Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve!

This is Sherry's commercial for Mini Cooper she made with the BYU film, advertising, and music departments.  It is a Mario Brothers theme and she is a modernized "real life" Princess Peach. I think she looks great on film, I'm a little biased though =)

Michael's letter this week!  We get to talk to him tomorrow!!!

Dear Dad,

That's awesome that the new Hobbit movie came out!  Just the first part was
released for now?  Or both parts are out now?  I sure do miss snow for my
Christmas.  I'm never ever ever ever going to pass Christmas in the heat
ever again after the mission.  I only want freezing cold Christmases from
here on :P.

I do miss the good old Christmas movies.  Santa Claus is Coming to Town,
Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and all the rest of the
classics.  A bummer that they aren't playing like they used to.

Until tomorrow Dad!
Love, Elder Henry

Dear Mom,

Hahaha, I like Spencer's style! (he asked his date to Yule Ball last night with a dozen coral pink roses).

What a bummer that a bunch of people ended up not showing up to the Baby Shower :(.  That's always the hard part of trying to put together a party.

Anyways our week was full of, "Come back after the holidays!" which made it pretty difficult to find new investigators.  We had 3 graduations of high schools in our chapel this week which was pretty awesome, we picked up a bunch of addresses and found some people with really good potential.  Best of all, it gave one of our investigators, the opportunity to get to know the chapel.  Everyone was super impressed with the building, and she felt really comfortable inside the church.  Also turns out she's longtime friends with the Bishop.  So pretty much after she came to the graduation its a done deal.  She went to church yesterday and I'm pretty sure she loved it.  We are going to go there tonight and talk with her a little bit.

On Saturday we had a ward party which was pretty fun.  J went to the activity and really enjoyed herself, but had to leave early.  Best part was Sunday though, because I was feeling pretty unsuccessful this week, and then I went to church expecting nobody to be there and was surprised to see V, R with his parents, and J at church.  Our gospel principles class was packed with people and we ended up finding a couple potential investigators at church.  I'm pretty excited to follow-up on these relatives of members.  

Here in Brasil everyone celebrates Christmas on Christmas eve.  Its really strange, but tonight is Christmas.  We are going to spend Christmas Eve with a couple of families of members.  I'm pretty excited, and we should have a ton of churrasco to eat.
Anyways I love you a ton, sorry I didn't write all that much, but I'll talk more tomorrow.  That is if you can understand me through my accent ;)

Elder Henry

Monday, December 17, 2012

Staying in Gravatai, believe it or not!

Mom's note--I am so grateful that he is staying in Gravatai, because I know we'll be able to coordinate talking with him on Christmas!  We can't wait!

I'm not sure what this gathering was for, but I see many of the people Elder Henry has taught in the group!

Dear Mom,
Transfer News!  Actually there really isn't any news, I'll be staying here for another transfer with Elder De Pina.  7 and a half months in Gravataí, oh yeah!
I chuckled at Mitch's comment.  I'm definitely a northwesterner :P.  I'm afraid I'll just have to stick to Oregon/Washington for the rest of my life.  I'm starting to get accustomed to the weather, but it also has cooled down a little, or rather its not nearly as humid as it was a couple weeks ago.
That sounds like a great opportunity to visit with Brother Swanson.  I would love to work in an Economics consulting firm especially in a field such as wetland mitigation.  One thing is for sure, you have to have connections to get the job you want.
When do I ever talk very much about my Companions?  Elder De Pina is 26 years old, and worked for a local television station as an anchor.  He has 12 siblings.  Half of his family lives in the United States, and the other half in Cape Verde, but he's never gone state-side.  He's a hard worker.
From What I know P-day next week will be the same as always.  So far as the packages go, they haven't arrived, and probably will arrive 6-8 weeks after you sent them, or at least that's what the office staff told me about how long they take to get here.  Who knows, tomorrow with transfers they could arrive at the office and then send them with the new missionaries to our apartment.
We went caroling yesterday with a couple ward members, something that Brasilians aren't really used to.  Their reaction was really funny, I told them, "Ok this is how it works.  We knock on the door and then when they open we start to sing, questions?"
"So we knock on the door, enter and then start to sing to them?"
"No, we knock and then sing to them outside on the street."
"Sing to them on the street?  Wah?"
"Yes, we sing to them on the street."
Definitely a different experience for them, but it ended up really well.  We sang for a couple of our recent converts, L, and R as well as one of our investigators, V.  It certainly was a surprise for the people we sang to and they sure loved it!  Everyone was talking about how next year they will have to continue to do this except bigger and better.  I'm pretty sure we'll go caroling at least 2 more times, next Sunday and Monday right before Christmas.  
I would love to send you pictures, bought a new card reader, but this computer is reading the folders as executive files.  Next week I'll use a different LAN House to see if its the computers here or something is wrong on my card.
I was pretty disappointed yesterday because hardly none of our investigators showed up to church.  We'll have to work double time to help out our investigators progress towards baptism.  Sandra was married and baptized this weekend.  I baptized her, and the marriage turned out beautiful.  I was left a little bit unsatisfied because the marriage started at 8:30 and they didn't cut the cake until 9:30 by which time we had already left to get home in time for our schedule.  I love wedding cakes :(
Pretty much our week in a blurb.  I love you all tons.  Thanks for always writing.
Elder Henry

Dear Dad,
That's really cool that Spencer's seminary class did a Christmas Program.
 I don't think we ever had anything from Seminary outside of the hours of
seminary.  I'm glad Spencer is enjoying seminary there.  I'm glad to hear
that Tori has already forgotten about me...
 I'm super happy to hear all about the progress Tori is making in her life.
 Lots of hard work is paying off for her, who knows maybe we'll have TWO
Broadway stars from our family ;).  Its interesting that you mention how it
will be nice for Spence and I to spend time together again, but now that he
doesn't play video games anymore, what will we do together?!  That was like
the number one thing we did together :P.  If Spencer ends up taller than
me, it will be a life long lesson in humility that I'll just have to take.
 I hope you guys have a great Christmas Break!

Elder Henry

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tori singing Pie Jesu

It is hard to believe this is the girl who never ever gave a talk in Primary because she was too scared to be in front of people. She is a champ!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Reflecting on the mission so far and update

Hey Dad,
I never thought when I left home that one of the things I miss most is
laying down and enjoying a good book.  You'll have to make up a list of
good books I've missed out on for me for when I get home :P.  There have been
a couple times that this situation of a CD being cheaper than the MP3's.
 I'm not quite sure how it all works, but I'm certainly happy for when I
get the Physical CD instead of just MP3's.
     Are you guys looking at snow yet?  I'm not sure quite how cold its getting
there in Washington, I'm sure that Utah is starting the snowy season.  It's
super hot here.  Actually this week was completely miserable, I've never
experienced such heat in my life.  It was over 100 degrees, and super
humid.  I was sweating at 8 o'clock in the morning when I started studies
and during the night it stayed in the high 90's.  With 3 fans blowing in
our small apartment I still could not sleep because of the heat.
 Absolutely miserable, actually yesterday it was about 92-93 degrees
without humidity and I was thinking how nice and cool it was.  I've never
thought of 90 degree weather as comfortable in my lifetime!  I sincerely
wouldn't be surprised if this summer kills me.  I picked up Athlete's foot
last week because of the heat and humidity which is a super bummer because
I've got a bunch of red dots on my feet that itch like crazy.  Fortunately
I had bought and brought anti-fungal creme from the states so I could treat
it, and I was thinking remember when I bought all those drugs to bring with
me on the mission and we thought, am I -really- going to need all of this?
 Well the Anti-Fungal creme was the last of the drugs I brought with me
that I hadn't used and I'm still only half-way through the mission!  At
least its nothing serious, but it is a bummer to get sick and have to
continue to work.
     You know Dad, I have a lot of up days and down days on the mission, but the
longer and longer I'm here the more I appreciate everyday I have here.
 Certainly there are a lot of things I can improve as a missionary, but in
all I'm very happy with how my mission is panning out, I'll probably never
be an Assistant to the President, maybe never a Zone Leader, but I'm very
happy with my personal progress and the miracles I get to see on the
mission.  Just wish they'd happen more often and quicker ;).
Elder Henry

Hey Mom!

Mother's Day we ended up calling at about 6 or 7 o'clock my time, and I really have no idea what will happen this Christmas because we have transfers next week, so I don't really know where and when I'll be able to use a computer.  You guys are going to see Les Miserables on Christmas?  How awesome is that!

Honestly it simply doesn't feel like Christmas here.  Nobody is singing Christmas carols, no one talks about how their excited for Christmas.  The advertisements of grocery stores say "Boas Festas" which means Good Partying!  Even in Sacrament meeting this week we sang only one Christmas hymn.  I'm very disappointed with Christmas in Brasil.  Christmas in the states always seemed so magical to me, and here it just feels like another month.
     Its interesting you mention not having an activities committee isn't working out very well in the ward, but really here in Brasil we always have awesome activities with less than half the members St. Johns has.  What happens is the bishop says, alright the Young Men/Women are going to put on a dance party for the ward on this day, then they go and get everything ready and its turns out awesome.  Then the next month its the Family History Committee turn to put on a dance, the next is Relief Society, the next Ward Mission makes the activity, and everyone loves the activities.  It may be a difference of culture as well, because schools and the community here don't have extra-curricular activities, so the members more or less live in the church.
     I've been trying to send you pictures but every week I'm having the same problems.  It looks like my SD to USB adapter broke, so I'll be looking for a new one today.  I did enjoy seeing Mitch and Audrey in the E-mail.  It's fun to see pictures of people from home.
     We had a really productive week last week.  We are finally finding people who are worth our time and really have a desire to move their lives.  Some weeks you just find people who are nice and let you in once and really don't have any interest, but this week we found a lot of families that went to a ward activity we had two weeks ago.  Unfortunately hardly none of our investigators went to church this week which is a bummer, but we will redouble our efforts to help people get there next week.
     Our investigators that we are focusing on right now are J, S, R, and P.  J I believe I talked a little bit about her last week, but just a re-cap we found her knocking doors and she went to the Stake Conference two weeks ago.  Unfortunately she was ill yesterday and didn't make it to church.  She also loves the Bible and really hasn't been reading more in the Book of Mormon.  We taught her the Word of Wisdom and Law of Chastity this week and she doesn't really have any problems with the commandments.  It appears that her biggest problem is she doesn't really see the difference between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and every other church on the planet.  We'll review this week with her the importance of the Restoration of the Church with her, and make sure she understands the importance of baptism by authority from God.
     R is a cousin and P is a nephew of our Bishop.  We began teaching them this week and really want to be baptised.  R bore a strong testimony to me about how he began reading the Book of Mormon and going to church and now he isn't fighting with people, that really that desire has began to leave him.  P isn't quite on the same level as R yet but he's reading the Book of Mormon and likes church a lot.  The only problem is their Dad wants to wait a little more time before they get baptised, but we will see if we can't bring him into the church as well :).
     S is really excited for her Baptism and Wedding this coming weekend :).  I'm pretty satisfied with how everything turned out there.  Really there isn't much more for us to do but to stop in and see how things are going.  
     Hopefully we'll see some progress from our new investigators this week, and I'll have more to report next week.
I love you Mom, thanks for writing.

Elder Henry

Monday, December 3, 2012

December 3, loving the people of Gravatai

Dear Mom,

From what I know we will be able to use skype again.  It really is a lot cheaper than a phone call and a lot better for us ;).  New Mission President of course will have different rules, but I'm pretty sure we'll be able to use skype for Christmas. 

I'm very excited to hear the news about Cody!  Already headed off to Grad school, and to think he started at Clark one year after me, and now I'm one year behind!  Oh well, the mission is 1,000,000 times more worthwhile than college.

If the Ducks lose another Bowl game this year, I'm going to have to hide my Duck pride.  Seriously, I can't even remember the last Bowl game that we WON. (he apparently forgot about the Rose Bowl last year--probably because he could not watch it haha)

So Summer is just about in full swing here.  Imagine that right now is the start of June, and that's pretty much our weather.  We had a day of rain last week, but during the weeks the temperature is in the low-mid 90's.  Too hot for me.  I've been asking people how hot it gets here in the summer, and the tell me that it gets up to 40-42 degrees Celsius which is about 104-107 degrees Fahrenheit.

We had Stake Conference this week with another 70, Elder Ulisses Soares from Recife.  I've now almost met all of the Brasilian General Authorities, I just need to meet Elder Cláudio R.M. Costa, and Elder Godoy.  Its interesting, but I feel like here in Brasil the 70's visit the stakes a lot more than in the States, maybe its just because I'm a missionary and I'm privileged to meet with the General authorities more often, or maybe there's just less members so they have more time to travel and visit the stakes here.

We found quite a few new people this week, but the best was J.  We found her on Friday and invited her to be baptised on the 16th of December and she accepted.  On Saturday we confirmed that she would be going to the Stake conference on Sunday, and then she went to church on Sunday!   On Sunday she also took us to visit a friend of hers who also wants to be baptised on the 16th.  Its an incredible miracle that we found her just knocking on doors.

All of my recent converts are also firm in the church.  L is active in the choir and goes to church every week.  Actually her daughter will be giving me a free cleaning this Wednesday because she's a dentist.  R went to church this week alone because his aunt was with her mom in the hospital all weekend long.  L was at the conference as well, and wants to go out with us on exchanges more often, and last but not least, I and his family are doing great in the church.  I'm really quite happy with the work I've been able to do here.  Of course the real test will come once I leave, and who actually will make it to the temple in a year, but I'm certain that everyone will be able to make it there.

L went out with us yesterday and was talking all about going on a mission here in a year.  I'm so excited to hear him talk about his desires to serve the Lord.  Also he bore powerful testimony in the two lessons we brought him to.  I'm really quite proud of him, he worked hard to be able to be baptised, and wants to continue firm until the end.

S and N are also doing really well.  We are working to try and teach S's son G, but he's been giving us a cold shoulder.  We'll see if we can't soften his heart and help him accept the gospel.

That's pretty much our week in a glimpse.  I tried to attach photos but this computer isn't accepting my USB drive also.  I hope it wasn't damaged sitting in my back-pack.  Fortunately I know the data wasn't damaged because the SD card is working fine, but I may have to buy a new SD-USB adapter.

I love you Mom, thanks for writing me every week :).

Elder Henry 

Dear Dad,

You are absolutely correct, Missionary work is work, I was happy to hear

that you were reminded of this by your missionaries.  It doesn't even
appear like Christmas is here yet.  There isn't really anything to remind
you of Christmas time.  Nobody uses Christmas lights, trees, music...
nothing.  Travel is something much less common here in Brasil, because no
one has a car or money.  So you have to travel by Bus which is expensive
and takes forever.  Also families live pretty close together so when they
have a family get-together everyone is already super close.  So I don't
think there will be too many problems for Christmas time Proselyting.

I do miss basketball a lot down here.  There is simply know way to get

around to playing.  Also Brasilians make me look like a Michael Jordan on
the court.  Its hard to find a Brasilian that even knows how to dribble a
ball.  I'll have to make up for all the missed Basketball time after
the mission ;).

I'm really happy to hear you are helping out the missionaries there.  We

really depend a lot on the members, and not just for rides and food, but
for Baptisms.

I love you Dad,


Elder Henry