Monday, February 9, 2015

The 3 day journey to Cabo Verde

The last week at the MTC was pretty normal, besides the fact that it was my birthday! Thank you to everyone who sent me Dear Elders, it took me a while to sort them out, but I got it. It was a really nice surprise. We ate the cupcakes and let loose a confetti blaster that sounded like a shotgun (I thought we would get in trouble, it was so loud). Also, missionaries going to Portugal got surprise reassignments. There was a lot of crying. Turns out that most of the visas came the very next day. Only 4 people still had to go to their reassignments, out of 20 or so. So that's good. Sister Savage and Sister Jarnagin from our district went to Arcadia, California and Tucson, Arizona. The people going to Portugal had to wait another day in the MTC for their visas to show up.

Well, then we left for Cabo Verde at 6am last Tuesday. The flights through Atlanta up to Madrid were pretty uneventful, and we only got like 3 hours of sleep each during those 12 hours. When we arrived in Madrid, Elder Masubelele and Elder Maake (from South Africa) got taken away by customs, and we had no idea why. We waited for about an hour, until the cops came back without the elders and told us that their visas wouldn't get them through, and that they would be sent back to Atlanta. We went right away to find a phone. The airport was big, and had literally no phones anywhere. When we finally found one, everything was in Spanish, so we had no clue how to work it, of course. When we finally found the language button, we tried calling an operator to hook us up with the MTC Travel Office. The operator hung up when the electronic greeting came on. We were pretty ticked off about that. Finally, after 2 hours trying to work them, I finally managed to get the cards my parents gave me to work. Elder Massey called his mom, who helped us contact everyone. It took them 3 hours to tell us what to do. They told us to get on the next flight to Lisbon. We were like "we could have done that hours ago". The next flight wasn't for another 3 hours, so we had to wait even longer. We ended up spending about 10 hours or so in Madrid. I don't really like Spain anymore.

Well, once we got to Portugal, the Mission President, Brother Fluckiger, and his wife let us stay at their house. They're really awesome people. The food was awesome, the view was fantastic, and people were a lot nicer there than the Spanish. We took the next flight to Cabo Verde, at 1pm the next day. We had probably the worst in-flight meal I've ever had. Some weird cheese crepe. So gross. But anyways, when we got there, we met President Matthews, and he told me to stay at the airport, I was going straight to my area! I met my companheiro, Elder Figuereido (I think that's right) at the airport. He´s a super awesome person, really strong missionary, and a Portuguese native who learned English on the mission! (I was grateful for that.) We landed in Sao Vincente, and the ZLs took us to our residence in Mindelo. We're in the 5th ward in the stake here, I think there's only one stake on the island.

The ward I'm in is kinda in the ghetto, with garbage all over the streets. Our apartment is nice, except the fact that it smells funny, was absolutely disgusting looking when we arrived (we had to ask a member to clean it for us, we didn't have time), and the showers are forever cold. There are stray dogs everywhere, every one of which will growl and bark at you. Also, I can't understand the slightest bit of Creole, so I've been basically sitting in lessons looking lost, bearing a short testimony when my companheiro looks at me.

In all honesty, I'm pretty much having the time of my life! The city is absolutely beautiful, and the night sky is so clear I can't even describe it. Soooo nice. Even though I can't understand anyone, they're all really understanding and nice. Like they'll let absolute strangers into their house if they ask. Everyone. Also, on Saturday my companheiro asked me if I could give the invitations to read the Book of Mormon, pray about it, and be baptized if they confirm it. I was nervous at first, but the first person I invited, George, accepted! We even have his baptism set for the 28th! We also found another investigator who we put for the same date, named Claudia. The problem is, we asked both to come to church, and neither were home when we showed up on Sunday. Also, we're 99% certain that George has a serious smoking problem. He has a good heart, though. When we showed the picture of the First Vision, he literally just burst into tears on the spot. It was so cool. I love it here, I love the people (who I can't understand, but my companheiro says my Portuguese is good, so at least they can understand me!), and I love serving! We had a Zone Meeting on Saturday, and the other Elders here are awesome. They said it took about 2 transfers for them to have any idea what was going on during lessons. I hope it doesn't take that long for me, 3 months without any clue seems really long. I'm still having a fun time, and can't wait to get back out there!

Hope everyone is doing well,
Elder Penner

All the Cabo Verde missionaries at the MTC
All the Cabo Verde missionaries at the MTC

Portugal Mission home

The 6 of us that made it through to Portugal

The view from my apartment


  1. I thought the area would be much greener.

  2. Excellent commentary. It's almost as if you were in the military. Hurry up and wait! And, until you get there, you won't really be as well equipped as you had anticipated. Happy you are making connections with the natives. You have a sweet spirit and should do well. I want you to know your Grandpa and other family members are convinced you will do well in your

  3. endevors. Not sure why it wouldn't let me finish it in the first try. Keep up the messages, we are reading every one of them. Love Grandpa Hicks

  4. Love that he is having fun and having such a positive attitude despite all the confusion.