Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Finish Line

Well, this is it, the finish line is in sight on the longest, craziest, exhausting race of my life; but also the most worthwhile.  I remember reading Sister Turner´s last email home, and for the first few months of my mission I felt like that day would never come. However here we are, and it came too fast. 

I can´t accurately describe how my mission here in Cabo Verde has changed and affected me, and I´m not even going to try. One of the jokes between all us missionaries is that no one will ever understand what it is to serve a mission in Cabo Verde until they´ve actually... served a mission in Cabo Verde, but I will share one thing that I´ve been thinking about a lot lately, what I think is probably the biggest thing I have learned on my mission.
Before my mission, I read books and blogs about people who gave up worldly comforts to help others, and I always liked to think I could do that. I had hoped, but I didn´t know, because truth is, I like comfy things! However, as the finish line comes into sight I have the desire to slow down my pace, because truth is... I don´t mind sleeping with cockroaches (although I will still flip out a little). I´ve been wearing the same two skirts for the past six months and it doesn´t bother me. I have eaten more sketch food than one needs in a lifetime and I don´t remember the last time my hair was done or my clothes were 100% dry. I have sat on the cement floor for more lessons than I can count with the most amazing people you will ever meet and.... I love it. I love all the uncomfortable things, because they help you focus on the happy things. Real happiness, that can´t be found in Walmart or at concert or in a smart phone (although I´m totally playing that new Pokémon app when I get home). Truth is, not only did I learn I could give up comforts for others, but it really does make me happy! 
The people of this country are my family. I don´t know how I´m going to have my heart in two places at once, for the rest of my life. I don´t want to say goodbye to any of them (and I won´t... SKYPE). I really have seen the Savior at work in the lives of these crazy, loving Cabo Verdians in a crazy, loving way. It´s pure religion, and even though at times it seemed just too simple, the simplicity made it life changing.
You guys, I don´t want to leave! But I´m excited to see you all next week. Sprint to the end right?
Peacin´ out.
Sister Hanzel

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Worlds Colliding

Oh mae... I just feel like I´m in a very strange limbo right now. I´m excited to see everyone back home again but I just really, really, really don´t want to leave. There is an EFY humanitarian group here in Cabo Verde right now full of youth from the church, and we ended up seeing them a lot this past week. All of them kept asking, "When do you go home?" and every time I said, "Three weeks." I just wanted to cry! So I just started saying I was never going home. 

This EFY group is actually really neat! They came to help build houses, and there are two counselors that get paid to lead the group. I am TOTALLY applying to be a counselor next year, made connections all week (applying those mission skills...) and one of the ex-mission presidents who comes with the group every year said I have a good chance because I served here - the counselors this year served in Portugal and Brazil. Basically, I just got to get back here any way I can. The other Santo Antao missionaries and we were in Sao Vicente this week for zone meeting and divisions and we ended up at the church in my old area for the EFY talent show and then Sister MBoia and I took the barco back to Santo Antao with this group - I felt like I was just a part of EFY for a week. 
I was with Sister Rasmussen for divisions in Sao Vicente.  We taught our recent converts Steven and Ariel with our favorite members Marybelle and Kevin, I love all those goofballs. Then all of them went and joined in on the EFY dance happening in the gym of the church - worlds colliding. 
Sister Hanzel

Back with Sister Rasmussen
EFY Service Group

Cruising on the barco with Sister MBoia