Monday, June 27, 2016

Drop It Like It's Hot

Hi to all from the wonderful island of Fogo! Now I'm in the wonderful area of Congresso Baixo, with Elder Jhangiani, and I gotta tell you... IT'S SO HOT HERE! The afternoons here make me feel a physical weight with the heat. Also, everything here seems like it's at a 45 degree angle, so matter where I go, it's either up or down. After being stuck in an office and having a car for most of the day for 6 months, it's been a bit of an adjustment, to say the least.

Despite the heat and the new leg workout I'm getting, I really really like this area. The Congresso Ward is the strongest ward in Fogo, I hear. The chapel seemed just about full on Sunday, and the members were complaining about how low the frequency was! It's so cool! There are a whole bunch of returned missionaries here, too, which hopefully will mean that we'll be able to teach a lot with them. They ought to remember how important it was to have a member to teach with them. And that's another thing... the members here are like the most chill people I've met in Cape Verde. Every member wants to talk to us, they love the missionaries. I met the famous Gomes at the airport when I got here. Gomes is famous mostly for his tomfoolery and for the fact that he served his mission in Utah. He's the only member I know to have served in the United States. Super cool guy.

Elder Jhangiani is a righteous kid as well, he's got such a strong desire to teach the gospel and to learn the language. He's from Paraguay, so his native language is Spanish. You think it'd be easy to go to Portuguese from Spanish, but you actually just confuse things because they're too similar. He's got a really good heart, though, and he really wants to become a better teacher. I hope that I can help him out with that. I think we're gonna get a lot of good work done together.

This area has a lot of good potential, but this last week it was somewhat difficult to teach people. I came to notice pretty quickly that it's a little more difficult here to get people to sit down with you than it was in Praia, so I realized that I had to up my game. We started focusing more on contacting people everywhere we could, marking as many appointments as possible, completely filling up at least 2 days ahead with appointments for every half hour, and we're also trying to get as many references from members as possible. The turnout isn't a lot right now, but I'm happy with what we have achieved and it's going to augment pretty quickly.

Our most progressive investigator is a girl named Monica. She's a super prepared person. The Elders met her a week before I got here, and as they taught her she asked if she could be baptized. They marked her for the 9th of July right then and there. Since then she's been going so well! The two times I taught her last week, she expressed to us how good she felt when she read the Book of Mormon and how she's felt at church. She went to a youth activity that I didn't even know about on Saturday. So she's pretty much for sure getting baptized on the 9th.

I'm having fun! Good area, great ward, great comp! I'm excited for the rest of this transfer! Hope you all are doing well too!

Elder Penner

Monday, June 20, 2016

Thru the Fire and Flames (Transfer)

No time to talk today, but I went to Fogo! I'm in Congresso Baixo woth Elder Jhangiani now. He's new, and pretty cool, I met him once.
Sunday was probs the best day last week. I saw Marlene give a talk, Adiley got conferred the Sacerdocio (priesthood,) and we had a noite familiar in Adilson and Ineida's house! So I got to see all 3 of my recent converts in praia going so well. I also saw Bispo Ribeiro from my ward back in Sao Vicente, so that was a cool thing too!
I'mm gonna miss Elder Massey, he was a really good comp, we had a lot of fun and got a lot of work done as well. But I'm excited for what the grand island of Fogo has in store for me! I hope I don't die from too much heat here, haha.
Well, hope you all have a wonderful week! Happy Fathers Day!
Elder Penner

Monday, June 13, 2016

Welcome to Paradise

Hey all! What a wonderful week it's been! I chose this classic Green Day song today, even though the actual lyrics make it more of a satire, because we're welcoming two people into kinds of "paradise" today:

First off, our investigator Adiley (formerly known as Adelei until we filled his baptismal record and realized our mistake lol) was baptized this last weekend! Super spiritual experience. From the first couple of lessons that we've had with him, we've known that he's been ready for baptism for probably a long time now. We barely had to do anything ourselves, we just taught him what he needed to be taught and he did the rest on his own. The Bishop's second counselor, Nuno, is already trying to get us to get Adiley's info into the Church system so they can officially give him the Priesthood. Really cool stuff!
  1. Adiley's baptism!

Our Ward Mission Leader, Chido (shee-doo) he's super cool, and an artist too

Secondly, we're welcoming my replacement into the office today: Elder Neville! I've known him for a little while, ever since Elder Maake trained him in the area next to mine while I was in Varzea. He was born right as I resurrected into the field. I think that he's going to be a really good secretary, and he's got a lot of good energy, which in any place is a good thing. So I'll get to train him for a week, and then it's off to my next area with all the rest of transfers.

The ward had been pretty weak for the past month or so, but especially this week it's been picking up very well. We had a really fun dinner for the Young Single Adults in our ward on Friday, and we brought Adiley so we got to hang around for a while. It was a super good bonding activity, and Adiley got to meet some more friends in a non-church meeting atmosphere. He really wants to get a good friend group in the church, because he doesn't like what he sees youth do here normally, always partying and getting into gang stuff. We're trying to get him to every activity we possibly can.
  1. Our Ward activity we had. It was a YSA dinner thing, we brought Adiley (I'm sitting by him)

Our investigator Mundinho, who's also super cool and best friends with Chido. His family is like a part of the ward now, although they're not getting married until near the end of the year, they say.

Adilson and Ineida are becoming a good part of our ward now! Nuno and his wife Melissa went with us to have a little Noite Familiar at their house last night, and it was super fun. Adilson spent up most of the time ranting (jokingly) about how quiet some people in church are and how he can't hear a thing. The way he was talking about it was super funny, I love the guy. It's really neat to see how his character has changed since I knew him over in Varzea. He's a lot more at peace, and a lot slower to get angry. I think one of my favorite aspects of missionary work is how conversion really changes peoples' character.

On a slightly more humorous aspect, we're still working with Baka, but we just have to face the fact that he's a pretty weird guy. Every time we talk to him he tells us "I read the Book of Mormon every day from 5 to 7 a.m.!" but every time he changes the time that he reads. Every time, he reminds us about how it was HE that contacted US and not the other way around. He also just bursts out into random war stories because he served in some war when he lived in Guinea-Bissau. Our last visit was pretty good, because as we were about to leave he told us "I am the most blessed man in the entire world! Ask me why!" so we asked why and he pulled out 2 copies of the Book of Mormon and said "Last time you visited me, I went to bed with my book here. When I woke up the next day, I found a second book here as well! I'm the most blessed man by our Heavenly Father!" It turns out I had forgotten a copy that I had brought with me that last visit. We laughed pretty hard at that one and agreed with him. As we were walking away he shouted to us, "I'm going to give it to my woman! And if she doesn't accept it, I'll leave her! There's plenty of women out there for me!" We were laughing so hard after that. He's a sincere guy after everything, and he's already been to church a couple of times. We just have to work with him on his drinking problem and he'll be good to baptize as well!

That's all I have time for this week. Super cool stuff! I'm hoping for a great last week here in the office. I'll probably take pictures with a lot of people here, there's some guys that I've become really tight with. But anyways, have a good week all!

Elder Penner

Monday, June 6, 2016

End of the Movie

Somewhat of a more random thought for a song title today. It's a song by Cake, and it talks about how there's things and people that will "get their hooks into you" and try and get you to give up or leave. It then says simply, "but you still don't like to leave before the end of the movie." It's kinda been like that as a Secretary recently. There's a lot of things that make me annoyed or stressed. I can start hoping for my next area to be better, or I can just focus on the now. And I realized that I really just care about focusing on what's happening right here, right now.

What a week! We started out with some inspiring revelation at Zone Conference, which gave me some good insight on what it means to teach the Doctrine of Christ, and I learned a good example of the importance of obedience and how it ties in to how we teach. We also got to go on divisions with the Maio elders, so I brought Elder Willes to meet some of his recent converts in this area. It was sweet.

Working with Adelei this week has brought me to feel that he could be one of the most golden investigators that I've ever met. We taught him the Plan of Salvation earlier in the week, and he was telling us how he'd read up to Mosiah already. He even used a scripture from Second Nephi talking about how "every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess"! He's going super well. Yesterday was a Conference broadcast to all of West Europe, so we had church at 10 instead of 8:30 as we normally do. Well, Adelei ended up coming at flipping 7 o' clock! He wanted to get here early so he could prepare properly. I don't think I've ever seen that kind of devotion to getting to church early. I could probably learn from that! But anyways, he's getting baptized this Saturday, because he's sure as heck ready!

Other than that, it's just been a busy week. Transfer work has started. I may or may not know where I'm going next ;). But really most of what it means is that our time in our area is getting cut short some days. Other things this week cut it a little short too, like Zone Conference, a division with Elder Leyton (he's a boss), and a baptismal interview that I had to do for the Zone Leaders. We still taught a lot of cool people. I think the coolest new people we've met are Zito and Isa. Zito's nickname is Bassoura, which is Krioulo for "Broom". I love the nicknames here. Isa is a very animated lady, and she likes to joke around a lot. At the end of the first lesson we had with them, Elder Massey had forgotten her name so he asked and when she told him, he said "oh, I was just checking to make sure that you remembered it" and she just went off on him, haha. She used the term xuxanti (shoo-shan-tee) which means annoying but in a more endearing way.

We haven't been able to talk to Belarmino this past week, though we desperately need to. He's been a regular at church, his studies have been going very well, and last time we'd met he talked about how he was understanding the importance of baptism. He's almost there!

Adilson and Ineida are back to regular church attendance, which is awesome news! I keep telling the ward that they're going to be the coolest members of the ward. We had a Family Home Evening in their house the other day, and it was super fun.

Other than that, not much is changing. I'll get to start traning my replacement relatively soon, so that'll be interesting. We'll also have Zone Meeting this week, where hopefully we'll learn if we've been approved to wear sunglasses! Have a good week all!

Elder Penner