Monday, January 28, 2013

Excitement for Sherry & what a mission has done for Elder Henry

Elder Henry and soon-to-be Sister Henry
 Dear Mom,
Happy Birthday Aunt Vikki! I hope you have a wonderful year, and can't wait to see you this Summer :).
Man it really is exciting to know that Sherry's going to be heading out on a mission. What's even funnier is that two years ago this time of the year I was finishing up my papers and receiving my call. Now Sherry will be getting her call, and probably headed out before I get home :O. Imagine, almost 4 years without seeing Sherry.
     Also I wouldn't ever want anyone to get called to California. Not that I didn't love my time there or anything, but I simply do not like California. Plus I want my sister to have to walk as much as I do, and if she serves state-side she'll drive all day long. Cabo Verde would be really cool, but my heart is set on Brasil. We'll see though, where she'll end up serving. My guess is Italy.
     I'm not quite sure I feel like I'm on top of things now as a missionary. I think its just because after all this time I have experience and I know what to do and when to do it. I suppose that this is normal on the mission when you are in the last 6 months but I don't have any problems with Português, I know how to get along with difficult companions, I know how to work with the members, I know what a weak investigator looks like and what a golden investigator looks like, and I have enough experience balancing all the different parts of missionary work that I finally feel like I'm not running around like a chicken with its head cut off. Missionary work is normal to me now. I feel like all the techniques I've learned in the mission I'm finally mastering.
     "What are some of the things the mission has done for me?"
How can I explain the answer to this question. I've completely changed on the mission, not so much my physical appearance or what I like or any of the normal things, but my entire perspective in life has changed. Some of the things I've learned are Patience, Planning, Practice, Charity, and of course a new language. I guess what I've learned the most on the mission though is who I am. I am a Priesthood Holder. I am a child of God. I am someone who has faith sufficient to bring about miracles. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am a Christian, and live to serve others above myself. These are invaluable lessons that I've learned about myself. Before the mission I didn't truly understand Faith and the Power of the Priesthood. I knew what it was, I could define it for you, but I never understood the power that it contains, and now I understand so clearly how it all works. It's incredible how the mission changes your perspective of a church I've been a member of since 8 years old.
     This last week was pretty good until Sunday. Sunday was the first week in months that none of our Investigators went to church. That was a drag, you work your tail off all week with the expectation of people showing up on Sunday and then nobody shows up. Oh well, this week will be better I'm sure.
I better send this off, we are already late to our lunch appointment. I love you.
Elder Henry
P.S. I'm SUPER excited to hear about Sherry's Call XDD!!!
PPS Oh also before I forget, I received one more package from the United States, but it get hit by Tariffs and they wanted 75 U.S. Dollars to release it, so I told them to send it back. I don't know who sent it, but let everyone know that if they receive a package returned that that was what happened.
Dear Dad,
Personally I'm excited that Sherry is headed off for a mission. You know why? Because that means Elmo (our little red hybrid Honda) WILL BE MINE!!! MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! All these years that she tried to steal him from me, and now she'll be leaving for a mission and I'LL be able to steal HER cell phone and HER car and all the cool stuff that SHE has. REEEEEVENGE!!!
That's way awesome that you'll get to see your old missionary companion. Where in Huntington Beach does he live? It's been a while since I've been there, but I still remember most of the main streets and places.
Got to go Dad. Thanks for the updates. I love you.
Elder Henry

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

I highly recommend reading his biography, written by his wife Coretta Scott King.  
Here are some of my favorite quotes from this great Christian, I so admire his inspiring leadership. 

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. 

At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.

Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. ... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.

One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized, cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.

A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.

The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

A right delayed is a right denied.

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.

We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And he’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Elder Henry's letter 1/21/13

Dear Dad,
I'm sitting here cracking up about the whole Bishopric rule XD. What apostasy is happening in the North Stake, the Bishop is merely a leader not a saint or an apostle. Oh my goodness, I would have just walked out at that moment... Anyways pretty ridiculous.
When I tell people here about church schedule there they are absolutely horrified. Here you only have 2 wards per building, its pretty rare to have 3, and normally you just have one. Also when you have 2 wards, one starts at 8:30 with the class block first, and the other starts at 9:00 with sacrament meeting. Then our ward, Gravataí ends sacrament at 10:10, with Parque dos Anjos (8:30 ward) starting sacrament at 10:20. Everyone is done with church before noon. I try to tell people here that this is completely backwards but they think that having church during the hour of Lunch is absolutely absurd. Still I prefer 11:00 schedule ;).
Hehe, sounds like Spencer was a little bit nervous (his first time tracting with our missionaries) huh. I can remember being that way as well all those years back, its funny because teaching the missionary lessons is 2nd hand nature for me now that I don't even really think about it. I just show up at the lesson and teach. Poor Spencer first time with the missionaries. But sounds like it was pretty good. Also your missionaries should not be knocking doors, but should be receiving references from members. Tell Spencer the next time he goes out with the missionaries to take them to his friend's houses like Ryan, or Tanner's or someone with some potential instead of knocking doors.
I'm super excited for this Disneyland trip, sounds really awesome. I can't wait to get home! Wait a minute, February, you're already planning for 2014 right? Just the four of us, why would you exclude Spencer or Tori from going? Dad you are so silly, there will be 5 of us in 2014, are you already forgetting that I exist!?
Really it sounds like a lot of fun that the 4 of you will have. I bet they'll be super excited to hear the good news. I just wish I could go too! :P
Anyways I need to get going,
Love you Dad.
Elder Henry
Dear Mom,
They buy the plane tickets usually 3 transfers before we go home, and then I'll receive an official date. So probably in March-ish I'll be getting a release date, but I'll probably be home July 18th or 25th, depending if we have another 5 week transfer or not. (I just called the secretaries and they told me that July 10th is my plane-date, but its not set in stone yet, it could still get moved around. Also that would mean I get home on the 11th). (Mom: my friends all know when their missionaries are coming home already and I need to get a couple days off, since they just re-organized my department at work.)
2. (Spencer started taking Economics and LOVES it) HAHA, I love it, me and my brother can open up a consulting firm together!
4. Well, about Sherry that's how things go I suppose, hope she is ok. I'm still really excited to tell everyone that my sister is going on a mission ^^. Oh and I'm totally rooting for Brasil I hope you know. I want all my siblings to serve missions in Brasil >:). (I told him we are hoping for Italy, for her opera singing,which didn't fly with him apparently haha)
6. Spence is awesome :D (In response to telling him Spencer went out with the missionaries for the first time)
My heart broke a little bit when I heard that Chip left the Ducks... Oh well that's how things go.
Also those pictures were pretty funny :P.
We had another pretty normal week this week. N is doing really great. I'm really happy with her progress and went to church this Sunday as well. Hopefully this week we'll be able to resolve her doubts and help her to understand and develop a desire to be baptised.
We had a couple more investigators at church for the first time this week. The first one is named A. He and his brother went to church for the first time and really enjoyed themselves :). Its a little bit difficult to meet with him because he works swing shift, basically all the hours that we work XD. So we have to visit him in the morning hours, but we'll see more of what he thought of church on Thursday.
Finally we had a less active member come to church with her son who's not a member. His name is A, and he's a young man, 15 years old. He's actually really cool, and when we taught him this week he really payed attention to what we were saying and liked what we had to say :). It also looked like he made friends really quickly with the other Young Men. Only problem is he's really hard to find at home as well.
Hopefully this week we'll be able to find a few other new investigators and help them to progress as well as mark dates with these investigators. Feburary should be another good month of baptisms as these 4 all have good potential to be baptised :). I feel like I'm finally getting the hang of missionary work after all this time.
Love you all, thanks for writing me.
Elder Henry

Monday, January 14, 2013

Elder Henry January 14th

 Dear Mom,
If I send this E-mail 4 or 5 times, it’s because of this stupid Keyboard and keyboard shortcuts.  I still am unable to send photos, but we had 3 baptisms this weekend.  V, R, and B were all baptized.  It was pretty awesome :).

We have enough Priesthood holders on both sides of the ward, I'm not sure if in the end they will split the wards though... Because we have a sacrament meeting attendance of about ~120 after the split it'll be at 50 and 70, but the Bishop and Stake president are all for the split.  We'll see what the area authorities have to say though.  They've already sent off the paperwork and we are waiting for a response.

Splitting the ward is pretty much the best thing that can happen for the missionaries and for the Bishop.  Everyone else though complains.  But it’s good because everyone will have an opportunity to grow, and the ward will need more members, which means the members will have to work and baptize more people to make sure the ward keeps on functioning.

So far as housing at BYU, what I'll have to do is get a contract just for fall semester instead of buying a contract for a full year so I don't have to sell the contract.  We'll also have to look at prices and location, because I know more or less where to live, where not to live, and for sure I'm not going to rent out a 6-man apartment.  4 is my limit. 

The weather has not been nice and cool.  It’s been in the high 80's and 90's all week long.  Its good weather to stay in and turn on the Air Conditioning, not to go out and walk around in the sun in black pants and a dress shirt, but of course it could be worse.  It’s also been nice and cool at night, but let me tell you I'm not going to miss the weather here.

Oh!  I received all my packages this last week no problems.  I really have no idea what I'm going to do with all these Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon cards though...  There are a lot more than I expected. (He asked for them for the little kids in his ward for Christmas, but Brazilian mail is SLOW!)

So V, her daughter B were baptized on Saturday. R also was baptized, and his parents are also showing a lot of interest in the church.  They were talking with the Bishop about getting married in the chapel and everything.  Also they showed up to church on Sunday.  

We also have another investigator that went to church yesterday named N.  We found her a week ago, and ever since the first day we went there she has stopped smoking.  She was smoking 2 packs per day, we talked with her about it and are helping her stop smoking.  She really is incredible and full of miracles.  It’s awesome to see someone progressing so fast, it’s awesome to see that sometimes you just have to invite someone to do what is right and they are willing to accept.  Brazil really is full of miracles.

Well I better get writing to President before my time expires.  I love you thanks for always looking out for me and planning out my future :).

Elder Henry

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy in Gravatai

Looks like Elder Henry got salad and not Churrascos that night.  Elder DePena from Cape Verde Africa is his companion.

Dear Mom,
We had a really fun Zone P-day today, we went and climbed a small hill 14 missionaries together.  It was pretty cool, afterwards we headed to the Stake Presidents house and had a big old Churrasco, I ate waaaaay too much.  We also played a little bit of soccer and had a great time just enjoying one another's company.

Last week was pretty awesome.  V and B are really excited to be baptised this Saturday.  They both have given up coffee already and are preparing themselves.  Its really funny how you can teach someone and teach and teach, until you are blue in the face and nothing happens.  Then you knock on the door of someone who is searching for the gospel and they completely open up.  Its amazing to see the change in the lives of the people you are teaching and how powerful the gospel of Jesus Christ really is.

I had a pretty cool experience this last weekend as well.  I was fasting for one of our investigators, R, who really wants to be baptised but was unsure of the day.  We marked a goal for him for the 12th of January but he wasn't sure that that was the time.  I prayed, and fasted this weekend for him to have an experience that would help him to know that he is ready for baptism.  Sunday after church we finished our fast and taught a lesson to a new investigator.  Then as we left the lesson, I had the feeling that we should go to R's.  We hadn't planned this and had other appointments that we were already late for but I decided lets try and call someone for a ride and then we'll have time to go to R's.  We called, and no one responded.  Still I decided, well lets just go to R's and then everything will be fine.

We showed up at R's house and his Dad answered the door.  Turns out R wasn't home.  Well shoot, I thought, what are we going to do next?  Then R's Dad told us that R was at the bishops house.  I then turned to Elder De Pina and said, "What do you think should we go the bishop's house?"  After a few moments we both decided that we should go.  We arrived there and talked with R, and sure enough in response to my fast and prayers, R's doubts were gone and wants to be baptised this Saturday.  What a great response to prayer and fasting.

Other than these three we are working hard to find new investigators, we don't really have any more investigators that are progressing towards baptism.  I'm really quite happy here in Gravataí.

Thanks Mom and Dad for always being there to help me with my life and mission.

Elder Henry

Dear Dad,

Great news to hear that the Ducks won the bowl game.  Thank goodness! The huge wooden O sounds super cool.  Oh the simple things that please a Ducks fan ;).  

Its funny to think that Basketball season this year you won't be organizing.  Like I know you'll participate just like every year, but you'll be a lot less involved then in the other years. 

How I do miss the snow.  The worst part is I won't even get to play in the snow until NEXT December/January.  *sigh* Sooooo faaaaaar away...  Oh well there are worse things that can happen to a missionary than be far away from snow for 2 years, right?

I better get going, I love you Dad.

Elder Henry

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Gravatai 12/31/12

Dear Mom,
Wow! Sherry's commercial turned out super cool! I liked it a lot, pretty creative for a car commercial, and Sherry looked fantastic! Super natural, just like a movie star! Talk about talent.
I liked the pictures you sent me, but Tina looks especially fat nowadays XD. Bah this keyboard is horrible-.-, don't be too mad if this e-mail is short, it’s taking forever just to write a sentence.
I sure had a lot of fun talking with you guys too. It really surprised me how hard it is to speak English after not really talking with anyone for 6 months in English. You start to forget how it’s supposed to feel in your mouth and you get all tripped up with the small words that just don't translate all that great XD. I'm starting to practice a little bit more in English to make sure I don't completely forget here in Brasil. Actually yesterday we went to a friend of a member to teach him and João, the new investigator, just got home from Ireland a month ago. So I got a good hour of English in while I was teaching him. It really was strange switching back to teaching in English because I'm so used to my teaching groove in Portuguese that I had to reverse translate on the spot.
Last week was probably one of the hardest weeks of the mission. We ended up knocking a lot of doors and walking around everywhere trying to contact the few references we had and didn't really end up with anything in the end. The funny thing is, this week was really hard for Brasil, but if I compared it to the United States, I would be telling you guys all about the best week I ever had. There really is no comparison between the two missions. Let’s just say that I'm glad I'm here and not there :P.
J finally gave up yesterday. She is very stuck on a couple doctrines that she just doesn’t want to believe in and gave up on reading the Book of Mormon. Oh well, people have their free agency right?
Good news is V brought her daughter to church yesterday and absolutely loved it. V also gave up drinking coffee; it was actually quite an interesting experience. We hadn't explained about the Word of Wisdom yet and during Sunday school they were talking about how Alcohol, Tobacco and Coffee are bad for you. She asked the professor, "Why do you keep talking about coffee?"
I began to think to myself, oh no, this is not going anywhere good.  Bro. T, our Gospel Principles teacher began to explain that coffee is bad for us, has a ton of toxins and is addictive, and so we don't use coffee in the church. I was waiting for the normal backlashes of, "Soda has caffeine too! It’s bad for you, why do you drink soda and not coffee!" But instead afterwards V told me, "Wow what an incredible class. Last night I was looking at my blood pressure and noticed it was really high, so I asked Heavenly Father to show me how to improve my health, and then in the middle of a lesson on Charity, he responded! I have to give up coffee." I was absolutely blown away. Sometimes I forget that every person is a little bit different and reacts in a different way. Needless to say I was very grateful that Heavenly Father answers our prayers.
R was also at church today and has started to read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover. It’s a little bit hard for him, because he's only 13 years old, but he's working hard to try and read and understand what the Book of Mormon is trying to say to him. It's really awesome to see Youth working so hard in the church, something that I feel like I never really participated in as an adolescent.
Anyways I better wrap this up. Happy New Year!
Elder Henry

Dear Dad,
I don't think a day passes by that someone doesn't ask me about snow. All the Brasilians are mystified by snow, and everyone wants to play in it. I'm a little bit jealous because I sure do enjoy the cold weather instead of the hot weather. They said that Christmas day was the hottest its been in 12 years, and the summer has just started. It hit 42 degrees Celsius or 107.6 degrees Fahrenheit, but the sensation with the humidity was 50 degrees Celsius or 122 degrees Fahrenheit. I don't really understand too well what they try to mean about sensational temperature and real temperature. To me it sounds like one of the things that people make up to make it sound like they have it the worst. To me if the temperature gauge says 42 its 42, not 50, but anyways it was HOT! It's actually kinda funny because Wednesday until Friday it rained and rained and rained. So it went from 42 degrees on Tuesday to 18 degrees on Wednesday. If the weather kills me here you'll know why.
I'm glad you guys had a great Christmas without me. I hope you all have a great New Years Eve tonight! Drink some Apple Cider for me ;).
Elder Henry