Saturday, June 30, 2012

Trippin out to Utah to see Sherry

Chillin' at Sherry's luxury dorm
They missed each other so!

They shared a room for 13 years!

Sissy snuggle time

Siblings much?  Twinners?!
The twins again (ironically, Spencer and Tori used to be mistaken for twins

They love their little sissy

While we were dry...


Doo dee doo

And after the waterfall drenched all of us!


Sherry was the dryest but her bum was soaked!

Log ride

Camera was too slow to catch the splashdown!

Haha you got wet!


Candid At Lagoon

Loved swimming outside!

In the Monte L Bean Life Museum

Spencer being stalked by a Cougar

The girls with Kelsey

Seeing Wizard of Oz at SCERA's outdoor theater
Don't be fooled, Sherry is on her tiptoes
I didn't cry...much =)
Damon has pretty amazing packing skills

Tina was SO happy when we were home!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 27th from Brazil

M and D at the Noite Familiar (FHE) last night. Elder Black served Maicom two HUGE heapings of Torta de Bolacha (Cookie Pie)

Everyone is pretty sad that our Mission President is leaving this week.  Personally I never really got that close to him what with being here only 2 months and when I first came in I could hardly speak with him.  It will be an interesting change for sure.  Next Monday we will have a zone conference in Porto Alegre with the new mission president and each of us will have a 10 minute interview with him.
     Last week was a little more disappointing then our previous week.  We only had 4 investigators show up to church, and both of our up and coming baptisms fell through.
     We showed up at G's house on Sunday to bring him to church, and he did not want to go with us for some reason.  He said he needed to go to his Brother's Birthday party, but we offered to have someone drive him to the Party after church but he didn't give.  We'll have to reschedule his Baptism for sometime in July, which is disappointing for us, but things happen.  Also we found out that his Mom does not want him to be baptised, so we'll be having a chat with her today to figure out why she doesn't want him baptised.
     A was doing so good last week, she got down to just 2 cigarettes in one day, but then her husband fell terribly ill last Saturday and so they had to go out of town to a decent hospital.  We couldn't visit her everyday, and so she ended up smoking again.  The adversary never stops working on our investigators, that's for sure.  She also was not at church.
     The one family that Elder Black keeps visiting on divisions and I've never really gotten to visit, G, M and W were at church this Sunday and are steadily progressing towards baptism.  I was very happy to see them there, and they even brought their Less-Active Mom with them!  They are already acting like awesome members, and they aren't even baptized yet!
     M and D weren't at church Sunday for reasons unknown, and really scared us last week.  We thought that they were going to drop us, because we asked them to get married.  M explained to us yesterday that he makes 300 reais a month, (about $150 USD) and that a marriage that costs 150 reais is just unreasonable for them to be able to pay right now.  We are grateful that the problem was just money, and hopefully the branch here will be able to help them out.  They are truly a special couple and we love visiting them.
     Our other investigator at church was M.  He's the son of a more or less active member of our branch.  He's 17, living with alone with his 16 year old girlfriend.  T, his girlfriend is 8 months pregnant, and he really wants to get married and join the church in order to raise up his family right.
     Brasil is a totally different world.  People get "married" at 16-18 and start having kids.  The minimum wage here is 600 reais a month, or $300 USD.  People work 2 to 3 jobs in order to keep a roof over their head and rice and beans on the table.  All this and I'm in one of the "better off" countries of the world.  I can't even imagine if I had been born here.  This poor little town is struggling to survive at best.  I never understood how blessed I was to be born and raised in the United States, and I don't even come from a wealthy family!
     Just as an FYI, I spent about $20 last week at a Walmart because they had all sorts of American Food that we were craving, and since you can't really send me packages, I took the liberty of buying myself a couple packages of Twix, Reese's, and Pringles.  As well as the all important Peanut Butter.  I try to keep from spending any money from home because I know how tight finances were when I was at home.  Let me know if I'm spending too much, but I probably won't be using the home money for another little while.
     Well that's all for this week.  Thanks for taking the time out to write me every week.

Love you bunches,
Elder Henry
It was the Zone Leader's Birthday (Elder Caridade, and Jaques) last week so the Sisters made Brownies and brought Ice Cream for everyone at district meeting. If you can see they requested a Princess Birthday Party, and look lovely in their princess necklaces Elder Black decided to jump in on the party as well. He's kinda huge!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Best Week so far! 10 Investigators at church!

 The Elders with two of our Investigators Daine and Rafael (they moved to a different city this week so we won't be teaching them anymore)

Noite Familiar (Family Night) at our ward mission leader's house.  From left to right, back row Elder Black, Arroz (Ward Mission Leader's son), Claudio (Investigator), Nara (Mom).  Front Row, Me, Aline (WML Daughter), Laura (Investigator)

Other exciting news, I just saw on the baptismal report for last week that Carmen and Luan were baptized last week!  Hooray!!  I'm also super excited for Natalia's baptism coming up.
     So much happened this last week, I don't even know where to start!
     I guess I can start with Laura and Claudio since you have a picture of them now.  We found them last week as we were walking down the street.  Elder Black saw a couple of kids playing around and we asked them if we could come back and talk with their parents.  They of course told us yes, and we came back last Monday (6/11).  Turns out their Mom is a less active member of the church.  The kids absolutely love our visits, and Laura is super cute.  She's always waiting for us when we have an appointment and wants us to come over and talk with her multiple times a day.  We invited Laura and Claudio to baptism, but they are scared to be baptised right now.  I think its because the Mom is scared to come to church right now.  We are going to work on bringing good fellowship for the Mom to help her come back into activity.
     Laura and Claudio also came to church this past week, which was AWESOME!  We also had a family home evening with Laura & Claudio at the house of our Ward Mission Leader, named Feijão (which means beans, and his son's name Arroz means rice >.>).
     But the really awesome, super good, exciting week doesn't stop with Laura and Claudio.  Next up is Maicom (Pronounced Michael) and Debora.  They were a member Reference from Feijão and Nara (same family as the Noite Familiar).  Maicom is 20 years old and Debora is 18, and they've been living together for the past 2 and a half years (which Brazilians consider 'Married').  Debora's Mom joined the church 2 or 3 years ago and all her siblings are members of the church, but for whatever reason she didn't join or wasn't interested 2 or 3 years back.  Her and her husband go to a different evangelical church somewhere in Rio Pardo.  Anyways we found them last Thursday and taught them the restoration.  They were very attentive and we returned Saturday to invite them to church and finish up the First Lesson.  This is where the story gets incredible.
     Maicom and Debora told us on Saturday that they had been having some sort of difficulties, and so they went to their church in order to have a prayer said over them by their pastor last Monday.  The Pastor told them that on Thursday two people would show up that would teach them how to better their lives, and guess who showed up last Thursday?  US!  They took that as an answer to their prayer that they really needed to pay attention to the message we have to share.  We invited them to follow the answer to their Prayer by attending Church on Sunday, which they did!!!  But the Story doesn't end there.
     Sunday morning as they arrived at church Maicom and Debora were as happy as can be, and as we were about to sit down at Priesthood (we have Priesthood first here, Sacrament Last) Miacom pulls Elder Black aside and tells him, "Elder this morning was really cold, and I didn't know if I was going to make it to church.  So I knelt down and prayed to know if the church is true, and as soon as I asked, I had this overwhelming warmth come over me, and I know without a doubt that this is the true church of God."  I could not believe what I was hearing!  Was I misunderstanding his Portuguese?  Surely life couldn't get this good as a missionary, but I asked Elder Black and sure enough, that's exactly what Maicom said.  We are super stoked to meet with them again this week :).
     And we are only half-way through our awesome, amazing, best week of our lives.  There's yet more to come.  Gilmar, Maria and William are up next.  I don't know if I've talked about them before, but they are an older family, William is the youngest at 13 and the only one who lives at home, and they have a couple kids in their 20's 30's.  They are an awesome family who are sincerely looking for the truth.  I didn't meet with them last week because we were on splits both times last week when we met with them and Elder Black went both times to them.  But they were at Church on Sunday as well.  7 People at church!  What a blessing, I have never had so much success on my mission, but that's not all.
     Gabriel, a young 12 year old we are teaching is also progressing rapidly.  He has a baptismal date for 30/6/12, and we are excited to meet with him.  He comes from a rather poor family, his Dad collects trash and makes 20 reais or 10 American dollars a day, to support a family of 6.  Could you imagine raising our family on 10 dollars a day?  I feel super bad for the kid, he's always wearing the same clothes (I think he only has a shirt, pants, and a coat) but he's a super nice kid.  It amazes me that no matter the wealth you have people really are the same.  I learn more and more every day that its not what you have in this life, as it is the people you meet in this life that make the difference.  Gabriel (after we went and banged on his door at 9 in the morning and woke/walked him to church) was also there at church.
     The last piece of news this week is Paulinho (Paulo) and Gisele (Pronounced she-ZELL-ee).  They were also a member reference from another awesome family in our branch.  We met them on Thursday, and again on Saturday.  They are a cool couple in their late 20's with a 6-year old son, Leonardo.  They are reading the Book of Mormon, but are having difficulties understanding (which I can understand) and were also at Church this past week.  I'm excited to meet with them more, but we won't be seeing them again until Friday, because of a rigorous work schedule during the weeks.
     If you weren't counting, that makes a grand total of 10 investigators at Church!  I couldn't believe my eyes.  I have never seen so much success in one week in my entire mission.  All these people are exercising their faith by going to Church, reading the Book of Mormon, and praying about the message.  There is no doubt in my mind that these people truly are the elect of God, and are ready to be baptized.  Here's hoping we have just as great a week this coming week.
     I didn't see any questions in your e-mail, I hope I didn't miss anything.  That's way cool that you ran into Andrew.  I can't believe he's already graduated from college.  Way crazy!
Lots of love Mom, Family and Friends,
Elder Henry

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 12th, second week in Rio Pardo

Elder Henry with his District in Rio Pardo
Elder Henry and Elder Black out teaching, finding, and testifying!

View of Rio Pardo from my bedroom window early in the morning

The Sign Says "Don't Put Trash Here"
It was really cold last week, but fortunately you sent me prepared :). The new long sleeve plaid shirt you sent me for Christmas is doing me wonders, and my new sweater is keeping me nice and warm. If I conjugate any of my verbs wrong or spell any words incorrectly, please forgive me. The spell check here is in Portuguese.
I can understand June-uary :P.  It's been cold here the last week or so, but not very rainy.  Fortunately we have lots of stuff here to keep us warm during the cold.  Well except the really usful things like, heaters and insulation to keep your house warm...  It's like camping everyday out here, and I'm even sleeping in a sleeping bag.  At least we have warm showers and flushing toilets :P.  Oh and a washing machine! 
     Everyone has doors here, but the reason you clap is because people have gates and fences, so you usually can't reach the door. You also don't enter without permission because A) its rude, and B) Everyone and their Dog has a dog. So about 98% of the time you clap to enter.
The town itself is very heavily German influenced. It was founded in 1809 by german settlers, and there is a large German population. Although Santa Cruz has more German/Brasilians than Rio Pardo. I haven't run into anyone who actually speaks German though, so I guess its pretty much like it is in the United States.
     We actually didn't have church this past sunday so we could hop on a bus and head over to Santa Cruz to watch the temple dedication. It was pretty neat, although I have no idea what it looks like, because they didn't show any of the outside of the temple :P. I only kind of know what the inside looks like. President Uchtdorf gave a very inspiring talk about the early saints of Brasil, especially Manaus. Its incredible how fast the church has grown in Brasil in the last 40ish years.  
     From what I remember from the Holland Conference, Elder Holland had with him the Mission Presidents and their Wives from Porto Alegre North and South, and then a couple of people from Brasil. I don't remember if they were area authorities or just from the Missionary Department from São Paulo.
It was fun to read about the other missionaries :). I mostly skimmed through them because they charge by the Hour down here for our computers, but they were fun :). If you have time I would love to continue to get some from my missionary buddies (really sherry's missionary buddies XD).
This week we were super busy! We set a goal as a district to teach 100 lessons in total, which works out to 25 lessons per companionship. We worked hard and had a bunch of lessons pop up out of no where! I know that the Lord was helping us to reach our goal (Which we did, our district taught 101 lessons last week and we taught 25).
     We have a ton of investigators right now, so I'll give you a brief summary of the ones who are really progressing:
First off Adriana (45ish). We made a stop smoking plan with Adriana and she's sticking to it! It appears that the blessing we gave her last monday really is helping here. As of Sunday she had gone from 10 cigs per day to 5, and if she continues to follow the plan she'll quit by this Friday :). I have absolute faith that she can meet this goal.
     We are also teaching a Part Member Family, Daisy and Juliano. We went on splits last Tuesday and Friday (which I survived!) and I taught Daisy and Juliano with Ernesto (a member of the ward) While Elder Black was off with our Branch President teaching elsewhere. Juliano is a really nice sincere guy and wants to know more about the church. He accepted a baptismal date of July 7th, but they are really hard to meet with because Daisy works, and Juliano works two jobs. They have a daughter who's 1 and a few months. They aren't married legally so we will have to marry them before Juliano can be baptized. Daisy has been less active in the church for many years but wants to come back :).
     We are also teaching a family, but because of the splits I haven't been able to actually meet with them, but they have a lot of friends in the Church, and are progressing rapidly. The son William accepted a date for baptism, but they parents, Gilmar and Maria want to go to church first before they set a date.
     We are also teaching a lot of Children/Young Men/Women aged people. Gabriel (14 Male) loves the church and wants to be baptized. He can't read which is hard, but we are going to help him start.      
     Talison (14 Male) found the church through our weekly activity at the church. He loves to play futebol with all the other young men and has a baptismal date for this Saturday. He's been a bit of a stinker the last couple of days though and didn't meet with us at all last week.
     There's also Camila (13 female) who's the friend of an awesome member family. She was almost baptized before, but wasn't, because her Mom didn't want to join the church. Finally we have two young kids that are children of a less active Mom. The Mom's name is Alini. Her Kids, Laura (10 Female) and Claudio (9 Male), have been to church a few times already and also love the saturday Branch activities. We had our first lesson with them yesterday.
Sorry if this e-mail was scatter-brained, I'm all out of brain juice XP.
Elder Henry

Thursday, June 7, 2012


This is Princess Sherry's Provo Castle this summer--she shares it with one other lady when there aren't campers ("My Peasants")

So I've always been a little overly interested in fashion, I know intellectually it is silly and frivolous, but I just can't help myself.  Its fun!  It also helps you put your best foot forward when people are meeting you for the first time.
     I am also cheap.  Four kids will do that to ya.  Thrifting/bargain hunting/clearance racks have been a staple in my life since around age 12 or 13.   I love to find great things on clearance, or on sale plus a coupon, or thrifted from Goodwill.  We have REALLY good Goodwills here in the PacNW.  The prices aren't that low for thrift, but the quality is great.
     Now that I have adult size daughters, I have been able to have tons of fun buying outfits for them, too!  (I guess I've had alot of fun dressing them since they were born, but now the clothes fit them for longer).  I can't tell you the thrill of finding a new or like new dress for $7.99.  Dresses and skirts are especially easy to thrift, because they don't tend to be as well worn as other items. 
     So I am definitely not a Royal Watcher or anything, but I have noticed since the royal wedding last year (which had such a strong influence on bridal attire!) Kate Middleton tends to wear very similar things to Sherry.  They have the same tall thin frame with long arms and legs, and both dress very modestly.  The latest one that was so striking to me was the yellow dress, it is almost identical to one of Sherry's I got at Goodwill for her a couple years ago, then we added yellow dyed lace to the bottom so it would be long enough (that is about as custom as she gets from me these days haha).

Sherry's version cost around $10 including added lace.
This is a Jones New York I bought new, it was too perfect to pass up.  The final sale price of $35 is about 5% of Kate's $600 dress, and I think the look compares well

You'd never catch my girls in a hat like that--well maybe Tori she is quite the Anglophile due to Dr. Who.  Tori's dress was on clearance at JC Penney, Sherry's was thrifted--a Calvin Klein for $7.99.  Very good day at Goodwill.


Ah yes. The Pièce de résistance. I spotted this dress back when Sherry was a sophomore in high school I think, maybe the beginning of her junior year. It was lined with a nude lining at the time. She felt uncomfortable with that because she didn't want to look, well, NAKED under her dress. So I tore out the lining and bought her a white slip to put under it. Kate wears lace a LOT, here are two similar dresses she has worn. Oh and I purchased Sherry's at Ross, for maybe $30 (alot for me at Ross but it was and still is perfect!). Love the Tiffany blue color!

As Sherry pointed out, it isn't like she's wearing the exact same dresses, but the styles are really similar.  Anyway, if you want any shopping tips just leave me a comment!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Elder Henry: "So I'm somewhere..."

Rue de Ladeira one of the oldest streets in Brazil, which goes through the center of Rio Pardo.  Found images on this website:

Closeup of the cobblestones (Brazil missionaries go through a LOT of shoes!

Hey Mom,

I've been in my new area for about a week now and I'm loving it.  I'm in Rio Pardo - RS, a small dot of a town of about 25,000 people.  I'm in a small branch of about 50ish active members and my new companion is great :), and its COLD!!!!

I don't know where to even begin with this week, a lot of changes and I'm sure I will miss a few things.  Everything went well at the transfers, fortunately my new companion was with me for the voyage.  Which brings up another point, I'm opening yet another area!  This makes my third area in a row I've opened up.  I was just starting to think at the end of last transfer, "Ah I can't wait until I arrive in my new area and my companion knows where to go, where everyone lives, has investigators.  That's going to be so nice."


But its exactly what I wanted.  We are in the middle of nowhere.  Actually Elder Black (my new companion) and I were talking about it last night.  We have no idea where we are in relation to anything.  I know we are about an hour bus ride away from Santa Cruz, which is 2 hours west of Porto Alegre, but I have no idea if we are north, east, south, or west of Santa Cruz.  So I'm somewhere....  I'm sure google maps can help you out :P.

Anyways when we arrived here, it was about 7:45pm and we were starving after our bus ride.  Fortunately for us, there was a member waiting for us at the bus station to take us and our cargo to our new apartment.  First though we stopped in at his house, and he gave us a run-down of the area, as well as a huge dinner ^^.  I didn't really get a good look at the town when we came in because everything was closed and it was dark.

When I woke up the next morning and opened our old-style European shutters, I was amazed at how beautiful this little town is.  We have a small down-town area called Centro, and we live right in the middle of it.  There's one main road that runs from the furthest points of the town.  We have a lot of dirt roads out in the neighborhoods, and I'm not sure if there is any such thing as asphalt here.  There's only one stoplight in our entire area.

Fortunately for us the branch here loves the missionaries.  They are excited to have a new set of Elders here, and really want to grow the branch into a ward.  As such we've been really busy :).  Which of course is the best as a missionary.

We currently have 3 solid investigators.

First we have Adriana.  She's a middle aged woman who has a son on a mission.  Apparently he converted a year or two back, and just left on his mission a couple months ago.  Elder Black has an extra special connection, because in one of his previous areas, he became really good friends with William, Adriana's missionary-son.  She really wants to join the church as well, but is having a hard time kicking the cigarettes.  Oh how I absolutely despise Alcohol and Tobacco -.-'.  She didn't come to church this week, and I didn't really understand why not.

One other thing I forgot to mention.  People here are incredibly hard to understand.  People speak with an incredibly thick accent.  The accent here is to Portuguese, what a southern accent is to English.  As such I've been thrown for a bit of a loop in my Portuguese progress, which can be pretty hard at times especially when my companion has such an easy time with Portuguese.

Secondly Natanael.  He's 28, loves the church, wants to be baptized, but has the same smoking problem.  He also is super busy and hard to find at home.

Last we have Talison.  He's 12 years old and found the church through one of his friends bringing him to the activities.  He is excited to be baptized, but his Dad is CRAZY, like mentally not all there.  I don't think he'll have any problems, but its hard to meet with him because of his father.

So Elder Black.  Elder Ethan Black is from Palo Alto, CA and has been on his mission for about a month less than I have.  He's 6'5", and played basketball and football before the mission.  He also went to BYU from 2010-2011 and visa waited for a month in Chicago, IL.  He's an awesome companion, and we work really well together.  This transfer should prove to be an incredible 6 weeks with lots of success :).

Anyways I have to get going, but I love you and promise to take pictures today.