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

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