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 :)