Tuesday, 24 May 2016
Big news of the week... MY DRIVER'S LICENSE CAME! It was a little sad for a few weeks because Elder Penner and I were the only two missionaries in the mission with our own car, but we couldn't drive it since we had both lost our licenses in one way or another :P both of us were quite excited when we got the mail on Friday, and saw I had a package in the mail :) moms are the best!!
This week's been a really good one for us. Not necessarily the number one best in terms of lessons taught or other numbers, but we both came out of this week feeling really good about how things went. There were quite a few miracles that came along the way.
One miracle came with our investigator, Belarmino, who we've been working with for baptism for a while. He's super cool, and in all honesty, totally ready. He's just not all there with the desire to be baptized quite yet. We taught a lesson with him last Monday, and taught from Mosiah 18, talking about the baptismal covenant and such, and asked him what Alma asks in the chapter, 'what's holding you back from being baptized?', to which Belarmino gave us an answer we've heard many times, where he told us it's something he would really like to do, but doesn't feel a need for it at this time, but wants to focus on keeping the commandments first. While there is nothing wrong with that, Belarmino is keeping all the commandments pretty well, and so we didn't see that as much of a concern for him. As we were sitting there teaching, I was drawing a blank on what to say or what to teach. While Elder Penner was teaching, I had a prompting tell me to ask him about his answer, but by the time it came for me to speak, we'd already sorta moved on from that point, and I didn't think it was gunna work, but the prompting hit me again, so I decided to ask about it. That might've been one of the most clear spiritual promptings I've gotten in both my mission and my life, and it was for a good reason. It turned out that Belarmino hasn't actually found his answer yet, and that THAT was exactly what he needs to have that desire to be baptized. I asked him, 'if you knew for sure that these things were true, would you follow them?' to which he responded, 'well, I'd have to!'. It was such a spirit guided lesson, it was awesome. Since that day, he's been reading every day, came to the baptisms to watch on Saturday, and came to church on Sunday. He still needs some help, but he's gunna get there :) He's SO close!
Another miracle from this week was a guy we started to teach. One of our mission rules is we aren't allowed to contact Muslims (for religious reasons) unless they contact us. Usually it's more or less pretty easy to tell the Muslim people out from others, because most are immigrants to Cape Verde. One day we were walking and Elder Penner almost stopped to contact a guy working on some upholstery, and when Penner just kept on walking, I made a joke along the lines of, 'what, you decided to not contact the Muslim guy?', just because it was clear he wasn't Cape Verdean (which, noted, was a judgement placed by me. I've since repented). The next day when we walked by, he called out to us, and was like, 'hey! Come here!' and when we came over, he gave us a rant about how 'I'm a human being and I have the right to hear your message! Why don't you ever stop for me?', to which we profusely apologized. Turns out his name is Baka, which is the same word in Creole for cow, and he isn't Muslim, though his parents were. We went by to teach him the next day, and he was pretty in to our lesson. Whether he understood everything, I'm not sure, but he readily accepted everything, even a baptismal date! On Sunday, he came to church to, if only for a few minutes, and when we ran into him later that afternoon, he was like, 'hey, why didn't you introduce me at the front?? I wanna get to know people!' hahaha. We told him he should stuck around a little longer at church. He's really really cool though, and tonight we're planning to teach him with a member who's from the same country as he is, Guinea-Bissau, so that should be interesting :) Heavenly Father puts people in our path in strange ways.
This week President Mathews came through with his promise from interviews last transfer and he and Sister Mathews took us out for lunch this week :) It was cool to just to get and chat with them one-on-one in a sorta less work-based setting. I definitely learned some stuff during that lunch, while I very politely ate my nice pizza, and also found out they aren't Harry Potter fans. I think that one hurt Elder Penner a little more than it hurt me, but it was a bit of a sad moment. All in all though, it was a really good lunch :) we've got awesome mission presidents here.
On Sunday, another cool thing happened in that one of our less actives, Toni, brought a friend of his to church who is really interested in the gospel. Both of them stayed all three hours and his friend, Adalei, made some really cool comments in our priesthood class :) it was just another one of those moments where both Elder Penner and I were amazed at what Heavenly Father is doing for us here.
It's been a solid one over here. We're loving life right now. I'll leave it at that for now :)
Sunday, 22 May 2016
So, one problem with Elder Penner and I being secretaries together, is we're constantly in a state of forgetting things. It's sorta bad. Neither of us have an impeccable ability for information retention, and sometimes, especially in our job, that costs us :P
My favorite story from this week in terms of forgetting things was when Elder Penner forgot his computer password. Our computers have a setting on them where we have to change the passwords constantly, which meant I had to change mine from 'shiblonisaboss' to something new, and when Elder Penner changed his, the next day when we came in, he couldn't remember it to save his life :P it was pretty darn funny. We searched around the office for a solution, found a floppy disk that we thought would help, realized we didn't know what the heck a floppy disk was or how to use it, talked to President, and then called Salt Lake about what to do. Since it was a Saturday, they told him to wait til Monday. As we were leaving to achieve other tasks, I pep-talked/yelled at Elder Penner to remember what it was, until it hit him and he was finally able to enter into his computer again. It's moments like this one where I question our functionality as secretaries :P hahaha.
One thing that this week brought was a more difficult time in getting out to work in our area. We're not too sure why that happened, but it just did; we probably could have planned a little bit better. However, as always, Heavenly Father pulled through in being a boss and giving us so many tender mercies along the way.
This week, we got to hang out with Elder Poole, an elder who was on his way home and was in Praia for a few days, which meant we got to show someone around about the high-life we live in the office. We felt sorta bad for him, because there were days where we were just clicking away and he got to just sit a do pretty well nothing. We gave him a few different tasks, like putting all of the missionaries as contacts in our phone, but I'm pretty sure the whole experience just left Elder Poole glad that he didn't live our lives, hahaha. It was super fun to have him with us though, and he even bought us bifanas our last night with him, mostly cuz his Cape Verdean escudos probably weren't gunna do him much good after :P He's a good kid.
|Hanging out with Elder Poole|
One of the main highlights from this week was Sunday for us. First off, in the morning we had Stake Conference, for which the Praia Stake rented out a high school gym and filled it with chairs for everyone, and we got to hear from an Area Seventy from the Netherlands, Elder Hans T. Boom. It was a cool thing to be a part of, having so many members together at once, and getting to hear an Area Seventy. It was the first time in a long time that I heard a church talk in English, which was sorta nice :)
|At Stake conference...|
In the afternoon on Sunday, we were given two greenies to hang out with, one Brazilian and another from Paraguay, which at first was a bit of a burden, but in the end worked out really well for us. They enjoyed my chili I made for lunch, and then after we did our weekly planning, I went out to work with Elder Firmo, from Brazil, and we got a TON done. Yesterday was the last day of the Portuguese soccer league season, and EVERYBODY was watching one of the games, and so we thought it was gunna be tough to find people at home, but we ended up teaching 4 lessons, and so did Elder Penner when he went out with Elder Jhangiani, meaning we almost doubled our area's weekly total in lessons in just Sunday alone! It really was a tender mercy to say the least. It's funny, because at first I wasn't very happy to get stuck with greenies for the afternoon, but it worked out pretty well!
We're gunna do our best this week to not forget stuff as bad. We're also praying daily for a drivers license to come in. We're the only missionaries in the mission that get their own car to use, and we can't even use it because license 'ka ten'. #thestruggle
|the weekly dog photo.....|
|Lunch with friends including Elder McMullin - an MTC bro!|
Wednesday, 11 May 2016
'oh, don't tell my mother til I've pulled myself together'
Well, now that we've pulled ourselves together after a long week, I got some updates to throw out there :)
First off, on Saturday, we had Marlene's baptism!! It was awesome! On Thursday we went to visit her and go over stuff just so she was all ready and stuff, and it was just A+++. She was beaming the whole time, and was just stoked in general. We organized with her son, Kenny, to baptize her, and though Kenny is one of my favorite members in this area, he is notorious for never showing up to anything on time, no matter how hard his mom might try, or how hard we might try. Seeing as how the baptism was on Saturday, we told them, 'Okay, you need to be at the chapel at 3:40 so you're not late.' They both very much encouragingly told us they would be there on time, but when we showed up ourselves ten minutes before the baptism, we found Marlene standing and waiting, absolutely beaming, but with a distinctive lack of Kenny. The people conducting the service were rushing it and being all like 'it's 4pm we GOTTA START' and we were busy trying to chill them out so we could kill time for Kenny to show, but they started anyways. Thankfully, Kenny made it in time, and was able to baptize his own mom, which was truly amazing to see :) The gospel really does bless families, and the joy we saw in their little family of two that day was so incredible :)
So, we proved the world wrong this week by showing that office elders CAN baptize. WOO!!
It has been another week full of hectic-ness again, as per the usual. Our week itself was going by super well, for what it was. Being the last week before transfers, we had a lot of organizing to do, and a lot of hours spent at the airport, but we were still able to get 4+ hours in our area almost every day, which rocked. We had a few really sweet lessons, and a few tougher ones. One of the tougher ones was with a guy named Nunu, who we really like, and is a really nice guy, but it's been tough to get stuff through to him. We've felt that in the past maybe he didn't understand the importance of a living day prophet, and so we've been focusing on that, paired with the doctrine of the Sabbath Day. We taught what we thought was a really straight forward lesson, presenting the reason why we keep the Sabbath holy, what the blessings are that come with it, and how it would help him. At the end of the lesson, though, when we invited him to come to church with us, he told us that he still wouldn't come, for a few reasons. It was hard to hear it, but it made me realize some of life's distractions in how they keep us from following the path we should be on. For Nunu, maybe in his life he's got some things that, while they are really important to him, are holding him back. It made me think about maybe what I might be putting first in my own life, and holding me back a bit. We can all do a bit better at that I guess. Just a random thought I had.
A strange moment we had from this week was yesterday, when we were teaching a lesson, and we heard a giant crash from just outside the door, and TONS of dust came flying up. When we went to inspect it, part of the ceiling on the outside of the house had fallen and crashed down :P it was crazy! I've never been in a lesson before where I could say the roof came crashing down, but now I can :) we helped clean up for a bit, but they always tell us, ' no Elder, you'll get dirty!' so after a bit, some guys came in with shovels and cleaned 'er all up.
The weekend was crazy for us, but between the baptism and getting to call home, there couldn't have been a better timing for it. Heavenly Father knows our situations, and he gives us what we need when we need it most :)
Gotta run, just heard we gotta buy a boat ticket for a sister who wasn't allowed to get on a plane :P Sorry, love y'all!
Wednesday, 4 May 2016
Figured I'd go for an Awolnation song, not sure if I've done one of those yet. I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss real music dearly.
This week was a bit of a slower week for us, for a few different reasons. While the week past we were able to get out really early and not have to worry about too many office duties, this week brought more than a few office commitments that kept us working past the times we wanted to. I think we had two different days where we had to stay at the airport til 5pm or so, which was sort of annoying. A bunch of different factors came together, and while it would be easy to look at ourselves and say, ' it's not your fault ', we know that, to a certain extent, we didn't give it our all this week like we could have. It's pretty easy to try and blame stuff on other circumstances, but at the end of the day, it really all falls to us. Looking at it that way, Elder Penner and I have set plans for this coming week so that we don't look back on our next week and realize we could have done more.
That being said, we've had quite the hectic week on a few fronts. I may have mentioned that, when we go to the airport to get stuff done, there are a few people that can be there working, but almost always we run into one guy named Flavio. While Flavio is a nice guy and good and all, he's really not very, how can I say it, good at his job :P I'm working on being less judgmental, but when you've gotta buy 29 different flights and each flight should take less than 2 minutes to buy, and it takes you more than two and a half hours to sit through it with him, sometimes your patience runs thin. While we left there all smiles, the next time we went back and got to work with Fernanda, we were in and out and 15 minutes doing about another 10 or so flights. I'm convinced that patience is an attribute of Christ that I'm supposed to learn out here :)
One miracle that is coming to pass is our investigator, Marlene, who is going to be baptized this coming week. I've talked a bit about her in the past, but she's super ready and we're stoked about it. This week, while on a division, Elder Penner reviewed the baptismal questions with her and found that she had issues with a few things, so we had her interviewed for baptism on Saturday by a member of the mission presidency, a bishop from another ward. Since Bishop Mendonça didn't have all the time in the world, he had to bring his two year old and four year old with him to the church, so while he was doing Marlene's interview, we got to watch his two kids (which, under normal circumstances, we wouldn't do, but sometimes the ox gets in the mire, y'know). After the interview, we were told that she is all ready to go! Her baptism is going to be this Saturday, and we're working with her 19 year old son Kenny to baptize her, which would be boss. Tender mercies are a real thing.
|Elder Massey in his element....just missing Lego and his joy would have been full!|
This past weekend was a fun experience, because Sunday was 'Dia dos Trabalhadores', or 'worker's day', which meant that basically everyone was just out having a blast :P however, their terms of a party, and the gospel terms of having a party, didn't quite align. Yesterday involved a lot of talking to drunk people who were calling to us on the street. I realized that drunks do inherently like us for the most part, which is cool I guess. Lots of them were excited to invite us into their homes and give us rice and beans and goat and all that good stuff. At one house I had one more glass of orange Fanta than I should have and hobbled to our next appointment thinking I was going to puke. I didn't though, which is the important part. The Lord blessed us with being able to find 3 lessons yesterday, which, when it was as rowdy as it was, was a miracle for us.
It's been a good week, but this next one should be even better. Thanks for all y'all do.