Monday, December 5, 2011

First baptism and First Presidency decisions

Hi Mom!
I actually knew they lost my visa paperwork a couple weeks ago, and I don't know if they told you this but the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles actually reviewed my mission call, and it was kind of up in the air as to where I was going.  They weren't sure that I should continue on to Brazil or not, so that was a little scary for me, I didn't know where I was going for a couple weeks, but everything is worked out now.  My guess is I'll be here till about April or so.  Hopefully my Portuguese won't get too rusty.  I'm just glad that Brazil is still on the table ^^.
Also I had the educational history saved on my Computer's Hard Drive, I don't know if you've already re-typed one up or not but its there if you need it (mom note: this was the document that Damon miraculously got Michael's dead computer working to find!).  Brazillian Visas go through cycles of a couple months of fast, a couple months of slow.  From what I hear the Consulate pretty much shuts down from Christmas until post-Lent so I probably won't be seeing a visa anytime soon.  Maybe they'll expidite my visa because they lost my paperwork but I pretty much doubt it.
What time on Christmas do you want me to call?  I know its a bit early to start asking but I'm in church from 7am-1pm most sundays (I don't know if we will just be having a sacrament meeting on Christmas or if they will keep the full 3 hour block) and they prefer us to be done with phone calls by 5pm.  There are still a lot of details to be worked out on our end as well, because we'll have to cram in studies and when my companion wants to call his family but we better get planning sooner than later.
Also if you are still putting together a christmas package for me, I thought of just a couple more things that I could use.  A set of colored pencils (24 count), a set of the Missionary Reference Library (to cut down on shipping expenses you can call up the mission office and order it through them I believe since books are heavy), and I definitely need some of Mom's toffee ^^.
It's been pretty chilly down here recently, in the mornings it gets as low as 40 degrees, with highs in the 60-70's.  One thing that has really surprised me though about living down here is the sun is I still wake up to the sun every morning even though its the dead of winter.  I remember some days in middle school in Vancouver where it would get to be 8:30 or 9:00 before the sun would come up.  Every morning in So-cal is another sunny day, with the sun shining through the windows at 6:30.  Never fails.  (Rough life eh? :P)
Did you all get an oppertunity to watch the First Presidency's Christmas Devotional last night?  It was absolutely beautiful, I loved every minute of it.  Before our stake showed it, a stake choir got up and sang a bunch of Christmas Carols.  Our Ward Mission Leader was the organizer of the choir so he invited us to come up and sing with the choir.  It was the first time its really felt like Christmas :).  I really am going to miss spending this Christmas with the family though.  I'm really glad that I'll have the oppertunity to talk with you on the phone, and I can see why they allow missionaries to do so.  Otherwise we would be home sick all day long :P.
I'm sure you are all dying to hear about my first baptism yesterday, and I'm dying to tell you all about it so here it goes.  Last week we taught Ma'epu twice, but we were on exchanges one of those times, so I only had the oppertunity to teach him once.  We taught him the Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity (10 year old edition), and the 10 commandments.  We also watched a video of the Prophet to help him to see who he is, and reviewed the Baptismal Interview Questions with him to make sure he was ready to go.  On Friday my old companion Elder Stringham (did I ever mention he's my Zone Leader now?) interviewed him for baptism.  Afterwards he told us that he was super ready to be baptised, and I was sooooo excited for the whole weekend.
Sunday finally rolled around, and 4:00pm couldn't have come slower I tell you!  We showed up at the baptism and Brother Va'ili, the Ward Mission Leader, had put together a beautiful service for Ma'epu.  There was a ward missionary choir, and a Primary Choir there to support Ma'epu.  After some songs and a speech (in the samoan wards they aren't talks, they are speeches) we went to the Baptismal Font.  Ma'epu was really excited to be baptised the whole time.  He could barely sit still in the Chapel.  Elder Galke walked into the font and baptised Ma'epu.  It was one of the happiest moments of my life.  I knew that all the sacrifices, all the hard work, all the suffering and trials I had endured up to this point in preparing and serving a mission, all of that was not in vain, because little Ma'epu was baptized.  Many missionaries have come home without ever seeing one of the people they work with baptized.  I am fortunate to have witnessed that in the first 2 months as serving as a missionary.
After Ma'epu was changed out of his wet clothes, I was anxious to see how he felt.  I will never forget his answer to my question, "How do you feel?".
He replied, "That was so much fun!  Elder Galke said I can do it again in 2 more years!  I want to do it again!"  *facepalm*  I forgot that he's 10 years old.  Regardless I feel like Ma'epu will one day also serve a mission and that he will marry in the temple, partly because I served a mission in Long Beach California.
We weren't able to meet with M last week, and she didn't come to church yesterday because her kid was sick.  Hopefully she is still reading the Book of Mormon, and will be ready to be baptized in a couple weeks.  We have to help her overcome a smoking addiction as well, so keep her in your prayers.
The family that we had Thanksgiving dinner with, the P family, we were able to meet with them last week again.  They believe that the church they are going to is not the true church, but also that no church is true.  Only the bible is the true church, so hopefully we will be able to help them feel the spirit that the Book of Mormon will bring into their lives.  We have an awesome member family that is working with them as well, and they came to our last lesson with them.  We have another appointment with them tonight so hopefully all will go well.
Finally R is doing well.  His Dad is not a member and we had a breakthrough with him last time we were over there.  He said he would like to learn more about this Joseph Smith fellow, and we were very excited to jump all over that :P.  R is scheduled to be baptized next Sunday, and hopefully all will work out with that.  He is a much slower learner than Ma'epu, but to be honest all a 9 year old needs to know is that Jesus is our Savior, and God is our Father, and to follow the commandments.  He paid his tithing yesterday for the first time so he's definitely making progress :).  Have I ever mentioned I love teaching children the Gospel?  Its so much fun because all you have to do is teach true doctrine, and they will excersize their faith on that doctrine.
One last piece of good news!  I've been keeping track, and I haven't gained a single pound in one month of serving in the Samoan wards!  Hooray XD
Thank you all for everything you do.  I'm so happy to recieve letters from home and friends about how their lives are doing.
Love, Elder Henry
"My shoes area already dying" (glad he is working hard!)

Ma'epu, Elder Galke and Myself ready for his Baptism!

Ma'epu, his Grandparents, Elder Galke and Myself

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sure appreciate your feedback, comments, and love!