Friday, 25 November 2016

A Cold Night Close to the End

It's crazy how fast time goes. I felt like this transfer just started. Guess not :P
One thing I've noticed recently in Praia is the temperature change. It's not one of those changes where it's like 'wow, the temperature changed', because in Cape Verde, the weather is pretty well 100% the same 100% of the time. Over the past couple weeks, I've noticed I've had to pull out my handy 'sweat sock' (the sock used to wipe off the sweat...) less and less, until this week, I don't think I used it once! It's really strange and actually really nice. We've had a couple cloudy days, which is really rare. It even rained overnight this week! It was a nice pleasant surprise. Funny how I'm commenting on this now, I feel like the temperature for ME is gunna take a significant dip here in a little bit...
WELL, this week we didn't have any sick days, which is always A plus plus plus (this dang keyboard seems to be devoid of plus signs :P), and it also meant we got a lot of really good work done. We've got a really good pool of investigators right now, which is also a desirable aspect in an area. Keeps me busy and happy :)
The Great Gathering!  (look for Sean's big smile just above the president's head...)
This week ROCKED because we had a Zone Conference, almost Mission Conference, with Elder Kearon of the Seventy. It was cool cuz we had 4 of the mission's 6 zones come in for it, with missionaries from 4 different islands making it in. Sister Mathews said at the beginning she thought it was the biggest gathering of missionaries they've ever had since they've been here. It was pretty powerful to belt out the mission hymn of Called to Serve with 70 plus (dang keyboard) missionaries. Elder Kearon is a pretty powerful man. He used incredible British words, like 'brilliant', told someone to 'mash the switch' when he wanted the lights off, and many others. I wish I wrote a list of his words. He didn't have one set thing we wanted to teach, and we must've had 4 hours just sitting listening to him. There were so many times he would stop talking, and it would be quiet, and you could almost tangibly feel the Spirit in the room as he tried to follow what it was trying to say to him. One thing he taught that I loved, he said, 'we all worry too much. It doesn't please Heavenly Father when we're so worried. Just don't worry, and work hard!' Really cool guy. It felt like we had a spiritual banquet just listening to him. Powerful guy.
This week we also had Odair's baptism. He's such a funny and happy kid, and was pretty well stoked all week. We had talked with his cousin, Rosivelt to baptize him, but snce the baptism this week was moved from 4pm to 2pm on Saturday, Rosivelt didn't make it on time, so I got to baptize him last minute. It was cool :) We even got him to prepare a short testimony to share after his baptism, and this time, I got to bug him about going to the front to bear his testimony. Kid's gunna be a future missionary, I love him to death.

Danir as well is doing really well. We've noticed that, recently, our lessons with him have taken on the role of being a little less about addressing his specific concerns, and more in just encouraging him and following up with him, he's progressing now really well. Last week when we visited him, he was happy and confident, and didn't have one specific concern or problem he brought up. Really cool to see someone follow such simple steps and find the promised blessings :) 

At church on Sunday, we had the miracle of having 5 investigators at church again. It was the first Sunday in a long time where we didn't go out before church to walk around and pass investigators to get them to go, pretty well all of them are friends or family of recent converts, and they pulled through. Between the team of Obona and Jay, they brought all 5, 2 being Obona's sisters Joviana and Carlita, and 1 being Beti, who is Jay's sister. She's looking really good for baptism this week, we hope she will be baptized. Updates to follow in next week's letter :)
Today we found a restaurant where I got a tuna steak cooked on a hot rock. I didn't think this country got that fancy. 
Fine dining...Cape Verde style


Elder Massey

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Small Bump

Been another really solid week for us, Heavenly Father definitely threw some miracles out there for us cuz he's a mega bro.
Our week started out great. We went from emailing to teach, and like I mentioned last week, our go to is always Danir on Monday nights. Well, not only had he kept the commitments we gave him, but he was excited to tell us about it. He had started praying to ask for little things, as well as searching for that answer from God. He started studying based on some of his bigger doubts, and told us, that for the first time, it felt like he was studying because he wanted to, not because someone was making him. He had this glow about him, that when we taught, we could see he was accepting it as best he could. He just seemed really happy! It's amazing to see how simple a change in action can change a person's countenance. 
Another continuing miracle from this week was Odair, who's a MEGA boss. I feel that every time we teach him, I'm either teaching my little brother Simon, or my dad as a 12 year old investigator. He's just happy all the time, gets everything, and is stoked about church. We got to meet his dad this week, who also loves the missionaries, having been taught by Sisters in the past. We took the baptismal form for him to fill out, and he just took it, signed it, and smiled. Really good guy. At church on Sunday, Odair was sitting a few rows behind us, and any time I would look behind to see if any other investigators had showed up, he would look at me, and do the same thing Simon would do to me back home to get me to go up to the front and bear my testimony. Made me laugh :) Odair's gunna get baptized this week, we're STOKED.
One setback from this week was a small bump that appear in our plans: a literal small bump. Elder Bowman discovered some strange bumps on his thighs this week, so we got permission to go to the doctor from Sister Mathews. The nice Spanish doctor informed Elder Bowman that they were the result of probably bug bites that just got irritated, and got big, but that we had to take 3 days off of working so they could get better :P we weren't very happy about that. Friday we were detained in the walled prison that is our house with not a whole lot to do. Thankfully we were able to get partial work done on both Saturday and Sunday, and Heavenly Father helped us out a bunch in terms of our investigators. 
The past couple Sundays, we've struggled to get investigators to come to church, but this week, we got 5 to come, which was awesome. We got Obona involved, and he brought 3 people with him, our progressing investigator Beti, who we hope to baptize by the end of the month, as well as his sister Joviana and niece Carlita. We had a few members ask about them :P Heavenly Father also blessed us by helping us get Tommy to come to church with us, who hasn't come in a few months. He's been awesome this week in his reading and keeping his commitments to find an answer.
One thing I've been think a lot about this week is about trusting in the Lord and his promises. It's so cool to see that, when an investigator actually does what we invite them to do, they find the answer they're promised. For us as missionaries, we have to do a lot to trust that he'll fulfill them too. Sometimes it's easy to think the invites we give them or promises we give come from us, but it's such an incredible thing to know that it doesn't, that it comes from the Lord. Just something I felt from this week :)
Love y'all!
Elder Massey

Some people never really grow's a minion celebration!

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Fix You

P Day fun!
It's been a crazy busy week, just one of those weeks where we cracked down and worked HARD. It was really good. One theme I noticed from this week was the struggles and successes our investigators are having with finding their answers to whether or not the Book of Mormon is true. Figured I'd talk a little bit about that today :)
Every Monday night, one appointment we've made pretty steady is an inactive member named Danir, who is the son of our branch's Relief Society President. He's someone I've been working with quite a bit since I've got here, and is honestly really interesting. He struggles with a lot of disbelief and not being able to believe due to the way he thinks things rationally. We taught him last Monday about prayer, and how prayer is a two way conversation. He had expressed to us in the past that, when he prays, he prays to thank for things, but not to ask, because he doesn't believe that God can communicate to us. We had a really good conversation with him, and his mom, Hirondina, contributed really well too, and we focused on that necessity of asking things of God. We taught that if he never tried, he'd never know, so we invited him to make asking blessings from God become a focus for him. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but something struck him, and he remained pretty quiet during the lesson, which is unlike him. At the end of the lesson, he agreed to close with prayer, and included asking things of God as part of his prayer. It was really really cool. We'll see tonight how he's doing.
Another really cool experience this week was with Tommy, who we've still been teaching, just a little more sparsely. He's kinda dropped off a little bit, hasn't been reading, hasn't been coming to church, etc. These past few weeks as we've taught him, he's expressed frustration at why he can't get the answer that he wants, whether the church is true or not. He's very humble in the fact that he will recognize when he's at fault, and was willing to admit that he knew he wasn't doing his part. On Saturday night, we had a really powerful lesson with him, where he really opened up on his desire to know which church is true, since his grandmother caused for him to doubt a lot of things in a conversation they had. Tommy isn't the type of person who talks and talks, but he went off for quite a bit about it. He told us that now, he is ready to really put himself to the test and read daily, and also come to church to know if what we are teaching is true. It was cool to see him come to that conclusion based on what we had taught him so many times.
One miracle coming out of our area right now is a kid named Odair, who we started teaching this past week. A few weeks back, a member brought his 13 year old cousin, Odair, to church, and brought him again last Sunday. We weren't super thrilled about the idea of teaching a 13 year old on his own, but we figured, 'why not?', so we got to sit down with him this week, together with the member who brought him, Rosivelt, and realized he's got to be among the coolest of 13 year old kids out there. I'm pretty sure he was more attentive than I would've been if missionaries were teaching me! He kept eye contact the whole lesson, answered questions really well, and showed a solid desire. When we came back to teach him on Saturday night, we helped him identify his answer about the Book of Mormon, and he accepted to be baptized this month :) our member went and talked to Odair's dad to make sure it's all good too, and that's another thing we're gunna be doing tonight :P funny how Heavenly Father prepares the people he does :)
Elder Bowman and I have been having a ton of fun together. We worked super hard this week, and had tons of fun with it. We had Stake Conference this weekend, and it was super rewarding for me, I felt the Spirit super strong, and got to sit with Obona, who's a total mega boss, as well as see people from all over the place. I started to understand why moms love talking to a million people after church, it's cuz it's SO MUCH FUN! hahaha.
It's been a fun one. Time is ticking so fast.
Love y'all!
Elder Massey

Saturday, 5 November 2016

All My Friends

You know, you'd think after 15 transfers, it would get normal to see people go home, but it's still dang weird.
This week I said goodbye to 3 of my best mission friends, Elder Arteaga, Sister Rasmussen, and Elder Veitch, who I've all known for quiiiiite a while. Maybe that's why it was so weird. Maybe it was weird because the next time somebody leaves this country for North America, it's gunna be me on that plane... heh. WHY DOES TIME MOVE SO FAST???
Elder Veitch
Elder Arteaga

It's official, Elder Bowman and I will be together for my last transfer, and I'm STOKED. We've got 6 weeks to crush it in Terra Branca, and crush it we will!
We've got a lot happening that we're stoked about. We've had a few miracles this week.
Among our investigators right now, the one who's moving the most is Jay's sister, Beti. She's been reading in the Book of Mormon, is stoked every time we teach her, the only problem is she hadn't come to church yet. This week, on a division, Elder Bowman went and taught her, and got her all set up to go on Sunday, her only problem is her year old son, Kayque (that's an Indian name, we were told), is a restless one :P she agreed to go, and on Sunday morning, Obona, dressed up in a white shirt, told us she was getting ready to head to church with him, so we passed by other people, but by the time we got to church, only Obona and Jay came. At first, we were bummed about it, but later that day, when we went to visit her, she told us, 'I had him ALL dressed up, ready to go, so I took a shower, and when I was done, he was sleeping' :P #thestruggle. We're gunna get her for sure next week.
Another miracle was the progress we made with Neto, who has gone a full week without being drunk! WOO! While he's had a glass of wine, or a beer here and there, we have yet to find him drunk, he's making major progress. He's been reading in the Book of Mormon and recognizes the Spirit when he reads, and how it invites him to do what is right. It's awesome. He still hasn't come to church, buuuut we're gunna change that.
We had a really cool experience this week too. One morning, we were out working, and had already taught a lesson, and it was getting close to the time we usually take lunch, so we had the decision to make, where we either kill time, or knock some doors. Deciding to be valiant, we thought of some doors we could knock, and on our way to some houses I had thought of, a guy stopped us in the road and was like, 'hey! Why don't you guys come by my house like you said?'. I don't remember having seen this guy ever, so I told him, 'uhhh, I don't think you talked to us...' but he proceeded to name when and where we had talked to him, soo, we asked him if we could just go over to his house then and there. We followed him home, went in, met his wife, and proceeded to teach the two of them. They were formerly practicing members of a church, but became disillusioned because of certain teachings, and have been practicing at home, just waiting for God to show them what to do. I thought that was pretty darn cool :P pretty easy to testify in situations like that. It was awesome, definitely a golden family. Elder Bowman and I are stoked to go back and teach them this week. The Lord put us right where we needed to be when he needed it.
Well, the countdown is on. Time is running fast, but that's okay. Still got lots of work to do :)
Love y'all!
Elder Massey
"Yup...that should be enough for supper..."

Beautiful African smile!