Monday, December 28, 2015

AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TOO

What a week! Although we're a little tired because of all the stuff that happened, it was a really good week!

First off, we had our Mission Christmas Party on Tuesday! It was such a fun party, and I got to see Elder Price for the first time since he got here! I knew Elder Price from when I lived in Livermore. We were in the same ward. The best part is, we're both gingers. Which just makes it better. Also, my district put together a hilarious skit in which a pair of Elders contacted Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Also, we had a really great training given by President and Sister Mathews. We watched the First Presidency's training video on the observance of the Sabbath Day. One thing that stuck out to me is when they said that the key point of the Sacrament is not to renew our baptismal covenants. It's to remember and to progress and become like Jesus Christ. We do renew our covenants as we do it, but our focus shouldn't be on being clean from our sins, but rather to work harder and do better to be like Him. Sister Mathews also gave us a training where she talked about a statue of Jesus Christ whose hand's had been blown off by a bombing in the city. Instead of replacing them, the citizens simply put a plaque there saying "You Are His Hands." How true is that? We are here to do His work on the Earth, and he is there to guide and direct us. In a very real way, we are His hands on this Earth.

On the same day, we had our Ward Christmas Party. It seemed like it would have been a lot of fun... the problem was that it was supposed to start at 7pm, but didn't really start until 9. We helped them to prepare for 2 hours, and then we had to go to get home by 9:30, so we weren't there for the actual party. Ah, well. Maybe some day they'll get things started on time here.

After that, it was smooth sailing until Christmas Day! We had our weekly planning that day, so we didn't leave in the morning, but after we called our families in the afternoon (which is always great, shoutout to my fam) we went out to teach. We were only able to teach our investigator Elton John's sister, Nadia. She's really cool, she has a great desire to be baptized but has to help her mom work on Sunday mornings. We're going to talk a bit with her about the observance of the Sabbath Day and things like that, but also our church's hour will move to 3pm next week, so hopefully she'll be better able to come to church and participate!

We ran into Andre finally on Saturday, where he confessed to us that he hasn't been doing very well with following the commandments. We had a pretty powerful lesson on repentance and that process. So he may need some time to work towards baptism again, but we have a lot of faith that he'll make it fairly soon, so stay tuned for that!

Well, other than that, it's just been a lot of work. We found a lot of new people that we're going to work with in these upcoming weeks, and we're looking forward to it!

Ooh, and before I forget, my district went to Cidade Velha today! It used to be the Capital of Cape Verde in the past, but now's just a pretty historic place with some forts and broken-down churches and cool stuff like that. President Mathews only lets missionaries go there once in their missions, so I tried to take a lot of pictures to keep the memory.

Well, that's all I have time for this week. See y'all next week! Have a Happy New Year! Hope 2016 treats ya well!

Abraço para todos,
Elder Penner










Monday, December 21, 2015

HAVE A HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS

Who's as stoked as I am??? Every night I talk to Elder Clegg, our Zone Leader, he tells me to get stoked! And the closer I get to Christmas Day, the more stoked I get! At the same time, it gives me a lot of time to ponder about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, and the importance that he had for each and every one of us. As a mission, we've been reading the Gospels in the Bible to prepare for Christmas Day, and I realized that there are so many teachings that He gave us that I want to study and understand better. He truly was the Savior and Redeemer of the entire world, for all time. I feel His love for me and I want to share what I feel with everyone around me. If you haven't yet, share some of His love before Christmas Day!

What a week. I had planned to upload a lot of cool and interesting pictures, but none of the events where I had planned to take them took place!

To explain: This week we were super excited about André's baptism and we were passing his house every day to help him to prepare. He had been going very well, was getting pretty excited to enter into the church, and was even asking us if he was able to go on a mission! We explained to him that he couldn't, because he had kids and his responsibility should be with them now, and he understood. Well, we prepared for the awesome baptism that we would be having, and we called André at 2pm to make sure that he was ready. He didn't pick up the phone until 3pm, when he said that he couldn't be home until 5. Well, we moved the baptismal service to 6, and changed everything so that he could still be baptized on that way. Again, at 5 we called to confirm, only to have his coworker pick up and say that he wouldn't be done until 7! We were so disappointed, and we even tried for a little bit to have it done at 8, but we knew it was a lost cause. We ran into him at about 8:15, and asked him to give us a bit of a heads up next time. He also didn't get to church the next day, because he said that he was too tired from the previous day's work. We figured that it wouldn't be a good idea for him to be baptized this upcoming Saturday either. We're disappointed, but we'll continue to work with him, and I'm sure that he'll make it to that font.

In happy news, our work with the less-active members of this ward has been running very well! We were able to confirm that 3 members were brought back into activity this past Sunday, with more along the way! I'd say we owe this success in the most part to the visits that are being done by the members here. When I first arrived in this ward, the home teaching system wasn't set up at all, and they resolved to fix it up. We've been watching and following up with what's been happening, and we're finally seeing the good results! So I say this to all members out there: do your duty! Go visit those families you've been assigned to teach! Who know's how many souls you could save by just taking a couple hours out of each month?

As I may have previously mentioned, the only other Elders in my District are the Secretaries here, so they have a lot of work to do. Because these next couple of weeks are going to be super busy for them, we had a bit of an emergency division yesterday. I went to their area with Elder Arguello. I really like him, he's a good Elder that is very good at establishing a good relationship with his investigators. I think I need to improve that in my teaching, if only just a bit.

Other quick facts: We had planned a district activity to go to Cidade Velha (old city) which is a cool tourist attraction, but Sister Haycock got really sick, so maybe next week. Elton John had his baby, who he apparently named Kelton John, haha. We met new investigator who was telling us of this Illuminati conspiracy theory he saw on a YouTube video. We're teaching this guy who doesn't believe in God, which is pretty rare here. This transfer is going to be a week longer because they couldn't find flights for the first week of January.

Well, that's about all I have time to talk about this week, but I really hope that all of you have the greatest Christmas ever! Ficam bem!

Abraço,
Elder Penner









Monday, December 14, 2015

Hark the Harold Angels Sing

I don't really know why I put it as Harold, but it just seems really funny to me that way. Who are you, Harold? What are you doing with a bunch of singing angels?

This week surprised us with almost every appointment that we had made falling. It seemed like we ended up passing almost all of our current investigators every day, a feat that we aren't very able to do when we have as many appointments as we usually do. I liked it though, it helped us to work with those that were more interested in giving their time to learn about our message. We also ended up having a lot of success with less-active work this week, which is just as important as finding and teaching new people. As is evident in the parable of the lost sheep, the Lord is very worried about each and every one of His children that leave the church for whatever reason. It was good to see some members return to church yesterday.

Well, André had been going very well this past week. He was actually going so well, we were so excited for his baptismal interview and to be able to go and watch the baptisms this week, but apparently work kept him late! He also had some family emergency yesterday, so he also wasn't able to make it to church. We're a little worried about him, but seeing as it was things out of his or our control that happened this weekend, we still think that he may be able to be baptized this upcoming Saturday, so stay tuned for that.
In awesome news, the entire mission recieved a new microwave for Christmas this year! We got ours last week when our house was inspected, and today we bought a bunch of microwaveable popcorn to celebrate.

Well, I guess I technically don't hit my year mark this week, but I would have hit my year mark this Thursday had I not gone home. Shout out to the others who I came with who only have a year left of service! I reckon that my year mark now rests somewhere in March. Maybe I'll just say it's on St. Paddy's day for the heck of it.

Oh, I also just wanted to mention that a member the other day called me "pumpkin head" in English. Yeah.

Hope your Christmas is going great! Take the time to share a special message about the Gospel of Jesus Christ with someone you love! They'll most likely appreciate it, and especially in the next life!

Abraço,
Elder Pumpkin Head

                                       








Monday, December 7, 2015

Rockin' Around the Christmas Trees

It's the most wonderful time of the year down here in Beach, Green Cape (literal translation) and I'm just having the hollyest jollyest old time down here! Last week I recieved some Christmas music (special thanks to my mom) and I just got so stoked for Christmas to come! We saw the church's new Christmas video and now we get to use it along with christmas.mormon.org and I just got so stoked! Christmas trees are coming up around town! I even heard a worldy Christmas song playing in someone's house! Get pumped, people!
Well, the great news is that our boss investigator André is progressing along very well! He accepted the date of the 19th this month to be baptized! He passed by us the other day and reminded us about church on Sunday, haha! Also, the last time we talked to him, he brought in his friend who was a little drunk at the time. We had planned to teach him the Word of Wisdom, and he ended up basically taking over the lesson and teaching and supporting his friend as we explained it. It was so cool. His friend also wanted to talk with us more, so we're going to teach him this week. His name's Cebola, which literally means Onion. He's a pretty funny guy.

As for how the rest of the work is going, I feel like we've run into a little bit of a stunt right now. The investigators that we thought were really progressing lost interest in progressing, a lot of appointments that we set up fell, and I just felt like we did a lot more walking than sitting and teaching. Our investigators Giovana and Zekinha pretty much fell, and we had to drop a lot of others who weren't progressing either. These moments happen in the mission, and you just gotta push through it until you reach a breakthrough. They always come, if you try hard enough. The Lord rewards you for your work, you just gotta find out where He's put it.
Some cool news though is that Elton John's girlfriend had her baby this last week! We showed up to our appointment and it took us about 3 seconds to understand why everyone was at the hospital. We've been working a lot on helping him find the courage to start working towards marriage with his girlfriend, and I think that his feelings for his newborn child will help him out with that. We're praying for it, we've got the faith, now we just need to put the plan in action! Also, in funny news, we learned that he's got a brother... named Elvis. We think his mom is a fan of the classics, haha.

I think one of the biggest things I've learned on my mission so far is to have patience. Patience with a companion who I don't agree with, patience with people that need more time to progress, and especially patience that the Lord's timing is much better than mine. I understand much better that some people aren't ready to make huge changes in their lives until they see and understand the smaller changes that happen from following simpler rules. For example, if an investigator has a job on Sunday and doesn't want to lose it no matter how we explain the Day of the Lord to him, I like to focus more on their reading of the scriptures and following other commandments that aren't so much of a struggle. As they realize the blessings that come from doing so, they'll feel more confidence that the Lord is also there to help with bigger challenges. As the scriptures say, we learn line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. A little.
Well, that's all I have for this week. Spread that Christmas cheer! Start jingling them bells, dangit! Make sure you have a not so silent night!
Abraço para todos,
Elder Kringle-Penner



Monday, November 30, 2015

Thankgiving

Reminder to those who haven't already done so to give thank. It's a very different thing than giving thanks. I couldn't tell you how, though. You just gotta figure it out for yourself.

This week seemed to start off a little slowly for me, but this weekend everything happened all at once, so I'm a little disoriented right now. Elder Wendt and I were discussing how we could more effectively help more people come unto Christ through the waters of baptism, and we recieved some inspiration this week. We realized that we were focusing too much on working with investigators that we already have, who aren't progressing as well as we'd like them to. We made a change to give more time and attention to finding and teaching people who have truly been prepared by the Spirit to hear our message. And oh, what the results we did have!

Things just started working out more to our favor after we made this decision! We were finally able to talk to some investigators that the missionaries almost baptized a few months ago. Her name is Sulita. They thought that her boyfriend, Adilson, moved in with her. We just found out that they aren't actually living together, which makes it just that much easier for them to follow the Law of Chastity! Bonus! But they're also very interested in what we have to say. Adilson hadn't talked to the missionaries ever before, but he somehow got a hold on one of our Gospel Principles books and was almost done reading it by the time we found him! He kept saying things like "I'd never thought of these things in this way before, and I like it!" We felt truly blessed to have found them.

Another really cool thing happened with some investigators that weren't really progressing until recently. André and Simone have been living together for a while, and already have two kids. The problem is that Simone has been cheating on André with someone else who lives in the same complex as them. Marriage at that point wasn't really an option, but André was still living in the house to be there for his kids. Well, we talked to them about the Law of Chastity (before we learned about their real situation) and something about what we taught must have really touched André, because he decided to move back to his mom's house! He feels bad about not living with his kids anymore, but he visits them a lot so they still feel like they have a father figure. I know now that because he's living the Law of Chastity, he's going to recieve the blessings of the Lord. He also got to church for the first time yesterday! He's going along great, and we feel as though our prayers are being answered big time now.

Last, but most certainly not least, a marriage is on the way! Adilson and Ineida are a couple that the missionaries have been working with for a while, and all the ward knows them well. Ineida was a less-active member for a while, but she's back in activity now. Adilson's a really cool investigator that wants to become a member of the church too. Well, just a couple of hours ago we had the opportunity of going to the registrar (I think that's the word in English haha) to get their marriage papers done! They have a marriage date set for the 15th of January! Que benção!

There were also a lot of funny things that happened, too. We were on the side of the road when an old lady raked her fingernails up my arm while saying "Chinese, Chinese, Chinese, Chinese!" and we had no idea what she was talking about. We laughed. Another day, this guy was running with his dog and the dog just went up and chomped Elder Wendt on his thigh, and the guy just ran off! It didn't break his skin, but he got a few bruises from it. I laughed. And then yesterday, we contacted a referral from the members, who were really cool.

Well, that I think sums up more of the major events of this week! I felt really good about this week! I have a lot of hope for the entire month of December!

Hoping you all are well! Boa semana!
Abraço,
Elder Penner
p.s. I saw a naturally redheaded person in the street today. Do you know how rare that is here??

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sometimes you can't make it on your own.

Hey all!
I put this title because this week I've really thought about the Infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ and just how much importance that it has for each and every one of us. So I put down the title of a nice U2 song, although a better title would just be "you can't make it on your own." We truly can't make it on our own. We need Jesus Christ. We need what He did for us. We need His love. We need to be on His side so that we can recieve His constant help for the struggles that we pass through in our lives.

This week went by quick as heck, as the last week of the transfer normally does, but I'll try to remember a few things that happened.

Sadly, it doesn't look like we have anyone prepared to be baptized this month. Giovana has been forgetting about our appointments, Zekinha said he had a hard time getting to both our church and his (he has a problem with a swollen foot, kinda like I had, haha) and Ginana hasn't been progressing as well as we had anticipated. As hard as we tried, it seems as though it's not going to happen. We're of course still working harder than ever here. But we did have a lot of really cool things happen this week.

I seem to keep forgetting that I'm the District Leader here. I don't know why. My district calls me every night like they're supposed to and I remember that I'm supposed to check up on them. I almost forgot to prepare for District Meeting last week, so this week I decided to be a little more prepared. I'm getting the hang of it.

We went on a division with the Zone Leaders last week. I stayed here with Elder Willes, while Elder Wendt left with Elder Clegg. Elder Willes is an awesome teacher. Our investigator Helton Djon (Elton John) has been struggling with the idea of marriage, and he's been on the bridge about it. Elder Willes just went in there and explained very clearly that it's a decision that has to be made with him, his girlfriend, and God. He seemed to be a bit more open to the idea once he realized that the decision wasn't just his to make. I like that, I'm going to start using that more.

I almost forgot! I finally figured out where President Mathews' house is, and It's almost literally right across the street from our own house! The Zone Leaders had to go to a meeting in the middle of our division, so we all went there and Elder Wendt and I stayed in another room talking to Sister Mathews. It was funny because Elder Clegg and Elder Wendt weren't ready and made us late, and Elder Lopes (assistant to the president) was getting really mad and talking them off for wasting time. Elder Wendt just slipped a piece of candy into his hand, and Elder Lopes' expression just lit up and he just went "awwww." We laughed so hard.

The next day, we went on another division with the Secretaries, who are in our district. I went to their area with Elder Ruffer while Elder Wendt stayed with Elder Farnsworth. I like Elder Ruffer's way of teaching as well. Elder Ruffer's strong point is making promises with his investigators. He makes them specific, and lets them know that the promises are inspired. While we were there, we talked with a person who didn't seem to think that it was fair that Jesus Christ suffered for every one of us, when he did no sin. And he's kind of right. Jesus Christ never needed to suffer for us. It was never something that He was forced to do. He did it out of pure love for our Heavenly Father and for us. We cannot suffer for our own sins. The burden would be too great for any one of us to bear. So He did it for us. It is the single greatest act of love ever performed.
In other news, we ended our division on Friday morning and Elder Wendt said that we have a baptism on the 5th of next month. I was like, you mean you marked a date for the 5th? And he was like, no, we have a baptism for the 5th. Her name's Manuela, and she's a really awesome person. She's the mom of an inactive member, and she knows a lot of members because there are so many that are her next-door neighbors. We have a lot of hope for her, and are looking forward to passing her just about every day to help her to be ready! Prayers get answered, folks.

Last but not least, Transfers! It looks like Elder Wendt and I are going to stay here in Varzea for another one, which is cool. We just got here, we didn't really want to leave yet. I saw Elder Bannerman for the first time since the MTC today! He and Elder Maake make the only two Elders that I've seen from the group I came here with. I hear Elder Wakeham's going to Mindelo. Lucky.
Well, that's just about it for the week! Any questions, comments or concerns can be sent directly to my inbox. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving! I think this one's going to be a bit fishier than I'd normally have, but the important part's the giving thanks, right?

Wishing you all are well, and an abraço,
Elder Penner




Monday, November 16, 2015

September

Well, I'm sitting here trying to remember what the heck happened this week, I seem to have forgotten just about everything. I don't really remember the 21st night of September, sorry, Earth, Wind, and Fire...

Well, we had a Zone Conference this past Wednesday. Elder and Sister Dyches, of the Seventy, were there as well. They gave really good trainings on the power and authority of our callings, and how we could improve our planning skills every day. I learned a lot of new stuff, and applying it has helped me out so much, it's incredible. I have an even greater testimony that all General Authorities of the Church are called for a reason. Also, President Mathews talked a lot on how our first few moments with people are. At times we like to take a lot of time getting to know the person and their background before we even speak a word of our message. He showed us that the very first thing that we should share is a message about the Restoration of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is what truly testifies to people that we truly are representatives of Jesus Christ and that we bear His message. I saw a stark difference in how people reacted to our message as we switched to this way of contacting, and it's truly helped out the work.

We weren't able to talk to Giovana this week! We tried just about every day, but she just couldn't talk, and she missed our appointment too. And church. But we think we finally are going to be able to talk with her tomorrow too. We really hope to help her to remove her doubts. As for Isabelle, she's going very well also, but the problem is that she really does live with her boyfriend, Angelo. We taught her the Law of Chastity, and she really wants to be married now, but we fear that Angelo doesn't want to marry if they won't be in the same church. We can't talk to Angelo anymore because he has a whole lot to do. We're determined to get everyone in Varzea married though, so we're still trying hard.

We also have a few cool people that got to church yesterday. First was Zekinha (pronounced zikeenyah) who's a 50 year old pastor for the Pentacostal church here. He didn't seem to understand that by being baptized that he would need to leave his church to follow this one, but as we talked about the Book of Mormon and especially about the restored priesthood authority, he understands better. He's still unsure about making the change, so we're encouraging him to ask God what He thinks.

We also have Ginana, a boy in his 20s who seems to like our message, but he's pretty quiet in nature. We also learned that he has a medical condition where he can't understand much of what he reads, so we're going to try to read more of the Book of Mormon together with him. We learned something a little funny yesterday, so the last visit we brought some of the Young Single Adult women, because they've been dying to leave with us for a while. Well, he apparently thought that we were trying to woo him to come to church with some attractive girls... We laughed at that, and we figured that we should be a little more careful about that in the future. It's good to hear how people think of us from a member's point of view, it helps us to learn how we can keep better appearances.

I also would just like to say a few short words about my Grandma Penner, because she passed away this past Saturday. She was one of the most stark examples of following the example of Jesus Christ that I have ever had in my life, and I'm so lucky to have known her as a person. I'll miss her, but I know that she's finally home with the majority of her childhood family, so I'm happy for her. My testimony of the Plan of Salvation has grown as I've pondered about her and where she is right now. It truly is a Plan of Happiness.

That's it for now! Have a great week! Nhos ka fika kasubody!

Abraço,
Elder Penner

Sent from my iPhone



hehe, just kidding.







Monday, November 9, 2015

Out of the mouth of 3 or... 2 witnesses

Well, this week was a pretty eventful one, so it flew by pretty quickly! I can't believe it's P-Day, and I can't believe that we only have 2 more weeks until next transfer! The missionary lifestyle is such a fast one. I recommend it if you need to pass a couple of years as quickly as possible.

I guess I'll get the bad news out of the way first: Jovana (Giovana?) is even less sure about being baptized on the 14th, and we think that a lot of it has to do with the influence of her mother. She just doesn't think that she's prepared enough to be baptized so soon. I want to talk to her more about the decisions that she makes and how the Lord can help her to follow through with these decisions. Especially when we are baptized and recieve the Gift of the Holy Ghost, the Lord can and will help us through any rough patches in life, as long as we choose to follow His will. Well, I'll give you the update next week on whether or not the 14th will happen, I guess. We're praying for her.

Well, we had Stake Conference this week, which was a really neat experience. President Mathews gave a talk about the Europe Area Plan, which is to:1. Invite a friend to church, 2. Become temporally and spiritually self-sufficient, and 3. Find an ancestor. I really like this plan, and I think if every member applied it to their lives, then we'd have a stronger, more steadily increasing pool of members in every stake. We only had one investigator there, but she's progressing much better than we had previously thought, and we realized that we need to spend some more time with her! Her name is Isabelle, and she's the cousin of Junior, who's our go-to ward missionary, so it works out very well! She's very shy, but she's fascinated by the Book of Mormon and really likes what we teach her, and has some very good questions, which shows that she's learning well! Her only problem is that she lives with her boyfriend (we're teaching him too, and he's cool too) in the same house, but I think that he may have his own place to live in? We'll have to make sure, but if he does, it will make it much easier for them to start living the Law of Chastity.

In other news, we had our first division of the transfer, so we had Elder Farnsworth come over to our area and take Elder Andrade's place for a day. Elder Farnsworth is a really good missionary. He's very bold about everything he says, and even though he didn't know anybody that we talked with, he spoke the most out of the three of us! It's also pretty funny, because he was Elder Adams' companion before me, so we got to talk a bit of the funny things that Elder Adams did. We miss that guy.
And last but not least, we got the news that Elder Andrade would be starting a new area with a mini-missionary, since his visa for Brazil still hasn't come. Elder Andrade is an awesome missionary, and he taught me a lot about really getting to know our investigators, and helping them to feel welcome to speak freely when we talk to them. He left earlier today, and the house just seems a little bit empty without him. I mean, being in a threesome of Elders isn't the most fun, because things just naturally tend to happen a little more slowly and you seem to talk a lot less, but this threesome was a great one, and I hope to be able to continue doing well in this area as a twosome again.

Well, that's it for this week, stay tuned for a stunning week filled with: A surprise division with the Zone Leaders of Sal in our area, a Zone Conference with Elder and Sister Dyches (of the Seventy!) and possibly the start of some marriages in this area...
I hope all of you are well! Have a good week!
Abraço,
Elder Penner



Monday, November 2, 2015

New Person, Same Old Mistakes

Soo I don't really know exactly why I chose this title for my email. It's a Tame Impala song. I guess I just like the concept about how even though we can change something about ourselves, it doesn't necessarily mean that we're magically going to stop making our old mistakes. I like to think of myself as a brand new person, a newly reinvigorated missionary, but at the same time I can see the parts that were holding me back last time start to show. I guess I just really need to work at it, one thing at a time, to mold myself into the kind of missionary that I aspire to be now.

I really want to talk about my area and the cool things about it. Varzea's a pretty big area, it encompasses all of Praia 3rd Ward. There are a solid 80 active members, and from the looks of it at least 50 inactive members, so there's a lot to do in that area. We also have a lot of investigators here, especially families, which is awesome. The only problem is that none of them are married, so we have that as a big focus in our work right now. It almost seems that we mark more dates for marriages than we mark dates for people to be baptized! 

I think one of the coolest things about our area is that there's a big old cemetery right in the middle, and we always walk in a little path right above it and it just gives us the greatest view. It also means that a lot of funerals pass by, which means that the streets can get absolutely crowded at times. When someone dies in Cape Verde, everyone who ever knew them comes to the funeral, even if they only met in Kindergarden. The other day there were 3 funerals coming in at the same time, and we almost couldn't get through!

As for people, they couldn't be any better. We finally met Elton John the other day, and he just seems fascinated with just about everything we believe him. We started talking about the Atonement and he was like "you guys always have the biggest smiles when you talk about Jesus Christ" and we were like "well, yeah! He means so much to us that we can't help but smile!" and it was just a really neat experience. We also met an Adventist who agreed to talk with us, her name's Leila. She's talked with the missionaries before and really enjoys our message, but she's also very hooked on the idea that Saturday should be the Sabbath, because that's what the Bible says. It doesn't help that the word for Saturday and Sabbath are the same, Sábado. I think that as she reads the Book of Mormon and as we talk to her, the Holy Ghost can begin to work with her.

Jovana, our date for the 14th, has been progressing very well, except for the fact that she didn't get to church this Sunday! She apparently partied too hard the night before, and couldn't get up. We were disappointed, but we explained why it was important to keep the Sabbath Day holy and she seems to understand now. We also ran into another problem: her mother doesn't think she's prepared enough to be baptized that early. She belongs to another Christian faith, and she strongly believes that you have to be certain that you're going to follow the path that you're on. We talked to her about how we can get a confirmation for ourselves that the church is true, and we show our committment to follow it through baptism, which opens the door to the true path, but she seemed to look at baptism as more of an end goal. We're going to talk with her more about it, because without her permission, Jovana can't be baptized because she's not 18 yet.

I've come to notice that Elder Wendt and Elder Andrade have somewhat clashing personalities, but it actually works towards our working more effectively. Elder Andrade is pretty laid back (at times to the point of laziness and wanting to just hang around), but he loves the work and especially loves to contact people and connect with them on a personal level. Elder Wendt is a little more conscious about the time and analyzing when we should be at our next appointment or what would be a most effective use of our time. When we started, there was a little shakiness, but now that we know each other fairly well, we're working pretty effectively and seeing good results on a numerical and spiritual level. There's always room to improve though, of course.

Wow, I've been writing a couple of long updates. There's just so much for me to tell. Don't expect every one to be so lengthy, though I'll try! Hope you all have a Fantasmic week!

Abraço,
Elder Penner





Monday, October 26, 2015

Back in Black (and white)!!!

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Hey all! It feels so great to be back on the mission! It's a little weird because I almost feel at home but it's just a little different so that I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing here.
Well, to recap if ya didn't know, I went home and hung out on the couch for a month for the surgery, and then had to slowly work out how to walk again. It was cool to see family and friends and everything, but at the same time it felt like life had kinda moved on without me and that I almost didn't belong at home anymore. Netflix just isn't as fulfilling as helping people to come unto Christ, it seems. Anyways, after a nice trip to Disneyland and a good amount of new movies watched to brag about, I started coming back last Monday.
Now I'm in the grand city of Praia! I'm in an area called Varzea, which really reminds me of my first area on the mission... a lot of hills, a lot of dirt, and I can't really understand what anybody's saying except for a few words here and there. The Creole here is so different that it almost feels like I'm starting the mission over again. Except this time I don't feel as lost haha. I'm in a trio right now with Elder Wendt, who's in his second transfer (which means I am now officially a stepfather) and Elder Andrade, an Elder from Fogo who's waiting for his visa so he can go to São Paulo Brazil. They're awesome companions, and this area has a whole lot of people prepared to recieve the gospel! Oh and I was also put as the District Leader here, which nobody told me about until they asked if I was coming to the District Leader training meeting on Wednesday. So it's been a bit of a crazy ride, but I'm happy to be back in business.
We apparently have an investigator whose name is literally Elton John. Elder Wendt and I laughed when we heard this, but Elder Andrade didn't get it. I guess his music's not all that well-known here. But as to other investigators, we marked a baptismal date for a girl named Jovanna on Saturday. We marked for the 14th of November, and she wanted to move it earlier, but we have Stake Conference on the 7th so that didn't work. It's wonderful to see just how prepared she is to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ into her life, and I look forward to working more with her. The only problem is that I can't really understand what she's saying half of the time...
For a spiritual thought today I thought I'd share a story about a man that I met in the airport in Lisbon. I started a conversation with him, and it turned out that he was from Germany, so we talked in English. He started by talking about how he went to Maio once every few months to make money selling the art that he makes there. He then proceeded to make some REALLY racist comments about the people of Cabo Verde, my immediate thought to which was to end the conversation as soon as possible. For some reason though, I felt as though I needed to introduce my religion to him, despite my doubts about his interest. He asked me "so how does one become a missionary for your church?" and I replied "Well, I guess you'd have to start by reading the Book of Mormon" and he became very interested in getting one. I didn't have a Book of Mormon on me, but I gave him the September copy of the Ensign that I was reading and told him to check out Mormon.org if he really wanted to know more about what we believe. It was a neat experience, and I a scripture came to my mind. It was the one where Jesus said "I came not to bring the righteous, but the sinners to repentance" and I just thought about how some people are just lost and don't know that what they do is wrong, and that just makes it all the more necessary to invite these people to investigate the Church.
Well, I hope all of you out there are doing as well as you were when I last talked to you. As said in Badiu (Praia Creole), "Nyos fica direto!"
Abraço,
Elder Penner
p.s. They haven't activated my card with money yet, so I've been living off of all of $15 for the last 5 days. I dare you all to achieve what I have.







Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Take 2

Yesterday Elder Penner flew back to the Cape Verde islands.

A quick summary.  He broke his ankle on July 6, 2015, flew home to have surgery on July 22, 2015, and on August 31st, he was released to Physical Therapy.  5 weeks later he was cleared back to full activity.  He had been working for a few weeks to get up to the 6 miles a day.  The first few weeks of PT seemed like returning would take a while, but after about 3 weeks...he improved by leaps and bounds every day.  Just 3 weeks later, he was walking 8-10 miles a day and doing great.  

When we returned home from the airport last night, I found a letter in his room that he had written to his grandma but didn't get a chance to mail.  It shows his frame of mind just before his injury.  While he was home, I never once heard him complain or ask why this trial was his.  He just did what he needed to do, and focused on what he could do.  

Here is a copy of that letter.  

Hey Grandma,

To be honest, it’s a little weird to me that you moved.  I keep hearing about new things changing with my family.  Here I am in Africa, thinking that everything is going to be different when I get back home.  Well, at least the people are going to be the same.  I’ve still got a bit of time until I go back, don’t I?

I think one important thing that I’ve been learning here recently is to not give up, especially when the going gets tough.  There’s a lot of things here that can really try to ruin your attitude at times.  People will say that they believe in your words, but don’t want to follow them.  Others will say they have faith, but not enough to stop working on Sundays.  And sometimes they’ll turn your water off for a few days.  The funny thing is, all of these things are trying to get me down, but in general my attitude is only getting better every day that I spend here.  It truly shows me that as long as I put my trust in the Lord, he won’t let my heart stay disheartened.  He has and will give me strength to carry on, even in my weakness.  If you don’t believe that He can help you, how are you going to convince others that He can help them?

Anyways, hope you are well and I hope this letter doesn’t take too long to get to your new house.  

Love,
Elder Penner

Friday, July 10, 2015

A brief Intermission

So for those of you wondering "where is Elder Penner? Why hasn't he given us a weekly update? Where could he be?" I have just the answer for you.

I'm a little sad to say that I'll be going home for a few months.

You see, I was on the top of a house getting a stray soccer ball this last P-day, and then all of a sudden I was on the ground and my foot wasn't in the spot that feet should normally be. It turns out, I managed to dislocate and completely shatter it to the point that I need some surgery to be done. They don't know exactly yet how long the recovery time will take, but they reckon at least 2 months.

So it looks like I'm kinda outta the ball game for now, but don't be discouraged, folks. This guy is going back to his rightful place in the Cape Verde Praia mission. And that's a fact.

A wise Terminator once said, "I'll be back." I'd like to follow that example.

But anyways, I didn't have much time, but just to let you all know that I'll be taking a breakizinho for a while. A breather, you know. Before I come back stronger than before.

Hope you all are well, for those of you on the mission still, good luck! Don't physically impair yourselves on purpose!

(Elder) Jordan Penner


Monday, June 29, 2015

Yes

Ayyy all

I feel like this area that I've been in has been improving since I got here. We haven't had a whole lot of luck with finding a lot of cool new people, but the cool new people that we find are usually COOL new people. So I feel like we still have a lot of cool experiences, they just seem a little fewer and farther in between. I get to appreciate every spiritual moment better.

So, I wanna talk a bit about an investigator that we have named Melanie. She's a really awesome investigator. She's really interested in the gospel, and has had a confirmation for herself about the truth of our words. She is following all the commandments that we've taught her about. In fact, she's had every single part of every lesson that we need to teach her before baptism. The problem is, Melanie and her mother (who we think may have seen a video on polygamy in the early church) both think that she isn't "ready" to be baptized as a member yet. They want to wait a YEAR. We've been working on helping her understand about how she doesn't have to be perfect before she gets baptized, as that's kind of the point of baptism. We haven't had way too much success with helping her understand this, so it's been like this for a little while.

HOWEVER

President Mathews sent a message to the Zone Leaders of Mindelo this last Friday morning, saying that there are 7 people here that are ready for baptism the NEXT DAY. The Zone Leaders called asking if we had anyone possible, and we both felt that it's Melanie, if anyone. We had a good companionship study on miracles and having the faith to make them happen, and we went to our appointment with Melanie (which just happened to be marked for that evening) with strong intentions. What proceeded was what may have been the most spiritual lesson that I have ever taught on the mission. We shared our testimonies of the truth of the church, and how we both knew that she was ready to become a member and start on the pathway the Lord had prepared for her. We talked to her about how the Lord has already provided a way for her to overcome any difficulty, any trial that may stand in her way after baptism. She still seemed pretty set on waiting, but it came to me to talk to her about what President Mathews told us. We shared the experience and told her that we both thought that she could be baptized the very next day. I think that that really struck her, because she sat there for at least 5 full minutes, thinking. She finally told us at the end of the lesson that she would ask God about it, and send us a message about the answer. We left that lesson feeling really happy, feeling that we had finally made a breakthrough.

HOWEVER

She didn't text us that night. A little worried, we waited until 11 am the next day (if she said yes, then we had some stuff to do before the baptism at 4 that day) and then we visited her house. She told us to talk with her again at 3, but sent us a text message a little bit afterwards to explain to us what happened. She told us that she prayed and that the Lord had told her that she was ready, but that she still didn't feel ready herself. We sat there for a bit, very confused and disappointed. It had seemed so sure that she was going to tell us yes. What I think confused us the most is that the Lord had told her what to do, and for some reason she didn't believe that that was the right answer. We had another lesson with her yesterday, talking about why she got the answer that she did, and about how she can put her trust in the Lord more than to her own understanding.

I've thought long and hard about why the story here rolled out like it did. We definitely had the faith to see a miracle happen, and we were so excited when we thought it was going to happen. I don't pretend to know all the works of the Lord, but I think I was able to figure out a couple of reasons: Firstly, it helped Melanie to progress, a lot. I really don't believe that it will be long before she takes the decision for herself to be baptized. Secondly, it helped me learn that we can do everything that we can, and people still have their own personal agency, they're still free to make their own decisions. What we need to do is make sure that our part is done in the best way that it can be done, learning about the gospel and always trying to bring the Spirit as strong as possible to every lesson. I feel comfortable about what happened with her. It may not have been the result that we had desired, but the result still was a good one. As the scriptures say, all things that are good come from God. God had his hand in this situation, and maybe I'll learn more as I go along. I hope I do, learning about this stuff is cool.

I'm somehow reminded of the lyrics from the Coldplay song "Yes", which if you think about it really talks about the lesson that I learned today in these two lines:
"If you would only, if you'd only say Yes,
Whether you will's anybody's guess."

Wow, that was a long story, but I wanted to share all of it. So I guess that's it for today, I hope to be able to share some more cool experiences next week! Have a good week, all, and I hope you go wild this Independence Day!

Abraço,
Elder Penner
There were no pictures this week.  The computer he was on wasn't cooperating with his camera.  

Monday, June 22, 2015

Speed of Sound

Yooooooooooooo whaddup?

Well, another hard week, but I wouldn't really say that it was slow. The weeks here are just starting to zoom by, no matter what happens during them. You're there on Sunday, thinking about church and stuff and all of a sudden it's P-day, heck yeah, then District Meeting on Tuesday, a couple of full work days and then Weekly Planning on Friday and trying to bring an investigator to baptisms on Saturday, then what do you know it's Sunday all over again. It's just crazy fast.

This week's district meeting was fun, because we showed up and found some HEFY kids trying to teach Cabo Verdeanos English because the professor who was supposed to translate didn't show up. We helped out for a while before we started our meeting, because they looked like they had no idea what they were doing. The Counselor guy there was freaking out because he had no idea what he was doing and couldn't call anyone.

Do you want to know something annoying about this place? Cabo Verde has no such thing as unlimited text and calls. We have a special connection between other Elders where we don't have to pay, but that's it. We get 900 escudos (about the worth of a penny) for what they call "Saldo" here each month. Each second you talk to people costs 1 escudo. 900 seconds a month really isn't that much time when you have to make a dozen calls a week at least. The thing is, you only have to pay if you're the one that calls the recipient, so most people here will just send us a message telling us to call them. One of the Elder's favorite subjects here is about how nobody in this country has Saldo. Nobody.

One struggle that we seem to be having in this area is that we don't have a lot of investigators, and the ones we do have are never home. We always seem to have passed by every investigator's house twice by 6 pm, so we go around trying to contact people. The problem is, nobody's really in the street to contact, besides drunk people, and all the houses are apartment complexes, which makes it hard to get into if you don't know anyone inside the complex. Somehow we manage to find at least a few cool new people, for which we're grateful here.

We found an inactive member here the other day named Valdir, and the guy's freaking insane. I remember when I got to Mindelo, the other elders were teaching him and he even got to church again a few times. We started talking with him, and the second time we talked to him he just started talking to us in English for some reason. We were like okay... it's hard to understand him because his English isn't crazy good and he stutters like no other. What really got me though is that he told us that he saw a prophet on the way to work the other day... and he also saw a mountain crumble down and cover a city. We have absolutely no idea what he's talking about, so we're just trying to start with simple truths, and it goes along slowly. Elder Figueiredo once told me he met a guy who said he was destined to be the next prophet. You meet some crazy weird people here sometimes, but you have to remember that they're sons and daughters of God as well, so you at least give an effort.

Well, that's mostly what I had for this week. Just to let everyone know, I still miss Coldplay. And root beer. I can wait, I can do this. Pray for me.

Bizot fica drêt! Tê cool!
Elder Penner



Monday, June 15, 2015

Quarterblack

Psych Reference! Also reference to the fact that I'm a quarter of the way through my mission already! 6 months of service! (Not that I'm counting down the days...) Also slight reference to the fact that I'm actually tanning! Like not even kidding! I swear I'm at least a little darker than when I got here!

First week in my second area ever, and I gotta say that I'm loving it! The first thing I've noticed about my area is... it's small. Like I'm not sure if it's even 1/4 the size of my last area, which is a big difference. I feel like I keep running into the boundaries at times. Also, it's pretty early in the day when we feel like we've passed by all of our investigators. Twice. It doesn't help that half of our area is apartments that we can't get into without knowing someone on the inside. The people here are really awesome though, and I keep finding new and cool things here! Also the dogs don't hate my guts here!

As for things that happened this week, it was a little slow as for lessons. I think I'll just talk a bit about the people. There's one investigator here, Melanie, who likes to have lessons with us in English, which is a weird experience. She's really awesome, and has been prepared for baptism for a while. The problem is, she's 17, which means her parent's need to give permission for baptism... and her parents just happened to watch a documentary about polygamy in the early church. You know, I really didn't think I'd run into that problem here. Most people don't even know us as Mormons, they just say it's the Church of Elder. We laugh at that.

We also have Gilson, an investigator who we're really trying to mark a good date for baptism, but the problem with him was shown to me when he told us he wasn't going to church. He said he had housework to do, and didn't have time for church. We told him that church is way more important than housework! He told us that God would excuse him for it, and we were just like it doesn't work that way! God has commandments for us, and he has a way for us to fulfill them! He doesn't excuse us when we fail to meet his requirements. How would we show our faith if God excused us from following him because of simple things like cleaning the house?

Last, but most certainly not least, we have Ilidio, who was just baptized and confirmed this weekend! I haven't had all that much time to get to know him, but he seems really cool. I had the opportunity of practicing the baptismal interview questions with him, and he was just like "Claro" which means "Clearly" with every question. The problem is that he doesn't normally like to stay until the end of church, we think because he's a little intimidated. We'll work with him on that. I'd have a picture to show you guys if my camera didn't somehow DIE WITHIN THE SPACE OF 4 HOURS since I charged it!

Well, that seems like a full update to me! Hope to have some more awesome new experiences with these awesome new people. Keep it classy.

Abraço,
Elder Power 
(someone called me that once. I laughed all day.)

FHE with some cool ward members

I googled this, it means "sweetheart'!  LOL!

Pizza and soda, it's like being back home

New companion Elder Adams

Monday, June 8, 2015

Kids Next Door

Hey hey hey, it's Faaaaat Elder Penner! Well, still not all that fat, but I'm getting there. I'll try harder.

Well, what a week! Completely full of surprises!

We found this awesome guy named Joao Lima, who apparently had been going to another ward for 2 weeks, and he's really interested in joining the church. He's a little too eager sometimes, we think, and sometimes he's so eager he doesn't quite understand our invitations. For example, we asked him to read the introduction to the Book of Mormon and ask God whether the book was true, and talked to him about how he would feel that he recieved an answer. His reply: "Okay, I'll read the Book of Mormon, and have an answer for your question on the next visit!" We have no idea what question he was talking about. But he's told us about the changes he's already seeing in his life from just these two times he's been to church, and he seems really prepared by the ward.

Also, on Tuesday, we went on a division. This time, I went to Campinho with Elder Adams. Highlights of the transfer include teaching my first lesson entirely in English (sooooo weird) and being sent to the port to look for a boat with more Books of Mormon... that wouldn't actually arrive until the next day. It was fun, I like going on divisions.

We also had Stake Conference this last weekend. It was a very memorable experience, to say the least. The missionaries go to the session for the Adults and the Sunday session here, though they had a session for the Priesthood, too. We were blessed to have the presence of a Seventy, Elder Adonay Obando (nobody can pronounce it) who left us a very inspiring message. Or at least, we think. The problem is that he couldn't speak Portuguese. Only Spanish and English. For the adult session, he tried his best with his very small knowledge of Portuguese, asking help from President Mathews the entire time. On Sunday there just happened to be a returned missionary there who also knew Spanish, so he translated. I learned that Spanish and Portuguese are pretty close languages, and the funny thing is that Portuguese speakers can understand Spanish (more or less) but Spanish speakers can't really understand Portuguese at all. He still got his message across, focusing on a few problems that Cape Verde struggled with, and he truly seemed inspired of the Lord to leave the exact message that he needed to. All in all, it was a really good Stake Conference.

And lastly, to explain the title of the day. Other than it being the name of one of the greatest TV shows from my childhood, it describes two events that happened this week.

Thing #1. O Dia das Crianças was last Monday. They literally have a children's day here. Back in America adults would just say that "every day is childrens day!" but Cabo Verde has it right. I truly think we can learn some important things from this wonderful country. Anyways, not much happened except the number of children in Mindelo tripled and there were a few parties that night that seemed more for adults.

Thing #2. TRANSFERS! After the session of Conference on Sunday, President Mathews pulled us all the missionaries aside and told them about transfers, seeing as he'd just call us anyways that day. Turns out, I'm leaving my area! I'm going to the wonderful new area of... Campinho! Right next door. I don't even change wards. My new companion... Elder Adams! Hey wait a sec, that sounds a little bit about a freaking DIVISION that we had just this week! I was like whaaaaaaaaaaat? But it's going to be a cool transfer. After working a bit with Elder Adams, he seems pretty cool. Campinho's a little small, but still seems cool as well! It was a little hard to pack today, seeing as I'm just moving literally a block away. I was like, can I just stay in this house and work over there? Apparently not. At least my new house has a microwave!

Well, that's my strange tale for this week. Hope you all have crazy lives as well. It's truly a great way of living.

Abraço,
Elder Penner

Monday, June 1, 2015

Hurts Like Heaven

Well, as my grandpa always says, how the heck are ya?

I first want to say that I'm sorry to hear about Elder L. Tom Perry. I feel like he's getting some good missionary work done in the spirit world now. A member told me last night and I was like whaaaaaaaat? I wasn't expecting that, but now that I mention it, I do remember someone saying that he was in the hospital a few weeks ago. The important thing is that he did some good work here, and he's probably seeing many blessings of his work now.

I'm not gonna lie, this week feels like one of the toughest that we've had since I've gotten here. Most of our appointments fell, and the members that we planned to join us all canceled on us as well. But we've been working our tails off, so we still managed to get about 26 lessons, a miracle if you ask me. I really don't have all that much to say this week, it's been a little slow. You know a week has been slow and hard when your legs start to give up on you. The problem is, we just won't let them give up on us.

I do want to mention that we've been meeting a fair amount of awesome people this week. It seems like the Lord has been blessing us with a lot of families to compensate for all the walking that we've had to do. We ran into a family who basically told us that they've been trying to find out how to know which church is the true church of Christ. That's a rarity here, most people will just tell us that all churches talk about God, so they all must be good.

Another pretty great thing that happened is that we managed to bump up our number of investigators in church to a solid 8! We were happy to see 6 that we'd been working with, and a member introduced us to his brother who showed up for the first time! We also got told by the Zone Leaders that someone from our area showed up in their ward and is really interested! We were like sweet, man! That just shows you that blessings do come from hard work, and because it's the Lord who we're serving, the reward is always sweeter than the trial was bitter. That's a really awesome thing about serving an all-powerful deity. Also you get to meet crazy and awesome people (sometimes both).

Stay tuned for next week, it's transfers! This is the first transfer so far where I have no idea whether I'm staying or I'm going! The other two, I've had like 90% certainty. Now I have none. We'll see! Stay Frosty, all!

Abraço,
Elder Penner

p.s. Do I look like Kevin from Home Alone? A member here told me that and now I'm a little worried.

Don't feel to bad for him for not having things like running water or warm showers.
He can still get things like frozen pizza there!
Also, he sends the most random pictures.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

Water You Waiting For?

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy all.

Well, this week kind of just built up in various trials. Members are taking tests, so our number of lessons with members went down by a fair bit. We had a record low of only 2 investigators getting to church, and one of them not even in our ward! We also have been hard pressed to get any of our other investigators to progress. Also, we're pretty sure that Ivandro guy lied to us about the house he said he was moving to, which means we lost him again.

We also lost our water for the first time a couple of days ago! It was a weird experience, I sat there for about 5 minutes trying to get my shower to turn on before I realized that it was the whole house. We opened our emergency barrel of water for the first time since I got here, to find out that was only a quarter of the way full! We had to struggle through a couple of less than fun days with the bare minimum. That was fun, let me tell you. You can imagine our pure joy when we saw the water slowly but surely return to us last night. You don't really truly appreciate the wonder of the average bathroom sink until it's taken away from you. Count your blessings.

Some really cool things happened, too! For example, Maria Alice was baptized this last Saturday! That was a really awesome experience, and we made brownies to celebrate! Elder Gilbert makes some pretty crazy sweet brownies, so we pretty much feasted. It's been a little while, yo. Also, we had a Zone Conference this last Wednesday, which is always fun! We get to sit for 4 hours while our leaders, including President Mathews himself, give us straight revelation. Afterwards, we get to eat beef stroganoff. Actual beef. Like, meat that comes from cow. It's wonderful.

Well, that's pretty much all I have to say about this week. Not a whole lot of progress, but a sure heck of a lot of work! What else can I say? I just listened to Thrift Shop in here. Forgot about that song. For some strange reason, most elders here like country songs better than rap (that's not Eminem, of course). Oh, well. I'll have my time. Lol.

Tell me if you guys do something cool, like get abducted or drink root beer or something. Ficam bem!

Abraço,
Elder Penner

Antonio baptizing his wife Maria and a cute kid who wanted to be in the picture too!
It was his baptism day too.  

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ludicrous Speed

A couple of days ago Elder Gilbert and I looked at each other and were like this transfer's half over!!! It's been going so much faster for me since I finished my greenie stage of the mission, it's insane. Also, yesterday marks 5 months on the mission. I'm almost a quarter of the way through! I'm sitting here thinking to myself that I just barely got here. And I've heard that the mission only starts going faster from this point on. Crazy.

Anyways, it's been a pretty good week for us here. We were able to reach most of our weekly goals, which was pretty awesome. We'd been having some problems getting investigators to church (only 4 last week, the worst I've ever had here) and with getting references from people. However, this week we've been seeing the results in our hard work in this area, which is always a really nice thing to see. One thing that I've truly noticed here is that true results are ONLY achieved with hard work and prayer. That's the secret. There's no shortcuts or easy way out. But oh, how the blessings are recieved!

I just wanted to give a little update on our recent converts. Nelido hasn't been getting to church for about a month now. We visit him through the week and he says "I'm going this week for sure!" and then doesn't show up. As they say here, we're going to "dar uma faca para ele." We've also got a few facas for Kuk and Janete, because Kuk also hasn't been going to church, and Janete goes, but not every week. Laura and Antonio Evora are as strong as ever though, we don't really have many fears about them. It's only going to grow stronger as we prepare for Maria Alice, Antonio's wife, to be baptized this week by Antonio! I've come to notice that the people who seem to have the least problems staying active are the people who have overcome an obstacle to join the church. That sure as heck doesn't mean that we're going to stop visiting Nelido Kuk and Janete and getting them to get to church every week. It's a little frustrating because we talk with them and they're like we know we're fubecas (i don't think there's a direct translation, but it basically mean's we know we're being dumb and we need to get better) but they still aren't doing what they need to. The answer truly is to read and pray every day and to get to church every week. Again, no shortcuts, no secrets.

Also, we saw a miracle yesterday! So there's this guy named Ivandro, who talked with other missionaries and was almost baptized, but he moved to our area. So we've been spending some good effort for 3 weeks trying to contact him and mark a spot where we can meet him (it's impossible to find people's houses here, there's no such things as addresses or even names to roads). He wasn't showing up to meetups we marked, because of a lot of bad luck. We had been thinking the last two days to stop trying, because it was wasting a lot of money we have to call people. However, yesterday this guy stopped us to ask us if we knew where this other person lived. We said no, but we'd like to visit his house to share a message about the Book of Mormon. We asked him his name and he said Ivandro, but we thought nothing of it because there's a fair amount of Ivandros here. But he also told us he was almost baptized recently. We asked how recently and he said a couple of weeks ago... we were like wait a sec. He said that some Elders had just called him the day before and we were like that was us!!! It was insane how we just found him on the street, because we have one of the areas with the most people in Mindelo. It was nothing short of a miracle. We're so grateful to have finally found him, and hope to report more good news about him.

Well, that's about all I have time for, hope you're all fantastic! Ficam bem!

Abraço,
Elder Penner