Monday, August 29, 2016

Hopeless Wanderer

Soooooooooo I don't have much time to talk, but I did just want to give a shoutout to all of you for being who you are n stuff. This week has had some really cool things happen, but not so much with progressing investigators. It seems like the very moment that we've been desperate for a member to leave with us, we found one on the street or just leaving their house, completely ready to leave with us! It's been strange and cool at the same time.

This week I felt just a little bit like a "Hopeless Wanderer" as Mumford puts it. We've really counted on the Lord to just "hold (us) fast" so we could see the blessings that our work has had on individual lives. One of the most important lessons that's sticking out to me here is the way I show my attitude towards this area. At times and for some missionaries it can be tempting to just sit around and hang out until something starts happening in the area, right? However, the more difficult but more self-satisfactory way is to make sure that you do what you can every day, every hour.

I was reminded last week of the BOM prophet Abinadi. As far as he knew in this life, he didn't have a single convert in the court of Noah, and he went as far as to lose his life just for the truth of it. However, we know that Alma was converted, and that through his works so were many many others. If Abinadi hadn't tried, none of that would have happened. Even if Alma wasn't converted at that time, at least Abinadi could say with true integrity that he had a clear conscience before God. That being said, I'm pretty sure that my situation isn't as near as bad as his. I'm pretty sure that we'll have a baptism this next month. But if not, then at least we can say we did what we could.

Now for the cool part: we found an awesome new person this week. Well, not really found, but more like finally had a chance to sit and talk with. We've known Manu since around I got here, but he's a barber and always working, so we just never found the time. A member here named Teixeira kept bugging us to talk to him, so we finally worked out to talk to him during his lunch hour. We've only talked once earlier this week, but in following up with him, he said he's read the Book of Mormon! We'll have more time to see him this next week. He really seems to show a true interest in following the message, even when his workmate keeps throwing doctrinal curveballs at us at times (not much, mostly the "Jesus drank wine, so why can't I?" argument.) I think he'll be baptized this next month. I really do.

I went on a division with Elder Valenzuela in my area this past Thursday. He's only on his 4th week here and he's just rolling along! I was super surprised at how well he handled teaching with me even though he didn't always know where exactly I was going. I think he's going to be a really good teacher.

Other than that, it's hotter than ever! Maybe somebody cursed this city to have a famine or something. We'll see if the curse is broken this week. Hope you all are well! Have a good one!

Elder Penner

Monday, August 22, 2016

Itching' On A Photograph

So uh, funny story: I lost my camera... yeah. So it seems like you will all be "Itchin' on a Photograph" as the Grouplove song puts it, haha. I have no idea how it happened honestly. I feel pretty dumb.

I think the coolest thing that happened this week is that we had an investigator in church!!! After about a month without a single one, it was a sure blessing. The best part about it is that it was Zeza! We had been working with her for the longest time, almost since I've arrived here, without her coming even once. A couple of weeks ago we had to let her go, but we invited her to come and she said she would. When she didn't come last week, we thought that that was the last we would see of her. How wrong were we! We were so excited that we found her to invite her for baptism, and that's when she told us... well, to put it short, she'll have to get married now before she can be baptized. She still has a strong desire, though, even to the point where she said that she really wants to be married and sealed to the guy she's with. We're excited for her.

Other than that, it's been busy work for us! Just finding a bunch of cool new people to teach! I'd say more, but my comp just called for an emergency trip to the bathroom, so I guess that's it for this week! Having fun, working hard!

Elder Penner

Monday, August 15, 2016

I Gave You All

You know, I think that this was one of the absolute hardest weeks that I have passed through in my mission. I thought of the Mumford and Sons song because I really felt that I've been giving this area all that I've got, and I haven't really seen any results, in terms of key indicators, anyways.

This last week, and as I mentioned last week, we had Zone Conference. One of the focuses was what they called "3 Strikes and You're Out." One of the main problems that missionaries here face is the fact that you can have a large amount of investigators, but very few of them have what it takes to progress. This new system just helped us to know a little better when it's time to let go of a non-progressing investigator. Basically if we can't find them or they don't go to church for more than a few weeks, it's time to look for new people. Well, we took a look at our investigators, and almost all of them met those standards to let them go. So we put a big focus on not passing by people that won't progress and finding new people. It was tough! We got 9 lessons, the worst I've ever had on the mission. We just couldn't find the new people that we were looking for. I don't think I've ever met so many people that refused to hear us as I did this week. It gave me a lot more respect for missions that are more like that.

Well, as we were at home yesterday feeling sorry for ourselves, I called Elder Farnsworth our Zone Leader to do a nightly follow-up. He straight up congratulated me for my work! When I asked why, he said that it's easy to have a week full of lessons, but it takes a real missionary to look more for those that are actually prepared by the hand of the Lord. That made me feel a lot better. It's not easy, but I know that what we are doing is right, so what else matters?

Anyways, that's all I have time for today. My brother's going to Spain on his mission! So cool! We had a powerful message about marriage with Nelito and his mulher Ju the other day, which was cool as well! I'm happy to work! Now I just gotta figure out how to get rid of this blistering heat, haha.

Well, hope you all are well! Have a good one!

Elder Penner

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Better Open The Door

Zone Conference was yesterday, so we were authorized to take some time today to write home. Sorry for the delay!

As the song by Motion City Sountrack states it, we were working hard this week to get people to actually open their doors to us! And what blessings did we find!

Our week started off pretty crazy, because of all the movement that was happening. On Monday, my comp was in Praia, so I hung out with Elder Schlichte for a while. Then on Tuesday we hung out with Elder Price, Elder Fernandes, Elder Wendt, Elder Call, Elder Firmo, and Elder Podzikowski at different moments. We even ended up all going to Ponta Verde on a rescue mission looking for Elder Arteaga, who was told to go there even though his new comp was here in Sao Filipe. Later in the week we hung out with Elder Jesus and his new son, Elder Canizares, along with Elder Schlichte's new son Elder Valenzuela. It was all fun. That's what happens when Transfers, Leadership Council, and Visa Renewals all happen in the same week.

Other than those instances, our week was a really good one! We saw a lot of miracles. I think that the biggest one was the fact that after a lessonless day on Wednesday, we were easily able to pull an 8 lesson day on Thursday! It was incredible, and we've seen greater things happen because of that day.

One of the coolest things that happened on Thursday was that we talked with Irmao Ze's older brother Nelito, and he said that he received an answer to his prayer about the Book of Mormon! It was really cool, because he said he couldn't understand it well but when he prayed he really felt that it was true. We're going to work with him for the month of September for baptism, because he needs to get married as well. His girlfriend Ju is actually a less-active member, so she's giving some good support too. Sadly, only Ju came to church yesterday, but at the same time it was cool to se her there for the first time! We're pretty stoked to help this family out.

Zone Conference was really good! We really focused on how to get our investigators with dates marked for baptism to really progress and to feel prepared so that everything can run well. President's son Mark gave a super good training on why we don't Bible Bash as well. I really felt inspired to show my love for my investigators and put in the extra mile. I want to apply a lot of what I learned yesterday.

That's about it for this week! Hope you all are well! Have a good one!

Elder Penner

Monday, August 1, 2016

Fragments of Time

As the Daft Punk song rightly states, "I just keep playing back these fragments of time, everywhere I go these moments will shine." I've been reminded a lot of past moments that I've had on the mission this week, especially my time in Varzea. There, too, I was completing the training of a new Elder, and there, too, I seemed to have difficulties in having investigators progress. I've really come a long way from that time though, and this last week I just ended up taking a personal study to make a plan of action, which I'm super confident will help out our work here.

Our week did include its fair number of blessings, though. I think that the greatest blessing of all was yesterday, we were talking to this woman we had met this week called Zita. We found her while talking to Virginia, so we decided to talk with them both at her house the next time. Virginia wasn't there, so we went into a little more detail with the message of the Restoration. By the end of the lesson, she told us that she'd actually talked to the Elders before, but they were transferred out before she was baptized. We asked her if she wanted to be baptized, and she was like definitely! So we're going to work with her for the 27th of this month!

One thing that we want to work on with our ward is involving the members of the Ward Council in our work more than we have. We have correlation with our ward mission leader, but the ward hasn't had Ward Council for the past 3 months! So we decided to do what we can and invite members from each organization to come regularly to our correlation meetings. This was a goal that Fogo had for this month, but we just implemented it now because we had to at least start having correlation first haha

Anyways, transfers were today! Elder Jhangiani and I will be staying together for another one. I'm really happy about it, I love my comp right now and I love this area, despite its difficulties. I'm seeing a lot of real potential here in this area. Elder Schlicte of Congresso Alto is going to be training there, so it'll be cool to see the fresh greenie as well! Super stoked!

That's all I have for this week, but I hope that all of you are well! Time is passing so quickly for me, it's pretty scary actually. I'm not ready to be so old on the mission! But anyways love you all bye!

Elder Penner

p.s. Happy Birthday Harry Potter yesterday! 36 years old! A brand new book tooooooooooooooo

Pics of apartment living in Fogo

I don't think these pass dress standards

His companion forgot his tie and neither noticed right away.

Could rain be coming?

Clouds make them happy