Tuesday, July 28, 2015

God's Really Good at Planning Stuff.

Sick shot! A picture of me right after I got done puking (I tried my best to look happy)

Elder Gonzalez, minion-ized

Elder Gonzalez, name tagging his ears

Me too, obviously

Elder Gonzalez sleeping while he was waiting for district meeting to start, and it looks like he was sucking his thumb haha
Elder Gonzalez got a little sleepy in the conference we had on Sunday (there wasn't space in the chapel so we were outside)

Lunch with Bryan and Rachel!
Well this week sure has been eventful.
     All the wildness started on Monday. On Monday night the zone leaders informed me that I was going to be the District Leader. So, I had approximately 1 hour to think about what I wanted to teach in district meeting, the opportunity to sleep on it, and then 1 hour more to prepare. It was really unexpected, because it all happened because like half the areas in our zone changed. Half the zone went to the zone Cartago, and my district came from the zone La Paz (and us, from La Sabana). So, even though there weren't many changes in the zone, the whole zone changed, including the zone leaders (because the zone leader became part of Cartago). Craziness!
     Then Tuesday was me trying to get settled in, scribbling ideas and number-taking and information about my missionaries and everything. Good, solid day, ready to knock it out on Wednesday!
     But Wednesday there was a slight malfunction. I don't know what it was, and my companion didn't get sick even though we eat the same, but I got food poisoning real bad from something or other. About lunchtime I started feeling bad, so I didn't lunch, and then at like 3 I puked out everything I had. Alright, I felt better, so we went to work. At our first lesson I drank a little bit of water so I wouldn't get dehydrated. We left the lesson, started walking in the street, and about 2 minutes later I was puking on the street!
     Alright. Now, for realsies, everything's gone. We try to go to work, until I realized that I was way too badly ill  to be working. So we went to the church so I could lay down and get some rest. Waiting there, we had the Hermana Ponce come, to bring her new companion (new new new to the country), Hermana Turner, so we could get to know her! And as my companion went to open the door for them, I was outside on the sidewalk barfing again. So at that point I decided it was time to head home for the day (like 6 PM), so bishop gave us a ride home and I hit the hay.
     But I couldn't sleep! And I was also really worried about getting dehydrated, so I drank a little bit of water and powerade and, at about 9 o'clock, a banana. I was starting to feel better, until I puked it all up again at 11. Ugh.
     I basically didn't sleep all night and the next day I feel like junk, which concludes Wednesday and Thursday, and then Friday I was back and ready for action. So we got out and hit the pavement, and had some really great experiences. We went with Manuel, an investigator who, in the 2 weeks we've known him, first read the first 15 chapters of 3rd Nephi, and now finished the whole book of 1st Nephi. We had a really sweet experience there, because even with all the doubts that he has, he can feel the truth of the Book of Mormon, commenting to us about how he wishes he could be like Nephi and that Nephi was his life role-model, and he hopes that the book really is true. After that the day was pretty slow, also due to the lack of sleep I think.
     Saturday we had an activity in the Church celebrating the 25th of July! Here in Costa Rica, that's the anniversary of the annexation of Guanacaste, a large part of the country, because before it was a part of Nicaragua. So that was fun, and we had a couple investigators show up and enjoy themselves, too.
     We roll on out to Sunday, which wasn't a normal day either, as church started at 11 AM in the stake center, to announce the stake changes. The Cartago and Guapiles stakes were made, and necessary changes and shifts were made to the stake Los Yoses, La Sabana, and La Paz. After that we had a good day, did some divisions with the members, and finished off eating ice cream with one of the member families here.
     Well, I imagine this week is going to be a little more calm, but I know that I'm in for a lot of excitement, being a District Leader. You really get a whole lot more than you're waiting for as a missionary, and some weeks everything just hits you at once! Spiritual experiences, getting to know new people and new places, and, most importantly, funny stories. :)
     I love you all! Have a wonderful week! Enjoy the good moments, and remember that the bad ones will make for a great story afterwards.
-Elder Henry
(From other emails) Nope, the only change I got was becoming a District Leader. Sorry for the early morning surprise, but now that I'm the district leader boss man, I put order to the house. We're always going to be writing early (9 or 10) if we don't have anything extra-ordinary to do. Oh don't worry mom I'm not a dictator DL haha. I'm loving my District so much. Also, good news, my English is on the up-hill. Since in the district there's 5 gringo and 3 Latinos, I talk with them in English a lot :) And it's super fun.
No my District is great, but I was very clear to them about how important being punctual is. My mommy taught me 10 minutes early! haha. Oh, and 4 of us are from my MTC group (Elder Nielsen and Nelson, and Hermana Markle.). So I already know them really well haha. It has been really interesting to see the Lord's hand in not putting me as a District Leader until now, mom. I just realize that before I wouldn't have been able to do it right. I needed my time, and especially my time here in Paso Ancho, until I was ready to do it. God's really good at planning stuff!

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Parable of the Hungry Dog

We got a little wet yesterday (sorry, suitcoat!)

Saying bye to Hermana Ortiz :( She had transfers.
I can not believe July's almost over! The best month of the year :( haha just kidding. August is cool too!

These week I have had some ridiculous studies. Our investigators are really good, and know a thing or two from the Bible, and have thrown us some SERIOUS curveballs, where I've just had to say to them "Uh, look man, I have absolutely no idea what the answer is, can you give me a few days to study it out?"

But it's been a great feeling finding the answers! And then finding the best way to explain the answer to them, so that they can understand it as well.

A couple weeks (Days? I don't really remember...) ago, a members was commenting on how a good teacher needs to be able to find examples and lessons in every-day life, and then use those experiences to teach the class. I had been pondering on that, when we were eating lunch with the bishop's wife on Friday.

We were sitting outside eating lunch (which was super delicious), enjoying ourselves, when one of the neighbor dogs came up to the porton (how do you say porton?!?! Gate? It's like a garage door but not solid... it's a bunch of bars). He was pretty darn jealous of the delicious food we were enjoying. He was just kinda there, like whatever sort of dog. The bars are pretty close together, so he couldn't pass through to really bother us. 

But then, dessert came. Jello cups with fruits! YUM! But, my comp had the idea to give some to the dog. So, from where he was seated, he flung a bit of the jello&fruit to the dog. Oh boy did the dog LOVE it! and then my comp flung a little bit more.

But what happened, what impacted me, is the following:

My companion tossed a little bit more on the ground, but it didn't make it outside of the gate. The dog was so desirous to eat it, that he pushed and pushed until -- POP! He was inside the gate. I didn't even know he could fit! He quickly finished the jello treat, and it was obvious that he liked it and had enjoyed it, but he found himself with a slight problem. He had squeezed into the patio, but he couldn't squeeze back out. After pacing around for a little bit, the Bishop's wife got out the keys, unlocked the gate, and let him out.

Why did this impact me?

Before this life, we were presented something that really, really called our attention. It just seemed perfect. It was the \Plan of Salvation! Just imagine, the opportunity to gain a BODY! And become like God, knowing good from evil! Sure sounds tasty to me.

So we accept the plan. We squeeze through the bars of the veil and into this mortal life. and this life really is something delicious (if you're not enjoying life, you gotta change something, because it really is great)! We are able to have a body, have joy, experience so many things, have a family, and a whole long list more. 

So we're in the "garage". We've gotten in and enjoyed the treat. But how do we get back out? We're trapped in, separated from our Heavenly Father because of the physical death that'll eventually come, and our sins which makes it impossible for us to live where he is.

The human race just had to wait until someone came and opened the gate for us.

And that's exactly how it was! Christ came to the earth, he broke the bands of death, and he paid the price of our sins. All we've got to do is live the gospel of Jesus Christ, and we'll get back to our Heavenly Father again, this time with a body, knowledge of good and evil, and our families.

This seemingly insignificant event that happened on Friday really helped me be grateful for all that our Savior and Redeemer has done for me. I hope that you all can feel his life, every moment of every day.

I love you all! Have a wonderful week :)

-Elder Henry
Lunch with Bryan!

Hi Estefania!


Wooow! A worm with a head!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Meeting President Hayes!

Locked and loaded! I'll never get lost anymore with R2D2 here...

Cristopher's baptism on Saturday! :)

I was a secretary (for 1.5 hours!) 

Whelp, it's officialy not my birthday week anymore! God really did bless me with a pretty awesome week this week.
Monday- we went to a park in San Jose with the Alvarado family, caught pigeons, ate McDonalds, and went to Pricesmart to buy gringo food for the house! Yay!
Tuesday- We cranked out a great start to the week, having a solid 5 or 6 lessons and feeling the spirit a ton.
Wednesday- We smashed it with a wonderful 8 lessons!
On Thursday we met President Hayes. We had a great capacitation with him which was concluded with a very nice interview. it was WAY different.  He's super different mom. I never imagined that a President could be so different and still so awesome. No, he doesn't chop the head at all like President Wilkinson. He just talks about how we need to be happy and how to be happy and love the people. it was super great, and he's pretty good on the barbecue too. :)  Then we went out and had another great day! We were able to take advantage of the little time we had, and we felt the Spirit a ton. 
Friday- My comp had to go to the Guatemalan embassy! So I got to chill with the secretaries (who are from my MTC group) for a few hours. Lots of fun :). Then we went back and had a pretty good day.
Saturday- Cristopher was baptized! At 10 in the morning haha. And then, at 6 pm, President Hayes showed up at the chapel! We were there for an activity, but he wanted to get there to see the baptism. Sadly, he didn't know that it was in the morning :( But it was cool to see him.
Sunday- Cristopher confirmed, week finished, and our other investigator is preparing really well for his baptism August 1st. :)
I don't have a ton of time to write this week, but it really was great, we saw miracles, and I'm so excited to do it all over again this week! haha. God loves us, and he wants us to be happy. I'm absolutely sure of that!
-Elder Henry
Pigeon feeding!

Ariel holding a pigeon!

Sorry mom, I held a pigeon too! When in Rome...

Us with some stylin' high heel statues...

My favorite photo =)
They baked me a cake! And then I had to stuff my face in it....(Costa Rican tradition)

My comp tried on someone's glasses...

My kid, the baptizing machine :')
Another secret cat meeting that I got in on... 
Hanging out for the month checkup at President's house! :)

Monday, July 6, 2015

HUMP WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Selfie with Josue! =)

My famous cat friend! He's always hangin' around the church.

Do you like the glasses look?

This is an exciting week. It feels like New Years! Or the end of a school year... Just missing the summer break hahaha. Tomorrow is my birthday, and Thursday is my hump day! 1 whole year being Elder Henry :)

It's pretty wild to think. Seriously wild haha. When you're in your mission it feels like you've always been there and you'll always be there, but there's a few strange moments where you realize that it's something that really does end at some point. It's put me to think a lot about what I've learned in this year, how the Lord has blessed me, and what lies ahead this year. and it makes me really happy!

Here on this earth, we're free to do what we want. But we're also accountable! (don't boo me out!) It's not a very popular style of thinking nowadays, but it's the truth. We have to be accountable to many people, but most importantly, to God for what we've done! And there is nothing better than sending a good report.

I'm not perfect. And, I'm not a perfect missionary, either! But as I've really thought about what I've done and what I've been able to accomplish in this year, I feel really happy with the results. I may not have the coolest stories or the biggest or most obvious changes, but I am really happy with what I've been able to do this year.

And I know that I can do a whole lot better this coming year! I've only got one year left to dedicate every moment to missionary work, and I'm gonna take advantage of it.

Honestly, these days, God has just blessed me greatly. Everything has just gone well. :) and I feel so lucky. I truly do feel God's love in my life.

Yesterday we had an interesting experience. We got to meet a man who had a lot of material things, and has lost it all, and is struggling with a lot of feelings of depression manifested in anger. and, as we testified that God really could help him feel at peace and that he really could overcome his shortcomings, I felt and still feel grateful to know this truth and have been able to apply it so many times in my own life.

I'm excited to see everyone again in a year, but I'm also really really excited to spend this year in the Lord's service. I love you all, I hope you all enjoyed the 4th of July, and that you can have a great week. Be grateful for what god gives you. Look for the good in everything. Love life!
-Elder Henry
The sisters had a wedding/baptism!