Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Fly On

This past week, I've had a steady stream of missionaries calling me, asking usually along the lines of this question: 'I just need a yes or no answer: DO I HAVE A PLANE TICKET?', seeing as how transfers took place today. I can think of at least 4 people who asked that exact question. It's ridiculous.

We had a lot of work to do this week to get everything ready for transfers. That meant a lot of flight cancelling, a lot of flight buying, a lot of planning, organizing, and maybe a little digging too; Elder Penner and I get curious about stuff too, so we did some digging to get stuff out of the Assistants too, it was fun. Though not 100% of transfers went smoothly, most of them seem to be out of the way, but more on that later. 

So, we've started teaching this lady named Paula, from Fogo, who we got as a reference from the sisters a little while back. She's he sister-in-law of one of their super cool investigators, and now Paula is really interested too. The only problem with her, is she is like WAY too chatty! Being office elders, and with her studying to catch up with school at night, our schedules kinda collide to teach her, so this week, we took time out of our lunch to teach her in the middle of the day (sidenote: nothing happens in Cape Verde between the hours of 1 and 3, so it's a miracle when someone is willing to talk then), but seeing as how we really don't have all that much time, we made it our goal to teach her in under 20 minutes, each lunch, and rush back to the office. Well, our lesson ran a decent amount longer than 20 minutes, we left there after more than an hour, just talking about praying about the Book of Mormon :P it was loooong. We both walked out of there saying, 'okay, we can't ask her ANY MORE QUESTIONS' because every time we do, she goes off for like 20 minutes! She is really cool though, and does have a solid desire to follow. Sometimes it makes me laugh to see such incredible differences in Heavenly Father's children. 

Coming into this week, Elder Penner and I also noticed that our contacting numbers have been on a steady decline throughout the transfer, so we made it our goal to make sure we hit our goals. Last night while we were walking, we walked past a large group of people, and I thought 'gosh dang, I hate doing large group contacts', but sometimes you just gotta throw care to the wind and talk to er'ybody. I'm continually finding one of my favorite things about this whole missionary gig is that I love talking to people, even if it's awkward at first sometimes. 
A couple good moments from this week: 
Elder Penner remembered that our area had a place that made really good bread at night, but couldn't remember where it was. We wandered and wandered, asked like at least 8 people where it was, got NO help, called another elder who served in the same area, and after about 20 minutes of trying super hard and walking in circles, a guy on the side of the road was like 'what the heck are you guys looking for?', and once I explained to him our dilemma, he sighed a judgmental sigh, and led us to where it was. It was definitely worth the effort though, cuz that bread is gooooooooood.
We had a less active guy show up to church yesterday, who we've been working with for a while, and he brought one of his bros, and we were like 'heck yeah, sharing the gospel', until we got to gospel principles, when the bro introduced himself to the class as a member of the church. Both Penner and I looked at each other like 'lol dang it'. 
Today, in the entire hooplah of transfers, we got a panic call from the Assistants telling us to get a bag to the airport for a missionary leaving in under an hour. Once we got there, we found out 2 elders weren't gunna be able to fly cuz they didn't have their passports (you can fly here with just a driver's license sometimes) and so in my call to the APs, Elder Mendenhall told me, 'Elder Massey, you do what you can and you tell them they are GETTING THEM ON THAT FLIGHT'. While I would love to have a miracle end to this story, it really resulted in a panicked me running around the airport, saying 'PUT THEM ON!' and trying to be assertive, but one problem after another led to them closing the gates cuz it was too late, aaaaaaaand the two Elders didn't 'fly on' (hehehe). I hate telling people at airports what I want them to do. I don't wanna deal with that stress again :P 
(Their MTC group had lots of travel difficulties getting to Cape Verde - missed their flight in Madrid for Lisbon due to the 2 South African missionaries traveling with them being deported by immigration back to the USA because of visa problems....it was not a happy time for them trying to figure out what to do.  Thankfully it had a happy ending and they all ended up arriving safely.  I think this week's experience hit too close to home trying to work with uncooperative airport personnel...)

It's been a week. 
Love y'all! 
Elder Massey

And what would a letter be without at least one dog picture....

Friday, 25 March 2016

Your English is Good

Just like the guys in Tokyo Police Club, lots of people in Cape Verde have been saying, 'ohhhh, give us your vote', being that there was an election going on. It's been the subject of a lot of activity for the past few weeks, and finally finished up yesterday. I was kinda rooting for the guys with the cool free yellow t-shirts, but the guys with the lesser cool free red t-shirts won. Still working on trying to get some of those t-shirts by the way... 

You can bet yesterday was a pretty hectic day, with the election going on and all. We were trying so hard to find people to teach, seeing as we had a solid amount of commitments marked, but it was a STRUGGLE. Nobody seemed to be home, and if they were home, they were out chilling in front of their houses, with a bunch of friends, being rowdy. We felt like we were competing with the political parties here a bit, as we kinda wanted to say, 'if you know what's good for you, give us your vote', kinda like TPC said. 

We're continually finding that the Lord his putting his hand directly into our work here. Over the past 5 weeks of this transfer, Elder Penner and I have had countless occasions where we've found people out of the blue who are willing to listen to our message, and end up being decently interested. We had one experience at the beginning of the week where we were walking, and just contacted a guy, named Carlos, randomly sitting outside of his house, and asked if he had 15 minutes for a message, to which he accepted. By the end of the lesson, he was saying we could come back every day if we wanted :P another example is when we taught a less active member, with a few of his friends who wanted to sit in. We had taught this less active guy, Jailson, the week before with a few of his friends, and only had enough Book of Mormon's to give to one of his friends, but this week, we found them again, and Jailson's one buddy, Patrick, was super stoked to see we kept our promise and brought him a Book of Mormon. 

I'm not sure if I wrote about this already, but there's this sorta funny thing we find every once and a while that makes me laugh a bit. There's lots of younger guys here who try to be all thug-like and 'too cool', but whenever we contact them, they're like super down to hear our message. They're the kind of people that, on first glance, you'd think, 'that guy probably doesn't want to hear, but I'll give him a go anyways' and they end up being like 'heck yeah man. Palavra de Deus is cool man, any time you want, you come over.' That's sorta what happened with our Patrick guy. 

Also, on the subject of good English, we were walking and met this one guy dressed in a Celtics jersey with a ton of chains and he spoke fluent English. He was a super funny guy, he was like, 'you guys remember me??' and we were like 'uhhhhhh, no...'. He's Cape Verdean, but told us he's from Rhode i sland. Love those little moments. 

As a closing funny story, in our gospel principles class yesterday, the memeber teaching, who is also our ward mission leader, somehow brought up a comparison between Mother Teresa and Osama Bin Laden. Not sure how it got there, but at the point in the conversation where I realized what was going on, the Sister who was in front of me, turned around and said, 'hey, you got any idea what's going on?' and when I told her what I thought it was, she responded, 'okay, that's what I thought too, just making sure'. It was classic. 

It's been a good week! I'm still doing well on keeping my mouth shut about transfers. Only one more week...
Love y'all!
Elder Massey 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Do I Wanna Know?

So, now that I've been in the office about a month now, I'm starting to get used to my more-or-less normal responsibilities, until this week when I got a new responsibility thrown my way: TRANSFERS. 

Part of my job in the office is to get all the flights and stuff for stuff going around the mission when transfers come up here in two weeks, and I got to start on it a few days ago. While it's super fun and cool and stuff, it does have it's draw backs. As I'm sure it works in every mission, everyone gets SUPER stoked to find out transfers before they happen; it's sorta like a game, you try and find out what you can, get rumors going, etc., and admittedly, I was a strong player in the game in the past. I looooved to find out what I could, spread what I heard, just the general comings and goings of the sort. However, this past week, I entered into a personal, conflicting struggle in which I had my responsibilities placed before me, and I knew I couldn't say a word about it. For those who know me well, I'm terrible at keeping a secret, and I've been given the trust to keep a mission-wide secret, if only for 2 or 3 weeks. I always thought it would be so cool to know everything going on with transfers, but now I'm starting to wonder, 'do I really wanna know?'. It's true when they say ignorance is bliss :P 

So, aside from having missionaries harass us every time we get a phone call, it's been a solid week! This week I really noticed the Lord's hand in our work as we went about doing what we do. I had a few moments this week where the Spirit really confirmed to me that the Lord knows our situation exactly. He understands that, being in the office, we don't have very much time to work, so he helps us in the work we are able to get done. We worked a lot this week with 3 of our dates we had marked, Adi, Carmalito, and Denis, and for the first time in my mission, I think I had 3 investigators reading the Book of Mormon consistently at the same time. It's been very cool to see. He gets exactly what we have to do, and so the people we've been teaching, he's been teaching in our absence too. 

By the time Sunday rolled around, the Lord helped us a lot in helping us get 6 investigators to church. We've been working a lot with 2 different couples, who have been showing up to church quite frequently. One of these couples has been going to church for so long, that the ward considers them to be members! The only reason they aren't baptized yet is because they are immigrants to Cape Verde, and haven't been able to get all the identification and papers they need so they can be legally married here. However, this past week, they let us know that F├ítima, the woman, had her brother let her know he found a lot of documents, specifically the ones they need, and that they should be here in about a month. Maybe Penbaby Sunshine and I will get to have a wedding here in the future! WOO! 

Sorry if the update is a little shorter than usual, time is short today. Waiting at the airport for 2 hours while getting stuff sorted out sure takes time out of your Pday! 

Love y'all!! 
Elder Massey

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

We Used to Wait


We did a lot of waiting this week. We've been waiting in a few different ways, but nonetheless, it's been a week FULL of it, which is always great :) I'll explain a few ways we got to wait this week.

On Tuesday, President held Mission Leadership Council, for all the zone leaders and sister training leaders, and though we weren't invited, guess who got asked to deal with all the coming and going of all the missionaries? US. Yaaaaaay....
We had a good solid two days of running people around, waiting at airports and at houses and such, which was good fun. It also meant a few early mornings, especially on Wednesday morning, when we had to have the Fogo ZLs at the airport by 5am. Thankfully, Praia is small enough that it's less than a 15 minute there-and-back trip, but still, it was a lot of running. After all was said and done, the Sal Zone leaders, Elder Bullock and Elder Rodrigues, my ZL from when I was in Fogo, were the last to leave, which meant we had a little time to go on a breakfast date with them before we had to do other office work, and get them off to the airport too. It was nice :) 

Some other nice waiting we got to do was at Electra, the literal one electrical company in Cape Verde. Basically, whenever there are missionaries without light or water, we get the call and have to deal with it. There's been some missionaries without light for a decent amount of time, so we did a LOT of waiting at Electra this week to try and change that. One day we spent two hours standing because all the dang chairs were taken (and also because we're courteous to let others sit before us), only to finally get to our turn, and have them tell us they had no clue how to solve the problem they told us we have, buuuut that they'd do their best to help out :P it's a good thing I have a colouring book, cuz I did a loooot of colouring waiting around that day... 

As for our work, we aren't doing any of that 'waiting around' business, because we're too darn busy making things change! One thing Elder Penner and I have found in our three weeks together is a constant climb in our weekly numbers, and more and more success in the lessons we're teaching and the people we're finding. While we aren't exactly baptizing the whole area quiiiite yet, we've had some really solid progress with a few of our investigators. Yesterday, we talked with one of them, Adi, the guy I knew from Maio, and as we talked about the Book of Mormon and how he could receive an answer from God, he accept a baptismal date for the end of this month. We knew it would be a tough goal to set, but he accepted it, and seems really eager to read and to learn. He's mentioned that he's been struggling as of late, since he's been out of work and has little money, let alone family around to help him, so one of the things I think we're making a big impact on with him is just being there for him. We're really seeing a lot of progress and change in our area. 

A good (sorta) funny experience from this week also had us doing so more waiting. It's really a long story, but to shorten it a bit, a few weeks back, we had been put in charge of sending a mini missionary home to Assomada, but while we were taking her to find a car, she told us she'd rather just stay with her mom in Praia. Elder Penner and I didn't see a real problem with it (while we both felt a little uneasy about it), so we took her to her mom's house, and left it at that. Fast forward to this week, the Assistants, while in Assomada, call us and tell us her family still thinks she's in Fogo, since she never actually went home. We had some repenting to do, and in the repentance process, we had to go find the girl and tell her she needed to go back to Assomada. The Lord helped us in that we were able to find her house easy enough, and that the girl was willing enough to get ready and go, but while we waited for her, we got an angry mom coming out and telling us she wouldn't be leaving, but that her daughter would stay right there with her. What resulted was a 20 minute unwavering argument where she tried to get us to move in every way, but we refused. She threw out some good attempts to tell us why her daughter shouldn't go back to Assomada, like that her aunt there was a slave driver or wouldn't let her sleep inside (not true), and also told us the reason why her daughter wasn't staying with her before was because she was in prison while her daughter was growing up. It's hard to believe the pleas of an angry mom when she's an ex-con... BUT, the important part of the story was we resolved it all, not without the Lord's hand in it, and got the girl back to Assomada, if only just to report to the Aunt the situation going on.  

It's been a good week. The whole mission office life really isn't as bad as I thought it would be. 

Love y'all! 
Elder Massey
Elder Penner "Enough pictures Elder Massey....just put that camera away!!!"

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Where Are You Now?


Been another whirlwind week with stuff to do as secretaries, but this week calmed down a bit, and gave me an opportunity to work myself into a regular groove, which was super nice. A lot of the week, President and the Assistants were gone on Zone Conferences, so we didn't have people running around giving us miscellaneous tasks to do, so it was a good, calm week in the office. With that being said, I did get to do some big-people things, that I never saw myself as the type of person doing. I get to email people like I'm big and important and demand stuff from them, and send emails to moms about go-home dates for missionaries and stuff, it's all pretty powerful. There's definite perks in the job that we have.

With the week in the office being a calmer one, Elder Penner and I had more of an opportunity this week than last to get out and to actually work in our area, which was super good. When I got here, the investigators that we had were, for a large part, ones that we've been working with for a while, so there really wasn't a whole ton of progression happening, just a lot of casual visiting and stuff, since being in this position doesn't give for a whole lot of time to find new people and really dig in our area. Knowing this, we made a really strong effort this week to go out and find those new investigators that the Lord has prepared for us in our area, and thankfully, he did just that! 

We've recently started working with various members of the same family, since we knocked a few doors next to each other, and we found out that they're all like brothers and sisters and such, it's kinda cool. One of the guys in that family is named Carmalito, who was suuuper drunk the first time we met him. I didn't really think much of the first contact we did with him, and we taught him the first time only cuz we happened to find him sitting outside his house, but when we went back the second time, he told us that, since our first visit, he hadn't had anything to drink, because he felt that our message was true, and he needed to follow it; needless to say, Elder Penner and I were pretty stoked to hear that. We've also began teaching his nephew, who pretty well contacted us on the street, and his sister as well. We found out that Carmalito's nephew, Denis, was so excited to go to church, that he got all ready to go on Sunday morning, and was waiting for us to pass by, so we could all go together, but the only problem was, since church starts at 8:30am for us, and we live 20 minutes away from the church and a solid 15 from our area, we didn't have time to go pass him! They're super cool though, we're looking forward to working with them a lot. 

In getting about explaining my song title, let me tell you about a major miracle we had in our area this week. We were out of the office one day, working in our area, when somebody called my name, and I was like, 'what the heck, nobody knows my name here', and I saw a guy that I knew from my first area, in Maio, who's living here now. This guy, named Adi, was a guy who lived at the same house as the woman we baptized on Maio, Luisa, who I knew had moved to Praia as well since I'd left Maio. As I got to catch up with him, I was like, 'hey, do you know where Luisa's living now?', to which he told us she lived less than 5 minutes away, and took us to her house. Ever since I left Maio and heard Luisa had left too, I had this dream in my head, that one day, once I was in Praia, I would just randomly run into her, and it would be super cool, and this week, the Lord answered my prayer! We got to talk with her and her 6 year old son, the same one who got super drunk one time, and taught her (even though she doesn't live in our area), and for the first time, honestly understood what she says! Her Creole is so thick that it was still a struggle for me to get it, but it was honestly so so cool, and was the definite highlight of my week. She said she's gone back to her old drinking and smoking ways, but said she needed the boost we gave her, and is gunna stop going to the weird miracle church her friends are taking her to, and go back to the right one :) It was such an incredible blessing for me to find her. 

On a lighter side, it's become apparent to me that people like to use us, and by people, I mean mostly the missionaries in our zone. People call us all the time, especially one Sunday's and Pday's needing things or wanting things, or every once and a while we get a Sister wanting meds from the office and for us to drive it to them, or some Elders who need a table want it 'right now', because they know we have a car and can, in theory, do that :P I've made it a personal goal to stop being a push over and showing tough love, and a little sass when necessary. We had our district leader call us today demanding his package before he used internet, to which I told him, 'and what's your solution for that one?'. I ain't takin' no more crap. 

Hope this week's been rad for y'all, love ya!
Elder Massey 
Good to know Elder Massey still has a little time to play....he's probably just getting some tips from the local expert!!