Friday, 25 November 2016

A Cold Night Close to the End

It's crazy how fast time goes. I felt like this transfer just started. Guess not :P
One thing I've noticed recently in Praia is the temperature change. It's not one of those changes where it's like 'wow, the temperature changed', because in Cape Verde, the weather is pretty well 100% the same 100% of the time. Over the past couple weeks, I've noticed I've had to pull out my handy 'sweat sock' (the sock used to wipe off the sweat...) less and less, until this week, I don't think I used it once! It's really strange and actually really nice. We've had a couple cloudy days, which is really rare. It even rained overnight this week! It was a nice pleasant surprise. Funny how I'm commenting on this now, I feel like the temperature for ME is gunna take a significant dip here in a little bit...
WELL, this week we didn't have any sick days, which is always A plus plus plus (this dang keyboard seems to be devoid of plus signs :P), and it also meant we got a lot of really good work done. We've got a really good pool of investigators right now, which is also a desirable aspect in an area. Keeps me busy and happy :)
The Great Gathering!  (look for Sean's big smile just above the president's head...)
This week ROCKED because we had a Zone Conference, almost Mission Conference, with Elder Kearon of the Seventy. It was cool cuz we had 4 of the mission's 6 zones come in for it, with missionaries from 4 different islands making it in. Sister Mathews said at the beginning she thought it was the biggest gathering of missionaries they've ever had since they've been here. It was pretty powerful to belt out the mission hymn of Called to Serve with 70 plus (dang keyboard) missionaries. Elder Kearon is a pretty powerful man. He used incredible British words, like 'brilliant', told someone to 'mash the switch' when he wanted the lights off, and many others. I wish I wrote a list of his words. He didn't have one set thing we wanted to teach, and we must've had 4 hours just sitting listening to him. There were so many times he would stop talking, and it would be quiet, and you could almost tangibly feel the Spirit in the room as he tried to follow what it was trying to say to him. One thing he taught that I loved, he said, 'we all worry too much. It doesn't please Heavenly Father when we're so worried. Just don't worry, and work hard!' Really cool guy. It felt like we had a spiritual banquet just listening to him. Powerful guy.
This week we also had Odair's baptism. He's such a funny and happy kid, and was pretty well stoked all week. We had talked with his cousin, Rosivelt to baptize him, but snce the baptism this week was moved from 4pm to 2pm on Saturday, Rosivelt didn't make it on time, so I got to baptize him last minute. It was cool :) We even got him to prepare a short testimony to share after his baptism, and this time, I got to bug him about going to the front to bear his testimony. Kid's gunna be a future missionary, I love him to death.

Danir as well is doing really well. We've noticed that, recently, our lessons with him have taken on the role of being a little less about addressing his specific concerns, and more in just encouraging him and following up with him, he's progressing now really well. Last week when we visited him, he was happy and confident, and didn't have one specific concern or problem he brought up. Really cool to see someone follow such simple steps and find the promised blessings :) 

At church on Sunday, we had the miracle of having 5 investigators at church again. It was the first Sunday in a long time where we didn't go out before church to walk around and pass investigators to get them to go, pretty well all of them are friends or family of recent converts, and they pulled through. Between the team of Obona and Jay, they brought all 5, 2 being Obona's sisters Joviana and Carlita, and 1 being Beti, who is Jay's sister. She's looking really good for baptism this week, we hope she will be baptized. Updates to follow in next week's letter :)
Today we found a restaurant where I got a tuna steak cooked on a hot rock. I didn't think this country got that fancy. 
Fine dining...Cape Verde style


Elder Massey

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Small Bump

Been another really solid week for us, Heavenly Father definitely threw some miracles out there for us cuz he's a mega bro.
Our week started out great. We went from emailing to teach, and like I mentioned last week, our go to is always Danir on Monday nights. Well, not only had he kept the commitments we gave him, but he was excited to tell us about it. He had started praying to ask for little things, as well as searching for that answer from God. He started studying based on some of his bigger doubts, and told us, that for the first time, it felt like he was studying because he wanted to, not because someone was making him. He had this glow about him, that when we taught, we could see he was accepting it as best he could. He just seemed really happy! It's amazing to see how simple a change in action can change a person's countenance. 
Another continuing miracle from this week was Odair, who's a MEGA boss. I feel that every time we teach him, I'm either teaching my little brother Simon, or my dad as a 12 year old investigator. He's just happy all the time, gets everything, and is stoked about church. We got to meet his dad this week, who also loves the missionaries, having been taught by Sisters in the past. We took the baptismal form for him to fill out, and he just took it, signed it, and smiled. Really good guy. At church on Sunday, Odair was sitting a few rows behind us, and any time I would look behind to see if any other investigators had showed up, he would look at me, and do the same thing Simon would do to me back home to get me to go up to the front and bear my testimony. Made me laugh :) Odair's gunna get baptized this week, we're STOKED.
One setback from this week was a small bump that appear in our plans: a literal small bump. Elder Bowman discovered some strange bumps on his thighs this week, so we got permission to go to the doctor from Sister Mathews. The nice Spanish doctor informed Elder Bowman that they were the result of probably bug bites that just got irritated, and got big, but that we had to take 3 days off of working so they could get better :P we weren't very happy about that. Friday we were detained in the walled prison that is our house with not a whole lot to do. Thankfully we were able to get partial work done on both Saturday and Sunday, and Heavenly Father helped us out a bunch in terms of our investigators. 
The past couple Sundays, we've struggled to get investigators to come to church, but this week, we got 5 to come, which was awesome. We got Obona involved, and he brought 3 people with him, our progressing investigator Beti, who we hope to baptize by the end of the month, as well as his sister Joviana and niece Carlita. We had a few members ask about them :P Heavenly Father also blessed us by helping us get Tommy to come to church with us, who hasn't come in a few months. He's been awesome this week in his reading and keeping his commitments to find an answer.
One thing I've been think a lot about this week is about trusting in the Lord and his promises. It's so cool to see that, when an investigator actually does what we invite them to do, they find the answer they're promised. For us as missionaries, we have to do a lot to trust that he'll fulfill them too. Sometimes it's easy to think the invites we give them or promises we give come from us, but it's such an incredible thing to know that it doesn't, that it comes from the Lord. Just something I felt from this week :)
Love y'all!
Elder Massey

Some people never really grow's a minion celebration!

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Fix You

P Day fun!
It's been a crazy busy week, just one of those weeks where we cracked down and worked HARD. It was really good. One theme I noticed from this week was the struggles and successes our investigators are having with finding their answers to whether or not the Book of Mormon is true. Figured I'd talk a little bit about that today :)
Every Monday night, one appointment we've made pretty steady is an inactive member named Danir, who is the son of our branch's Relief Society President. He's someone I've been working with quite a bit since I've got here, and is honestly really interesting. He struggles with a lot of disbelief and not being able to believe due to the way he thinks things rationally. We taught him last Monday about prayer, and how prayer is a two way conversation. He had expressed to us in the past that, when he prays, he prays to thank for things, but not to ask, because he doesn't believe that God can communicate to us. We had a really good conversation with him, and his mom, Hirondina, contributed really well too, and we focused on that necessity of asking things of God. We taught that if he never tried, he'd never know, so we invited him to make asking blessings from God become a focus for him. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but something struck him, and he remained pretty quiet during the lesson, which is unlike him. At the end of the lesson, he agreed to close with prayer, and included asking things of God as part of his prayer. It was really really cool. We'll see tonight how he's doing.
Another really cool experience this week was with Tommy, who we've still been teaching, just a little more sparsely. He's kinda dropped off a little bit, hasn't been reading, hasn't been coming to church, etc. These past few weeks as we've taught him, he's expressed frustration at why he can't get the answer that he wants, whether the church is true or not. He's very humble in the fact that he will recognize when he's at fault, and was willing to admit that he knew he wasn't doing his part. On Saturday night, we had a really powerful lesson with him, where he really opened up on his desire to know which church is true, since his grandmother caused for him to doubt a lot of things in a conversation they had. Tommy isn't the type of person who talks and talks, but he went off for quite a bit about it. He told us that now, he is ready to really put himself to the test and read daily, and also come to church to know if what we are teaching is true. It was cool to see him come to that conclusion based on what we had taught him so many times.
One miracle coming out of our area right now is a kid named Odair, who we started teaching this past week. A few weeks back, a member brought his 13 year old cousin, Odair, to church, and brought him again last Sunday. We weren't super thrilled about the idea of teaching a 13 year old on his own, but we figured, 'why not?', so we got to sit down with him this week, together with the member who brought him, Rosivelt, and realized he's got to be among the coolest of 13 year old kids out there. I'm pretty sure he was more attentive than I would've been if missionaries were teaching me! He kept eye contact the whole lesson, answered questions really well, and showed a solid desire. When we came back to teach him on Saturday night, we helped him identify his answer about the Book of Mormon, and he accepted to be baptized this month :) our member went and talked to Odair's dad to make sure it's all good too, and that's another thing we're gunna be doing tonight :P funny how Heavenly Father prepares the people he does :)
Elder Bowman and I have been having a ton of fun together. We worked super hard this week, and had tons of fun with it. We had Stake Conference this weekend, and it was super rewarding for me, I felt the Spirit super strong, and got to sit with Obona, who's a total mega boss, as well as see people from all over the place. I started to understand why moms love talking to a million people after church, it's cuz it's SO MUCH FUN! hahaha.
It's been a fun one. Time is ticking so fast.
Love y'all!
Elder Massey

Saturday, 5 November 2016

All My Friends

You know, you'd think after 15 transfers, it would get normal to see people go home, but it's still dang weird.
This week I said goodbye to 3 of my best mission friends, Elder Arteaga, Sister Rasmussen, and Elder Veitch, who I've all known for quiiiiite a while. Maybe that's why it was so weird. Maybe it was weird because the next time somebody leaves this country for North America, it's gunna be me on that plane... heh. WHY DOES TIME MOVE SO FAST???
Elder Veitch
Elder Arteaga

It's official, Elder Bowman and I will be together for my last transfer, and I'm STOKED. We've got 6 weeks to crush it in Terra Branca, and crush it we will!
We've got a lot happening that we're stoked about. We've had a few miracles this week.
Among our investigators right now, the one who's moving the most is Jay's sister, Beti. She's been reading in the Book of Mormon, is stoked every time we teach her, the only problem is she hadn't come to church yet. This week, on a division, Elder Bowman went and taught her, and got her all set up to go on Sunday, her only problem is her year old son, Kayque (that's an Indian name, we were told), is a restless one :P she agreed to go, and on Sunday morning, Obona, dressed up in a white shirt, told us she was getting ready to head to church with him, so we passed by other people, but by the time we got to church, only Obona and Jay came. At first, we were bummed about it, but later that day, when we went to visit her, she told us, 'I had him ALL dressed up, ready to go, so I took a shower, and when I was done, he was sleeping' :P #thestruggle. We're gunna get her for sure next week.
Another miracle was the progress we made with Neto, who has gone a full week without being drunk! WOO! While he's had a glass of wine, or a beer here and there, we have yet to find him drunk, he's making major progress. He's been reading in the Book of Mormon and recognizes the Spirit when he reads, and how it invites him to do what is right. It's awesome. He still hasn't come to church, buuuut we're gunna change that.
We had a really cool experience this week too. One morning, we were out working, and had already taught a lesson, and it was getting close to the time we usually take lunch, so we had the decision to make, where we either kill time, or knock some doors. Deciding to be valiant, we thought of some doors we could knock, and on our way to some houses I had thought of, a guy stopped us in the road and was like, 'hey! Why don't you guys come by my house like you said?'. I don't remember having seen this guy ever, so I told him, 'uhhh, I don't think you talked to us...' but he proceeded to name when and where we had talked to him, soo, we asked him if we could just go over to his house then and there. We followed him home, went in, met his wife, and proceeded to teach the two of them. They were formerly practicing members of a church, but became disillusioned because of certain teachings, and have been practicing at home, just waiting for God to show them what to do. I thought that was pretty darn cool :P pretty easy to testify in situations like that. It was awesome, definitely a golden family. Elder Bowman and I are stoked to go back and teach them this week. The Lord put us right where we needed to be when he needed it.
Well, the countdown is on. Time is running fast, but that's okay. Still got lots of work to do :)
Love y'all!
Elder Massey
"Yup...that should be enough for supper..."

Beautiful African smile!

Monday, 24 October 2016

White Blank Page

Well, 15th transfer has come and gone! We finished it with a bang.
One of the first things we did this week was get together with Jay, who hadn't come to church the past Sunday, even though his baptism was marked for the following Saturday. When we sat down with him, he told us he was super excited for his baptism. We retaught him Dia do Senhor,( English = Sabbath Day) and told him soccer definitely can't take precedence over church. We cleared that up with him, and deemed him ready for Saturday. We got him interviewed, set up with an interview, and got Obona to baptize him. We had gone over with Obona how to baptize, and he took it really seriously. He spent a whole night reading over and over the baptismal prayer, and when we showed up to pick him and Jay up to go, he called me into his house and was like, 'I just wanna make sure I've got this right!', and proceeded to recite the prayer. It was so awesome. The baptism was awesome, fewer things are more rewarding than watching someone make a covenant with the Lord, but even more so when the person doing the baptizing has also made incredible changes that you've helped with. Jay got up after, and bore a powerful testimony, saying 'I know that this church is the only true church on the Earth'. I loved it :) I've gotten to see a couple white blank pages over these past few weeks, and it's been so amazing. 

This week we kept working with one of our newer investigators, Neto. We'd had a couple pretty powerful lessons with him, so naturally it was heartbreaking this week when we came across him really drunk, two days in a row this week. Each time he saw us, you could see the pain he felt, because he knew he could do better. He told Elder Bowman and I to not waste our time with him, he was pretty down. We told him we weren't gunna give up on him, and when we came back the next day, we found him early (so he couldn't get drunk) and had another really solid lesson with him (well, sorta, but I'll explain that in a sec), and since that day, everyone we come across has told us they're impressed with Neto. We haven't been able to run into him again, but he seems like he's coming around.
That day as actually funny, because I was on a division with our zone leader, Elder Bisk, who I more or less view as my child, seeing as how I trained the same time he came in. We woke up and he wasn't feeling so hot, but he got it under control enough that we could go out and teach. We taught Neto, but every time I passed the lesson over for him to teach, he would say like 2 things, and give it back, noticeably in pain. We got out of that lesson pretty quick, and booked it to another Elder's house for him to lay down for a sec. It became likely my least productive division on my mission, as I sat in my air conditioned house while Elder Bisk recuperated on the bed. It was still fun though :)
One funny part this week was yesterday, both Elder Bowman and I made kids cry by mistake. First off, we taught a lady, who had twin 6 month old babies, who cried the entire lesson, and usually when that happens, the mom understandably checks out, but she kept with it. I felt for her :P it was a lot of crying. Elder Bowman does this thing though, where when he shakes a little kid's hand, he squeezes it, so later in the day, a little kid answered the door, and when Elder Bowman shook his hand, he gave it juuuuust a little too much of a second squeeze, and the little guy started to cry. His mom promptly told him to calm down, and that 'tio' (they like to call us 'uncle' here) was just playing around. Then later, we were visiting with Zezinho, and his adorable kid, Gabi, was pulling on my tie, and jumping all over me, and at one point, climbed up the back of my chair. I bumped him with my back, and he fell and started to cry. That was when I realized we were bad people :P hahahah.
Love y'all!
Elder Massey

Lest you think that is is couscous....a Cape Verdean favourite!

Friday, 21 October 2016

Favourite Color

Last week's baptism with Zezinho

'So tell me what's, tell me what's your favourite colour'

'Tell me how, tell me how's your younger brother'

It's been a rad week with Elder Bowman, my new comp. I think for the first time on my mission, I have a companion who equals me in how goofy I am. He might honestly be even goofier... It's great. In one of the first houses we got too, we sat down with one of our investigators, and in complete seriousness, he looked at them and said, 'I have a question for you. Do you like English potatoes, or sweet potatoes better?' and they started laughing. It was classic, it's his go to question :P I love it. He's also a big fan of 'would you rather' questions, which I enjoy. It's been a good week :) 
you know you're meant to be together when you have the same shoes....
We've had an extra roommate with us this week, Elder Toledo has been kicking it with us. He's sorta outta commission on the working sense right now, his energy is like almost zero. We've been giving him a place to stay while the doctors figure out what's up with him, and it's been fun. We only thought he was gunna be in Praia a few days, but a few days has turned into a few more than we thought... but it's fun :) we've been getting lots of car rides out of it. 

As for the work in our area, we've seen some ups and downs for sure. Our progressing investigator, Jay, was progressing really well. He continues to give us complete updates in perfect Creole on every chapter he reads in the Book of Mormon, it's super cool. He was progressing so well, we even moved his baptismal date to this Saturday, the 22nd. On Saturday, he was all set to show up at church, but then on Sunday... nuthin'. We went and visited him and asked him what happened, and he informed us he had a soccer game that morning and couldn't go. We had to explain to him that church always needed to come first. I think it'll be good for him, because it'll be a trial for his faith. We're gunna help him focus on following what the Spirit told him in his reading, so that he can figure out what he needs to do. We'll see if he gets baptized this week. 

We've been having fun with a new family we've started working with, I think I talked about them last week, Dina, an inactive member, with her four sons, who aren't baptized. We taught them this week, once with one of the counselors in the Stake Presidency, and it went really well. All her kids got super pumped, and I think it helped Dina a bunch. When we came back to visit them though, none of her sons had read, including herself, except for Lucas, who's 9 years old. All of them were like, 'no, none of us read' and Lucas piped up, 'hey! I read! I prayed too! I just didn't feel anything'. I thought it was really cool, so we focused in on how God had to be able to trust them with an answer, and to do that, they had to want to read. I'm stoked about them. 

One last miracle from the week is an investigator we found, but hadn't really considered because of his drinking habits. Obona helped us find two brothers a couple weeks back, Koda, and Neto. While we haven't found Koda in a while, we found Neto one day, while he was sober. We figured we'd teach him, and we focused on the power of prayer. Elder Toledo and Elder Bowman absolutely crushed it in that lesson, and he was feeling the Spirit really good. When we came back a couple days later, the first thing he said was, ' I haven't drunk for 2 days because I knew I needed to do what you guys told me' and he showed us what he learned and underlined in the Book of Mormon. It's amazing what the Spirit can do. In a further follow up visit, Obona sat with us to help him out, it was powerful. I'm pumped about him too. 

Speaking of Obona, we saw him on TV today, hitting a drum, while we were in a waiting room. It was cool :) 


Elder Massey

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Getting Better

Been one of those weeks where we've had pretty well zero time to rest. It's been crazy, but also really good.
The number one highlight of the week was Zezinho's baptism. The baptism itself was sorta strange, the person presiding started it right at 4pm, even though like half the people being baptized hadn't gotten there yet, or weren't ready. Basically once Zezinho showed up at 4:15, we threw him in a jumpsuit, got the pic, and got him baptized. It was awesome though :) he got his mom to bring his son with her, so after he was out and changed, he was sitting on the front row of the chapel with his two year old son, Gaby, in his lap. Zezinho went up and bore his testimony and it was sweet. Dude's a boss.
Another highlight from this week, we've continued to progress with our investigator, Jay. In one of our visits this week, we followed up with his reading, and he explained the 3rd and 4th chapters of 1st Nephi in complete detail in Creole, it was great. Afterwards, we asked him if he found his answer, to which he said, 'yeah, actually. After I read and prayed today, I felt something really different, just like this peace', to which we asked him, 'do you believe that's the Holy Ghost?', and he responded saying 'yes'. It was a really cool experience. He showed up again at church on Sunday, and even if I thought gospel principles was a bit of a snoozer, he absolutely loved it! Gunna go teach him pretty quick after this email.
One thing the mission is focusing on right now is finding families, and this week, Obona helped us find a really cool new one. We found this inactive member, named Dina, who hasn't gone to church in a whiiiiiile. Turns out her 4 sons, aged 15, 13, 9, and 3, aren't baptized nor have a grounding in the church. After teaching her, on Saturday Elder Ronces and I went back to teach her with her sons, at which they explained to us that they had lost the keys to her house, and were really stressed about it, cuz if they didn't find them, they'd have to spend a lot of money, which she doesn't really have to spare. We taught about prayer and faith, and had a kneeling prayer in the end asking the Lord to help them find a solution. Yesterday when we went by to visit, they had already found their keys. We're excited to go back and teach them :)
We also had interviews this week, it was AWESOME. President Mathews is an awesome person, I loved my interview with him.

The week sorta ended off weird, we got a text from President Mathews during church asking us to call him after we got home, and when we called him, he explained that Elder Ronces was getting transferred to Mindelo, and that I would be receiving a new companion, Elder Bowman, who was serving in Mindelo. I'm supposed to be getting him tonight. I'm stoked to tear it up with him.
Elder Massey

Saturday, 8 October 2016

The Well and The Lighthouse

It's been interesting this week to see a fun contrast in our area.

It's been a week since Obona's baptism, and he's doing awesome! We visited a little bit with him almost every day, mostly because we see him all over the place. Everybody in that part of our area, Fronteira, knows him really well, so everybody is really impressed with him. Obona also has lots of buddies that tell him they want to change too, and we're beyond down to help them out. We found 5 new investigators this week because of him alone, as well as other references along the way. The fun contrast is, while so many of these people profess interest and want change, there's only one way to do it, which is through action. While so many of these people realize they are stuck in a well, they don't start climbing or looking to that lighthouse that's constantly beaming. Obona told us he'd bring some of his buddies, our investigators, to conference, and when he came with one of our investigators, told us sadly, 'sorry guys, but I guess the others don't really wanna change'. I thought it was interesting how somebody of only a week in the church was able to recognize that necessity of action in someone having to change. 
Our investigator, Zezinho, is looking really good for baptism this week. He showed up to conference without us having to call him or go by his house, making it the 4th time he's come to church with us. We also had a sweet family night this week at a member's house, this young married couple named Brandao and Nidia, both return missionaries. Zezinho showed up on his own, and it was sweet to get some member integration going. Our other baptism for the 8th, Junior, told us on Monday he was moving to the other side of Praia, but would keep coming to church. We saw him yesterday and he told us he's moved back, buuuut he's looking like he's gotten back into some of his old ways. We're gunna keep working with him, buuut he's gunna need a little more time. Still stuck in the well for now. 

We found a really cool new investigator this week, named Jay. He's 18, graduated but not really working or going to school, just doing stuff here and there. I played his guitar on the street with him for a bit a week or so back, and this week, when all of our appointments fell and we were walking with a member, we saw him and asked if he wanted to talk. He was more than down, and after teaching the first lesson, he was very pumped and got all of it. On our return visit, he topld us almost perfectly the first two chapters of Nephi by memory. He accepted a baptismal date for the 29th and came with Obona to conference this weekend. One funny thing, he has a big sorta afro with almost frosted tips going on, and his mom one day, while we were walking, called us over, adn told us to get him to cut his hair :P it was classic. 

Conference was awesome, I especially loved Elder Christofferson's talk. His translation into Portguese is his own voice, just recorded. It was rad. I loved how he taught that the Savior didn't just suffer til it was good enough, he suffered til it was complete, so that when he looks to each of us, he can call for more than just 'good enough'. So often we think where we're at is enough, but Christ always asks for more, because he knows it's the only way for us to become like him. We always fall short somehow. I had prayed going into conference for the gift of tongues (for the first time in a while) so I could understand the translation, and it worked! #tendermercies

Love y'all!

Elder Massey

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Turn Blue

Terra Branca is moving along here, good things are happening :)

This week started off with talking to our investigator, Obona, who successfully showed up to church twice, and came to a baptism as well. We had marked him for the 8th of October, but we didn't see any reason to have him wait any longer, so we asked him if he would be ready for baptism on the 24th of September instead. He accepted :) We spent a little bit of time with him every day preparing him for his baptism. For someone who doesn't have a phone or ever stay inside, he's incredibly easy to find, and he has a way of always finding us, it's hilarious. One day we waited to take him to a Family Night with some members, but we couldn't find him. We decided to sit by his house cuz he usually shows, but he didn't, so we started on our way to the member's house where we scheduled the family night, and sure enough, he found us on the way! We invited him to invite as many people for his baptism, and when he showed up, he turned more than a few heads with his sister and niece who came to support him. On Sunday, he even waited to bring one of our other investigators to church with him. He even paid tithing this week too! It's cool what a converted thug can do to change to world little by little :) he was a miracle this week. 
Another cool thing coming from this week was the progression of our investigator, Zezinho, who was someone I taught in my last area, but lives riiiiight on the border between my last area and my current one. He and Obona are buddies, and when he heard Obona was getting baptized on Saturday, he was like, 'that's cool, can I get baptized with him?'. I was a little taken back, but he has come to church 3 times now, so we sat down with him to talk about the Law of Chastity, which we knew would be an issue since he has a child with a woman who he is still together with, though they don't live in the same house. We explained the commandment, to which he responded he would like a little time to talk to his woman to figure stuff out. We had a good follow up lesson with him on the importance of families and how he could talk to her about the Law of Chastity. Last night when we talked to him, he told us that marriage wouldn't be the immediate solution, because his woman is leaving to work on Sal. However, that means that he will be able to be baptized on the 8th, a week after general conference. He's been a really cool example of someone with a changed heart.

One cool experience we had this week was that we got to walk with President Mathews, as part of a training he's doing where he's trying to get out with as many companionships this month. I was pretty nervous, but it turned out really well. He visited a few of our investigators with us, like Obona, and Tommy and Debora, and gave us some solid pointers as well. It was really interesting to watch him take over parts of lessons or to bear testimony simply and powerfully to an investigator, it seemed that after he taught, the investigator had nothing to do but soak in the Spirit. Even Debora, who is usually full of questions, accepted his testimony and listened with intent. It was a lot less stressful than I thought it would be :) 

The Lord really blessed us a bunch this week. One last thing I wanna talk about is a family he's helped us find. We door knocked this woman named Neuza a few weeks back, and were able to teach her and her twin 9 year old sons, Tiago and Telmo. Upon our return visit, we found that Neuza's man (not quite husband) had passed away suddenly in an accident that way, and as is per tradition here, had many people over mourning at her house for a week or so. We visited briefly in that week, but this past week we've had the opportunity to visit her again and teach. We showed up at the door and she was visiting with many friends who came over to mourn with her, and we offered to come by another time, but she invited us in. We followed up on her Book of Mormon reading, which she had read, but while I was talking to her, a visitor started asking questions to my companion about the Book of Mormon and why 'we think it's better than the Bible' and stuff, and Neuza started arguing with her and defending us without me saying a word! It was hilarious. We're really gunna push to get her to General Conference this weekend, it'll be really good. 

Love y'all :) 

Elder Massey

reconnecting with Kenny - from his last area

Wednesday, 21 September 2016


Chris Martin once sang about getting a tattoo that says 'together thru life' for the one he loves. While we know that the Lord doesn't want us to get tattoos, cuz that's bad, he has asked us to write the Savior's name on our heart, a sort of eternal ink if you think about it. 

This week started the last (or trunky) twelve weeks of my mission. Never thought that would happen. It's giving me time to reflect about how I've written the Savior's name on my heart, what it is to serve him, and what it is to love him through obedience. This week I got a bit of a wake up call on that, and it's got me thinking a lot. Funny how wake up calls work, isn't it?
One incredible thing from this week has been the progress of one of our thug friends, Obona. Since last week, he's continued to progress in leaps and bounds. The fact he went to church sent waves through our area, he's a pretty well known guy, and it got people talking. In just talking to other investigators and people in our area, we had at least 3 people tell us he invited them to church, and last night, Obona told us about a friend of his who said he wants to follow his example and get clean of all the bad stuff in his life. Amazing what one repentant thug can do, hey? This week, he's been an example to me of someone who's written the Savior's name on his heart. He's far from a perfect person, he doesn't speak Portuguese very well, can't read the best, but he's got that desire to change and be a better person. It's honestly been a miracle to see. At church on Sunday, he was there before us; we had passed his house at 10am and three different women on the street shouted, almost at the same time, that he'd already gone. He's got these real cool round sunglasses and always shouts his name to announce himself. My favorite line we got from him this week was when we taught him the Word of Wisdom, in which he told us he'd already stopped drinking and smoking, and when his friends offered him some or invited him to a party, he responded, 'sorry, my religion doesn't permit that'. He's not even baptized yet! It was so cool. He's awesome.
Transfers happened on Wednesday. It was sorta weird. Elder McMullin got sent out to Sao Nicolau, and Elder Bullock left to Fogo again. Second time that we've all been in the same zone and they've proceeded to leave me. One gets over it after a while. Elder McMullin's spot got taken by Elder Cosmo, who I know well from our Fogo days, having been in Cova Figueira together for more than 4 transfers. It's good for Elder Hingano, Elder McMullin's son, cuz now he's got the trial by fire with Portuguese going on. I've taken over District Leader responsibilities, making it the second time I'm District Leader in this district. I'm pumped to still be here.
It started to rain pretty good this week. Santiago is turning green, which is my favorite thing ever. It always sorta happens overnight. 

Elder Ronces and I are tearing it up right now. He's getting really good at teaching, and I can trust him with anything in a lesson at this point. He's getting creole down pretty good too, I'm proud of him.

Been a good week. This week should be even better :)
Love y'all!
Elder Massey

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Giving Up the Gun

This week was sweet. Lots of small miracles, and lots of fun.
There was one thing that sucked about this week, and that was a lot of our investigators had family members that passed away. Like for Tommy and Deborá, they had an uncle who passed away, Deborá called me on Tuesday and told me they weren't going to be able to talk for like a week, because of a tradition they have here, where family members pass a week in the house of their loved one who passed away. Later in the week, we went to go visit a new investigator for the second time, when her brother at the door informed us that her husband had died that morning in an accident. Really sad. We figured that might not have been the best time to talk, so we'll go back later this week. It seemed like stuff like that was happening all over the place this week.
We were really lucky to have a lot of success this week, in teaching, finding, and getting people to act. We found that we were really trying to progress the same four people, and that wasn't working, so we started pushing for progressing other people this week. The Lord helped us outline a few.
One of our investigators, Junior, came back from spending time in a mental rehab facility. He's recently out of prison, and we had been teaching him, but his family took him to the rehab place, and we didn't see him for like 3 weeks. One day while Elder Ronces and I were out walking, we heard someone calling 'Elder! Hey, Elder!' and we looked and saw him coming up to us. He took us to his house right away and started to teach him. He expressed a real desire to change and follow Christ in his life. While he's still sorta scrambled, he's got a really, really good desire.
Another is an investigator named Obona, or Neto, or Valdir, depends on who you are and what status you have with him. We go with Obona, that's his favorite name :P he's another guy who's what we would call a thug sorta guy, likes to wear basketball jerseys, drinks some times, but a really nice guy. He wants us to help him, and so as we've taught him, little by little, he's been making changes. Each visit, he's understanding a little bit more, his reading ability is improving, and he's answering questions really well.
We also started working with a couple that Elder Ronces found a couple weeks back on a division, named Carla and Maruwilson. We went and taught them while we had one of the new senior couples, the Souzas, out walking with us, and we all clicked really well. Carla is really open and funny, and understands our message really well. We taught about the Book of Mormon, since she or Maruwilson hadn't read since the first visit, and by the end, Carla was like, 'okay, i get it! I know I need to read! And I'll come to church on Sunday!'.
The best part was, was on Sunday morning, while passing investigators before church, all of the three above were waiting for us, dressed up, holding their Books of Mormon, ready to go. We walked with three investigators all together to church, and a fourth, Zezinho, who came last week, showed up on his own. It was SO cool. After a transfer where one investigator came once, the Lord helped us finish off this one with 4 investigators in one day. It was awesome.
The highlight of the week, though, was Mundinho and Nixi's wedding. Even though it wasn't in my area, it was still so incredible to see two people I worked with for so long make the decision to take that step of faith and move forward, getting married on Friday, and baptized on Saturday. I'd never seen the two of them so alive and happy. It was really touching for me. They almost didn't make it to the baptism on time, it was funny :P there were people already in the font getting baptized when they showed up, so we threw them in some baptismal suits, and ran to the font before they emptied it :P Cape Verde man. Both Mundinho and Nixi got up and bore there testimonies after, and especially something like that to come out of Nixi was incredible to see, being more outspoken.
I'm really happy. Really good week, the Lord is a boss.
Love y'all!
Elder Massey
At the baptism with Elder Neville

The District....

Tuesday, 6 September 2016


5 September 2016 

It's been so hot this week. I have this problem where every day where it's stupid hot, I wear my lighter colored pants, and when I'm in a lesson, my sweaty forearms make giant sweat marks on my thighs, and also the sweat on my pants makes it looked like I peed my pants. Really pleasant, really nice.
The thing about the heat here isn't that it's just the sun beating down every day way hotter than anywhere else; the temperature is honestly hotter back home. It's just that, when it rains during the night, the next day gets so darn humid, that the second you stop moving, your body starts raining. Also, we have to teach people inside their houses, because there's so much going on in the streets, and the houses are like literal ovens with no ventilation except for a fan from a Chinese store. For a long time I've been using my tie to wipe my sweat, but this week, I started to carry a sock I haven't really used, and so now that's my sweat rag. Just thought I'd include that nice piece of information.
Now that you're all likely thoroughly entertained by hearing about the #struggle here, maybe I can talk a little bit more about my week itself.
One thing we wanted to work on more this week was our member help, and we had a big success! Just about every day we had members who left to teach with us, and it was awesome. One day, we had a recent convert, Tyson, who is 18, come out and teach with us, and we visited two of our younger investigators, Danielson, who is 18, and also Tommy and Deborá, who are 17 and 15. We taught Danielson about keeping the Sabbath day holy, and Tyson was able to testify saying, "yeah, it was different for me to go to church at the beginning too, but it makes such a big difference in my life" and talked to him on a level that two white guys couldn't. With Tommy and Deborá, at the end, Deborá said, "hey, you gunna be with them when they come back?" and without us even asking, Tyson told them, "totally, I'd love to be here". It was rad.
The next day, Thursday, my comp woke up with a headache, and wasn't feeling the best. We went out to teach in the morning, but ended up just talking to people in the street a bunch, and went to a restaurant close by for lunch. By the end of lunch, most of which he had his head down for, we got up to go and he could hardly walk straight. We promptly got in a taxi and went to the comfort of our nice air conditioned home, where he knocked out in about 0.8 seconds, and slept for 4 hours. We didn't go out to teach the rest of that day, figured I'd give him a breather from pushing him hard on 
Wednesday :P
We finished off the week super strong with some solid lessons. We're continually helping Lu prepare for the end of the month for baptism, same with Tommy. Just got to get them coming to church consistently. At church on Sunday, we only had one investigator come, named Zezinho. He lives right on the border of my last area and my current one, and since we were already tight, we started teaching him again. On Sunday morning we passed by a little early just to invite him to come, and he was like, "alright, I'll get ready to go", and sure enough, he came! One really cool thing that also happened at church, my investigator from Tira Chapeu, Mundinho, who is getting married and baptized this week, flagged me over, since my last ward meets at the same building, just earlier, and he told me, "so, this week I'm getting baptized, right, and the Elders said I could chose who I want to baptize me, could you do it?", to which I was like, "uh, YEAH!". It was actually really cool :) I'm so excited for them.
Been a fun week, lots of work, and a lot more still to do :) life is good.
Love y'all!
Elder Massey

Running to Stand Still

29 August 2016
Time is flying. It's so crazy. It's been an awesome week.
One bummer from this week was that Lu wasn't baptized, she's gunna need a little bit more time. We went to visit her to go over the baptismal questions, and she told us that she's still drinking coffee, even though she's trying to quit. It was kinda funny, she told us, "I got rid of all my coffee, but it got so bad, I just went out and bought more!". She also feels that she wants to prepare a little bit more for baptism. We had a really good lesson with her on Friday where we talked about baptism and what reservations she had. The Spirit was really strong in the lesson, and we went over Alma's question to the people where he says, "what impedes you from being baptized?", and she looked at us and was like, "well, I guess nothing". We're gunna move her date forward a little bit, hopefully she can be baptized by the end of the month.
We've kept working with our investigators Tommy and Debora. They're seriously so cool, like some of my favorite people I've found on my mission. They are likely the first people I've taught where we mark to go by and teach them, and they are there EVERY. TIME. It's a Cape Verdean thing I guess. This week we took our Branch President with us to meet them, and the lesson we taught them lasted almost an hour, and despite the fact they're 17 and 15, they didn't care, and loved the whole thing! They had tons of questions about baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost, which was rad. On one of our subsequent visits, the rest of the family, who was sitting in the other room playing cards, was like, "wait, you're leaving already? stay and play with us!", to which we had to politely tell them we would next time :P because of their questions about baptism, we had planned to take Tommy to watch the baptisms on Saturday with us, Debora told us she would likely go to see her dad who lives on the other side of Praia, but when we showed up on Saturday, she answered the door, all dressed up, ready to go with us. It was funny because while at the church, Tommy kept teasing Debora, mostly when he found a poster showing the dress standards for youth, and Debora's dress didn't go to her knees, so he ripped on that. It was classic. They're like super prepared, really really cool. We should be seeing a lot of progression with them.
A fun thing that happened this week was a Stake activity in which they ran a 'mini-MTC' for a bunch of perspective missionaries, and every companionship of missionaries in Praia received two mini missionaries to take out and work with for a couple days, from Friday night til Sunday night. My recent convert from my last area, Adiley, was there and served for a couple days. It was so cool to see. For me, I got Brother Gomes, a kid who lives on the other side of Praia and is a member of 3 or 4 years or so. I know I could've been a little more patient with him than I was, but it was a fun experience for us. He was really excited by the end of it about what he learned, and has a solid desire to go out and serve a mission now. There were a few classic moments where he asked a couple of questions, like, "what time does church start?" to which I asked him, "well, what does your planner say?" or when I put on my sunglasses and he said, "oh, so you use those when the sun comes out?" and I told him, "when, yeah, they're sunglasses" hahahaha. He was a really sweet guy, and wrote me a really nice note that he hid in my scriptures telling me how much he liked his mini mission. It was a good experience. 
Elder Massey with "Elder" Gomes - his mini missionary

Another funny story from this week, I met up with a member, Tatiana, from Cova Figueira that shouted at me from a taxi one night on our way home. Thankfully Elder Masubelele, who also served in Cova Figueira, knew her, and she was also staying in his area, so we met up with them on Pday and had lunch at her aunt's restaurant and got to catch up with her. It's funny because this country is so small, you can literally see anyone you've met on your mission at any given point in time, especially in Praia, because people pass through here all the time. I found out this week that a couple I found through Adiley about 3 months ago is now getting married and baptized this week, and next week, Mundinho and Nixi from my last area are getting married! Always lots going on here. It's so cool to see the little ways in which the Lord uses you as his instrument at different points for different people.
Well, that's about been my week! Love y'all!
Elder Massey

Dancing in the streets

A Whisper

22 August 2016

It's been another really fun week for us. It's crazy that it's already been a whole week again, dang. 

This week, rather than going all out and knocking every door and trying to teach in every house we could, we focused on working a little smarter this week. The week prior brought us 22 new investigators, so this week, we had to take care of those 22 new people we found.
One major blessing the Lord has brought to us is our investigator, Lu, who's a boss. She's now come to church 3 times, and is looking like a go for this week for baptism, we're so stoked. It took me three full transfers the first time I trained to get my son a baptism, this time, it might only take 3 weeks! Hahaha. We had a really cool experience with Lu this week when teaching her. We went to teach her the Word of Wisdom, and as we taught her, she expressed that she has a pretty strong coffee habit, meaning she drinks it every morning, and has for years and years. Rather than responding to us harshly, she just sorta looked a little bummed, as to say, "dang, that's too bad", but was fully ready and willing to leave it behind so she can be baptized. She never expressed any complaint or justification, but just said, "yeah, I'll get rid of it and stop". She's got such solid faith in Christ, she's a mega boss.
In our following up with our new investigators, one in specific has stood out of the group. Last week, Elder Thorsen and I, at night, came across an open door where I saw someone inside, and so we knocked, and taught a lesson to a 17 year old named Tommy. During the lesson, people came and left, and his cousin, Debora, came and sat through a solid chunk, but Tommy was pretty gripped. This week, Elder Ronces and I went to teach Tommy and Debora again, and in following up with him about his reading in the Book of Mormon and prayer, he told us he did do both of the invites, and that he felt something. He told us, "after I prayed, I just felt really good, like a peace". Debora kinda joked with him, saying, "so what's your answer?", to which he responded, "I don't know if it's a full answer, but it's enough for me to believe". In a subsequent visit, with only Tommy, he told us he had continued his reading, and had felt the same feeling when he prayed. He said, "you know, it's one thing if it happens once, but it happened to me again", and when we asked him, he said he felt that to be his answer. It was such a firm testimony builder to me that, those who read and pray with real intent, will get their answers :) it was awesome. 

I'm starting to feel really old out here. Elder McMullin and I discuss that frequently. By the end of this week, there will be exactly 5 missionaries that have been here longer than we have. That's whack. It's amazing to me how the time has truly flown. Sometimes thinking hurts my head.
This week my companion, Elder Ronces, realized he has a thing for freskinhas. A freskinha is basically a Cape Verdean popsicle, in that it's put in a small bag and frozen, and you bite off the corner of the bag and suck from there. I'm a fan of freskinhas myself, but Elder Ronces will down two of them before I'm even finished my first. We were out with a member this week when we got 4 freskinhas, 1 for me, 1 for our member, and 2 for my comp. She was shocked when Elder Ronces had put his both down, and still wanted another. It was funny.
The work is going really solid, and I'm really happy right now. Just making every day worth it.
Love y'all!
Elder Massey

The Canadians....minus Elder Karl...

Monday, 5 September 2016

Up From Below

15 August 2016

Okay, this week has been a miracle week. It's been an absolute blast.
"I'm riding on heaven's flames coming up from below"
This was our first full week in our new area, so Elder Ronces and I decided to get down to work. Our inventory of investigators wasn't very big at the start of the week, so we just continued with the trend we set, and when a lesson would fall, we would just start knocking doors or talking to people on the street, and try to teach them a lesson in their home then and there. It's seriously so much fun to just go around and share as much as we can, to find those elect people the Lord has prepared for us.
On Wednesday, we had a bit of a surprise hit us when some missionaries, Elder Arguello and Elder Thorsen, who came in from São Nicolau for Zone Conference on Friday, called us needing a place to stay for the week. That meant that we had an extra two missionaries in our area to work, so what we did was we split up during those days, me with one of them, and Elder Ronces with the other, and just get to know and find as many people as we could. By the end of the week, we had knocked out 36 lessons, a total I don't think I've ever hit or come close to on my mission. During that time, we found 22 new investigators as well. At the beginning of the week, we had a box full of Book of Mormons. That box is looking pretty thin now... hahaha
One of the investigators we've been working with is named Lu, she's a 27 year old single mother of a 3 year old. The Sisters had been working with her, and expressed to us that she was really really cool. As we got to know her, on our second visit, we began to review some stuff the Sisters taught, and as I had seen on a sheet given to the branch president, I thought she had a baptismal date marked for the 20th of this month. At the end of the lesson, I said to her, "so, I know the Sisters have already talked to you about baptism, right?" to which she responded, "what? no..." and I was kinda taken aback, so after gathering myself, I said, "well then, we'd like to talk to you about baptism :)", and gave my companion his first opportunity to invite someone to be baptized. She accepted a date for the 27th, and came to church on Sunday. She's looking super boss. She's got a really incredible desire to follow the Savior.
We also had another investigator, named Danielson, who the Sisters had been teaching since June, who had progressed relatively little, and was actually dropped by them. One member showed him to us, and we focused in on him with his Book of Mormon reading and his answer. While it was really simple, when we came back, he explained to us that, in his prayer, he felt that he needed to come to church on Sunday. When Sunday came around, we passed by his house to remind him, and his mom had to wake him up, but sure enough, he came! All last transfer, the Sisters really struggled in this area, and had one investigator come once in 6 weeks, and on Sunday, the Lord worked the miracle of bringing 2 :) we're coming up from below here.
We also had a SWEET Zone Conference this week. It reunited me with some dear friends on the mission, including Elder Bullock and Elder Schofield, the latter who goes home in a week, leaving me the last living missionary from my first district out here. I'm so old dang it. President and Sister Mathews had their son, Mark, come and give a training at ZC, and it was awesome. He really focused in on the importance of the First Vision and Book of Mormon in teaching, and even though I've taught about it a million times, I felt like I was understanding it all for the first time. It was perfect for what I needed right now, especially as we're picking up a newish area here.
I can't tell you how many times this week we've had lessons where the Spirit is so strongly there to testify of the truthfulness of what we say. I feel like this week alone, I've had more people make solid connections on what we are teaching, than in the last 3 or 4 months of my mission. The Lord is truly helping us find prepared people and families. I'm so excited to see what comes of all our work we're doing :)
Well, I've written a lot. My new comp is cool, and we're finally leveling with each other, getting used to each other. We're having a lot of fun, and he's really chill. It's good for me to have someone so chill right now.
Life is awesome
Love y'all!
Elder Massey

Friday, 12 August 2016

California Daze

Kinda a crazy week, it's sorta weird for me to write right now, mostly because for the last 7 months, I've written from the comfort of a nice, air conditioned office. Maybe I'm just spoiled now, but it feels weird to write from a regular old cyber cafe. Guess I'll get over it, poor me.... 
Hanging out with Elder Neville from the office
I said goodbye to the office this week. I still got to drive everyone around for transfers, which was crazy! We got in the Hiace at 11am, and didn't get home til 11:30pm. There was a lot of running late, a lot of pulling people out of Hiaces, and shoving people in. I was pretty proud of myself for commanding the way I did, everybody knows me as being happy and nice, but I think a few people saw my not happy or nice side :P I did my best though, and thankfully, EVERYTHING went as planned (more or less), and the Lord put into our path some direct miracles, which was super cool. Like, we had 3 missionaries who needed to get to an island where there were no open spots on a plane, and when we got to the airport, they told  us they had just added a brand new flight the next day, and had tickets. Literal Godsend!! I was thoroughly exhausted by the end of it all.
New companion - Elder Ronces
Thursday I got to meet my new companion, Elder Ronces, who is from California. I seem to have all the luck getting Californian companions, being that he's my 5th from Cali. All my mission family too is Californian, being that my dad, Elder Stone, was from Cali, as was Elder Mason, my first son. Elder Ronces is Mexican though, and he's a really fun kid. He reminds me a lot of when I served with Elder Martinez back over a year ago. It's funny, because he's super down to talk and get to know people on the street, but his Portuguese comes out as about 75% Spanish, which works for understanding. He's got a really solid base in the language, and I have no doubt he'll pick it up quick.
This week brought a LOT of new things, new companion, new house, new area, (sorta) new ward, but it's been really fun. My new house used to be a Sister house, which used to be a Couple house before than, so it's good some good perks :) By that, I mean we have hot water, in which I took my first hot shower since January. We also have air conditioning, which is the first house I've ever set foot in on the mission that has had air conditioning.It's reaaaaaally nice to plan at night with air conditioning going :) I turn it off at night though, cuz I know it costs a toooon to run (been in the office paying bills for too long..... )
As for our area, it's different for me to work in. It's the first time on my mission where I've worked in a place that has legitimate apartment buildings, or houses that are hard to access or talk to the people inside. For a large part, my areas have been places where I can go up to the people on the street, talk to them, and teach them inside. Here, I feel we're going to have to do a lot of door knocking. I'm not a huge door knocker :P we'll see how it goes. As for the work so far, we've been working a lot on the borders, which are poorer areas where people actually are sitting outside and it's easy to talk to them. We had a few days where we had nothing to do but just go up to houses, say hi to the people inside, and then ask if we could share a message. It kinda shocked my companion that we can do that here, but it's been really fun for me :) 

I think I'll leave it at that for now. I'm really happy, and really loving the way this area and companionship is making me push to be the best me I can be. I know the Lord has me where he wants me right now :)
Love y'all!
Elder Massey, father of 2 Californians.