Tuesday, October 29, 2013

First Transfers? Staying in Achada Traz!

This week was pretty sweet!  We baptized our first family, Nobert and NIce!  They are sweet and golden pescadors! They both quit smoking and drinking coffee, and were baptized within a three week period of us teaching them.  He also got the priesthood on Sunday, and they are talking about getting married in the temple.  Familias! And he is a freaking cop, where was he when we were robbed?  hahah!?
Norbert and Nice
We also had transfers yesterday, that was kinda cool!  I'm staying right here with Elder Gooch, and he's gonna finish up my training!  That's sweet too because we're like best friends, and I really wanted to stay with him.  And we get to continue to work in Achada Traz, which is sweet!! And the reason we live in Achada Grande is that's just where we could find a "Decent" missionary house.  The house itself really isn't that bad, but we just rarely have water or electricity, but we make do!  Lately we just pay a water truck to fill it up, and the church pays us back for that.  The power went out at different parts of every day last week, but that's just Cape Verde, there's not a ton anyone can do about that.  We kinda had running water this week which is a Blessing!

Another fun part of the week was doing  a division with Elder Dos Antos, he is from Brazil and doesn't really speak English.  It was fun, I spent a day and I half with him.  Obviously just spoke Portuguese, which defiantly stretched my Portuguese, but it was so much fun.  He works hard and its fun to be around him.  The coolest part was when he was reading the English Ensign during Language study, and he was reading about the new temples.  And he was like, " Elder Jarvis, Como se diz Cedar City?"  and I was like what, and I looked and it was talking about Cedar City  getting a temple, and it was soo hilarious that he asked me how to pronounce it!

Also we just lived off bread this last week because we are so broke because of all the  taxis!  Our area is a ways away from the church, and all our pescesadors are fubeckas, and don't want to walk.  So we have to buy taxis to get people to church, and to baptisms.  But its  worth it because its the Lord's work and its sweet!
The language is coming along.  Easily, EASILY the toughest part is that I'm, not surrounded by it.  Obviously Elder Gooch and I speak it all the time, like during planning, and study, and the whole time we teach.  But everyone on the street, and just everyone in our lessons, and everyone in general speaks Creole.  Which is just a dumb language.  We're not suppose to learn it, but essentially we have to to communicate with people.  Like they are similar, but they are definitely not the same.  And we taught a lesson the other day, and the people spoke Portuguese, and it was glorious because I understood a lot of it.  But it will come, its not a switch, and it's a process. 

But today was P Day, and it was seriously possibly the best day of the mission!  We finally got to play soccer for the first time!  It was banned before because it got too competitive, but its all good now!  That was pretty fun!  Then we went and hung out at the Sukipeta, and just looked and chilled there!  Mom, Dad, ask Elder Dunnell about the Sukepita, and Sugundas.  I'm 100% positive he has been there and he will tell you all about it.  Its a mad house, and its freaking sweet!  Then we went and got Ice Cream, yes ice cream.  That was so incredible!  Then we bought some bread to last us until we get paid on Thursday.  Its Elder Gooch's birthday on Halloween so I'm making him a cake this week and it'll be sweet!  He is the new District leader, which is pretty cool.  We have some sweet new missionaries  in our zone too, its gonna be sweet!
Its just so much fun to serve with him, and its awesome to be a missionary right now!!  I love all you guys, and I hope good old America is well!  Never take anything for granted, because you don't know what these people live like.  I've taught so many lessons in shacks made out of literal garbage, and its just a different world.  I love all you guys tho, and I love hearing from you!  
Much Love
Elder Jarvis  . 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Week 5 in Cape Verde

Definitely another crazy week in Africa.  To start off, I will tell you more about M and S.  They are 25, and 26 and brothers.  They are the most  freaking awesome people on the planet!  And we taught them everyday this week, and I really have such a deep love for both of those guys.  And Friday night came around, and they passed the baptism interview, and everything was set up for Saturday!  And I was so excited for their baptisms Saturday.  Like everyday in the week, I just looked forward to their baptisms.  They are a family, and they both have little kids, and they are two of my absolute favorite people on the mission!  So we work with them all week, and were just looking forward to Saturday afternoon, all week. Then it finally got there, and we were so excited for their baptism.  And we walked the mile and a half to our area to get them for the baptism.  And we got there and ran into a member in the ward, the guy that was suppose to do the baptism, Benchmal.  And he was just like, " Nao sei suas baptismos vi acconteacu oji..."  "I don't think your baptism will happen today"  and we were like "Por Que!?" Why.  and he was like, "elas enviam para prisiao".  They went to prison today.  So we were super confused, and it was just so weird.  So we went to their house to get them to go to their baptism, and they weren't there.  Then we started talking to his cousin we know, Kevin, and he was like, yeah the cops just took them to prison.  And we were freaking confused, and sad.  

Turns out our baptisms kinda mugged or as they say "Cash or Bodied" someone a little while back.  So like 4 years back, this guy was carrying a ton of money from the Sukapeta to a warehouse where they ship things.  And M and S jumped him, and stole what in american money is close to 400 thousand dollars.  Which is unreal for people in this area.  And they tracked them down after 4 years, and took them away, the freaking day of their baptism!  Elder Gooch and I were like "Really Satan, you couldn't just wait 2 days to take them away!?”   Anyway they took them to prison literally 30 minutes before their baptism.  And I guess they can’t appeal it at all, because they are guilty, and they did it.  So that was probably one of the most heartbreaking things to ever happen to me, it was so tough,.  Because they turned their lives around 100%, and were so ready for baptism!  It was tough.
Then on the way back to our house Saturday night, same day, we were robbed again haha.  We were walking, same spot we were robbed last time, and just got robbed.  Its crazy because we always have a member walking with us, but we didn't then because we were just expecting a baptism later that day, but they were thrown in Prison... Kinda sucks.  But we just can’t go out there without a member, and its just kinda weird.  But we’re perfectly fine, no one is going to hurt us, ever.  But yeah, my favorite converts were thrown in Prison and I was robbed within a 6 hour time period haha, so that was my day!  But it really is all good, that  just kinda stunk.  But Sunday was great, and we’re baptizing a family this week and everything's good!
Earlier Saturday we were to Kubi’s baptism, he was baptized in the ocean and that was soo cool!  Going to the beach, and seeing a baptism in the ocean on a Saturday morning was possibly the most beautiful thing ever, it was incredible. 

Other than that we had a pretty normal week.  We moved back into the house we were originally kicked our of. The house is a little nicer, but moving was kind of a pain.  We did that Wednesday, had Zone Conference Tuesday and that was good.  Pretty much just had normal missionary days other than that.  Well  normal missionary days for here I guess.

This place is so cool tho.  The members, and people are so awesome.  And transfers and this week, I've never had those so I’m excited for that.  But Cape Verde is a chosen place, these people are ready to hear the gospel, and the church is true.  Its definitely been some of the toughest 6 weeks of my life, between robs, being kicked out of the house, the food, weather, language adjustments, and our investigators going to prison.. But God has shown me so many blessings the last six weeks, and its amazing.  We literally have blessings everywhere we look, and its crazy how he is behind everything.  The church is true.  I love all you guys, and I love hearing from you!  
Much Love,

Elder Jarvis

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fourth Week, First Baptism

First Baptism!

I think its my fourth week out here, I'm really not even sure haha.  But this week was an awesome week to be in Africa!  

I'm never sure quite what to write, so I took little notes of little things that happened throughout the week.  I failed to mention in the last letter that we had a stretch of 5 days in a row between the last two weeks where we didn't have any water.  And there's four of us in a house without water, so you can imagine how clean our place was.  And always what the toilet smelled like haha...  But it was good.  We are moving back into the house that we were kicked out of tomorrow I believe, and that will be nice in some ways and not so nice in others.  The four elder house is great, but there are  perks to just having two people in a house as well.  And its a little rough not having water for that long, but were not going to die and god will take care of us.  Theres definitely perks so other missions with running water tho haha.
Another funny thing, well not funny, but it came to my mind and I’m sure it goes through every missionary’s mind.  We have this kid named talo, that we've taught twice, and we can never find him, but when we do find him, he always wants to do everything right.  And we have a date with him and everything, but he will never go to church.  But he always talks about how he wants to be an active member and such.  And the thought that always crosses my mind in the quote from remember the Titans.  Where the white coach says,”If you wanna be a star, you've gotta give me a star effort.  And i think of that quote all the time out here”.
Also Elder Gooch and I made a transfer quote for this transfer about Achada Traz.  Its from Elf.  "This place reminds me of Santas workshop, except it smells funny and everyone looks like they want to hurt me..."  ha we laugh about that all the time.
Another funny thing that happens all the time, is we will be talking to someone, and then they will ask if we are american, which is kinda a stupid question, of course we are american.  And then they will get really excited, and tell us that they know someone that lives in America (probably in Brockton, or Boston) and then they always ask if we know them.  And we of course say no.  Then they stay excited, and start describing the one person they know in America, like if they explain more about their black cousin that lives in Boston we will know him.  Its actually quite amusing, none of them understand how big America is haha.

Me and Elder Gooch after a run
Sometimes we will just be walking down the street here, and then I will just look around at everything.  Sometimes I just forget how very much we stand out.  As you can imagine, we are the only white people, besides the missionaries we live with, in like the whole city.  And we always wear shirts and ties, and we just really stand out.  I won't even lie, other than the other missionaries, I haven't seen a white person in a month.  But I love it, the people in Achada Traz love the missionaries.
This is kind of a side note, but I ask every missionary, and the mission president and stuff about Devin, and if they know him.  And its funny because no one really knows him amazing well, but every single person knows of him.  Everyone talks about how positive and patient he was with everything.  And everyone in the mission says the word "Man" all the time.  And I get Elder Dunnell is famous for starting that, because as you know he says it all the time, and so thats really funny.  

Another funny thing is that when Devin showed me his blanket with things about cape verde, I thought it was crazy and funny that people would really do that.  LIke throw buckets of water off the roof, and little kids peeing in the middle of the street.  And all this crazy stuff.  But now I see all that stuff, and I  call that Tuesday, because I see that every single day.  You have no idea how many lessons I have taught with naked kids, and lessons in houses made out of garbage.  Its definitely a different world.
Okay, so the highlight of this week was definitely having my first baptism!  He is a freaking stud.  His name is Zito, actually his name is really long but I don't remember it and thats what everyone calls him.  And he is 19, and 6’5”, and is sweet!  We started teaching him 2 saturdays ago, and he came to church both weeks.  And we had a date for him for the last saturday.  And we went in the monday before his baptism, and he looked all sad and down.  And we started talking with him and his mom, and he said he just didn't feel like he was ready to be baptised this saturday.  And it  broke my heart, but me and elder gooch just talked to him for like an hour.  And we shared experiences, and stories, and everything to try to make him believe that he was ready for baptism.  And at the end the night, he decided he was ready and it was incredible.  We met with him everyday last week, and then he was baptised saturday at four and it was amazing.  Its such a testament to the truthfulness of this gospel, and the spirit, and God could change this kids life in two weeks.  And its was really cool, because I was there the first time we taught him, and it was just so rewarding to see the progress, and see the change two weeks can make.  And then watching him get baptised, and confirmed at church the next day was just incredible.  One of the greatest feeling of my life no doubt.  And it makes everything we have gone through this transfer so much better and worth it.  All the struggles, and getting kicked out of the house and robbed, and having awful cell phones was all worth is when we baptised him.  And he bore his testimony yesterday and it was amazing.   He was prepared to hear the gospel, God prepared him for his gospel, and it was incredible.  

We also had 8 investigators come to church yesterday, a record for Achada Traz.  Like it wasnt even us though, like we reminded them of church and everything, but the spirit got them there.  And it was awesome  because after the baptism, I was on a spiritual high, and just feeling so blessed, so  I decided to do a 24 hour fast to just thank God for everything he blessed us and this area with.  And it was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but a ton of our investigators came to church, and it was glorious.  We are suppose to have two baptisms this week, and they both came to sacrament, and they both bore their testimonies and they are solid.  They're brothers, Mindo and Salo.  24 and 25, and extremely athletic, and they are just overall champions.  I cant wait for their baptisms.  We also have 4 or 5 dates set for the week after that, which is the last week of this transfer.  
We only have like 2 weeks in this transfer!  Our mission is so freaking cool because when we get transferred zones, we fly to a different Island!  Part of me wants to be transferred to a different island, but a big part of me wants to stay here and work in Achada Traz.  Because even though its a mile and a half walk, and there's definitely a lot of downs to is, some of the people are just the most amazing people ever.  I have met some of the absolute coolest people ever on the mission!  And the language is coming along, ish haha.  Im working hard at it, but not stressing because that doesn't solve anything!  I love the work tho, and even tho Im sweating 24/7 its a pretty fun place!  I love the mission, and I hope everything is going well back home.  I think about you and miss you all.  
MUch LOve, Elder Jarvis
p.s.  The name of the lizard that lives in the house is Hector.  just like you (dad) call every little mexican kid you see.  And yeah everyone went home from my mtc district but me and Elder Crooks.  Elder Montes has a new comp, a kid from Mozambique, I know i spelled that wrong.  and he is living with us.  hes interesting to say the least haha, but he’s alright
We all have cellphones so sometimes when I get sad I call Elder Drawe or Crooks, and that helps.  We manage to "shower" everyday, if you can call it that ha ha.  Very normal not to have water ha ha.  
Church is about 2.5 miles, which we walk with our suits in this heat haha.  Sorry Dad, but there  are no street names anywhere here. I’ll get a pic with the mozambique elder and send it next week.  
We take bucket showers most days, , and go to layne fahera, another area in our zone.  
I miss Wrigley, she’s the last clean dog I’ve seen.  We kinda have running water.  but most the time you get your body as wet as you can with a bucket.  Shampoo, soap as much as you can, then dry off ish.  I also got my first hair cut here today.  It looks awful haha.  And the whole time I was sweating like crazy, and there was hair everywhere and that was kind of a  mess, but its cape verde.  I love you guys, ill write more next week!

The View from outside our house!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

General Conference!

This was a  sweet week. We are still working out the house situation since we were kicked out of our house a little while ago.   I think well end up moving back into that house sometime this week. The whole things a mess because the owner lives in Brockon Massachusetts.  Everyone from here either has been, or will go to Boston or Brockton.  Anyway, we might move back into that house, who knows.  But it really was a solid week here.  Its kinda tough, like I have never had thoughts of going home, but its sad because my whole MTC district is going home except for me and Elder Crooks.  

We are scheduled to have 2 baptisms this week, and 4 next week, and a bunch after that.  Our mission baptises like crazy, its what we do haha.  The first one is Lanna.  She is like about 40 and has two kids.  Her 13 year old daughter is amazing, already a member.  And we are baptizing her son Lano next week if he will stop smoking weed,  those drugs….. but she owns a bar, which is against the baptism rules, but we  got special permission to baptise her  because there is no way she could support her family if she didn’t.  She’s kinda shaky, and i'm honestly not even sure here baptism will go through, we’ll see.

The other kid is Zito, an absolute stud!  We found his 2 weeks ago, on a reference from a  member, which is the way to find people by the way.  He is 19, 6.3 with a stud afro. Were baptising all the gangsters from Achada Traz haha.  But seriously, God prepared his heart to meet with the missionaries, he was way  ready.  Right from when we taught him he wanted to know more, asked for a Livero de Mormon, and wanted to come to church.  He came to church last week, and 2 sessions of Conferencia Gerneral this weekend. So he went  to 2 weeks of church, which is the requirement to baptise someone.  But  its the most amazing thing ever to talk to him, and literally watch his life change in 2 weeks. And its the coolest thing ever to know that I played a tiny instrumental part in  changing his life.  Not just for on this earth, but for the next, its incredible, this work is amazing!!  He’s one of my favorite  investigators.

Between  the next two weeks we have 6 baptism dates, and 5 are boys from the ages of 17-23, which is sweet because its some priesthood, and they are popular guys around the town so hopefully they will have a positive influence on Achada Traz, and the area will  explode! It’s  incredible!  

The language is definitely kinda coming along.  Its just a process, and its not an on and off switch, it’ll take time.  One of the toughest things is just the way you have to think.  Because a normal sentence in english wouldn’t make sense in portuguese, so you have to change your vocab and just the way you think in general.  And its frustrating because we study Portuguese for a couple hours a day, then we go out and everyone speaks creole, which is annoying.  But some people speak portuguese, you just have to ask.  I can hold my own talking about church stuff in Portuguese, but other than that I really can’t do that well, but it'll come.  The important thing is to stay Patient like elder Uchtdorf says, work as hard as you can at it, and have faith in the gift of tongues.  Its amazing how that works, but it does.  We only speak Portuguese when we are with a member, which is all day when we teach because we only teach with members, its a lot safer that way.  And we speak all Portuguese during comp study, language study, and daily planning.  It’ll come.

One thing we do sometimes when I get way frustrated with an investigator or mad about the language, or just my temper boils up, we walk down about two blocks and there  is an amazingly beautiful view of the ocean.  And  it just kind of reminds me that i'm in the best mission in the world, and how pretty the world really is.  

About Conferencia General... definitely an interesting experience haha.  The whole zone goes to the church in Santo Antonio to watch it. Thats the church on the Cape Verde video.  It was so cool to see that church.  The whole thing is in Portuguese.  It’s a mission rule to watch it in portuguese, unless you have an investigator that only speaks english, then you can watch it with him in english.  So despite our absolute best efforts to find someone from Nigeria,(they’re the only people here that speak english) we watched in in Portuguese. We watched every single session, everything in portuguese.  It was good, I can pick out a lot of the words, because they're church words, but i had a tough time putting them all together and really grasp the thought of what he was saying.  It was fun though.  

We got all six of our baptismal dates to go to conference, which counts as church, so that was a major plus.  The downside is we’re completely broke now because we bought taxis for all of them to get there.  But its good because the word will provide a way for it to all work out.

But it was sweet, I met every single person from cape verde thats on the video about cape verde (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xF-rySmUGo    I felt like a little kid, it was  sweet!
Today we went to a nice brazilian restaurant because it was  a couple guys year mark, and someone’s birthday.  It was so  nice, and out of our price range and sweet!! When I say nice, its cape verde nice, this place is like La Fiesta with flies everywhere, but for cape verde its 5 star haha.  

This place is so crazy, you guys have no idea.  Ive been here for three weeks, and ive never imagined a world like this.  And the difference between the nice houses in Achada Traz, and the huts are insane.  2 of our investigators live next to eachother.  I’m not even kidding, right next to eachother.  One has a living room  with a couch thing, and a flat screen t.v.  Oderts house, the other one, is literally made from metal and garbage the staple together.  Ive taught so many lessons just sitting on the floor, or on dirt.  I put some of my nice ties at the APs house because I didn't want them to get dirty.  every piece of clothing I bring here, and wear, will be absolutely thrashed by the time i get back, there’s dirt everywhere.  

Anyway I've gotta go, the church is true, love all you guys, Africa is definitely  a different world but its such a sick experience.  
Much Love
Elder Jarvis

p.s  Cockroaches,  Everywhere, you get used to it though  The other house is just as safe, its in Achada Grande too, good decently safe area.  We have daily showers, pretty much.  We have been blessed to have running water 5 of the last 8 days which is sweet!

We actually have a decently big lizard that lives with us, in our house! That a little scary, but he eats soo many bugs, so we keep him around!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Kicked out of the house - 2nd week in Praia

Definitely a solid week in Africa.  Im not really sure what all to write, because so much has happened, but Ill try to sum it up.  

We were kicked out of our house last Monday after I emailed.  So that kind of added to my rough and strange first week. So we opened up this new area, and we opened up a new apartment.  The water never worked there, and we were there for about four days.  Then Monday after we found out we were going to continue to work in Achada Traz, the place we were robbed, we went back to the apartment to plan for the next day and such. Then we heard a loud bang on the door, and it was the owner of our apartment place.  He just came right in and started yelling stuff in Portuguese-Creole at us.  I understood nothing... But apparently he was saying the church had not paid the rent, and that we had to leave right then.  To make an extremely long story short, we ended up getting all our stuff and moving into the other elders bug infested apartment.  We've been battling with this all week, but i think were staying at the other elders place.  

Throughout the week I made a list of little things here that I thought you might find interesting.  

1.  There are goats, chickens, rams, dogs, and cats running free all over the place.  And that includes on top of houses.  
2. I've seen more naked little kids here that I ever had in my life.  I have yet to teach a lesson without a little naked black kid present, its a must.  
3.  People breastfeed in public, and everywhere else for that matter.. but that happens in every mission, thats not too big of a deal. Im used to it.  
4. Taxis drive crazy.  there is 2 street lights, like red light green light things in cape verde. And they are both out of order.  Mom and dad, remember Costa Rica_ imagine that but faster, and with less room on the streets, its crazy.
5. Taxis always stop and ask if we need rides.  They think because we are white we can't walk anywhere, its kinda funny.  
6. Ladies wrap towels on their heads, then carry insanely large objects on their heads, its crazy, i'll try to send pics.  
7. Yesterday, on my birthday, I ate chachupa for the first time.  I bit on a rather large fish bone.  that was kinda gross.  I felt insanely sick all night, but i'm better today.
8. Our piano never works at church, so we always go without it, and people sing really loud.  
9.  the funniest thing is that people wear shirts with american sayings on them all the time.  and It didn't even occur to me until yesterday, but Elder Gooch and i were talking, and absolutely none of them know what their shirts say because no one knows English.  

This week was seriously awesome tho.  We committed 5 people to baptism, and they are all sweet, we have the most stylin investigators.  My favorite in Zito, a 19 year old stud, 6.2 with a huge afro.  The first time we taught him we committed him to baptism, then he was early to church, and he asked where he could get a book of mormon, what a champ!  When I walk down the street every day i still feel like people are going to kill me, it is the ghetto of africa... But something important to remember is something President Olivera told me is to remember that we as missionaries are the most protected people on the planet.  Nothing is going to happen to us.  ever.

Believe it or not, everyone gains weight out here because all we eat is cookies and drink soda.  I have a wager with elder gooch that i won't buy a soda for the rest of the transfer, so well see how that goes.  I try to work out every morning but its kinda tough.  my weight seriously varies, and i've still probably lost 7 or 9 lbs since i left for the mission.  

Church yesterday was good.  Our branch President is freakin sick!! we also have a baptism set up for Saturday, and 4 for next Saturday, so hopefully those all work out!  We had running water for the majority of this week which is such a huge blessing.  I've gotta be careful about what I eat, a lot of people kinda get sick..  The language is definitely kinda coming along.  Ill get it eventually, its just tough because so many people speak creole that i hear that more than I hear Portuguese.  Its whatever, i'll learn it.  But I really do love the mission and love the people.  

I can walk down the street and see a beautiful view of the ocean, how many missions get that! And I will definitely come home with some incredibly crazy stories! I'm not completely used to the culture, the food, sleeping on the floor, or the "showers" we take, but Ill get used to it.  I love it out here tho! The days are long, and its definitely not easy.  But our mission motto is We Do Hard Things.  And President Olivera says if you want easy go join the Marines haha.
Ill try to send some pics and hopefully my dad will put them on facebook or something.  Love all you guys, take it easy and enjoy the hot showers.

Much Love,
Elder Jarvis