Monday, 24 October 2016

White Blank Page

Well, 15th transfer has come and gone! We finished it with a bang.
One of the first things we did this week was get together with Jay, who hadn't come to church the past Sunday, even though his baptism was marked for the following Saturday. When we sat down with him, he told us he was super excited for his baptism. We retaught him Dia do Senhor,( English = Sabbath Day) and told him soccer definitely can't take precedence over church. We cleared that up with him, and deemed him ready for Saturday. We got him interviewed, set up with an interview, and got Obona to baptize him. We had gone over with Obona how to baptize, and he took it really seriously. He spent a whole night reading over and over the baptismal prayer, and when we showed up to pick him and Jay up to go, he called me into his house and was like, 'I just wanna make sure I've got this right!', and proceeded to recite the prayer. It was so awesome. The baptism was awesome, fewer things are more rewarding than watching someone make a covenant with the Lord, but even more so when the person doing the baptizing has also made incredible changes that you've helped with. Jay got up after, and bore a powerful testimony, saying 'I know that this church is the only true church on the Earth'. I loved it :) I've gotten to see a couple white blank pages over these past few weeks, and it's been so amazing. 

This week we kept working with one of our newer investigators, Neto. We'd had a couple pretty powerful lessons with him, so naturally it was heartbreaking this week when we came across him really drunk, two days in a row this week. Each time he saw us, you could see the pain he felt, because he knew he could do better. He told Elder Bowman and I to not waste our time with him, he was pretty down. We told him we weren't gunna give up on him, and when we came back the next day, we found him early (so he couldn't get drunk) and had another really solid lesson with him (well, sorta, but I'll explain that in a sec), and since that day, everyone we come across has told us they're impressed with Neto. We haven't been able to run into him again, but he seems like he's coming around.
That day as actually funny, because I was on a division with our zone leader, Elder Bisk, who I more or less view as my child, seeing as how I trained the same time he came in. We woke up and he wasn't feeling so hot, but he got it under control enough that we could go out and teach. We taught Neto, but every time I passed the lesson over for him to teach, he would say like 2 things, and give it back, noticeably in pain. We got out of that lesson pretty quick, and booked it to another Elder's house for him to lay down for a sec. It became likely my least productive division on my mission, as I sat in my air conditioned house while Elder Bisk recuperated on the bed. It was still fun though :)
One funny part this week was yesterday, both Elder Bowman and I made kids cry by mistake. First off, we taught a lady, who had twin 6 month old babies, who cried the entire lesson, and usually when that happens, the mom understandably checks out, but she kept with it. I felt for her :P it was a lot of crying. Elder Bowman does this thing though, where when he shakes a little kid's hand, he squeezes it, so later in the day, a little kid answered the door, and when Elder Bowman shook his hand, he gave it juuuuust a little too much of a second squeeze, and the little guy started to cry. His mom promptly told him to calm down, and that 'tio' (they like to call us 'uncle' here) was just playing around. Then later, we were visiting with Zezinho, and his adorable kid, Gabi, was pulling on my tie, and jumping all over me, and at one point, climbed up the back of my chair. I bumped him with my back, and he fell and started to cry. That was when I realized we were bad people :P hahahah.
Love y'all!
Elder Massey

Lest you think that is is couscous....a Cape Verdean favourite!

Friday, 21 October 2016

Favourite Color

Last week's baptism with Zezinho

'So tell me what's, tell me what's your favourite colour'

'Tell me how, tell me how's your younger brother'

It's been a rad week with Elder Bowman, my new comp. I think for the first time on my mission, I have a companion who equals me in how goofy I am. He might honestly be even goofier... It's great. In one of the first houses we got too, we sat down with one of our investigators, and in complete seriousness, he looked at them and said, 'I have a question for you. Do you like English potatoes, or sweet potatoes better?' and they started laughing. It was classic, it's his go to question :P I love it. He's also a big fan of 'would you rather' questions, which I enjoy. It's been a good week :) 
you know you're meant to be together when you have the same shoes....
We've had an extra roommate with us this week, Elder Toledo has been kicking it with us. He's sorta outta commission on the working sense right now, his energy is like almost zero. We've been giving him a place to stay while the doctors figure out what's up with him, and it's been fun. We only thought he was gunna be in Praia a few days, but a few days has turned into a few more than we thought... but it's fun :) we've been getting lots of car rides out of it. 

As for the work in our area, we've seen some ups and downs for sure. Our progressing investigator, Jay, was progressing really well. He continues to give us complete updates in perfect Creole on every chapter he reads in the Book of Mormon, it's super cool. He was progressing so well, we even moved his baptismal date to this Saturday, the 22nd. On Saturday, he was all set to show up at church, but then on Sunday... nuthin'. We went and visited him and asked him what happened, and he informed us he had a soccer game that morning and couldn't go. We had to explain to him that church always needed to come first. I think it'll be good for him, because it'll be a trial for his faith. We're gunna help him focus on following what the Spirit told him in his reading, so that he can figure out what he needs to do. We'll see if he gets baptized this week. 

We've been having fun with a new family we've started working with, I think I talked about them last week, Dina, an inactive member, with her four sons, who aren't baptized. We taught them this week, once with one of the counselors in the Stake Presidency, and it went really well. All her kids got super pumped, and I think it helped Dina a bunch. When we came back to visit them though, none of her sons had read, including herself, except for Lucas, who's 9 years old. All of them were like, 'no, none of us read' and Lucas piped up, 'hey! I read! I prayed too! I just didn't feel anything'. I thought it was really cool, so we focused in on how God had to be able to trust them with an answer, and to do that, they had to want to read. I'm stoked about them. 

One last miracle from the week is an investigator we found, but hadn't really considered because of his drinking habits. Obona helped us find two brothers a couple weeks back, Koda, and Neto. While we haven't found Koda in a while, we found Neto one day, while he was sober. We figured we'd teach him, and we focused on the power of prayer. Elder Toledo and Elder Bowman absolutely crushed it in that lesson, and he was feeling the Spirit really good. When we came back a couple days later, the first thing he said was, ' I haven't drunk for 2 days because I knew I needed to do what you guys told me' and he showed us what he learned and underlined in the Book of Mormon. It's amazing what the Spirit can do. In a further follow up visit, Obona sat with us to help him out, it was powerful. I'm pumped about him too. 

Speaking of Obona, we saw him on TV today, hitting a drum, while we were in a waiting room. It was cool :) 


Elder Massey

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Getting Better

Been one of those weeks where we've had pretty well zero time to rest. It's been crazy, but also really good.
The number one highlight of the week was Zezinho's baptism. The baptism itself was sorta strange, the person presiding started it right at 4pm, even though like half the people being baptized hadn't gotten there yet, or weren't ready. Basically once Zezinho showed up at 4:15, we threw him in a jumpsuit, got the pic, and got him baptized. It was awesome though :) he got his mom to bring his son with her, so after he was out and changed, he was sitting on the front row of the chapel with his two year old son, Gaby, in his lap. Zezinho went up and bore his testimony and it was sweet. Dude's a boss.
Another highlight from this week, we've continued to progress with our investigator, Jay. In one of our visits this week, we followed up with his reading, and he explained the 3rd and 4th chapters of 1st Nephi in complete detail in Creole, it was great. Afterwards, we asked him if he found his answer, to which he said, 'yeah, actually. After I read and prayed today, I felt something really different, just like this peace', to which we asked him, 'do you believe that's the Holy Ghost?', and he responded saying 'yes'. It was a really cool experience. He showed up again at church on Sunday, and even if I thought gospel principles was a bit of a snoozer, he absolutely loved it! Gunna go teach him pretty quick after this email.
One thing the mission is focusing on right now is finding families, and this week, Obona helped us find a really cool new one. We found this inactive member, named Dina, who hasn't gone to church in a whiiiiiile. Turns out her 4 sons, aged 15, 13, 9, and 3, aren't baptized nor have a grounding in the church. After teaching her, on Saturday Elder Ronces and I went back to teach her with her sons, at which they explained to us that they had lost the keys to her house, and were really stressed about it, cuz if they didn't find them, they'd have to spend a lot of money, which she doesn't really have to spare. We taught about prayer and faith, and had a kneeling prayer in the end asking the Lord to help them find a solution. Yesterday when we went by to visit, they had already found their keys. We're excited to go back and teach them :)
We also had interviews this week, it was AWESOME. President Mathews is an awesome person, I loved my interview with him.

The week sorta ended off weird, we got a text from President Mathews during church asking us to call him after we got home, and when we called him, he explained that Elder Ronces was getting transferred to Mindelo, and that I would be receiving a new companion, Elder Bowman, who was serving in Mindelo. I'm supposed to be getting him tonight. I'm stoked to tear it up with him.
Elder Massey

Saturday, 8 October 2016

The Well and The Lighthouse

It's been interesting this week to see a fun contrast in our area.

It's been a week since Obona's baptism, and he's doing awesome! We visited a little bit with him almost every day, mostly because we see him all over the place. Everybody in that part of our area, Fronteira, knows him really well, so everybody is really impressed with him. Obona also has lots of buddies that tell him they want to change too, and we're beyond down to help them out. We found 5 new investigators this week because of him alone, as well as other references along the way. The fun contrast is, while so many of these people profess interest and want change, there's only one way to do it, which is through action. While so many of these people realize they are stuck in a well, they don't start climbing or looking to that lighthouse that's constantly beaming. Obona told us he'd bring some of his buddies, our investigators, to conference, and when he came with one of our investigators, told us sadly, 'sorry guys, but I guess the others don't really wanna change'. I thought it was interesting how somebody of only a week in the church was able to recognize that necessity of action in someone having to change. 
Our investigator, Zezinho, is looking really good for baptism this week. He showed up to conference without us having to call him or go by his house, making it the 4th time he's come to church with us. We also had a sweet family night this week at a member's house, this young married couple named Brandao and Nidia, both return missionaries. Zezinho showed up on his own, and it was sweet to get some member integration going. Our other baptism for the 8th, Junior, told us on Monday he was moving to the other side of Praia, but would keep coming to church. We saw him yesterday and he told us he's moved back, buuuut he's looking like he's gotten back into some of his old ways. We're gunna keep working with him, buuut he's gunna need a little more time. Still stuck in the well for now. 

We found a really cool new investigator this week, named Jay. He's 18, graduated but not really working or going to school, just doing stuff here and there. I played his guitar on the street with him for a bit a week or so back, and this week, when all of our appointments fell and we were walking with a member, we saw him and asked if he wanted to talk. He was more than down, and after teaching the first lesson, he was very pumped and got all of it. On our return visit, he topld us almost perfectly the first two chapters of Nephi by memory. He accepted a baptismal date for the 29th and came with Obona to conference this weekend. One funny thing, he has a big sorta afro with almost frosted tips going on, and his mom one day, while we were walking, called us over, adn told us to get him to cut his hair :P it was classic. 

Conference was awesome, I especially loved Elder Christofferson's talk. His translation into Portguese is his own voice, just recorded. It was rad. I loved how he taught that the Savior didn't just suffer til it was good enough, he suffered til it was complete, so that when he looks to each of us, he can call for more than just 'good enough'. So often we think where we're at is enough, but Christ always asks for more, because he knows it's the only way for us to become like him. We always fall short somehow. I had prayed going into conference for the gift of tongues (for the first time in a while) so I could understand the translation, and it worked! #tendermercies

Love y'all!

Elder Massey