Wednesday, 1 June 2016
Gold on the Ceiling
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!