Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Anxious for visa 3/27/12

Hey Mom,
Hope I didn't scare you by not writing yesterday. We switched our
P-day to Tuesday so we could go to the temple this morning. It was of
course, fantastic! I absolutely love the temple, even if we had to
sacrifice a couple hours of sleep to do it.
     N ended up postponing her baptism until May 19th. I haven't
given up on her, but she needs some more work on her testimony. I
feel about ready to throw in the towel, but she must still need
something I will say to her, else I would be in Brasil.
     I'll make sure to keep a little cash on me for Brasil, and I'll pick up
a calling card today at the store. We only have 30 minutes to E-mail
today as well so this E-mail will be short. Hopefully though we will
be able to chat for a while when I'm hopping from airport to airport.
     We really haven't had a whole lot of new things going on this week,
but we have set up a lot of appointments for this weekend with
families. 3 new potential investigator families have appointments
with us this Saturday/Sunday, and we also found another potential
investigator that has been to church before and had lots of LDS
friends through the years yesterday. Lots of finding happening right
now, which makes me feel good about leaving the area, the next Elders
will find it ripe and excited to work so it won't die after I go.
     I'm REALLY excited to finally go to Brasil. Although I hope it comes
this week and I leave next week. If I have to stay 2 more weeks I'm
going to die of anxiety :P. Also tell everyone to hold off on
Birthday Packages until after I get to Brasil. I'm not going to have
any room in my suitcase to pack away anything I get here in the
I'm down to 8 minutes and need to E-mail my Mission President. I love you so
much, tell Dad I'm sorry I didn't get to respond this week, but that
I'm really excited to hear about Spencer working so hard as a
missionary back home.
Elder Henry

Monday, March 19, 2012

Creeping closer to a visa...

That's pretty exciting to hear my visa is finally coming through!  It won't be long now until I ship out to Brasil.  I don't know if I mentioned this in my last e-mail, but President Bubert called us last Monday and told is it would be 3 weeks, so now its 2 weeks.  Should be here for General Conference and then off to Brasil I go!
     Ok, I'll send the shoes home.  I got my friends phone number, I'll try to connect with him once I get down there.
That's super exciting to hear about Sherry getting a job with BYU housing.  I will be the first to tell you how hard it can be to find a job for Spring/Summer, but once you are in, you are in.  Sounds like a pretty sweet deal, although I heard from one of my RA's that they deducted the rent directly from your paycheck, that it was 7.25$ per hour minus your rent, but I may be remembering wrong.  Besides Spring/Summer rent is super cheap ;).
     I can't believe it snowed up north.  I was just happy that we FINALLY got our second day of rain for the year.  Can you believe that Jan-March, only 2 days of rain -.-".  I'll trade weather systems ANYDAY.  I get very bored with blue skies all the time.
     One of the funniest missionaries I have known on my mission has to be Elder Bowles.  I don't even understand what it is that makes you laugh every time you see him, but he's a comedian.
     We've had a really busy week, but not a whole lot of progress right now.  We have 7 different investigators/families that we are teaching but they are all a little stagnant.  Steve R. and Steve H. still come to church every week, but I don't feel like they are any closer to baptism than when I first came into the area.  We found a few investigators this past week, and we are working to get fellowship for them and get them to come to church, but with conference coming up things get pretty messed up schedule wise.  I hope our investigators will survive the 2 weeks of no normal church and that they will attend General Conference.
     Nicole called us up yesterday saying that she wanted to postpone her baptism, because she's having some doubts.  We have a lesson with her tomorrow and its going to be make or break.  I'm not sure if she will still be baptized this Saturday, but I'm hopeful :).  It's still pretty scary as a missionary to see something weigh so heavily on how well we teach on Tuesday.  Its almost like eternity itself weighs on the line... oh wait it does :P.  I keep thinking about how exciting it is rather than stressing out about it but its still kinda scary.
     We've started teaching this guy named Chris and his friend Frank.  He's read a little in the Book of Mormon but has a really hard time understanding what it says.  They grew up Catholic, but really didn't like that at all.  Frank has taken an institute class down at Cal State Long Beach and really enjoyed it.  Chris is married and has 5 kids, hopefully they will come to church this coming Sunday.  We have an appointment with him tonight which should be good.
     We also connected with Oscar again, and he read 6 or 7 chapters out of the Book of Mormon and came up with a lot of good questions.  We had an appointment with him last Saturday, but we weren't able to meet with him because the gate to his apartment was locked and we couldn't get in...  Hopefully we will be able to meet with him again soon.
     We contacted a guy outside his house last Friday as we were just walking around.  His name is Javier and we gave him a pass along card for a free Book of Mormon.  He was pretty interested in it when we starting talking, and I asked him,"What have you heard about the Book of Mormon?"
     To which he responded, "Not very good things.  Do you have a copy of this Book?"
We then gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon and he seemed genuinely interested in reading it.  We talked a little bit longer and he had done his research on Christianity.  We are meeting with him again on Friday, but we will have to pass him off to the Sisters because he's Young Single Adult age.
     Keep Nicole in your prayers this week.  I love you all, thank you for letting me know about the Maple Extract stuff.  I imagine I need that and corn syrup and sugar.  I wouldn't have even thought about not having maple syrup around :(.

Lots of Love,
Elder Henry

Monday, March 12, 2012

Brazil before his birthday likely!

Dear Mom,
      Elder Bowles is a pretty quiet guy but really funny as well.  He's from Orem, UT but was born out here in Orange, CA.  We are also in a car now ^^.  The best part is we have another Mazda 3!  Definitely the best car in the mission.
     My area is still fantastic.  I'll talk a little more about the success we are seeing in the area after I finish answering questions.
     Also my mission president just called and told me that I'll be leaving for Brasil on the first week of April, which is what I expected.  It could happen any time between 10 days from now and 40 days from now, but most likely the first week of April. 
     I share your hatred of daylight savings time.  But is worth it for us missionaries, now our evenings will be longer and we will be able to get into more houses.  Sounds like everything went well with the Boy coming home which is good.  Sherry can thank me for paving the way on that road :P.
     This week was really exciting!  N had her baptism interview on Saturday and passed!  She finally quit smoking!!!!  WOOOHOOOO.  She's also been coming to church and things are going SUPER AWESOME FOR HER!  She'll be baptized on March 24th.
     SR. came to church this week after missing last week.  I was very relieved to see him there :), but even more exciting than that his wife decided to attend this week out of the blue.  Apparently this Friday she came up to her husband and told her, this week we are going to church together as a family, and they stayed for all three hours :).  She's always been nice to us, but distant and not really interested for herself but supportive of her husband.  I think the change happened because we dropped by on Thursday and though her husband wasn't home and she was having a hard time helping her son with his math homework.  Fortunately I have been blessed with an aptitude for math, so I offered to help.  30 Minutes later we conquered that homework and we had to go.  I think just that small act of service really helped her out and inspired her to come to church :).
     S H. is at the same place as ever.  Snail-pace progress and we just have to help him resolve his concerns.
     We also found two new investigators named Nancy and Chris.  Nancy is going to be transferred over to the singles ward, but Chris is a man we met in the alleyway behind his house.  He recently lost a friend in a car wreck and has been asking Why.  We taught him lesson about the restoration and why it helps us understand these things.  Hopefully we'll be able to teach him, his wife and 5 kids :).  We have an appointment with him this Tuesday.
     That's pretty much my first week with Elder Bowles.  I hope we will continue to find lots of success in this area :)
     Thank you all for your E-mails and letters, I love you and pray for you as well.
Elder Henry

Monday, March 5, 2012

"I'm going to die in Brasil--it will be AWESOME!!!" Letter Home 3/5/2012

Dear Mom,
Elder Whetstone says that after the last dot gets filled in it usually takes 2 weeks for you to leave.  Its crazy to think I will be leaving in about 4 weeks though.  I had a run in with a Brazilian this week and I can't understand Portuguese at all >.>.  I'm going to die in Brasil with the Heat and the language and the sickness.  It's going to be awesome!
     We will see if I have room in my bag/weight available.  I might just have to do without Peanut butter, but I don't know if I could survive without PB and J!  Ana Pinheiro made me Rice and Beans Brazilian style and I can't wait to be eating that every day.  It's really yummy ^^
     Hey I'm not going to complain if Spencer wants to study economics.  Maybe we can start up our own Financial Firm or something like that.  I think it would be a lot of fun to work with Spencer on research projects and the like.  We'll see if he really likes it or not, although if you love history and math then it usually works out pretty well.  I'll make sure to keep Sherry in my prayers this week for her auditions.  I'm sure everything will be ok this weekend with Preston and Sherry.  I'm still chuckling inside that Sherry is bringing a boy home though :P, and ANOTHER pre-mi at that.  ;)
     I have been following instructions and taking pictures!  I just can't send them home on these computers yet.
     It was really hot yesterday, speaking of the weather.  It was in the high 80's low 90's.  I can't imagine spending Summer here, Winter is hot enough for me :P.
     We got transfer facts last Saturday and Elder Dixon is leaving.  I'm getting a new companion named Elder Bowles and finishing my service in the Long Beach California Mission in the Granada ward.  I'm pretty excited to be here for another transfer, although there is a lot of work ahead of me.  I know who my new companion is because he was in my zone in December, but I don't know much more than he's a decent basketball player. 
     We didn't have a whole lot of progress with our investigators this week.  Lyn was confirmed yesterday at church so that was a great experience.  After the blessing she started crying and then her fellowship Sis Braxton got up and bore her testimony of what an awesome experience it was to help Lyn into the church.
     Steve, Steve, and Nicole are our only other investigators.  Everyone else we dropped, so we are back at square one right now.
     We were able to do a service project last week with some less actives named the Savalas.  We built a little garden in their backyard and that was a lot of fun!  They didn't come to church like we had hoped though :/, we'll keep working hard to help them, but one day they have to do it themselves.
     We did a lot of finding this week and did find three pretty solid investigators, but they are Singles aged so we have to pass them on to the Sister Missionaries in the Singles Ward.  That's kind of hard, but sometimes you benefit from others giving you solid investigators, and sometimes you give them away.  It doesn't really matter who teaches them so long as they find truth and really peace and happiness in their lives. 
     This week we had a run in with quite a few hooligans.  In fact Saturday night we were biking home from an appointment and sitting at a stop light waiting for the light to change.  All of the sudden a black Toyota Tacoma drives by and flicks what looks like a cigarette at us, and it hits my shoe.  At first I was like great, and then what I thought was a cigarette explodes.  It didn't hurt us or anything, turns out it was a firecracker.  Man did that make Elder Dixon and Myself just fume with anger.  Who are they to throw fireworks at two people just trying to do good in the world.  We aren't trying to upset anyone, hurt anyone, or do anything negative to the community.  
     Then as I was biking I reflected on the Savior.  He was absolutely perfect, uplifted, encouraged, healed, and did all manner of good.  Yet he was persecuted profoundly, spit upon, whipped, and ultimately crucified for what he was trying to do for the children of men. I then reflected upon how the savior handled his persecution.  He was not angry with his aggressors, but instead turned and forgave them.
     I now understand just a fraction better what the Savior must have gone through when he performed the Atonement for each of us.  Such anger rose up in me from something as small as a firecracker, and how hard it was for me to forgive someone who would do that to me.  Yet that is what Christ did, and he invites us to follow his example.  Facing persecution is never fun, its hard and hurtful.  I'm glad I have the scriptures and the example of Christ to look towards when I am in these situations.
     I hope I haven't scared you, I'm not in any physical danger, and Whittier is a nice place to live.  Also I'll be in a car next transfer so I should be safer from Saturday night drunks pulling those kinds of things on us.  I only shared that because it drew me closer to the savior, and I'm glad I could experience just a small part of what Christ did in order to draw closer to him.
     Thank you for keeping me so well updated on the home front.  I hope all goes well this week!
I love you always and forever.
Elder Henry