Sunday, March 31, 2013

New Report Date for Alpine German-speaking mission

This is a conglomeration of all the little videos Wendy took for us--there is a little black part where she was comforting the shocked Sherry, it continues after that though

Sherry did surprisingly well on her German language phone screening, all the studying and practicing German really paid off.  She will only have to stay in the MTC for two weeks, so she will report two weeks prior to her departure to Europe, which is July 10th (basically she will be home working for the four extra weeks she doesn't have to spend in the MTC).  And she gets to go spend some time with her Granny in Baja, be a bridesmaid for Rachel and Hannah both now, and enjoy quality time with her friends, former teachers, and some of her good friends who are returning from missions at that time!

Oh, and Elder Henry?  His release date is July 10th.  We're going to have to see how we can work around with this so we can all be together for at least a little while, we hope!  Spencer will leave next summer, when Sherry has 6 more months on her mission.

I remember thinking about a year ago about how much I love being a Missionary Mom.  And that I was going to be sad when Michael came home and I had to wait two more years to send another one. I am grateful to have the opportunity to share my children with the Children of God that they teach and serve on their missions!
This may be our last family photo for 5 years...we shall see!!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Advice from Elder Henry to newly called S.Brasil missionaries

Dear Mom,
Like I would ever forget your birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I'll eat some cake with you when I get back okay?
Before I forget, tips and guidelines for a missionary coming to Porto Alegre North Mission (Lisa's good friend Melisa's son was just called to the same mission!):
Shoes: Don't buy Eccos. Everyone says eccos are awesome and comfortable and last a lot of time. They are, but they just don't hold up to the environment here. I've had numerous companions with eccos that have holes in them. Also you can't buy shoes bigger than size 12 here, Brasilians have really small feet, so if your shoe size is bigger than 12, you'll have to wait for a replacement package with shoes for about 2-3 months, IF they get here. Shoes are also really expensive here in Brasil, so its best to bring a pair you won't need to replace in two years of walking.
I recommend my Missionshoes that you got me. There is almost no wear on the bottom, and the only trouble I've had with them is the leather. They are also waterproof which is great. The leather doesn't hold up all that great, and one of the pairs has a big hole in the side where the leather wore out. Fortunately I was able to repair them because they have people here that repair shoes, only problem is its not waterproof, and the repair left them pretty ugly.
Suits, you will only use your suit at Zone Conferences, and to go to church on Sunday. Also Suits are pretty cheap here, so you can get by with just bringing one suit even though your call packet says two. If you need another one, you can buy a suit with pants here for less than $50 US Dollars
Weather: The weather here isn't colder than Washington. The coldest it gets here is 25 degrees in the winter, but bring some long-Johns because it will be like camping in 25 degree weather as your apartment will not have a heater. It does get REALLY hot in the summer, so you are going to want pretty much all Polyester blend short sleeve shirts. DO NOT BRING 100% COTTON SHIRTS. You will die.
It also rains here quite a bit, so bring a jacket that's waterproof and can be nice and warm in the winter, but also not too heavy for the other seasons. One coat I've seen that's pretty cool, is one Mr. Mac sells, that has a button-in liner that you can pull out when the weather's not very cold. It's also waterproof which is perfect.
Food/Culture: Well this is probably the best part of serving in Rio Grande do Sul, because there is a strong Gaúcho culture here which is a ton of fun. You'll drink Chimarrão, eat a ton of churrasco (the best churrasco of Brasil) and you'll notice that Rio Grande do Sul looks more like Europe than it does Brasil. In our mission we only have a handful of areas that are REALLY dangerous, so you won't need to worry too much about being assaulted, and also we good running water and not really any dangerous viruses around here. Bring all the medications on your call packet, I've used all of them. Sunscreen is really expensive and really bad here, bring it from the states.
I'm pretty sure that's the advise I have to give. All the other stuff you learn when you get here, lol.
That's great news about Duck Basketball! I doubt they'll make it to the Championship game, but at least they are at sweet sixteen for the first time in I don't even remember how long lol.
I'm glad to hear that the Life of Christ event was a success! Good job mom :)
Anyways I have to get wrapping up this e-mail. I spent way too much time talking about what to bring on the mission lol. Before I go I'll talk a little about the week.
We worked super hard this week with a family that I've talked about before, S (less active) and Ju (Investigator).  We have been passing by every day to teach them to help them get to church this week, and then J, S, B (J's Sister), B (Daughter), M (Step-mom) all went to Church. It was so great to see the whole family seeking the peace the gospel brings, everyone together. The church really is for Families. To bring together families and build the relationships of the family to last for all eternity. We went to their house yesterday after church, and  everyone was sitting together chatting, and having fun one with another.  The fruits of the gospel are settling in, moving the future of the family from separation, to resolving their problems and moving forward. I love to be a missionary.
I love you guys!
Elder Henry

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pig's Ears are yummy

Dear Mom,
Yup I got the new news about e-mails today. That's super crazy, I feel really strange sending e-mails to people that I haven't talked to for like a year and a half. I guess it doesn't really move anything in my mission because I've survived 19 months without e-mail to friends, so another 5 won't kill me, but it'll be great for Sherry and Spencer, right? It must be hard to be a Mom. You had to wait 21 years before you finally started to feel like you did something right as a Mom lol.
     I'm glad to hear that all is well on the home front. Everyone here asks me if my family is doing good, which is kind of funny because I don't ever even worry that something bad will happen to you guys while I'm here, because I know that the Lord will take care of you guys while I'm gone.
     I'll have to be a little bit shorter today, because now I have like 5 e-mails to write instead of 2 and I still only have an hour to do it all.
     This weekend was pretty rough for us, because Saturday almost all of our appointments fell through. Our only progressing investigator is doing great and is going to get her papers for the marriage so that she can be baptised in April. Man I do NOT want to wait until the end of April for another baptism. I'm getting all sorts of panicked because I just don't have that many months until the end of the mission, and I don't want to pass another one without baptising someone.       Anyways we are going to work super hard this week and next week so that on Easter Sunday we can have at least one baptism. I hope that everything will work out so we can meet that goal.
I love you mom, thanks for all the support.
Elder Henry
P.S. Almost forgot about my new companion, his name is Elder C from Draper, Utah. He's pretty new on the mission, 4 months, and I'm super super super grateful to be together with an American again. You know all my life you told me never to marry/date someone from a different country because there would be all sorts of cultural differences, and I never ever understood what you meant until I had Brasilian and African companions. Not that I didn't love them but there were just a couple cultural things that drove me CRAZY!!! Its funny but its never the big stuff that bugs you about your companion, but its all the little stuff they do that drives you bonkers :P. Anyways I'm loving my time with Elder Chidester and this transfer should be pretty AWESOME.
Dear Dad
That's great news about the Truck! I'm glad that after what 5 years of moving forward the truck has finally come to a halt! Its good to know that there are finally brakes on that truck that will stop us in the event of an emergency. I gotta go because time is up. I love you and love to hear from you.
Elder Henry
PS One more thing, I almost forgot to tell you. Remember those pig ears that we used to buy for Issac from petsmart that he loved? Yeah I found out last Saturday that Pig Ear is actually pretty tasty, now I know why he loved them so much. You just have to watch out to not eat the eardrum!
-Elder Henry

Monday, March 11, 2013

Elder Henry's letters are getting shorter

Dear Mom,
There really isn't an autumn here that I remember from last year. All the trees are still green but a lot of them will loose their leaves here in a bit. I'm pretty excited for the cold weather to come back. Oh and I did buy a new battery for the camera, but it was super expensive, 60 dollars for a dinky little battery. Oh well, at least I have a camera now right?
So today is transfers and Elder Moura will be leaving me tomorrow. I'll be staying here in Mathias Velho for a little bit longer, and we'll see who my new companion is tomorrow. Also Elder E. Black is headed out of our zone now as well. I really enjoyed having him here close this transfer. Its a bummer that we don't stay close longer than one transfer together. I think he's going to be the new assistant, but we'll see...
Haha, I totally forgot that Sherry will have even less time in the MTC because she knows a thing or two about German (she only has to stay two weeks, she's worked really hard to learn German since she began studying it last semester, her report date will either be changed to May 29 or July 3) :p. That's ok life is WAAAAY better in the field than in the MTC.
So we had a pretty sweet week this last week. First off I went on an exchange with Elder E. Black for a day, and man did that really just give me a turbo boost of what its like to be a missionary. We had some pretty epic lessons on the exchange and we just had a blast together. It was a lot of fun to stay together again for a day after being separated for such a long time. We have both learned a ton as missionaries in these last few months :).
Then on Friday and Saturday we found a ton of new families. At the end of the week we had found 22 new investigators. Only problem is only 2 went to church this week. But things are going well here, and I'm starting to really enjoy Mathias. Hopefully we'll be able to baptise this month :).
Anyways that was pretty much our week. I love you guys, thanks for all the updates from home.
Elder Henry
Dear Dad,
Maybe we'll have to take a trip together back to California for you not to miss it too much ;). That would be super cool if you got the upgrade on the Truck's brakes done and everything. Its been a long time since you decided that we needed to upgrade them haha. It would be super crazy for Sherry to leave one week and me come home on the other. Could you imagine it?
     Anyways Dad, thanks for the update on the home front. I hope you figure out these app's and get something started up ;).
Elder Henry

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

100th Post! Elder Henry's report from Canoas March 4th: Gauchos don't like spicy food.

We took Tori & Spencer to Disneyland--the older kids got to go on all kinds of choir tours and trips as they were growing up and we cut down on activities with these two.  They are such good kids who make good choices we wanted to reward them for making our life easier!

Dear Mom,
I loved the pictures from Disneyland. Looks like you all had a great trip there! Disneyland is definitely on my radar for things I want to do in the near-future. Especially being so close to Long Beach. I'm glad you enjoyed the sun, This last week we had a pretty mild week in the 90's and today and yesterday its raining.
That's great news about Kelsey being re-hired. I figured she would be, I mean who wouldn't want her as a teacher?
Ever since the beginning of this year, all foreign language missionaries had their MTC time cut by a third. So Sherry will stay in the MTC for 6 weeks instead of 9 (lucky...). The new greenies were supposed to come in this transfer but all the Americans got stuck in the US, so instead of receiving 20 new missionaries we got 12. The first 19-year-old Sisters haven't arrived yet. I didn't get an opportunity to buy a new battery for the camera. I'll have to look around today in Downtown Canoas, there should be a shop there that sells batteries for cameras. For my birthday in April, I really don't want a package. I'd rather celebrate my Birthday in July, and go and buy the things I'm going to need for college next year. By the time I get a mission package here, I'll be just about finishing up the mission and won't really need anything.
Mathias Velho is smaller than Gravataí, but not by much. Gravataí had an average frequency of 130 people in Sacrament meeting. Here its more like 100-110. Also our Chapel is an older smaller model, so the sacrament meeting room only holds 130 people, and the last two weeks was packed. I had a hard time finding a seat! Its the same style of chapel that I had in Rio Pardo, more fit for a Branch than a Ward.
The Mexican fiesta was pretty successful overall. We had 3 investigator families there, as well as a couple friends of the young men. We marked to teach all of them this week, and they all have pretty good potential to accepting the gospel. The food was a bit of a fiasco, because nobody liked the taco meat. They all complained that it was waaaay too spicy. I just laughed in their faces as I told them that I didn't even put HALF the pepper that the recipe called for. One thing's for sure, I'm never going to open a mexican restaurant here in the South. Gaucho's (the name for Brazilian cowboys--Southern Brazil/Argentina area) don't like Pepper, end of story XD. I loved the tacos though, tasted just like home ;).
We had a great lesson this Saturday as well with A. She and M have to get married legally before she can be baptised. We brought a member with us named D. He's a long time friend of M and helped a ton in our lesson. Actually I was fasting this Saturday-Sunday specifically for her to have the desire to be baptised, and at the end of our lesson on Saturday she told us, "Look if it weren't for this whole marriage thing, I'd go and be baptised tomorrow!" Unfortunately marriage takes a lot of time here in Brasil, so probably she won't be baptised until April.
We are also teaching a great family, J and L. They are friends of a less active member, and they remind me a lot of J and M in Rio Pardo. 
I just looked through a couple of the letters I sent home to you guys almost a year ago. Haha, what a trip. Its like I went back in time for a few minutes and was re-living the moments when I was writing to you. Something I saw is that the first week I arrived in Gravataí I said, well Gravataí has about 20x more problems than Rio Pardo, and now I'm feeling the exact same way with Mathias Velho XD. Except now looking back its like Gravataí was an AWESOME area, and Rio Pardo was an AWESOME area. Why is it only awesome after you leave?! I was feeling a little bit down this Saturday after the ward didn't really like the food on Friday, but I was really comforted on Sunday. We had 3 or 4 members get up and bore their testimonies about how they are seeing a change in the ward, and how the missionaries that are here now (Elder Henry and Elder Moura) are doing an awesome job. The members that went on splits with us also talked about how their testimonies were strengthened as they went out with us. It was really good to see that there really is a change going on in this ward, even if times are rough right now, the ward is preparing itself for growth, and when the ward is prepared to grow, missionary work explodes :).

I love you guys, I'm really happy to know that you'll had a great time at Disneyland :)

Elder Henry