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

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Letter dated 30 June 2014--a transfer and President Oliviera goes home


Oh my gosh, did I not tell you that this last week would be crazy? I mean really, did I not!? Well, the week was full of expected craziness and unexpected craziness.
So first of all, before President Oliveira and Sister Oliveira left, they did transfers. It is about 2 weeks earlier that normal. Well, we were just chilling out, because we knew that we weren't being transferred (Our thought process was, "We are the financial secretaries, we aren't going anywhere soon.) Well, at about 10:15pm, there was a phone call. President calls and he tells me that Elder Godfrey and I were changing houses. Just changing houses. We hung up and we looked at each other kind of confused. Then the AP's come running in and they are like, "How do you feel about being blindsighted!?" I was just like, "We are just changing houses..." and they were like, "But with the house, Bela Vista is closing and you are going to Palmarejo!" Elder Godfrey and I, were shocked. We were blindsighted indeed. So, this last week, we were "shotgunned" (when you get transferred to an area with the same companion) and "whitewashed" the other secretaries' area. Not only that but the General Mission Secretary jobs were whitewashed with a senior couple, Elder and Sister Campbell. So, yeah. Palmarejo (my 4th area here in Praia), the richest part of Praia. The area has parts where it is pretty poor but it is HUGE! At least for only working 3 hours every day, it is huge. You could fit  20 Bela Vistas inside it. It seems like it will be a good area. This last week was trying to get to know the members and trying to find people to teach. Ironically, when you whitewash, it is easy to teach, but to find people who are willing/able/at home, that is a little bit tougher, so the number of people we are teaching is still really low. We are working a lot with faith and hope so that we can help the ward grow. It is exciting.
During the process of moving out of our house, a huge group of missionaries going home came and because of that we were trapped in the AP house for 2 more nights. Elder Bruce, Elder Acord, Elder Gilbert, Elder Robinson, Elder Taulbee, and Elder Sanchez, all went home. During the time here, it was fun to hear MTC and mission stories from all of them. I had a lot of memorable conversations and also, I got some new stuff from the give away pile (like a Portugal soccer jersey which I wore to soccer today). I'll miss them and their examples.
 Elder Sanchez, Elder Bruce, me, Elder Acord, Elder Robinson, and Elder Gilbert
In addition to all the birthdays this week, I enjoyed my 1 year mark in Cape Verde and Elder Godfrey enjoyed his 1 year mark as a missionary. We are both getting "old", but we are still kicking strong. 
On Friday, it was the day to say goodbye so everyone. It was super hard with the other Elders and Sisters that went home, of course, but even harder to say goodbye to President and Sister Oliveira. It's weird to think that they is already gone but when I think of the interviews, Zone Conferences, and just the day to day interaction in the office, I think of the things I learned about being a leader. I may not be in a leadership role right now in the mission, but I feel like I have more confidence and faith in doing any calling the Lord asks. I feel like he helped ease the transition of being the housing coordinator. I am grateful, more than they will probably ever know. 
Last Day with President Oliviera
 I have already been asked to speak about missionary work in my new ward on the 27th of July. Should be a lot of fun. I actually have begun to enjoy speaking at church so getting this types of assignments don't seem to stress me out as much as they did. And I mean, I am getting a months worth notice, when last time I had less than 24 hours.
Well, we have a lot of work to do, in the office and with our area. President and Sister Mathews are here and they appear happy and energetic and ready to help the mission and church grow. This week will be the first week to be in the office with them and I am excited to see how the work will change.
Well I love you all and I am happy to hear that everyone is doing alright. Keep enjoying your summer and talk to you next week!

Elder Brent Dorff