Thursday, May 29, 2014

Letter dated 26 May 2014---Eel and Every member...

Oi minha família e meus amigos!

How is everything going? Sounds like those on the European front are having fun. I love how your travel plans include going to the town of Dorff in Germany. Hopefully, it has a sign of the town's name.
Before I talk about how this week was I need to give out a shout out to my loving sister Cami because it is her BIRTHDAY today! Happy Birthday! Love you lots. Also, this week, happy birthday to my friend there in Ohio, Maggie!
This week was a very interesting and fun week. First of all, it was transfers today and I am staying here in the office with Elder Godfrey. Wasn't too much of a shocker, but their were a couple rumors that I was going to be transferred to the uninhabited island of Santa Luzia. Office work was pretty normal and I am feeling pretty comfortable about how to handle housing problems. I guess that will be an experience that will have been handy to have.
So, this week had a sad part of the week due to a natural "part-of-the-mission-life" experience. An Elder finished his mission. His name is Elder Christensen and the funny thing is that, Cami, he lives in your ward. He is probably the biggest baseball fan I know, the one that always ate my cereal on divisions, and probably the thing that I will most likely remember him by is that he went on division with Elder Ernst and I our very first night here in Cape Verde. Oh, what a memorable experience that was; how I couldn't speak or teach or do anything really. It was very hard to believe that he has gone home and he will be missed but just think how fast that time past. I can't imagine the point when I go home. I'm not going to think about it because let's be honest, the mission is awesome. It is just going to be a little bit harder because every "dying" missionary comes through our house the day before he goes home. And within the next few months, a lot of missionaries "die". It will be interesting.
Elder Christensen before his departure for home

So, on the topic of interesting... African food,,, that once picky young version of Elder Dorff would never eat, this week Elder Godfrey and I made eel. We floured it and then fried it. It was good but so many bones. We were talking to a member afterwards and he told us that we got the wrong type of eel, so he is going to fish up a different type to have us cook. Looks like we could be eating it again this week.
Dinner before we cooked it--comment from Mom,,,,,ewwwww! Why does everything he eats look like it
 could eat him first???

Well, my streak ended. After 1 year of not having to do it, I finally gave my first talk in Portuguese. Our ward (and the whole country in general) is really trying to get the members to be more active in missionary work. I was tricked (as in I thought I was going to give like a 5 minute training during a fireside) into being the last speaker of Sacrament Meeting. In the end, it ended up being a 15 minute talk on how EVERY MEMBER IS A MISSIONARY! In reality, it is so true. I talked about 3 ways that we can be member missionaries, including our words (studying the scriptures and praying for our own personal understanding and going out with the missionaries and sharing our testimonies), our actions (more of inviting people to come to church, seminary/institute, and activities) and through our examples (we are living examples of what the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ does for someone. If we live the things we profess to be true, others will feel the Spirit's influence). In the end, I thanked everyone in the room for their support and the help that they give the missionaries, but I also called everyone to the work through Doctrine and Covenants 108:6-8 (my mission plaque picture if you remember :) ). I call you all to the work too. Help the local missionaries because they can't do this work of salvation without you.

Family Night at Ailton, Lazaro, and Chinda's House
Well, I love you all. Have many adventures this week as I know I will! 

Elder Brent Dorff


Monday, May 19, 2014

Letter dated 19 May 2014--Z baptism and celebrating the one year mark

Olá família e amigos!

Oh, it is hard to believe that my parents are only one flight away from me (last night a plane left here to go to Paris). But lets be honest, you were always one lifeboat and a couple of months of floating in the Atlantic around South America, or through the Panama Canal away!
Elder Jarvis, Elder Acord and I at zone conference
So, this week was kind of interesting because I had experiences where I made kind of greenie mistakes. The major two were that I left my camera's memory card at the photo printing place and our phone at a members house! Luckily, the former was really easy to retrieve at Church the next day (it actually worked out because we had a way to call his parents, who are our investigators, to invite them to come to Chruch the next day, and they did!) The other, I successfully managed to get back today by waiting at the place for the chinese owner to come and telling me that it wasn't there and then me pointing it out. So thanks to those miracles, you get pictures today and I get to hear about how people are out of money for the month (Elder Godfrey's problem). 

 So, this last week we had a baptism! His name is Z and he is 16. He is another person who came to know that the Church was true through his friends. A, that member that was born on the same day as me and also our ward mission leader, brought him to Church a couple of weeks ago and then we started talking to him. He really liked church and he started going off to seminary in the evenings and just spending a lot of time with the youth. He had some major commandment problems (which we actually didn't know about until he told us) but before we had taught him the commandments, he said that A had already taught some the commandments, so he had already overcome those problems. He is a nice guy and a really good hip hop dancer. I need to take a video of him one of these days dancing because it is pretty cool.
Z's Baptism
So, this last week was my 1 year mark (and for the record, my release date is a year from today. It will pass quickly, but, of course, I don't want it to.) For celebration, Elder Ernst and I had made plans  to go and celebrate it together at the all-you-can-eat buffet at Mirage. Apparently, other people liked the idea because outside of the 8 people total that we invited, almost every missionary in Praia ended up coming. It was a lot of fun and like always the food was good. I took a picture of my lunch as proof that I bit into him before he could take a bite out of me :) We spent the time enjoying MTC memories and talking about life plans (as in if they had changed from when we were in the MTC). It looks like for some people, they have decided to pursue different majors/relationships and everything. I feel like not too much has changed with me. Still pursuing Chemical Engineering and if anything, I am more set on doing it. It will be interesting if anything does change during this next year. I have noticed that one thing that has decreased is the amount of emails...
The one that didn't get away :)
Oh, and one more great thing was Zone Conference! It was the last that we are going to have with President and Sister Oliveira. It was a really good conference with good trainings by everyone but I liked the last one, by President Oliveira, the best. He gave a training on the missionary purpose and it seemed like everyone was self-evaluating themselves to see if they were becoming what they want to become and what God wants us to become. It was powerful, and then he and Sister Oliveira bore their final testimonies. It was a sad ending, also because 3 other missionaries, Elder Otterstrom (who was my Zone Leader in Fogo when I started the mission), Elder Acord (who was my Zone Leader in Achada Grande and São Filipe) and Elder Folgeburg (who was never my Zone Leader but is pretty cool) all bore their testimonies too. Most of the leaders that were in when I got here are leaving. The mission is getting ready for the mission president change and there is no doubt that the mission is ready to continue to work for President and Sister Mathews.
Well, it was a busy week and being the last week of the transfer and the week before the major "soon-to-be-stake" Conference in Fogo, a lot of the mission leadership will be heading there. 
Love you all, and I will talk to you all soon! Hope to hear from you!

Elder Brent Dorff

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Letter dated 5 May 2014--May and s'mores

Oi minha família e meus amigos!

So first of all, may the fourth be you all (yesterday) and happy Mexican Independence Day! In celebration, Elder Godfrey and I made tacos with some sweet and sour mango hot sauce. It tasted so good!
So, this week was a pretty nice week but it really wasn't anything too special. On May 1st it was the Cape Verdean version of Labor Day, called "Dia dos Trabalhodores." Basically, on that day, everyone goes to work but doesn't have to work, but rather have a huge party so even fewer people were at home that day but it was still a good day. 
One thing that was pretty fun was that we had the Mission Leaders Council here in the office last week and because of that all the Zone Leaders from the different islands flew or boated in. After the meeting, many of the leaders came to our house and that night, 12 of us stayed in our house. It was a lot of fun and it was great to see so many people who I hadn't seen in forever. 
My work in the office hasn't changed all that much although there was a day were I was running all over town trying to figure out how to pay an electric bill that hadn't been paid right the first time. It  ended up being like a 5 hour investment to solve a problem that really should have only taken 15 minutes max. That's life. 
Something kind of funny that happened during fast and testimony meeting yesterday was that a member came up and started his testimony about how he was so grateful about being born and baptized in May. He went on how the month of May is a month for the chosen people. To be honest, for me May was always the month of AP Tests (which if I remember right, the AP Chem students are taking their tests even as I write), Mother's day, a ton of birthdays and anniversaries (lots of cake and family, by the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY PARKER!), and Memorial Day (awesome relaxing 3 day weekend). It was just funny and for all you people who were born in May, you're special for this man. 
Oh, and last but not least, we found a store here with marshmallows so you know what that means. SMORES! We just used Nutella and some plain cracker/cookies. We, the three Americans showed the Australian and Portuguese missionaries how to make them and we enjoyed them for a good hour or so. 

 Well, hopefully I have more to talk about next week yet even if I do, I will be talking to you on Sunday (MOTHER'S DAY---this is one very excited mom inserting this) so you could imagine that my email will be short again. But I love you all and I will talk to you soon!