Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Turn Blue

Terra Branca is moving along here, good things are happening :)

This week started off with talking to our investigator, Obona, who successfully showed up to church twice, and came to a baptism as well. We had marked him for the 8th of October, but we didn't see any reason to have him wait any longer, so we asked him if he would be ready for baptism on the 24th of September instead. He accepted :) We spent a little bit of time with him every day preparing him for his baptism. For someone who doesn't have a phone or ever stay inside, he's incredibly easy to find, and he has a way of always finding us, it's hilarious. One day we waited to take him to a Family Night with some members, but we couldn't find him. We decided to sit by his house cuz he usually shows, but he didn't, so we started on our way to the member's house where we scheduled the family night, and sure enough, he found us on the way! We invited him to invite as many people for his baptism, and when he showed up, he turned more than a few heads with his sister and niece who came to support him. On Sunday, he even waited to bring one of our other investigators to church with him. He even paid tithing this week too! It's cool what a converted thug can do to change to world little by little :) he was a miracle this week. 
Another cool thing coming from this week was the progression of our investigator, Zezinho, who was someone I taught in my last area, but lives riiiiight on the border between my last area and my current one. He and Obona are buddies, and when he heard Obona was getting baptized on Saturday, he was like, 'that's cool, can I get baptized with him?'. I was a little taken back, but he has come to church 3 times now, so we sat down with him to talk about the Law of Chastity, which we knew would be an issue since he has a child with a woman who he is still together with, though they don't live in the same house. We explained the commandment, to which he responded he would like a little time to talk to his woman to figure stuff out. We had a good follow up lesson with him on the importance of families and how he could talk to her about the Law of Chastity. Last night when we talked to him, he told us that marriage wouldn't be the immediate solution, because his woman is leaving to work on Sal. However, that means that he will be able to be baptized on the 8th, a week after general conference. He's been a really cool example of someone with a changed heart.

One cool experience we had this week was that we got to walk with President Mathews, as part of a training he's doing where he's trying to get out with as many companionships this month. I was pretty nervous, but it turned out really well. He visited a few of our investigators with us, like Obona, and Tommy and Debora, and gave us some solid pointers as well. It was really interesting to watch him take over parts of lessons or to bear testimony simply and powerfully to an investigator, it seemed that after he taught, the investigator had nothing to do but soak in the Spirit. Even Debora, who is usually full of questions, accepted his testimony and listened with intent. It was a lot less stressful than I thought it would be :) 

The Lord really blessed us a bunch this week. One last thing I wanna talk about is a family he's helped us find. We door knocked this woman named Neuza a few weeks back, and were able to teach her and her twin 9 year old sons, Tiago and Telmo. Upon our return visit, we found that Neuza's man (not quite husband) had passed away suddenly in an accident that way, and as is per tradition here, had many people over mourning at her house for a week or so. We visited briefly in that week, but this past week we've had the opportunity to visit her again and teach. We showed up at the door and she was visiting with many friends who came over to mourn with her, and we offered to come by another time, but she invited us in. We followed up on her Book of Mormon reading, which she had read, but while I was talking to her, a visitor started asking questions to my companion about the Book of Mormon and why 'we think it's better than the Bible' and stuff, and Neuza started arguing with her and defending us without me saying a word! It was hilarious. We're really gunna push to get her to General Conference this weekend, it'll be really good. 

Love y'all :) 

Elder Massey

reconnecting with Kenny - from his last area

Wednesday, 21 September 2016


Chris Martin once sang about getting a tattoo that says 'together thru life' for the one he loves. While we know that the Lord doesn't want us to get tattoos, cuz that's bad, he has asked us to write the Savior's name on our heart, a sort of eternal ink if you think about it. 

This week started the last (or trunky) twelve weeks of my mission. Never thought that would happen. It's giving me time to reflect about how I've written the Savior's name on my heart, what it is to serve him, and what it is to love him through obedience. This week I got a bit of a wake up call on that, and it's got me thinking a lot. Funny how wake up calls work, isn't it?
One incredible thing from this week has been the progress of one of our thug friends, Obona. Since last week, he's continued to progress in leaps and bounds. The fact he went to church sent waves through our area, he's a pretty well known guy, and it got people talking. In just talking to other investigators and people in our area, we had at least 3 people tell us he invited them to church, and last night, Obona told us about a friend of his who said he wants to follow his example and get clean of all the bad stuff in his life. Amazing what one repentant thug can do, hey? This week, he's been an example to me of someone who's written the Savior's name on his heart. He's far from a perfect person, he doesn't speak Portuguese very well, can't read the best, but he's got that desire to change and be a better person. It's honestly been a miracle to see. At church on Sunday, he was there before us; we had passed his house at 10am and three different women on the street shouted, almost at the same time, that he'd already gone. He's got these real cool round sunglasses and always shouts his name to announce himself. My favorite line we got from him this week was when we taught him the Word of Wisdom, in which he told us he'd already stopped drinking and smoking, and when his friends offered him some or invited him to a party, he responded, 'sorry, my religion doesn't permit that'. He's not even baptized yet! It was so cool. He's awesome.
Transfers happened on Wednesday. It was sorta weird. Elder McMullin got sent out to Sao Nicolau, and Elder Bullock left to Fogo again. Second time that we've all been in the same zone and they've proceeded to leave me. One gets over it after a while. Elder McMullin's spot got taken by Elder Cosmo, who I know well from our Fogo days, having been in Cova Figueira together for more than 4 transfers. It's good for Elder Hingano, Elder McMullin's son, cuz now he's got the trial by fire with Portuguese going on. I've taken over District Leader responsibilities, making it the second time I'm District Leader in this district. I'm pumped to still be here.
It started to rain pretty good this week. Santiago is turning green, which is my favorite thing ever. It always sorta happens overnight. 

Elder Ronces and I are tearing it up right now. He's getting really good at teaching, and I can trust him with anything in a lesson at this point. He's getting creole down pretty good too, I'm proud of him.

Been a good week. This week should be even better :)
Love y'all!
Elder Massey

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Giving Up the Gun

This week was sweet. Lots of small miracles, and lots of fun.
There was one thing that sucked about this week, and that was a lot of our investigators had family members that passed away. Like for Tommy and Deborá, they had an uncle who passed away, Deborá called me on Tuesday and told me they weren't going to be able to talk for like a week, because of a tradition they have here, where family members pass a week in the house of their loved one who passed away. Later in the week, we went to go visit a new investigator for the second time, when her brother at the door informed us that her husband had died that morning in an accident. Really sad. We figured that might not have been the best time to talk, so we'll go back later this week. It seemed like stuff like that was happening all over the place this week.
We were really lucky to have a lot of success this week, in teaching, finding, and getting people to act. We found that we were really trying to progress the same four people, and that wasn't working, so we started pushing for progressing other people this week. The Lord helped us outline a few.
One of our investigators, Junior, came back from spending time in a mental rehab facility. He's recently out of prison, and we had been teaching him, but his family took him to the rehab place, and we didn't see him for like 3 weeks. One day while Elder Ronces and I were out walking, we heard someone calling 'Elder! Hey, Elder!' and we looked and saw him coming up to us. He took us to his house right away and started to teach him. He expressed a real desire to change and follow Christ in his life. While he's still sorta scrambled, he's got a really, really good desire.
Another is an investigator named Obona, or Neto, or Valdir, depends on who you are and what status you have with him. We go with Obona, that's his favorite name :P he's another guy who's what we would call a thug sorta guy, likes to wear basketball jerseys, drinks some times, but a really nice guy. He wants us to help him, and so as we've taught him, little by little, he's been making changes. Each visit, he's understanding a little bit more, his reading ability is improving, and he's answering questions really well.
We also started working with a couple that Elder Ronces found a couple weeks back on a division, named Carla and Maruwilson. We went and taught them while we had one of the new senior couples, the Souzas, out walking with us, and we all clicked really well. Carla is really open and funny, and understands our message really well. We taught about the Book of Mormon, since she or Maruwilson hadn't read since the first visit, and by the end, Carla was like, 'okay, i get it! I know I need to read! And I'll come to church on Sunday!'.
The best part was, was on Sunday morning, while passing investigators before church, all of the three above were waiting for us, dressed up, holding their Books of Mormon, ready to go. We walked with three investigators all together to church, and a fourth, Zezinho, who came last week, showed up on his own. It was SO cool. After a transfer where one investigator came once, the Lord helped us finish off this one with 4 investigators in one day. It was awesome.
The highlight of the week, though, was Mundinho and Nixi's wedding. Even though it wasn't in my area, it was still so incredible to see two people I worked with for so long make the decision to take that step of faith and move forward, getting married on Friday, and baptized on Saturday. I'd never seen the two of them so alive and happy. It was really touching for me. They almost didn't make it to the baptism on time, it was funny :P there were people already in the font getting baptized when they showed up, so we threw them in some baptismal suits, and ran to the font before they emptied it :P Cape Verde man. Both Mundinho and Nixi got up and bore there testimonies after, and especially something like that to come out of Nixi was incredible to see, being more outspoken.
I'm really happy. Really good week, the Lord is a boss.
Love y'all!
Elder Massey
At the baptism with Elder Neville

The District....

Tuesday, 6 September 2016


5 September 2016 

It's been so hot this week. I have this problem where every day where it's stupid hot, I wear my lighter colored pants, and when I'm in a lesson, my sweaty forearms make giant sweat marks on my thighs, and also the sweat on my pants makes it looked like I peed my pants. Really pleasant, really nice.
The thing about the heat here isn't that it's just the sun beating down every day way hotter than anywhere else; the temperature is honestly hotter back home. It's just that, when it rains during the night, the next day gets so darn humid, that the second you stop moving, your body starts raining. Also, we have to teach people inside their houses, because there's so much going on in the streets, and the houses are like literal ovens with no ventilation except for a fan from a Chinese store. For a long time I've been using my tie to wipe my sweat, but this week, I started to carry a sock I haven't really used, and so now that's my sweat rag. Just thought I'd include that nice piece of information.
Now that you're all likely thoroughly entertained by hearing about the #struggle here, maybe I can talk a little bit more about my week itself.
One thing we wanted to work on more this week was our member help, and we had a big success! Just about every day we had members who left to teach with us, and it was awesome. One day, we had a recent convert, Tyson, who is 18, come out and teach with us, and we visited two of our younger investigators, Danielson, who is 18, and also Tommy and Deborá, who are 17 and 15. We taught Danielson about keeping the Sabbath day holy, and Tyson was able to testify saying, "yeah, it was different for me to go to church at the beginning too, but it makes such a big difference in my life" and talked to him on a level that two white guys couldn't. With Tommy and Deborá, at the end, Deborá said, "hey, you gunna be with them when they come back?" and without us even asking, Tyson told them, "totally, I'd love to be here". It was rad.
The next day, Thursday, my comp woke up with a headache, and wasn't feeling the best. We went out to teach in the morning, but ended up just talking to people in the street a bunch, and went to a restaurant close by for lunch. By the end of lunch, most of which he had his head down for, we got up to go and he could hardly walk straight. We promptly got in a taxi and went to the comfort of our nice air conditioned home, where he knocked out in about 0.8 seconds, and slept for 4 hours. We didn't go out to teach the rest of that day, figured I'd give him a breather from pushing him hard on 
Wednesday :P
We finished off the week super strong with some solid lessons. We're continually helping Lu prepare for the end of the month for baptism, same with Tommy. Just got to get them coming to church consistently. At church on Sunday, we only had one investigator come, named Zezinho. He lives right on the border of my last area and my current one, and since we were already tight, we started teaching him again. On Sunday morning we passed by a little early just to invite him to come, and he was like, "alright, I'll get ready to go", and sure enough, he came! One really cool thing that also happened at church, my investigator from Tira Chapeu, Mundinho, who is getting married and baptized this week, flagged me over, since my last ward meets at the same building, just earlier, and he told me, "so, this week I'm getting baptized, right, and the Elders said I could chose who I want to baptize me, could you do it?", to which I was like, "uh, YEAH!". It was actually really cool :) I'm so excited for them.
Been a fun week, lots of work, and a lot more still to do :) life is good.
Love y'all!
Elder Massey

Running to Stand Still

29 August 2016
Time is flying. It's so crazy. It's been an awesome week.
One bummer from this week was that Lu wasn't baptized, she's gunna need a little bit more time. We went to visit her to go over the baptismal questions, and she told us that she's still drinking coffee, even though she's trying to quit. It was kinda funny, she told us, "I got rid of all my coffee, but it got so bad, I just went out and bought more!". She also feels that she wants to prepare a little bit more for baptism. We had a really good lesson with her on Friday where we talked about baptism and what reservations she had. The Spirit was really strong in the lesson, and we went over Alma's question to the people where he says, "what impedes you from being baptized?", and she looked at us and was like, "well, I guess nothing". We're gunna move her date forward a little bit, hopefully she can be baptized by the end of the month.
We've kept working with our investigators Tommy and Debora. They're seriously so cool, like some of my favorite people I've found on my mission. They are likely the first people I've taught where we mark to go by and teach them, and they are there EVERY. TIME. It's a Cape Verdean thing I guess. This week we took our Branch President with us to meet them, and the lesson we taught them lasted almost an hour, and despite the fact they're 17 and 15, they didn't care, and loved the whole thing! They had tons of questions about baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost, which was rad. On one of our subsequent visits, the rest of the family, who was sitting in the other room playing cards, was like, "wait, you're leaving already? stay and play with us!", to which we had to politely tell them we would next time :P because of their questions about baptism, we had planned to take Tommy to watch the baptisms on Saturday with us, Debora told us she would likely go to see her dad who lives on the other side of Praia, but when we showed up on Saturday, she answered the door, all dressed up, ready to go with us. It was funny because while at the church, Tommy kept teasing Debora, mostly when he found a poster showing the dress standards for youth, and Debora's dress didn't go to her knees, so he ripped on that. It was classic. They're like super prepared, really really cool. We should be seeing a lot of progression with them.
A fun thing that happened this week was a Stake activity in which they ran a 'mini-MTC' for a bunch of perspective missionaries, and every companionship of missionaries in Praia received two mini missionaries to take out and work with for a couple days, from Friday night til Sunday night. My recent convert from my last area, Adiley, was there and served for a couple days. It was so cool to see. For me, I got Brother Gomes, a kid who lives on the other side of Praia and is a member of 3 or 4 years or so. I know I could've been a little more patient with him than I was, but it was a fun experience for us. He was really excited by the end of it about what he learned, and has a solid desire to go out and serve a mission now. There were a few classic moments where he asked a couple of questions, like, "what time does church start?" to which I asked him, "well, what does your planner say?" or when I put on my sunglasses and he said, "oh, so you use those when the sun comes out?" and I told him, "when, yeah, they're sunglasses" hahahaha. He was a really sweet guy, and wrote me a really nice note that he hid in my scriptures telling me how much he liked his mini mission. It was a good experience. 
Elder Massey with "Elder" Gomes - his mini missionary

Another funny story from this week, I met up with a member, Tatiana, from Cova Figueira that shouted at me from a taxi one night on our way home. Thankfully Elder Masubelele, who also served in Cova Figueira, knew her, and she was also staying in his area, so we met up with them on Pday and had lunch at her aunt's restaurant and got to catch up with her. It's funny because this country is so small, you can literally see anyone you've met on your mission at any given point in time, especially in Praia, because people pass through here all the time. I found out this week that a couple I found through Adiley about 3 months ago is now getting married and baptized this week, and next week, Mundinho and Nixi from my last area are getting married! Always lots going on here. It's so cool to see the little ways in which the Lord uses you as his instrument at different points for different people.
Well, that's about been my week! Love y'all!
Elder Massey

Dancing in the streets

A Whisper

22 August 2016

It's been another really fun week for us. It's crazy that it's already been a whole week again, dang. 

This week, rather than going all out and knocking every door and trying to teach in every house we could, we focused on working a little smarter this week. The week prior brought us 22 new investigators, so this week, we had to take care of those 22 new people we found.
One major blessing the Lord has brought to us is our investigator, Lu, who's a boss. She's now come to church 3 times, and is looking like a go for this week for baptism, we're so stoked. It took me three full transfers the first time I trained to get my son a baptism, this time, it might only take 3 weeks! Hahaha. We had a really cool experience with Lu this week when teaching her. We went to teach her the Word of Wisdom, and as we taught her, she expressed that she has a pretty strong coffee habit, meaning she drinks it every morning, and has for years and years. Rather than responding to us harshly, she just sorta looked a little bummed, as to say, "dang, that's too bad", but was fully ready and willing to leave it behind so she can be baptized. She never expressed any complaint or justification, but just said, "yeah, I'll get rid of it and stop". She's got such solid faith in Christ, she's a mega boss.
In our following up with our new investigators, one in specific has stood out of the group. Last week, Elder Thorsen and I, at night, came across an open door where I saw someone inside, and so we knocked, and taught a lesson to a 17 year old named Tommy. During the lesson, people came and left, and his cousin, Debora, came and sat through a solid chunk, but Tommy was pretty gripped. This week, Elder Ronces and I went to teach Tommy and Debora again, and in following up with him about his reading in the Book of Mormon and prayer, he told us he did do both of the invites, and that he felt something. He told us, "after I prayed, I just felt really good, like a peace". Debora kinda joked with him, saying, "so what's your answer?", to which he responded, "I don't know if it's a full answer, but it's enough for me to believe". In a subsequent visit, with only Tommy, he told us he had continued his reading, and had felt the same feeling when he prayed. He said, "you know, it's one thing if it happens once, but it happened to me again", and when we asked him, he said he felt that to be his answer. It was such a firm testimony builder to me that, those who read and pray with real intent, will get their answers :) it was awesome. 

I'm starting to feel really old out here. Elder McMullin and I discuss that frequently. By the end of this week, there will be exactly 5 missionaries that have been here longer than we have. That's whack. It's amazing to me how the time has truly flown. Sometimes thinking hurts my head.
This week my companion, Elder Ronces, realized he has a thing for freskinhas. A freskinha is basically a Cape Verdean popsicle, in that it's put in a small bag and frozen, and you bite off the corner of the bag and suck from there. I'm a fan of freskinhas myself, but Elder Ronces will down two of them before I'm even finished my first. We were out with a member this week when we got 4 freskinhas, 1 for me, 1 for our member, and 2 for my comp. She was shocked when Elder Ronces had put his both down, and still wanted another. It was funny.
The work is going really solid, and I'm really happy right now. Just making every day worth it.
Love y'all!
Elder Massey

The Canadians....minus Elder Karl...

Monday, 5 September 2016

Up From Below

15 August 2016

Okay, this week has been a miracle week. It's been an absolute blast.
"I'm riding on heaven's flames coming up from below"
This was our first full week in our new area, so Elder Ronces and I decided to get down to work. Our inventory of investigators wasn't very big at the start of the week, so we just continued with the trend we set, and when a lesson would fall, we would just start knocking doors or talking to people on the street, and try to teach them a lesson in their home then and there. It's seriously so much fun to just go around and share as much as we can, to find those elect people the Lord has prepared for us.
On Wednesday, we had a bit of a surprise hit us when some missionaries, Elder Arguello and Elder Thorsen, who came in from São Nicolau for Zone Conference on Friday, called us needing a place to stay for the week. That meant that we had an extra two missionaries in our area to work, so what we did was we split up during those days, me with one of them, and Elder Ronces with the other, and just get to know and find as many people as we could. By the end of the week, we had knocked out 36 lessons, a total I don't think I've ever hit or come close to on my mission. During that time, we found 22 new investigators as well. At the beginning of the week, we had a box full of Book of Mormons. That box is looking pretty thin now... hahaha
One of the investigators we've been working with is named Lu, she's a 27 year old single mother of a 3 year old. The Sisters had been working with her, and expressed to us that she was really really cool. As we got to know her, on our second visit, we began to review some stuff the Sisters taught, and as I had seen on a sheet given to the branch president, I thought she had a baptismal date marked for the 20th of this month. At the end of the lesson, I said to her, "so, I know the Sisters have already talked to you about baptism, right?" to which she responded, "what? no..." and I was kinda taken aback, so after gathering myself, I said, "well then, we'd like to talk to you about baptism :)", and gave my companion his first opportunity to invite someone to be baptized. She accepted a date for the 27th, and came to church on Sunday. She's looking super boss. She's got a really incredible desire to follow the Savior.
We also had another investigator, named Danielson, who the Sisters had been teaching since June, who had progressed relatively little, and was actually dropped by them. One member showed him to us, and we focused in on him with his Book of Mormon reading and his answer. While it was really simple, when we came back, he explained to us that, in his prayer, he felt that he needed to come to church on Sunday. When Sunday came around, we passed by his house to remind him, and his mom had to wake him up, but sure enough, he came! All last transfer, the Sisters really struggled in this area, and had one investigator come once in 6 weeks, and on Sunday, the Lord worked the miracle of bringing 2 :) we're coming up from below here.
We also had a SWEET Zone Conference this week. It reunited me with some dear friends on the mission, including Elder Bullock and Elder Schofield, the latter who goes home in a week, leaving me the last living missionary from my first district out here. I'm so old dang it. President and Sister Mathews had their son, Mark, come and give a training at ZC, and it was awesome. He really focused in on the importance of the First Vision and Book of Mormon in teaching, and even though I've taught about it a million times, I felt like I was understanding it all for the first time. It was perfect for what I needed right now, especially as we're picking up a newish area here.
I can't tell you how many times this week we've had lessons where the Spirit is so strongly there to testify of the truthfulness of what we say. I feel like this week alone, I've had more people make solid connections on what we are teaching, than in the last 3 or 4 months of my mission. The Lord is truly helping us find prepared people and families. I'm so excited to see what comes of all our work we're doing :)
Well, I've written a lot. My new comp is cool, and we're finally leveling with each other, getting used to each other. We're having a lot of fun, and he's really chill. It's good for me to have someone so chill right now.
Life is awesome
Love y'all!
Elder Massey