Sunday, 8 November 2015

For Those Below

As I mentioned in my last letter, this past interview with President Mathews, he more or less, 'called (us) to be a rock for those below' as Marcus Mumford and Winston Marshall would say, as they harmonize together in an oh-so-beautiful way that I miss so badly.
I really miss real music hahaha.
This week became a new focus for us in not only teaching less active members of the church, but in actually finding them out. In doing so, a lot of this week became a bit of an awkward goose chase in taking the names we were given, and putting a name to that face, and then further apologizing for not a) knowing their name before hand and b) not knowing they were a member of the church. It was kinda crazy, cuz in our first night of work with this new focus, we were able to get from a member a list of 22 people she knew living within a 5 minute distance of each other who were less active or inactive members of the church. Our area has such a high population of less actives it's crazy. Every week, we have about 60-70 people at church in our ward, but I'm pretty sure if we had every single less active member and their family come, we would have a frequency of 120-150 people; it's pretty incredible.
With a bit of history on Cova Figueira, there are likely 50 cities in Cape Verde that have a higher population, but have not accepted the church as well as they have here. Starting in about 1998 or so, people started to make the trek every week to go to church in Sao Filipe, about an hour away, so that they could have the restored gospel. Because of such a small population, just about everyone here is related in some way, so as one family would embrace the gospel, their brother would embrace it, or their cousin, or mom, or aunt, until this point in time, when some parts of our area are like legit 80% or 90% members, but a large amount are inactive, for a various amount of reasons, as I'm sure some of you can imagine. Now, it's our job to come in, and lift up 'those below', or those who have fallen along the way. Woo-hoo for us I guess?
It's been quite fun this week as we've searched out all those people, and just about our most frequently asked question we ask people is, 'hey, were you baptized in our church?', to which the surprising answer is often like yes about 50% of the time! Some days this week, we just went out and contacted the houses members have directed us to, and that's been the full extent of our work; there are SO many houses that we have to contact doing so :P One of our favorite things to do is to show up at houses, and help people de-shell their recently grown beans, and use it as an opportunity to talk to those people. One day this week, I'm positive 3 hours of our day was spent just shelling beans and talking/teaching people; needless to say, Elder Mason and I have gotten pretty good at shelling beans. We're almost on Cape Verdean level hahaha.
One of the things I love about teaching these less active people is everyone of them has a testimony of the gospel; just about every one has their own conversion story they're willing to tell us. We get to see these people smile as they tell us how they felt at church, or how much they love reading in the Book of Mormon, or how they came to know Joseph Smith was a prophet. Our job is we get to help people recognize these things, and realize what they really mean to them, so they can act on them. It's so much fun to see the smiles given when these people talk about the impact of the Restored Gospel in their own lives, and every time it strengthens my own testimony of the gospel.
With that said, none of the work we've done has been easy. For Sunday afternoon, we had marked with 15 different investigators or less actives to pass by, and each and every single one of them fell through. Some days are real good, and some days you just have no clue what the heck is going on, but no matter what, it's all worth it.
I can't believe it's already November!
Elder Massey 

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