Monday, February 29, 2016

Is There Anybody Out There?

As Pink Floyd asked in their album The Wall, I found myself asking where the heck everyone was in the office this past week. Normally President and Sister Mathews show up at least once a week, the Assistants are here every weekday morning, and the Carnells, a Canadian couple serving here, are here a few times. But this week it was just Elder Massey and me, and I felt a little lonely. That's okay though.

Also, when we went out to teach this weekend (which is basically our optimal preaching time now), it seemed as though very few people were home. They all went to watch a game in our area. I guess that's what happens when you have one of the biggest and newest soccer fields in Praia.

I guess there's not a whole lot of stuff to report from this past week, except for the fact that Elder Massey and I are still tearing it up with the Secretary life here. There's nothing more satisfying than doing a lot of hard work and having it show in your weekly key indicators. Not that the numbers are the most important thing in the world, and should never be compared to those of others. However, they do help you to gauge yourself and strive to be a better servant of the Lord. So it's not really about the numbers, but the numbers help, ja feel?

The investigator that I wanted to talk about today is a new one that we found this week, named Carmelito. This guy is absolutely awesome. The first thing we noticed is that the guy has a really big family, like they seem to inhabit all the houses in this little part of our area. They're all really cool, and we find more of them every time we visit there. Carmelito doesn't have a wife and kids yet though, he just lives in his own little house for the time being. The second thing we noticed about him is how prepared he was to receive the Restored Gospel. On our second visit with him, a few days after our first, he told us how since the first day we met him, he decided to completely stop drinking. We never asked him to do that. When we asked him why he decided to do that, he just said "I know what you told me was true, and I really want to follow God." That was a really spiritual experience. I really like this guy, and the more I talk to him, the more desirous I am to teach him about the commandments of God, so that he can make these changes in his life for the better. I hope to bring some good news for him in this upcoming month!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Happy Leap Day! Go leap or something. Or don't. I don't control you. But you can, if you want.

I think that's all I have for today, I hope you all have a good week! Stay tranquil, as they say here.

Élder Penner

Monday, February 22, 2016

Penner was a Racecar Driver


I think I just passed through one of the most high-energy weeks of my entire mission. Elder Massey came in and we just literally took off. So my update (based on a super weird song a friend once showed me, "Jerry Was a Racecar Driver") has kind of two meanings. One refers to the high velocity that this new transfer has brought, and the other refers to the fact that President Mathews allowed us to drive one of the cars that the mission usually keeps for couple missionaries!

The car is great, it really helps us to be faster, in the fact that we don't have to spend our time looking for taxis, and we also don't have to pay 2 dollars for every ride. I know that doesn't seem like much, but it adds up with all of the places that we have to go during the week. The car is to be used strictly for our secretary duties only, but all the same it's a really nice change.

But enough about boring office stuff, let's talk about the people! This week has been really sweet with Elder Massey. I feel like we totally clicked the very moment that we started teaching together. We both have this attitude of not wasting time, which is super important when you have this position. There are so many ways in which you can waste time, it's so easy. All the same, our only desire is to go out and teach our investigators. I'm not even sure if I missed teaching all day this much when I was stuck at home! Elder Massey and I are doing so great at going out and teaching with power, I don't think we've had a lesson in which we didn't feel the power of the Holy Ghost just working through us. It's super powerful.

As for my investigator of the week, I'd like to talk just a little bit about our investigators Paulo and Fatima. I don't know if I've mentioned them yet, but they're basically the closest thing you can get to an active member of the church without being baptized. They've investigated the church for over half a year at least, and they already know that this is the only true church, the true path that God has manifested unto them. The only reason that they're not baptized yet is that they're living together and not married. They're from Guinea Bissau (idk if that's how it is in English but that's how they say it here) and they need some kind of documentation for Fatima in order to get married. So they're really basically just members without the baptism part yet. They're so awesome, Elder Arguello told me he and Elder Farnsworth taught them a little about the book of Abraham because they couldn't think of anything else. They've already read the entirety of the Book of Mormon, D&C, and the Pearl of Great Price. I'm super excited for the papers to show up, they already did for Paulo so I don't think that it'll be too long.

Some other cool things that we did this past week: we marked a date with William! He told us that he felt ready to be baptized, so we marked him for the 12th of March. He didn't get to church yesterday, because he went to the hospital for breathing problems, so we kinda understand that. Also, the new mission Greenies came in, and we got to figure out our new responsibility of giving them a part of their first-day training. It was a little weird to think about, I never actually got this training so I learned a couple of new things that I should probably do better on... But all the same, it was cool! I got to tell my ankle breaking story to show them the importance of not doing dumb things on the mission.

I've been having the time of my life here, even though our days keep falling apart on a regular basis. I feel blessed to have Elder Massey as a companion now, the attitude and the confidence that he brought were a huge boost for me. I'm going to like serving with him for what looks to be a while.

Hoping all is well over in Americaland! I heard today that there's a trailer for the new Fantastic Beasts movie, and I almost cried. You are so lucky. It's a good thing I'm doing the most important work in the world here, or I'd be really disappointed. Missionary work trumps basically any movie I've watched.

Nyôs ka meshi com ninguém, j'oubi?
Elder Penner

Monday, February 15, 2016

Don't stop me now

I think Queen described it best when it comes to being with super high energy when they made Don't Stop Me Now. I mean, come on... "I'm burning through the sky, 200 degrees, that's why they call me Mr. Fahrenheit. I'm traveling at the speed of light and I'm gonna make a supersonic man outta you." Now that's powerful.

And that's how I'm feeling! Sadly, and due to an unexpected turn of events, Elder Arguello made an early exit from the exciting life of waiting in important lines. In his place (and I completely thought that President Mathews was just kidding) is none other than Elder Massey! For those of you that don't know, Elder Massey is my one true love. Jk but there could be a spark somewhere there...

I have so little time in my area and such great experiences in my area that it almost kills me sometimes. I think I may just make an official session in my updates entitled investigator of the week or something, to help me to focus my ramblings here. I mean, they probably won't be the only investigators that I write about, but I will give a bigger focus on one specific person or family each week. I like that idea.

So today's weekly investigator is a really neat family that we've been teaching for a while. The father sadly won't talk to us, but the mother and the son are nice and really enjoy our messages. The mother, Mary, barely understands any Portuguese at all, so we made a personal decision to make sure that we always have someone to translate for her, and to really help her understand the Book of Mormon. She feels the Spirit when we talk to her, so we want to help her understand what we're saying. The son, William, is a pretty cool guy, he's about 17 years old or so, and although he doesn't completely understand Portuguese, we honestly feel that lately the Holy Ghost has been helping him out to understand and to learn. We read Helaman Chapter 5 with him and he kept asking us questions pertaining to the relationship between the Nephites and the Lamanites, and also the necessity of baptism to achieve our Celestial potential. We also teach his friends, because they're always there at his house with him, and they all really like to read the Book of Mormon as well. We really want them to get to church, because I know that if they go once, they won't want to stop going!

I'm very excited for this upcoming transfer, it's going to be a whole lot of fun. I'm going to be spending the first bit of it trying to help out Elder Massey, who's probably going to be even more overwhelmed than I was when I started here, but that's okay.

I love you all, stay firm in the faith in Christ that keeps us all together! Also, always remember to get stoked! Stokage brings miracles, yo.

Elder Penner

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

2/2 - no official update, so here is a short update from stuff he wrote Mom

Hey, Mom!

Sorry for no heads up, but we literally didn't have time to do anything yesterday. I didn't even get to teach a single lesson. I felt sad. Teaching is such a privilege, and I never realize it until I can't do it. It just really helps me feel the Spirit.

I told Elder Arguello your joke and he just sighed and shook his head. I give him a lot of crap by trying to speak what little Spanish I know. I'm also laughing because today I finally resolved a problem in which some Elders didn't have power for over 2 weeks. They said after week one the house started smelling really bad. I bet it did.

Matt and Abby are home? Wow, it seems like they left like right before I did. Abby probably didn't leave too long before me, come to think of it, but I'm still surprised about Matt. If you see them, tell them I said hi! Missions are cool! Claire told me about the accident. I'm starting to think that it's a bad idea to get a time-consuming calling in our ward. You might break something.

"yours is dark and gray" well, that's happy. I laughed at that. There's sunshine in my soul all right, and a whole lot of it's on my face, too. (Wrong lyrics sung by his brother)

Sorry, but it looks like I'm not going to have time to write a very long update, you may have to fill in a gap or two. My inability to respond to people last week caught up to me, and I took a while writing to President Mathews today. I'm also sorry that I have a pitifully small number of pictures to send today. I'm trying to focus more on making sure the office is on its feet for now.

Well, I hope that you have a great week! I love you!

Elder Penner