Monday, July 25, 2016

Have You Ever Seen the Rain

Well I don't know what this weird line is doin here but whatever. I went for an oldie today, CCR to be exact. It's because I saw the first sign of rai n the other day!!! It's still hot as heck over here, but there are signs of hope as well!

This week was a busy one, but sadly there just weren't that many results to show it. We're going to attack from another angle this next week, and it'll be good. The main problem was, we didn't have an investigator in church! Again! I was super disappointed, because we've been working with a lot of cool people. But I'm choosing to learn from my mistakes and work harder!

I've come to notice that there's a strangeness here in Fogo that I haven't seen in any other place that I've been. I've so far had 3 investigators that decided they don't want to talk to us anymore. One of them said sorry and yes she did want to talk a couple of days later, and we're still talking kinda to the other 2?? It's super weird, I don't really understand it either. But anyways, it's a new challenge, and it's keeping me on my toes. I've come to realize that you can't approach every investigator in the same way, especially here. It's stretching my limits, I like it.

I don't have any more time, but I hope all y'all is good n stuff and have a darn diddly good week and stuff!

Elder Penner  

Monday, July 18, 2016

Island In the Sun

This week I went on a division with the great Elder Schlichte, and somehow or other we got to talking about our love for music. Then he mentioned a band that I hadn't thought of in like forever, Wheezer! So I figured I'd give them a shoutout this week, seeing as the sun is shining harder than ever on the great island of Fogo. There were days this week in which I was drenched in sweat within the first 10 minutes of leaving the house. However, there is hope on the way; a few days ago at 9pm we actually had a light sprinkle of rain! The people here all say that once it rains, it'll cool down enough to be bearable. For now, we just watch and pray, I guess.

In the terms of what we accomplished, I feel like we had a great week. In the terms of what our investigators accomplished, I feel like we had a terrible one. Let's talk about the great stuff first! This week we had 11 new investigators, almost double of what we had last week! Also, we had the first day I've had here with 5 lessons with an investigator. I was pretty stoked about that, but then the next day we only had 1, haha. We still ended up having a great week with talking with investigators. We also talked a lot with the less-active members here, and have seen some good progress.

The problem was that none of our investigators went to church! We were so prepared to at least have a super solid 4 investigators there, but none of them showed up! We were pretty bummed out about that. Also, one of our most progressing investigators, Izildo, told us early this week that he didn't want to talk to us anymore. When we asked why, he just said "I just don't feel like it anymore." We were super bummed out, and we talked more and figured out that he just felt we moved too fast or something. Apparently he was under the impression that we were going to baptize him without him even going to church! But even after all that we talked with him, with his neighbor Zé (our Elder's Quorum President here) he still refused. We were pretty bummed out, but then Zé grabbed Izildo's sister Virginia, and made her sit down and listen a bit about the Book of Mormon. We had tried to talk to her before, but she just laughed and refused to listen any more as soon as we said the words "Joseph Smith." However, Zé was somehow able to convince her to read and pray about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon! So that was a pretty cool experience, and now we're pretty excited to come back and talk to her about how it was. I hope we have Zé with us again, he's pretty good at not taking no for an answer.

Some of the less-actives that we're working with are pretty cool. We met a woman named Nela, the wife of an active member, Zezito, who's been inactive for a few months. She's super busy with all the sewing that she does (a lot like Marlene from Praia's problems, actually) and just lost the habit of going, choosing instead to catch up on housework. We talked with her a lot about the sacrament and the blessings that it brings. Once we were done, I realized that we hadn't really let her talk so much, so I asked her how she felt. She said that she knew that these things are important, but she hasn't been feeling much support from her family in housework, so she's had to take care of all of it, on top of everything. Zezito promised right then and there that he would now be in charge of all laundry duties. That's a little more hefty here than in America, because that could mean handwashing a lot and waiting for things to dry before putting them away. She went to church yesterday, as promised! Also that Solangela that I mentioned went for the second week in a row! We're seeing a lot of blessings with that.

Funny story: yesterday at church we didn't have Gospel Essentials, so we went to the married couples class and they talked about communicating with your spouse and had all the couples say something sweet to their spouse. It was pretty awkward but also super funny to be there. It made me just a bit excited to have a relationship of my own when I get home. I'm gonna have to teach my future wife some Creolisms, because they're super funny!

That's all I have the time I have to talk for now! We're tearing it up here, as we always do! Keep firm in the faith. Talk to someone about the gospel. Have a great week!

Elder Penner

Monday, July 11, 2016

Viva La Vida

I decided to go for something that everyone knew today, because I've been pondering on the meaning and how it connects to how I've been feeling since I've left the office. It tells the story of someone who "used to rule the world," but now has become one with the people. Don't get me wrong, I did not feel any sense of power as I was in the office. But I felt like I knew of most everything that was happening in the mission. Now that I'm here, I almost feel shunned to a certain extent, haha. I've come to realize that I've gotta work harder on Living The Life (hence Viva La Vida) and get to work!

It's a good thing that teaching is a lot more fun than boring old office work, huh? This week we did a lot of hard work in our area. The results weren't what we were hoping for, but we still did get some good results. I think the most disappointing thing was that we only got 15 lessons this week. The new mission standard is that we're supposed to have at the very least 20 lessons. We're going to have to put some better planning into this next week, but I want to make it happen. I think one problem is that we haven't been looking in all the right places for investigators. It feels like most of our last week has been filled with teaching people of other faiths that don't actually have a desire to act on our message. While it's important to help them to feel the truthfulness of our message, I still think that we could do better at finding those prepared to receive us. Luckily, we got some really cool references these past few days, who we're trying to get into contact with now. I've got some real hope for what's happening.

We only had one investigator in church yesterday. His name is Jacinto, and we just met him this last week. It was cool to see him show up to church. I didn't even teach him, I was actually on a division when we were going to teach him about the Restoration. So when he showed up, I didn't even realize that he was an investigator until Elder Jhangani told me! We also had a less-active named Solangela show up. She's one of those people that you're like, why aren't you going to church when you act like an active member? We found her through knocking doors, and the family invited us in. The first thing we saw was a big common picture of Jesus Christ, the one that's on pass-along cards here! We were like, are you members??? and they said yeah it was funny. I guess they just needed someone to tell them that we missed them. I wonder how many other people just need that one visit, ya know?

I went on 2 divisions this past week. The first was with Elder Santos over in Patim. It's a place that's about 20 minutes from here by car, and it's a pretty small community. There's a branch that's kinda struggling back there, but I saw some really good potential. They also work in a zone called Luzia Nunes. The thing about working out there and living here is that if you don't find a ride, you have to walk. And that's a looong walk. I was sweating pretty bad. The second division was with Elder Farnsworth in São Filipe. It'd been about 8 months or so since our last division, but he's still doing really great for himself. We only had 2 lessons that day, even though we were out for about 10 hours! Even so, we got a lot of good things done, which taught me a lot about planning for one.

It keeps getting hotter, but the promise of rain in a couple of weeks is looking good! Hope you all have a good week! I hear there's some not fun stuff happening in America, and my prayers go out to all that have been harmed in this past week. Remember to share the love that Christ has for all of us!

Elder Penner

Monday, July 4, 2016

American Idiot

Normally, I like to think of Billie Joel Armstrong of Green Day and try to avoid being your typical American Idiot, but today's the 4th of July! You betcha I'm gonna be singing The Star Spangled Banner at the top of my lungs! America! On this one day I give myself just a little bit of trunkiness for my home country. God Bless America.

What a great week! This week we had a big focus on getting new investigators, with a goal given to the entire island of Fogo to get at least 6. Well, our hard work got us all the way to hit that 6! It's not a whole lot, but it's a start, for sure! We also had a whole lot of good help from the members. They are absolutely INCREDIBLE here. I don't think I've ever had so much willing help from the members here. Our Young Men's leader came up to us and said "Hey, make sure I leave with you guys at least 3 times this week!" haha. We got a solid 14 lessons with members, which is just 1 less from the total number of lessons we taught investigators last week.

Another really cool thing happened this week! We got a surprise baptism! Remember that Monica I talked about last week? Well she was marked for the 9th, but last Thursday she learned that she needed to see the doctor in Praia that day. She came up to us on that day, and asked if there was any way we could do it earlier? I was like, why not this Saturday? She got super excited and said yes! So we hurried and got all the members to coordinate everything, and we had a baptism on Saturday! There were so many members there, and as luck would have it, the Young Women had an activity at that time, so they joined us. The room was completely full! I'm so glad, because Monica must have felt a good sense of companionship from the ward. Super great experience, all around.

There's a really neat member here named Abreu. He's the first counselor here in this ward, and I think he was in a spot in the stake beforehand, because everyone here calls him President Abreu. He's like the go-to handyman here in Fogo, and he's got a huge amount of energy at all times. He reminds me a lot of that one cop guy from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, haha. He ended up baptizing Monica. I just wanted to give him a shoutout, cause he's a boss.

We're teaching this guy named Izildo. He's a super chill guy. His Fogo accent is super thick though, so sometimes I almost can't even understand him. Anyways, we've been working hard with him. We were teaching him and his sister, but his sister had a huge problem with Joseph Smith and him being a prophet and anything. She tried to argue with us, but he started arguing back with her, so she stopped! It was cool to see his desire to learn. He's going well, but he decided to go fishing instead of going to church yesterday. We ran into him and were like, what are you doing? But he still ended up going. He promised to go this week, so we're gonna work for that. I think he could be baptized by the end of the month, though.

Happy Independence Day, my fellow Americans! Light a firework! Eat a burger! I made some really nice ones today, they were pretty close to the real thing. Anyways, have a good one!

Elder Penner

On the island of Fogo