Monday, November 28, 2011

Letter from Elder Henry 11/28/11

Dear Mom,

 That is an awful strange combination.  That is a huge zone!  Unless missionaries are doubling up on wards like they did when I left.  Of course my entire mission is probably about the size of Vancouver :P, so my idea of geography is a little distorted. (He was replying to my note that we don't have the Zone Leaders anymore and the zone is up to Woodland)  I've officially decided that there is no way I'm going to live in city limits for the rest of my life.  City life just is not all its cracked up to be.  Everything is crowded, you have to worry about crime, there isn't any nature to enjoy, there are people everywhere who could care less about you, and in all there really aren't any upsides.  It takes just as long, and just as much gas to get to the grocery store, as it did for me back home.  I'm happy to serve my mission here, but I'm definitely not enjoying city life as much as I thought I would.  I guess I always had kind of a magical sense of what it would be like to live in the city.  But that dream has been crushed by reality :P.

I didn't take any pictures this past week for no good reason other than its hard to find time to take some.  I'm definitely going to try and take some this week (especially today being P-day), and I'll try to get some with my Investigators as well.

That's crazy to think both Steven and Brittany are home from their missions!  I can not believe how fast time goes.  Fortunately I still have lots of time to enjoy my mission :P.
I'm glad to hear we destroyed the Beavers yet again.  Not that I had any doubts, but it's always good to hear the news ^^. 

I live in a really nice part of town, but there are a couple of Elder's that live in East Rancho Dominguez, that cover the Spanish area for Compton, and they are in much more danger.  We heard them talking about gun shots going off outside their apartment complex, and another person was telling us their cousin was killed this last Thursday right in their neighborhood.  So I'm counting my blessings for living so far outside the Ghetto areas of our area.

I'm going to send a Christmas wish-list at the end of this E-mail to give you some idea of things to send.  It isn't an exhaustive list, just some things I've scribbled down during the week, and also I can live without any of these things.  I just wanted to give you some idea of what to send since I would have no idea what a missionary wants :P.

This week has been another great week in the mission field.  We were able to meet with all three of our investigators that are going to be baptized soon, and they all seem solid as ever.  I don't understand it, I worked my tail off in Huntington Beach, and I come over into this area and I don't even have to work to get these people to keep commitments.  They are just ready to be baptized.  The members found them, they were prepared by God, and then we just show up to complete the picture.  It made me realize a couple of things:

1.  Missionaries are far from the only ones who convert people to the gospel.  We do our best to find people, and to help people to understand the importance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but there are a lot more people involved then I first realized.

2.  Callings are not a hobby.  They are callings from Heavenly Father and they deserve our full attention to magnifying them.  One of the reasons we are seeing so much success is because our Ward Mission Leader, Brother Va'ili, is on top of things.  He has a band of about 30-40 ward missionaries and they find people to teach, they invite people to church, they do everything they can as if they were full-time missionaries just with less time to find people.  When they find and prepare people to hear the Gospel everything works out perfectly.

3.  You can do your best, but things don't always go the way you want them to.  The fact of the matter is sometimes things just don't work even though you put your heart and soul into it.  It's important to understand in these situations that its not your fault, and we shouldn't seek to blame others either.  Just continue to do your best and hopefully you learn from what went wrong and you can do it better the next time.

I know you were complaining about others not giving specifics.  So here are some of the stories of my investigators.

Ma'epu (10) - Ma'epu is by far my favorite investigator of all time.  I love to see him, and he always makes me feel like I'm doing my job as a missionary because he is always so happy.  He has been reading everyday and came to church again yesterday.  Everything is set up for his baptism next week, and I'm way excited ^^.  There really isn't much more to tell because he's so easy to teach, we just show up, talk, and make sure he understands.  He always surprises me by how much he can comprehend :).  He's going to be an awesome missionary one day.

R (9) - Robert loves the missionaries.  This past week I didn't get to meet with him because we went on exchanges, but we went by later in the week to see if we could teach him, and his Mom wasn't home.  We turned away to leave and he looked so sad as if he had done something wrong!  He was so excited to talk with us that when we weren't able to stay for very long he was incredibly disappointed.  He wasn't at church yesterday, but I'm thinking his Mom might have been gone with family this past week or something so he didn't have a ride.  We'll have to arrange something for when she isn't there so he can still make it to Primary and Sacrament.

M (20's) - Maria has just completely surprised me, not because I didn't think she would read the Book of Mormon, but because I've never actually had an investigator follow through on their commitments.  She has been reading the Book of Mormon and is really enjoying it, she also was at church yesterday.  She probably won't be baptized this Sunday because we've only taught her twice and she has a smoking problem.  She has amazing faith though, and I'm excited to see the changes in her in the coming weeks :).  Maria was a referral from our ward mission leader, Bro. Va'ili that the Ward Missionaries found.  We would never have found her otherwise, and she is ready to make covenants with the Lord to improve her life.  She has a lot of questions, and the Book of Mormon has all the answers.

One of the young men also brought two investigators to Church this Sunday, and we were able to talk with them a little bit.  They live out of our mission, so we won't be teaching them, but still good things happen when we just have the courage to invite a friend to come to church.  That's one thing Samoans are great at, inviting people to come with them to church, and as you can see it is working miracles.

The only other thing that happened last week was Thanksgiving.  We didn't have a huge dinner like we had planned.  In fact we only ate with one Samoan family and they aren't even members.  All the other Samoans were at large family gatherings outside our area, so we couldn't attend.

I'm very grateful for this Thanksgiving though.  As I mentioned before the people who invited us in for Thanksgiving weren't members.  We had only met them once before, and they invited us to come over (as Samoans are prone to do) for dinner.  We came into the house and all the lights were off.  It was about 5 or 6 in the evening so the sun was just about set, and there was really no light.  This poor family live in Government Housing, and the power had gone out for half the complex.

At the table was a very small turkey, a big bowl of potato salad, and some stuffing.  The rest of the family had just finished eating, and so we came in and sat down to eat with them.  We only had a flashlight for light to see where our food was, and she began to tell us about how she had bought the turkey.  The week before they didn't know if they would have enough money for a turkey, or a thanksgiving dinner.  Then someone from one of the local Churches came by and gave her a 40$ gift card to a grocery store, for thanksgiving.  She went a purchased the turkey, and a sack of potatoes, some eggs, and fixings for stuffing, as well as a very small Pecan pie.

The Turkey had next to no meat on it, and the stuffing was made from the turkey's gizzards, but that dinner tasted better than I have ever eaten before.  This woman, though she was not a member of our faith, knew that she needed to give.  We were very hungry, and no one had taken us in because they were busy with other things, but she was not.  She had nothing to give, yet still gave us of her food and her prized pecan pie.  Sitting there in an unlit room, with the smallest turkey you've ever seen, I truly saw someone who showed their faith in Christ.   I will never forget her, or her generosity towards two young missionaries, with no family and no food, knowing that as a disciple of Jesus Christ she needed to help others no matter her circumstances.

We have an appointment to teach her today, but I don't think I could ever do anything to repay the kindness she showed me on that Thanksgiving day.

Thank you all for your warm wishes and love,
~Elder Henry


A new watch, professional looking ( I prefer analog clocks, but will be happy with a watch :P)
New Ties!
A Scripture Case
A set of colored pencils

Some Music CD's:
The Garden by Michael McLean & Bryce Neubert
One or Two Christmas CD's
A MoTab CD
and any others you might think would be good.  The only guidelines are they have to be something that you feel the spirit while listening to, they have to draw your thoughts closer to Christ, and help you to focus on the work.  Deseret Book has a couple of good selections and I'm sure Seagull books will have some good ones as well.  If you burn me a CD make sure it's an audio CD not an MP3 CD, because MP3 CD's won't work in our cars.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sure appreciate your feedback, comments, and love!