Friday, July 1, 2011

Stinky Bathrooms, Bug-infested Home, and Just a lot of Dirt

Olá family and friends,
This has been yet another great week. Every week just keeps on getting busier and busier with lots of lessons and things to do. We did not make one single contact even the entire week because all of our time was filled with lessons to teach...and anytime one of our lessons did fall through, our back up plan was just to go right to the next one because they were scheduled so close together. So it is really neat that our time is so filled but we also felt pretty lame for not even having ONE contact to report this week.
So to best describe my week would be the following...Our toilet wont flush, we shower AGAIN with a bucket of water, our home is infested with bugs with dead cockroaches covering our kitchen floor, and the bathroom mirror now has a perminent place leaning on our bedroom window. To better explain, our island is out of water. Yup, thats right. Sal is more or less completly out of water. And we were told this is going to begin getting very common now that we are beginning to hit the summer months. So we have not had water now for 5 days. We were told that our tank on our roof was suppose to get refilled yesterday...but as of now it is still empty and we have no idea how long it will be before we actually get some again. But I guess all of Praia, the capital, is out of water too for 7 to 10 days. It is some exciting times. There was one truck tank of water that came on Saturday and when it was parked for people to get water is was like a zoo. Everybody was lined up with their buckets in hand awaiting to get water. It was pretty funny to watch. Once we are done with the computers we have to go around our area and see if we cant find a water tank to fill our buckets too because we are completly out other then our one jug of drinking water that we have left. Lets just say...Sister Walker and I are probably the stinkiest we have been in a loooong time and neither one of us are too happy about it. But its been kinda funny and we laugh about it every day.
Oh, our house is also infested with bugs...especially cockroaches. We walk around every time we get home from the end of our day and step on them all...but then we are too tired to clean them off the floor so they usually just lay there collecting themselves all over our tile floor for a few days before one of us just gets so grossed out that we finally give in and clean our floors. Its kinda funny, Sister Walker and I are both pretty lazy and careless people when it comes to things like that. When we are out doing missionary work we both work really hard...but once we are back in our apartment we instantly become pretty lazy and dont want to do much. We have decided we are pretty much a really bad companionship for that reason...but we just laugh and continue to not care.
Anyways, thanks again for all of the birthday wishes! My birthday on Wednesday was good. Just another day of missionary work. Except for my comp made me brownies and wrote parábens and 22 all over it for me. We lit a match as my candle and I held it before blowing it out. It was exciting to say the least. haha. But the day was still an enjoyable day. One fun birthday present I got was some sort of head problem. I woke up I think on Wednesday to a very itchy head that burned baaaad. At first I panicked cause I thought maybe it was lice. I had my comp check for me and she said my entire scalp was covered in red bumps and rashes. Since then, my scalp is now peeling about 2 or 3 layers where each red bump was and its loads of fun. I have spoken with my mission doctor on the phone who is in Germany though and Im in the process of taking care of it. All will be good and fine. It will just be itching for sometime until things get figured out. But for now, its just another thing on the list of things that Sister Walker and I get to laugh and joke about.
As far as investigators go, we are teaching the most adorable 8 year old boy named Valdir. I dont think we are suppose to have favorites when it comes to investigators...but he is definatly really high up there. His mom, Sonha, is an inactive member who hasnt been to church in over 5 years. We started off talking to her and teaching her once a week along with her 13 year old sister, Tairine, who lives upstairs from Sonha and her kids with there Mom. Anyways, we commited him to baptism this week and he is very excited. His aunt, Tairine, who is the 13 year old sister of Sonha, Valdirs mother, was suppose to be getting baptized this Saturday. But we have now pushed her baptism date to the 11th so her and Valdir will be getting baptized together on the same day. I think that will be really good and even better because all of their families will hopefully come. And with that, hopefully be more interested as well in learning more about the church.
We also taught Samuel again this week. For those who dont remember, he is the man from Ghana who approached us in the street our first few days here in Sal and our first lesson with him was in English since he does not speak Portuguese. Anyways, the last two visits with him, President Fortes (our Branch President here in Sal) came with us. It was a lot better that way because Samuel speak and understands Bedu Creole (not Sanpadjute Creole which is what is mainly spoken here in Sal), and President Fortes also speaks Bedu. So we were able to teach him in Portuguese and then President Fortes would translate what we said into Bedu for Samuel, and then anything Samuel said into Portuguese for us. I do not know why, but Samuel does not really like Sister Walker. Samuel always directs everything to me when he talks and each time we see him in the streets he approaches me and speaks to me in English and never to Sister Walker. Kinda weird but whatever. Samuel came to church last week though for the first time since basically his baptism back in February. He did not go yesterday though because he got called in last minute to work. At first I was kind hesitant about Samuel...but I really like him and he has a good spirit about him. He is one of our harder appointments that we have though because his views are a bit different. He is still great though.
We also had a talk with Andreia´s mom Friday night. Andreia is our 15 year old investigator who we helped do all of her families laundry 2 weeks ago. She has been wanting to get baptised really bad and its been an on going battle with her mother to get permission. We finally had a sit down conversation in their one bedroom home on Friday night that lasted an hour. The day before we had a lesson with Andreia about testimony and teh significance and power ones testimony can have. So when we spoke with her mom on Friday, we had her bear her testimony to her mother on why she knows this gospel is true and why she has the desire to be baptized. Then for the hour it was a constant battle and a little bit of an argument between the two of them as Sister Walker sat and listened and tried to figure out what to say to her. Every time we would try and talk her mother would keep repeating and explaining to ust that she wants for all of her kids to baptized together on the same day and how each child already has a god mother and god father chosen for when they get baptized into the catholic church. Near the end of the hour of the conversation, I finally got the courage to just bear testimony of my feelings about the idea of her daughter being baptized and about why our church is different. I explained how I know without a doubt that Andreia has come to know for herself that the things she has learned and the things the gospel has to share have and will continue to change and bless her life. And how I know that because I have scene it change my life. And because of that I am here I Cabo Verde, away from family and share and bring the same joy and blessings that I have had in my life because of the gospel to the lives of others who are willing to listen. It was an incredible personal experience for me. It was the strongest I have felt the spirit from within myself since being here in Sal and was kind of a learning experience and reminder to me that I KNOW why I am here. So I think I needed that for myself. By the end of the lesson, Andreias mother said that she wants to be sure that this is something Andreia definatly believes in and is not going to just be baptized and then become inactive. She explained how baptism is a sacred and special thing and that she does not want her daughter to do it just because she wants to...but to do it because she believes in it...if that makes since. So she has agreed, for now, to let her continue going to church. And if after a month she is still strong and still has the desire, then her mother will sign the baptismal form and give Andreia permission. I understand completly where her mother is coming from and if I were in her mothers shoes, I would probably do the same thing is if I did not understand as her mother doesnt. But her mother has also agreed to let us come by sometime and share with her some things of the church so that she can understand and know the things that her daughter has been learning and committing to live.
As for church this week, it was kind of crazy. All of the young women have been fighting with each other and WE are the cause of it. Yes, Sister Walker and I are the cause of all the young women fighting with one another. However, we have done NOTHING. They have been fighting because some are mad that they dont get to teach with us either as much as some of the others, or some are mad because they have not gotten to teach with us at all. And when I say fighting, I do not just mean arguing. I mean, like getting a book of mormon and hitting another girl over the head of it fighting. Some of the young women are band from teaching with us for at least this next week and the Branch President has had to sit them down and talk with them. Sooooo, its kind of dramatic and pretty rediculous. There are certain girls mad at us now and its funny cause we have been clueless to this whole ordeal of whats been said and argued about between them all. So we have been having to deal with that and talk with the young women one at a time to get sides of the story of what happened and who did what to who and what not. Fun stuff.
Also, at choir practice last night things went really interesting. President Neves, my mission president, will be in Sal next Saturday and Sunday and we are going to have a Saturday night devotional where he is going to speak to the members. So our little branch choir (which was created only 4 weeks ago keep in mind), has decided to sing a few different songs for the devotional. NOBODY can sing on key or even the right melody. all. Oh and whats better, is the men can sing higher then the women. So everything is just really off. But, our District Leader, Elder Shelhammer, decided it would be cool for them to try and sing the EFY melody for it. The EFY melod for those dont know is when men and women sing parts from As Sisters In Zion and Army of Helamen in parts that are all mixed in together. Basically, its not an easy to sing for those who can sing and carry a melody...but its espcially hard when you cant do either one of those. We rearranged it to a much simpler arrangment to where neither one of them are singing their seperate parts together at the same time...but to where it sounds ok and pretty good for them. I just hope they can remember it by next saturday when they sing it at the devotional.
Well that is about it for this week. On Wendesday we fly to the island of São Vicente for District Training and will be there until Saturday morning. I am soooo excited because we will be staying with Sister Holland, my MTC comp, and her companion. I am really looking forward to seeing her again. Oh, and I will meet my Mission President, President Neves there for the first time. I am having my mission arrival interview with him on Saturday when we all fly back to Sal together that usually is done the first day in the fields. It is interesting that I have been here almost a month and I still have not met my mission president.
Thank you all once again for all the love and support. You are all missed but I love being here. Until next week!
Sister Beus

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