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