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!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Keep going! Keep working. I love you!

This was an interesting week. After a really strange week of meetings and divisions, we had a nice solid week to work in the área.
     It was really, really, sunny this week. Which reminded me a ton of Washington summer mornings. It was such a beautiful scene to go out and see all the trees in the morning sun. It just made me wanna go preach to people haha. So we were able to work a lot harder than normal, which was nice :) We've been improving a lot and have really exciting plans for the future.
     Elder Vazquez and I have just been having huge difficulties bringing people to church. This week was no exception. But we've been trying, and we are trying, and we'll find the solution one of these days :) I'm not letting it get me down. And I see all these little, sometimes funny signals that I feel are like God just urging us to keep going, keep on working. Like one day that someone gave us papaya, then another person gave us something else, and we ended up with our hands full of bags of fruits and things. It was just like God saying "good work! Enjoy the food. Keep going! Keep working. I love you!" That's how I felt. I think that the tough times really make the tender mercies stand out in our lives. Yeah, it's been a struggle, but I'm really grateful with God for it. I feel like I'm learning things that I wouldn't have learned if we were having success right now.
     In my studies this week I've been loving the book of Mosiah. I love the story and the principles of leadership that are shown by Ammon, Limhi, and Alma in their different stories. I just feel like these chapters are full of small, delicious principles to learn, woven within the individual verses as well as the overlapping stories. For example, Limhi is a great example to me, I love how he tries to lead his people but there's just this obvious imperfection in him, and I get that feeling as I read the whole story, but there's also verses which greatly impact me, like when Limhi felt sad as he heard that his dad died, because he loved him, even though his dad had ruled in wickedness.
So yeah. Lots of learning this week.
Have a great week, everyone! Enjoy your scripture studies :-)
-Elder Henry
Q&A with mom--
Are you feeling trunky? " I really don't feel trunky. And I don't feel like it's that close, either. I just feel like a happy Little bumblebee."
How is the District? "we all get along super well in the district. One of the best districts I've had in my mission :)"
Shavonne's brother Aaron getting engaged to a young lady he served with: "Clasico. Ask Shavonne if he was her zone leader. It's always the zone leader." (except our son Michael was his now wife's Shavonne's District Leader, not Zone Leader, hahaha--and it is a reconnecting at BYU thing--that BYU magic turning mission friends into eternal companions!)
What are you eating/favorite foods/how much do you walk each day? "Rice and beans, rice and beans, the restaurants sell rice and beans, and a lot of miles. ;-) I love food here, but I would die for a hamburger from Ivannia. She makes the best hamburgers in the world haha" 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Keep your head up and keep working

Some of my favorite animals!
This was a pretty good week.

I cannot describe how much I enjoy studying the scriptures nowadays. I remember when I started the mission I was so tired and didn't understand a lot of things (oh, Isaiah chapters) and just fell asleep so much during studies. Obviously I didn't want to, but that's life.

Now, I really feel that I feast on the scriptures. Every day's like an adventure for me opening the Book of Mormon and reading all of the stories, interconnecting and understanding the details, and looking for the principles and what God wants to teach me.

And I think that God really wants to teach me something these days. We've been working hard but just not seeing the success that I'd want to see. I have the surety that we're trying hard, but we're truly in search of what God wants us to learn. And we're keep searching :) I was reflecting on it this morning and realizing that the easy times don't make me a better person or better missionary, but rather these challenging times where I really have to look deeper to see what needs to change. That's where my biggest lessons are learned.

But it is still so sweet to teach the Restored Gospel to people. We've been teaching G. a lot these days, getting him nice and ready for baptism on the 30th of this month. While he couldn't go to church because he was busy watching our for his brother, we went there last night and taught him about following a living prophet, and what a great blessing it is to have a living prophet and apostles on the earth. He, as always, had lots of good questions really looking to understand deeply the principle, and after the lesson it was so sweet to hear him give thanks to God for the opportunity to have living prophets and apostles to guide us. There is nothing in this world which makes me happier than knowing that someone else has found the restored gospel and really wants to follow it. It reminds me of the prayers that Cristofer always said in Paso Ancho.

Yeah, I really love hearing sincere prayers. Actually, that's generally the moment where I know if someone's going to pass the baptismal interview or not; in their opening prayer.

In short? I love this work and I love prayer. And we're going to find the way to have more success :) That's life, day after day, week after week. Keep your head up and keep working. I made a promise to my Heavenly Father that I'd keep working till the last day, even if He didn't want to let me see those fruits of my work while I'm here. It's fine. I'll just thank Him for the challenges and the opportunity to grow a little more.

Have a great week everyone! Keep a smile on your faces :)

-Elder Henry
 This sweet family sent Mom a photo on Saturday!
 He worked with these Hermanas, they are all going home from their missions now =(
 Elder Vasquez and a coconut in front of our house!
5:50 am at the Temple....selfie.
 Some huge evil looking grasshoppers (there was about 50 on the plant in total)

 Manchas (Spots), best little dog EVER

Monday, April 4, 2016

Tribute to Brother Townsend, updates, personal revelation in the temple

Temple trip!

One of our ward members passed away this week who is a special friend of Elder Henry's. This is what he had to say about Norm Townsend, who happened to not be able to see with his eyes but saw so much with his other senses! We will miss him.
I think that Brother Townsend is one of my favorite people to think of. I have just the sweetest memories of him.

He's always been special for me, because he taught my Primary class! I remember so clearly our fear to whisper to each other in class, for Brother Townsend had some mighty ears which could hear whatever faint whisper we uttered.

Then, as a young man, I remember when it was my turn to pass the Sacrament to the front row. Brother Townsend would always be there, waiting for me to guide his hand to that blessed bread and water. He would always take it gently and put it in his mouth as he said to me "thank you." I don't think there was a single time that I gave him the Sacrament that he didn't say thank you.

A few years later, I continued giving him the Sacrament in his home, when it was difficult for him to get to church. I have such fond memories of visiting the Townsend's home. I think that the person who left those visits most edified was me.

It is so sweet for me to think that I had the opportunity to serve someone who, when I was just a child, had served me. I feel so sure, personally, that he is now enjoying his wait in Spirit Paradise, waiting till the day when we will be able to capture all the splendid colors of the universe with our Heavenly Father.
(now for his normal email)

OH! Our investigator talked with his girlfriend. They are living and are going to live the law of chastity! :) But he didn't come to church :( but yeah he's a lot better!

      We went to the temple and I prayed about my major. I think it's going to have something to do with med school. Medicine or Biology or doctory stuff. I feel like it was really special how God gave me that revelation. I was just sitting there praying and started to really analyze for the first time the different things that interested me and my patriarchal blessing. And I remember several phrases in my patriarchal blessing that showed that that type of major was the way that I could satisfy my interests while complying with what God wants me to do with my time. And the only reason I didn't want to study it is being it'd be tough. Figured that's a bad excuse.

     We were really excited because a lot of people had committed to come to conference. As always, lots of them didn't end up coming, but what's more important is the one who did come. We've been teaching her for a while and it's been wonderful to see the change in her attitude. The first time she didn't really want to even receive us and this week was the first time ever she committed to do something -- Go to church! We got to her house, and she and her little daughter were all ready and waiting to go. She's reading more and, very importantly, understanding more what she reads, and it's just wonderful to see the gospel working in her heart. Especially since, walking at her pace, it took a full hour to get to the chapel. It was a true show of her faith.

     Apart from that, members invited some family members and friends to church, who we'll go and teach and baptize :) so it was a good week and I feel that God is blessing us. I've always said it and I think I will always say it, but I feel like Elder Vazquez is teaching me how to love the people more. When I think of our investigators that we're teaching, I love them and know I have the purest desires for them to come unto Christ. And that feels good.

     I'm really grateful to be a District Leader and be with Elder Vazquez. I feel like it helps me solidify the lessons I've learned in the mission as I formalize them and teach them to others.

Oh Mom I need you to do me a favor.  I had totally forgotten about this but our Branch President in the MTC told us that when we had 2 changes left, we should have our parents send us pages 284-286 of the book "Other Side Of Heaven". Can you do that for me? :) (if you have this book, please let me know--we do not own it!)