Sunday, April 27, 2014

Vera's baptism

April 21, 2014

This week was super sick.  I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy speaking English in the house, and talking about America with my comp.  Haven't done that in a while, and it's pretty nice.  He's a super sweet Elder, been on the mission for over a year and a half, the oldest comp I've had.  We had a very solid week as well. A couple things about him.  He has a raging addiction to mustard and Juice.  His parents are from Argentina, and he's a super good missionary.   
Elder Martinez, Vera, Vera's kids, "some guy that likes to be in pictures"

We worked our area for the whole day Tuesday, marked some dates, and that was sweet.  We also talked with Vera, our baptism this week.  She has a very interesting story, because we weren't planning on baptizing her this week.  Her situation is that she talked with Elder Rice and Odderstrom a couple of months ago, and she was almost baptised, but her boyfriend came in from Portugal and they messed up.  And she applied for her visa to Portugal three times, and it got rejected all three.  So they finally decided to get married so she could get her citizenship.  So he came to Praia, and they got married.  Now she is waiting to get her vista a forth time, and she'll for sure get it this time because she is married to someone in Portugal.  And someone that I was with didn't want to baptize her because they thought that was wrong what she did.  I think if she got married, doesn't matter why, she's not breaking commandments, and she wants to be baptized.  So we had a super good lesson with her Thursday, and invited her to be baptized in 2 days.  She said that she was terrified of interviews, but she would pray about it.  We did a practice, and she was super solid.
Other things that happened this week, got some candy from the family, that between a couple elders, was gone in a matter of minutes.  I got to see Elder Drawe for like 5 minutes.  He is in my zone, and one of my good friends.  Hopefully I'll get to hang out with him more later this transfer.   I worked with Elder Bergquist in my area, we found a massive bull, and grabbed it by the horns. He kinda got mad toward the end, so we left....  I also made pizza with Elder Martinez, and that was super good. Also the Assomada ward that I was working in split.  We had 77 people in Sacrament, and the other ward had 100, so that's good.

Vera's daughter that "only liked Elder Jarvis"

This whole week I've been thinking about how Ben will be home soon, that's so crazy! Life is gonna be super different after the mish, but I'm stoked to Skype him.  

Another sweet thing we had was district meeting with Elder Smith.  Hes such a sweet district leader. He gave a traning that I had actually heard before while he was my zone leader. He talked about teaching people not lessons,and having them talk 51 percent of the time.  Its a super solid training.  Love it! 
Other than that not a whole lot going on out here.  Stoked for mothers day, and what not.  The zone is struggling a little, but we will do some divisions this week and hopefully get it on its feet.  We also have leadership council next week, which I'm excited for, that's always good.  Love all you guys, thanks for everything.  

At Leadership Council

Just Keep Swimming

Zone Conference and Transfers

April 14, 2014

Zone Conference in Praia
So we had transfers yesterday.  Kind of a lot of things changed, and I'll give a brief overview.  I'm staying here to serve with Elder Martinez. My comp Elder Fernandez will go to San Nichalo, the new island they just opened up, with Elder Bruce.  Elder Accord will be the new Maio guy with Elder Rice.  Elder Drawe is part of my zone now, super excited for that.  Our zone got 8 new missionaries, so that should help the work. 
This was a pretty exciting week to be in Assomada Cabo Verde.  Tuesday we had zone conference down in Praia,  and that was a trip.  Zone meeting started at 9, and Tarafall is like a two hour drive from there.  Its on the far north side of the island, and Praia is on the far south side.  So those guys woke up super early and the branch president took them in a hilux to Assomada.  A hilux is the back of a pick up truck, with like a little roof thingy.  And after they got to Assomada, they picked all the elders up from Ribera Manuel, and Elder Fernandez and I, and we went down to Praia.  So here we are, 14 elders in the back of this tiny pick up, just flying up and through the mountains of the Island of Santiago.  It was super fun, and just a good chance to talk with the bros.  

The Zone conference itself went well.  We did the scripture game, where they name a point in PMG, or an article of faith, and you have to recite it.  We did that with all the missionaries, and then after they called up all the Zone Leaders to go against each other.  I got all my scripts, and Elder Fernandez missed one of his.  President kinda gave him a little fauka (chewing out) because were suppose to be examples, and if we don't know them, we can't ask our zone to know them.  Elder Rice, and Christensen gave a training on revelation through the book of Mormon.  Super super good training.  

Towards the end of zone conference, President talked about the sacrament, and how we are not just eating bread, but we are eating life from Christ.  It was super good, and it made me open my eyes on how I teach the day of the lord, and why people need to go to church.  I wont talk too much about it, but we read from John 6, and it talks all about that.  Just a super good thought he shared.  He leaves pretty soon here, that will be super weird when that happens.
After the conference we ran to the A.P.'s house, I grabbed my 1 long sleeve white shirt that I have on the mission, because its freezing in Assomada!  Then I came back up here that night.  Wednesday we had a good working day.
Thursday we did a little division with the Quintal elders because one of us had to go down there anyway to do their baptismal interview.  So I got to hang out with Elder Bergquist for a little while, and that was super fun.  He was in the MTC with Elder Gooch, so we talked about him for a little while.  And we talked about college and life back home and what not.  He's super fun to be around, and I really learned a lot from him.  He will stay and still be a district leader down there, so that should be fun.  

Sunday the ward in Assomada split, and that was much needed and it was sweet!  We had more people at church than we have ever had before, and it was incredible to see all the people there. 
Maybe my favorite part of this mission is we just get to see the fruits of the Lords work everyday.  The church is so young, and so underdeveloped that it just happens so fast.  Its funny because the elders here that are from Cape Verde or Angola, or Mozambique will return home, and right away get called as branch presidents, or ward mission leaders, or things like that.  And us American will be lucky to get a calling in the nursery when we get back.  Just the difference in culture and church development is phenomenal.  Just crazy how the world is right now.  

Overall I'm super stoked to stay in this area, Assomada is such a blessed place! I love all you guys, and thanks for everything.  Also good Luck to Elder Jarvis who goes home in two weeks, that's too crazy! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

General Conference in Assomada, and lots of bus rides

April 7, 2014

This week was a super good week.  I actually didn't work in my own area any days this last week, which probably shouldn't come out of any missionary's mouth ever.  But Monday we took a Hiace down from Assomada to Praia for ZL council.  I think Ive explained the hiaces enough, but there were chickens, and people, and a pig in this one.  With 22 people taking the hour drive through the mountains to Praia I'm not sure how, but I managed to fall asleep.  So we got to Praia Monday, and the council was on Tuesday.  So we stayed the night in the Varzia house, with Elder Grogel, Earnest, Bazzarone, and Dos Santos.  

Dos Santos was my district leader when I got on the mission, and he is a boss. From Brazil, flawless with English, and just a super funny guy.  Bazzarone is one of my best friends.  The only one on the mission that levels with me about March Madness.  He is a boss, going to BYU when he gets back, and he just loves sports.  We really get along, and I hope we'll room together after the mission.
As far as the council, it was a super sweet one.  It was the second one I had been to, and the first as a Zone Leader.  It was a lot less stressful than the first one, but that makes sense.  There was a funny moment where Elder Gooch (My trainer, and ZL in Sal right now) was giving a training on the twelve weeks.  I gave him a little credit for being a good trainer, and everyone kinda laughed, good heartfelt moment, and he was feeling good about himself.  Then the rest was just super spiritual.  Then we went to lunch, and that was super good as well.  After lunch we played the scripture game where they call out any point, or article of faith, and you have to give your memorized scripture.  And if you don't have one you look awful in front of all the other zone leaders, and President. Its just bad.  But I got my scripture so that's all good. 

After that all the zone leaders stand up and present their goals and vision for their zones for the next month.  So I was up presenting with Elder Fernandes, and we were talking about the zone.  And at one point in time I was going to use the word Develop. And I had never used that word in Portugese until this moment in time, and i really didnt even know that word.  But I had to use that word in the situation, it was the only word that worked. So I did what every American missionary does, and I said the word in english, and added an 'ar' at the end of the word. For a lot of verbs that actually works in portugese, but not the word Develop.  So I said it, 'developar', and everyone was just kind of looking at me weird.  So I looked at president, and he said 'desenvolver' the word in portugese. And everyone kind of laughed because I'm still new and the youngest one there by a little ways.  So I keep talking, no big deal.  Then later I have to use that word again. So I try to say the word that president told me, but I pronounced it wrong.  So I leaned down, and he corrected me again.  And I responded by saying "Sorry my trainer never taught me that word" Then looked right at Elder Gooch.  It was pretty funny, and a couple guys said slap to the face, but it lighetened up the conference a little big.  Super fun day tho.  

The next day I got in hiace back to Assomada, and we got there and worked our area for a little part of the day, then I had to go back to the house because we got there late.  Then the next day I got in another hiace and went out to Tarafall to do a division with Elder Nelson.  It was a good division, just took a little while.  I was so sick of car rides by the end of it.
Then we had General conference, watched that in Portugese. It wasn't that I couldn't understand everything that was said, its just kind of a headache to watch it in Portuguese because I just have to pay attention to actually listen.


Before the conference we had a couple baptisms.  Ishmal, Jacklyn, and Swella were baptised.  They were all a family, 18, 16, 9 were their ages.  that was pretty sweet.  I  have been getting decent at playing the piano because we live next to the church and i have a little time to practice.  I can play, till we meet again  pretty well.  I don't have to play in sacrament because we have sister walker who plays who is super good. We also had a Zone meeting on Saturday, and that went well.  We have our big 3  Zone Zone conference tomorrow in Praia, so that means another hiace.  But its all good, I dont really care.  Last time we had one of these meeting I had to give a training, so this is definitely a step up.  

I would be lying if I said I was thinking about March Madness, but its all good. Im still loving the mish, and loving Assomada! Thanks for all you guys do,
ELder Jarvis

Friday, April 4, 2014

"The Weekly"

April 4, 2014

The view outside our house this week

Sorry this week was a little weird.  On Monday I didn't have much time to email or write this weekly email because I went down to Praia for the Zone Leaders Conference.  Which was super good by the way, but I'll write about that next week.  This past week was a super good week though.  

Monday was a good day, and Tuesday we had a sweet family night.  There is a member in our ward in Assomada that is going on a mission to Brazil pretty soon, so this family night was kind of his last thing here.  Elder Fernandez and I made three huge cakes to bring to this thing, and they actually turned out pretty well.  They were all chocolate because Cape Verdians have this strange obsession with chocolate things.  So they were chocolate cakes, with chocolate frosting. We actually had to leave the family night for a lesson that we had marked (scheduled), but it was still super fun. 

On Wednesday I started a division with Elder Smith.  He came to Assomada and worked my area with me for a little.  It was a super fun division, and I loved spending time with him.  I've already said this a bunch of times, but he is seriously one of my favorite friends on the mission.  He goes home pretty soon, but he's not dying yet, he's still working pretty hard.  During the division we just talked a bunch, and I kind of just picked his brain.  I guess technically I am his Zone Leader, but he was my ZL for a long time, and I definitely learned a lot more from him that he did from me.  

Another funny thing that happened throughout the week was our sink in the kitchen broke.  So the house in general still had water, but the kitchen sink didn't work.  So we had to wash all our dishes, and everything in the shower the whole week.  I think I took a couple pictures, you can imagine.... 

Also throughout the week we prepared Jo and Carlos Jorge for baptism.  Jo is 28, super sweet.  He is probably the most talkative person I've met in my life, and its always a work out trying to teach him because he just talks so much about everything.  He was super sweet though, and that was a good baptism.  We also had Carlos Jorge, who is the "man" of Dulce, who we baptized a couple of weeks ago.  They don't live in the same house, but they have kids together, and it was super good for him to  get  baptized. He was one of my favorite baptisms, and just such a super sincere guy.

I was thinking about something my dad sent me about all of Paul's friends having smart phones, and it just made me laugh.  Literally the only smart phone I have seen my whole mission belonged to President and Sister Oliviera.  And that's it.  Everyone else has those brick phones from the 1990s that people had in the states.  Just funny how the world is still progressing and moving forward, and we're a little behind over here.

Sorry not a ton more to write about this week.  No flat tire, didn't get robbed, and I haven't gotten kicked out of my house yet.  Next week I will write about the council, and all those fun things.
I love you guys, thanks for everything, and keep writing!
Elder Jarvis, Assomada Cape Verde 

The week Duke lost, and quite a week!

March 24, 2014

First of all I would like to thank everyone, and anyone that informed me that the Duke Blue Devils had a bit of a slip up this year.  It really was very thoughtful to receive 42 emails from 42 of my closest "friends and family", almost all of them informing me that Duke lost! Thanks, I love you guys... 

It really was a good week tho.  Last Monday we had a family night, and that was super good.  We made a cake, and it turned out like an Elders in Africa cake should turn out, pretty bad haha.  Elder Fernandez was freaking out, and saying that we shouldn't use it because it looked bad.  I told him to calm down, and its how Elders cakes are suppose to look.  I took one of my dads standards of living, (he uses this when he messes up playing the organ on Sundays) "nobody likes that guy that does everything perfectly".  That's why we gotta mess up a little to help people remember that we are only human.  And really we are Elders in Africa, how good is our cake suppose to turn out!? 

Tuesday was a super solid day as well.  Went to Pau Quente with Elder Smith and the other elders from Cabeca, and that was good.  Pau Quente is this bakery that they have here and its super good.  Its from Portugal, and they have a few of them here.  Mostly they are just in Praia, but we have one in Assomada as well!  It means hot bread, and it really is better than any bread you can buy in the states!  

Wednesday was the day that we had our interviews with President.  My interview was good, talked a lot about the zone and what we need to do better.  He always leaves me feeling like I need to be doing more, which is probably how he should leave me feeling. He's incredible.  

After that I did a two day division with Elder Bergquist, and it was probably the best divion I have ever done.  His area is in Tarafall, which is on the North side of the island.  So to get there we got in a Hiace, (Ive written a lot about those) and took the hour ride to Tarafall.  Its a pretty beautiful ride, and there is a spot on the drive where the car turns a corner of the mountain, and you can just see the whole city of Tarafall, and the ocean.  Its unbelievably pretty.  After we got there we had a super good lesson with this family.  There was a mom, 22, 18, and 16 year old kids, and we marked a date for that whole family, and that was pretty sweet.  Then we just talked the whole day about girls and everything.  We like a lot of the same music, and he is from Vegas so we had a lot to talk about.  He is the same age as me, but he graduated high school early, and left on his mission super early.  He was with Elder Gooch and Parades in the MTC, so we talked a lot about those guys. He also trained Elder Crooks, who I was in the MTC with, so we talked about all of those guys, it was a lot of fun.  We also made some pasta that was pretty good.  Well I thought it was good, compared to Pizza Factory Im sure it was aweful, but for here.....pretty good.
The next day, Thursday, was one of the best days of my mission.  In the morning we had a sweet lesson, and marked three more dates.  And we had a very eventful afternoon.  First we had a lesson with one of his investigators that had a baptismal date, but has a horrible drinking problem.  When we went to teach him, he answered the door crying.  We asked him what was wrong, and he said that his girlfriend's baby died as she was giving labor the day before.  So he drank the day before, to try to cope with that.  And we just had a sweet lesson with him, and it kind of opened my eyes, like this stuff is real life, and were dealing with serious life problems.  And its funny because we are two 19 year old punks from America, and just us alone, there is no way we could have helped him change his life.  But he's changing.  And toward the end of the lesson, Elder Berggy and I both felt like we needed to give him a blessing.  So Elder Bergquist gave an awesome blessing, and we were all crying by the end.  And he told us that he just felt happy after the blessing, and it was a super cool experience.  

Later that day we had a lesson fall, and we were kind of just standing on the road talking, not positive what to do.  And a truck pulled up, (and here people use the back of trucks like a taxi system because taxi's are expensive) and two guys got out.  They got out, and walked directly to us, and stated speaking to us in flawless English.  So we talked for a little, and they were from Nigeria.  They said that they really needed the word of God, so we went to go teach them.  When we walked into the house there were candles and a casket, and it was super dark. It just didn't feel good, so we asked if we could talk outside.  So we started out lesson outside, and it was 100% in English because they don't speak Portuguese or Creole.  And it was super weird to teach in English, but definitely had the gift of tongues.  But one of them, they were brothers, had his wife die the day before.  And it was her casket.  And we just had a super good lesson about how we will see them again, and everything will be alright.  Super spiritual, and just super good.  
So between those lessons, and a couple other funny events that day, it was definitely one of the best days of my mission.  Another funny thing that happened was there was a drunk guy, that was dancing, so we started dancing, and he copied everything we did.  Super funny, but really kind of irrelevant for this email...  

The next day on the way back, we were driving up the mountain to Assomada in the Hiace.  And right at the top of one of the mountains, we heard a pop, and the tire went out.  Keep in mind they pack people in these things like crazy, and there are like 25 of us in this van.  So every single person gets out, and starts watching this guy change the tire.  It was super interesting for all of them, and I'm not positive that they have ever seen anyone change a tire before.  It took over an hour and a half, but finally we got rolling back to Assomada. 

The next couple days were normal mission days, and nothing compared to those days I had on the division.  Friday was good.  We baptized Edenia on Saturday, and she was confirmed on Sunday.  We had quite a few people at church, and the attendance for the ward was insanely good as well.  Our ward, and area are doing well, but the zone in general is struggling, and we'll do a couple division this week to try to solve some problems.  There was also a funny moment where someone was yelling at us, and saying that we didn't know anything, and this was in a lesson.  Then he started talking about a bunch of bad stuff about us, and we kinda just sat there and listened.  Then he called me racist, and was going off on me.  There was like  20 people in the house, it was a family night, and of course I was the only white one.  Just kind of a weird situation.  But when he said that thing about me, elder Fernandez just asked him very calmly "If he was racist, do you really think he would be here?"  It was super funny, and things like that will definitely make a companionship a little stronger haha.  

It was a super good eventful week! Sorry that this is a little long, we just had a bunch of cuzas happen.  I love all you guys, thanks a bunch for all the emails, even if they are all about Duke choking... 
LOve you guys, have a sweet week!