Monday, January 27, 2014

Letter dated 27 Jan. 2014---Happy surprise... Baptisms!

Olá Família e Amigos!
Our apartment
Wow, what a full week. It was a good week but busy. So first off, it sounds like life is going good for everyone at home. In response to the question if I am using the Christmas decorations still, yes, yes I am. We had both the banner and the lights up but then the lights died so now we are just rocking the banner. The jello, like always, tastes like heaven and I am being super conservative with my chocolates and other candies. I want them to last me a good long time. But yeah, everything that you sent in the package got to me and I am loving using them!
This week was interesting because we started the week without anyone that was going to be baptized. Elder Conduanhe and I were working just like we always do when we went to one of our investigators that we have been working with for a long time. For many weeks we have been working with him and prepping him for his baptism but because of his parents, he was stopped for many weeks. Maybe you recall me recounting the experience that I had with my investigator Xandy? Well we went to his house last Tuesday and while we were talking, he said, "I can't wait to be baptized this week." And I was like, "oh yeah,........ WHAT!?!?!?!?!?" And he responded, "Yeah, my parents said that I can be baptized!" I couldn't speak Portuguese for a good 5 minutes because I was so excited/shocked (good thing that I have companion that speaks only Portuguese and can continue the lesson). So this last Saturday, Xandy was baptized. It was super cool too because his dad and little sister were able to come and he was able to be baptized by his friend, and our recent convert from the week before, Danielson. I am so happy for him!
Xandy's Baptism (With his family and Danielson)
But it was not only that. We also received a referral from the ward, taught her everything, and prepped her to be baptized this week. With like the biggest testimony ever and a big smile on her face, Neusa was baptized also, by Tony, the Ward Mission Leader. So this last week, we were blessed with the opportunity to help 2 people come closer to their Savior through baptism. It was super cool and I am really grateful.
Neusa's Baptism (With Tony)
I can't remember if I already talked about this but our mission is really putting a lot of importance on bringing people back to full activity through the Church and so we have worked a ton with less actives and we were able to prep 3 guys who are now worthy and received callings as Ward Missionaries. And what missionaries they are! They are introducing us to their friends and everything. The work is exploding here and I feel so grateful to be be here to see it all come forth.
This last week, as we were walking down the street, a member from another ward stopped us and told us, "Elders, you have a bunch of people who are ready to hear the Gospel down in "baixo" (the side of town where there are a lot of bars) and start with MaisAlto (a less active). Elder Conduanhe and I took that suggestion, made plans and are right now excuting that plan to grow the Church there. Hopefully, we will see a lot of success from down in the "baixo."
One last thing to talk about is soccer on P-days. I think that has become the highlight of my P-days (besides using the Internet). I haven't enjoyed playing soccer this much since I played as a 10 year old. Next week I am going to bring my camera to soccer and take some photos.
 Well I think that is plenty for today. Love you all a lot and talk to you all next week! Love you lots! (Didn't I already say that once?)

Elder Dorff

Monday, January 20, 2014

Letter dated 20 January 2014--Danielson's baptism and a little monkey business

Olá família e amigos!

Well, its been another hot week on my little known desert island. But it was a great week! First of all, yesterday was transfers and after going and saying goodbye to all of our recent converts, we waited for the call that may or may not come. The other Elders in the house received theirs but that was it. So, it looks like I will be spending my 6th transfer with Elder Conduanhe (3 transfers straight! Wahoo!) in Achada Grande. To be honest, we were really expecting for one of us to be leaving so it was kind of a surprise. But it will be an awesome transfer and we will work our area hard! 
Cute little girl who insisted that I take her picture
In other news, last week we had a baptism! His name is Danielson and he is 16 years old. A less active member helped us find him and I can remember our very first day with him; he told us that he was really interested in the Church and wanted to change his life with the new year. So we started talking to him, and he came to Church. Soon after that, the youth of the branch really helped him and he became really good friends with all of them. They invited him to go to seminary every night with them, and it was exactly after he started going to seminary that his testimony and desire to be baptized grew rapidly. At his baptism, he had a lot of friends (members, less actives, and investigators) come. Even his father showed up and saw the actual ordinance. It was super special and now we are going to try and teach the whole family. That family is so nice. They keep trying to feed us food! Elder Conduanhe had the pleasure to perform the baptism too. Oh, and for your information, the kid that is in the picture with Danielson and us is Xandy. We have been talking with his parents and they might let him be baptized soon (like this or next week). Certainly hope so!
 Okay, to answer some questions. Yes, it is hot and humid here practically year round. There are 2 areas where is actually gets cold though, one on Fogo and the other are areas near Mindelo where it gets cool because of winds. There is even a town in Fogo that is so high on the volcano that they get snow during the night but it completely melts away quickly. I never got to see it because missionaries can't go there. Praia is really hot and the only time you actually feel a temperature change is when  the sun goes down. Then it can get a little chilly but nothing like when I wore flip flops and shorts in the snow of Utah at BYU. 
Yum, lunch!
And ice cream for dessert!
Great to hear about all the missionaries from Placentia and also other friends. I am always thinking about those who are serving.
 Well, thanks for your love and prayers and I will talk to you all next week!!!

Elder Dorff

P.S. Thank you everyone for your part of my Christmas Present!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Letter dated 13 Jan 2014--Learning to be a smarter missionary

Oi Família e Amigos!
So, first off, Mom! I have an investigator here that works in the Post Office and he said that he found my Christmas package! So, it is just a matter of getting it from the Post Office (and that's the APs job). Oh, and I got one of Grandpa's letters today. The one he sent for the month of AUGUST! So, I think I have received May, June, July, August, October, and December. I think that means I can expect 2 or 3 in the next month. :)
Yes! Christmas package finally we only hope the gifts inside are still there though the Christmas banner and lights won't be of much use now. LOL..Merry Christmas Elder!

Sounds like it was a fun week (or maybe busy is a better word) for all of you at home. I think that BYU has started up again (which means I hope to hear all about BYU basketball when the games start) and life is begining to return a little back to normal. The same has certainly happened here too except for the fact that today is some national holiday here. It's like the day that they are celebrating liberty (but it's not their Independence Day). Nobody really knows why they don't have school or the banks are closed but they are getting ready for a big old party downtown. Hopefully that doesn't mean that we are going to experience a "New Years" aftermath again. But we will see.
So this last week, one of the highlights was that we were able to go on divisions. Elder Conduanhe went with Elder Jarvis to the other side of Achada Grande (Traz) and I stayed in our area with Elder Gooch. We live in the same house but it is definitely different working with Elder Gooch than Elder Conduanhe. I think the biggest differences were the facts that Elder Gooch has much more time in the mission, is American, and also has a different personality. It was fun and I learned a lot about myself and how Elder Conduanhe and I can work better together. I feel like since the division we are working with much more unity and we have success planned for this last week of the transfer.

One thing that Elder Gooch and I talked about is about how hard we work as missionaries. No it wasn't the type of conversation like, "Aw, man. Life is hard. The mission is hard. I want to go home..." No, it was the type of conversation talking about how we could make our work more efficient and more focused on the will of the Lord. We talked about how we can work super hard, running from appointment to appointment and teaching 8 or 9 lessons a day, for an entire week and still end up with no one wanting to be baptized. We talked about how it is important to be smart with our time. The time we have is the Lord's and he will direct us to the people that are ready to listen. If we follow the Lord's will and only end up teaching 2 or 3 lessons that day, it's okay, because those people will progress and be baptized. I feel like I'm not explaining this very well but one thing is for sure, I've decided that I am going to be a smarter missionary. This week, I will hit 8 months (Wow, the time has FLOWN!) and so I've  got two thirds of mission left to help the people that I need to here. It's not about the numbers of lessons taught or numbers of people who go to Church, but it's about the people who are earnestly searching for a better relationship with God. I'm going to be that humble servant that the Lord can use to help his children return to Him. I love this work! I honestly do. For all those thinking about missionary service, wow, this Gospel true and what a blessing it will be for you to serve! Just know that!

Well, l I love you all. Keep up with school, work, family life, and everything. Always make room for the Lord and you will always have his help.

Elder Dorff

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cabo Verde vs. Hawaii and Christmas letters & gifts


Can you believe that 2013 has already ended? For me, it is incredible that that amount of time has already past. Makes me super happy and excited for this year especially because I get to spend the entire year here on my favorite islands (yep, I like Cabo Verde more than Hawaii or Catalina) doing my favorite thing, teaching and working like missionaries do to help people come closer to Christ. It will be a good year!
So this week was... well... interesting. The first part of the week was hard because literally nobody wanted to talk to us. The parties started early New Year's Eve and then continued nonstop until the 3rd (and people had work on the 2nd!) So because of that, it was a really good opportunity to look at the people we are teaching and determine who is ready to progress and who really doesn't have any interest. We are working more closely with the Branch and we hope that we can help a couple of the people that we are working with to make the decision to be baptized for the right reason. 
I wanted to share an experience that Elder Conduanhe and I had. We almost had a baptism this last week but at the last moment, his parents decided that he needed to wait one more week... maybe even a little bit longer. His name is Xandy (said like shan-dee). He is 14 years old and has been going to Church with his friends for a little while now. He told us that he wanted to be baptized and we were like, yeah, we can help you. So we taught him and helped him to prepare but the day before his interview, we were on top of his uncle's house and he said that he was having a couple of doubts about the Prophet Joseph Smith and the First Vision. So we talked to him to understand why he was having this doubt. We talked to him about the power of the Holy Ghost to testify to us of truth and  and the Spirit was just so powerful. Then a question came to mind and I asked him that question. I wish I remembered the question but his response was this: "I think that God talked to Joseph Smith to help other people know the truth. He gave Joseph Smith the power and authority to do a baptism right. Also, Joseph Smith, no... God, called apostles to go and teach the work about the Gospel." I just responded, "Xandy, do you know what you just told me?" He said that he didn't. And I said, "You just told me the Church of Jesus Christ was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith." He paused for a little while and just said, "I received an answer... I can't believe it." It was super cool and we are hoping that he will continue to grow so he can show his parents that this is really what he wants in his life. One day he will be baptized. 
One more thing that was super cool about the week was that I was able to finish the Book of Mormon in Portuguese for the first time ever! It was great and I have already started over. I hope to read it many more times before I leave the mission. I think that I will start tackling O Novo Testamento and Doctrina e Convênios too soon. We will see how that ends up. 
So, I just wanted to make mention that I received the Elder Dorff Day package from Placentia 1st! And, yes the cookies are still good and I am still enjoying them every day! Thanks for everyone's notes. It made me really happy to read them all. Also, I got the P1 Bishopric Christmas Card and also many more letters from Carlsbad. Thanks for all the support and love. I also received the card from Grandpa for the month of December. Thanks Grandpa for the card and the other gift that you gave me! (you know what that was). I'm still waiting for my Christmas package but I have faith that it will arrive here. It may be next month but whatever. As long as it gets here, that's all that matters. 
Well, love you lots and talk to you soon!

Elder Dorff :)

Correction: In an earlier post, I poked fun at Brent for putting on this "phony-looking plastic spider" trying to fake me out. During our Christmas Skype he informed me that it was, in fact,  a REAL spider but he assured me that he knew it wasn't poisonous before he did this. Aarghh...I didn't know this was real!!