Tuesday, 23 February 2016
It's been one week of being an office elder, and let me tell ya, it is EXHAUSTING! Hahaha. There's been so much that's happened this week that I'm not sure if an overly-long blog post will really do it that much justice, but we'll see how it goes.
When I was called as office elder, I had this image in my head of being stuck behind a computer 24/7 just typing away, but I couldn't be more wrong. I learned very early on that, if anybody in the mission needs SOMETHING to be done, we're the ones who get the call. I'd never taken so many taxi rides in my life, going to pay bills, buy or cancel boat tickets, look at houses for missionaries to move in to, you name it, we do it! During the week though, we had a crazy sweet blessing, when we met up with President and Sister Mathews to make an executive decision on what sheets to buy for new missionaries, when President told us, 'you know, for all the running around you guys do, you might as well use that last senior couple's car that we still own', SO, we became the only missionaries in the mission WITH THEIR OWN CAR :D it's really quite powerful. With all the errands we have to run, it's easy to say that we have to 'keep the car running', because there's ALWAYS something to do :)
A lot of this week was about me learning my new responsibilities here in the office, which are many. I learned how to make online bank transfers to pay for housing rent, power, and water. I also get to buy plane tickets and boat tickets when transfers come around, or when President or the Assistants need to go anywhere, aaaaaand deal with any missionaries that call needing things. I had no clue so many people needed so many things. Sometimes my mind gets caught up in it and then I get like super stressed and I wanna throw a tantrum but then I realize I can't do that cuz like, I'm supposed to be an adult so I guess that's just not socially acceptable?? I had a few days this week where President came in and just sat at the computer with me for hours teaching me things, and I can easily say I've never had a relationship with my mission President like I do now, so that's pretty rad.
One of the glories of being an office elder is, since we're running around so much, we do pass by many of the best places in Praia to eat quite often. There's a chain bakery here called Pão Quente, meaning hot bread, and they have like EVERYTHING. it's basically like lame Tim's, and we eat there quite frequently.
I'd easily say the best part about this calling is being with Elder Penner (codename: Penbaby Sunshine). When I found out I'd be his comp, I was like, stoked and stuff, but I didn't realize how glorious it would be! It's quite easy to say that we complete each other. He feeds me the music and TV references I so dearly miss, and I cook him the stir-fries and grilled cheese sandwiches that make him happy. It ain't easy being an office elder, but I'm pretty sure I got the best comp in the mission for it. Nightly planning sessions take a long time cuz we just go off into rants or pop culture references that go for a while, and then we have to bring it all back again.
As for our actual area and missionary work (cuz I AM a missionary still), we work in an area called Casa Lata, but most of our investigators live in an area called Tira Chápeu. I thought that Bela Vista was like a sketchier, poorer area of Praia, but Casa Lata and Tira Chápeu are defs sketchier. Not that anything crazy goes on, but it's sad to see some of the living conditions of the people here. We had a humbling moment last night when we contacted a guy who has his mattress just laying outside of a front door, cuz that's where he lives and sleeps. Because of our miscellaneous responsibilities, we are only able to get out to work after 6 or sometimes 7pm, but with the time we have, we make it worth it. Being with Elder Penner, I feel like I'm having the most enjoyable time while teaching on my mission so far. It's been the first time for me since being senior companion where I feel that everything we're doing is completely equal, and the Spirit we have in our lessons is honestly so cool; Penbaby and I are crushing it every opportunity we have. We don't have many progressing investigators at the time, but we're finding new people almost every single day, and we've found some people who are genuinely interested. There's been quite a few times this week where we walk out of lessons and look at each other like, 'that was really really good'. It's honestly so much fun. I freakin' love serving with Elder Penner.
On a funnier side, I've been trying to start a small trend throughout the mission. For a while now, I've being using the word 'powerful' as an adjective to describe a majority of things in my life, and now that I get to talk with a large part of the mission on a regular basis, I'm getting it to spread even more. It really started last transfer, with the sisters in my district, and now it's catching on like wild fire! Every once and a while I hear tales of ZLs on other islands using it in nightly calls. It's the little things that bring happiness in this life :)
Love y'all! Have a swellllllll week :)
Elder Massey, Financial Secretary of the
Tuesday, 16 February 2016
This past week was the last week of the transfer, being only a 5 weeker this time, and so we wanted to bring about some changes in our area.
On Tuesday, we had our last District Meeting as our existing district of Bela Vista, and since the Assistants were away on Zone Conference, I used it as an opportunity to show charity for my district in their absence and I made them all brownies, after I gave them a harmonica solo. They were all very proud of me, and I think my companion was too :)
One of our focuses that we talked about at District Meeting was marking more baptismal dates with a higher frequency, since we happen to be the biggest district in not only the Zone, but the mission, so the way our district does is a big part of how the Praia Zone does. In focusing on that this past week, we marked two new baptismal dates with two really cool investigator, one guy named Toni who has these gross ring earrings, and another with a girl named Claudia, who has to be one of the sweeter investigators I've met on my mission. It was nice because marking those dates gave us a bit of an up on how we help our district progress, and the work in our own area,
We also had Carnaval this past week, the national day of Apostasy in Cape Verde. Everybody in the Praia Zone knew it was gunna be a struggle of a day, so basically Elder Amado and I just did what we could, and the Lord blessed us a ton. On that day, we weren't really expecting to find much, but we ended up teaching like 6 lessons, to both investigators and less actives, AND our area didn't get so rowdy that we had to go in too early! With that, though, brought some interesting sights, some pretty darn funny, some that would be nice to erase from memory. Men were dressed as women, women were dressed like men, just about every little girl had cat face paint on, and the amount of neon clothing we saw was enormous. By the time it was late, we decided to celebrate our successful day of Carnaval by getting bifana's, which is just like beef on a bun, and we passed by some teenagers who may have have a little to drink that day, and proceeded to watch them throw giant cobblestones at each other while they ran around and chased each other. Pretty memorable.
Another memorable part from this week was the night that the two biggest soccer teams in Portugal, Benfica and Porto, played each other, and LITERALLY everyone in our area was watching it or listening to it, be it in a bar, on their phones, or at a buddy's house. We had one less active member tell us that Porto (who I like) was going to lose for sure, and she even jumped up and down on her bed when Benfica scored, but as the night went on, cheers went loudly through our area as Porto scored two more goals, and won 2 to 1. My comp made sure we rubbed it in her face.
A few more changes happened recently too. Being the end of the transfer, we were certain that my companion would leave the area, and I would get someone, buuuuut the surprise was all ours when President Mathews called and said that Elder Amado would be the new district leader, and that I would be moving to serve in the office beside my heartthrob Elder Penner. Sooooo, with that today I'm saying a big 'ol goodbye to Bela Vista, and a big 'ol 'hello' to staring at a computer or talking on the phone every day :) I'm stoked to serve Elder Penner, we're gunna take down the office together :)
|Penner and Massey - reunited bros from the MTC!|
Friday, 12 February 2016
Sameer from Young the Giant once sang, ' Life's too short to even care at all ', which happens to be a mind set of some of the people in this world. While we know this life is short, we as missionaries are here to help people receive that 'cough syrup' that they need to overcome the problems of this life.
We had Zone Conference this past week and had a really sweet training given by Sister Mathews a little bit about this. She spoke on how the 3rd lesson in Preach My Gospel, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is a lot like a bar of soap that we use here in Cape Verde, called Lifebuoy. She taught that, if we were to try selling a bar of Lifebuoy, we might suggest to the buyers why they might want to use the soap, what it does, how to use it, the benefits they would find, etc., and compared that to how we teach about Christ's Gospel. She taught how really, the Gospel of Christ is that bar of soap that cleans 100% of our sins so that we can be clean in front of our Heavenly Father one day; it's almost like the cough syrup that we need to get over the common sicknesses we come across, as Christ is the one who helps come back to health.
|Elder Massey with some ward members as well as Sister Miller and Sister Lopes|
The day after Zone Conference though, was the day the Zone got hit by a certain plague. Turns out the place the ZLs got to cater for us wasn't the most sanitary place, as both my companion and I were awoken in the night by rumbly tummies. As the day went on and some asking around was done, it became apparent that more than half the zone got what we got, and just about everyone had been sitting on the toilet about as frequently as we had been; I asked around in my district, and 9 out of the 12 missionaries got hit, albeit not that bad. A poor Sister in my district who already has stomach issues got hit hard and was in pain pretty well all day. That same day we went to the mission office for a few things, and it turns out both President and Sister Mathews got it too, as well as the office Elders. It was a classic moment of Cape Verdean sanitation. After all was said and done, it was a pretty hilarious situation to think about.
|At the mission office - the older couple is also from Alberta!|
As for the actual work this week, Elder Amado and I went to work trying to help our investigators really feel the need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives, like Sister Mathews taught us. We've recently begun teaching two different girls named Cinthia, who are really really cool. One of them came to church with us last week, and the other told us this past week that she received an answer to her prayers about whether our message was true or not. Both of them are taking the right steps that they need towards using this cleaner that Christ has given for all of us. It's so incredible for me to see that change in peoples lives when they actually accept and use that which Christ offers to them freely, as opposed to those who don't accept or use it. Every time I see someone we're teaching come to church, my testimony just gets more and more strong of it.
We had a really cool lesson a couple nights ago, where we were teaching a less active member, and her son and son in law, both over the age of 20, and we taught them a really simple 1st lesson about the Restoration, and at the end, we asked if they had any questions. The Son in Law, Rivaldu, asked how it was that we came to find our own conviction of the truthfulness of the gospel, which gave me and my companion an opportunity to bear our testimonies on how we found our answers. As we responded to them, talking about how we've recognized the Holy Ghost, looked at blessings in our lives, and the happiness we have, the Spirit was there super strong to testify of it. In the end, the less active member's son asked, 'would you ever change to another church?' and I responded, 'If God told me to, I would, but I honestly have no doubt in my mind these things are true' and the room went quiet, and the Spirit testified really really strongly. He's such a bro like that.
As for myself, I've got this weird thing where at night, I start to cough and my voice gets all raspy. All my sisters ask me on the phone if I'm like okay, and I just respond that I'm slowly dying, which is okay. Maybe some cough syrup might serve to help me a bit.
Wednesday, 3 February 2016
|Elder Massey and Elder Penner - MTC brothers reunited!|
It's been another really solid week here in Bela Vista, Praia. As always, there's TONS of stuff going on. I apologize in advance for a rather random, all over the place, email.
We started off our week by doing a division with the Zone Leaders, which was super fun. As mission standards changed recently, divisions came to mean that both missionaries in one area would go to the area of the leaders, so Elder Amado and I both packed up for a day and went over the ZLs direction. I got to hang out with Elder Clegg, who I knew from Fogo, which was SUPER fun. They have these really cool stairs in their area that are all painted a different colour, so it looks like a rainbow. I made the joke that it looked like you were walking up into Mario Kart! Our division overall was powerful. We hit like 8:45pm without reaching our contacting goal for the day, so we sped contacted and did like 10 in 10 minutes, it was powerful. They've been without power in their house for a week so they've been living the struggle.
I taught positively the weirdest lesson of my mission this week. Our ward mission leader gave us a reference of this guy in the street, named Nelson, so we went to teach him the next day, and he invited us to sit down with him outside a house, which was more or less normal, so we started with a prayer, and I started to teach. I knew it was gunna be a weird one when he stopped me and told me that our lesson didn't matter, because we did exactly what Jesus said not to do by praying in the streets; he then proceeded to go off for two solid minutes about how all churches are false, because the Holy Ghost chose him as a prophet and told him the truth, told us that it says no where in the Bible to pray with eyes closed, told us he was of the Tribe of Judah, and then said, 'yeah, Elders, I'll be honest, I invited you to talk with me cuz I respect you, I like what you do, and wanted to tell you, Jesus is coming in 2 and a half years, prep yourselves' and proceeded to grab my hand and said, 'let's close with prayer :)' and said he prays with his eyes looking to the sky because that's what Jesus said. I asked him where it said that in the Bible; he only responded saying 'love :)'. So, there you go, folks, we know when the Second Coming is, thanks to Nelson the Cape Verdean prophet :)
We had interviews this week with President Mathews, which was good as always. We had house inspections with them, so we cleaned our house super good, as I always seem to get ripped by President for having dirty houses while they are never, in fact, that dirty; they're usually really clean!! When President and Sister Mathews came, President tried to tell Elder Amado that my house cleaning ability isn't very good, and said, 'man, you should've seen his house in Cova!' and I was like 'hey! you said that house was Celestial! ... It was the Maio house that wasn't good'. I got a nice smile out of that one :) hahaha.
Sunday was also a really solid day for us, in that we had an investigator from the past week who we taught for the first time in a loooong time, named Cinthia, and it was really cool cuz she'd been waiting for us to come by, and as we got close to the church, we saw that President's car was in the parking lot, meaning he'd be at church with us; the kicker was that I was called the night before by our Branch's 1st counselor to give a talk, meaning I'd be giving a talk with President Mathews in the congregation. Needless to say, I was quite worried about impressing the congregation :P it went well though, thankfully. Pres told me I gave a good talk afterwards. The rest of the day went well in that we managed to teach lessons really consistently, just finding people at home ready to listen which was boss.
Scaring moment of the week was having gun shots wake me up in the middle of the night one day. I was super confused about what was going on, and all I heard after were guys outside swearing in Portuguese. Nice experience, real nice.
It's been a gooder. Lovin' life.