Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I Love da Cake!

Hello Family!

Sister Gomes and I had wonderful birthdays. I'll tell you a bit about mine:

It started out with no water and no gas! (No, it actually started with us waking up EARLY to help Olga carry water, but water decided not to come so that didn't work very well.) Ha-ha. Luckily, we were able to buy gas (but didn't get water until today) and my dear companion/roommates/Praia Sisters made me a cake, an awesome Caboverdian/Angolan lunch (chicken with yellow rice, a cabbage and cucumber salad all mixed together with a bunch of french-fries! It was actually delicious). Sister Laimana made me cupcakes! It was the first time I've had cupcakes in 11 months. They were delicious. They sang Parabens to me and I got a whole bunch of things that Sister Turnbow sent me from Mindelo! A 'Ami e dodu na bo' t-shirt, a Chinese fan, balloons, a top (which I'm not talented enough to use) and a picture she took of me sleeping. Ha-ha. Basically I stuffed myself with cake, cupcakes and more cake! And that was just on my birthday.

Random Note: every Sister in our house has a birthday this transfer. Ha-ha.

My birthday ended sort of horribly, but I don't really feel like sharing that. We'll just say that if I see or hear another parent beating their child, I'm going to beat them! Okay. Not really, but I would like to.

Let's see. What else happened this week? We had more cake on Saturday because Sister Adam's invited us over for lunch. And then cake on Sunday which I made for Sister Gomes. Goodness. So much cake!

But we also had Zone Conference on Wednesday! It was so good. (And the food didn't make me sick this time.) Hey, we had cake there, too. Ha. But Zone Conference was great. Each one of us received a tie and in the month of October we're all going to find, teach and baptize a future priesthood holder! We talked about a lot of things and I learned lots of new things, reminded of a lot of things I already knew and I'm just so happy to be a missionary!

Speaking of cake, we were over at Fofy's house the other day and she was making cake, but she and her mom were using parts of a broom handle to mix the batter! Awesome.

Okay. A couple of cool stories of the week. We found a man named Sonhana (?) who's really neat. He's from Guinea-bissau and he came to church! We contacted him, taught him, invited him to church and he came! There's a special place in my heart from people from Guinea. I miss Lelo from Praia 1. Anyway.

We also made a contact with a boy name Ivandro the other day and invited him to church, too. We gave his name to the Elders as a reference and they hadn't even gotten around to contacting him and he came to church! Goodness. We can rarely get our own investigators to church, but we can help out the Elders with theirs! I'm excited to hear how he receives the lessons though, because he's one of those people you just see and think 'Man! He looks really nice. I want to be friends with him.' Super cheerful and nice. Okay.

Sorry, my thoughts are sort of all over the place today/this week. It was kind of one of those weeks when you go out and work every day but you just don't see any results so you get a little frustrated, but next week is going to be FULL of good lessons. (AND GENERAL CONFERENCE!)

But I did get to go to Tininha and Karine's baptism on Saturday! Now all three of Augusto's daughters are baptized! It's so awesome to see that family complete. I love them. And Augusto has a calling in church and everything--he's the door greeter! Man, I wish you could all meet him.

Well, I guess that's it. I hope you all have a great week and that everyone's well! I love you all!

Sister Brooks

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sister Brooks and Sister Gomes

Maisa and Andre

She's Not a Doll!

Hello Family!

I just thought I'd answer a question first: Dad asked if my received 30 escudos would buy me a cup of water and today, grocery shopping, we noticed that they sell--cups of water! It's literally a cup of water sealed on top. And it's only 25 escudos. Unfortunately, my 30 escudos are taped in my journal, so I didn't buy it. :)

Let's see...this week was excellent. Maisa and Andre were so excited and nervous all week long but the baptisms were amazing! They're so cute. Maisa's such a tiny little thing that Elder Brown had to help her up afterwards because she was just floating on top of the water. And Andre...oh man. I love that little guy so much. I found Elder Brown and Elder Liddle laughing their heads off afterwards and they called me over and told me that before walking into the font, Andre grabbed some water and crossed himself! (Like a Catholic.) Anyway, I realize this probably reflects upon our teaching, but I'm just going to chalk it up to his funny personality (I also saw him rub his head quite vigorously before being confirmed). I really think these two are going to be part of some of my favorite teaching memories of the whole mission. Maisa was a little worried that we wouldn't be passing by anymore after their baptism, but we assured them that we'd still have things to teach.

Anyway, because of their baptism this week, we spent quite a lot of time coming and going from Paula's house. Paula's amazing. She invited us four over for lunch and made pizza (cream sauce with tuna topping) and some other yummy things that I don't really know what to call. And every time we went over there, Maisa and Myra would just sit behind me and play with my hair. Every night this week I came home with either a ratted pony tail or Alfalfa spikes. White people hair is just so much fun! And Myra kept asking me why I don't wear it down which is the only reason it's down in the picture of the baptism.

Myra is so cute (she's Maisa's little sister). She sat by me during Sacrament meeting and, of course, was playing with my hair and Denilson comes in and sits by us and I waved to him and he just starts laughing and tells Myra, 'E ka buneka, nao!' She's not a doll! But Myra didn't seem to mind.

Another Maisa and Andre story: during one of our last lessons before Saturday, Maisa said the opening prayer and thanked God for 'her mom, her dear mom.' So I opened my eyes to peek at Paula who was just grinning and then Maisa gave her a big hug after the prayer. Aw! And of course during the closing prayer, Andre said thank you for his dear mother, but burst out laughing as he said it. Oh goodness. (Though his dear mother, who we are also teaching, looked very happy and a bit teary-eyed as Andre was being baptized.)

Isn't there a saying that has something to do with a cat on a tin roof? During a lesson this week we heard this violent noise and, suddenly, two cats slid down the tin roof and off the side! One of them managed to catch itself on the window sill on the way down, but Paula shooed (?) him away. For some reason I don't think that's something most missionaries get to experience.

Another good laugh we had this week was at the baptism when Sister Lords, Sister Laimana and I sang the special musical number. was awful. Sister Lords has an amazing voice and so does Sister Laimana, but Sister Laimana and I didn't really know it and we were singing the Alto part. Well, I've been sick all week and my voice still cracks on every word (that's my excuse) but we just couldn't find the tune. So Sister Lords basically sung a solo and by the end of the last verse Sister Laimana and I were shaking with silent laughter. Oh. The things we do for our investigators.

Well, I'm about out of time and I can't think of any of the other awesome things we got to do this week as missionaries (besides walking across town with all our dirty laundry to use a washing machine in the other missionaries' apartment--still no water).

I love you all! Thanks for the birthday wishes. And, yes, I'm going to Segunda's for my birthday.

Sister Brooks

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Charity Never Faileth

Dear Family,

Hello. This has been a pretty good week--and a very hot one. The electricity, of course, was out on Sunday and we had a very toasty, dim Sacrament Meeting. I found it interesting that it is possible to create a slight air flow when everyone in the room is fanning a Restoration, Gospel, or Plan of Salvation pamphlet (with a few Word of Wisdom pamphlets and pass-along cards thrown in). But it wasn't the most lively meeting I've ever been in. Everyone left the meeting a bit damp and drowsy.

Oh! But I forget to tell you all the best story from last week. Helder came to church! We passed by an investigator near their house who couldn't come to church, so Sister Gomes and I decided that we were going to get Helder (Fernanda's less active son) to church if it took all morning! So we went there and waited until he ate breakfast, tomou um banho, and then we, Fernanda, and her two younger boys marched Helder to church. Yes, it felt a bit like a prison guard.

Note: we don't usually force people to come to church--not that we forced him, I just figure we, as missionaries...annoy people until they decide to do what's right.

But anyway, we walked to church and Fernanda kept looking over at me or nudging me and giving me a sly thumbs up. Gosh! I love her. She was so happy to have him at church. It's been months since he's come. And then, after getting there, everyone was super excited and immediately invited him to the young single adult conference that happened Thursday through Saturday. And he went! And then to top off my happiness, he came to church again yesterday! I was so happy! It was a great Sunday. Mayisa and Andre came (I'll tell you more about them in a minute), Edelweis finally made it and then! Milenyo's (recent convert) mom came to church with him. That was awesome. I love that woman. Her name's Olga and she runs a salon named 'Salon Olga.' Makes sense.

But Mayisa and Andre. My favorite investigators of all time. Let's back up. When I first got to Vila Nova, an Elder asked me to check up on a recent convert of his named Paula. I met her and she's amazing! She helps us teach and is very active in her callings. And every time I looked at her teaching record, I saw her 10 year old daughter's name on it and thought--'Man, I bet she wants to be baptized.' But Paula's daughters have been at their dad's house for the holidays, so we didn't meet them until this last week. And I was talking to Sister Gomes and told her I thought we should ask Paula if she wants us to teach Mayisa. So Tuesday, we walk over to Paula's house, knock, go in and Sister Gomes looks at Mayisa and the first thing she says was, 'Do you want to be baptized on Saturday?' And of course, I'd been planning to beat around the bush a little bit but, Mayisa lets out this squeak and got so excited! She told us her heart was beating super fast. And Paula got excited and then grabbed her nephew Andre to study with us and now they're going to be baptized this week. I love teaching them. It really helps us see just how simple the gospel is and totally reminds me why the scriptures always compare the righteous to little children. I love these two so much. And I've been able to make some book marks and other things to use as object lessons. It's been great.

Oh, and another great thing about Mayisa and Andre. We had a neighbor of theirs teach with us--she was baptized about the same time as Paula and after the lesson, Mana (the neighbor) told us that she was very happy that Andre was going to be baptized because she's his godmother and baptized him in the Catholic Church when he was a baby! Goodness. I'm not sure if it's ironic or what, but I burst out laughing.

Let's see...we started teaching Denilson's younger brother and the other day we were talking about the Book of Mormon and when Christ visited the Americas and Denilson's head popped up and said, 'Really?! I've got to read that!' It was fun to see how excited he was. And then his brother had a lot of good questions which made for one of those really good lessons that I always look forward to.

I learned a good idiom (?) the other day. There was a wedding announcement in the church and said that the ceremony would be simple followed by a 'cup of water' at the house of the bride's parents. I thought this was really funny (and that someone had finally beat mom in terms of simplicity) but then Sister Lords told me that 'um copo d'agua' is what they call their parties. But it's still funny.

By the way, when I get home, everyone's invited over for a cup of water.

Sister Gomes had a great day of charity on...Friday, I think. We left the house to teach and found two TEENY TINY kitties that must have just barely been born--they still had their umbilical cords. And they were all alone and meowing like crazy and it looked like someone had just dumped them on the road. But they could really walk and one of them tried to stand up and just ended up rolling down a small incline. I didn't actually want to touch them because they looked disgusting, but we couldn't make ourselves leave them! And then out of nowhere a member came and she offered to take them home and save them! I was happy about that too. Not that Cabo Verde needs more animals, but it's all right.

Then later, that same day, we had another charitable event happened--to us. We were walking down the same road and this crazy/drunk/old man came up to us with a couple of coins in his hand and I started to tell him we couldn't give him any money, but then he came closer saying 'Here! Take it! Here!' and shoved thirty escudos into my hand. I was completely speechless because then he just staggered off down the road and no one else seemed to think it was strange, but Sister Gomes and I looked at each other and about died laughing. I put the escudos in my journal, even though the Elders said it was probably stolen money and now I've entered a very low-stake cloak and dagger game.

Oh, Cabo Verde.

I think that's about all I had to tell you. We had liver and onions on Saturday....I'm afraid I won't be taking a shine to Angolan cuisine anytime soon.

I was glad to hear about Miranda and Sam's talks and Ben's tooth!

I love you all, hope everything's going well and Mom and Dad aren't worn out with all their Sunday duties just yet.

-Sister Brooks

Monday, September 5, 2011

Missionaries and ice cream



Well, I have some very sad news.

I murdered a lizard this week. It was horrible. I felt so bad. I've already written about it in my journal and at least two letters. But I shall tell the sad tale once again. Sister Lords and I got up to go running (that's right!) and I tried to close the door and felt a bit of resistance--so I pulled harder (never give up, never surrender) and the door closed. But when we opened it again we found several pieces of lizard that had been squooshed across the floor. I swept him up into the dustpan (solemnly) and then we went for our run. We sort of forgot about him until that night and I found his shriveledness in the dust pan. Because I've already experienced the horrible smell of dead lizard I decided to dump him off the balcony. Sigh.

Anyway, let's see. We do have four sisters now and it's been good. A little bit crowded and very dry, but Sister Lords is a great runner so we've been able to get out exercising for the first time in forever! It's so great. And Sister Lourenco is hilarious and made us a very...good lunch on Saturday (see picture). I do have to say that I hope starting my fast with cow stomach (?) doesn't become a tradition.

We had a pretty funny family night last week with a couple investigators and their less-active family members. Afterwards we were just talking and one of their little boys came in with their cat dangling by its ears and he just started jumping up and down with the cat bouncing along with him. I started laughing so hard. That poor cat. I've also seen another of their little boys standing on it with both feet as he raced his little toy motorcycle across the ground. Ah. I love the mission.

I have also found my new best friend. His name is Frederico and he's Josefa's 11-year-old grandson. After branch counsel a couple weeks ago when I shared the cookies, he also had a few and since then he's been referring to me as the Sister with the delicious biscuits/cookies. Anyway, he's my favorite. He walked by as we finished our lesson with Susana and Zemar and started clapping. We brought them cookies again and I'm pretty sure he's going to be proposing any day now...

I know a lot more happened this week. But I can't think of what to tell you. We're in the finding stage at the moment as most of our investigators have decided they're not interested or they're moving to the island of Brava. Stinkin' Brava. But it's all right. It's always good to search for the people that God has prepared.

It doesn't seem like we'll be getting a new house after all (which is good, because I don't think I could stand to be farther away from Sucupira), but today--for the first time in over six weeks, we got water from the system! And it was FREEZING. I took a shower and it was ridiculously cold. We filled up all our jugs and giant barrel and our tank on the roof even started filling up like it was supposed to, but then stopped. That seems to be the problem. There's something wrong with the tubes so that the tank doesn't fill when the water comes. But. That was exciting.

Oh man. We had lunch at this pastry place today and they brought us straws (pretty irregular as it is), but they were straws from Chick-Fil-A (I have no idea how to spell it) and I was so confused! Oh the random things that get shipped over from America.

Sorry, I didn't write much about the work today it's been sort of a slow week. This area's a little bit more difficult than some others, but I know there are a ton of people waiting for us. We just have to find them (and hope they're willing to stop drinking, smoking and breaking the law of chastity)!

The flies are out of control and everyone's getting eaten by mosquitos (I've been all right since I'm so bitter).

The mission's so crazy, this country's out of control and I couldn't imagine a better place to be!

Love you all!
-Sister Brooks