Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Last Letter!

Hey Family!

I'm writing this on a computer in Praia...the same computer that I wrote many of my emails on for the first nine months of my mission. :)  Luckily it's one of the better ones.  And there's even electricity today!

This week was pretty full.  Lots of things going on.  The Festas de Sao Filipe finally ended on the official holiday, May 1st.  We woke up at midnight to watch the fireworks.  They were really loud and pretty impressive.  The city probably puts all of its funds into this one (week long) party.  We saw one of the events--some sort of horse competition.  It was pretty boring, but it still drew all of our investigators and members away from their houses. :)

We got to have our zone conference on Thursday.  No general authority, but it was really good.  Now that the stake is all established in Praia, President and Sister Oliveira are half moving the mission home to Fogo.  Next step: Fogo Stake.  The entire conference was on families. Finding, teaching and strengthening families.  Right now, Fogo definitely has the numbers for a stake, but without any married men to hold ward or stake level callings.  Also, with the extreme amount of youth, the branches are in desperate need for some more mature members to help with retention.

During the conference, President was giving each missionary counsel for their particular areas. He got to the end of the line where Sister Laimana and I were.  All he said was: 'Voces, casem-se por favor.'  I think you can probably figure that one out.  Everyone laughed pretty hard.

Highlights: we had a Cabo Verdian music group sing to us.  Haha.  By music group I mean two local boys who happen to have a song on the radio.  It was so ridiculously awesome.  The song's in Krioulu and pretty catchy, but I'm pretty sure we've done a contact with both of the kids and they don't really look the popstar part. Haha.

Gerson was baptized!  Yes, I know I spelt his name Jelson, but it's not.  It's Gerson.  Everything went super smoothly.  He's a smart little kid.  The best part was that his mom came!  We were bugging her all week about going but the day came and she was locked out of the house and couldn't get ready to go.  We knew President was going to be there, so we had to get started on time so we just went up with Gerson and Etson.  Well, right as we were going in to sit by the font, his mom walks into the chapel.  Perfect timing.  It was so good.  And because of District Conference, he was confirmed afterwards as well.  It was a great baptism, but then afterwards, we were able to be there for Samila's setting apart!  It was awesome.  Goodness, I love that girl.

We went to Samila's house Friday night for her farewell party.  Everyone's going to miss her, but it's so good--all of the boys in the branch need a little kick so they'll get out on a mission too. She's really amazing.

Well, Saturday we headed off to Praia.  I forgot how big Praia was.  Of course, by that I mean...I forgot how small Fogo is.  Praia's still a tiny city compared to the rest of the world, but it seems huge.  We were able to visit a bunch of peope in Praia 2 and then we went to both the Praia 2 WARD and the Praia 1 WARD (Emphasis on the WARD. Haha.) on Sunday because now Praia 1 starts at 3 in the afternoon.  We were able to see pretty much everyone we wanted to.  Little Maisa and Andre are still very cute.  And Maisa's mom is now married to a returned missionary!  Praia is now full of married families.  It's awesome.  And all the babies I saw a year ago are all grown up. 

It's been nice to visit here in Praia, and we'll probably spend some time in Sucupira, but I'll be very happy to get back to our area in Fogo tomorrow.  I miss Fonte Aleixo like crazy.

Anyway, love you all.

Sister Brooks

Denial?  Yes.  Just kidding.  I love you all.  I'm excited to see you.  :) Tchau!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Eliandro and Alex

18 months!

Eliandro Watch

Hello Family.  I'm writing on a computer that looks like it might actually have been made in America.  And I don't have to use all my strength to punch in the keys on the keyboard. :)

This week was fun.  We woke up on Tuesday, excited for our flight to Praia...and then it got cancelled.  Which meant that we had plenty of time to eat a giant bowl of 'doce de papaia verde' at Ineida's house.  We both almost died.  I can't even really explain to you what it was.  Basically just sugared, cooked, green papaia that was warm and floating in its own juices.  Yum...not. 

Anyway, so our flight got postponed until Wednesday, so we filled our unplanned Tuesday with contacting and comforting Lu after her trip to the dentist (I feel like it will be similar to how my trip to the dentist will be--I'm so terrified).  We're teaching Clecy's mom who's really cool.  She's had to work overtime because of the festas, but I think she'll progress--she has some great examples.

Also, Elvis' little friend Jelson is super cute and smart.  He came to church all by himself (and looks like he'll be our last baptism of the mission).  Jelson's uncle is most likely the head of the gang in this area.  We taught him a couple months ago.  He says really good prayers, but he never came to church.  And this week he's been resting a bit because he got two knife wounds from the rival gang.  Oh, I love this country. 

Yeah, so Wednesday we woke up, again excited for our flight to Praia, waited at the airport for about two hours and then found out that it wouldn't leave until much later and since we'd already missed most of the conference, it was decided that it was better if we just stayed.  So we went out to eat as a zone and then back to work.  We moped a bit about not meeting the general authority, but the stake still got made, so that's what's awesome.

Wednesday we took a lot of pictures with people (since we were so nicely dressed for the conference) and we were able to find a couple people (literally) to teach.  The whole week was a pretty hard teaching week.  Everyone was getting ready for the festas, and they've also been having their annual horseracing events.  Which means the only people in our area were...us.  And the Elders.  Which explains why Friday, during one of the races, we spent some time playing with a man's baby monkey.  It's so cute.  And it bit me...probably going to get some sort of monkey disease, but it was just a little bite. :)

Oh, and guess what!  Eliandro is finally baptized!!!  Hurrah.  We were able to talk to his mom on Monday and she signed the ficha.  Yay.  Then we started setting up an 'Eliandro Watch', employing all the young men in the area to keep their eyes open for him since he just sort of walks around all day, hanging out here and there and whenever we need to find him, we never can.  Also, he doesn't own a watch or a phone, so it's impossible for him to be on time for anything.  After spending the whole week telling people to tie themselves to him so that he'd get to his baptism on time, the young men decided they'd make us a little more nervous.  We discovered that all of them had decided to tell us that Eliandro wasn't going to get baptized and that there was no way he was going to make it to the church on Saturday.  It got all the way down to little Jelson--our 11-year-old investigator--but he's also the one who told us it was a joke.  They almost gave us a heart-attack.  But he's baptized and confirmed and awesome.  A really good kid.

I sang a solo in Sacrament Meeting....won't go into details.  I feel like I was forced into it (by Sister Laimana), but it was okay.  Most people were still sleeping because of the festas...so there weren't too many people there to hear me.

We had our last little kid activity.  This time about the Sabbath Day.  We had them play a little relay game--categorizing the things you can and can't do on Sunday.  They were really cute and every time a team won they'd just all start jumping up and down and yelling 'We won!' (E nos ki ganha!)  I love those kids.  Also, we could fill three bath tubs with the amount of popcorn we've served at these activities.

Sorry, I can't get pictures to work again...not like it really matters.  I love you all!  Sending this before the light goes out.

-Sister (Emma) Brooks