Monday, April 27, 2015

A hopeful transmission

I love relevant Coldplay references.

Anyways, what an awesome week! We were able to bring two of our less active members to an official Resgate (which means they got to church 3 times consecutively), which we were so excited about! We'd been working really hard with Cristina and Gracinda for a while. Cristina was really strong in the church, and was one of the most active Ward Missionaries, but she had some problems with some sins and slowly fell away. When we talked to her, she said she was having trouble forgiving herself and getting over her fear of showing her face in church again. We encouraged her to talk to the bishop, and she did! And with Gracinda, she wanted to come back to church since we had gotten there, but just couldn't make it happen consecutively. We talked with her about planning her week so that Sunday can be free, and she's been able to make it happen! It was so awesome to help bring these two sheep back into the fold.

As with investigators, we kinda hit a point where there are a whole lot of investigators ready to be baptized in one or two weeks, with just one or two problems in the way. There's Doris and Airton, who we just talked about how they need to be married and they said they would start as soon as money would allow. Also good old Tutone and Maria, who seem set on being married in August :(... A man named Toy, who wants to be baptized and gets to church, but during the week he's always in another area hanging out with Sister Judith. Melissa, daughter of Cidario, a strong member in the church, she just has fear of not enduring to the end after baptism. Antonio Evora, who just found out about the church a couple of weeks ago, is now past 4th Nephi and has about half of the church library in his house, but he and his wife Maria Alice are still a little hesitant to go all in for some reason. And these are just a few examples of the many various trials that us missionaries have to work with investigators. I swear we're on the verge of a breakthrough though, I never lose hope. Stay tuned for some awesome follow-up stories.

And last but most certainly not least, today was transfer day! I have finally emerged from my status as a greenie missionary. The sad thing is, I had the unhappy experience of matando meu pai (killing my dad), seeing Elder Figueiredo go home. He was such an awesome missionary, and if I'm not mistaken probably the most well-known Elders in the entire mission. He served as a District Leader, Zone Leader, Assistant to two Mission Presidents, and trained 3 Elders in the field, including me. He truly was a consecrated missionary. His best quality was that he never gave up, in my opinion. But now it's time for him to move to another phase of his life. I just wanted to tell you all that I stand as a witness that Elder Figueiredo served the Lord with all his heart, might, mind, and strength, and I know that to be half as good a missionary as him is to be an awesome missionary. But now I get to show the awesomeness of this area to Elder Gilbert, an Elder who's been in Fogo for his full mission up until now. The Elders here say he's an awesome Elder too. Nice. It's gonna be fun to be able to make American references again.

Well, that's pretty much all I have to say about this week. Today's been a weird day, the first time since I got here that I've been somewhere else than in my ward boundaries or downtown. I'm hanging out with Elder Ralph until my new companheiro arrives. I'll probably have quite a bit to say next week, so be prepared!

Abraços por todos,
Elder Penner

He really needed that shoe polish I sent him!  These are the shoes he walks in every day.  He keeps the nicer looking pair clean for church.

"I felt the love so strong when I opened it, I almost was in tears." ~ Elder Penner

Monday, April 20, 2015


How's everyone doing? Good? Well that's good.

As for this week, not a whole lot of incredibly amazing things happened with our investigators, really. Seems like some weeks are just filled with success and breakthroughs and others are filled with more and more new challenges to overcome. I feel like this one was a challenge week.

So for anyone not familiar with happenings in the mission field, there's a 12 week thing we do that basically just makes sure that we're prepared to become a self-sustaining missionary that could teach another new missionary by the end of the second transfer. This last week just happened to be the week where the new missionary takes the lead responsibility for pretty much every aspect of the missionary work. I began to appreciate the things that my companion does to keep things going and in order a whole lot more this week.

We had a Division this week (is it exchanges in English? I forget...) and I got to stay in my area with our District Leader, Elder Nymeyer! The guy's an incredibly cool American Elder, which means that I got to make some references that my companion actually understood for a day. It was cool, but that was a hard day. Not one single member was available to go with us, and almost every one of our lessons fell. We only had 4 lessons, only one being with a member! That seems like a good number for some missionaries, but for this awesome area it's pretty terrible. All in all, it was a good division though, and I learned to bring just a bit more fire into my lessons.

Other than that, I can only think of a few small noteable occurrences this week. Our new investigator Antonio Evora is probably in the middle of Alma right now, a week after learning about the church. His wife is a little hesitant, because she doesn't feel like her religion has had a bad influence on her life, so we gotta show that she had some good teachings, but not all of Christ's true doctrine. I contacted someone in his door, and he invited us in before I could explain our message. We were like okay, and taught him about the Restoration right then and there with his wife. It was cool.

That's really pretty much what I have for this week. The next week is probably going to be about twice this size, this is Elder Figueiredo's last week of the mission and I'll be getting a new companion (though 99% sure I'm staying in this area) next Monday. Gonna be a blast. Who knows, we got a couple of investigators who could be baptized any Saturday if they would just get a couple of things done. We'll see. Hope you all are Dimma-Dabtabulous!

I don't know what it means, just go with it.

Elder Penner

Monday, April 13, 2015

I am Number Four

Or at least, Laura is. Hey all, hope you're having a darn diddly fantastic week! This week I had the very special privilege to perform my first baptism, for our investigator Laura! Laura is a really awesome person, and she was so interested in the church when we met her, we knew we didn't have to wait long for her baptism. As we had more and more lessons, she had so many awesome questions for us to answer, which really showed us that the Lord had been preparing her long before we had met her. When we asked her who she wanted to baptize her, she told us to wait a while, and the next day told us that she wanted me to do it. I was like, what? As we normally do, we tried to encourage her to have a member do it to help her connection stay with the ward and not with the missionaries, but she insisted. I was like, okay! A funny thing about baptisms here is that the font takes so long to fill, we usually just leave it a little low, which makes it just that much harder to fully immerse and bring them back up. But, I'm proud to admit, I did not fall as I baptized Laura (though it may or may not have been really close.) It's so awesome to see these people change their lives to recieve the gospel, and I'm glad to have taken part in it in a way I wasn't expecting.

As for other news, we got a chance to meet the family the Sisters gave us this week! Humberto and Vonnie are two awesome people with the most well-tempered girl I've ever seen, named Mel. We talked about the Word of Wisdom with them because they'd already recieved a couple of lessons, and they immediately accepted. They are almost unbelievable, we're convinced that they must be lying or some witchcraft is involved or something, because we feel like we could try to stop them from progressing and they still would progress somehow. HOWEVER... we found out that they live JUST outside of our ward. Literally 100 yards. We usually don't really worry about boundaries, because our area is so big (it was 3 areas at one point) and we can never reach the limits, usually. There was a big temptation to play dumb and just baptize them into our ward, but we knew that the Lord seemed to have other plans for them, so we've planned to have a lesson with the Elders that work there to pass them on. We know it's the right thing to do, and we know it won't make much difference where they go to church, as long as they find the straight and narrow path, am I right?

Upon request, I'm gonna share a few more general details about the mission here. It's really windy right now. Like insanely windy. At times you have to duck down and squint as hard as you can to be able to see at all, with all the sand flying around. I forget that I'm really close to the Sahara at times. To give you a feel about the people here, we currently have around 70 people with the official title of investigator, of which we usually average about 10 in church, and each companionship is expected to have at least 2 Baptisms and 1 rescue of a Less-Active member each month. We walk a whole lot, especially because the people like to mark appointments and then not be home when we show up. Pretty much everyone here always has some "mandot" to do here, which pretty much means things like picking things up from the store or washing laundry or something like that. Some of the excuses are pretty funny. When we got to one house, Elder Figueiredo saw our investigator flee into the house, and when we got to the door a guy there said she left. And he wouldn't stop lying, too! We eventually got him to say that it had been himself in her clothes that Elder Figueiredo had seen. These people are so funny, man.

Whelp, that just takes up about all of the time I have! It's nice to hear from everyone and how their lives are going! Almost makes me feel a little normal, lol. Have a fan-diddly-tastic week!

Elder Penner

Monday, April 6, 2015

Yer a Mission, 'arry

Get it? Missionary? Still got it.

Anyways, what an awesome weekend! General Conference and Easter led to some awesome talks! And I could even understand more or less what they were saying! I prayed the most to understand what President Monson has to say, and I feel like I could understand his talk the best. Just a little more confirmation of the power of the Holy Ghost. I don't know about you guys, but I especially loved the talk that one of the 70 gave about Shiblom, and how he only had 15 verses from the whole Book of Mormon to his name, and how awesome of a person he must have been. Made me rearrange my life goals a bit, yo.

Well, seeing as Mindel has nothing on TV but the news and Portuguese Channels, we had to go to the chapel to watch conference. It's supposed to be an awesome opportunity to invite a bunch of people, and I expected that so many people would show up. And we got a big whopping TWO investigators. I mean, we spent all week working our legs off to get to every investigator and stress the extreme importance of hearing from our prophet. All I can say is, we've got a few knives to give this week. I think that's one of the saddest things about Cabo Verde sometimes. People here who tell us that they believe and want to be baptized, but they just don't understand why they need to read the scriptures or go to church. One of our investigators, Steven, didn't go because he wanted to play soccer with his friends. I'm like, what are you going around wanting to be baptized for if you have no desire to keep the covenant you're gonna make with the Lord? And some people you meet on the street just sound like a broken record that's not even listening to you. "I have my religion and you have yours. Everybody has a religion but God is only one! You have your way and I have mine. God is only one!" (rough translation from creole). Every time I hear that I just wanna pour the teachings of the Book of Mormon into their head to understand that we know that there's only one way! How many of our General Authorities and Apostles talked about how there's only one God, one true church, and one marvelous plan that he has for all of us?


One of the two people that happened to make it to Conference was LAURA, she made it to the last session and I did a little happy dance over that because I was scared that she wouldn't make it and we'd have to move her baptismal date, because she's one of our most awesome investigators. She asks like questions that show that she's really interested and developing in her understanding of the church. Also, the other investigator we haven't even met yet! I think his name is Umberto, and he and two others are a family that have been taught a couple of lessons by a couple Sisters in a completely different area here. They found out that the family lives in our area, so they gave the family up, though they told us they were really sad to give them up. They told us that the family is so awesome, they're certain that they'll be baptized. The parents are even married, something that rarely happens here, so that's awesome too! Tutone and Maria, who are going through marriage papers now, went on vacation this past weekend, so they didn't get to attend, but they should be hitting the next step in marriage papers, a two week waiting period. Elder Figueiredo really wants to see it, he's pushing it so hard.

Ah, I almost forgot to talk about Roney this week. He was converted like 7 or 8 months ago, and was called as a ward missionary soon after that. He's pretty much the best resource that we have in this area. He is nearly always free to go out with us during our normal hours of 3 until 9 (we have a couple of hours in the morning, too, but we usually have another member then). He doesn't seem to do anything but hang out with us, but he's always talking about the stuff he's been doing, like a recent development of a girlfriend from 2nd or 3rd ward I think. I'm like, how do you do it? He's insane, and we're so blessed to have him. He's got such a strong testimony of the church, sometimes we have to calm him down a bit when people talk bad of the church. It's funny. The guy is so strong in the faith, and always ready to serve with all his might. He told us he was so upset when he learned he was past the missionary age!

Anyways, gotta go, wrote a long one this week! Hope you all are having a razzle dazzle time! Lol, a car is driving around and blasting an announcement about a party or something. Pretty normal for here. There's always some rave going on somewhere. Just to let you guys know, this place is still pretty insane.

Bizot ficam dret! (bit o' creole for y'all)
Elder Penner