Tuesday, January 26, 2016

One earring at at time

So this past week the church put on a world-wide broadcast for all the missionaries, it was about "Teaching Repentance and Baptizing Converts". Sister Oscarson, Elder Bednar, and Elder Oaks were a few of the speakers present. It was really neat! Also kind of hard to understand with the Brazilian-Portuguese translation going on but anything out of the ordinary routine is always a welcome blessing. So yes, now the big mission push is to baptize converts (duh), but also focus more on teaching repentance.

This past week I was in the house for a few days because we had divisions on Friday, but Sister Dorgan, the sister I was on divisions with, had a sprained toe and so we just sat in her room at the Sister Training Leader's house and chatted all night (I also painted my toes) while Sister Rasmussen went out and worked in their area with our other Sister Leader, Sister Haycock. Divisions usually run for 24 hours, lunch to lunch, and so on Saturday morning Sister Dorgan decided she wanted to try and venture out on her toe. However, we got about halfway down the hill and she decided it wasn't worth the pain to walk to her area, so we just decided to do some contacting outside her apartment.
Now, I love contacting, but at noon it's a little..... hot, and not fun. So we made it fun! I challenged her to see if we could each get an earring from a contact before lunch. She accepted the challenge and we ventured out.... looking for men with earrings.
Our first contact actually contacted us. His name was Marcio and he's less active. After reviewing "Our body is a temple..." in a three minute street contact and asking for his earring, his response was, "Oh don't worry Sisters, I wear this earring because it's so small you can't even really tell!" Oh brother.
Our next contact really, truly thought about taking his earring out, we were so close! His name was Antonio and his response was, "Deixa me pensar (let me think about it), come by barber shop next week...". We'll for sure be stopping by.
Next, we contacted a young man named Disdefano, who was actually really cool! We have a follow up appointment with him tonight to teach the first lesson. When we explained our bodies house the spirit of God and so we can't have piercings, and then asked him to take out his earrings, his response was, "Well, my mom doesn't like them anyway." Score! However, the earrings were a gift from his girlfriend and so he wouldn't let us keep them. Darn. 

Loosing fire but never the faith, we stopped to talk to a taxi driver with an earring out washing his car. His name was Joao, and..... success! His earring went to Sister Dorgan. I ran into him again this morning actually, his earring is still out. #doingwork

One earring down and one to go with only seconds left on the clock, we contacted a teenage boy named Valdo, who gave up his earring, and that one went to my earring collection. 
Sister Dorgan and Sister Hanzel, cleaning up Praia one earring at a time. 

One of our earring victors
After the divisions we went home to clean up really quick for our investigator Viviano's baptism. Funny twist to the afternoon though, we didn't think Viviano was going to show up to his baptism and a different investigator of ours, Zinadine (our recent convert Landa's son) showed up to be baptized a week early. The good news is that Viviano had just walked to the church early without us which is why he wasn't at home when we went to pick him up, so all was good there. And then miraculously, our District Leader had stopped by to watch the baptisms and Sister Rasmussen happened to have a blank baptism form in her bag and so we were able to interview Zineadine and baptism him yesterday instead of this week. So we had a goal for one baptism last week but ended up with two. Palmarejo, land of miracles. Also, I would like you to look at the picture of Landa I sent home for her baptism and then look at her in the picture with her son.... doesn't she just glow now?

Well! That's all for now folks, have a great week!
Sister Hanzel

Local children love to get hand sanitizer from the missionaries

Monday, January 18, 2016

God's Many Methods

I love absolutely everything about these people here.

In the district I currently serve, our lower area is called "Fonton".  I love this area and I could see myself living there. A worker from SOS stopped Sister Rasmussen and me in the street this past week and asked if we would be interested in seeing their SOS office in Fonton. "SOS", an organization working here is Cape Verde to help better family life, is interested in our missionary work. Their work is right up my interest alley and so we said yes. She showed us around and explained what they are trying to do. SOS has several stations on this island and within this one station, they have chosen 35 proactive, but needy families with which to serve.  This selection is based on a survey of who could benefit from their help to boost them out of hard situations.

After talking with these workers for a bit about the Family Proclamation, our purpose here as missionaries, and the success we have been seeing in Fonton (they were in shock when we told them we had a good handful of people in Fonton going to 8:30 a.m. church with us), they asked if we could have an activity with several of their families from their program. Um... YES. So this next week we are going to be planning a Family Night, and SOS will be providing the families – a new partnership in looking for ways to better these families’ lives.

The church is true and God works in mysterious ways.


Sister Hanzel

My good friend Heriana (far left) from my first area visited me this past week

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Gospel is for Families

This was an interesting but really great week. I just love this area, our members, recent converts, investigators, and all of it. I'm stoked I will most likely be staying another transfer her with Sister Rasmussen! 
New Year's is a bigger holiday here than Christmas. New Year's festivities last for three days, and they're basically three days of buzof (creole for like, "looking sharp!") people in the streets, and drunks. So teaching was interesting. 
We had four baptisms this last week... giving a total of 12 this transfer. Is Heavenly Father raining blessings in Palmarejo or what? But with that, we now have the happy problem of having baptized all of our investigators. And so... the search is on for new people to teach.
Our goal this transfer is to finish families... we baptized a lot of part families last transfer... and we are hoping to have a lot of Family Home Evenings in our recent converts’ homes and help the rest of their families join the church, because the Gospel is for families! 
I have to tell you about my favorite little family and our Family Home Evening last night. The mom's name is Annie and she has two cute kids, Edson and Etssani. We just helped reactivate Annie and her son Edson was baptized on Saturday. So now we just need to help them stay active. They live on the top floor of a big cement structure on the outskirts of our area.  It takes us around 45 minutes to walk out to them, and after a year on the mission I walk like my Grandma Hanzel now, which means it takes them no less than an hour to get to church. But, they have come every week this transfer and you can already see a difference in their family. 
FHE at Annie's home 
They have never had a Family Home Evening before and so I made them a typical LDS "Family Home Evening" board to help teach them about Family Nights. I had to explain the board several times because it was such a new concept to them, but once the kids caught on they loved it and are excited to switch up the names and pick who will do what every week, just like I remember doing when I was little. The little things in the Gospel make all the difference.   Our "pensamento espiritual" or "spiritual thought" was on the roles of everyone is the family: mom, dad, brother, sister. I think Pai Celestial wants to help us finish families as well. At the end of the night Annie brought out a darling cake she had made, complete with candy on top Elder and Sister Carnell had given them for Christmas. 
This is just one of our amazing families here, seriously, I love Palmarejo
Until mais logo!
Sister Hanzel

Sister Rasmussen, me, Suely, Bishop, Tracy (Suely's sister, a potential investigator)

Sister Rasmussen, me, Jamilson, Bishop, Edivandro

Sister Rasmussen, me, Edson, Bishop, Annie, Etssani, Sister and Elder Carnell