Monday, September 22, 2014

I feel like a missionary!

Alright. This week has been amazing. I hope that everybody had as good as a week as I did.

First off, pictures. The first one is me standing in front of some sugar cane. Sugar cane is pretty awesome because you can just chew on it and sugar juice comes out of it yum yum!

 and the second picture is a comic shot of good old Elder Johnson. :-). 

As for the third picture, that's the view from one of the houses in the ghetto. Not too shabby view for the ghetto! Haha.

 President Wong talked last Sunday about how "he never wants the elders to be starving" and so we have had to figure out how to tell people that we can't go to all their houses and eat on Sunday haha. Yesterday people were literally walking up and giving us food, yum yum, and then a big lunch was prepped for us after church too! We were also supposed to go eat dinner which was going to be home made PIZZA!! But a surprise training from a Seventy (a church leader) came up and we went to that (which I didn't get too much out of since it's in another language haha). That last picture is the bus ride there.

I will start out with the bad. Elder Ritchie and I, to summarize, had been too focused on numbers and not on the people behind the numbers for a week or so. Our numbers were looking good except we were losing baptismal dates and progressing investigators, and we couldn't seem to figure out why. After a particularly frustrating day, where I looked at our lessons which were good on paper but I didn't feel that I was teaching by the spirit on any of them, we both stepped out and re-evaluated. We then had some really dang amazing studies, and started right up teaching with such a strong spirit. Our numbers were bad on Friday, but we were SO stinking happy with that day. We had like 3 lessons, but each one of them was so strong. Then Saturday was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!! We had like 6 lessons and while not all of them were amazing, many of them were and none were bad! I can't even explain how good it feels to teach with the spirit. It is a great feeling of accomplishment then anything else in my life that I can think of. It is so refreshing. After teaching one of those particularly spiritual lessons on Sunday, I turned to Elder Ritchie and said "I just realized that all the times I've felt homesick are just because I haven't been teaching well. I feel like a missionary right now. I feel like I'm carrying the same wonderful spirit that the missionaries brought in to our home, and that's what I signed up for :-)

And then Sunday. Wooh man, yesterday was amazing. I don't know if I've been telling you about how our attendance has been, but here goes. My first week here we had 107 people at church and no bishop. 2 weeks in, President Wong of the stake presidency (first counselor) was assigned as our temporary bishop, and he put a huge focus on member missionary work and attendance (the norm for our ward was about 150). Three weeks later, 5 weeks in total, and yesterday we had 171 in church. HOLY COW!!!!!!!! It is so great. Even though I haven't had a baptism yet and some of my friends have, it is so great to see that we have made real progress in my area!!!! And the members are AMAZING. It's so crazy. We had 7 investigators in church yesterday. Guess how many of them we found ourselves? 1. ONE. the members brought 6 people to church that aren't members, and a ton of less actives as well! And our companions had 7 as well! We had 14 investigators at church, and it's because the members are energized! It feels like we barely do anything, and they can do so much. We are like a couple of shepherd dogs. Just a few missionaries working correctly can set a whole herd of member missionaries in to action! That is what I have learned so much this week, especially because Elder Johnson has been focusing on it in his teachings. It is so wild. When I got here, Sundays were the worst days of the week. Now, they're the BOMB! It's so great. oh and speaking of food, how are the missionaries in our ward? Do you guys have them over for dinner a lot still? There is nothing better than a member reaching out to get to know a missionary, even though it isn't your job it is a huge blessing to us :-)

Man. I wish that I could give everybody the spirit that I'm able to feel on a daily basis here on the mission. But, you are all capable of getting it! I just can't give it. Cherish the words of life continually, ponder in how best to serve your fellow men, and focus outside of yourselves and you'll encounter unbelievable amount of joy.

Alright, just like the insanity work outs I feel like I need a little bit of a spiritual cool down after writing about that.

I ate all my peanut butter. 2 Jars did not last nearly as long as I thought they would. Maybe I should just tell all the ward members to give us peanut butter instead of real food? :P

The snacks in Costa Rica are amazing. I say this all the time: Costa Ricans have snacks, treats, cookies, and  crackers down PAT. They are cheap and they are DELICIOUS. Now they just have to eat something other than rice and beans. ;-) Actually I've been enjoying lunches a lot more lately. 

One more week and I've completed my first transfer in the field! That's pretty cool :-)
Good to hear you have a busy life mom :-) Nothing more boring than nothing! Haha. I'm sure you'll get used to it just like I Oh actually fun story time! 

So we've been doing a workout program for exercise (almost) every morning called Insanity. Well, it is insane. Elder Johnson and Elder Ritchie who were both soccer players and all before the mission also are just like dying during these workouts haha. But anyways it's been really cool to see my progression from my first week needing to go to sleep by like 10:10 and sleep till 6:30 to feel kind of rested to now most days we wake up at 6 so that we have longer to exercise! It feels great to gain a body capable of doing all the work that the Lord needs. 

But you should hear us when we exercise. We say some of the silliest stuff. Shaun T. is the workout video guy, and so we're always screaming stuff like "I HATE YOU SHAUN T" or "I LOVE YOU SHAUN T!!!!" or like "WHY DO YOU DO THIS SHAUN T" and just ridiculous stuff. Sometimes "A girl worth exercising for" does the trick, or sometimes just laughing at each others terrible form as we get done with the last set of uppercuts (those things are KILLER.) Especially in the ab workout, we're all on the ground with our legs in the air and we just start practically crying haha. Not really but it's so much fun. Even though at the start of every one I dread it....

We've also started making group breakfasts (and sometimes dinners). It's really nice because we have one person iron, one person do dishes, and one person cook while the other is showering basically. Also since we normally get 10-20 more minutes in the morning since we wake up early, and it just makes our mornings start out relaxed. I've also started reading Liahonas or the Bible at night as I call it my "joyreading" where I'm not looking really to pick out anything specific, but instead just dive in, and it is so great. Scriptures are such a wonderful place of solace.

I am doing super well Mom. Holy cow. I feel like a missionary! This is what I'm out here to do. I'll explain later why haha.

I really let Elder Ritchie know how much I appreciate him this week, and it's made us really tight. Of course, we haven't really ever had any problems at all that I can think of which is super tuaniz (spanish slang-ish (its allowed) for cool or awesome) (pronounced twan-ees) but we have been really tight and constructive this week.

The league lesson went great!!! I think I might have confused you by the way I'm not playing it or anything haha it's solely pencil and paper. But anyways I had 3 kids there, Jo. and Ja. and also just a random kid who was sitting nearby who plays! So I didn't actually get around to the lesson because they were late but I got to know them and talked to them about basically my motto for that class: "A better player and a better person." Because a big part of what I plan on teaching them is how to learn to be humble, kind, quick to learn, and how to work as a team; basically just how to be a better person. So that was great and it feels really wonderful to have the spirit in a class about a video game haha. I told them how I really hoped to gain deep friendships out of the class as well, and both the kids (I didn't have time to invite the soccer random kid to church) came to church the next day and stayed all 3 hours (last week only 1 hour). Also, one of the other kids I started the class thinking or talking with, D, came and stayed all 3 hours even though he didn't show up for the class! He plays the same characters as me so I am going to be able to teach him some really cool complex technical stuff too (he's platinum, which means like top 10 or 5%). But anyways we already have a really strong bond already and they help me with my Spanish a TON (There's nothing more difficult than talking conversationally about a game, because you flip through tenses all the time going from story telling to just talking and then to what you want them to do for the next class, etc!) so it's good.  But yeah, in short, it went really well even though I didn't actually teach them anything about the game :-)

I love you!
Elder Spencer Henry

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