Monday, March 30, 2015

Contas Muitas Benções

Really counting my blessings this week, some really awesome things happened and I'm feeling better than ever!

I'm happy to announce that Kuk and Janete were finally able to be baptized this week! We were worried about whether the dad would sign the forms or not in time, but apparently a member of the ward talked to him a week ago and he agreed to sign it without problem. We were so happy to finally see Roney baptize them and to see them confirmed as members of the Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Ultimo Dias.

Also, an awesome story happened with a new investigator, Laura. She was a reference from the stake president, and we called her a few weeks ago. She called us back last Tuesday (never happens in Cabo Verde according to Elder Figueiredo) but she said she didn't have time to meet this week until Saturday, so we invited her to watch the baptisms with us. She actually showed up on Saturday right on time (again, NEVER happens in Cabo Verde) so we took the opportunity to have a lesson with her in the chapel right afterwards. We started the lesson and asked about her family, and she told us that she and her husband separated 4 months ago, and started tearing up when she said it. Well, good old Elder Penner, who thought she said that her husband DIED 4 months ago, started talking about how we believe that families are forever and that she'll be able to see her husband again. Nobody decided to correct Elder Penner until after she had left. I felt great, let me tell you. But luckily, she didn't seem to care as we met the next day, we didn't even have to wake her up to get to church on time! She really wants to join the church, so we gave her a date for the 11th to be baptized! She really was prepared by the Lord.

Other than that, it's business as usual. To sum a few things up, President Matthews visited our district meeting and gave a few awesome insights on our investigators and an awesome training on inspired goals, I saw a drunk guy pass out and break his nose as he fell on his face, and I found something in my french fries that could either be a really tough corn kernel or possibly a human tooth. That pretty much sums it up.

Well, hope you're all awesome as always! Ficam Bem!

Elder Penner

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mawiage is what bwings us togevar today

So some pretty crappy things and some pretty awesome things happened this week.

As for crappy things, you know how I was really excited for those teenagers Kuk and Janete to be baptized last Saturday, along with Feliz?  None of them were able to be baptized. Feliz didn't get to church this week, and Kuk somehow got it into his mind that he was going to wait until he was 18 to be baptized. We talked to them about the responsibility of baptism, but also about how if they're sure about becoming members, the Lord doesn't want them to wait. The good thing is that this Sunday, Kuk talked to us that he changed his mind, he prayed and realized that he was ready! The new problem is whether their dad will let them now. It's a rule to have signatures of the parents, and we're not sure whether their dad will agree. A member talked to him and he said he'll think about it, so we're praying and hoping for them.

Oh, and another thing is that President Matthews isn't happy with the numbers that the mission is producing right now, so he established some temporary restrictions to get the mission refocused on the work. We're not allowed to play soccer together on P days anymore, or do anything with other missionaries besides church, baptism, meetings, and one authorized activity with the district each month. Apparently some elders weren't using their P-days with wisdom (like not doing studies during the morning) so he's put the mission on probation. Elder Figueiredo and I are obviously sad that we can't play soccer or have lunch with the other elders on P-days, but we had been following the rules and we understand that the mission needs improvement. I wouldn't put it really as "crappy," but I think I'll miss playing soccer these next few weeks.

As for awesome things, I already mentioned it last week, but Arlinda and her daughter Nicole have about a 90 percent chance of being baptized this week, along with Kuk and Janete. Also, we had a really awesome lesson with Tutone and Maria, whose only problem has been their fear of getting married. I can happily announce that they've decided to start their marriage papers! We brought Irmão Tuk with us to that lesson, who had a similar situation while investigating, and he was able to give them some advice that they took! We went with them today to start the papers!

Well, that's really all that I have to write about. Most of our work is finding new people and weeding out those that won't accept the gospel from the ones that have a good chance. We want to keep and work with all of them, but our area is just too big and with too many people that we meet to keep those not progressing. And I know that it seems that the bad things outweigh the good things this week, but this is definitely not the truth! It would take days to explain all the awesome things happening here! Still going as strong as ever! Hope you all are doing well, as always!

Elder Penner

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Everything is Awesome! Everything is Cool...

Hey all!

Don't have all that much time today, but I want to say a few cool things that happened this week. We just ended our first transfer here, and it seems that every companionship in São Vincent is getting separated except for Elder Figueiredo and me. We finally have an Elder who's a native English speaker in our district! I was happy, the other elders laughed at how excited I got.

I´m pretty happy that I´m staying here this transfer, because it feels like a lot of our hard work is paying off, and we plan to bring at least 6 members into the fold within the next two weeks! We're so excited. If you guys can remember Kuk and Janete, who had the problem of being too young to be baptized alone, we found a solution. Elder Figueiredo called President Matthews about them and another investigator named Feliz. Pres said that Kuk and Janete can be baptized as long as they have support of the ward and permission from the parents. We were really happy about that, because they're really awesome and really love the church, and everyone was really disappointed that they couldn´t get baptized this last Saturday as planned.

Now as for Feliz, she's an awesome person that we ran into one day. She had a confirmation of the truth of the Church of Jesus Christ, and she's making a lot of great changes in her life, like going to church and ditching alcohol. The only problem we were worried about was that she sells alcohol basically out of her house, which means that her house is always full of drunk people. Really not good, we sometime's can't have a good lesson because they're always filling the place. But we asked President Matthews, and he said that we don't have a rule about it, so she can be baptized but we should work as hard as we can to help her to stop selling alcohol. Even moving to another place to sell it would be better, though obviously not ideal at all. We have much hope for her, though. She and her daughter will be ready really soon, possibly next week we think.

We also had a surprise, which was our investigator Arlinda getting to church twice. It was a surprise because we didn't think that she was really progressing at all. But once she got to church the first time, all that changed. We´ve been able to teach her a lot of wonderful things, and we've realized that she's been prepared by the Lord since long before we arrived.

Anyway, that's cool, I thought my letter would be shorter, but I think I've said everything I want to. Everything's still awesome, looking forward to "kill my dad" Elder Figueiredo in this area. He doesn't like to talk about home anymore, and I think it's kinda funny. He's trying hard not to die before he dies, if you know what I mean. But yeah. Hope everyone's doing great! Everything is awesome! Everything is cool when you're part of a team!

Elder Penner
We took another photo in Nelido´s house, he´s doing great! the other guy is Roney

We found out that we have a roof! Cool!

We had a Zone Meeting a week ago, about half of those people have moved now though, because of the transfer.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Awkward, ever awkward

Yo yo, from Mindelo.~

Sooooo this week was pretty great. I can´t believe that the new transfer is next week, it feels like I´ve only been here like 2 weeks or something. I´m pretty sure that Elder Figueiredo and I are going to stay here. Elder Cruz, the last elder that was here, tells me that there´s a curse on this area that one missionary stays in the area for like 5 transfers and switches companions every 1 or 2 transfers. I hope that doesn´t happen with me. Don´t get me wrong, I love the area, love the people, but half the area is on a mountain, and our area was actually more like 2 and a half areas before, but they don´t have enough missionaries in the mission, so they combined them. We have a lot of ground to cover, and there´s one part we haven´t visited yet, because it´s waaaay too far and we don´t know anyone there.

I wanna talk a bit this week about my companheiro, Elder Figueiredo. The guy´s a literal boss. He used to be Assistant to the Mission President and Zone Leader twice, and is now here as a District Leader for his last 2 transfers before he dies. He´s a one of a kind power missionary, he is. I can tell even from the short trainings he gives during district meetings that he was meant to give them. The guy just does everything effectively, and we´re really on a role with the exact obedience a missionary should have, I think. He learned English on the mission, so he´s really not half bad at it at all, but the first couple of weeks I kind of struggled a bit because he´s not perfect, and I missed talking with native English speakers like bad for a bit. I´d say I´m comfortable with only speaking English in the house and a bit with the natives here that know a bit and like to speak it for fun. I´d say I speak just about 20% English.  

Okay, that´s about all we have for this week, except for that we ask for your prayers this week that our investigators will be touched by the Spirit to have the will to go to church, because they need to do it to be qualified for baptism, so we can help these people save their immortal souls, dangit. Seriously though, keep them in your prayers! Hope you all are well and happy! 

Elder Penner

Monday, March 2, 2015


Okay, this week, lemme tell y'all a story of some lame things and some really cool things that happened here in Mindelo.

So we have this really cool family, who are like really really ready to be baptized. The problem is, not all of them are. The two kids, Kuk and Janete, love the church and they're totally pumped for their date on the 14th. Fredeilson, their older brother, is really pumped, too.  He even bore his testimony yesterday! The problem is, he´s living with and has a kid with a girl that he´s not married to. So we have to get them to at least marry before their date, which we put for April 4th. His girlfriend is somewhat hesitant about marriage, though, so it might be a problem. Then there´s the mom, Maria, who we have to plead with every lesson to read the scriptures, and she still hasn´t come to church once, though she has a baptism date on the 14th. A lot of people here are like Maria. They say they believe our message, they read the introduction to and pray about the Book of Mormon, but after that they don´t read it anymore and don´t go to church (they ALWAYS say "I didn´t have time, I had a really important thing" and when we pry they admit they were just washing clothes. It´s always washing clothes, too.)   They just don´t understand that faith requires works, as the scriptures say.

But the biggest problem we´ve had with the family is the father, Manuel. First of all, his work just happens to be the exact same time as our working time during the week. We´ve been trying since we arrived here to get an appointment with him there. We finally managed to see him on Tuesday, and had our first appointment with him on Saturday. The first thing we noticed when we got there on Saturday was that he was drunk. We then tried to teach him the first lesson, but we could tell that he couldn´t take in all the info we were giving him. So we just decided to focus on eternal families instead. He kept telling us that he believed in our message, but he´s Catholic and didn´t want to switch faiths. We tried to explain to him that if he believes our message, that there are some things that he needs to do in order to be with his family forever. He was adamant. We were really straightforward, really direct, like we told him straight out that he can´t live with his family forever if he doesn´t do these things the Lord commanded, and he just didn´t get it. It was really sad, for me. I mean, we can still baptize the kids with the permission of the parents and neither have a problem with that, but the gospel is about families and we want them to be together forever. We´re gonna try to see if we can´t get an appointment with him when he isn´t drunk.

On the other hand, something really awesome and unexpected happened this week, and that would be our first baptism here! We met Nelido 2 and a half weeks ago, and he accepted the baptism date that we gave him for the 14th of March. We taught him about the importance of church, and he came to church both of the following Sundays, which was a blessing in itself. We were still a little worried, though, because most people here have at least a little problem with the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. But we taught them both to him last Tuesday, and he told us that he´d been following them for at least a month! He told us he´d made the decision for his health, but I don´t think it´s a coincidence that he made that decision a week before we got there. Well, when we heard that, we invited him to be baptized this Saturday, and he accepted! We held the service on Saturday, he received the Holy Ghost Sunday  and we couldn´t be more excited for him! In the picture I sent, he´s the one next to my companion. In the middle is Fredson, a really awesome ward missionary who performed the baptism (his first time baptizing, too!) And next to me is another awesome ward missionary named Roney.

Well, that´s about all I have time for this week. Hope you all are well! As they say here, Te Cool (which literally means have cool).

Elder Penner

Cachupa with eggs and sausage