Monday, May 30, 2016

Up and Up

"We're gonna get it, get it together right now, gonna get it, get it together somehow"

Anyways, we're getting it together right now here! It was another good week of teaching and walking and more teaching and walking! One of the coolest things that's been happening is what we've learned about our new investigator Adelei. He's an absolute boss, every time we talk with him he just wants to talk about how good he's feeling and how he wants to join the church and how it's changing his life. We're super excited, he readily accepted a baptismal date for the 11th of June! There's only one slight problem: he's kinda living in Bela Vista, the area of another dupla of Elders. It took us like 20 minutes to walk to his house when he showed it to us. The good news is, it's only a temporary residence, and he's going to live with his aunt who lives in Tira Chapeu in our area next month. He also told us that he doesn't want to go to the other ward anyways, because his main friend goes here. So we decided that we can teach him in his friends house and have him baptized into our ward. So we're pretty stoked for that!

I went on a division with our Zone Leader, Elder Leyton this past week. I like Elder Leyton, he's pretty cool, and well obedient. The division was going well until we got to our appointment with Baka. He was too drunk for us to teach him! We were kinda bummed out, and he was still drunk when we passed by him the next day. We encouraged him to be sober so we could talk to him a couple of days after that. As we talked to him, we encouraged him to not drink, so we could teach him what he needs to know. I think we'll have to teach him the Word of Wisdom pretty soon here, but we still have a lot of hope for him.

Belarmino is SO DARN CLOSE to baptism, it almost hurts us. Last week we kinda just drove it in hard and asked him to pray and ponder about a date in June. He says that this past week he's come to realize the necessity of baptism, and he's made some impressive steps. He's apparently been a little worried that if he baptizes into this church, then his girlfriend wouldn't want to marry him anymore. So they've started talking about it. She lives in Portugal, so we don't really have the opportunity to talk to her ourselves, but maybe we could try and get some missionaries to knock on her door. We know that Belarmino is ready, and he's almost to the point where he knows it, too. I think by next week we'll know the true date of his baptism.

We've been having a really good time in our area recently, and have been seeing a lot of miracles. Adilson and Ineida made it to church yesterday, and were welcomed into the ward well. It's good to see the ward picking up their slack on helping the Spirit be strong and the ward itself to grow. They've called for every member to fast for the benefit of the ward, and they're getting some neat programs set up, so we think there's going to be some good improvement here.

Funny story: We were in a store with American products just trying to get stuff to make nachos, right? But then two of the most incredible things happened there. First off, this song from Coldplay's new album came on in the store, so I got to hear it for the first time! After that, we were about to leave the store when Elder Massey stopped dead in his tracks. There was a can of Mountain Dew sitting right there in the cooler that they had. I thought that was pretty great, but then I saw something much much greater. There, sitting at the bottom of this windowed fridge in this tiny little store, was a can of A&W Root Beer. I almost cried. It was a beautiful moment, and now I have a source (possibly the only source of A&W in all of the Cabo) where I can have just a little taste of what I took for granted back home. It was just a little trunky moment, but it made me happy.

Fun week, many blessings (spiritual and trunky-wise) and a lot of work, of course! I hope you all have had as good a week as I have, and even more that you have a better week to come!

Elder Penner

Monday, May 23, 2016

Passenger Seat

Good news! We can finally use our car again! Elder Massey finally received his replacement driver's license in the mail on Friday, which means that it's my turn to be the passenger seat guy for what'll probably be the rest of my time here as secretary. So I decided to give a shoutout to Death Cab for Cutie today. More people should really listen to them, it's sad how few missionaries have even heard of them here.

Anyways, we had a fantastic week here! I think one of the main highlights of the week was working with Belarmino over this past week. We talked to him on Tuesday about the baptismal covenant, and shared with him Mosiah 18:8-10, which basically says "if you want to help and serve others, and want to follow the true path of Christ, what's stopping you from being baptized?" We thought that he wanted to push off his baptismal date because he was scared that he wasn't ready. However, in that lesson we realized that he actually just wasn't understanding the actual importance of baptism itself. Elder Massey was inspired to ask him if he'd asked of God to know the truthfulness of our message yet, and Belarmino responded like "well yeah, but I don't think I've gotten the full answer yet." He's told us that he's felt good in doing what we've invited him to do, but he just hasn't felt that burning in the bosom that we all talk about all the time. So we've been working with him on that a lot. Later in the week we gave him the baptismal interview questions to show him that that was really the only thing that he really needed, because otherwise he's super prepared for baptism. We took him to the baptismal service on Saturday, and he was at church again this Sunday as well. We're really hoping and praying that he'll get his answer soon.

The main other guy that we've been working with is Nelito, who's been progressing well, except for the fact that it's been difficult to find him recently. When we found him a couple of days ago, we found out that he'd lost his phone, so it suddenly made sense why we hadn't been able to reach him. He's going well too, but he's also going to need a bit more time, because we haven't taught him everything he needs before baptism, so we decided to move his date to June. We think that he's super close to baptism too, so we're excited for that.

Also, a really funny thing happened this past week. First, we walked past this guy and I almost contacted him, but we thought that he could be Muslim (you can normally tell them apart here without being too nosy), and we have a rule that we can't contact them. So we walked past and forgot about him. Fast forward a few days, and he calls us over and says, "why don't you talk to me!? I want to hear your message too!" so we were like sorry and marked with him. Well, the first lesson came along, and the member that we were with said we should give him a baptismal date, so we marked him for June and invited him to go to church the next day. We passed by him Sunday morning, and he said that he had to wait for his boss to come back so he could leave his workplace. So we went to church kinda dejected, but he showed up like 20 minutes later! We think he's super cool, and the best part about it all is that his name's Baka, which is Creole for cow, lol.

Other super cool thing happened! A returning less-active member brought a friend to church, and the guy's awesome! His name's Adelei, and he went to church in Tarrafal and talked with the missionaries a bit there, too. When we got to talk to him, we were with Bishop and he asked us when he could get baptized. Bishop was like, "well, talk with these guys!" So we're super excited to start working towards baptism, and we don't think it'll be long!

A lot of other cool things happened, but I don't have time to talk about them, so sucks I guess. Anyways hope your week is as good as ours, and keep smiling!

Elder Penner

The pictures have nothing to do with his letter.  I asked him to take pictures of the marketplace there.  

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Stars and Stripes Forever

This week I felt a little twinge of patriotism, which I guess is pretty normal when you're off in a foreign country for a long period of time. I chose The Stars and Stripes Forever because we went to the US Embassy for the first time ever the other day, and just looking at the big old American flag that they have there just made me so happy for some reason. It's not like I worship the United States or anything, we have our own problems of course, but it was just a kinda subtle reminder of home. Also we talked to a lady there who was native, but spoke completely perfect English, like an American! Most people here who speak English do it with a Cape Verdean accent, or a New England one for those who lived near Boston. Elder Massey and I were super surprised when she spoke with the clearest accent I've ever heard here.

At the beginning of this week, Elder Poole stuck with us for a couple of days before he returned home. He's a super cool guy, and has learned Portuguese really well since he's been here for not so long. Sadly, and to no fault of his own, he had to return home a little early. I really like him though, so I wanted to give him a shoutout.

Anyways, since Marlene's been baptized, she's been such a happy person! We saw her a few times this past week, though we weren't able to teach her, and she's almost a completely different person. I love seeing the light of the love of God enter someone's life. We're working hard on our next goals, I think we've still got one more coming before the end of the month! We're working hard with Belarmino now, and we think that he'll be baptized on the 28th. We're praying hard for it!

We didn't get a lot of time in our area, which was kinda lame. However, the greenies arrived on Saturday, so a couple of them went out with us yesterday and we got to do a division for a few hours. All of a sudden we found the people we were looking for all week! We also found a lot of potential investigators, which is a blessing. I went with Elder Jhangiani. He's from Paraguay, and doesn't really speak Portuguese yet, although he understands it. It was funny because our investigator Nelito kept asking him questions in Creole and he had no idea what he was saying, so I had to translate. Elder Jhangiani's a good missionary though, with a good attitude and really excited about coming here and serving.

We finally sat down with a guy we'd met a few weeks ago named Denny. He's super cool, speaks perfect English from when he lived in Boston. Since I was with Elder Jhangiani we taught the Restoration in Portuguese, though I think he prefers to speak English with us. It was super funny, because when we first got into the house I saw his computer screen and right in the middle was a link to watch an illegally downloaded version (which is pretty normal here) of CIVIL WAR and I almost freaked out a little bit. After the lesson he OFFERED TO WATCH IT WITH US and I had to explain to him that we don't watch those kinds of movies. He thought it was a weird rule, but eventually understood at least a bit. I'd be wrong if I didn't admit there was a tiny little voice egging me on to watch it with him but then I told myself that that's dumb, why would I do that? It's kinda funny how things that are completely normal for people are somewhat of a big deal for us as missionaries. Just goes to show you the importance of the calling, I guess.

Anyways, we met a lot of new people yesterday, and we're hoping to have a week full of new investigators coming up! We're trying to get our next convert here, and we have high hopes!

That's about it for the week, just working like we do. I hope that all of your lives are filled with bright sunshiney rays of joy and all that

Elder Penner

Monday, May 9, 2016


I didn't have time to think up a super clever song for this week so I just put Mother by Pink Floyd because ya know Mother's Day and all. I got to talk to my family yesterday, they're all really cool but you all already know that because you know how cool I am and genetics and all that.

Anyways, this week was good, although a lot of the week was spent in the airport getting all the stuff ready for transfers. Don't worry, Elder Massey and I are staying for just one more transfer. That means I could know where I'm going next in as little as 3 weeks. How neat is that? I want to make these last 6 weeks I have here really meaningful though, I really like this area, and I'm becoming really good friends with the members here, too.

Highlight of the week: We had the wonderful chance of seeing Marlene be baptized by her own son, Kenny! The look on her face was such a joyful look. It really warmed my heart to see the happiness in her appearance these past couple of days. With all the worry and stress that we'd been going through with a few different things, it seemed as though all of our troubles were forgotten the hour of the baptisms. The Spirit is so strong at events like that, and it's because that He's always encouraging us when we're doing the right thing.

An update on some other people I've mentioned: Patrick hasn't been keeping any of the committments that we've left with him. He tells us he'll do these things and then he has excuses every time. We think it best to let him go for a while and then see how he's doing in a few weeks or so. Belarmino's doing really well, a little unsure about whether he should get baptized or not by the end of the month, but he's been to church multiple times now and is progressing really well. Nelito got to church, even though we promised we'd call him (we lost our phone for a bit) he got to church by himself! He was gone by the time Sacrament Meeting was over, and we haven't seen him since then, but we're excited for him, and we think he should be ready to be baptized by the end of the month, too.

Not much has changed here in the office, but the real changes are happening in our area. We've got a system that's helping us to get progressing investigators, and it's bringing us blessings! It's going to be another super fun transfer with Elder Massey. It's a good thing we get along with each other so well, because if we didn't it might have been hard to do a third transfer with the same comp.

Anyways, may the blessings of the Lord be upon you! Keep working miracles in your own individual ways!

Elder Penner

Monday, May 2, 2016

Different Names for the Same Thing

I barely have time to do internet today, so I'll keep this update short. My theme is the Death Cab for Cutie song Different Names for the Same Thing, because no matter how I want to say my week could have been, no matter what excuses I could have come up with, it all just comes to one conclusion: this week we didn't meet our goals. There were of course many things that popped up throughout the week that wouldn't let us teach for as long as we normally do. However, we just don't feel that we did everything that we could have when we went to teach this week. I think we kinda just started the week out with the thought "well, this one will be a lot tougher" so we just lowered our standards a little too far. We did teach, we did work, but we just don't feel like we gave it our all.

Changes will be made. In a lighter aspect, we had the interview of our investigator Marlene, and she's going to be baptized this Saturday!!! We're super stoked. Ever since I arrived in this area, I've seen her progress, especially since she finally received her answer about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Although it's been a little difficult, because she can only talk with us one day a week, she has progressed well and is ready to take the next step! We're super stoked, and we want to make sure that she has a special experience. It's times like these that I love the gospel especially, because I'm seeing someone living it!

Well, as the new transfers come up, this week may be a busy one for us as well, but we're not going to make it hinder our work in this area. I really like this area. Good members, good people, and families galore, if you know where to look! Have a fantabulous week!

Elder Penner