Monday, January 30, 2012

Elder Henry 1/30/12

Hey Mom,

Whittier is SUPER hot right now, and we are on bike, and there isn't a
single piece of flat ground in our area.  Its hills up and down and up
and down.  My legs are killing me, between running every morning for
20 minutes, and biking everywhere all day every day, I'm quite
exhausted.  Although I have enough of Dad's blood in me that I'll
probably still end up playing basketball instead of resting today :P.
Bummer for the Ducks losing LaMichael James and Darron Thomas.
Hopefully the Ducks will have some great players to replace them.  I
bet Chip Kelly wants to win the BCS Championship before he goes to the
So my new ward is older than the St. Johns ward.  The average age of
the members is 83 years old.  It's awesome XD.  I love spending time
around them, they have so many fun stories and they love the
missionaries.  This area got closed for about a month because a
missionary went home 4 weeks early for school last transfer.  The only
reason President could open it back up is because Elder Dixon and I
are here to fill in the gap as it were.  They are all really excited
to have "their missionaries" back :).  The Bishop (Bishop Luedtke) and
Ward Mission Leader (Bro. Sharp) are awesome and we have a ton of
investigators in this area, all of which are close to being baptized.
Elder Dixon is also a visa waiter, he's waiting to go to Auckland, New
Zealand.  He's a convert of a year and a half and an absolutely
stellar missionary.  He is from Columbia, Missouri and went to BYU
Idaho for a year before coming out.  He played Football and Baseball
in school and loves the church.  He's 100% on top of things,
motivated, excited to work, helpful, teachable, and a fun Elder to be
around.  We should have lots of success here together :).
My District is comprised of 3 visa waiters, 1 Korean, and 2 sister
missionaries.  I live in a four man apartment with the other two
Elders in my district.  Elder Jeon is from Korea, and he's a zone
leader (we have our zone leaders split up in our zone), and Elder
Whetstone also lives with us and he's waiting to go to Sao Paulo,
Brasil.  I finally have someone I can practice Portuguese with ^^.
The two sister missionaries are also great, we just don't interact
with them very often.
One of our recent converts, Ana Pinheiro is actually from Rio de
Janeiro, Brasil.  She moved to the states when she was 8(ish), and she
still speaks a bit of Portuguese.  We got to meet her last night and
she's a lot of fun to visit with.  She was baptized last September,
and we are working to get her son to come into the gospel as well.
We have 6 investigators right now and we got to meet with most of them
this week.  Its been pretty hard opening this area since neither Elder
Dixon or I have any idea what's going on.  Fortunately, the
missionaries before us kept good records in the area book and we've
got at least a handle on where people are at spiritually.
Our number 1 investigator is named S R.  He's in his 30's has 4
kids and a wife.  He's been investigating the church for about 11
weeks now, and wants to be baptized.  The only problem is he has a
nasty smoking habit.  We are trying to help him to quit but its really
hard to stop.  He came to church yesterday, and his wife is also
interested in the church, but she doesn't really want to investigate
until he's committed to stop smoking before she gets gung-ho about it
again.  We are going over to have a Family Home Evening with them
tonight, and S is planning on giving a lesson to his kids on the
Word of Wisdom.  We are really excited for him.
We have another S investigating the church, S H.  His wife and
kids are all members, and he comes to church every week, and has been
doing so for about 4 years now.  He was offended by a couple
missionaries a few years back and now the wife won't let us invite him
to be baptized.  That's the only thing really holding him back.  He
doesn't have any issues with Chastity, Word of Wisdom, Tithing, he
believes Joseph Smith was a prophet, and he loves the church.  Why
he's not a member yet?  I don't know.
Next up is N.  She's in her late 20's and married to a less
active member of the Church, E.  She is having a hard time right
now receiving an answer that the Book of Mormon is true, and she's
tried to stop smoking so many times, she feels really discouraged.
She does want to be baptized, and has a tentative date for February
23rd.  I've never helped someone to overcome an addiction before, and
now I have two smoking investigators.  Any ideas for quitting smoking
would be very helpful.  They both want to change, I just don't know
how to help other than prayers, and reading the scriptures.
We are also teaching a 58 year old woman named L.  She has a lot of
health concerns and loves to talk.  I'm not quite sure where she is
spiritually, but she loves the church.  Her son was recently baptized
and sealed in the temple and that's her main interest.  Her health
problems kept her from church yesterday though, but she does read the
Book of Mormon.  Hopefully we'll be able to get her some friends in
the ward and they will be able to encourage her to come to church :).
There is also a 21 year old man named K, who's Philippine.    We
haven't been able to meet with him yet, so I don't know much about
We were out riding our bikes last Tuesday, our first day in the area,
and we talked with an older man named H.  He invited us to come
back on Saturday and we did.  We talked about the restoration with
him, and also talked about how he could live together with his
deceased wife one day.  The spirit was really strong in the lesson and
he got teary eyed towards the end.  He had to rush off at the end
because his son was picking him up to take him shopping, but we have a
return appointment with him for tomorrow.  I'm really excited to see
him again :).
Thank you for keeping me updated on the home front.  I look forward to
hearing who the new Bishopric will be.  I love you all so much.
Elder Henry

Monday, January 23, 2012

Elder Henry 1/23/12

     It sounds like your talk went really well.  Sorry my E-mail didn't get to you on Monday.  I got your letter Friday Night, and so the next day I asked if it would be okay if one of my members texted you the information, and it sounds like you got everything.  I could have sworn I pressed the little "would you like to include Lisa Y Henry?" Button, but I guess not.  Oh well things are all worked out now.  By the way the guy who texted you is Ben Maluia, one of the Less active members we've been visiting.
     BIG NEWS!  I'm getting transferred tomorrow to Whittier.
For anyone with letters on the way to my current address, my companion will take them to the mission office and then they will get to me.  It will probably just take about a week or so to get to me.
     More BIG NEWS!  I've been called to be a District Leader in my new area!  I'm really excited to serve the missionaries around me, and help them out the best I can.
     EVEN MORE BIG NEWS!  My new companion is also a visa waiter... for New Zealand.  His name is Elder Dixon, and everyone is telling me that he's an amazing missionary.  He's a recent convert of a year and a half, and President Bubert sent me a letter telling me that the two of us are going to be like Alma and Amulek up there.  Although he did specifically prohibit me from any fiery death scenes :(.
     I think that's it for the big news items of this week.  I'm really excited for my new area, calling, and companion.  Still I've had to say good-bye to a lot of my friends here yesterday, and it never gets easier as a missionary to say good-bye.  When you leave to go to the field you say good-bye to your family, when you leave the MTC you say good-bye to professors and friends, when you leave an area you say good-bye to companions, recent converts, less actives, members, all people you come to love, and then one day you have to leave the mission and say good-bye to your calling as a full-time missionary.  I can't imagine any of it gets any easier.
     I lied I have one more BIG NEWS event.  I'm going to be on bike in my next area instead of in a car.  Except I don't have a bike.... and neither does my companion...  I talked to President Bubert about it and he said the Assistants will be lending us a couple bikes from the mission.  I'm really excited to be able to go out on bike everyday, it is going to be quite the adventure.
      It was a really slow week for us as missionaries this past week.  No one has made any progress at all, and we haven't found any new investigators.  Its been a paitience week for us, where the people know what they need to do, and they slowly are making the changes and slowly the blessings are starting to come through.  It's been a week of getting the ward on board with us and setting things up to have amazing experiences.  We've been working with the members figuring out who they will fellowship, when both parties are available, and what kind of an activity will the members have planned (ie Dinner, FHE, etc.).  Hopefully things will start to pan out for the rest of the week :).  I've learned a lot of how to work with members in this area and I'm really excited to take that knowledge to Whittier.
     Thank you for the support, prayers, packages, and letters :).  I love you all so much!  Thank you for helping me to be the young man I am today.
Elder Henry
(P.S. I got a haircut today, so you don't have to worry about it, I know it was super long)
1. Final good-bye to Eli, Isa, Matt, Siniva, and Zion
2. Matt with his one year old son Zion
3. Final good-bye to Ma'epu
4. The Sagala family, the Elders Quorum president in the Compton 1st ward.  Amazing members!
5. My District from this transfer.  We had a senior proselyting couple named the Blickenstaffs.  They were amazing, I can't wait until you and Dad can be the couple that all the younger missionaries just love to talk with and be around :)

Elder Henry January 16

I'm glad everything is doing all right back home, I love to hear updates about everyone.  Yes, I'm rather freaked out about Tori going to Church dances.  I still remember picking her up from the nursery for goodness sakes, now she's off to Youth Dances?
This week, well its been a grab bag of really good and poor.
First off I was on exchanges in the Spanish area again this Tuesday-Wednesday.  The first four pictures (the one with 114_ in front of the file) are of Elder Barrea and myself destroying a couch in the Spanish ward. 

 Also we drove by a bunch of cops with a whole city block shut down.  No idea why, but it was pretty crazy.  Its funny, Compton is pretty quiet compared to downtown Long Beach, and we are hardly ever down in main Long Beach.  We are always up north with the Samoans.

I don't have very many fun or amazing stories from this week.  We were able to meet with quite a few people this past week which is good.  The bad part is none of them came to Church.  If you would have asked me on Sunday I would have been pumped to tell you all about how we met with 5 less actives and they were all committed to coming to church. 
      We had a Zone Conference this week which was absolutely amazing.  It made me rededicate and actually love this mission.  I've really had a hard time falling in love with Long Beach, California because I am waiting to go to Brazil.  But the amazing thing is, whenever I turn to Heavenly Father and ask for help, he is there to provide.  I asked Heavenly Father in prayer several times, help me to love this mission like I already love Porto Alegre.  Then last Saturday as I was driving down the streets of North Long Beach, in the sun, I looked around and realized, I really do love this place.  It was the first time I ever felt like, I would like to serve my whole mission here.  Up to this point its always been, well Long Beach, that's not such a bad place to wait for my 'Real Mission'.  Now its, I can't believe my visa could come so soon and I would have to leave here.  Now I'm still really excited to go to Brazil, but I will always miss Long Beach from this time on.  I've really learned on my mission, especially with my visa situation, how to turn to my Heavenly Father and ask him to help me in prayer and know that he's listening.  The answer to my prayer took about 3 months, but it did come, and I'm glad that it did.
     Great news though, because of the hard work of the missionaries in our mission we went from 449 Baptisms in 2010, to 393 Baptisms in 2011!  Well I suppose thats not actually a good thing, but the good thing is, of the 449 Baptisms in 2010, somewhere around 120 of them were inactive by the end of that year.  This year 2011, only 18 of our recent converts have gone inactive in the California Long Beach Mission.  A 95% retention rate!  Absolutely unheard of!  I was so proud to be a part of this great mission when president announced that.  It makes me realize that the hard work we have done working with the members, spending precious proselyting time visiting members rather than just knocking doors has really paid off.
     The last picture I sent you is Elder Galke, B and J, and me.  B and J are  twins that are really special to Elder Galke.  Their Family (minus Be) were all at Church this Sunday :).  J was just down for the Holidays from the University, it was really fun to see the two twins together.  They look exactly the same, talk the same, and are a lot the same person.  It has been fun to get to know them.

     Ohhh Man, OOOOOOHHHH MAN.  I nearly flipped the chair when I saw that picture of Sherry and whats-his-boys-face-6'6".  I can't believe it...  all the missionaries in here all came and crowded around the screen when I mentioned it.  It was pretty funny.  Sherry mentioned him briefly in her E-mail to me, but that picture says it all.  I have never seen her so mushy on a guy EVER.
Well my E-mail is getting cut short because the Family History Center is closing down.  I love you very much, thank you all for the letters and E-mails.  I love hearing from you, it always makes my week.

Lots of Love,
Elder Henry

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No missionary letter this week

Sorry friends!  I think Michael attached some photos and Comcast bounced it.  Of course it would be the week I am assigned to speak in Church, mostly about his are couple family photos for your entertainment in the meantime.

Family bowling trip during winter break

The kids showing off their tickets...uh well the girls anyway ;o)

Family Photo with Tina Kitty--note Spencer is taller than Sherry

Our little Christmas tree in the front room

Tina Kitty!  Best cat in the world!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Long Beach Mission Christmas gathering!

Hey Mom!
The weather down here has actually been so warm that even during the nights, at 7 or 8 at night, I haven't been wearing my coat because its still warm out.  It seriously feels like a Washington summer right now.  Pretty boring if you ask me :P.  I hope you all are handling the rainy weather up north.
     You did tell me that Tim is in the Samoan wards.  That's pretty crazy!  We'll have stories to swap when we get back.  I have his mission home address, Sis. Coatney sent all the missionaries a list of everyone in the stake who is serving a mission as well as addresses so we can write each other.  Make sure to thank her for me, its a life saver!
     Well we are working hard again, and we are meeting with people, but only Jonathon is progressing towards baptism.  We have met a whole bunch of new people (mostly less active members) and we also have a handful of recent converts that we are working with, so life is back to being busy :).  Our week is almost full with appointments already, and we have just begun!
     We met with J twice this week.  He's doing as well as any 14 year old boy can do :P.  He's read a ton out of the Book of Mormon, he's almost already finished 2 Nephi, in just over a month!  I'm really impressed that a 14 year old boy can read so much out of the scriptures, its absolutely amazing.  The only thing holding him back from being baptized is the tracking bracelet on his ankle that can't go into the water.  Once that is off at the end of the month hopefully he'll still be able to be baptized (dependent on whether or not he will still be on probation).
     Yesterday at church we had a little sit down talk with J.  He was giving his Mom attitude about going to class, and then he bumped into us.  We tried to talk him into it, but with Mom there, he was not backing down.  Its really quite funny how Mom can say something to a teenage boy, and even though all his friends are in class, and he is going to enjoy himself, because it came from Mom he doesn't want to do it :P.  So we talked with him for the second hour of church, and ended up coming to Priesthood after we sat down and talked with him.  He's a good kid, he just needs some good influences in his life.  I think that he will serve a mission one day though :).
     We heard some really sad news last Saturday.  P, one of our recent converts, up and moved to Utah.  No warning, no goodbyes, she just left.  Apparently it was some kind of emergency, but both Elder Galke and myself are sad we won't be able to see her anymore.
     We are having a huge problem right now with all of our recent converts being inactive.  Out of the 10 people baptized into the Compton 1st ward since last October, only 1 of them was at church yesterday.  Mostly its because the parents of the children decided to go back to inactivity as soon as the kids were baptized, but one of our recent converts, Tua, has skipped out on church now for 2 or maybe even more weeks.  We've also heard some troubling news that he's been smoking again, and when we asked him he denied it, but because he hasn't been coming to church its sounding like he lied to our face which really hurts.  We are doing our best to help him out, but if he doesn't allow us to help him there is nothing we can do.
     Our two of the three less active young couples we are working with are doing good right now.  E and I are back on track after their trial of December which is really good to hear.  Their testimonies are growing far more than I think either of them realize right now.  M and S are also working hard, although they have been slacking in their daily scripture study, they are still going to church and making their way to a temple sealing.  They keep telling us how excited they are to be married on February 18th, and we are looking forward to that day as well :).
     R and M the last of the young couples both didn't come to church yesterday.  It can be pretty frustrating when I know how much church is going to help them out in the week, and I know they know it, but they still choose not to go...  I know that this is not an uncommon phenomena among humans, and I myself have done the same things, but it still hurts to see people use their agency in a way that drives them away from happiness.
Okay I know you have been dieing to hear about my companion.  Elder Galke went to BYU before his mission, he's recently decided that he is going to do a pre-med major at BYU and then he wants to teach institute in Samoa.  He is learning Samoan pretty well.  He's is late for everything.  I hate being late, just like some others I know (*cough* Mom *cough*).  He has a vast understanding of the scriptures and loves to study the scriptures and talk about them.  He's a very powerful teacher.  He talks about what he's going to do when he gets home on a daily basis and other random things like Pokemon.  He loves Pokemon, and did Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at BYU.  Very energetic and off the wall random.  In other words he's pretty much like any other member of Quark that I chose to hang out with before my mission.
     Well that's all for this week.  I'm grateful for the e-mail, and for all the help with the shoes.  I love you all very much :)
~Elder Henry
Zoomed in on Michael

Monday, January 2, 2012

Elder Henry 1/2/2012

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!  Tell her welcome to the club :P.  Guess who's never going to live that one down XD.

(This was Michael's reaction to Sherry accidentally leaving a pocket knife in her backpack and getting busted by Homeland Security at the airport--of course, he had 5 or 6 pocket knives when he was busted a few years ago, Scouter vs hiker haha)
Dear Mom,
8544 - We had Pig, Crab Salad, Chicken, and Taro
8550 - Traditional Samoan Pig at the Long Beach 15th Ward New Years Party

Thanks for all the pictures.  Its fun to look through all the family photos :).  It looks like you all had a very happy Holiday season ^^.  My guess is you will see Sherry before next Christmas :P.  Sometimes you just call up your parents and tell them you'll be home tomorrow ;), even when you are living the dream life.
This week has been a pretty rough week to be a missionary.  My guess is the holidays has made it harder than normal to find people at home, although nobody has been using that excuse on us.  We are having a lot of problems with our recent converts (from before I was here), and one of our wards is being pretty uncooperative in the missionary efforts.
Our two best investigators, J and F both can't be baptized for quite a while, and we haven't found anyone new in 3 weeks.  This week though is going to be much better.
We've been working with two less active families recently, E and I, and M and S.  I really love their company, and I sent you a picture of their whole family last week.  I don't know if I've talked at all about them, but I will now.
E and I were found by the missionaries last February and have been working on coming back to church ever since.  Eli is a football player at a local community college, and is looking to get into one of the PAC-12 teams for football.  He could probably play for the Ducks, but he needs a scholarship to afford college.  He did have a scholarship to play for WSU, but because the lead coach recently got fired, his scholarship died with the coach who recruited him :(.  They are working though some rough times, and we have been visting them to help them focus on what is most important.  They are some of my best friends in this area.  They are my age.
M and S are not married, and have a kid together with one more on the way.  S stopped us one day as we were looking for E and I (they live in the same house) and told us that they needed to meet with missionaries.  Neither of them have been to church in a couple years, but both were faithful members in their youth.  They have made some extraordinary changes in their lives since we've been meeting with them.  They are reading together the Book of Mormon everyday.  They went to church on Christmas for the first time in forever, Si quit her old job so she could have Sundays off.  Best of all they are planning to get married in the middle of February :).  We didn't do hardly anything to spur this on.  All we did was walk in, share a scripture from the Book of Mormon about how its never too late for forgiveness, and now they are on their way to reactivation and being an eternal family.  I'm really excited to continue to work with them.
That pretty much summarizes our whole week.  Thank you for writing me every week, I look forward to Monday's I'm sure just as much as you do.  I love to hear from you.
~Elder Henry

Dear Dad,
You have no idea how excited I was to switch times yesterday :P.  Going from 8:00am Church to 10:00am meant that Ward Council started at 9 instead of 7, so we don't have to wake up early on Sundays anymore ^^.  I don't know why they have church so early here as compared to other places, but you are right every time slot has its up and downs.
     Spencer's new guitar looks pretty sweet.  I hope he has lots of fun with it, and maybe even learns something from playing it.  I'm curious how you play normal guitar hero with it though...
      Sounds like work around the house keeps becoming an ever increasing list of to-dos.  You'll have to let me know this week who won the Rose Bowl.  I heard from someone that they were playing Wisconsin?  The Ducks better win a bowl for once in their career.
      Thank you for writing me every week.  I love hearing about the family exploits :)
~Elder Henry