Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Baptism in the ocean!

Nate, Jair, Elder Gooch and Ima
I already sent the pictures of our baptism in the ocean, so I guess I better write a little about it. So our baptism this week, the ocean one, was Jair. And if you have been keeping up on my weekly things, you probably have heard me complain about him in just about every single letter. Jair was the biggest fubecka in the history of fubeckas. We worked with this guy for my first twelve weeks, like three months. This guy had been to church one time before last week, and that was when we found him drunk as a skunk and we drug him to church. This guy didn’t go to his own daughters baptism. And he had a super drinking problem. Anyway, last week he decided to go to church, and it was pretty sweet. Then is was like the biggest change in the history of anything. God just came into his life. I went and visited him with a member, just us two. And he told me that one day he looked in the mirror and was like "Jair, your 28, you have three kids, you don’t have a job, what are you doing with your life"? It was so incredible. So he stopped drinking, smoking, and everything. Then the day leading up to his interview he did a 24 hour fast to get ready for his interview. Then we asked him why he was fasting, and he said that he wanted to find a job, so he could pay tithing. This guy wouldn’t go to his own daughters baptism, and now he's wanting to pay tithing?! It was incredible, coolest thing I have ever seen in my life. And when I visited him, I was with a recent covert Kubi, who was baptized in the ocean. And Kubi put the idea into his mind to get baptized in the ocean. So he did. And we were looking for a spot, then a member said he knew a sweet spot.

So we show up to the beach, and start walking down these steps. And its absolutely gorgeous, like unreal how pretty it is. And I’m walking down these steps, and I realize I’m walking exactly where they filmed the Cape Verde Video. Then we got down, and took pics and stuff, and I was one of the witnesses with Elder Gooch. So we get in the water, and Ima, an awesome member, does the baptism while we witness. And it took forever to do it because the waves were so big. So we were all covered in water, even before he was baptized. It was so much fun being in the ocean:) Anyway, he got the baptism on the second try, and it was incredible. Easily one of the best feelings in my life.

I wont lie, I feel like I kinda went through a lot of crap my first transfer. But I can't explain the feeling I got when we were in the water with him. Like I kinda just saw the big picture of life and things. And he changed his life, and we helped him do it. Like, idk, words cant really describe how it felt. Every time I think about it, it just gets me. Like, Jair was baptized in the ocean. I wouldn’t trade my first transfer for anything in the world. And watching him get baptized made everything worth it. It was just a reminder that everything is true.
(Sorry my grammar and what not was awful up to this point. I was just getting excited and typing things really fast.)

Wilkar (the 18 year old that plays basketball)
But yeah, we had Jair, Junior, and Wilkar as our baptisms for the week. Junior is 11, his entire family is members, he just lived with his grandma, who is also a member. So he was sweet. And Wilkar is 18, plays basketball, and it just a boss. We've been working with him for a couple weeks, probably a little over a month. It was super good to see him get in that font as well.

We also had the Christmas Party on Tuesday. That was super fun. We wore our light up Santa hats, sang carols, ate food, and had an amazing talk by President Oliviera. It was incredible, he talked on giving, not getting. It was amazing. He will be an apostle pretty soon here. It was so much fun. I hung out with Elder Christensen the whole time, it was great! He will go home and be a major league baseball pitcher. Look him up!  He also slept over at our house, and we stayed up all night and talked baseball. It was incredible, he is the coolest guy. Elder Rice stayed the night too, he's a boss.  Those two are the only and first missionaries ever on the island of Maio, how cool is that. I talked to them, they do everything at church. Like EVERYTHING.

Also, we didn’t have water for three days this week, that was a little tough, but it's happened enough we deal with it. I’ve gotta go, I love all you guys, Merry Christmas, Please keep writing!

Com Muito Amor, Elder Jarvis

Monday, December 9, 2013

6 more weeks with Elder Gooch!

I’m not sure what I did to get to hang with Elder Gooch for 6 more weeks, but the dynamic duo is staying together for a little longer!  But this week in Praia was soo sweet!  I took some notes throughout the week, because I never know what I should write on Mondays, so here are some little things.  

Tuesday, the bottom of one of my pants came unstitched.  So I went over to get Nicco, the member that was walking with us for the day.  And while we were getting him, I asked Felipa, his member mom, if she could fix it.  And she ran and got her sewing stuff, and told me to put my foot on the chair.  So here I am in africa, with my foot on this wobbly chair, having some old African women on her knees fixing my messed up church pants, I thought that was pretty funny.  

So anyway, same day we are walking with Nicco, who is 24, his younger brother Tony is our ward mission leader.  Tony just finished his mission here the transfer before I got here.  So we’re walking with Nicco, whose kinda not all the way there, but he’s a solid member, walks with us all the time.  And we go teach Nobert and Nice, just kinda checking up on them.  And for the first time ever, we heard their little boy Louis pray, and it was adorable.  It was so cute, hes five years old and it was just awesome!  Then after that Nice brought us a plate of food, and it was pretty good.  It was only the second time I had eaten with memberrs on my mission because there is a rule that we can’t because its kinda sketchy.  But their house is way clean, and they actually have a house so it’s all good.  So here I am, sitting next to Elder Gooch, two forks, one plate, eating this huge thing of rice. And I just thought, yep,  you’re in Africa right now..  Anyway,  after that, she brought us juice boxes, and they were good.  Then Nicco, the 24 year old member walking with us, stole the juice box from the five year old Louis!  It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen!  Ha, that was just a funny day.
Wednesday was relatively normal, except for the morning.  We were walking back from the louge where we buy bread in the mornings, and there was this 40 year old guy walking down the road.  And he was walking toward us, and in front of us there were 3 teenage girls.  And right before he got to the girls, he dropped his pants all the way down, like everything came down.  Everything.  And it was just an interesting sight to see.  Like people go to jail for that in America, and it was just mildly strange for Cape Verde, if strange at all.   Beer here is the highlight of a lot of peoples weeks, which is pretty sad.   But the alcohol problem is really kinda out of control, everyone drinks all day.
Thursday was a way sick day, we did divisions with the A.P’s.  So I went to Achada San Antonio and worked with Elder Folgerburg, and Elder Bruce came and worked with Elder Gooch.  It was pretty sweet!  Obviously the A.P’s have the nicest house in the mission, so it was sweet to live there for a day.  I had a hot shower for the first time in 12 weeks, and I won’t lie, it felt fantastic!  We went to the office and did A.P stuff.  Which pretty much means Elder Folgerburg did everything while I talked with Sister Matthews, the senior couple that works in the office.  The AP’s in our mission have to do so much more than some other missions because  our transfers are the different islands.  So they have to worry about plane tickets, boat tickets, and all the transportation for 120 missionaries.  Our mission is growing fast, but we’re still one of the smallest in the world.  Anyway,  about the division, I learned so much stuff from the A.P I served with, it was sweet!  And we got ice cream after which is always great.
Friday I did another division with the Zone Leaders because Elder Gooch is the district leader, so he has to do the baptism interviews for everyone in the district.  So I got to hang out with Elder Acord for a while, and that was sweet.  I freakin love that guy so much, its sad he got transferred.  He is now the zone leader for the other zone in Praia, which kinda sucks because between him, Gooch, Darling, and I we had a ton of fun.  But the division with him was sweet too.  He did all three of our baptisms interviews for the week, and it was good, they were all awesome! I'll  write a little about each one of them.  

Derre:   He is a freaking boss, easily one of my favorite converts.  He had so many questions about the church, and wanted to learn so much.  He is 24, and we worked with him forever, like 10 weeks, and it was amazing to actually get him in the font.  He actually understood what he was doing, why it was important, and it was just incredible.    Easily the coolest moment of the week was when Derre took the sacrament for the first time.  Last week at church I was sitting by him, and he hadn’t  been baptised yet, and he didn't take the sacrament.  Then on Tuesday he asked us all about it, and why we took it, and we explained it.  Then Sunday, when he took it for the first time, he just had the biggest grin ever on his face.  And it just clicked.  Like, this guy gets it, he understands what he is doing.  And I'm tearing up just thinking about it. Like being able to help him feel that was incredible.  Like obviously the Holy Ghost is the ultimate teacher, but just to be there and help him realize everything, then to actually see that come into play was unreal. One of the best feelings of my life, by far.
Mandilla:   Also a boss.  He is 18, stud soccer player, and an incredible person.  He had already been to institute three times before he was baptized, just so prepared it was sweet.  Elder Acord, who did his interview, said he was the most prepared person he had ever interviewed, which is such a testament to him and how he wanted to learn.  His best friend is Edson, our baptism from a couple of weeks ago.  And Edson played such a huge role in his conversion.  
Edson actually did the baptisms for Derre, and Mandilla.  And Edson and Mandilla are both talking with President Fernandez about serving missions, so I super hope that happens!  

Alicia:   She is the daughter of Dena, another recent baptism we had.  She is the cutest little girl ever.  She is 11, and she is awesome.  Dena super helped out a ton, and that was awesome to have her there.  She has another brother we’ll baptize in a couple weeks here, so the work is definitely taking off.  

Saturday was great of course, had all those baptisms, it was sweet.  Had Ice Cream too. 

Sunday was the babysitting day, of course.  We kinda have a problem because we have so many recent converts we had to visit throughout the week, plus  all three of our baptisms everyday, we didn't have too much time to find new investigators, which we’ll do this week.  But we got Wilikar to church, our baptism for this week.  And for the first time ever, Jair showed some desire and came to church.  So we've gotta get him to quit smoking, but he’ll be baptized soon hopefully.  We had one more come too, so that was good.  But to find Jair, we went to this big soccer game going on.  It’s kinda crazy, 20 Africans on a tiny dirt soccer field just playing crazy.  So the whole town was watching, and we found Jair, and we asked if he was going to church, and he said yeah, and were like, we’re just gonna stay with you until church, mostly so he wouldn't drink before church.  But we got him there, and we stayed and watched soccer for almost an hour before church just to get him there.  But he came and it was sweet!  

Another cool thing that happened was during sacrament meeting, Nitto and his little bro Clayton passed the sacrament.  And two weeks ago I gave Nitto a tie, and Gooch gave Clayton one.  They didn’t have ties, and they can't afford to buy one.  So they wore those while they passed the sacrament, and it was just sweet.  He will put that tie to way better use than I ever could, and it was sweet to help him out and give him my tie.
I guess I’ll talk a little about the Christmas spirit here.  In Cape Verde, Christmas is big, but not huge.  But in our house, christmas is life!  We went to a chinese store and bought christmas lights, and floss, and santa hats that glow in the dark.  And we have tons of christmas music, and we just turn off the big lights and chill with the Christmas lights almost every day, its so sweet!  
Anyway this letter is so long, and if you read the whole thing you should get some sort of reward.  I won't write as much next week, thanks for reading all of this haha.  Love all you guys, and I love hearing from all of you!  

Com Amor, elder Jarvis

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week 12 in Cabo Verde, back to a four person apartment

The new elders that moved in with Elders Jarvis and Gooch
Elder Conduane (left, from Mozambique) and Elder Dorff

This week was another sweet one in Cabo Verde.  It was hotter than usual this week, which is saying something because we live in Africa... It was a sweet week, but definitely an interesting one.  
First, on Wednesday, I did a division with Elder Conduane (from Mozambique), and it was just interesting... He's sweet, it’s just such a different culture change.  He came and stayed in our house, and I led in showing him Achada Traz. 

Its interesting to think about, because we have a lot of Native African missionaries, and they're sweet.  But for the Americans serving here, the houses we live in on the mission will probably be the worst houses we will ever live in throughout our whole lives.  But for the Natives, these are the best houses they will ever live in.  Its just an interesting thought, and obviously things just run a little differently.  Like, I made pancakes for breakfast, and I poured the mix for him and everything.  Then he wanted to make some, so he poured the mix on the pan.  But when the one side was done cooking, and he needed to flip it,  so the other side could cook.  Well he just started stabbing down at it, like the uncooked side.  So here I am, sitting here watching him beat the heck out of our nice pan.  And as I sat there watching this African  Missionary stab  the pancake batter instead of flipping it, I just kinda thought what a different world we live in.  I was also sweating wondering how I got to that point in life...  But thats irrelevant.  But the day was solid with him, taught a lot of good lessons, and maked a couple dates. 

Also, after President visited everyones house, he said that the Achada Grande house, the one we lived in when we got kicked out the first time, was not "livable".  So Elder Doorf and Elder Conduane moved in with us this week.  In our house which is definitely not a four elder house, but its all good.  The house is pretty crammed, and it smells a little different.  But we found glade at a store so our house is smelling fresh again haha.  But yeah, a little weird having a four elder house but its all good. 

I’ll talk a little about our baptism for this week, Andera.  She was super solid, we checked up on her everyday, she was sweet. She passed her interview with ease, everything is good.  So Saturday, at 1, like three hours before her baptism we get a call.  It’s her, and she says that she is in Acha Mada, which is a city 2 hours away from Praia.  So of course we are freaking out because our baptism is two hours away.  And after a bunch of stress and what not, she was definitely not back in time for the baptism.  Anyway, she was baptised and confirmed Sunday before church, and it all worked out,  it was just a huge headache.  Who goes to Acha Mada the day of their baptisms!?  It all worked out. 

I love hearing about Thanksgiving, and it kinda made me a little trunky.  But we ate at the Marrage, which is this buffet, the only buffet in Praia.  It was a little pricy, but it was fantastic.  It was honestly the best thing ever.  They had Lasagna, soup, bread, all sorts of dessert.  It really was amazing! And we went with the Zone Leaders, and Elder Evans and Stevens, and they are all sweet.  And you eat on the big deck looking over the Atlantic Ocean, super pretty, I’ll send pics in a couple weeks. 

Anyway we are doing a division with the APs this Thursday, so that’ll be sweet!  I think Elder Gooch is going to be a  Zone Leader pretty soon here, which makes sense, he’s a stud.  We also have transfers this week, which I am not looking forward to at all. Well I kind of am, I’m  just sad I won’t get to stay serving with my best friend ha.  It’ll be sweet tho. 

Overall it was a sweet week, definitely in the best mission in the world.  Love all you guys.

Com Amor, elder Jarvis