Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I'll miss having P-days.

Entertaining the crowd, that's our boy!

Well. My last p-day! I'll miss having P-days.

There's not much to say, but I just want to add my testimony to all those who have gone on missions that these really were the best two years.

I've learned so much, and grown so much. I feel so much happier now. I know more, I feel more, I love others more. I feel like a better person, a better neighbor, a better brother. I have a stronger testimony and know that what I've preached for 2 years is true. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really does have the power and authority of God to act in His name. It was restored to Joseph Smith! Who later translated the Book of Mormon, which is the Word of God, by the Power of God. I know that's true thanks to the holy witness of God's Spirit.

But more importantly than what I've gained, I've been able to see the lives of many others change. They've decided to apply this gospel in their lives, and have seen the changes! They're happier, they know this is true, they've become better people. They've started a lifestyle which will influence generations, and have been converted to become the salt of the earth. They are now being examples to others, a light unto the world.

I love this work. When we serve others, our life has meaning and is valuable. I love the scriptures, I love the people, I love my companions, and I love Costa Rica!

See you all soon!
Well Mom, I love you tons! I'm so happy to be able to happy to go home to my family. I'm happy that were a happy little gospel living family.

See you on Thursday!

-Elder Henry
Meeting his fourth "grandson," Elder Guirola is training again!
Special Farewell Dinner at the Mission Home with the Hayes
Signing the handprint quilt the Hayes made for their mission

With Presidente and Hermana Hayes and the missionaries who spent half their mission in the San Jose Costa Rica Mission, and half in the San Jose Costa Rica East Mission. Well done thou good and faithful servants!

Goodbye to this wonderful district! Hermana Zerilli and Hermana Moon had changes this transfer to new areas.
Good bye to this wonderful zone and country!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Being dead is strange.

Chilling with my companion Elder Colindres!
Being dead is strange. We've been wondering if the funeral shops sell name tag sized caskets (casket? The dead person box?), but we've been too embarrassed to ask.
(Don't worry friends, when a missionary goes home, it is mission slang to say he or she is "dying" and "dead.")
     We got to see President and Sister Hayes on Saturday for the sisters' wedding and baptism that their investigators had, and Sister Hayes asked how I felt. Diay, happy! Haha. I really haven't felt sad because I'm ending. I believe that it's just because these last few months, I feel like I've really met my potential as a missionary. So I don't feel full of regrets or "What-if's"! I just feel good and happy to end and be able to say I ended well. Well, I've gotta work hard 1 more week to be able to say that, but that's the idea.

We had some lessons with some of our favorite investigators this week, the work marches on, Victor's awesome and he said he's gonna come to church in a white shirt and tie next week so that we can take a picture before I go.

So yeah. That's the update from a dead missionary! Have a great week everyone!

-Elder Henry
We surprised Hermana Zerilli for her birthday, and I have plans to surprise my companion this week for his too!

    Hey dad! Sounds chill haha. Thanks for writing :) yeah studies are a scary thing to think about right now haha, but whatevs. I'll go die hard this week and worry about that next week! haha. 
     Love you tons dad :) thanks for everything! Have a great week!
    -Elder Henry

Monday, June 6, 2016

Guacimo Distrito Sion Beach Trip!

I broke down and finally took a nametag picture today...

Hey mom! Toe, health, and me being skinny are fine. Everything seems fine haha. We went to the beach today so there's not really much time to talk, like a half hour. But it was awesome! :)
(we had a discussion about BYU stuff and about needing to send him souvenir $ Western Union.) Well mom I love you tons! Things to do and people to save. Have a great week!

-Elder Henry
Hey dad!
Thanks for writing :) Sounds like fun with the pool and wrapping up the school year! Crazy how everything's coming to and end everywhere at the same time haha. I love you tons! Thanks for always writing :) I was thinking these days about how wonderful it is that in our house we say I love you to say bye. I really appreciate all the things you guys have done now that I've been outside the house for 2 years haha
-Elder Henry
Victor's baptism

We were able to go to the beach for pday! Playa Cauhita.
Heavenly Playa Cauhita
Distrito Sion!
So... monkeys love pretzels.

Monday, May 30, 2016

It's the Lord's Work!

 Can you say Pipas??? Oosh!

 Guanabanas are cool

It was raining but we had to teach outside.... That's ok!

Goodbye, May!

This week was a good week.

I always thought that once I was putting baptismal dates for people I wouldn't ever be there to see their baptisms of, I'd not want to work anymore.

That's silly.

One thing I've really learned in these few months is that this time isn't mine. I gave it to God and it's His. I can't go and give Him a gift of 2 years of my dedication and then be trying to tell Him to give it back to me! I already gave Him the gift. And whether or not I have success, It's His work! It's not for my glory.

So if the work is His and the time is His and the converts (should be) His, why would I stop working because I won't see the fruits? Won't I be just as happy to hear that someone we found, or taught, in these weeks, got baptized in some future moment? Isn't that really the joy of missionary work? Being there in the service is nice and all, but the real joy comes from just knowing that they're doing better.

That's how I feel about Carlos. I don't care that I won't be here when he and his family get baptized. I'm just so happy that they went to church yesterday! He seemed to like it a lot and his daughter just loved it.

I just want them to be happy. So I'll keep working. That's my philosophy, anyways.

I've never, ever, all my life been good at finishing things out. I always did well and did well then kind of puttered out at the end. But it's different now that I have different motives. I know that if I were trying to take personal glory in the work, like I have done in some moments before, I wouldn't want to work anymore. But I just love this work and love my Heavenly Father. And when I remember that, I want to keep working.

I love you all and hope you have a great week! 

-Elder Henry
I just had to.....
Rock on, Sloth Man

Guanabana vs pineapple is like Godzilla vs mothra

 preparing the platano leaves for tamales!

 busy bees in the tamales factory

Monday, May 23, 2016

Testimony of the Word of Wisdom in a quick letter

Hi Mom!

Had to wait like 2 hours for the internet to be desoccupied, so I
don't really have much time today...

But Disneyland looks like it was a ton of fun! :)

Hermana Moon seemed like she liked her surprise party :) It was a pretty solid surprise. She thought that it was missionary correlation haha

Surprise! Happy 20!

(Update on investigators) The husband is currently living in the street drunk again, his wife's well but sad, obviously. There's no children. She's pretty old to go out and sell. She does sometimes, but it's hard on her. But yeah it's really sad; she had to take out a 6 month restraint order on him. It's really, really sad honestly. But we're just gonna try and help her as much as we can. Our other investigators are doing great.
     Things like that are what help me understand the blessing in the Word of Wisdom that the angel of destruction will pass over our homes without affecting us.

Haha oh mom. I love you so much :) Really. You guys are the bomb.
      Ok I'm off for the week. Have a great week and pray a lot for German! He's gonna get baptized here soon.
Have a great week!!

-Elder Henry

Hey Dad! Thanks so much for writing :) That's awesome that you got to
see your mission companion. But funny about his stories hahaha. I don't know how
much I'll be able to control my companions' story apostasy, since basically
all of them live in other countries haha. But between us, we'll always
know who killed the squirrel.

I hope you have a great week! Love you tons :)

-Elder Henry

Monday, May 16, 2016

How the Lord softens hearts

My new (last!) mission companion, Elder Colindres from Guatemala. He's a missionary convert from 5 years ago and hes like 23, and he came with Elder Guirola and he's a good worker and a great teacher!

This week for me has been a testimony about how the Lord softens the hearts of people.

As missionaries, we really do a small part in the whole process of helping people get baptized. The Lord does the rest. The idea is that through our obedience and faith, we permit that the Lord does his part of the process.

This week we went and taught a less active, and her 10 year old grandson about the plan of salvation. We talked about Adam and Eve and the importance of agency, to show them that he really needs to prepare to be baptized! She opened up and told her grandson how she wants him to make the decision for himself and really be prepared to take it. She had always said that he couldn't get baptized until he was 12. But she said that he could get baptized next month! So while he doesn't have a baptismal date yet, it looks like the Lord really is softening her heart to let him be baptized in June. She also looked at me and said "He really wants to baptize you before he goes. Right?" Heck yeah that's right! We're gonna throw everyone into the water this change!

Haha, but seriously, in Guacimo I feel like I've come to love our investigators a lot more than normal. There's a guy who always walks around selling coconut cajeta (frozen dessert) and I always buy from him, because it's super delicious, and long story short is that we started teaching them! After our second appointment with them, they were way happy. They accepted baptismal date, were planning on going to church, everything! And when we came for the 3rd appointment,  the wife was really sad. She started to explain to us that her husband is a drunk, and sometimes he just disappears for days or weeks on a drinking spur. When he's like that he just walks around dirty, unbathed, sleeping in the street, drunk. Then he gets better, comes home for a while, and always ends up drinking again. And when he goes to drink, their only source of income, the cajeta sales, stops.

I just can't explain the love I feel for people. It truly is a gift from God and an answer to my prayers that He puts a love in my heart for these people that I couldn't have by my own account. I love this couple so much and was so, so happy when he was back home yesterday when we passed by. We talked to them about how we were going to help him to get this addiction out of his life permanently. I just love them. So much.

And I love their cajeta :)
Ruma and Ruth are doing great down in Neily, he will receive the Melchizidek Priesthood very soon. It is pretty special for me that because I have seen the changes in Ruma and Ruth, I already know that this can work for  Estela and Jose too. :) 

I hope you all have a great week! Those were the highlights from my week.

-Elder Henry

Epic, right? I dunno why ticos love burning trash and grass so much

 A really rainy day trashed my shoe :(

Apparently that flower is really tasty, they do whatever it takes to get it haha

Monday, May 9, 2016

A bit of the celestial.

Elder Sepulvedra! Saw him in the zone meeting :)
Elder Vasquez his last "son", Elder Henry, Elder Guirola his first "son", and Elder Perez his "grandson"

The light one they named Henry after me (its the most gringo cat haha)

This week was awesome! Sadly, my companion Elder Vasquez had to have changes today, but besides that it was awesome.

The crowning event, of course, was when we went to the temple on Friday.

2 PM and we were on the bus headed to San Jose! We met up with Elder Guirola and my grandkid, Elder Perez, in the train station at like 5 and we went to Heredia by train! Woohoo! That was cool. and WAY fast. and cheaper! yay!

So we get to the temple, go buy some things at the distribution center, etc. and enter into the temple nice and early to wait. First off, what a wonderful moment to just wait and feel the reverence of the temple. It was so renewing for me. and I really learned a lesson about real happiness. The world's definition of happiness and God's definition of happiness are so different. While the world tells us that happiness is found in rushing around and loud noises and bright colors, real happiness can be felt in the quiet, reverent moments when you're alone and calm. So that was a great experience.

Then Margarita and the rest of the ward entered the temple! So that was wonderful and it was such a sweet experience to chit chat with them afterwards. So many people that I love so much. I just understood in that moment why service brings true happiness. When we serve, it makes us happy as we see those we served and them happy as they served us! It's like double happiness! But when we look to make ourselves better or benefit ourselves, we tend to have some sort of negative influence on someone else. So when we serve more and more and more, we're seeding more and more happiness which we can later reap and enjoy :) and the more you serve others the better it'll be. And the better you serve.

It was especially touching when Margarita, crying, shook our hands and thanked us for having taught her the gospel. Since she couldn't hug us, she just shook my hand and then Elder Guirola's hand and then my hand again and so on and so forth. It was so touching to see how much the Gospel has blessed her life. I know that, really, whatever missionary could have taught her and she would have found it, but I'm grateful that I had the opportunity to be the one that made the connection for her.

Apart from that, it was wonderful to see how the mission has helped Elder Guirola too. I've always thought that he's a better missionary than I am, but it's awesome to see how the mission has helped him develop a more sincere love for the people and a more humble character. He's really such a great guy.

I hope that we can all serve so that one day we can reap these sweet blessings of happiness. I'm planning on working harder than ever these last 6 weeks because I want to be able to look back on this time as a time of great happiness as well.

-Elder Henry
From his letter when he was teaching Margarita:
16 Dec 2014: 
Elder Guirola is amazing. He was baptized 3 years ago even though his family didn't want him to be (they were very Catholic). He decided to go on a mission even though he was the only member in his family. Then, about 2 weeks before he left, his mom was baptized :) His (only) older brother is receiving the missionaries along with his dad. He's amazing and is out here on a mission for all the right reasons! :)

We have just been seeing a ton of miracles here in San Ramon. One that sticks out is an investigator named Margarita. A friend of hers, Saida, who's a member, invited her to the Christmas devotional. While she was there, Saida took her on a tour of the Church building. When they walked into the baptismal font room, Margarita felt a strong impression from the Spirit. Even though she was Catholic, she felt that she needs to be baptized. Then, after that, the Christmas Devotional really touched her heart. The words spoken there rang true to her, until she was in tears. We're meeting with her to help her prepare and everything, but she has a baptismal date of the 3rd of January. Also, we're going to start teaching her family (3 daughter and one son in law). It's amazing that Margarita's going to be baptized all because a friend invited her to a church activity.

At the Temple with Margarita!

With Elder Guirola and Isabel the first person I baptized!

Love my San Ramon friends, with Victor!

With Andres!

With Indira and her children--I can not believe how big the baby is! He was a newborn!

My good buddy Andres!
I think this is an old photo but I can't remember

Zone Meeting =) FOOD YUM

Zone Conf last week--Elder Henry in back second from left

"Just a few chairs in a pickup!" 

The Murillos surprised my mom with this pic =) Brother Murillo works in the temple so I got to see him there too.         
Skype with the fam!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Tired and Happy.

Guácimo area
This week can be really well summed up by those 2 words. It's been a really happy week, and a really tired week.

We've been seeing the fruits this week of our initiatives we implemented to find more new investigators. We're just meeting a ton of really great people all over the place. It's awesome! And they just seem to be of a higher quality than the people we were finding before. So that's happy. It's pretty cool seeing how God blesses our plans. Whenever I try and do something different or make some plan, it makes me remember a lot about the brother of Jared and the 16 stones. Stones are so not as good as light bulbs for lighting a ship up, but God made it work anyways. I don't really think that our ideas are the source of our success, but rather God just blesses them to work since we put our best effort into it.

Speaking of which, this week we're going to have a really cool initiative! We're going to play Meet The Mormons in Guacimo park! So all the members are inviting their friends to that, and then we'll just set up a baptismal font :-) nah just kidding haha but it should be cool. So as far as work goes, I can sum it up by saying that we have the wonderful problem of having a super full agenda.

So why was the week tired? Well, it was basically just the weekend.

Fasting in the mission is tough, but the fasts that I've had to do in Zona Sur and Guacimo (very hot, humid areas of the mission) are just insanely difficult for me. So that's why it was tired. On Saturday since 1pm I felt wiped and the day hadn't even started yet. But I really could feel the extra spirituality that fasting brings yesterday. I just woke up with a certain calm and peace within me that was really nice.

So yeah. Tired and happy. I love my companion, I love my area, I love the people, and I love working, so that's not much to complain about :)

Oh, and I love the food. Woohoo!

So yeah, that was the week. Have a great week everyone, I love you all tons!

-Elder Henry

Monday, April 25, 2016

Everything's normal here in Guácimo.

Someone gave us bananas!
 sunshine selfie!
Remembering the Gallo Pinto
 A beautiful Guácimo morning
 We may or may not have gotten to hold a 3 day old bird!

A video of the Guácimo missionaries helping with the birds one of the members cares for.

Hey everyone!

This week was fun. Being a missionary is fun. Especially in Guácimo with Elder Vazquez :) Apart from being soaked with sweat (literally, I never thought before the misión that it would literally happen), most days, it's been great. Just good old normal preaching and working and finding new ways to be better missionaries.

We really focused on improving our teaching a little bit more this week. It wasn't about doing anything new, just trying a little harder to make the lessons more lively and understandable. It worked :) I could definitely feel the difference in our lessons.

So yeah, the work goes on! Everything's normal here in Guácimo.

Have a great week everyone! Love you tons.

-Elder Henry
 Newsy replies to Mom:
Weather is hot and sweaty
Fear not mother, I'm (mostly) bug bite free. There aren't really many mosquitoes or anything here.
No, zika hasn't been anywhere here in Costa Rica.
Yeah I just know that it hasn't been since the "first case in Costa Rica" which was like 2 or 3 months ago.
(The baby bird) As far as I know it's still alive. A recent convert saved it and he's had birds before and knows what that type of bird eats, so I imagine it'll live. They're gorgeous bright blue birds when they're big. It was cool cuz it doesn't even have feather yet. I just uploaded a better picture of it. And a video of us grabbing birds which supposedly were gonna bite us.
But yeah I am really grateful for your help, mom. I just wanna make the transition as soft and fast as possible haha
But I have bad news; I'm definitely not giving my testimony in Spanish in my homecoming talk. Just FYI. Because testimony are said to be understood, and English is the language of my soul. :-)
Speaking of which, when do they give me the topic for the talk? Like 3 weeks before, right?
Hey fun fact about that haha in the Spanish versión of the Spongebob movie the song goes like this:
I'm a peanut yeah,
you're a peanut, yeah.
We are peanuts, yeah.
Peanut, peanut, yeah!
Peanut butter check, shoes are gettin pretty ghetto but I think they'll make it, and we're gonna go check out tourist shops today, but I think I'll have enough.
Ehhhh I'm too lazy to answer the questions.
But I love you tons and hope you have a great week mom!