Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Portuguese Fairy has Been Here

This week my mission was turned upside down and inside out. Being companions with Sister Friaca was a ball, but this week I finally connected with people. It was crazy. 

I don't know what happened, but the gift of tongues that's happening? I woke up on Tuesday, and bam - I could talk to people, and I understand them too! Obviously my Portuguese is still far from perfect; I still have to ask people to repeat a few things as well as stammer through a few sentences of my own. But, Monday I was still hearing gibberish and on Tuesday I was chatting with my Cabo Verde family like it was nothing! Twice this week I had people tell me, "Wow, how long have you been here? Your Portuguese is really good!" These people just last week were telling me I don't have it yet, but one day I will. Crazy right? 

Thank heavens for my new language blessing, because this week I was in charge. Sister Tongi is new to Assomada and my area, and so I was in charge of planning lessons, teaching lessons, and remembering everyone's beautifully difficult Cabo Verdean names and where they live (and in my area, remembering where people live means remembering whose house you walk through to get to the dirt path that switchbacks to someone's patio to which you then climb a ladder to reach their neighbor's roof to get you to the cobblestone road that leads to an investigator's house..... yes), but I did it! I remembered everyone (and we know a lot of people) and was able to talk to them all and it was the coolest. My twelve weeks of training are over and I'm an all out missionary now!
My New Companion, Sister Tongi, and another stab at Cous Cous

Sister Tongi is super cool. Oh man, we're going to have a "hecka fun" transfer. She's one crazy hilarious Tongan with attitude. But she's a really good missionary. Together we're gonna help Assomada rise up to it's full potential. I seriously am so excited we are companions.

We had a baptism on Saturday! I'll include a picture even though it was hot and I look like two days ago. Pitoto is amazing, talk about future priesthood. He already has a crazy strong testimony and I'm so excited to see him in leadership positions in the church someday. Pitoto's baptism was exciting because he was my first baptism that I contacted and taught all the way through.
Pitoto is the one closest to us. The one baptizing him is Sandy (Nelida's husband and an awesome member)

Alright well I love you all! Until next week.
Sister Hanzel

Maria, Sister Tongi, Sister Heriana, and me  - I'm so white here in Assomada I glow

Saturday, June 13, 2015

It's the season of...

Cockroaches! Lots and lots of cockroaches. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately), we only have the little ones in the house. It's always a treat to be the first ones home at night and flick on the kitchen light. We then commence the competition of who can step on the most cockroaches before they scurry back into their cracks. If you make a game out of it, it's not........ that bad?
Fortunately, Heavenly Father decided to have mango season be at the same time, so as to have balance in all things. The mangos here are so good! Still a little expensive at 2 for $.80, but once the summer gets rolling, they'll be four for $.20 - and hopefully in larger abundance then the cockroaches. (Anybody want to look up home remedies for killing cockroaches?)
My first baptism was this week! Maria de Jesus is one short woman with one tall testimony. It's amazing to see how much the gospel has already impacted her life. She's happier, more bubbly, and she has broken out of her shy shell and loves to share her testimony when she comes teaching with us. It's amazing!
Baptism of Maria de Jesus

This past week was Zone Conference. It was great! Ok honestly, it was a lot of Portuguese. Eight hours of Portuguese. However, I was able to understand a lot of what President Matthews and the AP's (Assistants to the President) said. I was also able to understand a lot of church the past week, which was really exciting, and now that I can understand his Portuguese mais ou menos (more or less) our Branch President is actually really funny. Creole is still a challenge but I can catch the general phrases like, "Where are you going?" and "Is Cabo Verde "delicious"?" Oh Creole.

Zone Conference with President Matthews
Assomada Zone
This week we had a neat experience with a less active...
Friday night Sister Friaca and I opened our planners to see who we had planned for Saturday, and to our surprise, we had both failed to plan a single person! So, plan B's became plan A's and we had no choice but to just "wing it" the next day.
But God doesn't "wing it", he had been orchestrating Saturday for a while and was ready to conduct.
We met Lucienne (Lu-cee-enney), or "Lu". She's been a member for 13 years but has been paralyzed for the last 7. We were sitting on the steps of a pretty purple house trying to call people and find someone to teach, when a woman came out of the house. Now Cabo Verdeans are really chill about people sitting on their porches, because all the houses are so close together - and often one person's roof is another person's patio; however Sister Friaca and still felt like we should probably move to the next rooftop, but God gave us a little nudge and we decided to talk to her instead. When we asked her if she knew the Church, she got really animated and she said she had a daughter who was a member but was paralyzed. "Come inside! Come! Come!" she said. So we did; and inside her cute purple house was a cute girl, tucked in the back bedroom in the back bed, unable to move. Lu can slightly turn her head, and we are able to understand a "sim" or "nao", but that's it. She spends all day, everyday, in that bed, if her mom sits her up she falls; however, she's got a light in her eyes that couldn't be ignored.
And on Saturday, God was not ignoring Lu. 
We sat and chatted with her and her mom, and found out no one from the church had been around for a long time. Someone used to come take her to church, but he has since left Assomada. We told her we would absolutely love to come visit throughout the week. She was beaming, and we were too! Yay! A new friend! 
The terrain to her house is too rocky for a wheelchair, but we're going to work something out with the Branch so that Lu can come to church, and in the meantime, the Elder's Quorum will bring her the Sacrament. She's such a gem, and we've got to get that gem out into the sun!
I have a testimony that God knows each of us personally, we are all his children. All these days here in Assomada I've passed that purple house and had no idea who was inside. But God knows each and every one of these people in every colored house, and he's waiting for us to act on His nudge or respond to His tug.
How grateful I am Sister Friaca and I were horrible planners.
Much love!
Sister Hanzel

Family Photo: Sister Friaca, me, and Chupa