Monday, January 25, 2016

Hey Mom!

Hey, Mom!

I don't have too much time today, I'll try to get it done sometime this week. Sorry! I wanted to let you know that I'm alive and well, and that I still love and miss you! Ooooh, and before I forget, I realized that I really miss putting pommade into my hair. Could you send that to me in that package? Other than that, I'm happy to get anything you have for me! The Christmas package was really good, so I'm excited!

Love you!
Elder Penner

Monday, January 18, 2016


Well, I think that I'm possibly safe to say that these past two weeks have been just about the craziest weeks that I've spent in the mission. For those that still may not know, I started as Housing Secretary a week and a half ago, along with a whole lot of other little responsabilities that I keep learning as I go along. Like the good band Grouplove said, I'm Spun.

I pay bills now. Like, bills. Like adults do. It's super weird.

One of the cool things about this position is that I get to drive this great big car called the Hiace, which is basically like those big old white vans that always seem that they have super sketchy people driving them. I didn't write an update last week because we did transfers on that day, and I was basically the taxi service for every missionary that was going to or from or through Praia. I got to know all of Praia really quickly, which is cool. This city seems just a little smaller now that I know the limits. The people that drive here are crazy though, so it took me a bit to get used to the high-speed game of Frogger that everyone plays here.

My new comp, Elder Arguello, is a freaking sick missionary! He used to live in San Francisco (represent, yo!) but now his family lives in Utah. He's a really chill Elder, and I'm already having a lot of fun working with him. We're totally going to tear up this area that we have. I also got to meet the new greenies, and they're all sweet people! One of them totally reminds me of Elder Gilbert.

So as a secretary and with the craziness of this last week, I haven't had a whole lot of time to get to know my new area Casa Lata very well, but what I have learned, I have absolutely loved. We have an investigator named Zezinho, who had been an investigator for a while and really liked the church, but hadn't yet recieved his confirmation that it's true. HOWEVER, last time we talked to him, he said that he had finally recieved it! We invited him to be baptized on the 30th, and he totally accepted! It's going to be such a neat experience to work with him. We also have a couple named David and Neusa, whose (her) sister is a recent convert from a few months ago. Apparently Neusa's dad is also a Bishop in Fogo, too. She just hasn't been super interested in learning about the church until recently, and now she's finally thinking about marriage! David has been very interested, and has helped her along the way. More on investigators next week, but they're awesome

In other great news, my investigator from Várzea, Adilson, got married and baptized last week! I couldn't make it to the marriage, but he asked me to baptize him just to make sure that I was definitely coming to the baptisms, haha. It was such a great experience, and he teared up when he gave his testimony and everything. I'm going to really miss Várzea.

Well, that's all I have time for right now, and just as a heads up, I may not always have time to write such updates as this one. Especially because this week we start training to take on the responsibilities of the financial secretaries as well! Elder and Sister Muhlestein, who are the financial secretaries right now, are going home in a couple of weeks, and there's not another casal to take their place for at least another month! So Elder Arguello and I now get to take on the responsabilities of 4 secretaries. It'll be an adventure, but should be fun!

Wishing a good week to all my adoring fans out there!
Elder Penner

Monday, January 11, 2016

I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date!

Last week's blog post brought to you by Elder Penner's mom. I thought I'd update the blog since a few people have asked about an update this week.

Elder Penner and his new companion are now serving as a mission secretaries in the office as well as still having a regular area to cover and teach.  I received a quick email on Monday letting me know that he was quite busy and would write later in the week.  He mentioned he is also driving the van at time to help with transfers.  He's a safe driver.  I've been a passenger in his car and had to encourage him to speed up a little.  Since I'm his mom, I still worry about him.

I'll post his personal letter to me this week, because it wasn't really that personal.  I also didn't get it until Friday because it sounds like he was busy helping with transfers as well as his many other new duties.

Wow, that's a lot of questions, and I literally have no time to answer them. I'm really sorry, I tried to find time to do things, but I started doing stuff and everything just piled on top of each other this week. I'll try to answer these questions on Monday. Don't be surprised if something like this happens again, because we think that we're going to have to take on even more responsibilities in the following weeks. I'm happy though, this new area and my new comp are great, all is good. I'm a little stressed over the things I have to get done, but I feel like I'm managing it pretty well.

I'll have more to talk about on Monday! Love you!

Elder Penner

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Two songs came to mind that talk about New Years, the first being New Year's Day by U2 and the second New Year by Death Cab for Cutie. Both of them give a general description of New Year's as "nothing changes on New Year's Day" "and I've got no resolution." What a lame attitude! So instead, I'll reference a lesser-known video on YouTube titled Validation. It's a really well-done video on a man that instead of giving parking validations, gives his own kind of "validation." I highly recommend that you watch this video.

Something that's really come to my attention this week is that your attitude about things makes a whole world of difference in everything that you do. In our District Meeting, we were talking about how our areas have so many problems and difficulties, and we realized that since the beginning of this transfer, our numbers had steadily been decreasing. When it's that prevalent for 3 pairs of missionaries, you can't blame that on outside circumstances. We realized that we needed to GET STOKED and so we did! Guess what? The difference was immediately clear! We managed to get a lot more lessons than we had been that day! And it just kept getting better! With nightly calls, I've been getting similar reports from the other areas as well. It just goes to show you that you really can't teach the happiest message in the world if you don't have a smile on your face! Get out there and smile, yo!

We've been working harder than ever in this nice area of Varzea, and my hope just keeps getting brighter. We found one kid who we thought was 17 but turned out to be 14, but after just teaching the Message of the Restoration he wants to become a member, which is awesome! His name's Junior, and we're really excited to teach his entire family this week! Andre's been improving, but he hasn't been getting to church for the past 3 weeks now, which is never a good sign. We'll keep working with him. Elton John's well, but he still has a lot of problems with marriage and he hasn't been to church since his first time, and I feel like we've been passing by him less as a result. This week feels like more of a transition week than anything. We've been moving to focus more on some new people that are really interested in the gospel, and passing by some of our older investigators less, because they're not progressing. It happens. I never like dropping investigators, but there's just too many people and too little time. It has to happen every once in a while, or else you're denying others the chance to find the gospel.

New Year's wasn't much different than any other day this week, except for the fact that there were about 3 huge parties going all night near our house. I got to sleep anyways, so all good, right?

That's all I have time for this week, what a great time to be alive, though! Transfers this next week, so stay tuned! Get stoked! Be happy! You choose to do it!

Elder Penner