Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Lord is Changing Me.

Hey everybody! We had changes this week! I was going to send you all a picture of my new companion, but this computer doesn't like my usb cord :(. His name is Elder Acuña, from Monterrey Mexico. He's got 10 months in the mission, a little bit more than me, and he's pretty legit! We both miss Little Caesars pizza haha. I've only been with him for 3 or 4 days, but he seems really easy to get along with.

(Luckily a member sent that photo Sunday)

This Saturday we had an activity in the church, and it was suuuper fun. The ward mission leader and us missionaries planned it all. We started out playing a little basketball game to see which time could get all their players make the basket first, which was pretty funny trying to lift the little kids up high enough to make the basket (remember, Latinos are a little short in general, so it was a struggle haha). Then we went inside and played a super fun ping pong around the world game and the cookies on the forehead from Minute to Win it. From there we went to a brain busting puzzle with some scripture hints, and finished the day playing jump rope with people through water balloons at you! Everybody really enjoyed it and had a good time. It made me happy to remember that the church isn't just about work work work, but really enjoying yourself and making lasting friendships in good, wholesome ways.

Whenever somebody goes to a new area or gets a new companion, it becomes a pretty reflective spot of time. It is really wonderful to see as how I struggled through challenges, feeling like they were never going to end or that I wasn't going to be able to overcome them, I've been able to now look back and see how much I really did grow through those challenges. It's a sweet feeling to see the Lord change people, including when I get to see how the Lord is changing me. It gives me hope that if I can change, that person that I see in the street can change. And with that, I go right over there and tell them that I'm here to offer them that peace and happiness in their lives. The mission really is something great. Hard, and hot, and hungry, and tired, and stressful, but really really really great. The word to describe these two years is Gratifying.

It's fun to see that what I pass for shows up in the scriptures, too! I have been reading in Helaman lately, where Nephi is trying to convert the Nephites and bring them out of iniquity. We see that after a miracle they shape up, then fall into wickedness again, and up and down and up and down. But, because we get to know the whole story, we know that his contributions helped them get to a place where they enjoyed 200 years of peace, without contention! Even though one day might seem good and one day bad, I know that I am bringing that same peace to the lives of many every day. And that is just the best.

I hope that you are all doing well! Thanks so much for writing. I feel your love and I feel the support of all your prayers.

Sincerely, Elder Henry

Don't worry dad the finances are doing better here haha. Luckily I planned it right so that I ate little for a little bit but I have plenty to finish the month :)
     I'm so happy to think that Coby leaves this week! ah man that's the best.
I'm really looking forward to my companion. I realized since my first day with him that I really did grow a lot with Elder Cruz. Getting along with somebody just feels way easy now. God always gives us those challenges to make us better :)
Thanks for always writing, dad! I love you a ton!

-Elder Henry

Friday, March 20, 2015

Volcano....ash in my eyes, that's it.

Hey everybody! How's life?

Life this week has been pretty good. Just the food, not so much. We received very little money this month, so I've been eating pancakes and peanut butter and nothing else... I'm pretty sick of peanut butter haha. (note from mom: he has a debit card if he needs anything, sounds like he isn't starving but if you know Spencer, that he is sick of peanut butter is hilarious! He adores the stuff!)

Wednesday we had a super awesome day and then Thursday, we ended up walking around all day with volcano ash in our eyes. I haven't seen or felt anything from the volcano, just some ash in the eyes oh my gosh. My eyes were dying. end of story. haha.  I didn't see or feel anything, people were whining about the ash. hahaha. It was way lamer than you might think haha.
On Friday we walked for like 3 hours straight, so needless to say waking up on Saturday was pretty rough. But yesterday (pday) I slept all day, and now I'm all recharged again haha.
(I sent him this pic from Sis Wilkinson, his Mission President's wife)  "Oh wow that looks WAY cooler than anything I've seen hahaha.  It hasn't been too hot. We went to a cold area of the area yesterday at night and I needed my sweater. It's only hot from like 11-4 basically, but it's going to get hotter in april and may. Then, rainy season starts."
This week I have been focusing a lot on trying to think about our investigators, and focus in on the important group who really want this. It has been great. I have really felt Christ's help in growing my love towards all of them. Especially Mariela. Mariela is a less active member who recently returned to the church, and her 9 year old daughter is going to be baptized on the 28th. It has been so wonderful to help her feel confident in herself as a member, and see her participate in the church. She is so nice, just really timid. As I've been focusing on her and really caring about her, a love so grand has grown. I always look forward to going to her house now :) it was especially touching to be able to comfort her yesterday because she was feeling all stressed out and such. 

It was also a blessing that after trying hard to do that all week, we had 5 investigators come to church :). And a really uplifting lesson on repentance in church.

Sad to say that I don't have much time today, so that's all for this week, and also the computer didn't let me upload pictures this week. Next week, more of everything!

Have a great week! I love you all!
-Elder Henry

Notes from our emails:
No really there isn't too much more that I want you to send (with a member coming for Conference), I suppose a nice set of scripture markers (more than one color) would be nice. But I'm pretty accustomed to the native life now ;) hahaha 
Oh my gosh haha. I'd much rather miss the wedding and have a niece or nephew when I get back hahaha.  My journal? Daily no, but I do think about it hahahha. (cue Mom lecture) ;)
Pics sent to us by members:
Elder Cruz is being transferred! Sad face

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mission Tour & lots of spiritual experiences...

"A good old E. Henry action shot haha"
How are things going? We had a pretty cool week this week. We had a multizone conference with one of the Seventy on Friday and I learned a ton, and we worked like crazy this week.
Spencer's Zone provided the special musical number

Multi-Zone Conference with Elder & Sister Alonso
  In the end, on Saturday, we had put 15 baptismal dates with various investigators, new and old! It really felt great and we had a lot of spiritual experiences. But, I was disappointed on Sunday when only 2 people came to church. Starting on Friday they all started cancelling for this or that reason, even though they had thought and said that they were going to go. I don't know if it's a lesson on patience or if we did something wrong, but I imagine that it's a little bit of both. 
what you do every day, Well on a good day, we're seated a lot teaching the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and on a bad day we're outside in the sun all day talking to everybody, trying to get seated to talk about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
who the people in your ward are, I'm still getting to know a lot of the members, but our ward mission leader is way cool.  He's from Honduras but served here and later came here to work, study, and get married. He helps us so much. He actually served in an area about 20 minutes from my area.
Yummm homemade pizza at our cook's house (they owned a pizza shop before) :) That made for a good Pday haha.

With Manifred, the cutest dog of one of the awesome families in the ward (who send Mom pictures every week!)

Here's the grandma of a recent convert in the ward, she's pretty pura vida!
how big your area is, Our area is huuuuuuuuuuuge. There are way too many sectors to work in. Right now we are trying to hone in on a few different areas to work, because there are just way. too. many. There's like 8 totally separate sectors, that I have been to. Some of them are a 5 minute walk, others 30, and other a 40 minute bus ride. It feels like trying to juggle, visiting people in all the different areas.
I was out on visits with some members, when we found this little birdy. One of it's wings was injured so it couldn't fly. We tried to go save it but it ran away into a little hole, so we didn't manage it :( but the birds here sure are colorful.

how many people are in the ward In the ward there are about 400 members I believe, but the average attendance is about 115, 120. 

who you are teaching The teaching pool is always changing, but we've been teaching two youth. They are really great. Yesterday we watched the Restoration with the brother and he told us that he believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and that the Church is true! So it's been great to be teaching him. (his sister wasn't in the lesson yesterday, but she is also progressing a lot.)

if you have gone on exchanges with your DL or ZL........ No 

It's hard to tell you every week about the different aspects of the work and everything, it's basically one flavored... Walk - Teach - Feel the Spirit - leave - walk - teach. There's not many activities, or different things going on every week.
I hope you know how lucky & blessed you are! :)  Thanks mom. A little frustrated with the results of this week, that's all. I just don't understand why I can have a ton of spiritual experiences, but not baptize. Of course, I suppose I shouldn't whine in comparison with Sherry's mission.
 I love you a ton. Hope you have a great week.
By the way I go around telling everyone that I'm hoping to be an uncle when I get back hahaha

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Overcoming Myself

632 Here's me with a grenadilla (little grenade). A strange little fruit
633 All those little black spots are seeds, which you eat too. (everything inside the shell, you eat)

Hey everybody! I hope you're all doing well.
This week has been a roller-coaster! Honestly, I've been struggling with, well, myself this week. Trying to overcome my weaknesses! But all in all, it's been a good week. We've seen lots of miracles :)
     I'd like to share with you my experience with the Sacrament this Sunday. For those who may not know, we take the Sacrament every week to renew our baptismal covenants, those promises that we made with God.
     I've been baptized since I was 8 and taking the Sacrament every week! For all my life, it's just been something I do. But this Sunday, maybe for the first time in my life, I had the spiritual experience that one should have during the Sacrament.
     I've read several General Conference talks about the Sacrament, and they always talk about how deeply spiritual of an experience it can be. And more than anything, they talk about using it as a time to reflect and realize the effects of the Atonement in one's life from that week, and ways that one wants to improve for the following week.
     This week, during the Ssacrament, I just started pondering. There were a couple things I had done during the week which I regretted, and I started thinking about them specifically. I also started thinking about how I had seen the Savior's hand in my life that week. As I pondered on the events in my life, related with the Savior's atonement, I felt the Spirit fill me with a hope to go forward, with a renewed desire to become better. I was truly touched by the sacred opportunity that I had.
     I love a story from one of those General Conference talks. It's about a man, very old (in his 90's) who always went to church. One day, a family member asked him why he always went to church, if he could hear or see anymore? And he responded that it was to partake of the Sacrament.
     Every week, we have this grand opportunity to renew this covenant after our baptism. I know, from personal experience, that many times we don't take advantage of it, but the opportunity to have a sacred and spiritual experience is there. It is my prayer that I, as well as all of us, can continue growing in our testimony of the Savior's atonement as we partake of the emblems that represent his flesh, and his blood.
     I love you all so much! Sorry that the letter was a little short this week. I hope you all have a wonderful week and that this Sunday, we can all partake of (physically and spiritually) the Sacrament!
-Elder Henry

638 Thought you'd all like a little update on how my shoes are doing hahaha

639 My companion, with his (very) unmatching suit jacket and church pants haha.

640 We went to PriceSmart (costco)! Just a little taste of the Loot I hauled home :-)
(his FAVORITE kind of peanut butter =D )

642 Comp picture! More than anything, I wanted to show how ridiculously short the barber cut my hair... and my comp's haha.

641 A little sunshine selfie :-)