Monday, April 20, 2015

Shenanigans in lessons! (President approves, don't worry)

Hey everyone!

This week has been great. Our Mission President came and taught us how to plan and teach a lot better and more dynamically, and we have been having a blast applying it. We've been doing all sorts of shenanigans in lessons haha. Like hiding cups all over the room, or playing Simon Says to teach the Plan of Salvation. It's been really great. I've found that happiness and healthiness doesn't stay in doing the same thing over and over. This life is meant to be dynamic! And we should be dynamic too. 

I've had a really good week. We had a good amount of people in the church yesterday. Everyone is well here in Costa Rica! Just that last night it was pretty warm outside and our fan doesn't work so sleeping sucked hahaha.

On Saturday we had a really sweet experience. We dropped by a members house (where we took the cat selfie), and for whatever reason there are a TON of cats in that street. I have a particular cattish friend there, so I went over to pet it, and all of a sudden I hear somebody say "Si quiere se lo regalo uno!" (If you want, I'll give you mine (my cat)!) And we were like what but we looked and it was just a random person. We started chatting with him and he was really depressed. We had a really nice experience explaining to him about the Holy Ghost and how it would bring him joy, and how after baptism he could have that peace with him always! It was a really sweet chance to simply testify of the happiness that I've gained through the gospel. And, since he lives next to members, they were able to bring him to the church yesterday! He said that he loved it and, after going to a ton of churches where he just didn't feel good, he felt really good. :)

I hope you all have a great week, and remember the miracles that you have!

-Elder Henry
Cat selfie!
Goat Selfie!

A little girl drew this for us (my companion doesn't have arms)

Just our weekly normal selfie
Elder Acuña in a standoff

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Boyfriend and Girlfriend Miracles!

Received the care package brought back by a wonderful member who'd come to the US for General Conference =D  Candy, jerky, new pants that fit and...



D is an awesome little guy

Hey everyone!

The life's been great here in Costa Rica. Lots of walking :-). I have been having a blast these last few days here with Elder Acuña. We get along way too well haha.

I've honestly felt really blessed these days -- Especially today. A couple silly things happened that made us lose some P-day time, which a lot of times would have really really frustrated me, but I have just felt a warm peace in my heart today. A peace that goes a lot deeper than what happens on a day to day basis. Just like John 14:26 (Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.) teaches us :) it's just so true! The peace that the Spirit brings us, that Christ gives us, doesn't depend on mortal conditions.

We have seen some serious miracles in the boyfriend (and girlfriend) department this week hahaha. We had started to teach a couple boy/girlfriends of members, and it's been really fruitful.

Our investigator is just a super good guy. You can tell it just by looking at him! When we went with him for the first time, we talked about the blessings that are waiting him behind the covenant of baptism and it was great. He's engaged with his girlfriend (is there a word for boyfriends and girlfriends who are engaged?), and we were able to promise them blessings in their future marriage and the ability to have an eternal marriage if they did the right things :). 

But when we went with him the second time, he opened up a little bit more. He told us about how he used to be super poor, and while he never was a drug addict that he lived among them, and how he felt depressed and hopeless, without reason to live. Then he explained how his girlfriend came into his life, and how he's felt so blessed. Nowadays he is working super hard to get the money to move to a little better part of town, and really change his life. I love how he talks about baptism -- He says that it's not for us or for his girlfriend, but it's because he's looking to have a better life and he's felt that difference in the (our) Church. He's such a good guy -- words can't explain it. And I am so blessed to be able to help him bring more blessings into his life, explaining to him the Gospel of Jesus Christ and helping him make covenants with God. I'm so excited for the day when he can have the Spirit to be with him always -- that same peace that I've felt so warmly today.

The mission is full of miracles. We missionaries get just as many miracles as we put effort in to receive (well, really, I suppose that's true for everyone!), which is awesome, because all I've gotta do is try a little harder and -boom- I see more miracles! They're not usually in confounding somebody, or bringing down buildings or other grand miracles that we read of in the scriptures, but just the warmth that blossoms in my chest as I see beloved children of God come to the church on Sunday is a miracle -- and it comes from God.

I testify that this is the True Church of God. I testify that it is the Church of Jesus Christ. And I don't preach this message to contend, or condemn, or anything like that! I tell this to everyone so that they can have the increased peace that I've had as I live up to the covenants that I've made. And nothing makes me happier than seeing that happiness come to someone else.

I love you all, I testify that this is the way to find more happiness, and I hope you are all well. Thank you for your prayers, I feel them strengthening me daily. Have a great week!

-Elder Henry
This week we've seen like 3 or 4 buses in crashes, which is a little rare. Here, one bus got in a (minor) crash but they couldn't move before waiting for the police, so the other bus hopped on the curb to get around the crash haha.

Comp and doggy

A nice little stream here. (people just kind of connect pvc pipes until it gushes into some sort of gutter or stream here for sewage haha) (enjoy your First World problems, readers!)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Learning to Dance

A nice little blue sky selfie

My companion! And....dogs!

Hey everybody! I hope you all had a great Holy Week (is that a thing, or just here in Latin America?) and enjoyed your Easter. And General Conference! Whoosh (does that make sense in English?). Conference is like Disneyland here in the mission. It's a vacation from walking all day, and a rollercoaster of feel-goods to calls for us to repent. Oh, how I love it :)
Lunch during Conference with the Murillo family =) (the son has a borrowed name tag on)

So, this whole going to buy gringo food once a month has had an interesting effect. My mouth and brain are quite happy with the situation, but it appears that my body only has gringo mode and tico mode, but eating both causes some problems haha. 

Companion update: It appears that he's more gringo than me, sometimes. He learned English from watching The Walking Dead hahaha

There was a talk from this conference that I absolutely loved ( Elder Wilford W. Andersen, Saturday pm session). It was where he used the analogy of a dance and the music. How the dance steps we learn with the mind, but the music touches our heart, exactly how we learn what to do with our brains, but the spirit communicates with our hearts. It impacted me a lot, especially as a missionary! I don't think there's a sweeter 'tune' than missionary work. Spending all my day every day helping people change their lives and come to Christ! My job is to work miracles in the lives of these people! and it is wonderful.

The dance sometime can take a little bit to get used to. Honestly, here on the mission, a lot of times I just feel overwhelmed. Even though I know it's good and I like it, It can get pretty frustrated when I just can not figure a step out. It can be pretty embarrassing when I fall on my bum. And, of course, it's always in front of a crowd!

But it's absolutely worth it. Oh, it is so completely worth it. It is more worth it than words could possibly describe. I get to hear some of the sweetest tunes of the spirit, and there is nothing as satisfying as performing this dance well. There is nothing as satisfying as seeing children of our Heavenly Father start to feel the love that he has for them. And then see them turn that love to others. I love this work so much. Obviously it's a little tiring sometimes, or frustrating, or hard, or tricky, but it is so good.

On that note, we had a pretty sweet miracle yesterday.

I had been working a lot through contacts these weeks, and we found investigators who wanted to change! But they've had a lot of challenges, and, well, it's been really challenging. This week we've been focusing more on trying to work with members, and we saw the fruits of our labors yesterday.

One family, Family A, has a son leaving on the mission in June! We went there a week ago on Saturday (the 28th of March) and had a touching experience watching 'Because he lives' and inviting them to pray to know who they could invite to listen to our message and who would be prepared to accept it! The very next day, Sunday, they brought the grandma (the mom of Hna. A) to church. However, after that, we just couldn't seem to get plans down in the cement to go visit her. So, yesterday, even though it wasn't planned, we felt the need to go visit the A family. As we arrived there, we explained that we wanted to make a little bit more of a game plan concerning the grandma. But as we started talking, something marvelous happened. Hermano (Brother) A has been a member all his life, but Hermana A is a convert. The only member of her family! We started to talk about her other brothers and sisters and aunts and such, and the good experiences that they had all had with the church before. As we talked, they just sounded to me like prepared prepared people! As we finished the visit, making plans to start teaching all this family, we realized that the A family had given us 29 referrals. In a time where we're wanting to work with referrals more, it truly was a miracle. It felt like we pulled off a slick dance move!

This family has started to hold a special place in my heart. As we talked about how the gospel could bless each one of these people's lives, a love truly started to grow in my heart for them. I am so blessed to be a missionary, and to be that tool of the Lord to help give that little nudge to all those who are ready to come unto the fold of God. But I am in awe as I think about the faithful work of this family, over the course of some 15 or 20 years, to get these people ready.

Our Heavenly Father loves us. He loves me, he loves you, and he loves your second cousin's uncle's sister in law. He loves us so much that he sent his very own son to give his life for us. All so that we could progress and become like him, and have joy.

I'm grateful to God for my chance to go this week and teach these 29 souls the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, and how they can feel God's love in their lives. It's pretty hard to believe that God trusts in me, a complete novice, to perform this 'dance', but I'm excited for the challenge.

I hope you all have a great week! Thank you all for your love and your prayers. It makes the difference.

-Elder Henry

Friday, April 3, 2015

April Fools!

This was his letter he sent home at first:
Hey everybody! Just wanted to let you all know that I'm doing great. I hope you all have a good week, I'm off to work!

-Elder Henry

Luckily, he did send a real letter and photos after that haha!
Moroni statue on the Costa Rica Temple

Heredia missionaries at the temple!

He didn't just ruin ONE photo....



Sent from Yorleny on Mom's birthday =)

We were teaching a lesson and the cat there (who is super awesome) snuck into my backpack. I wanted to just close up the bag and take him back with me, but oh well.

This is John, an investigator we have. (ps: He looks EXACTLY like Kyler hahaha the one that I worked with in sparks)

I think I'm going to start an album of my companion petting random dogs in the street haha
Silly putty has been a problem this week. I had to covanent not to play with it anymore, because it is really really distracting haha.

Sometimes a selfie is just necessary

Saw Elder Velasquez (he was never my comp, but practically my comp) in the temple today!

Us and the San Francisco Elders

Hey everybody!

So I can't remember how much I wrote about my new companion, Elder Acuña, last week, but he is the bomb.
     He's Mexican, about as tall as me, we like a lot of similar music, I finally have somebody who understands how much I miss little Caesars pizza. Oh, and he makes a killer guacamole. What more could I want! Haha.
     But really, he is great. There's nothing more gratifying than having a relationship so open that, when somethings wrong, we notice it talk about it and fix it. It's just that simple! We both have our faults, and sometime (all the time) we make mistakes, but I really feel like we help each other to become better.
     Today we had to get up at 5 in the morning, to go to the temple! It was such a wonderful feeling. The spirit is so strong in that building, it's like being wrapped up in a blanket of peace and comfort! It was such a fortifying experience. It was truly gratifying.
     This week, we saw a really sweet miracle. On Saturday night, we went to eat dinner with some members (PS: It was really good)! Before eating, they asked if we had something to share with them. Of course we did!
     We shared with these members our goals as missionaries, to help more people come to Christ. We really felt the spirit in those minutes, and challenged them to pray about who they could help be baptized! Our goal is to have a week with a baptism every day of the week, so they committed to helping somebody get baptized on that Friday. We were going to call them to see how it went on Monday, and make plans to visit the people.
     Then, on Sunday, after a week of hard work with which I felt really satisfied, only 1 person came to the church. That was tough, especially because that very morning we verified that 6 were going to come! But, after sacrament meeting, as we were in the halls, that family (the Alfaro family) came up to us to present the mom's mom. They came close to us, and said to me: Look, Elder. We did what you said, and prayed. and we felt our answer!
     I hadn't even imagined that teaching them Saturday in the night would bring them to bring somebody to the church. But it was such a tender blessing, Especially in a week where we didn't have many people come.
     I testify, especially in this Easter week, that Christ lives. That He and our Father, God, love us! And that they're always watching, just waiting to give us blessings. As we obey, and try our hardest, the blessings will always come. 
     I love you all so much. I love being a part of this work! There is nothing more special then helping somebody overcome the barriers that keep them from realizing just how much God loves them. As a missionary I have the chance to feel a little piece of that grand love for them, too. I've never done something so gratifying in my life. And if any one of you don't feel that love of God in your lives, or want to feel it even more, talk with the missionaries. That's our work! :)
   -Elder Henry