Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Politics and Elections in Mindelo

Mindelo has been getting really hot lately. It is starting to remind me of Fogo, except for that Mindelo is the windiest city in Cape Verde. This helps a lot.
Right now, they’re having campaigns for the Mayor of the city. The way they campaign is they set up stages in various parts of the city over the course of 3 weeks, and the candidate goes there and speaks to the people. The two main political parties in Cape Verde are PAICV (Partido Africano para Independencia de Cabo Verde) and MPD (Movimento para Democracia) PAICV tends to be the more conservative party from what I hear, and they’re more successful in Praia, as Praia is more conservative than Mindelo.  Politics and elections are something that is generally important to the people here, and campaign time is a big deal. It’s actually pretty cool to see. Elections here are very peaceful and lively with music and a political spirit.

P day is something that is always a joy here in Mindelo. All the missionaries really like one another, so we have a great time every Monday morning in soccer. We get up at 6:20am and catch the bus to the church that is on the outskirts of the island here in Mindelo. There are two churches here in Mindelo. We play soccer for some 2 hours, and then we go with the other elders to a bakery in downtown to eat bread and get something to drink. Mindelo has the best bread and pastries in all the country. So it is a small time we get on Mondays to relax, get some breakfast and get going with our day. After that, we go home and clean our enormous house. We live in the biggest house in the mission. It has three floors, and very difficult to keep it clean. We take the time to clean, sweep, mop, and keep it organize for the week.  Then we go out, use the internet, buy groceries and run other errands. Today, we are going to the airports to pick up some missionaries that are coming in as the transfers are going on right now.

Last week was full of spiritual moments and challenges. To start the week off, Margarida’s daughter told us that she wanted to be baptized this past weekend. Her name is Eriette. Being that Margarida's situation is somewhat complicated and that it’s going to take a longer time for her to be baptized, we decided to prepare Eriette for baptism this weekend. The young women in the branch did an excellent job of integrating her and helping her feel welcome in the church. By the time of her baptism, she was already participating in personal progress and in the church choir.  

We’re facing some challenges with Valdevino. He keeps saying that he’s going to come back to church and be a support to Margarida, but he’s not keeping up with his words. He keeps trying to stall on getting married to Margarida and completing his commitments to come to church. It’s extremely frustrating because Margarida is going through a lot of pain right now. She received one of the strongest testimonies I have ever seen an investigator received about the Church and the restoration of the Gospel.  It breaks her heart to see that Valdevino doesn’t show the same passion for the Gospel as she does. This also hinders her progress on getting baptized, as Valdevino still has to get divorced from his previous marriage and marry Margarida. We continue to try thought because we can’t give up on her.
We did get the chance this week to teach Andirson and Jocyleida about the law of chastity. This has to have been one of the most powerful moments of my mission. It was interesting as we helped them see the true purpose and blessings of marriage and covenants. We helped them understand that marriage is not a matter of fancy dresses, cakes, parties, and money, but more about the promises we make of fidelity to our partners and to God to receive the blessing of obedience to the commandments. They understood that clearly, and Andirson said yes. We’re only waiting on Jocyleida and being a little patient with her. She grew up her whole life thinking that she never wanted to get married, so it is a big thing for her to go against that. She has not said no, she just said that she needs some time to think about it. We’re praying for her that she will see the blessings of preparing for that.
We had a rather sad moment with Aldina as she said that she didn’t want to try anymore to change for baptism. Aldina is a woman who is a bit negative and would rather spend time trying to gain the pity of others, so that they can help her. We discovered that the man she lives with supports her financially, thus being the true reason that she does not want to leave him. She tried to make us understand that God has to be more considerate. I explained to her in a more firm manner that God does not accept and will never accept her situation and that he prepared a way for her to get out of it, but that she has to act to find out what to do. There is nothing more we can do, but pray for her.

We found some more new investigators this week, and the members have been doing an amazing job in helping us out and teaching with us. We had 15 lessons with a member present this week!

Elder Cuestas

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