Opa!!!!! Ola Family and Friends!!!!
This has been a crazy but INCREDIBLE week!!! For starters, I am a MOM!!!...meaning I am training and have a mission daughter. She is AMAZING!!! Her name is Sister Vicente and is from the island Fogo here in Cabo Verde. She is serving as a Mini Missionary...meaning she does not have an "official" call to serve a mission. But she is currently waiting on her mission call which she should be receiving in about 2 weeks!!! I am going to throw her a party when it comes and get all the missionaries together when she opens it. It is going to be great!
So my other Mini Missionary, Sister Patricio, had to go back home to finish working on her mission papers because she too is preparing to serve a mission. She is the sweetest girl ever and I loved serving with her for a short 6 days. I was sad to see her go, but also excited to be training. Sister Vicente is just as amazing as Sister Patricio. She has a HUGE heart and HUGE testimony of the gospel. She is a convert to the church. She was baptized 4 years ago when she was 17 and helped bring the gospel to her parents who were baptized a year ago. She is FUN and smiles and laughs allllll day long. She truly is incredible. Sister Namwanje was transferred to the other side of the island here in Sao Vicente to serve in another branch.
So other then receiving my TENTH companion in my mission this week and becoming a Mission Mother, I have also witnessed miracles and have had BIG things happen. For starters, my sweet investigator Tony got baptized this last Saturday! We had a small and quent baptism for him that was very reverant and sprititual. It was so good. For those that do not know, Tony is our 39 year old new recent convert who has an OBSESSION with soccer....like playing. His life revolves around playing soccer. But he has a HUGE testimony of the church and has been investigating the church for about half a year now. He lives with his Mom and 5 siblings still and is now the only member of his family. It was really sweet because his Mother, older sister, and nephew all came to the baptism to support him. That is RARE here in Cabo Verdes. We will have 9 year olds get baptized and no one in their family will even have the slightest desire to come and support. So it was so great that they were willing and desired to come support him on this special day.
Another BIG thing that happened is that we went with Rute and Erickson (the couple every missionary has tried marrying since last January) to the Cartorio (like the courthouse) and MARKED a day for them to FINALLY get married!!!! It is paid for and done so now they have no where to go but forward. They will be getting married on the 15th of this month, less then two weeks. I am also talking and working with all the members from the branch I am serving in to help throw them a little party afterwards with a cake and such to celebrate!!! Them getting married is like a miracle for me. I have been "marriage counseling" the two (like literally) for almost two months now and it is a relief that they are finally going forward together in their lives and getting married. The other great thing too, is that Erickson is going to be geting baptized the following Saturday on the 17th! It will be a wondeful week.
A few other miracles happened this week. For starters, we have commited 8 people to baptism (which is a lot in one week) and we now have I think 16 with marked baptisimal dates. One of those we commited to be baptized this Saturday...and after praying about, he let us know that he feels ready and excited to be baptized. His name is Nilton. He is 28 and incredible!! Sister Namwanje and I made a street contact with him our first week in this area and we have been working a lot with him. He is probably one of our strongest current investigators and he is going to do A LOT for the church in the future...I can just feel it.
So I had a miracle happen this week. I dont think I ever mentioned this, but about 4 of 5 weeks ago when we were walking to church one Sunday, I had worn one of my magnet name badges that I had ordered and just gotton in the mail a few days before. When we arrived to the church, I had looked down and the badge was gone! I still had the magnet that was stuck in my shirt, but the badge was lost. After church we walked the same way back home and it was no where to be found. I was REALLY sad. Well this week, I think on Friday, Sister Vicente and I were walking through the streets just talking, and suddenly some Rasta man calls out "SISTERS!" from the top of his roof. We look up and this man asked if he could come down and talk to us for a minute. We looked at each other kinda weirded out, then looked back up at him and said sure. He said wait one minute. So we did...and a few minutes later he walked out his front door and approached us. He then stuck out his hand and said, "I found this, do you know whose it is?" I looked down and it was MY BADGE!!!!! The one that I had lost a over a month ago!!! I wanted to give him a big hug instantly but then remembered that I am a missionary...so instead I gave him a big strong handshake and said thank you thank you thank you. I then immediatly jumped into missionary mode and started asking him if he wondered what these badges we wore ment....and explained to him all about the church. We then told him we would love to come back another day and talk to him some more. He agreed and we went back yesterday after church. His name is Adilson. He is a 35 year old man with dreadlocks who is soooo extremely kind. He lives with his parents and siblings as well (people are so poor here so we often find grown women and men still living at home with their parents). But his looks are deceiving due the his dreadlocks...but he was very open to us and intentive to our message that we shared with him. He invited us to come back during the week. The crazy thing is, is after he gave me my badge and we contacted him, as we were walking away Sister Vicente and I both looked at each other and I said, "that was not a coinsidance that he found my badge. The Lord had a purpose for me to lose my badge so that Adilson could find it and be brought in front of our path to find us and find the gospel...we have to come back and bring him the gospel." And that is exactly what we are going to do!
Another amazing contact experience we had happened on the same day. Friday was just incredible now that I am looking back on it. So ALL of our appointements I had marked went through leading up to our very last 8 o'clock appointment before going home. However, our 8 o'clock appointment fell through...as did our plan B and plan C. I was stuck and not sure who else we could visit being so late and close to calling it quits for the day. So we decided to do some contacts beginning from where we were to our apartment. As we were walking we were passing by a group of about 10 adults who were all sitting around in the dirt talking next to a cargo trailer (like those cargo boxes that come on those big ships that bring items from other countries). As we were walking by, Sister Vicente looked at me and said, "how about we contact them". I felt a little awkward with it being so dark and with them all seeming to be engaged in a seriouse conversation. So I shrugged my shoulders and said no, lets go down a little further and contact someone else. Within 10 steps, we both stopped after already passing the group of people and looked at each other again. We looked back at them and then at each other without saying each other, shrugged our shoulders, and continued walking. Within 5 steps this time, we stopped again, and both looked back. We both were getting strong promptings that we needed to go back. So finally, we took a deep breath and headed toward the group. As we walked off from the main road and into the dirt toward where they were, EVERY single one of them scattered...except for THE ONE, Nelly. Here was Nelly, sitting on a cynder block in the dirt being left by everyone else. We began talking to her and asking her if she had ever spoken to missionaries before. After talking to her for a few minutes and knowing that we had no one else to teach before needing to be home in 30 mintues, we asked if she had time to speak to us right then and there. She agreed and Sister Vicente and I pulled up some near by cynder blocks and sat down next to her in the dirt. We asked her about her beliefs and if she had a form of saying prayers. We had a very sprititual lesson right there with her sitting on cynder blocks in the dirt and in the pitch black with no light other then the little we had from our cell phone and she was eager to learn more and have us come back and teach her. I learned that night as we walked away that it is ALWAYS important to listen to the promptings of the spirit...cause if not, who knows which souls Heavenly Father has prepared for us will be missing the opportunity hearing the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful that we did not ignore the spirit...because Nelly was truly prepared by the Lord and waiting there for us!
I am so grateful for the many people the Lord has prepared and set in my path to teach and bring the TRUTH of the gospel of Jesus Christ into their lives. I see it changing the lives of so many people for the better each and every day...and in turn, I am learning and growing so much myself. It is a blessing to be here and I would not want to be anywhere else or doing anything else.
I know things are not always easy, but with trust in the Lord there is always a way. Heck, we even have been ordered to start wearing this gross mosquito repelant that is horrible that everyone received from our mission doctor because there is a bad case of mosquitos carrying danghei (spell check) right now in Cabo Verde...but so long as we are obedient and work through the difficult times, in the mission or in every day normal life, we will be blessed and overcome any obstacle. THAT is what I have learned and am still learning here on the mission.
I also forgot to mention that 3 weeks ago in church I was the key note speaker and gave a 20 minute talk at the end of sacrament on the importance of service. We are working with the members of this branch on how to better fulfill their church callings and how to serve one another better in order to continue growing as a branch and one day have a stake. This is going to be a busy yet amazing transfer and I can not wait to see the miracles that are going to happen.
Well, that is all I have got. I want to thank everyone for all their constant prayers and support that you have always given me. You are all truly amazing and it is a blessing to have you in my life.
Com tcheu amor (Crioullo),