Wednesday, February 11, 2015

February 2nd & 9th, 2015--Big news!

Oi minha familia e meus amigos!                                              February 2, 2015

Well, are you ready for some news? This last week was transfers, and although I really was hoping that I wouldn't leave Calheta, I have left. I am not too far though and the greatest news is that as the new missionaries have people get baptized, I will have the opportunity to go back to Calheta. How is that possible, you may be asking? Well, we know that Elder Dorff didn't leave the island, because he is meant to serve the rest of his mission on Santiago. I have been moved to the city of Assomada, an area named Assomada Calu, and I am no longer a District Leader in Calheta but I am now the Zone Leader of Assomada, which means I have responsibility for the northern half of the island. I am serving with Elder Nymeyer, who I already knew pretty well and it should be really fun. Looks like the Lord wants me to continue as strong as I started. I am excited to serve in this new position and I can't wait to see the miracles happen on a Zone scale. The good thing is that Elder Veitch will end his training with Elder Ernst (like one of my favorite Elders) and I will still be overseeing the work there. So, let the adventure begin... this week will be a crazy first week. I'm looking forward to it.
But before I completely check out of what happened in Calheta, I have to tell you many great things that happened my last week there. First of all, we had District Meeting in which I had thought about giving a training about how to work with the Branch better but I had changed it the night before to talk about the power of hope. It was more of a conversational District Meeting in which maybe the missionaries didn't learn a practical teaching technique, but I hope that the attitudes of the missionaries changed as we talked about keeping the hope of finding people prepared, to be taught and baptized. I feel like it helped.

We had a lesson with one investigator who really confused me. As we were teaching her, all of the sudden she became quite defensive and sensitive about everything that we were teaching her. I finally decided to just stop the lesson and ask what was going on or if we had offended her. She told us that she didn't want us to come over and judge her for her faith. I felt really sad because I didn't feel like we were judging her or critizing her for her beliefs. I think that she just felt that she already knew enough and there was no way around that. Closed heart means closed ears. Such is life.

Then on Saturday, we had an miracle! J got baptized! Remember how I said that J couldn't get baptized because he was waiting for his paperwork for marriage? Well, it wasn't the best situation, but he decided to move out of the house that he was renting with his girlfriend and went back to his parents house so that he could keep the commandments. On Thursday, we told him that he could get baptized and he was so excited. Our Branch President told us that J had said that there was nothing on earth that was worth breaking a commandment of God for. A pretty big change on his part. It is amazing what the Spirit does to people. He later on shared his testimony, many times, that he was so grateful that he could be baptized and that now he will help his girlfriend take the same steps to learn and be baptized as well. It is pretty awesome and I am excited for them both. Calheta will see a lot of success here in a couple of weeks. 

Elder Brent Dorff

 Oi  minha família e meus amigos,                                                         February 9, 2015

So... I got a little bit of news to share... So this past week, I was preaching the gospel and I get a text message. Well, it was the middle of a lesson so I didn't pick it up. Then all of the sudden, I receive 2  phone calls and more text messages. I saw that the two calls were from two of the Elders of my MTC group. The first text was from President Mathews, informing me that because my release date falls between transfers, I had a choice: to extend to June 7th... or to shorten to April 28...........................

So this week was awesome! The adventures of being a Zone Leader have definitely been many and I feel like I have experienced most of the challenges already in one week. So here is the run down:
Monday- Elder Nymeyer was sick so we didn't go out to teach on that day so I caught up on my mission journal, including my thoughts about transfers and such. Pretty chill night, literally.
Tuesday- Mission Leadership Council! We (still super sick Nymeyer and I) leave Assomada at 6:30 with water barrels (why we had them-- no idea) and arrive in Praia around 8:15 for accountability with President for last month. Then Council started at 9. We learned a lot of about the importance of the Plan of Salvation and also Obedience. We did a many things and learned a lot. It was also a lot of fun to see some old friends on this Council (like Elder Godfrey who I worked with back in the office who is now the Zone Leader of Fogo, and also Elder Jarvis, who is Zone Leader in Praia, and Elder Welch, Zone Leader of Mindelo. It was good to see all them again. But, of course, there is a real purpose to council and that is to create the monthly plans for the Zone. Well, seeing that I have never done this before and we had literally almost zero time before the council to prepare ideas... it was slightly stressful. But we came out with rough ideas that we would work with later and pound out real plans. Such is life.
Later, we created out training and finalized our plans, and put together all the information from Council and went to Zone Meeting. As a District Leader, you always look forward to Zone Meetings because you don't have to prepare anything. Not any more. So I conducted, did the announcements, and participated in the review of the results of last month's plans, the training, the presenting of the new plans, and everything else. Our zone's focus for the month is "Levantai-se e Anda" or "Take up thy bed, and Walk" talking about having authority as a representative of Christ, where we have the right to invite people to make the changes in their lives to achieve the true extent of their eternal potential.
So excited for the earlier release date of April 28th but I know it will be hard for him to leave Cabo Verde!
Assomada is very cool, as in temperature. Mom, you were inspired to by the sweater. Here's a picture of me using it :) The area is good although our investigators aren't doing everything they need to. We plan to help change that though. I like Elder Nymeyer a lot. He and I teach differently, which I attribute to the fact that we have had very different areas through the mission, but we mix well. He is very funny, so it won't be a boring transfer. I have been blessed that way with most of my companions.
Well, it sounds like it was a pretty good week for everyone and I hope that this week is just as awesome! ...I chose April 28th ;) (Mom, Dad, and family) Just to make you trunky, 11 weeks left (I have bitter sweet feelings)
Love you lots!

Elder Brent Dorff


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

January 19th & 26th, 2015--hard work and a Stake split

Oi minha família e meus amigos!                                             January 19, 2015

Look, I am back from the dead! It really wasn't that I didn't want to contact you, but P-day just doesn't always work out as we expect. I honestly don't know what to tell you because these last 2 weeks were so different from each other. I will just pull out a couple of the highlights. First of all, there were some transfers that happened here in the Zone (I'm still here, don't worry) to where we were knocked down to one Zone Leader and with that, more responsibility has been put on the District Leaders to help out. It has been good as I feel like we are all depending more on the Lord for the help and guidance for our missionaries. This last week I went on division with my ZL, Elder Nymeyer and I went with him to his area for a division (seeing that he is with a mini missionary and can't leave his companion in his area). It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot about the Mission's goal to focusing on the incredible message of the Restoration, specifically the First Vision and the Book of Mormon. I plan on giving a training on it tomorrow and I hope that it turns out good. This last week I gave a training about how prayer, scripture study, and church attendance give people opportunities to have spiritual experiences, so that the Spirit can help them in the process of conversion. There were a lot of comments that I really liked and I felt good about how it went.
This last P-day was interviews with President Mathews, which, of course, was great. We went over the time given, mostly talking about Calheta and how to continue growth of the area and Branch. We focused a lot on wanting the members and investigators to become spiritually self-sufficent. It was a good way to start a week. We also found 11 new investigators, including a couple of families, that we are looking forward to helping them prepare.
So, we almost had someone get baptized this last week but he ran into some problems. He and his girlfriend were going to get married and then baptized, but then she didn't want to get baptized and started working at a local bar which makes her work during Church. He decided to end the relationship and kick her out. But, the problem is that she isn't from this country and she has literally no family here. She arrived here when she was less than a year old and was just left here. So, she literally has no one. So he decided that was too harsh. So now they are working on marriage again. But, she doesn't have her birth certificate and for the Cape Verdean Registry, you have to have that for an international marriage so she had to contact her aunt to try and get the document for her. Well, now they are waiting for documents. It is kind of a rough situation but he is only growing stronger. His name is J and he is 21 years old. He has such a strong testimony and has already gone out teaching with us like 20 times. It is literally because of him we are able to teach so many of the single women we are teaching. We are so grateful for him and his loyalty to his testimony.
So, to answer your questions about the slaughtering of animals.... The animals we mostly see slaughtered on the streets are cows and pigs. You can literally hear the pigs squealing in the morning. Then they shave them with a razor and cut them up to sell to people. Not the most sanitary way of selling meat but yeah... it is definitely memorable. I haven't eaten goat yet, mostly because, it hasn't ever been an option.
HElder Djoorf (my name in one of my investigator's phones)
Oi minha família e meus amigos!                                                  January 25, 2015

So, can I just say that it is crazy that the month of January is already almost over. It is weird because the end of the transfer falls on the 1st of Feb, and so in my head I was thinking that I still had forever with Elder Veitch. I still think I do, and boy do I hope, but I guess we shall see.
I am glad to hear that it was a such a good week for all of you. It was for us too as much happened, as it seems to always be on the 5th week of the transfer. First thing that happened, that actually was normal to the weekly craziness, was District Meeting. This week we talked about the Restoration a lot. As missionaries we learn that this message is literally for everyone on the earth. But the thing is, that is not always how people see that initially, and so we have been focusing more on the power of the First Vision, and how if we know that experience happened (through a testimony of the Book of Mormon), we will change our lives. It was one of my favorite trainings. We learned together about the many truths about Heavenly Father and Christ that were restored through that vision. I challenge you all to look at a picture of the Restoration, read Joseph Smith History, and come up with a list of restored truths that were lost from the world.
We also ended up doing kind of a different division with Ribeirão Manuel, in that Elder Veitch went with Elder Wallace in RM and Elder Gunther came here with me. It was a lot of fun because Elder Gunther is only one transfer younger than me so our teaching styles are a little bit more similar. It was a good division and the purposes of it were fulfilled. I am proud of the missionaries of the district.
So something else crazy happened this week. We are no longer part of the Praia Stake here in Calheta. The stake split into the Stake of Praia and the District of Assomada, which means that all the wards on this side of the islands are once again branches and all of the leaderships (branch presidencies) were reorganized. We still have the same Branch President, but we have a new 1st Counselor.  So, with the new focus on wanting the District to turn into a stake looks like there will be more missionary work to have to happen. Which is great, especially since we had more investigators go to the conference in Assomada than we have gotten to go to Church the whole rest of this transfer.
The work is going well and I am loving it as much as ever. People keep reminding me that I am getting older, and I just tell them to stop getting themselves trunky for how much time they have. Love you all and talk to you soon!

Tchão, com muito amor!
Elder Brent Dorff