Monday, April 25, 2016


Well, this week I felt that I really had some time to "breathe in the air," as the Pink Floyd song simply states it. This week has given us a lot of time outside of the office, which has really been refreshing. Like, the stress that we normally have just wasn't there at all. We were able to put a real focus in our area, and actually were able to teach a full 20 lessons! It was pretty incredible, a new record for Elder Massey and I here.

Elder Massey ready to go teach!

Something that turned out to be a real focus for us was to mark some more baptismal dates on people. Sometimes I think that I'm hesitant to put a date on an investigator, especially if I see something holding them back, but I've realized that I need to to better at making sure that they know the real purpose behind our visits. We're here to change their lives, to help them to come unto Christ. How the heck are we supposed to do that without inviting them to be baptized? It's impossible. We've already seen some sweet results come out of it, so we want to continue on our upwards trend.

Some cool new folks that we've come to know are a family, of which the heads of house are named António and Gracinda. We found them in our area book the other day and felt impressed to go and find them, and I think that it was a great idea. They have many children and grandchildren, a lot of which we still haven't met yet, which is super cool. One of the most absolutely radical facts about them is... they're already married! When that happens in Cape Verde, it's a miracle. I'd only found 3 other married couples that weren't already members in my time here, and 2 of those couples were soon baptized. I have really high hopes for this couple, too. They also have the cutest little granddaughter I've ever seen here. She likes to call us "tio" which means uncle, and she's just fascinated by us. Yesterday we were talking with her and she was just saying things like "You have cat eyes!" or "You both have the same kind of teeth!" and we laughed at that. We've only met António once, but we've seen Gracinda and her daughter Gourette a few times now. They have a date marked for the 21st of May.

We also had a new investigator come to church this week! His name's Dani, and honestly the first time we taught him (about a month ago I think) we didn't think he was interested at all while we taught him and his friend the Restoration, but at the end he got excited and asked us where our church was and invited us to come teach him at his house. He's got a pretty busy schedule, so we hadn't found him for a week or two after that, but we finally ran into him and started teaching him, and set up a time to bring him to church. We got to his house yesterday, and his kids told us that he went to church already! That was super rad, and he really enjoyed it. He really wants to continue coming.

Another newer investigator we have is called Nelito. He has a lot of interest in the gospel, and asks us a lot of questions about our beliefs about certain things like the Second Coming and where we go after death and such. We also had marked to bring him to church, and he actually called us yesterday morning to tell us to meet him at a place close by the church! We were super stoked about that, but 15 minutes later he called again and said that he didn't feel prepared, and maybe he'd come next week. We didn't have much time to talk then, but we stopped by later to ask what was up. Apparently he got into a little dispute with his dad about going to church or something. He didn't want to get into the details, but at the end he apparently decided that he didn't feel super good about going. We shared Alma 32:28 with him and talked with him about how he could grow the seed of his faith to come to know that the things we teach are true, which seemed to make him feel a little more comfortable about giving a visit. We have high hopes for him, too.

Well, this next week should be a hectic one, but with some pretty neat stuff coming up. At this very moment, President Mathews is with the Assistants planning out the next transfer in a couple of weeks, so we'll be put through the stress of trying to figure that all out. On the bright side, Marlene's baptismal interview is this Saturday, which we're pretty giddy about! Who knows what else is prepared for us, there's always something new and exciting and maybe just a bit stressful for us!

Love you all! Feel the love that Christ has for you, in case you haven't recently! He loves you like a lot. Don't forget that.

Elder Penner

I asked for a little picture tour of his area.  Where he walks to each day, so I could better sense what it's like for him in Praia.  Here are some of the pictures he sent me.  

A paved street

Overlooking part of his area

P-Day hike

The district


Monday, April 18, 2016


This last week, we had the fun task of driving some missionaries that finally got their visas to go to Brazil. Here is a lot the same as in America, it's difficult to get a visa for Brazil, so the missionaries called there (which is like 80% of all missionaries from this country) get reassigned to serve here until they get it. Well, just recently our homeboy Holden Duarte, who works with visas for countries other than American ones, just managed visas for almost every Visa Waiter missionary in the mission. So we got to be their taxi for a bit. During this whole time, we got to drive down the main road by the ocean a lot, and I really got to appreciate the view. Therefore I name my update Oceans, after one of my preferred songs from Ghost Stories by Coldplay. Also because the other day we saw a guy carrying this HUGE fish over his back as we were driving. The thing was like as long as the guy was tall, it was big.

The days that we were driving people around this past week just seemed to suck up all the time out of our days. And once I finally got out to teach, my mind got fuzzy because of all the taxiing around I'd done that day. It's always such a relief to get into our area though, I just feel like I know what I'm doing so much more when I teach the gospel. Something I have been working on personally this past week is that I've been more bold in making sure that my investigators keep committments. When someone tells you "I've just been so busy" or "I haven't had time to read your book this week," it's easy to just tell them that it's okay, that they can just try harder then. However, I like Elder Hollands words on it, when he says that the first thing that we should do when we learn that an investigator hasn't been reading the Book of Mormon is to be devastated! I've been working on my attitude of complete devastation, and I already think it's making a difference. It's one thing to tell an investigator that the Book of Mormon is important, and it's another thing to show exactly how important it is to you by the way you talk about it. For example, we were talking to one of our investigators named Paula yesterday, and she told us she hadn't had time to read. I tried to give a different approach to it, asking what her goals were in life, and then showing her that the Book of Mormon can help her specifically in not only her own goals, but in the goals that God had for her. It's helped me to grow my testimony of it.

Sadly, Patrick didn't come to church yesterday, so he won't be prepared for baptism on the 30th. We thought it would be good to have him go with his friend Tony, a pretty recently reactivated member from that area. We found Tony yesterday and asked him what was up, and he told us that he didn't go because he didn't have the right kind of clothes. Elder Massey was like, man that doesn't even matter! So we taught him a bit about faith and making sure that the shame of the world doesn't affect our spiritual growth, to which we hope helped him out, because he still seemed pretty iffy about it. I honestly would go to church in a t-shirt and swim trunks if that was all I had, because the sacrament's too important to miss.

A funny thing also happened yesterday: we contacted a couple of guys standing outside of their house, and after a bit we realized that they were both a little tipsy. We were about to leave, but one of the guys who was on the phone just gave the phone to me, and so I ended up contacting a guy on the island of Boa Vista over the phone. Then I handed the phone back and then the guy gives me the BABY he was holding and I was like uhh I'm not supposed to hold babies so I just handed it over to the more sober of the two. It's weird to me how things that outside the mission are completely normal become so weird when you put on the badge. I felt so uncomfortable holding the baby for the few seconds that I did. But anyways that's an interesting moment in my week stay tuned for more adventures in awkward missionary situations.

The work is going good! Marlene is such a spectacular investigator, we're getting really excited for her baptism on the 7th. Elder Massey and I agree that it's about time that we got a baptism here!

Have a wonderful week! 

Elder Penner

p.s. I don't know when the Captain America movie comes out in theaters, but I want to know absolutely nothing, you hear?

I asked for a tour of their apartment, so that's the majority of the pictures I got this week.  I see he hasn't used up all the ranch I sent him last month.  


Monday, April 11, 2016

Human After All

This week, Elder Massey and I made a big focus on making sure that we weren't getting lessons just to get the lessons. We slowed down a bit and evaluated on whether our teaching was really focused on helping them to be a progressing investigator, or if it was focused on helping them to understand their divine potential and showing them the faith that it takes to come unto Christ. That's why this week, I've decided to put my title as the Daft Punk song, Human After All. For we really are human, after all. I've noticed that I need to do just a bit better at that.

In other news, the week just seemed to zip by. We also made it a goal to renew our inventory of investigators a bit, to help us to focus on those more prepared to take action on what we teach. One of our investigators Carmelito kind of describes the situation we have to deal with a lot: on Saturday, we gave a lesson to him on obedience and pretty much made him promise to come to church. We asked if there was anything that would stop him, and he said no. We finally find him on Sunday afternoon after finding his house empty before church. He told us that he went to a party and didn't come back until 9am. GAh.

We have a newer investigator who we marked with for the 30th, his name's Patrick. He's a super cool guy, and he likes our message. We found him at the less-active Jailson's house, and our first plan was to help them to progress and become active together, but we fear that it's not going to work out like we planned. This week, we're trying to get a firm, active member to be a stronger support for him, and in turn, Jailson. I think with a lot of work and coordination we could pull this one off, but pray for us all the same!

Lately I've been focusing on the words that the Apostle Russel M. Nelson gave on making the Sabbath Day a real delight. I'm trying to make sure my thoughts are in the right place, especially on Sunday. Elder Massey and I also try to make a good dessert on Sunday Evenings, which I've begun to call our "Sabbath Delight"

I don't have much time to talk today, so I think I'll leave it here, but I hope that your second full week of April will be a great one! This week is going to be a little more crazy, because a lot of Visa Waiters here got their Visas to Brazil, and will be leaving this week. So there's going to be a little transfer inside of the transfer... stay tuned...

Love you all! Fika drêto!
Elder Penner

Monday, April 4, 2016

Don't Let it Break Your Heart

I think Coldplay's fun song gives a good phrase to go with Elder Holland's talk this Conference. He basically told us that when tomorrow comes, "don't let it break your heart!" The real world is obviously different from the Conference Center, from the MTC, from that special testimony meeting. However, that does not mean that we have to get discouraged! The Lord loves us, and He's always on our side, He's always rooting for us all along the way.

And boy, was He rooting for Elder Massey and I along the way! What with Transfers, a Mission Leadership Council, and GenConf happening, we had very little time to go out and teach in our area. When we did though, we found the true blessings of the Lord. I think that we didn't have much more than a solid 12 hours in our area, but we somehow managed to get 13 lessons taught, and found a whole lot of sick new people.

We also managed to have some investigators show up for Conference. Mudinho and Neisha came with their daughter, and I think that Mudinho almost hit every session. Paulo (who's waiting for marriage papers to become a member) came to a session as well, and so did an investigator we had named Belarmino. Belarmino recently started coming to church, and so we're really excited about the progress that he's been making. He has expressed to us that he wants to wait a while to be sure about baptism, so we've been working on making him feel comfortable. He said that he really liked Conference, especially Priesthood Session.

Other cool news, we talked to Marlene (mother of a member, Kenny) and she finally chose a date for her baptism! It's so cool to see her at long last get over her fears and take that leap of faith! Last visit, we gave her every baptismal date in the month of May and told her to choose by next visit. We came back expecting to hear a date later in the month, but she confidently told us that she wanted the 7th, to which I said a quiet prayer of thanks. We're so happy for her, and we told her that we're going to power through the missionary lessons (she literally only has one hour a week to talk with us) to help her feel as comfortable as possible. She didn't make it to Conference, but we think that it's because of the super busy schedule that she upholds. It usually only works for her to go to church early Sunday morning. I mean, she could've gone to priesthood session, but I'm not sure how high that was on her priority list.

Highlights of Conference: President Monson giving two legendary messages with a combined time of about 6 minutes, President Uchtdorf's literal massacre of the male YSAs with the comment "if the perfect girl really is out there, do you really think that she'll go for you?" to which our chapel started roaring, and of course Elder Holland touching our hearts with the picture of the dinosaur chasing children. In all reality though, I found all the messages of Conference to be really inspiring. I'm also seeing the blessings that the temple is bringing to people, because Sister Zhuwaki (who's in my district) just happens to be from Zimbabwe! How neat is that? She gets to go home to see a temple built in her country!

Time flies when you're having fun and being a little stressed at the same time! Hope that you all have an enjoyable week reviewing the inspired messages we got these past two days!

Elder Penner