Monday, March 27, 2017

Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)

The email I just read confirmed it: my friend Bryant, who started the mission about the same time I did (and who funnily enough also went home for a few months to recover from a broken bone) has signed off for the last time as a missionary. I almost put my update as Hello by Adele but I like Green Day better so I hope you have the time of your life, bro. See you on the other side.

Something about this last week has put me into an attitude of immense gratefulness for the things that I've learned since I arrived here on the mission. There are so many lessons that I've experienced, and that I'm honestly still experiencing. I've taken the little free time I have to write down the many things that I've learned, and even I'm surprised at how much I've been able to write about. The mission changes you, man.

Had a couple of lasts this past week: my last Zone Conference and my last interview with my Mission President. It was super short and sweet, actually. I just told him how life is great and I'm still learning so much, and he basically just counseled me to "sprint to the finish." Definitely plan on doing that, for sure.

Emily and Rui are doing awesome, we're going to get Emily's baptismal interview done tomorrow so we can have plenty of time to get people stoked for the baptismal service. Rui also should have been to the Registro today so he could mark an actual date for the marriage! Get stoked!

We also had a great experience with another investigator we have, named Etel. She and Zeka are currently going through some major issues right now. She told us that Zeka is planning on leaving at the end of the month. We don't want that to happen, but we haven't been able to talk to them for a while, and we're not sure what we can do. Etel has felt ignored by the Lord because of the death of her grandmother who raised her, and because she hasn't been able to have the kid that she wants. We started the Plan of Salvation with her, and we haven't finished teaching it yet for lack of time, but it was still a really neat experience. I felt the Spirit strongly.

I met a Born Again Christian Pastor from Nigeria the other day. I didn't even know that was a thing in this country, but that just proves that there's still more than meets the eye here. It was cool to teach the Restoration in English, but we could immediately tell that the guy wasn't interested at all, and he only let us in out of courtesy. We promised him an English Book of Mormon, but didn't mark a return visit. The field is white and ready to harvest, but he just didn't seem to be what we were looking for. Maybe some other time the Spirit will touch him so he can be more receptive.

I'm making the best of this test, and not asking why! Hoping that you all are doing great as well! Have a good week!!

Elder Penner

p.s. I'm lame so I didn't take pics sorry

Monday, March 20, 2017


"And everything under the sun is in tune, and the sun is eclipsed by the moon"

Everything just seems to be in tune here, so Pink Floyd's words to end their album Dark Side of the Moon ring well to me today. I'll cut to the chase about what's happening here, though.

Rui is going incredibly right now! This past week while talking to him, he told us a lot about how he's getting really excited for marriage, and he just feels good about the decision. The sad thing is, he has to wait until his money comes in at the end of the month so he can pay for the marriage license, so he probably won't be married while I'm still here. I'll have my comp send in pictures of the marriage and the baptism when it does happen, though. The greatest thing to me was that when we talked about the Sabbath Day and how he shouldn't work on Sunday, he was so willing that he said he'd stop yesterday, and he did. It's so special to see his willingness and readiness to accept the gospel and it's principles immediately. He's a boss.

Emily is going solid for the 8th of next month, though, so that means she'll be our baptism for this transfer! She really seemed to feel bad about going to the beach instead of church this last Sunday, and now we're just working hard to get her to meet Irmã Neusa, the Young Women's President. Things are really looking up for her, and we're getting stoked for the baptism to happen!

As I've studied about the power and authority of my calling, I've come to appreciate the Spirit that I personally feel as I testify, and the reaction that I see in people when it happens. Our investigator Sulamita is a great example, because we can literally see when the Spirit touches her, but there's just one little thing holding her back. I hope we can take care of it soon, I want to see her and her husband come to the gospel.

For some reason, we had a lot of lessons with investigators who refused to say a word as we talked to them. We were like, why would you let us into your house in the first place if you weren't planning on accepting anything we taught? It reminds me that people still have their agency, but we can make sure our teaching is powerful and full of the Spirit. Sometimes it feels like nothing can stop us, even when weird moments like that happen.

Life just seems like it's in order, right now. It's starting to get real that it's not going to last for much longer, but I'm focused on making it the best time for myself and for those that I'm teaching.

That's all I have for today, hoping you all are well in the meantime! Shoutout to my friend Bryant, who's going home in 9 days, as well as my brother Cameron, who's never going home ;) Love you all!

Elder Penner

​​1. Me overpowering the city of Espargos with my good looks
2. Good Real Estate
3. Terra Boa, meaning "good dirt." Not really understanding the name.
4. 70 mph selfie with Elder Thorsen, my ZL

Monday, March 13, 2017


The Red Hot Chili Peppers seem to best describe my metamorphosis already in motion. Actually not much of a change has happened, but I'd like to think so.

Vida na Cabo is the good life! We had a really great week, where we met and worked with a lot of progressing investigators. That is, progressing except that nobody went to church! True love is when you want to strangle someone because they're not doing what's best for them but you don't actually ever strangle them, because it's bad.

I don't know what we're going to do with Emily quite yet. She had been progressing for the 25th of this month, but she still hasn't even met the Young Women's leader yet, and her member supports took her to the beach instead of going to church yesterday. I think it may be better to wait a bit, so she can go to church at least twice consecutively and get to know Neusa.

We had a really neat lesson with Sulamita and Blada the other day as well. We taught the Plan of Salvation, and they had a lot of great questions and were very interested, especially in what we had to say about the role of the Fall of Adam and Eve. They were like, that totally makes sense! When we got to the end of the lesson, we invited them for baptism for this next month. They were so close to accepting a baptismal date, but at the last moment Sulamita backed out. You could feel the Spirit in that room. We're pretty sure it's going to happen really soon here.

Last but certainly not least, we had a sort of miracle yesterday! When talking with Rui and Albertina, we had a couple of members with us take away basically all of their doubts about marriage. It was incredible. We told them that we could make the marriage happen as early as the beginning of April if they were up for it. The Spirit was so strong, and they ended up deciding to go for it! We just went to the registro with Rui this morning, and they're going to go back this week to get things rolling! This is really exciting, because I never have been present for any of my investigators' weddings before. I'll be fine if it doesn't work out here, but if it does, that would be incredible. We're stoked!

Anyways, I think that's all I've got for the time being. We're going on a division tomorrow, which I'm excited for. Zone Conference is in a couple of weeks. Home is in a month. But why worry about tomorrow when today's so great, am I right?

Love you all!
Elder Penner

Monday, March 6, 2017

Stable Song

"Time for the final bow..."

Lame jokes based off of Death Cab songs aside, had another wonderful week here in Sal! In our Zone Meeting, our Zone Leaders gave an example of how we can get the fire stoked for our Cachupa to turn out delicious! It was a funny example just saying that we gotta keep our investigators constantly motivated to act outside of just teaching them the lessons. A lot of the time we find people that are really cool, but when we go back to teach them more, they still haven't read the Book of Mormon! How do you expect to keep up with the other things when you still haven't taken the first steps? So we're making a bigger effort to pass by our investigators every day just to give them little reminders to read, pray, and keep up with other commitments.

One really cool thing that's been happening is the jump in the leadership in our Branch. We're getting our Branch functioning much better now than ever. Neusa, a Recent Convert here and basically the closest thing I have to a mom here, skipped church this past Sunday because she was getting overloaded with stuff to do. She told us if she wasn't released as Young Women's President, she can't keep going to church. After a few good lessons on how the Lord qualifies who He calls, and some great help from President Da Veiga, she's doing a lot better now. She has a couple of counselors now, so she'll get the support she needs. It gave us a little scare, but it's all good now.

MIRACLE: For the first time ever in my mission, I have an investigator who was already planning to get married before we even taught the Law of Chastity. I think I mentioned Rui, who's living with a member of the Church right now, named Albertina. Well, the Souzas have known Albertina for a while and for the longest time were begging and pleading with her to do something about the Law of Chastity. Just before entering into the lesson, I asked Elder Souza and he just said "I did all I could. If you can make something happen that would be a miracle!" Well, it turns out that something the Souzas taught Albertina really struck deep, so now they're going to make an official separation of houses, and they're going to get married in June! We're pretty stoked about that!

ALSO: A couple of new investigators Sulamita and Blada are super cool as well. When we taught them yesterday, they still hadn't read the Book of Mormon, so we opened to 3 Nephi 11 and started reading about Christ's visit to the Americas. Well, Blada had some really good questions that showed he was paying attention. "How is Christ the light and life of the world?" "Why were the people gathering together?" Then we mentioned briefly life after death and Sulamita got super interested. "Life? Like after this one?" It was a really neat experience, and proof that the Lord has prepared people to receive us.

THE ICING ON THE CAKE: We ate a buffet meal for the Cape Verde equivalent of $2.50. This restaurant owner that we're friends with is the coolest guy ever. So while the Dutch tourists were chowing down their £10 buffet meal, we just slipped on in with our super deal. Probably the best deal that I've had for a meal here in Sal.

Anyways, that's all I have time for today. Hoping that everyone is well, and reminding everyone to keep up their scripture study! Do it! Anyways love you all!

Elder Penner

Sorry, I guess my pics won't send this week... :(