|Farewell to Elder Penner|
Monday, 20 June 2016
Well, with transfers being today, we just saw off Elder Penner, who is now on his way to Fogo. Kinda crazy to think that we started together in February, and he's already gone. Gosh, it seems like a long time, but it passed in a second.
This week was interesting because we through Elder Neville into the mix with us, which was super fun. It's super strange being in a triple, you have to buy more food, make more food, plan shower timing better, try not to chat tooooooo much, those sorts of things. It was a lot of fun, but also meant a lot less teaching time in lessons for each individual, which was sorta weird. People in our area are so used to seeing us walking around with an extra missionary who's only in for the day or so, and so it was kinda weird to tell people that, in fact, this new missionary wasn't leaving, it was Elder Penner who was going to leave. However, despite the fact we had another person in the mix, this week was actually really successful for us.
We started to work with Adiley on teaching him the lessons again, now that he's a recent convert, and also helping him prepare for the priesthood. I think he was kinda nervous, like he was going to have to prepare as much as he did for baptism, but we gave him a For Strength of Youth pamphlet, taught him about what the priesthood is, how he needs to live, had him interview by a member of our bishopric, and on Sunday, Elder Penner and I got to stand in the circle to ordain him a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood. For me, it was the first time I saw one of my recent converts receive the priesthood, so that was awesome :) definite highlight from the week.
On Wednesday we got to go and teach Belarmino with President Teixeira, the Stake President of Praia, which was really cool. It was a super simple lesson, because what we're trying to focus on is how he receive and recognize his answer, but when we gave the time to President Teixeira to teach, I found myself watching him and being taught too, I loved having him there. He taught so honestly and simply, which is different from most members here, as many either stay relatively quiet, or talk about the blessings of the Law of Chastity for 25 minutes, like another member did this past week :P hahaha. It was a simple lesson, and we invited him to pray about which day he would like to prepare for baptism on. When we went back yesterday, we showed Belarmino the video 'the Restoration' and talked about it a bit, and brought up which date he would like to prepare for baptism on. We had a quiet 30 seconds or so, and the Spirit was really strong, and finally, Belarmino told us he would like to have til the 30th of July to prepare. We were so happy to hear him make that date and make a decision, or at least a goal. Elder Penner walked out of that lesson so stoked, I was pretty darn happy too. The Spirit is such a broooooo
A few other highlights from this week: one day as we were going out to work, we came across a newer investigator and his sister-in-law moving gravel with shovels and buckets, so we dove on in and helped them for like 45 minutes. All Cape Verdeans will joke and ask for help, but they never think we can actually do it. They're always like, 'no, elder, don't do that, you'll get your pants dirty!' 'no, elder, you'll get too tired', but we just told them, ' too bad :) ' and got to work right with them. Our investigator, Daniel, worked hard with us, and his sister-in-law, Fatima, was a bro and let us wash up in their house afterwards. Since we spent so long helping them, we were also able to sit down with them right after for 20 minutes or so to teach them a short lesson. There's something so satisfying in helping someone out physically, then sitting down with them and helping them spiritually :) it was fun.
Another was on Sunday, when we showed up to church, and saw that our recent convert, Marlene, was sitting up on the stand, and she gave a simple talk about the Book of Mormon. It was SO cool because she really didn't have a lot to say, but what she did was simple, sweet, and boss.
I guess a last sorta fun moment was last night, Elder Penner wanted to say goodbye to a recent convert family of his from another area in Praia, who now live in our area, and who we helped return to church after being briefly inactive. We showed up to pizza, rolls, and other little foods ready so they could say goodbye to Elder Penner, and we even got him to dance for them :) I sorta initiated it, it's always fun to dance a little, right? hahaha.
Gunna be a weird week. Don't have Elder Penner with me anymore, but Elder Neville and I are getting along great, so it should be fun :)
Monday, 13 June 2016
Well, this week was boss, because Adiley (previously written in my emails as 'Adalei', had it spelled wrong sorry :P) proved to us that he's ready to start on the path Heavenly Father has for him, and he was baptized on Saturday! That was the definite highlight of the week for us :)
A good 50% of our working time this past week went into helping Adiley get ready. Seeing as how we've only been teaching him for under 4 weeks, we had to help him get all prepared, and man, was he ever. For every time we taught him, he would leave his house and walk 20 minutes or so to meet up with us. There were so many times where he showed us how prepared he was, like when we taught him the Word of Wisdom, and he told us, 'I've never been into those things, my dad taught me not to use them', or like when we taught him to keep the Sabbath day holy, he told us, 'I was thinking about leaving to go and work in Boa Vista, but that job would have me work Sundays, so I won't go'. Guy's a boss. He wanted Elder Penner and I to be involved in his baptism too, so while we had our 2nd counselor, Nunu, do the baptism, I had the opportunity to confirm him on Sunday :) it was cool, and my first time doing it too! Now, the next step is to get Adiley preparing to receive the Priesthood, which could happen as early as next week! It's been such a miracle for us to teach him.
|YSA Family Night activity|
Since so much of our time this week went to Adiley and getting him ready, that some other parts of our area suffered. We still managed to teach other people, but like, not many :P We were able to teach our investigator Belarmino for the first time in like more than a week, which was driving us crazy! He's so so SO close on getting his answer and confirmation that the Book of Mormon is true. We showed up and asked him how his reading was going, and he told us all about the story of Abinadi, which was like boss, and told us it really resonated with him. He's not a guy who reads usually a ton, but he told us that one day he read two full chapters because of how compelling it was to him. On Sunday, after sacrament meeting, he left to go home, and the Stake President (who's in our ward) came up to us and was like, 'guys, I saw your one investigator left. I see him all the time, I wanna get to know him. When are you teaching him next?' and we were all like YESSSSSSSSSS. That's gunna happen this Wednesday, updates to follow.
|Finally in the driver's seat! A happy day!|
One really funny part from this week was a lesson we had with an investigator named Baka. He's really into listening to us, but we're not too sure how much gets through all the time. While he's very honest, he's also in a constant state of having juuuust this much alcohol in his system at all times. When we taught him this week, we were able to calm him down enough to teach him about keeping the Sabbath day holy, which he really liked, but after we closed with a prayer, he got really close to us and told us, 'I'm the luckiest guy in the world, ask me why' and so we were like, 'uhhh, okay, why?' to which he told us to wait, and came back holding two Books of Mormon. He told us, 'that night after you last taught me, I went to bed with one of these, and when I woke up, there were two' which just about made me crack up. It was apparent to us that Elder Penner, being often forgetful, left a Book of Mormon he was walking with in the last lesson we had. We didn't want to break his heart, and since we have plenty Books of Mormon, we just let him have his moment. On the way out, he kept shouting to us, 'I'm gunna give one to my woman!' which I told him was great, to which he responded, 'and if she doesn't like it, I'll leave her! There's plenty of women out there!'. I had to get moving fast because I was gunna laugh too hard.
Other highlights from this week include a sunglasses purchase that Elder Penner and I made today for 5 bucks total. Sorta loving that new rule.
|Rocking the new look....|
Speaking of things ready to start, here in a few minutes, my next companion will be getting here! Being as there is one week left in the transfer, Elder Penner gets one week to train my next companion, Elder Neville, on how to do all the secretary stuff, meaning we'll get to hang out in a triple for a week. It should be fun :) Elder Penner and I will be finishing up our 3-transfer or 4 month tenure together. Maybe this last week he'll let me hold his hand :)
Wednesday, 8 June 2016
"Feels like I've been liiiiiiving in; a city with nooooo chiiiiildren in it"
One fun thing about my birthday here, June 1st, is that it's National Children's Day. Last year on Maio, I thought it was a big deal, but MAN. Here in Praia was a different story. I'm pretty sure 90% of the population here went and hit up the beach. Relatively nothing was open :P it was fun though :)
|Yet another selfie with Elder Penner (if we could only read his mind...."Stop with the selfies Massey...enough already!)|
This was a pretty happening week. We had Zone Conference on Tuesday, and since Maio makes up a part of the zone, we got to have the two elders from there come in for a bit, and they got to hang out with us. It was a lot of fun for me, because I got to go on a division with Elder Cannon, who also started on Maio, and is only on his 3rd transfer. It reminded me of a year ago when I, on my third transfer, got to see civilization for the first time to come to a Zone Conference. It kinda let me look in a mirror from a year ago. It was a lot of fun. We got to have them stay in our house a couple nights, and I basically had to hide from Elder Cannon telling stuff about Star Wars to the other elders. It was torture.
Zone Conference rocked. President taught us about repentance and its role in help our investigators not only baptize in the church, but become converted. Sister Mathews taught us about how we need to be tools (but not in a bad way :P haha), that we aren't the teacher, but it's the Holy Ghost who does it. All in all it was a lot of fun. President tried to get me to sit next to him at lunch but I sorta ran and sat by Elder McMullin. Didn't want him to get mad at me for me shoes like he usually does :P hahaha.
For my birthday on Wednesday, we showed up to the office for a meeting we had with President and Sister Mathews, and the Alvarez couple, and when I'd showed up, Sister Mathews presented me with a birthday cake she made for me. I was shocked. I had to wait til after the meeting to eat it, but it was awesome. Sister Mathews is the bomb. After we celebrated with a bacon pizza, we did some teaching, and met up with our ward mission leader and the Sisters in our ward for correlation, to which the Sisters made me ANOTHER cake, and Chidu, our ward mission leader, brought a two liter of Vimto. It was so powerful. My birthday, though not perfect, ended out really solid :) I got home pretty darn happy that night. Just made it even better that I got so many spoils to enjoy in my package. MY MOM IS THE BEEEST :D
|The birthday package explosion...|
We've been able to teach Adalei more this week, and MAN is he amazing. We were teaching him the plan of salvation, and started to talk about the resurrection, to which he interrupted us and said, "yeah, sorry to interrupt, but that just reminds me of a scripture I read in the Book of Mormon, that says, 'every knee shall bow and every tongue confess the Christ' ". I had to stop myself from having my jaw straight up drop in our lesson. When we taught him the Word of Wisdom, he was like, "my dad always taught me never to use those things. He said they cause harm". It's amazing how incredibly prepared he his. He showed up to a conference we had on Sunday at 7am, when church didn't start til 10am. Granted, he forgot we didn't have regular church at 8:30am, but still, he ended up spending 5 hours sitting at church on Sunday. He's a BOSS. He's still looking really good for baptism this Saturday. It's an incredible tender mercy we've had, to be able to teach him.
|At Stake Conference on Sunday|
One funny thing from this week, when we had the Maio Elders over to our house, they saw a Jelly Belly game I got in my package that has identical jelly beans of good and awful flavors. Elder Cannon had seen it before, and taught us all how to play, and it was hilarious. I got to try jelly beans like dog food, vomit, rotten eggs, and baby wipes. Elder Penner got the worst though, he got every single bad flavor :P hahaha. It was a good prank to play on the APs, I put them on my desk the next day, and when they came in, Elder Mendenhall was like "SWEET!" and popped a jelly bean into his mouth, and then looked at me in horror, with a sorta look of 'WHAT IS THIS??' hahaha. It was so classic.
Hope this has been a good update :) LOVE Y'ALL!
Wednesday, 1 June 2016
We've had a really blessed week here, it just seems like a lot of things went right for us, and not because of any extra effort or change on our part. I guess short and simple, the Lord pulled a lot of strings for us this week.
I mentioned in last week's email a guy who showed up at church named Adalei, and this week we got around to teaching him, and MAN is he a boss. He's pretty well as golden an investigator I've found so far on my mission. He's an 18 year old kid who's from São Tomé, a smaller island country more south than here, and he's been living here for about 8 months without any of his direct family, who are all back in São Tomé for the most part. He came to church with his friend Toni, a less active we've been helping for a while, so on Monday we went over to Toni's house and taught him there, and everything about the lesson on the Restoration made perfect sense to him; he was quite more engaged in the lesson than Toni, and even gave a testimony at the end of the lesson on how much he loved church. We marked a baptismal date with him for the 11th of June, which we're stoked about.
The only problem with Adalei is that he doesn't technically live in our area... which we didn't think was much of a problem. He said he lived close enough to Toni that it wasn't far, and I talked to the Sisters who work where I thought he lived, and they didn't have a problem with us teaching him, so on Thursday, we had Adalei show us where he lives. We were walking with the 2nd counselor in our bishopric, who's a total bro, and so we started following Adalei to his house, and we walked, and walked, and walked, and WALKED, until we were about 20 minutes outside of our area, clear in the middle of my last area in Praia, AND we walked straight past Elder McMullin and Elder Rodrigues, who were on a division. That was a very awkward moment :P we ended up teaching Adalei in the middle of the other area, in Bela Vista, and our member who was with us, during a short pause in the lesson, put his hands on our shoulders and laughed, saying, 'weeeeell, looks like you'll have to pass him over to the other elders', which we had already sorta accepted. After the lesson, we sent a sad text message to the elders with his name and number, and consigned it to that.
To our surprise, on Sunday, he came to our ward again, with his same friends in our ward, and told us, 'hey guys, I wanna get baptized in this ward. I don't wanna go to the other one'. We talked with the same 2nd counselor who was with us that day, himself a return missionary, and talked through it with Adalei, and decided that we'll stick with him and not give him away. He told us, 'if you guys have to teach me in Toni's house, I'll do it'. He did tell us too that he's going to be moving to part of our area, Tira Chapéu, soon enough anyways, so that makes it okay :) Elder McMullin wasn't too happy with me though, it's a good thing we're friends :)
As with our other investigators, our one boss friend Belarmino is doing SUPER well. The Lord seems to be breaking down barriers with him one by one. He's a more shy guy, and though he's super comfortable with us, he's sorta slower to open up in all aspects. In working with him towards baptism, he's slowly overcoming the hurdles in his way that are holding him back: first it was needing an answer, second it was some personal situations, third was his actual desire to be baptized. In the past 7 days, Heavenly Father has taken away each and every one of them. He came to church for all 3 hours yesterday, which was his first time, and by the time we visited him last night, he told us he feels the urgency he knows he needs to be baptized. We're trying the same thing we did with Marlene with him, in that we're having him mark his own baptismal date. When we go by on Thursday, we have strong faith we can walk out of that lesson with a date in which he'll be able to make those covenants with the Lord :)
One super awesome part from this week was Sunday. The ward asked for us missionaries to speak in Sacrament Meeting, and since Elder Penner is the only missionary who was here the last time the ward did that, he got to sit it out while the two Sisters spoke, and I was the closing speaker. One major blessing was that they both took a solid 10-15 minutes each, meaning I had less than 10 minutes to fill at the end. The second major blessing was that the Lord brought 10 different people we've been working with to church, 6 being investigators, the other 4 being less actives. When the frequency of the ward was almost 60 people, the 10 people we brought made up more than a 6th of the ward! It was AWESOME.
A tender mercy this week brought came in the form of American pop. There's this one American store in Praia that we've found salsa at in the past, and so in a random browsing session, we came across some tortilla chips and Kool-Aid packets, at which point a new Coldplay song came on the radio, which in Cape Verde is a miracle all of it's own. Just as we were on our way out of the store (after the song was over, of course), we saw a cooler that had both Mountain Dew and A&W Root Beer. It was amazing. Those moments of ecstasy that followed were truly indescribable. Heavenly Father knows us individually, I'm convinced :)
It's been a rad week, Love y'all!