Monday, January 23, 2012

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

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