regular clothes. Expect an update next week on how I wear my sandals to church this week to show it really doesn't matter :P hahaha.
As for the reference to the 'wicked' in my title, unfortunately there are a few that don't rest. We came into our house Saturday night to find someone had cut open the netting on our window, and had entered, but we couldn't find ANYTHING missing, only stuff moved around and such. However, upon closer inspection on Sunday, I found that I am no longer in possession of my wallet :/ fortunately, my wallet had nothing of any real value, other than cards, drivers license, etc. , buuut it's just a hassle. But, life is as such when there ain't no rest for the wicked. Just meant we got to ride in the back of a police car here while they drove us up to our house to check it out. Tried making a joke to the cops about how funny it was that Elders were in the back of their car, but they either didn't hear me, or didn't think it funny. I thought it was funny though :) haha
Anyways, as such, I've been without rest this week. It would be fair to say this has been one of the hardest working weeks on my mission, aaaaaaand I gotta do it all over again now. Looking forward to continuing no rest :)
Love y'all!
Elder Massey

Catch up Elder Mason!  You can do it!

Sunday dinner?  or proof that they are eating more than rice and beans....

Keeping fit...Cape Verde style!

Monday, 12 October 2015

Hard Day's Night

While we might not have been quite like John Lennon when he sang that he'd "been workin' like a dog", this week has been a good one in the sense that it was easily our hardest working week of the past transfer, which was good. This week was especially good in that we decided to stop playing our bad luck as a just circumstance, and made sure that this week we got our work DONE!
At the beginning of this week, we looked ahead and knew it was going to be a tougher one to actually hit our goals, because we knew that Thursday, Friday, AND Saturday were all going to be gong shows, due to various events happening, as well as Sunday being transfer Sunday, so at the start of the week, we set out to make sure that, despite all these things going on, we would do everything in our power to do get that which we wanted done.
Looking back, we ended up having a pretty blessed week. Both Tuesday and Wednesday, we were very blessed by the Lord to get a bunch of lessons, a bunch of new investigators, and have fun while doing it. It was almost scary on Tuesday, how much luck we were having, because we seemed to be finding people to teach with incredible accuracy. We had gone out to Tinteira, and basically whenever we go out there, it's just us begging people to talk to us; it's pretty hard to mark specific appointments when we only go out there once a week. Anyways, as we passed by people, we managed to find people in there houses what felt like left and right, and just as we needed to as well. I think the coolest part was we had taught 3 lessons and figured we'd just wander around and find new people, when I decided to double back one more time and try this one house of a guy we've been trying to find again for a while, who I'd received as a reference a bit back. It was like all the way back where we had just come from, so it wasn't something I necessarily wanted to do, but as we passed this guy's house, he was JUST walking out the door, and we made eye contact with him, and he was like, "Elders, I'm just leaving to head out right now" and I was like, "come on man, you got just 10 minutes?" and as he thought about it, he was like, "okay, fine, I can do that", and even though it was only 10 minutes, it turned out to be a super good and super simple lesson. I walked out of that lesson knowing that Heavenly Father GAVE us that lesson like straight out of his hand, and to make things even freakier, as soon as we walked out, the bus we use to get back to Cova Figueira passed by, and we caught it. Like, what?? Can't call THAT one coincidence! Hahaha
Another awesome part about this week was we managed to find 8 new investigators, which is pretty crazy to think about; we were super blessed to find new people. Gotta say the most random new person we found was a guy we started to talk to at this one random house, who said he lives in Florida, and as we started to talk to him, found out that he actually worked at Disney World too! How random is that, a Cape Verdean who worked at Disney World?? Hahaha. We taught him a good, simple lesson too, and he was super responsive and accepting. Seems like he's a boss.
One of the things I mentioned that happened this week that would've held back our working time was the fact we had Zone Meeting on Friday, all the way in Sao Filipe, which meant we would leave super early, and get back at like 5 or 6, which is tough on the work day. In our Zone Meeting, the Zone Leaders told us that the mission is changing up our daily focuses just a bit, in that we changed from trying to get 10 contacts and 3 lessons every day, to 15 contacts and 5 lessons, as well as getting an investigator family to church every Sunday. With that all said, that is NOT easy in our area, and I was kinda freaking out a bit, cuz I have no clue how to go out and hit all of those every single day, but the Lord gave us a tender mercy this week in that we had a brand new investigator family come to church this Sunday, which was SICK! It's kinda crazy, cuz a whole bunch of little things started to pop up here and there, and I know it was the Lord doing it for us.
Side note to flaunt my pride a little bit, because I need to just a bit, I asked the Zone Leaders the past week to do a special number at our Zone Meeting on my harmonica, and I totally did. Could say I blew the Zone away with it, or at least that's what I like to think :) haha
While it's been a good, hard working week, it's been a super fun one for us. This week brought the end of the transfer, and also the end of our District Leader, Elder Reid, who goes home this week, with a few of my past companions. After the next couple days, Elder Mason will be my only 'living' companion! But, with the departure of Elder Reid brings another greenie into Cova Figueira, who will serve with Elder Cosmo, which means I get to be the big man in charge in Cova Figueira (aka, district leader). I'm stoked about what this next transfer has got for us.
Love y'all!
Elder Massey

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

The Lazy Song

Hiking to the top of the volcano last P day
If there's one strange thing I've learned on my mission, it's that I rather like Bruno Mars. Here, there is very limited amounts of English music, and Bruno Mars happens to be one of the few artists they really like here, so, while I would rarely choose to listen to him back home, a certain appreciation for him as happened in my life since hitting Cape Verde. Funny how that works, hey?
As Bruno Mars once sang, he told us that 'today I don't feel like doing anything, I just want to lay in my bed'. Maybe there's a reason why they like him so much here, because it seemed that, this weekend, as we went about to invite people to come to conference, they were busy singing the same song, not vocally, but in action :P hahaha. We gave a pretty good effort, going out and passing multiple houses before each session of conference, including taking a detour to one of our lower zones, Maria de Cruz and Domingo Lobo, just to get people to show up at church. I thought going into this past week that, having church 5 different times, would make it SUPER easy to get investigators to come, but no matter how any people we passed, or how many houses we went to, everybody was either 'too tired' or  had a 'sore body' or didn't want to lie and tell us they would come and then not show up, so would just outright say no.
We succeed when we invite!
  It was a pretty interesting experience as we walked all the way to the bottom of our area and back up to the top, pouring sweat, to show up in the church without any investigators to an already started Sunday Morning Session. It made me sad cuz being in the church was something that made me feel so happy, yet there were so many outside of those walls that weren't able to feel that same happiness, just because they would rather lay on the ground of their concrete house. I guess it made me realize that, part of my job is to help these people feel that love and that happiness when we're there, so that they can make that decision to no feel like not 'doing anything' or to 'lay in (their) bed'.

We were very lucky to have had a pretty blessed week this week, outside of the struggles we faced with General Conference. We were pretty darn lucky to be able to watch all the sessions live for the most part. Because of a bunch of stuff going on this week, with Conference, a Special training from President, and the three different zones we have, it was tougher to work at the rate or the amount that we wanted to, but it ended up being pretty good :)
Just about the highlight from this past week was a lesson we taught, to this guy named Edmir. Edmir is a high school teacher here, and we had taught his colleague Carlos back a bit, when I was with Elder Pettingill, and we had returned trying to find him, and ended up teaching his buddy. Edmir has to be about the MOST educated person I've ever taught, so while it was a good lesson, it was SUPER intimidating, as he gave absolute undivided attention to us as we spoke, and asked some pretty darn good questions. One thing I absolutely loved about the lesson was a point in time where he asked a very good question, in saying, 'why is it that people with religion and are doing the right things are ALWAYS having problems, when those who choose to do just whatever they want have an easy, perfectly fine life?', and in the moment, the Spirit gave me the answer in saying, 'Don't you think Satan is trying way harder with those people trying to follow the Lord, and those that don't, don't have those same struggles, because they're already on his side?'. I had a personal proud moment then, as I could tell that this guy, who is obviously quite learned, really thought about that answer, and then realized it was probably right. At the end of the lesson, we asked him, 'hey, you got any questions for us?' to which he responded, 'you know, I do, but I really wanna think about this message first. Thank you'. It was SO DANG COOL, and my companion, Elder Mason, walked out of that lesson on a high cuz of how cool it was. It was so cool to see how excited he was, and also how much the Lord helped us in that lesson. Hopefully when we go back he's ready to accept it all and get baptized! 

Anyways, that's a major gist of my week, though not entirely. Hope y'all have a rad week, love ya!

Elder Massey
Doing laundry the hard way!

Gifts from home!