Monday, March 31, 2014

Letter dated 31 March 2014---Another wedding and another great week!

Olá Família e Amigos, and welcome new little niece into this world!

Needless to say that the baby's arrival was the thing I was most excited to hear about! I am super glad to hear that everyone is well and that the newest addition to the Dorff family is a perfect fit! I can't wait to meet her (only a little while to go!) Also, when the name is decided, I can't wait to hear. Also for that same family, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEN! I know that I am a little far and you probably don't remember much about me but whatever. Love you nevertheless!
This week was a great week for us here in Achada São Filipe. Elder Gonçalves (although he isn't an officially assigned missionary yet) is doing great and is teaching people like someone who has been here longer than 2 weeks. We have received word this week that his visa has been approved and that he will be leaving for Brazil on April 10th. Looks like I will have one more companion for those few days before transfers. I am really sad that he won't be finishing out the transfer with me but I know that the people in Salvador Brazil need him.
We had the opportunity to go to another wedding this week, for a couple of people I had taught in Achada Grande. Their names are Z and L. The missionaries before Elder Conduanhe and I started the marriage process with them and the missionaries after us got to enjoy the wedding planning. They had a "party" after the wedding, which was the closest thing to a family wedding reception that I will probably be getting here. They had cake, little desserts, a lunch of rice, beans, and other Cape Verdean staples and they went on a honeymoon. It is actually because they went on a honeymoon that they weren't there to enjoy the party. They went to the Canary Islands and will return later this week so that they can be baptized!
No'll never guess who caught the bouquet...Elder
Speaking of baptisms, we had our first 2 here in São Filipe! Milena and her son Joel were baptized by Milena's younger brother. It was kind of interesting because the chapel here in São Filipe was out of water (yeah..classic Cape Verde problem) so we rented a hiace which brought all 12 of us to the baptism in Achada Santo Antionio. But we didn't make it in time to do it with everyone else so we waited until the other baptism ended so that we could do our little baptism. It was small, and basically the only people at the baptism was her family and 2 friends but it was still awesome and they both left the water with the biggest smiles ever. It made all the struggles worth it!
Milena and Joel's baptism
This last week we worked a ton. We found 15 new investigators so now we need to help them prepare to accept baptismal dates and then help them prepare for those dates. They are super cool and many of them have sincere desires to learn about the Gospel.
Wow, that is super cool that another Elder from Carlsbad is coming here. Hey, Elder Willes, this mission is great! You're going to love it and don't worry about learning Creole. It seems to come naturally. See you in September!
Well, I will be signing off now. I love you all and I hope that this is a good week. It's getting hot here and I think it might just be the fact that we are closer to the Equator. I am sort of missing rain and snow right which is rather funny because my friends in other missions are saying that they have way too much of that right now! Love you lots! (April Fools!)

Elder Dorff (but seriously, love you!)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Letter dated 24 March 2014--Missionary or Matchmaker??

Olá família e amigos!

Wow... I am tired to say the least, but it was a great week in the work. This week we have really worked hard to get São Filipe up on it's feet again and getting the members involved in the work by asking for references and contacting like crazy. If all works out, this week should be no different.
So, the first thing that I want to talk about is the marriage of M and P! This was the first marriage that I have ever witnessed here in Cape Verde and also it was also the first one where it was my investigators who were getting married. It was kind of a small crowd ( a couple of drunks and us) with them in the Registro. The lady who lead them through the vows spoke in Creole (that was kind of interesting) and when she asked if anyone objected to the marriage, everyone responded aloud "No!" It was funny. Their daughter was their ring girl and then they kissed and then the party moved to their house where we ate goat, a weird corn/grain mix, beans and rice (a staple food here, yea...remember when my staple was PB&J?), and of course, cake (they didn't have any fancy ole' cake). I took like 100 photos (I was the photographer at the party) but I think I will only include couple of my favorites.
Congratulations M and P!
It was also my luck not only so see their wedding but Ro's too! Maybe you will remember my recent convert Ro (she was baptized in November)? Well, right after M and P's wedding, she and her fiance, W (the ward secretary), were married too! I got to see them and a whole bunch of people from Achada Grande Frente. It made me "trunky" for Achada Grande and I was so happy to see the happy couple.

Aw.. how sweet! Congrats!
 I will also get to see another marriage of Achada Grande, Z and L. They were a couple preparing for marriage before, during, and after my time in Achada Grande and next week (this coming Friday) they are finally being married. You can bet I will be there for that. Also, I was working with another marriage in Achada Grande and the wife was expecting a couple of days before Christy's due date. I received word that she had her son and that his name is James (other names in between) M.  and he was born on the same day as my 10 month mark). This is cool because they got the name from the English tabs in my Bible! I'm taking credit for the name :)
P-day today was a little bit different then it has been. Today, we didn't got to play soccer but instead we went to Cidade Velha (or "old city", clever name for the oldest city in West Africa). We did almost everything. We hiked in the mountains, went to a fort, walked on the road next to the beach, and just enjoyed the company of one another. It was I, Elder Gonçalves, Elder Welch (MTC companion), Elder Jarvis (can you believe that we have 2 Elders by that name here? One in Assomada, one here), Elder Wells, and Elder Stratton. It was almost the whole district and it was fun. Good exercise after a stressful week. I took a lot of photos, but I don't think I will be able to send them all too you.

Oh, other news, Elder Gonçalves still doesn't have his visa so it looks like we will probably finish out the transfer, (maybe longer), here with me in São Filipe. This is good because we get along well and joke around a lot. We still need to work on teaching together but he knows the doctrine and the langauge which is a lot more than what other missionaries know when they arrive at the MTC, let alone after they leave.

My new companion from Fogo, Elder Gonçalves
Well, thanks for the letters and emails everyone. They make me super happy every time I read them and they are probably the reasons why I don't feel very trunky. Love you lots and I will talk to you later!!!

Elder Dorff


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Letter dated 17 March 2014--mini companion and Achada Sao Filipe

Oi Família e Amigos!

Well Mom, I have to let you know that when you wrote me giving me a virtual pinch if I wasn't wearing green, I looked down and to my luck, green tie :P
Happy Saint Patricks day for all of you and also Happy Birthday, Sarah Dorman! (It helps to remember birthdays when they are on the same day as holidays.) Also, Happy Belated Birthday Kylie! Don't think I forgot. My planner is super decorated to celebrate it. 
This week was a ton of work but if you look at my numbers (number of lessons and new people we found, etc.) for the week it doesn't reflect everything that happened. First, Elder Conduanhe stayed with me 5 days after the transfer started. He should have gone to Tarrafal way before but because of his ear problem he stayed and I helped him with his visits to the hospital. I make that sound like he is dying but in reality, he is doing good. No reason to worry. He just went in for an exam and the results were all good. So, the same day that he left, my mini missionary from Fogo arrived. His name is Elder Gonçalves.  His is only a month older than me and he is waiting for his visa to Brazil. It sounds like he will be leaving me pretty quick though, as another mini annouced that they were leaving on the 26th. It's kind of is sad because he is a great Elder. We joke around a lot but when it is time to work, we work hard.
So interviews were good. So like I told you, I asked President why Achada Grande Frente didn't get Elders this transfer and his answer was the following. He, as Mission President has the keys to send missionaries where they are needed but it is the Stake President's keys that determine where missionaries are needed the most. When Achada Grande turned into a ward and got it's own building, it became much less of a priority so the Stake moved focus on the struggling branches and wards in the interior. So when President was making transfers, he literally ran out of Elders and didn't have enough missionaries to put in 2 companionships. So the area isn't closed, just empty for now. When we get more missionaries, it will be filled. He helped me understand what happened and also just helped me with a lot of things. It was great!
Zone Leaders: Elders Acord and Gooch
So, about my new location, Achada São Filipe. To give you a little idea its sort of a weird mixture of Fogo, Achada Grande, and Palamrajo (like the nicest part of Praia). For example, I could walk into one house and be like, "Wow, this place is home!" and others like "Why is this zombie dog trying to eat my ankle?" It's pretty funny. But I like the area and our house is nice. I got to our place and found some hot chocolate packets and a microwave! Oh, what a nice afternoon. But it takes about 30 minutes to walk from one side of my area to the other and it is nearly impossible to find anyone's house with just directions. The ward is nice and big. There are a ton of families and seems like a lot of the people understand what they need to do. I have been told that the area hasn't had a baptism in weeks but that will be changing soon enough. This week, we have a marriage so you can expect pictures of that next week. But yeah it's been busy and I am excited to work with the members here. 
Baptism of Mayra from last week
I am kind of sad that there hasn't been any signs of a baby for Mark and Christy yet. But I understand that you don't have too much control over that. It will be interesting to head back to BYU with a new President at the helm. I keep hearing about how bad that whole situation in Ukraine is. It doesn't seem to bother people here.  
Well, until next week everyone! I love you lots and I will talk to you later!

Elder Dorff


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Letter dated 10 March 2014--Transferred and a "mini missionary"

Olá Família e Amigos!

So, I've got a lot to tell you and not a lot of time to do it, so don't be mad if I forget to answer your questions. So first, I am being transferred! Not only that, but so is Elder Conduanhe! I am going too..............(drum roll)........... Achada San Felipe! You don't know where that is? Well, it is just barely in Praia. I am the last area you drive through to leave for interior Santiago. And I am serving with............. a mini missionary! You don't know what that is? Well, for your information, it is a missionary that is from Cape Verde who is either pretending to be a missionary so we can teach or someone who is waiting for a visa to Brasil. In this case, he is waiting for his visa. His name is Elder Lopes and I haven't met him yet. It will be an interesting adventure and I haven't decided if I am going to let him cook for me or not (just because they usually don't like pancakes and stuff like that).
Other news. In our last week of the transfer, we had a baptism! Her name is Mayra and her cousin is the husband of a married couple from Fogo. He brought her to Church and after that she wanted to be baptized so bad. So we talked to her, prepared her and then she was baptized.
Church was super good this last Sunday. I feel like it was just a natural trend that this last week everyone is giving lessons and talks on the Sacrament. It was a super good topic for our ward because it is pretty young and reverence isn't a easy principle to teach them. 
Well, next week, longer letter and photos galore.

Elder Dorff

Monday, March 3, 2014

Letter dated 3 March 2014--a reactivation story,a p-day hike and prayers requested

Hey, como estão todo mundo?
Well, can you believe it? It is MARCH! Wow, the time is passing like crazy. And also to think that my 6th transfer is over and that number 7 has begun! I feel old. Next transfer is my birthday and then my one year mark which will be super weird. The question is what is happening with this transfer. Did I stay or will I be going to a new area? The answer is... well, to be honest, I don't even know. Because of Carnival ( a huge holiday here) all the flights and boats are bought out for the week. So Elder Conduanhe and I will work together for one more week and then most likely be split up. It won't be a very easy week though because of all the parties and things that have been and will be going on. Tomorrow, the day of, we aren't allowed to go out and teach so it looks like we will be doing a lot of studying and enjoying some good old Mormon Tabernacle Choir for the whole day. But yeah, that's mission life.
I think that today was one of the better P-days that I have had on my mission. It started with a couple hours of football followed by Elder Jarvis, Elder Amado, Elder Conduanhe and I going on a hike in the other Elder's area through a valley ending at this beautiful beach. It kind of stinks that we aren't allowed to actually get on the beach but the nice thing is that you didn't have to get on the beach to take beautiful pictures. Both Elder Jarvis and I took a bunch of pictures and it was a lot of fun. We then went out to Mirage, which is a nice all-you-can-eat buffet (which, of course, is a little more expensive then the average meal, hence why I only do it like once a month). It is just a lot of fun to be with everyone.

Besides that, we don't have too many things that are new happening to us. We are still working to find the elect and are working well with the ward. The new ward is just about all organized and because of that it is a lot easier to help less actives and investigators. I have a cool story. Our bishop, Bispo Moniz, invited us to do a visit with the Relief Society, himself, and the Ward Mission Leader at the house of a less active named Claudia. She hasn't been to Church for 13 years but everyone knows she is a member (not only her, but her whole family). We went to her house and it started off a little awkward because nobody knew how to start to talk to her but eventually the Bishop started talking to her about how the members missed her. Eventually, we got her talking about herself and it turns out she has 2 kids who were never baptized because she wanted them to choose the Church for themselves. By the end of the visit, all the members helped her by showing her how to mark  scriptures in the new Book of Mormon she received. The Spirit was so strong. She came to Church yesterday and bore her testimony and said that she was coming back to activity, because of the love that the members of the Church had for her in helping her to remember the love that God has for her. Members have so much power in helping people find the truth and also remember the truth.

Thanks for all your prayers. They have definitely been helpful during this last week especially because I have been sick with "gripe", or some weird sickness that made it so I couldn't talk, ( which is a problem for a missionary!) But to be honest, there is another missionary who could use the prayers more. I was with him in Fogo but he just went home early because he was having back pains and couldn't sleep. Well, it turns out he has cancer in his back and his lungs. His name is Elder C. He has already had surgery and is going through serious chemo. He has stage 4 cancer. Keep him in your prayers too.
Elder Dorff


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Letter dated 24 February 2014--Obstacles Overcome

Olá todo mundo!

So this week was a good week for Achada Grande although it definitely presented some interesting problems. 
First things first, we had a baptism! But in preparation to go to the baptism, like everything that could have gone wrong... went wrong. We went to her house (her name is Telma) at 3 in the afternoon. She wasn't at home like she said she would be so we started searching for her. The baptism in Praia always starts at 4 so we were kind of freaking out. We went to the other side of the city where we found her friend and her friend told us that she went to another city a good 30 minute walk away. We were trying to figure out what happened and we went back to her house and waited until she got there at 3:50. We then got her ready to leave and waited for a taxi to the baptism. Well, because of a local marriage, all the taxis were being used so we waited by the road for 20 minutes for other taxis. Then we got to the baptism and the clothes that we had arranged for were too small for her so we had to wait and use a pair that someone was already wearing. It was super stressful, but in the end she was baptized and that's all that matters. Afterwards, she said that she was just super grateful for the opportunity and she wanted to be baptized again!
The one next to me is Telma. The other girl was Elder Jarvis' baptism and Ima baptized both of them
We almost had another baptism but the story doesn't make all that much sense, even to the person who experienced it. So what happened is that a person from Portugal, of Cape Verdean descent, came to our ward and said that he wanted to be baptized. He had been to Church a lot, had a testimony of everything and so we tried to prep him. Well, the night of his interview he said he didn't want to be baptized. We were confused because he was so adament that he wasn't going to be baptized. We then talked to the Bishop and found out that he literally has a medical problem where he forgets his desires and other random things. So, I guess that explains a lot.  We have been trying to find new people to teach because we don't really want to focus our time and efforts on trying to change things we can't control. 
Weather has been pretty nice. People are still wearing sweaters and binis and I am still rocking the short-sleeve white shirts. It has been really sunny which means that my tan is getting really nice too. One day I will have to send a picture of that. 
Sounds like everyone is doing good. Christy, I am working with a couple on getting married and she is due on the 14th of March too! They have no idea if they are having a boy or a girl and they are excited. 
Well that's all I've got for this week. I love you all, and I hope that you have a great week! (Can you believe it February is already almost over!)

Elder Dorff :)