Monday, October 29, 2012

Elder Henry~Gravatai 10/29/12

Elder Henry, Miguel R's Home Teacher, R. and Elder Roman at R's baptism =)
Finally I have a decent amount of time to write to you guys!  I'm really grateful for the help with those essay questions, I've forgotten a lot of the eloquence of English writing (not that I was ever all that good with English in the first place).  The questions looked a lot better after the revisions.  I just put all the questions in the boxes and submitted my application for BYU.  All that's left now is to wait until February/March and see what happens.
     I'm glad you are enjoying The District (a show on BYU-TV, Michael doesn't know this is the second season, not the ones he has seen).  It's actually pretty old, the missionaries had it for training purposes even before I left on the mission.  I think its about 2-3 years old, and I've watched it over and over and over, but it is pretty much what life was like in California.  Of course they weren't serving in Compton, its most similar to when I was in Whittier so far as demographics go.  Yes it does feel like a long time since I've been in Long Beach even though its only been about 6 months.  I'm 100% Brazilian nowadays. (Well as far as an American can be Brazilian)
     Politics are such a funny thing.  Here in Brasil all I ever here is how amazing the political system in America is, and how great it would be to be an American citizen.  Here in Brasil all the politicians do is rob rob rob rob rob.  For example, a city councilman in Vancouver receives something like $30,000 a year in compensation for his work.  Certainly a nice bonus, but nothing unreasonable as he will have to continue to work at his other job in order to continue to live.  Also Vancouver has 5 city councilors. Gravataí is a little bit bigger than Vancouver with about 250,000 people but its more or less comparable.  Here they have 25 city councilmen that gain R$10,000 per month, or $60,000 (american) a year.  Plus for every act they make they gain 30% of the expected cost of the bill.  So if they make a great big bill to build a hospital for 200,000,000 Reais, they'll gain 60,000,000.  Its absolutely absurd!  I've learned to appreciate our politicians much more, because for all their faults, at least they are working to gain an honest pay unlike the politicians here.
     I've never been robbed on the mission, but I always keep a little bit of money on me to give to thieves if I were robbed.  Fortunately I'm working in a very nice neighborhood, Gravataí really doesn't have nearly as much criminality as Porto Alegre.  Also I keep my money and my ID in different places, and Identity theft isn't a huge threat here (criminals are pretty stupid here), plus my Passport is locked away safe in the vaults of the Mission so I'll be able to return one day ;).
     I see Elder Glessing every now and then, but we are in different zones for the moment so I haven't seen him for about 4 months.
     Yup I can buy milk chocolate here, even Hershey's Chocolate.  I never thought I would see the day when I thanked Wal-Mart, but thanks to wal mart I have almost all the American products I'm used to.  The only things I don't have are Dr. Pepper and Root Beer :(.  Also walmart brand peanut butter isn't all that good, but its better than nothing.

As for my Christmas Wishlist:
Photos from everyone at home
And I have one really weird request, Could you send my decks of Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon cards down here?  I was talking with some people and they are really expensive here, so they make for a good presents, also helps them to learn English.
     So far as Weddings go, we marked the wedding for I and his family last week or two weeks ago.  Finally after a 5 month bureaucratic nightmare we marked the date for their wedding for November 24th, and the whole family will be baptized on November 25th.  I was so relieved to have that taken care of, now its just a wait for them as well as arrange everything for the wedding.
     S and N are on a bit of a hold, but they are only missing one paper and if everything goes right we should have the paper we need in hand here in 2 weeks, so they'll probably be married in December close to Christmas time.
     R was baptized which was very exciting on Sunday, and now we are going to work with his Grandma to help her into the church.  She was in sacrament meeting this Sunday and she really liked the church.  She also has a strong Christian background which means that the commandments won't be a problem for her at all.  I'd love to see the whole family in church together every week.
     Well that's pretty much my week.  Oh I almost forgot, this Saturday we had a huge ward party for the Youth to raise funds for EFY.  It was a blast and our investigators loved it!   I attached a couple photos of the activity.
Elder Henry

Dear Dad,
Man how I miss halloween, last year the missionaries got a TON of candy for Halloween, and this year nothing.  They don't even have Halloween here, how sad is that :(.  We had a pretty good week, and I'm excited to see our mission grow.  We really need more missionaries here to help the work.
     The LAN House is closing up, but thanks for keeping me up to date on the family.  I'm glad to hear Tori is working hard on her homework, and that the Ducks are creaming their opponents.
Elder Henry
Everyone gathering for the prayer at the ward party.

A picture of our ward activity, the place was packed with over 300 people who showed up.  More than double our weekly Sacrament attendance

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Elder Henry Oct. 16th

I'm cracking up over here about your un-manly oil change experience :P. It's pretty stupid that a job that takes us 15 minutes at home without all the fancy tools they have at the Oil change took 30 minutes there. One thing I'm learning a lot of here in Brasil is the People don't have money to go to a specialist to fix stuff, so they just fix things on their own. It really doesn't take a whole lot of knowledge to change a tire or oil, just a little bit of time. Everyone here is their own handyman ;).
The weather is just the opposite down here. We are enjoying a beautiful spring down here, its not to hot yet, but the rain stays away for most of the time. Although it is still pretty grey down here, about as grey as Washington. Its funny but Rio Grande do Sul is just about as close to the weather in Washington as any other place I've visited in my life. The only difference is it gets hotter here than Washington.
Meh can't say I'm surprised BYU lost to OSU. BYU is still back in the glory days of the 80's and never seem to change their strategies. At the least it sounds like it was a fun game.
So Sherry will wait until April before she leaves? Depending on where she goes we may still have a quick moment to see each other :). We all know how long visas can take to arrive!
I'm glad Spencer has learned from his older siblings mistakes. Nothing is more trouble than a girlfriend at 16. I only wish I had had the wisdom to listen to my parents when I was younger >.>. Oh well we live and learn. Way to go Spencer :).
So today we are heading down to the Temple, that's why I'm e-mailing on a Tuesday instead of a Monday. We are pretty excited but its always super hectic to get P-day done with and go to the temple in the same day o.o. Thanks for the E-mail.
I love you all tons :)
Elder Henry
Dear Mom,
Sorry about the switch of E-mail days. We are headed off to the Temple today, but since the Temple is closed on Monday we have to go on Tuesday. Anyways we are doing well and excited to be working.
We are working with a couple of families right now and are super excited. I and L went this weekend to pick up the last few papers for their marriage papers as well as S and N. Of course its taking longer than we had hoped, but sometimes our planning isn't the same as the Lords planning. I'm sure he's got things all taken care of upstairs.
We also started teaching a family of 7, M and her 6 kids. They unfortunately weren't able to make it to church this Sunday because of M's work schedule but she is really quite excited about the church and our visits and is reading the Book of Mormon. We had a Family night with her and 2 of her kids last night (the other 4 decided to stay home). It was a lot of fun, we played around a bunch and also taught them about the Plan of Salvation.
J went to church this Sunday and is really excited about her Baptismal date of the 26th of October. I'm hoping that the rest of her family will have the same desire to go to church and read the Book of Mormon as well. Its crazy just how powerful the Book of Mormon is. It really changes our lives, thoughts, and outlook on life. I only have to look at my life to see the change the Book of Mormon brings, but yet I have so many more witnesses here on the mission of people who have read the Book of Mormon and have changed their lives because of it.
Anyways that is pretty much what happened last week. Yesterday we have a big Churrasco at one of our member's house that was absolutely delicious. I'm pretty sure I gained a kilo or two.
I love you all and are always in my prayers and thoughts.
Elder Henry

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fam update

Sherry modeling for her friend Alyse Simpson--a few more at but these are my favorites =)

Tori is working on the song Pie Jesu by Andrew Lloyd Webber for school.  Here she is practicing with her music teacher, Mrs. Hart

Last but not least, Spencer went on his first date.  His best friend Cody and he took Rachel and Brigitta to the BYU vs. U of Portland soccer game.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Such exciting missionary news!

Elder Henry with some of his wonderful investigators
 Dear Mom,
I pretty much had the exact same reaction (as the rest of the family) when I heard the announcement,  I pretty much spent the rest of the weekend wondering, "Does this mean Sherry will serve a mission?  I hope she goes, this seems like it was made just for her!".  I'm really glad to hear that she's going to serve a mission!!!!  I can't tell you how happy this makes me, of course we won't see each other for another period of time, but its soooo worth it.  BAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!  I'm soooo excited XD!
     Of course pretty much every one's world got turned upside down this weekend with the new announcement not to mention Spencer.  One less year to go until he hits the field as well.  How crazy, you and Dad could have at least one child on a mission for the next few years depending on the timing when Sherry heads off.  Seriously one of the most exciting announcements of my life :).
     I already called President Wright to receive permission to figure everything out at BYU so I can return studying there in 2013.  I'll be sure to keep you updated on the process :).  Looks super easy, all I need is an ecclesiastical endorsement and my transcript from Clark, I don't even have to do the essay questions over! =D
     So the last two weeks of stuff that happened.  Sorry once again that you all didn't get something to read last week, I'll try and compensate this week.
     Other than the news about missionaries, I really loved General Conference, of course it was nice not to have to walk for two days, but the spirit that accompanied the conference was excellent.  We had a very early morning Priesthood session because of the time difference we watched the re-broadcast at 6 in the morning on Sunday Morning.  It was pretty scary walking around the streets of Brasil before the sun came up.  Brasil really is a different place in the early morning hours about 5:00 all the drunks were out on the streets and it was the first time I actually felt scared here in Brasil.  Fortunately I won't have to do that again for a long time ^^".
     Sunday Evening we watched the last session of general conference in the comfort of one of our member's homes.  We brought N and S over and had a really good experience with them there together with a bunch of members.  S has really been progressing a ton and has been reading the Book of Mormon.  I'm really happy for the progress, and we went and marked their marriage at the registration office today so everything is set for S to be baptised on November 11th.  Other exciting news is I and his family are just about ready for their marriage as well.  I's papers came back, and we just have to get a paper from L M's hometown so they can go to the registration office to legalize their marriage.
     We've been finding a whole lot of new people to teach.  One was actually a pretty funny experience.  While we had an exchange a couple weeks back we knocked on a door and a young woman  J answered the door.  She was alone so we had to teach her on her front porch, but she accepted the Book of Mormon and marked to return.  After about a week of showing up late to appointments and her having already left and missing appointments we finally returned a second time to talk with her.  She mentions that she was talking to a friend on Facebook that had been gone for two years and didn't know where he had gone.  Turns out he's one of the recently returned missionaries from our ward, Andrio.  So we bring him to the third lesson and turns out they were best friends in high school and she's super curious about the church and reading the Book of Mormon.  It was fun to see just how small the world is in the church :).
     We also found a family of 6, and a couple other people that we only taught once but have a lot of potential.  I'm very excited to see what this month brings, especially after a long time of not having much success :)
Elder Henry
Artur opens up his birthday presents from the missionaries

A very rare sight here in Brasil, a game of American Football!

Final District meeting of the transfer

Dear Dad,
The new rules for missionaries really changed the dynamics especially for Girls.  Its a lot easier now for girls to serve a mission before they get married.  Of course you are the third person I'm ranting to about this change, but its really quite huge.  I kind of wish they had waited until Sunday night to announce this change as I probably would have payed more attention to General Conference if they had :P.
     I looked up some stuff on to look and see what I need to do to re-register at BYU for Fall 2013 and it looks pretty simple.  I'm glad that I did it on a P-day though, because it sure brought back a ton of good memories from college.  I try not to think about it too much or I might just start to get trunky. :P
     I'm happy to hear our Ducks are still on the up, although it seems to me they haven't really played any of their hard games yet.  We still have Stanford and USC, and looks like OSU will be a real big challenge this year as well.  Also the ducks tend to have a much harder time away from home than at home.  We'll see if they can continue their good playing and make their way to a National Game against Alabama and BEAT the SEC!  Of course it will be a shame to miss such a great season but the sacrifices we make right?
     So did cousins get rid of the White Van and swap for the Nissan Altima or do they have 3 cars now?  My standard of cars had dropped a ton nowadays, even a Toyota Carolla or a Honda Fit looks like a cool car after being around all these little Euro-cars.  
     Thanks for all the encouragement Dad.
Elder Henry