Monday, April 30, 2012


Sherry says goodbye see you in two years to this wonderful young man this week.  Good luck in the Alpine German-Speaking Mission (Austria, S. Germany, Lichtenstein, and Switzerland), Preston!

OK I promise.  This is the last video of Sherry for a while.  Can you tell I miss her?  This looks alot better when you go to YouTube to see it and view it in highest quality HD.  Her hair is so pretty in some of the shots...its a simple student script and very short--its a film class project of her friend Seth, not a script class project or acting project.  (aka not much to work with here but some of her friends did say they cried when they watched it anyway).

You can either click on the little "YouTube in the corner or here is the link  then you change the settings by going to the little gear/flower icon (gear if you're a guy, flower if you're a girl).

I get to see her in less than two months.  Can I just say, its incredible how quickly your children materialize into adults?  One day you are asking them if their homework is done, and just a few months later they are on their own and rarely cross the threshold of the doorway.  I think that's been the biggest surprise to me as my two oldest left home (Mike for the 2nd time) within a month of one another last summer.  I couldn't be happier with how each of them is spending their time (Michael on his mission in Brazil and Sherry working at BYU for the spring and summer then straight back to full time school--with a scholarship!--in the fall) and the mature and adult manner in which they conduct their lives.  And it has helped me treasure each moment with Spencer and Tori even more.  But sometimes I wish I could time travel back to when they were babes in arms!
Sigh.  Time flies!  Treasure it!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sherry in Deseret Book's Pretty Darn Funny

Sherry's fake audition that didn't work with Pretty Darn Funny Episode Two, but apparently the producers thought it was so DARN FUNNY they posted it on their YouTube Channel anyway.  She plays a young girl with talent auditioning for a comedy troupe.  Unfortunately, its not quite the type of talent they are looking for...

(This is the episode it goes with--more awkward auditions for what becomes a "Mom-edy Troupe")

Saturday, April 21, 2012

First Letter from Brazil!!!

Dear Mom,
     Its a whole different world down here.  That sentence sums up pretty much the whole experience I've had the last couple of days.  Everything you can think off is different, from the Cars people drive, the house people live in, the language they speak, the pavement of the roads (cobblestone), the food they eat, and most especially the new set of mission rules.  I can't believe how different it is.
     When I first hopped on the Airplane in Atlanta, my first thought was, "What did I get myself into?".  I couldn't understand anyone on the plane speaking Portuguese, and knew that my whole world was about to be turned upside down.  Flying overnight was as comfortable a flight I've ever experienced, but that's not saying much.  Sleeping was absolutely miserable on the plane, but I manged to squeeze out about 4 hours or so, enough to sustain me.  When I arrived at São Paulo, I couldn't believe how SLOW everything moves.  I thought getting Baggage/tickets was slow in the States, but it took me about an hour and a half standing in line to finally re-check my baggage to go to Porto Alegre.  Needless to say, as soon as my plane took off I fell asleep for about another hour, waking up just in time for my first glass of Antartica Guaraná in Brasil.  Its a shame we don't have this drink in the states.
     Flying into Porto Alegre I had only one thought in my head.  ITS HUGE!  I had seen the skylines of big cities in the US during my flight, L.A., Salt Lake City, and Georgia and they were big, but mostly just the downtown/business areas had the high rises.  When I flew over and into Porto Alegre, there were high rises as far as the eye could see.  (Note when I flew into/out of São Paulo, it was still dark and I was unconscious so Porto Alegre was the first Brasilian City I saw).  When I arrived in Porto Alegre, I met the Assistants and we hopped into a taxi.  Taking a taxi from the Airport to the Mission office made me realize very quickly why missionaries do not drive cars in Brasil.  The drivers here are CRAZY!  There are no such things as lanes here, and so long as you can fit you go.  People were swerving from left to right, crossing 2 or 3 supposed lanes, trying to mingle their way through traffic.  Motorcycles are especially crazy down here, going up onto the sidewalks if they can't mingle with the cars.  Needless to say, I'm VERY cautious when it comes to crossing the streets, because there really is no such thing as a crosswalk.
     When I got to the mission office, the Assistants informed me that because Tuesday is transfers, I'd just be hanging out in the office with them and the secretaries until then.  We didn't go out again until about 7 o'clock that night where I had my first lesson in Portuguese.  I forgot to mention that the Assistants and Secretaries are all Americans except Elder Oba who is Japanese/Brasilian that also speaks English.  So 7 o'clock was the first time I really got immersed into Portuguese.  I couldn't understand hardly anything that was being said after about the first 15 minutes.  That coupled with the grass/tea thing they drink down here in the south being passed around like a peace pipe, well I guess the best way to explain it is just culture shock.  Its like my brain just shut down for a while and wouldn't process anything that was being said.  Thank goodness Elder Oba and Keesling where there to handle things because I was completely lost.  We then went around for about an hour before heading home.
  When we got home I was pretty tired, got myself ready for bed and then slept.
     Today we all got up and showered (there are 7 missionaries using one bathroom right now which was a pain) and walked to the temple.  I should say hiked, because the sidewalks are rather non-existant, and it was ALL uphill.  By the way, I've never lived in a place that's so humid!  It was 8 in the morning and we were already sweating.  I've been sweating about all day since then as well, just a natural part of living here I guess.  Anyways we arrive at the temple and guess what, no English translation for me!  I was rather lost, but made my way through it.  The temple here is really tiny, about the size of the Newport Beach temple or smaller.  After the temple we walked to outback steakhouse for lunch and then walked all the way home.
     The rules here are VERY lax compared to the Long Beach mission.  I'll provide a small list of rules that if I were in California I would of broken in the last 48 hours.
  • No drinking caffeinated beverages
  • You must run every morning for 20 minutes
  • You can't be in public with more than 6 missionaries
  • You aren't allowed in malls
  • You must plan every night for 30 minutes
  • You must be out proselyting by 6:00pm
  • You must be in Proselyting clothes in public on P-day
  • Must be in bed by 10:30
As well as many others that I can't think of right now.  Now mind you, all these we did WITH the assistants, so apparently we have a very lax interpretation of the rules down here.  It has thrown me for quite the loop!
     The other big thing that has stood out to me is the cars people drive.  First off, people still use horse and buggy down here instead of pickup trucks.  That threw me for a loop when I saw a horse coming down the road like it belonged there.  Secondly no one has an engine in their car larger than 1.8L.  Most people have real subcompacts (I.E. A Toyota Corolla is one of the largest cars I've seen down here) that have 1.2 or 1.4L engines.  I didn't even know they made engines that small!  Let alone I haven't seen a single V6 or V8, even the trucks have '4-bangers' down here.  Lots of people also drive motorcycles or just take the bus or even walk everywhere.  I have never seen SO many people just on the street, walking from point a to point b.  Absolutely crazy.
     So far for food I've had everything other than Brasilian food.  Yesterday we had Habibs, which is an Arabian fast food joint, and today we had Outback Steakhouse.
In all, my Portuguese is better than I give it credit, but not good enough to really converse with the natives.  Just enough to survive in a pinch, but it is coming to me much quickly than I would have anticipated.  I get to practice a lot with Elder Oba, and so long as he's speaking to me slowly I can have a conversation only in Portuguese.  I have a lot of holes in my vocabulary for some of the silliest things, just as fork, cup, shoe, foods, and other random stuff they don't teach you in the MTC.
     In all I'm enjoying it thus far in Brasil.  It hasn't really settled in that I'll be staying here for 15 months, but that will come soon enough I'm sure.
     By the way P-day is on Tuesday here, but since I'm in the office they have p-days on Saturday, so the next time you'll hear from me is a week from Tuesday.
     I love you lots, I'll make sure to take good notes and lots of photographs of what I'm seeing here.
Elder Henry

Monday, April 16, 2012

Michael is heading for Brazil Thursday. Finally.

Dear Mom,I'm FINALLY LEAVING!!!!  WOOOHOOO!!!!  Thursday morning at 7:00 I'll be in the air on my way to Salt Lake, then off to Atlanta, Sao Paulo, and finally Porto Alegre.  A total of 28 hours of travel.  The longest flight is 10 hours so that will be an experience.
     Sad news is I'm being transferred today to Cypress 4th ward for 2 days :P.  So I'll spend 2 days in an area and then be gone.  I wish I could work those last two days in Whittier but that's how things go.  I don't know the address to my new apartment, or my mission office address in Porto Alegre.
      I got the archive photo CD's this morning and will put them in the mail this afternoon, after I'm done packing for Brasil.  I'm glad you told me about the 70 pound weight limit for Brasil rather than 50 pounds because the church didn't tell me anything about it.  Looking through all the pictures of the time I've spent here made me remember all the fun I've had.  Thank you for commanding me to take lots of pictures ;).
     We found two new investigators last week, one who accepted baptism for May 19th.  I'm so overwhelmed with excitement right now to finally go to Brasil that its hard to think about what happened last week and all the progress I've made with investigators.  No one new came to church the last week, but Steve R's son came to church even though his Dad had to go to work.  He being 13 and his 7 year old sister decided that they liked church so much, they wanted to come whether or not their Parents could make it.  What an awesome example he's setting for his parents even before his baptism.  We are going to ask his parents to see if he can be baptized right now, even though Dad isn't quite ready.
     Its pretty sad to finally leave the Long Beach California Mission, I've had a lot of good times here and lots of trials that have made me much the better person and missionary.  Seeing that travel itinerary though made me SOOO happy.  It's finally happening :).
~Elder Henry

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Birthday Elder Henry

Dear Mom,
No I haven't heard a thing (about my visa/travel plans)...  Which makes me very very sad :(.  It's on the way but taking its time about doing so.  For my birthday I bought Root Beer and Ice Cream, and we will be celebrating as a whole zone.  I can't believe I'm 21 already!  How crazy.
     I'll do my best to hop on down to a CVS Pharmacy to get a backup CD and send it home.  P-days are crazy, but it would be nice for both of us, plus I still need to send the extra pair of shoes home.  As soon as I know the day I'm leaving I'll get in contact with the bank.
     I'm super excited to go to Brasil, that visa can't come fast enough!  Let me tell you :P.  Hopefully it will come sooner rather than later.

Not a whole lot happened last week.  Of the 4 new investigator families we only met with 2 of them.
     We saw Jon yesterday and he LOVES to talk.  The problem is its super interesting to me to, because he'll get going on WWII and then I get distracted...  Have to keep the lessons focused.  I've been saying goodbye to everyone in the area for about a week now.  The ward is so ready for me to leave, that I got my haircut on Saturday and people came up to me on Sunday and they thought I was their new elder!
     We had the departing missionary fireside yesterday and President Bubert asked Elder Whetstone and Myself to speak since we will be departing soon.  I also had the opportunity to invite all those I had worked with in my previous areas to come as well.  Unfortunately all of my recent converts were busy (seeing as it was Easter Sunday).  Fortunately some people were able to make it, I was very excited to see the Brother Maiava, the Sangala's, and Eli and Isa there ^^.  Tonight I'll be eating dinner with President Bubert and his Wife, and tomorrow we are going to the temple with President.  I'm really excited!  All that's left is a visa :P.
     We met with Ralph during the week last week and talked about the Book of Mormon.  We had an appointment with him again on Saturday and he wasn't home :/.  What made things worse we had brought a member with us, and they would have gotten along PERFECTLY!  Oh well, sometimes things fall through, its just a shame when it does.
      Steve H. said last week that he's really close to committing to baptism!  I'm really excited to hear that, especially when he hasn't been able to meet with us for the past two weeks.  Spring Break is this week for here, and so meeting with people will be a little bit trickier than normal.
     Steve R. and his family all were at Church yesterday :D!  Tax season is almost over as well, so he should be able to meet with us again soon.
     Nicole came to church yesterday and is also on the progressing train.  I just don't understand what it's going to take to strengthen her faith that she can overcome challenges and temptations in her path.  She's done it before, she can do it again!

     We had a bunch of non-members come to easter services yesterday!  We may even be able to start teaching one of them, a young man that came to church with one of the young women.  He seemed pretty shell-shocked when I came up and started talking with him.  I don't think he had any idea what was going on :P.  We are going to follow-up with the young woman who brought him this week.  Hopefully good things will ensue!
     Thanks for the Easter/Birthday Cards!  I opened them on Saturday instead of today on accident because Kelsey had sent an Easter package and so I thought the other 2 cards that came would be Easter cards (completely spacing my own birthday).  Thank you for signing the birthday card and always remembering me.  Also thank you Grandpa and Grandma Nichols and Granny for the Cards and Presents :).  Of course an extra thanks to Grandpa and Grandma Henry who are providing funds to help support me on my mission, and Kelsey and her parents Bruce and Randy.  I'm very grateful to have a whole family behind me supporting me while I'm on this endeavor.
I love you all so very much!

Elder Henry

Dear Michael,
     Hopefully you can make a cake--or buy one!  I was sad last night that I was going to not see you for your birthday, but then I remembered you'll be home in only 15 1/2 months or so and it made me happy.  Its just so weird having you and Sherry grown up and gone (although Dad would remind me we have our "perfect family" now--two kids is definitely a lot easier than four haha).

     I haven't heard anything.  Have you heard anything?  Itenerary? Etc etc?  You and/or Dad need to get ahold of the bank and let them know you are finally going to be traveling/living down there.  If you leave a "paper trail" by making small (food haha) purchases in each airport on your way, that will help the bank not freak out and put a hold on your account.  But we need to let them know again too.  I finally had an anxiety attack on Wed after the dots finally all were filled in and the visa was ready for collection.  Woke up in the 2am hour somewhere and could not get back to sleep!  I am really looking forward to talking with you on the phone and hearing your voice, so hopefully someone will let us know when you're leaving!!!
     I love you and have a wonderful birthday!  You're the best son I could wish for--despite all of dad's and my "Guinea pig" mistakes.  Thank you bud!
Love, Mom
PS  I shared your update to the YSA's with my missionary mom lists, because it was so eloquent.  It touched many hearts!  Here is one particularly special response I wanted to share with you.

Thanks so much for sharing your son's letter.  To me it was a  tender-mercy,
but not likely in the way you'd expect. 
     First a little  background - My son returned home from his mission in Alaska in
March.  He immediately went on facebook and had several friend requests
waiting from those in areas where he'd served.  One in particular was a
young woman who attended in one of the Singles Wards where he had served.
Things progressed VERY quickly, and before I knew it, (like the following
weekend) they'd  arranged for her to fly down so they could see one another
in person... I  think he's smitten!  She is a lovely girl in every way.
Which immediately got me wondering about her family, specifically her
parents.  Her mother is a member but her father is not.  I prayed that her
mother would be a valian  example in the gospel - but really never dreamed
that it could be confirmed until we'd met in person.
     Yet it was confirmed, in your son's letter.  He  wrote of "Sister Doing", and
the powerful testimony she bore when teaching  with your son and his
companion.  It's the very Sister Doing whose heart I'd prayed to know! The
tender way in which he described her allowed the spirit to bear witness that
she is, indeed, a valiant woman.
     The "what are  the chances..." are just too numerous to describe.  I can
testify that our Heavenly Father truly works in mysterious ways!  When we
only see one solution, he sees countless answers and will direct them for
our good! Thank  you for sharing your son's letter. It was truly an answer to
my  prayers.

Dear Dad,
I haven't been able to find an international calling card that works for Brasil yet.  Hopefully I'll be able to find one today when I go to the pharmacy (they usually carry lots of that kind of stuff).
That's way cool that you were able to go do sealings last Thursday with mom.  I can't wait to go to the temple tomorrow with my mission president.  I imagine that will be quite the treat.
Its funny to imagine what kind of weather you must be getting this time of the year.  It's been pretty warm down here recently, in the high 80's low 90's all weekend.  Blue skies everyday, hardly ever a cloud in sight.  We have good enough weather that we can go out and jog for 20 minutes every morning at 6:30am.  It's pretty boring to be quite honest with you, I'd much rather have rainstorms all day every day.
Thank you for the Birthday wishes.  This is like my last milestone so far as age goes.  I still can't believe that I'm 21 today.

Elder Henry

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Remember, the Lord doesn't always give us what we expected, but He will give us what we hope for."

I have the best son in the world!  =)   Here is his report to the YSA of the Vancouver Washington West Stake.

My Mission wasn't what I expected, but it is exactly what I hoped for. When I received a mission call last March I had the whole family gathered around to find out where I would serve the Lord. To my surprise and excitement I was called to the Brasil Porto Alegre North mission speaking Portuguese. I felt the Holy Spirit at that time confirming that I had people in Brasil I needed to meet, and who needed to meet me.

To my shock though I did not receive a visa to go to Brasil. The months passed, I entered the MTC and spent 9 weeks diligently learning a foreign language. Those weeks were over and I faced a reassignment to Long Beach California. Through prayer I was able to 'come to terms' with this 'temporary' reassignment. As I labored I was determined to find the reason I was being delayed from Brasil.

In my first area I met people who were less-active that I helped come back into the gospel. One young man named Paul had a rough time being open with people and communicating with others. While I was there I saw him receive the Melchezidek priesthood, bear his testimony in sacrament, and share the gospel with one of his friends. I met and made eternal friendships with the people in Huntington Beach. Next I moved to Long Beach in the Samoan wards.

What a Blessing! Before my mission I was able to help a recent convert Samoan family into the ward as the Ward Mission Leader. I fell in love with the Brown family and even wanted to serve in Samoa. The Lord provided me with the ability to serve among the Samoan people through this reassignment, an opportunity I would never have had in Brasil. Furthermore I was able to help 3 people come into the gospel as well as try to help others come back. I made friends with people I would have never have met otherwise.

I was then transferred to Whittier and have had much success and learned much from the people I've met here. I've learned the importance of bringing members to lessons, talking with everyone, and how to find investigators. During my two months here I've seen 2 less actives come back to church on a regular basis.

The moral of my story is, God has always placed you in a position where you can do the most good. He has orchestrated MTC entry dates, visa problems, career choices, job opportunities, and many more factors so we can do the most good for the people around us. If we follow the promptings of the spirit and the counsel of our priesthood leaders, we will always be able to Find, Teach and Baptize. Doesn't matter if you are in Washington, California, Brasil, New Zealand, or any other place on this earth, be where the Lord needs you and never complain. In this lies success and happiness not just for the mission but your whole lives. Remember the Lord doesn't always give us what we expected, but He will give us what we hope for.

Elder Michael Jordan Henry

Monday, April 2, 2012

Elder Henry taught in Portuguese this week!

Dear Mom,
Its true General Conference got me re-fired to go out and teach the gospel! I absolutely loved it, even the parts about raising children. There are always principles of the Gospel that you can pull out of any of the talks. I think my favorite talks right now are Elder Oaks on Sacrifice, Elder Anderson on What does Christ think of you, and President Monson's talk on Duty. Hopefully my investigators/less actives got just as much out of it as I did. My companion and I as well as the two missionaries I live with all have been talking non-stop about conference :P.
Are you kidding me, Spencer HAS to go to Brasil. Its destined to be, and then we can speak Portuguese all the time to one another. Besides where else in the world would you rather be? :P.
What Mormon's -aren't- fox news junkies? Its a fact of life, especially down here in Southern California.
This past week was pretty short (seeing as we had Conference, and the last time I wrote you was tuesday). We have a lot of exciting things happening in our area though.
Last week we started teaching 4 different families, probably the best week of finding I've ever had on my mission. They all have potential, not golden investigators, but lots of potential. The investigators we have we really didn't get to work with last week. That meant we did LOTS of finding. We tracted 3 full days last week of walking from door to door and trying to find people to teach. It all paid off though on Sunday when we finally saw some of the fruits of our labors :).
The first person we found is named Jo. He's Ana P's Dad (one of the recent converts in the ward), and he's a Brazilian. For the first time on my mission I was able to teach in Portuguese, and it was AWESOME! I can't wait to go to Brasil and teach like that all the time. We had dinner with Jo and his Daughter and gave him one of the copies of the Book of Mormon in Portuguese that Kelsey gave me before my mission. Ana and I also wrote our testimonies in the front in Portuguese and he agreed to read it and share it with his wife. We have a return appointment tomorrow, but we will have to turn him over to the Sisters because he lives out of our area.
We also met a guy named Kevin this week. We were in the alleyway trying to find Chris and Frank, but they weren't home and were walking back to our car and asked him if we could give him a pass-along card. We then talked about the restoration and agreed to meet with us on Sunday. When we came back on Sunday we were able to sit down with him and share a lesson about the restoration, and he agreed to read and pray, but was about 50% on coming to church and didn't want to set a date for baptism yet. Still he says he's been studying religions to try and find the truth.
Next up is Jon. Jon is a high school teacher who loves WWII history. I may have mentioned him before because we first talked with him in January and finally got to teach him yesterday. We had a great lesson with him and he was asking lots of good questions. Today he's arranged for us to meet one of the surviving members of the Band of Brothers, so I'm looking forward to meeting Ed Pickering today. He was one of the medics that Parachuted into Normandie, France not long before D-day.
We also received a media referral last week for a family. The Mom and Dad's names are Pati and Alex. We met with them for the first time yesterday and brought one of the members, Sis. Doing, with us. The lesson went luke-warm and we probably wouldn't have gotten a return visit if it weren't for Sis. Doing there. She's a convert of a little over 20 years now and she bore powerful testimony of the good the church has done for her family. She also organized a play date for her grandson and the oldest boy. I'm so glad that she came with us because she is going to be a much more powerful tool than we can be as missionaries. Something I realized in that lesson is that members have been missionaries for many years and have much more experience than we do with introducing people to the gospel. The best thing I can hope for as a missionary is that a member has the courage to come with us to a lesson and help us to teach. They provide instant fellowship, and powerful witness of how the church has helped them with years of experience I don't have.
Nicole was too busy to meet with us, as well as Steve and Steve, but they are progressing slowly but surely. We need to try something new to help each of them overcome their bumps.
I'm glad you had a very happy birthday Mom :)!
I love you all very much, thank you for writing to me faithfully.
Elder Henry