Thursday, February 24, 2011

Harry Potter and the Missionary of Cabo Verde

February 21, 2011

I hope everyone's doing well! This week went super fast--full of work and fun and the craziness of Cabo Verde!

Today we went for a LONG walk and saw some amazing views. And a giant cross and a statue of the Pope. We took a walk on the beach and on a really old dock that probably wasn't very safe to walk on. We also walked along the street where the foreign ambassadors live--that is nothing like the Cabo Verde we live in. Giant houses, cars--probably hot water. It was strange seeing the other extreme of living circumstances here.

Did you know that there are only 11 sisters serving here in Cabo Verde? That's not very many. We're getting two more from the states in a transfer or two though and President will probably be opening a new area, which is way exciting.

We taught an old woman this week who said she had died for three days but then had a vision and was told that her time wasn't up yet and she came back. Then she told us she was sure we'd find husbands here in Cape Verde and not want to return to the USA.

Oh, and she never learned to read because her parents didn't want her to be able to write letters to her boyfriends when she was older. Apparently that's quite common though.

Oh my goodness. We had possibly the funniest experience ever this week. We taught a woman the other day and scheduled a time to come back. But when we got there, her neighbor told us she was at her sister's house. So we went over to her sister's house and knocked on the door. Her sister answered and told us she wasn't there but at her own house. So...obviously, something wasn't exactly right. Sister Turnbow was sure she was there so asked if we could come in and talk with the sister. She said yes and we came in--no Rosilda (it's a one-room house). So we just taught her sister the first lesson instead. Forty-five minutes later we leave and Mane, the member with us, asked us if we saw Rosilda during the lesson. We said no, completely confused. WELL, apparently she was hiding under the bed the whole time! Ha-ha. Serves her right. :) We would have taught a longer lesson if we had known.

Our other great experience of the week: We taught wizards! A witch and a wizard, I guess. We walked by their house and the man started shouting at us in Creole. We sort of ignored him because he was wearing a bright green dress/robe and I didn't understand what he was saying. But Mane said he wanted us to come talk to him and his wife. So we started walking over to him. Sister Turnbow asked Mane if the man was Muslim, but Mane said no, he did magic. Huh? Apparently, they used to be rich, living in Portugal and France, doing magic. I don't really know what that means. They don't stop talking. BUT, they accepted baptism...we're trying to decide which lesson teaches 'thou shalt not practice witchcraft'.

For the record, I don't actually think they practice 'magic' anymore. But it's still funny.

Once again we walked all over our area, trying to get our investigators to church. Guess how many we found? NONE. But! When we finally got there, we found Isa and Zezito! (Who were married but then for some reason stopped coming to church the week before they were supposed to get baptized.) They haven't even had any lessons with us for weeks, but it was so great to see them (and my little Ugo) there. Hopefully we can help them start preparing for baptism again.

We've had some great lessons this week, especially with some of our recent converts. Sometimes I think I could spend all day learning from Mane and Nene. They are so great. Also, they help us a lot! Last week our district had 28 lessons with members. Sister Turnbow and I had 21. That's all thanks to Mane and Nene who are always willing to help us. They're amazing.

I love you all and hope you're well! Be good, go to church, read your scriptures!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Missionary

February 14, 2011

So usually I save the really funny, random stories for last, but this one can't wait! We've been persecuted! Ha-ha. Not really. But yesterday this kid came up and asked us for money (which happens about eight times a day), but, obviously, we're not allowed to give out money, so I told him we didn't have anything to give. (For the record, there are a lot of POOR people here and this kid was not--he just saw two white girls in skirts and wanted to squeeze a few escudos out of us.) Then Sister Turnbow asked him if he had any money for us--I'm pretty sure she was joking. :) She was. Anyway, so we kept walking along to our next lesson and all the sudden a rock hits me in the back of the leg--hard! It really hurt. So yes, he chucked a rock at us. And now I have a nice bruise on my calf. You'll be proud to know that I did not chase after him. Or throw the rock back.

Sister Turnbow and I go running every morning! It's great. I wish you all could be here. Every day we turn the corner and we have this incredible view of the ocean, the ships near the shore and the lighthouse! As much as I miss my mountains, that's one thing I didn't see during my morning runs in Utah.

Sister Turnbow really is the greatest. She's helped me so much! She absolutely loves Disneyland and there's a lot of whistling and singing going on in our apartment. Unfortunately, we have a serious conflict that will never be resolved: She likes potato pearls. I know, I know. I'm working on forgiveness.

But besides the fake, toxic potato thing, she's great. She even cleaned out my toe after I sliced it on a rusty piece of metal. Now that's a good companion.

We knocked one door this week and the man said he couldn't talk to us because he was sick. (He smelled weird, but didn't look sick.) We asked if we could come back later in the week. He said he'd be sick the entire week. We said next week; he said he'd be sick the month of February and all of this year. Sister Turnbow said we'd see him in 2012.

We had several service opportunities this week. We got to de-pod some beans during a lesson and we got to help wash clothes. I'm actually learning to use a washboard. But the second time we washed clothes, we washed some baby clothes. Most people can't afford diapers here. I washed my hands well afterwards.

We got permission to have a nice lunch date with Sister Laimana and Sister Smith for Valentine's Day. We took them to Sucupira. I got the bife de vaca. Oh man. It's so good. I took a picture of it. Some day, I will show you, or better yet, you all can just come here and we'll have Segunda make lunch for us all, Elder and her family. :)

Everyone calls us Elder.

But just so you know, my lunch came with steak(ish), beans, rice, potatoes, french fries and a fried egg on top--and an orange soda. Yes, I'm going to get fat, but I'm using my money with sabedoria.

We had three investigators come to church, which was good but about a fourth of those who 'promised' they would come. But we'll definitely be focusing on the father and son who came and also Maria (the sister of Nene and Maria--yeah, every one's named Maria). We have a lot of new investigators that we need to teach and help them progress. There are always plenty who are willing and happy to listen to us but not always ready to act and do their part. It's a little frustrating but always great to see when people know it's true and are ready to do whatever it takes to follow it.

Here are a few facts that should not be forgotten:

I'm in Cabo Verde--an island--serving a mission.
I'm teaching the gospel every day to these people--in Portuguese.
I'm a missionary.

Cool, right?

Well, fica fixe. I love you all, hope you're well and miss you lots!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Dust

So, apparently we're in the middle of our annual dust storm! A couple days this week we haven't even been able to see the city because of all the dust-smog. It's also super windy, so every day we come home covered in dust, and you could plant a garden in the dirt that's been pouring through our screen windows. BUT, it's supposedly the dust blowing all the way from the Sahara Desert, so it's okay. :)

It's been a busy week. We taught almost 40 lessons! Which is a lot. Sunday alone we taught eight lessons, and by Sunday night: we were pooped. Sister Turnbow is a great worker. But we've found out that when people see two white girls trying to speak Portuguese (to those who only speak Creole), they don't really try too hard to understand. We've decided that the people who are actually ready to hear the gospel are the ones who can focus long enough to try to understand us. And we've also realized the importance of having a member teach with us! We've been giving some members some great missionary experiences as they've helped 'translate' and explain principles with us.

Want to hear something depressing though? Out of the 30 lessons we taught to investigators, not a single person came to church. Phooey.

We have had some good lessons though. We've been teaching a member's brother, and as we were teaching, Sis. Turnbow asked if he believed Joseph Smith was a prophet and he pulled out his Book of Mormon and said (in Portuguese): 'I believe it. Because a man couldn't write a book like this.' That was awesome. Sis. Turnbow and I looked at each other and had to stop ourselves from breaking out into the "Hallelujah Chorus"!

Well, not really. But it was awesome.

Maria and Nene were baptized and confirmed on Saturday and Sunday! I can't even begin to describe how awesome it was. There wasn't water in the church again, so the the baptism was in the ocean! The waves were even crazier than last time, but it was such a great day for them.

Cape Verde just had its elections. In a few words that means: parties, really loud music, and lots of drunk people. But we got some free hats. That we can't actually wear in public. :)

Also this week, we found and bought a chocolate cake mix! A Betty Crocker cake mix! It was awesome. Well, actually Sister Turnbow found and bought it. And then we made it (Sister Turnbow made it). And then we ate it! I helped with this part. It was incredible. I love stolen American goods.

Kidding. I'm pretty sure it wasn't black market.

Today was sweet. We went to the lighthouse again and had some bread and Nusco (chocolate hazelnut spread), and then we spent most of the day at Sucupira (the Cabo Verde version of a mall).

And....! We ate there! It was so awesome. I think we're the first sisters to dare eat in one of the restaurants there. Totally worth it. A giant plate of rice, beans, chicken and fries and a cool-looking bottle of Sprite for 200 escuros. And a couple elders showed up too and couldn't believe we were eating there.

And then I bought some African fabric and they're going to make me a dress! I'm way excited.

Tried some kiwi ice cream--delicious. Not quite as good as the mint and chocolate, but still good.

Oh, and I gave a spiritual thought at our district meeting. There were five new elders there and they looked SO tired! It's hard to believe that just six weeks ago I arrived at 2 am after a very long trip. But they seem excited to be here. :)

Well, I guess that's about it. I'll teach you some of the Creole I'm learning. Sister Turnbow and I are going to learn it this transfer. And we plan on teaching tons of lessons this week, too!

Modi que bai bu skola hoje? = Como foi escola hoje? = How was school today?
A mi kre so bo. = I only want you. :) It's a song! I don't actually use that sentence.
Ka sta = Not here. We hear this a lot when people don't want to talk to us. :)

Sister Brooks