Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Letters dated November 17th & 24th, December 1st, 2014---Working hard and the volcanic eruption in Fogo

Olá minha família e meus amigos!                                                        November 17, 2014

Well, it was another great, hot-ish, hardworking, crazy, but also calm, week. So, I will start off by wishing Carter a Happy Birthday! Already has 10 years of life (that phrase directly translated in Portuguese makes sense.) Hope it is a good day!
This last week we found some new people that have a lot of potential. We found them through our "Tarde de Obra Missionária" or our Missionary Afternoon. It is part of our Zone plan to do this activity at least 2 times a month so that we can get the members more involved in missionary work. What we did was, we took a whole pile of Liahona magazines and we practiced with members how they can share them with friends, family, even complete strangers. At first, everyone was nervous but after they practiced, everyone was laughing at the experience and they were excited to go out to give the Liahonas. Each member that went out came back with like 2-3 references of people who had interest in talking with us. It was a lot of fun, and like all Church activities, ended with cookies and juice. Now we are in the process of finding those who were willing to talk to us. 
This dog forgot to put on its pants before coming out to bark at us. How embarrassing...
We went to Assomada for a District Leader meeting and got some cool training. Also, today for P-day we went and played Ultimate Frisbee. I felt tired at the end of it but it was a lot of fun. 
Well, sorry that today is a shorter email. Next week I promise a longer email. Sounds good? Sweet. I love you a bunch and I hope that you have a great week!

Elder Brent Dorff

Olá minha família e meus amigos!                                                          November 24, 2014

Oh, what a week. It was a really good one as we had the chance to teach the most lessons with members (including 2 divisions with members) since I've been here in Calheta and also we had the 2nd counselor in the Stake Presidency come. He gave instruction of what needs to happen within the branch so that it can grow. Thanks to that spiritual push, and also our efforts to include more members participating in the Lord's work, we hope to see more miracles happen in peoples lives.
Speaking of miracles, we have been focusing a lot on the miracles of Jesus Christ as we have been visiting our less actives and investigators. It is interesting studying and understanding each miracle that was done. But I think that what I have gotten most out of my studies is the fact that, our Heavenly Father knows what we need. And he will perform miracles in our lives if we search after Him and build and show our faith in his Gospel. It occured to me during one of our lessons with a family that people can say that they have "faith in God" but not believe that he performs miracles. Our faith in God should give us confidence that He is the same yesterday, today and forever meaning that he would have to continue in helping his children. Although sometimes it seems like He holds off in giving the promised blessings, He hears the prayers, He sees our efforts, and He will reward us and help us in everything that we are doing. We just have to believe. We have to have that hope that He will answer. That hope is just an anchor to the soul. Thank you, Moroni and President Uchtdorf, for that constant reminder.
This last week was also Zone Conference. It was really good as we learned a lot about finding people, rescuing the less active, and changing the relationships between the Branch and the missionaries. But the main focus of the Conference was on the idea of Consecration. Consecrating our thoughts, actions, time, and decisions to the Lord's errand. I feel like I learned a lot about how deciding to give our will to the Lord. This was a topic that I feel like I studied a bunch while I was in the Office but it was a great opportunity for me to rededicate to the work. I love this work and the fact that things aren't easy just means that I still have something more to learn. I am searching for that important life lesson.
Well, I feel like it is time for me to remember the time and season and mention what I like from Church yesterday. Our Relief Society President gave a great talk about gratitude and how we have to plant the seed of gratitude in our hearts. I am really happy to be here. I don't just mean in Cape Verde, but even for my life in this world. I am grateful for the love that my Heavenly Father has given me. I know that it is real. I can also see it through my family. My mom and dad, my brother and sisters and their spouses, my nieces and nephews, my friends, the members of the Church here in Cape Verde, recent converts. There is so much to be grateful for! I will definitely take the time to write a longer list in my journal. Can you believe that I have actually kept up in writing in that book, or should I say books?
Dramatic footage shows the eruption of the Pico do Fogo volcano on the Cape Verde island of Fogo.
Hundreds of residents have been evacuated from their homes and the local airport has been closed.
Its funny that Brent hasn't mentioned this in his letters but Fogo was the first island he served on.

Well, Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your Black Friday shopping for the DVD player that does a lazer lights show (but in reality you don't really need :)! Until next week! Love you!

Elder Brent Dorff
                                                                                                                November 30,2014

Oh my gosh it is December! Where did 2014 go!? Minha família e meus amigos, por favor me ajudam saber o que está acontecer!
This last week was awesome and so many things happened. Dad, you can say that the week was lived in color. I think that I had something crazy going on every single day this week so I think it might be easiest to write this email like this:
Monday, after I wrote all you lovely people we had a Noite Familiar in which we did Batuke (pronouced Bah-took), which means our Branch President Carlos (who used to be the drummer of a popular band) gave us a beat on his African drum and to that beat we sang our favorite hymns. Since I knew what hymns they know how to sing, I ended up singing "Minha Alma Tem a Luz", which is "There is Sunshine in My Soul Today." It was awesome and I was all smiles during the activity. Elder Conway has a video of it and I am going to steal it.
Tuesday, we had District Meeting where I was able to give a training based off of the story of when Christ calls Peter to be a fisherman of men. It was a really good practice and we all learned a lot about helping people accept commitments to live the commandments so that they can show their love for God. It is like how John says in John 14:15. Afterward, Elder Conway went to Assomada and I stayed here with my Zone Leader Elder Nymeyer. We had a really good day and found many people to teach. We also had some... "more interesting lessons" including someone who in the first moments was acting normal but quickly turned into a very drunk man. It was interesting but nevertheless, I enjoyed my time with him and I learned a few things.
Wednesday, we switched back and then Elder Conway and I taught a bunch of great lessons.
Carmel Apple Thanksgiving
Thursday, Thanksgiving. So my lunch was actually kind of lame but my dinner was a bunch of mashed potatoes and also carmel apples. That was a good missionary package idea. :)
Friday, I leave to go on division in Ribeirão Manuel. Their area is so different than Calheta in that there is no beach, super high attitude, and also everything is very spread out. It was a lot of fun and it was nice to be able to help them out a little in their area.
Ribeirão Manuel - on the way to a lesson

Saturday, we come back together and we teach more.
Sunday, we have 22 people at Church! The highest attendence that we have had in a long while. It was also great because we had an investigator there and now she is preparing for baptism. Also, at Church, we had our High Counselor, the President of Stake Missionary Work, and also the first Elder that worked in Calheta and also my best friend from Praia, Evandro Fonseca. It was fun to catch up with him but also it was just fun to have the fire of missionary work be set all over the place with the reorganization of the Branch Council and also with everyone doing Home Teaching.
This week was awesome and I am so grateful for the blessings that we are having. I feel like the Branch is starting to pick itself up a little bit and I hope that we can use the Spirit of Christmas can strengthen this wave of work.
Dad, the Christmas village looks just as good as it always does and the beach looks just as nice. You better believe that when I get home we will be taking those kayaks out. But to be honest, everyday is a realization of how fast really the mission is going and I don't like it. I am going to enjoy it as long as I can. Well, I think that I am going to let you go. Enjoy the photos and I love you!


Elder Brent Dorff




Monday, November 10, 2014

3 weeks of letters--Bad, bad mom...not keeping up!

Oi minha família e meus amigos!                                     November 10, 2014

This was another nice week here in the sunny, hot but finally getting-a-little-cooler, Calheta. Well, first news first. Another transfer wave has passed by and both Elder Conway and I are staying for one more transfer which is great because we still have a lot to accomplish before we leave this place. So, I start transfer 13. It is weird, because literally tomorrow, the sister missionaries that were in the MTC with me are going home to their families. It is such a weird thought, mostly because it reminds me that I am in my last 6 months. Already 75% of my mission has passed by. Where did it go!
This week was kind of interesting in that we found a couple of really promising families. Literally, one lady stopped us as we were passing by and asked us why we had never stopped to talk to her and her family. So needless to say, we did then and there. They are a good family. The parents have 13 years together married and 4 smart kids. We need to help the whole famliy participate more but we believe that they are feeling the Spirit, especially as some of them are already praying and reading in the scriptures.
Yesterday was also Stake Conference. Because we are on the other side of the island, they thought it was a better idea to broadcast it over the Internet to us, instead of going and watching it there in Praia. It was a great idea, until we missed like 20 minutes due to technical problems. Such is life :)
This week we also got talked to by our Zone Leaders about the focuses of the month. It turned out to probably be my last time to see Elder Paredes here on the mission, seeing that he only has 3 months left and was just transfered to Boa Vista. It was a good idea that we took a "family photo" (with Elder McKissick, my mission "dad", Elder Paredes, my mission "step-dad", and Elder Conway, my mission "step-son." Sadly Elder Gonçalves and Elder Conduanhe weren't there). But the nice thing is that we will all be in Utah after the mission, so there is no doubt that we will see each other again. 
Besides that, life is pretty normal.
This week we are going to work a lot on strengthening the faith of the members of the branch and from there, hopefully gain their help in strengthening the faith of our investigators. Members are so key to having success in missionary work. Honestly, without that support, it is possible to baptize people but it is much easier for people to overcome doubts or fears with the help of a friend. Isn't that just kind of a life principle?
I love you all and I hope that you have a great week. Dad I am glad to hear that you made it back home safe! Talk to you soon!

Elder Dorff
Oi minha família e meus amigos!                                        November 3, 2014

November! Can you believe that literally I have been on this island for a year? It was literally last week, a year ago, that I transferred from Fogo to Praia. I didn't even realize that until just now. Crazy.
It looks like it was a fun week for the pirates, gorillas, golfers, mermaids, hunters, cowboys, vampires, Supermans, witches, and Indiana Jones-es. I bet everyone was full of candy and hopefully not all the candy has already been eaten. Sadly, Cape Verdeans haven't  seen the glory of Halloween so there wasn't really any celebrations that way. But of course, November 1st is All Saint's Day so because of that there were a lot of parties and activities that night. In fact, there was an all night party with blasting music right outside our house. It was just funny. Normally, because of the time of year, the 1st is also the annual day to eat corn, but because of a lack of rain, it looks like we will have to wait till December. It is starting to cool off though. Yes!
Hey, Mark and Cami, I still, if possible, would like a photo of your families in front of the Temple. Mostly because the pictures I have of your families are super outdated. Actually, Evaly yours too is outdated.
This week was a great week as the work here in Calheta is going along. It was a pretty normal week teaching wise, except with the fact that we had some interesting things happen. We were stopped many times by people asking to teach them a little bit about the Church and why it exists. I love that when that happens because you already know they are willing to learn. We had some of the best lessons that we have had together this last week and I can say that one of them was one of my favorites of the mission.
I like Elder Conway.This last week was week 11 of his training which means that he was Senior Companion for the week and was incharge of planning and teaching. It was awesome. He did a great job and I am perfectly confident that he would be able to train a new missionary if he has the opportunity. Since being with him, I have learned a bunch about Wrestling (did you know that was a sport? Kiddin') since he was a big time wrestler there in AZ. He is 2 years younger than me, which is weird because the last time I trained someone, he was 6 years older than me. The conversations we have are random, about anything and everything and he is just funny. He likes to laugh which is great. Neither one of us wants to leave Calheta next week. We hope that we can stay together so we can help the great people we taught this last week prepare for baptism.
One of the  locals
Well, I love you lots and take care. I guess we shall see what happens next week, if there is a change or not. Te amo!

 Elder Brent Dorff

Oi minha família e meus amigos!                                             October 27, 2014

So just so you know that I will still be taking my P-days on Monday, I am writing today. In reality, what happened last week was a freak accident because the manager of the Internet Café had a death in the family, so it was closed until later in the day. Such is life here in Cape Verde. Reality is, since last Monday, we've known someone who has died every single day this last week!!! (I think today we have broken the record). Because of that, our message about the Plan of Salvation has touched and helped console some broken hearts. Hopefully, they will understand their part in this plan.
There were other reasons why I was abnormally late writing home this week. On Tuesday, I went on a division with the Zone Leaders, and I went off to the literal interior of the island to a city called Assomada. There I was reunited with an old companion of mine, Elder Paredes and we spent the whole day teaching his investigators and remembering our time in Mosteiros. We also had some time to talk a little about our current plans and work in Calheta. It was fun to teach with him. It felt like I was in my 2 or 3 transfer again, except now I know the language and how to teach and how to help people find answers to their doubts. The next day, we switched back and went hard at work so it didn't work out to email.
Then on Thursday, we went to do District Meeting in the other Elder's chapel, which meant that there was no time to Internet that day and then that left us with Friday, in which I almost didn't get to email again but I squeezed in 20 minutes to send out something short. But I really enjoyed doing email in the middle of the week, it was kind of fun.
So, the work here in Calheta is going well. We have found some really cool new people who are now preparing for baptism. At the same time the Branch is realizing that if they want to grow, its going to take a lot of work on everyone's part, so Home Teaching and teaching with the missionaries are growing to become the focuses of the Branch. Hopefully that will mean that the number of progressing investigators will increase here soon.
Branch President's son playing on his
Daddy' drumset
Speaking of hope, Elder Conway found a really good talk about hope by President Uchtdorf (which by the way, everyone here thinks that we are cousins). One thing that I liked that he said was "even in the worst of times, to move forward and put faith and hope into acction, not just worrying or wishful thinking,...and have confidence that present circumstances will give way to future blessings." I firmly believe that is true, and because of that I am working on developing this Christ like attribute even further. Thanks for all the love and prayers you send me and my companion and in behalf of our investigators. Just one more thing, right now Cape Verde hasn't had rain to support the corn crops, which is a major problem because that is what a lot of people live off of financially. Just keep them in your prayers. Thanks. Well , love you all! Safe travels, good luck with school, and talk to you soon!

Elder Brent Dorff

Monday, October 13, 2014

Letters dated 6 October and 13 October 2014

Oi minha família e meus amigos!                                                           October 6, 2014

This week was a roller coaster as I got back into the swing of normal missionary life. So many different things happened this last week so I will try to mention all the things that happened. First to answer a couple of questions, my area, Calheta, is literally 1 minute from the beach. It's called "interior" because it is part of the Assomada Zone (which the city of Assomada really is in the middle of the island). Really it is just northern Santiago, but it is great! I feel like I have already learned a lot here. About this area, it used to be two areas but because of a shortage of missionaries, President had to combine them into one area so part of it Elder Conway knows pretty well, the other, is whitewash. It is has been fun trying to find the other Elder's investigators. We have enlisted some of the members to help up us. Because of that, we are making good relationships with them. I think that I have already met every active member of the ward. Now, I just need to find the rest of them.
This last week we had Zone Meeting in Assomada. Assomada is a lot like Praia, except it is green, less crowded, and really cool (temperature-wise). We had a good meeting where it was decided that we were going to focus this month on helping people to pray sincerely and to understand the principle of enduring to the end. That is supposed to be the big focus in our District Meetings. Looks like I will be studying that a lot in my studies. More on that on a later day. 
After Zone Meeting, I went to Ribeirão Manuel (the other area in my District) where I stayed the night and did their baptismal interview. I got to spend the whole day with Elder Wallace who came in at the same time as Elder Conway. He is doing well with learning the language and how to teach. He really is working hard. Their area was fun to walk through because of all the corn fields we walked through to get from house to house. They have the same situation as us though because there used to be two districts there too but they were reduced to one also. Looks like we are all learning how to work our large areas. 
I returned from my division, on Saturday morning and at 3 we started watching Conference. We got to watch all 5 sessions, 4 of them live (sorry I didn't feel like watching the Priesthood seesion at 11 at night). It really was a great conference. I liked so many of the talks and I took so many notes about how we can strengthen the Branch, District, Companionship, and just myself. I am excited to apply them now. I would write some things that I learned specifically but I forgot my notes (and camera) at home. But I will tell you how I felt. I felt like every talk given was given at just the right time. We have 2 investigators that are progressing very well and they both went to 3 of the 5 sessions. They heard so many talks about acting with faith and receiving personal revelation about Joseph Smith. And then with Elder Bednar's talk, it was like he was talking straight to L. I am so grateful for our inspired prophets and leaders! I felt the Spirit so strong as I heard Carlos Godoy speak from the pulpit in Portuguese. I feel like whenever I talk about the Gospel, it will have to be in the language of Portuguese because honestly I receive personal revelation more in Portuguese than I do English these days. 
Today, President Mathews and Sister Mathews came out to Calheta for interviews and a house inspection. It went well. I learned a lot about some things that I can change to be better and also I feel more excited to give my training tomorrow in District Meeting. The work in Calheta is unique, but amazing!
Thank you all for the photos this week. I felt super happy looking at those nieces and nephews of mine. Oh Mom, you should know that my package go to me on the other side of the island by the 3rd of October. I am almost 100% sure that it was because of the tracking, but now I have a problem. Do I wait till Christmas or open it now? I feel like Christmas is a long time still. No promises... But thank you for the shirts (they were needed) and cereal (so good) and everything else! I haven't opened the calendar yet but I see the first few dates on it and a big picture of Mckell's face, so I know that I am already going to love it.

 Wel,l I love you all a ton and I hope that you know that I am doing great! Don't worry to much about me because I know that Lord's hand is over me and Elder Conway and that we are just going to do so much work here!


Oi minha família e meus amigos!                                                              October 13, 2014

Ah, what a week. It was a great week and I am grateful for all the work that Elder Conway and I were able to do. It sounds like it was a fun week of traveling and being with friends.
This last week I had two more chances to go to the other Elder's area, Ribeirão Manuel. The first was on Tuesday because he had our District Meeting there. Because there was only 4 of us (2 duplas), everyone had a pretty active role in participating (no room to hide :P). We learned a lot about the importance of being diligent in our work, especially during those hard times and also about how the Lord's desire that we develop faith, hope and charity are vital to our calls as missionaries. The other reason was because I had another interview to do for the Elder's there. I had a really neat experience with him. His name is W and he is from the small island country of São Tomé. Now if you didn't know where Cape Verde was when I got my call, you really wouldn't know where this place is (I bet you will all look it up on Google).
While I was in Achada Grande, I almost baptized someone from São Tomé but he moved to a different part of Praia before he was baptized. A couple of months ago, he had moved back to São Tomé. Well ironically, W heard of the Church because of this man that I had taught. He was also taught in Praia but to try finding work, he went interior. And here I was, doing his interview. At the end of the interview, I asked him if he had any questions, and he said that he did. He lowered his head and he asked me if the Church was in São Tomé. I told him that it wasn't and I felt compelled to share Mosiah 3:20 with him, showing him the Lord's promise that the knowledge of the Savior and his Gospel will go to every nation, tribe, and people. I told him that although I didn't know when, I was confident that the Church would enter and fill São Tomé. His smile was big and we ended with a prayer. It was really cool.
We spent a lot of our time this week trying to start getting some really good people progressing. We had a big list of people that we have taught maybe once or twice, but we talked it all out and narrowed that list down to those who are really looking for an answer if this Gospel is true. We are excited to see the work progress here and we know that it will grow here. 

So this last week, we listened to all of General Conference again in English this time and I just wanted to share just some thoughts that I had ironically from Elder Godoy (one of the ones not given in English). I have to say that it was one of my favorites of the Conference. Mostly, I just liked the idea of how we need to think of what our end goal or desire is and determine what is the best series of decisions (not necessarily the easiest) to help us arrive there. I feel like that is the mentality that I need to have here in Calheta. This area has a lot of potential. It won't be easy but I am willing and excited to put forth the work and effort to help this place become a strong branch in Zion.
So let the work begin :)
I love you all and I hope that this week is a great week! Safe travels and do well on your exams! 

Elder Brent Dorff :)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

29 September 2014---Out of the mission office!

Oi meus amigos e minha família!

Well, today is the first time I am using an Internet cáfe to write my weekly email. You know what that means! I am out of the Mission Office. But the change doesn't end there. I have been transfered! Here I was enjoying Palmarejo and they decide to transfer me! No complaints though because I am going to interior Santiago to serve in Calheta! Not only that, but, I will be finishing the training of Elder Conway from Gilbert, Arizona (my first American, non-Utah companion)! Also, I will be the District Leader (which if you remember means that I am in charge of communicating information and following up on the progress of another companionship.) It should be awesome. It will be a different experience than what I have had these last 4 transfers but I am looking forward to it. I head out there in an hour or so. An hour and an half hiace ride here I come! 
So, last minute things about the work in Palmarejo. Elder Godfrey will be recieving his new companion as he makes his way to Praia, and they are blessed to enjoy Monica and Zelito's wedding. They are preparing and are staying very excited and have much desire. I told him that he had to send me photos. Also, they will be working with 5 other couples/families with a lot of potential. This last week we focused a lot on trying to help someone prepare for baptism but in the end, she asked for more time to prepare. Our plan is to help her prepare for the 11th but I guess we shall see how that all works out. We hope that someone in the Sunday morning session will talk about tithing, seeing as that is her biggest challenge.
This week was a good week, ending with an awesome day at Church. I liked especially Gospel Principles because they talked about the how families can be together forever. We had 2 of those 5 families there at Church and I just thought of how great of a message that was for them to hear. In reality, it is one of the greatest blessings that we can have in this life. It is because families are eternal that we can know that we are really never alone. We can find force in the present with our families, the past with our ancestors, or in the future with potential families. It is a big focus in the mission and really in the gospel. Also, at Church we hit 100 people at Church (for just our ward) which is the new high since the ward divided. There is a lot of good work going on there and I am happy for everything that I learned.
Last look at Praia before I head north
Well with that, one chapter closes and another one opens. I am on my 12th transfer, which means that the Sisters that came here with me will be returning home at the end of the 6 weeks. It's super crazy to think that has already come. And here we are entering October. Oh, time passes so quickly. By the way, Evaly, Elder Luymes, and Christy HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I was thinking a lot about you on your birthdays (except for you Christy because, it has yet to happen). Next week is General Conference and I am very excited. I love Conference even when it is easier to think about other things when you listen to it in Portuguese. Love you all. Dad safe travels, and everyone enjoy your week!

Elder Brent Dorff

Friday, September 26, 2014

Letter dated 22 September 2014--Carry on, carry on, carry on...!

It Oi minha família e meus amigos!

This was a good week! I am happy to hear that it was the same for everyone there at home. It appears that a highlight of this last week was Carter's soccer game. It looks like when I get home I have someone still to play soccer with.
This week it rained, and rained, and rained! It was awesome. Mom, to answer your question, it is hot! I sweat a ton. But I can't complain too much because I've been in an air conditioned building for most of the summer and if I did go outside the sun was setting, It cools down a little. Granted, these last 2 weeks where we left the office at 3pm, I didn't enjoy the same blessing. It feels a lot like Florida. Basically, if you hope for cool weather, you hope for a complete cloud cover the entire day because if the sun breaks through for even 5 minutes, you feel like you can drink the air. I was prepared for this weather though... another blessing of being in Florida for those years.
But back to the rainstorm.... Yesterday, was probably the craziest storm that we've ever had. It rained so much that a river was formed down the middle of our area, about 10-12 feet wide and about a foot deep, flowing down the hill. Well, of course, our next appointment was on the other side of the river and we didn't know how to cross it without taking off our shoes and socks and wading through it. Deciding that wasn't the best decision for us, the member who was with us, Aza, said, "I'll carry you across!" So picture this. It is pouring rain, people standing all around, kids playing in the rain, collecting water and digging trenches to redirect water from their houses, and then you see in the middle of the river a 25 year old man with Elder Dorff on his back crossing the river, followed by Elder Godfrey! (Mom has to make a comment here. From other missionaries letters from Praia, its been mentioned that when it rains really hard and this river forms it is sewage-laced so that may explain the decision they made.) It was crazy and we were both so mad that we had left our cameras at home. I must take a picture of Aza.
The people here in Praia are different than they were in Mosteiros when it comes to us, their house and in the rain. In Mosteiros, people would say, "Elder, it's raining. You have mud on your feet and you're all wet. I just cleaned my house. If you come in, your going to mess everything up. I'll talk to you another day." Here in Praia, "Elder, are you crazy?! It's raining! Get out of the rain into my house, this very instant! Don't worry about your shoes! If you stay out there another minute, your going to get sick!" This is a good thing because we seem to be teaching more and people are willing to let us stay for a long time (to make sure we don't walk in the rain) but it just gives them more time to feel the Spirit. 
So, look who's crossing the street in front of our house...
So, I have great news with a new family that we are teaching. Their names are Z and M. Z was baptized a long time ago when he was like 12 years old, but since then, he has remained inactive in the Church. I remember that we were kind of without much luck one day and we came up the hill and he was just standing outside of his house. As a mission, we are working on having 10 street contacts everyday, and because he was just standing there in the road, we talked to him. He told us pretty quickly that he was already baptized and after that he invited us into his house. We went in talked to him and he told us that he was looking to return to full activity in the Church. Since he left the Church, he has created a family, including his wife M (nonmember) and their son who is 2 years old. Well, he introduced us to her and within a week and an half, we have taught them 5 times, they have gone to church twice, they have accepted getting married on the date that we suggested, they have started the wedding paper process without our help, and she has accepted a baptism date for the 25th of October! They are planning on getting married the day before. We love this family! They are both actively reading the Book of Mormon and have received and recognized their answers as to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. We are very grateful for them, and really for all our investigators. I feel like we have a lot of people with some good potential. They just need to read the Book of Mormon and search for their answer.
Thank you for all your love and prayers. I am thinking of you a bunch and I love you a lot. I hope that you all stay happy and healthy! Talk to you next week!

Elder Brent Dorff

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Letters from September 1st, 8th and 15th, 2014

1 September 2014

I am so happy! Congrats Evaly and Nathan on the new son! It is good to know that little Logan is here and is loved by the family. And you can only imagine how much I want to meet these kids (Beckham and Claire included)! But all is well, because at the right time, I will and I look forward to that day. Now I understand how Mark felt when McKell was born.
Well, while you all are spending the day with your families and enjoying the company of one another before/after school starts/started, I have been enjoying my time here with Elder Godfrey. This last week was one of a lot of work and I remain happy about how the week went. It was a rough week as far as teaching goes but some of the lessons that we did have were gold. I am happy that I am in this work.
Elder & Sister Muhlstein (our office replacements) and Elder Godfrey and I
We had one visit this week that really stood out to me (maybe just because it happened yesterday). We (Elder Godfrey and I went on a division with the Zone Leaders of Mindelo-- super long story of why they are here in Praia, but in any case, Elder Ernst was my companion) were out teaching and I decided that we needed to visit one of my investigators just one more time. We had tried before but she wasn't home. This time though she was home and she told me that she didn't want to talk to us that day; that we needed to talk some other day. But assuming it was the Spirit that brought us there, we changed the conversation to about her family. She has 3 kids, no husband, and just started working at a bar, last week. We started talking to her and we asked her if she believed that God had a plan for her. She responded that some days yes-- some days no. After further questions, we shared with her 2 Nephi 1:20, "Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land..." She continued, "Why is it that I see people who are doing such horrible things have success in their
lives, while I have done nothing to deserve this awful situation?" We were then brought to reading Mosiah 2:41, which says, "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual..." We told her to stop comparing herself to others, in that her happiness wasn't going to come from any comparison, but that in reality, eternal joy comes from the relationship that we have with our Heavenly Father. We then invited her to make the changes in her life, learn of the commandments and keep them, so that she could begin to enjoy the fruits of that relationship with God. As I was marking a passage for her, she asked if I could mark Mosiah 2:41, so that she could read it again. We saw a change in her.
Today the Mission Tour of the Cape Verde Praia Mission started today, and what that means is that Elder Morreira, of the 70, and his wife are going throughout the entire mission doing conferences for each zone, for the training of the missionaries. Today the missionaries of Santiago (the Praia and Assomada zones) were together and we were taught by Elder and Sister Morreira and President and Sister Mathews. It was a good conference. The messages seemed directed to the idea of seeing the world through the Plan of Salvation. At first, this idea didn't quite make sense but as we discussed the story of Peter, we saw a change from where he was, a man fearing the power of men, to what he became, fearless to testify of the truth. How did that come to pass? Because he saw the world through the Plan of Salvation. He understood how Jesus Christ overcame the bonds of physical death and sin (spiritual death), which meant he knew that the same fate was to fall upon each of God's Children. So what did he do? He made it known to everyone he could that Christ was their Savior and what did that mean to us? He made a change in himself. And that as we, the missionaries, are invited to do; make a change in our lives so that all of our hearts (love), all of our power (the Spirit), all of our mind (thoughts), and strength is given to the Lord's errand. We received our call to hasten the work of salvation and bring more families unto Christ. I accept the call. I shall return and report :)

8 September, 2014
 Okay, so now something a little bit personal for me. I need to go back in time 9 months ago, while I was in Achada Grande Frente, serving with Elder Conduanhe. It was December 3rd, 2013. It was a hard day. I remember coming out of a really awful visit feeling energized to teach the Gospel, yet discouraged at the same time. As I came out of that house, I looked to my right and I saw 3 people sitting a way off, a man and 2 women. I decided that I was going to go talk to them and that we were going to have a great visit with them. We went there, talked with them a little bit and then scheduled
 a different time to talk. The next day, we went and the man wasn't there, it was just the 2 women. Not really knowing anything about them, we still went and taught. Their names were J and Iz. I had originally thought that J had had more promise, as she was more talkative and Iz didn't seem to care. The lesson went alright and we remarked for another visit. That next appointment came, and there was a change. First of all, J didn't care about what we had to say, kind of like Iz, but this time another man that I had never met was there. His name was E and he was the "husband" of Iz. We taught E and Iz together, and that set the ball rolling. Over time, they came to Church, Family Night, were changing their lives concerning the Word of Wisdom but then the biggest stumbling block, marriage,
stopped them. When I left the area, I left them with the marriage paperwork. 9 months have past. I have been in 3 other areas (all 10 minute taxi ride away from Achada Grande) but stayed in Praia the whole time. This last week, on the 5th of September, E and Iz were married, and on the 6th of September, I was able to perform their baptisms.
Wedding Day!
I can't say that it was for that reason that I stayed in Praia that long, but I am so grateful that I was here to do that for them. That family means so much to me. And I know that the Gospel is what got them through every trial that was put on their path of conversion. Their son, J, will now grow up in a Gospel home. I am so happy for them, and I can't look at a photo of that family, without feeling great joy.

At the Baptism (Elder Wells and Elder Clegg are the current missionaries in Achada Grande)
I am so grateful for the tender mercies that the Lord gives us in our lives. Some times they come how they expect them, other times we have to wait or change our expectations. In any case, they come. 
Thanks for all the prayers and love! I'll talk to you all next week!

Elder Brent Dorff :)
15 September 2014

Well, I hope that it was a good week. My week was a really tiring one but one of a lot of miracles. Therefore, I am very happy today.
Ever since the Mission Tour, Elder Godfrey and I have been focusing on trying to find families who are ready to hear the Gospel. Lately though, we have been having many difficulties with our investigators and the people who were preparing for baptism. We haven't lost hope though in that everyday, we go out teaching (with the full 5-6 hours in the afternoon, which we absolutely enjoy) with the same goal. And we have found people who are prepared to receive the Gospel! I wasn't at my ward yesterday (because I went on division with a different Elder and went to his ward) but Elder Godfrey told me that a part member family came to Church that we had met the day before and also someone who is preparing to be baptized here in a couple of weeks or so. That made me really happy to hear and I can't wait to actually be present for an actual lesson with them. Families are good, no wonder they are part of Heavenly Father's Plan.
So like I said I went on division yesterday with Elder Araújo, an Elder from Brazil. It was a good day and I feel like I learned a lot from the time that I was with him. It is funny though because his area, Várzea is in the very heart of Praia, which means that I almost know every ward/area in Praia. It doesn't feel like I have been here that long. I mean it did in the beginning but now I am enjoying it more.
This last Saturday, we did a Beach Cleanup Service Activity at Gamboa Beach with the "Mãos Que Ajudam" (Mormon Helping Hands). It was great! First time on a beach (besides for baptisms) since I left in May 2013. Basically, raked up a bunch of shells and picked up trash. It reminded me a lot of those Youth Service Projects at Huntington Beach. And of course, I took advantage of  being on the beach and (no, I didn't swim...) and took a bunch of photos. It was a pretty day and we even got rained on so we returned home wet.
But here are some Cape Verdean's enjoying the water!
So, one more story and then I will close. We started teaching this one family and they are progressing a little bit more slowly (mostly because the father isn't available a lot to talk) but we did have a lesson with just the father and he told us about an experience he had. He was in the interior of Santiago and he was working and he had just hiked to where he was going to work and he sat and relaxed a little bit. Well, we had given him a pamphlet on the Restoration and he sat down and read a little bit. He came to where it talks about Joseph Smith reading in James 1:5 and he told us that it was at that point he decided to pray... that he would have a ride off the mountain after his work was done. So, he did that and then went to work. As he was working, another man showed up from a different route, with his old pickup truck and was working nearby. They finished at the same time and our investigator was offered a ride back home. He was so excited to tell us that his prayer was answered. We were like, "That's great! Did you also pray about the Book of Mormon?" Well, of course he hadn't done that yet, but he was content with his prayer being answered. I am happy for him, that he recognizes that God will answer his prayers. Now he just needs to pray about the Book of Mormon specifically.
Well, that was my week. Love you all and I will talk to you next week!
Elder Brent Dorff



Sunday, August 31, 2014

Letters dated 25 August and also 18 August 2014

Oi minha família e meus amigos!                                                   August 25, 2014

This week was a very busy week. I am so tired, but happy. Probably the thing that brought all the work was related to transfers. First of all, I am still in the process of arranging a new house for a companionship. I've also been working on training the Muhlesteins and Elder Campbell to take over my work. Also, we had 14 new missionaries (it was so many) and almost all of their trainers were here in Praia for 2 days getting trained, interviewed and everything else. It was crazy but it looks like a good group of new missionaries. It occurred to me that when these Elders are hitting their 9-10 month mark, I will be getting on a plane to America. It makes me realize how old I am getting in the mission and makes me realize that I don't have too much time left to enjoy this (okay, it's still a lot of time, but it makes me sad to think that it is passing so quickly). 
This week was a rougher missionary work week, but you know what that means. We found several people, taught a couple of people, and found a couple of star investigators that accepted dates. It was one of those, "recognize the many blessings, and don't let the work get you down." 
It was also a good week for our companionship (Elder Godfrey and I). This last week we gave a training during District Meeting about the doctrine of Christ (focusing on repentance) but seeing that we've already had 4 trainings just during this last month on that, we talked about our missionary purpose in helping others come unto Christ. I think that Alma 42:31 explains well what we are doing. It says, "And now, O my son, ye are called of God to preach the word unto this people. And now, my son, go thy way, declare the word with truth and soberness, that thou mayest bring souls unto repentance, that the great plan of mercy may have claim upon them." Afterwards, we talked about the importance of invites in relation to helping people repent. It went well and I feel like I learned something from it. 
So, one last experience. In the MTC, our teachers told us many times that there would people who would take the things we gave them, study them, and then find completely unrelated scriptures to try and prove us wrong. It is "Bible Bashing," as most people call it. Well, we had that situation this week. She was someone we met on the the road. She made it very apparent that she was an active member of her faith but she accepted the Restoration Pamphlet. When we came back two days later, we asked her if she had any questions about what she read in the pamphlet (she said she had read the entire thing) and she told us that she was just going to let us talk for a little while. Once we got to the very first main point of the visit, she started asking all these questions like, "Who was the first prophet?", "Where's the proof that a prophet can talk to God?", and other things. We tried to answer her questions but then a friend of hers showed up and you could tell he was even more dedicated to his faith. He grabbed her Bible and just started trying to rip apart that prophets exist, and everything else. We decided to just stop the lesson rather than battle with scriptures. Elder Godfrey shared a powerful testimony about how he learned it was all true and then I shared Moroni 7:37, which says, in relation to miracles: "For it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased woe be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief, and all is vain." I shared how faith is to not always have physical proof, but still in our hearts, we can know that these things are true. And no argument, even founded by the scriptures, can shake a testimony received by the Holy Ghost. By the end, we had invited them to pray and receive the testimony for themselves. After we had parted, Elder Godfrey and I talked about how although the man seemed unchanged by the things that were said, the lady, seemed to have changed in demeanor. She might not have the desire to hear now, but maybe in the future, she might just have enough to desire to nourish that little seed and find out if it is true. 
It was a good week but it's during these types of weeks where I learn how great is the heat of the refiner's fire. Nevertheless, I am thankful for this last week. And I know that this next week will be even better :)
I love you all! I am thinking about you and praying for your welfare. Claire, I hope that you are doing better. I am thinking of you and your family! Talk to you all soon! Enjoy the start up of school this week!

Tchão, Tchão for now!
Elder Brent Dorff
 Me with some of the members here. We all used to be together but then wards divided and now none of them are in my ward. That is life!
Oi minha família e meus amigos!                                                           August 18, 2014

Another tiring week has passed, but not without showing many fruits of the Lord's hand being a part of the work. Glad to hear that for the most part, it was a good week of vacations and preparations for the next school/seminary year. Just think, next Fall I will have already returned to the Y. Oh, the 9 months are going to pass too quick!
Well, there are many reasons why this week was challenging but one of them is that we started training the new Missionary Couple how to do our jobs. Their names are Elder and Sister Muhlestein and they just arrived here, about 2 weeks ago. After a week of rest, getting everything done on their house, Elder Godfrey has started training Elder Muhlestein and I have started training Elder Campbell and Sister Muhlestein. It appears that our jobs will be spread out between both couples in the office, so that the couples can render their talents to the wards. It was a good first week of training and I know that they will be able to do everything without us here in a little while. 
Another reason was that we had a baptism! His name is L and he is the ex-husband of our recent convert I. They have one son together. We actually ended up meeting him and started teaching him during I's baptismal interview. He is a car mechanic that works out of the garage beneath his house. He is actually from Santo Antão by birth (moved when he was like 9, but he still knows how to speak Creole from Santo Antão. Because of him, I now would like to visit there.) but now his whole family lives in Praia. He was so clearly prepared by the Lord. Only 3 months ago, he was a heavy drinker (which is why our convert refused marriage with him) but then he was involved in a major accident. Realizing that his life, family, and everything meant more than the habits he had acquired, he stopped completely, without drinking since the accident. He had never gone to a church before and therefore also never understood the importance of baptism. But after he went the first time with I, their little son, and family, he said that he loved it and would be coming every week. And he has. In the end, he decided to have Elder Godfrey baptism him, which was cool because this was the first time Elder Godfrey had a chance to preform the ordinance. So it was special for the both of them. We are very happy for L and have already talked with him and his ex-wife about the possibility of even getting remarried.
Yes, transfers were last night, yes, I am going on transfer 4 as Elder Godfrey's companion. No, I am not sure if I will be spending the whole transfer as a secretary (I would assume not), and no, I still don't know if I am moving to the new ward. Apparently, not only was the timing of the creation of the new ward unexpected but also the actual boundary lines as well. So we are trying to work both sides of our area. It makes it a little bit harder because we don't know which investigators will stay ours. Also, because we still are the Elders of Ala 1, we can't help our investigators of the other side go to church (because it's in a different building at almost the same exact time). I guess we shall see what ends up happening. 
One more cool experience that happened yesterday. We were walking to one of our investigators houses but on the way there, we saw him sitting with some less active members. We decided to just sit and relax with them (they were just seated on a little wall on top of a hill overlooking the rest of town). We started talking, and then all of the sudden the subject turned to the Church (this usually happens, but this time it was not initiated by us) and one of the less active members said that God had lost control of the world and that he doesn't send angels to help his children anymore. After hearing that, both Elder Godfrey and I turned to different passages in the Book of Mormon where it talks about how God always and forever will send his angels to help us stay strong in the midst of trial and hardship. In the end, that man gave an earnest prayer where he thanked our Heavenly Father for the guidance and light that the scriptures gave him. The Book of Mormon, and the Bible, and all other scripture, does that. They are prepared to answer those questions of the heart. It is when we study with those questions that we really feel the Spirit touch our heart that the scriptures are true. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. That testimony is reaffirmed every day.
I love you all a lot. Nathan HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, and just so you know I didn't forget that your birthday was 16 days ago. I wrote it in my planner but I definitely forgot to email you those birthday wishes so you'll have to excuse me! 
Until I email again :)

Elder Brent Dorff


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Letter dated 11 August 2014--Gina's baptism and ward split


I am glad to hear that everyone seems to be active and happy, boy, do I have a lot to say today. I feel like that is just my life right now; waves of exciting weeks and waves of not-much-going-on weeks. But this one was definitely one of the more exciting ones. It has to be because on the 15th of this week, I will only have 9 months until I go home. What a crazy thought!?
So, I think that I will start with some spiritual thoughts from what I got from Zone Conference this last week. It was a great conference! The main topic seemed to be on receiving personal revelation for the work and for our lives. We learned a lot about how the morning hours make a great difference in how we will work during the day. I think that one of my favorite parts about Zone Conference was given by the Sister Mathews. She shared an experience that her daughter had while seeking for revelation for who should be her counselors in the Laurel Presidency. At the end of the story, it turned out the person who she was guided to was praying for a sign that God loved her and had confidence in her. The final comment made in the story was, "Isn't it amazing when we let the Lord run His Church" (or Mission)? This whole last week I learned a lot about accepting the Lord's will over my own and letting Him really guide His Work. I have discovered that the more willing I am to do that, I find myself having more patience, more love, and more humility during the work. It really was an inspired Conference. 
The Town of Futon Kobom (the valley that has greenery and the ocean is in the background)
This last week, Elder Godfrey and I were spoiled by having dinner with two of the Missionary couples, the Campbells and the Thompsons. It was very nice of them to do that and the cooking was great! During those lunches, it felt like we left Africa for a little bit.
So, this last Saturday we had baptism! Her name is Gina and she is 69! Her story is very interesting. Remember a couple of weeks ago when I took the new missionaries out teaching with me? Well, we walked around for a little while trying to get a member to teach with us and to find someone to teach,. Eventually we were walking past a house of a person that we had received as a reference. The question was, a reference from who? So, go even further back when I was in Bela Vista. Remember Jacira and Manick who got baptized... well, everyone in that family is a member except their brother who lives in my current area. So I was like, "Let's go try there." So we walked over, and as I went up to the door, we learned that the brother wasn't there so I started talking to the kids and then this old lady came out and told me that this was a religious house (didn't specify which one) and that they weren't interested. I asked her what her name was and came to discover that Gina is the grandma of Jacira and Manick! So naturally, I took out the family picture that I had taken of Jacira, Manick, and family (which I had conveniently printed out) and told her how much I loved her family. She saw the picture and she was like, "My grandkids! My daughter! Elders, come on in!" We came in and we taught her. In later visits, when it was just her at home, we were thinking that she wasn't understanding what we were saying (which was true) but when we asked her to pray, she gave the most fervent and sincere prayer that I think I have had an investigator give. She gave it super quiet too. Thankfully, we have many members that live around her and were able to translate everything for us. After many weeks of teaching, she came to Church, fell in love with what she was learning and she was baptized. None of her family was able to make it to the baptism, but afterward, I took the liberty of taking a picture of her with some of her youngest grandkids. They are so funny, because they see her walking up in the distance and they come running up to her, yelling and chanting "Vo, Vo!" (Avo is grandma in Portuguese). Such an awesome family. 
Palmarejo Neighborhood (where our house is, on the left and yellow)
More news... Ala 1, the ward that I serving in, just split up. Half of it will remain in Ala 1, the other half will make up part of the new Ala Palmarejo 2. The thing is though, that it divides my area, completely in half. So we don't know what that means specifically for Elder Godfrey and I and for the Sisters. It is rough because some of my favorite members will be going to the new ward but most of my recent converts live on the Ala 1 side. It doesn't seem like the divide was completely anticipated by the mission either, or at least not the timing of it, so... 5th area in Praia maybe? Not much would change except for new members, another new ward, half an area, and I am still secretary. I guess we shall see what will happen. Ah the suspense!
Young father taking his kid for a walk 
Well, thanks for the emails this last week. It really makes me happy to read them and it is a great surprise to see them all here every Monday. Love you lots and talk to you soon!


Elder Brent Dorff :)


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Letters dated 21 & 28 July 2014

Olá minha família e meus amigos, (Letter dated 21 Jul 2014)

Well, hello everyone! It was good to hear that everyone seems to be doing well. Sounds like everyone is in full gear summer vacation mode.
This week was a week full of work and divisions. Because of our little trio (which will end when Elder Smith goes home tomorrow), we have been able to teach a bunch more lessons and talk to many more people. It has been really helpful to us in that our area is getting stronger with more promising investigators. It was a tiring week. 
Probably the most exciting thing that happened this week was that we had our first baptisms here in Palmarejo! Their names are Carla (14 years old) and Gilson (25 years old). They are cousins and live in the same household. We found them through the Bishop who told us of a lady (their mom/aunt) who wanted to be baptized (and is working to be baptized this upcoming Saturday). It was funny because for a long time, only the mom was interested in going to Church and being baptized and the other two were just in the room using Facebook and watching TV, but eventually Carla came to Church where she came back asking when she could be baptized. We were shocked and so we marked a date for both Carla and her mom. That same visit Gilson came in and kind of half-accepted a date. But within the time that we had marked the date, he received and recognized his answer and they were both baptized. Not only that but Gilson received the Priesthood too and so he will baptize his aunt when she is baptized this next week. We are very grateful for the change that we saw, especially with Gilson.
I don't remember if I ever mentioned this but the other secretaries (before they had been transferred) found a dog that they thought looked cool and happy outside the office and so they decided to name that dog after me, Dorff. So now everyday when I come to the office, I get greeted by Dorff and he is always just the same happy dog. I decided to take a picture of him. 
This next Sunday I am giving another talk at Church. It is basically on the same topic but I need to do a little bit of searching of how I can adapt it for the needs of this ward. This ward is in a much different situation than the any other ward I was in, just because this one struggles with like American ward problems with the Cape Verdean twist. It is interesting. I like the challenge though.
Well, sorry that this week wasn't overly exciting. Just know that I am doing well. I love the work I am doing, the ward is doing well and that this Church is true, without a doubt in my mind. Take care for the week and I will talk to you all, next week!!!

Com txeu amor (With a lot of love),
Elder Brent Dorff

Olá minha família e meus amigos, (Letter dated 28 Jul 2014)

Oh wow... I have got a bunch of news and things to talk about, but I am only going to choose a few things to talk about. This week was a lot of good work. I don't think that there was a day where I didn't come back physically tired or mentally tired or a combination of the two. 
So first of all, I gave another talk in Sacrament Meeting on the same subject as I did last time. I feel like that is just kind of the case when it is a Missionary Work themed Sacrament Meeting. I did modify my talk though to match the needs of the ward. I talked more about the promise made in 1 Nephi 13:37 where it is says something along the lines that those who search to build up Zion will be blessed. I talked about how the Church is Zion (or better, a family) here for the people in Palmarejo. I then talked about missionary work in regards to less actives and non members. It turned out good, and I think that I ended up talking a little bit longer than last time. I think that I have gotten over that  "being that last speaker that has to speak longer or shorter depending on the time the other two speakers left him" fear.
Also this last week, we were blessed to complete the family that we had started to baptize last week. This week Carla's mom, Isabel, was baptized. She was so happy (To our surprise she had already arrived at the Church building, dressed in the jumpsuit and was patiently waiting for us, as we arrived at her house to go to the church.) She's had a long journey for sure. She started talking to missionaries like 9 months ago. She loved and had accepted the Gospel so willingly, but was having difficulties with the commandments. Sadly, those Elders who found her were transferred and the area shut down so she was lost. But thankfully, the Bishop never forgot about her and we were able to find her again, and through much prayer and work on her part, she overcame, changed and was baptized. I am very happy for her. And the joy that she felt on Sunday was overwhelming for her. Last night when we went to her house to ask for references, we received 18 names of people to go find and teach. That is more people than we are teaching right now. The change in people is real. 
Also, we were blessed in another way this week, in that we were able to help another family be reunited. Ruben, who is 11 years old, was also baptized. His parents are members, but after a little time being less active, the dad finally talked to the Bishop about having his son baptized. So the  Bishop directed him to us and we taught him and prepared him. Before the baptism, Paulo, his dad, asked me if I could take a photo of them together. Before I took the photo, I told Ruben to give his dad a big hug (thinking of my baptism picture with Mark). It made me really happy, but probably not as happy as Ruben and Paulo were in that they are one step closer to becoming a together forever eternal family.
This last week we had a Zone Meeting (where all the missionaries here in Praia come together but without the Mission President). It was kind of a pick me up kind of meeting as many of the things that we talked about was the power of our callings, the importance of unity, and the promise of the Lord's help. It was good "pick me up" meeting. 
One last thing happened that was pretty crazy. We were teaching a lesson and I got a phone call from the APs who said that we needed to get over to one of the missionaries apartments at that instant. So, we did and apparently it was decided to move all the suitcases, boxes, and other random stuff of the missionaries on the other islands, from this one house to another. So for 2 hours straight, I was one of 6 Elders who ran up and down 2 flights of stairs carrying super full suitcases (like abnormally large and heavy). It was a very good workout, making up for the past couple of days when it didn't work out to workout (like the play on words?). 
It sounds like everything is going good at home. That is unfortunate that Mark is a little hung up with his leg. Hopefully that gets better sooner than later. But it sounds like this will be a nice little time for you Mom to get to spend some time with the Dorffs. You will have to tell everyone I said hi (well, I guess if they read this email, they will already know I said hi).
I am grateful for the work that is being done here and for the miracles that we are seeing. Thanks for all the prayers and love that you all are sending me and I hope that you feel mine reaching you! Talk to you soon!

Elder Brent Dorff









Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Two posts this week---Letters dated 7th & 14th of July 2014

Oi Minha Família e Meus Amigos! (7th)

First of all, to make sure I don't forget this, Happy Birthday, today, Chuck (or Charles or Chaeles) Bennett! I hope that my card will make it to you soon... I have no way of knowing when it will actually get their but just know that their is one on the way... 
So, it sounds like a lot of you people have been really into the FIFA world these past few weeks. I am sure that they have been watched just as much there as they have been here. I am excited because the 2 teams that I have been supporting (or at least telling everyone that I want them to win) are still in. Hopefully, it will be Germany and the Netherlands in the end! But, usually, we don't really notice that the games are going on because our investigators right now, for the most part, don't like watching soccer. I guess that is an unique blessing that we have right now.
Palmarejo has been good. Because of the size of the area, we are always finding new people to talk to, while in the meantime getting lost. We are getting to know the members and through them we are finding many families who are progressing well.
Office work is going well. With President and Sister Mathews coming in, we haven't had to many changes. Granted, it is the first week and they are just trying to get everyone in the mission interviewed so that everyone actually gets to know each other. Most of my stress happened at the end of the week where I had to get one house completely ready to sign a contract while the Elders who were going to move into that house were getting kicked out by their landlord. So that is how I spent my 4th of July. Moving people around although in the Spirit of the 4th of July, Elder Godfrey and I decided to get some ground beef and make hamburgers and make our own French Fries. So although it wasn't as good as a BBQ one at home, it was still a good change from the rice, chicken, spaghetti, egg,  and whatever else we eat. We are going to have to do it again!
On Saturday, we had our Zone Meeting (the one where the Zone Leaders just talk to us, not an actually conference with President) where it was announced that there was going to be a bigger push on retention of members, in that the missionaries will be more involved in working with recent converts like we do with investigators and less actives. It's not a major change, because I love working with my recent converts, but it is a new focus. Also, we are working a lot on sharing the message of the Restoration more simply and quicker. In the end, it is the fact that the Church was restored to the Earth which makes our message different, at least at first glance. It has been good.
Well, it was a good week. This next week appears like it will be calmer but I guess we shall see. It isn't unheard of for things to randomly pop out of nowhere. Talk to you all next week!

Tchão, Tchão for now!
Elder Brent Dorff
Olá minha família e meus amigos, (14th)

First off, I would like to congratulate the Germans for their nice victory yesterday against Argentina. I didn't end up seeing anything of the game but I knew they had won when a member came out crying, "Why Messi!? What went wrong!?" So yeah, I am personally happy that the World Cup has ended because that will mean more people will be at home and more people will want to talk to us,. Sadly, the World Cup wasn't the only activity that was demanding the attention of the Cape Verdeans. There was also a 2 day Funana Music Festival on Gamboa Beach (the one where all the big parties are here in Praia). Nobody was home because of that. For those who are wondering what Funana is, just wait till I get home and I will play you some, because I have plans to listen to it in my car at home (Get ready for those rides to and from Utah and California!)
This week we've been blessed. I feel like in a way we have been really been helped in getting this area livened up again. As we arrived, we found the area with only 2 people investigating the Church and now we have gotten that up to 15, and I feel a majority of them could be ready for baptism during the month to come. This last week we had the most amount of investigators at Church that I have ever had during my time as a secretary and a decent number of less actives came as well. 
This week, Elder Godfrey and I gave a training in District Meeting about how to learn by the Spirit. When we were given the topic, I kind of sat there thinking, "I don't know if it is possible to give a 30-40 minute training on how to study with the Spirit." But after talking a little bit with Elder Godfrey, we decided that what we weren't going to do was tell people how to follow the Spirit or what to study or anything like that, but rather teach them the doctrine of why we should do it, then evaluate how they are currently doing it and finally, practice by studying in a group setting one chapter in the Book of Mormon. In my group, we studied Moroni 7 and it was amazing! We all received a ton of helpful ideas for our teaching our investigators, recent members, and ourselves as the "Always-Want-To-Be-Better" missionaries. Not only did I get to enjoy this type of study on Saturday but ever since I've arrived in Palmarejo I feel like I have a greater desire to always have a study guided by the Spirit, mostly because then I will have a work day guided by the Spirit.
Another reason why I liked this week so much is that this last Wednesday, we had 5 new missionaries arrive, 4 Elders and 1 Sister. That means we had the opportunity to give them their orientation and also answer questions about what Cape Verde is like. After orientation, the Elders went out on division with me and Elder Godfrey. It was like deja vu, except the last time I did this was on my first day here in Cape Verde. I don't think I ever shared the story but when I got here, Elder Christensen who was one of the Assistants to the President, took Elder Ernst and I out to teach. I remember feeling completely lost and all of a sudden, we arrived in someones house (who ended up being my "Ward Mission Leader/1st Counselor of the Bishopric" in Bela Vista/Ala 5) Then he came with us and we went to another house. We went in and began teaching about the Restoration. I won't talk about what exactly happened during that lesson but it definitely showed me that I had a lot to learn! But, here I am now at 12.5 months, and doing the same thing, only this time playing the part of the experienced missionary guiding the ones who have just arrived. We taught 2 lessons and whether those 2 missionaries thought they did well or not, they did great. I felt the Spirit and that is all that matters. I enjoyed the experience.
Another little bit of news... an Elder named Elder Smith will be in a trio with Elder Godfrey and I for the last week or so before he returns home having completed his mission. It's kind of a bummer for him in that he is ending his mission this way. He has a bad ingrown toenail which he had surgery which  causes him some pain when he walks and wear shoes.
Well, I am glad to hear that everyone is doing good. I am looking forward to this week for many reasons but it will be interesting to see what actually ends up happening. Well, I love you lots. I'm keeping you in my prayers and thanks for all of yours. Take care!

Elder Brent Dorff