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