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Monday, December 1, 2014

Always a missionary.

" We had dinner at the Weihnachtsmarkt in Konstanz on Saturday and drank some Kinderpunsch."

It's the last one, my last email home from my mission!  Crazy.  I really don't think it has sunk in, and I don't know if it will sink in until I step out of that plane and see SUVs and fast food everywhere.  I don't even remember what America looks like anymore, because I assume it looks like Europe.  But we don't have castles in America, right?
     But it is good.  Everything is good.  I ask myself, why is it good?  Aren't I supposed to be freaking out?  But then I remember that I have already freaked out.  And there's just no point in freaking out anymore because I am leaving, and that's that.  I was talking with the Lees about it last night, it's like you are on a slippery slide and about to the bottom.  There's no going back now!  And that is okay, because life is lived forward.
     I also just feel so much peace and hope for the future.  I really feel like I have come to better understand who I am and who God is.  I have come to know my relationship with him in a new way.  I really feel as if my Heavenly Father is truly there and truly aware of me.  I have learned so much about just getting on my knees and talking with him through prayer.
     Actually that's how I handle emotional bumps now.  I go into my room and pray until I feel better.  I am so glad that I had the experiences on my mission that taught me to do that.
     I think I also am comforted about going home because I know that I will see everyone again.  I just have to.  There is no way for me to stay in contact with all of the people I love on my mission.  Even with technology it is impossible.  And that is OK!  Because I know without a doubt that after this life, I will see them again.  It will be them, my friends, and we will recognize each other and laugh and hug and just be happy to see each other.  I don't know a lot of things, but I do know that when we live righteously, we will have the opportunity to see all of our loved ones gain.  It just makes sense.
     The Gospel gives me so much hope and optimism in life.  It truly gives us hope.  I have so much hope that the future will be okay.  I have so much hope that everything is going to move forward in the best of directions.  I love the quote I think from President Monson, "The future is as bright as your faith."  Because it is true.  If we exercise faith in our savior and trust that he will take care of us and provide for us, then the future is so bright.  If we just let go and make the effort to trust in him.  To grasp for his hand, he will lead us to a happier future than we could possible dream of.
     I think of the things I have seen these last 18 months, the people I have met, the experiences I have had and I just can't help but shake my head and say, "Only God could make such a wondrous thing possible."  I couldn't have planned a better adventure even if I had had all of the creativity and money in the world!  These last 18 months have been better than any movie I have watched, better than any book I have read.  I truly know that if we let God write our story, he will take it to places we can't even imagine. I wanted to say that in the German way (wir können uns nicht vorstellen) because it makes even more sense.  We can not comprehend what the Lord wants to do with us, it is so magnificent and glorious.  I mean, truly just glorious.  I think of the things that I have seen and they are glorious.
     Oh I love my Savior so much.  I love my Father in Heaven so much.  I love my mission so much.  I love my friends and family here so much.  I love my friends and family there so much.  I just can't even describe how much goodness fills my heart because of the choice that I made to come on my mission.  It is the best choice anyone could ever make.  I think these 18 months are one of the greatest gifts God has given to me.
     I love you all so much!  Thanks so much for the emails and letters and packages and prayers over this last year and a half.  I love you.
Sister Henry

Hi Daddy!
I am so excited to see the Christmas lights on the house when I come home on Friday.  I can't believe I come home on Friday!  I can't wait to share this experience with you.
     I gave my last testimony at church yesterday and one of the members came up and said, "You are the first missionary that has given their testimony that has said they will still be a missionary when they go home."  I thought that was really good, because I really don't feel like my mission is ending but that it is in a way just starting.  I am all trained and now I get to adjust and learn how to be a real tool for the Lord, you know?  And I am sure I will be learning my whole life how to do so.
     Oh I wanted to ask, can you give me a Father's blessing when I come home?  Probably on Saturday after I have gotten some sleep ;)  I just started this time with a Father's blessing from you, and I would love to end it and start my next phase of life with a Father's blessing from you.
     I love you so much Daddy.  Ah!  I get to give you a big hug and watch football and chit chat with you and Tori and Mommy and Tina and cousins and everyone else!  It will be really great.  I love you!  I love Germany too, just wait until I get home because I will talk your ear off so much you will love Germany Austria and Switzerland too!

This beautiful family is being baptized this week!

And so is this handsome gentleman!

One last pigeon picture ;)

Getting beautified courtesy of Sister Kutschke

Monday, November 24, 2014

I must be going home next week?

Bern, Switzerland Temple

Elder Huby did a workshop for the investigators at the temple, so they were able to visit for quite a while and say "see you later."
Great photo with some of her African friends!
 I keep on having people give me little abschied (farewell) gifts and letters, and it's the craziest thing.  I must be going home next week or something.  But see, for all of your it's like "Wow, Sherry only has 11 days left!"  for me it's like, "Oh yeah, Sister Henry, we still got 11 full days out here!"  Haha what a mind game the end of the mission is.  But it is good, it's very good.

So I totally forgot my planner which means that I am a little scatter brained today for emails.  I did remember to email Sasha, so that is what's important.   I was brushing my teeth the other night and thought, "I should totally email Sasha: What are you doing for new years?  Me too! "  You know, because we will be together for new years again.  Yeah, don't worry, I emailed her that joke today.
Wow, a ton happened this week.  It was my last Zone training meeting, which meant I gave my testimony.  I felt a little jipped because I had already talked so much during the meeting as a sister training leader so the testimony wasn't quite as special.  But it was still wonderful to give some final words to my friends before I die.  Like a voice crying out of the dust.  I didn't cry, unfortunately.  You know, still working on the whole crying during testimony thing ;)  It was actually really strange, I was giving my final testimony, and I knew I was giving my final testimony, and it still didn't feel like I was giving my final testimony.
We had a stake temple day on Saturday!  Markus and Erwin came and so we and the elders had to decide to go in and do a session or stay with our investigators in a little workshop.  It was really cool because we all decided to stay out and do work for the living.  It was super fun and I still went away with a full heart.  I mean, there will be numerous times I will go into the temple and do missionary work for those on the other side.  But I don't know when I will ever be able to help teach an investigator about the temple on the temple grounds.

It was also fun because I got to say some last goodbyes to some of my best best best Freiburg friends.  Man, I love them so much.

I just don't even know what else to share.  I mean, I just feel so blessed.  Continually and continually I just think about how much trusting in the Lord has blessed my life.  That's kinda what I shared in my testimony.  I think the #1 thing I have learned on my mission is that I don't want to live my life for me anymore.  I want to be able to give up everything to the Lord to let him guide and direct my life.  I want to be like King Lamoni's Father and be so willing to give up everything, that I am able to have everything and more.  I think of him and of the rich young ruler in the bible and just think about how different their hearts must have been.  Lamoni's father was willing to offer up everything and the Lord then didn't require him to.  The young ruler was offered to let go of everything and strive for what is truly important, but he couldn't. 

I love both the King James version and the Joseph Smith Translation of Luke 9:24
The King James Version reads:
24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
I feel like being able to go on a mission really brings home this principle.  For a time you do lose your life.  You lose your friends, your comforts, your social skills (in a way haha) and a lot of the things that simply make you YOU.  Sometimes you lose even friends, or loved ones, or opportunities, or dreams.  But any returned missionary will tell you it is all worth it.  Because by losing all of those things for that time the Lord has allotted to you, you really save your life, and your dreams, and your aspirations.
I think the Joseph Smith Translation applies to life not on the mission very well:
 24 For whosoever will save his life, must be willing to lose it for my sake; and whosoever will be willing to lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
     For the most part, God won't ask us to give up those comforts and things we have in our lives.  We aren't expected to live by the white handbook; only talk to Mom once a week through email, etc.  But he shouldn't have to have to take those things away for us to be able to give them up.  God expects us to live sort of a higher law.  To live in a world where we do have these conveniences and comforts. He expects us--even with our iphones chiming over our new text message, or our flat screen tv playing yesterdays football game--to keep a heart that is willing to give it all up at any moment.  To keep a heart that would put it all on the altar at the Savior's beckon.
     In a way, that is harder way to live.  To not have to be compelled to give it all up.  But it is also such a blessed way to live.  Think about King Lamoni's father, he had so much temporally and spiritually, all because he was willing to give it up.  He was able to accomplish so much good and experience so many blessings, all because his heart was willing.
     My only concern now is that I hope I never forget this lesson my mission has taught me.  I just hope that I will always be willing to give my whole heart to the Lord.  You know, because we are weak and make mistakes, I probably won't be able to all the time.  But I can always repent and try to give a little more to him each day.  I mean, I got all eternity, I am sure eventually I will get there!
     Yeah, the mission is the best.  It was definitely the right thing for me to do and the right time for me to do it.  I mean I have just learned so much and I really feel like I am starting to see more and more of who God wants me to become.  Hopefully I am smart enough to let myself become her.
Last Zone Conference!
I love you all so much!  Maybe I will have to keep a blog just so I can have spiritual thought vomit every week still :)
Have a great week!
Sister Henry

Hi Daddy!  That's funny that Mom is already so emotional.  I don't think it has really sunk in for me yet, and I don't know if it will sink in until they close that plane door.  But that's okay because it will be sad but that sad part is good too.

Oh we played 4 on 4 basketball for pday today the Americans vs. the Europeans.  The Americans won :)  Thought you'd be proud.
It sounds like you had so much fun in Utah.  I think it is so cool that you get to travel for work.  I know Mom doesn't love it, but I think it's been really good for you too.  I just am so happy you and Mom are my parents.  You're the best!
Tell Grandma and Grandpa I say hi!  That will be fun to be in Eugene for Thanksgiving. 
Thanks for being such a good Dad, Daddy.  The four of us have turned out pretty good so far, but it's because we have the best parents in the world.

Love you!


Lots of fun photos from her final Zone Conference and a trip to the Aquarium in Konstanz:
Sherry has always been afraid of Sturgeon haha

With Elder and Sister Bignall, the ehe paar in the Freiburg District =)

Elder Wilkins 

She looks so giddy haha

Photobomb by Elder Allan

With "her" sisters

Elder Morey and I don't know who the other missionary is, sorry!

With Elder Mohn! 

Crazy times on the train

Monday, November 17, 2014

There is intestine in my intestine!

Pday visit to the Konstanz Aquarium 
Hello family!  Lets start off with the story I wrote in my planner I wanted to tell to you about so bad:
We went over to teach one of the Elders investigators who is getting baptized soon, and after the lesson they invited us to eat. Our host made us a big plate of rice with spicy tomato sauce and meat on the top.

It was pretty good, pretty spicy, and then I picked up a piece of meat and asked what it is.  She said, "Intestine" and I thought to myself, "I already ate fish eyes, intestine here I come!"  It was pretty weird, hairy on one side and super chewy.  but I think the craziest part is, I still don't know from what animal my chunk of intestine came from.  I forgot to ask.

Anyway, by now it's not there anymore, but I laughed to myself thinking that there was intestine in my intestines :)

Oh another Story I wrote to tell you!  So we went to Zurich this last week (it was weird to think it would be my last time in the church building there) to meet with President Blaser.  On the way down I was talking to a guy in the train and guess what?  He asked me if I have Swiss forefathers and you know what I said?  As a matter of fact I do!  But a Long LONG time ago.  And you know what he said, he could see it in my face.  I suppose I just have that Swiss glow.  And now we know where my milk drinking gene came from.  And my patriotism.  The only country I have seen who has patriotism which rivals that of America is Switzerland.  Anyways, I thought that was kind of fun.  It was also cool because he was reading and I wasn't going to talk to him, you know, quiet train, random stranger, looks busy.  But I started up a conversation and it turns out the missionaries actually came over to his house and visited him a long time ago!  He had been so confused why they didn't drink their coffee so I was finally able to put his mind at ease and let him know we don't drink coffee.  It was a great conversation.

But of course, unfortunately missions are not all Train rides and chocolate.  This week I was pretty bummed out and stressed out and worried.  Just worrying about the future, weighed down that I am not good enough, what if I haven't served well enough?  What if I screw it up these last couple of weeks and my whole Mission is a fail?  Just really negative thinking and feeling.  It sort of creeped up on me out of nowhere, but it really weighed me down for a few days actually.  It sort of felt like I was stuck in a box and the lock was on the outside. 

Just like all other hard times, I did all that I knew how and that means I just got on my knees and prayed.  Then I would mess up, maybe get angry, do something wrong, and get on my knees again.  And again.  Oh and again.  Don't forget about that one time.  Oh yeah, mhmm, then as well.  It felt like every prayer was bouncing off of the ceiling right back at me and I was just really struggling.

But just like always, eventually the relief came, because it always comes.  I knew the whole time it would.  Maybe I could have held onto that hope and pulled myself up and made myself happy, but I don't know if I actually could have.  Sometimes our hard things are just too hard for us to face alone, a lot of the times.  I firmly believe that God is the only one who can help me sometimes, and I know He does help me.  I feel it in my heart, I can feel when the Atonement of the Savior kicks in and washes me from the inside out.  It is a physical feeling when all of the guilt and sadness and yuckiness goes away.  I can say that because I really have felt it, and we can all feel it!

Man, missions are just the best!  I am super excited to go home, but I also am super grateful for every Moment I have left here.  I just love it, going on a Mission was the best decision I have made so far in my life.  It really has changed my life for the best.  Our Stake President shared in our Meeting with him that his Mission really just branded the Gospel into him, like a Rancher does to his cattle.  I really feel that way as well.

I won't be going to Freiburg this week but I will see many of the members at Stake Temple Day on Saturday. 

I love you all!  have a great week!

Sister Henry
Sherry's dad was able to go back to his mission area in Queens NY this week and visit a lady he'd taught who was baptized.
Hi Dad!
     THAT IS SO COOL that you got to go back to your district area!  I can't wait to do that in a few years.  of course it will be a little harder for me to go back to the old Mission Areas, and a little more expensive ;)  But I am sure God will give me the opportunity like he gives to you.
     I had something funny I wanted to share with you.  There is one big building here in Singen, with probably about 15 stories.  On the 9th floor or so is a gym.  My question is, do you think the People walk up the stairs to go work out or take the Elevator?  Even better, I wonder if they have a stair climbing machine in the gym.  Hahaha that would be funny.
     I love you and I can't wait to talk about missions when I get home.  Thanks for always telling us stories about yours and raising us to love missions.
love you!

Sher Bear