Monday, November 7, 2011

Letter from Elder Henry 11/7/11

One of our favorite families in the ward the Nichols and the three of us.

One of our investigators, B, and Elder Stringham on Oct. 30th.

My Zone Leader Elder Bateman roasting Marshmallows over a burning magazine (in a safe contained fire pit)

One of the members prepared a really yummy japanese dish, that had an awesome Japanese name that I can't remember.  He did call them Japanese pancakes though, and they were delicious ^^

My zone at the last transfer

My new companion Elder Chadwick is from Kentucky, and he is an amazing missionary.  He is kind, patient, caring, and direct.  He knows how to teach, and does it very well.  Seriously if you were to take a model Preach My Gospel missionary and make it into a human being, you have Elder Chadwick.  He was a zone leader last transfer and he knows how to lead out in the companionship, but also works hard on making sure that Elder Mathews and I are learning too.  He practices with us to help us to improve and has really helped me as a missionary this past week.
He went to BYU before coming out into the field, and will be back this Winter semester.  He's 5'11" so a little bit too short for Sherry ;).  He's studying to go into law school, and is a very driven person.
Elder Mathews on the other hand is very much the opposite kind of person.  He's from Spanish Fork, Utah and is bouncing off the walls energetic.  He has a huge heart.  He's very motivated to improve himself, and loves to play Rugby.  He went to Snow College before his mission and wants to be a Criminal Profiler for the FBI.  As typical with Utahns he's anti-BYU :P.
This past week has been absolutely amazing for missionary work!  I don't even know where to begin XD.  So you are going to get a play by play missionary style! (the parenthesis are the ages of the investigators so you get a better idea of who they are)
B (77) - Last week B came with us to the departing missionary farewell and that went pretty good.  We did service for him and sat down and gave him a bit of a spiritual thought.  At the end we invited him to resume learning more about the Gospel, and he accepted the invitation!  We weren't able to teach him other than the thought last week, but he surprised me by showing up to Church yesterday!!!  I couldn't believe B was sitting down in the pews.  The Ward really reached out to him and made him feel welcome to Church.  In fact we were in a PEC meeting when he got to church, and one of the members noticed that he looked a little lost, so he went up to him introduced himself and got him a seat in the chapel to wait for us.  It was an amazing experience to have him at Church.
L and V (50's) - V is our Romanian investigator, and L is really holding him back.  She's very much set in her ways, otherwise we would see V coming to church for sure.  We met with him last week and read 1 NE 3 with him.  Hopefully he begins to read on his own, but the prospects look slim.  He's a very very nice man, just trying to push through some challenges right now, especially financially.  He offered us some shark meat this past week, and we didn't really have any idea how to cook it, so he said he'll fix it up for us next time we come by.  He has a heart as big as the ocean itself.
G (30) - G we met with two weeks ago and have been having a hard time meeting with him ever since.  He promised to read the whole Book of Mormon by Oct 28th, but still has yet to crack it open.  Hopefully we will be able to meet with him again, and he will begin to read the Book of Mormon.
K (22) - K is a Polynesian we met on the street last week and asked if he would be interested in learning more about the Gospel.  He invited us back and we had an awesome first lesson with him.  He said that he wanted to start going to church and that he hadn't been to any church in 9 years.  We haven't been able to get a hold of him for a couple of days, but I'm sure we'll be able to get a hold of him soon.
J (20) - J is a new investigator we found by showing up to an appointment with a woman named K L who lives in the same house.  K wasn't there and J answered the door.  She invited us to come back on Saturday at 3:15, and we had a first lesson on her porch.  She just texted us this morning and she said she has read the introduction to the Book of Mormon, and part of the Book of Nephi!  She wasn't able to come to Church yesterday because of work, but she accepted the Baptismal invitation for Nov. 26th.  We will be meeting with her this Thursday again so hopefully all will continue to go well with her.  So she in herself was a miracle, but there is a double miracle to this story which I'll talk about a little later.
S (17) - S is a young woman who just turned 17 years old.  She is good friends with a lot of the Young Woman in the ward who have brought her to Church for about 4 weeks in a row.  Last week they introduced us to her and we set up an appointment to teach her on Tuesday of last week.  She accepted the lesson well, and we invited her to be baptized on Nov 19th.  She was very surprised because it was so soon, and her Mom had some reservations about her being baptized before she was 18.  We were pretty excited about this, but this Sunday was a true miracle.
Yesterday, S came to Church after we had arranged a ride for her.  She was sitting in fast and testimony meeting and then turned to Sis. Davidson (the member that she had come to church with) and asked if she could go up.  We were sitting a couple rows back and we saw her walk up to the podium.  We weren't quite sure what to expect because we had only met her once, so we sat a little bit anxiously.  There were 3-4 people in front of her, and eventually it was her turn to go.  Her friend T stood by her for comfort, and she bore her testimony in Church.  In front of everyone.  It was a beautiful testimony about how she had seen when she was involved with church activities her life seem to go better.  She had more patience for the bad, she had more peace in her life, she got along better with her mom, the things she struggled with weren't as much of a struggle.  She also talked about how when she wasn't coming to church life was harder for her, and that she wanted to be a member.  She then talked about her baptismal date of Nov 19th and how excited she was to continue learning and to be baptized.  I couldn't believe my ears, the three of us missionaries got huge grins on our faces that were there for the rest of the meeting.  I have never seen such an amazing event happen ever before in missionary work.  I still can't believe how fortunate I was to witness this.  By the way this was the same meeting B was in, so hopefully he felt the power of her testimony ;).
We also had an amazing experience with one of the recently activated members in the ward.  His name is P, and I think I might have mentioned him before.  He's 20 years old, and a gamer, sound familiar?  He just received the Aaronic Priesthood about a month ago, and has just taken off in terms of progression.  When I first met him, he was embarrassed to share his testimony, or even say a prayer aloud.
We met with him last Friday, and had planned on teaching him Family History.  We figured that with his extensive use of the computer that maybe we could talk him into doing some Family History work to help him be a little bit more productive with his use of time.  Near the end of the lesson, we were inviting him to go to the Family History Center, and I was prompted to bear my testimony of how Missionary Work and Family History work was the same work, and that when he found those names and took them to the Temple it would be the same as if we found people to teach and baptize.  He then walked over to the bathroom, and began drying tears from his eyes.  I had never seen P so emotional before, and he then related an experience of how he was praying last night to his Heavenly Father as to what he should do with his life, where he needed to go.  He knew that he needed to go and do something but was unsure where to find it.  He also told us that he probably wouldn't be able to serve a mission because of some emotional problems.  Then we knocked on his door the next day and there we were, giving him that opportunity to work, and also to be a missionary.  I was so happy to be an answer to one of Heavenly Father's children, I have no doubt in my mind that we were led there to share that answer with him.  When we are listening to the small promptings of the Holy Ghost that's when we see these miracles happen.
Saturday P came out with us to teach J.  I was pretty nervous because P had expressed concern with even sharing a testimony, but he was excited to be with us so I hoped for the best.  Towards the end of the lesson P bore his testimony about the Book of Mormon, and how it had changed his life.  I was so excited that P had been able to overcome his fears.
Sunday P then proceeded to impress me once again by getting up and bearing his testimony in front of the whole ward!  He was amazing, my mind was absolutely blown by his courage to face his fears and to get up in testimony meeting.
Other than that, things have been pretty regular around here.  The weather has been getting pretty chilly, it stays about 60 degrees nowadays and we have been having some pretty (minor) rainstorms.  I am loving the oppertunity I have to serve here in Huntington Beach.
I love you all, thank you for all the letters :)
Love,  Elder Henry

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