Monday, June 29, 2015


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.


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.


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!

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


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.

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.

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!

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.