Monday, February 15, 2016

Santo Antao Here I Come

I'm being transferred... to Santo Antao! My new area is Porta Novo and I will be companions with a sister from Brazil named Sister Santos. She's been on her mission for six weeks and so I'm about to become a step-mama and finish her training. Santo Antao has four sisters, I will be serving with sisters from Brazil, Mozambique, and Cabo Verde. Should be a Portuguese filled transfer! 

I'm excited for this next adventure (pretty sure I have to take a plane to Sao Vicente and then a boat to get there, the missionaries of Santo Antao have to come into the island of Sao Vicente for Zone Conferences), but I'm also really going to miss all my friends here! And being with Sister Rasmussen has been a blast. Luckily, Heavenly Father knows what he's doing as have everything is control. 

Last week was, well, it was hard. We won't sugar coat it. Gi's (our recent convert who helped get permission for Nadine's baptism) dad died.  I don't think I ever saw his dad wear more than a towel and a karate kid headband but seeing him in his attire always made our day. We miss him. Gi's parents had been married for 25 years, and he suddenly passed away this past week. He had a headache in the morning, was in the hospital by mid-day, and passed away at 7 PM. 

Cabo Verde has a lot of cultural traditions surrounding death, and because we've been at Gi's house almost everyday this past week, we are now familiar with quite a few of them. When a family member dies you are in mourning for seven days, this means you cannot leave your house, and you wear all black. Gi and his siblings will wear all black for one year, his mom will wear all black for the rest of her life. During that one week friends and family stop by to pay their respects, and then sit out front and play cards or "oril" which is like mancala in America. The night a family member dies you aren't allowed to sleep, starting your period of mourning, and then at the end of seven days you aren't allowed to sleep during the night again, ending your period of mourning. 

Watching Gi loose his dad was a really hard experience, because Gi is probably one of my best friends here in Cabo Verde, and he was on fire for the month following his baptism until this happened. But I'm very grateful that he knew about the Plan of Salvation before this past week because it helped him see this loss with an eternal perspective, and he knows he will see his dad again.

In other news, I hit my one year mark this past week! We had Zone Conference that day and Sister Mathew's gave a great training on teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ as if you were selling a product (the gospel), instead of just teaching a bullet list (faith, repentance, baptism...). We put her training into practice this last week and had one of the most spiritual lessons of my mission because of it with an investigator named Boshe. He came to church this past week and loved it, so hopefully we can mark him for baptism tonight!

I remembered my friend Tayler's mission email for the week she hit one year, she got a takeout pizza... so I decided I would too! Only, takeout pizza is a little different here in Cabo Verde, it's definitely not Little Ceasars! We took it down to Gi's house to share because he had mentioned that he just really missed pizza in America with extra cheese, so we ordered a special for him. The kids on his street had never seen a take out box before but they were stoked to share.

Pizza - to celebrate my one year mark

Other good news is my recent convert, Suely, in Assomada, is having a baby next month. It's a little girl, and she's decided her middle name will be Katherine. I'm pretty pumped about that.

Also, this past week was Carnival and Cinza. We didn't see much action from Carnival (which happened downtown Praia), it was just hard to find lessons on that day; however the day following Carnival is Cinza, and Cinza is a big deal too.

During Cinza, you eat a big lunch of "peixe seco", or dried fish, and sweet potatoes, and this giant leafy.... leaf, and then after lunch you eat cous cous with sugar cane "mel" or honey and sit in the sun. I don't know why they sit in the sun afterwards, but it’s part of the holiday.

Next time I write will be from the island of Santo Antao!

Sister Hanzel

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