Monday, November 23, 2015

I'm My Father's Son

Panama taxis! Yellow taxis seem so weird now haha

Divisions with Elder Ferrin! Hanging out in his new hammock hahaha.

I had a pet cat for a day

Mommy I'm scared! (NOT)

Happy Monday, everyone!
This last week was a productive one. We were able to find a lot of new people to teach, and the best part is that they're families! :)
      So the week was pretty standard, just that on Tuesday I went on divisions with Elder Ferrin. I love the guy so much. You sure do get to have a lot of real great friends here in the mission.
     After that it was to the brete! Brete is how they say work here, I've only heard the word here in zona sur.
     We got to cross a pretty legit rope bridge this week. Javier was super scared and did not appreciate me jumping up and down and side to side and running on it haha. I sure am my father's son sometimes.
     But on the other side of that bridge live some pretty awesome people. First we met a lady and her handicapped son, who is pretty lucid, has conversations and everything, and is super nice. He used to be able to walk alone but not anymore. So his mom and his grandma take care of him and live off of selling what they have on their little farm. They've got pigs, chickens, some crops, ducks, and this other type of duck who's got bed head haha. It's hair sticks up on the back of it's head. But yeah they're really cool and I just really love them  a lot. Really humble and the mom has a really positive outlook on life even though she's got to work really hard.
     After we met her she told us that her brother lived down a little trail, so we headed out to contact him.  He's a pretty cool guy. within five minutes of knowing him he looked at us all serious and asked who was the great whore of all the earth that Revelations talks about. But he understands the Bible really well and is really interested in the Restoration. He understands perfectly the Apostasy. It's pretty fun to teach him :)
     So yeah, that's the rundown. This week I'll hardly be with my companion, as we'll be on divisions 3 days of the week, and next week we hit the road to San Jose. Crazy how time flies.
-Elder Henry

Walking to the mini farm.
Pig on the mini farm..

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Don't cry over spilled milk.

Look, a river! (the rivers are all brown because it's rainy season)

Hello, gulf!,_Costa_Rica
A member in Puerto Jimenez works with a little airplane company to ship people down from San Jose.
It looked like Northwest beach to me! It made me feel cold haha but the water definitely isn't cold there.And yeah mom if we come to Costa Rica, we're hittin' up the Zona Sur beaches. Way better than the standard gringo Guanacaste route. No gracias!
A little mud bumblebee home that was on the ground!
A really, really big plant haha. it's like 15-20 feet tall
 Hello, porcupine!
Hello, Paso Ancho! Long time, no see!
My adopted nephew here haha
Christian & Javier!
Zone meeting came included with lunch this week! Chicken & fresh tortillas :)
A picture in las fincas (the farms).
Other shot of the fincas (the first one was that line of houses you see in the back).
A bunny sleeping with a dog. whaat!
We were in the jungle here in Rio Bonito!
Jungle shack! Outside of that window, it's a cliff haha.
A paper mache minion!
A pretty normal looking house here in Zona Sur. La Abuela, she always gives us lunch every Thursday :)  (what a blessing these generous people are, to make sure my son is nourished!)
Just gettin to know our area here...
"Can you fish in that river?"
So the river flooded a few weeks back, and all the rocks you see there weren't there before. It was river before! Crazy stuff.
If you look good there, you'll be able to see that the bridge's support is basically gone too, from the flood. (sketch!)
Just getting to know another part of my area! (FYI: All these parts are part of the Ciudad Neily itself, not other places. It's just jungle everywhere!)
Jungle selfie!
Javier drinking some stream water (don't worry Mom I didn't drink it)
He grabbed a moth!
The home where we have the group meeting in the fincas(farms)

So, this week was interesting. My first normal week here in Zona Sur!
     It was pretty good. I had a few experiences which I felt that I could really learn a lesson from.
The first one was actually the last one, but it's the one that impacted me most. Yesterday in the morning, we made pancakes (uush, Sunday morning pancakes). So, to go along with the pancakes, I wanted to make chocolate milk. So I put the water and the evaporated milk in and blended it, and put the milk in, and it was SOO delicious. So put more in, so that there would be enough for everyone. But as I put that all in, I turned the blender around to see the measurements written on there, and the blender unscrewed from the bottom. So when I realize, there's chocolate milk all over the counter. So I think "Oh dear, I gotta get this thing to the sink!" Thinking the rubber sealer had broken. So I lift up the blender and BOOM! All the chocolate milk comes rushing out of the blender, as if a high pressure tube had broken.
I was so disappointed. First off, I got chocolate milk all over my khaki pants and alllll over the kitchen, which was frustrating. But after getting changed and cleaning up, I was just disappointed! I was making this great delicious chocolate milk, and I had already tasted it and it was delicious, and I lost it all! Ugh! and there was no more chocolate, so I couldn't make more.
     It would've been ironic if, in that moment, the phrase "Don't cry over spilled milk" had come to mind.
     Sometimes in life we work so hard to make or do something so great, and it just doesn't work out. Is a blender full of chocolate milk important to my salvation? no. But I took great pride in that delicious chocolate milk! It was something that I was really happy about. That can happen about a lot of things. Maybe we lose in our high school football game, or maybe our homemade fruit canning project goes wrong, or whatever it may be, things just go wrong sometimes. I realized that you just gotta keep going on, and stick a smile on your face. It's ok. It was never in the plan that everything went perfectly in this world.
     So that was a good take-away for me.
So yeah, just a few experiences like that.
     Apart from that, I got to know some more parts of my area today. Pure jungle; super awesome. I was checking out the map and I realized just how small our area is. Like, it's huge, but there's basically not people hahaha.
     So that's the week this week! I hope you all have a good one :) Stay happy and don't cry over spilled milk!
-Elder Henry
     PS Mike & Shavonne oh man! Your new HOUSE! it looks suuper nice.
Things are going well with Elder Morales! And Javier is great!!!
    As for things for Christmas, I don't really need anything... so yeah :/ I know I've always been lame to buy presents for. Just remember, if it's eatable, I'll love it. hahaha (he can purchase things in Panama inexpensively so we're planning to have him do that for himself and the children in his area if you'd like to contribute).

Monday, November 9, 2015

Way too many awesome things!

Elder Morales & Elder Henry
Hello Gringos!
     So this week was pretty interesting, just as I expected it would be. Tuesday we had our district meeting and everything like normal, and Wednesday at 7 AM we were on the bus headed to Puerto Jimenez. It took about 3 hours to get to a school where we got down and President Conejo picked us up in his minivan. Puerto Jimenez was awesome. It was pretty strange not really working, but we went and found a house for the missionaries and for the chapel, and met the members there. It's a pretty strong little group there, 4 faithful families. We got to see lagoons, the gulf, and mountains! so it's got a little bit of everything there. it's right on the peninsula, so one side is the gulf and the other is the Pacific Ocean. In my 1 day stay there here's a few of the things I saw:

some cool 1 foot lizards
a pet porcupine (I held it!)
like 50 parakeets flying over (it's fun to see them because they're always coupled off)
Macaws (beautiful, beautiful creatures)
Scorpion! That's a fun story. We layed down to sleep (we slept outside on the balcony in a cabin-like house) and right where Javier was gonna sleep next to his sleeping bag was a scorpion walking on by! So I told him to get up and we stomped it dead. Luckily, there weren't any more scorpion incidents in the night.
And a hermit crab! on the beach.
I also got to open coconuts with a machete for the first time in my life, eat green oranges, see the cocoa plant, and see a gorgeous view of the gulf from the mountainside.
Also, there's a palm tree that has a red trunk. That's pretty cool.
So that was a fun day. In the night some ticks got hold of my ankles, so I'm suffering from that, but it was totally worth it.
Thursday was a bus ride to San Jose, which, since Puerto Jimenez is farther away, took 9 hours to get there! Woohoo!
Friday we had Mission Leadership Council. It was so wonderful. President Hayes teaches doctrine that's so awesome and makes you realize that you don't know ANYTHING about the scriptures! haha. He talked a little bit about Holy Week and what happened when there and the last supper and sacrament and how all that got started. That was really interesting.
He also talked about something which I absolutely loved. He mentioned how missionaries will have success when they be themselves, because when you're yourself you gain the confidence of people. It's so true. I spent a nice chunk of time trying to be the perfect missionary instead of being Elder Henry and it makes a big difference. In Paso Ancho I really love that I was myself and I could love the members being me and they could love me. It's so much more enjoyable that way, and that's really how it should be. God gives us personalities for a reason! So he encouraged us to help our missionaries recognize that.
Apart from that, Friday was another 7 hour bus ride into the area. Saturday we divided and conquered. I was really happy to go to a less active's house who had come to church the week before. I explained the lost sheep parable and just kept telling her how happy I was that she came, and that that's how it is when the lost sheep comes back. And I was really happy to see that yesterday she came again, all on her own :) so that was fun.
We have some great people in our area but we have a lot to do this week, since we didn't have almost any time last week. I went to see some investigators and realized that we hadn't gone there for 2 weeks or more! Craziness.
So that's life this week. I'm enjoying being out here in the jungle :) I know that some people would get annoyed by the heat or the bugs or whatever but there's way too many awesome things to spend my time grumpy for those little things!
Have a great week everyone!
-Elder Henry

From his letter to his dad:
Oh, a funny thing that happened that I think you'll enjoy this week
Yesterday we had the group meeting in the farms, but nobody brought bread or little cups for the water, so it was a sacrament meeting without the sacrament. Oops!
Funny little thing from his email to me, he says his new shower is nicer but he laughed when I asked him if he has hot water now (that was a "no way Jose" haha). 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Don't forget to switch on the breaker when you move into a new house.

Diana's baptism! Sorry that there weren't more photos, the camera was dead until I went to San Jose...

Hello, English speakers!
I sure do miss speaking English sometimes haha. 
This week was pretty unusual. Actually, thinking about it, I haven't had a usual week since I got here to Zona Sur. I think it's just part of being down here and being a Zone Leader, haha...
So Monday and Tuesday were indeed quite normal, but that was it. Wednesday I was on a bus all day to San Jose, with Elder Carbajal and Elder AviƱa, to get our Cedula's (ID) renewed! So we stopped on by Paso Ancho to eat a nice dinner with the Alvarado family, and say hi to the Paso Ancho missionaries. It was so great to see my kid (Elder Gonzalez). He's doing great and I'm so proud of him. He's really become a great missionary.
So after that nice Wednesday of waiting around all day to get to San Jose, we had some nice Thursday waiting to leave the office so that we could go wait to get the cedula so that we could head on over to wait for the bus where we would, of course, wait 7 hours to get to Zona Sur, where a house change was awaiting me! It was a pretty boring 2 days haha. The cool part though was that missionaries from the West Mission were there too, including some friends that I hadn't seen for a while.
Then on Friday we had a change of plans and, instead of going into the super fancy but really small apartment we had found, my companion had found a much larger, nice, 3 room house! So we headed over to check it out real quick, called the owner who lives far away, and made plans to move in the following day because we didn't want to have to pay another month in our then-current apartment.
So Saturday morning at 6:30 we get to meet the landlord, who's a cool guy, we see the house from the inside, which everything was good, and we're gettin' ready to pack up and head over at 8 am when we realize that there's no water, and no electricity! The people who had been living there before didn't pay their water bills. Oh dear.
So we kinda hijacked water for 2 days, and were living without lights. Luckily, today, we paid the water, and realized that the problem with the electricity was that the breaker was flipped off (oops hahaha).
So that was my unusual week.  Today I went to Panama to shop (with permission of course) which was weird because they use the US dollar, and have lots of US stuff, but they don't speak English haha. And this coming week we've only got 2 days to work in the area, because on Wednesday we go 3 hours away to find a house in Puerto Jimenez where missionaries will be heading down next change, and Thursday we head up to San Jose again for the leadership council. 
We lead interesting lives down here in the jungle!
I love you all. I really know that the work we're doing is the work of God. The adventures are great, but the most special thing about this week was knowing that my convert Isabel was able to enter into the temple and be sealed with her husband and start an eternal family. That's what the work's really about :)
Have a great week, all you English speakers!
-Elder Henry
Some highlights from emails back and forth:
"Everyone calls me an elbow here :) It means refusing to give or spend money haha." (he's a Henry kid ;) )
Mom: no pictures from Panama?
"No it's just really ugly where we go, haha just a bunch of malls."
Mom: Have you seen any cool animals yet though? "Um iguanas, and iguanas. I see a lot of weird bugs though. Did I ever tell you that some caterpillars here are like deadly poisonous?"
Mom: Nope, stay away from those. Oh wait, you are my cautious child. Thank goodness! Were you scared going over that suspension bridge you sent the picture of? Are there a lot of those?
"No the suspension bridge isn't scary at all. And it's the only one I've seen.
But yeah as far as monkeys and sloths I'm still waitin. I think that this week we'll be going on a boat, which will be a fun story. :)"
Mom: Best mission ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =) 
 (about his convert Isabel's wedding photos) "I was super happy too :) The photos turned out super awesome and they look happy as can be."
Mom asks about mosquitoes which carry Dengue down there.
"The mosquitos haven't been a problem anymore. I think I've gotten used to it. Tomorrow when I was my clothes (washin my own clothes oh yeah!) I'm gonna apply the repellent spray when I hang the clothes up."
"Oh hey about BYU housing and all that, I'm gonna room with Tullis for sure. 
And, I was talking with Elder Nelson, the secretary, and he's totally down to room with us too. He's way awesome :)"

Two pics from Pres. Hayes and a couple from his surprise visit to Paso Ancho: