Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bela Vista, Mindelo South

Transfers came, and I finally retired from being a Zone Leader, and now I became a (dad) trainer. This means that I’ll train a brand new missionary, and I’ll be his first companion.  
I’ll be training Elder Fogelberg, and we’ll serve in the area of Bela Vista, Mindelo South. This is the first time in a year that I’m no longer a Zone Leader as our Mission President likes all the Zone Leaders to end their mission training the new missionaries. I’m a bit sad to leave Elder Fernandes, but I’ll go and do whatever the Lord requires of me. Certainly I’m very excited to get Elder Fogelberg started on his first days, weeks and months. This may be the missionary that is with me my last transfer, and I pray that I’ll have the capacity to give him all the necessary skills that he needs to go out there and be everything that the Lord wants him to be. It was interesting that when President called me, he said that he needed me to leave behind a legacy and take upon me a son who will possess my same characteristics and skills. I asked him, President, are you sure you want that? He laughed.
So Fernandes and I were doing our last planning session together, and we stopped for a minute. I thanked him for everything that he had taught me, all that he had helped me be, and all the patience he has had with me. I told him that I would never forget him and that he was one of the best companions that I have ever had. I only wish that it could have been more than 2 transfers, but I know that the Lord needs otherwise. 8 transfers as a Zone Leader is a long time. Half of my mission has been as a Zone Leader. In response to what I said to him, he told me that these have been the best 2 transfers of his mission and that we’re brothers for all eternity. Fernandes is an incredible missionary, brother, and friend. I’ll never forget him and all that he has done for me. I’ll miss him. However, I’m stoked that Elder Josephson, a missionary that I have known for a long time will take my place. He’s an excellent worker. He is a good friend of mine, and we will be able to see each other again in BYU next year.
The part about my new companion is awesome. Elder Fogelberg is from central California close to Fresno, and he is amazing! I went to Praia Monday night to go get him, and we got back to Mindelo around Wednesday night to arrive to the house. He doesn’t seem the slightest bit homesick and seems to really enjoying the mission. We’re already getting along great, and I can tell that he’s spiritually prepared to come out here and start working.
On the other hand, the new area is in very bad shape. There are very few investigators, members, and overall just a lot of work to do. We have to perform what is called a resurrection of this area, where we work, work to construct it again, find investigators, and get things going. It’s the same exact thing that we did in my last area with Elder Fernandes, just that this area is in a much worse shape. Elder Fogelberg already knows this, and it does not seem to bother him. He’s excited at working hard and being able to do everything he can. We just need to pray and work for miracles, because miracles are what we need to get this area going again.
Bela Vista is one of the poorest areas in Mindelo. It’s Tarrafal all over again…people living in tin shacks, no power, no roofs and no other basic things. It is not as ghetto as Praia, but for Mindelo, it’s very ghetto. However, it is called Bela Vista for a very good reason. There is a mountain in the middle of the area, and when you get up there, you can see ALL of Mindelo. It’s a breathtaking sight!
My new companion and I started this week just getting to know the area, the members and investigators. We should have a baptism soon of a woman named Zuleika. She has been investigating the church for a long time and has finally decided that she is ready to be baptized. We’re also working with this one woman named Joana who should be baptized in a couple of weeks. She has been talking to the missionaries for a long time, and she spoke about the peace that she felt in her heart as she read the book of Mormon. It was a very spiritual lesson, and we were able to commit her to a date for her baptism of two weeks from now.
Elder Fogelberg already can speak some pretty good Portuguese for being in the mission field on such a short time. He pays attention really well to the counsel that I’m giving him, and he never complains and is just getting used to everything really fast. It has been indeed a miracle to have him as my new companion.
Obviously, I feel somewhat nostalgic to know that I’ll never be Zone Leader again as it was one of my favorite positions in the mission, but I’m honored that the Lord put such a good missionary in my hands to train.
So the new area and responsibilities will keep me very busy until my last day, as I’ll be making sure to train Elder Fogelberg to do things the right way and set him off on the right foot, and I’ll work harder than ever to resurrect this new area.
Andirson’s wedding was incredible! I’ll write more next week.
Elder Cuestas

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