Thursday, March 10, 2016

Sisters, Inc.

Another week has come and gone, the weather is warming up for some very toasty days!

This week we knocked quite a few doors again. While knocking, I felt like I was a "scream monster" off of Monsters, Inc. The doors in Santo Antao are all so unique, just like the people. And all we have to do is "pick a door" and see who we get to scare... er, I mean, share, the message of the gospel with. 
We have a "third wheel" to our door knocking group. His name is Kedo, he's eight years old, and he likes to follow us around during the afternoons, hitting his spare tire along like on the beginning of Pollyanna. Doesn't matter where we are, he seems to know just where to show up. And if our contact lets us in, well he just follows suit, and sits right next to us for the whole lesson. In Assomada I had a dog that liked to follow me around and enter houses, but can I just say that Kedo receives a much warmer welcome than Chupa did. We've tried teaching his family but they're not very interested, maybe one of these days.
Our third companion, Kedo

Kedo at work
My favorite investigator right now is a 17 year old rapaz named Bruno. Sisters have been working with Bruno for months, but every time they get to the Word of Wisdom lesson, they drop him, because he smokes and drinks and didn't know how he would ever quite; but we've discovered something none of the other sisters knew... Bruno likes to draw. He likes graffiti art, and so I've been getting my graffiti on! Every lesson I design some sort of graffiti art for him, it's not professional, but he seems to like it. And he's hecka progressing. He reads the Book of Mormon every day, is developing a habit of prayer (he designed a sign to help him remember), and this weekend, miracle of all miracles, Bruno attended a baptism service..... and came to church! Sisters have been trying to get him to church for months, but he's finally making gospel principles personal and connecting them to his own life. 
Flip charts, graffiti style

We are also teaching a family. Yes, a family! Patricia and Nelson have two kids, and they both have family members who are members of the church but have never accepted the gospel themselves. It's been years since they talked with missionaries, but I think now they might be ready. We taught them the first lesson together, and it went well, but at the end we mustered up the courage to ask Nelson if we could kneel in family prayer and if he would offer it. It was his first prayer in who knows how long and the Spirit hit home! Everyone felt it, his kids too. So I'm really excited about them. 
Well! That's all I've got time for this week, but good things are happening here in Santo Antao!
Love you guys!
Sister Hanzel

District Meeting

Friday, March 4, 2016

Storytime with the Lost Boys

Well, week two down here in Santo Antao, as I tried to think of how I could describe working on this island, I thought of the saying my Grandma sent me last week that I really liked, and it describes life right now pretty darn well. 

Life is Amazing and then it’s awful.
And then it’s amazing again. 
And in between the amazing and the awful it is ordinary and mundane and routine.
Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful, and relax and exhale during the ordinary.
That’s just loving heart breaking, soul healing, amazing, awful ordinary life.
And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.

I couldn´t have said it better, right now, there´s a lot of amazing, awful, and ordinary going on. 
The awful: I miss Palmarejo. I miss Oshvaldo, our ward mission leader there who would teach with us every night and say the funniest phrases in English. His birthday was last week. I miss sitting outside of Gi´s house on P-days and watching the soccer game below while his grandma whacked those passing by with sticks. I miss talking with Dulce and Telma, they are solid members and act as if they´ve been that way for years. I miss my ward, good things were happening there. I miss Annie and her kids, I found out she´s getting married so her husband can get baptized (YES!!!!). I miss all the college kids in our area who were always a ball of fun, and I miss my comp. and my apartment. And it´s just hard because I get to come back home, but I don´t get to `go back` to Palmarejo. And I just really miss it.
The ordinary: Missionaries do the exact same thing, every day. So I have been doing the exact same thing, every day, for a year. I´ve never really been one for doing the exact same thing, over and over, it´s definitely been a mission struggle. In my last area, proselyting time was the best because it was different, you were going out to learn new stories and talk with recently made friends. But this area this week was a lot of door knocking and street lessons, a lot of teaching the first lesson and so it was a long week.
But, but, but! Don´t worry, there´s also.... the amazing: We definitely had miracles this week. We started teaching this boy who vends really good fried fish pastels, his name is Ricardo, and he´s fixe de mais! He came to church yesterday (miracle), and with faith, hope, charity, love, etc., he´ll get baptized this month. Also, at 6p. every night we´ve started having story time with the neighborhood `lost boys`, it started out with four or five boys but our last story time had over 25 boys in attendance. They love it! There´s not much to do here in Porto Novo and so every night they all just grab their friends and meet outside a recent convert´s house (Valter) to act out Book of Mormon stories. And Valter is a good sport, he always plays the main character, and he´s learning the stories as we teach them as well. 
Our ever-growing group of Book of Mormon story time actors 
Well, that about sums up this week. I´m homesick for nha terra Palmarejo (I miss the Creole there too), but I´m confident this area will start picking up, I can understand people a little better so that´s a start.
Love ya,
Sister Hanzel