Monday, September 1, 2014

There is Sunshine in My Soul Today!

First Zone conference with his trainer Elder Ritchie and another missionary Elder Lewis
HUGE transfer Spence entered the mission with!!!!

First off, funny thing. There is Sunshine in my Soul Today is sung a ton here. YAY!!! Although it actually translates to there is joy in my soul today, and I really like the sunshine imagery, I still love the song. It has become my strength through thick and thin, and given me a testimony of the power of hymns. It has kept me from many a temptation and lifted me from many a sad thought. I love that hymn.

I dont know how much you've studied gifts of the Spirit, but Maestro Holman talked a lot about them in the MTC and I've been studying them recently as well. Basically, they're attributes of Christ that we can acquire through prayer, meditation, and action. They can always be further refined. Basically, they're talents of Christ. Anybody can acquire gifts of the Spirit, but some people are born with special inheritances to special gifts. For example; some people are naturally faithful. 

In my patriarchal blessing it says that I am blessed with the opportunity to realize the Gift of Revelation and the Gift of Healing in my life. This is such a powerful thing for me that I never noticed before. I've been working hard to study to realize these gifts because they sound so powerful to me. In the MTC I've already had a few very strong moments of crisp personal revelation but I am reading about revelation in the scriptures to find out how I can develop that gift. 

On Wednesday we went on splits with the zone leaders which was awesome. I started the day out tired and kind of dragging my feet but by the end of the day, I was feeling so much better. I learned a ton from going around with Elder Garcia. He is super outgoing and is the LPE (contact) king, he just knows how to make conversation. He also teaches with power and authority, something which I definitely strive to do. 

Oh on Thursday I had a slumber party! Haha Elder Ritchie served as secretarie for 7.5 months. The new secretaries had a problem so he had to go help them, which left me companionless. Luckily, the zone leaders live in the same building as me, so we just pulled my mattress into their room and I slept there. I woke up an hour and a half early Friday morning to the feeling of a very, very pained stomach and spent the whole day wrestling with that. I thought hard and frequently about asking Elder Ritchie (who had returned by this point) if we could just return to the apt. since I felt so sick, but instead I trudged on through it even though I was basically out of service. I got taught a huge lesson on Friday; success in the mission field is just the Lord blessing us for putting in our all. We had probably the best day we've had so far in this area, number wise, even though I was totally out of it. We continued this on Saturday and it was all very very good. The Lord puts trials in our life for numerous reasons, and I think that on Friday he decided to let my stomach humble me. After that day the stomach pain was gone and I'm all back to normal now. The thing about missions and really about life is this: The pain goes away but the lessons don't. I'm glad I'm getting so many opportunities to have lessons in this season of my life, even if it comes through a little bit of temporary pain. 

 I can learn so much from my trainer's wisdom :-) Physically the days have become much easier; I haven't slept in church clothes again haha. Just talking about days where it didn't feel effective, or we didn't hit our goals. I'm also really glad that I'm in the same place as the Zone Leaders because it means that I get to have 3 senior missionaries' advice at my fingertips! Feet are doing well. And I am actually trying my best to work on posture but its difficult especially when none of the furniture here supports it 

Multi-zone conference was way cray. Like I said our zone has not been doing well along with one (or two?) other zones that were there so it was pretty machete filled. But then President was going to get to the teaching part and instead he said (and I didn't catch this because it was in Spanish; I was filled in later) that he felt a spirit of constrainment because of iniquity that was present in our zones and that the Spirit was constraining him from teaching, so we ought to repent. Then he sat down. Our zone leaders (who live in the room next to us) Called our whole zone in and we all knelt down and prayed for forgiveness. It was also a very spiritual moment.

I'm glad my companion is gringo because it means that I can always check with him to make sure I know what topic we're on before I jump in and start teaching in a lesson. That said, I need to teach more because I frequently will just let it slide by under the excuse that I can't speak the language instead of pushing myself.

But all in all, I'm doing well. This week was challenging in a lot of ways but it's the best week our area has seen in a while. (Our zone is doing terrible so there has been a lot of pressure to improve).

Saturday and Sunday were both good, solid days. I strive to keep my head up and my pride down to keep this spirit with me. Sorry for the short email today, but I've gotta go get back to work. (I didn't feel the earthquake yesterday btw).

I love and miss you all, and wish the best!

-Elder Henry
(his photos wouldn't upload today, these are all from his wonderful Mission President's wife Sister Wilkinson who kindly posts missionary photos on Facebook for their doting parents at home haha)

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