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!

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!

Elder Penner

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Isaiah Chapters

I say that because we had the opportunity to see Antonio Évora be baptized this past week! We like to call him the modern-day Isaiah, because he used words and phrases that we don't even recognize to explain simple concepts of the gospel. We can't even get a word into the lessons, so we basically just helped him to teach himself with homework and inspired questions. It was some hard work, because he also had a whole lot of hesitation to become a member of the church. We were like, dude, you read the entire Book of Mormon and ditched coffee just like that! You shared your experience of the Holy Ghost confirming the truth to you! Apparently he feared that he wouldn't endure to the end if he became a member too quick. He told us that he entered the baptismal interview still not knowing if the time was right to be baptized, but it's a good thing he made the decision! We were so happy to see him enter the waters of baptism, and the next day during Elders quorum he asked "What is my purpose now as a member?" and everyone was like "Share what you discovered, of course!" I was filled with happiness that we have so many powerful members here to support him and show him the right way. Also, his wife Maria Alice got to church yesterday, which is awesome! She's a whole lot more open to the concept of becoming a member now that she's seen it happen with Antonio. Stay tuned, folks.

As for other events, we're finding a lot of cool new people, and making some decisions that'll probably help those not progressing. For example, we found this guy Ivan on the street and marked an appointment. Usually those appointments never come through but he was sitting there waiting for us! The next appointment he was there with Book of Mormon in hand just waiting for us again! And yesterday he was already prepared to get to church when we got there (NEVER happens here.) We felt truly blessed to have met the guy, and we're gonna work hard to help him learn and progress in the gospel, as we should! The sad thing is that Doris and Airton (pretty sure I've mentioned them) are progressing very well, but they just found out that they have to find a new house. Now they have to wait until they move until they get married. We wish there were something that we could do to help them out, but sadly us missionaries don't have real estate capabilities here in Cabo Verde.

Just to let you all know, yesterday Elder Gilbert and I made mashed potatoes and gravy and we literally rejoiced at the glory of it. It truly is the little things here that make you appreciate America all the better. Also as a side note, I need to go to Fogo. Legend tells of a place there where you can find real live actual bacon there. Like, bacon. From America. I'm getting hungry as I write this.

But enough of my mindless ramblings. How are you all? Having a good time? Anybody hear any good jokes recently? I'd share mine with you all, but you guys need to learn Creole first to understand it. Get on that. Hope you all have a fantastic week!

Elder Penner

p.s. Is All About that Bass still a thing there? No, wait, I don't want to know.

Antonio's baptism

The mashed potatoes they rejoiced over

Monday, May 4, 2015

A New Hope

What a week! Hope you guys had a calm one, this one was kinda crazy for me.

Elder Gilbert arrived at almost Midnight on Monday night. He's a really really awesome Elder. It's nice to have a native English speaker that'll understand your American references. He's been in Fogo for most of his mission, and he has some really crazy stories about the place. First thing, he was there when the volcano was erupting (though on the safe side of the island) so he got like the coolest view ever. He says that investigators used the volcano as an excuse to not go to church somehow. Also on Fogo there's this religion they don't have here called Admontists or something who basically are Christian with the only difference that they believe Saturday is the holy day. It makes a little more sense in Portuguese, because Sabado literally means Sabbath and Saturday at the same time. It's funny.  Also the goats are dying, and they're not completely sure why. Strange things, man.

But anyways, our area is still normal! Antonio Évora is so close to the waters of baptism! We're going to mark an interview date today, so wish us luck! As for other things this week, we mostly just spent a lot more time than usual on the street. New investigators, though! Also we found DOG CATCHERS here and we were like whaaaaaaaat???

I'm out of time for this week, sorry, but not too many crazy things happened. I give a promise for a fuller update of things happening here next week!

Bizot Ficam Drêt!
Elder Penner

FYI, they see a lot of stray dogs so he was surprised to see a dog catcher.  I keep waiting for this "mythical" longer update he's going to give!  Oh well.  We get to Skype with him on Sunday, so part of next week's entry might be about that call.
  ~ Kirsten