Monday, November 30, 2015


Reminder to those who haven't already done so to give thank. It's a very different thing than giving thanks. I couldn't tell you how, though. You just gotta figure it out for yourself.

This week seemed to start off a little slowly for me, but this weekend everything happened all at once, so I'm a little disoriented right now. Elder Wendt and I were discussing how we could more effectively help more people come unto Christ through the waters of baptism, and we recieved some inspiration this week. We realized that we were focusing too much on working with investigators that we already have, who aren't progressing as well as we'd like them to. We made a change to give more time and attention to finding and teaching people who have truly been prepared by the Spirit to hear our message. And oh, what the results we did have!

Things just started working out more to our favor after we made this decision! We were finally able to talk to some investigators that the missionaries almost baptized a few months ago. Her name is Sulita. They thought that her boyfriend, Adilson, moved in with her. We just found out that they aren't actually living together, which makes it just that much easier for them to follow the Law of Chastity! Bonus! But they're also very interested in what we have to say. Adilson hadn't talked to the missionaries ever before, but he somehow got a hold on one of our Gospel Principles books and was almost done reading it by the time we found him! He kept saying things like "I'd never thought of these things in this way before, and I like it!" We felt truly blessed to have found them.

Another really cool thing happened with some investigators that weren't really progressing until recently. André and Simone have been living together for a while, and already have two kids. The problem is that Simone has been cheating on André with someone else who lives in the same complex as them. Marriage at that point wasn't really an option, but André was still living in the house to be there for his kids. Well, we talked to them about the Law of Chastity (before we learned about their real situation) and something about what we taught must have really touched André, because he decided to move back to his mom's house! He feels bad about not living with his kids anymore, but he visits them a lot so they still feel like they have a father figure. I know now that because he's living the Law of Chastity, he's going to recieve the blessings of the Lord. He also got to church for the first time yesterday! He's going along great, and we feel as though our prayers are being answered big time now.

Last, but most certainly not least, a marriage is on the way! Adilson and Ineida are a couple that the missionaries have been working with for a while, and all the ward knows them well. Ineida was a less-active member for a while, but she's back in activity now. Adilson's a really cool investigator that wants to become a member of the church too. Well, just a couple of hours ago we had the opportunity of going to the registrar (I think that's the word in English haha) to get their marriage papers done! They have a marriage date set for the 15th of January! Que benção!

There were also a lot of funny things that happened, too. We were on the side of the road when an old lady raked her fingernails up my arm while saying "Chinese, Chinese, Chinese, Chinese!" and we had no idea what she was talking about. We laughed. Another day, this guy was running with his dog and the dog just went up and chomped Elder Wendt on his thigh, and the guy just ran off! It didn't break his skin, but he got a few bruises from it. I laughed. And then yesterday, we contacted a referral from the members, who were really cool.

Well, that I think sums up more of the major events of this week! I felt really good about this week! I have a lot of hope for the entire month of December!

Hoping you all are well! Boa semana!
Elder Penner
p.s. I saw a naturally redheaded person in the street today. Do you know how rare that is here??

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sometimes you can't make it on your own.

Hey all!
I put this title because this week I've really thought about the Infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ and just how much importance that it has for each and every one of us. So I put down the title of a nice U2 song, although a better title would just be "you can't make it on your own." We truly can't make it on our own. We need Jesus Christ. We need what He did for us. We need His love. We need to be on His side so that we can recieve His constant help for the struggles that we pass through in our lives.

This week went by quick as heck, as the last week of the transfer normally does, but I'll try to remember a few things that happened.

Sadly, it doesn't look like we have anyone prepared to be baptized this month. Giovana has been forgetting about our appointments, Zekinha said he had a hard time getting to both our church and his (he has a problem with a swollen foot, kinda like I had, haha) and Ginana hasn't been progressing as well as we had anticipated. As hard as we tried, it seems as though it's not going to happen. We're of course still working harder than ever here. But we did have a lot of really cool things happen this week.

I seem to keep forgetting that I'm the District Leader here. I don't know why. My district calls me every night like they're supposed to and I remember that I'm supposed to check up on them. I almost forgot to prepare for District Meeting last week, so this week I decided to be a little more prepared. I'm getting the hang of it.

We went on a division with the Zone Leaders last week. I stayed here with Elder Willes, while Elder Wendt left with Elder Clegg. Elder Willes is an awesome teacher. Our investigator Helton Djon (Elton John) has been struggling with the idea of marriage, and he's been on the bridge about it. Elder Willes just went in there and explained very clearly that it's a decision that has to be made with him, his girlfriend, and God. He seemed to be a bit more open to the idea once he realized that the decision wasn't just his to make. I like that, I'm going to start using that more.

I almost forgot! I finally figured out where President Mathews' house is, and It's almost literally right across the street from our own house! The Zone Leaders had to go to a meeting in the middle of our division, so we all went there and Elder Wendt and I stayed in another room talking to Sister Mathews. It was funny because Elder Clegg and Elder Wendt weren't ready and made us late, and Elder Lopes (assistant to the president) was getting really mad and talking them off for wasting time. Elder Wendt just slipped a piece of candy into his hand, and Elder Lopes' expression just lit up and he just went "awwww." We laughed so hard.

The next day, we went on another division with the Secretaries, who are in our district. I went to their area with Elder Ruffer while Elder Wendt stayed with Elder Farnsworth. I like Elder Ruffer's way of teaching as well. Elder Ruffer's strong point is making promises with his investigators. He makes them specific, and lets them know that the promises are inspired. While we were there, we talked with a person who didn't seem to think that it was fair that Jesus Christ suffered for every one of us, when he did no sin. And he's kind of right. Jesus Christ never needed to suffer for us. It was never something that He was forced to do. He did it out of pure love for our Heavenly Father and for us. We cannot suffer for our own sins. The burden would be too great for any one of us to bear. So He did it for us. It is the single greatest act of love ever performed.
In other news, we ended our division on Friday morning and Elder Wendt said that we have a baptism on the 5th of next month. I was like, you mean you marked a date for the 5th? And he was like, no, we have a baptism for the 5th. Her name's Manuela, and she's a really awesome person. She's the mom of an inactive member, and she knows a lot of members because there are so many that are her next-door neighbors. We have a lot of hope for her, and are looking forward to passing her just about every day to help her to be ready! Prayers get answered, folks.

Last but not least, Transfers! It looks like Elder Wendt and I are going to stay here in Varzea for another one, which is cool. We just got here, we didn't really want to leave yet. I saw Elder Bannerman for the first time since the MTC today! He and Elder Maake make the only two Elders that I've seen from the group I came here with. I hear Elder Wakeham's going to Mindelo. Lucky.
Well, that's just about it for the week! Any questions, comments or concerns can be sent directly to my inbox. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving! I think this one's going to be a bit fishier than I'd normally have, but the important part's the giving thanks, right?

Wishing you all are well, and an abraço,
Elder Penner

Monday, November 16, 2015


Well, I'm sitting here trying to remember what the heck happened this week, I seem to have forgotten just about everything. I don't really remember the 21st night of September, sorry, Earth, Wind, and Fire...

Well, we had a Zone Conference this past Wednesday. Elder and Sister Dyches, of the Seventy, were there as well. They gave really good trainings on the power and authority of our callings, and how we could improve our planning skills every day. I learned a lot of new stuff, and applying it has helped me out so much, it's incredible. I have an even greater testimony that all General Authorities of the Church are called for a reason. Also, President Mathews talked a lot on how our first few moments with people are. At times we like to take a lot of time getting to know the person and their background before we even speak a word of our message. He showed us that the very first thing that we should share is a message about the Restoration of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is what truly testifies to people that we truly are representatives of Jesus Christ and that we bear His message. I saw a stark difference in how people reacted to our message as we switched to this way of contacting, and it's truly helped out the work.

We weren't able to talk to Giovana this week! We tried just about every day, but she just couldn't talk, and she missed our appointment too. And church. But we think we finally are going to be able to talk with her tomorrow too. We really hope to help her to remove her doubts. As for Isabelle, she's going very well also, but the problem is that she really does live with her boyfriend, Angelo. We taught her the Law of Chastity, and she really wants to be married now, but we fear that Angelo doesn't want to marry if they won't be in the same church. We can't talk to Angelo anymore because he has a whole lot to do. We're determined to get everyone in Varzea married though, so we're still trying hard.

We also have a few cool people that got to church yesterday. First was Zekinha (pronounced zikeenyah) who's a 50 year old pastor for the Pentacostal church here. He didn't seem to understand that by being baptized that he would need to leave his church to follow this one, but as we talked about the Book of Mormon and especially about the restored priesthood authority, he understands better. He's still unsure about making the change, so we're encouraging him to ask God what He thinks.

We also have Ginana, a boy in his 20s who seems to like our message, but he's pretty quiet in nature. We also learned that he has a medical condition where he can't understand much of what he reads, so we're going to try to read more of the Book of Mormon together with him. We learned something a little funny yesterday, so the last visit we brought some of the Young Single Adult women, because they've been dying to leave with us for a while. Well, he apparently thought that we were trying to woo him to come to church with some attractive girls... We laughed at that, and we figured that we should be a little more careful about that in the future. It's good to hear how people think of us from a member's point of view, it helps us to learn how we can keep better appearances.

I also would just like to say a few short words about my Grandma Penner, because she passed away this past Saturday. She was one of the most stark examples of following the example of Jesus Christ that I have ever had in my life, and I'm so lucky to have known her as a person. I'll miss her, but I know that she's finally home with the majority of her childhood family, so I'm happy for her. My testimony of the Plan of Salvation has grown as I've pondered about her and where she is right now. It truly is a Plan of Happiness.

That's it for now! Have a great week! Nhos ka fika kasubody!

Elder Penner

Sent from my iPhone

hehe, just kidding.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Out of the mouth of 3 or... 2 witnesses

Well, this week was a pretty eventful one, so it flew by pretty quickly! I can't believe it's P-Day, and I can't believe that we only have 2 more weeks until next transfer! The missionary lifestyle is such a fast one. I recommend it if you need to pass a couple of years as quickly as possible.

I guess I'll get the bad news out of the way first: Jovana (Giovana?) is even less sure about being baptized on the 14th, and we think that a lot of it has to do with the influence of her mother. She just doesn't think that she's prepared enough to be baptized so soon. I want to talk to her more about the decisions that she makes and how the Lord can help her to follow through with these decisions. Especially when we are baptized and recieve the Gift of the Holy Ghost, the Lord can and will help us through any rough patches in life, as long as we choose to follow His will. Well, I'll give you the update next week on whether or not the 14th will happen, I guess. We're praying for her.

Well, we had Stake Conference this week, which was a really neat experience. President Mathews gave a talk about the Europe Area Plan, which is to:1. Invite a friend to church, 2. Become temporally and spiritually self-sufficient, and 3. Find an ancestor. I really like this plan, and I think if every member applied it to their lives, then we'd have a stronger, more steadily increasing pool of members in every stake. We only had one investigator there, but she's progressing much better than we had previously thought, and we realized that we need to spend some more time with her! Her name is Isabelle, and she's the cousin of Junior, who's our go-to ward missionary, so it works out very well! She's very shy, but she's fascinated by the Book of Mormon and really likes what we teach her, and has some very good questions, which shows that she's learning well! Her only problem is that she lives with her boyfriend (we're teaching him too, and he's cool too) in the same house, but I think that he may have his own place to live in? We'll have to make sure, but if he does, it will make it much easier for them to start living the Law of Chastity.

In other news, we had our first division of the transfer, so we had Elder Farnsworth come over to our area and take Elder Andrade's place for a day. Elder Farnsworth is a really good missionary. He's very bold about everything he says, and even though he didn't know anybody that we talked with, he spoke the most out of the three of us! It's also pretty funny, because he was Elder Adams' companion before me, so we got to talk a bit of the funny things that Elder Adams did. We miss that guy.
And last but not least, we got the news that Elder Andrade would be starting a new area with a mini-missionary, since his visa for Brazil still hasn't come. Elder Andrade is an awesome missionary, and he taught me a lot about really getting to know our investigators, and helping them to feel welcome to speak freely when we talk to them. He left earlier today, and the house just seems a little bit empty without him. I mean, being in a threesome of Elders isn't the most fun, because things just naturally tend to happen a little more slowly and you seem to talk a lot less, but this threesome was a great one, and I hope to be able to continue doing well in this area as a twosome again.

Well, that's it for this week, stay tuned for a stunning week filled with: A surprise division with the Zone Leaders of Sal in our area, a Zone Conference with Elder and Sister Dyches (of the Seventy!) and possibly the start of some marriages in this area...
I hope all of you are well! Have a good week!
Elder Penner

Monday, November 2, 2015

New Person, Same Old Mistakes

Soo I don't really know exactly why I chose this title for my email. It's a Tame Impala song. I guess I just like the concept about how even though we can change something about ourselves, it doesn't necessarily mean that we're magically going to stop making our old mistakes. I like to think of myself as a brand new person, a newly reinvigorated missionary, but at the same time I can see the parts that were holding me back last time start to show. I guess I just really need to work at it, one thing at a time, to mold myself into the kind of missionary that I aspire to be now.

I really want to talk about my area and the cool things about it. Varzea's a pretty big area, it encompasses all of Praia 3rd Ward. There are a solid 80 active members, and from the looks of it at least 50 inactive members, so there's a lot to do in that area. We also have a lot of investigators here, especially families, which is awesome. The only problem is that none of them are married, so we have that as a big focus in our work right now. It almost seems that we mark more dates for marriages than we mark dates for people to be baptized! 

I think one of the coolest things about our area is that there's a big old cemetery right in the middle, and we always walk in a little path right above it and it just gives us the greatest view. It also means that a lot of funerals pass by, which means that the streets can get absolutely crowded at times. When someone dies in Cape Verde, everyone who ever knew them comes to the funeral, even if they only met in Kindergarden. The other day there were 3 funerals coming in at the same time, and we almost couldn't get through!

As for people, they couldn't be any better. We finally met Elton John the other day, and he just seems fascinated with just about everything we believe him. We started talking about the Atonement and he was like "you guys always have the biggest smiles when you talk about Jesus Christ" and we were like "well, yeah! He means so much to us that we can't help but smile!" and it was just a really neat experience. We also met an Adventist who agreed to talk with us, her name's Leila. She's talked with the missionaries before and really enjoys our message, but she's also very hooked on the idea that Saturday should be the Sabbath, because that's what the Bible says. It doesn't help that the word for Saturday and Sabbath are the same, Sábado. I think that as she reads the Book of Mormon and as we talk to her, the Holy Ghost can begin to work with her.

Jovana, our date for the 14th, has been progressing very well, except for the fact that she didn't get to church this Sunday! She apparently partied too hard the night before, and couldn't get up. We were disappointed, but we explained why it was important to keep the Sabbath Day holy and she seems to understand now. We also ran into another problem: her mother doesn't think she's prepared enough to be baptized that early. She belongs to another Christian faith, and she strongly believes that you have to be certain that you're going to follow the path that you're on. We talked to her about how we can get a confirmation for ourselves that the church is true, and we show our committment to follow it through baptism, which opens the door to the true path, but she seemed to look at baptism as more of an end goal. We're going to talk with her more about it, because without her permission, Jovana can't be baptized because she's not 18 yet.

I've come to notice that Elder Wendt and Elder Andrade have somewhat clashing personalities, but it actually works towards our working more effectively. Elder Andrade is pretty laid back (at times to the point of laziness and wanting to just hang around), but he loves the work and especially loves to contact people and connect with them on a personal level. Elder Wendt is a little more conscious about the time and analyzing when we should be at our next appointment or what would be a most effective use of our time. When we started, there was a little shakiness, but now that we know each other fairly well, we're working pretty effectively and seeing good results on a numerical and spiritual level. There's always room to improve though, of course.

Wow, I've been writing a couple of long updates. There's just so much for me to tell. Don't expect every one to be so lengthy, though I'll try! Hope you all have a Fantasmic week!

Elder Penner