Monday, September 29, 2014

The Grandma Mountain Parable

District at the Temple!
Wow, I've got a lot of things to write about today! First off, the gringos (that means Americans) in our ward gave us big jars of peanut butter! I mean BIG!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D They were in San Jose to go to the temple, and San Jose has a Price Mart which = American food and normal prices, so they picked us and the other companionship both up a jar of P.butter! My life is great right now! Haha. Also on the food department, I have fallen in love with yogurt and peanuts. It's a little expensive but I justify it by it being pretty healthy, especially with all the protein after workouts. It is just sooo good haha. Have I told you we're living the law of consecration in our apartment? Haha no not really, but we are pooling money to buy standard food things and cook it together (eggs, bread, sausage, milk, butter, etc). We also had our first changes (I guess its transfers in English but its changes in Spanish) today. Elder Garcia left, and the zone leaders became the missionary in Tejar since it's closer to the stake meetings. Elder Johnson is sticking around companionless until Wednesday, when he gets a trainee! This will be his 4th (or maybe 5th? But I think 4th) time training! He's super excited to be able to just focus on his area and training until the end of his mission. I'm super excited to not be the newbie anymore! Haha nah just kidding I don't get any flak or anything for being new.

Last Wednesday we got to go to the 7 AM session of the temple, which involved waking up at 4 AM. Dang! haha. It was a little tricky since it was all in Spanish but it was soo refreshing and rejuvenating spiritually. The temple is such a holy place. Wednesday was our P-day last week because of the temple (although we wrote on Monday) but we didn't really get a P-day since after the temple we got a surprise call that I had to go in for fingerprints, so that was kind of lame and made the rest of the day kind of rush by.
                      Elder Henry with his trainer and ZL's who live next door
Look Mom what kind of flowers they had at the temple!

 Elder Henry and his trainer Elder Ritchie
I have 3 good stories and 1 strange parable to share with you all today.

First off, O. O and Z are Nicaraguans who live in the Nicaraguan (semi-ghetto) neighborhood, and we've been teaching them since I got here. K, the 10 year old son, is a recent convert and Z was a less active that they re-activated right before I got there. The husband, never wanted anything to do with us when the missionaries first started going. Now, he is the one that wakes everybody up on Sundays to walk all the way to church, getting there 20 minutes early! It is a crazy change of heart and they said that their marriage has been steadily improving as they move nearer to the gospel. To get O baptized, which he most definitely wants, we're gonna get them married next month! We don't have plans or a date or anything yet, but that's the goal.
     A  is another investigator we've been teaching since I got here. She started off really good, really wanting to listen and know, and then a lot of kind of petty doubts started to get in the way. Then, we had a really spiritual experience with her and now she's pretty much on board! She was going to get baptized this Saturday, actually, but some paperwork has to be delayed since she's been divorced for HER marriage! Elder Ritchie and I are just matchmakers, marrying people left and right! Anyways, the plan is to get the papers Friday, marry her Saturday, and baptize her Sunday. Guess who gets to baptize her?


I am so excited to partake in the physical ordinance of bringing somebody into the covenants to take Christ's name upon them!

My other story is about a guy named W. We taught him twice, and the first time he was definitely drunk and the second time was a maybe. His brother is an active member, though. Anyways, it was clear he was stuck in his addictions and not ready to accept the gospel yet, so we dropped him. Saturday night, however, some plans fell through and Elder Ritchie and I were left in the street appointment-less at 8 o'clock, which makes it difficult because we can't go anywhere far away. We prayed for guidance, and while nothing popped in my head he said that W popped in his! I didn't really want to go teach a drunk guy again, but I trusted in my companion and there was no reason not to. We went, and he hadn't had a drop of liquor in 2 days! He was in a place in his life ready to receive our message, and he wants to leave his life of sin behind! We had a good lesson with him but still didn't expect too much, but he also came to church yesterday! It is so wonderful to see how as we devote our time to God and tell him 'Tell me where I need to be, and I'll go there', he can entrust you with the glorious work of saving souls! It was a beautifully guided experience, and even though it wasn't a pillar of fire descending out of the sky it was one of the most crisp examples of the power of prayer I've seen.

                                         New Haircut!
It feels so great to be on this mission. I feel like everything I do, every minute I have, makes me grow so much as a person! Which brings me to the strange parable I though of a few days ago.

I call it the Grandma Mountain parable.

There is a rumor, or a legend, or a story, that's not really important. But, the rumor says that there's a grandma on top of this Mountain. All you need to do is climb the mountain, and she'll give you something very precious! So a couple guys went up the mountain to achieve this. They acted in faith on what they'd heard to dedicate time to walk a very rough trail and get to this reward.

Long story short, they both made it to the top. The one talked to the Grandma, got his reward, which was pretty cool, but he was left wondering if his effort was a little wasted. It was a pretty big mountain, after all.

The second one did something along the way, while he was heading up to the grandma. He noticed that all along this trail there were some of the plumpest, tastiest fruit you've ever seen, easily within arm's reach! Ok, in honesty, a few were a bit of a stretch, but they never took him off the trail and he was all the better for it. When he came off that mountain, he had not only gotten the blessing from the Grandma, but had tasted some of the sweetest fruit of his life, and had taken seeds back to his home town to plant so he could keep enjoying those fruits!

The mission is the same way. Every person who dedicates 18 or 24 months to serving a mission climbs quite the high mountain, and gains a certain reward. But it is when we look to pick the fruits along the way, to learn the lessons of the trail and gain the rewards that are easily attained solely by recognizing them, that a mission becomes really, really, obviously worth it, and bears sweet fruits for the rest of our lives.

I feel like I've picked some pretty awesome fruits so far in my mission. A hike is to be enjoyed, not solely walked. 

I love you all. I love this mission so much, and I hope that you are all magnifying whatever part of your life you're in as well. Have a great week!
Love, Elder Henry

               Members had us over last night for CHILI CHEESE DOGS! The brother lived in California for something like 10 years I believe and he knows how to cook really well, so he made them for us (home made chili and everything)! Cool thing about these members (carlos and karen): Carlos has done a TON of the stuff to their house, and its like half gringo (american) half tico as they keep working on it, but he built their bed! I looked at it and said 'Dang! I'd sell that for a solid 2,000, 2,500 dollars!' and that's considering one being made out of mediocre materials in China, which that bed wasn't! It was gorgeous haha my furniture salesman senses went wild!

I don't know how well a picture shows this, but it rained hard last week. We had to cross the road and we just got soaked, it felt like we were crossing a river! Haha not really it wasn't too deep on the road, just around the gutters.

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