Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Letter dated 31 December 2013--Christmas!

Oi Família e Amigos!
Who's ready for 2014? Well, I know that every person in Cabo Verde has a plan to party all day of the last and the first day of the new year! There goes any teaching but hopefully we can still go out and talk to people. Maybe go visit some of the members on this special day.
So, this last week was crazy with everything. First off, on Monday, we had our Branch Christmas Party and it was so much fun. It started off with a nice spiritual thought by the Branch Mission Leader (who is a returned missionary) and then a gift exchange. They did the exchange by everyone putting in their name and then took out a name and bought a present for that person. I had the Primary President and I decided since they don't get too into the celebration of Christmas beyond lunch with the family, I got her some bright red and green nail polish. Well, after the spiritual thought, we had to give hints as to who our person was and then everyone guessed. Of course, the very first person to do this had my name so I went up and got my gift. Wow, it was nice. It was a really nice purple tie, with a matching pocket insert and cufflinks. Don't know that I can wear that during the mission but there are always events after the mission. After the gift exchange, we ate so much food. It was great!
Christmas party with the Branch
Christmas Eve was fun too. We couldn't really teach people because everyone was out partying, but we did go out and carol and bring a little Spirit of Natal with us. We went to our recent converts and to our investigators and it was so great. One lady was like, "Can you come with me to these friends and sing to them too?" We were like, "Of course!" It was a lot of fun and we found a lot of new people to talk to.

Christmas Day. Well, I think everyone know what was the highlight of that day. It was a lot of fun talking to everyone at home and hearing how everyone is doing in their own voices. It was great and I am looking forward to Mother's Day!
When we asked Brent what he would be eating on Christmas Day he hesitated and then said, "Fancy rice and beans!" And here it is, Christmas Dinner!
The wonderful family who had the missionaries over for Christmas dinner; Jo, Andre and their Mom

 The rest of the week was spent recovering from the joy of Christmas Day and ended with a great day at Church. A lot of things are happening here in Achada Grande, both in the world and with the work. People everywhere are preparing for the new year and because of that many people don't really want to talk to us but the people who are truly ready and are dedicated are showing that dedication by marking appointments with us. I'm excited for everything this next week.

Sunset in Cape Verde
Sounds like Jenessa's Wedding was awesome and made this Christmas a little bit more special for the family. Congrats Jenessa and Parker! Well, I love you all. Talk to you soon and have a Happy New Year!

Elder Dorff


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Letter dated 24 December 2013---FELIZ NATAL!

FELIZ NATAL para minha família e amigos!

How is everyone doing? Everyone is super excited for Christmas because I know that the about 120 missionaries here in Cabo Verde are so excited. Everyone is freaking out about how they are going to talk to their families. I am happy for my opportunity to talk to my family (okay, lets be honest, I am really excited for the day). If you knew me before my mission, you would know that my favorite part about Christmas was the fact that the family can be together. So, Wednesday will be a great day. But for all of you going to Knott's tomorrow, I better see some Bigfoot Rapids pictures from you (specifically on the ride getting soaked). 
So, this last week was a good week. A lot of Elders have been sick and because of that we did a lot of divisions and not every area saw much work. We had a good week and thankfully neither Elder Conduanhe or I have been hit by this cold/flu thing (knock on wood). I don't have all that much news about this week, just that we are working hard and trying to be excited about Christmas but also still thinking about the work. It's really not hard to think of all the things that I would do for Christmas. Dad, that photo of the Christmas tree... Made me so happy. My little one is awesome (and its even better now that I bought $2 lights) but there is nothing classic like our one with my Pikachu ornament.
Well, I figure since it is Christmas, I should say a little about what it is like here. Everyone has told me that this entire week will be impossible to teach because of parties, drinking and everything going on though the missionaries say that I will still be working this week. Why, you might ask? Because it is the time for Christ (well, in reality everyday is a day for Christ). He was willing to submit to the will of the Father and was sent to here to fulfill a great mission. It wasn't an easy one. It was one that he prepared for many years before he began. It was one of love, sacrifices, and everything he did was for others. He did all this to save the lives of all God's children. In one way, full time missions are similiar but on a much smaller scale. We don't go through the pain and suffering that he went through for each of us, but the principle is similar. We give part of lives to serve the Lord, to help others learn about the Gospel. We knowingly, or unknowingly, prepared for this our whole young lives and now we are all over the world talking to people about the mission of the Savior. I love it. It is such a great opportunity to serve. I know that Jesus Christ was and is our Savior. He knows about each one of us and he wants to help us everyday. We've just got to open up a little bit to His help and seriously, everything will be better. Remember, there will be times when we feel like we have nothing and have no one but remember that is a lie. We always have a helping hand in Him. 
Well, I think I will end there. Talk to you all soon! 

Elder Dorff :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Special baptisms and some partyin' missionaries

Oi minha família e meus amigos!

Well, can you believe it, I have been out for 7 months! And Christmas is in 9 days! As you can imagine, I am a little excited but let's be honest, I am not the only one. 
So, this week was a wonderful and full. This week had a lot of difficulties but also a lot of miracles. One thing that made this week difficult was the fact that Elder Conduanhe was sick for a couple of days. It's really hard to work when you aren't feeling up to moving. So, because of that and because other Elders have been sick, we have been doing a lot of divisions so that the work can continue in all of our areas. 
But we were blessed with the opportunity to have had 2 baptisms this week. They were kind of unexpected because they are young; Paula (age 12) and Paulina (age 11). So their story is this: their parents have been investigating the Church for a long time... the Elders before us were teaching them. They want to be married so bad but at this point aren't willing to make certain sacrifices to do so. Well, all of the sudden their 3 kids got super interested in the Church and started going without their parents. This last Sunday they said to me that they wanted to be baptized. The youngest of the 3 is only 7 so he has to wait but the oldest 2 are ready and were baptized. It was so cool to see them be baptized and I hope that they can help their parents understand the blessings of the gospel.
Baptism of Paula and Paulina (little brother Zenilson)
So like I said, Christmas is in 9 days! Because of that, we had our Ilha de Santiago Christmas Party and that was a blast! It was only 4 hours long and was during our study and lunch time but it was still super awesome. All the missionaries that were here in Praia, Assomada, and Terrafal came to the party. It started with us going to one of the chapels here and we heard from President Oliveira. He talked a lot about the importance of Christ and the Atonement and about how that is the real purpose of why we give gifts for Christmas. Christ gave us the greatest gift of all. After that, we got to hear a little of the Christmas Devotional and that was cool. I had to translate for Elder Conduanhe which was interesting but possible. After that we had an awesome lunch with everything homecooked and it was just super good. After that we broke up into districts and we went caroling. To be honest, it didn't feel the same as when I did it with my friends in Placentia but it was still super fun. We found some new people to teach and spread a little bit of Christmas cheer. After that, we came back and had a whole bunch of cake. It was super good. We got to go and sing for kids in a school and other places. We then were all together again and we sang for everyone else and talked about our experiences. Afterward, we all hung around eating more cake and taking a bunch of photos. It was a lot of fun and it was great to see so many people that I knew in the MTC and in Fogo. 
Being cool!
Well, I am certainly enjoying my time here and as the Christmas season arrives, things are getting a little more hectic with the people. Everyone here is prepping for family but not like you are Mom. They are repainting, fixing, and some cases, demolishing and then reconstructing their entire house (made of cement blocks). It's pretty crazy... 
Achada Grande
 Então, I love you all and I hope that everyone has a great week of Finals, Christmas Prep, and the craziness of the season! I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I am grateful for his sacrifice that he did for me so that I can live with my Heavenly Father again. I am grateful for my opportunity to sacrifice these two years to help others learn about Heavenly Father's plan.
 Praia Beach, where a baptism was held

Elder Brent Dorff



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Letter dated 9 December 2013--Power of prayer and home for the holidays in Cape Verde

Olá todo mundo,
Well, it was a wonderful week here in Cabo Verde. First of all, let me say to you all that I loved the recordings! Mom, I got the recordings you sent over email and they made me so happy. It was great to hear everyone's voice and it is time that I answer a few questions. Aunt Sandi, thanks for sending the letter but to tell you the truth I never got it! Hence why I never said anything. I heard that this has happened before. I don't know if Grandpa has been sending letters these past few months but if so I just barely got one of his letters and it is dated for the month of October. I don't know if he has a sent any others but tell him thanks for the picture of him and Grandma! Josh, it took me a second to realize what OChem2 meant. I am looking forward to having to work on that stuff again. Fun fact, the 500 escudo bill has NH3 on it (like a picture of the chemical structure). Super random I know. Jenessa, I am super excited for you and I hope that I make the invite list. I will do my best to attend but I might be a little occupied "at the beach." I am sure that dinner was wonderful (since everyone made a comment about how great the rolls were, just as I was expecting and wanting to hear). I loved the beautiful rendition of Silent Night. I've decided I want to try and get that on our phone so I can make it my ringtone :) But seriously, it was great to hear from everyone and I hope that I will hear more of that kind of stuff. Thanks also for all the updates and photos from the Hansons, Dorffs and Wyatts. You really don't know how happy it makes me to see you all (well, I think that Nathan, Mark, and Adam understand). Everyone is looking so much older and it is so weird to think that there is that much snow in Utah right now. Granted, I remember this time of year being like that so it's not all that strange (but it's in the 80's here). 
So okay, I guess I will talk a little about the mission. Really everything here is great. Transfers were today and I am staying with Elder Conduanhe for the next 6 weeks. It should be really fun. He is super quiet and so we are working on communication but everything is great. I absolutely love it. Right now we are working on our list of people we are working with. We have many people that like to talk about God but don't want to do anything that will bring them closer to him (like pray, read the scriptures, go to church, etc.) I think that is something the Bible explains really well, "Faith without works is dead." It really is true. We do though, have many great investigators. One of them is super awesome. His name is Adil (when he first said his name I thought he said Adele and I got super excited). He is a friend of Cristiano, one of the two people we baptized last week, and it is because of Cristiano he doing so good. We taught him about Joseph Smith and gave him an invitation to ask God if it was true. Cristiano then bore a super powerful testimony about the importance of praying with faith to really know the truth and I think that helped a lot because the next time we talked with Adil, he was completely different and he told us that he knew without a doubt the Church is true and that he wants to baptized immediately (and he has never been to Church). His baptism is in the plans. But seriously, it is just a testimony builder to me that the example of the members help make miracles happen. Like Preach My Gospel says, no effort with missionary work is ever a waste of time. 
Well, I love you all and I hope that everything is getting prepped for the holidays. Thanks to members we have some Church Christmas Music and one of the songs on there was "Home for the Holidays." I thought for sure I would feel super sad and trunky after hearing it but honestly it just made me happy. I have nothing to be sad about because I am home for the holidays; its just with a different family. And I am excited to talk to you all in 16 days (thats in 2 more emails :) ). Most definitely will be over Skype, Dad.

                                                                  Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards Men,
                                                                    Gospel for All who will lend an Ear.

Elder Dorff :) 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Letter dated 2 December 2013--Two baptisms!

Oi Família e Amigos!
This week I have a lot of things to say and not much time to say it all! So, first news of the this week is that we had a baptism, for 2 people! So, as a District we made a goal that everyone in the District would have a baptism on the 30th and we all achieved that. Not only that but in total, Praia had 35 baptisms this last week. The Church here is exploding. But more about the two I actually had a part in helping.
So, first one is a girl named Ro. She was a reference from the branch. She has been coming to Church for weeks because her boyfriend is the secretary of the branch. She has 2 little girls and is very busy with work and school. When we first talked to her, she was super excited and was super interested in the Church. But we know Satan, and he just hit her with everything and she was really stressed out with family, school and work (she does hair right now). But with thanks for the help of the Relief Society, the Branch President, and her boyfriend she was able to rekindle her excitement for baptism and she was baptized. Also, I think that there is a wedding in the Church being planned now :)
The other person is named Cristiano. We found him, or I guess I should say he found us, while we were teaching another investigator. He literally walked into her house and told us, "I went to your church 7 years ago with my uncle and I want to be baptized." So we started to teach him and he just accepted everything super quick. He quit alcohol like it was nothing and committed to living everything. One day while we were teaching him, we asked if he had any questions and his question was, "How do you become an Elder? I feel like that is my purpose in life; to serve a mission." We were so shocked. But he was so excited and he was just so ready to be baptized. A miracle happened  on the day of his baptism also. Like I mentioned before, he went to Church before with his uncle. Well, the day of the baptism just happened to be the day where Branch Presidents were being interviewed and his uncle ( a Branch President on the other side of the Island) was in town. So, we get to church and Cristiano leaves us and runs up to some random man. It turned out to be his uncle. What a great moment for his uncle to be there to watch and support him on his special day. It was so great and I am so happy for him and Ro. They are both going to help out a ton with the missionary work here. I am super excited!
Other news, we did our move last Thursday. All I can really say about that is that I hope when I get home, I don't have to move everything like I did here in Achada Grande. It took all day and wasn't the most fun way to spend Thanksgiving. Although I am grateful for the fact that I now live in a house with water that doesn't go out, like forever! Thats a great blessing. We live with the other Elders of Achada Grande and it's been pretty good. We are still trying to figure out a couple things like where to put stuff but it's nothing we can't handle. We are living with Elder Gooch and Elder Jarvis, should anyone want to know.
In other news, we are working a lot with members to find new investigators. We are finding a lot of people who are preparing to be baptized this month. Problem is, that a lot of them have to be married first and for a lot of people here, that is a deal breaker. We are also working a lot with less actives, trying to get them come back to Church. We have been working the Primary President of our Branch a lot because her family (husband and children) are all less active. This last week the husband came to Church and she was just so happy. Now it is our hope to get the kids to come too.
Well, things are super good here. Everyone is getting excited to Skype home for Christmas though. Our Zone Leader's house is decked out with Christmas stuff. Nothing says "trunky" like a bunch of Christmas decorations. I guess I can't really talk... a member gave a me a Christmas tree :)
Love you and talk to you soon!

Well, I was considering sending him this absolutely adorable personalized Christmas stocking that a family in our ward gave us with the following note:
There is no place like home for the Holidays...
So the song says, but for Missionaries of The church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints there is no better place to celebrate the Savior's birth than right where they are, teaching His Gospel.
Missionaries leave their families for a time so that those they teach can have their families for all time.
But...I don't want to make him homesick so I'll gladly hang it here, grateful as always to have a missionary serving the Lord!
Elder Dorff

The computer won't let me send photos. Next week I will send muitos (many)!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Moving and keeping busy and...oh, wait, is this week Thanksgiving??

Oi Família e Amigos!
How is life for everyone this week? So, first of all, I don't know when Thanksgiving this year. Was it last week or this coming? They obviously don't celebrate that holiday here so it is hard for me to remember. Either way, HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I have a lot to be grateful for but first let me talk about the week.
This week was a great week! We are seeing a lot of really prepared people come our way and they are preparing to be baptized during these next few weeks. This last week was also interviews with President Oliveira and those were great! I can see why everyone told me that while your on your mission, you come to love your mission president and his wife a lot. It is so true. He was able to give me a lot of advice and instruction on how I can be a better trainer for Elder Conduanhe (who is doing great) and also just a better missionary for Achada Grande. Because I have only 6 months in the mission, I still feel like I have a lot to learn.
Other interesting things that happened this week is that I received a phone call today saying that Elder Conduanhe and I have to move houses this week because our contract is going to expire soon. This means that with all the other things that we have to do this week (which was going to be an abnormally really busy week) just got even more busy. It's kind of funny though. Like I said in one of my emails, everyone in the family has been moving. Guess it is my turn.
So, things are good with me and Elder Conduanhe. Every day he is getting better and a little more independent. This week is going to fun for us because we are going to try and find new many people this week (by using divisions with members) and then just determine who are really ready to hear this Gospel. Like I said, we'll be busy. Also, I am getting better at being able to understand him and I think that he is getting better understanding my Portuguese (or I actually hope my Portuguese is improving). That helps out a companionship a lot.
Well, like I said, I have a lot to be grateful for. I am grateful for my family for one. I have a wonderful mom, dad, sister, brother, sister, their spouses, and all those nieces and nephews who I know are constantly praying for me. I am grateful for the friends I've got there at home in Placentia, BYU and all over the world (those friends serving missions too). I'm grateful for the experiences I had with band in middle and high school and college (for all those who did the Rose Parade in 2010, I heard "Seize the Day" and it reminded me of those 7 miles). I am grateful for great school teachers and church leaders and teachers. I am grateful for my opportunity to serve and everything that comes with it (the people, my comps, my strange meals, my watch tan, etc.) I am so grateful, most of all, for my Savior and His sacrifice for the whole world so that we can live with our Heavenly Father again. Thanks for everything!
A glimpse of Praia
Well, I am going to conclude here but I love you all! Family of mine, if you want, you can send some of those Lion House Rolls (or you can be evil and take a picture of you all enjoying them :) ). Talk to you all later!

Elder Dorff

Monday, November 18, 2013

Letter dated 18 November 2013---Livin' and Learnin'

Oi Família e Amigos de eu,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CARTER!!! I was thinking of you yesterday! Hope that the Bay Blades are fun. I remember playing with those a lot. They're awesome. 
Well, hey there everyone! This week was a good week although not all that much happened. We have found a bunch of new people to teach and many of them are progressing. The only thing that many of them are struggling with is Church attendance. The branch here has Church in a different city (like a 20 minute walk) and it starts at 3 in the afternoon; I don't think that Church can be any later than that. The good news is that many of the people we have found have already gone to Church a bunch before so it is time to help them go back and really get a testimony that it is true. Life is pretty stressful on the weekends for missionaries. If missionaries are going to have a baptism, Friday night the person has to have an interview with the District Leader, Saturday is the actual baptism and Sunday is the confirmation. As a missionary you have to make sure that the person gets there for all of those things. I think that is why Monday is so great. Get to play soccer for 3 hours, clean the house, go shopping, email home, and then just relax for like an hour, maybe 2. It's a great break. 
Things are going good with Elder Conduanhe. He is still learning how to be a missionary with the teaching and serving and everything. I still have problems with the language when I talk with him but I think I am getting better. We sometimes get into little arguments because one person misunderstood another but it always ends up with us laughing. I love working with him even though I don't feel like I can get to know him as well as I have with my American companions. All that matters is that things are all good with us and he likes how I make lunch now (rice,hamburger/sausage/other meats, eggs, fruit, and juice/sumo). Dad, I can understand what you mean by after eating rice every single day, it begins to get a little old... But I not sick of it yet.
Well, I love you all. Missionary work for me really has been a dream come true. I absolutely love working with the people here, members and non-members. The culture is so rooted in Christ and religion and God is important in everyone's life. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior. I am grateful for his sacrifice. I am grateful for my opportunity to sacrifice these 2 years to help others know about the way to live with Heavenly Father again. This really is the Lord's work.

Elder Dorff :)


Monday, November 11, 2013

Letter dated 11 November 2013--Member missionaries and fishy tales

Oi Família e Amigos,
Photo of all the Elders in our District (Me, Elders Conduanhe, Stevens, Evans, Gooch, Jarvis, Darling, and Acord)

Well this was another great, but tiring, week in Cabo Verde.  I am beginning to see so many differences here in Praia that I am starting to believe that I have restarted my mission. Like I have to teach different, talk to people different, act different, and just everything is more city but also at the same time more African. It has certainly been interesting.
So this past week I have had the opportunity to get to know a lot of the members here in Achada Grande and although there aren't many, they are so strong and they are willing to help the missionaries teach. That is one of the biggest adjustments in the work is that I need to learn how to use members to help us. But I can testify to the fact that missionary work is much more effective when members are involved. One thing that members worry about  when it comes to missionary work is that they fear that the people they refer won't accept the invite to listen to the missionaries. But here is the thing, if someone really feels like someone else needs to hear from the missionaries, there really is no harm in referring someone. The person still has their agency to tell the missionaries that they aren't interested and everything returns to normal. Gordon B. Hinckley said something to the fact that many people think that missionary work is just knocking on doors, but that is not true. A better way is through members. I think that is one of the lessons I need to learn here in Praia, to rely on the members. 
Photo of Manuels Baptism (Domingos baptized him)
So I've got great news for the future! We will have a wedding in December! I am really excited for them. Their names are Ziko and Lé. They have done all the paperwork and only need to mark an actual date. More talk about that in the near future.
Sounds like everyone at home is going good. Lot's of people seem to be moving around into new houses. I think that Cami and Adam are the only ones that need to move for everyone in the family to have moved within the past year.  That's a pretty good record. Great to see the pictures of the whole family and congrats to Oki and Cassie. It is amazing how fast the family is growing. 
Oh I forgot to mention that this last week we woke up to a marching band playing. I heard clarinets, trumpets, everything. It was a nice surprise and I still don't know why I heard it but it was awesome. Reminded me of something I am excited to do when I get back. 
Because I know many of you were worried when I got called to Africa because of the fact that I was a picky eater (when I was like 9,) this is for you! We went to a restaurant today and the lady asked if I wanted fish and I said yes. I don't know why but I thought it would be like the fish that is deboned and everything. Nope, I got an entire fish on my plate and the only thing missing was the eye (thank goodness that wasn't there). Well, just so you know, I ate the whole thing (and some of the bones on accident) and it was super good. I don't think that I am a picky eater anymore.
Photo of the port from our area
 Well, love you all and it was great to hear about all your adventures!
Até logo (See you soon!)

Elder Dorff :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Letter dated 4 November 2013--Adjusting to Praia and Portuguese

Man can you believe it meu família e amigos,
It is November! I left for the mission field in May! Man the time has passed. So, this week was a good first week. It was super crazy for me though because literally this week was just full of weird transfer business in the Zone. For one, they split the zone in Praia into two because they just opened the island of Maio for missionaries so more people were moved around. Me and Elder Conduanhe weren't affected by it but many others were. This last Saturday we had a Zone Meeting (which is shorter than a Zone Conference) and I found out that Elders McKissick, Welch and Bazzarone are all in my zone, Praia Leste (East)! So it was super fun to see my first companion in the field, my first companion of the MTC. It was just an awesome "Elder" day.

Also, this week was Stake Conference. I didn't get to listen to any of it though because we moved out of the meeting so more members could sit and listen. That is a problem that I have never had to deal with. But something cool about Conference is that I saw my recent convert, Katia, from Mosteiros there! She went to Praia for school this last transfer. She isn't in the same branch that I will be working in but is in the same building. In fact, her university is situatated right above the Church building (even in Praia I don't have a chapel).

Katia at Stake Conference and me and my companion, Elder Conduanhe

Something really cool that happened this week is that we had a baptism! His name is Manuel and he was being taught and was almost ready for baptism when I got here. I finished teaching him and then got him ready for baptism. I don't know him very well still but I know that he has a true testimony of the Gospel and if he is any sign of how the work is going to go here, I am super excited. At this point, we are working a lot on trying to find new people to teach and determine who of the people that we already have will progress. It is a lot of work. And trying to figure out what needs to be done with Elder Conduanhe's training and speaking Portuguese every day almost all day, it is a little stressful. But I am loving it all! Elder Conduanhe is a great Elder. There are definitely cultural differences like when it comes to food (I am happy with a sandwich and juice for lunch and he wants a full 3 course meal) and other things. It is fun. Fun thing that we did for P-day is that we played soccer. Almost every Elder in Praia played. It was so much fun and although I didn't score I made a lot of assists.

View of Praia from my house

Well it sounds like this was a good week for everyone. Halloween sounds like fun. My celebrations were pretty minimal. I love all the photos I got. And I am still waiting to hear about Christy's baby... October 22nd came and went. Thanks for all your prayers and your love. Talk to you all next week!

Com muito amor,
Elder Dorff

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Letter dated 29 Oct 2013--Transferred to PRAIA!

Oi Familia e Amigos!

Well, you may be thinking that I didn't email yesterday because the power went out. Well, you are wrong! In fact, you are so wrong because the biggest change of my mission happened yesterday. Sunday night was Transfer Assignments Night and President called us and told Elder Paredes that he was staying in Mosteiros and that I was going to PRAIA! Not only this but I would be working in a nearly new area of the mission! The area is called Achade Grande Frente. And not only that but I am also training a new Elder and my new companion is from Mozembique! His name is Elder Conduanhe. He is 26 years old (makes me feel really young and old at the same time) and he is great. He doesn't speak any English so this transfer will be Portuguese 24-7. Because I am training him, I will be doing most of the teaching for a little bit of time until he learns how to teach.  He doesn't understand Creole either so I will have to decipher what it is exactly these people are saying. It is going to be a fun transfer. I really am looking forward to the work here. Just yesterday, we found some really cool people to teach.
I arrived here yesterday afternoon (Praia is the capitol of Cabo Verde on the island of Santiago) by plane and then was shipped off to my new area. Praia is soooooooo different than Mosteiros and Fogo, in general. You never have to wait for a taxi because they are everywhere and they have supermarkets, not as big as Walmart but kind of like it. I am trying to decide if I am going to like the city life or miss the more country life of Mosteiros. Either way it will be an adventure. I am really sad though, because since I have gone to Fogo, my chances of returning are limited. The good news is that one of our recent converts, Katia, is here in Praia for school so I am looking forward to finding where she lives and trying to say hi one more time. I think that she is my branch here. We work with the Praia 4 Branch and the branch is preparing to be a ward by the end of the year. I am really excited. I wish I had pictures of Praia to show you guys but I don't yet. And also I forgot my cord for the computer at the house... and my camera itself... Next week photos for sure.

Well, the adventure continues. It was kind of hard to leave Elder Paredes and Mosteiros though. I am going to miss both. I hope that everyone has a great Halloween this week (I decided that I was going to be a missionary for Halloween. I got my costume picked out and everything) and hopefully school is going good too! Love you all!
Sporting the Halloween costume!

Elder Brent Dorff :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Letter dated 22 October 2013-- a volcano and immunize 'em!

Oi Família e Amigos,

Well you know the drill. I get on the computer after my companion finishes and the Internet goes out. Just my luck, right? But that is why I am emailing today.
Well, it sounds like everyone is doing good right now. Glad to hear that. I am doing good too but I am really tired from this last week of stressful work. Right now we are working with many new people and some that we have had for a long time but just aren't progressing as we were hoping. We have also been working a lot with less active members and helping them come back and partake of the Gospel again. There is a lot of work to do here in Mosteiros but I am still loving it all! 
Ocean near Vila da Igreja--what a view!
So, since I am writing on Tuesday, I guess I will tell you about what we did for P-day yesterday. You may remember, like 6 or 7 weeks ago, we went and hiked part of a nearby mountain but because of time we had to turn back. Well, this time we better planned and took an easier route and we hiked the entire mountain. It took about 2-3 hours to get up there and then 1 hour to get back down. We went with some other Elders from Relva. It was a lot of fun and I got probably my best pictures that I could ever get of the volcano. Only thing though is that I think that I got a little bit too much sun. That will be fun to deal with for the next few days. But it was worth it and besides that, no real after effects from the hike. 
Volcano-Pico de Fogo
Me and the volcano's moonlike landscape
Funny story time. So right now, Cape Verdean's are getting this weird vaccination thing to boost up the resistance to some disease and the Church is helping to sponsor the distribution. So this Sunday at Church, we were all in Sacrament Meeting and someone was giving a talk. After the person concluded, some random lady yelled (in Creole), "Good Morning everyone! Is Rosangela here!?" She then took her out and then that same lady just kept pulling random members outside to get shots. I don't think that the vaccine people understood that they shouldn't take members out of Sacrament Meeting to give them this shot but they did. Because of that I won a bet with Elder Paredes (I told him that the vaccine people where so determined to have everyone get it that they would pull people out of Church to do it). 
Moon above the ocean in Feijoal 
But yeah, it has been a good week and this week should be pretty good too. I hope all is going good and I keep you all in my prayers. Thanks for your love and prayers for me too!
Until next week comes!

Elder Dorff :)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Letter dated 14 Oct. 2013---God's love and the promised goat

O minha família e amigos!

Well, this past week has been a pretty normal week with a great ending. We finally watched conference this last weekend. It was really good, although it was a great challenge to understand it in Portuguese. Thank goodness the language of the Spirit is the same for all people. Eventually, I could figure out what the translator was saying. I plan on copying General Conference in English and Portuguese today onto my flashdrive so that I can listen to it whenever I want to.
So this last week was BYU's Homecoming. I was thinking about that this past week, how long it has already been since I was there. It has been like almost 6 whole months since I was there and I am coming up on my 5 month mark of being on a mission tomorrow. I feel like an old and new missionary at the same exact time. 
Sounds like everyone is doing good. I am happy to hear that. And I can't believe all the weddings that look like might happen as I am out here. 
This cow in Feijoa wouldn't stop mooing until I took her picture
Like I said in my last email, last week we did a division and Elder Paredes and Elder Andrade (from the other área in our district) swapped. Elder Andrade (he is a Cape Verdean waiting for his visa to Brazil) and I went up to Feijoal (our city in the mountains) and tried finding some less actives that we had heard about. We went to this one house where I knew a less active lived, and I asked this guy at the house how he was doing. Well, he went crazy and just started yelling that he was Catholic and never was going to change. I think he did that for a good 10 minutes and then I was just like, "I am sorry sir, but we heard that a member of our Church lived here." He comfirmed that a member did live there and it was his son. He then took us into his house to this random room. He slammed open the door and swung the windows open and there on a bed was his son. He then started yelling about how his son was sick and other things. While he was talking, I was looking around and I saw 2 Book of Mormons and a hymn book. I then started talking to his son about the Book of Mormon and the importance of prayer. Eventually the father sat up his son, and we discovered that he is mentally disabled or "sick" and so his Dad helps him a lot. We talked to both the son and his dad about the power of prayer. The Spirit was so strong and I just felt the love of God for this mentally disabled son. I love these people. I can't love them more than God but I just have so much love for these people.
Oh, and one story just for laughs. I still don't have a very soild handle on Creole and proof of that came when we were in Feijoal; I accidently promised someone that we were going to buy him a goat. I don't know when I did that but I must have said yes to something I didn't mean to. The next time we went up to Feijoal, that man when crazy on us because we didn't bring him a goat. Elder Paredes just looked at me and was like, "You promised him a goat?" The whole situation was funny. Ah, language barriers.
Oh, and one more story. We went out to go pick up a couple of investigators for conference and we were walking up to this plaza and there were all these people just hanging out with pieces of papers and people were yelling out numbers. We were super confused and then we found someone that we knew and asked what was going on. He said that it was a bingo game and the winner gets some couches. There were literally 300 people playing bingo. It was crazy. I think that is the biggest bingo game that I have ever seen. Next week they are going to do it again but for a table.
The longest staircase in the world (From Vila da Igreja up the mountian to Feijoal)
Well, I love you all and you are all in my prayers. Thanks for your love and your prayers! Tell Elder Klein that I can't wait to hear some of that Russian when he returns!

Elder Brent Dorff

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Letter dated 9 Oct. 2013---A zebra shirt and Stacy's baptism

Oi Família e Amigos,
I am not dead so you can stop thinking that. So my excuses for not writing on Monday and Tuesday and almost not today are as follows: Apparently,it is possible for Cape Verdeans to shut off the Internet on an entire Island because that is what happened on Monday. Don't ask why or how because I don't know but it was a bummer nevertheless. Tuesday, we did District Leader divisions so we couldn't use Internet. Today, we went to the library and the power went out and so we waited for a little while and eventually power returned. What a blessing. But I am good and well.
Donkey with a Zebra shirt on (Protects them from Mosquitos)
Well, I have a lot to talk about so let's get started. This last week we had a baptism! Her name is Stacy and she is 16 years old. I think her baptism was a true witness of the power of member missionary work. We found her through Patrick, a recent convert of 8-9ish months, and then we started teaching her. We then started bringing Patrick, Joãozinho, and Fidel (another teen member) to the lessons and through them, she came to church. She received a testimony pretty quickly of the gospel but it took the help of some friends to get her to come to church. Now she is doing the same for someone else who will hopefully be baptized in the weeks to come. I am really happy for her and it was great to see her family support her in the decision.
Baptism of Stacy (Fidel baptized her, her mom Tá and brother Lineson
So, last week was Zone Conference and it was so good. We had a lot of training on many different things but I think that the overall lesson of the day was that God has a way for every person and every area to come unto Him. We just need to pray, fast, and work to discover what is His will. I think that it is the same for our lives. He knows all of us personally and He knows what we need to go through in our lives. Our lives are hard at some times but trials are there to help us grow and to come unto Him. I am realizing that here more than ever. Oh, and about the whole scripture game thing. My comp lied to me to scare me into memorizing all the scriptures... I am mad at him about that but grateful at the same time because I was ready for any scripture that President or the APs asked me to say. Now I just need to remember them for next zone conference.
Missionaries from my MTC District (Elder Ernst, Sister Bradford and Sister Webb)
Well, I hope that everyone is doing good. I got a lot of emails this week which was awesome! I will do my best in answering all of them today. Oh, and to answer the question about General Conference, we will watch it (in Portuguese) this week in the Church. Someone will download it onto a flashdrive and we will watch it on the TV we have. Maybe we will use the projector. Either way I am sad that I have had to wait another week but I am excited for this weekend!
Love you all! Tchao!
Elder Brent Dorff :)
Found your birthday scrawled on a wall in Feijoal

Monday, September 30, 2013

Letter dated 30 Sept. 2013--sore arms and Christ's invitation to Come unto Him

Oi minha Família e meus amigos!
This past week has been a pretty normal week with really not all that much going on. We taught lessons, fought killer lions (or flies), and did a lot of walking. First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY EVALY! Just so you know I did not forget that the 27th was your birthday but I did forget to mention that in my last email. I hope that it was a good day and know that I was thinking about you that day!
So, something new that we are doing is that we are weight lifting in the mornings. Could you actually see me doing that? We have a less active man that we are trying to active and Elder Paredes discovered that he has a bench and weights. He asked if we could work out with him in the morning and he just said that we could come in every day and work out however long we want. So my arms are killing me from doing it every day.
Ok, so this last week we were supposed to Zone Conference but because of things going on on one of the other islands, President moved it till next week so I won't get letters until the end of this week. But here, let me explain the scripture game that I was talking about last week. So, imagine all the missionaries on Fogo and Brave sitting together. President sits on the stand with Preach My Gospel and the Scriptures open. The assistants walk around and chose a missionary at random. This missionary walks up to the front and is given a lesson number and a lesson point number, (Example: 2 lesson, 4 point, which is Our Life on Earth). This missionary must say the title within 5 seconds and then say a scripture from memory about this topic. If you get anything wrong, even one scripture, you hear about it. Many missionaries have fear over it but I am feeling pretty good. I have almost all the points and scriptures down so I should be good. And, of course, there is no guarantee that I will be picked. I will have to tell you how it goes next week. Elder Paredes and I practice every day.
Another baptism and another flood--wow, getting skilled at this job, using 3 mops now!
One last thing before I close my email. We had a lesson this week with 2 of our investigators, and as we were going into the lesson, we had absolutely no idea what we were going to teach. They both have baptismal dates but one has a boyfriend in America that doesn't want her to be baptized and the other one just doesn't have the motivation. The point was, we had taught them everything and we were stuck on what to teach. But once we started the lesson, I thought about 2 Nephi 26:25 (Behold, doth he (Jesus Christ) cry unto any, saying: Depart from me? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; but he saith come unto me all ye ends of the earth, buy milk and honey, without money and without price), where it talks about how Christ wants everyone to partake of his sacrífice and how he wants to help us in our lives. Elder Paredes was then prompted to share 1 Corinthinians 10:13, (There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it) Our message ended up being that in our lives we have a lot of difficulties  (with family, friends, work, school, etc.) but Christ is always there for us and he will always lift us from the depths of despair. Doesn't even matter what your religion is. He loves everyone. It was a great lesson for them and for me.
Well, I love you all and I wish you all health and success in everything you are doing! Hey, if you have a couple of minutes shoot me an email. I am curious to hear how all of you are doing! :)
Até aproxima semana, Tchão!
Elder Brent Dorff :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Letter dated 23 Sept. 2013--- "com fé em Deus" and Mariza's baptism

Bom Dia minha Família e meus amigos!

Well, lets see, this week was interesting, to say the least, but it was really good. The biggest news is that we were able to have another baptism this last week. Her name is Mariza and she is the sister of our first two converts, Mara and Kevin. So here is her story. She was supposed to be baptized with her siblings that very first week that I was here but she was unable to be baptized for some reason. So we marked her for the next week. Then she went missing for an entire week. So we waited a long time and marked her again. And again. And again. And then like three times more after that till finally we decided that we were going to give up. But then something about her changed. She went to Church on her own and kept all of her appointments (that was a rare occurrence before) and she showed a sincere desire to be baptized. So it was finally done, 12 weeks later. I am so happy for her. I even called Elder McKissick about it and he was happy to hear about her too. It really was a miracle that she was baptized. She will be really blessed by it in her life.
Mariza's Baptism--Elder Paredes, Edy who performed the baptism, Mara (Mariza's sister) Mariza and me
Something else that is kind of cool is that I am getting to use my mad piano playing skills (you know the ones I actually had and practiced for before I started high school) here in Cabo Verde! So at transfers, the Elder that played for Sacrament Meetings left and so I am the only Elder that can read music and play piano. It was pretty weird playing the simplified hymns for everyone but really fun. I get to do that this whole transfer so I hope to be able to strengthen my ability to play piano and read music. 
Oh, and one more change that occurred at transfers: I am District Leader again! That means I get to have the fun job of making phone calls, doing trainings at District Meetings (I have already done two trainings), travel to São Filipe for meetings, and receive punishments (called "facas") from the Zone Leaders for my District and then in turn give facas to them. Just another thing that will make this transfer interesting.
So, a little something about the people here is that they love to use the phrase "com fé em Deus" (With faith in God) for everything. Will you come to church? "com fé em Deus." Will you stop drinking alochol? "com fé em Deus." Will you read this scripture tonight and pray? "com fé em Deus." It is one of those cultural things that is actually a little annoying becuase you don't actually know if they will fulfill the commitment or not. Usually you just plan for it not happening and prepare for that. It all depends on the investigator. Right now we have a couple investigators that are really doing good. We should see some real success this transfer. 
Re-enacting the story of Samuel the Lamanite
So the next time I get mail is this Thursday for Zone Conference. Everyone is looking forward to getting mail but everyone is memorizing scriptures for the infamous Scripture Game. I will have to tell you more about that next week.
I love you all and I will talk to you later. Thanks for all the prayers in my behalf and I pray that all is well with all of you!!!

Elder Dorff 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Letter dated 16 Sept. 2013---Transfer? just kiddin'

Oi Familia e Amigos!!!
Well, I'm doing good. I hope that you are all doing good too. :)

So, not much has happened between Wednesday and today except for one thing, TRANSFERS! So I have been in Mosteiros for 2 transfers. I finished my missionary in-field training and have spent 3 wonderful months here. But as most things that are wonderful, they all must end eventually. So I prepared myself to be transfered to a new area. I said goodbye to recent converts, and there were tears shed by some of my favorite members. We counted down til 9 pm and we sat waiting for the phone call from President Oliveira. And waited.... and waited... and it never came... So you know what that means? Another wonderful 6 weeks in Mosteiros! :) So today I get to go to all my converts and be like "Just Kidding!" Already a few of them have seen that I am still here. I am excited because I know that the Lord has a work for me and Elder Paredes to finish here. Man, I love this area!
So lets see, what else is new... Today was the first day of school for the people here and so the town that we do Internet in is super busy. I am curious to see how kids in school affects missionary work, seeing how most the Church membership here is pretty young.
Some cute children
Oh, and something else that came with transfers is that we get new planners. Something cool that we can do is decorate our planners and so I decked my out with the coolest flag in the world. If you recognize the flag and you were the designer of the picture, you and your brother should email me.
The translation is "...I remember those upon the islands of the sea..."
Oh, and so I need to do a little more explaining of my last email. So one, we don't have a car but we take taxis from area to area. Also, to get back to our house from the one city we took a bus halfway and then waited 4 hours for a hiace. You can bet that we were dead tired the next day. The roof of our house is good and is impenetrable (wind and rain), except for the spiders, flys, and lizards that find their way in.
Well, I love you all. I think about you a lot but I want you to know that I am really enjoying my time out here. A mission is a great experience and blessing. If you are trying to decide to serve or not, do it. You won't regret it. Love you and talk to you all next week!
Elder Dorff :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Letter dated 11 Sep 2013--Tropical storm/Hurricane Humberto, Manuella and Music

Oi Familia e Amigos!
Well, sorry for the tardiness of this email but don't think that I have forgotten you people there in the States. If you have checked the Weather Channel, you would know that we have been encompassed by the beginnings of a tropical storm (which I would assume is heading for Florida. Your welcome!) and becasue of that we lost power, internet, and cell phone service. Also, we got trapped in another area and so we had to stay with another companionship for the night (the road had trees covering it and also there had been a landslide). We ended up having to go all the way around the other side of the island to get back to our area. It worked out in the end but we are tired.
MIAMI — Humberto strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane far out in the Atlantic early Wednesday, becoming the first hurricane of the Atlantic season.
Humberto was centered about 310 miles west-northwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands and is moving north-northwest about 8 mph.

Hurricane Humberto: Map shows Humberto's probable path from Sept. 11 to Sept. 16.: Map shows Humberto's probable path from Sept. 11 to Sept. 16.
Baptism of Manuella (with her daugther Gamalise and Edy who was baptized)
Então muitas pessoas perguntaram-mim "como está a lingua". Eu acho que eu posso falar mais melhor mas eu tenho mais aprender. Creole é mal mas eu posso falar e entender um pouco. Eu não quero aprender Creole até eu posso falar em Português com mais confiencia. Mas com mais tempo, eu vou falar em ambas linguas sem problemas. (So many people asked me "How is the language?" I think that I can speak better but I have more to learn. Creole is evil but I can speak and understand a little bit. I don't want to learn Creole until I can speak Portuguese with more confidence. But with more time, I will speak in both languages without problems.) :)
Cachupa (my first real Cabo Verdean food.)
So you would be surprised to know that although I am on my mission, I have found a way to use my music skills again. I've picked up piano again. The other day we had to wait to fill up the baptismal font and so for 2 hours I practiced from the simplified hymns book. I can play a lot of the songs in there. Also, I worked on my scales (you know those fun things that are just so awful but so helpful). I hope that I can be able to get good enough to feel confident in playing during sacrament meeting. At this point, nobody in our area can play or really sing... so we will be working on that a bit. We have one Elder that can play piano and he has been playing for the whole transfer but I kind of want to try once too.
It's great to hear about how Jordan's talk and Court of Honor went. I bet that was a fun weekend for him. Congrats Jordan! I got an email from Elder Bowen and it sounds like he is doing well. I got a lot of emails this week from family which was a great surprise. Cami, those pictures of Beckham are so cute. Man, I want to see that kid in real life... but pictures with have to due for now. Just make sure he knows that Uncle Brent will be his favorite uncle. Evaly, good to hear that your doing good with the pregnancy. I loved those pictures too that you sent. I definitely have some that I need to save and print out eventually from both of you. Uncle M, I heard about everything that's going on. I hope that you getting feeling better and that the doctors there can help you do that. That is one great blessing about living in the states: good medical attention is available. I loved hearing about the BYU vs. Texas game. It blew many minds over here that they won. I had no doubt that they would win. Man, you people at BYU are so lucky. If someone wants to be awesome, you can send me a chocolate or cookies & cream milk from there. :)

Dream on Elder!!
Well I am going to go. It was great to hear from all you and I love you all sooooooooooooooooooo much!
Elder Dorff :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Letter dated 9-2-13--Katia and Joãozinho's baptims

Bom Dia minha familia e meus amigos!
So, first off, I just realized that today was Labor Day. I love how Labor Day just happens to be on the day that we get to play and labor the least. In fact, I am not in Mosteiros right now. We actually decided to go to another area to be with the Elders there and so we are using Internet over here. 
Wow, it sounds like the family is really busy right now. It's is honestly the strangest feeling to think that life goes on as you serve a mission. Like you think that things won't change all that much but I just read the weekly updates and everyone is doing a whole bunch of different things. It makes me excited to hear that everyone is good. Oh and one last thing. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEG! I love you so much!
So, about Cabo Verde. This week was awesome! First of all, we had 2 baptisms this week. We first had Katia (18 years), who has literally been talking to missionaries for over 9 months. She is super smart though and studies the Bible and the Book of Mormon for 30 minutes every day. She loves the Gospel so I am really glad that she was able to be baptized. She is going to the University in Praia next month so we will only get to enjoy having her as a member here for a month or so.
Elder Paredes, Joãozinho, Katia, Elder Dorff and others 
The other was Joãozinho (17 years), who is like the exact opposite as Katia. He doesn't have much education and can't read very well but he has had a desire to be baptized since we met him. I can remember when we met him. We were filling up the font for Eugênio's baptism (remember the flooding in the Church) and he just came up to me and Elder McKissick and asked if he could sit with us. After a couple of minutes, Elder McKissick asked if we could teach him and he was like, "yeah, totally." We wanted to teach him more but we didn't know where he lived so we couldn't but then, a miracle happened. We were running errands and I saw him walk by a window and I ran outside and waved him down. He was so excited to see us. We taught him some more and he was baptized. The baptismal service had a lot of problems (jumpsuit problems, witnesses, program) but the actual baptisms themselves were great. And, in fact, I was able to actually do the baptism for Joãozinho! So I was really excited and happy to do that.
In other news, yesterday was crazy rainy and so here you see me and Elder Paredes walking around gathering people for Church, soaked, in our suits. It was fun but a lot of hard work. But it was worth it. We were able to get 8 of our investigators to come to Church, which is my new mission record and also the record for the Branch. I am excited for this week. We have found some new prospects and they seem really interested in what we have to teach. And I think that we might actually start the marriage paperwork this week. We have a lot of work to do but I am excited to help everyone.
Well, it sounds like everyone is doing good. I love you all, and I feel stronger every week as I read your letters. Some missionaries get "trunky" meaning that they miss America and everything there (family, friends, modern tech, music, food, culture, etc.) and that causes them to not work their best. Not saying that I don't miss that stuff but I try not to dwell on it because I know that if I continue to work hard here, Heavenly Father will protect and help everyone I love at home. I mean when you think about it, my mission is already flying by super quick. We were talking about that the other day. Days drag on, but weeks fly by, months are like a blink of an eye, transfers even faster, and I am sure that when I hit one year I will be like "What just happened!" Either way, love you all and I pray for your welfare and thanks for praying for mine!

Elder "Spearhead" Dorff :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Letter dated 26 August 2013---Fishers of men and fishing

Oi Familia e Amigos!

Okay, so first off can I just say, George, I can't believe that your mission is over! I bet that your homecoming talk was nothing short of inspirational. Wish I could have been there for it but I guess we will be waiting a little bit longer before we can hang out again. Anyway, congrats. You served  your mission for the Lord faithfully, something that I am trying to do now.
Things here have been a little rough lately with the missionary work but things are getting better. These next few weeks we should have 3-4 baptisms and we should be working out government related marriage problems, or at least on their way to being resolved. 
Elder Dorff and companion, Elder Paredes
So I had a couple of, "Just in Africa" moments here this past week. First, Elder Paredes and I went and worked in the Campos. That means we dug in the ground after the rain (we have had a lot of rain lately), planted seeds, and then covered them up. That sounds easy right? Well, remember that we are on a volcano and not all the campos are flat. Super rocky and mountainous. It was sweaty work but it was fun.
Elder Dorff and Edy

 We helped out a member and then he repaid us the favor by taking us fishing today (p-day). Now before, in the states, when I went fishing we could buy bait, fish with a rod, and usually had a calm lake to fish in. Well, here we had to hunt down our bait (man, those little black crabs, like at Dana Point, are really fast), didn't have a rod (but rather just a piece of iron for a sinker, hook and fishing line attached to a Coke bottle) and fished in the ocean (which is incredibly difficult without a pier but possible). Elder Paredes and I caught nothing but, Edy, our member friend, caught a fish bigger than both our heads. It was fun. 
Mom, it sounds like you are having fun with school again. If I miss anything a lot, it would probably be, well family, of course, but also BYU. I was sitting here thinking, "I think that BYU started school today if not last week..." I miss school but I'm good. I am glad that I still have more of it to do after the mission.

Well, love you all and take care. Email/DearElder/Mail me if you want me to know about your life! I know you might not think I care but I want to know about stuff in your lives! All you peoples!

Elder Dorff