Monday, December 26, 2016

We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Hey all, not much time to write this week because I spent some time talking to my family over skype, but I did want to let you all know that I love you all and I wish you all a Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas day was spent mostly finding a lot of really cool new people, and also trying to set up a Skype session for a family trying to talk to their son who's serving a mission in Brazil. Sadly, they weren't able to talk, but now we just confirmed that they will be talking this Wednesday! So we'll probably have a lot of fun with that, because they'll need us to help out again. We got a lot of cake this last week, which is a blessing and a burden at the same time, because now I'll have to lose the few pounds I'll gain.

Shout out to my brother who's leaving on his mission tomorrow! The next time we skype, we'll be on the other end of the line. Hope you have a good one, Cam! Don't freak out because you don't understand anyone for a few months!

Anyways, hope everyone's Christmas was as wonderful as I felt this year. Remember the true meaning of Christmas, which is Christ of course. Keep him in your thoughts, as well as your words and actions this year! #SejaALuzDoMundo!!!

Boas Festas,
Elder Penner

Monday, December 19, 2016

Winter Wonderland

The weather is finally coming to the point where I feel at least a little bit of chill outside, which means that it's going to be a nice Cabo Verdeano winter once again! The biggest news out there is that snow fell on Fogo, up in Chã das Caldeiras, the little town on the volcano's crater. Probably nothing more than a few snowflakes, but I still think that's impressive. I guess there will be snow in Africa this Christmas. Eat your heart out, Bono.

I'm getting to know the area a lot better, and I was even able to handle a short division with a couple of other missionaries visiting for the Christmas Party. I've come to notice that Sal is like a great big melting pot of all of Cape Verde. There are very few people that are actually born here, most people come from Mindelo or Santo Antão, although I've met quite a few people from Santiago and even a few from Fogo. There isn't a set Creole here, so I hear every Creole from every island I've been on. It's the greatest thing ever, basically. Almost everyone here works in the big hotels that they have for the tourists, which is by far Sal's biggest export. There are so many tourists, all the time. People get confused here and think we're tourists, like today we were walking by some High School kids that were making fun of us in Creole, and Elder Teela just said "we understand you, you know" and they all freaked out so hard it was pretty funny.

Our biggest problem that we have right now is that we don't have any really progressing investigators. Like we are working with a lot of people, but we're also working to find a lot of new people because the ones we are working with are either not progressing, or are just following what we say without really doing these things for themselves. There's a really cool guy that were working with named Helton. He's married to an English woman who's living in England right now. He was on his way there with her, but somewhere on the way somebody lost an important document so he could stay in England, so he was sent back here and has been working on going out again ever since. He had no idea when things would happen, so we had a baptismal date marked with him, but he just received his passport and his wife said that she wants to be there for his baptism. We can't really argue with that, especially because he could be heading back in a few weeks. I like the guy anyways, although he has a ways to go before he could even be baptized here.

I almost forgot to mention that we had our Zone Christmas Party last week! It was the smallest party that I have ever seen here, with a grand total of 16 people. The Zone of Sal is small. I make more calls than my Zone Leaders do every night. Anyways, we did a little play on A Christmas Carol as a skit this year, where Elder Green acted like Ebeneezer Scrooge as he told us if we didn't have good enough numbers he would take away our Skyping privileges on Christmas. He was visited by 3 ghosts who showed him the error of his ways, and in the end he learned the importance of teaching people and not lessons. President and Sister Mathews gave their training on Obedience, which reminded me that there are always things that I can improve on. Sister Mathews really made a point when mentioning that every little thing that we do can have a bigger impact than we think. We saw a video that had tons of baptismal pictures that people had sent in, and I saw a lot of members and old investigators that I hadn't seen for a long time. It was really nice, and helped me to notice how much this country has touched me.

Well, other than the fact that the entire city of Espargos is pretty much out of water because they like the tourists over in Santa Maria more than us (probably because they have more money) not much else has been happening. The work is still the work, and it's still fun! Hope you all have a Very Merry Christmas! I'm just giddy to talk to my family in a week!

Boas Festas,
Elder Penner

Monday, December 12, 2016

White Christmas

Boa Tarde from the wonderful city of Espargos (Asparagus) on the island of Sal (Salt)! What a weird country, naming places after food. Sal is the most deserty of all of the islands of Cape Verde, but it's also the most popular one for tourists to pass through, which you can probably see why with the picture I sent with me on the beach. That's why I called my update White Christmas. There are so many white people here that it freaks me out a bit. 

Everything here is twice as expensive as everywhere else in this country. Now that may seem ridiculous, but you have to understand at the same time, the difference is between paying 50 cents or a dollar for an entire kilo of flour. Also, the shwarma here is one of the most wonderful things that I've eaten in my life, without a doubt. Our Zone is probably the smallest in the world. It consists of my District which has 4 duplas of missionaries, and the island of Boa Vista, which has one dupla. 10 missionaries.

My companion is Elder Teela. I'm serving in the area of Achada Matias. What a wonderful area we have! Elder Teela had a baptism every single week of last transfer. I'm super stoked. We actually had a baptism this last week as well! It's a kid named David. He's 14 years old, and his mom and older sister are already members. I didn't really do much for it, but it was still pretty neat to see.

Other things are mostly a blur for me. We went to a bit of a Recent Convert's wedding. I spent most of my time standing in a corner or following my companion around. I guess the mission hasn't stopped my awkwardness completely. Still, I'm getting to know a lot of cool people. Also, super crazy: Jason Derulo came to Cape Verde apparently? A member went to his concert because she worked on this one really nice hotel in Santa Maria and he came to commemorate it or something. I don't know but we saw a little video of him singing "Trumpets" on a member's phone so we believe it. Crazy, huh?

Life is wonderful, and I'm super stoked to work here! Also stoked for Christmas #LightTheWorld #GitStoked

Have a wonderful week!

Elder Penner

Monday, December 5, 2016

With or Without You

It's official today. The 7 other missionaries who I arrived with will have their final dinner and interview with President, and then late late tonight they will board their flight. Home. Some may ask, how am I feeling about this, knowing I have another 4 months before going home? Missing Christmas with the family? Waiting another term of school to move on with my life?

The answer is: fine, actually. I always knew that I'd be alright, but a couple of days last week I was still feeling a bit sad about it. Last night I received a strong witness that the place I most needed to be was here. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to be home with my family to pass the holidays, and I am in a way excited to see what life has next for me. However, these next 4 months are so important for me and I couldn't miss them for anything. I guess I actually can live with or without you.

This week has been filled with a whole lot of new people. Now that a fair portion of our area is no longer ours, we found a considerable gap in our investigator pool. We knocked doors this week like I've never knocked doors before on my mission. The progress has been gradual, but we've managed to find a lot of cool people, actually.

One couple that we've been working with for a little while, but I've never gotten around to mentioning them. Their names are Txida and Euritz (pronounced Cheetah and yoo-reets, I honestly have no idea how to write their names actually) and they're super cool. Txida is super estudious in religion and stuff. He doesn't follow a specific faith, but studies with all. He has a Bible that has books that are from the Apocrypha. Most people have touched the Bible once or twice in their lives. We had a really really cool conversation last night, and its one of the reasons I felt like I belong. I realized that the Lord wanted me there that time because it was me. I don't know if someone else could have done better than me at responding to his doubts, but I felt the Spirit so strong in me that it was wonderful. I hope that he can come to realize that this is the truth. It's just hard to find them both home at the same time, so we never know when we'll be able to talk to them. We'll get it, though.

Erineu and Ronice went with us to the Registro on last Tuesday. The people there told them that they were going to work for marriage on the 10th, which got us super stoked! However, they were supposed to get a call the next day to confirm the IDs of the godmother and godfather (it's necessary to have one here) but they never did. Also the ward council said that on no uncertain terms they wouldn't have enough time to throw a wedding reception. It'll probably happen at a later date, and at this point, the prospect might be for January. We're sad, but we're going to plan well so we don't have to push things forward any more. They've been ready for a while.

Life is good, and transfers are in a couple of days! Wherever I go (or not) I wish you all a great week and a wonderful Holiday Season!

Elder Penner