Monday, October 3, 2011

Michael's first week in Huntington Beach!

Greetings from Huntington Beach, California!
My address is:
320 Nashville Ave.
Apt 14
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Where do I begin?  This past week has been crazy!
Last Tuesday I flew into Long Beach Airport and met my Mission President and his wife, AP's and had a quick orientation.  Our mission is apparently the second to smallest proselyting mission in the whole world.  Second only to a mission in South America, (possibly Mexico City or Santiago, Chille I can't remember which at the moment).  Upon arriving at the mission office we were told that 2 of the 3 of us would be serving in Spanish speaking areas.  I lucked out though and got sent English speaking :).  I'm serving in the Huntington Beach 1st ward, and the Pierside YSA ward and I absolutely love them!  These are probably the two best wards in the world to serve in.
After I got to my new area with my two new companions, Elder Matthews (from Spanish Fork, UT) and Elder Stringham (from West Valley, UT) we then went to work that night at 5:00.  Well if you consider eating with members work ;).  We met with the Bishop from 1st ward that night and talked with him about how we could help the ward.  We've been working really closely with the Ward leaders in both Wards.  Our Mission President wants us working almost exclusively through member referrals down here so we have been spending lots of time getting to know the members and earn their trust.  My two companions have done an excellent job before me, and the Pierside Ward especially is on fire with the spirit of Missionary work.  You have no idea how much it means to a missionary to receive a referral from a member.  Missionary work is so much better being able to already have that friend base there when we have lessons with investigators.
One thing that my Mission President told me when we came in is we all need both a Spiritual and a Social Conversion to the Church.  People aren't going to want to come to church where they can receive spiritual revelation if they don't have any friends there.  The Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley also told us of this need.  He said every new Convert needs a Friend, a Calling, and the nourishment of the good word of God.
This week we were supposed to have a baptism.  Her name is MK and both Elders were super excited for her to be baptised, but she didn't show up to our appointment last Friday, and we haven't really talked to her.  Apparently she moved down to Oceanside, CA near San Diego yesterday, but is still going to come up to Huntington Beach for work and school.  We are all really disapointed because she really wants to be baptised.  Hopefully she will make contact with us again and will be able to make that Baptisimal covenant with the Lord.
We've had some really good experiences last week though.  We've been able to contact a couple of less-active members last week and they said that they felt the spirit during our lessons.  Hopefully we will be able to bring them back to church, and they will be able to turn their lives around.
We are working with and excommunicated member of the Church right now come back into full fellowship with the church.  I'm not quite sure the whole story, but we met with him on Sunday and he's a huge WWII buff!  What a perfect match for Elder Henry ;).  The missionaries have been working with him for a while now, and I'm not quite sure how close he is to being reinstated and rebaptized, but we are all very hopeful for him.
We also had the opportunity last week to give priesthood blessings to 3 non-members, which sounds like a lot but they were all inspired by the spirit.  Its a little scary to rely on just the spirit and try and follow those subtle promptings, but my trainer Elder Stringham is an excellent example for me.  Each non-member felt the spirit and power of the blessings we gave and hopefully they will be able to continue and make progress.  We are on the verge of a very exciting time here in Huntington Beach.  There are a couple of families looking to start investigating the church, as well as some Young Adults who are friends of the Pierside ward.  I wouldn't want to be any place then here right now.  I'm soooooo excited to continue working this week.
I love you all, thank you for all your support,
Elder Henry
Hey Dad!

How exciting was conference this time, eh? I was super excited to hear about the new Provo Temple. It should be being completed sometime around the same time I get back home. At least I hear it takes them about 2 years here in the states. I was really bummed out that the Provo Tabernacle burned down while I was in Provo. I don't know if you know this or not, but when we went on our tour to Utah in the Boychoir we sang in the Provo Tabernacle. It was a beautiful building.
     I'm really glad you got the oppertunity to go out and visit Sherry. That's really cool that Sasha got to come with as well. I know how much they enjoy their time together. Every session of conference I would think about how you and the rest of the family was watching, and it made me feel like I was close to you all because we were doing the same activity together. Kind of a strange thought, but I quite enjoyed it.
     I'm not quite sure what is in store for me this P-day but I sure hope it includes basketball. I'm itching to hit the court.
     I'm really blessed with a trainer who is super obedient and just loves the work. Elder Stringham also speaks Spanish so we can converse pretty well. We also had the privilage of being fed by one of the families in the Spanish branch on Sat/Sun Lunch between sessions and I was able to understand about 70% of what they were saying, although they made fun of my Portuguese :P. This Tuesday I'm going on splits with the Zone Leaders, and they cover the Spanish Branch, so I'm going to have fun speaking Portuguese to the Spanish speaking families. I hope I don't die XP.
      Anyways I need to write my Mission President. I love you all, I hope you have a safe trip home,

Elder Henry

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