Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Invite others to Come Unto Christ

Photo courtesy of Elder Ritchie!

I don't think there will be any photos this week :( This lame-o computer I'm using (I think the monitor is older than I am by the way) doesn't have a working USB slot.
     We had 3 baptisms this week! I., C (who are brothers) and D.  They're all the bomb :) I got to confirm C, which was my first time confirming anybody as a member, which was awesome.
     One of the biggest challenges for one of our investigators was the fact that he couldn't attend this church as well as the Evangelical church he was going to before. He had friends in that church, and really didn't want to leave it. Along with that, he didn't like feeling pressured to have to wear ´Sunday dress'. But as I explained to him about sacrifices and blessings, he's found that desire within himself to change. This week he came in a nice, colored shirt (instead of a big puffy hoody) and next week he told us that he's going in a white shirt and tie.
     Far too often we try and shove commandments down peoples throat. But as we bear testimony of principles that we've learned, we instill the desire to change in others. It's a lesson that I'd never learned before the mission. Really, as a missionary, my purpose isn't to shove anything into the face of anyone. The missionary purpose says: Invite others to come unto Christ ...
     It's by the light of our testimony that this invitation becomes something that people want to follow. And in the end, how one dresses doesn't really matter. But it's so wonderful to have seen his heart change from wanting the gospel and it's blessings to adapt to his life, to willingly adapting his life to the gospel and finding those blessings. 
I hope you all have a great week this week! Enjoy Thanksgiving!
-Elder Henry
Haha that's awesome dad. Nothing like watching basketball with family to make you happy :-) haha. I don't know if I ever told you, but even though we've only had 8 baptisms which isn't a super boat load, they're all such strong converts (except one who is because I think he has Asberger's or something like that, but his family is going to support him a lot) and it makes me feel great. I just feel like with the people we baptize we're actually helping the church progress. Not just getting fancy numbers that then go inactive. :)

Wisconsin sounds pretty fun! I could sure do with some pie here right now haha actually we ate cake Sunday OH MY GOSH yesterday J(I think we might be poor because it appears that we've been let in to the food BANK) invited us to have a cup of coca cola. Ok, cool, that's nice! Then he made us grilled cheeses on a Mexican George Foreman too! Sick! but not just 1, he made us 3 each! And then guess what. We were about ready to thank him, say a prayer, and head on out and he asks if we want ICE CREAM! Ice cream is pretty expensive here. We say yes and can barely keep ourselves from giggling as he scoops out some delicious ice cream (i think it might have been pistachio with strawberry or something like that).
So that was like an early Thanksgiving food present I suppose :-)
He talked a bit about his companion who comes home a week after Sister Henry "There are so many things I hear some of my buddies from the MTC doing that I'm like' Oh man, I'm so glad Elder Ritchie showed me why that's silly to do that.'" "The mission has taught me a lot about learning from others, instead of comparing myself with others."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Serve somebody!

Henry and Henry =)  They start Christmas early in Costa Rica, yeah!
We were doing service at a members house this Saturday and afterwards she gave us some spaghetti (Have I mentioned I get happy when I see spaghetti now?).

I hope you are all doing well! Of course, I could know that for a surety via E-mail (that means that I love mail and you guys are the bomb if you send me some ;)

This week was great. I could leave the letter with that if I wanted, but I guess I'll explain a little bit.

We had had a pretty poor last 2 weeks, so it was obvious we needed to change something or other. About last Thursday or Friday (as in like 12 days ago) I started focusing on seeing a miracle every day (specifically, one caused by our efforts to help somebody else, like a really spiritual lesson). It worked! We didn't see the fruits that Sunday (which I kind of assumed) But this week we took a lot of people to church and every day has just been bomb. This week is going to be cer-azy though because on Wednesday we have to go to Grecia (1.5 hours of bus) to do baptismal interviews and then on Thursday almost all day we'll be in a multi-zone conference and THEN on Saturday is stake conference which will take up all Saturday and a lot of Sunday. So we got little time to see a lot of miracles!

So we were walking to our chapel today to play some ball (I'm a ballin goalie by the way) and some gringos pulled up! They were on vacation. We chatted with them for a bit and it was so wonderful to see members go out of there way just to take to us! It really made me feel appreciated and energized me a lot. Then they gave us some Haribo gummy bears which Elder Ritchie and Johnson haven't seen in 23 months hahaha.

I want to tell a quick little story about a man named J. J can't walk. He can get around, but it's not actually walking. He has severe arthritis to the point of deformation. We visit that family a lot even though there's not really much vision for him to start coming to church, because they want the gospel and so we support them with our visits. Guess what? He's come to church. A man that basically can't walk, and I'm sure it hurts for him, comes to church! He's come 2 of the last 3 times I think. But that's not it. He went on visits! He asked somebody to come with a car and pick him up and he went and invited other people to church. That is service. It's not about how much we do necessarily, but doing as much as we can. They also set a goal to get to the temple, and it's so wonderful to see the light of the Gospel in the eyes of a man who's trapped in an imperfect body.

I love you all! I'm sorry for the short letter this week. I hope you all have a great week! Remember to go out and serve somebody this week, just like J. :-)

With Love,

-Elder Henry

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sweater Weather

Look what we (mostly Elder Ritchie) made last week! It was a cutout from a box of Christmas cookies he bought hahaha it's super sick. We're more artsy and craftsy than most hermanas I think

Sweater Weather! If I calculated off Celsius right, it's been about 65 degrees (outside of mid afternoon). Really, REALLY cold! haha its great.
I didn't get any good pictures of us painting, but we went and painted for service. Everybody ended up with paint on them... Both from painting the walls and each other. My watch is now a cool, speckled, black and white (it was originally black).
One thing E. Ritchie is teaching me a lot about is swag

 BRRRRR. It has been COLD! I've worn my sweater out proselyting like 3 or 4 times this week I think. Also found a nice (red) big (soft) blanket (Sounds like I found my mission garm garm blanket) to use because I was just using a sheet before.

Apparently years ago (that sounds weird because it Spanish you say hace años which means makes years) San Ramon was this cold basically all summer. Word on the street is that it's even snowed here before, but that was like 35 years ago. I don't know if I buy that, but it sure has been cold. In fact, one day I was cold WITH my sweater on! I LOVE IT. It is seriously the best! I think that proselyting in a sweater is one of the best feelings I've ever had in my life. I'm all comfy and cozy and at the same time my soul's warmed by the words we're sharing :-)

I'm seriously in the best place in the world right now.

We are currently in the process of lining up dinners and free food to celebrate the event of Elder Ritchie and Johnson dying (going home). We've already got every Pday lined up except the last one (to pack and clean). Now we've just got to start organizing one like every day for the last week haha.

Elder Ritchie and I are doing awesome. We are so tight. We've always clicked and worked well, but even the tiny little things that we had at start have been worked out I feel like. We really edify and support each other, and keep a super open relationship. It's great :-) 

I have a nice sunburn from an activity we had on Saturday and a beautiful tan line from my watch. #missionaryproblems.

I think that Andrés said that tomorrow or Thanksgiving or something like that we're going to make egg nog. Yum!

Alright, I think that's all the ordinary day to day stuff.

Oh, and we got a ping pong table in the church (whaaaat).
Yup, that's all.

I want to talk today about A. She got baptized about a month ago now, and I had the opportunity to baptize her. She's really the bomb. I'm pretty sure I actually met her like my first week here in the mission, so it's pretty cool. But what I really want to talk about is her family.

We've been teaching her daughter and granddaughter and they might get baptized this month, but it's far from sure. But ever since A's gotten a testimony that this church is true, she's immediately turned outwards and wanted her family to know it too. Mosiah 28:3 says: 

Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.

I love this scripture. As A's gained an understanding of to where she should look for her salvation, she's immediately begun to worry about her loved ones. She has truly turned outwards, as Christ would and did, in love to those she knows to help them have what she's already found. Every time we ask her what we can do for her she asks us to pray for her family. They're always on her mind. She leads by example, showing how much the church has brought her peace! She's already read through nearly all the Book of Mormon (she's in Moroni) while studying the Gospel Principles book and reading the bible as well. The thought of her family perishing in unbelief pricks her heart in such a way that she acts to fortify her own testimony and does what she can to help them as well. She's an example to me of how to do missionary work. As we strive for this same brotherly love, for this same concern over the welfare of souls, we'll feel the same joy that's described in Luke 15:10:

Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

I love you all! I hope you're all doing great. Have a great week, and keep in mind what's truly important!

-Elder Henry

We made a nice little surprise for Elder Johnson who is dying (going home) with Elder Ritchie this transfer, today (they had to leave early in the morning to go do fingerprints) I'll tell you the results of that next week if I remember haha. We're so craftsy.

Foggy and cold :-) I love it!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


A nice view from an investigator's house :-)
same spot, but with a me in there

Haha Andres had this sitting out front of his house so we had some fun taking pictures with it :-) you spin it around in parades apparently and the hands punch people haha... weird..

mismo (yeah thats me in the cow head)

I just decided to take a selfie...
I was too focused on enjoying the lovely hamburger which had luckily fallen into my life on Monday to take a picture, but we went to the S Family's (our recent converts) house to eat hamburgers on Monday! Ismael really talked Ivania's hamburger cooking up, so I was expecting something great, but there are not words enough in this world to talk up what Ivania made. I don't think it's even fair to call what she made the same thing you eat at McDonald's for a buck. I might, honestly, need to repent for that. It was love. It was the best hamburger I've ever had! Better than any I've had in the states (sorry dad, I still love you and you're cooking). It had 2 (that's right, two) patties, along with ham, cheddar cheese (which is scarce down here), and a whole mountain of other things on it. It ended up being thick (tall? wide? what's the appropriate word to use here?) enough that the actual mechanical function of eating it was hard, but there was no challenge of the soul to eat that baby. MMmm hmm. I've fallen unbelievably in love with food now that we walk so much haha.

This week we had a ton of meetings. Tuesday we had to go to a zone-wide district leader meeting where they went over numbers and set monthly goals, so I didn't really do anything there, then Wednesday President had a special meeting with almost all the district and zone leaders in the mission there, which I was kindly informed 5 minutes before it started that I wasn't even able to attend. So, I got to sit in the office for 3.5 hours while they met. Ugh.

The week was actually pretty meh in general. What it ended up being is that we got more focused on the numbers than the people we're teaching. We're looking forward to going back and cleaning up our mess this week, studying how to teach people and not lessons a lot. But, we're feeling good and ready to go now that we know what to fix.

Oh, Halloween was a blast. It's not really celebrated here (think of one of the really minor holidays in the states). But, Andres brought us mcflurry's for breakfast and then at lunch July (our cocinera (cook)) bought coke for us to drink with lunch. Then I bought Elder Ritchie and I ice cream cones during the middle of the day, and then Our bishop (we have a bishop finally!!! After 5 months! It's Hermano Pipo) bought us ice creams and THEN bought us tacos (which are taquitos) with french fries for dinner. So it wasn't celebrated, but a lot of wonderful food lined up for us and it fell on Halloween :-)

So this week we went to J,. We decided to bring G with us. That family has been members for about 2 years but the father never comes to church, because he can barely walk. He has some sort of super bad arthritis. But G came with us, who I barely know (we visit the family a lot, but G's been working for a lot of the visits) so that J could have a friend. J's felt the spirit and we've had some really good lessons, but she's scared of going to church. Anyways, We go in and Gina doesn't really talk much. She's a bit of a shy disposition so it wasn't a surprise, but just when we introduced her to J, J said "Yay! A friend!". Then, during the lesson, we turned to G and asked her to bear her testimony.

G's never served a mission, and had never met J. She's never been trained on the different ways of breaking down what people say to discern their needs, or any of that. But the spirit touched her heart and the testimony that came out was so powerful, and matched up to every one of the needs that J has. It was amazing, and the spirit in that room was so strong!

But the best part is that it doesn't even end there. We went to visit the father's home yesterday and there was just a different spirit in that house! For one thing, he  went to church! HE WENT TO CHURCH! He's been feeling better (just a little bit, of course)! And then, they said that their goal right now is to go get sealed in the temple! AND, they practically begged us to come back on Monday to have a family home evening with them. And guess who's coming to that? J!

Everything works out as we let the spirit touch our hearts and we follow God's plan. I hadn't been doing that this week, but the one time that we did we saw miracles.

Trust in God, and he'll deliver you. And along the way, you'll experience miracles!

I love you all. Have a great week!

-Elder Henry