Friday, May 27, 2011

The forbidden mountain

As much fun as a barrel of...sheep

Muito) Boa Tarde!

Well, another P-day has come and is nearing its end. We tried to email before we went out to play, but the power went out everywhere and we were forced to head to Sucupira earlier than we had planned. :) But the power's back, so you get an email this week.

So...water's gone. I'm not sure what day we're on, but I can tell you: a bucket of water does not get you or your hair very clean. Thank goodness for body spray. We received two enormous barrels which we were able to fill with water before we ran out. I was quite excited to see that the barrels were labeled as 'Sheep Casings.'

Hmm...I feel like Charlotte and Randers could tell me a bit about putting livestock into large containers.

But beside our sheep water, things are great. Our time with four sisters in one house is running out (we get the inside scoop about transfers since we make the flights for all the missionaries traveling between islands). You'll be surprised to hear that Sister Laimana and I will be staying together for another one in the office. :)

I actually love the office. We have fun and the Elders are really good with teaching us how to deal with situations and also teaching us KRIOULU! Today, we/the Elders found a Bible in Krioulu! It's actually only Luke and Acts, but it's awesome! I can't wait to show it to y'all. It's a little bit ridiculous, but I think it'll be great language study.

We actually taught an entire lesson in Krioulu the other day (not well). We taught an older woman who never went to school and didn't understand any Portuguese. So we taught her the best we could in Krioulu. It was super hard. And it was strange because usually you're teaching in Portuguese and you have English words/phrases come to your mind. During that lesson, we were teaching in Krioulu with Portuguese words and phrases coming to my mind! It was crazy. But it was a lot of fun.

Titinho is getting baptized tomorrow!! I think this has definitely been one of the best experiences of my mission. Did I tell you how we found him? Sister Turnbow and I returned for an appointment with a lady who wasn't home. There were two boys who were sitting on her porch and we asked them if they lived there. They said no, but we asked if we could teach them anyway. They said sure, we taught them, we returned and kept teaching them and now Titinho is ready to be baptized! He's 17 and when he asked his mom to sign the Ficha, we got a little bit nervous because everyone's so Catholic, but she just told us that if he wanted to be baptized she'd sign it. And then she told his little brother he should get baptized too.

I think that's a great idea.

We hope his family will come tomorrow to see him baptize. They're really cool. Titinho really was prepared long before we ever met him. He's so great.

So this week I got to go on splits! We had a training with the newly called branch missionaries and we taught them how to teach a couple lessons and then they came out with us for a few hours to teach our investigators. Sheila and I taught two great lessons. She's so amazing. She's a recent convert in our area that I know pretty well and she's really great. She goes to seminary every single week and she probably has more scriptures memorized than I do. It was an amazing experience. It was a little scary since I still feel like a new missionary and I was out there playing trainer, but she's incredible. When we got back to the church each of the branch missionaries bore their testimonies. Just remembering it brings the Spirit very strongly. One young man got up there and said something like, 'The world doesn't have long to wait: here's one more missionary ready to come out and teach the gospel.' What an amazing thing to feel the joy of the gospel and be able to share it!

I love this place. I never want to leave. But one day I will - when they transfer me out of Praia :) Gosh. I love you all! Be safe and well and HAPPY! Woohoo.

Sister Emma (as Elder Adams was calling me while we were playing ping pong. :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I see this everyday!

Txeu Kusas

Hello Family!

Well, it's been quite an eventful week. Now that we're almost all trained in the office, we've been able to get out earlier and start working. We've been knocking a lot of doors and talking to a lot of people. I love it when we find people that I know have been prepared for this message.

The driving is pretty great. Thanks so much for getting all my license stuff together. Elder Barker and Elder Ryan have been very patient teaching the Sisters how to drive. I'm sure they have a lot of faith in the protection that we as missionaries have... :)

Elder Barker and Ryan are also teaching us how to speak Kriolu! They're great. A lot of it is making a lot more sense with the few key words that they've been teaching. Some Kriolu is just like grammatically incorrect Portuguese and some of it...I have no idea where it comes from. But it's a lot of fun finally understanding what some people we teach are saying!

'Nu sta prendi txeu kusas!' = We're learning a lot of things...I think.

Let's bed broke this week. It's been coming along for a while now. I've been using this bed for five months (today) now and the whole time, apparently, it's been missing some important parts like support beams underneath the mattress. But it's all right. I'll get it fixed eventually. Now that we're in the office it's easier to get replacements for things. But we did get it on video (I tried to ease on to it and make it last a few more nights) and when you watch it in slow motion it's really funny.

Well...we've been out of water for a while; it's been coming and going for a week or so and apparently all next week (maybe longer) the city of Praia won't have any running water. I'm not overly excited, but I am getting very efficient with bucket baths. And I can wash my face with less than a cup of water and even less to brush my teeth!

I still haven't eaten any lobster, Sammy, but I have had squid! Sister Banze made us squid one day for lunch. I can't say it's my favorite, but it was definitely interesting. But that was my exciting food for the week.

Oh! We went to the giant tree again today! We had an awesome office activity with the secretaries and Elder Adams. We climbed up the tree, squeezed down into the tree and then out the back. Then we squeezed back up through the tree and 'slid' down the outside. It was awesome! I also think that learning how to drive here has helped my car sickness problem in the Hiaces. Now sitting in a full van with some strangely scented strangers and listening to Kriolu rap is a whole lot of fun!

And for the record, my FLU is completely recovered and I haven't had any problems since. Unfortunately Nusco (this chocolate hazelnut spread that everyone loves) makes me a little nauseous to think about since I had that the morning of the incident. :)

A mi ka pode skrebi mais. Mas nu ja perde tudo kusa pal modi nu era kassabodi. A nu ka tem nada e a nu era ku txeu medo pal modi es tem uma faka grande.

I'm not translating that because it's probably totally wrong. But if you figure it out, just know that I love it here and I appreciate all your prayers!


Sister Brooks

No, that's not Kriolu. You 'Crush' fans should recognize it from Finding Nemo.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Big Fish

Stinkin' Agency

Dearest Family Members and Friends,

We've had some more lessons driving the Hiace (I've been spelling it Yasse) and I have actually done some legitimate steet driving--in Africa! Those bumpy, cobblestoned streets I loved so much when I first got here just keep getting better!

I've completely recovered from THE GRIPE (and I will continue to refer to it as the Flu, because I refuse to accept the idea that the Iron Age - of my stomach - has come to an end). I was out all Saturday and most of Sunday, but then I was able to rest all week in the office.

We've still been teaching Titinho. We had to postpone his baptism date because of some Saturday ward missionary trainings, but he's still doing great. He's already keeping practically all the commandments and he's just great. We just hope he'll be able to make lots of friends in the branch to keep him active! He's so great to teach because he listens, understands us, and remembers what we teach!

Speaking of remembering: Evandro, our wonderful, nutty friend (who the other Sisters are still teaching) was actually at home for an appointment and remembered everything about Joseph Smith and the other lessons that we/they have taught! It's a miracle. I can't wait til I get home and tell everyone more stories about Evandro. He's possibly my favorite person in Cape Verde.

Our other lessons are less fun. The other day we taught a woman and invited her to pray about Joseph Smith. She said no. She understood well, taught us about the great apostasy but said she had no intention of switching religions. She said she wouldn't pray. I was a little dumbstruck and asked her if she wanted to know the truth. She said no. It's one of those things that makes no sense at all, and I don't really know what else we could have done. Bummer.

Today we played ping-pong at the church with Elder Adams and the other secretaries. That was pretty fun. Not one of the things I thought I'd be doing on my mission/in Africa.

Sister Laimana and I also went on a little hike this morning. There's a little mountain right in our area that I've wanted to hike for a while so we got up and hiked up to the top. It was super steep and took us a little while, but the funny part was that all the way up we were passing homes and people who were just starting an average Friday. People here are so much tougher than we are in America.

Anyway, we got all the way to the top and discovered that there was a little field-ish up there; unfortunately, it was private property. There were a bunch of signs saying that they were building a country club up there.

Right overlooking Inferno. Location, location, location.

Yeah, so we hiked up and then we had to hike back down, but we couldn't find a path and ended up in Palmarejo which is really far away and I slid into thorns and then we walked over and played ping-pong.

P-days are the best!

Well, I'm not really brimming with stories this week. Our lessons have been few in number and mostly with people who aren't progressing any time soon. I'm a little worried that I'm going to come home with many stories about incredible people who did everything and progressed and the gospel changed their lives but then...nothing. They gave up before baptism (or after). I guess that's the hard thing. Our District Leader was telling us that there are three factors with helping people progress towards changing their lives: 1) Your words in teaching them the lesson. 2) How well you help them understand your words and the lesson. 3) Their agency.

I'm very grateful for our agency, but I have developed a habit of saying 'Dang agency' when people have the first two ducks in a row but won't line up the third. Maybe I shouldn't say that as a missionary though. Sorry.

Oh yeah. The reason that I was thinking about this is because I found out that my sweet little Marcia no longer believes our message is true but says she believes the Catholic church is true (which she has always told us never made any sense at all) because of the hard time she's gotten from her parents and grandmother. AGH.

Anyway, mission life is good. The Book of Mormon is and always will be true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church upon the earth and acts with power and authority from God. And we have a living prophet today who teaches the pure gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I know this life is hard. I know that sometimes we think we have a good reason to not do what we know is right. I know we have stinkin' agency, but it's still never too late to decide to follow our Savior no matter what comes our way!

Okay. I love you all. Have a wonderful day!


Sister Brooks

Sunday, May 8, 2011



Hello Family!

Well, P-Day has arrived once again (officially Fridays) and life as an office sister continues to unfold. I think we've about learned everything from our trainer, Elder Barker, but we hope he never has to leave! We're still afraid to handle things on our own. Plus, Elder Barker is hilarious.

I enjoy it, as long as I don't think about how much I miss proselyting all day. But it's good to learn new things and there´s a lot of things we can do to help in the office.

Our one investigator (the only one) is doing great! I don't know if I've told you about Titinho, but he's 17 and he's very smart. He always remembers everything we talk about. He´ll be baptized in a few weeks and he's doing really well. He's pretty much already living the gospel, we just need to make it official! But he's a very good boy. We think he's a little bit embarrassed meeting with us, but he still lets us come. :) And the other day in his prayer, he blessed the Sisters and their families! It was so sweet.

Our other lessons don't go quite as well. :) Sister Laimana and I taught a man named Dino the other day who spoke very heavy Kriolu and he was very hard to understand. There was also a lady gutting a bunch of fish behind us and then another woman started to chop a chicken up with a machete! Oh, the life of Cape Verde missionary.

Funny story: When we found Dino and his fish-gutting friend, I whispered to Sister Laimana that we should ask the lady if we could help her gut fish (I was joking - we just try to keep our eyes open for service opportunities) but, being the wonderful person she is, Sister Laimana actually offered her our help! I was very disappointed that she said no. :)

You'll never guess what we did last P-Day! We discovered the only bowling alley in Cabo Verde!! Or should I say, the only BOOLING alley, because that's what it's called. The lanes were kind of short and we had to keep track of our scores, but otherwise it was a completely legitimate bowling alley! I don't know anyone here who really has the money to go bowling with their family (we were the only ones there) or anyone who even knows what bowling is! I'm not going to tell you my score. But it was BAD. Ha-ha. It's because I left my bowling shoes in the USA. :)

We celebrated Elder Adam's birthday today! It was awesome. The Adams have helped me so much! It's fun working in the office with them.

We've entered a bit of a mango craze. I've never been a fan of mangos, but I love them here! And there are people on every street selling them, so you can always find them.

We're teaching a woman from Angola. It's a LOT different than teaching someone from Cabo Verde. Luclecea actually speaks Portuguese! She knows the Bible really well and she talks a lot. She doesn't know how long she'll be here, though, since she's just visiting her daughter. But I really enjoy our lessons with her.

Well, I think that's about it. The office is pretty exciting...just kidding, it is pretty exciting. We made a price list of all the LDS store items we order! (And then we made teeth for our stapler.) And there's always something that makes us wonder what in the world we're going to do when Elder Barker leaves! But I still love this work.

Ate logo! Love,
Sister Brooks

Happy Birthday, Lisa! (Next Thursday)

The Office

Hello, Family!

Okay. Who's going to send me a bobble-head to put on my desk?

Well, my P-Day has officially changed to Sexta-feira! Sister Laimana and I have had three full days in the office and are starting to get an idea of the life of a secretary. It involves:


Excel spreadsheets,

Visas, Passports, and

Lots of Plane tickets!

We're in a trio with Elder Barker. :) He's training us as general secretaries and then he'll probably be able to get out of the office (after about seven months). We haven't quite decided how we feel about being secretaries. I don't know if it's really official yet. We don't have a phone, keys to the office and no one's really told us our schedule. I think Presidente just had extra sisters so he stuck us in the office. But we enjoy it. We've spent a lot of time in TACV (the Cape Verdian airline office) - and I mean a LOT of time. And we get to make the Welcome Letters for new missionaries. (Remember how cool it was when I got that six months ago?) There's always a lot to do. I got to make my first call to find out about plane tickets - not something I love doing in English - and I have a feeling we're going to be learning a lot of new vocabulary this transfer.

I guess the worst part for me (besides the disorganization of some drawers and slow computers) is that we've only spent about a total of two hours a day working in our area. We're in my same area, but Sister Turnbow and Sister Banze have stolen all my investigators and Sister Laimana and I are venturing into Terra Branca and the mountain top of Bela Vista. There are so many houses that I've never even seen before! It's a little bit discouraging, but also exciting, starting from scratch. It's also amazing that Sister Laimana and I (who left the MTC four months ago, not even knowing what Cape Verde had in store for us) are out knocking on doors and teaching families about the gospel -- all by ourselves! We're all grown up.

My heart is a little bit sad that the people I've been working with for three months are so close, but I don't really get to teach them. But we're still in the same Ramo, so I'll get to see them on Sundays! We now have eleven missionaries in one branch. It's slightly ridiculous, but with our new branch presidency and lots of missionaries, there's going to be a new emphasis on mission work. Next month we'll be doing some training for branch and district missionaries. It's exciting. It's a really great time to be part of the work here in Cape Verde (not that I think there would be a bad time).

Four sisters in one house is kind of a nightmare. And the past two nights we've had five! I've been sleeping on the floor, but the 'couch' cushions are still more comfortable than my mattress. :)

We got to see President and Sister Neves' new baby! He's adorable! He's a little chubby guy with tons of hair. I feel like its extra exciting to see babies here because I'm missing out on little Lucas and Marty (and I hear Savannah's getting big!).

Elder Barker showed us the entry for the Church in the phone book. It has our number next to Igreja de Jesus Cristo dos Santos dos Ultimos Dias. Right above it however, is another entry: Igreja de Elders. That has the number of the chapel in Fogo. Oh goodness!

I love you all! I hope you're well and happy and choosing the right!


Sister Secretaria Brooks

PS We are now listed as Senior Office Sisters. I guess the Cabo Verde Mission didn't have a designation for regular sister secretaries. :)

PPS Tcheio is actually spelled TXEU (lots) in Kriolu. I'm learning so much as a secretary. But I've yet to learn to drive stick. That'll be next week. :)